A Fond Farewell to Suzanne W. Vincent

The first time I met Suzanne Vincent was, quite appropriately, at a library.

I’d met with enough online friends and literary heroes to know that people aren’t always the same “IRL” as they present themselves online. So as I sat in that library cafe, nervously sipping my coffee and watching out the window for anyone who looked even vaguely like Suzanne’s profile picture, I wondered exactly what sort of person becomes editor-in-chief of an ezine like Flash Fiction Online.

I suppose now I know.

Much to my relief, Suzanne was exactly the person I’d gotten to know online, and the qualities that have made her such an amazing editor–her candor, her genuine sociability, her ability to see the potential in stories and people alike–also make her a great friend.

And now, as she’s preparing to leave Flash Fiction Online, I was faced with one of my toughest writing tasks yet: somehow expressing to Suzanne how much we will all miss her and thanking her for all the time, all the energy, all the late-night emails, all the tough decision-making, all the encouragement and support, and everything she’s taught us throughout the years.

But then I realized, who better to give our beloved editor a proper send-off than a few of the hundreds (yes, literally hundreds!) of authors who have worked with her over the years, whose stories she has pored over, picked apart, polished, and presented to the world?

In their own words:

I’d like to thank her for making my story Mamita better, then better still, pushing me and pushing me with incisive comments.
Stephen S. Power, “Mamita

Suzanne:  Your professionalism and encouragement made an always-challenging process exponentially smoother to navigate.  Will always be grateful.  Wishing you a very happy next stage of life!
Sarah Crysl Akhtar, “Star Maven

Publication in FFO marked the height of my brief short fiction career, and remains the creative accomplishment I am most proud of (with the story also finding renewed publication in a high school textbook in the Philippines). The editors were kind enough to work with me in publishing an accompanying essay, and allowed me to use original artwork for the story that had been illustrated by my mother. All the best to Suzanne, and my sincere thanks for her belief in my story.
Gary Emmette Chandler, “Sparrows” and “The Shared Victories of Art

Thank you for editing this wonderful magazine for many years! I wish you the best in your future endeavors.
Kim Henderson, “Vaquera

Working with her was terrific–wonderful suggestions greatly improved the piece I published with FFO.
Allen Dyen-Shapiro, “Like Him with Friends Possess’d

Suzanne and I worked on one story together, and her thorough observations each elevated the work. Her shining a light on the story’s core meant not just incorporating her notes but finding new layers to enhance it. Thank you, Suzanne.
Hailey Piper, “Endless Parade

Suzanne is one of those wonderful editors who cares about you and your success as much as the success of Flash Fiction Online. She makes everything sparkle. I’m truly honored that I was able to enter her orbit.
Mercedes M. Yardley, “Milk and Moonshine

Suzanne bought my second-ever pro-market story, and then gave me a master class in how I could improve it. I can’t even guess how many other authors she has helped in the same way over the years. Thank you!
Jeremy Lichtman, “The Truffles of Mars

It’s not always easy being a writer – the publishing world can be both daunting and faceless, so Suzanne’s friendly encouragement has meant more to us than she probably knows. I hope her time after Flash Fiction Online is just as positive, and that she is shown the same kindness she has given so many contributors.
Redfern John Barrett, “Delivery

When I finished gasping for air after receiving revision suggestions for ‘Gator and the Big Buzz’ from Suzanne, I thought, “But … but … it’s impossible to keep it under 1000 words!” I did find a way, and the resulting story was far better due to Suzanne’s keen insights. Best wishes in your future endeavors!
Peter S. Drang, “Gator and the Big Buzz

Suzanne saw the potential in the story that became my first sale, and asked me to re-imagine the main character. I read over her incredibly insightly notes and realized she was right, and I was excited to implement her suggestions.  Thank you so much, Suzanne, for taking a chance on me!
Miyuki Jane Pinckard, “Mr. Buttons

In 2018, I submitted a science fiction story to FFO. Although set on a spacecraft adrift somewhere beyond the Kuiper Belt, the premise was based directly on a lengthy hospital stay my wife and I experienced with one of our children. The idea was simple but some of the details were a bit ragged. Suzanne understood the story’ s emotional core while also identifying its rough edges. She helped me polish a story that remains very important to me. I really appreciate her thoughtfulness, insight and professionalism.
Wes Smiderle, “Safebuoys

Thank you so much, Suzanne, for seeing the special somethings in my stories, for believing in them and making them the best they could be. Best of luck going forward-you’re amazing!
Lora Gray, “Matches, Tower, Sister, Stone,” “Water Like Air,” and “Nuclear Daughter

It doesn’t seem like nine years has passed since you published my story “The Pony Spell”, Suzanne. You further flattered me afterward by using it as an example in your summer writing seminar. It was great working with you, and I wish you all the best in the future.
Garry McNulty, “The Pony Spell

It has been an honor and a joy to work with Suzanne during her time with Flash Fiction Online.  Her insights have been meaningful and helped to focus my stories into being the best they could be.  Thanks for everything, Suzanne, and best of luck in your next adventures!
Rebecca Birch, “Grandmother’s Satchel, Full of Tongues,” “Phoenix, Fallen,” “Songs in the Key of Chamomile,” “Eyes of Wood, Heart of Stone,” and “The Cormorant in the Glass-Bottomed Cage

Suzanne has the ability to really help writers focus in on what is central to their fiction. Since working with her on “Fences and Full Moons” I find myself evaluating my concentration and development of theme in each piece I write. She helped me edit a decent story into an amazing story by asking all of the right questions, while still trusting my instincts. I’ll always be thankful for the hard work she has done for the flash fiction community and for the time she has given my writing!
Corey Farrenkopf, “Fences and Full Moons

Suzanne is a nurturing and keen editor. She really brought out the best in my piece, and I regret I only had the opportunity to work with her once.  But that makes the experience all the more precious.  Best of luck wherever you land, Suzanne, and thank you.
Renée Jessica Tan, “Auntie Cheeks

Suzanne Vincent is one of the most insightful and thoughtful editors I’ve worked with as a writer. She always finds the exact thread to pull, the precise seam to tug at, to make you see your work with fresh eyes and make it the strongest and most beautiful it can be. Flash Fiction Online, and Vincent as an editor, has meant the world to me both as a writer and a reader, and she has helped make me a better writer than I would have been otherwise.
Maria Haskins, “Six Dreams About the Train,” “Silver and Shadow, Spruce and Pine,” “The Ghost in Angelica’s Room,” “The Machine of the Devil,” and “Scent

Suzanne is responsible for my first professional sale, to which I’m eternally grateful. But what I’ll remember even more fondly is her revision feedback for a later story, when she reminded me that even in the darkest of dystopias we need a glimmer of hope. Not just words to write by, but to live by – thank you, Suzanne.
Derrick Boden, “A Winner’s Smile” and “The Last Mardi Gras

From sending me that first personal rejection to publishing my first pro story six years later, Suzanne has been a shining beacon of encouragement, hope, substance, and confirmation in an industry where apathy, rejection, and doubt are perhaps the most common responses to a writer’s work. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with her and can attest that the personal attention she’s given me establishes her as a passionate professional. I wish her nothing but blessings and good stories.”
Bryce Heckman, “Love and Assimilation

Suzanne was incredibly generous with her time, patience, and advice. Working on the rewrites with her was like getting personal mentoring in the craft of writing.
Filip Wiltgren, “The Liar’s Sun

Suzanne is a wonderfully wise and professional editor – always respectful towards the author’s intended vision while endlessly insightful in making that vision shine its best light. She will be sorely missed.
C. E. Aylett, “Touching Strangers

Suzanne’s editorial guidance has been invaluable to me over the years that I’ve been submitting to Flash Fiction Online, her notes almost invariably managing to tease out the best possible versions of my stories. Her ability to make an author’s work shine will be clear to anyone who has read an issue of the magazine. For that, as both a reader and a writer, I am extremely thankful.
Dafydd McKimm, “Secret Keepers,” “Gingerbread,” “A Lady of Ganymede, a Sparrow of Io,” “I Will You Back to Time and Space

Thank you, Suzanne, for all you’ve done and for entrusting me with this labor of love. From all of us at Flash Fiction Online, we wish you all the best.