What a long road it’s been…

If you’ve been following things, you’ll know that my wife and I have been renovating her dad’s house, readying it for us to live in. For the most part, we’re done! It’s nice…really nice. Still, there’s a lot that needs to be done.

A big part of me wants to just put it aside, like many homeowners who have dozens of half-finished projects sitting around. Unfortunately, I have some major things, like hooking up the dishwasher, finishing the kitchen floor, and hooking up the range. If not for those, I’d be good as gold.

So the writing is on the backburner for now. I can handle it, but it’s burning me up, from the inside out.

While packing, and subsequently unpacking, I’ve unearthed more notebooks and folders jam-packed with old writing that I can shake a pencil at. Stuff from a few years ago, stuff from college, even stuff from high school. One notebook has writing from sixth grade, way back in 1992! That was unfinished homework, though, so it doesn’t count.

Regardless, I’ve been itching to get things done. I had a list of unfinished stories and such that has been collecting dust for over a year now. More and more stories need edited, and let’s not forget how many stories I could be submitting.

But the submissions wouldn’t even be going as well as I’d like anyway. I have a few stories out right now, and of course it’s the same old sob story. If a publication is still actually active, they take forever. One week after their due date for response, I’ll email, they take a few days to either yell at me to wait, or give me a half-assed rejection.

Then there’s the ones that don’t even respond, the ones that aren’t open anymore. Sometimes, they are in fact open, but take their sweet time to even respond to the queries, and don’t seem to notice that they’ve taken twice their quoted time to get back with you.

Too many of them are closed, though.

I can’t understand it, except ambitious people that get too overwhelmed. Well how long does it take to put a simple message on your website that says you’re closed, you’re behind, or you’re having second thoughts? It’s way more professional than, say, no contact at all!

This is why I’m getting into self-publishing. I know it’s risky, but at least my stuff will be out there. The only big problem is the time it takes to get things prepared for it, and here we go again with not having enough time for it.

But I will. Soon, things are back into place. Hell, I have some time occasionally at work to get this stuff done! (Just don’t tell my boss). So, editors, publishers, and fellow writers (who will surely cross-promote with me, right?), is the time now? Is everything going to work out?

Soon, this house is going to be finished, and I’ll be back at work like nothing ever happened. Right?

Of course it will. Because it has to.

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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.

We have liftoff!

April 8, 2016

May 18th! My story, “Valley of Iricia,” one I’ve worked diligently to get accepted, will finally be published.

9Tales from Elsewhere, an ongoing anthology series, will be publishing the story in their 6th volume. You can preorder now on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DWZL1RU

I’m really excited that this is finally available. By finally, I mean that someone picked it up. Ever since writing the story, it’s been one of my favorites, and something that I couldn’t stand to see go to the unacceptable pile.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love my other stories any less! Just that I always felt something with this one, like it was one of those stories that needed to be told, needed to be read, and needed to be out there.

As you all know my love for Conan and He-Man, two major inspirations for the tale, you can understand why I love it so much.

But I’m sure you will as well. Go, preorder, read and enjoy. And thanks for your support!

More good news!

I got another acceptance. Seriously, I’ve been hoping for so long that this story would be published it was making me sick. I wasn’t ready to give up, and I’m glad I didn’t.

Again, it was sent with a minimum of information in the cover letter. I keep wondering, did that have anything to do with it? Or was it simply that the editor liked it enough to publish?

I really shouldn’t split hairs, and I shouldn’t worry about such things. Another story has been accepted for publication! Myke Edwards is a happy man, and the world gets to read another great piece of fiction.

Sorry for the self-aggrandizing, but how can I not be excited right now? Things are looking up for me, and my hard work is paying off. Sometimes it’s good to vent about frustration, and sometimes it’s good to vent excitement.

Naturally, I’ll let everyone know the instant the story is available. There’s several others I’m waiting on, and they’ll be mentioned as well, of course.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, I’m not naming the name of the story or publication just yet due to clerical reasons. Once everything is finalized, I’ll be sure to let you all know what and where, not to mention when.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Accepted!/Unacceptable

December 13, 2015

First, the good news.

I’m getting a story published! Yay!

This is good, because things were not looking up for me. A story I’d been sending out for quite some time is finally getting published next July. Bards & Sages Quarterly will be doing the honors, so send your accolades/undying love to them. They are smart enough to see the light of day!

There are a lot of other publications I haven’t heard back from, though. The silence has a habit of killing me from time to time. I can’t expect to hear back right away, but obviously, you ask a question, you want an answer, right?

Sometimes, I’m grateful for the silence. On the one hand, not hearing from a publication/editor means that they might very well be giving my story some serious deliberations. On the other hand, it might mean they are way too busy/overloaded/disinterested to get back with me. When the estimated time for them to get back with me comes up, I have to wonder what’s up.

So last week, I had this new blog all ready to go. It was a very angry, namedropping rant that called out one publication in particular. I won’t say the name, but it’s uncanny how irritating this situation was.

I waited forever, gave them an extra week, and still hadn’t heard back. I wrote an email, very polite, and questioned them. The next day, I received this response:

Dear Michael,

Thank you for submitting “Valley of Iricia” to [Title redacted]: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy for consideration. Unfortunately, it does not meet our needs at this time.

Sincerely,
[Name redacted]
Submissions Editor, [Title redacted]: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy

So…you made me wait all that time for this? No apology? No, please pardon our long wait, we appreciate your understanding in this matter?

Sheesh.

Still, they win. They’re the ones giving out the money, and one voice (mine, unheeded apparently) isn’t going to do anything. I mean, there’s the slim glimmer of hope that somehow this gets back to them (and many, many other publications), which will in turn let them realize that maybe they need to be a little more compassionate. After all, us writers jump through so many hoops, make sure that not only is our story perfectly presented, but our cover email, the subject line, our name address and phone number and astrological sign are included, all that good stuff.

And then they send a “fuck you, jokes on you for wasting your time” email.

Hrmmmm…

I know I’m overreacting to this. It’s just irritating, and I shouldn’t ever expect anything. There’s that small part of you that just thinks it would be nice.

Hopefully, the future holds some better outcomes. Stay positive, and be happy for what there is.

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!