Stories thought lost to the slush pile

Markets rise. Markets fall. But writers will submit stories forever.

Any writer who has been around the traps for a decent length of time will know that stories can be accepted to a market and the expected wait time to see said story in print may stretch out. They may not hear from the editor for months at a time. Then, often, those accepted stories drop into the publishing black hole, never to be listed on your CV again.

It’s happened to me a few times now and it does get frustrating, especially when those black holed sales could qualify you for SFWA/HWA or other ‘prestige group’ membership (picky bastards that they are!). Like many, I’m sure, I’ve had some bad experiences. The worst was probably with a US magazine, Doorways, that now pays short fiction pro rates. But I’m the sort with too many irons in the fire to be sweating the small stuff, so I take those seemingly dead stories elsewhere and move on.

However, the black hole often defies the laws of nature, and every so often, a story thought long-dead will reappear, slap you on the arse, and say “Surprise! I’m being published after all!”

I’ve had two such arse-slappings of late, and a great time was had by all!

Slightly less black holey was my satirical SF yawn story with a song-and-dance routine, “Chasing Jormungand”. It was scheduled to appear in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine earlier this year, but you know, stuff happens, and those good folk have lives and whatnot, so it was delayed and delayed. Fortunately, contracts are signed and “Chasing Jormungand” is destined for ASIM issue #38, due out this month or maybe early in the new year.

One that came out of the blue was “Hear No Evil”, a story first published in Borderlands #4. This was accepted about two years to US pro magazine Dark Wisdom. The magazine went under a while back, stating they would publish the overstock of accepted stories as anthologies and/or in an online zine. I had four stories accepted at Dark Wisdom – two original and two reprints – so I was somewhat disheartened by the situation, especially as I know from experience that there are no guarantees these kind of projects will go ahead.

So imagine my surprise and delight when William Jones, Dark Wisdom editor and fellow contributor to David Conyers’ upcoming anthology Cthulhu’s Dark Cults, emails the other day informing me that “Hear No Evil” will be published in the first Dark Wisdom anthology. Woot!

So yeah, two rescues from the black hole. Keep an eye out for the stories in ASIM and Dark Wisdom soon.

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