A great way to start the day

This morning I received the most delightful story rejection I have ever had. I won’t say who sent it or which story it concerned, but here’s part of what it said:

“I absolutely loved it up to around Page 11. You’ve given us some of the best fiction we’ve ever published. If you’ve a mind to dream up a honking knock-my-socks-off second half to this piece, I’d run through molten lava to read it.”

So to the editor who sent this, I tip my glass of cranberry juice in an early-morning toast. Thank you! Your kind words have made my day.

Dealing with rejection

It is intriguing how a string of acceptances, even from smaller markets, can soften the impact of a single rejection, even from a major publication.

I received snail mail yesterday from Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, an envelope I have been waiting to get for 14 weeks.  Of course, I had been hoping that they would say they were buying Deadman’s Drop.  Instead, they said no thank you.

Eighteen months ago, that rejection would have been devastating, would have had me wondering if I should just pack up the word processor and give up trying to become a professional writer.  Today, it’s just frustrating.

Since last June, I have had 25 stories published, or accepted for publication, all at small press markets.  The only rejections I have received in six months have been from publications that pay professional rates.

It’s a tough egg to crack; I realize that.  Deadman’s Drop is a good story, I am certain it will be accepted when I send it off to a smaller publication.   But I wanted to see it in Ellery Queen.

Oh, well.  Time to get it ready to back out in the mail.


We Who Still Labour, the 4,800-word urban fantasy I wrote for The Blackness Within, a British anthology, has come home with it’s tale tucked between it’s legs.  (Pardon the pun.)

It was a swell rejection, though. The editor said some nice things about the story and then explained that he wouldn’t be taking it because he thought my interpretation of Moccus, the Celtic god upon which the anthology is based, was “too benevolent”.

He went on to say he liked the way I wrote, though, and if I had something darker and “not set in the States or Great Britain”, he would love to look at it.

I don’t, of course.

I had never heard of Moccus until I spotted the advertisement for the anthology and I don’t know diddly squat about any place outside the U.S.A., not enough to write about it with any measure of comfort.

But, hey; it was nice of him to offer.

We Who Still Labour is set at the North Junction Diner, a hole-in-the-wall place outside Coshocton, Ohio, and it involves the reincarnation of Moccus, Celtic god of fertility and the hunt, a couple of escaped convicts, a feisty waitress named Darlene Comer and fifty Landrace pigs.

How could anyone say “no” to that?

BTW, the “u” in the titular Labour was because the story was intended for a Brit market. I suppose I need to Americanize it before I send it out to make the rounds here.