And so, it starts

My husband brings me the envelope. It’s black, a non-standard size, somehow matte and shiny at the same time. The word “Typo” is embossed ever-so faintly on the little closure flap. I notice this as I carefully peel it open. I know what this is, but I won’t react until I’ve seen the words.

Inside are three sheets of paper, folded twice. I somehow unfold them, hands turning unresponsive as I see the publisher’s logo through the paper. Printed in the top left corner, dark black ink. Fitting.

There it is. My contract. My first writing contract. I read the top line three times, trying not to let my eyes blur with tears. There’s my name, and the name of my story. I’ve been accepted.

My first run through the contract details makes no sense. I don’t know what words are anymore. I cry a little, silently, trying to puzzle through the text on these few pieces of paper. I give up and hug my husband, and he is warm and very soft. I love polar fleece. It makes soft hugs softer, and warmer.

I can finally remember how to slow my brain down enough to read each word individually. One at a time, putting the sentences together. I read through the contract carefully, once, twice, making sure I definitely understand what it says. It’s straight-forward. It’s both what I expected a publication agreement to be, and yet so much simpler.

The third page is where I sign. I’m not shaking, so my signature looks exactly like the usual mess it is. I’ve never thought of it as a “real” signature. I’m going to have to practice something more suitable, for signing my books. Somehow, I’ve forgotten the date. I ask my husband, and he laughs gently. He was born in the US, and it’s the Fourth of July. Now we will add to our vague Independence Day celebrations, because it will also be my first publication acceptance anniversary.

I fill in the rest of the details on my contract. I’ve agreed. I’m accepted. As long as everything goes according to plan, I’ll be able to hold a real book in my hands, containing my story, in under a year. Wow.

My short story is called “Harvest”, and will be published in the Dark Prints Press “Surviving the End” post-apocalyptic horror anthology. I’ll keep you all informed with pre-orders and release dates as soon as I know specifics!

I want to thank Dark Prints Press for accepting my submission. I’m looking forward to working with you now, and again down the road.

With even greater thanks to my beta readers/editors. M, T and L. You three made me realise the absolute fullest potential of my story. I’ll be coming to you again soon enough.

And of course, thank you to all my friends, family and new-found internet buddies, who have all shaped me in some way. You are ALL special to me. Thank you for joining me, no matter which part of my journey you hop in on.



15 thoughts on “And so, it starts

  1. That was beautiful, Ashlee! It’s so exciting and just how I imagined it might be… Not many writers are good at describing that ‘acceptance moment’. I’m so happy for you and can’t wait to hear more news! What a great 4th of July it is, even for a few Aussies!

  2. Congratulations! This is pretty much exactly how it went for me – excluding having a husband and hugging. I got my acceptance as an e-mail. The moment I saw the name in the e-mail, I froze and was just… unable to function. My mind was blank; I couldn’t think, do or try anything.
    When I finally opened the e-mail and managed to decipher the words, I couldn’t believe it. Once I opened the attached contract, I couldn’t read the words, much like you couldn’t.
    There’s just… no words to express the feeling it causes.

    1. It really isn’t a specific, identifiable feeling, is it, Natasha? It’s some kind of mashed-up, purified, crazy whirl of everything and nothing. I wonder if the feeling changes as time goes on, or if it’s always this maddening, terrifying, wonderful feeling. 🙂


      1. It really isn’t. There’s no proper way to say what it feels like. I’m not sure – maybe it stays the same, maybe it will change. Let’s hope we can both figure out the answer first-hand!

  3. Super congratulations!! I am so excited for you and have shed tears of joy for you, too. hahaha I’m now counting down the months until that moment I hold a copy of the book and see your name included in the index. I still want my autograph from you. 😉

  4. Oh, it was well worth the editing to have this outcome. Besides, you’re turning out to be excellent help on my projects. Congrats on your victory, again. 🙂

  5. Congratulations! This was such pleasant news to wake up to this morning! I cannot wait to pick up your book (and blog about it!?) and wish you all the best!

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