April 2002 = Freaks Geeks and Sideshow Floozies is available!

Ah, the sweet smell of success!  That feeling of accomplishment!  The thrill of having a story published!

Freaks, Geeks and Sideshow Floozies has just been released by Twilight Tales/11th Hour Productions.  It contains my story “Ruffled Feathers”.  The publication of “Ruffled Feathers” was especially sweet.  Let me tell you about it.

I had a get rich quick scheme.  I was going to write a series of mystery novels and stories where my amateur detective was an ex-wrestler.  What a novelty!  My wrestler was named Buster Bash (or, as I refer to him, Double B), an back in the late-1990’s, he seemed, to me, like a sure thing. 

“Ruffled Feathers” was the second Double B Story I wrote.  I finished it back in 1998, quite pleased with what I’d written.  My first Double B story, “Ring Rust”, was the first mystery story I’d ever attempted and it wasn’t very good, but with “Ruffled Feathers”, I felt like I might finally have a clue as to what I was doing.

As the industrious young writer that I was, I sent my completed manuscript to many, many different magazines.  None of them wanted it.  None of them cared.  All of them rejected my beautiful, insightful words. 

Maybe I didn’t finally have a clue as to what I was doing.

Then in September of 1999, I started going to Twilight Tales, a live fiction reading series that takes place in Chicago’s Red Lion Pub.  That night was the monthly open mike night and I had a terrific time.  The story I read, “Maggie Anne and the Raggedy Man”, was even invited to be included in the next Twilight Tales theme anthology “The Big Book of Dead Things” (but that is another story).

This appearance led to me being a featured author a couple months later.  Me, alone with a microphone, entertaining the audience for almost an hour with my prose.  I read “Ruffled Feathers” that night.  As soon as I was done reading, Andrea Dubnick and Tina Jens, the producers of Twilight Tales, came rushing up to me saying what a great story it was and how much they liked it.

Great, I thought to myself.  Then how come no one will publish it. 

I kept going to Twilight Tales and became part of their close-knit family.  For a green around the gills newbie, it was a great way to get to know fellow writers and to learn how the industry works.  A few months after my solo reading, Andrea and Tina announced that one of their upcoming theme anthologies was to be about freakshows and circuses.  The anthology was to be called Freaks Geeks and Sideshow Floozies.

Interesting.  Just a little while ago I’d read a story about a freakshow and in that story someone made a reference to “Freaks Geeks and Sideshow Floozies”.  Coincidence? 

I submitted “Ruffled Feathers” and it was accepted.  Finally my story would be available to the masses.  It also turned out that Freaks, Geeks and Sideshow Floozies would also be my first editing job, another important lesson in how the industry works.

Was I responsible for Freaks Geeks and Sideshow Floozies?  No.  Was it all because of me?  Hardly.  Was I at least influential?  I like to think so.