Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Fifty-Eighth

[Introduction: Melanie Stormm continues her humorous series of posts about the misdirected emails she’s been getting. Stormm is a multiracial writer who writes fiction, poetry, and audio theatre. Her novella, Last Poet of Wyrld’s End is available through Candlemark & Gleam. She is currently the editor at the SPECk, a monthly publication on speculative poetry by the SFPA. Find her in her virtual home at Wipe your feet before entering.]


Hello All, Melanie here!

Every year my partner and I try to make holiday plans a little more manageable. A few years ago we got tired of being tired for the holidays. Our families live in very different locales, none of them are in New Hampshire so figuring out who we see which year is a balancing act. Some years we elect to stay home. It’s a Christmas present to us to not have to drive.

Unfortunately, today, we both learned that neither of us are mind-readers. Somehow we have managed to guarantee two different sides of our families that we will be at their house for Christmas, hot dishes in tow. In two different states. On the same day.

This is going to be interesting to pull off!

Without further ado…

Subject: List of Hogswatch Gift Demands

Dear Gladys,

It’s December, and the signs of Hogswatch are everywhere. The snow has not only started to fall, it’s started to stick. The neighbors have put glowing pigs in jingling harnesses out on their roofs. Tryxy and I almost landed in traction stringing red and green fairy lights around the gutters in a windstorm. Mr. Morgan’s egg nog prices have suddenly tripled. And the magical market is appearing in random places around town. I’ve spent the last several days tripping over knee-high gnomes trying to sign me up for Amway!!! The spirit of Hogswatch is slipping into the littlest things, you start to get the feeling that giving is more important than receiving.

And since you are getting that feeling, Gladys, here is my list of what I want for Hogswatch this year!!!

1.) To become immediately famous as the greatest epic fantasy writer of all time.

1 b.) To lose another ten pounds (December is the PERFECT month for weight loss, everybody knows this!!)


1 d.) To make it clear to my boyfriend, award-nominated fantasy writer Tod BOadkins, which one of us is the superior gift giver.

There are a few things that I would like but haven’t put onto this list yet but will need you to read my mind Gladys!!!!

Speaking of mind-reading, I need you to immediately start spying on my boyfriend, award-nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins. We are having a small crisis, mostly because he hasn’t dropped any hints about what he wants for Hogswatch and I need to prove to him that I am the Clearly Superior Romantic Partner by getting him something that BLOWS HIS MIND!!!! AND I need to do it without him knowing that I know what he wants!!!! This Hogswatch, Tod Boadkins is going to not only LOVE his present, he’s going to be floored by my ability to know his innermost desires!!! I’m in the PERFECT position to prove this to him but with one tiny itty bitty oroblem.

I don’t have any idea what he wants.

THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN GLADYS!!!! Since Tod Boadkins and I have been dating for some months now, I’m not as able to stalk him because he’s familiar with most of my disguises. I tried dressing up as my 80s power suit wearing business executive when I went through his garbage last week but he caught me and I had to pretend I was looking for some granola I accidentally threw out.

Well, he’s not familiar with the Panda Suit disguise but, as you know, that’s been pretty scorched through after NaNo…that thing writers do in November.

I’ll need you to stalk Tod Boadkins night and day and comb his computer for clues about what he might want!!! The best way to break into his house is through the basement bulkhead. He put new locks on it since I broke into it earlier this year, but last week I dropped by and quietly broke them all again when he was stuck on the toilet. You and anyone looking to burgle the house around the holidays should have no trouble getting in!!!!

If you fail to come through on this Gladys I might be forced to get Tod Boadkins one of those plastic license plates that says “Man Cave” for Hogswatch!!!! Don’t let that happen!!!!

Anyways Gladys, I’m sure you’re dying to know how my writing is going. As you know, I may not have gotten any words written last month, but that doesn’t mean I’m not one step ahead in achieving my dreams!!!! Before I explain, I need you to understand something about writing fantasy. Fantasy isn’t only written in novels. Sometimes it is written in SHORT STORIES. I am a very special writer Gladys because apparently while writing my epic fantasy saga I ALSO managed to write a SHORT STORY!!!!

Or at least that’s what Bevvy Hart told me. Maybe I better just copy and paste what she said.

> particularly interesting magic system. Is it all based
> on that specific variety of broccoli or will
> any cruciferous vegetable do? Chapters 4 and 5 sort
> of read as a standalone short story. Have you
> considered editing those sections and submitting
> them to a publication? You could do worse than
> what Patrick Rothfuss did with an excerpt from
> The Name of the Wind!

Do you see that, Gladys???? Greatness is before you!!!! You know who else has published short stories??? NEIL GAIMAN!!!! That’s why he shows up to me in dreams!!!! Little did I know I was a short story writer ALL ALONG. I wish he just told me. If all you have to do is cut your unfinished novel into pieces and send it to publishers I COULD HAVE BEEN FAMOUS AGES AGO!!!!!

Since you’re going to be busy with my Hogswatch demands, I decided to get to work and I looked up some places to send my chapters to. I found this little known science fiction magazine called Markesworld and I think I’ll gift them with a submission from my first chapter.

My short story career isn’t the only greatness we’ve got going on at our house, Gladys!!! Tryxy is getting ready to start his first semester at Miskatonic Online University this January and he’s starting to get the jitters. He’s afraid his professors won’t like him and that he won’t be able to handle the homework load. He’s being very brave right now so if you see him, make sure you tell him that he’s got this!!!! I’m going to order him a sweatshirt with his school’s name on it. Not for Hogswatch, just as a pick-me-up for his self esteem.

Anyhoo Gladys I have to go!!! Gotta send that first chapter off to Markesworld. I briefly went to their website and saw that they mostly publish science fiction but when they see my first chapter they’re gonna change their ways!!!!

If Tod Boadkins catches you spying on him I”m going to deny deny deny. And that’s exactly what you should do, too.




Dear Gladys,

Brace yourself!!!! A new short story senstion Is about to hit the market!!!! Is the world ready for Writer X???? NOBODY’S READY FOR WRITER X!!!!!

Mark your calendar, because about three minutes ago I jumped through all the hoops and managed to get my first chapter of my novel copied and pasted into the Markesworld online submission system. Word on the street is they can take up to 3 days for them to accept a story so in just three days I’m going to be a published writer!!!!!! The only thing more poetic would be if they accepted my story on Hogswatch!!!!

Huh. That’s weird.

It’s only been three minutes since I submitted and just got the following email:

> Dear X,
> Thank you for the opportunity to read “Chapter
> One-Fenchin.” Unfortunately, your story isn’t
> quite what we’re looking for right now.

There must be some mistake, Gladys!!! There’s no way they could have possibly given that chapter the time they need to know that it’s the perfect short story!!!! It’s like nothing they’ve ever seen!!! I’m going to submit it again. Hang on, BRB (that means Be Right Back.)

Okay, I’m back. Clearly they’re having some technical difficulties at Markesworld. I just recopied and pasted everything into their system and the clock has been

What?? They’re definitely having some problems, Gladys!!!! I just got this email:

> Dear X,
> Thank you for the opportunity to read “Chapter
> One-Fenchin” again. Unfortunately, your story still
> isn’t quite what we’re looking for right now.

Third time’s a charm, Gladys!!!! The plus side is that I’m getting faster at submitting!!!! This time I changed my name so that their algorhithms don’t catch it!!!! You’ve got to wake up pretty early in th


> Dear “Ekks”,
> Thank you for the opportunity to read “Chapter
> One-Fenchin” a third time. Unfortunately, your
> story still isn’t remotely close to what we’re looking
> for right now. Please read through our guidelines
> and try again with a different story.

Gotta go, Gladys!!!! I need to send an email to that editor Michael Marke. I’m sure he’ll be very interested to know that his system is broken!!!!

Next stop, FAME!!!!






















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