The First Stain – Anthology Collection

                                    The world isn’t black and white. 

                                                                           Why should our stories be?

There is often a moment when we discover the world is nothing like the fairy tales we grew up with. It’s grittier, darker, more complex. Perception isn’t always reality. Sometimes there’s another layer, another angle that demands acknowledgement. Each tale within The First Stain peels back those preconceived layers to expose the cracks in our not-so-perfect world.

The First Stain showcases stories with a twist—from haunted visions to heartbreaking omens; vigilante justice to survival amidst metaphysical hellscapes. Enter a fantastical world where karma is Law—merciless and unforgiving. Discover the addiction of memory, and the regrets secreted therein. Within The First Stain, fears become nightmares. Nightmares become reality, and sometimes, the worst that could happen, comes to pass.

These thirteen short stories by new and published authors delve into the themes of death, justice, family, redemption, and ugly truths bound in beautiful lies.

Find The First Stain on Amazon here.

Shea Ballard

Shea Ballard has been a reader and a writer all his life. He walked into a library at eight years old and never looked back.

Shea loves fantasy and science fiction, as well as tales of the macabre. His stories seek to take us away from our ordinary world and into places full of magic and wonder.

When not writing, Shea enjoys reading, watching movies, and feeding a Netflix addiction. He dabbles in astrology and tarot. He is passionate about history, languages, and mental health advocacy. Get him talking about these things, and you may not get him to stop.

In 2013, Shea self-published a short story to Amazon called The Light That Never Goes Out. His Faerie Tale series, Noble and Brave will be re-released by Inked in Gray in Fall 2021 .

Find Shea on Twitter via @SheaBallard

Elaina Parsons


Elaina Battista-Parsons is a middle grade and young adult author who grew up on the Jersey Shore, barefoot and full of sand in her bathing suit. She loves to explore the female psyche in both MG and YA. 

Growing up in an Italian household, she learned the secrets of anything related to fresh mozzarella and good bread. She writes to connect with young minds, and to encourage reading as a lifelong love. In her free time she drinks coffee and loves antique stores. 

Elaina’s debut novel, Black Licorice, will be released by Inked in Gray in Summer 2022.

You can find Elaina on Twitter via @BraveIrene77

Suzanne Miller


Suzanne Crain Miller is a novelist, poet, screenwriter and memoirist who lives in Carrboro, N.C. with her husband and their lab, Slim Shady. 
She annually publishes poetry with the Heron Clan, a N.C. collective.  Her short story, Genuine, will be out included in a crime anthology -Murderers, Miscreants and Thieves due out in February. Currently Suzanne is also writing Fly, a serialized novel that can be found on Wattpad here.

Inked in Gray will be publishing Souvenir – a crime drama surrounding a mother struggling with PTSD and OCD who is forced to do things she never imagined in the wake of her child going missing.

Suzanne is an advocate for others like herself–those who live with chronic pain disease and those who’ve survived a suicide attempt. She writes about topics others tend to shy away from by using characters that people can easily connect to. She writes to show others they’re not alone, and believes we write the past to lessen it’s affect on our future.

Follow her on Twitter via @TattooedDaughtr or check out her blog for updates on her work at

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