I just came back from a weekend in suprisingly sunny Cambridge to much news, both good and bad.
Let's get the bad out of the way first ... it came in the form of a couple of rejections (one, interestingly, accusing me of plaguarism) and the news that The Willows magazine is now officially defunct. I guess that in epitaph I can admit I had mixed feelings about The Willows; still, it was a unique home for Wierd Tale pastiche, it published more of my work than any other market, and on the whole I was pretty fond of it. Perhaps more to the point, from a selfish angle, my turn-of-last-century ghost story The Burning Room is now without a home. One of my deep dreads since I started writing to publish was that a market would accept my work and then die a death; now it's happened.
(If anyone wants to pay me money for a cracking little ghost story then, hey, leave a comment.)
Right! Good news!
Rafe McGregor saw fit to answer my answer my recent challenge to write a twitter [140 character] story; not only that, but I've read the results, and they're marvellous; not only that, but twitterzine Nanoism have accepted it for imminent publication.
Buoyed by this success, I'm extending my challenge to the entire population of the Earth--or at least those that stumble on this blog. I have an ulterior motive here, I have to admit; my groovy map thingie tells me people are passing by, but no-one's commenting. I know that by its very nature this blog is about writing in a vacuum*, but come on! So, to anyone who reads this, comment with a story of less than 140 characters--if you dare! Or, better still, write it and get it published. Brevity is the soul of wit, right? So, hey, maybe it's the soul of great fiction too.
Lastly and bestly ... a while back Jake Freivald published my story Strive to be Happy in his reliably wonderful webzine Flash Fiction Online. Before, during and since, Jake's been immensely supportive of what's unarguably a difficult little story, but this is something else ... it's a touch baffling and immensely touching to see something I wrote get praised to such a degree. Thanks, not for the first time, to Jake, and to David Erlewine for such a thoughtful review.
Really lastly ... I stumbled across this quote from Robert Holdstock, of Mythago Wood fame, in the British Fantasy Society's magazine Dark Horizons, a response to the question of whether the short fiction market is shrinking, and was touched by the sheer damn truth of it:
"Writers are not in free fall. They float above the clouds and hope, as always, to be a part of the rain where the rain is welcomed."
* Okay, technically speaking the moon has an atmosphere, albeit a pretty thin one. But none of us are going to be taking the wife and kids for a picnic there any time soon, so I'll let that one stand.