Sunday, September 29, 2013

First Rejection Letter

Well, the first of the rejection letters has come in.

Below is from Glimmer Train, which was one of a list of many  publications that I  have sent submissions to:

Dear S.A.,
Thank you for submitting "A Special Bull". While we won't be publishing this piece, we appreciated the opportunity to read your work! Because we read so many stories, it is not possible for us to give specific feedback, but, if you're a relative beginner, you may find something of interest here ...

Glimmer Train Press Reference#: 422655

This publication is a a huge publisher of short stories and gets between 30,000 - 40,000 submissions per year.  It was really not a place that I held any hope in getting one of my fictional short stories published.  But, my thought was, "aim high if your are going to aim at all".

Although they are not publishing the story I submitted, I feel that I have gained something valuable from the experience.

They also offered a few links to helpful hints that I thought would be of interest to other new writers/authors:

The bottom line is, there will be more rejection letters than acceptance letters. Which is perfectly okay with me. I will continue to write and if I feel strongly enough about a story, will pursue self publishing.

On to the next chapter of  And So it Begins ... 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I have been doing A LOT of research for my first book which is planned to be released in the early part of 2014.  It is a collection of fictional short stories, which were inspired by several real life events.

Not only have I been revisiting some old journals and other earlier writings, I have also been reviewing a ton of pictures I have taken over the course of  my forty plus years.

Being my own worst critic, of course, I find something wrong with each and every one of them.  I am not a very good photographer and have a hard time "centering" subjects- thank goodness for editing software where I can crop the picture.  Invariably, I do not catch the light in the right way.  But, some of the shots are very good and others are some of my all time favorite pictures, which capture the beauty of the moment.

Below are a few of the best ones, which bring back wonderful memories of hiking in the Pacific Northwest:

The first  photo is of Wallace Falls near Mount St. Helens.  The second, of course, is Mount Rainier and the last one is Snoqualmie Falls which is east of Seattle.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Acceptance Letter

I had prepared myself for the worst.  With my ego checked at the door, I opened the email from one of the first publications that I had sent a "real" short story submission to.   Fearing it was the inevitable rejection letter from this one particular publication, I was hesitant to read the email.  It started with:

We think your submission “Her Name was Half Calf” is insightful, and we are considering your story for ...

After these first few words, I was so elated, it took me a few minutes to contain myself enough to continue reading the rest of the email from the editor of  Midlife Collage.

Continuing on with the first paragraph, it read:

We think your submission “Her Name was Half Calf” is insightful, and we are considering your story for entry in a contest. We edit for punctuation, spelling and grammar. We also touch up and make the wording concise where appropriate. There is a reason for every change. If you have any questions, please let us know.

The rest of the email contained some good pointers for me on how to improve my writing style and hints on how to reduce the length of the story, while still keeping the core voice of the story left intact.

In draft form, the story was originally over 1,500 words, which I had brought down to 1,450 words prior to submission.  The editor corrected a few places where punctuation was a problem (my comma usage can leave a lot to be desired) and reworded a few sentences to present a better view of the events in the story.  Overall, I was very pleased with what the editor had done to my story and I think it flows so much better now with the changes that have been made.

Less than twenty fours hours after I responded to the editor with my agreement of the changes, I received a second email that made me just giddy:


Great to hear from you. We will schedule your story, as shown below, for a contest within a month using your name S.A. Molteni. A few days before the contest, you will receive an email from us of the contest preview video and another email on the Monday your story is published. (To see a sample of a preview, go to our Video page.) ...

The rest of the email was rather long and had information  on what I needed to do in the interim to make the publishing day go as smoothly as possible.

... Thank you for adding your voice to our website.


I know there will be many rejection letters in my future as a writer/author, but it was a pleasant surpise to have this very first response be one of acceptance.

My new life as a published author ... And so it begins...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Supporting Independent Authors 

Since starting this journey to become a published author, I have discovered a whole treasure trove of independent, self-published authors that I had no idea existed - until a few short months ago.  What can I say, I do not get out much.

Many thanks to by writer friend, Nellie and to Indies Unlimited for getting me hooked on self-published authors.

Being the book worm that I am, it is exciting for me to see all of these new authors in e-book form. I believe my spending will grow in the coming months, as I work my way through the list of all of the e-books that are out there and purchase those that I want to read.

I like the underdog and most always root for their success.  Grass-roots efforts also have a special place in my heart.  I firmly believe that independent authors should help other independent authors by reading their works, and also by writing reviews - whether good or bad or mediocre.

One must begin somewhere in both reading and writing ... Below are the first two reviews I have written on Amazon.  I hope these reviews help other readers to decide to purchase (or not -  if the book is bad).

Triple Dog Dare


Lastly, to all of my new found author friends.  Keep those e-books coming, I would hate to run out of things to read  - now that I am hooked on independent authors. :-)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Getting Serious about Writing

It has been about three months since I decided to “get serious” about writing.   Not that I wasn’t serious before then, I had just never made the effort to try to get people to read what I had written.

I have been an avid writer since grade school, writing mostly poetry, songs and short stories.  Those words from long ago were really only intended for me and something I have tightly held on to.

I have rarely had any issue with writing technical manuals, emails, presentations, documentation and the like for my day job.   I have always been glad to give those written words to anyone who asked me for them – they were tasks to be finished and expected deliverables of the job.   So, why would personal writing be any different?

I realized that many times, the personal works I had completed over the years were just that – personal.  They were about my experiences in life, my accomplishments, my disappointments, my strengths and so many of my weaknesses.   Not really something I wanted to share or wanted the world to see.  

About fifteen years ago, a very good friend said to me, “You really should write a book, you have such fascinating views on life and other things”.   I shrugged it off as her being a good friend and just being nice, until I recently reflected back on the years since that comment.   

Over those years, others have mentioned to me that they love the way I write – succinct, to the point, and easy to understand.   These comments have come from friends, family and from business associates alike.  After much soul-searching, I decided to take the next step and pursue getting my work into the hands of readers.  

It has been a long journey to get to where I am comfortable with others reading my personal work.  Being the introvert that I am, this was not very easy to overcome and something I continue to work on every day.  But, I am happy to say that I am now actively writing new short stories with the intent to share them with those who wish to read them.  

I have submitted several of my older short stories to select publications, have engaged in some great flash fiction exercises and have finally created a Facebook author page. 

And of course, I started writing this blog …

Thanks for dropping by.  I hope you will come back again to see my progress.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: Tough Stuff

My next submission is at  Indies Unlimited.

The beginning of the story was provided by the administrator of the website:

This is Oscar, the terror of the night, king of the alley cats. He’s sixteen pounds of fang and claw and fighting fury. He’s defeated everything from copperheads to Rottweilers.

Everybody knows he’s the toughest cat around, but that wasn’t how life started out for him. Oscar wasn’t born on the mean streets. In fact, he had it pretty soft for a while…

Below is the entry that I submitted:

Oscar was born into a privileged household filled with love and happiness.  His mother and father were from a long line of pampered felines who had trained their humans to cater to their every need.  

From birth, Oscar was fed three times a day with a variety of fish, chicken and beef entrees - lovingly prepared by his caretakers.  It was a wonderful life for a special kitty like Oscar, until that fateful day in the seventh month of the fifth year of his life.

It was Independence Day, the scariest day of the year.  In the past, he would cower under the bed until the chaos subsided.  Only then would he rejoin his family in the living room for soothing pets and reassuring hugs.

On this day, he made a grave mistake.  He scurried out of the door to the patio instead of into the bedroom.  He ran for what seemed like miles, looking for the familiar bed that would be his sanctuary during the thunderous light show.  But, he found no solace in the outside world.

When he awoke the next morning, he found himself in the middle of a turf war between the Snakes and the Hounds.  He was not met with caring or compassion, but with demands from both gangs to take a side or fight to the death.  After many taunts and insults from them, Oscar chose the latter.  

Today, Oscar rules the woods near his home - where no Snakes or Hounds dare to tread.

The Vote:

And the winner is ... Yours Truly:

Thanks again for all of your support during this week's contest.  It will be published in an anthology of other short stories in e-book format in the first part of 2014.