It Isn’t Always A “Yes”

The rejection letter/e-mail is the bane of every writer. We all get them, some more than others and only the rarest of the few can say they no longer get them. The great Louis L’Amour got one for a book that I consider his best work, The Walking Drum.

s-l300His daughter was a guest of my podcast recently (Episode 41: Angelique L’Amour  / Audio Only ) and she recounted the story that every publisher he took the manuscript to wouldn’t touch it. It wasn’t a western (even though it really was, just one set in medieval times and in the Eastern Hemisphere) and though L’Amour was already an established best-seller, he couldn’t get it published.

He finally found a way, by persevering and by agreeing to write two other books in exchange for getting The Walking Drum to print, but he had to hear the word “No” quite a lot first.

For my part, over 35 years of sending out manuscripts by mail both snail and electronic, I have heard many a “No!” myself, although lately it seems like it has been happening less. But, it still happens.

Like today for example. I had submitted to a very interesting anthology a few months back, one I would have very much enjoyed being a part of. Sadly, it was a no.

“Mr. Paolinelli,

Thank you for submitting you story, “XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX,” to our XXXXXXXXXXX Anthology. Yours was a unique approach to the theme, and the editorial staff enjoyed the originality. The desperation of the main character’s attempts to bring his son back by XXXXXXXXXXXXX was quite scary, but well characterized. The editorial staff appreciates your talents as a writer.

We received over 400 stories, and more than 300 were dropped in the first round. The editorial team kept your story for a second round of consideration, and we enjoyed the chance for another look, but unfortunately it did not make the final round. Best of luck placing it elsewhere and with your future writing endeavors.”

I X-ed out the title of my story, the anthology and the plot info for obvious reasons. Besides, the point of sharing this was to show we all get these rejection letters – most are very professional as this one was.

I also wanted to share it because I see a lot of newer authors posting that they are on the brink of giving up after getting another rejection letter. I hate to see that because sometimes you have to get a ton of these and keep honing your skills in the craft before the acceptance letters start rolling in.

And rather than seeing the “No” in the letter above and getting depressed, take a look at a lot of the positives that lay within. Over 75% of the submitted stories were cut in the first round. Mine was not among them. My story got into the second round and who knows how close it came to making that final cut?

red spiritual smoke on black background with copy space

Having recently edited Planetary Anthology Series: Pluto, I can tell you the difference between the last story to make the cut and the story that just missed is razor-thin. About half of the submissions got in. The others that didn’t? They would have made an excellent collection on their own right. I can’t think of a story in the rejected pile that was so bad it got cut before I finished reading it.

But look further in that first paragraph. They were impressed with the story, its originality, how it fit the theme of the anthology overall (it was scary!) and the characters were well developed. Not bad for a slightly-over 5,000-word short story, eh?

So yes, I was disappointed that it was a “No”, but I walked away from reading this e-mail feeling very good about the story and my writing. And that is what I want every writer to keep in mind whenever that rejection letter arrives. Find the positives to build on, use any negatives as constructive criticism to improve on the next story.

And, most importantly, don’t ever let the “No” letters stop you from writing.

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Like what you’ve read so far? Be sure and sign up for Richard’s newsletter, “Postcards From Infinity“, and if you’d like to become a patron you can do so right here. Any amount you choose will be appreciated and will help keep this blog, these weekly serials and Richard’s podcast, “A Scribe’s Journey” up and running. Thank you for reading and for your support.




Day Off? What’s That?

Yeah, it is Sunday. Yeah, I’m watching football. But that doesn’t mean I have the day off. Welcome to the life of an Indie writer, even a hybrid writer like I am for that matter.

Here’s my day today:

Signed a contract for a short story that will appear in the Sherlock Holmes Adventures in the Realms of Edgar Allan Poe anthology by Belanger Books.

Did an interview that will run with the Kickstarter for the aforementioned anthology.

Did show prep for tomorrow’s show recording of A Scribe’s Journey. London-based author Benedict J. Jones is this week’s guest. It should be a very good, spooky show. (Maybe I should have scheduled it for next month?)

Outlined the four short stories I need to complete for anthologies before the end of October – totaling about 16,000 words.

Tended to some editor’s work on the Pluto anthology.

Got in some marketing for published works.

Oh, yeah, and I wrote a blog post.

I need a day off. But don’t worry, I have one scheduled… January 16, 2020.


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Like what you’ve read so far? Be sure and sign up for Richard’s newsletter, “Postcards From Infinity“, and if you’d like to become a patron you can do so right here. Any amount you choose will be appreciated and will help keep this blog, these weekly serials and Richard’s podcast, “A Scribe’s Journey” up and running. Thank you for reading and for your support.


Books 3 & 4 of the Timeless Series

If you haven’t had a chance to pick up copies of my Space Opera/Steampunk/Time-traveling Space Pirates novella series yet, you really should correct the oversight.

The Timeless (Book #1) and Secret of the Sphinx (Book #2) are out and available in print and e-book formats across several platforms. (Links below)

The next two books are scheduled for release very soon. Odin’s Runes (Book #3) will come out around Thanksgiving Day and Empire of the Golden Dragon (Book #4) will be released around Christmas Day. Check out the recently finished covers:

odins runes copy

empire copy


The final two books of the series – Blackbeard’s Treasure (#5) and The Last Quest (#6) – should be out before spring of 2020. They are loads of fun to read and suitable for readers as young as age 10 that will also be enjoyable to readers as old as 110.

Here’s the links for the two books currently available. You can get The Timeless for $0.99 as an e-book while Secret of the Sphinx is currently $1.99. Print copies go for $7.99 each:


1564615499The Timeless E-Book Amazon

The Timeless Print Format

The Timeless E-Book Other Platforms






Secret of the Sphinx E-Book Amazon

Secret of the Sphinx Print Format

Secret of the Sphinx E-Book Other Platforms


In Case You Were Wondering About Yesterday…

You might have noticed this post yesterday: Dear Wayback Machine and have been wondering what prompted it.

Well, it goes back to our good friend ChinaMike, the Lord of the House of 770 Vile Aromas, and his many minions (Camelflop, Frau Butthurt and others). They like to cherry-pick authors websites – usually in an attempt to attack said author by taking said cherry-picked portion of his or her website out of context. By not linking directly to the site this bars the ability to examine the rest of the website and getting an accurate read on the author in question.

China_Mike-ExposedIn ChinaMike’s case it also reveals a little bit of his character. He is such a creature of website traffic he once had Chinese Web Bots coming to his site to artificially inflate his traffic hits. He was called on it when he posted a screenshot of his traffic numbers that showed 92.7% of his hits were coming from China. (Pictured)

Since then, his numbers are well below what they once were. But he seems to think everyone else sits and worries about their website numbers too. Actually, most don’t. We’re too busy writing books or creating other sci-fi/fantasy media and selling them to worry about that. So he uses the Internet Archive to cherry-pick while – he thinks – hurting the target by denying them clicks on their site.

So I got the idea yesterday that since I have copyrighted material on my site, I have the legal standing to contact Internet Archive and serve them a DMCA to remove any and all instances of my website from their service. I did so, professionally, and they responded very professionally and agreed to do so after I proved that I was the legal owner of my website.

If they want to link to something on our sites, they will do so to the actual sites. No more Wayback Machine links.

Screenshot (19)

Yesterday’s post was one of the options I was given to prove to their satisfaction that I had the right to make the request. I could have chosen a more private method, but this one served a second purpose.

It served public notice to ChinaMike and his minions that they could no longer do this, sets a precedent for me to contact their individual ISPs and request that they remove any mention of my website on these individuals websites for the same reason and, I hope, serves as a road map for other authors who have been similarly targeted.

It is time we took away these toys from these Internet brats until they grow up enough to use them properly.



Really, Facebook? Really?

Facebook has sent Larry Correia back to Facebook jail for linking to his blog post regarding ChinaMike, Lord of the House of 770 Vile Aromas, refusing to take down a link to pirated material from the legal copyright owner of the material in question.

Facebook is now bullying people who are standing up to Internet bullies.

Check out the post that Fail, er I mean, Facebook doesn’t want you to see right here:

And, by the way, fuck off and die, Mark Zuckerburg, you fascist POS.