Monday, September 10, 2007

The bittersweet smell of not-quite success

Two things relevant to my writing aspirations just came in the mail: My author copies of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (containing my latest short story), and a membership renewal notice from Mystery Writers of America. Both were kind of bittersweet.

Don't misunderstand: I love seeing my stuff in print. I love it more than the tiny checks I get from the aptly-named Penny Publications when I sell one of my stories, and I love it a lot more than actually writing. Maybe that's the problem. For me, writing is hard. Even if I'm writing crap. It's so hard that when I've actually sold something, I feel like I deserve a major award. Instead, I get the pleasure of rereading my so-so prose in print and confronting life's persistent question: But what have you done lately?

Which brings me to the MWA renewal notice. It's $95 a year. Subtract that from the paltry pay, add Uncle Sam's insistence that I pay a self-employment tax, and watching junk TV suddenly seems like a lot better use of one's time. To hell with this novel; the MTV awards are on! That Britney's putting on some weight!

I don't know. I'll probably renew, for the same reason I joined in the first place: I like telling people I'm a member of something, and Mystery Writers of America sounds better than the Elks Club. Also, I get my name in the monthly newsletter on those rare months when I have something new in print. Finally, there are no meetings. If they'd only give me a cool jacket with a logo on the back, or some MWA coasters, it would be a no-brainer.

Anyway, if you get the chance, check out my story "Strange Days" and tell me what you think. It may not be literature, but it's short.

6 comments:

Gammahorton said...

I just read "Strange Days" in EQMM and enjoyed it very much. In particular, I enjoyed the dialogue and the dark humor. The title (and campaign slogan!) is obviously a Doors reference, but am I right in thinking that the last line refers to John Lennon's "Nobody Told Me"? ("Nobody told me there'd be days like these/Strange days indeed") Very nice.

Dave K. said...

Thanks for the kind words! I do appreciate them.

Yes, I was thinking of the Lennon tune at the end. Always liked that line.

Peter said...

Is that the November issue already? I'll look for it today. And I'll brag to the world once again that I know the inspiration for "Karaoke Night."
==============
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

Dave K. said...

Yeah, I don't know why magazines insist on postdating their issues by two months -- longer shelf life, I guess.

If you find it, let me know what you think. I'll try not to pull a Tess Gerritsen...

Peter said...

Very nice! Full of humor and and little climaxes within the story, which made it almost seem more like a novel. I say it again: Very good! When's the next one?

==============
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com

Dave K. said...

I have a story called "The Gray Lady" that'll run sometime after the first of the year, but they haven't scheduled which issue. Believe me, I'll be certain to crow about it when it appears.

Many thanks for the compliment. It's very good to hear.