The Story of Gnashing

Cover of Constelación Issue 2. A large skull with a halo of planets and red eyes holds a woman in its arms. Contributor names are written: R.P. Sand, Adria Bailton, Brie Atienza, Jendayi Brooks-Flemister, Juan Diego Gómez Vélez, Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría, Gabriela Damián Miravete, Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas

Cover art by Samuel Araya

Gnashing Teeth from the Deep and the Children Hang on Tight – A Checklist

On the one year anniversary of the publication of my non-standard form flash fiction published in Issue 2 of Constelación Magazine – Myths and Monsters learn the story behind the story. Be sure to go read the flash before reading this blog post, for there are spoilers ahead. You will want to buy a single issue (and buy both issue 1 and 2 because they are both great!) rather than use the subscriptions.

This publication will always be very close to my heart. In the fall of 2020, I attended a Writing Prompts and Games session with Cat Rambo via her Discord Server. Cat read this prompt, which was what became the title, “Gnashing teeth from the deep and the children hang on tight,” and I immediately thought this was a checklist. And I was off writing my story.

I am a pantser and other than write a little snippet per word or phrase, as told from this Nightmare Monster’s perspective, I didn’t know where this was going as I wrote for the ten minute writing time. For the Monster, who has no name, it is a transitional time, a coming-of-age of sorts, moving from a young and shallow voice into a more mature and motivated voice. 

When our ten minutes was up, I’d mined some of my own trauma for the resolution – because when I got to the phrase “children hang on tight” I asked myself, why would the children hang on tight to a monster from the deep that I’ve created here? And the answer is that the Nightmare Monster become a savior from the terrors in life. Terrors I knew well as a child. 

I volunteered to read my story during the reading time. I recall a couple of the other attendees that day. As I read along, the sing-song nature of some of the prose and the inital voice elicited smiles from Cat and the other Zoom members. And at the twist, the smiles faded and it was silent. We mute ourselves when we aren’t reading, but it took a moment for Cat to say anything. And I wasn’t sure if the faded smiles and silence was a good sign or a bad sign about the story.

I don’t recall what Cat said, to be honest. But I polished it, taking the somewhat blunt twist and wrote it a little less extreme and severe from its initial course.

Picture of a thin, red, long muscled arm and hand, reaching out form underneath a bed, and a hand with long fingernails holding a light peach hand, from off the bed. the bed has a green spread and the floor is orange tiles.

Art by Gutti Barrios for the flash fiction, “Gnashing Teeth”

Submission and Acceptance

In December 2020, I began submitting my fiction to markets. My initial method involved finding best fits as I saw them. The call for Issue 2 of Constelación Magazine – Myths and Monsters was opening. I spent an afternoon in an early December co-writing session from Cat Rambo’s Discord polishing the story specifically for this call. At least one other person on the Zoom session mentioned they were also polishing a story for this call.

Polished and ready, I submitted “Gnashing Teeth from the Deep and the Children Hang on Tight – A Checklist” on December 15, 2020 through the Constelación moksha portal. It was my second fiction submission since the 1990s. I generally just consider it my second fiction submission ever since I was not paid for any of my 1990s fiction. It was the first submission of this story to any market.

​I continued to submit other stories to other markets, a total of six that December. I used The Submission Grinder to track my submissions. I watched rejections turn the Constelación graph from purple (pending) to red (rejected) while my story stayed purple along with a chunk of others. I am supersititious about nudging for responses and only do so under duress. I simply waited, along with those other purple lines.

On Monday, March 29, 2021 around noon local time, I received an acceptance email from Coral Alejandra Moore and the Constelación Team! 


Many authors have dream markets. By March 2021, I hadn’t really made my list of dream markets, but Constelación Magazine would definitely be on it. 

Issue 2 was supposed to be published April 15, 2021, according to the Constelacion Kickstarter. As a new publishing author, I didn’t know much, but I knew that would be a tight turn-around. It didn’t matter. I was thrilled for the acceptance and to be a part of this publication and its journey. This also signified my first pro-rate sale.

​I attended the Flights of Foundry virtual convention in 2021, where the Constelación editors were guests of honor. I attended their panels and their open room. I may have fallen all over myself and possibly (definitely) cried in excitement at meeting Eliana and Coral. (I’m not cool. At all. And my ND brain cries at any opporunity, much to my dismay.)

I waited six months for my second story to be published. Spring acceptances with fall publications is currently a 2-point trendline. On October 5, 2021, Issue 2 of Constelación Magazine – Myths and Monsters was published with my story in it. With this publication, another wishlist item on my author dreams was achieved – have my work translated from English to another language. Natasha Besoky wrote the translation into Spanish. 

The publication announcement was met with wonderful tweets and an amazing review from Charles Payseur. It also earned me a spot in ​The Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Weird Fiction Magazine Index


On September 2, 2022, Coral Alejandra Moore announced the closure of Constelación Magazine. I am gutted for her and Eliana. They and Constelación were fabulous, and I wish them and the Constelación Team well in their future endeavors. 
Image of fish in the deep sea with glow-in-the-dark teeth

An image I came across shortly after “Gnashing Teeth” published that embodied almost how I saw the teeth part of the Nightmare Monster – like the glow-in-the-dark deep sea fish teeth.

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