Finishing Things

June 17, 2017

There is good news, because bad news isn’t the only thing that encompasses my life! I’m happy to report that a story I’d been working on for quite a while, “Bog’s Wrath” (working title, of course), is finished. Well, the first draft, at least. I need to sit on it for a while before I edit it and then start getting really serious about it.

It’s a Clay and Styg story. I’m glad to get back to them, but I’m even happier to be done with it. Why? Well, I’ve been trying this technique where I write whenever I have a chance. So, if I have ten minutes to do nothing, I’ll write. Less than that, it’s not really worth getting into, but sometimes I’ll put down a paragraph or two.

Usually, I’m frightened of doing this. I always feel like I need big spaces of time to sit and write so I can get it all out. What if I get really into the groove, but run out of time before I’ve finished my thoughts? How can I get back into it and remember everything I wanted to say?

The words are all there, man. I know what I want to write, so what if a few words are different? The story will still be the same story when all is said and done, right?

Unfortunately, using this technique, I found myself only able to write about a half to a full page within the course of a day. I still need to sit down and write, dammit! I can’t just tell myself, “Hey, Myke, you already wrote a few words. Why not watch an episode of Riverdale or whatever it is you like?” Then I respond, “First off, I finished season one of Riverdale a few weeks ago, so right now I’m trying to catch up with Luke Cage and Girlboss on Netflix. Second of all…great idea.” I need to be disciplined, and believe me, it’s happening.

Now that I’m done, I can get back to The Third Tower. Why did I ever abandon that book? Well, aside from having tons of little ideas and needing to catch up to what I wanted with it, but really, why? Sigh…I’m lazy. Yeah, you got me.

Anyway…

Crimson Streets has the first 26 stories published on their website available in a paperback book! Go get it! My story, “Tyree’s Diadem,” is in it. You’ll know this as the introductory tale of Clay and Styg, so it has majorly historical significance!

Pulp Modern is still available, with my story “Out of Sight.” I hope you seriously consider purchasing a copy of this, not only because it’s so cheap, but because it supports a great cause. Having independent publications such as this one are what allows authors like me to thrive, so please consider picking one up.

That’s all for now, my sexies. Time for a salad, a few chapters of “Blindsight” by Peter Watts (GREAT science fiction book!), and some air conditioning on this stuffy Saturday.

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The Latest

May 15, 2017

Man, where has the time been? Lots of stuff keeping me busy in real life, which is good! I even missed two big announcements, but it’s okay, great traveler! It’s never too late to enjoy the goodness.

My short story “Out of Sight” was published in the latest issue of Pulp Modern. I’m very proud of this story and excited that it found a home. The publication is amazing as well. Lots of great stories in it, and worth checking out. You can get a digital copy of it, but you can also get a print publication of it!

Pulp Modern. Get it while it’s hot!

I implore you to pick up a copy. I already got my payment for it ($10, whoo boy!), so I don’t benefit from others buying it. Still, it’s worth supporting small publications, independent authors and businesses, and let’s be honest, it isn’t that expensive. Maybe even write a review on Amazon while you’re at it.

Thank you in advance!

Anyway, remember last June when my story “Tyree’s Diadem” was published on the awesome webjournal Crimson Streets? Of course you do—that was one of my best stories, and one that launched a franchise featuring Clay and Styg. (In fact, I’m working on yet another story featuring them as we speak!)

Well, the first 26 stories published on the website will be collected in an actual print copy! This includes “Tyree’s Diadem” as well as many other great stories. I’ve done my best to keep up with the stories they publish (one per week) so it isn’t a majorly time consuming process. Plus, I’ve gotten to read some of the best unknown and lesser known authors out there.

I’ll of course put a link to it when it’s available, but please keep this in mind! If you love fun pulp adventures (of every genre), good writing, or simply like supporting the community, please buy a copy (again, I make no extra money on this).

Also, last year my story “Behind You, in the Corner” was published on Bards & Sages Quarterly. Thanks to many of you, it won the Reader’s Choice award for the July ’16 issue. Due to that, this summer, Bardic Tales & Sage Advice vol. 9, the “Best Of” issue featuring the best stories from the previous year’s issues, is coming out. Hoping for an August release, details are pretty much what I just wrote, but again, you’ll be notified once I am!

Other than that, I’m working hard on getting other things done. Been editing a lot, working on Clay and Styg, and still trying to get The Third Tower finished. I’ve got a free story coming real soon on Smashwords, and who knows? Maybe In the Pale Moonlight will have a price break sooner than you know it? (As if $1.99 is too expensive for some people!)

Thanks a lot my sexies! Keep reading, and keep kicking ass.

Good news, everyone!

March 1, 2016

Well, something went right.

The other day, I received an excellent email from Janet, the editor of Crimson Streets. CS is a new-ish publication that is dedicated to pulp-style fiction of the early 20th century. Everything I’ve read on their website I’ve loved, and it’s getting some positive feedback in the community.

The first story I sent, a sword & sorcery meets futuristic sci-fi piece, was rejected, and rightfully so. Janet was awesome with the rejection. She basically told me with fantasy, the main question they ask is, “Would Conan do this?” Without question, this was hands down the best insight into what they are looking for from authors, better than any other publication has ever managed.

Yeah, I went there.

Anyway, I sent another story, “Tyree’s Diadem.” This is a story I’ve been very happy with, and very proud of. Unfortunately, it’s been getting rejected left and right. It’s the first story to feature Clay and Styg (whom I’ve talked about plenty), and it’s a damn fun pirate/thief/adventure/heist story.

Naturally, I’m happy and excited to have someone pick it up. Best of all, the snarky/condescending comments from some certain people regarding this story were completely unfounded!

My recent blogs have been about the difficulties of not getting published. Well, I started doing things a little different. Did that make the difference? Or was it simply the merit and enjoyability of the story itself that worked for me.

I sent a story with no identifying info about myself, and it got accepted.

I can live with that.

So with that in mind, go check out Crimson Streets! It’s a great publication, and there’s a lot of wonderful stuff coming up with them. They might even do print anthologies of stories from their online pubs, so be sure to support them and make this come true!

As always, thanks to you all for believing in me. If I could tell you how many times I was thinking of quitting writing for good…

No need for that now. Thanks a lot, Crimson Streets.

Raising Hope

November 29, 2015

Chances are, you can look back through pretty much every blog post I’ve made and one major theme will be present: frustration. Specifically, frustration at not getting stories accepted and published. Believe me, it’s more than frustrating, and if you can believe it again, I’m actually holding back in most of those posts. You know that old cartoon image of the red-faced guy with steam coming out of his ears? Yeah, that’s me.

But I feel hopeful tonight, and positive. Maybe it’s this cold, crisp air opening my neural pathways, or maybe it’s something else, but in regards to publishing, I’m not in that bad of a mood.

Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few publications that are way beyond due to give me a response. Anything, please, will do! But when I query, they either ignore me (proving they’re defunct or just don’t give a damn anymore), or they respond with a very terse, “please wait longer” type message.

Some are literally one day over their estimated time limit. While I understand that there’s been the Thanksgiving holiday and whatnot going on, it still gives me hope. I don’t believe in jinxes or luck or any of that mumbo jumbo horseshit, but I don’t like to talk about it before it’s a sure thing. Still, I have a pretty good feeling about some of these.

Even if they send me an email this Monday and apologize for the long wait because they’re swamped with submissions but still give me a big fat no, I’ll be okay. After all, I always set the bar low. I never expect to be published in any specific magazine…just hope to. Not only is it awesome if and when they say yes, I’m not horribly disappointed when they say no.

However, there are a few rude readers out there who give “advice” and comments on their rejections. While I appreciate any and all help, there’s no reason to be condescending. Saying I’ve got “growing up” to do and have to wait to play with the big boys (or whatever crap it was they said) is beyond inappropriate. And it irks me beyond belief when someone tries to be creative (like I typically do) and the first reader/editor personally doesn’t like that meshing of genres, so they reject it. For instance, a battle axe belongs in ancient Crete and not on a pirate ship, according to one person’s opinion, so the story wasn’t worth their while. So sorry I wanted to switch up weapons from the generic and overused bullshit we’re all sick of seeing.

Sorry, I don’t want to rant. But I feel like I need to! I’m hopeful and happy and yes it is irritating that one jerk tosses me aside because I’m trying something new, but it doesn’t mean someone else won’t.

And that is why I’m hopeful.

There are a lot of people out there. Surely, one of the people that writes the checks has to like me, right?

Right.

Because they are out there, and they do like me. And if not, I’ll self-publish it all, and do it the way I want.

Nothing wrong with that!

The Funny Pages

June 22, 2015

Last week, I turned 35 (I know, I should have faked my age long ago!), and I feel like things aren’t going the way I’d hoped with writing. I mean, I graduated college ten years ago, and I’m just now starting to have some semblance of success (Hey! Stop laughing! It is too success…sort of…) with my stories, and I always fight with myself over whether or not I should just quit.

Well, I’ll never quite. I’ve tried. I can’t. Writing is as much a part of me as my beautiful hazel eyes and massive chest muscles (Hey! Stop laughing again! It’s not that bad…), and I’ll never quit. Maybe quit trying for this to be my career, but that’s neither here nor there. Until I give up, I have an idea that might just work for me.

I’ve loved comic books for almost my entire life. I keep thinking of turning some of my stories into comic books. As a longtime lover of the medium, I think a lot of my stuff could easily and awesomely make a good transition from words to pictures with words.

We’re talking pirates…we’re talking monsters, aliens, space ships, fantasy, romance, adventure, swords, blood, sweat, tears, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll!

Seriously…it’s all there, and it could all work. I’m sure it’ll go through Kickstarter, but again, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Anyone know a good artist who can work pro bono?

Making Contact

March 6, 2015

Several new developments! I’m glad I can say that. It feels like forever since I last blogged, even though it wasn’t that long ago, really. Still, I’m very happy that I actually have things to discuss, rather than just giving a status update of absolutely nothing.

+Been really pounding out “The Third Tower” and I’m not at all upset about it. It makes going to work bearable, considering how slow it’s been!

+My editor on “In the Pale Moonlight” was very impressed with my work, and enjoyed the manuscript. Of course there is stuff that needs to be worked on, but not a lot. That’s good! I will hopefully have it done very soon.

+Shortly before this past Christmas, Black Denim Lit accepted a story from me. I didn’t want to be pushy, but I had to wonder when they would tell me the publishing date. I’ve been screwed by publishers who accept a story, then never respond again. Usually because they go out of print or shut down, and I was starting to worry. But no worries! Things are fine, and “The Man Without a Planet” will be published in their June issue. More details as they come!

+I had to get a new email address…grr, it just frustrates me. I’ll still use my traditional one unless I need to completely switch over, but it’s irritating. There are two publications that use a submission system that is unlike anything else out there. Easy to use, yes, but not easy to hear back from. They’ll send an automated email telling you that they received your story, and it’ll have a confirmation number with it. I never got said email, but didn’t think about it. Then they rejected me, but I didn’t get that either. So after six months, I started to get worried. I emailed one and he told me all about the rejection and etc., and suggested that my email provider may have been the case. So I got a new one, submitted a new story, and…nothing. Sigh… Maybe they went out of print?

+I’ve got lots and lots of great ideas for short stories! Specifically, Clay and Styg stories. I know I need to do a blog about those guys since I talk about them a lot. Hopefully soon! And most importantly, hopefully their stories can be read by the masses, and soon as well!

That’s about it (that I can think of). Typical updates, but I like to keep ya’ll in the know!

Back to basics

June 10, 2014

Last night, I finally finished a book I’d been reading for close to two months. It’s a great, liberating feeling when you finish a book. But after two months? Talk about a breath of fresh air.

It wasn’t a bad book by any means. “Elantris” by Brandon Sanderson, his first book, was a unique, interesting take on a fantasy novel. While a lot of the writing “rules” that I’ve had drilled into me appeared to be broken many a time throughout the book, it was still interesting and fun to read. My major problem was the characters, in that the main characters and their closest companion were all intelligent and could figure out every problem, while everyone else was a complete and utter moron.

But that’s beside the point.

It took so long to read mainly because of my new job. I started reading it shortly after I started, and didn’t have a lot of time to sit down and read. Not just because of work, though, but because I prefer to spend the majority of my free time editing my own novel right now. And no, I haven’t started writing that story I mentioned yesterday.

As a writer, nay, a lover of words, I immediately went to find a new book to start reading. I love to read, and I love to learn from what I do read. So I am going back to basics, and continuing to read some of my all-time favorites.

Bloody, dirty, gruesome, wretched Conan the Cimmerian. A king, rogue, pirate, killer, thief, lover, savior, fighter, and all around badass.

My own characters, Clay and Styg owe more than a lot to Conan. One of my favorite characters and licensed properties EVER, He-Man, owes damn near everything to Conan. And my model for how I want my body to look as I continue to attempt sculpting it at the gym more than I should, is Conan (specifically, the Jason Momoa incarnation as I could never hope to look like Arnold).

To me, Conan is as basic as it gets. The writing lacks the finesse and flow we are used to these days, they the stories raw. They are bloody. They are true. But more importantly, they are stories. They leave me feeling entertained, and thirsty for more.

I want my body to look like Conan, and I want my stories to be as revered and entertaining as Conan. Is that too much to ask?

Thank you, Robert E. Howard. Thank you, Conan. You are what make it worthwhile for me.

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Setting those goals

January 5, 2014

I hate New Year’s Resolutions.  They’re just empty promises people make to feel self-righteous and make other people think that they’re really proactive, and able to face impossible odds.  The problem is, people follow them, a little bit, for a short while.  Then it’s back to the beginning, and more empty promises on December 31st again…

That is why I set goals.  Next to my desk, I have a list of “rules” to make my life more worthwhile.  One of my favorites is “Remember that you will have to deal with people you can’t stand.  Chances are, you are that person to someone else.”  But my absolute favorite is “Set one goal a day, one a week, one a month.”  Why?  Basically, so I have something to live for.

While I have many things worth living for–my lovely fiancee, my writing, my Riddler collection, and my family–it is quite easy to lose sight of these things.  Even if my daily goal is to go without complaining once about the weather or putting gas in my car (because let’s face it, I’m the type of person who drives on empty as long as I can), I know I’ve done something.  Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s has made me a victim of television, video games, comic books, all the good stuff.  All the vice that unfortunately becomes habit.

So I need to remain proactive.  I need to get off my fat ass and do something.  I feel like setting goals is a perfect way to do that–and publicly sharing them is even more perfect.  That way, when people see me or talk to me, they can ask how my goals are going.  While I’m a very good liar, I find it difficult to lie about this kind of stuff.  Especially when it comes to working out/losing weight–you honestly can’t tell someone you’re following your routine when it’s obvious you’ve put on weight.

To me, it’s the same thing with writing.  While my daily output isn’t public (and never will be, so don’t ask!), I feel like I’m a lot happier, a lot more satisfied and confident when I’ve been working diligently on my writing.  I might be tired and exhausted, but you can still see a difference.

So here it is, ladies and gentlemen.  What I hope to accomplish for this coming year.

GOALS FOR 2014:

  • Edit “In the Pale Moonlight” – This is my novel that I started way back in February of 2010.  I’ve taken so many breaks during the course of writing it, for various reasons, and I finally finished the first draft in December.  I’m hoping–HOPING–that editing won’t take almost four years!
  • Journal “The Third Tower” – My next book.  Had this idea for a long time, with lots of notes floating around my office.  I don’t think it’ll take too long, since I’ve gone over the plot a million times in my head.
  • Write “The Third Tower” – Yep, just need to sit down and write it!
  • Manage to afford professional editing for “In the Pale Moonlight” – Okay, so I hear a collective groan.  But let’s face it, I’m impatient.  I waited so long to write it, I don’t want to wait any longer to have it ready to go!  I doubt I’ll be able to afford this professionally, but it’s something I’m definitely looking into.
  • Get agented – ItPM will have to be finished for this to happen, but I’m really putting myself out there.  I need to make an agent realize that I’m worth representing.  Because I am, dammit!
  • Journal for another novel – I really don’t think “The Third Tower” is going to take that long to write.  Wishful thinking, of course, but if I have at least the first draft done by the end of the year, which I should, I should be able to at least start writing a journal for another novel.
  • Sell at least one short story per month – this isn’t up to me, but editors and publishers.  Still, I have to make sure I’m submitting quality stuff, and submitting it to the right places.
  • Fully develop Clay and Styg’s world – My adventurers, my babies!  A la Conan with Robert E. Howard, I write short stories with the same characters, and might collect them all some day.  I have a lot of stories with these guys, but I definitely need a finite world for them to live in.  So far, I’m cruising right along!
  • Lose this gut! – Everyone always says this.  I know it doesn’t have anything to do with writing, but I do spend a lot of time at the gym.  I love working out, eating healthy, and feeling good.  Losing a gut takes a long time, and I’ve been slowly chiseling away at it.  I can’t imagine this year it won’t happen, unless I give up completely on my exercise routines.  Since I want to reunite with my abs that I haven’t seen since I was 17 years old, I’m going to make it happen this year, no matter what!
  • Have a perfect wedding and honeymoon – September 14th.  It will go perfect, and no one is going to stop us from enjoying that.

I’m sure some of these are rather ridiculous, and all are self-serving.  But hey, why set goals for oneself if can’t serve yourself?  Regardless, I’m happy as hell right now, and looking forward to good things happening throughout the year.  I used to be angry and depressed about everything, and then I realized that it’s up to me and me alone to be happy.  So why put myself in a bad spot?  These goals can only further my happiness, and subsequently the people around me.

I’ll update this list throughout the year.  When things are finished, or if in the unfortunate circumstance that something has to be removed because it can’t be done.  Hey, you never know.  But I do know this–it’s going to be a great year.  2014, prepare to be my bitch!

I have a lot to say, but I feel like much of it belongs to separate blog posts.  However, I felt the need to have a cliché end of the year type thing, because let’s face it, 2013 was a good year for me.

 

–I had some better luck with publishing this year.  While I’ve been published before, I actually got paid for this stuff!  Three publications, in fact.  One will be out in 2014, but the money already came through.  Not that I’m all about the money, because I made a grand total of $40.  Still, it’s a good sign for things to come.

 

–I set up this blog, plus my Facebook page.  That’s good!  Like many people, I have a habit of talking about things in excess, and then never actually getting around to them.  Or, I’ll wait for a few years to finally do it, and it’s not nearly as grandiose as I had envisioned.  I never intended for anything to be grandiose or amazingly awesome, but I’m happy with the way these things are going for me.

 

–I’ve probably written more stories this year that I actually care about than any other time.  2008 was a great year short story-wise for me, but I can’t look at most of that stuff without cringing.  While more than a few of the 2013 fare is cringeworthy, a lot of it is pretty good too.  And that’s good because I can get them shaped up, and have more stuff under my belt.

 

–Editing was big, too.  I would go out on Saturday nights to coffee shops or restaurants, chugging multiple cups of coffee, chicken fingers, milkshakes, and various soups, while editing stories.  My fiancé has come with me many a time, and while she’s sitting there, reading her book and looking beautiful, I’d be focused on shaping up my stories.  I do give her plenty of time at home, and it’s great that she’s so supportive of me and doesn’t have a problem when I’m working on my stuff.

 

–My biggest achievement?  Finishing “In the Pale Moonlight” in December.  I have a lot to say about this, but let’s just get the nitty-gritty out of the way: it’s a novel.  As of now, 50 chapters.  435 pages.  Lots of words.  Oh, and the fact that I started it in February of 2010.  Now please don’t think I’ve been working on it that entire time.  I took breaks.  Many breaks.  Many months-long breaks.  Some were warranted.  Most weren’t.  It wasn’t laziness, and it wasn’t writer’s block.  It was life; adulthood, other jobs, other writing stuff that really drove me crazy, forcing me to write and edit it.  It’s okay, because I’m happy with the final product.  I have a lot of work ahead of me, and lot of editing to do.  But I’ll do it, because I want to.

 

–Clay and Styg, my seafaring adventurers, have been going on even more adventures and having even crazier experiences.  Lately, I’ve been writing a lot of stuff for them, but more importantly, researching a lot of stuff to make their adventures even cooler.  Big thanks to my good friend Josh for the new book on poisons, as that will help me with some really cool ideas I have.

 

I’m looking forward to a great 2014.  I hope everyone is ready for a fun ride, because it’s only going to get better.