A sky of ice


Killing It Softly 2 has apparently been doing well, appearing in various ‘best of’ lists and making it to #2 in the anthology section of the Critters Workshop ‘Preditors and Editors’ Poll. Reviews are also good, although they inevitably talk about the book as a whole – with 38 stories, it’s going to be difficult to be read, let alone picked out, but I’m glad the anthology’s doing well. The publishers (Digital Fiction) have certainly worked hard promoting it. I finally got hold of a copy of Fast-Clean-Cheap. It won’t make anyone’s ‘best of’ lists and probably won’t get any reviews, as it’s far too experimental, but to me it looks like a fine publication and some of the criticism of it that editor Andy Martin has received – about the odd typeface in some of it, and the fact that some of it’s in German – are some of its most interesting points, in my view. But – as I remember from my fanzine writing days – the use of imagination and pushing the boundaries doesn’t go down well with many people.

Tomorrow, When I Was Young was submitted a couple of weeks ago to an online magazine and has just been rejected. No reason was given. Many editors choose not to bother giving any kind of explanation these days, which aggrieves me somewhat. Having spent countless hours writing and re-writing a story and having chosen their publication to submit to, a few words as to why they don’t want the story is not too much to ask. I usually take rejections on the chin – I’ve had many in my time – but this one concerns me. I suspect the reason may be the content, which involves a certain amount of genderblurring. I’ve suspected unpleasant reasons for story rejections before (one was almost certainly down to me not being able to contribute much to a crowdfunding campaign), but of course nothing’s ever provable. This is where I just have to keep faith and keep going. The other new story I’ve mentioned previously, The Cruor Garland, has is now in its third draft and, with any luck, I’ll be submitting it to a horror anthology by the end of the month.


Finally, Unit appear on Godspunk Volume Eighteen. In the cd’s booklet, their double page includes a photograph taken by me of West Kennet Long Barrow, from my trip there last May. Many thanks to Andy Martin for using the photograph. I had no idea he was going to do this, and I was extremely happy to see it there.

All text and images © Julie Travis.


6 thoughts on “A sky of ice

  1. Now I’m even more intrigued about Fast-Clean-Cheap…It can’t be any worse than Raygun magazine (from back in the ’90s) when it comes to using odd typefaces just for the heck of it. Now that I’m gainfully employed, I’ll go hunt down a copy.

    • Ha ha – yes, the temptation to ‘overfont’ can be high, but I’m a fan of having a variation of overdoing it can be resisted. In the case of FCC I’ve been assured that it’s due to wanting to reproduce the text in its original style.

  2. Sorry to hear about the recent rejection. It’s so frustrating, and really takes a lot of persistence to continue submitting your work out there. At least in my experience, an individualized reply is rare; it seems like so many publications are either overwhelmed with submissions or it’s just kind of going “out of style” to send a personal response – which is a shame! It can really be helpful to the writer to know the reasons for rejection, and can help with revision of the work, as well as plans on where to submit to next. Keep it up, tho, I always admire your discipline; and, you’ll get the piece in elsewhere – hopefully somewhere that appreciates it fully!

    • It certainly does seem to be the accepted way these days not to send more than a standard rejection email – and in a recent discussion on FB with an editor, part of the reason is that some writers become abusive if any specific reason is given, which is absolutely unacceptable. I certainly don’t want to feel that it’s an ‘us and them’ situation, so that communication with that editor was extremely helpful. I’ve given the story to my sister to read; she’s usually fairly objective. It could easily be that it’s just not good enough for submission yet – but of course, without a personal reply, one can only speculate as to the reason.

      • Yes, fair point (from that editor); I remember reading an interview with an editor (I forget where the person worked) who said the top 3 reasons for rejection were: MS not ready/polished enough for publication; MS not a good fit for their particular publication/publishing house; MS not revised/edited enough and/or not tailored to their specific submission guidelines.

      • And, to be fair, I had a look at a manuscript as a favour to a friend – it turned into a massive editing job, as there was virtually NO punctuation in the entire story! By the time I’d sorted it all out I had little energy left for the story, which was a great shame. I definitely don’t envy an editor’s lot!

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