It’s been an unusually emotional month, professionally speaking.

It started with a rejection letter from the anthology, Corpse Blossom. Not all together unexpected, but it hurt nonetheless. By “not all together unexpected” I mean that the news didn’t send me into the typical spiral of “I can’t write”, “I’m not meant to be doing this,” “Why would God give me this so-called gift if no one wants to read me?”, “Maybe this is a sign that I ought to find a different outlet for my writing.” You know, that spiral that makes it hard to be as happy as I would like for my friends who get acceptances (Jen Orosel, David Wilbanks). That bitter, jealous thing.

Luckily, the month picked up. I got an acceptance into Dark Dreams II with my story “Black Frontiers” (the middle story of my black horror western trilogy). The fun of signing contracts, anticipating money, counting down to seeing your story in print, that’s why I got into this. The validation of others. Let’s face it, writers are egotists to varying degrees. Why else yearn to see our names in print? Why else would some go so far as to pay companies to put their work in print (and why so many companies exist to prey on those same egos)? We’re wired, and I don’t think writers are by any means alone in this, to seek something outside ourselves to give us meaning. So, now I’m cool and can stay in this game another minute.

Then I got the acceptance letter from Walt Hicks over at DeathGrip: Exit Laughing for my story “Since We Can Die but Once.” Now, I’ve never been in the position to have two stories accepting within weeks of each other. Well, then I was just insufferable. I was God’s gift to writing. I was ready to call up my web guy and revamp my web site so that I could declare myself “the new master of horror.” You know, put up something catchy like “why wait for the next Steven King? He’s already here!” (The key being to misspell Stephen King’s name, by the way). Maybe, just maybe, I was so bad that a friend of mine left me a voice mail that said “Little people calling pompous ass: get over yourself!”

Which means that maybe my rejection notice from Damned Nation did me a favor and brought me back to reality. It was one I really wanted in, but part of me knew that the story I sent was flawed (yeah, you get that sense about some of your work. Too bad that didn’t hit me until AFTER I sent it out). For some reason, I can’t stop humming “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

And I’m hard at work on a new novella. Devil’s Marionette. I’m digging it. Writing is still fun.

It’s been a good month.

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