It was a dark and stormy night…. Well, it was a sunny afternoon, actually. I was browsing through publishers’ listings for a short story I wanted to sell. That’s when I saw a call for original, but previously published, fairy tales. Not what I was looking for, but I’d published one such story in 2007 in Tales of the Talisman — a periodical still in print, by the way. If memory serves, I was paid $15 for it and was thrilled. Early in my writing days, I was happy to receive a free copy as payment from the publication in which my work appeared. Of course, I spent the $15 ,and more, for additional copies of the magazine. Like most writers, I was never in danger of making a profit. Still, I was happy when Tales of the Talisman arrived and Grimahlka, (Grim-all’-ka) was in print.
That Digital Fiction Publications was seeking previously published stories was an opportunity I couldn’t ignore. I submitted the manuscript and waited. When a contract landed in my email, I noticed I was to be paid through my PayPal account. Unfortunately, not only did I lack a PayPal account, but I didn’t want one. I wrote to ask if a check would be possible. The answer was “No” and the contract withdrawn.
A writer faces many disappointments in life so I moved on. Grimahlka, my fictional witch, however, refused to do the same. “I want to be free. I want to be free,” she kept insisting.
How was I do that, I wondered and kept typing.
“Give me away, you ulcerous toad.”
“Hmm. Well, why not?” That was better than arguing with a voice in my head.
The publisher, curious about my offer, wrote back. “Why don’t you want to use PayPal?”
“Because I’m nearly 80,” I moaned. “Because I don’t need another account. Because I don’t want another password. Please. Take Grimahlka. She’s driving me crazy.”
The publisher responded. “My mother is 80. I understand. I’ll send a check.”
The episode taught me a little magic is still possible in the world, or should I call it empathy? Either way, Grimahlka lives and thanks to an understanding publisher, I’ll be a tad bit richer. I’m also happy to announce Grimahlka has been selected for a small volume of print fairy tales and so will be reborn a third time.
If you believe in witches, click here. (Click) I love happy endings.
(Originally published, 9/30/16)