The following is a record of the rejection letters for my prose and poetry that I received in 2018. This is a total account; my embarrassing 2-3 rejections per month are a living, working reality. I’ve cut greetings (hello, dear writer, etc.), story titles, and editor names for some mixture of brevity and privacy.
The Tishman Review nominated my story “And We Who Never Died” for Best Small Fictions.
BSF is an anthology that honors the “best short hybrid fiction published in a calendar year.” The Harvard Review wrote that the pieces in BSF are like a “splash of ice water in the face,” a wake-up call to “your life… unspooling.”
When I heard I’d been nominated, I was like cool beans and moved on to lesson planning and grading.
Then Coffin Bell posted this:
And I discovered that MY WIFE HAS BEEN NOMINATED.
As of this day, she and I are no longer friends. No longer best friends. No longer lovers.
But bitter enemies locked in literary combat.
THIS. MEANS. WAR.
Kasma Magazine published my science-fiction short, “Two Wings, Flightless,” about a man who has to destroy a hovership that’s been solar-beaming the countryside. Kasma is a speculative magazine that publishes a story every first day of the month. Each piece is accompanied by a beautiful bit of art by Jose Baetas. You can see his treatment for my story above.
In “Two Wings,” I wanted to replicate the hero goes to a cave to slay a dragon story in a post-apocalyptic setting, switching the fire-breather for a flying war machine. The result was really fun to write, especially since the narrator was so dour and grit-happy. I’m already planning a sequel.
My short story “House Divided,” about a divorced couple living in a house split between two dimensions, was included in this year’s America’s Emerging Writers, a nationwide anthology produced by Z Publishing. Out of the two thousand stories featured in their statewide editions, “House Divided” was one of 127 pieces selected.
“Good Fulch” is a story I’ve had in my head since high school. The premise is this. A society of robots have to decide if they should let a human live. The original draft was more human-focused; Charlton Heston shaking his fist at those “damn dirty CPUs.” But on a whim I switched the POV to the metal-heads themselves: glorious, dirty, regal, logical minds falling back on the xenophobia that once infected their creators.
The piece’s publication is Ripples in Space, a seasonal magazine devoted to “all things Sci-Fi, Dystopian, AI, [and] Space Marine.” It was the Space Marine mention that intrigued me, being an advocate for both Warhammer 40,000 and the works of Robert Heinlein.
“Good Fulch” features in this year’s Fall Selection.
This isn’t my achievement, but my wife’s. Coffin Bell has published J. Motoki’s “Directions After Death” digitally and physically in their first print issue. If anyone’s interested, the anthology, Coffin Bell: ONE, is available for preorder ($15). Per usual, I’m both horrified and impressed by my wife’s dark literature. Where I’m satirical and speculative, she’s weird and wonderful and clearly, clearly, the better writer.
Forgot to mention this when it came out. Life gets busy sometimes. One of my poems published at the end of August.
Rue Scribe is a magazine devoted to “Small Literature”—to “micro fiction, flash fiction, tiny fiction,” and to, eh, what the hell, “short shorts.” This cigarette drag of story is about the “small but powerful,” about the smoke that lingers. That’s why I’m honored RS chose to publish “Cuidado,” a poem condemning global violence on women through a life-changing encounter that lasts no more than five seconds.