The Rejection File

The Rejection File

In my date book I note: “Like a Girl” back from [a favorite speculative fiction magazine]. Back from, as though it’s been for a visit.

I rarely use the word rejected. For years I noted “declined.” Now “back from” does it. I’ll send the stories on holiday, and if the fit is good and the timing is right, they’ll stay for a bit. I hope to send many of them abroad in time.

Illustration in Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le F...

Illustration in Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s vampire story. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My first sale was to The Pan Book of Horror: Dark Voices series. I called the bank to find out what the pounds came to in dollars. I hadn’t sent the story anywhere else. Many volumes from the series’ various incarnations kept me company, and in some burst of spirit I took a shot when I saw the submission call. I kept the letter from the editors, David Sutton and Stephen Jones, notifying me they’d short-listed my story.

The R word marks the old folder that holds my rejection slip collection. Most of them went out in recycling long ago, yet a few paper relics accompanied me through uncounted moves. When I looked through them for the first time in years, a compliment from a long-ago Weird Tales editor inspired me to resurrect a vampire story.


English: The cover of Weird Tales issue May 19...

The cover of Weird Tales issue May 1934 featuring Queen of the Black Coast, one of Robert E. Howard’s original stories about Conan the Barbarian. Painting by Margaret Brundage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a sense, I’m what’s come back from the dead. It seems fitting to give this story another shot.

Like a Girl” went off to the next possible market after a spiffing up. I sent it out the first time without the final formatting–so out of practice, and not yet used to my latest software tools. I’m happy I got the story off for its next visit within 24 hours, staying on track with keeping at least five stories out with editors.

Inspiration for dealing with rejection:

Rejection and Reinvention




I write speculative fiction, science fiction, horror, fantasy, cross-genre, unclassified, non-fiction, scripts, poetry and dreams. I'm branching out into multimedia projects. My Vampire Madam series is available on Amazon. The first episode is Animals of London. My work has appeared in anthologies, literary journals, newspapers and on websites under a trio of pen names. I made my first sale to the Pan Book of Horror: Dark Voices series.

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Posted in Horror, Writing

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