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I am giddy, girly, grateful and truly, truly, gobsmacked. My short story, “Animal Instinct,” has just been accepted by Not One of Us, a very very cool print ‘zine that’s about, as they put it, “people (or things) out of place in their surroundings, outsiders, social misfits, aliens in the sf sense—anyone excluded from society for whatever the reason. We want to explore “otherness” from every possible angle.”

What makes me so excited about this is not just that it got accepted by an awesome publication that is doing great things, but that this story is a horror/dark fantasy/speculative fiction piece. I’ve been intrigued by those genres for a long time, and part of being here in Scotland is that I was hoping to find more time to try my hand at them. I’ve published a few already, but I want to do more, to stretch my writing muscles and explore the dark and supernatural side of lust and love and living. So, this acceptance is one of those squealy ones that makes me feel like the work is all very very worth it.

The other cool thing is that this is also the second story I’ve had accepted since I got here to Scotland. So far, I’m two for two. Which means that rejection is on its way of course, but for the moment, I’m going to bask in my 2-0 scorecard. (You can view all the stuff I’ve submitted so far here, if you’re interested).

So, it’s time for some single-malt scotch and a bit of haggis to celebrate, I think! Or at the very least, to calm down the flippy-dippy thing my heart does whenever I get an acceptance. “They like me, they really really like me!”

In the meantime, here’s a wee snippet of the opening to “Animal Instinct”:

The summer my boyfriend left, I moved into a dead girl’s room, got a pet gerbil and signed up for photography class.

I should say first that my boyfriend didn’t leave-leave. It’s not like he died or broke up with me. He just moved back to his hometown after he graduated from college, the college I had another year at. It was summer, and I would have left too, but I didn’t have a hometown to move back to. I’d left my parents’ house when I was sixteen. Wherever I was had to feel like home.

The dead girl’s room didn’t really feel like home. It felt like the room of a dead girl whose parents needed some extra money and maybe somebody to make girl-like footsteps again across the ceiling of their living room. The dead girl left behind lacy vanilla-colored curtains, yellowing wallpaper printed with big pink roses and a mother who hand-printed a label for my shelf in the fridge, even though I never had any food to put there.

*

Kiss kiss bang bang, s.

*

“It is only too true that a lot of artists are mentally ill — it’s a life which, to put it mildly, makes one an outsider. I’m all right when I completely immerse myself in work, but I’ll always remain half crazy.” ~Vincent van Gogh

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