A few brief comments from L. Lambert Lawson and then to the editorial by Michael Haynes.
1: Thanks to Michael Haynes for guest editing our ‘Love Beyond Death’ issue. He read through 45 submissions and chose six stellar 713 Flash stories for your reading pleasure. We’ve got an amazing lineup of authors for you! Cat Rambo! Russ Colson! Jeff James! Robert Lowell Russell! Mary Ann Back! J.D. McLaughlin! Ada Hoffmann! (!!!)
2: We’ve got a new feature up called 4Q4U. In this interview feature, we pose four questions to a writer, and they answer them. In our inaugural feature, we have Cat Rambo. Make sure to check it out!
3: Want to support Kazka Press so that we can keep publishing excellent fiction? Consider purchasing Bronies or sponsoring a piece of fiction. All money goes back into publishing stories and books and paying our authors.
Enjoy the issue!
L. Lambert Lawson
Publisher, Kazka Press
Editorial by Michael Haynes
A few months back, LLL approached me about being the guest editor for this month’s Kazka Press 713 Flash Fiction contest. I’d pick the theme and select the stories; he would handle the back-end work of receiving the stories and sending out replies. “Think about it,” he’d said, “and let me know if you want to do this.”
I did, but just a little. I knew I was going to do it.
Since then, he’s thanked me repeatedly for working on this month’s issue. I certainly hope that the readers of Kazka Press are as enthusiastic with my selections as he has been with me taking on this work. And, because it’s what you do, I’ve always accepted his thanks. But here’s the thing… I need to thank him way more than he needs to be thanking me.
Because there’s a really good chance I wouldn’t have been in a position to be helping guest-edit this issue or to have helped work with Alex Shvartsman on Unidentified Funny Objects without having been in contact with Mr. Lawson over this past year. Similarly, I may very well not have had over 20 stories accepted for publication during 2012 if life had taken a different course.
How’s that, you ask?
Writing, as you very well may know, is a tough gig. If you’re trying to write fiction for paid publication, you’re likely to face a mountain of rejections at first. I certainly had. Not just in 2011, when I returned to writing after years away. But in 2007, 2004, and all the other times when I’d written a few stories, sent them out a few places, and then lost the thread and let my dream drift away for a while longer.
There have been some things that have been different this time. For one thing, I’m different, though as I approach the start of my fifth decade on Earth, maybe not quite as different from just a few years’ passage as I once would have been.
Just as, or more important, has been making connections with other writers and readers on Twitter, blogs, etc. And that’s where LLL comes in. About this time last year, when he was getting ready to do the very first 713 Flash Fiction contest, he reached out to me on Twitter asking if I’d pass along the link to the contest’s guidelines to other writers. I took a look at his site and asked a few questions about payments, rights, etc. He was very responsive to my questions, so I was happy to pass along the link. I also wrote and submitted a story (“State Secrets”) to the issue, which was chosen as one of the winners for the month.
Before that, I had zero acceptances in my return to writing. Having “State Secrets” accepted was a real boost to my writing self-confidence. Selling several more stories to Kazka Press over the ensuing months also helped me get through some a time where I amassed literally well over a hundred rejections.
There was something else, too. When I finished writing “State Secrets,” I tweeted about having just finished editing a story down to 713 words. That’s a kind of specific number, and another writer tweeted back that he bet he knew what I was writing for. That sparked up a conversation that’s been going on for about a year now between myself and the aforementioned Alex Shvartsman. He’s provided both a lot of good beta reader feedback on my stories and also a lot of encouragement when rejections have gotten me down.
This year, I’ve sold stories to more than a dozen markets including three SFWA-qualifying markets and some other pro-paying publications. And, of course, I’m still sending stories in to Kazka Press; one of my most recent acceptances is for a story in their upcoming California Cantata anthology. I still get a lot of rejections, but they don’t sting nearly as much as they used to.
Might I have ended up here without the confidence boost that I got from my early sales to Kazka and the friendship and guidance I got from Alex? Perhaps. But it’s just as easy to imagine a world where I didn’t. Where I drifted back into non-writing again for three or five or a dozen years.
I hope that some of the writers who have had stories selected this month feel a sense of encouragement from being published here and that anyone reading this who is feeling frustrated about their writing progress is able to reach out to folks on Twitter or the blogs or various writers’ forums and get the encouragement to help them get over the hump.
But, LLL, for all the times you’ve thanked me for helping guest-edit this month? All I can say back is this: