Random Rejection: Epitaph, “Trailblazing”

So this week I reached into my vast trove of rejection letters, as directed by the Gods of Randomness, and pulled out this short rejection, from the old magazine Epitaph, a division of Pirate Writings:

I didn’t notice until I uploaded the scanned rejection slip and added it to this post that it was written by Tom Piccirilli, a very well-known and respect author and editor in the horror field. So Tom Piccirilli said one of my stories was a nice try with some fun moments! This makes me inordinately pleased. He also said it was not quite horrific enough for him, which was never the typical reason my old horror stories/novels got rejected, but what are you going to do? Everyone has different standards for what constitutes “not horrific enough” and “way too horrific”.

Another item about Tom Piccirilli: When I got the link to his Wikipedia entry, I saw that he had passed away in 2015, which surprised me a little, because I met him at one of the World Horror Conventions I attended (well, sort of; I actually “met” almost no one at those conventions, being relatively terrible at [1] networking, [2] talking to people I don’t know, and [3] talking to people I do know when in a large group) and remembered him as being about my age. So I looked him up over at Locus and discovered that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2012 and died of, you guessed it, a stroke, in 2015, at the age of 50. What is it about the age of 50? Does it actively try to kill people?

Anyway, “Trailblazing” eventually found a home at Grimoire Magazine; you can read the short story here. It’s not horrific in the sense of being gory or such, but what I inflicted on the protagonists … Well, I thought it was pretty awful 25 years ago, and if anything, it seems even worse now.

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