Anatomy of Time

It took a while, a lot of time, but I finally got a place to accept my short story Anatomy of Ruin for publication. It’s called The Chamber Magazine and the link is under Other Stories. Don’t worry about reading it. I rarely have time to read anything longer than peoples’ posts as it is. I’m just letting you know that even though I don’t post more than once a month here (and even though you didn’t ask) I am still writing.

I do believe it was the references to zombies that turned most people off, and who can blame them? I stopped watching The Walking Dead years ago. How many different ways can you see survivors decimating the skulls and eye sockets of the shambling masses? How long can they keep running, and why are the human monsters always worse than the undead corpses?

Most places offered pleasant rejections. However, at one sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction magazine, I entered a slot of 700-something, meaning 700 people were ahead of me to be read first. But the next day, the story had been rejected in Submittable by this magazine.

So I found a contact number and asked if something had gone wrong; there were 700 people ahead of me. How could my story have been rejected already? Someone actually wrote back and said, “Your story was read and assessed.” That was it. The tone was so frigid, I thought I’d somehow been transported, sans clothing, to the middle of Eastern Siberia.

I couldn’t imagine that someone who held themselves in that high a regard had actually read past the first two pages. But who knows? I wrote back, “Ouch.”

I really don’t blame them, but it really is an example of judging a book by its cover. The story isn’t about zombies. It uses them and the situation as a doorway into other topics. But that’s okay. Not everyone’s gonna be into an almost-apocalyptic semi-horror existential comedy about life, suffering, and the nature of hope.

However, if you’d like to see a short movie demonstrating the speculative fiction magazine essentially telling me to eff off (represented by the cat) and my reaction to it, here it is. Note the cool, detached fascination of the cat.


This is what happens when a cat 🐱 slaps a dog 🐶

♬ original sound – Famous SuperStar


38 thoughts on “Anatomy of Time

    • Hi, Kev. Nice to “see” you! Hey, thanks. Yeah, the “zombie” story was a hard push, lol. Someone finally caved, haha.
      Thanks a lot for asking about book two! MY brain isn’t what it used to be either. I don’t remember if I told you that I broke off with my publisher and am now searching for a new one. I should probably just do the self-publish route, but lacking time and energy, and also needing at least SOME help with marketing…that ain’t gonna happen. We’ll see. Thanks for asking.
      I hope you and yours…and your brain… are faring okay. I know we take each day as they come…


      • The self-publishing route is daunting, at least to my brain. There seem to be so many things to take into consideration, process, monitor and fret yourself silly about. So I get it. A big part of me thinks that who you know in publishing may be an inestimably important factor. Then again, I might be biased after lots of rejections with OOE!

        Liked by 1 person

      • There is absolutely no sanity if you’re getting rejected. I read your entire book, as you know, and each chapter was a journey into hilarious along with poignant word gymnastics. I will never be able to write like you. That means you would probably easily get accepted into the places I get accepted into, lol. I also do think it’s who you know. And neither of us knows anybody. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. As someone who hasn’t been into the zombie genre since the era of black and white films, I congratulate you on the acceptance of your short story. Unless we accept the reality that what we write about, and our style of writing, aren’t everyone’s cup of tea (or blood), we may end up like a cat chasing it’s tale — er, tail.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stacey, I just finished reading it. DAMFINE. I’ve missed reading you. So many funny bits and pieces and how you sustain your theme throughout all of the apocalypse fine points is admirable. I love the part about how Sean with his increased use of a less than effective knot. That cracked me right up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Li, you crazy reading maniac! lol Thanks so much for diving in, and thanks for your kind, kind words. I only wanted to announce it, maybe to make it more ‘real’, which in turn would maybe motivate me to start on something new…so I do really appreciate the surprise read. So happy you cracked up, too. That’s the goal!


  4. Congratulations on getting it published.

    Quick rejections are hard. I once had one within less than 48 hours – by actual post (snail mail), back when you sent a SAE with your submission. I’m not sure anyone read that, just swapped it from one envelop to the other!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annalisa. Yeah, the quick ones can be tough. But then again, I might almost prefer them to the ones where you’re waiting for several months, only to be rejected at the end. I definitely don’t think anyone read yours–and returned by snail mail! uggggghhh, lol


  5. Well done, Stacey, both for persevering and getting a story published, and for submitting yourself to the process. And shame on the other lost for being so ungracious in their turning it down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Michael. I suppose I was lucky anyone responded at all. But it’s like what Buckaroo Bonzai said in Buckaroo Bonzai across the Eighth Dimension: You don’t have to be mean. (or cold, lol).


  6. Hi Stacey,

    Just left the following comment on the Chamber’s website (though as of this writing they have not ‘published that comment’) –

    “This story comes in at a little over 6000 words. I enjoyed reading every one of them. We get a dead squirrel, heart pills spilled on the floor, Keith Richards on a bender, Marely’s ‘twins’ (can you guess what they are?) and fresh cherries from Farmer Joes. And that’s nothing to say of the blackout-drunk mean zombies.

    There’s wonder, oddities and pathos at every turn. You owe it to your curiosity to take this cryptic, wonderfully described and bizarre journey into really, really interesting storytelling.”

    I find rejections from some lit mags… ‘amusing’ is probably the most non-offensive word I can use. You know the type I mean. “After careful consideration we regret that your story does not fit our present needs.” Then when I look at some of the 6th-rate drivel they HAVE published which obviously did ‘meet their needs’, I pinch myself and am thankful I wasn’t welcomed in that company.

    You get a little cynical I guess, but it’s all part of one way our brains have of protecting us from hurt, I think. After a while of submitting, you also wake up to how very subjective the selection process by it’s nature really is.

    Good on you Stacey!
    When you get a win, everyone on your team – and I consider myself one of those people – feels like they’ve scored a win too.

    Double fist pump.
    Actually, lets celebrate in style and make that a triple!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Um…Glen, 1. can’t believe you read it. Thank you! 2. can’t believe you left a comment in there. And such a nice one. Thank you! 3. You’re right, Glen. We ARE all on the same team and everybody’s successes, large or small, are a win for us all. The thing about some of the lit mags is they have a long list of what they want to see, they want elevated writing, they want art… and they aren’t even paying! lol. Some of the snootiest ones want A LOT for basically nothing.
      Well, many thanks for the feedback, on the bright side, and yes, triple fist bump!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “decimating the skulls and eye sockets” was the final coffin (pun thing) for me on Walking Dead too, it just got too much. Cold and heartless like that horrible book reviewer feedback email. “Ouch” indeed. Strange people can be like that. I guess they are just zombies smashing buttons of rejection with boney fingers and soulless eyes!
    Anyhow. Like a phoenix from the flames you rise up and carry on. Keep your spirit fired up. It’s a new year, new opportunities and future destinations but no running around Eastern Siberia in your birthday suit!

    Here’s wishing you great things and more with your story and to receive more than “read and assessed” because that would be an ass, like that person!

    All the best

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Mikey! Oh man, brrrr, Eastern Siberia’s bad enough in winter clothing. It was BRUTAL in my birthday suit, lol. It is a new year. We shall see if I rise to the occasion…. hehe.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I stopped watching The Walking Dead when the guy with the Bat came in the mix. But I adore zombies in general, as I usually am one. So I can see myself appreciating your work. And even moreso because of the other themes you mentioned!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi, EF. Thanks a lot, I appreciate your support!
    Yeah, I didn’t want to give up Walking Dead, but I stopped during the season with the CGI tiger, lol. Oh, well.
    Glad you got a laugh out of the video too, ’cause it’s one of my favorites, especially because of the VO. The way the VO gasps and the voice goes in and out as the dog runs past. And, yes, it IS a good depiction of my reaction, lol. And yeah, haters, f*** off. Perhaps I’ll put that on my tombstone…. 🙂


  9. I am another guy who is much more familiar with the zombie genre from the era of black and white films. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the recent Army of the Dead film with Dave Bautista. Have you ever seen Anna and the Apocalypse, the Christmas zombie film that got some good reviews a couple of years back? I loved that one as well, as it leaned into Christmastime and made it a zombie time instead. That’s wonderful news your short story got picked up, and kudos to all the post-writing effort you gave towards getting that accomplished!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks, Bruce!
    Yeah, we saw the Bautista one. It was lots of fun. I’ll basically see anything with Dave B. in it, lol. Did not see the Anna one. I actually get really sick of zombies, as I’m sure many do, so the zombie stuff has to be original. Zombieland was fun because of Woody Harrelson (whom I’ll also see in pretty much anything) 28 Days Later was humble but really tense, Brad Pitt’s World War Z was great. “I’m not really all that into zombies,” she said, and then listed a hundred movies, lol. But I’m not! haha. It just definitely served my purpose for this story. 🙂


  11. Stacey, I am commenting here via the WP Reader. Hope that make sense. I mean it is not me commenting at the end of your post directly in your blog. I too have run into problems with trying to Like and Comment. Anyway, I will definitely read your short story and congrats on finding a sci-fi magazine to publish it! That’s so exciting, right in the tradition of all the great writers who got their start writing for the pulps. Speaking of which, one the greatest to come out of the pulps was Richard Matheson who, by the way, invented the whole zombie genre with his novel, I Am Legend. I agree with you that it’s tough to keep finding you ground within the zombie world. It’s there, for sure. It’s the same with vampires, etc. I like your description of getting the ice-cold shoulder. That needs to go into a story–plus any reference you make to cats!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi, Henry, thanks for stopping by, thanks for your kind words, and thanks for offering to read the story. I REALLY wasn’t trying to guilt anyone into doing that, lol !! But if you have the time and the energy, I ain’t gonna stop you. I really was only using the idea of a zombie-like issue arising as a vehicle for other ideas. I just thought it would be fun. But evidently, everybody frigging HATES zombies! I don’t blame them.
    I’m sorry you’re having trouble with WP too. It’s sooooooo frustrating. On a couple of sites, like yours, NOTHING I do lets me like. On other sites they ask me to log in (even though I never logged out) and that fixes the “like” issue. But on yours and a couple of others….no cigar. Zilch. Won’t let me do it.
    Oh, well. I guess in this world, that’s a small problem.
    🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Good work, Stacey! I applaud your tenacity and look forward to reading your story when I can! (I have just finished editing chapter 36 – almost – and have 20 more chapters to edit before I go back to the beginning for what I hope is the final pass.)


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