Like many fiction writers, I started out writing short stories, a number of which appeared in various literary magazines. Rarely does an author get paid for publication in one of these venues. Most literary magazines are themselves a labor of love, put together on a shoestring budget by a dedicated editor and volunteer staff, and their circulation is often extremely small. But for a fledgling author, they offer a wonderful opportunity to get a foot in the door. It also means that someone else besides your immediate family thinks you deserve to be published.
One of my resolutions for 2011 was to set up a Short Story of the Month page to share some of my past work with readers. That page is now up, so please take a look at https://www.arlissryan.com/short-stories/ A new story will appear every month. Some of them have been published, some not.
February’s story is THE FIRE (Copyright © Arliss Ryan, 1986), and it was my first short story ever to be published. It appeared in Amelia (Summer 1986) and was actually featured as the cover story. Amelia called it a “belle lettre” rather than a short story, a belle lettre (French: belle, fine + lettre, letter) being a piece of literature noted for its style and aesthetic qualities rather than for its practical or informative content. I frankly didn’t care what they called it. I was published!