A number of years ago, I got invited to participate in a four-woman anthology called Sins of the Sirens. The other women on the invitation list were Mehitobel Wilson, Maria Alexander, and Christa Faust: all of whom were acclaimed as horror writers. All I was known for, if anything, was publishing Morbid Curiosity magazine. Still, when the editor of Sirens took me out for a beer at a convention to pitch the project, he told me that he wanted to build the book around one of my stories. An unpublished story.
See, John Everson used to be the slush reader at a horror magazine called Dark Regions. I’d submitted a story to them. He loved it, passed it up the line…and the other readers rejected it. He fished it out of the rejection pile and asked them to reconsider. In the end, majority ruled.
When we met at a convention several years later, he asked if I’d ever published that story he had loved so much. In fact, I’d stopped sending it out. It was an odd length and I was busily building a novel around it. I planned to send it out again when the novel found a home. (That novel is As Above, So Below, which came out in January.)
Every time we ran into each other, John asked if “his” story had been published. When I’d stopped working on it and moved on to other things, he took matters into his own hands and published it himself.
I feel incredibly lucky: that John is such a nice guy, that he was working for Dark Regions and saw my story, that it stuck in his mind, that he wanted to start a press, that he showcased my work. I feel especially lucky that the royalties for the anthology have been so good and that it sold out its initial printing.
The luck wouldn’t have happened, though, if I hadn’t worked hard to polish the story in the first place. When John asked if I had three other stories he could include in the book, I had some ready to go. I had done as much work as I could to be prepared when luck stepped into my path.
How do you prepare for good luck to strike?