I don’t usually announce acceptances until I’ve signed on the dotted line, but I’ve had some correspondence that makes me feel comfortable enough to say here that Phantom Drift: A Journal of New Fabulism accepted my story, “Lucky Shanghai Dumpling,” for this year’s issue.
While all sales excite me, there are some things that are particularly wonderful about this one.
Phantom Drift focuses on interstitial writing, the space between “genre” and “literary realism.” That’s the space where work I most love to read falls and where I’ve aspired to write — but until now, I haven’t published anywhere with that focus. I’m delighted to have had a story find a home in a venue that gives me street cred as an interstitial writer.
Phantom Drift publishes once a year, has one reading period a year, and will read only one story per author per reading period.
I’ve been sending them stories every year since I started focusing on speculative fiction, which means I submitted one story every year for the past four years. Mostly because I am a huge Leslie What fan. I smiled for days after she followed me back on Twitter. No joke. And while she’s now listed as contributing editor rather than co-fiction editor on the masthead, just having the tiniest writing connection with her has been a dream. One I feared forever out of reach.
And every year for the first three years, I got a personal rejection. All of them very kind and complimentary, but at the end of the day, still rejections.
Two out three of those stories found homes elsewhere. One is still circulating, a story I personally believe to be my best work. It has received a lot of love from pro venues but no proposals as yet. But I’m confident it will sell somewhere someday.
Anyway, it became a personal goal of mine to crack Phantom Drift.
By last May, I’d pretty much decided what I was going to submit this year. The more I revisited the guidelines and read some of the stories in the journal, the more I was convinced that if “Lucky Shanghai Dumpling” didn’t sell to them it was unlikely any story I ever wrote would. “We like stories that create a milieu where anything can happen. Stories can take the form of myth or fable. They can invent or suggest an unreal ambiance or describe a realistic landscape gripped by a surreal or unexplained event…” Yeah, that’s this story.
“Lucky Shanghai Dumpling” is weird and experimental with no protagonist. The closest thing it has to a protagonist is a magical (or is it?) food truck.
And now, it’s going to meet the world in one of my dream markets.