Everyone’s always asking what is up with the unicorns. There’s an anecdote behind all the unicorn goodness that goes on over on my FB page, and even in my fiction. It goes a little something like this:
Years ago I was actively submitting short fiction to professional science fiction and fantasy magazines. For the most part, I had finally graduated past generic form rejection letters and found myself consistently getting personalized rejections with private notes from editors asking me to send more. It was frustrating knowing just how close I was to getting into the professional short fiction market. The exception to this was Realms of Fantasy. I had never made it past the form letter reject from RoF.
After receiving one such frustrating form rejection letter on a Saturday, I called my sister to complain about it. It was during that conversation that I said, “What the fuck do these people want? Stories about fucking unicorns?”
My sister laughed, but I was upset and dead set and determined to be a smart ass. After hanging up with her, I jumped on the computer and penned a 1500 word (approx) story about unicorns called Faith in Unicorns. I set it aside, went over it Sunday and gave it a quick edit, and emailed it to the magazine on Monday morning. (At least I think it was email. I think by then snail mail was going to the wayside.)
Months passed. Nothing. Finally – I wrote the slush pile editor only to receive a response that yes — Faith in Unicorns had actually made it OUT OF THE SLUSH PILE and into the hands of the acquiring editor. The Big Kahuna. I waited a few more months. Finally – I got a response from the editor thanking me for the story, but saying that she had bought as much fiction as she needed for the last issues of the magazine. She assured me that had there been more spaces, Faith in Unicorns surely would have made it into the magazine’s pages.
I was right. They really DID want unicorn stories. How could I have been so wrong for so many years? That night after receiving the ultimate rejection, I submitted Faith In Unicorns to a semi-professional market that I thought would like the story. Sure as shit – the story sold in 24 hours.
Ever since then, friends have gotten me little unicorn trinkets and stamps as a joke, because if you knew me — you would know that unicorns were never really my thing. I’m just not pink, frilly, sweet, cheerful, five-years-old, or what you might imagine people who like unicorns to be.
Carrying on the mockery of my successful foray into the unicorn market, I titled a collection of my short fiction, “The Unicorns War Softly” because — why not? Seriously? Why not?
Then I got a review of the collection where the reader complained that she was disappointed in the collection’s lack of unicorns. Despite the description of the book, she assumed it was all about unicorns and went on to say there wasn’t a single unicorn in the book.
Well – no – except for the ENTIRE STORY called FAITH IN UNICORNS, which was ALL ABOUT… wait for it…. UNICORNS!!!!!
So now my friends and I mock unicorns and the lack of them in my work, and I am really writing a book that is all about unicorns that doesn’t have a single unicorn in it. Any bets it will be the book that makes me famous? Because seriously — that’s how this shit rolls with me.
Now you know all about my relationship with unicorns. May the Unicorn be with you.