Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls, Bastards of All Ages!
KNOCKOUTS: TEN TALES OF FANTASY AND NOIR, my first ebook short story collection, is out and available at amazon! It features a lovely cover shot of horror movie maven Debbie Rochon, an introduction by award winning writer Norman Partridge, and ten of my best tales of hard knocks and fisticuffs.
I absolutely love short stories. Every year, someone says the field is dead. And every year, they are wrong. For ten years, I wrote short stuff, getting my little hobos on the slush rails and looking for work. I learned by doing, by making little experiments for myself, by going to the Odyssey writing workshop and only writing stories there, by making challenges to write a story a week (and even a story a day!) with my friends and colleagues. And I paid my dues and learned my lesson on why you should at least get paid for your work, even if it’s small change.
TALES FROM THE SALAD YEARS (1999-2000)!
When I first started, I had a small goal. Get a story published in a year. It didn’t really matter where. I just thought it would be good to have a publication on my cover letter. Even if it was for some obscure, no-pay joint, it was better than nothing.
Amazingly, I met that goal, selling a YA fantasy/horror thingy called “Treasure Chamber,” about a kid abandoned in a neighbour’s toy room, to an academic journal dedicated to the work of CS Lewis called THE LAMP POST. Holy Cats! I now had a cred for my cover letter!
But as I was typing up my little publication for my cover letter, I also got an acceptance for a story called “Fresh Flowers for Rachel,” a war story of tragic romance between a British soldier and a Jewish nurse. The “mag” that picked it up was called BALLS (not the actual name, but really, really close). They really dug it, wanted to buy it, but only paid in contributor’s copies.
This was a big deal, since I thought the story was the best thing I’d done that year. I decided, hell, why not? Two credits on the letter was better than one!
Until I got my copy. THE LAMP POST was done in chapbook style. It was a lovely little book, with a well rendered drawing on the cover in black and white. It may have been small press, but it looked good and they did a great job copy editing my story. I was happy.
BALLS? Fugh. First, it was a home zine. A hand-cut bristol board cover, side stapled by hand, the title BALLS printed via an old type writer. But, hey, I was a punk rock kid, so what if it was a basement job?
Then I saw the index. The guy had listed my story, all right. But he’d typed another author’s name to it! Worse? He then scratched out that author’s name in pen, and then scrawled “Jason S. Ridler” on top of it.
After I stopped laughing, I made a decision. I’d get paid. Even if it was a pittance, it was better than this slapdash piece of junk being my only external reward for my best work at the time. It took a year before I got another sale, but they soon started to grow.
Now, after ten years, I’ve sold almost fifty stories. And I’ve been paid for every one. So, if like your fiction with grit and humor, and want to support someone who’s spent a decade busting his hide to be the best writer of Ridlertales he can be, please buy KNOCKOUTS! Tell them Doc Ridler sent ya!