Describe the first story you ever sold to any publication. What was the title of the story? The name of the publication? The plot? The public reception to your work?
My first story sale was "The Adventures of Manny the Mailmobile" to Cicada. It was also my first submission to the Cricket Magazine folks. The beginning of a beautiful relationship! It was also the first place that story had gone to, so in one fell swoop, I'd made my first fiction sale, my first professional sale, and my first one-hit sale. I think my neighbors might still be talking about the day that strange whooping noises issued from my roof. I was walking on clouds for weeks after I made that sale. Good thing too. It had to hold me over for a year before I made my next one.
It was published in the Jan/Feb 2002 issue, a light science fiction/mystery caper with the hero being a lovelorn mailmobile robot. Well, actually, to call it a mystery is probably doing a disservice to Hitchcock and Ellery Queen; the who-done-it part is pretty clearcut and there aren't any red herrings. But my intention was to focus more on the lovelorn part than the mystery.
The story and mailmobile protag, Manny, were inspired from my days working as a teeny cog as a cubicle monkey for a really big corporation (before I moved to Atlanta). My ex-company had these automated mailmobiles, about the size of ponies, that were programmed to run set delivery routes. Secretaries and other clerical assistants would know when they were near by their, again programmed, beeps. They also had sensors so they (theoretically) knew not to run down pedestrians. I've never been hit by one, but I swear I've had them lunge at me a couple time while I was innocently walking the corridors, to and from meetings. During the early days of their introduction, there were some *ahem* learning curve issues. Like the time a mailmobile trapped someone behind a door. Its sensors told it not to move, but the person couldn't get around it because they were blocked in on all sides, so the mailmobile just sat there, flashing and beeping. They had to call a tech person to come and rescue both of them. Then there was the time when a mailmobile accidentally entered a small conference room and then couldn't figure out how to get out again--since it was too large to turn around. From first hand accounts, the process of moving it out was much like backing up a cow. Finally, there was also the brief hubbub when anonymous third shifters started putting stuffed animal heads on the mailmobiles and taping names like "Bessie" and "Matilda" to them. Personally, I think the mailmobiles should have been allowed to maintain their personas, but apparently upper management was without anything remotely like a sense of humor. Guess anthropomorphizing the mailmobiles was too whimsical for them to stomach. They removed the names and heads, and sent out a company-wide memo prohibiting people from "defacing" the mailmobiles. Spoil sports.
Kill joy management notwithstanding, I was so charmed by the antics of the slow-moving, quirky-yet-loyal mailmobiles, I had to write a tale featuring one. I'm still quite proud of that story. It's been re-published in Greek (the Feb. 16, 2005 issue of 9), which also marks my first foreign language reprint sale. "Manny" was the first professional validation that I might actually have some ability at this whole writing thing, and it was the fulfillment of a childhood ambition: publication. And the fact that my first sale was to such an excellent and discriminating publication as Cicada still gives me a nice egoboo when I'm feeling discouraged.
Received the long-awaited contract for "The Wizard of Eternal Watch and the Keeper of Forever" (I think my longest title, evar) from Pitch-Black books for their Sages & Swords: Razor-edged Arcanum anthology. It prompted a bit off Googling, and I found the cover art that Storn Cook is doing for it. Sweet. I believe the anthology is scheduled for an April 2006 release.
Got the electronic proofs of "Second Daughter" from The Sword Review to approve. The editor said he's aiming for it to go up next Monday.
Also published a review of the June 2005 issue of Realms of Fantasy to Tangent. Michael Bailey had this to say about "The Storyteller's Wife":
"Author Eugie Foster has consistently used words to craft vibrant mental images in past stories, and this tale is no exception. The story is replete with intense visuals . . . The author expertly builds tension early in the story . . . At its core, “The Storyteller’s Wife” is a love story, but the early elements that hint at suicide, and the sinister nature of the denizens of Faerie add a dark element that enriches the story."
Overall a positive review, although he wasn't as fond of the ending as the beginning.
New Words: 200
On a re-telling of a classic Korean folktale. This one has the potential to be a little darker than my usual. Not sure if I want to let it go that route, or tone it down. Haven't decided on a target audience yet. Although, to tell the truth, I'm a bit hit-and-miss when it comes to targeting readers.
Club 100 For Writers