But first, please allow me to give appropriate context:
Lo these many months ago--back in October of 2009, to be exact--your (more or less) faithful correspondent sent two stories to Edge and Tesseract Books, a relatively well-known Canadian publisher for possible inclusion in their latest Tesseracts anthology, a collection of short sci-fi, speculative, fantasy, etc. stories that comes out every year. Interestingly enough, my very first real-life professional publication anywhere was a short story that I submitted for Tesseracts 3 way back in...::goes to check:: well, the book came out in 1990, so it must have been 1989 when I was seventeen. Not that I feel old, or anything.
Caught, therefore, in the serendipity of the moment, I sent two stories to the open call for submissions for Tesseracts 14. And waited.
And waited. And waited some more.
Now, for a long time I was really happy about this, because the submission guidelines had said that if they didn't want the stories you'd know before the end of December. But on about December 20th it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I'd misremembered that, since the far more normal course for submissions is that the editors only contact the writers of the stories they want. Basically, if you don't hear from them by a certain time, you're not going to. Don't email them; they'll email you. Or just send your stories to the recycle bin. I tried to verify this on the website, but they'd taken down the submissions information as soon as the deadline had passed.
When December 31 came and went, I was all, 'well, I didn't want to be in their dumb old anthology anyway', and promptly wrote a short story with my sister which we sent to Dreamspinner Press for one of their upcoming anthologies. More on that later. I relegated Tesseracts and print books in general to a brief, shining moment in my past and decided to move on.
Two weeks later, squeakyoflight and I found out that Dreamspinner wanted to buy our story, only for a completely different anthology than we'd submitted for, which will come out in September. I'll keep ya'll posted. Awesomecakes, I figured. (Actually, it was more like OMG WE ROCK LIKE ROCKING THINGS BAYBEEE! or words to that effect.) This was only January and already I'd gotten a publication--a fantastic start to 2010 and obviously a sign from the Universe that I was doing the right thing by forgetting about the big-name, paper publishers.
Then yesterday, out of the blue, I get an email from one of the two editors from the Tesseracts 14 anthology, asking me if I was actually Canadian. (My post address is in Texas, and only Canadians were allowed to submit their stories, since Tesseracts is a Canadian company.)
Totally Canadian! I wrote back (this was in my cover email of course, but I guess the editors never got that part). 'Why the hell do they want to know where I'm from?' I asked my husband.
'They want your story,' he said.
'They can't want my story!' I protested. 'The selections were over a month ago!'
'You didn't hear from them because they were considering your story,' Dom said.
I remained skeptical. But an hour later I get a new email from the same editor, asking me what province I'm from.
I write back the next second that I'm from Ontario, and ask as politely as possible why the hell they want to know. An hour after that, I get another email saying they're considering one of my stories. I'll find out their final decision shortly.
Then I post a scream in my LJ.
'They want your story,' Dom says while I'm sitting in the living room hyperventilating. 'Really. They've already made their decision but just can't tell you yet. We do that at the university all the time.'
'BUT THEY ASKED ME WHAT PROVINCE I'M FROM!' I protested mildly. 'THAT MEANS THEY'RE TRYING TO GET A GOOD BALANCE OF WRITERS AMONG THE PROVINCES! THERE ARE 12 MILLION PEOPLE IN ONTARIO! OVER HALF THEIR SUBMISSIONS WILL BE FROM ONTARIO! A STORY OF MINE WILL NEVER MAKE THE CUT IF THEY HAVE TO CULL AUTHORS FROM ONTARIO!'
I mean, seriously. Both the stories I sent were good, but one was more of a vignette than a story, and the other wasn't all that original, really. Tesseracts 13 had a story in it about a mummified baby mammoth that turned an entire town into Neanderthals. I had no illusions that a story about three people dying in the rain or a lovesick werewolf could measure up to mummified baby mammoths.
Not that I didn't check my email every five minutes before I went to bed. But there was nothing.
'It might take them one or two weeks to get back to you,' Dom said. I didn't actually start gibbering.
But this afternoon, one of my compulsive email checks got this:
I am pleased to inform you that your submission, "The Pick-up," has been accepted for publication in Tesseracts 14. Both John Robert Colombo and I felt the story was of superior quality, and are proud to include it in the book.
At your earliest convenience, please send me a brief bio for inclusion in the anthology.
So, suddenly I'm back in print again. Or will be later this year. And I honestly thought this was never going to happen. Swear to God.
I'm liking this year very much already. But WTF. For serious.