Writing about recent successful story submissions requires a degree of cognitive dissonance on my part. On the one hand, it's a tale of manuscripts that have sat on the shelf, dowdy and unloved to the point of having grey hair and half-moon glasses, finally finding their dancing partners. On the other, of new stories still wet behind the ears flying out of the door before they have a chance to absorb carping feedback and get boiled down in the inevitable rewrites.
As far as the former go, a pair recently sold have racked up ninety-nine rejections between them, before finding success with submissions number one-hundred and one-hundred-and-one. And another with fifty knockbacks under its belt is, at least as far as the Grinder is concerned, just about the longest standing unrejected submission with three different venues at the same time.
And that last point, of simultaneous submissions, is where I have a slight confession to make. I've previously blogged about my take on (not) observing publishers' rules about simultaneous submissions, and have now been hoisted ever so slightly by my own petard.
Of course, I blame the fact that I seem to have hit a rich vein of form, like side two* of the Tindersticks' first LP (insert your own metaphor, musical or otherwise), where what I write turns swiftly to sales. It's temporary, of course. You can’t bottle lightening, and all that. Even the Tindersticks couldn't keep it up, although my recollection is that Simple Pleasure was damn good. But I've had one story sell on its first outing, and another sell twice in its first four showings at market, in the style of Max Bialystok.
In my defence, m'lud, I cite statistics. I submit each story, maybe ten times a year, and have a success rate of one in thirty, meaning stories normally take three years, on average, to sell. Only around a third of my stories are with more than one venue at any one time, and most of the time those markets allow simultaneous submissions. So I reckon the chances of two venues, neither of which accepts simultaneous submissions, both accepting a story within a narrow window of opportunity should happen, on average, every century or so. But that's on average, and assumes my stories remain average, which I don’t think they are - even if the 10,000 hour rule is bunk, the practice must be showing, right?
So, without saying which are the spinsters and which the debs, all of the following new, original, and previously unpublished stories sold in a dizzying ten-day period:
- 'The King of China's Mirror', an alt-history horror with a dash of Leibniz has been taken by Shoreline of Infinity, as previously blogged when at the rewrite stage.
- 'Sunrunner', a tale of an eco-terrorist or freedom fighter (all depending) will be in Third Flatiron's next anthology After the Goldrush.
- 'One Heart Beats as Two', cyberpunk with Shakepeare, will be in Australia’s Aurealis.
- 'Hell is...', will be my sixth story on Daily Science Fiction - and, as if to illustrate the point above, they only rejected three submissions since my last acceptance. My first three publications with them were each three years apart, whereas now I’m disappointed without an annual appearance.
- And, as you already know, 'Devil Ray at the Doorway' will be in the newly launched Medusa Tales.
* of the double vinyl, of course, the tracks from 'City Sickness' to 'Marbles', not the CD, where side two presumably means the printed picture of the flamenco dancer on the face not read by the laser. Precisely what ‘side two’ may mean to anyone under forty reading this for whom music inevitably means a Spotify download is anyone's guess...
2084. The world remains at war.
In the Eurasian desert, twenty-year old Adnan emerges from a coma with memories of a strictly ordered city of steel and glass, and a woman he loved.
The city is the Dome, and the woman... is Adnan's secret to keep.
Adnan learns what the Dome is, and what his role really was within it. He learns why everybody fears the Sickness more than the troopers. And he learns why he is the only one who can stop the war.
Persuaded to re-enter the Dome to implant a virus that will bring the war machine to its knees, the resistance think that Adnan is returning to free the many - but really he wants to free the one.
24 0s & a 2
Twenty-four slipstream stories. Frequently absurd, often minimifidian, occasionally heroic.