Today the anthology When to Now: A Time Travel Anthology, which features my short story “Ruby’s Paradox” has been published. It’s available here at Amazon. In celebration, we’ll be doing a blog hop with contributors offering a word or two about the publication.
I have to admit I’m a bit surprised this is all happening. When I first submitted this story I wasn’t sure whether it would be published or not, much less accepted. I’d been burned that way before. Last year one of my stories was slated to appear in another anthology. I’d gotten the email telling me it was accepted, signed a contract, sent in a bio and photo of myself, then waited to hear word that it’d been published. Months went by and still no word. A year nearly passed before I checked the contract again and learned that if the book hadn’t been published by November, then the contract was null and void.
So disappointing, but sadly that seems to be all too common for writers. There are so many pitfalls from dealing with rejections, not getting paid for work rendered, to being screwed over by agents and not getting any marketing support from publishing houses. It can be so dispiriting after a while.
In fact, before I learned that “Ruby’s Paradox” was accepted to appear in When to Now, I had begun to question whether I wanted to continue writing. The idea hit me so hard, like a bolt of lightning, that I fell into a fit of despair. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write. But as I hit my fiftieth birthday this year, I had nothing to show for it. I’d gotten published here and there, and I was grateful each time I didn’t get that rejection letter. But as I stared at the list of different online submission sites I’d bookmarked over the years, I felt myself crumble under the realization that no matter where I submitted my work I’d always get back that rejection email. That my career as a writer was in essence going in circles. In tears, I started deleting the sites. I’d given up. I didn’t know what I was going to do from then on, but I knew I couldn’t keep going in circles.
It was at that point when I rediscovered this blog. I hadn’t updated it in years largely because I was busy with other projects and, after a while, I didn’t know what else I wanted to write about. So the idea came to me. Since I wasn’t getting paid for most of my work, even with the ones that were published, why not just post my stories for free?
So after redesigning my blog, I posted my first story, “The Muse,” here.
It just so happened the week after I decided to throw in the towel, I got an email from Alison McBain, editor at Fairfield Scribes, that my short story won the contest to appear in the anthology When to Now. I’d submitted the story about a month earlier and wasn’t expecting anything from it. And, in truth, even when I got word that I’d been accepted, I was still wary.
But now, here we are.
So what’s the moral of this story? I don’t think there is one. I wish I could say that I still knew where my writing career was going from here. In the last year, I started a SF series of novels, for which I’ve already written the first novel and just started on the second. But what will come out of it is anyone’s guess. I’d like to think that great successes will be waiting for me around the corner. But the thing is, I can’t promise myself that because I don’t know. And I can’t guarantee myself that I won’t fall into despair again either. What I do know is that I love to write. In spite of all the frustrations and the heartaches, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Like Ruby, in “Ruby’s Paradox,” who focused on the future to change the past, so will I.
Be sure to check out Nikki Trionfo’s blog tomorrow in the time-tripping continuation to When to Now’s book release at here.