Faith plays a big part in this journey. Realizing that no matter what I do, no matter how hard I work or write or do the "right things", ultimately, this whole thing is out of my hands, in the hands of Someone Much Bigger Than Me (But that's another blog post for another time).
Case in point: the mantra that horror writers must only sell their short stories for the highest pay, or that submitting to a non-paying market is a waste of time, waste of effort, waste of that story, and even WORSE: a black mark on your record. Because doing so will doom you forever to writing in the ghettos. AND, if you ever do have a story accepted into one of these publications early on, you must forever shun them like skeletons in the closet, or forever face the ridicule of your peers.
THIS IS ONE OF THOSE FALSE ASSUMPTIONS.
I realized this in my talks with the senior acquisitions editor from HarperTeen. She didn't care one WHIT where my short stories had been published, by whom, or for how much. All she cared about was the immediate work, how good IT was, and if it was right for her publishing house.
Now, don't misunderstand. I think all writers should be careful and meticulous and make sure that NOTHING but the best work leaves their hands. This involves OBSESSIVE re-reading and re-writing, having good beta readers who aren't afraid to call "crap" what it is, and a dedication to always improving one's prose.
And, on a personal note, all writers should have goals higher than were they are to strive towards. I've yet to make a professional sale. Someday, I want to crack Apex, Cemetery Dance, and Black Static. When I'm done with this current project, I'm going on a slew of short stories, to practice the craft.
But I'm kinda done with this whole: "If you didn't sell it, it must crap; if the magazine didn't pay for it, it must crap, and the magazine must be crap." Because it DOESN'T pan out. Everything is case-by-case these days. Yeah, there are some short stories I'm a little embarrassed of, that were published in rags (literally) that I don't want to see the light of day.
But "The Sliding" and Morpheus Tales aren't in that category. "The Sliding" is a neat, creepy little story - that's also pretty personal - and Morpheus Tales is a pretty cool little UK magazine that's featured the work of Michael Laimo, Joe D'Lacey, Aaron Poulson and others, which is pretty cool company. So I'm happy to announce the inclusion of my humble little story, "The Sliding" in Morpheus Tales' first Best of Collection, Morpheus Tales: The Best Weird Fiction, Volume 1. To buy, follow the link.
For the first time collected together in one volume, the best weird fiction from Morpheus Tales, the UK's most controversial weird fiction magazine! Only the very best weird fiction has been hand-picked from the Morpheus Tales archives to create this first collected volume of the magazine Christopher Fowler calls "edgy and dark". Featuring fiction by Lyn Cannaday, Robert T. Canipe, Steven Lee Climer, Nickolas Cook, Garon Cockrell, Nick Day, Vic Fortezza, Ken Goldman, Gary Hewitt, Todd Austin Hunt, Michael Laimo, Kevin Lucia, Adrian Ludens, Christian McPhate, Mari Mitchell, Theresa C. Newbill, Aaron A. Polson, Jonathan J. Schlosser, Tommy B. Smith, Alan Spencer, Wayne Summers, Randy Young, Mark Zirbel, Lee Clark Zumpe. Established horror best-sellers rub shoulders with rising stars and newcomers in this diverse collection of short weird fiction.