Who Am I?

February 25, 2016

Remember a few months back when I was really pissed off at a certain publication for their response? I waited 45 days for their response, gave it a couple more, and then emailed them. They sent me a basic response with no apology, no mention of my long wait, nothing. Naturally, I was pissed!

Just the other day, I received another response from them. It was the exact same email, save for the name of the first reader who responded. I was not one bit surprised, both at the form email, but the rejection as well. Still, I figured I’d try with another story because hey, this place pays well.

At least this time they didn’t spit in my eye.

Anyway…

Something I’m trying is limiting the information I’m giving to publications when I submit a story to them. My cover letters used to have plenty of information about me, giving names of other publications I’ve been in, my college information (I have a BFA in Creative Writing) in case someone cares about that, and either my Facebook address or the address to this blog.

Is that good enough? Am I correct in assuming that editors/publications want to see big named credits, magazines that are the cream of the crop, college/educational credits that scream “this guy has money”? No offense to the pubs I’ve been in, or to Bowling Green State University, but none of them are really big news.

So a big part of me feels like I’m judged before they even read the story. They see these blasé credits and information about me, and make their decision right then and there. “This guy won’t have name recognition,” they’ll proclaim to their hungover staff, “so why would put him in our magazine? He won’t make us any money!”

The same goes for my social media. They go to my Facebook page, see the lack of followers on there (seriously, why aren’t you following me?!), and move on to the next story. Think I’m making it up? Then why is it that I’ll log into Facebook, get the notification that my Myke Edwards page has 1 or 2 new views, and then go check my email a few minutes later, only to see a rejection from 1 or 2 publications?

Coincidence? Possibly. I mean, I have links to my stuff all over, at different forums I post on, at my online workshop, and myriad other places. Still, it seems a little fishy to me.

So I took the possibilities of prejudgment away. Sure, they can Google my name the instant they open my email and see no personal info at all, but why? Can’t they just judge my writing based on the quality of writing and the enjoyment of the story itself?

I’m not saying I agree or disagree with this next part, but it is something to think of. Someone on a forum suggested that since publications are looking for work by people of color, women, and GLBT writers, the fact that I’m a straight white male (three things I did not choose to be, it’s how I was born) is working against me.

AGAIN, I’M NOT SAYING I AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THAT. Still, it makes me wonder. Should I remove any identifying features of myself at all? Should I create a completely new persona/byline to write under?

Is it truly about the story, or the person behind it? Because sometimes, it sure feels like they’re rejecting me, and not the work itself. I mean, no one is straight up telling me my writing sucks, my stories are bad, and that they’ve lost IQ points from reading my slop, so…

Hopefully, providing a lack of info can work towards my benefit. But really, shouldn’t it be the story that does?

It sure used to. Anyone want to prove me right?

Not at work

February 17, 2016

One of the biggest things that we as humans strive for is steadiness. For the past few years, it seems we’ve have a shaky economy at best, and finding steady, good-paying work is not always the easiest thing. It would make sense, then, that finding a job that pays decent and has the potential for a good future would be ideal.

Since I currently work retail, I find it interesting to see how many of my coworkers care so much about our job. While it’s good to have pride in your job and actually give a shit, some people seem obsessed with it. One of the most interesting things I see is during lunch breaks; if I go somewhere, even for fast food, I sit in that restaurant with a book and come back to work when my hour is up. For everyone else, they get their food and come straight back to work. After all, what if they’re needed?

My time is precious to me, so I make the most of it. Like I said, reading typically takes up my time. Occasionally, I’ll do some writing or editing.

The point is, if often feel like an outsider. Not that I’m trying really hard to fit in with my job or coworkers, but the simple fact that I don’t see this job as my career. I’m a writer, dammit, and that’s what I’m focusing on. Retail work is a means to an end, and writing is what I’m here for.

Things are going well. I’ve been getting out queries for the novel, sending submissions out to magazines, and editing like crazy. I’ve even been working on the next book in my library.

Despite crummy luck, I’m feeling good. I even skipped going to the gym today so I could write! I’m getting interest, getting nibbles, getting a few positive remarks.

In other words, I’m happy. I’m positive. More than anything, I’m here, and doing what I do best.

To be like Bilbo Baggins…

February 7, 2016

If you’ve never heard The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins, go to YouTube and watch it now. Do it! Possibly one of the best things ever to come from the late, great Leonard Nimoy.

Back? Good.

Sometimes, we have to make those confessions that make people wonder about us. For me, it’s regarding a small hobbit by the name of Bilbo…

I’ve only read The Hobbit twice.

I just finished reading it for the second time. The first was back in 2001, shortly before the first Lord of the Rings movie came out.

What kind of writer am I? What kind of fantasy fan am I? Shouldn’t I have read The Hobbit in 7th grade, just like the rest of western civilization? I know, I know, turn in my nerd badge and go watch a football game, right?

Anyway, outrage aside, I did just finish reading it again. A few weeks ago, I was at the library looking through movies because I missed a bunch of movies last year (and the year before that, and the year before that…). My taxes pay for the library to get new books/movies/cd’s, so hey, why not? Anyway, I saw all three Hobbit movies and realized that not only have I not watched them, I should probably read the book again. It’s a classic, and pretty much sparked an entire genre.

Man, it’s a good book.

I mean seriously, it’s got everything. It isn’t just a fantasy epic, it’s an adventure story, a thriller, suspenseful, and even a little scary at times. Just look at all of the different conflicts in the book and you’ve got a pretty diverse array of events and characters. Pretty much how fantasy should be done, or at least the perfect stepping-off point.

Now I realize, the book isn’t without its flaws. Things just conveniently happen, for instance. The narrator, very friendly with the reader, waves off many things as “a story for another time.” While I get the expediency that Tolkein was going for, by today’s standards, that would get you a flat out rejection. Also, too much head-hopping, too many perspective shifts, and not enough detail shown. Seriously, when Bilbo and the dwarves are in Smaug’s mountain, can’t we get an in-depth description of what the mountains of treasure look like? “Some object” could easily become “a small chest, crusted with purple gems” or “a trophy dedicated to some long-forgotten lord.”

I know that critiquing the book now is beyond pointless, but as a writer, I notice these things. Something else, something much more important, however, is even more noticeable.

How awesome this book truly is.

I feel reinspired. I’m two-thirds of the way through writing a new book, and I actually want to finish it. Well, I always wanted to finish it, just when the time was right.

Why delay? The time is now! Go forth, and make fantasy!

 

7th Sea is back!

February 4, 2016

A few months ago, I saw some very good news.

7th Sea is returning!!!!

One of the biggest inspirations to my writing, 7th Sea was a role-playing game by Alderac Entertainment Group, or AEG. It also had a collectible card game that I was pretty big into.

Imagine an alternate 17th century Europe, with magic. Now imagine a lot of pirate stuff, intrigue, and well-developed characters. There’s so much more to it, but that’s the gist.

The game died a slow, quiet death. I was bummed, but hadn’t played rpg’s in a long time. Still, I read those books all the time for inspiration and ideas, even to this day. So imagine my elation when I saw that the game is coming back!

John Wick, the original writer/developer of the game (not the Keanu Reeves character), has bought the rights to it from AEG. It should be premiering at GenCon this year, so I might actually go for the first time in 11 years.

Like many things, it’ll go through Kickstarter. February 9th is the day, so please, go pledge. Not only are you helping many talented writers and artists bring their work to life, you are helping so many gamers and interested minds in experiencing one of the greatest games ever.

Who knows, maybe they’ve got room for some new writers…

Whatever happens, I’m happy. More reading material, and a new game for a new generation. What a great time to be alive.