When An Acceptance Isn't What It Seems

Not every story acceptance leads to publication. I learned that the hard way. I'd like to share my experience here, but there is a happy ending. And I'll start there.

First, the good news.

"The Darkness Below" appeared in The Colored Lens #13 Autumn 2014 issue. The story can also be read on their website HERE. After such a long journey with this story, I'm so thankful and excited that it has been published.

Here's everything that happened. My hope is that this story's journey can encourage other writers not to give up and keep striving for publication if that is their goal.

6/17/14: My science fiction story, "The Darkness Below," about 9100 words, has been shortlisted at a speculative fiction magazine. I'll find out sometime late August if the story is accepted for publication or not. I'm celebrating this stepping stone because after several rejections, it was incredibly refreshing to receive the following note from the editor: The editorial team really enjoyed this one. The plot moves along at a good pace, and the concept is intriguing.

Positive feedback makes my day, but I'm also excited because this is the new, improved version of a different story called "A Black Gaping Hole" (about 10,000 words). The rest of this post tells all about that story, and what happened to it. Rather what didn't happen. So it's been a long road for a story that started out as an incredibly vivid dream fifteen years ago, and I'm optimistic that it will find a place for publication yet!

White Cat Publications and Sam's Dot (multiple imprints including Aoife's Kiss #44)

To read the open letter of resignation from Dora Badger, former employee, click HERE (note: link has since been removed. The gist was that she quit because people weren't doing their jobs and authors weren't getting paid).


I had a story called "A Black Gaping Hole" selected for publication in Aoife's Kiss March 2013 issue. However, the publisher was taken over and the new publisher failed to fulfill my contract. I sent queries to the editor, Rick Moore, that remain unanswered to this day. On November 5, 2013, eight months after my contract was supposed to be fulfilled and the magazine was supposed to have been published, I gave up waiting and sent one final email with the subject line Contract Voided: Remove "A Black Gaping Hole" from all websites. The lingo in my email, in sum, said that in light of their breach of contract, I give no rights to White Cat Publications or Sam's Dot to my story, "A Black Gaping Hole." I also sent a copy of that email as a certified snail mail letter to the address given by WCP on their website.

A fellow author in that issue whom I found via Facebook suggested that I edit my story, change the name, and then submit elsewhere with a brief explanation in the cover letter to other publications. I took that advice, and have been shopping the story since.

The magazine (Aoife's Kiss #44) has actually appeared on the WCP and Sam's Dot websites as available for purchase since March 2013 . My story and my name were listed on the website (not the story text, thankfully), and I keep checking to see if they ever removed it as I requested. Not yet, but I keep hoping they will because I want nothing to do with them.

One of my friends bought the magazine through the WCP site back in April 2013 before I realized the contract would never be fulfilled, and that the magazine would never be printed. She has never received the magazine even after querying, and has received no refund or response to her query. Yet as of now, the magazine remains on their site as available for purchase. Today is 7/2/15...it is still there...for sale. I think that's called fraud.

UPDATE as of Mar 3, 2014: White Cat Publications website issued a statement on their website which I am copying and pasting here: Effective immediately, stories for any and all of our magazines are released. We’re sorry for the long delay in making this decision, but we’re going to concentrate on our books only. We had too much on our plate, so we need to focus just on our book authors. We’re terribly sorry about all this and apologize to all the writers we hoped publish. So magazines are on hold until we’ve caught up paying all magazine writers.

The link to that webpage no longer contains that message: http://www.whitecatpublications.com/magazine-story-releases/

Their website no longer has a link to Sam's Dot, which was the imprint that supposedly took over for Aoife's Kiss. My assumption here is that they are not actually going to catch up on paying all the authors. Needless to say, I'm so glad I sent an email voiding my own contract and have since been shopping my story elsewhere.