Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Hunger and The Thirst

August was a bit strange, winding up with vein surgery on the 30th. It was the first time I'd had a general anesthetic since I was eight, and I found that quite a fascinating experience, specifically because having your consciousness simply switched off is like nothing else you might experience. You experience - nothing.

I was more aware of regaining my consciousness, which was very much like coming out of sleep. But in my unconscious state, unlike my childhood experience, I had no dreams, no sense of floating, no aural perceptions, nothing that I could later on identify as "being unconscious".

In my childhood experience, I had a long-running semi-nightmare induced by ether. Today's drugs are much more sophisticated and quicker to act. You have no chance to try to remain awake. They simply take that from you.

While all this was going on, my email account received an email from Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine with an acceptance contract. However, the contract was for a story EQMM had rejected two years before.

Today, that was finally sorted out, so I can happily say that I've signed a contract for the publication of my story Cakes and Ale, making it the first story I will have published at professional rates, in a major-name genre publication.

Cakes and Ale was written in 2009. Inspired to a degree by W. Somerset Maugham's Mr. Know-All and titled after his novel Cakes and Ale, it was rejected by about 7 magazines before I shelved it in 2011. Then in July of this year, I had the idea to change the ending. Originally it was a purely literary story with a rather limp finish. Changing the last 300 words, it became a crime story, and about 60 days later was purchased.

This doesn't work for every story, of course, but as the years have gone on, I see better now how character possibilities can take a story into different places.

I don't know yet when Cakes and Ale will appear in EQMM, but will keep you posted.

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