Don’t for a second think that submitting stories to your friends is somehow easier. Sadly, it can be more difficult, because then rejections become a lot more trickier. Why? Because now the rejection is personal. If we have to have a rejection letter, we want something personalized, something with comments that lets us know that the editor actually read the story. However, rejection letters from friends … they better bleed with grief from having to reject us.

I have read of editors losing friendships over having to reject some of their friends. This continues to baffle me: it’s not like we don’t understand the business. You can’t just sit around publishing your friends because, well, you accumulate a lot of friends. And your name is the one on the line if you publish crap.

I try to follow the same rules with friends that I do with other editors. Be professional. Don’t respond to the rejection unless it is to say something along the lines of “thank you for your time and consideration.” Okay, with friends, since most already feel bad for having to reject their friends, my job is to make them feel worse (I’m still getting over the grief caused to me and my family by one Mr. James Moore. My family is still in mourning, Jim. Mourning!). However, some “friends” delight in rejecting you.

Which brings me to Chesya.

Yeah, someone’s given her the title editor of the Red Light District Anthology (thanks a lot, Cat). Oh there’s nothing worse than having to submit to Chesya. I take that back. There’s nothing worse than ME having to submit to Chesya. One, there is the phrase “submit to Chesya.” She gets on her “dance, monkey, dance” high horse. Apparently this means she has the right of first refusal on all of my stories. Which, of course, have to prove their worth for her diva-ness to bother reading.

In other words, my submission might as well include the sign: “If you can reach the knife in my back, please return it to Chesya – doubtless she’ll want to use it on her other friends, too”

Yeah, I could solve all of this by not submitting, but I am planning on submitting to almost dare her to reject me. Cause Lord help her if she rejects my story and I sell it to a larger market. Sure it might not be professional to talk about markets you’re planning to submit to, but … hang on, the phone’s ringing. Caller ID says it’s Chesya. Shocker, it’s been almost 15 minutes since she last called me. (She’s kind of like Candyman: mention her name three times and she just sort of appears).

Hello … no, you can’t reject me before I even submit a story. That rule only applies to nobody writers. Of course I’m somebody. Bye.
As you know, I’d never do anything to make Chesya’s life more difficult. So, in no particular order, a few things for all of you prospective writers to keep in mind when submitting stories to this anthology:

Be sure to refer to her as your “chocolate muse” in your cover letter. Be sure to sum up your story in the cover letter. She LOVES that. Be sure your cover letter is half as long as your story. Be sure to list your every credit. Be doubly sure to include every non-paying market you’ve ever tossed off a story to.
Daggone. The phone is ringing again.

Hello? Hey, Cat. Yeah I saw your guidelines posted. Yeah, I know it’s your anthology, too. No, I wouldn’t dream of making your life more difficult. Yeah, I … uh-huh. Uh-huh. Yeah, I saw Mamatas’ guidelines. Me as a lusty pirate? Okay.

Whatever. Never let it be said that I don’t cooperate with editors. What’s a little less dignity when I have a story to submit.

Anyway, I’m off to open up my trunk of buried stories and dust off what I’m sure was an old classic. Even if there isn’t a prostitute in it, no worries. I can stick a ho in anything. That’s another tip from your Uncle Maurice – Chesya loves those stories, too.

*This blog started off with such good intentions.