This, Too, is a Kudos.

In the SLO NightWriters, we have a tradition. At every meeting, the M.C. asks if anyone has any “kudos” to report. By kudos, she means responses from publishers, and it’s an opportunity to stand up and say “I got my story so-and-so accepted to such-and-such magazine.”

Last year, I wrote a story about a Buddhist beatnik vampire, and her boyfriend, a more traditional Lord Ruthven type, and their conflicting views on vampirism and life in general. It’s a good strong story, even if half the markets are turning away vampire fiction right now. I submitted it to a horror anthology and got this email a few days before the March meeting.

“Dear R. Jean,

Thank you for your recent submission to CUTTING BLOCK PRESS for our upcoming anthology “Horror Library Vol 4”. Our apologies for taking so long to get back with you.

By the end of our submission period we will have read over a thousand stories this time around…final decisions did not come easy.

We have received and read your submission, and it has made it’s way through our editing staff. Unfortunately at this time we’re going to have to pass on your story. While well written and interesting, we felt it just didn’t fit what we were looking for at this time for the collection.

Thank you again for your interest, and we wish you all the best with your writing. We’ll be reading again this time of year next year. Keep an eye on Ralan’s and our website for updates and guidelines for submissions.

R.J. Cavender

This, too, is a kudos. I’m one step closer to finding the right market for “Preta,” even if this one wasn’t it. I’ve joked that in science fiction, fantasy, and horror, you can judge where you are in your career by the quality of your rejections. You start out getting no response at all. Then, one day, you get a form letter rejection or two lines in an email. You work your way up to getting handwritten rejections, then sympathetic ones, then critiques, and THEN you might get an acceptance.

I’m a lot more pleased with this rejection than I’ve been with some acceptances in my career. I can tell that Cavender and his team really enjoyed my story, and would have printed it if they could have in this collection. That gives me heart, and makes me feel a lot cheerier than getting accepted to a sketchy online market that pays a quarter of a cent per word and might accept a story by chimpanzees.

So, fellow writers, take heart. This is a rejection, but it’s a good one. And that’s a kudos.


About R. Jean Mathieu

They say he speaks five languages, was conceived on a chess board, and once seduced a tong boss' daughter and lived to tell the tale. All we know is, he's called Roscoe. You can find more scurrilous lies at and buy his books at View all posts by R. Jean Mathieu

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