“The Dollmaker” in Murky Depths Issue #18

Murky Depths Issue 18

My short story, The Dollmaker appears in Issue #18 of Murky Depths Magazine, sadly the publication’s last, as announced here. I have mixed feelings at the moment. On the one hand, I’m elated to see another one of my stories in print, and not only that, but my name is on the front cover, something usually reserved for the “somebodies” included in that issue, not the “nobodies” that no one has ever heard of (namely me). The illustrator did a fantastic job with my protagonist, dollface, and the black and white colouring added a touch of elegance and class.

The Dollmaker is a story that’s particularly close to my heart, because it’s one that I had to work extremely hard to sell. I had to fight for it, and I knew I had a well-crafted tale on my hands in this one. It’s the rather tragic story of a New Orleans prostitute who looks like a life-sized doll, and her constant struggle to find what she considers “home.” It disturbed many readers in all of its incarnations, but what surprised me the most was that even after I’d gone back and re-edited the tale to make it a different story, the Murky Depths editor, Terry Martin, said he liked the original version better because it preserved a sense of mystery better, which made me feel more flattered than I ever thought I could be, because I’m used to hearing that previous drafts of something are crap (or at least that’s how I think of them).

It’s a great issue packed with some awesome graphic novel stories as well as short horror fiction from a British Fantasy Award-winning mag that truly has excellent standards (and I’m not just saying that because my story is in there ;-)).

But despite this sense of joy, I’m also quite saddened by the news that they’re closing down, although it’s not too surprising given the current worldwide economic climate. Magazines and publishers are struggling to stay alive, and every day it seems there’s a new story about how a genre magazine is shutting down, such as Chaos Theory: Tales Askew, or Realms of Fantasy (although a new buyer was thankfully found, and the magazine has resumed publication).

Still, although this may be their last issue, I encourage you to pick up back issues of the magazine, which are available on sale on the Murky Depths website, linked above.