In my life, there are 3 deadly phrases.
- I wonder if I could pull that off.
- You know what would be funny?
- What’s that over there?
A friend of mine delights in challenging me. At lunch one day, we happened to be watching a riding competition where one of the riders was named Kent Farrington. My friend threw down the gauntlet. “Isn’t that a great romance hero name?” To which I responded: “That’s a pretty hefty name. I wonder if I could pull that off.”
This is where we get to deadly phrase number two. Undoubtedly while doing laundry, because that’s when my goofiest notions hit me, I started mulling over the phrase ‘one ring to rule.’ It connected with wedding rings and comicons. I’ve spent a lot of time at comicons as booth bait. During my stint, I knew a guy named, I kid you not, Ryder Wyndam. He later wrote Star Wars books for middle readers. Swapping out one exotic name for another, I had a hero and a punchline. The heroine was easy. I knew the Wicked Witch of Comics. The tricky part was making her sympathetic.
I think it took me two days to write the story which I did entirely so I could send it to my buddy with a note saying, “HA!” That was it. My whole plan for the story. Write it, send it to my audience of one and store it on my hard drive for eternity. This is where the story should have ended.
Trolling a writing forum, I found a thread started by Renee Rocco and, didn’t actually think, but you know it’s going there, what’s that over there? Lyrical Press had changed their submission guidelines and was now accepting shorts with word counts down to – I forget. It was lower than the word count of One Ring To Rule which I had been tinkering with to improve my craft. Just because I didn’t plan on doing anything with it, didn’t mean I shouldn’t make it the best little nothing it could be, right? I opened my big mouth on the thread and said that I was working on something that would fit. Renee responded that she’d be looking for it.
It occurred to me that I should find out who this person was. I assumed she was just another member. Except she wasn’t. She was (and is) Lyrical’s publisher. I’d opened my big mouth and committed myself to submitting.
After I cleaned up One Ring to Rule, I sent it in on the Wednesday night before Fourth of July weekend. This was me being clever. I was going to be offline starting around noon the next day so I wouldn’t be obsessively checking my email for the expected rejection for at least four days.
The next morning there was a message in my inbox from Emma Wayne Porter. It had a contract attached.
And that’s where the story begins.