Although this was the 4th story I had published it was the first story I ever had accepted, and as such certainly holds a special place with me. I'd like to think that even if it weren't the first accepted one, it'd still be one of my favorite stories just from a quality standpoint.
I read the call for submission from this upstart company asking for horror stories revolving around a found item, hence the title of the anthology "Look What I Found". The writing prompt intrigued me and I wanted to write something for it but I couldn't think of a fitting story that didn't seem like a rehash of a dozen other books/stories I've read. Resigned to let this antho pass by I began writing something else, but more importantly, at the time I was reading Stephen King "The Reaper's Image" and while I truthfully can't remember much about that story the description of the mirror sparked an idea for "Look What I Found". From there I was just in the zone, the way a basketball player can get on a hot streak, the story just flew out of me.
This is also probably a reason why I like this piece so much, that it was inspired by a Stephen King story, who is one of my inspirations. From the haunted mirror sparked the idea for "The Anonymous Portrait" a twisty tale of the past coming back to haunt you, although it may not always be your own past.
Without further delay, the intro to "The Anonymous Portrait"...
Well that seems innocent enough, right? If you want to know how this becomes a horror story published in an anthology with such a creepy cover, you can purchase it at the usual spots; amazon.com, Joker's Child (located in Fair Lawn), and the AzarRising Mobile Bookstore (trunk of my car).
While this story was going through the editing process an interesting issue came up. The editors didn't like that "Sir Riley" was referred to as 'sir'. They read this as meaning he was a British royal 'sir' and as such must have been a UK citizen at the time the story takes places since the only person at the time to have dual citizenship was Winston Churchill. I kindly pointed out that he was called sir only as a sign of respect, not as a title. The editors weren't satisfied with this explanation and changed the title from Sir to Mr.
So that was my first clash with editorial, and honestly I didn't put up a fight. The title wasn't a big deal to me, and again it was the first story I had accepted to be published, I didn't want to jinx it and/or ruin my standing with the editors for future publications, and it's a good thing too, I was published twice more with them.