This month marks my four year ‘Write-iversary’, meaning four years ago, in February, 2011, I decided to pursue fiction writing for the sake of publication.
I’ve kept track of every fiction short story submission that I’ve sent out during
that time. As of today, I’ve accumulated 70 acceptances (including a few
reprints), and 235 rejections, giving me a 22.95% acceptance rate. Another 26
stories are slated in the ‘Pending decision’ or ‘To find a home’ stacks. In
addition, I’ve a couple dozen more stories written and relegated to the deepest
of trunks. And, add to all that, my non-fiction articles, interviews, book reviews,
blurbs, and introductions. My next milestone is to finish a full-length novel,
which is currently about two-thirds completed (Chestnut
In addition to short stories, I also edited and published two anthologies (Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations and After Death...), the latter of which won
the 2013 Bram Stoker Award. I wrote a novella, Baggage of Eternal Night, which was a finalist for the 2014
International Thriller Award. Some of my short stories also won or placed in
various indie writing contests that I used to participate in before realizing
that paying fees for such awards was ultimately unsubstantial.
I’ve made mistakes, but also gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and
experience in publishing, editing, and crafting stories. I’ve made wonderful
friends and am still thrilled as a fan-boy each time I get to share a T.O.C. or
even just communicate with an author I admire (er, swoon over!). I’ve met
and/or worked with Joe R. Lansdale, Bentley Little, Ellen Datlow, Tom
Monteleone, Steve Rasnic Tem, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen Jones, and others whom I’ve
been reading for 22+ years, not to mention authors whom I’ve became familiar
with and have inspired my dark fiction reading in the more recent 10-15 years,
like John Joseph Adams, Jack Ketchum, John Skipp, Chuck Palahniuk, Robert
McCammon, and many, many more. Plus there are just those other writers who have
been particularly supportive and benevolent to me, such as Lisa Morton, Weston
Ochse, Gene O’Neil, Stan Swanson, all the members of HWA L.A. chapter, as well
as a hundred others.
All this in four years, while I work full-time, raise infant children, continue
academic coursework, volunteer for several organizations, and engage in all
other manner of life obligations and responsibilities...
My only regret is that I waited so long to even ‘try’. I loved writing in high
school but went to college under the impression I needed to focus on ‘serious-minded’
business, and never the twain shall meet. Although I ultimately did pursue
other creative endeavors, I waited until I was 35 years old before I decided to
attempt that childhood dream of writing... I torture myself now thinking where
I could be with an additional fifteen years of experience under my belt. Ah
well, I’m elated with the adventure I’ve found thus far and can only hope it
continues for countless more years!