March 18, 2011

Made It Moment: Stephen Brayton

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 7:46 am

Night Shadows

I’m excited to welcome author Stephen Brayton to the blog. Stephen is published by one of the new independent presses I’ve been watching with interest. His Moment shows that “It” can happen even when rejection is wearing heavy on our shoulders, and even when it’s the last thing we expect. Read on…

Stephen Brayton

August 2009, Killer Nashville writers’ conference. A friend and I are there to enjoy the seminars and to pitch story ideas to the guest editors/agents. In the short story seminar an editor from Echelon Press stands up and announces her company was looking for short stories. Sunday, before I left, I talked with her about ten minutes about my short stories, then about a couple of novels I had also written. She gave me the information for submitting.

September rolls around and the three other submissions I had made to the three agents were summarily rejected. In early October, I saw an email from Echelon Press in my IN box. The first thought I had was, “Well, here we go again. Another rejection. Time to look somewhere else.” When I opened and read the email, I expected to see the standard, “No thanks. Not for us. I wish you well in your writing endeavors.” However, after reading it, I realized the words didn’t constitute a rejection but an acceptance. So I read it again. Then I read it a third time to realize Echelon didn’t want just one of my novels, they wanted both.

I thought, ‘This is it!” After years of hard work, rewrites, critiques, and scores of rejections, somebody was going to take a chance with me. The heart raced faster, my brain went whirling, and I didn’t know what to do next. I called my parents and let them know the good news even before responding to Echelon.

In January of this year, I was also informed that Echelon had also accepted four out of the six short stories I’d submitted.

Stephen Brayton is a Fifth Degree Black Belt instructor in the American Taekwondo Association. In 2009, while attending the Killer Nashville conference he was fortunate enough to meet Mary Welk of Echelon Press, who helped launch Stephen’s publishing career.


  1. Congratulations, Stephen! Just goes to show that attitude doesn’t really matter–you can expect bad news and still have it turn out to be good! Inspiring.

    Comment by Sara — March 18, 2011 @ 8:52 am

  2. Awesome! Congratulations. PLUS you do TKD! You rule! (My son and I are TKD fanatics). It must’ve felt great to get that acceptance!

    Comment by Savvy — March 18, 2011 @ 9:08 am

  3. You don’t give yourself enough credit, Stephen! I also met you at that conference and your enthusiasm and approach was remarkable. I’m just sorry Oak Tree wasn’t doing pitch sessions or we would have snapped you up. At any rate, we will always support you and Echelon Press. Way to go!

    Comment by Sunny Frazier — March 18, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

  4. Excellent, Stephen. Great story! The discipline and diligence in TKD certainly transferred to your writing life. Way to go!

    Comment by Theresa Varela — March 18, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  5. What a GREAT moment!!!

    Comment by Judy — March 18, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  6. Congratulations, Steven. I also have a stack of rejections, some form letters and cards but others where agents and editors took the time to tell me to keep writing. It’s hard to believe, but it actually worked. Way to go!

    Comment by Robert O'Hanneson — March 18, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

  7. Wonderful moment, Stephen! And from there it only gets more excitng. Congratulations!

    Comment by Marja McGraw — March 18, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  8. Stephen, There’s nothing more exciting for a writer than to receive that acceptance. Congratulations, there’s much more to come. Keep writing.

    Comment by Velda Brotherton — March 18, 2011 @ 3:46 pm

  9. Congratulations, Stephen. Awesome story. I bet your eyes bugged out as you read those wonderful words!

    I’ll be attending my first Killer Nashville this August. I’m really looking forward to it.
    Wishing you continued success,
    Nancy Naigle

    Comment by Nancy Naigle — March 18, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

  10. Congrats, Stephen. Isn’t it funny howwhen thingsbreak, they just keep on coming!


    Comment by Lesley Diehl — March 18, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

  11. Wonderful ‘Moment’, Stephen. I hope you printed out the email and framed it! And take a photo of you beside it. Why not? Best. Geraldine

    Comment by Geraldine Evans — March 19, 2011 @ 11:33 am

  12. Congrats, Stephen. People don’t realize that writers work hard for years before they reach their “overnight” success. I have a first degree black belt from ATA. Do you know Master Phil Minton and Dr. Dennis Skelton? They were my instructors.

    Comment by Sally Carpenter — March 19, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

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