I’ve been a writer all my life. I’ve tried all sorts and come to settle on crime (mostly). But I also came to settle on the idea that I just couldn’t get published, I was ready to give up my dream. Then one day I heard about this call for short stories for an upcoming anthology, the theme being “The Strange Island of…”
I was instantly inspired, dreamed a new story, so I wrote a piece. It took some changes to my thinking of how to write because it was a very different genre to the one I was used to. The piece, The Steel Inside, still had mystery and suspense, like my crime writing, but there wasn’t a crime, well not in the illegal sense. The whole island isolation helped. The fact that I had read a few steampunk books helped too. But mostly what helped was having a good story idea and then twisting it.
So I finished the story – all 10,000 words – and sent it off.
Then promptly forgot about it.
I try to do that. Remembering that I’ve sent something off for consideration always leads to painful worrying. Will it be okay? Will they like it? Will I tie myself up in knots wondering? The only question I ever answer yes to is that last one. I guarantee I tie myself in knots waiting to hear.
Then I heard. I really thought that it was going to be another thanks but no thanks, but – stunningly – they loved it. I was accepted!
My first ever piece of steampunk and it won through. Amazing.
The Steel Inside, is now the last entry in Steel & Bone from Xchyler Publications.
The real point of all this isn’t blowing my own trumpet, though that’s quite nice too. The point is the effect that it had on me. I was just about ready to give up on the idea of ever being published, and finally a proper bona fide publishing house was going to print one of my stories. It renewed my belief that I really can write.
Renewed belief allowed me to carry on, and I have since managed to secure an agent in Ian Drury of Sheil Land Associates. I have also published a collection of short crime stories, Last Cut Casebook. The Steel Inside also inspired me to write a whole new steampunk series, but I’ll tell you more of that later in the month.
Without steampunk I wouldn’t still be writing, so thank you Steampunk, you saved my writing life.