In 2011 I wrote a short story for the U.K. horror anthology, Weird War Volume One. After the usual number of delays you’d expect from any publishing venture, final word came down about a fall 2012 launch date. High resolution scans of the splendid cover art were emailed to the writers and we were encouraged to promote the anthology on our various blogs and websites. I held off, preferring to wait until the actual day of publication. And wait I did. Wait we all did.
With a final “publication-imminent this weekend” announcement, things fell dead silent and stayed that way. There was no communication again, ever. The Facebook page became a series of echoing “Well…? Well…?” posts. The promised website relaunch never materialized. It was as if the book, its contents, its editors and its publishers were zapped out of existence, leaving only a faint scorch-mark of a web presence behind. The strangest part of the whole event, at least for someone like me who has been to the publishing blue-balls brothel a few times, was that we’d all been paid in full long ago. It’s not like anyone tried to skip out on dinner when the cheque arrived. We’d been covered, drinks and all.
My sole disappointment was that apparently my story was never going to appear somewhere beneath such a marvelous cover.
By the terms of my contract, all rights reverted to me last year. Although I waited patiently, and would happily continue to wait if there were any lines of communication open, I can only assume that something so dreadful happened that the anthology has been cancelled and we’ll never receive word why.
As you may have noticed, there’s a short story section in the main menu of Eyestrain Productions that’s been effectively empty up until now. “Bayonet Baby” has become the first of my short stories to be hosted there. Since I doubt there’s any point in waiting and hoping that Weird War will dig itself out of an early grave, I might as well use this as a venue to let interested parties read the story.
Of course, should I ever hear from the editors again, and receive some good news about Weird War’s revival, I’ll be pleased to pull the story from my website and give them a chance to publish it themselves. It won’t be a first publication anymore, but I can still offer them exclusivity for the duration of the initial run of the book. This isn’t big of me at all. It’s entirely self-serving.
Because I’d really like to have a copy of a book with that cover and my story on my shelf.