2019 was a fun year for me in publishing. For the most part it all hit within a couple weeks: Smokelong, Pithead Chapel, and Bull. The first two are places I have been trying to get published in for about six years. I’m still buzzed by finally making it in each place.
I also had a flash novella short listed again at Bath. They ended up publishing more than their top 3 this year, but mine was still not one of the five or so they published of the 8 or so on the short list. They offered to have me work with them on revising with the hopes of them publishing it, but I have mostly worked on other things since then including my 2018 short list entry there that will be published in 2020 by Red Bird Chapbooks. I still look forward to getting back to my 2019 shortlisted novella, regardless of where or if it ever gets published.
The online publishing year for me started off with this little one in Reflex Fiction called Have We Got A Story For You?
I wrote this for a prompt on a Facebook writing group that hasn’t kept up the prompts and sharing. It’s so tough to keep a writers group going. Everyone has different things going on and moves at different paces. I have had great friends in these types of settings, but I haven’t been a part of any group that has kept going for more than a year.
I had some great classes in 2019. In the Spring, I went to Los Angeles and took the McKee Story Seminar. I need to do a full blog post on that experience. It was incredible. Later, I took a class at Catapult and one at Bending Genres. These last two did a lot for me on short story concepts.
I ended up from here publishing my 2019 Trilogy. All three were published within a week or so. I would have spread it out more if I could do it again, but I love the location of all of these stories.
The first was The Slippery Footed Man in Pithead Chapel who would later nominate the story for Best Small Fictions 2020. I wrote the first draft of this quite a while ago and it sat in the hard drive until an idea out of the blue in the shower changed the ending which is what Pithead editors have said they liked the most of the story. It’s a good personal example of that subconscious part of creativity.
The second was We’re The Ones in Bull. This was one of my personal favorites, and I worked a lot of versions of it for the Catapult class taught by Peyton Burgess. Peyton was really good at pushing us into more depth without changing our original or unique intentions. I love Bull so it was very happy to have my second story there.
I did feel like, in the social media promotion period which can be an insanely short shelf life, sometimes only hours it seems, it got lost a bit in the name of my last one that ran in Smokelong.
I wrote The Outlier for a class at Bending Genres taught by Kaj Tanaka. His prompt was to use “the spark” to drive the story. The spark was an abstract concept that could mean many different things depending on the application. I think “conceit” might be a good word for what he was aiming for although maybe the spark is a specific type of conceit whose “fire” is able to carry it through, particularly in a flash story. The spark in mine was the brother’s obsession with an article about The Simulation Theory. Lori Sambrol Brody selected the story from the queue during her week as guest editor. Here was our interview about the story.