It’s out! The Explorers anthology is finally officially available to the public. Woohoo!!
On September 29, 2010, I joined the Dead Robots’ Society’s forum and began listening to their writing podcast. I spent several weeks reading through the forum and noticed in November that they were putting together an anthology. I didn’t honestly think too much of it at the time. They’d had the call for submissions out for several months, and I didn’t figure I had time to come up with a story idea, write it, edit it, and get it submitted to them within the month that was left until the deadline. Besides, I assumed that they probably had so many submissions by that point that they were already awash in slush pile hell.
Then on December 13 (yep, I’m geeky enough to look up the date in my notes) a story idea came to me in a dream. Actually, it was two stories, intertwined to form what I thought might be a pretty good entry for the anthology. I also remember thinking that I was insane to be setting aside my other writing projects for something that was basically a whim. There were simply too many obstacles to getting it done in time.
First of all, it was the peak of the holiday season. There was all the shopping, wrapping, travel plans, etc. And submission guidelines required a hard word count limit of five thousand words. Almost all of my writing up to then was long fiction. At that point, I was one of those writers who was more comfortable writing a novel than a short story. Writing a short story requires a concise writing style that is in many ways more difficult than the loose boundaries afforded by writing long fiction. And most importantly, at that point, there were less than three weeks before the deadline! Christmas season, three week deadline, and a writing format with which I was less than comfortable? All in all, I figured my chances of making the cut were pretty slim. Nevertheless, when you’re trying to make it as a writer and inspiration strikes, it’s sometimes pretty difficult to quiet the inner muse.
So I dove into the story as I could, and completed my submission on December 30 – one day ahead of the deadline. I immediately emailed them:
from: Jeff Brackett to: email@example.com date: Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 3:39 PM subject: Submission for “Explorers: Beyond the Horizon” – Jeff Brackett
Please find attached “The Burning Land”, my 4,989 word submission for your upcoming anthology “Explorers: Beyond the Horizon”.
“The Burning Land” is actually two intertwined stories that explore the relationships between vastly different cultures as seen from the perspectives of characters within them.
In one, Kapin Aric and his crew attempt to find a new land across an alien ocean with the aid of the holy man, Seer Uson Grogar. In the other, Captain Rayland Vaz and his First Officer, Layla Golden are forced to deal with an interstellar generation ship that is slowly falling apart after its four hundred year long journey.
I appreciate your consideration for this anthology, and I hope you enjoy “The Burning Land”. If there is anything further you need from me, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Once again, thank you for your time.
What can I say? I’d only been a member of the forum for a few months, and was trying to sound as professional and polished as I could.
At that point, I moved back to my other projects (namely the novel I was working on that later became Half Past Midnight). Several weeks later, DRS announced that they hadn’t had enough submissions of a quality that they thought worthy of publication, so they were extending their deadline until June of 2011. My heart sank. I figured mine was one of those submissions that hadn’t made the cut.
Then on May 20th I received an email from Justin Macumber (lead Robot of the DRS):
from: Justin Macumber to: Jeff Brackett date: Fri, May 20, 2011 at 6:02 PM subject: Re: Submission for “Explorers: Beyond the Horizon” – Jeff Brackett
Jeff, this is Justin from the Dead Robots’ Society. I wanted to let you know that after reading your short story submission we would like to include it in our anthology, and we wanted to know if it was still available. If so, please let us know. The submission period is still open, so we’re continuing to work on putting everything together, but your story was enjoyed by the editors. Please contact us back if you’d still like to have this story included in our anthology.
Well, by then I’d interacted with Justin a bit more, as well as the other DRS members, so I was just a little more comfortable in my correspondences with them.
from: Jeff Brackett to: Justin Macumber date: Fri, May 20, 2011 at 6:28 PM subject: Re: Submission for “Explorers: Beyond the Horizon” – Jeff Brackett
Um, can I get a “Hell Yeah!”
Er, I mean…
Yes sir. “The Burning Land” is currently held specifically for your consideration and I most definitely desire to have it included your anthology. I greatly appreciate your kind consideration and offer, and look forward to hearing back from you with further information and/or instructions.
Thank you again for your time.
(See? Sm1ley can do polite!) }:^)
Since that time, DRS has had a few cast changes, and also learned what a hellish undertaking the publication of an anthology can be. I’m sure they learned more than they ever wanted to know about layout and formatting for the various ebook venues, print, marketing, editing (especially when one particular contributing author kept finding mistakes in his manuscript that he should have caught MUCH earlier – and yes, I’m still REALLY sorry about that, Justin, Terry, and Eli)
But it’s finally done! The release date is today, and I can’t tell you all how excited I am about it. I not only get to share more of my writing with you all, but I get to read some of my fellow writers’ works as well. So please go out and purchase Explorers: Beyond the Horizon in your favorite formats via the links below. And when you’ve read it, please take a moment and post a review.
Well, that’s all for now. So check out the links below, and please consider buying a copy of Explorers: Beyond the Horizon.