The Story of Inked



With a lifelong passion for helping others, I started my career as a social worker. For many years, I worked with transient, gang-affiliated, and displaced youth. These individuals had few, if any, options for help. Understanding was rare, empathy scarcer still. I loved what I did, but the things that I saw, and the stories that I heard broke my heart. No story was the same, yet they all had one thing in common: their struggles were misrepresented.

What we see in the media is an incomplete picture of the world around us. It furthers distorts stereotypes, promotes prejudice, and builds barriers between communities.

Inked in Gray seeks to change that.

We can dispel stereotypes with insight, combat prejudice with perspective, and narrow the divide so we can see each other for what we all are: human.

Imperfect, complicated, and authentic.

My dream is to provide a platform for stories that explore those aspects of our humanity and give a voice to divergent and underrepresented authors. No sugar-coating, no watered down characters or situations. No punches pulled.

Words have the power to ellicit change. They are outlets for us to express ourselves. Words give us refuge. 

Words also build communities, dissolve stereotypes, and promote empathy and understanding. That’s the magic of storytelling. With Inked, I want to give a voice to the misrepresented and provide stories that don’t just entertain, but also promote change and understanding. Voices should not be unheard because they are not what we expect.

Inked was created for you—for us—to help mend a world that’s always been a little bit broken.


Our Mission

Give voice to stories that expose the depths of our humanity and its imperfections. To immerse our audience in lives unlike our own.

Our Vision

To change our world, we must make room for the marginalized, the oppressed, the outcast, the misfits, and the morally ambiguous.

Our Team

Dakota Rayne (they/them)
Founder and Editor-in-Chief


Dakota has a passion for helping others and telling stories. After over fifteen years in social work, Kota decided to combine their passions into Inked in Gray, the indie press that seeks stories that need to be heard. Kota is working on works of their own – blending life experiences with the surreal in The Lessons We Keep, and musings about mental health, survival, and overcoming darkness. When not stirring up chaos with quills laced with provocative defiance, Kota enjoys swimming and bonfires by the lake, cake (especially tiramisu), hockey, and spending time with their family.


San G. Crowe (it/it’s/they/them)
Proofreader and Acquisitions


San G. Crowe is a BIPOC author and editor who started writing their own stories because they were never completely satisfied with the books they read. Finding that their love of helping others improve their craft is almost as rewarding, they jumped at the chance to become part of the Inked in Gray team. Aside from writing and reading, their other passions include art, music, punny jokes or memes, and dissecting movies and books. You can find their shorter works at Otherwise, you can find them trolling Twitter here.


Inked is looking for another individual to add to our team. If you’d like to be a part of our team and change the face of storytelling, contact us through our general email (  |