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I had a story come out last month in Apex. Last Dance Over the Red, Red World. I worried a little about it.

I wasn’t sure how much people would like it.

This is a fairly generic fear among writers-well, let’s be honest and say humans. We all worry that people won’t like that thing we did, whatever it happens to be. But this time it nagged at me a bit more than it usually does. I think it was because this story was my homage to Poe, specifically to Mask of the Red Death, which I loved as a kid. I tried to let that story influence this one. Which worried me a bit- I was doing a bit of a different style, and I wondered if the story wouldn’t resonate as much, or would feel strange to people who hadn’t read (or who had forgotten reading) the Masque.

When it came out, I noticed two reviews of it. One was by someone who liked it, and mentioned the Masque connection. The other, well… They didn’t like it so much. And they didn’t mention anything about Poe. Now, they may have gotten the connection, and still just not liked it, but the two reviews sort of reinforced my worries. It wasn’t keeping me up at night, I’m not that anxious about such things, but I thought about it.

Today I was driving home and the radio started playing “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. That song happened to be in heavy (too heavy) rotation when I was messing with this story, and for some reason my brain linked them up. So when I heard it tonight, I thought about the story and realized that I liked it. Yeah, I could reread it now and probably find a dozen things I might change, but I like it.

And really that’s about it. I write stories, and if I like them, I send them out. I hope other people like them too. I hope editors like them, and pay me for them. I hope readers like them. I hope reviewers like them. I hope, but I know that not all of them will. So it goes.

But I need to like them.

Otherwise, why the hell am I messing about with them?

(I know people that really hate this song. Especially after it got so overplayed. But the band seems to like it.)

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