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.

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.

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!

Good News!/Bad News

November 2, 2015

I feel that I’m getting into a bad habit of only writing blogs when something good has happened, or when I’m really pissed off about something. It’s okay, though. What use is a blog if not as a sounding board?

Well, today I’m pissed, but happy at the same time. I’ll start with the good news.

As you’ve read before, last year just before Christmas I had a story accepted by Black Denim Lit. It was slow going hearing anything at all from them. Moving into October, I was getting pretty worried. I emailed and asked what was up but this is just their schedule, so I’ll have my story published very soon. I’m happy about that! It’s hard to wait sometimes, but that’s life. I need to be more patient.

With some publications, I try very hard to be patient. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work.

I’ve had to email several lately, just asking what’s the status of my submission. Some get back to me…others don’t. It worries me, because they could be closing their doors for good and not letting anyone know. That is a very typical thing, and while irritating that they don’t even post a message on their website or Facebook page, I can understand. Life happens, and you don’t always have the luxury of crossing all your t’s and dotting all your i’s.

Some, however, are able to.

Crossed Genres Magazine…a kickass concept if there ever was one. Each month, the magazine has a different theme. Naturally, the theme is two or more genres mashed up, or an idea that you wouldn’t normally think of, whatever. Cowboys fighting Lovecraftian monsters, for instance. Caveman romance, disco firemen, I don’t know. There’s a ton of things that could work, and chances are, you’ve got an interesting story like this already written. I had a bunch, and would submit to them any time I could.

They never accepted me, though.

A few months ago, I knew I had a shot. Starting November 1st (hey, that’s today!), they would open submissions for the Sword and Sorcery issue. Hey, that’s not a zany crossed genre! But of course, you make it that way.

A story I’m currently submitting (and failing with miserably) fits the bill perfectly. I knew I had a shot, and I knew that everything would work out awesome.

I just checked their website. They’re closed.

Closed for good, as of November 1st (hey that’s today!). Grr!

They have an announcement about it, though. It makes sense. I can’t be mad, and i’m not. Not only are the editors having personal issues (a typical reason for shutting down), the magazine wasn’t doing so hot moneywise.

That gets the biggest sigh of all from me. No one wants to donate money or pay for anything, but when it affects them, all of a sudden they’re begging everyone for a handout. I admit, I can be pretty stingy myself. Hey, I’ve got bills and after my necessities are paid off, I’m left with a very small pittance. I can’t just go and support everyone that needs it. But what gets to me more than anything is the priority that a lot (not all, but a lot) of internet donaters have.

Some crowdfunding sites have some great stuff. Help fund my college? Help pay my medical bills so I don’t die of cancer? Eh, pass. But the ridiculous stuff? I want a pizza! Funded for $4,254. I want new panties for more slutty Instagram pics! Funded for $7,931,395. Really, people?!

“But Myke,” you complain, “donating to an online publication won’t do anything for me! Where’s my freebie?”

True, sites like Kickstarter often have perks where if you donate, you get something unique and kickass for doing so. But know what you get for donating to an online magazine that posts stories for free? Access to more quality writing. More stories that will keep you entertained, and help you escape from your shitty life for just that much longer. Plus, you’re helping countless others.

The publication, the editors, and the hardworking writers who get paid dick for spending so many hours of blood, sweat, toil and tears hoping to get their story perfected and entertain you.

You.

We’re working hard for YOU. So why not be a pal? Donate. Help out. Show your appreciation. You’ll be glad you did.

And so will we. In fact, we’ll keep bringing you great stories for doing so.

Thanks for your support!

The Reason?

May 7, 2015

I don’t know if this will actually “get through” to people, because chances are, people aren’t going to be reading this in a year or two. But still, I want to put this up for posterity.

Lately, I’ve been having no luck getting stories accepted for publication. Editors are either giving me the typical form rejection emails (thank you, by the way!), or comments on what they didn’t like about my stories. I hate that, because they usually either contradict themselves (very funny! our readers would love this! Um, then why didn’t you accept it?), or they put some random statement that tells me they didn’t actually read the story.

Anyway, I just realized today, the closer we come to the annual awards being presented, the more difficult it is to get an acceptance. Especially this year, 2015. Why?

The Sad Puppies. I’m not going into a big thing about this, and Puppygate as they call it, but it’s fucked with everything. Everything in the sci-fi/fantasy/speculative writing community has been thrown for a loop because a group of people bumrushed the gates and made their demands known. Some publishers and editors are so mad at this that they’ve withdrawn their nominations simply out of protest.

I applaud them for doing that. But I just wish that this wasn’t so frustrating for them. Why? Because then they could actually give themselves twenty minutes to sit down and seriously read submissions they are receiving. This includes mine!

Please, editors, first readers, publishers, whoever…if you are reading this, ignore the drama. Focus on what’s truly important: entertainment.

I know, I know…not all of my stories are awesome. And not every publication is going to want it. But it seems to me that a lot of them are passing up some great writing (including other authors I know, not just me) because, well, their mind is somewhere else.

Hey, no offense. Am I wrong? Sure, probably. But let’s face it, all I see is constant talk about this Puppygate BS and as an author, I’d prefer to see constant talk about new, exciting authors. As a reader, I’d prefer to see constant talk about new, exciting authors.

Let’s put this behind us. Move on. Publish new writing. Fuck the awards.

UPDATE: I will say, thanks for the support and advice, people of internetland. Someone reposted this on their blog and commented that I should self-publish. While I am looking into that for book-length writings, like, well…books that I write, short stories are another beast altogether. It is definitely something to look into, and if this hibbity-jibbity crap with the awards ruckus gets too out of hand, I have a feeling a lot more authors than just myself will look into that.

Latest and Greatest!

April 28, 2015

I’ve been absent. Not just from this blog, but from writing as well. BOO! Well, a few things have been going on, and I’m getting back into it.

+I haven’t worked out or written in a few days. Not quite a week, but it sucks either way. I’m one of those writers that makes great strides to write EVERY DAY (like you’re supposed to!) and it gets to me when I don’t. Sometimes, I just don’t have a choice. Other times, I’m too tired.

+I’ve been looking, almost obsessively, for a new job. Retail is not kind to me. The changing shifts, the fact I can’t see my wife every day, and the fact that I’m usually spending the majority of my day on my feet doing nothing really sucks the life out of me. Seriously, when I get home, I want to sit and watch TV. When I get up in the morning, I want to sit and read comics and drink coffee. And that’s all I want to do.

+I wrote today. Hell, I finished a story! In fact, as of this writing, I just finished transcribing it from paper to my computer. I even went through and did some edits. I’m happy with it! I think it’ll be a good one…but then again, I always say that!

+I got a shitty rejection email today. In a nutshell, they wanted less plot and more backstory. Whahuh? Isn’t it usually the other way around for a short story? I’m not going to be unprofessional and call them morons, but, yeah.

+Been talking with my editor about getting In the Pale Moonlight finished. Like, finished finished. Hopefully soon!

+No matter what is going on in my life, I’m still making time for the important stuff. Writing is going to happen—I’ve had a few rough days, but I’m back in it. And there’s a big reason why…

+I’ve realized I’m more of a novelist than a short story writer at this point. I put a pause on The Third Tower for practical reasons, but trying to eke out more short stories that I’m just not that into writing isn’t doing it for me. Instead, I’m going back to writing what I want…what I need. More on this later.

+Hopefully things work out for me. I love writing, I love keeping this blog, and I love the fact that people are interested in what is going on in my life, no matter how boring. Thanks to one and all, and definitely see you soon!

It is here!

November 30, 2013

Hot off the presses!  “Quantum Stasis” is finally available for your pleasure!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/383158

Yes, it costs $2, but you shouldn’t be complaining, instead you should be supporting artists and writers!

Big thanks to “J” for giving me a chance and publishing me.

Most of all, thank you for your support!