Submissions, submissions everywhere … but not a drop to drink?

I’ve just finished doing my duty on this 40+ degree day in Perth and have cleaned out the pool for the three thousand seven hundred and sixteenth time this year (and it’s only March!). Oddly, I chose to do this at 1.30pm, when the sun reaches its scorching zenith. Ange hinted that she wanted to go swimming after she returned from TAFE (she has two exams and a presentation today!), so I felt compelled to do my partnerly duty.

Looking out over the pool, and the lake beyond (yes, we have a lake; well its not actually ours, but we have a damn fine view of it – Lake Joondalup. Right now its a tumbledown 5km mudpatch with struggling clumps of green-brown weeds thrusting through the cracked, caking mud), I have an immense sense of satisfaction and rightness about the world. It probably has something to do with the light-headedness from heat stroke and loss of fluids. Trudging back into the mercifully airconditioned house, even Sahma, our currently-recovering-from-a-sore-back poodle took pity on me as I collapsed on the tiles.

Even after washing my face and grabbing a drink, the humidity and clinging heat persists. You know you’re in Perth when you hear the sound of sweaty skin tearing itself from a leather chair. Such are the struggles I face.

On the writing front, I have vaulted off three submissions in quick succession – Room Three to Borderlands, Bump in the night to Andromeda Spaceways, and Web, a new flash story I penned today, to aurealisXpress and Flashshot.

Firstly, Room Three was meant for Marginata (the WA writers centre magazine) and the Peter Cowan Writers Centre July newsletter competition. However, I simply grew impatient. Besides, the PCWC newsletter comp doesn’t specify anything about previously published stories *villainous chuckle*. Furthermore, after rereading Room Three, I realised this would be the perfect follow up to Hear No Evil, which is scheduled for publication in Borderlands this year. The story takes place in the very next room, so thats gotta count for something? Right?

Bump in the night is a funny one to place. It’s a variation on such a classic theme that I wonder if anyone will accept it, on the grounds of originality. Regardless, it is well written (in my opinion) and short, so I thought Andromeda Spaceways (ASIM) could be worth a try. ASIM are also hanging onto Ian, so I sent a query email to them about it while I was thinking of it. Last I heard, Ian was floating around their slushpile after passing the initial reading. Fingers crossed on that one, because it will be a bastard to place otherwise (it’s cute and engaging, but hardly genuine speculative fiction).

Lastly comes Web. I wrote the story first thing this morning (at 50 words, it wasn’t hard once I cemented the concept in my mind). aurealisXpress, the monthly email offshoot of Australian mainstay Aurealis magazine, came out yesterday, unfortunately without my ‘sure thing’ Hell. I was irrationally bugged by that for some reason. I guess it’s one of my goals to get into aurealisXpress. Hopefully I’ll be third time lucky with Web, after the failures of Hell and the not-so-great Bastion. If not, I’ll keep trying until the editors get sick of my odd Japanese-Australian hybrid name appearing on pestering emails.

Presently, I am editing Song of the Infernal Machine, before it gets sent to Chiaroscuro. I also received another very helpful rejection from Russell at Ticonderoga Online for Firewall v1.1 the other day. It has been cut back to bare basics, but I agree with Russ’ comment that the story is not really a story – perhaps a vignette? a conceit? an interesting dialogue with a memorably creepy scene at the end? This week I will transform this into something more, something significantly more story-like that will provide a tie-in with the upcoming Firewall v2.0. Ticonderoga have been very encouraging, so I think they deserve another shot with an improved version. If it still ends up failing, I have one or two other options for that webzine.

Tonight: more editing and locking myself in the study as Ange hosts her weekly philosophical discussion/gossip group with her pseudo-coven.

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