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Second Annual Anthology Authors!

I finally get to announce the 15 talented authors who will be featured in this year’s Inked in Gray anthology! We are so excited to showcase these stories, all of which center around the aspect of survival. It blew my mind the vast array of interpretations of the theme. With this release, our authors tackle the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of survival through a myriad of different situations. Topics of immortality, sanity, self-preservation, even the survival of tradition take center stage in this collection.

We are currently deep into the editing process, and we have a few surprises in store for this release. Look out for our exclusive kickstarter and an official release date of Summer 2021.

But first! Let me introduce the authors for the 2nd annual Inked in Gray Anthology.

R.A. Busby 

R.A. won this year’s anthology contest with her story “Cold,” about a young man and his difficult choice between starvation and surrendering to the voice of the wind telling him to make the ultimate sacrifice.

About the Author: An award-winning literature teacher and die-hard horror fan, R. A. Busby is also the author of “Bits” (Short Sharp Shocks #45), “Street View” (Collective Realms #2), “Not the Man I Married” (Black Petals #93), “Holes” (Graveyard Smash, Women of Horror Anthology, Vol. 2), and “Cactusland” (34 Orchard, forthcoming). 

“I was always instructed to write about what I know,” she states, “and I know what scares me.”  In her spare time, R.A. Busby watches cheesy Gothic movies and goes running in the desert with her dog. 

She can be found on Twitter and at

David-Christopher Harris

“A Cage of Moon and Stars” is a dark fantasy about betrayal and the struggle for survival as one civilization preys upon another through moonlight.

About the Author: David-Christopher Harris’ fantasy publications include “Olam Ha-Ba” in speculative fiction and poetry magazine Arsenika, “Last Call”  in The Arcanist Magazine, “Falselight”  on PageHabit, and “Children of Ozymandias” in 50WordStories,  among others. He received his M.A. in Medieval Literature, which he uses exclusively to teach his cat Latin. He is currently querying.

He can be found on Twitter and at

Andy Dibble

“Migration” takes us where risk and hope collide, and somewhere in between a migrating clan must survive and decide what values they take with them.

About the Author: Andy Dibble is a healthcare IT consultant who lives in Madison, Wisconsin. He has supported the electronic medical record of healthcare systems in six countries.  His work appears or is forthcoming in Writers of the Future, Star*Line, Sci Phi Journal, and others.  He is Articles Editor for Speculative North magazine.

He can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and

LT Ward 

“Taylor Manor” offers a new twist on the haunted house tale, one which will make you question walking into an unfamiliar place without the blessing of its owners.

About the Author: LT writes mostly speculative fiction shorts and novels while spending her days raising her children and satisfying her never-ending thirst for knowledge through reading, meeting people, and first-hand life experiences. She has short story publications with Dancing Lemur Press, Me First Magazine, Jazz House Press, and forthcoming with Black Hare Press and Cardigan Press. She currently volunteers with WriteHive, a nonprofit literary organization. 

She can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and at

Ben Armstrong

“Sleigh 54” is a horrific twist on magic and Christmas elves and what it really means to save Christmas.

About the Author: Ben is a young author who has been writing stories for over six years now. Recently he has been published in his town’s newspaper.

Maxwell I Gold

“Escape from the House of Asher-Fell” is a tale of nihilistic self-discovery by a woman trapped in her own profound grief.

About the Author: Maxwell I. Gold is a Rhysling Award nominated prose poet, focusing on weird and cosmic fiction. He is a regular contributor to Spectral Realms, edited by Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi and his work has also appeared in Weirdbook Magazine, Space and Time Magazine, Startling Stories, Baffling Magazine, and many others.

His debut prose poetry collection, Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose is forthcoming this August from Crystal Lake Publishing.

Maxwell can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and at

Damir Salkovic

“Among Tall Trees” is the juxtaposition of survival vs tradition. A man must choose between one people’s right to their ancestral home and allowing that people’s continued destruction. 

About the Author: Damir Salkovic is the author of novels Kill Zone and Always Beside You. His shorter work has been featured in the Lovecraft eZine, Dimension6 Annual Collection 2020, and in multiple horror, science and speculative fiction anthologies.

Find him on Goodreads and at his blog, Darker Realities.

Lawrence West

“Threads” is a story about spiritual and mental sanity and how blurred the lines become in our desperation to achieve it. 

About the Author: Lawrence J West has been on his writing journey since he was fourteen years old and has always been drawn to fantasy, sci-fi, and horror because of the way these genres allow for the exploration of human experience in unique ways. Since becoming a husband and father he has also found that his writing has a greater degree of empathy and insight. 

Lawrence can be found on Twitter.

Sharon Frame Gay

“Old Women” tells of the women who endured and survived WWII, how one processes those experiences years later and how one may cope with past experiences once they live to see the morning. 

About the Author: Sharon Frame Gay is an award winning author whose work has appeared in many anthologies and magazines, including Chicken Soup For The Soul, Typehouse, Fiction on the Web, Literally Stories, Lowestoft Chronicle, Thrice Fiction, Saddlebag Dispatches, Crannog, and others. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee. 

A collection of her short stories, Song of the Highway, was released in August, 2020.

Sharon can be found on Twitter and Amazon.

Timothy Johnson

“I am Emergent” is a story that pits love against love, and the moral quandary that arises when we fear we cannot save what we love the most. 

About the Author: Timothy Johnson is a writer and editor living outside of Washington, D.C. His published work includes the novels The Pillars of Dawn and Carrier as well as short fiction appearing in various professional and semi-professional markets. He is an MFA candidate in George Mason University’s creative writing program and an affiliate member of the HWA. 

Find Timothy on Twitter and at

DL Shirey

“Cathuranjalee” addresses isolation, desperation, and overcoming adversity at the hands of family and religion. 

About the Author: DL Shirey lives in Portland, Oregon, where it’s probably raining. Luckily, water is beer’s primary ingredient. His stories and non-fiction appear in 60 publications, including Confingo, Page & Spine, Zetetic and Wild Musette. 

You can find more of DL Shirey on Twitter and at

Dan Eveloff

“The Algorithm” explores the theme of survival at the intersection of livelihood and technology. 

About the Author: Dan Eveloff is a lawyer and sports agent living in Chicago, Illinois with his dog, Reuben. He studied accounting at the University of Kansas, and subsequently earned his law degree from Northwestern University. His short fiction “The Price of Recompense” has appeared in AHF Magazine,Shakespearean Justice” in Aphelion Webzine, and “Prevenge” can be found in Close to the Bone Magazine

His social media presence can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter 

Valerie Hunter

“Someday” is about making difficult decisions that do not have easy answers. Taking a chance could allow for a better future, but it could also end in death.

About the Author: Valerie Hunter teaches high school English and has an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her stories and poems have appeared in publications including Cicada, Storyteller, Edison Literary Review, Other Voices, Room, and Wizards in Space.

Find Valerie on Instagram.

Nicholas Barner

“In Doctrine and In Deed” is as the title states, taking us through the contemplations of a mother and her neurodivergent son in a cafe in Chicago.

About the Author: Nicholas Barner has farmed, cooked, and written variously in Oakland, Chicago, Maine, and Los Angeles. He lives with his partner, Shelby, and their Dog, Nuni.

He can be found online at

Thomas Canfield

“A Dicey Proposition” is a bit of a social commentary on how totalitarianism has a micro-level affect on relationships between individuals.

About the Author: Thomas Canfield lives in the mountains of North Carolina. His phobias run to politicians, lawyers and TV pitchmen. He is still trying to plumb the logic of the sales pitch; The more you buy, the more you save. It never quite seems to work out that way in the real world. Canfield occasionally reviews books on Goodreads.

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2021 is Finally Here!

2020 Wrecked Us All

Let’s be honest. We’re going to take a minute and mourn the loss of loved ones, of things that could and should have been. But we also want to thank everyone for continuing to support us through it all. We spent a lot of time building a foundation we hope will be successful. 2021 will be a better year. 

The past year was not without its successes though. We added two amazing individuals: San G. Crowe for editing/proofreading and Shailo Satór for marketing. Our first anthology came out in June and we’ve received over 300 submissions for our second. Thank you to all those who’ve submitted. We have so many great stories and cannot wait to share them with everyone.

But that’s just the beginning. 

We’re going to continue to build our foundation, piece by piece and expand our vision of giving a voice to the marginalized, the oppressed, the outcast, and the misfits. Thank you to all the individuals who’ve stuck by us, supported us, and cheered us on. Without you, we wouldn’t be here.

This year, Inked has plans to do more to lift up the writing community, self-published authors, and other small presses.

So, what are we planning for 2021?


Here are a few things to look forward to:

  • Publish or contract at least one B.I.P.O.C. Novelist—even if we have to ask for solely B.I.P.O.C. (black, indigenous, people of color) authors in our submission calls. Submission calls will formally open on February 1st. For our wishlist and submission parameters, please check our our website.
  • Collaborate on at least one project that uplifts the indie and small press community. (Spoiler: It’s already in the works and we are so excited, we can hardly contain ourselves.
  • Publish at least two anthologies—In our quest to highlight all things unfamiliar and misrepresented, we’ve started a podcast. The pod will focus on individuals as more than just the stories they tell, but as real, authentic people, with real, authentic stories. Would you like a guest spot? Contact us here.
  • Add a member to the Inked Team—With our expanded programming and publishing schedule, we will be in need of an individual to assist with marketing and/or developmental editing. BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, and neurodivergent individuals are encouraged to apply. We’re looking for someone who loves the writing community and helping a fledgling small press make a big impact. (Interested? Contact us here)

So many goals—and that doesn’t include everything we have on our calendar! Look our for two debut author releases this year as well as a conference and various events with WriteHive this year.

If you haven’t check out WriteHive, go! They do amazing things for the writing community, all for FREE.

Want to hear more about what we’re doing and get early updates for our open calls, new releases, and community programming? Sign up for our newsletter!  |

Inked in Gray Press

All Rights Reserved © 2020

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2021 Anthology Contest

Our annual anthology contest is now open!

Every short story submitted via our anthology open call is eligible to be considered for our annual anthology contest! Please read carefully the rules and guidelines for our 2021 anthology. 

Submissions that do not follow the anthology guidelines will not be considered. All entries will be anonymously judged by Val Serdy of Egg and Feather Editing.

Winner will be announced on Feb 15, 2021.

First Prize: for $75 + publication in the 2021 Inked in Gray Anthology

Theme: Survival

Submission Guidelines: Guidelines and additional information about the theme and what is required with each entry is listed here

Deadline: December 31, 2020

Where to Submit:


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2021 Anthology Open Call

We at Inked are excited to announce
our new upcoming Anthology

Theme: Survival

We are seeking morally ambiguous stories with the fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and contemporary fiction genres surrounding the theme of survival. Not many things in this world are straightforward. Many individuals have encountered moments of extreme moral compromise when faced with a choice that meant life or death, or the perception of such. From the outside, it may seem that some choices can be evaluated in the simple vein of right or wrong, ethical or not. Yet when placed in a situation that perpetuates a choice between survival and death, would we have the same opinion?

The theme of survival is meant to highlight situations that deserve another glance, that are not clean cut or easily defined within the realm of typical ethical boundaries. How far must a person go to survive? Or is death the choice we make instead of going against our morals? What will we do to survive?

If you have a short story that fits the morally gray theme of survival, check out our submission guidelines below. 


Submission Period: October 1 to December 30, 2020

Word Limit: 12K words per piece, not including addition information below

Submission Cost: Free

Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Contemporary 

  •  Previously unpublished works
  •  You may submit up to 2 pieces, but each work must be a separate submission
  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please let us know if the work is accepted elsewhere
  • Please don’t send us all pandemic stories – if we pick any, it will only be very few
  • Include as attached .doc (or .doc compatible format) please for ease of visual accessibility.

 What to Include with Your Submission *Please read carefully*:

  •  A 3 – 5 sentence bio with social media links
  • A paragraph detailing how and why your story is keeping with Inked’s mission to publish morally gray stories. Submissions lacking this prerequisite will not be considered for the anthology.

Where to Submit:

Payment: $30 per accepted piece plus one contributor copy

Rights: First edition exclusive anthology rights for the first six months of publication

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Submission Updates

Hey everyone, Kota here!

We at Inked have a LOT of new projects in the works that we are hoping to share with you soon. In order to give time to those projects we will be temporarily closed to novel-length submissions beginning September 15th. If you’d like to know more about what Inked is looking for, please check out our submissions page for more information.

If you have a novel that you’d like to submit, but will not have it ready prior to our Sept 15th deadline, don’t worry! We will be opening submissions back up in January 2021. The reason for the break is to dedicate time towards some our super secret projects. One of them is our second anthology. We are hoping to announce the theme and submission parameters in September.

Interested in the other projects we have in the works? Stay tuned. We will be releasing more details on those projects as they become available.

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New Release: The First Stain

Our First Anthology is out June 30, 2020

It’s finally here! Inked in Gray is proud to announce our first annual anthology, The First Stain. The collection will drop on June 30, 2020, and features thirteen stories across a variety of genres.

The goal of these stories is to show a new perspective that challenges perceptions and pushes boundaries. Hard choices don’t have easy answers. Happiness isn’t always found at the most opportune time. Some things are not what they seem. Sometimes the darkness is really a precursor to more darkness.

The theme for our new release was inspired by our mission. Inked in Gray was founded on the idea that there’s always more to what we think we know. We are not a follow-the-crowd publisher. We want to dig deeper, between the black and the white, and give those gray areas a breath of fresh air. Tell stories that need to be told. 

This release has been long in the making, and we thank everyone for being patient as we work through the barriers COVID has presented us with. Special appreciation goes to Val Serdy of Egg and Feather Editing for volunteering to be our judge for the contest and Dean Cole for the amazing cover design. 

Want to check out the winning story? Ulff Lehman’s Just Deserts is a tale of justice served in a land where the law always finds you, no matter how hard you hide. But that’s not all you’ll find in The First Stain. From historical fantasy to contemporary fiction, this collection has something for everyone.