New publication! But have you ever wanted to hear the thrilling saga of how a short story gets published? No? Well, here it is anyway, and you can skip it if you want:
In November of 2010, I submitted my favorite short story I'd written to a magazine that had just started paying professional rates. It was a funny piece about basketball and limb loss, and I thought it'd be a good fit at this magazine. Best of all, it would be my first pro-level short fiction sale.
Submitting stories for publication takes a long time. Editors have huge amounts of stories to sift through, and a lot of magazines expect you to submit exclusively--editors don't want to invest a lot of time and energy into a story only to have it snatched away by another magazine. If you get caught simultaneously submitting, that magazine will refuse to publish you until the sun rises in the west.
So, this magazine. It took them a while to get back to me. After six months, I sent a polite query to ask if they had had a chance to look at it. They replied that they'd been inundated with submissions after they'd raised their pay rate, so it might be a while. Fair enough, I thought.
I still thought it was fair after a year, when I sent this magazine another query (you'll notice I'm not mentioning them by name, so you can probably see where this is going). No decision yet, but they'd advanced me into the "maybe" pile, so I had that going for me, which was nice.
We went back-and-forth another six months until last April, when I informed them (politely) to remove my story from consideration so I could consider another market.
Their reply: "That's too bad especially since it was so very close to getting bought. Best of luck to you."
I've been submitting to magazines for several years, so I'm pretty good at dealing with rejection. But their little "So long, asshole" routine was definitely a beetle in my french fries (which really happened to me one time). It was the implicit, "If you'd only allowed us to dick you around for another six months, we'd have bought your story. Maybe." The thing that irritated me most, though, was that it took them a month-and-a-half to write it--they couldn't even tell me to go to Hell in a timely fashion.
On the Big List of Injustices in this world, this one ranks pretty low, but it annoyed me nonetheless. Did you notice I used past tense there? I am over it. At last, I have my sort-of revenge.
My short story "Athlete's Foot" is now available in the debut issue of Crowded. This magazine has some great stories in it, accompanied by some terrific looking artwork. (And yes, they pay professional rates, in case you were worried about my career or whatever.)
"Athlete's Foot" is a horror/urban fantasy story about Tyler, an American basketball player struggling to make it in the European minor leagues. A good season might get him back to the States and the NBA. Too bad for him, his team has also signed former NBA superstar (and current out-of-shape has-been) LaWilliam Morris, who treats Tyler like his personal slave. Tyler doesn't believe in karma, but he finds out that what goes around does come around once in a while, and that's not always a good thing.
Am I being petty about this whole thing? Yeah, probably. But like I said, "Athlete's Foot" is one of my favorites, and finally seeing it published feels really good. I hope you enjoy reading it.