I am very pleased to have had my first submission acceptance from an American magazine.
My story, ‘A Spell for Letting Go’, will be published in the next issue of the wonderful ‘Phantom Drift – a journal of New Fabulism.’
I am particularly thrilled about this for two reasons.
Firstly, the acceptance itself! I’ve made several submissions to U.S. journals – there are a lot of them, which provides an increased opportunity for the publication of short stories, together with a wider readership, if you should be successful. But they are a tough nut to crack!
I’ve ‘come close’, one might say, on a couple of occasions.
I was highly commended in one of the New Millennium Writing Awards, which meant, apparently, that I was in the top fifteen per cent of entries. Which is nice, but it didn’t lead to publication, or a mention in the magazine.
And I made it through to the last ‘round’ for two other journals, both for the same story. These magazines often use a reading method more akin to some competitions – an initial sifting, followed by what might be called a long list or shortlist, when the editor will contact you, and tell you are being actively considered for publication. At this point, you might get your hopes up, only to have a final email, telling you that you didn’t make it, which, of course, is quite disappointing. However, looking on the bright side, you have to think you did quite well to get this far, because it is very competitive.
With Phantom Drift, it was quite an interesting experience, in that I submitted the same story last year, and they didn’t accept it for that issue, but said to submit it again, next time round, because they’d really enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure if they meant this, (or were simply trying to let me down gently!), but I took them at their word, resubmitted, and yes, this time, they are taking the story. So it could be, when an editor tells you your story wasn’t right for a particular issue, they are speaking the truth!
The other reason I’m particularly happy is because ‘A Spell for Letting Go’ is one of my favourites (okay, I know I’ve got quite a few of those, but that’s how it should be, really), and is part of my collection of what I loosely call ‘Welsh Folklore stories’, ‘The Keepers of Hand-me-down Tales’. I love this collection, which is quite different from ‘Trouble Crossing the Bridge’. It’s set in the Black Mountains, where we used to live, which I love, and references much of the folklore of the region. I wrote most of the stories a while back, and one of them, ‘Intervals in Making Lace’ won the 2013 Allen Raine Award. Another, ‘The Black Hen’ won second prize in the 2017 Irish Imbas: Celtic Mythology Short Story Competition, and was published in the accompanying anthology.
I’ve always hoped that the collection would be published one day, and I am currently in discussion with the lovely Arachne Press about possible future publication.
Would be so good if that could happen!
But, for now, I’m happy that ‘A Spell for Letting Go’ has been recognised as a good story by a well-established, well-thought of literary magazine, and look forward to see it in print.
Thank you, Phantom Drift!