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Archive for May, 2013

This has been a memorable month, as I attended the Nebula Awards weekend for the first time (those awards are gorgeous close up), and celebrated my 32nd wedding anniversary. And now I have finalized plans for a special secret project which should be unveiled in the next couple of weeks. Keep watching this space…

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Many years ago, a writer named Andrew J. Offutt was editing an anthology series I loved, called “Swords Against Darkness.” Being new to the writing game, I naively sent him a story I had written which I thought would fit his series. (If you need time to cringe, go ahead.) Of course, this is not how these things are done. However, a few weeks later Mr. Offutt actually returned my manuscript with a full page rejection letter, not only explaining why he wouldn’t have taken it if he were accepting unsolicited submissions (which he wasn’t), but complimenting me on what I had done right, and even directing me to another market he thought might be interested.

 

Although I didn’t realize it then, this was far beyond the call of duty, rather like Alpha Centauri is beyond the reach of our space program. It was, and still is, the lengthiest rejection letter I’ve ever received, and the bits of praise I had received from a professional source gave me hope and sustenance for many years.

 

Finally having graduated to the professional ranks myself, I had hoped someday to meet Mr. Offutt and thank him personally, but he passed away recently. I will never have that chance, but I hope that his example will inspire me, should I ever become an editor, to treat hopeful authors with the same respect he afforded me.

 

And thank you, Mr. Offutt, wherever you are.

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