Rogue One

January 16, 2017

I wrote this a few weeks ago, but it goes beyond simply talking about the plot and fun stuff of the latest Star Wars movie, and more into writerly motivations and musings, but still, please stop reading if you don’t want spoilers. That’s right: SPOILER ALERT!

I’ve always loved Star Wars. In fact, it’s what inspired me to become a writer. Back in 1994 I was reading Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy, and loved every minute of it. I know a lot of people have given some horrid reviews of the 90’s era Star Wars novels, and I’m sure if I went back after 20+ years and reread them, I’d agree. But hey, I was 14 and thirsty for anything Star Wars related.

I loved the role playing game by West End Games and drove my friends insane begging them to play it with me. We had fun, but it was no AD&D Second Edition. One of the coolest parts of that game was the digest with new scenarios and characters and fiction. One night while flipping through, I saw at the front of the book submission information…and decided I’d write a story.

It lasted all of one page and I gave up after a week.

Regardless, I will always and forever love Star Wars.

So it’s no surprise that I loved Rogue One!

What a great, gritty story. Hopeful, but intense as hell at the same time. And from a writer’s point of view, incredible characters.

I felt like I knew enough about all of them to care. They had their motivations, their strengths and weaknesses, and their own story arcs. Sadly enough, they all died, but not surprisingly. Some went out in a blaze of glory, and others had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Which brings me to my only complaint about the movie: Baze Malbus.

Going into this film, I loved the look of this guy. Big, heavy weapons, a gritty appearance, and the faithful companion to his oldest friend. I was not disappointed in the movie at all, as they did an excellent job with his character. Except for his death…

They could have done a better job giving him a reason for it. His friend died, and ran out into an active firefight to check on him, took out a few enemy troops, and then died in an explosion. It really accomplished nothing. Like I said, I know that in real life, these things happen, but why did he have to be so mindless about it?

As a writer, I’m taught that things need to happen for a reason. There needs to be a motive, a purpose, something that makes a man do what he’s doing. So why couldn’t they have him just get enraged and charge the battlefield, taking out as many guys as he could along the way? Why not have him jump onto a troop transport swarming with enemy troops and pull a grenade, taking out himself and everyone else, thus securing a safe passage for the other characters?

It bugged me, and still does. I know it can’t change, but it makes me realize that when I write something, I’ll need to follow these rules or guidelines so that no one is scratching their heads.

However, at the end of the movie, everything was redeemed. The last five minutes were more amazing than anything I think I’ve ever seen in a movie.

Darth Vader, mowing down an entire platoon of Rebel troops like it was nothing? Fuck yeah! Lightsaber in one hand and the Dark Side in his other (seriously, it showed him waving his hand and fist to fight these guys), he plowed down that corridor and tore through those men. I know he’s the bad guy and all, but shit…I wanted to see him win just out of general principle.

I will study that scene. I will write my own version of it. It will become my go-to for any and all action scenes I write, now and forever more.

Well, maybe not all of them. But most of them. And nothing will be as awesome as that.

Destroy All Monsters!

January 12, 2017

I’ve been lax on posting these flash fiction pieces, but hey, life happens. Anyway, enjoy!


Karen was no stranger to monsters.  Real monsters, beings that defied the laws of reality and logic as humanity knew it.  Real monsters, like from horror movies, not just horribly evil people that did horrible things.  Her job, in fact, was that of a monster hunter, and she had just received the commendation from her boss of being the best one in the country.

Yet how did one manage to get into her apartment?

Sitting on her blue couch, reading a magazine and eating unsalted popcorn, Karen’s heart attempted to burst through her chest when the door flew out into the corridor.  The wooden doorframe and plaster walls burst in, smoke and debris clouding her vision for a moment.

When the rubble cleared, she saw a monster.

It was once a human being.  It had grown at least three feet, gained close to one-hundred pounds—all muscle—and the skin was greenish-bluish-yellowish.  Much like the green guy from the comics, his pants were shredded but remained intact in one specific area.

Eyes, massive and bloodshot, landed on her.  Its huge nostrils flared, while its gaping maw of a mouth opened wider than she ever could have foreseen, revealing fangs and goopy saliva trailing down to the floor.  Its bare feet stomped in, boasting a skull-crushing size and toenails that could rip a man to shreds.

Karen’s hunter-like instincts took over.  As the intruding monster reared its grotesque head back and emitted a window-shaking roar, Karen sprang from the couch.  On the end table next to the television which she never watched, she kept her main sidearm, Victor.  As she pulled the .44 from its holster, she aimed at the thing’s head.

And immediately put the gun down.

“David?”  She took a tentative step toward him.  “I’d recognize that scar anywhere.  You’re my brother.”

The monster raised a massive hand to its cheek, running a bratwurst-sized finger along the deep scar, the last lingering memento of a cherry bomb in a coffee can from his thirteenth birthday party.

Suddenly the eyes became glassy pools in which Karen saw nothing but sympathy.  David had been working as an errand boy for Thomas Wick, the local mad scientist.  He was really a chiropractor that wrote articles about genetic engineering, but everyone called him a mad scientist.  Chances were, David had been outsourced to a real geneticist, who turned him into this mutated version of himself.

“You kill us,” David said.  His voice was harsh and clumpy, like he wanted to say more but couldn’t remember how.  With his body growing big, his brain must have shrunk.

“I can’t kill you,” Karen said.  “You’re my brother.  I love you.”

“Kill me.  Please kill.”  David stepped closer to her.  He reached forth and lifted Karen’s hand with the gun to point it at his chest.  “Put me out of misery.”

Tears stung Karen’s eyes.  She had made a vow to destroy all monsters, but her own brother?  How could she?

Just then, a howl split the silence.  Through the hole in the wall that once was the door, a man-sized jaguar leapt in.  Fists balled and teeth bared, it looked ready to kill.

It snarled.  “Grr, you killed my brothers!  Now I kill you!”  With its tail flailing wildly, it sprang forward, ready to pounce on Karen.

Eyes clenched and finger itching on the trigger, Karen needed to wait until the time was right.  When nothing happened, she opened her eyes.

David had reached out just as the werejaguar leapt.  His entire hand wrapped around its neck, the life had been squeezed out of it.  David smiled.

“I help.  I kill monster too.”

“You did,” Karen said.  “I can’t kill you.  But you can help me hunt other monsters.”

“I want to help.”  David dropped the werejaguar.  It fell to the ground like a sack of pudding.

“Then let’s go,” Karen said.  “Let’s start by finding the monster who did this to you.”


Thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

IT’S FREE!!!

January 1, 2017

Back in October, I posted a Halloween story on Smashwords. I thought I could make some money to help me out a little but and charged $.99 for it. That’s less than a dollar!

No one bought it!

So, Happy New Year. I made it free! Go read it and enjoy it. You’ll be glad you did.

It’s the Great Murdering Pumpkin, Charlie Townes

Stay tuned for more great stories from me, including my novel which will be up soon!

Naughty Cookies

December 24, 2016

Three years ago, there was a contest for a flash fiction piece about Christmas. This was super mega micro flash, because the story couldn’t be more than 250 words. I didn’t win (big shock) but I did manage to write a flash story at 250 words. Since it’s about Christmas and that just so happens to be tomorrow, enjoy as my gift to you this year!


“Naughty Cookies”

by Myke Edwards

Typically reeking of garlic and liquor, gingerbread and nutmeg wafted through the alley this particular Christmas Eve.  Nick waited at the dumpster, tapping his foot.  The man with the bag was ten minutes late.

Frigid air swirled about, carrying the distant sound of ringing bells.  Up above, Nick saw scant, brave stars poking through the light pollution of the city.  A dark object glided among them, better late than never.  It doubled back, descending and landing atop a nearby building.

With a grunt, a man, taller than a spruce tree and dressed in red furs landed on the ground.  Coming from five stories up, his boots left an indentation in the concrete.  Over his shoulder, he hefted the bag, overstuffed and bursting at the seams.

“What took you?” Nick asked.  He approached the man.

“Too many naughty children this year.”  He tossed the bag to Nick, like it weighed nothing.  “I couldn’t get them all.”  It landed heavy on the ground between them.

“Then go collect what you can,” Nick said.  “Your workshop on Mars could always use more workers.”

“I lost half of my elves this year!  I need to collect as many of those naughty children as I can.”

“Why did you even send the elves out?  You know the bad kids always kill them.”  Nick opened the bag, cringing at the sight.  Countless corpses of elves, already beginning to decompose.

“I can’t be everywhere at once.  Now recycle them into cookies.  I’ll be starving by tomorrow morning.”

THE END?


Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah to one and all! Happy Holidays and anything else you may celebrate! No matter what you believe and celebrate, I love, cherish, and respect all my sexy friends 😉

This morning before leaving for work, I checked my email as I usually do. Surprisingly/not surprisingly, there was an email from a publication regarding a story I recently submitted. I was happy! Specifically because it only took them five days to respond—that’s impressive!

Well, it was a rejection. No biggie, I’m so used to it that I don’t even flinch when someone tells me no. I mean, it’s not me or my writing, right? It’s the fact that they just don’t need it right now. Right? Right?

Right.

Anyway, I’m not trying to have a pity party for my rejection. I’m more upset at whom the email was addressed to.

Michale.

Not Michael. Michale.

I know, I know, it’s an easy mistake, especially when you’re typing fast. The peon that had the luxury of reading my story (or in this case, the cover letter and tossing it into the reject pile based on the unfamiliarity of my name alone) probably had a virtual stack of fifty stories he couldn’t care less about and wanted to get these emails sent out asap, the quicker the better.

Juxtaposing two letters in a name is not difficult. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Everyone has. But for some reason, I can’t get it out of my mind that this guy simply did not care.

And that’s the problem. If these publications/editors/first readers would actually take the time to do their job and read these stories, all the while ignoring the cover letter and the name and everything else that is not specifically the story they are deciding whether or not to publish, maybe some yutz could remember to try, at least try, to spell my name correctly in the rush to get to a story written by someone they actually know.

Accidents happen. People make mistakes. Know what else they do? Pass over quality for a friend.

Food for thought, editors.

Addendum – I received another rejection this afternoon, long after writing this. They spelled my name correctly. Thank you!

So close I can taste it

December 17, 2016

As we (here in Ohio, at least) delve into colder temperatures and stupid snow all over the place, I suddenly have a lot of free time. My day job is centered around selling building supplies to contractors (and the occasional clueless homeowner…seriously, are there any homeowners out there that actually know how to fix their house without making it worse?!), we are experiencing a lack of business.

This has been beneficial for me personally, because I can get a lot of stuff done that otherwise I’d have to squeeze in somehow–especially with Rogue One this weekend! I hate to plan my life around movies, but c’mon, Star Wars!!!

Ahem. Anyway…

I’ve talked about my novel, In the Pale Moonlight, several times over the years. It’s been a long time coming, specifically because I’ve taken a long, long time with it. Mostly, it was laziness. I’d write a lot, put it aside for “a week or two” and several months later I’d get back to it. Even after it was done, I putted around with editing it, but ultimately, got it all done.

So my attempts to get it accepted by an agent were met with either stock rejections or silence. It won’t keep me down, however, and I declared loud and clear that I was going to self-publish it. There’s so many free programs online that hey, this can’t be that hard, right?

Wrong! It’s so much work that other people would typically do for me had this been accepted by an actual publisher. It’s okay, I’ve learned a lot about it, and also about myself.

For starters, I really make a lot of typos. I mean, not as many as some people I know (every other word, like seriously!), but I’ll gloss over a word or two here and there. Not to mention, there’s a lot of sloppy writing in there. So I decided to go through the book just to make sure there weren’t any major issues, figuring it would take a day or two.

Two weeks later, I came out with a new draft of the book. Typos fixed, grammatical errors taken care of, and awkward sentences rewritten, it’s got a fresh sheen on it that no one can take away from me.

As far as I’m concerned, the book is good to go!

All I need to do is format it (well, finish formatting it, I’m almost done) for Smashwords and Amazon and whatever programs I plan on putting it on. I also have to finalize cover art, which is much more difficult than you’d think. I know, I know, you have a program or website or this and that and I need to check it out right now! I’ve seen all of them, tried them all, etc. I have something in mind and it isn’t as easy as you want it to be.

Finally, I need a release date. Do I plan it a month in advance, so I can promote it? Two weeks? Two months? Six months? I don’t know…and I’m worried that I won’t give myself enough time to prepare. Not to mention, I’ve got to start worrying about marketing and promotions for it…

Ugh. It will (hopefully!) pay off in the end. Not that I’m looking for a huge payday–I’d love to be able to pay off my car, my credit cards, my student loans, or anything else, but let’s be honest: am I going to be a millionaire from this?

Nope. But my book will be published and available for one and all. In the end, that’s all I can hope for.

Wish me luck–I’m oh so close!

Seriously?

December 1, 2016

I finally heard back from that one particular publication that wasn’t responding to my emails, and had gone way over their time limit for a response. Of course it was a rejection. I’m not surprised, but what’s bothering me about it is that they quite obviously never even read the story. Yeah yeah yeah, I’m being too cynical and negative, but believe me, they didn’t.

I need to change my name, maybe something that people will think sells books. Brainless Moneymaker, perhaps? Sigh…

I’ve got so much I want to say about this right now, but I don’t have the time or patience. But if anyone has read this far, thank you. That’s farther than most editors will get.

Unprofessionalism

November 20, 2016

Unprofessional. It’s a word no one likes to hear, especially when directed at themselves. Well, some people get a kick out of it, but that’s usually a false reaction, fake laughter used to cover up the pain of the reality that someone has just dumped on them worse than The Rock giving Mankind all those chairshots way back in ’99.

Ahem. Anyway.

No one likes to hear it, and no one wants to believe it’s true. But there are times when even the most depraved, the most “lower-rung” people need to shout it out, and let someone know. Or sometimes, let something know.

Like a publication, perhaps.

Don’t get me wrong, professionalism is rampant in the publishing industry. I would certainly hope that no publication would go to “print” if it wasn’t up to snuff, but the people behind it can sure have some unprofessional behaviors.

Some really shitty unprofessional behaviors.

I understand I’m at their mercy. I send them a story in the hopes that not only are they going to publish it and help boost my career by however much more it can with the people that read their magazine, but also in hopes that they’ll hand me money. I get it. I don’t have a lot of room to complain.

So why do I have to sit and wait with my mouth shut when they break their promises?

A very major, very well known science-fiction publication currently has a story of mine for consideration in an upcoming issue. One thing I love about them is they have a monitoring system, where I can see the progress on the story. Is it simply received? Is it under review? Has it been rejected? I can see with my own eyes the answer to that question! Holy fuck the future kicks ass!

They tell us writers to wait about two weeks before we get an answer. In worst case scenarios, it could take upwards of three months! I get it—a popular mag like that, especially one that pays as well as it does, and they’ll definitely have a massive slush pile to get through. Even with twenty first readers working around the clock, I can believe that they’ll have a lengthy wait.

Well, it’s been almost four months. Guess what the status on my story is?

Received.

Fucking received. They haven’t even opened it up and read it yet! And guess what? If I email them and follow the progress from that moment on, I guarantee that within 24 hours the progress will go from under review to rejected. Then they’ll send me a form letter without an apology, and move on.

Because fuck me, right?

Because I’m just a flyspeck in the grand scheme of science fiction, and they know it.

Because they’re unprofessional.

I’m tempted to email, and have been for some time. Oh no, I won’t be asking about the progress of my story. I’ll be telling them to just forget about it. I know and they know, before even reading the story, that their answer is going to be no.

Cynical? Damn straight. Honest and realistic? You better believe it. Irritated and frustrated? Of course I am.

Look, I get it. I’m no one. I’m not a well-known author that they’d be honored to publish. My story might be good, it might even be great. But I have to be realistic here. They haven’t bothered to look at it yet, so why would they give a flying rat’s ass about it now?

The same goes for a lot of publications, too. They hold on to your story forever, only to give you the most basic rejection letter. Reading some of the editor’s blogs from these magazines, however, I can only come to the conclusion that they’re more interested in people paying attention to them and the crazy, goofy, nerdy hobbies that they partake in than the magazine they’ve signed on to edit.

Unprofessional.

If I were editing a project, something I plan to do in the future, I wouldn’t make it about me. It’d be about the hard working authors who submit their stories to it. It’d be about the stories themselves, not the lines I’ve broken just to add my voice into the chorus of mewling people hoping to change something that isn’t even in need of fixing. It’d be about the entertainment that you, the reader, gets out of it.

Not me.

But hey, I can’t change that. I’ve recently decided that since the few publications available to me aren’t even acknowledging my existence, I’ve got to move on from short stories. I’ve got to move on to finishing the big works, and getting them out there.

I’ve got to make this matter, and say fuck you to the unprofessional assholes who’ve tried to keep me down.

Now, you’re probably wondering, what if one of those magazines does accept my story? What if they do eventually get back to me? What if something really bad happened, like a bad injury/illness/death? I’ll accept that, but you know what? I hope they understand they just need to maintain their promises. I’ve learned that there are some people just not worth your time when it comes to these things, and I really hope that list doesn’t keep growing.

“Why not just self-publish, Myke? Only you are in your own way in that case.”

I did. Don’t you remember? Surely you downloaded or purchased one of my stories, and then left a nice review for it, right? Sure you did.

Just get over it, right? Just deal with it. No one wants to hear my bitching. I get it, sure I do. But don’t make a promise and then expect everyone to bend over and back away.

It’s a strange life I’ve chosen. I’ve gotten used to the let-downs, but trust me, it doesn’t mean I have to like it. And that is professional on my behalf.

Updates

October 30, 2016

There have been some good things going on lately. A few bad, too, but isn’t that par for the course? I’m not on top of the world, but things are looking up, so I’ll take that as a win.

The Good:

-The poll that I’m in is going very well. Thanks to everyone who has voted for me! I appreciate the assistance and support. It’s good to know that so many people believe in me. Even if I don’t win, I know I’ve got more than enough love from all of you, and you’ve got mine as well.

-Some publications that I’ve submitted to are taking longer than usual to get back to me. I know that this doesn’t necessarily mean anything and I really shouldn’t get my hopes up, it’s nice to think that they’re deliberating over my work. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get that long awaited email very, very soon and have a new reason to dance on top of a table.

-A year or so ago, I wrote a story that was basically my realistic take on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. You all know how much I love MOTU, and I really love the sword & sorcery aspect to it, not to mention the sci-fantasy twist. I’ve written a lot of stuff like that, but never anything inspired so directly by it. By realistic, I mean that it’s going to have much more adult themes, and more understanding of how and why things are the way they are other than simply to sell toys.

Well, the story ended on an ambiguous note. Apparently, no one wanted it because it doesn’t slap you in the face and tell you directly what happens at the end. Yep, you read that correctly: publishers think that you’re an idiot and need me to hold your hand and tell you straight up what’s going on.

So I decided to make this into a serialized story. As of now, there will be 7 parts to it. I’ve been busting ass on part 2, and am almost done…but every day I say I’ll finish it, and life happens. Could today be the day? I hope so—it’ll allow me to get the rest of it done as well!

-Lots of people have been interested in my Halloween story! The sheer amount of exposure I’ve got with it is amazing! But maybe you could support a struggling author? It’s only $.99, folks!

The Bad:

-A publication has had my story since June 27th. They haven’t even opened it and looked at it yet. Come on, this is one of the biggest and most well-known pubs in the USA. You can find it at any chain bookstore, fer cryin’ out loud! I know they’ll say know (yeah yeah, so what if I’m cynical?), but why make me wait so long? Unprofessional, I say. Feh!

-I don’t have as much time to write as I’d like. Typical, but I’m trying so hard to do it and life just keeps getting in the way.

-I haven’t even started looking at getting “In the Pale Moonlight” published. A friend was supposed to be reading it, but she hasn’t said word one about it. I really need to get off my arse and just do it!

That’s all. I’m happy and working, but need to get it moving a little better. Wish me luck, and stay awesome!

Vote!

October 24, 2016

Everyone’s talking about voting this year. I understand, it’s an important election. However, it isn’t just political stuff that you need to vote for.

Bards and Sages poll!

Earlier this year, I was published in Bards and Sages Quarterly. They have an annual poll to vote for the best story of each issue, and an overall best author. While I hope that you’ve been reading the publication (it’s awesome!), I ask, beg, implore, urge you to vote for me. I have a story up for election, as well as best author at the end of the page.

This is very important to me, and I really hope you can support me in this endeavor! Seriously, it takes like one minute to do it, so there’s no reason not to.

Thanks for everything, and stay awesome!