So it’s been a while since I reached into my huge stack of rejection letters to pull out one of my old “You Suck” letters, and since I’m partway through my third “meh” BookBub book in a row and don’t really feel like giving it the Teaser Tuesday treatment, and we haven’t really seen any interesting movies lately (read: Movies that caused my wife to say humorous things about them), I thought it was time to dust the old feature off. So herewith is our first Random Rejection in quite some time: From Eternal Twilight, for my short story “Customs”:
So this week I’m reading Suicide Forest, a horror novel (possibly involving ghosts) by Jeremy Bates, in which a group of hikers, whose plan to scale Mount Fuji has been thwarted by weather, decide to go camp in Japan’s Aokigahara forest.
So this week I reached into my big folder full of rejections (and the occasional acceptance) and pulled out something new: A contract! Arriving as it did in November of 1997, this was, if I remember correctly, my first-ever contract, for a story called “The Short Route” (AKA “My Cousin Susan’s Favorite Story Of Mine Ever”), in which a tenderfoot from Back East discovers that there’s more than just cattle on his first cattle drive. The story appeared in “Vampire Dan’s Story Emporium” a tiny regional magazine published in Syracuse that ran from 1997 to 2001.
Well it’s been a while since I reached into my vast trove of ancient publisher response letters, so I figured it was about time to do so again. And what did I find this time? An acceptance letter from the old ‘zine “Mindmares”, for my old story “Rush Hour”. (See, it’s not ALL rejection letters in there.) Nothing to do with Jackie Chan or Chris Tucker, this is the story of a man who is stuck in traffic, reading the paper, and failing to notice that there’s a Very Bad Thing heading his way. Whoops.
This week instead of Teaser Tuesday, I decided to reach into the big pile of ancient rejection letters and see what I would find. What I came up with this old slip, from a magazine called Pirate Writings, from none other than Tom Piccirilli, author of such atmospheric horror novels as A Choir of Ill Children and the on-my-Kindle, not-yet-read The Last Kind Words, currently on sale for $0.99 for the Kindle edition. (Marked down from $15. Really, Random House? $15 for an eBook?)
This week’s Teaser Tuesday is from Ghost Stories of an Antiquary: Part 2 by M.R. James. James was writing stories of ghosts (and the occasional eldritch abomination) around the turn of the previous century, and has been cited as an influence by (among others) H.P. Lovecraft. He also, as previously alluded, figures prominently in one of the Merrily Watkins books, which is what prompted me to pick up his stories. The Kindle editions of Ghost Stories of an Antiquary are currently available for the quite reasonable price of $0.00.
I’ve been hoping to pull this rejection out for a while, as it’s one of my favorites, but I haven’t. So I took matters into my own hands and went looking for it:
It’s been a while since I reached into my stack of rejection letters, so today I dove in and pulled this one out, from Maelstrom, for a short story called “Pinch Bobby ‘Til He Bleeds”.
Today I reached into my massive pile of rejections and pulled out a relatively boring one from Clocktower Fiction’s webzine. This one was for “Love and the Tides of Darkness”, a short story that I originally wrote specifically for an anthology called On The Eighth Day. I really liked this story and tried to sell it to a bunch of different markets, but once the year 2000 rolled around, it was pretty much obsolete.
So of course writing isn’t ALL rejection letters. At least, one hopes it isn’t. Case in point: One of my favorite short stories, “Singletrack”, which appeared in Greg Gifune’s magazine “The Edge”. And as a special yummy treat for those who have been knocking around the Internet as long as I have, please note the Geocities URL in the letter.