3 Stories & a Moral

Some years back the Mystery Writers of America had an open call for stories about odd partners. I came up with a truly fabulous idea, wrote it. Sent it in. Rejected. Usually I’m philosophical about rejection, but this one stung. Took the story and stuck it in a drawer and festered until, last year, I saw an open call for a new MWA anthology with the theme of Crime Hits Home. I remembered the old story, rewrote it, sent it in and….. But wait.

Meanwhile, I was working on another story and I absolutely loved the first line. I liked the rest of the story too, but I didn’t think any part of it beat the first line. Then I saw an an open call for the Malice Domestic anthology titled Murder Most Diabolical. Something about the word diabolical took root in my mind. It gave me a way to reframe the story, and so I set to work and…But wait.

Meanwhile, I spent years workshopping a mystery novel about Anne Boleyn. The people in the workshop loved my novel. My agent loved my novel, but unfortunately, after a valiant effort, it didn’t sell. So I put it aside, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I loved the protagonist. She felt unique to me. She had something to say. So one day I decided to rewrite the novel as a short story. Spent months doing that and then…But wait.

So, ready to hear what happened?

My story is to be published in Crime Hits Home this April. My other story is to be published in the Malice Domestic anthology in April. And my Anne Boleyn story is to be published by Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine this May. And, I’m reading it for the AHMM podcast.

My takeaway? There’s a lot of waiting in publishing. And rewriting. And rejection. But don’t let the rejections throw you. Sometimes stories take a while to gel. Sometimes you submit to the right place at the wrong time. Sometimes you’re unlucky. But sometimes everything comes together. How about you? Do you have any any rejection/success stories you’d like to share? Please do. 🙂



  1. I love this! And congrats!

    I have a book that “died on sub” and I mourn it. Hadn’t thought to resuscitate it into a short story. That is brilliant!

    Feeling inspired. Thanks!

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