Well, I just submitted something to the New Yorker for the first time. Despite the glamorously low success rate for first-time authors, hopes are high.
At the risk of jeopardizing what little hopes I do have, here is a short selection from my short fiction piece, Bloody Gerald, submitted in this first day of Spring.
Welcome to my Celtic Folklore Blog. Each month I’ll be giving some information on the creatures that populated the Celtic imagination in previous centuries. The short stories in the Blue Men, Green Women Series are designed bring these creatures to life. Here, I’ll just be giving basic information about them and some internet links.
This month’s entry is on the Blue Men of the Minch, which so happens to be the title story for the first book in the Blue Men, Green Women series!
The Blue Men of the Minch – also called Storm Kelpies – are a race of blue sea-men thought to live in the waters of the Minch, which runs between the Inner and the Outer Hebrides. In particular they were thought to dwell in the little strait between Lewis and the Shiant (Enchanted) Isles which are an uninhabited group, off-shore from Lewis. They were believed to cause shipwrecks in that dangerous stretch of water which is the location of a strong current. There’s links to an old map of the area up here, or check the ever-reliable streetmap.uk for the Ordinance Survey map.
I've been dealing with submission requirements a lot lately, and have noticed a three-tier hierarchy. First, there are the breezy dismissals of the Penguins and the Harper Collinses, who are always confident that they will get their hands one the next Literary Sensation and don't need to worry about the slush-piles of the developing world:
When I was a child in my tweens, I discovered the joys of punk rock (Irish band Still Little Fingers, in particular), but was still very much a child in a magical state. I remember writing the early sections of a story about some Irish teenagers that were punkish, but also, still at high school, and engaged in portal fantasy. They traveled to a place modeled on Garner's Elidor. My sister thought this was the funniest thing she had ever heard, at the time.
Now I'm 52. For the last 40 years, I have been imagining a type of fantasy / nonsense that somehow manages to combine subculture stereotypes (bikies, punks, skinheads), with a fantasy or folklore approach. I have recently been clearing out old hard drives and found this unfinished gem. I cannot even recall when I wrote it, but it was found in a folder called 'Billy the Toughest Punk Ever', which is the name of a child's book I have had in mind for about a decade now.
I've made this website today, and the first post is a christening.
The journal will contain publication news, writing samples, photographs, and personal musings. Choose your category from the menu to the right. Updated weekly.
Steve McKenzie, last day of June, 2022.