This past week Darker Times Anthology Volume Six was released. It’s a collection of short stories that have been grouped into the category of “dark” for one reason or another and this is a big deal to me because one of those short stories is mine.
It’s true. You can open up the paperback or pull it up on your Kindle and right there in the table of contents you’ll see a story titled If It Pleases The King and right next to it will be my name. Honestly, I almost squealed out loud when I first saw it for myself. Ok, I did squeal out loud, but thankfully it was five o’clock in the morning and no one was around. That was for the Kindle edition. I squealed a second time when I saw the paperback version.
If you haven’t guessed yet, this is my first time being published. It’s the first time I’ve seen my name or any of my stories printed in a real book. For the first time ever I can take a book off a shelf, flip through it and say, “Look! Here’s my weird little story!”
And I did.
Of course, If It Pleases The King is on the darker end of story telling, so I was quick to tell my mother, “That one’s mine, but don’t read it. It’s pretty gruesome and has a terrible ending.” But she’s my mother and bless her heart she tried her best to read it anyway. By the time she got to the first death, she had to put it down. I tried to warn her.
But be that as it may, it’s been a super great experience. I’m currently working on my first full length novel, which also has some dark connotations to it. I like the “dark” category. It’s like saying I wright in the oddball genre. Or my first novel is a weird-fantasy. Yea. I like it.
When I first sat down and wrote If It Pleases The King, I had in mind to enter it into a writing contest. After reading Stephen King’s book On Writing, I took from it that one way to help build your reputation as an author is to write and submit short stories for contests/publications.
By the time I had my short story done, I had two contests in mind. Writer’s Digest was one, and Darker Times Fiction was the other. My issue with the WD contest was that my story really didn’t fit into their pre-proposed categories. It wasn’t a mystery or a thriller, and it wasn’t horror. It was nothing close to romance or to science fiction. I was at a bit of a loss as to which genre to enter it under. I even asked a few people where they thought it would fit best and they were as puzzled over it as I was. It just didn’t fit. Then I stumbled onto Darker Times Fiction. Dark. Yes, that fit. If nothing else, my little story was a dark tale.
My only real goal with writing and submitting a story for a contest/publication was to get a credit on my author resume. Again, I can thank Stephen King for pushing me to even care about such a thing. I plan on self-publishing my first novel (The Flames Of Guilt) but I was still intrigued by the idea of having something on my writer’s resume. Everyone has to start somewhere and when/if you go down the road of sending out query letters to publishing houses or to literary agents, part of that letter is your writer’s resume. As it stands, I had nothing to put there. I never went to college or been to any writing workshops or conferences. I’m a first time author, so I have no past work or accomplishments to show my worth or merit to try and convince them that I am worth taking a chance on.
But now I do. Now I have a publishing credit. Now I have something to put in that third paragraph of my query letter if I ever want to. And maybe one day I will. Until then, it’s been an awesome experience all on its own and a small reflection (I hope) of what it will be like when I finally get The Flames Of Guilt off my computer and into the world.
As I write this my editor is going through her final run through of my manuscript. Here very soon I will be able to add a second little notch to my author’s resume.
One short story.
More to come.
You can pick up a copy of Darker Times Anthology Volume Six here