28 November 2011

A Sad Farewell

Way back when I did my undergraduate work at the University of South Carolina, I double-majored in English Literature and Journalism. The only grade less than an A I ever made was the exam on writing obituaries. There was an exact format that had to be followed. Unfortunately, I'd partied too hearty the night before the class and slept in. Not only did I not know how to write an obituary, I didn't even know we had a test the following class. I received an F and a lecture on missing the prof's lecture.

Times have changed and our State Newspaper now will print ANYTHING the family gives the mortuary. Of course, now the family has to pay by the word for the printed obituary. I've written quite a few, but I'd still rather write anything than an obit. Today's topic is a death, but I'm not going to write it as such.

This morning, I received an e-mail from Darlene Poier, editor and publisher of Canadian magazine, Pages of Stories. Subject line reads, "Goodbye from Pages of Stories." Problems forced the Poiers to take a brief hiatus to reorganize. Research in how to promote the magazine convinced them that they could not continue. Therefore, Pages of Stories ends.

I learned of Pages of Stories through Criminal Brief and won a subscription through a contest. That led to my submitting a story, which led to my story appearing in the same Summer, 2011 issue as stories by John Floyd and Leigh Lundin. I was honored to be in such fine company.

Darlene started the magazine intending to publish the best stories available, and she states, "I believe that this magazine did accomplish the goal of having the highest quality stories available, making for an enjoyable read for everyone." She wrote that subscriptions never rose to the level necessary to establish a foundation sufficient for production and promotion.

Last Friday, comments on John's blog led to a discussion of how few fiction magazines are left and how hard it is to obtain them. Perhaps we need to reconsider subscriptions. John, what I do to avoid the crowding situation is donate to nursing homes and senior citizens groups. But then, I have to subscribe because not a single bookstore of newsstand in Columbia, SC, stocks AHMM or EQMM.

The web site for Pages of Stories is still up but will soon come down. The war story project Lest We Forget is available in both hard and soft copy. Communicate with Darlene through the website or at www.pagesofstories.com.

I promised I wouldn't write this as an obituary, and I'm not. Instead, it is an eulogy and a question about our legacy and the inheritance we leave. Certainly the market is depressed, but what do we leave those who come after?

I'm going to miss Darlene and Pages of Stories.


  1. I agree that authors need to subscribe to magazines to help keep those markets alive. I recently sold an article to a gardening magazine, (BackHome) which I do subscribe to, but tried to get an extra copy a our local B&N. It turned out that they stopped carrying it because they only sold 4 copies of the Jan-Feb issue. I also think that magazines need to present themselves in as many formats as possible to survive.

  2. That is very sad.
    I'm afraid that there is so much free content available on the web that fiction magazines are in real trouble.

  3. I too am disappointed to learn that Pages of Stories will cease publishing. Darlene encouraged authors and she was delightful to work with.

    As Janice says, so much 'free' content, regardless of quality, further undermines publishers. There's an economic expression about the bad driving out the good and it really applies to publishing.

  4. A side note:

    Last evening in the midst of writing her article, Fran telephoned that she was rushing her mother to the hospital. I know all of us wish Fran and her mother well.

  5. So few markets for short stories to begin with...sad, indeed.

    Wish you the best with your mom, Fran.

  6. Sorry to hear about your mom, Fran. I hope everything goes well.

    Bad news near Christmas, the end of Pages of Story. I haven't received an email yet but I suppose I will announcing its demise.

  7. Hello Everyone,

    Thank you for those kind words Fran. I'm going to miss working with so many talented and fun loving story tellers. I will always have a passion for the written word, and I hope you will all continue to write.

    Louis, yes, an email will be going out to the subscribers this week. It's been a fairly emotional time and I found I could only do one such email this weekend.

    Fran, I hope all is well with your mother and you'll remain in my thoughts.

    Take care and happy reading.

    Darelne Poier

  8. I'm so sorry to hear the news about Pages of Stories. Darlene was a great pleasure to work with, and the magazine was a reflection of her talent and professionalism.

    Fran, best wishes to you and your mother. Please keep us posted.


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