Posted tagged ‘Beacons of Tomorrow’

Friday Feature ~ “Race to the Summit”

March 12, 2021

In my early writing years, I spent a lot of time and thought on what kind of stories I wanted to write. Did I want to write in a certain genre? Serious stuff or comic stuff? Realistic fiction or speculative fiction? What did I like to read and could I emulate it? I was still finding my way, perhaps my style, and certainly my subject. So I was trying out different things.

“Race to the Summit” was the second story I had accepted for publication. This was back in 2007 (published in 2008), so nearly two decades had passed since my first published story. I can tell you that I thought a lot about whether or not I was really a writer if it was taking so long to make the magic happen again. (I was writing and publishing a lot of nonfiction in those years.) I began to think that getting “The Mythmaker” published was just a fluke, and I remember setting myself a standard at that time: I wouldn’t consider myself a writer until I had at least ten stories published. That number seemed impossibly ambitious, but if I could achieve it, I would have a substantial body of work that couldn’t be dismissed as luck alone.

So I was encouraged when “Race to the Summit” was accepted for an anthology of speculative fiction: Beacons of Tomorrow. My story is more fantasy than science fiction, or maybe magical realism. I must have been reading a lot of Garcia Marquez at the time for the influence is clearly there. This is one of the few stories of mine that actually received editorial suggestions. I recall one scene that was depicted in a clumsy way that the editor wanted changed, so I did. There may have been a few word changes as well. I wish I could remember more about the genesis of the story; there may be something in one of my journals about it, but good luck finding that! The story involves an earth-bound boy who is infatuated with a girl he imagines to be an angel — a time-honored theme — and his jealousy in learning there is another boy who seems to have captured her attention. What he learns in the end is that he is both right and wrong.

I’m not sure how I learned of the call from Beacons of Tomorrow for speculative short stories, though I suspect it was through Duotrope, which I’ve relied on greatly over the years. By this time, email was the fashion and I submitted in that way. And once again, when the acceptance came through, I kept my success to myself. I suspect I wouldn’t let myself believe it until the printed copy was in my hands. I guess my ambition was a fragile thing. But I now had two short stories published, and I was beginning to believe I might actually pull off this writer thing. Like “The Mythmaker,” my second story appeared in a print journal, and I cleared a space on my bookshelf for these two trophies of mine, where I could see them easily as I sat at my writing desk.

“Race to the summit”

July 6, 2011

I’ve added another of my early short stories, “Race to the summit,” to the sidebar if you’d care to read it. The story is only the second piece of my fiction that had been published. I’d written the story many years before and tinkered with it a great deal. It’s also the first story of mine that was heavily edited, the publisher of the anthology making several structural and technical suggestions, most of which I accepted.

So if you have a moment, let me know what you think.

Beacons of Tomorrow

October 16, 2008

The Beacons of Tomorrow Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy Second Collection was issued recently, and my short story “Race to the Summit” was included.

I’m proud of my little story. It leans more toward the fantasy end of the spectrum — maybe a little bit of magical realism — rather than the science fiction end, and it’s a love story of a sort, which is not something I write a great deal of. It’s an older story that I had shopped around unsuccessfully for a while and had pretty much set aside. Then I saw a solicitation from Tyrannosaurs Press, which publishes the anthology, and I sent the story in, almost on a whim.

That was nearly two years ago. The editor accepted the work, and we corresponded as we got the draft in the shape he thought best presented the story I had to tell. While I didn’t always agree with his ideas, I understood why he suggested them and how he could see that they would make the story stronger.

This isn’t the first anthology I’ve been in, but it is the first fiction anthology for me, which is a bit of a big deal.

Maybe you’ll see me on a bookshelf somewhere. Enjoy!


Been around

January 9, 2008

I’m still doing cartwheels in my head over the recent publication of one of my short stories. I hope the giddyness lasts for a few more days at least.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been published though. In fact, it’s not even the first time I’ve had fiction published. A story I wrote more than fifteen years ago, called “The Mythmaker,” found a home in a literary journal then. And last year another short story of mine was accepted for publication in a science fiction anthology called Beacons of Tomorrow. (The edition with my story should be out early this year.) Quite a long time passed before my second piece of fiction got published — too long, really — but I wasn’t trying too hard during that time.

Instead I was writing a great deal of nonfiction. In the interim, I managed to get more than sixty freelance articles published in magazines and newspapers. A lot of it was strictly local stuff, but I enjoyed it because it allowed me to learn a great deal about things that interested me. Some of it went into national markets. I even got to meet a few writers I idolized. For example, I managed to get an interview with nature writer Sue Hubbell at her Ozark retreat, and I spun three articles out of it. Just this week I received a large package in the mail. It contained a bound anthology of articles that had appeared in a magazine. One of my articles was included in that anthology. That was completely unexpected but certainly nice to receive.

I sold more than half a dozen articles to a well-regarded nature magazine with a readership of more than a million people. That was great fun (and it paid pretty well, too), but then the editor changed and different writers came to the fore.

I stopped writing articles a couple of years ago, but I’m not sure why. I guess I felt that I had conquered that field sufficiently. I keep it in my back pocket believing that if I ever want to, I can go back to feature writing, but it just doesn’t hold the allure it once did.

Now I’m writing fiction exclusively. I’m working on the Finnegan novels, and that Sleep of Reason story will devour me if I don’t give it a lot of attention. Plus a few short stories have been bubbling up in my head. I have three of them out in the marketplace right now, and I think each has a reasonable chance of getting published. I suppose I have that many more that simply need to be polished and I can start circulating them as well. All it takes is time.