Update of September 15, 2020: Follow up on “A Semblance of Normalcy”

Just a quick note. I finished “A Semblance of Normalcy” tonight and submitted it to Nightmare Magazine. I should hear back from them in anywhere from a few days to two weeks.

After I submitted it, of course I thought of a way I could improve it. I should have added more descriptors to make the senses come alive when reading it, things that would reflect what the characters are experiencing. what they are hearing, touching, seeing, smelling, and tasting (if i can work that in somehow) while being concise. If it’s rejected, I may add those to it before submitting it to the next publisher. One principle I try to live by with my writing is that when one story is rejected I send it out to another publisher the day I receive the rejection.

I am going to try a new tactic and find a photo that captures the spirit of “A Semblance of Normalcy”, format it for Twitter, and post it below. Then, when this article appears on Twitter, it will have a simple banner to help promote it.  Let me know what you think.


A Semblance of Normalcy
Read the short story by Phil Slattery

Update of September 12, 2020: My Short Story “A Semblance of Normalcy”

Eating at an Italian Restaurant in Midland, TX
Eating at Ray’s Italian Bistro in Midland, TX, 2019. Photo by Francene Kilgore-Slattery

I managed to come up with an idea as to how to fill a gap in the story and wrote a synopsis in the spot where it should go, but I have to flesh it out today. Hopefully, the finished story will be about 2,500-3,000 words long. This is horror.

The original title, as I conceived of the story a few years back when I started the first draft, was “Apocalypse”. When I took it up again recently, I changed the title to “The Final State of the Union”. “A Semblance of Normalcy” is the latest title an I will probably stick with that one, because of the irony between it and the plot of the story on completion.

The story is about a US president who delivers what will be his final State of the Union address after a nuclear war and a pandemic have devastated the world. The catch is that everyone in the audience and in the White House are dead, just decaying cadavers, which he talks to as if they were alive. He continues to deliver the State of the Union (which was held in the White House during the war vs. before a joint session of Congress), because he wants to present a “semblance of normalcy” to the world. However, not all is at it seems and there is a wicked twist at the end.

I will let you know when and where I will have it published.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and follow.

Hasta luego.

President McMillan
President McMillan in “A Semblance of Normalcy” (based on a photo of JFK)