Twas the night before publication…

Twas the night before publication, and all through the house not a creature was stirring except me because gosh darn it, holy moly, gee whiz my first short story is getting published tomorrow!  Monday, June 3rd is publication day.  After a rough few years of submitting and being rejected, then completely quitting for a bit, I’ve had a run of acceptances.  (Is two a run?  I feel like it is.)  My first creative essay was published online April 20th and now my first fiction story will come out tomorrow.  Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow….

Grork Dentist will be published by Luna Station Quarterly, a magazine in their tenth year of publication.  I’ve loved Luna Station Quarterly since I first came across Holly Lyn Walrath’s story The Joy of Baking.  It’s a magazine with a cool mission: publishing speculative fiction by women-identified writers.  I love that they do a print and online publication (I’ve got four print copies arriving Tuesday from Amazon, thank you very much.)  It’s easy to share online publications with friends and family, but likewise really special to have a print copy of your very own story to hold, and smell, and sleep with, and carry in your purse everywhere, and give to your mom, and accidentally leave at your dentist office and… and…. I might need to order more copies.

The other cool thing?  I got to write my very own real live author bio.  I mean, does it get any more official than that?  My full bio is online and a shortened version will appear with my story.  Nothing makes you feel more like a real honest to goodness writer than a bio.  That is, not until tomorrow when I see my story.  I bet that will feel even better.

It’s funny, because I spend a lot of time with the Twitter writing community.  (Too much time, but hey, it got me my first publication.)  I’ve read how getting your story published doesn’t change anything.  My expectations will just get adjusted and I’ll want bigger and better things.  I must disagree.  For me, getting my first story published means the world.  As great as this story’s rejections were from high quality magazines — “We loved this story’s delightfully ridiculous concept” and “there’s some good writing here” — nothing equaled the joy of “We would like to publish your story, “Grork Dentist”, in the next issue of Luna Station Quarterly. Thank you for submitting!”  Getting a story you are proud of accepted into a journal you love is a very special feeling.  I’m now no longer afraid of calling myself a writer, and the publication has made me believe that my stories are worth writing and worth being read.  That feeds my writing soul.

Tomorrow I’m going to be refreshing my browser like an idiot waiting for the cover image to change and my story to show up.  Until then, I’ll be like a kid waiting for Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny to all show up overnight and bring me the best present imaginable.  Happy publication eve to all, and to all a good night.

Johanna Levene, aka Afthead in San Francisco

No More Clark Kent – The Afthead Revealed

Did any of you notice the slip up on my last post?  It was right at the top of the Glimmer Train image.  It was my name, and guess what?  It was no slip up.  Yes, dear readers, the bureaucracy is over and I have a signed piece of paper that says, “Heck yeah, you can have a blog, and write a book, and tie it to your name.  We, the big bosses you work with, don’t care.”  Okay, it doesn’t exactly say that, but that’s the gist of the three pages.  So I finally get to turn the Afthead around and introduce you to the forehead.

I wish I had glasses to whip off and a suit to pull open revealing the AFTHEAD superhero costume underneath.  Alas, I do not.  My superhero powers are limited.

My human name is Johanna Levene, but you can still call me Afthead in the blogsphere.  Watch as the two identities meld. If you type in my name as a URL ( you’ll get redirected to this blog.  In the near future I’ll set up something more slick so that typing in the johannalevene domain will take you to an about page explaining how you ended up on Afthead when you typed my name, but for now I am Afthead and Afthead is me.

Why the change, you ask?  If I still want to be Afthead why would I do something like this?  A couple of reasons:

  1. The Writer’s Market book told me to start a blog and to name it to make it as easy as possible for agents, readers and publishers to find me.  I do not want to mess with making things easy for those people.
  2. Right now If you search Johanna Levene using something like, oh say Google, you don’t find my writing stuff.  You find me the person at my job, me on LinkedIn, or me the Pinterst person.  I need the writer me to start rising to the top of my search results which means I need to start using my name on my blog.  Johanna Levene, Johanna Levene, Johanna Levene.  (I can’t wait to see if that changes search results tomorrow.)

It is so freeing combining two of my personalities into one.  I am Johanna Levene.  I’m a writer who just finished her first novel and submit her first short story to a contest.  It’s really nice to meet you.  I hope you enjoy your time on my blog Afthead.

I am Afthead.  (Remember, read that last line with a Batman voice.)