War of the Worlds: Frontlines has arrived!

A few days ago I received my contributor’s copy of War of the Worlds: Frontlines. Came at the best time, too, because I had a terrible day at work and wanted nothing more than to go home, shut the front door, and collapse in front of the TV set for a few minutes. Healthy and constructive, no. Quick and easy, yes.

But there it was, a small book-sized package waiting for me on the front porch. And I knew instantly what it was, dropped my satchel and tote and purse and simply ran from car to house to rip it open (carefully, oh so carefully, mustn’t damage the long-awaited prize) with mildly trembling hands.

Beautiful. Glossy cover, elegant font, and my name in the table of contents. MY name, you understand? Turning the pages, there was my story, “Tequila Sunset,” on page 150. Sounds silly to say, but I was goggling over having something I created in an actual, real, professional-looking book that other people will read. Maybe they’ll like it, maybe they won’t, but if even one person gets it, that’s enough for me!

As a kid, I was a voracious reader. Couldn’t seem to get enough of sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and yes, even the occasional romance. I read the classics and I read complete and utter trash. Hell, I even read the backs of shampoo bottles (not that I’ve stopped, mind you)! There weren’t enough words in the world to fill me up. And now I get to feed others, which is a huge honor that I don’t take lightly.

I was listening/watching some clips on YouTube yesterday about writing and the whole business of it, and one author encouraged writers to think about why they want to write…to teach, to move, to stimulate thinking, to shock, to elevate? I thought about it and responded, “yes.” Maybe that’s not wise in this culture of marketing yourself and finding a niche, but then again, I really believe that successful writing involves using yourself as the tool. And I mean to achieve all of those things in the reader, maybe not all at once, maybe not every single time, but on the whole, that IS who I am. I trained to be a psychologist, so why wouldn’t all of those fit?

When I read my first published story, I see so clearly that writing from a place that’s solidly Who I Am and not catering to what’s Out There is working for me. I could chase after the latest pretty-vampire fad, but that’s not me. All I can say, gentle readers, is that many things become easier when you embrace yourself and your gifts (although many other things get more difficult, but that’s for another day). If you want a window into a little piece of my soul, think about picking up a copy of WotW: Frontlines and turning to the 14th story. And thanks for listening (watching) me ramble!

About Michele Garber

I'm a dark fiction writer working on her first novel and hoping to find others on the same journey for networking, support, and reassurance. I'd also like to find folks who are interested in my work and keep them updated as my short fiction is published.
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  1. Congratulations on your first publication Michele!
    It’s a pleasure to share the Table of Contents with you. I read Tequila Sunset a couple days ago and I enjoyed it. I liked the character, liked the ambiguity, and the story didn’t overstay it’s welcome–I would’ve liked more, but that’s not a bad thing.

    Schnarr can put together a really ripping antho. Shadows of the Emerald City, also put together by him, was my first publication, so I’ve got a soft spot for them.

    I’ll be interested in hearing what you think of my story when you get to it (What Makes You Tick). I think it may be the shortest story in the anthology. What you said about embracing your gifts is very true. With many of my stories, I’m thinking about how well different story elements may sell. When I wrote this story, I was quite frustrated with lack of sales and this idea popped into my head. I decided that the idea would never sell, but I was so sick of the form rejections that I just said “Screw it, I’m writing this for me, and I don’t give a crap if it never gets published.” I typed it out in record time and it got accepted here on its second market submission. So that shows what I know. :)
    ,David Steffen

    • Thanks for your kind words, David! And I can honestly say, “right back atcha” after reading What Makes You Tick. Loved how much power the story had in so few words…I admire that, because my grad school mentor Kathy was always after me to pare things down and make my writing more efficient and streamlined (how sorry I felt for her). Loved seeing the situation from the alien’s clinical, detached perspective, and how foolishly arrogant it is to think you’ve got dangerous things that you don’t quite understand under control. Good stuff!

      I also have a soft spot for NFP–second acceptance but first published work for me, great lineup in the anthology, and JW treats everything so professionally! I haven’t read all of the antho yet, I suppose because I’m still savoring each story…trying to take delicate little bites instead of letting myself gobble it all down in one sitting. It’s difficult, but I need to practice discipline anyway.

      Form rejections stink. Period. I know there’s little time to give feedback because everyone’s so busy, but I loathe the “this story just didn’t work for me,” response with no specific reason. This acceptance was particularly funny because it was a rewrite for another anthology that was very nicely declined, so I sent it to NFP and voilà! Others that I was sure would place first have been near misses or rejected altogether, which puzzles me. My only solution is to try to control what others think less (practically impossible), and please myself more (relatively achievable). And so much of the time, following your instincts is an excellent path through the dark, murky, tangled wilderness we call Publishing.

      Thanks again for stopping by–so glad to meet others on the path!

  2. Odd coincidence, NFP was also my 2nd sale first publication. I got my first acceptance letter from Pseudopod (so I also have a soft spot for them) and then got the NFP acceptance one week later. NFP beat Pseudopod to publication in the end. :)

    Thanks for your kind words on my story. I’m glad to know that I can write strong stories in few words, because I haven’t produced any stories above flash length all year (and it’s driving me nuts).

    On the subject of rejections, I wrote an article on the subject of “How to Write a Rejection Slip” giving advice for those writing the slips. You might enjoy. :) http://www.diabolicalplots.com/?p=1410

    Anyway, good to talk to you!

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