Posts Tagged ‘literary magazines’

I was going to go about my day of blog posting in my usual self-depreciating manner. Let’s face it, I love messing with myself, and I give myself plenty of material with which to do so. But I just finished reading Judy Clement Wall’s post about being kind to yourself. She says amazing things on her blog, and today’s message hit home. “Truthfully, I’m amazed at how hard we are on ourselves, how quick we are to criticize, undermine, belittle and doubt. If we spoke to our friends the way we so willingly speak to ourselves, we’d be friendless.”

Wow. How true. I mean how many of you would return to my blog if I called you an unfocused flake? How about a freak? Does “loser” hurt your feelings? I call myself all of these things, and more. But not today. So instead of the post I was going to do about my hair and how ugly it is since I had it chopped to pieces, and how it looks like original daughter Becky from Roseanne who, in her last season, cut her hair so severe the ratings plummeted and they had to get themselves a new, prettier Becky for the remaining seasons (I don’t know the real reason, but come on, look at the hair), I will instead share with you what I did right. My floor.

Below are pictures of my finished concrete floor. There are no before pictures, but picture a stained, ratty carpet the color of oatmeal.

I love my floor. I love even more that I did it. And that the total cost of the project was $75.00 (not including another $75.00 for new baseboards because I managed to ruin the old ones—oops). Now, of course, I want the whole house done this way. I just don’t want to be the one to do it. It took a month for just one room. A month of neglected writing. So back to writing.

Another achievement I’d like to share is a story that is up at Slow Trains. It was my first attempt at non-humor (not my first non-humor published. I had written a couple after this one that went before it). It’s about a mistake in judgment and the very anti-thesis of Judy’s message. I’m not sure which I recommend first: reading about a pair down on themselves then getting rejuvenated by Judy, or filling up on love first to withstand the dismal dread of those who think they are unworthy. I wrote this 13 months ago, and I think I was PMSing—oops, there goes that self-back talk again. What I mean is I really like this story and I think it ends with a powerful message that everyone can benefit from, and I’m proud of myself for writing it and encouraged and validated that Slow Trains published it. Yay me.

What can you share that is wonderful about yourself or that you accomplished lately that you are proud of? Don’t forget to go to Judy’s blog at Zebra Sounds and do the assignment she asks of you. I know I will.

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April Fool’s day is my book’s 4th birthday.

I is four

My book turning four is not a happy event, just so you know. It’s just one more reminder of unfinished business. That hasn’t stopped me in the past, querying, that is. I made a vow every year to be finished, like in ready to query finished, by April 1st. On birthday number two, I queried two agents. Birthday number three, I thought I was ready and queried three agents. You see a pattern here? But I won’t. I will not query four agents today just because I made a silly vow once. Wait. I won’t promise that. I don’t trust myself. Maybe I’ll send just one.

I have a beta reader I’m handing this to tomorrow, and I’m hanging back to see what edits or changes she suggests. I would kick myself later if I queried and sent a sample chapter that needed work. So no, I will not send out a query today. I won’t. I might.

On other news, I received Golden Visions magazine in the mail yesterday with my story Male Pattern Deadness published in it. It’s a serious piece; a psychological thriller, if you will. Also, forthcoming in Slow Trains, I wrote another serious piece—am I losing my sense of humor?

I don’t have a link to Male Pattern Deadness yet, as it’s only in their print edition, It may end up in my unlinkable page above. But the exciting thing is my story is right in the middle where the magazine staple goes. So the magazine wants to naturally open there. People picking up the magazine will be FORCED to see my story—muhahahaha.

To prove I still have my humor about me, I have a flash piece up at Fear of Writing called Mango Man. Fear of Writing has a list of prompts you can choose from should you want to write for them.

Last and most important is Linda Cassidy Lewis, my friend and member of my in-person writing group, has her debut book, Brevity of Roses, up for sale today. She is the first in my group to publish a book, so this is all very exciting, it’s also very sudden, and I haven’t had a chance to post reviews of it on Amazon or Goodreads yet, but will shortly. For now, just trust me that this is beautifully written work and I encourage you to read it. I command it.

Though none of the above is an April Fool’s joke—nor is the mention that I just forgot how to spell “above” and tried five different spellings before I gave up and asked the computer how to spell it—do any of you participate in this silly tradition? Did someone pull any tricks on you today? I’m alone right now. The day is still young. For me, it’s pending. When my eleven year old gets home, I’ll be in for it.

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When good intentions backfire, sometimes it leaves you a smidge paranoid the next time around.

During my first marriage a long time ago in another chapter of another book of my life, I lived in a triplex. A couple and their baby moved in the apartment above us, and they befriended us instantly.

The husband was well spoken; his posture and mannerisms screamed “Prep School Grad”. She was … well … not. She was clearly born on the opposite side of the tracks from him, and she didn’t even possess all of her teeth. She had a tendency to misspeak, and to dress and behave inappropriately—like wear revealing clothing and brushing up against my husband.

This couple was so mismatched, we speculated that perhaps he married her because he got her pregnant. We later learned we were right. But that part didn’t matter. Their history was irrelevant in the here and now. They were friendly and personable and liked us. Since I assume no one will like me before they even meet me, when they do show fondness towards me, it comes as a surprise and shock and they’d have to do something terrible for me not to reciprocate.   

Soon, however, we began to sense something amiss. The four of us were slowly evolving to just the three of us. We were seeing less of the husband. I felt as if he were in the role of someone hired to find a home for a stray and her litter. His job was done.

Her neediness made us pause. She didn’t work and would latch onto anyone who was home during the day. My husband had weekends off; I had Sunday and Monday. Her husband was gone every day. What he did every day remains a mystery. So she unwittingly became ours, invaded our lives. Every time I turned around, she was there. She was always asking for something, and we were always giving it to her. Either that or she’d help herself to whatever we weren’t offering.

She’d call my husband and ask for assistance in moving furniture around or for minor repairs. She’d flirt a little or a lot, he’d tell me later. Later we would find out she was only sixteen and a high school dropout. Her husband, twenty-three and a university graduate. We would also find out later they were both con artists. Her job title was Statutory Rape Blackmail. His was Lawsuits.

They didn’t just wait for opportunity to knock, either. They made it happen. And we learned of it before they had a chance to strike. We were their next target; our only crime was in our good intentions. And they weren’t happy to know we were on to them. They made out lives miserable for a while.

Even while all this was happening, I was writing the story in my head, filling in the blanks. My novel (the one I haven’t written yet) will someday reveal the mystery of their pairing, his and her upbringings, and all the whys of it, the wheres, and the what happened next.

Then I made a mental movie of it. I can’t put you into my head so let’s use Pacific Heights‘ yuppie horror film tagline: “It seemed like the perfect house. He seemed like the perfect tenant. Until they asked him to leave.”

Mine will be like this: “She likes anyone who likes her. He will help anyone who asks. They meet the couple. They seemed like perfect friends. Until they weren’t.”

Being the imaginative person that I am, I, coincidently, use the same actors. The con husband sort of looked like Michael Keaton, and my husband sort of looked like Matthew Modine. Melanie Griffith looked more like the slut in my story, so I assigned her that role. Angelina Jolie will play me of course. (stop laughing.) I might have a hard time erasing years off their looks enough to play sixteen to twenty-three-year-olds—details I’m still working out..

That was one of my more vivid memories of good-deed-gone-bad. There have been other times my good intentions backfired. But each time now that I perform a neighborly service, do a good deed, or befriend a new person, my suspicious mind triggers a story, an outcome with tragic consequences. I can’t help it; it just happens.

A few years ago, I found myself watering an Australian tree fern at a vacant, foreclosed house in my neighborhood. I was paranoid each time I crossed the grass and turned on the hose that somehow the house became occupied overnight and I would be arrested for trespassing or shot. My mind works that way. And I wrote a story about it titled Tree Hugger, published at The Earth Comes First.

Do you have any tales of good deeds gone wrong?

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Yesterday I encouraged you to read my guest post at Fear of Writing. In that post I admit my short story publications are, in a way, a distraction from finishing the darn novel. I vowed to stop letting publication get in the way of publication. And I will. Right after this one at Orion Headless. (It went up yesterday but felt sheepish to admit it on the same day that people might actually take me serious. pfft)

In my defense, I still have some stories on submission. So there.

This story was originally accepted by a paying anthology. But when I read the contract it looked like it would be published in the later part of 2012. After getting advice from a publishing expert, I had to withdraw my piece because it is part of my book and publishers (if one was looking at offering me a contract) would see it as a conflict in many, many ways. The last thing I want to do is give a publisher a reason to reject me.

So the moral of the story is:  If it’s an excerpt, pay attention to the fine print. You don’t want to lose your rights to it or, in this case, tie up the rights. But I’m glad it found it’s way to Orion. Happy Ending.

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This counts as a blog post from me.  Come visit Fear of Writing, you might learn something on What Not to Do.

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A couple of posts ago, I whined expressed concern about not having a November publication. Of course it’s a lot like playing lotto: you can’t win if you don’t play. I haven’t submitted much in November or October, or September, just resubmitting stories that have been rejected. One story has been rejected twelve times. If I didn’t love the story so much and believe in it and its potential to open doors and pave golden, diamond-dusted paths toward fame and fortune, then maybe I’d let it retire. But I’m deluded and stubborn: two very hazardous personality traits.

All this rejection is good for me. It’s thickening my skin for future agent rejections. You know, “Don’t take it personally, but we can’t stand you or your writing, and your story makes us want to hork all over my keyboard,” type of rejection.

 So I compiled some rejections from various short stories, so you, the curious, can know the different levels of pain I must endure from time to time.

 I present to you the polite but dull standard form rejection. 

Dear Ms. Sutton,

 Thank you for sending us ____. Our editors have looked it over carefully, but don’t feel it’s the best fit for our publication. Unfortunately, we are unable to place all of the fine pieces we receive. We wish you luck in placing it elsewhere.

 The impersonal and brief rejection 

Dear Artist,

Thanks for the submission. I appreciate it. But I’m going to pass on this one.

 The let-me-down-gently rejection

 Dear Tricia –

 Thank you for submitting ____to ___ for publication. Though I like your writing ability, I’m afraid we will decline. We receive many more manuscripts than we can accept. We wish you luck in placing it with another publisher.

 You are welcome to submit other stories to us at any time.

This-shows-they-read-it rejection


 Thank you for letting us read ___. It’s an amusing piece, but we felt it’s not a good fit for ___. Thanks for thinking of our publication, and good luck placing your piece elsewhere.

 The personal rejection

Dear Tricia,

Thanks for sending ___ to us. I’m going to respectfully pass on this piece. 

I like the characters and the voice of the narrator, Tricia, but the perspective’s a bit insular for my tastes. I like stories that focus a bit more on external interactions between characters, allowing the conflict to arise from those interactions.

 The-I-don’t-know-but-I-think-I-should-be-insulted-personal rejection

Hello Tricia,

 Thank you for the submission. This is an intriguing story, but it’s not the kind of literature we’re looking for. All the pieces we accept must, in some way, suggest an evolution in writing technique.

 The almost-there-personal rejection


Thank you for the submission.  We’re going to pass on this particular piece, but it was very close. (No, we don’t say that to everybody.)  You’re a strong writer, and we encourage you to submit again. 

 The acceptance

Hello Tricia,

 Good to hear from you again. 

Thanks for that reminder of how smells can transport us to days gone by.

 And now I present to you my very first ever published (and written) poetry. It’s true, I wrote poetry. Don’t laugh. Okay laugh, you will anyway.


Do you have any rejections you like to share?


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The good news is I have a new publication up at Imitation Fruit.

The bad news is I don’t have anything in the queue, nothing forthcoming. And this makes me very nervous. I had been on a roll and I wasn’t finished rolling in it. Since April I had a publishing a month. I didn’t know I had a pattern until recently, but once I did, I didn’t want to break it.

I wonder if I could e-mail all the editors that I have submissions out on and ask if they could accept me on the grounds of I’m neurotic. After all, this is my own personal cosmos of stars and we must keep them in line. How should I word this? Is this too weird of a request? If not, would it be pushy to demand a November publication, even if they had already selected their November contributors?

If you are an editor out there and you need a November slot to fill, look no further than right here. I can write anything. Except quirky, insanity stuff. I can’t write in that mindset, don’t understand it. No siree bob, I’m a straight arrow kinda gal. Calm, cool and collective. That’s me. Don’t worry be happy. Relaxed … ACCEPT ME! NOW! HURRY!

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It’s been a while since my last post, and in case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, well, you’re not alone. So while I ponder the question, here is a link to a new humor story/excerpt just up http://hazardcat.blogspot.com/ titled I Can Kilz Boyfriend

As is the case with some online magazines, I can’t link directly to my story, just the magazine (or maybe you can and I just haven’t figured it out), so if you’re reading this post later than Sept 20th, you’ll have to scroll down or go to the archives of September.

Have a funny day. –Peace out 🙂

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If you’ve thought the Austen family was just a tad outrageous, wait until you’ve met their pets.

An excerpt of my book, the chapter titled The Bionic Cat, is up at Hazard Cat.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say this was my favorite chapter; that would be like saying I had a favorite child. But I will admit this was the most fun to write, this and the one forthcoming from the same magazine about the same cat titled I Can Kilz Boyfriend. 

It’s chapters like these that remind me why I’m not calling my book a memoir. There’s no way I could exaggerate at the level I did if I had to stay within bounderies of accuracy and plausibility.  But as you read it might be important to know Smokey was not embellished. The cat was the real deal. You won’t believe it.

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They’re baack. The Austen Family is back for more adventure, and this time a visit to a restaurant—an upscale restaurant. And … OMG!

If you’ve read any of the previous excerpts of my book Hiding in the Spotlight you’ll know that Patty has her hands full in keeping a low profile among the atypical Austens.  The Cynic Magazine has so bravely published Civilized Folk. If you missed any previous excerpts and are crazy enough to venture into the Austen Family Vortex, you can find them and other publication links on my publication page at the top. Good luck and Godspeed.

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