Wednesday 16th January 2019

Allow me to tell you a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin…

I will always celebrate the anniversary of Wednesday 16th January 2019. An auspicious day for me.


Well, bear in mind I am a newbie writer who spent the whole of 2018 learning how to write a short story that was finally well-received by Beta Readers. A year previously, my first group of readers rightly panned it. They liked the ideas, but I still had so much to learn about the craft of writing.

Keep that in mind while I tell you that early in the afternoon on said Wednesday, I saw a writing prompt photo in a Facebook Group. Normally I ignore these as my strategy is to write stories for my own series only (‘The Metaverse’). But this photo featured the face of a supermodel with magnetic eyes which strongly reminded me of the day I met and instantly fell in love with my wife over 40 years ago. As Sicilians would say, I was ‘struck by lightning’.

I could not resist. I literally & actually 'threw together' a 500 word contemporary boy-meets-girl 'instant-love' story entitled 'Sabra' based on three key events in our courtship. As the model had a Middle Eastern appearance and the sky behind her was a strong light-blue, I set this story near the pyramid of Cheops and chose an Egyptian name for the girl. Well, why not?

I posted the story under the prompt and it seemed to get a good reaction from members. Suitably encouraged, I shared it with a friend ("hey, look what I just did!"). Jessica had been one of my enthusiastic second group of Beta Readers and also happens to be a magazine editor. She loved it, but said she could not consider it because her magazine only accepts submissions in a SciFi/Fantasy genre.

Taking that as a challenge, I changed the setting to an imagined tourist attraction on Mars. I spent hardly any time doing so, and I did not take it at all seriously. Now, I know you will not believe this next part, but I swear that I only shared this tweaked version with Jessica as a joke - a 'see what you made me do?' sort of riposte. There was surely no merit in these tweaks; I had spent so little thought and effort on adapting the story, it could not be worth much consideration. So you can imagine my utter amazement when, a few minutes later, she accepted 'Sabra' for the March 2019 edition of Nebula Tales Magazine.

That evening, I got a little tipsy with one cherry brandy and the last After Eight chocolate in the Christmas box. Yes, us old 'uns know how to party! Why did I lose control? Because, in a single afternoon …

  • I had written only the second story of my new career,

  • (and the first outside my series 'The Metaverse'),

  • I made my first magazine submission (albeit by accident),

  • received my very first rejection, and

  • received my very first acceptance!

It was a roller coaster of a day, and one I will never fail to celebrate in my remaining years.

In other news…

My story ‘Sabra’ was accepted for the March 2019 edition of Nebula Tales magazine.

Nebula Tales is sold through Amazon:

For more information about the magazine, see their Facebook page.