Then a writer from one of the critique groups I attended made a comment, "He doesn't have anything known out, but he writes cool, weird stuff."
This challenged me to Try (Just a Little Bit Harder).
It was tough to find publication because my focus was on three novels. Self-publication wasn't right for me, so I knew it'd be a long road ahead until a manuscript was accepted. In the meantime, I needed to have works out there: Build a writer portfolio.
Edgar Allan Poe came to mind. A big motivator due to our commonalities.
Let me count the ways:
Same middle name (named for my birth doctor)
Writers of dark stuff
Eye bag issues
Scarves look terrible on both of us
We're rather tormented
A few of my bar buds have compared me to him at random
And my first name, Bertram, is Germanic for bright famous raven
As you're probably aware, he wrote about one of those. So I bought this:
Just a quick shout out to my cousins. No worries, I do love you all, but not in a Poe way.
The famous quick fic author, inspired me to get on the short story train.
I looked to mine from university and wrote a bunch of others. Then set a goal:
Have a story published from
Roughly 400 rejections came. One magazine wrote back that my story wasn't good enough for them. Between us, there was a typo in their rejection letter, so I was able to laugh about something at least. I got an email from one editor that read, "I didn't like your story." Readers have done this as well. A lot of publishers rejected my first, second, and third submission. All of this pushed me to improve and keep at it.
Back when Ishaan Literary Review honored me with my first short story publication, Poisoned Heart, I'd read the response as if a rejection and didn't realize it was accepted until a writer friend posted the story on her social media page.
Studied line-editing and works of authors such as Ernest Hemingway and Shirley Jackson to learn to use my words sparingly. Soon email requests from editors for microfiction stories started to come my way. One editor told me, "We'll pass on the short story you submitted, but please send us one of your micros," which was accepted a few hours after its submission.
My goal was reached within three years time through hard work and long hours of writing, editing, submitting, and repeating. I know this will lead to my novels getting accepted one day. Diaries of Karma has already won two awards. People often email me asking about Demon Blade Bearer and Milhama's release, so I know it's a matter of patience.
Enjoy the stories below, share them if you have time, and please check out my other works. Note: This wasn't to brag, rather to motivate others to try.
Australia Day in Costa Rica with Thought Notebook
Bummed with MicroLiterature
Crimson with Yellow Mama
Death Pie with Bartleby Snopes
Evolution with Antiphon and the UK Library Archives
Fly Me to the Moon with Over My Dead Body!
Gumshoe with Akashic Books
How My Life Changed the Time I Almost Got Mugged with Writer's Ezine
It's Always a Good Time with Tiny Text
Japanese School with Escarp
Kindness and Decency with Crack the Spine
Like, Joe with Talking Soup
Mizu with A Quiet Courage
Not You Again forthcoming with The Stray Branch and past This Very Breath
On the High Hour with RoundUp Ezine
Pit Fight with Skrawl and Short-Story.me
Quickest Romance Ever with A Quiet Courage
Rejected with Oddville Press
Standoff with The Fable Online
Tale of Autonomy with Dead Guns Press
Untimely Demise with 101 Word Short Stories and FFM's first Anthology
Voitex's Poison forthcoming in the Dialogual Anthology
Wagashi with Silver Birch
X + Y = Z with Sygyzy Poetry Journal
Yelling Unheard with Story64
Zeitgeist forthcoming with HellBound Books Shopping List Anthology