A day or two ago, I received an email about a writing contest. The deadline is February 15. (OOPS! Realized after I posted this that it's March 15!) Although this is the first time I remember noticing the announcement, I must have already received the information a number of times. I went ahead and did what I usually do with contest info: deleted it.
Then I surprised myself and did a double take. I went to my deleted emails (which I permanently delete about once a week) and retrieved it. I zipped to the contest site, prayed for a second, and decided to enter. My only hurdle was cutting my short story from 1550 words to 1000 (absolutely NO more or entry disqualified).
Yes, I had a short story handy, one I've dangled around for awhile now. A few years ago, I submitted it to a contest and won second place, a $200 prize. But I decided not to accept the prize nor the accompanying publication. Something in me wouldn't release my story.
A year later, a literary journal offered to publish my story. I'd forgotten I'd submitted it to them at a writers conference. They would have paid $150, but again I declined because something in me wouldn't release my story. And that happened a few more times.
What's my story?
It's titled "The River Scroll." And if you've read my novels, you're probably guessing correctly. Yes, it's adapted from my trilogy. The first part of the story (1896) is from Hungry River, the second part (1966) from Dragon Wall, and the third part (2006) from Jade Cross.
How about that? A short story spanning three centuries in 1000 words!
It begins: Beneath the
sleeping village of Fengshan rushed the Great Long River, its dark waters
glowing like oiled mahogany. Here and there among turbulent swirls, huge foam
shapes appeared for a moment, then disappeared. They
look like ghostly temple gods, Mei-lee thought, peering down at the River as
she staggered along on her painful bound feet, clutching her newborn infant.
If I'm blessed to be a winner and offered publication, maybe this time something in me will release my story. It's almost time. . . Jade Cross will be ready for release this year, too.
PS: I hope someone reads this far and is curious enough to ask me the short story contest's site!