Filtering by Tag: FICTION
About two years ago, I wrote a short story called “Spike.” It’s about a male porn star named Tripp Towers who has an erection that won’t go away. I’ve read it at multiple literary readings, and it always goes over very well. Yet, I have been unable to publish it. Here are a sampling of some of those rejections.
Thank you for sending us "Spikes” [sic]. We appreciate the chance to read it. Unfortunately, this one isn't a match for us. That said, it is strong, interesting piece and I both wish you luck with it and encourage you to submit again.
Thanks so much for submitting to [redacted], we really appreciate your taking the time to send us your work. Unfortunately this piece isn't quite right for us, but I hope you'll consider sending us more work in the future, if you'd like to.
Thank you for your submission. We are honored that you considered our journal as a potential home for your writing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite fit for us. Best of luck placing this elsewhere. We hope you will continue to support our journal in the future.
Dear Susannah Breslin
Thank you for sending Spike our way. This one didn’t quite feel like a match for us, so we’re going to pass this time, but we enjoyed the read. I do hope Tripp’s ok!
Best of luck with this
Thank you for sharing "Spike" with me. I enjoyed reading your work. Unfortunately, it is not right for [redacted].
I'd be happy to read more of your writing in the future—even though "Spike" won't work for [redacted], it's still well done.
Best of luck with your writing,
Dear Susannah Breslin:
Thank you for submitting your text. Unfortunately we will not be able to publish your submission in the [redacted] issue of [redacted] at this time. Nevertheless we encourage you to submit texts for future issues of [redacted] and are grateful for your support.
Thank you again for your submission.
Dear Susannah Breslin,
Thank you for sending us "Spike" and I apologize for the unconscionably long time spent in responding to a piece you so generously sent our way. Unfortunately it is not a fit for us at this time, but we appreciate you sending it our way.
Thanks again for sharing your work. Best of luck with this.
Dear Susannah Breslin,
Thank you for sending us your flash fiction story, "Spike". We appreciate the chance to consider it. Unfortunately, we're overwhelmed with submissions at the moment, and we've held onto this one longer than we should have, so we're regretfully declining it to give you a chance to try it elsewhere.
Apologies for the length of time we've held onto this story — this is our loss for not getting to your story more quickly. Best of luck placing your story elsewhere.
Thank you for sending us "Spike." While we appreciate the chance to read your story, I'm afraid it isn't a good fit for [redacted] this time. Thanks again for trusting us with your work. As writers ourselves, we know it's no small thing.
Thank you so much for sending "Spike" and letting me read it. Unfortunately, it's not quite right for us, but I would be glad to see more work from you in the future. In the meantime, best of luck in placing "Spike" elsewhere.
Dear Susannah Breslin,
Thank you for sending us "Spike" for consideration in [redacted]. While we enjoyed reading your work, I’m sorry to say it isn’t a good fit for us at this time. It is clear you are a talented writer, and your story stood out from the group. However, we receive so many submissions that, in the end, we have to reject a lot of excellent pieces.
As writers ourselves, our editors know that the process of sending out work can be a long one. We are grateful that you chose to share your writing with us; your piece was read with great admiration and care. We wish you the best of luck with it, and we hope that you will keep us in mind for future submissions. Please do consider sending us more.
Thank you for your submission of "Spike" to [redacted]. We gave the story careful consideration, and though we are not accepting it for publication, we hope you find a better fit for it elsewhere.
Thanks again for trusting us with your work, and thank you for reading [redacted].
All the best,
We appreciate the chance to consider "Spike" but regret we were unable to find a place for it in the magazine.
With thanks and best wishes,
Get a copy of my acclaimed story, “The Tumor” … “a masterpiece of short fiction.”
Yesterday, I read about The Most Dangerous Writing App on Kottke, and I decided to give it a try. Basically, you have to start writing and not stop for a set period of time, or your prose will disappear. I used the default setting of five minutes and created a work of flash fiction. Bear in mind, you can’t really edit, so I didn’t make any changes after I’d finished. Also, if you try it, don’t forget to download your work at the end. My story is called “Alice and Mr. Fantastico.”
this is the first time i've seen this place from this distance, fantastico said, his hands stuffed into his pockets. alice said nothing, just stood there, facing the sun, feeling blue. they had been married for 17 years, 12 months, 6 days, 5 hours, and 13 minutes at that moment. he had set the marriage clock the second they'd exchanged rings, and every anniversary, they'd look at it together, admiring the steady swing of the arms around the face. for a moment, fantastico hesitated, then he stepped forward. hoping she wouldn't mind, he wrapped his arms around alice from the back, as if he was her personal straightjacket and squeezed. instead of leaning back into him, as he'd hoped, his wife turned rigid, bracing at his embrace. from the front of her head, she made a small noise, something muffled and gutteral that suggested unhappiness and a desire to file for divorce. beyond them, there was the great land: the rolling hills, the dramatic ravines, the orange-scorched sky. between them, there was no physical space, only the grim concrete of alice's waning interest in fantastico. alice sensed fantastico sensing her interest in disincohabitating. for a moment, she felt guilty. then she imagined the guilt was small bits of dust on the floor, and her newfound attitude was the broom sweeping them across the porch. it was very hard to know what to do sometimes, alice considered. now, of course, wasn't one of those times. this was a time to rejoice. soon, she would never see fantastico again. her life would be hers, and the land would be something into which she could run, never to return.
Buy my digital short, “The Tumor.” It’s been called “a masterpiece of short fiction.”
Over the last year, as the Lawrence Grauman Jr. Post-graduate Fellow at the Investigative Reporting Program at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, I had the opportunity to mentor graduate students in journalism. What question did they ask me most often?
How do you make a living?
For me, the answer was simple. I wasn’t precious about writing. I do one thing well, and nothing else well: I am a very, very good writer. One could say writing is my superpower. Writing is the tool I use to make money. How I use that tool is up to me. There is no one correct way to use the tool. There is you, and the tool, and how you use the tool is your business.
At this point, I’ve been a writer for over two decades. Which is a pretty long time to make a living at something. Along the way, I’ve been many things, but all of them involve writing. I’ve been an investigative journalist, a copywriter, a TV producer, a branding consultant, a publicist, and a speaker, to name a few.
While I know that I can write and well, I have a sort of shrugging attitude as to how I’ve applied that talent.
In 2010, a communications company hired me to be the voice of Pepto-Bismol on Facebook. If you’re not aware, Pepto on social media is a personality. P&G was unhappy with what this company had done to give Pepto a persona. It was up to me to provide that. So, I did. One of the most popular posts I wrote featured the caption: “I partied so hard my cup fell off.” The photo featured Pepto with its cup next to it.
In 2009, I wrote and published a 10,000-word investigation of the Great Recession’s impact on the adult movie industry: “They Shoot Porn Stars, Don’t They?” Slate included it in their "Seven Great Stories About Paying for Sex and Being Paid to Have It,” and Longform called it “unflinching and devastating.” Subsequently, an essay I wrote about the project, "The Numbers On Self-Publishing Long-Form Journalism," was taught in “Media, Politics & Power in the Digital Age” at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Studio 20 program at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University.
In 2008, I was an editor for a Time Warner-owned digital vertical for 18-to-34-year-old women. During that tenure, I wrote nearly 1,400 posts, oversaw a team of freelance contributors, and directed the site’s digital outreach program, helping grow the site’s traffic from startup to 4 million unique visitors and 22 million page views a month.
So, who am I? A copywriter? An investigative journalist? An editor? Pretending to be Pepto made $100 an hour and earned me thousands of dollars every month. The porn investigation I published “made” no money but was read by thousands and thousands of people and, according to one reader, “changed the way I think about the business of making pornography.” As an editor, I made over $80,000 a year and learned slideshows are the easiest way to maximize page views. I’ve also developed TV shows, consulted on films, and worked as a branding consultant and a publicist. Was one job better than the other? Was one a waste of my time? Was one meaningful and the rest not? Does it matter? To me, it’s all the same. I’m a writer.
Awhile back, I published a digital short story: “The Tumor.” I had it professionally designed and edited. Every month, people buy copies of it on Gumroad, where consumers can pay they want ($1+) for it. It might be a bizarre fiction inspired by reality and populated by a monster, but it’s also unequivocally mine.
To young journalists, I want to say: Do whatever you want—as long as its yours.
Buy my digital short story, “The Tumor” … “a masterpiece of short fiction.”
Help celebrate my seven years of being cancer-free and Gumroad’s eighth birthday, aka #GumroadDay, by buying a copy of THE TUMOR, my surreal short story about marriage, malignancies, and monsters. If you’re thinking about self-publishing, I highly recommend Gumroad. Very easy to use and sell your products!
From “The Tumor”:
“My original idea was that we take her out in the yard, and that I, an expert marksman, shoot her in the breast at the site to which she had pointed, thereby destroying the tumor. My wife remained silent but shook her head vigorously. Apparently she did not agree with this unorthodox approach that I felt would provide her with the most expedient remedy.”
I'm happy to report that Ghost Town Literary Magazine has published two short stories from my PORN VALLEY STORIES collection: "God Hates Porn/Porn Hates God" and "Praying for Kali." In the former, a porn fan seeks redemption. In the latter, a porn star prays for reincarnation. Finding homes for these stories isn't easy. They're often rejected, due to their content, despite the fact that they're literary, not salacious. Thanks to Chad Sweeney for having the balls to publish them.
"GOD HATES PORN, the sign read. A late Nineties Toyota Corolla sped past, honking its horn, and Mortimer Wisconsin spun his sign around, hoping the driver would see the other side. PORN HATES GOD, the other side of the sign read. Mortimer pumped his sign up and down in the air. "
Buy "The Tumor"! It's a terrifying short story and "a masterpiece of short fiction."
A year ago, she found her niche: masturbators. The name sounded like something for which you should spend your Sunday mornings confessing, but in fact it was just her and four other girls in the far corner of the warehouse bent over a never-ending supply of thermoplastic rubber that had been molded to resemble the vaginas and assholes and entire rear ends of famous porn stars.
Buy a copy of my digital short story "The Tumor" -- it's been called "a masterpiece."
I'm happy to report that a short story I wrote will appear in an upcoming issue of a literary magazine. I'll announce which magazine as publication nears. The story is called "The Flesh Eaters," and it's about a woman who works in a San Fernando Valley factory, where she makes sex toys. The story is one in a short story collection-in-progress called Porn Valley Stories. All of the stories are set in and around the adult industry. This will be the first one to be published. If you're an editor interested in seeing another story for consideration, email me: susannahbreslin @ gmail.
My controversial digital short story "The Tumor" has been called "a masterpiece." Buy it today!
If you're interested in hearing me read a short story about a male porn star who has a problem with his penis, I'm reading in the Roar Shack series at 826LA in the Echo Park neighborhood of LA on March 11. The reading starts at 4PM. This story is from a collection of short stories I'm working on that all take place in and around the adult industry in the San Fernando Valley.
Roar Shack Reading Series presents "The Way Up" on Sunday, March 11 2018 at 826LA in Echo Park! Join us as we welcome a superlative lineup of lit talent: Wendy Labinger, Dig Wayne, Poetic Nubia, Emanuel Bergmann, Susannah Breslin and Erica Garza! All this plus the world famous Live Write. You don't want to be left out, do you? I mean, didn't we all get enough of that in high school?
Buy a copy of my digital short story "The Tumor"! It's been called "a masterpiece."
On March 11, I'll be reading at 826LA. Details to be announced. This is the second reading I've done since moving back to LA last fall. I've been reading a series of short stories that I've been writing, which are based in the San Fernando Valley, where I live, and focus on the adult industry and those who work in it. At the last reading, I read a story about a woman who makes silicone vaginas for a living. At this one, I'll be reading a story about a day in the life of a male porn star.
Buy a copy of my digital short story "The Tumor"! It's been called "a masterpiece."
The future world I'm foretelling in my novel-in-progress is coming true. Meet deepfakes, if you haven't already. Videos of female celebrities' faces transposed onto the moving bodies of porn stars in homemade, app-enabled content clips. Truly. Fucking. Bizarre. Sometimes it's the lack of the Frankenstein quality that's what's freaky. Sometimes it's the disconcerting placement of an ill-placed face not seamless situated across another's body. As my novel wonders, speculatively: What does this mish-mash do to the entities from which they were taken? When your expression, your limbs, your breath is combined with another's, will it change you?
I'm reading one of my short stories this evening at Vermin on the Mount in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Come see me and others tonight!
Hello Susannah Breslin,
Thank you for considering [redacted] as a place for your work. Having read and discussed your piece "[redacted]," our readers regrettably do not feel this submission is right for [redacted] at this time.
I want to wish you the best of luck on placing this elsewhere. Please submit your work to us in the future, we'd like to see more from you. We never consider past submissions in our judgement.
I would also like to state the immense amount of submissions we receive. To get to the number of pieces we ultimately publish, we must read hundreds of submissions. Of these, we often find 100 or so are very, very well done. We would be proud to take any of these and publish them, yet even here, we must whittle this number to less than 40%. Please, never take rejection personally, at this level it becomes very subjective.
Thank you for your time and readership.
Looking for a last-minute gift for you, that special someone, or those special someones?
My self-published short story, "The Tumor," is the hilarious, curious tale of what happens when bodies go wild.
Ordering this e-story online for you or yours is super easy. (For a short explainer on how to give a gift on Gumroad, click here.)
As for the price, it's Pay What You Want.
Questions? Email me.
"I applaud taking on the porn industry and sickos who exploit women at a level pretty much even with human sex trafficking. It's a nice tale of comeuppance. However, it is mostly just a graphic vignette that doesn't represent what our readers are expecting as they read over their lunch or coffee break. We aren't squeamish about profane content, but when the entire scene is essentially X-rated we don't feel that is a fir for our particular publication."
Here's an excerpt from my novel-in-progress: PORNOPOLIS. In this work of speculative fiction, a superbug has caused all vice industries to be constrained to Las Vegas, which has become a kind of industrial sin city and is divided into seven sections, for reasons you can figure. The main character is Suzanne Flesh, a reporter who works for a newspaper run by a military general. She has a drone for a BFF, connections in the subterranean world in which the real horrors dwell under the city, and in this scene visits Pornopolis, the part of the city devoted to manufacturing all things adult, where she meets one Mr. Offal, its dazzling kingpin.
Seen from the sky, the city was laid out in a circle. At the center, the tourist area held a roughly round shape. Fanning out in segments from there were the city’s seven districts, each focusing on a particular specialty--guns and weapons, food and alcohol, beauty and health, prisons and the judicial system, shadow banks and the stock exchange, the government seat, and the sex work and pornography business.
By mid-morning, Suzanne stood at the gates to the fifth section. The sign overhead read: PORNOPOLIS. It had been years since she’d been here. For the most part, the stories that she focused on took place in the metropolitan area downtown. The serial killer hunting prostitutes. The former journalist decapitating editors. The disgraced CFO with a penchant for robbing billionaires and whales.
A series of sound stages were contained in a massive structure with a curved roof, a former airplane hangar functioning as a manufacturing plant. There were no trees. Someone had killed them.
In the waiting room, she tried to focus on the messages from the General pinging her phone, but the framed images on the wall kept drawing her attention, the faces in them rearranging their features and expressions.
“Mr. Offal will see you now.”
From behind his massive desk, Offal smiled, a flash of brilliant white teeth against brown leathery skin.
“You know you’re always welcome on my sets,” Offal purred.
“Looks like business is booming.”
Offal chuckled smugly. “Boo-ming. China. Huge. Huge market. Developing countries. Exploding. Can’t get enough. Tell you a secret. Vatican City. Great customer. Terrific customer. Can’t say what they’re buying. Their appetite for it, I can tell you, is unholy. Africa. Big big market just now opening up. Very very into albinism. Albino girls very big right now. In Somalia. That’s the secret. Everybody has a niche. Every stomach wants a particular kind of meal. I find out their appetites. I supply it. The feeding trough for the masses' basest desires. That’s me. I’m the chef. I stir things up. That’s what I do. Before your time, the Daily called me 'the P. T. Barnum of smut.' Can you believe that. Very proud. Framed that. On the wall behind me. Without the technology, it goes without saying, I’m nothing.”
She’d spent the morning studying Offal’s file. A boy genius, he’d hacked into the World Bank at eleven and been recruited by the shadow banks not long after that. He didn’t have time to play chess. He was too busy playing checkers with hedge fund managers' heads, distracting them while he picked their pockets with spybugs and black drives. He was married to a profoundly surgically enhanced Ukrainian former pageant queen named Aleksandra. Rumor had it, he was one of the richest men in the city. He’d figured out how to turn a profit on chronic masturbators. He was at the gym every morning by five and drove an armored X-Hov to work. According to the dominatrix she had coffee with and whom he visited every Friday afternoon, Offal liked to be spanked as punishment for wetting adult diapers, the privilege for which he paid her $33,000 an hour. Suzanne had complimented the dom on her shoes and rued, briefly, the career path she should have taken.
“Dolores!” A comely blonde in an OFFAL INC T-shirt appeared. “Take Suzanne wherever she wants to go. My world is yours, Suzanne. Consider yourself my esteemed guest. Make sure to stop by the cafeteria. They do an amazing lobster bisque with truffle oil and capers.”
She followed the blonde to the stages.
Last weekend, I went to a literary reading in Highland Park. It was held at a curious bookstore with all kinds of curious books and curios, and the event was hosted by a guy I know, although I hadn't seen him in over a dozen years. It ended up being a bit crowded, and the guy I knew who was hosting it didn't recognize me, and I had gone by myself, so I ended up sitting in a chair and just sort of observing, which was fine. The reading started, and it was fun. The first woman sang before she read, in Spanish, which was lovely, and the lights were dim, and there were books all around. As it turned out, one of the readers was named Ben Loory, who has a new collection of short stories out called Tales of Falling and Flying. Loory's writing is itself a bit curious; how can I describe it? Like a child's story on crack? Maybe. In any case, I hadn't read anything by Loory -- TBH, I don't think I'd heard of him before -- and he read a story called "The Writer," which dazzled me. It's moving and sad and beautiful and inspiring. It has lines it it like: "Late that night, the man broke into the writer's room, and stood over his bed in the dark." I was so taken by this fiction that I bought a copy of his book and despite the fact that it made me feel sort of silly, I asked Loory to sign it, which he did, writing: "To Susannah! Amazing! Enjoy!" Then I went home. For the following weekend, I'd made plans to go to another reading. This one more in LA proper. This time going with a friend. This one in a nightclub, which was sort of an odd venue for a literary reading, as it was very cold, and rather dark, and people filled the floor of the club to stare at the stage, and it kind of looked like the literary version of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." When I'd decided to go, I hadn't really registered who was reading, and the day of the event or maybe the day before I noticed that Loory was reading at this reading, too. This struck me as kind of odd. I told my friend about this fact as we ate dinner beforehand. Maybe Loory would think I was some kind of groupie, following him from reading to reading. Regardless, we went, and eventually we were standing in this cold, dark room listening to various people of dubious talent read stories of little interest to me, until, of course, Loory took the stage. Ah, but, see, I'm sorry. I've forgotten part of the story. While my friend and I were standing there -- "I'm scared of literary types," some guy in the crowd sneered, as we waited -- a woman was wandering around the club and handing out large homemade signs with people's names scrawled on them in pen markers of various colors. I watched as she handed a sign to a woman leaning against a column. The sign read "JESSICA." At some point, the woman appeared in front of me, holding a sign, and she asked me, would I hold this sign up while the person who has this name is reading? Sure, I said. About a month previous, a friend of mine told me say yes to everything, and I have been trying to do that. So I said yes, and she handed me the sign, and I looked at the sign, which, to be clear, in case there is any confusion, I didn't make, and the sign said "BEN" in big letters, and someone had gone through the painstaking task of filling the big B with dots, and there were several hearts floating around -- below the B, above the E, under the N -- and in two of the corners there were stickers in the shape of green glitter covered arrows, like shooting stars, like you were going somewhere. Christ, I thought. Now I am really going to look like a groupie. There is that six-one woman in the back of the club holding up the giant handmade sign while Loory reads on the stage. Regardless, a woman came to the stage to read and stated that she couldn't see anyone in the audience, due to the lighting, I presume, so I figured that while I had considered, you know, hiding the sign, or not holding it up, I might as well do it, and Loory would never know. Finally, about halfway through the reading, Loory took the stage. This time, he read a story called "Fernando." It's about a man who forgets his name and what happens to you when you lose your identity and must go to war to get it. It has lines in it like: "Fernando is my name! the angry man screams." When Loory took the stage, I did as I had been instructed: I held the sign in the air. I waved it a little. Then I listened to the story, and I started laughing, quietly, because the entire thing was so great: I was out in LA, I was in this place, I was listening to someone read a story about what it takes to find yourself, even when you are there all the time, hiding within you. After Loory was done, my friend and I consulted one another. Should we stay or should we go? It isn't going to get any better than this, I told her. So we left, and I took the sign with me. I held it while we walked through the bustling dark night of the city. And then I went home.
Next March, I'll be reading as part of the Roar Shack reading series in LA. I'll have more information about that event closer to the date. I'll be reading a short story -- fiction -- about a male porn star who has a problem with his performance tool.
The MacDowell Colony
We regret that we are not able to offer you a residency during this coming Summer 2017 period. Your work was appreciated by the admissions panel members, but the number of excellent applications has grown as has the competition for residencies.
We hope that this news will not discourage you from applying to the Colony again after two years’ time.
In the meantime, we send you our best wishes.