“bleedin’ peach” Published in KYSO Flash

a red peach

What can a newborn teach his father about shaving? To find out, read my latest flash fiction publication, “bleedin’ peach” in KYSO Flash.

What amount of effort went into getting “bleedin’ peach” published?

  • 3 drafts
  • 2 submissions
  • 1 encouraging rejection

These were exceptionally small, lucky numbers. I have stories that are approaching 30 submissions, so it’s lovely to experience quick publication magic in this case.

SmokeLong Quarterly Kathy Fish Fellowship Submissions, Fall 2017

In September 2017, I submitted four flash pieces to the Kathy Fish Fellowship. One of those pieces, “fresh scar,” was accepted by Third Wednesday in October. As stated in SmokeLong Quarterly’s submission guidelines, my first acceptance had to be followed by my first withdrawal.

It was an odd feeling—to withdraw from consideration work that I sent specifically for a particular market. I never submit without reading a journal first and could picture all four of my submitted pieces in SmokeLong Quarterly.

Another unfortunate sting of withdrawing is you lose whatever submission fee you may have paid. Luckily, I submitted to the Kathy Fish Fellowship during a free submission period. Thank you for that generosity SmokeLong Quarterly. Resubmitting would cost $5—quite reasonable considering what an incredible opportunity the Kathy Fish Fellowship provides (multiple publications and participating in the editorial process).

I withdrew my fellowship application with a brief note:

‘fresh scar’ accepted for publication by Third Wednesday’s forthcoming Winter issue. Plan to resubmit with another flash piece.

“fresh scar” is one of my strongest flash fictions, as hopefully evidenced by its acceptance. I included it in my original fellowship submission to show my range from the other three pieces—a 100-word drabble, a 300-word fantasy, and a 500-word historical flash. Like “fresh scar,” I wanted a piece between 500-1,000 words grounded in modern reality. I didn’t have one.

Inspired by my foray into fatherhood, I wrote three new pieces of 100 words, 400 words, and 700 words. Iterating each of them to a second draft reminded me of the joy of revising flash fiction—I’m more likely to feel the impact of every changed word on the overall story.

I chose the second draft of the 700-word “bleedin’ peach”—it felt like it had earned its length—and resubmitted to SmokeLong Quarterly.

SmokeLong Quarterly Rejection, December 2017

40 days later, I got the following encouraging rejection:

Dear Arthur,

Thank you for your interest in the Kathy Fish Fellowship. The pool of applicants was absolutely amazing this year, and while I’m sorry to say you were not the winner of the fellowship, your application did make it to our second round of 62 applicants. Out of more than 200 applications, this is truly a great compliment to your writing and talent.

We appreciate your interest in SmokeLong Quarterly, and we do hope that you will apply again next year or submit to our regular submission queue.

Thank you for being a writer and supporter of flash fiction.


Tara Laskowski

I appreciated the encouraging response and decided I’d let the piece incubate before I resumed submitting.

Finding KYSO Flash

My Shut Up & Write(!) friend Janey Skinner introduced me to KYSO Flash. Janey’s excellent “Carnivores” first appeared in KYSO Flash and then in the Best Small Fictions 2016 Anthology. Since then, KYSO has accepted two more of her stories.

After giving thoughtful feedback on one of my flash pieces, Janey encouraged I submit to KYSO as well. I revisited the second draft of “bleedin’ peach” and felt confident sending it out again. I submitted it along with two other flash pieces to KYSO Flash Issue 9.

KYSO Flash Acceptance, February 2018

And only 6 days later, Clare responded:

Dear Arthur Klepchukov,

Thanks again for submitting three pieces for our next issue, KF-9. We appreciated the chance to consider them.

We’re interested in “bleedin’ peach,” [ specific details redacted ].

I hope to hear from you by the 7th of February. Many thanks for your time.

All best wishes,
–Clare :-)

I was elated, especially since this arrived the same day as my “Rivet Here” acceptance.

Publication Process with KYSO Flash

Clare was prompt, specific, professional, and a joy to work with. I appreciated Clare’s clear deadlines and formal publishing agreement. She was prompt in addressing my questions and even incorporated a small clarification into her agreement as a result. Everything is a draft!

I’m proud to share this process and the final story. Read “bleedin’ peach.”

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