Mr. Proactive!

January 25, 2017

I’ve been busy busy busy!

A short story I’ve had an idea in my head for over three years finally got written. I’m happy with it, but it’s not perfect. I know that’s nothing to worry about, especially at the beginning of it, and also because it’s part of a triptych. Three related stories, all with the own characters and plots. Now I just need to write the last part!

I went through my writing folder and found several stories I had, erm, forgotten about. I hate it when I do that, but several works are finished, and have been for some time. I need to go through this more often!

This also means there is another flash piece I can give ya’ll! I have a whole bunch all ready to go, but this one especially fitting, given recent events. You’ll know what I mean soon enough.

Also, with all these ideas out of my head, I’m able to get back to the nitty gritty. In the Pale Moonlight is almost ready for release (next month!!!), and The Third Tower is able to get finished…finally!

Just wanted to keep ya updated. Hope you’re having good luck too!

PS – I’ve been listening to the Gone Girl soundtrack for the past few days. I haven’t listened to it in some time, but man, it really gets my brain juices flowing!

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!

Road to Shambala

May 22, 2016

Did you all get your copy of 9Tales from Elsewhere? It’s available now on Amazon for your Kindle!

Naturally, my story, “Valley of Iricia” is in it—as the lead story, no less! I don’t know for sure, but the cover looks somewhat indicative of what goes on in that tale of adventure and might! Seriously, go grab a copy now. It might cost a couple of bucks, but it’s way cheaper than your much needed bag of weed or pack of cancer sticks, plus it lasts longer, and does your brain better than those things! Maybe give it a good review while you’re at it?

Ahem. So.

I mentioned recently that I’m getting into self-publishing. It’s a lot of work getting things ready, but it’ll be worth it. The worst part is, it doesn’t provide much time to write and edit. Although, I can’t complain because I haven’t been doing either recently.

Yes, yes, I said I can’t make excuses, but holy crackers things are swampy right now. My new job isn’t taking up my free time. In fact it’s quite the contrary. I’m out by 4 every day, and have the entire night to do whatever I want. Rather, what I need to do.

Amy and I are renovating her father’s house for us to live in. If you’ll remember, he died on Easter, and we inherited the house (as well as pretty much all of his stuff). We’ll be moving in hopefully no later than the middle of July, but it’s a lot of work.

We have to redo literally everything. Floors, walls, ceilings, appliances, wiring, roof, gutters, lawn, blah blah blah. I don’t mind doing handy work. After all, my own father was quite the household handyman and taught me more than I ever thought I’d need to know. I just wish I had a little bit of time to myself…

But good things come to those who wait. It won’t be long, and soon enough I’ll be in my own house with my own office and be able to pump out quality stories for the adoring masses to consume with vigor.

Think of all the authors who’ve had stuff you love, but aren’t pumping it out as fast as you’d prefer: George RR Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, JK Rowling, Scott Lynch, Anne Rice, Joe Hill, and nowadays, highly productive guys like Stephen King and Dean Koontz. They get it done and out to you, even if it involves a little bit of waiting. That can be good, though, right?

See, in a way, I’m glad I’ve had time to think about writing instead of simply diving headlong into it. Ideas and plots are coming to mind, and it makes it easier for me sort things out and be prepared, rather than going willy-nilly into something I’m not quite sure of.

For a while, I’ve had two stories continuing the adventures of Ingo (the protagonist from “Valley of Iricia”, but you already knew that, right?), and I’m finally able to flesh them out and add all the cool embellishments that he needs in his stories. I want nothing more than to just sit and write them both, but once I’m able to, they’ll be better than they would have been had I written them last year.

And what of editing? I hate waiting too long to get back to a story and edit it, but in this case, I’m glad. I’m going in with a fresh set of eyes, fresher than a four to six month wait. There’s a few specifically I’m talking about, and once they’re done, they’ll be up online and ready to read. Again, just a matter of time, but as always, it’ll be more than worth it in the end.

Moving On

April 4, 2016

Well!

It’s been a strange trip. Things have been moving faster than the speed of light for me, and I feel like I can finally just sit and let it all catch up.

Naturally, for a writer, this means that writing hasn’t played much of a role in my life, but there’s a very good reason for it, and I plan on getting to it.

Way back in August, I landed a new job. It was nice to be away from my witchy boss (seriously, that woman made me not want to go into work ever) and unfair sales quotas, but I loved the people I worked with, not to mention the fact that I had plenty of time to write while at work and at home. Still, I needed out of there, and got myself into a new place.

It was okay. Not even close to what I preferred, but I was around a much nicer boss, no sales quotas, and still had time to write…sometimes. If someone saw me sitting at the table writing something, they’d basically tattle on me, and my supervisor would chide me for it. It was nice having writing time, but in the long run, not the best.

Due to many reasons, I had to get out of there as well. I hate to say it, but money was a major factor. I applied for all sorts of jobs, and even went through a staffing agency. Interviews came and went, but nothing positive happened.

In January, like I’ve mentioned, I started sending out queries for my latest novel. I submitted stories like crazy. Some even got accepted! But still, offers for the novel, and the jobs, weren’t happening at all. Two big things like that can really bring on the depression, and lack of desire to carry on with it.

Fortunately, I did get a new job. It pays well, and has awesome hours! I started Tuesday, and I like it so far. Two days before, however, things weren’t so great.

My father-in-law died on Easter Sunday. I can’t say we were shocked, as his health had been declining in the past few years. He didn’t take care of himself, and the amount of salt he ate was atrocious. Still, it wasn’t something we were expecting, and it made for a stressful, difficult week.

The funeral was Saturday. After all was said and done, all the emotions I’d been staving off for the week came crashing down. It hasn’t been easy for me, and I’m getting through it. Still, there was some positivity to think about.

He supported me with my writing. Any time a story got accepted, my wife would tell him with much happiness about my good fortune. I usually waved it off, but he always seemed so excited for me. He loved Tarzan and Conan, Prince Valiant and Sgt. Rock, so fun adventure stories and fantasy tales of blood and gore were right up his alley. I always knew he cared, but never really thought much of it until Amy mentioned something the other day.

It really felt good to know that he cared so much. My own parents never supported my endeavors, and it felt like a lot of friends didn’t care either. To know that my father-in-law, a man who seemingly had nothing positive to say about anyone at any time was a fan of mine made me smile.

It also made me want to get back in it.

Sunday, I sat down and sent out more queries for my novel. I skimmed over two stories I’m about to send out. I made a list of stories to edit, and even looked at the outline for the remaining chapters in the novel I’m currently working on.

I’ve learned a lesson with all of this. First, never let life interfere with writing. I know that I can’t do it all the time, but just because my job might not be going so well doesn’t mean I can’t put words on paper. Second, just because people might not be showering me with love and affection doesn’t mean I don’t have it. I’ve never been the type of person who needs constant reassurance, but sometimes, it’s nice to know.

Today, I put a picture of me and my father-in-law here on my desk. Any time I need that reassurance, I just need to look at it. He might be gone, but his silent enthusiasm for my work will never go away, and that’s all I need.

Ringing in the new

December 30, 2015

Hey all, it’s the end of the year! In some ways, I’m happy to see it go, but I’m also happy for a good year. As always, it could have been a lot better, but I don’t have any major complaints…well, my credit card bills aren’t the shiniest thing in the world, but hey, a fool and his money are soon parted!

I’m not going to do a year-end round-up or anything, and I’m definitely not putting down a list of goals for 2016. We all know how those things go, so I’m just going to say that in the coming 365, I need to write and edit more, spend more time reading and enlightening myself, and much less time on Facebook!

I also need to blog more, but don’t we all?

So, as you all know, this July my short story “Behind You, in the Corner” will be published by Bards & Sages Quarterly. You know as much as I do—more details to come as we get closer to the supposed publication date.

I say supposed because it’s been over a year since “The Man Without a Planet” was accept by Black Denim Lit for the July, 2015 issue. Well, here it is December 30th, and nothing has happened. I’ve already asked them once and received a rather curt “wait your turn, we’re getting to it!” email, so I’m definitely not going to pester them anymore. Still, it would be nice to hear SOMETHING from them.

Another good part of this year was getting my novel edited! It took some time, and it got tense for a while, but it’s done. I’ve been sitting on it for a number of reasons. Mainly, as anyone who ever went to college for more than one semester knows, presentation is 75% of your success (ass kissing is the other 25%!). I’m weary of sending any kind of synopsis/query to an agent because it might not catch their attention. Will they even look at the novel if they don’t like the cover letter? Maybe…but I don’t want to miss out on a good possibility because I rushed my package out there.

That said, I’m feeling rather confident with what I’ve got. A few more tweaks, and it’s ready to go out. Possibly in a week or two…I’ve been sitting on it long enough!

Funny thing, the other day I got an email from a publication called The Sockdolager. It took them a lot longer than expected to respond to my submission, and I was just about to email and ask what was up. To my surprise, they responded, apologized, thanked me for my submission, but turned it down (because why wouldn’t they?). I was happy with it, though–it was much more professional and courteous than that joke I got from Uncanny. I guess it just goes to show that some people out there still care, while others are mainly only worried about how good they look in their Black Canary cosplay.

So, on the writing end of things, I’ve been rather lazy. I think just having so much to edit is keeping me from putting new words down, but any time I’ve actually written anything new, I grow really dissatisfied with it, very quickly. That could be because I’m just trying to get things written—I have a few stories I’m really excited about, so they should be quick and fun to write.

Enjoy your New Year’s celebration! I’ll be sitting alone in my office with a beer, but it’s cool—the real celebration will be when my novel gets accepted!

It’s the life

October 12, 2015

There is so much going on right now. In fact, I probably shouldn’t be writing this blog, but how else would you know what is going on in the wide world of Myke Edwards?

Books! I’ve been reading lately, more than I have been. It feels good to lay back every night before bed and read for an hour or so. Mostly to unwind and prepare myself to ease into bed and sleep, but also because hey, reading is what I do. For some reason I didn’t read as much as I should have this summer, but it’s okay. We’ve all been there.

“Transhuman” by Ben Bova was a random selection. I went to the library to drop off something and decided to check out the sci-fi section because, why not? Ben’s name caught my eye and I checked out the book…not bad. An interesting story, definitely, but I’ve got to say that Ben breaks a lot of “rules” in writing. As someone who has had it drilled into him and every orifice you can imagine on how to properly craft a sentence, it is disarming to say the least when you read a book (published by an actual publisher, no less) that has a lot of these “sloppy mistakes” in it.

But I digress. It’s the story we should be concerned with, hmm? I didn’t want to put it down at times. Ben created characters and a plot I actually gave a shit about, and wanted to read. I stayed up a bit late some nights while reading, but it was worth it. Definitely check it out. While some characters and small events within the story are cliché as hell and rather predictable, it’s still great.

Interesting thing, about me. I’d never read anything by Ben Bova. His name was one that I’d known since high school (way back in the 1990’s!), and someone I’d always planned on reading. His book “Mars” was high up on my list, but for some reason, I never read it. It’s back on my list now, so hopefully I get around to it. I guess I was so enamored with Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy that I had enough Mars for one person. Whatever the case, I’m looking forward to it.

These past few weeks I’ve been reading some of the new Star Wars books. Again, the writing is sloppy but the stories are…okay. I can’t argue because some of them are for little kids, and I guess the thought is that kids will eat up anything with the Star Wars logo on it. They’re supposed to have clues leading into the new Force Awakens movie, but I can’t imagine what they are. Maybe characters, maybe a mention, or maybe nothing! Maybe they just said that so you buy it!

Well, I didn’t. Thank Glob for the library.

Lately, I’ve been dying to read some Conan stories. Naturally, I want to read the ones I don’t have at the moment…

Ugh. Anyway…

Other stuff! So I mentioned that my editor was done with “In the Pale Moonlight” and I’ve finally got my novel back! I went through it and cleaned it up a little, and poof! As far as I’m concerned, it’s done. Now I just need to get off my ass and get it sent out to agents! Then, hopefully, the good stuff.

That will let me get “The Third Tower” finished, as well as all the other books I plan to write. In fact, just the other day I got an idea for a new novel that’s making my eyes water. I’m sure you’ll all love it.

Also, there’s a contest story I need to get around to writing soon! It’s due in a few weeks, so what am I yapping away on here about?

Not to mention all the stories I need to edit and workshop and submit and everything else…

Sigh. Too much to do. Would I have it any other way? It’s the life!

Done?

September 28, 2015

Am I done? Is it time yet? Ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to announce…

MY EDITOR IS DONE WITH MY NOVEL!!!

I’m so happy. I wish I could show you how happy, but words can’t convey it.

Imagine diving into an ice cream sundae with the man/woman of your dreams, naked, wrapped around you while Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is blasting as loud as possible, and you’ve got a wad of fresh $100 bills in your back pocket.

Now multiply it by ten. That’s how I feel 🙂

All I have to do now is review, fix things up, and get it sent off to an agent.

Still, the hard part is over!

Can I finally be happy?

September 19, 2015

I’ve been somewhat depressed lately, but it feels rather routine for me. Fortunately, things have been turning around, even if it’s just short term possible good news. Still, not getting published and having virtually no contact from the people I need to be contacted by can take its toll, and it has a tendency to drive you nuts.

Regardless, like I said, there are some good things happening. Last Sunday was my wedding anniversary. One year! Hey, that’s a lot longer than a lot of people! My wife and I are still very much in love, and will be for a long time to come.

What’s greatest about her, though, is that she supports me. No one else ever did. They said so, but that was a lie. Amy actually wants to read my writing, she encourages me to keep at it, and even has helpful suggestions to further my career.

I’ve been working a new job, which I hate. Fortunately, I have some feelers out, and the possibility of something new is coming along very quickly. If I’m not in a happy place with my day job, how can I have any desire to do anything other than watch TV?

I’ve been a little dry on the writing aspect, but not editing. I’m pulling out all sorts of stories, old and new, getting them pretty and ready to go. Editors take note: you’d be crazy not to take this stuff!

My editor contacted me! I get that he’s been busy and having a rough lot in life, which happens. Still, he got back to me, and things are rolling along.

Finally, I’ve been hearing from a lot of publications. They aren’t accepting any of my work, but they are getting in touch with me! We all hate sitting around for months on end while no one says a word to you. Even if they’re rejecting me, they’re getting in touch, and that makes me happy.

Things are rolling along. I’m feeling good, and confident that no matter what, I’ll make this work out. Who knows, I might even be in some upcoming awards ceremonies! (Hey, a man can dream, right?)

Ugh

August 30, 2015

I’m burned out. I have a new job and it sucks, specifically the fact that I have little to no time to write or work on writing. There’s some time here and there, but not much.

So why am I there? I really needed to get out of my last job. It was killing me! Supposedly, this was going to have better hours and better pay, but nope, neither.

Until I find something new, I’m stuck. And yes, I am constantly searching for new work! Hopefully something good comes very soon!

Something else that’s bugging me is the writing I already have. While I’m having little to no luck getting things published (I wrote a very angry blog last night about it, maybe I’ll post it soon), I’m getting frustrated at people on my workshop.

For years now, I’ve been a member of an online workshop that has a great system. What bothers me, however, is how irritating some people get to be. I’ve talked about it before, like the “I guarantee” and “No editor will ever accept this” bullshit. And yet, if you go read any book or literary magazine (science fiction or fantasy, as that’s what I write, natch), you’ll see so many of those “rules” broken incessantly.

So why are people quoting chapter and verse of writing guides at me? Oh no, I used an adverb! Oh no, I used a “filter” word! If I followed your “rules” I’d have nothing left on the fucking page! (And yes, I’m aware that they are always guidelines, and have their moments to be broken, but just go with it.)

Sigh…some people get a real bee in their bonnet over stupid shit. I write stories to entertain and provide some semblance of escape to people who want to enjoy themselves. Who gives a shit that I used the word “was” a few times?

Sheesh. Get over it, people.

And you’re probably thinking, maybe that’s why I can’t get published. Far from it. The simple answer to that is, until I’m proven otherwise, I’m not in bed with the right people!