Thursday, January 3, 2013

Off To A Good Start

By Michael Seese

In a previous column or perhaps even two, I expressed optimism that good things were just around the corner. On a micro level, I was correct: I learned that a short story or poem would be published. But the "big" victory -- getting an agent, and then getting published -- didn't materialize. It still hasn't but...

In my last post, I mentioned that I entered another of agent Janet Reid's 100-word flash fiction contests. My entry was titled "A Lifetime Ago."

And I won!

What I won is a copy of Ratlines by Stuart Neville.

Ireland 1963. As the Irish people prepare to welcome President John F. Kennedy to the land of his ancestors, a German national is murdered in a seaside guesthouse. Lieutenant Albert Ryan, Directorate of Intelligence, is ordered to investigate. The German is the third foreigner to die within a few days, and Minister for Justice Charles Haughey wants the killing to end lest a shameful secret be exposed: the dead men were all Nazis granted asylum by the Irish government in the years following World War II. A note from the killers is found on the dead German's corpse, addressed to Colonel Otto Skorzeny, Hitler's favorite commando, once called the most dangerous man in Europe. The note simply says: "We are coming for you." As Albert Ryan digs deeper into the case he discovers a network of former Nazis and collaborators

That is wonderful, of course. And I look forward to reading it. But, more thrilling to me were some of the comments posted by Janet's followers in response to the blog which named the seven finalists. 

- "They're all good, but the last one [that was mine] just knocks it out of the park."
- "The last one. Yes. Can we vote? But I guess I already did."
- "Excellent! Michael's was my choice too. :) Congratulations, Michael. Well deserved."

Even Janet herself added a comment to the previous blog post.

I wrote back to say I was humbled by their kind words.

And how did we celebrate? We had dinner, gave the kids baths, watched Cars 2 with them, and then we finished The Dark Knight Rises.

We know how to live!

So, perhaps this is the first step toward the "big victory." Of course, I have now jinxed myself. But nonetheless, let's keep hoping for good things in this space.


  1. Too many aspiring writers, in their effort to reflect reality, write in a very linear fashion. A happens, and then B, which triggers C, followed by D and E... you get the picture. And it's not a very exciting one, is it? Even dressed up in well-pressed metaphors and carefully combed imagery, there's no compelling reason to read on. There's no endgame. It's like taking a bus simply for the sake of taking a bus. Why would I do that? I want to know where I'm going -- not the specifics, of course, since I'll see those when I get there -- but I want to know that eventually I'll end up somewhere worthwhile. And then, only then, can I sit back and enjoy the ride.

    Your quick-fic grabbed me by the collar and said, "Hey, reader! Yeah, you! A, B, and C happened... which eventually culminated in Z!" With that enticement, do I, the reader, want to hear about D through Y? Hell, yeah. You've just told me you're taking me somewhere worthwhile, so I know the journey there's gonna be awesome.

    --Allie, the first commenter you quoted, expanding on "knocked it out of the park"

    P.S. Your style reminds me of Robert Crais. If you've never read any of his stuff, he's a master at hooking the reader. Start with LA Requiem, and go from there. Good luck :-)

    1. I had to read your bit about A, B, C a few times to "get" what you meant. But I think I do.

      Thanks for the "knocked it out of the park" comment.

      I'll look up the author you suggest.

  2. Replies
    1. Yay! So perhaps you should try the next one..

  3. Congratulations!!! I'm sure it's just the start of many good things this year!