I'm not a huge fan of prompts and themes, but Penumbra's February zombie themed issue was too tempting to pass up. Like (probably far too) many people, I'm a zombie fan. I've loved that sub-genre of horror ever since I first saw Night of the Living Dead on TV when I was eight, and the love was cemented around ten when I found a two-pack of Romero's Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead on VHS. Since then I've seen several dozen zombie flicks (mostly on DVD, most of them terrible), read a few zombie tales (novels and short stories), dressed up as a zombie twice (for good reasons, not just for the hell of it), and participated in a zombie walk at Monroeville Mall where the original Dawn of the Dead was filmed. In other words, I was well versed on the lore and felt I could make a contribution to the genre.
However, the prompt was to give Penumbra something different, not just the standard trope of shuffling corpses brought back from the dead by magic or radiation or a virus. So I probed the darkest recesses of my soul (which is apparently somewhere in my frontal lobe) and found something surprising. It was definitely different than what I'd seen and read before, but how original it happens to be will be left for the reader to decide. In any case, I submitted it.
Fast forward ten whole days to yesterday when I got my response email from Penumbra. As any writer knows, ten days in the writing world is too short for good news. The most you could expect was a rejection, or a bump up to a higher round of consideration. When I opened it, I was hesitant, preparing myself for the worst. However, it was an acceptance! Celebration and alerting my family and friends commenced, followed by a signed contract. There were apparently 600 fiction submissions to this theme, and only around five were purchased. I'm happy to be a part of that select group.
Look for the issue to drop sometime in February at Penumbra Emag!