Payback is a bitch: life of a short story

I am happy to announce that  Luna Station Quarterly magazine accepted my short story “Payback is a bitch”  for their September 1 issue.  I took only one day from submission to acceptance. I had just submitted to them on Saturday as part of my getting back into balance campaign. This is quick, although not the record for me. Chiron Review accepted one of my stories after only an hour.

About Payback is a bitch

When a personal tragedy costs homicide detective Rosa Wolfe everything–her marriage, her career, and her badge–she returns to the streets she once patrolled, finding satisfaction in high-payoff vengeance for hire.

On creation of the story

I had fun writing the story because it is my first attempt at writing a detective thriller, the genre I love to read. Payback was born over a year and a half ago. It took that long to find a market for it.  I wrote Payback back in November of 2008 after Harry bought me the Rambo collection for my birthday–wonder where I got the idea for a story about a vigilante.  See previous post.  Since then, I’ve submitted Payback to 18 magazines.  Thirteen rejected it.  One magazine collapsed before they could even reply to my submission.  Three other magazines have not yet replied–I’ll have to let them know its been accepted.

This is why it is so easy to get discouraged with writing and submitting short stories.  It is rough out there.  It took me 18 tries before Payback was finally accepted. I think about that when I have to reject stories for Pig and a Poke, like I did on Sunday. I try to take the time to give reasons for rejection.  It isn’t always possible, but most of my rejections are personal.

I liked writing Payback so much that I decided to expand it into a novel.  “The Ripper” is in draft stage. The outline is finished and about half of the chapters, but not in sequence. I’ve written bits and pieces here and there as the ideas come to me. The beginning, some of the middle and ending is done. The rest needs to be filled in. I decided to expand Nick the Nick’s role. Nicholas Nicholson is a former Green Beret turned vigilante who teams up with Rosa. He may end up being a bad guy. I haven’t decided yet. Rosa believes that if she and Nick can find and apprehend  the serial killer responsible for the string of rape/murders that has continued during the three years she has been working without a gold shield, she might be able to turn her life around.

Update on balance

I lost Friday as a writing day due to being pulled over with expired registration.  Sigh.  I spent the afternoon at the DMV.  Saturday I sent out short story submissions.  The Luna Station Quarterly acceptance will go a long way toward giving me my ambition back.  I think it will even motivate me to work on the novel again.  Sunday, I reviewed all of the stories submitted to Pig in a Poke. I found two that I liked well enough to accept. Unfortunately I had to send out some rejection letters.

I am continuing the walking, working out at the gym, and healthy eating.  Look for more posts on that.

The Mulberry Tree

I am happy to share that “The Mulberry Tree” will be appearing in an upcoming issue of CHIRON REVIEW, a small press magazine that is just starting back after a hiatus of several years. I’m so happy I didn’t have to add another rejection to my growing pile–see Living with Rejection.

Have you ever had a terrible day at work? One so bad that you wanted to walk away and never return. What makes that day different from any other? For a young math teacher who has difficulty dealing with unmanageable students, it is the pervasive influence of her own childhood in “The Mulberry Tree.”

Not surprisingly, I had some of those horrible days that ultimately led me to trade the classroom for a computer keyboard–hence this blog. I used those experiences as the backdrop for this fictional story.

Opening the acceptance letter from CHIRON REVIEW is a moment neither Harry nor I will ever forget. I was sure I would find a rejection in the self addressed envelope that I had mailed to CHIRON REVIEW. When I saw the acceptance letter and told my husband Harry, his face lit up and he was literally jumping up and down with excitement for me. Then I looked at the next page. A post-it note read, “For Harry.” It was an acceptance for Harry for two of his poems. How many times will we each receive an acceptance in the same envelope? It is just so surreal to be accepted together. Harry also has a book review in an upcoming issue.

Later, we were having Chinese food–and a good bottle of wine, of course. When we opened our fortune cookies, Harry and I both got the same fortune, “Stop searching forever, happiness is just next to you.” Since we were both sitting next to each other on the couch, it was surreal to receive same fortune after our recent acceptance together. It gets weirder–we always get three fortune cookies so our Labrador Alex can have one. So far our dog’s fortunes have included a future in medical research and law and as a good religious leader. He’s a multitalented dog. Of course we have yet to see any revenue from his various careers. Anyway, Alex’s fortune last night was “Happy life is just in front of you.” Since Alex sat in front of Harry wagging his tail and wearing his cute face, the one he reserves for “Give me food,” I guess Harry is Alex’s “happy life.”