Meet Guest Author, Tracy Falenwolfe…

I wrote in secret for many years, lying to my friends and family about how I was spending my time, and lying to myself about being able to do it alone. Why? Because I didn’t want to fail. And, if I did fail, I didn’t want anyone to know I’d failed.

Back then, manuscripts were printed out and submitted by snail mail. The savvy author sent along a self-addressed stamped envelope for the editor’s response, and a post card for the editor to return acknowledging receipt of the manuscript. Once the postcard was returned, the wait began. Would I get a letter saying we want to publish your manuscript? Would it change my life? Would I be a success? Well, no.

When the entire manuscript came back, it was heartbreaking. I knew before I opened the package that it was a pass. But, it wasn’t. Not exactly. The first manuscript I ever submitted was to a romance publisher, and it came back with a letter asking me to revise and resubmit. I didn’t really understand what that meant. To me, a no was a no. I tore up all three hundred pages of that manuscript and threw it in the trash. Then I started on a new one.

The same thing happened three times in a row. After that, I started to catch on. I took the editor’s advice and revised the manuscript. I worked on the parts she said were weak, and left the other parts the way they were. I sent it off and promptly received a form rejection. It hurt worse than the previous four rejections combined. I did what any intelligent person would do, and quit.

Just kidding. I quit for a little while. Then I tried again. While I was waiting to hear something about my fifth romance manuscript, I ran into an old friend. She told me she was a writer, and I blurted out that I was too. It was the first time I’d told anyone about my endeavor to become published. She told me about a short story contest and suggested I write something to enter. I did. Even better, I won the contest! Which meant my story was going to be published, and my secret would be out. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.

My friend encouraged me to join a professional writers organization. I joined Sisters in Crime, and I wish I had joined sooner. The writing community is generous and supportive. I quickly learned how fortunate I had been to receive a request to revise and resubmit my first manuscript, and how foolish I’d been to rip it up and delete it from my computer. I learned more about the craft of writing, made some writing friends, and leaned how to navigate social media. Mostly, I learned that everyone gets rejections, and that rejection isn’t failure.

I’ve been hooked on writing short stories since that first contest win. I’ve been published more than a dozen times, and every time is a thrill. But, I still get rejections, too. Writing will always be a solitary pursuit. Luckily, I have readers to share my stories with, and other writers to share my rejections with. The point is, whether I receive a rejection or an acceptance, I no longer try to go it alone.

Since winning the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Short Story Award in 2014, my stories have appeared in over a dozen publications including Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Spinetingler Magazine, Flash Bang Mysteries, Crimson Streets, and several Chicken Soup for the Soul volumes.






12 thoughts on “Meet Guest Author, Tracy Falenwolfe…

  1. Stephen King was rejected hundreds of times. Self publishing, no rejection 🙂 Good for enduring, but I cringed at hearing you ripped the MS AND deleted it! Ouchee! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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