Conductive and Flammable in takahē

takahē 85

It’s been a little while since I’ve had any external publication news. My short story “Conductive and Flammable” has just come out in the latest issue of takahē.

Recently widowed, Beth’s dealing with a teenage son, a complicated estate and a neighbour who’s constantly burning stinky garden waste right at her back fence.

takahē has an enduring history in New Zealand literature (as you see, it’s up to issue 85) and I’m honored to be published there again. Thanks to fiction editor Karen Zelas for taking my story.

“Scorched” in Takahe 81

Takahe 81I have a long history with the New Zealand literary magazine Takahe. I first had a story in issue 11 too many years ago to mention. And I’ve had numerous since (seven in total, I think). This year they’re celebrating their 30th year of publishing.

Issue 81 includes my story “Scorched”, a little tale about a new marriage, a petrol station and an underground cable driving machine. Guess from the title how well that goes. It’s just 2800 words: now I need to learn how to write my sci-fi that short (I tend to go on a bit when I’ve got robots and implants and giant alien spaceships).

The issue came out a little while ago, but my copy (it’s only in print, no ebook) got lost in the mail. I’ve only just received the replacement (and cheque, thanks!). Eventually I’ll pop the story into an ebook through Triple V. My last Takahe story, “Back from Vermont” is out in a little collection with a couple of others here for $4.49.

After all those noes, a yes.


It’s worth sticking with it. I’ve lost count of the rejection slips I’ve received this year. Give me a second, I’ll go check…

… back now, thanks for waiting. It’s fifty-four. 54 rejections so far in 2012. That’s from around 25 stories out and circulating. I’ve had a few acceptances, but mostly for non-pay* or token pay anthologies/magazines. Most days when I get a rejection, the story goes out to another publisher the same day. I love these days of email submissions: so much easier than back in the dark ages of envelope, stamp, return envelope and postage, printed cover letter, fresh print of the ms because the last publisher crumpled their copy.

Why send it out again ever? Well, publishers have different opinions, different needs and different expectations. On occasion some particularly generous (ie who has the time?) editors give some feedback… and the feedback can be wildly different: the aspects of the story they found didn’t work will be entirely different. I also keep trying to remember that last of Heinlein’s rules – keep it on the market until it is sold.

The new acceptance is from a New Zealand literary magazine – Takahe – who’ve published stories of mine before. It will be nice to be in print again.

*Why take no money for a story? That’s kind of contradictory to good business sense, no? Well I guess part of it is my ego is still tangled up in there. Another part of it is that when I come to self-publish the story through Triple V as an ebook (and possibly print), then the rights revert to me immediately.