It’s been a long road for me. I have been writing since middle school, though I will be the first to admit most of that were pure bovine muffins. I never gave up my love to write.
I can tell you one of the people who helped me push myself in the beginning would be my good friend Diana. Lady Di we called her in High School. I’d write for my friend’s amusement. She was the first to tell me to write it for everyone. So I did. She even made sure I got the assignment of writing a short story for Sociology class. I got a 100%, thank you very much.
The stories (I cringe) I made up for my friends bordered on the absurd. The outlandish tales you’d expect from someone of tween age: Worlds with a dozen moons, a protagonist who can’t lose because he has no apparent weaknesses, vampires who sparkle. It’s no wonder some authors get published for that particular age group and we older folks think the pages are more fitting as toilet paper. To each his own. Reading Tolkien at my age is a good snooze fest but back then? Oh, boy. Golden pages littered with heroes, impossible tasks, and fiery pits: I loved it. It still holds a special place in my heart and always will. Childhood does that to you. The smell of English boxwood, for example, reminds me of my time living in Bristol, Virginia.
So on my writing path, I’ve had the good pats on the back and whatnot but what good does it do me really? Great, they like it. Is it worth some publication to gamble on me? Probably not. Things take time and every author needs a group of people to smack them with the reality stick. Thankfully, I have that support.
Support is important: whether you join groups like Scribophile or Critters for critiques or just ask your friend to give it a once over. You need, overall, a person who will give you a blunt but honest opinion. The good and the bad, because nothing is perfect and you should never think every word you scribble or type out deserves to be placed on a mantel for worship.
So on to the purpose of this post. I struck gold. One of my short stories has been accepted. I have to thank two people who have pushed me to this point: Theresa Glover and Joe Giddings. Thanks from the bottom of my heart. You’re the greatest. I might have tried my hand before at getting published two measly times before (REJECTED!) but had you not both poked and prodded me with sharp sticks, cattle prods, and a very large wedgie I wouldn’t have strived for more.
Remember aspiring writers: Some criticism is harsh and hurts but in the end, it’s the best thing you have to drive forward and improve. Had Theresa and Joe not kick me in the ass, Fate Whispers wouldn’t be the piece it turned out to be. The unknown masses at Scribophile also gave me sage advice to take it further.
I’m sure I’ll come down from this high but for now, I think I’ll just sit back and grin like I just cut the cheese.
EDIT: I also received a rejection from Apex for Sorrow’s Harvest on the same day. No big deal. I shot that one out on a whim. I’m still not sure it’s quite right for my standards.