Real-Time Rejection II: The 5th Rejection of “Story X1”

Well, we’ve hit the half-way point, and “Story X1” has received its 5th rejection. If you’d like to see the previous rejections, go here.

Without further ado, here’s rejection number five:

Thank you for submitting “Story X1” to XXX. We appreciate the chance to read it. Unfortunately, we don’t feel it is a good fit for us and we’re going to have to pass on it at this time.

Thanks again. Best of luck with this.

This is a standard form rejection from a pro market, one that’s in my top-ten list of publications to crack before the end of the decade. The closest I’ve gotten with this particular publisher is a further consideration letter followed by a form rejection. There’s not much you can learn from a rejection like this. The only information here is a) they read the story, and b) they aren’t going to publish it. You’ll never know why, so let these rejections bounce off that ever-thickening rejectomancer hide you’ve been growing and send that story out again.

The good news is that many of the publications I regularly submit to, both pro and semi-pro, have opened up for submissions again in the new year. As such, I’ve sim-subbed “Story X1” out to a couple of my usual suspects, so you’ll either see “Story X1” achieve glorious acceptance, or you’ll get blog posts titled “The 6th/7th Rejection of “Story X1.” Place your bets. 🙂

How are your writing endeavors going in the new year? I’d love to hear about your latest rejection or acceptance in the comments.

Writing Acts of War II – Week 3 Update

Week three has come and gone, and the first draft of Acts of War II has passed the 30,000-word mark. Below is my progress report for the week.

Progress: I wrote 10,022 words for week three and made it to the end of chapter eleven and very nearly to the end of act three (one more chapter to go). That’s less raw words than the previous weeks, but with the holidays and another large project intruding on my writing time, I’m more than happy with this number. I’m still well on track to finish ahead of my deadline.

The Best Part: Big battle scenes. This week included the first big set-piece battle in the book, and I always have a lot of fun writing those. One of my favorite things about these scenes is that I can really pull out all the stops and show my main characters, most of which are warcasters (that’s a kind of sorcerer who combines magic with steam-powered technology), doing what they were made to do. That means spells, feats, and all the other fun little bits WARMACHINE players see on their stat cards.

The Hard Part: Game to narrative. When you’re a media tie-in author for a company that produces tabletop miniatures games or RPGs, one of the challenges you will invariably face is turning abstract game language into narrative fiction. I mean, you have to take a rule like “automatically hits and gains an additional die on the damage roll” and turn it into something that makes some sense in the real world. That said, these are fun challenges, and I typically get a kick out of coming up with new ways to translate game to fiction.

Mini Excerpt: This week’s mini excerpt features warcaster versus warjack, and once again, we’ve got some awesome concept art for one of the main characters in the book, Asheth Magnus.


Magnus charged, the weight of his armor and the nagging pains of old wounds sliding away in a surge of adrenaline. The Sentinels parted before him, and the Spriggan loomed, its war lance swiveling in his direction. He spun away from the first thrust, which would have impaled him–armor, power field, and all–and hit the Khadoran warjack holding Foecleaver like a lance of his own. Magnus focused his will into the strike, and the mechanikal blade ripped through the Spriggan’s hull below its head, showering him in sparks and the black spray of hydraulic fluid. The Spriggan swung its assault shield at him as he wrenched Foecleaver free and tried to leap away. He wasn’t quick enough to avoid a glancing blow, and his power field blazed, absorbing some of the impact, but the attack still had enough momentum to smash him off his feet and stave in the right side of his breastplate.

Man, I hope Magnus did some serious damage to that Spriggan, or our favorite ex-mercenary antihero might be in serious trouble. 😉

Got a question or a comment about the book or my writing process? Ask away in the comments section below.

And if you’ve missed the progress reports for the previous weeks, you can find them right here:


Remember, you can still get the first book in this series, Acts of War: Flashpoint, at a 25% discount from the Skull Island eXpeditions website by entering the code ACTSOFWAR1 at check out.

2016: A Writing Rearview Review

And that’s a wrap on 2016, some might say mercifully so. As for how 2016 treated me and my writing career, I would rate the year as “not too shabby.”

Let us now turn to a whole bunch of stats because they are the super-duperest, most fun thing ever. Full disclosure: I love stats. It’s a personal failing, I know.

Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi Submissions

Total Submissions Sent: 54*

Better than last year but not nearly as many as I would have liked. The biggest reason I didn’t get as many short story submission out there is pretty easy to figure. I was writing novels for a lot of the year, the first of which was published in 2016. That ate a lot of writing time with, uh, more writing. Anyway, not too bad.

Acceptances: 9

Okay, this is a better number, and it’s almost double what I did last year. I also increased my acceptance ration from 13% to 17%, a number I hope to raise even further in 2017.

Form Rejections: 29

I actually received more form rejection than last year, but since I primarily submitted to top-tier markets in 2016, that’s not too bad. In addition, I received a number of higher-tier form rejections from this publications, which tells me I’m getting closer to an acceptance (I hope).

Personal Rejections: 10

About the same number of these as last year. A number of these were for stories for which I received a further consideration letter but the publisher ultimately decided to pass. Disappointing, but still a step in the right direction.

Never Responded/Withdrawn: 1

Just one of these in 2016, and it was because the publication went out of business. Disappointing because the story was short-listed. Oh, well; it’s a tough ol’ market out there for small genre zines.

*I still have five submission pending, so percentages are based on the submissions that have received a response.

Privateer Press

I still write a bunch for Privateer Press, and here’s what I did in 2016.

Novels: 1.3

I finished one novel in 2016 for Privateer Press, Acts of War: Flashpoint, which was published in July. I’m currently writing another one, Acts of War II, and I’m blogging my progress as I go along. You can see those blog posts right here.

Novellas: 1

I wrote one novella for Privateer Press that I can’t talk about yet because it’s still going through revisions. I’ll have more info on that soon.

Short Stories: 4

I wrote four short stories for Privateer Press in 2016, one of which was published in No Quarter magazine, and three others that were part of an introductory product for Privateer’s primary game lines WARMACHINE and HORDES.

Articles: 4

I also penned four articles for No Quarter Magazine, which is about par for the course. All of these were about the Iron Kingdoms setting.


Lastly, there’s this blog itself, and 2016 was my first full year of blogging. I couldn’t quite keep up with three posts per week like I had initially set out to dao, but I was routinely able to put out two posts. I learned a lot this year about the kinds of things folks like to read and the kinds of things they’re unlikely to read. One thing that will change in 2017 is the amount of self-promotional posts on the blog. I won’t go crazy, but I’ve got some big projects this year I want to talk about in addition to the usual rejectomancy stuff.

Here are the raw stats for the blog.

  • Total Posts: 88
  • Total Visitors: 7,816
  • Total Likes: 646
  • Total Comments: 470

I didn’t write that many more posts than I did in 2016, and I think I likely should have done a few more. Again, the novels ate into my writing time, but that’s not a great excuse. This year, I’d like to get those numbers up and hit at least 10k visitors.


Here’s what my total output for 2016 looked like in hard numbers. It’s less than last year for a number of reasons, but I’m not too unhappy. Like last year, I’m only counting stuff I wrote that was either published or is slated for publication.

  • Words Written: 194,250
  • Articles/Stories/Novels Published: 19

2017 Goals

I’m not going to go into too much detail here because my goals basically amount to write and publish more stuff. Here’s a couple of things, though.

  • Write more stories, submit more stories, and get more stories accepted.
  • Write three novels: two novels for Privateer Press and one novel for my agent to shop (my own IP).
  • Blog more. More promotional posts and more rejectomancy/writing posts.

2016 Free-to-Read Published Stuff 

If you’d like to have a look at some of the things I published this year, here are some links to short stories you can read (or listen to) for free.

And that, friends and colleagues, was my 2016 in the wild world of freelance writing. How was your year? Tell me about it in the comments.