Monday, February 26, 2024


I was chatting with an up-and-coming writer, and my Horror Writers Association mentoree, Kristal Shanahan about how it was when I started out writing horror fiction. I randomly pulled up one of my earliest acceptances and the anthology it was published in.

A 500-word story called “$2 Bust From an Estate Sale”

Here is an archive link to the Contest I submitted it to:

I submitted it 3/11/2011. It was accepted 10/4/2011 and published six weeks later on 11/22/2011 (i.e. it sat in the submission queue over four times longer than the time it raced from acceptance to publication, haha)

Unless you were one of the 5 “winners,” authors were not paid anything, which was fine with me back then.

It ended up publishing in the anthology FRIGHTMARES: A FISTFUL OF FLASH FICTION HORROR.

129 stories all crammed together in this book (I think they accepted pretty much everything!)

Anyway, the subject of my reminisce: If I look through the Table of Contents, I can say that hardly any of those authors involved are still writing/publishing genre fiction now. BUT! It is incredibly fun and significant to recognize those writers who are still working at it today, writers I’ve become friends with or whose work I admire. At time of this book’s publication in late 2011, I’d not known a single person in the Table of Contents (except James S. Dorr, who I recognized from BORDERLANDS 2 anthology). But now I look through it and exclaim: “Hey, wow, there’s:

James S. Dorr
Max Booth III
Lori Michelle
Cynthia Pelayo
Kevin David Anderson
Joe Mynhardt
Greg Chapman
Stan Swanson
and a couple others…

But again of the 129 writers, most, I believe, through lack of interest, other life obligations, perhaps death, are no longer involved in the craft (though I could be wrong, as I spent zero time actually researching unfamiliar names). 12-1/2 years later = time is fleeting, indeed!

Personally, what came of that tiny, insignificant sale for me was
1) It was a confidence booster, and
2) I became friends with the editor and publisher, Stan Swanson. The press was Dark Moon Books, and I started doing more work with them, and eventually that was where I was able to print my first anthology as editor. Later the press went out of business, and I bought it, and rebranded it to my own purposes (and released all former titles back to the authors).

Anyway, nice to reminisce on these things once in a while! 😊

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