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REJECTION DEJECTION - June 1, 2023

Updated: May 31, 2023



I planned to start this new blog on an upbeat. There is a lot to be grateful for, both in my personal life and my writing life.

Personally, it’s now eight months since Hurricane Ian devastated our home of 20 years and most of our possessions. My husband, Brooks, and I were lucky to have obeyed the mandatory evacuation order, although it was a close call. We knew we were at a 7-foot elevation and the Caloosahatchee River was only a block away, but none of the hurricanes over the 20 years we had lived there had done anything more than knock out electricity and topple some trees. Not even a puddle on our property. But when the storm surge projections reached 15 feet, we loaded up one of our cars with some clothes, medications, computers, dog food, and Cooper, our dog, and left. We had the good fortune to have a snowbird friend who hadn’t yet come back south to her non-flood-zone house and offered it to us.

A few days after the storm, we went back to our house to check on any damage. As Brooks opened the front door, enough light came in to illuminate our worst nightmares. The flood waters had reached three feet throughout the house. It receded before we arrived, leaving an inch or two of filthy water, mud, and bacteria behind. Our belongings had floated around the rooms and were soaking wet. Everything below three feet was lost.

During the next few months, with the help of several flood restoration companies, a junk removal firm, and endless hard labor, the house was barebones livable but still needed a huge amount of work. We decided it was time to leave, and four months after Ian, we moved to Washington State where our son lived, and opened a new chapter in our lives, one that included ice and snow and freezing temperatures.

I started this entry by saying I had a lot to be grateful for. That includes surviving the storm and having a roof over our heads the whole time, thanks to the support and generosity of friends. So many people ended up homeless and living in their cars. As we’ve settled into our new home, I am constantly aware we were the lucky ones.

Now for the writing life gratitude. I’ve been writing, on and off, my entire life. I remember writing a short story that involved a mouse and a clock and having a teacher praise it back in grammar school. That did it for me. Over the years, I accumulated a drawer full of first-draft mystery novels. Only one made it out of the drawer and into the hands of an agent. She shopped it around and gave me copies of rejection letters that praised my writing but didn’t feel there was a market for another amateur female sleuth. I was busy with my legal career and didn’t pursue it.

After retirement from the practice of law and the beginning of the pandemic, I turned to short mystery fiction to distract me. I didn’t have the attention span to tackle a whole novel. A new world opened up as I learned there was such a thing as a Call for Submissions for mystery anthologies. My second attempt found a home in Peace, Love, & Crime with “Nights in White Satin,” where I murdered a bride. Since that time, I’ve had 13 more stories published, all but two in anthologies. The outliers were flash fiction in the online magazine, Shotgun Honey. Not everything has found a home, although I’ve learned to send any rejected stories right out again to a different publication. Rinse and repeat. As often as needed. But as I was reminded this morning, rejection still hurts and awakens the imposter syndrome in every writer.

So, I’m allowing myself to feel rejection dejection for one more hour. And then I’ll return to being grateful for the gift of those 14 acceptances as I start to write the next story.

Thanks for taking a look at my new website, and please check in again next month for my next blog entry.

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