Published Again! Poem “Hate” in “Bear the Pall” anthology

This time I had a poem published in an anthology, Bear the Pall: Stories and Poems About the Loss of a Parent. 

Bear the Pall: Stories and poems about the loss of a parent

I was actually published a couple months ago but I’ve been keeping it on the down low. The poem I wrote, Hate, was never meant to see the light of day. The pain I divulged and the turbulence I expected it to created kept me from talking about it at all. But the reception was amazing. The editor has been very supportive, the other authors have been fantastic, and of course, everyone’s contributions have been incredibly heartfelt and touching.

And, frankly, reception from friends and family has been more positive than I expected. It’s rare that my heart is knee deep in my stories. So having a poem that had nothing but me in it and the possibility of losing friends when they saw the monster I hide from the world, and the possibility of family reading it and seeing me for the dick I am, I expected the worst.

So buy a copy. Read my poem. Read others’ contributions. They’re all amazing. Have a box of tissues at the ready.


Paperback Publication: The Devil Inside: A Short Story

94 Creations Issue 5

Back in December I had two short stories published in Black Mirror Magazine.

This month, I get my first physical paperback publication of a short story: The Devil Inside. My story will be featured, along with multiple other great writers, in 94 Creation‘s Issue #5 which comes out April 18, 2014.

The Devil Inside is the story of a “traditional” Southern mother of one whose daughter has turned into a rebellious teen of the worst sort. She doesn’t act lady-like, has stopped speaking to anyone, and cut her hair shorter than most men in their rural town. This Southern mother believes the scar on her daughter’s face is the sign of the Devil inside her. Then we learn of the Devil’s true nature.

You can head over to 94 Creations site to purchase a copy of the Issue 5 to read this twisted tale. Or if you’re so inclined, purchase a subscription.

Published: Now Rene Mullen is an Author

I mentioned some time ago that two of my short stories were accepted in an online literary magazine. I’m happy to share with you today, my publications in Black Mirror Magazine.

They published two of my flash fiction pieces.

Those Little Words” is the story of a woman who wakes on her front porch. We follow her progress as she learns who she is and what happened to her life.

Of Many, One” jumps in mid-story inside a dystopian world where children are not being born.

All my back-patting aside, you should stop by Black Mirror Magazine and give them some love. They’ve published lots of really great short stories and poetry.


I’m Published! I’m Officially an AUTHOR

You (and I) thought it would never happen. But I promised myself that, by year’s end, I would be published somewhere, somehow. That day is today. That place is Black Mirror Magazine.

You’ll have to wait until December to read the stories and see my name in digital gold lettering, but my author bio no longer says “currently unpublished.” It now reads “two published short stories in Black Mirror Magazine.”

I love that I’m published, but that’s not even the best part.

The best part is two fold:

1. I got to email another magazine to tell them I had to pull my story from their queue. It was so cool to be able to say, sorry I GOTS me a publication.

2. I’m not longer a writer. I’m an AUTHOR!

Rejection Letter #1!

Last week I received my first official rejection letter (email actually. Nobody uses snail mail anymore). With that rejection letter comes mixed feelings for me as a writer and as a person.

Rejection is never easy. It’s even tougher when you and your art are rejected. Writers wanting careers, as with any artist wanting to make money with their craft, walk a tightrope between artistic freedom and selling your creative self to marketing, agents, and publishers.

In that respect, this rejection letter from a query letter I sent out weeks ago is painful. I hated it. I still hate it. My hands shake when I think about it. This is a well polished novel that has received scrutiny of about a dozen writers (not family and close friends…though some of these writers are in fact friends now) and a year and a half of 5 different revisions.

On the other hand, this rejection letter comes with some success.

First, the rejection came within two week of sending this literary agent my query letter. For those of you who have queried agents know, any response is great. At least you KNOW! 

Second, the rejection, which could have said anything, came off sounding quite positive. When I first started writing, I queried some poor literary agent with a shitty second draft of my novel. They wrote back within a few weeks saying that my grammar sucked. OUCH! …but point taken.

18 months, 3 revisions including two total overhauls, four different critique group critiques, and a lot of growing as a writer, and I think this novel is officially ready to go to the next level.

Last week’s rejection letter said that he “didn’t connect with the material…(but) that this business comes down to personal taste…and another agent may feel different.”

Don’t get me wrong. Rejection is rejection. And the outcome here remains the same. No agent!

However, do you notice any serious negativity? Nope! Could this be a form letter he sends to the hundreds of lame applicants that shower his desk every week? Sure. But he could have told me what the last agent said. And he could have ignored my query altogether. It made it through his slush pile.

Among Others excerpt reviews in…

That’s right!

My novel, Among Others, which I entered in’s Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, has made it to the Quarterfinals. That means my novel has made it through the whittling down from 5000 fiction novels to 250 novels. WOW!
Based on pitch and excerpt, Among Others is in the top 5% of the entrants. But there’s more…
Not only does my book move to the next level in the contest. I also received professional reviews of my excerpt (aka my first two chapters). Wanna know what they said? Well, too bad. I’m going to share them with you anyway!
Click here for pdf version of the two reviews I speak of. 
I would have been happy with terrible reviews. Truthfully! I would be almost as happy as I am right now if they both said they wanted their 15 minutes of reading time back and that I need to quite writing and stop wasting everyone’s time. Two important people read my excerpt and thought my story was good so far. 
My friend Michael Tyburski once said to me that when getting reviews of the plays he starred in, if you get one shout out, a single solitary shout out in the play that is NEUTRAL, just neutral, you’ve succeeded. If you get more than that, you have to go buy a bigger hat to fit that giant head and inflated ego. 

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is hosting its annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest in the coming weeks. Since deadlines appear to suit my needs well, and I’m editing my 1st novel, this writing contest is just what the doctor ordered.

Now comes the even tougher part of novel writing (tougher than editing, which, as you know, I despise): choosing a 3000 to 5000 word excerpt for the contest and write a 300 word synopsis of the book.

In graduate school, I found the synopsis to be helpful and easy to write. It let you hone in on your argument by breaking it down into a few short sentences. Books are different. How do you tell your reader what your book is about without, well, giving the whole book away?

With fiction like mine that focuses on actual ideas, fiction where the story is actually the vehicle which I use to make a point, do I focus my synopsis on the point I’m trying to make? Or, do I focus my synopsis on the main character and the surface plotline?

Won My 1st Writing Contest

Low and behold, I won my first writing contest. First place even! Granted, the contestants were probably myself and some poor old senile lady. But I beat that poor old senile lady, and I’m considering that a major win no matter how bad a person that makes me.

For details about the contest:

If you want to read the story that will some day make me famous?

I’m pumped! This almost makes me a legitimate writer.