Nope. Ain’t talking about age, though my birthday is around the corner (amazon gift certificates do nicely!). I just looked at my publication list and found I’ve published over forty short stories since my first wee sale in 2000. There are about seven or so about to debut, so as long as those markets don’t vanish, I’ll be close to fifty.
I almost can’t believe that stat.
When I was starting out, I’d read the little bios and essays about other writers in collections and on websites. I always admired those guys and gals who hit those kind of landmarks. It demonstrated talent and persistence. Gumption and guts. And when I first started sending stuff out, about eleven years ago, it seemed an impossible goal, like you had to be given magic decoder ring to do it, or have a cool last name like Lansdale or Braunbeck or Tem.
Granted, I’m not selling stuff to the the supposed “Big Three” (though I’ve come close a few times with Asimov’s). I’ve made many pro sales to anthologies and to one mag, but most of my success has come from the semi pro folks. Many of them are gone now, like the great Nossa Morte, who featured me more than any of their other fine writers. Or Dark Recesses, who I understand are now dead but who published the fist story that I wrote that had my own “voice” in it (good ol’ “Blood and Sawdust”, written in the basement apartment where I finished my MA in perpetual darkness and with copious bowls of LIFE cereal).
But new ones crop up and produce engaging work, like Crossed Genres, Big Pulp, and Basement Stories. And there’s a rising tide of pro online mags, like Beneath Ceaseless Skies, who published my first pro mag story “Buzzard’s Final Bow.” Heck, there’s more pro paying genre emags than print ones now. More opportunities to publish. The market is always in flux but I’ve been grateful for all those willing to try their hand at running a mag and for giving my work a chance.
So, cheers to all the editors who’ve enjoyed my forty or so tales thus far: Scott Andrews, Bart Lieb and Kay Holt, Bill Olver, Melissa and Michael DeKler, Bailey Hunter, Boyd Harris, Scott Barnes, John O’Neil, R. Scott McCoy, Mike Kelly, Violette Malan, Nancy Kilpatrick, David Morrell, Dru Pagliassotti, William Horner, Pete S. Allen, Sandra Kasturi, Rick Helms, Doug Lain, Jennifer Brozek, Christopher Fletcher, Pam Rentz, Jessy Marie Roberts, Rick Novy, Karen Romanko, Carol Kirkman, and the collective staff at Every Day Fiction and Flashquake. (and if I missed someone, I’m sorry!)
Special shout outs to Jeanne Cavelos, Nick Mamatas, and Sheila Williams for their sage advice over the years. And to my wife, Erin, for being the best in house editor I could ask for.
While my focus is on novels these days, I’ll always be working on the short stuff, too. So, when I hit the big 50 publication number, I will be having a party on this blog and you are all invited!