Having just sent in the contracts, I’m happy to report that my cyberpunk short story The Suffragette’s Election has sold to Crossed Genres, and will be appearing in their February 2013 issue.

This story has a long and tortuous history. Its first draft was written over four years ago, but I never sent it out because of obvious problems with the ending. Essentially, I knew how I wanted the story to end, but my first attempt at writing this ending was devoid of tension and drama, and the story sputtered out in a lame and unconvincing finish.

I put the story away for several months. Then I took it out again and rewrote the ending to see if I could make it work. It didn’t. So I repeated this process four more times.

Earlier this year I took the story out again and tried one more time—and finally got something good. (The key difference turned out to be not the ending itself, but the ordering of a few scenes before the ending.) However, by this time the beginning of the story had gotten shabby from so many partial rewrites, so I had to rewrite that, too. And then, finally, I had something that I was happy with from beginning to end, and just in time to submit to Crossed Genre’s “Cloak and Dagger” themed issue.

Evidently the muses smiled on me after all that effort, because the story was accepted on its first submission. Woo!

Now that the contracts are in the mail, I feel like it’s time to announce it: The Taint has been accepted for publication by Lyrical Press! Here’s the teaser that I included in my query, for the interested:

St. Anne’s State Penitentiary is home to of all sorts of monsters: drug pushers, rapists, pedophiles—and Dimitris Spiridakis, convicted of slaughtering his wife and children. He insists he didn’t do it. But with no memory of the event and a plethora of evidence against him, he has no hope of ever going free again.

Until he meets other, more dangerous monsters.

First Dimitris meets the Wizard, a voodoo-practicing inmate that runs the prison from within. The Wizard carries on a feud with Edwin McHenry, an immortal killer who’s been lurking in the prison since the Civil War. Dimitris sees his opportunity. He plays Edwin and the Wizard against each other to discover the truth about what happened to his family, then sets about securing his freedom. But he doesn’t realize the chaos his actions will unleash.

It’ll be a while before the book is up for sale, even at the accelerated pace of e-publishing, so expect updates on the process here.

This makes two: Lights on the Horizon will be appearing tomorrow at Everyday Weirdness! I’ll update this post with a link once it appears.

This is a study in contrasts. The first story I sold was written about 24 hours before being submitted, and was submitted exactly once. The second story was written eight years ago, and has been submitted almost everywhere. There is a clear and valuable lesson here, but I’m too lazy to figure out what it is. You’re smart; I’m sure you can put it together.