Poetry and Prose

Wow, it’s been almost 9 months since I last posted an update. You’ll have to forgive me. It’s been a busy year, and the blog is one of the things that got left in the dust for a little while.

In addition to a home renovation, new projects at the day job, and a trip to Machu Picchu, I’ve had some great writing news of late.

In May, I learned that I was a semi-finalist for the Writers of the Future Award for Q1 2015 for my as-yet unpublished story, White Bone Spirit. As a semi-finalist, I received a personal critique from Dave Wolverton (aka David Farland).

Writers of the Future is a contest open to new and amateur writers of science fiction and fantasy. The contest has no entry fee. It is run quarterly and is judged by some of the best writers in the field, including Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Branden Sanderon, Nancy Kress, and others. Winning comes with a cash prize and an opportunity to be published in the annual Writers of the Future anthology.

I’ve already submitted a story for the next quarter of the contest, so wish me luck!

And just this week, I learned that my poem, Ghost Parade, will appear in the July 2015 issue of Abyss & Apex Magazine. Abyss & Apex is a speculative fiction online magazine that is known for publishing character-driven stories and unusual poems that push the envelope.

In the loveless world of writing and selling short fiction, the bulk of responses you get from markets are called “form letter rejections.” Editors don’t have time to offer a personal response to the hundreds–sometimes thousands–of submissions they receive every month, so most magazines send out form letter rejections–an ambiguously worded missive explaining that your story isn’t needed right now, but saying nothing about why they didn’t choose to accept it. When an editor takes time to offer a personal response, you know that the story was good enough for them to bother!

I’m particularly happy to have a poem appearing in Abyss & Apex because one of my very first personal rejections came from Abyss & Apex, and in haiku form nonetheless. You can read it here.

So I’m happy about this.

There’s always a nagging doubt, though. I don’t think of myself as a poet. I could count the number of poems I’ve written in the last decade without using my thumbs, whereas I’ve written over two dozen short stories in just the past few years.

My natural instinct – which I think is the response most people feel in a moment of success – is that this must be a fluke. Clearly, someone is going to point a finger at me and cry “Fake! You’re no poet!” And then I’ll never publish another word again.

Okay, okay, that’s probably not going to happen. But it certainly feels that way.

In the face of the self-doubt that every writer faces, the only thing left for me to do is the only thing that a writer can do: keep writing and keep sending out stories.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get to work.


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