I suggested lots of fiction during July. Most of it has been published this year, but every so often I dipped back a year or few. Here are the 21 stories I thought you might enjoy because I did.
The Coffe Cup Song by Cat Rambo published at Kittywumpus.
The Sunday Morning Transport published The Daily Commute by Sarah Gailey in July.
I took a break from posting short fiction for all of May and a portion of June. However, a discussion about readership spiking with random tweets of stories motivated me to start up again. I am tweeting and posting on Facebook a suggested short fiction for readers each weekday. My round-ups on the blog will be monthly for a bit. (And I promise newsletters will return this month!)
Follow me on Twitter or Facebook for the daily story post, sign up for my newsletter for highlights, or join me here the first Monday of next month for all the stories I suggest in July. Happy reading!
Original Plans Change
My original stated goal for my short stories was 42 submissions in 2022. However, by the end of January, I realized that wasn't pushing me at all. In fact, I was already ahead of the submission curve and it wasn't any pressure to produce new submittable stories.
I also had been incredibly impressed with some writers who were at 150 submissions for 2021 - and found out they'd been doing this for five years. And so I adjusted my goal. I now have a goal that at year five (2025) I will aim for 150 submissions. But one does not just hit 150 submissions. No, I must work up to it.
Ever the numbers nerd, it was pretty easy to see that a nice linear ramp would have been 30 submissions my first year (2021) - which I exceeded by 10, 60 my second year (2022), 90 my third (2023), 120 my fourth (2024), which gets me to 150 in my fifth year of submitting.
I made that adjustment and went to being ahead of submission goals by one to being behind by one.
Where am I now?
I talked with several people who submit 100 or more stories in a year. It often comes down to doing a ton of simultaneous submissions or having a ton of stories to send out.
I find simultaneous submissions high anxiety producing. I tried it early on. It made me too anxious. So, simultaneous is out until I get to the point that I do not care (or will miss my goal if I do not).
I decided to get my stories that are near ready, polished and ready to send. Unfortunately, I just didn't get things edited as fast as I wanted. It was the typical issue that sometimes editing is slow despite putting the hours in. And then, in March and April, I lost a large chunk of writing and editing time to a completely different project.
And so, dear reader, where does that leave me? As of today, I have 15-16 submissions for the year. (It depends on how I count them.) Which is 4 less than where I should be for my new-and-improved 60-subs in 2022 goal but higher than my initial goal would require. With less stories to submt now than I started with.
At the turn of the year, I had sevel stories in submission rotation. One story is retired. Another story is under contract! Yay! (Details will be forthcoming so watch my social media and newsletter!)
That left me five stories in my submission rotation. Five of which currently look like this:
If you look closely, you'll notice two of those five are 2021 submissions. I'd love for them to be accepted and fall out of rotation, my 2022 submission goals be damned (since the submission goals are all about finding homes for my stories.)
Ah, but I have added a story in 2022 and my current stories under submission should be six. Which reminds me that I have a story that I've forgotten to send out because the markets I wanted to send it to were not open when it was ready to send on. So I will be one closer to my submission goals shortly.
I have more than two (and the exact number more I'm uncertain about) stories that really only need the last read-through before I send. I just need to do those last read-throughs, ie find the editing time. And then they can start down the submissions path.
And I need to find my writing time again. I have found some - I spent it writing scenes for a novella that was done. Why? Because this set of characters doesn't leave me alone. But if I get this one out on submissions, they will have to. Won't they? I guess we'll see. But this one shouldn't even need a last read-through at this point. It should be going out.
And I will get the others edited and started submitting. I have a list. I will persevere!
What am I waiting for?
It appears I was waiting for the kick of seeing my numbers in the middle of my intial and updated goal plus a story under contract to give me the motivation and confidence to squeeze writing and editing time out of my day and get submitting new stuff again.
Original Plans Continue to Change
I made a big push in January querying my novel. But the trenches are rough right now. So very rough. A form rejection on a full request sealed it. I am done. After (now) a year of querying, I'm letting my novel rest. I still have queries out, mind you. But everyone is so far behind in response times. Despite some Twitter threads asserting request rates are the same as ever, the general consensus among my querying and agented-in-the-past-two-years friends is that it is lower now than ever. I'll see if any of my unresolved queries come to anything. But unlike shorts where rejections don't bother me, every query rejection is a knife in my heart. I need a break from it.
Who knows? Maybe at the end of the next update, I'll have gone back to querying.
Apparently I only suggested three stories last week. Which is a huge oops because I have a ton to suggest. Here they are and keep your eyes on this space and my social media for more!
I hope you enjoy these four stories this week!
I've got seven more stories for you. I apologize for the delayed blog post.
The First Promise We Break by Risa Wolf was published by Apex Magazine in March. Risa is an amazing writer and I adored this story of breaking a promise.
I started posting daily stories for people to read in April again. Here are the three stories posted last week.
The Music Station by Amanda Saville was published by Apex Books and Magazines Patreon in March. I was in a workshop wtih Amanda and I'm still thinking about the story I read by her. This piece of flash is absolutely beautiful.
Randomly, I decided to make a little comment about each of the stories this time. I will try to do that henceforth-just a line on why I picked it. Some weeks it may get skipped, some stories it may get skipped. But I hope it adds to your enjoyment.
On this, the one-year anniversary of my first story publication in this millenium, I'm sharing the backstory about Submerged published at Wyldblood Press Free Flash Friday on March 19, 2021.
I used to say I took a long break from writing. But that isn't true. I wrote fiction that I shared randomly with people through about 2005. Then I went to grad school for a doctorate in physical chemistry while caring for two young children. I journaled during that time, including fiction. I wrote about science for scientists. I wrote about science for general audiences. I blogged.
All the while, I told myself stories. I wrote fanfiction in my head. Original characters lived rent-free for short and long-term lease periods.
In 2019, I could no longer contain a particular story and wrote several hundred thousand words that spans short stories, novelettes, novellas, and novels. These are all in various stages of completion and submission. I hope at some point I have big announcements about all of them. But this is not the story of those.
In 2020, while looking for support and writing education, I found the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers via a friend. I joined the discord and participated in co-working sessions. I attended many of their workshops. In one workshop, I wrote a 70-word story that I liked. A lot. Since, I've found it doesn't work as well for me and I've pulled it from submission.
But, more importantly, I started attending writing prompts. During those writing prompt sessions with fellow writers I'd met in the discord, in the workshops, and during co-working, I wrote many pieces of flash. Some of them grew into larger pieces, some of them stayed small.
On a Wednesday in December 2020, Cat showed us a photo of many hands reaching up out of water, clasped together. I shuddered and gave such a creeped out response that Cat commented on it. I've since tried to find the image several times and cannot. I would love to share it for more people's story seeds. We wrote for ten minutes, and at the end, I read mine aloud to the others in the Zoom group.
Then it got set aside.
During one of my short story binge-reads, I read all of the Free Flash Friday stories available from Wyldblood at the time. They had an open submission period in January 2021, and I thought Submerged would fit their taste. I polished it to meet their guidelines and sent it off on January 10, 2021 and had an acceptance email on February 1, 2021. It was an exciting email to wake up to on a Monday morning!
I missed the publication date. I have little advice for publishing. But the one I have is for publishers to send their authors a notice when their story goes up or out. I want to promote my stories and the publications that they find their home in.
For however long it is available on the Wyldblood website, I will send everyone there to read it. Should it ever come down, I will publish it here on my website. However, with no other expected publication of it, I have done a reading of it on my Youtube. This is my first publicly available story reading and my first original video on my Youtube. Enjoy!
I only have four stories for you this week. I'm on somewhat of a social media hiatus right now and have not kept up with story posting.
Wyldblood Press published Bite Back by Marissa James this month.
Yet again, I'm behind on my blog summary of short stories. Here you go from the past two weeks!
Apex Magazine published Gray Skies, Red Wings, Blue Lips, Black Hearts by Marc Fenn Wolfmoor in 2021.
If There's Anyone Left published
Nine Lives by P.A. Cornell in January
The Best Latkes on the Moon by Lauren Ring in 2020
Babang Luksa by Nicasio Andres Reed was published by Reckoning in February.
Not a Basking Shark by Hesper Leveret was published by Fireside Fiction in February.
Apex published The Patchwork Girl by M. Elizabeth Tricknor in February.
Cure for Tears by by Avra Margariti was published at Pidgeon Holes in February.
Writer of spec fic.