Category Archives: Writing

"The Cloud Factory" gets nominated for a Spinetingler Award

I didn’t even know I was in the running, but “The Cloud Factory,” has been nominated for a Spinetingler Award for Best Story on the Web. To say I’m bowled over by this would maybe start to begin to describe the feeling.

“The Cloud Factory” first appeared in PANK in September 2011 – you can read it here.

The award is decided democratically. So, here are the stories to read. Then go cast your vote for the best one. If that happens to be “The Cloud Factory,” I wouldn’t be displeased.

These guys know who you should vote for.

So does she.

Don't make Sparkle Girl angry. Do like she says. (Click for sparkles.)

I’m honored to be mentioned among the likes of the incomparable Stephen Graham Jones, Hilary Davidson, Matthew C. Funk, Peter Farris, Nigel Bird, William Dylan Powell, David James Keaton (hey buddy!), Atul Sabharwal, and William Dylan Powell.

Vote here. Thank you much.

“The Cloud Factory” gets nominated for a Spinetingler Award

I didn’t even know I was in the running, but “The Cloud Factory,” has been nominated for a Spinetingler Award for Best Story on the Web. To say I’m bowled over by this would maybe start to begin to describe the feeling.

“The Cloud Factory” first appeared in PANK in September 2011 – you can read it here.

The award is decided democratically. So, here are the stories to read. Then go cast your vote for the best one. If that happens to be “The Cloud Factory,” I wouldn’t be displeased.

These guys know who you should vote for.

So does she.

Don't make Sparkle Girl angry. Do like she says. (Click for sparkles.)

I’m honored to be mentioned among the likes of the incomparable Stephen Graham Jones, Hilary Davidson, Matthew C. Funk, Peter Farris, Nigel Bird, William Dylan Powell, David James Keaton (hey buddy!), Atul Sabharwal, and William Dylan Powell.

Vote here. Thank you much.

300 REJECTIONS

BOOM! 300 REJECTIONS. Didn’t even take two years.

But enough about that. There’s good news in town.

I’m still gathering my thoughts on how best to express how I feel about the end, in some respects, of a long, hard ride. (And the start of another, no doubt.) But the news is no secret. Have yourself a look at the new page up above (the one in ALL CAPS). And of course you already know the news if you  follow me on Twitter (@courtmerrigan), or we’re buddies on Facebook. Why aren’t you following me on Twitter? Why aren’t we buddies on Facebook?

I’m going to post on my upcoming short story collection in intelligible fashion in the very near future. Along with other good news, too.

I’d just like to note here that these 300 logged rejections don’t include the rejections that flowed from my first bout of short story-itis back around 2003-2006-ish. I wasn’t keeping track of things back then. I’d guesstimate the true number is around 500. Give or take.

But whatever. 300 rejections ain’t nothing, man, if it gets you where you want to go. Neither is 500. For the last week I’ve truly, finally felt that I’m on the way.

Head on over to the Failure page to see the damage, though.

March Maudlin – Rejection tally nearing 300

297 rejections. Count ’em. Redstone Science Fiction says, “This was a well-done post-apocalyptic piece, and while it isn’t quite what we’d like, we definitely hope that you’ll submit other work in the future.  We like what you did here.”

Oh, I’ll submit again, believe you me. Meanwhile I’m stuck in the literary friend zone.

The others in the newly updated Rejection list had nothing to say their auto-reject form couldn’t say better.

Two Brothers at All Due Respect

This was a rare one. The first draft came out in all in one sitting. And then when I sent it out into the world, it was accepted before it even had a chance to get rejected.

I got the idea when I was in Thailand last May, cruising around my wife’s village on a motorbike, and I pulled over to watch some fellows training their cocks for fights later. Rough stuff. You can’t write an easygoing story that includes cocks attempting to kill one another with beak and claw.

Have a look here, if you would.

My first lines from my first stab at a novel

In 2002 I was 26 and living in Tokyo and wanted to write HARD.  What I thought that meant was, chain-smoking and drinking bourbon at a 4 AM keyboard.  Which made for the most pure writing fun I’ve ever had, and a manuscript complete in a little under six weeks.

The writing life ain’t so hard, I thought.

These florid lines, released with a grimace on my part, belie that thought.  They were meant to form the opening pages of a novel, and now finally see daylight as an exemplar of what not to do.  (Though I’m still fond of some of them, in a grandfatherly sort of way.)

I still write at 4 AM, only sober and just awakened.  Not near as much fun, but there are no hangovers, and a lot less grimacing later.

See the full floridity at Necessary Fiction. (Thanks to Steve Himmer for the opportunity to air the purple prose of pages past.)

The unrejected – The Oath at Flywheel

Remember “The Oath,” that story that got unrejected from Flywheel? Well, it finally went up. To recap:

So I have this story, called “The Oath.”  As deeply personal as anything I’ve ever done. For me, this story IS a certain time and place; its every sentence calls up a certain swirling atmosphere, when I was a newlywed, living by the beach, a wonderful little idyll before life commenced to do what life does, which is to make blueberry hash out of your fondest ambitions.

For a long time, about six years, I thought I would just keep this story for myself.  I didn’t think I wanted it out there in the world.  Then this spring I sent it out to a few places.  Didn’t get much response,except from Flywheel.  David James Keaton sent me a rollicking rejection letter, including how he was arguing with a co-editor on the phone about the story.  I was profoundly flattered.  People arguing?  About MY story?  Hell, that was the next best thing to getting accepted.  Which David didn’t do.  He asked for a rewrite.  The third best thing to a rejection, I guess.

But I couldn’t do it.  No matter how many times I went back to the story, it sat there like a dinosaur fossil determined to decompose into oil.

On a couple comment threads on Facebook and elsewhere, David reminded me to revise The Oath, send it back in.  I was flattered, again, that he remembered.  But I still couldn’t do it.

Then earlier this week I got this note from him:

I have an idea unprecedented in the history of small-press submissions. I am UNREJECTING your story The Oath. i feel         it needs work, but i’m an editor, damn it. and i will do this work with my own two hands. Please send it back stat for    publication in our December issue.

Well, it’s out there, right here. Would you mind heading on over, seeing what the fuss is all about? Thanks much –