Publication First: Two-Fer!

Farmhouse at Five Corners on Potato Hill, the Setting for “The Strange End of Laura Farnsworth’s Marriage”

The Publications

This is the first time I have had two pieces published in the same issue of a literary magazine–in two different genres! “Creosote Reverie” and “The Strange End of Laura Farnsworth’s Marriage” appear in the Fall 2019 edition of Smoky Quartz, put out by the Monadnock Writers’ Group.

The Back Stories

I wrote about the impetus for “Creosote Reverie” in the following blog post: “I’m Not a Poet & I Know It.” As it turned out, I revised the poem several times until it became the version that appears in Smoky Quartz. The following photograph of me (c. 1968) standing next to the outhouse my dad built for our camp in the Vermont woods represents a creosote memory that appeared in the original draft of the poem and subsequently got cut. (Large outhouse hole and beady chipmunk eyes in the dark just didn’t set the right tone.)

“The Strange End of Laura Farnsworth’s Marriage” has an even more checkered history, having started out as part of a failed novel, which I desperately tried to save in a many ways as possible: “Failed Novel Anyone?”

The Reading

Perhaps the best part of the publications was being invited to read for the launch of Smoky Quartz: On the Road!, a program instituted by the editors of the journal to introduce the work of contributors to a wider community. The event was held at the Ingalls Memorial Library in Rindge, New Hampshire, which, as it turned out, was an adventure in you-can’t-get-there-from-here–in rush hour! After a very tense ride, my husband got me there with a minute to spare, and we had a lovely evening. He even surprised me by purchasing the poetry chapbook written by one of the other Smoky Quartz contributors. You can expect a review of it here in due time. (My To-Be-Read pile keeps growing as my writing community expands!)

Until next time, thanks for stopping by to read my latest. I appreciate your taking the time!

125 thoughts on “Publication First: Two-Fer!

  1. Wonderful to learn of your double publication, Liz. Congratulations! Evidently you ARE a poet, and I could smell the creosote in the heat. I loved walking along the railroad tracks as a child (even though my mother told us to stay away from them:), and your poem took me back. Your story is an excellent character study. The reader knows so much of their lives and inner-workings all from this short piece!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for reading “Creosote Reverie” and “The Strange End of Laura Farnsworth’s Marriage.” I’m glad “Creosote Reverie” transported you back in time to a pleasant childhood memory. (My mother was also horrified at the thought that my brother and I would do something she considered so dangerous.) “Strange End” was one of those stories inspired by a real person who struck me as just a little bit too sardonic. Was there something darker behind it in his character?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, you got me again! Your dense poetry did what it is supposed to do: I was there. And you are a consummate story teller. Congratulations on your success – I shall look forward to handing out the next congratulations which are sure to arrive. And Laura will stay with me for a bit…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your posts are a wonderful collection of words, both in poetry and in short story form. I especially appreciated going back to previous posts. Creosote – ah, that brought back such great memories of living in Northern Manitoba, where plane and train travel was the only way to get to our mining town. Given the costs of plan travel, our family took the ore train, travelling 200 miles in 11 hours. The smell of creosote was always with us – and is now a treasured recollection. Congratulations on publishing! You shed light in dark places.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good going, Liz! Both the poem and story are delightful – how good that you can rework something old into something new. That photo of you in front of the outhouse took me aback until I realized that there was a branch in front of your face making it look like you had a beard. 🀣

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Liz, I don’t know whether I’m more pleased for you or for your readers! We’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy your words in two different genres at once. The poem brought back tactile memories; I could smell the creosote. And despite the title of the story, I was still surprised by the ending twist! Very engaging, and left me wanting more (maybe from that not-yet novel?).

    The photo of the farmhouse is utterly enchanting, and I hope Laura got to keep the house after her marriage ended!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ranee! You’re now the third reader in the creosote memory club. There is a follow-on story about the day after the strange end of Laura’s marriage that I’m still shopping around after several revisions.

      The farmhouse holds a special place in my heart, as it belonged to a dear relative. My husband and I took a drive out to Ely, Vermont to try to find it several years ago, and I was distraught to see that the entire ell and attached shed and had been taken down. Then a few years after that, we took another drive out there and saw that both had been rebuilt.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for this additional info, Liz! It makes the poem and the story that much more interesting. And best of luck on finding a home for the follow-on story, which I look forward to reading someday soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations Liz. Creosote, I remember that, and although it’s now banned over here, I miss the smell, fond memories. I enjoyed the post and the links, no wonder your are published, you say it so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s exciting news, Liz. Congrats on the double pubication. I liked the photo of you outside the outhouse. We had a Vermont outhouse too. And, of course, it was slathered in creosote! Ha ha. What memories. (No chipmunks though).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. South Hero. We had a summer place up there for 3 generations, then moved up there permanently for about 6 years. Sadly, we couldn’t afford the taxes and ended up having to sell. One of the saddest days of my life. I love Vermont, Liz, but I’m near grandkids now, and that’s pretty awesome. ❀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. South Hero is a beautiful area. It’s a shame that people are being priced out of home ownership in Vermont, particularly people who grew up there. As much as my husband and I love Vermont, I think we will stay in New Hampshire. I don’t think we could afford to live there.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I read your poem, Liz, it is beautiful and I shared it to my FB poetry group. Your characterisation and description in your short story is wonderful, you are very good at that. The ending was quite unexpected although I had read the title. I would have expected poor Walter’s marriage to end rather. He sounded very dominated.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for sharing “Creosote Reverie.” I’m so glad you liked it. Thank you also for you kind words about my story. Characterization and description (and how they play off each other) are my favorite elements of fiction by far.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. You are a wonderful writer, Liz! I read “The Strange End of…” with fascination and delight. Your details of the two couples, the brother/sister dichotomy, the dialogue…perfection! I just subscribed to Smoky Quartz. If they publish stories such as yours, its worth reading. Many congrats on your reading. I just did a presentation/reading at a local library in the SF Bay area (while visiting there last week) and know it can be exhilarating and frightening all at the same time. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Liz, congratulations on two appearances in the same magazine at one go – and quite a skill with two such varying genres! Phew … glad you made the event on time and how sweet of your husband to buy you a poetry chapbook. I can definitely relate to: ‘My To-Be-Read pile keeps growing as my writing community expands!’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mathew! In the past two weeks, I had a poem accepted for publication less than 24 hours after I submitted it and another one within five days. Lest I get too cocky, however, during this same time period, I received a rejection for a short story that a magazine had held for two years. Two years!!! (I’d already written them off and submitted elsewhere.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How do you decide which publications to apply to? That seems to be my biggest problem. There’s too many for me to even know where to begin.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi, Mathew,

          It takes a lot time to do the research, but on the good side, it’s easier to tell whether a publication is a good fit for my work than it used to be in the old hard copy Writer’s Market days because now I can look at the journal online, check out the mission statement and submission guidelines, and read samples.

          I subscribe to several weekly email services that provide calls for submission. They send a manageable number of listings to check at one time. Links to the the publications that look like a good fit for my work go into my Evernote Markets folder. That gives me a database of potential places to submit when I have a new story or poem ready to go out or I’ve just received a rejection.

          If you don’t already have a Submittable account, I’d suggest that you set one up. (It’s free.) You can then use the Discover tab to search their database of submission calls. You can search using limiters, such as deadlines, fees, and genres to help narrow the selections down.

          Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity is another place you can check out.:

          I hope this helps!



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