Five years ago tomorrow, 9/18/2009, I submitted my very first piece of short fiction to my very first market: Black Static by TTA Press, a British horror magazine that dominated the field with its exquisite fiction and high-quality publication (they still do). Back then it was snail mail submissions, and I went through quite a bit of trouble figuring out how to get an IRC (international reply coupon) so they could send me a response from overseas. The fact that I had the gumption to send my first story to the top market pretty much sums up my career; aim small, miss small. Top down. Shoot, as they say, for the stars. Needless to say, my story got a form rejection.
[Some of you might be confused, because I’ve said before that I started writing in 2007. I spent that whole year on my first novel. I took 2008 pretty much off to deal with my dad’s estate. So I didn’t try my hand at short-form fiction until 2009, when I joined my critique group.]
Why am I telling you this? Because today I have a story accepted to Black Static.
I’ve pinched myself several times, but it’s still true. In fact, editor Andy Cox even added me to The List! It’s officially official; my flash fiction story “Hide” will be published in issue 43 of Black Static this November. I’m going to try really hard not to explode before then.
It’s hard to explain how this feels. I’m ecstatic. I’m honored. I’m deeply, incredibly grateful. And yes, I’m pretty freakin’ proud, too. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had other stories accepted to some truly fantastic markets, and I don’t mean to downplay them – but there’s something undeniably nostalgic and fulfilling in coming full-circle right at the five-year anniversary of my short fiction beginnings. And the news has come at a time when I desperately needed a win. I really, truly needed affirmation that hard work and perseverance pay off. Obviously, they do.
Black Static, y’all. Black Static.