57-day personal rejection from Lackington’s for “Malebolge:”
“Tucked In the Folds of Our Eyes” is my attempt at combining the diaspora narrative and Vietnam’s creation myth at under 500 words. It’s a story that went through a very interesting editing process. The first flash story I’ve attempted and finished, it’s now published in Volume 2 of Remixt Magazine: an experimental project in which multiple guest editors curate the same submission pool.
From Remixt’s site: “This is an experiment to show how different editors have different tastes and ideas. Some choices will likely overlap, but some won’t, and the reasoning behind the choices may vary. People often ask how editors think. This is an exploration of the the rich array of ways to answer that!”
Three editors were interested in publishing my story. According to Julia Rios, the overall manager of Remixt, that’s a record number of editors accepting a story to feature in their issues. In the past, up to two editors were interested in an accepted piece. Most of the time it’s just one editor. Overlap turned out to be rare, according to Volume 1 results. With each editor overseeing their own issue, that meant my story would appear in three issues. No, it’s not the exact same story copied and pasted across. Each issue contains a different form of the story! More on that below.
“Tucked In the Folds of Our Eyes,” the first flash story I’ve attempted and finished, got a surprise acceptance at Remixt Magazine: an experimental project in which multiple guest editors curate the same submission pool to gauge their tastes and test for possibilities of publication overlap. 3 editors were interested in publishing my story. According to Julia Rios, the overall manager of Remixt, that’s a record number of editors liking a story. In the past, up to 2 editors were interested in a piece. Most of the time it’s just 1 editor. Overlap was rare. Contributors get paid a fixed amount for each editor who likes a story. Honestly (with a twinge of shame), considering that I rushed to finish the story in time for the deadline, I didn’t expect to make it in, let alone have multiple editors pick it.
“Tucked In the Folds of Our Eyes” combines the diaspora narrative, Vietnam’s creation myth (dragon+fairy=Vietnamese people), and jabs at the perpetuation of Eurocentric standards of beauty. It’s a very personal piece close to my heart, almost biographical if I removed the fantasy elements. Despite minor edits needed to tweak it, I suppose this is what helped: write from the bottom of your heart; tell a story honestly and sincerely. I’m delighted to have my first flash piece included in Remixt.
Werewolves are out of the bag! As the title implies, this issue tackles the resistance/anti-fascist theme. Stories, poems, comics, and art abound, as 31 contributors have made their mark in this special issue. My story “Red Beret” is featured here. WVF is available for $1 minimum, online only, and all profits go towards the Southern Poverty Law Center. According the editor, sales are doing really well!
First time ever submitting to WOTF, and after a 137-day turnaround, I got notice that I earned Silver Honorable Mention for Q1. I had submitted “Diver,” the sci-fi story with a queer Japanese-American FBI agent and mind infiltration. This actually works out really well…it’s been a whopping 137-day turnaround, and have since made significant revisions and rearranged important scenes thanks to beta reader input. Looking back, what I’ve sent to WOTF is not something I’d want set in stone and published for everyone to see. Still, for what’s now an imperfect draft to get honorable mention, that’s pretty cool. Honestly it’s in that weird situation where I’m not sure whether to file this as an acceptance or rejection. Alas, no publication or money with the award, but I do get a nifty certificate that I plan on framing, so it’ll look nice on my wall.
“The Time For Giving” will be featured in Thurston Howl Publications’s Arcana – Tarot anthology. This story faced a previous rejection a few months ago, but I was determined to find it a home. Arcana is based on the tarot deck, 1 story for each theme/card, making for a total of 22 stories. I chose to write about Judgment. The story’s about a Russian wolf, injured and stranded, who’s taken in and cared for a by a family of Mongolian horses despite her past sins as a treacherous NKVD agent.
“Red Beret” has been accepted for the “Werewolves Versus Fascism” special issue. It’s about a half-Kazakh half-Russian Spetsnaz werewolf who gets captured and roughed up by neo-Nazis, but withstands his time in prison and puts up with the fascist nonsense. This was a fun little story mostly born out of guilty pleasure. You’d be hard pressed to find professional venues who are interested in werewolf stories, so I’m glad the Werewolves Versus series is a safe output for the part of me that loves reading and writing them.