New story published: “The Insomniac Traveler’s Guide to the Lost Pyramids of Quartzsite, Arizona” at Big Muddy

I have a new story up today, which makes two new publications in about five weeks (I also got another acceptance today, but I’m not going to crow about that until it’s actually in print). I’m a big believer in closing the year out strong, I guess.

Like the last one, this piece is also part of the collection I am trying to place, so if you’re an agent or an editor, or you know people like that who might be interested, hit me up.

Here’s the link. I hope you dig it.

Speaking of awards I haven’t won yet …

Earlier this week I found out my story “Fantastic Atlas” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Ascent, the journal where it appeared back in March of this year.

Of course, it is just a nomination. I haven’t actually won anything yet. And as John Fox points out in a pretty divisive blog post, a lot of people get these nominations every year. That’s because every small literary magazine is eligible to submit up to six pieces they published during the previous calendar year. There is, therefore, a school of thought that says the nomination itself is pretty meaningless unless it’s followed by a win, or at least a Special Mention, and that boasting about it is unseemly.

My take: Nah.

Nobody says we shouldn’t brag about getting our stories published. In fact, that’s just good self-promotion, and it’s pretty much required these days (hell, self-promotion is the reason I wrote this post in the first place). So why wouldn’t I be proud of it when an editor tells me that he thinks my story was one of the best things his journal published this year?

And I’m not the only one who feels this way, either.

So yes, I’m gonna brag about it, and I hope I win. I got a Pushcart nomination! Hooray! Go me! But even if I don’t win, it really is an honor just to be nominated.

I’ll definitely mention it when I start sending the short story collection out to agents and editors, though. Way up high in the query letter. They are gonna hear about it, boy howdy.

One of the (hundred) best

Validation is mine: How I’m Spending My Afterlife was just selected as one of Shelf Unbound Magazine’s 100 Notable Indie Books of 2018!

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There it is. Gaze upon it. One of the hundred best independently-published books of the year. You know you want a copy.

It’s a small bit of recognition, true, but it’s also very gratifying, and nearly makes up for the whole Pulitzer snub. Thanks for enjoying the book, Shelf Unbound, and for telling your readers that you did.

Tomorrow’s the day

So. Tomorrow’s it, then. Publication day for my first novel, How I’m Spending My Afterlife. The realization of a dream I’ve kept alive at some level for nearly my entire adult life. It’s been three and a half years since I typed out the first page of the first draft, and to finally get here after all that time is exciting and terrifying all at once.

And in that time, here are three things I’ve learned:

  • I have a lot of very supportive people in my life, and am lucky for that.
  • The real hard work of this is just beginning.
  • I’m good enough to do this again, and I will.

Check out the book here. I hope you dig it.

Either way, wish me luck.