Farewell to yet another…

August 25, 2017

My alarm goes off every morning at 5:05. After letting it drive me nuts for a few minutes, I get up and go about my day (I hit the gym before breakfast and work). As I’m shutting off the alarm, however, imagine my surprise when I saw that I had an email waiting for me (like many of us, I have use my smartphone for my alarm clock, which also has email alerts, among other things).

The email was from a publication. Naturally, I get excited when I see that there was contact! But then my cynicism takes over, and I expect it’s a rejection letter. What can I say? Statistics show it’s more than likely.

But nope, it was neither. The publication, [Name Removed], has sent back (read: rejected, so to speak) all current submissions due to going into hiatus. When I later contacted Duotrope’s to inform them, they mentioned that the publication is done due to bankruptcy.

My apologies if this is classified info no one should know. I’m just repeating what I know.

Anyway, it’s bothered me all day today. Yet another publication closing their doors due to lack of funds. Lack of interest. Lack of help around the office. Lack of…anything.

Do we, as readers and writers, owe it to anyone to buy copies of these publications? Do we owe anyone a donation? Should we “like” them on Facebook? Follow their Twitter? Recommend them to our friends? Gush our praise in any and all public theater we can manage?

I admit, I’m short on cash. My bills are ridiculously high, I’m trying to save for retirement (HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!), saving for the sake of having a savings account, try to donate to charity when I can, and let’s face it, I need a new pair of shoes. Is it too much to ask me to spend $5 a month on supporting the arts?

After all, am I not an artist of sorts? If I can tell you to buy issues of publications, shouldn’t I myself do the same?

Look, I realize I gripe about these publications all the time. Why would they reject my story and then publish the utter garbage I see them publish? Okay, not all of it’s garbage, but sometimes I’ll read something and wonder, in all honesty, “Who in their right mind thought that was a good story?” But then I read a short story that does what it originally set out to do—entertains me.

Some stories, some artwork, even the publication layout and design are, in my opinion, award winning. But so sorry, you can’t be bothered to spend $2 to legally enjoy the hard work all these people put into it. I get it. You’ve got your own bills, and whatever else you need to focus on.

But just try it. If you have a few extra bucks laying around, check out one of these fantastic publications. They’ll be grateful, and you’ll be happier for not only having supported the arts, but for giving yourself quality reading material.

I mean really, for all the people I know who read so much, they sure don’t actually read much. Oh, and you don’t know where to start with these publications? Go to your local bookstore and check out one of the actual print publications. Do a Google search for speculative fiction online publications, or something else. Some are free. Some cost a few bucks. All are worthy of your time.

If we owe it to anyone, we owe it to ourselves above all else.

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Kicking for a Start

October 2, 2016

Kickstarter has some awesome stuff going on. I hate how typically, I miss the boat with a lot of these campaigns, and don’t find out about them until shortly after they close. Fortunately, they mostly seem to make their main goal, oftentimes many times over. Still, it’s frustrating when I find out about something really kick-ass the day after funding stops.

The other day, I found out about Hath No Fury. You really should check out the page, it sounds awesome! Whether the pick my story or not, I’m excited for the anthology. I’m a man, yes, but I’ll gladly read anything that kicks ass, or characters that do so.

I think that’s the thing about this. It isn’t just about women protagonists (not unheard of, believe it or not), but women that kick ass and do cool things. I’ve long been a fan of Samus Aran, Ellen Ripley, and many of the Disney heroines (yeah, I like Disney movies. What of it?), plus many, many more. Hell, one of my favorite comic books ever was Gotham City Sirens (sigh…too short-lived. Where else could you get Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and my absolute favorite, The Riddler, all in one place?!).

I didn’t find out about Hath No Fury until after funding ended, but I’ll be sure to buy a copy, and you should too. Currently, I’m looking into other Kickstarter campaigns so I can support the hard-working people who make these things possible.

For me, it isn’t about bonuses and as much free shit as I can carry. It’s about supporting a dream. A vision. An idea that otherwise, probably wouldn’t get made. Seriously, a friend of mine told me that with books, movies, TV shows, etc., only about 1% of anything gets “professionally” made, produced, published, whatever. The other 99% either goes in the dustbin, or you make it yourself.

Getting into self-publishing, it’s easy to understand how some people just can’t let something die. While getting a paycheck is always nice, it isn’t just about the money. Well, some campaigns quite obviously are, but not usually. It’s about seeing your dream come true, your goals come into fruition. What’s so bad about that?

Unfortunately, a lot of these Kickstarters, Indiegogos, Gofundmes, etc. all have too many backer rewards. It’s like, Hey I won’t give you money unless you give  me stuff.

I have a confession. I donate to charities. Yep, I give money, anonymously, to organizations that use it to make a difference in this world. I expect nothing in return, except the satisfaction of knowing I’ve helped. Any time I see an awesome crowdfunding campaign, I wonder if my money would be better used with a charity that desperately needs it.

Sometimes I do it, other times I’ll do the crowdfunding. I understand the need for it, though, and might even do something myself some day. I hope you’ll all contribute, and support not just me, but all the other hardworking and deserving folks who will have contributed their stories (of course it’ll be an anthology! I’ve had an idea for quite some time).

In the meantime, go support the arts! Whether it’s through Kickstarter, or any of those others crowdfunding pages, or something else—a local art show, a used or independent bookstore, comic book stores, going to see a band play, donate a few bucks to a museum, or just spreading the word of fantastic artists of all sorts, we all thank you…and do the same for others, as well.

Desperation<Antsy

September 27, 2016

Early in 2015, I got desperate.

My job wasn’t working out very well, and my boss thought that changing departments would help my case. It had the potential to do so, but I had no desire to be there. Aside from that, I wasn’t working typical 8 hour shifts at 40 hours a week, but anywhere from 8-12 hours a day for as many hours a week as I could cram in.

I hated it!

Not to mention, my debt was terrible. I had no discernable or legal way of getting it taken care of in the next ten years, if that. The clock was ticking and I was hurting. Of course I looked for new jobs like you wouldn’t believe, but I had to find a way to get that immediate, quick burst of extra money.

Well hey, I’m a writer, so I figured, why not write a story or two that might actually sell? I mean, I’ve been trying to sell stories for money for a while now, but if I pay attention to what the high paying markets are accepting, I’m sure to get published and make some moolah, right?

Yeah, no.

I searched for the greatest science fiction short stories of all time. Many lists came up, but most of the stories were the same, albeit in different slots. I bought several issues of current sci-fi magazines, and checked out what was popular online. A few things stood out to me, so I took some notes.

In February (2015, natch), I wrote two stories. Well, more than that, but two specifically for this purpose. One I wasn’t happy with, and haven’t touched. But the other, I was just certain it would be the moneymaker, the contest winner, the Hugo nominee, the claim to fame.

Nope.

I’ve been sending that thing out for practically nine months now (funny how immediate need for money doesn’t start attempting to happen until almost a year after we start it!). There have been some nibbles, some lingering interest, but nothing really. A contest gave it an honorable mention, but let’s face it, honorable mentions don’t pay the bills.

Now look, you’re probably yelling at your monitor now that I shouldn’t be writing just for money. It’s a labor of love, right? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is what I went to college for. This is what I want to do for a living. I love writing, I’ll never give it up, but if I can call this a profession as opposed to the hobby I barely have time for, I’ll be a happy Myke.

So you’re thinking, Myke, you’ve written stuff like this before. Why beat a dead horse into the ground again? This isn’t Donald Trump vs. Hilary Clinton. Definitely not Fox News, ABC news, CBS news, or NBC news. There’s no need for this Kardashian kind of stuff!

There’s a publication that this story has been submitted to for several months now. I can’t argue that they’re going slow because A)They pay very well, and B)They have an open submission period. Still, I’m afraid that I’m going to be sitting here waiting, only to receive a “Sorry, but no” when something else, anything else, could have happened.

Maybe that’s just wishful thinking. Maybe I’m right. Or maybe they’ll email me today to tell me congrats! Whatever the case, I’m getting antsy.

I don’t want this dream to die. Hopefully, they’re not killing it.