Some things are unavoidable in life. Death, taxes, politics, and idiots plague all of our lives. One thing that is eventually unavoidable for all writers, is the dreaded rejection letter from a publisher you’ve submitted to.

Today, my number was up. After three accepted publications in a row, I got my first rejection letter. This was an unusual piece for me, so I am not at all surprised. The publisher asked for stories exactly fifteen words in length – which is quite challenging. I had found about this on January fifteenth, so I decided to take the number fifteen another step further and make fifteen stories, in fifteen different genres, of fifteen words each, on January fifteenth (the publisher said there was no limit on the number of stories). I spent an hour, maybe two on this, and submitted.

Since it has now been rejected, and I honestly have no idea what to do with fifteen fifteen-word stories, I will post the submission here, but first the rejection letter (which I post with pride):

Dear Justin Ames,

Thank you for considering Hxxxxxd Wxxxxs Pxxxs. As much as we enjoyed reading your work, this Pxxxy Fxxxxxn submission was not selected for publication.

There are two more opportunities to submit for the upcoming collection. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for more details and be sure to review “Pxxxxxs Tips to a Successful Pxxxy Fxxxxxn Submission” below. See you in March!

Again, we thank you for considering Hxxxxxd Wxxxxs Pxxxs.

Best regards,
Sxxxxxxh Sxxxxxxxxi
Editor, Hxxxxxd Wxxxxs Pxxxs


My submission:

Stomp! (Horror)

The screaming humans were barely audible to the immense beast as it demolished their town.


A Second Chance (Science Fiction)

Stars streaked by as the ship fled from its poisoned home in search of another.


Slayed (Fantasy)

Flames shot from the dragon’s bleeding mouth as the unicorn’s horn pierced its scaly chest.


Enough (Drama)

The other Cheer moms always huddle and giggle when I enter the room. Vengeance time!


Torn (Mystery)

The dog’s snout was bloodied. Both cats had perfectly clean paws. Who committed the crime?


Possibilities (Romance)

Shaking, Marlon pulled the ring from his pocket and knelt. “Will you marry me, Kari?”


Mightier than the Sword (Erotica, by Justin Cider)

Once his length was fully sheathed within her warmth, the intense pleasure obliterated all thought.


Every Man for Himself (Western)

Smoke curled from Dennis’s shotgun. Four bank robbers lay dead. The gold was now his.


Distracted We Fall (Satire)

The sheep were so focused on the Ass Pachyderm War, they overlooked the Red Bear.


Cut Short (Tragedy)

Alicia watched in horror, diaper in hand, as stroller and baby tumbled down the cliff.


Angst (Nonfiction)

I was a rebellious child; angry at everyone for many injustices, whether real or imagined.


The Embarrassing Father (Comedy)

Justin hiked his sweatpants to his nipples, poofed his hair and danced like a fool.


Reclaiming Home (Historical)

Chief Opechancanough strolled into Jamestown with his tribe, knowing many would die bloodied that day.


In the Closet (Suspense)

Chris attempted to breathe silently in the broom closet.  The hall floor creaked just outside.


Always Look Both Ways (Children’s)

Friar Frank the Frog frantically frolicked on the freeway on Friday, eating free french fries.