Wasn't it just last week I was saying I had a new car, so I was expecting another turning point in my life? Well, since then, I've had some great news that definitely points to an upward career curve! I received an email from David G. Hartwell, saying he wanted to publish "A Guided Tour in the Kingdom of the Dead" in Tor's ninth anthology of YEARS BEST FANTASY. Yay!
"A Guided Tour ..." is a story with a long, long history. I always thought it had legs, but in the first version, it was more of a travelogue and didn't appeal to magazine editors at the time. I put it aside and thought about revisions, but didn't get around to doing anything for many years. Then, when Jack (Dann) put out the word for stories for the second 'Dreaming' anthology, I went back and gave the story a whole new centre and a stronger narrative. I had that excellent feeling, yes, I've finally unearthed the story it was always meant to be! Jack was pleased with it too, so it came out in DREAMING AGAIN towards the end of last year - and now it's had extra recognition from America.
It's the lucky break I needed, because although I've had nearly half my stories published in the US, I'd never cracked any of the top level magazines. The way things work is that success builds on success - as I say in my writing tips, and every published author already knows. It makes all the difference when a magazine editor reads a story expecting to like it rather than expecting to reject it. Now my cover letter can kick off mentioning a story published in YEARS BEST FANTASY #9, and every American editor knows I'm worth taking seriously!
In fact, YEARS BEST FANTASY must be about THE top-ranking fantasy anthology, now that Ellen Datlow/Kelly Link/Gavin Grant 'Years Best Fantasy & Horror' has dropped out for 2008-9. The word is, it'll be coming back the following year, but from a smaller publisher (Wildside). Bad news ... and there's other bad news too: REALMS OF FANTASY, long-standing top-ranking U.S. fantasy outlet, is ceasing publication for good. Particularly hard on a couple of Australian authors who had stories accepted - how unlucky is that?
Maybe it's because there are so many stories easily accessible on the net - print magazines are doing it tough. Especially fantasy. It's odd that, for novel-length fiction, fantasy is absolutely the way to go, but you stand a better chance with SF or horror for magazine publication.
Here's some good news - TENDER MORSELS, by our very own RORee, Margo Lanagan, was an honour book in the American Library Association's yearly awards. That's in the YA category, because Tender Morsels is marketed as YA in the U.S., but as adult in Australia. (Our marketing is more sensible!) Congratulations, Margo!