My First Short Story Sale

Blogging is brand new to me, so I’ll begin by describing another first—one with a surprise ending. A few years ago I sent a short story to Fanfares, a Canadian publication of the Stratford Festival of Canada, who had scheduled a play about Oscar Wilde for that season. They don’t print fiction, but I did get a review—and what a review it was!

“…One recent submission was slim and charming enough to slip under the razor wire of Miss Fanfare’s vigilance. Sent by reader Eve D. Crook of…Arizona, it proved to be…a short story: a whimsical parody of Wilde’s celebrated novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, in which, it will be remembered, a wicked young man lives free from the ravages of time and debauchery, his youth and beauty magically preserved by a portrait that ages in his stead.

“In Ms. Crook’s pleasing pastiche, entitled The Picture of DoriAnne Gray, this famous conceit finds its modern-day parallel in the photo-manipulation software now commonly available for home computers. DoriAnne, a matron not so far into her prime that rebellious hell cannot still mutine in her bones, causes to be erased from her digitized photograph all lines, sags and other toothmarks of cormorant devouring Time, whereupon her physical body begins to assimilate itself to its digitally enhanced simulacrum. The results are, on the one hand, greatly enhanced marital relations and, on the other, a moment of blind panic when, as astute readers will already have predicted, the hard drive crashes. Miss Fanfares thanks Ms. Crook for brightening her day with this ingenious little fable, and congratulates her on her shrewd grasp of the Zeitgeist of the cybernetic era…”

I got out the dictionary to make sure I fully understood the review and, as you can imagine, was thoroughly delighted. 🙂 I showed it to a writer friend who assured me one of the “True” magazines would go for it. And they did.

 Within three weeks I received a contract in the mail, and shortly after the story appeared. (Without my name, as the stories in these magazines aren’t signed.) I could hardly wait to open the magazine. Stopped right in the supermarket aisle to read it.

A few changes had been made. The story was now titled, “Picture Perfect.” Well, O.K., I thought, that’s a pretty good title. Then I noticed that the names of my characters had been changed—not only DoriAnne, which no longer fit with the changed title, but the husband’s too. I can’t explain that one.

The story sounded just like I had written it (I’d made some changes from the copy I had first sent to Canada) until it came to my jokes and sly references to Oscar Wilde and Dorian Gray. Every bit of satire had been removed!

I could have cried…but the check helped.


I’d like to hold a contest for unusual review paragraphs—great, awful, or just plain funny—the winner to receive an e-book copy of my novel, Taking the Tumble, when it is released. Just sign in with your name and email on my contact page and add your paragraph to the box. Or sign in just to comment or get my newsletter. Cheers! Eve