My story ‘Good Boy’ has been published by Pseudopod. Here is a link, it is about 19 minutes in.
I wrote many things over many years. I have boxes of notes and drafts. Occasionally I’d submit stories and collect rejection slips. Life, laziness, children, career, fear, all got in the way of taking things further.
Early last year, I decided to make a proper go of things. My daughter is ill. For a few months I was her full time carer, and then I returned to work part time. I did not have the concentration to work on a novel, and I had a need to finish something, so I decided to concentrate on short stories for a while. And of course, nobody was interested, but at that time, rejection did not hurt very much, so I kept doing it. It occupied my mind, gave me pleasure, helped to fill my days with something other than my daughter’s illness, or my worries about my career, or any of a hundred other things.
Then somebody liked something. Regime Books, a small literary venture in Western Australia, accepted my story ‘Good Boy’ for the third volume of their journal. I was surprised at a genre piece being accepted, but of course I was very happy. It was all the impetus I needed to keep going.
I have no idea if anyone ever read that story, there were of course no reviews, no comments, no feedback, but that was not unexpected, I am not stupid and I don’t think that I am greedy. I have placed a few other stories since then, and many, many rejection e mails, all par for the course.
The title may not fit. It is a story about grief and responses to loss, and to my mind the horror of the story is not the ‘thing’ that happens during the course of the story, but the main character’s ultimate response. Its genesis was a humorous story called ‘Bad Boy’. Once upon a time, everything I tried had to be comedy. However, it would not work for me. I decided to write bookends, both stories with a supernatural element, one funny, the other not. ‘Good Boy’ and ‘Bad Boy’ I don’t think the humorous version will ever be written now. Too much has happened to me to approach that any more.
The story is not true, of course, but the emotions spring from issues in my life, especially over the last seven years. I submitted it again to Pseudopod. The editor, Shawn Garrett, commented to me that “I very much liked the emotional honesty and weight of the piece,” and I really appreciate those remarks. They have included it in their most recent podcast, and I am glad that there is an opportunity for it to have a wider audience. If you would like to listen to it being read, please just click here.