Wednesday, March 3

Hi, I'm Fadz, and I'm a professional writer

On February 24, I woke up (late, as usual) to find this email waiting in my iPhone's inbox:
Dear Fadzlishah, Thank you for your submission to Expanded Horizons. I have read your story, "Visions," and I really like it. I would like to include it in our upcoming March issue. I will send you a version with my (small) edits, and the contract. Do you have Livejournal or Facebook? Expanded Horizons has a presence there. Do you have PayPal? We prefer to pay electronically, but we can send a physical check where that is not possible/feasible. Welcome to the Expanded Horizons team! Dash
A publisher wanted to buy my story, for USD30 at that! I don't write horror stories. This one actually came about as a challenge at my online writing group, where we were given a genre/style that we're not used to writing. I write mainstream/contemporary, love stories, and a dash of fantasy, so horror is as much out of my element as funny. Ironically, I have one funny/ironic story published at QLRS, and now, a horror story to add to my credit. I have been paid to do something I love (well, I love being a doctor, but that's a different story). I'm talking about something Mother dear wouldn't let me even dream of taking up professionally (with good reason, upon reflection). I mean, Kasha has her graphics, and she's making money out of it. Faiz has photography, and he's making money as well as earning accolades for it. I've dabbled in graphics, photography, figure drawing, oil painting, scriptwriting, movie-making and some other forms of Art that I can't recall right now, but fiction writing has always been my Great Love. I dream up complete movie-like dreams at night, and I imagine stories while I people-watch. I love reading fiction, and I dissect movies and TV series while watching them. I have to admit, though I'm always told that my writing is good, I'm not good at coming up with original storylines. (even in rejection letters they say that though my writing is good, I clearly have talent, but they have to reject my work because [fill in the blank]). Back when I was 16 and 17, I took rejections personally. Why didn't my stories win? I wasn't good enough, was I? Was there something wrong with me, with who I was? You get the idea. I had been devastated and entered a self-imposed writer's block. I tried writing again, but never more than a paragraph or so. Then I started writing again. To express myself, my situation, my anger and frustration, my hopes and dreams. I couldn't run away from writing, even though I knew no one else would read the stories I wrote. Then work got the better of me, and I put writing on hold. When Tita stumbled upon my Friendster account, she got me writing again. I think it's true that you have to mature as a person before you can write well. I didn't even make the longlist to MPH-Alliance's National Short Story Competition last year. I didn't win the Commonwealth Short Story competition. But that didn't stop me from writing. I devoured book after book on how to write. The blessing behind not attending formal writing courses is that I'm free to experiment, to explore the rules and bend or break them. I write and review other stories at WDC, especially within my group, Let's Publish! Then Sarah recommended that I submit my stories to QLRS. I'd never heard of it before. So I did. I submitted 3 stories, and they published "Mother". I submitted again in December, but all three were rejected (not enough plot). I submitted other stories elsewhere, and they too were rejected. Then I got the mail from Dash, editor of Expanded Horizons. He wanted my story. He paid me for it, even. And that's not all. I also received another acceptance letter on Monday morning, for my spiritual science-fiction stories (one is confirmed, another is pending further contemplation, and may need a major revision). I was asked not to make it public, so I won't talk about the details yet. But it's going to be a massive project, with print, ebook and audiobook publication -- plus a soundtrack. I'm talking about print publication. My name in a physical book. I'm talking about my life-dream coming true. So what happens when your dream comes true? I grinned the whole day. When I couldn't do it outwardly, I did it inside. And I ran to Mother dear to tell her the news. I messaged Tita (yep, I'm guilty of not contacting her a long time). I shared it with my WDC group. And I emailed Reza, who's in Aberdeen at that time. I'm still feeling elated, even though things are not finalized yet. I can't wait to hold the book in my hands! So, more about that later, once I get the green light to make it public. For now, please visit Expanded Horizons and I hope you'll enjoy the story, as well as other amazing stories they have there.