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The Owmapow Chronicles

by Channie Greenberg

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
chapters 1, 2, 3.1, 3.2

Chapter 1: Of Crustaceans and an Emerging Creative Writer

Dear Owen Brownstone,

We have all read, reviewed and discussed your story and we have decided to pass on it. Although the story possesses a neat premise, the tale just didn’t gain enough votes to secure a slot in our upcoming issue. We do thank you for considering our publication and for allowing us the opportunity to review your work.

Also, per our Submission Guidelines, we are closed to Featured Speculative Fiction Submissions. Our Home Page,, and list the above closure. We are, however, opened to flash. We thank you for your interest in our magazine.

An Associate Editor and Friends

Dear Associate Editor and Friends:

I am embarrassed. In my enthusiasm, I misread that datum. Please forgive. Below is something else, equally snarky, but half the length, i.e. a bona fide flash. It qualifies for middle of the magazine content.

Owen Brownstone

Owen Brownstone:

We’ll look forward to reading your story soon. Meanwhile, please supply us with the missing information.

An Associate Editor and Friends

Dear Associate Editor and Friends:

I don’t understand what constitutes “missing information.” The body of “The Care and Feeding of Rabid Hedgehogs” is 627 words. My complete contact information is below. My preferred byline is “Owen Brownstone.” The story is, again, pasted below.

I hope I am getting the submission process right. I’m sorry for all of the time this entry is costing you. I hope the story is a small compensation for your extended efforts.

(Owen Brownstone)

PS: Below, please find links to some of my other, recent electronic publications. The joy is mine.


That’s better. Always check format and be sure to include contact information on all your submission to EVERY market — especially those that pay for stories.

Your submission has been forwarded to the rest of the staff. When we have all read, reviewed and discussed your story we will email you with our decision. Our response time is about 2 months. We are currently reading for the October/November 2016 issue and for future issues. Thank you for your interest in our magazine!

Filigree, Your Associate Editor


You’ve been a sweetheart throughout this process. Thanks!

You will be my first published, paid, short story. I’ve been paid in other genres. I’ve been published, in this genre in exchange for copies, but never in this genre for cash (that is through PayPal). I’m very excited about the acceptance! Thanks!!!



Congrats on your 1st sale! If you have another story coming out before we publish “The Care and Feeding of Rabid Hedgehogs,” please let us know. We do honor 1st sales, but can’t give you that specific honor if “The Care and Feeding of Rabid Hedgehogs,” is not your first sale.

Forward your Paypal info as soon as you can, so we can update our records.

Filigree and Friends

Filigree and Friends:

In a word, “coooool!” It is my pleasure to be able to help creep out your readers. My bio is below. My PayPal data are below, too. Please let me know when I can send you other work. I’m grateful to have “The Care and Feeding of Rabid Hedgehogs” accepted by your publication!


PS: You are one of the best/encouraging/helpful editors I have ever worked with. :)

Do you want intermittent updates on my publications? (Goodness! I publish under several versions of my name, from “Owen Brownstone” to “Owmapow B.” to “Dr. Owen B.” to “Dr. Owen Brownstone,” etc.

Which publication rights is Smarmy Friends claiming? No matter. After the holidays, I plan to work on my website. Could you post a link to it next to my story?

Meanwhile, I am cold-calling publishers by mailing full manuscripts of books to them. Watch out, world!


Oh my!! I am just now seeing this email! No clue why it didn’t pop up before. Anyway, regular updates would be great! Also feel free to add a bio to each submission.

As far as publication rights, if you mouse over our Submissions Page, you will see Terms of Service (if you like getting down to nitty-gritty). Writers at Smarmy Friends retain their copyrights. We just get non-exclusive first print rights.

You definitely can promote your website when it’s up. Having links from an external site is a nice way to get spidered by Google sooner and to get a decent PageRank early, so I highly recommend that. And thank you for the kind comments! I have worked with a pretty wild mix of editors myself; some very good, most very bad.

Filigree and Friends


I meant what I said about you as an editor. I have worked with wonderful people and I have worked with idiots.

Per the rights, that’s good. I’m thinking of compiling my work into a book. I would like to use the story I wrote for you as part of that collection. Of course, credit to Smarmy Friends will appear in the end matter.

Crazed Critters, Thank G-d, just accepted a poem for future publication. I’m linking you to the bio I wrote for them since it’s more up to date than the one I sent you. I never know what to say about myself. If any of these data are useful, feel free to use them.

I must get my website up. I think I also need to find an agent. I am proceeding a bit backwards.

Speaking of which, I choose to take all of your remarks about banners, linking URLs, and the like as encouragement to learn to “fix the windshield wipers.” Thanks! Please keep your comments flowing!

Happy Holidays!

Jackie Mashbly:

I just had “The Care and Feeding of Rabid Hedgehogs” published in Smarmy Friends and “The Elephant’s Toe” published in Crazed Critters. Now, I’d like to publish “Squamata’s Big Dance” in your venue, Squeaks and Roars. To wit, below, please find my short story. Please let me know if it suits you. Let me know, as well, when you need a bio, web links, or other information. Thanks for considering my writing.

Owmapow Brownstone


Thanks for your submission! We at Squeaks and Roars will post your work in our February online issue. Welcome to our menagerie.



I am enjoying reading all of February’s published pieces. I would like to reply to the people who posted under my entry. Am I permitted to provide links to other works?



Sorry I’m late getting back to you. These have been a busy couple of days. That’s okay regarding the submission rules. I need to have them, but I’m also as flexible as possible, since I want Squeaks and Roars to be a great, supportive experience for writers. It’s hard enough to take all the knocks that writers have to take. I’m not interested in adding to them.

I hear you about your frustrations with writing. When I was a late teenager and in college in the late 80’s, I used to submit to literary magazines and such. That outlet really seems to be dwindling away. I’m not sure short stories are of much use any more. They’re good for getting some publishing credits, but the opportunities seem to be drifting to web publication, and I’m not sure agents give as much credence to them. I will say that Squeaks and Roars has been listed in (successful) query letters. How cool is that?!

For a writing career today (that pays), I think the only real route to break in is with a novel. After a successful novel, you could probably do a short story compilation/anthology. But all your serious effort should probably be directed at novel writing.

I’d also focus on one only to sell. Agents don’t like to hear that you’ve got a bunch on your desk. It makes them wonder why they haven’t sold yet.

If you have tried to query those manuscripts and they haven’t placed, I’d set them aside for now and start a new project. Try super hard to correct whatever things you think caused your past novels not to sell. Unfortunately, we have to be fairly reader-oriented. Making adjustments for the market may be necessary.

Thanks for the emails!

PS: Would you like a biographical note at the end of your piece or a link from your byline? If so, just send me what you want to put in.


Thanks for your candor. Sometimes I get frustrated with the publication process. It seems like I have a lot to think about. I certainly don’t have to make any bad choices.

I enjoyed your web comments. Do you do pen and ink art? I make ceramics, found art sculptures and paint.

A friend suggested that I return to offering writing workshops. I’ve advertised, accordingly, and received a nominal response. I might run them anyway, just to get a local reputation.

I need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. I want to get into status publications and to make some money from my writing. I know, I know, so does everyone’s kid sister, misplaced aunt and once-dead cousin. Any ideas that you have are welcomed.

I’m not sure what’s next. I love writing, in general, and creating havoc with words, more specifically. I’ve begun a series of short stories about a chimera and its keeper, have several books that are waiting for the right prince, I mean agent, to come along, have a chapbook in the wings, and am creating a collection of tales about an incorrigible teenager.

Any guidance, encouragement, etc. you could spare would be welcomed. I look forward to your next email.

Keep in touch!

Dear Editor:

It’s not just plants that have rhythms. In the following essay, “Weeding,” the beauty of the natural sequence of discovery, both among green friends, and within one’s self, is explicated. Too often we are so focused on results, whether those ends are a cure for an ailment or an irritant, or a means of catapulting us to a new level of understanding, that we forget that, in the progression of the natural world, it is at least as important to get lost among the brambles as it is to achieve socially recognized goals.

I hope you enjoy “Weeding.” I think you will like the word play at the end. I look forward to hearing from you.

Owen Brownstone

Owen Brownstone has had “The Care and Feeding of Rabid Hedgehogs” published in Smarmy Friends, “The Elephant’s Toe” published in Crazed Critters, and “Squamata’s Big Dance” in Squeaks and Roars. He hopes to place his book about a chimera and its keeper with a New York City press in the near future.

Dear Owen:

“Weeding” is a very nice piece. Unfortunately, it does not fit our editorial needs for the coming year. We do not currently have a place to publish essays, other than “Earthly Beasts,” which is written by a single contributor. I want to add a department to include works such as yours, but right now, we don’t have the pages to do so.

I am sure you will find a publisher, because your piece is lovely. Thank you for your interest in our publication.

Best wishes,
Valarie Rose

Dear Dr. Owen Brownstone:

Your application to be a Contributing Writer to our website has been declined for one of the following reasons: your writing suggested a first-person, experiential, or opinion-based approach to material rather than an objective journalistic style that quoted verifiable sources; your writing sample contained errors in language use, structure, grammar, spelling or voice; or your writing did not reflect the search interests of our Web audience. Also possible was that your educational and employment experience did not suggest authoritative expertise in the subject areas you wish to cover.

Due to the volume of applicants and limited editorial staff and time we are not able to field inquiries requesting more specific reasons for declining this application. We reserve the right to select our contract writers according to our mandate and standards in keeping with our editorial goals. We wish you the best with your writing career on a site more suited to your interests and abilities.

Creatures and Flowers

Dear Creatures and Flowers Editor:


I have a Ph.D. in biology with a specialty in the order Decpoda. I have taught thousands of university students how to write research papers. What’s more, I’ve been interviewed by the mass media and have quite a few academic publications. I invite you to explain to me how my samples or my background were insufficient for your needs.

The sample I sent to you, “Weeding,” was approved by another publication that just didn’t have space for it in its forthcoming issue. What’s more, if you bothered to verify my credentials, you would have noted that I had “The Care and Feeding of Rabid Hedgehogs” published in Smarmy Friends, “The Elephant’s Toe” published in Crazed Critters, and “Squamata’s Big Dance” in Squeaks and Roars.

Dr. Owen Brownstone

Dear John Danderwoof:

“Thank-you for accepting “Weeding.” I now understand why, despite your letter of acceptance, the piece never made it to print.

Specifically, in cleaning up my email files, I came to realize that I had corresponded with you through several of my appellations; “Dr. Owen Brownstone,” the name I use professionally, “Owmapow Brownstone,” the name I formerly used professionally, and “Owmapow,” my everyday name. Short of onomatology, there is little reason to correspond in that manner. I slipped. I hope I did not cause you too much confusion.

To that end, I am writing to clarify that all of the above nomenclature is mine and that it was me whom is indeed the author of “Weeding” as well as of a second piece, “Crustaceans in Deep Space.” Did you receive the second piece? Did you like it? Do you want to publish it, as well? When might “Weeding” see print?

Owmapow (Owen Brownstone)


Well, your “Crustaceans in Deep Space” was most interesting. It will appear in Astral Flora and Fauna 21. Have a look at the document attached, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get back to me. “Weeding,” now that I you have clarified that you are its author, will appear in Flora and Fauna 20. I hope to see more of your writing.

John Danderwoof

Dear John Danderwoof:

I am sorry that it has taken me this span of time to return to you. The three references, formerly containing “n.d.s,” have been resolved to the best of my ability. The first one, the 2011 cite, was a simple dig into an HTML. The second one, the c. 2013 reference, was an archaeological tour of web pages that no longer exist. The third reference, too, no longer exists in its 2014 form, so I changed it to reflect that datum’s new webpage (which, incidentally, boasts similar content). Sigh.

The above aside, I am grateful you have accepted a second piece of my writing. Thank-you for your compliments. I look forward to hearing from you.


Hi John:

Thanks for the update. I guess I am still just a little confused. The table of content says 2014 but the cover says 2015. Which one is it?



Oh, my! Yes, that is just a little confusing. But take heart, the confusing error you identify applies only to a wrong attachment, not to the actual forthcoming — 2015 — issue. Truly thanks for alerting me to the blunder. How do you like the outside front cover?

Again, I’m glad to have two of your works for Flora and Fauna’s 2015 issues. Please send more.



Although I have enjoyed a glorious career as a writer with “Weeding” and “Crustaceans in Deep Space” appearing in your fine publication and with, respectively, “The Care and Feeding of Rabid Hedgehogs” in Smarmy Friends, “The Elephant’s Toe” in Crazed Critters, and “Squamata’s Big Dance” in Squeaks and Roars, I have decided to give up on creative text and to invest my non-academic time in fashioning sculptures from found art.

Thank you for your ongoing support. I will always cherish your friendship.


Proceed to Chapter 2...

Copyright © 2015 by Channie Greenberg

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