Sixteen months would pass before my next story was accepted for publication, but it wasn't time wasted in an arid desert. I was learning about the process - the process of writing, yes that too, but also about the process of acclaim - where stories that might go unpublished for various reasons, nevertheless had their quality acknowledged. Whether it was the the Writers' Federation of New Brunswick awarding "Incomplete" second place, and an "extremely impressed" by the judge, Steven Mayoff, in their annual competition, or Concordia University's Summer Literary Seminar's offer of a fellowship for "The Doe" (neither competition offering publication to anyone), the plaudits slowly, but steadily arrived. "Tin Whistle" managed a "greatly impressed" from Aesthetica, another British magazine, whose competition had thousands of entries. "Sean's Lament", a novella, gleaned an "impressive" from Quattro Books, "The Icon" was short-listed in Arts Hamilton's Creative Keyboards competition, "Dear John" another novella, was short-listed in Short, Sharp, Shock, and of course, "Heading Home" made it to the semi-finals in the Galbraith award. All of the latter three in the same month.
But maybe most of all, it was the hand-written notes of encouragement at the bottom of formal rejection slips for my novel, "The Adventures of Charlie Smithers", that started to trickle in: "very funny, well-paced...enjoyed your characters" - Anvil Press; "Quite interesting...well-written" - Insomniac Press; "captivating and exciting...a great sense of comic delivery and pacing" - Breakwater Books. I've been told that these sorts of comments are gold. Although I'm still waiting for the treasure to show up at my door, the encouragement that it gave me couldn't be denied.