Took a little while, but I finally got this short story sold. It’s up and running at Big Pulp Magazine.
The foundation to this story came back when Daniel was still a baby. One of the many toys he got was the quintessential teddy bear, complete with glassy eyes and button nose. One day, I was picking up toys in his room, and the teddy bear was lying face-down on the floor. I picked it up to put it back on a shelf and –boom– instant storyline.
I think this was the second story I ever wrote, so I’m not surprised that it took me this long to find a market for it. I submitted it to several fantasy markets, and most of them came back with “interesting story, but not sure it fits us”. I really didn’t want to shelve it or rewrite it, so when I found Big Pulp, I figured “Lavender and Chamomile” would be a good fit, and started to send it to them under their “Fantasy” genre.
Then I thought, wait a second. I’m not having much looking submitting it as a fantasy story. What if I submitted it as ‘horror’?
What constitutes a horror story? For a long time, I thought it was monsters. Demons. Things that go bump in the night. When I was a kid, I read a lot Stephen King and Dean Koontz. When I grew older and started writing seriously, I shied away from horror, mainly because I felt it too dark. But really, what constitutes a horror story? It’s the strong emotion of fear, yes, but where does that fear come from? Can it come from monsters, or can it come other things? Fear of aliens? Fear of life?
Or the fear of a mother trying to protect her child?
So there you have it. I submitted it under horror and it got accepted—in their fantasy section. So aha! It is a fantasy story! Just as I thought! I shall thumb my nose at all those other markets who thought otherwise. Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!
Actually, in all honesty, I’m just glad it’s published now. Maybe one day, I’ll write a horror story for real. But if I’m going to do that, I’ll have to start reading more horror stories. Looks like I’ll have to take a trip to Pseudopod…
So have fun reading “Lavender and Chamomile“. It’s rated PG—though if little kids love their teddy bears, you might not want to let them read this.
By the way, for his preschool graduation present this year, Daniel got a Build-A-Bear from the Build-A-Bear workshop. Its fur is soft, its eyes are glassy. I know it’s just a stuffed bear.
But I still make the boy pick it up off the floor just the same.