I'm jumping up and down with this news!
I've been submitting to Clarkesworld for quite a long time (years) - basically every time I have a story that really excites me. I'm not sure if any of you have ever done that, but they respond incredibly fast, and watching your story go down the queue over a period of two to seven days is unbelievably nerve-racking. Well, this time I got a notice on my submission saying "Second Round," so I was trying really hard not to check its status every hour...
Good thing we went out to my kids' Valentine dance! It was a great distraction. When we got home, I was going to go into email and check my status again, but instead I found an email from Mr. Neil Clarke himself saying he wanted to publish the story!
I had some tears and giggles. And not a little disbelief.
"Suteta Mono de wa Nai" is roughly translated as "Not easily thrown away," but also implies a thing that you shouldn't make the mistake of undervaluing. The story features a girl, Kitano Naoko, a sometime Harajuku cosplayer who lives in the Tokyo suburbs. She's having trouble studying for her college entrance exams, and then she starts hearing voices...
Writing this story made me feel very nostalgic for Japan. Of course, I loved going into Google Maps and zooming way in to check the geography of Harajuku and Meiji Shrine, but my favorite part was thinking back to my homestays and remembering small details of life in a Japanese home - things like shoe cabinets, kitchen shrines and kotatsu (low tables with heaters underneath, that have a quilt built into them so you can stick your feet under them and keep warm in winter). I also took some inspiration from the films of Hayao Miyazaki (in some unexpected contexts).
I have special thanks to offer to my readers - Karen Rochnik, Setsu Uzume, Reggie Lutz, Lillian Csernica, and Cliff Winnig! Thanks for your comments and for your support.
I will of course let you all know when it comes out!