I need to make a retraction. I didn’t wait until 2011 to market my story The Language of Ice as previously stated. Looking back at my Fiction Submission Log, I discovered that I actually began sending the story out in 2009, not long after writing it, and racked up five rejections before finally selling it and receiving my acceptance letter on February 11, 2011.
Anyway, I don’t have notes on how I found the publication. Maybe I stumbled upon it on Duotrope or Ralan.com. Either way, I noticed an open call from a new anthologist who had been a member of the Science Fiction Writer’s of America (SFWA). She’d had stories accepted professionally by Marion Zimmer Bradley (this was long before some allegations came out about Bradley and her husband. I’ll leave you to research it if you’re interested), before transitioning into a copywriting job. At the time she had just retired from her corporate career and was looking into what opportunities were available to continue her creative writing career from where she had left off.
Now going by the pseudonym Phoenix Sullivan, she decided to enlist a cadre of international authors to create a Science Fiction e-anthology titled Extinct Doesn’t Mean Forever to support her SF novel SECTOR C that she was looking at publishing through her own imprint, Dare to Dream Press.
Extinct Doesn’t Mean Forever, with its theme of returning from extinction, seemed like a good fit for The Language of Ice, but I figured it would just end up being another rejection on the long road to publication.
I sent it out, like I always do, by first reading through the manuscript, fixing anything I may have missed, sometimes giving it back to Patty for a second read through, and then formatting the story per the guidelines (GLs).
Once that was complete, I wrote out a cover letter. At the time, I was sending all stories through email. I’d included a targeted cover letter in the body of the email, and attach the manuscript as a Word document.
With everything in order, I sent it out and hoped for the best. There was nothing to do but continue to keep writing and submitting, and of course, wait.
I received an acceptance letter in approximately 24 days! A few days later I electronically signed the contract for publication and was asked to write what amounts to a back cover blurb describing the story without giving anything away.
Here’s the blurb:
When a Neanderthal skeleton arrives at her museum, Cassie learns a woman dead for thousands of years still has something to teach the living – THE LANGUAGE OF ICE by David North-Martino
Then I was asked to send a bio. A few days later I received something that would change the way I wrote forever—a line edit. A line edit by a pro author turned editor no less.
In the interest of time, Phoenix had already made the revisions. That required me to take a copy of my original and read through with highlighter in hand. Before I worked on that task, I read the corrected proof she had sent me. I thought it read even better than I had remembered.
Of course, it did! Phoenix had given me some masterful revisions. Now with that said, I think my voice may have been bled out a little, but I have to say I learned a lot from that line edit. It helped me to understand what I was doing right, and where I was falling short. How I could create more clarity for the reader, and how I could sand off the rough edges of my writing style.
This is what writers need. They need mentorship. As the old saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. You need to have eyes before you can see. I am forever grateful for that line edit. It helped make me the writer I am today.
The Language of Ice ended up being published in the Dare to Dream Press first edition of Extinct Doesn’t Mean Forever, the second edition from Steel Magnolia Press, and was also released as a short story in ebook format.
The anthology supported the Save a charity which gave me the impetus to send out press releases. I met some wonderful writers from around the world and learned a lot about the publishing business.
For the first time ever, I began to receive royalty checks. They were small, but it was very cool to get money when the anthology sold.
The anthology is now out of print and the rights to the story have reverted back to me. Should I post it here for all to read? Let me know in the comments.
I’ll see you next time.
For posterity I’ll include the Table of Contents with all the blurbs below:
1. Jase was her ghost in the machine, a shaded memory captured in synthesized pixels. Near enough to see, too distant to touch. Could they still connect? – LAST SEEN by Amanda le Bas de Plumetot
2. She didn’t realize how deep her loss ran, until a saber-tooth cat helped heal the past and point her toward a future she didn’t know she needed – PAST SURVIVORS by Sarah Adams
3. Vesna discovers from an unexpected source just how old the dance of love truly is – FOOTPRINTS ON THE BEACH by Aleksandar Ziljak
4. John doted on the French touring car he’d lovingly restored. Can his dead wife teach him other things are worthy of his love too? – THE RESTORATION MAN by Simon John Cox
5. When a single mum returns home to Tasmania with her young son, her efforts to settle back in take a strange twist – A DARK FOREST by Jen White
6. Keeping a baby dinosaur secret from prying TV people and scientists is no easy task, except when your family have been keeping sacred traditions secret for generations – MY OWN SECRET DINOSAUR by Jo Antareau
7. When a Neanderthal skeleton arrives at her museum, Cassie learns a woman dead for thousands of years still has something to teach the living – THE LANGUAGE OF ICE by David North-Martino
8. With human hunters closing in, Kerg concocts a desperate plan for survival. Just one problem: he isn’t the only one looking out for family – TWILIGHT OF THE CLAW by Adam Dunsby
9. Lucia doesn’t believe in angels — but she might believe in a little boy cloned from a forgotten race – THE ANGEL GENOME by Chrystalla Thoma
10. Geri’s father finds the remains of an alien culture, proof we’re not alone. But he leaves Geri feeling more alone than ever – IN RING by Scott Thomas Smith
11. Had it been left to protocols rather than human ingenuity, Commander West’s expedition might have overlooked one of Mars’ greatest treasures – BONES OF MARS by D Jason Cooper
12. Endless Power, Inc prepared Angel for the physical dangers of harnessing a new energy source. But no one prepared him for how to cope afterward – HUNTING THE MANTIS by Adam Knight
13. Bridges of meaning built through symbols alienate as much as connect. But the Virtual Bridge Sri plans could reconnect the lost hopes of a dying civilization – CONNECT by Kenneth Burstall
14. Fleeing with the last remnants of the Oshen race, Indigo has only one chance to ensure his people are never forgotten – INDIGO’S GAMBIT by Adam Israel
15. When his pampered world loses the technology it depends on, extinction looms faster than lonely survivor Levo could ever expect – BLOOD FRUIT by Shona Snowden
16. When a new bio-weapon in the wars on drugs and terror gets out of control, can the supplier really be held responsible? – A THORNY DILEMMA by Rory Steves
17. Capturing mammoths was all in a day’s work for Deke. The saber-tooth cat, though, was going to require something bigger than an elephant gun – INVOICE H10901: 3 WOOLY MAMMOTHS by Robert J. Sullivan
18. After George makes a momentous discovery, the distractions start piling up. His wife cooks up a surprise to remind him love is always worth sacrificing for – DISTRACTIONS by Peter Dudley