CategoryStories

Mystery Tribune Publishes “Tour De Forest”

Mystery Tribune, a magazine of fiction, non-fiction, art and photography that celebrates mystery and suspense, just published my story “Tour De Forest” (910 words; 4 minute read).

In this story, Philippe, a rising competitive cyclist who just won a stage on the Tour for the first time, wakes to find his bike stolen. In a mountainous and agrarian region of France, Inspector Coudert helps Philippe shed his naivety while working the case.

This story went through several versions prior to finding a home. One outlet wanted a stronger “sense of place” and which led me to conduct research. Limousin is (was) an actual agrarian region/province in France (now called Nouvelle-Aquitaine). The region, with fewer people and less development, has a strong tradition of local music that includes playing old style instruments (like bagpipes). 

Several readers suggested I write other stories with characters from this one. What do you think? I welcome your thoughts in the comments.

Stories 2019: How Did It Go?

In 2017, I began submitting and tracking my fiction writing and then posted a 2018 update. How did it go this past year?

  • In 2019, I submitted versions and revisions of 33 stories 111 times to 49 different outlets. This included 22 contests.
  • Between January 1 and December 31, 2019, I received 106 rejections (including some for stories submitted in 2018) and two acceptances (1.9%).
  • One losing story received an Honorable Mention.
  • Several rejection notices came with brief comments from editors. A few of my favorites:
    • “We felt the story was well written and confidently told, and we thought the relationship between [A] and [B] well established. We wondered if this piece may benefit from expanding beyond the flash form… we’d love to read more of your work.”
    • “The editors felt that it was a little cutesy…”
    • “There’s something satisfying about that punch at the end!”

Much of the feedback on my stories in 2019, and in previous years, included versions of “this should be longer,” so I have kept that in mind when revising and writing. 

Stories Published in 2019

Three stories were published in 2019, including one accepted in 2018.

On January 22nd and August 27thDaily Science Fiction published independent stories with the same cast of characters. Both capture what my friend Danny Hamsley calls the “curse of the big brain”, which challenges us as parents raising children, and as adolescents dealing with clueless moms and dads.

On November 4thMicrofiction Monday Magazine published “Cedar Balls” (99 words; 1 minute read). My brother and Reverend Jim Ignatowski inspired the seventh, critical rewrite.

Enjoy the stories and thank you for reading!

Stories 2018: How Did It Go?

In 2017, I began submitting and tracking my fiction writing in earnest. So, how did it go this past year?

  • In 2018, I submitted versions of 33 stories 76 times to 33 different outlets. This included 12 contests.
  • By December 31, 2018, I received 64 rejections and three acceptances (4.5%).
  • Two of the rejected stories did receive “Honorable Mentions” in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine flash fiction contests.
  • Several rejections came with brief notes from editors. A few of my favorites:
    • “…almost there with this piece…”
    • “…the exposition at the beginning stalled the story before it got started…narrator was over the top simple [and] stupid…”
    • “…the narrator has a rich voice, and the story is well told but constricted…this should be a longer story…”
    • “It wasn’t a bad story…I could see it in an episode of Tales from the Crypt.”

The three acceptances included my first professional (sold) stories, both to Jonathan and Michele at Daily Science Fiction. Thank you!

2018 Stories

Two of the accepted stories were published in 2018. 

On October 24thDaily Science Fiction published “Water Carrier” (591 words; 3 minute read). The idea for this story arrived during an NPR Driveway Moment. I remembered seeing The Gods Must Be Crazy, an indie film about a remote tribe disrupted by the arrival of a single Coke bottle, which proves useful and incites conflict. Then I imagined visiting a peaceful village lacking the ability to carry water.

On October 28th, 365tomorrows published “Day at the Office, Night on the Job” (353 words; 2 minute read). I remember hearing Bubbee, my wonderful grandmother, use the line “but the money was clean” once in a story involving (literally) dirty work. That line stuck with me and led to this story.

Enjoy the stories and thank you for reading!

Stories 2017: How Did It Go?

In 2017, I began submitting and tracking my fiction writing in earnest. How did it go?

  • From August through December, I submitted versions of 11 stories 23 times to 13 different outlets. 
  • By December 31, I pocketed 14 rejections and one acceptance (6.7%).
  • That one story (see below) got picked up and (supposedly) translated into Gujarati and republished in Sarjan Magazine.
  • Also, one of the rejected stories received “Honorable Mention” in an Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine flash fiction contest.

A few of the rejections came with encouraging notes from the editors, which I appreciated and subsisted on to some extent.  (Thank you, Mark and Ron!)

2017 Stories

On October 2ndMicrofiction Monday Magazine published “Art Imitates Death” (microfiction: 87 words; 1 minute read). My thanks to editor Gayle Towell. Please enjoy.