So long to yet another one…

September 1, 2018

Well shit. Another one bites the dust. Space and Time Magazine, a science-fiction/fantasy/horror literary magazine, one of the best for over 50 years, has ceased publication. You can read the whole post here. Go ahead, I’ll wait. This is huge news to authors such as myself, but also to dozens (hopefully hundreds?) of readers looking for their next favorite short story.

I admit, I wasn’t totally familiar with the publication until just a few years ago. It wasn’t readily available like the “Big 3” on newsstands everywhere, but I did see it here and there, not to mention all the various namedrops throughout the industry.

What I’ve read, I liked. For a long time, it wasn’t open to public submissions, so I felt like an eager young scout, waiting for them to open the drawbridge and let me in. Last year or so, they finally did, allowing unsolicited submissions from everyone.

I never got accepted, and now I never will. It stings, in a way, knowing that as an author, I won’t be in their pages, but also as a reader, that I can’t enjoy it anymore. There’s still a few issues coming out, but once they’ve used up what they have, they’re done.

Naturally, it’s low readership, risings costs, and lack of time. I can understand, because every time I attempt to do any kind of publication (usually an anthology), I run into all of those problems as well. It takes money to make money, and it takes people to make a publication.  Do they say that? I’ll say that. There, I said it.

A part of me wants to be mad at people, myself included, for not supporting publications more. We are the ones responsible, after all, for the life or death of these things. But we can’t sit here and play the blame game. We move on, and figure out ways to keep this from happening again.

So all day yesterday after I read this news, I kept thinking about publishing short fiction. While there are still people out there who read it (myself included), there’s a lot more who write it (myself again). It feels like the audience is shrinking, while the production line is growing. Full-length books are the hotness right now, and it’s hard enough getting one of those guys out there.

I keep wondering, should I bother with short stories anymore? Maybe just post them here, for free, and worry more about long fiction? I’m still not making any progress on The Third Tower’s editing, but man oh man do I need to. Who knows? Maybe that will skyrocket to the top, and people will love it?

The other night I wrote a post about lack of motivation. Maybe I’ll get around to posting it, maybe not (I just never had a chance to unfortunately), but the point is, I’ve been exhausted and frustrated and have no energy to focus on potentially “making it.” However, reading about Space and Time, I feel strangely motivated to get my show back on the road, and get it all done so I can start working on the next one.

So anyway, support small press publications. Buy an issue, write a review, or recommend something to your friends! We all sit here and mewl about bad things happening, but never seem to do anything about it until it’s too late. Perhaps I’ll start doing a regular recommendation in all of my posts…

Get out there. Read! Support!! Enjoy!!!

Advertisements

Pulp, Extra Thick

May 26, 2018

Once again, the email chime on my phone went off today. Let’s be honest, I don’t get a lot of email aside from the typical mailing lists I’m on. So when I hear that chime in the middle of the day, I get excited. Even when I see the return address of a publication and my cynicism takes over and I’m fairly certain that it’ll be a big fat no, I’m still excited.

That happened today. And it was from a publication!

Broadswords and Blasters. A magazine I’ve enjoyed since the beginning. A magazine I’d love to be published in. They’ve rejected multiple stories of mine. The most recent I sent just on a whim, not really expecting anything big. Boy, was I wrong.

They said yes! I’m happy, I’m excited, I’m still a little incredulous. I’ve been working my ass off on stories all week long—editing, fine-toothing, and sending them out. A lot of my hobbies and fun activities, like painting for instance, I’ve put aside. I’m going nuts loving this, having a great time getting these finalized and ready for publication, all building up to two major undertakings to begin this summer—editing The Third Tower, and something…else. (Gee, I wonder what?)

But it’s all been worth it. Broadswords and Blasters. Check it out. You won’t regret it. And when my story, “Sunday Evening” is a part of it, you’ll be even happier.

I know I am.

(To be honest, I wrote this earlier in the week, but I don’t think specific dates and times matter. I’m super excited!)

((Also–went and saw Solo: A Star Wars Story last night. Great movie! And there was a jaw-dropping cameo near the end, like holy shit! Truly was awesome, and I strongly recommend you check it out.)

Anniversary of Awesomeness

February 3, 2018

Things are looking up!

Behold, my typical negativity is gone. I mean, sure, I’ve still got my hang ups, but I’m pretty happy right now. In spite of financial difficulties and the fact that no matter how much I work out I’m not losing any weight, things are going well.

Cloaked Press is releasing an anthology called “Spring Into Sci-Fi” in a short while. My story, “The Man Without a Planet” will be in it. I’m super excited, and you should be too! It’s an actual paper book, with real ink and everything! Be sure to pick one up when it’s available.

I’ve been writing and editing like crazy. I have a stack of stories I’m very happy with, and working hard to get them out there. Some are going over very well with critique groups. Others are finding their place. I think if it’s longer than 2,000 words, people don’t want to take the time to read, review, critique and comment on it. It doesn’t mean they’re bad, just that it’s harder to find reader for something that’s 3,500 words than 1,500.

Stories are out in the wilds! Some are even on shortlists, and I’m holding my breath. I know I shouldn’t, but after all the time I’ve spent on these, why not hope for something positive? I don’t want to say I deserve it, but would it be too much to say it’s my time for something good?

Journaling the hell out of a new novel. Still waiting to edit The Third Tower, but I’m getting other ideas out there. I even jotted down a quick idea for a short, sweet, classic sword & sorcery novel. Maybe they’ll bring back the cheap spinner paperbacks with ridiculous cover art? What’s so bad about a short novel about a bunch of muscle-bound psychos killing each other?

And hey, look at that: today’s my 5 year anniversary with this blog! Thanks for following all these years, and thanks for your support!

Not in writing news, but I had a sinus infection for over a month. It’s gone! Finally. Seriously, feels great.

I started a new Clay and Styg story the other day. Should be done soon! Hopefully things will continue on this good path. As always, stay awesome!

There’s something horrifying about not having anything to do.

After finishing The Third Tower, and any novel for that matter, I give myself two weeks. I can do whatever I want—write, don’t write, come up with ideas, edit, whatever. I don’t want to feel tons of pressure after finishing a huge undertaking, especially when it’s, as of now, a “hobby.”

(If you’re wondering, I have three other novels I’ve written. One I tried hopelessly in vain to have any kind of reaction towards, and two that didn’t quite cut the mustard.)

My day job is entering the slow time of the year, so I have a lot of 8 hours days where I sit around and do nothing. Perfect time for writing/editing/etc., right? Nope. It’s hard to stay motivated when you sit around and do nothing all day. I open an MS Word document, tap out a few sentences, and put it aside, promising myself to do more later that day, later that night, the next day, the weekend, or basically any other time than when I should be doing it.

So yesterday, I started a story. Something I’ve had an idea swimming around in my head for a few weeks. I got about three paragraphs into it and…got mad.

Not mad at the story, just mad. Thing around the house, things at work, things within my family, personal things that have nothing to do with writing this story. But somehow, those thoughts came to mind and I couldn’t continue writing, so I put it aside.

And here I am on Sunday, writing about how I can’t write.

Maybe I’m feeling that slump of no contact from editors. Not only did I send out 10 short story submissions (with no responses yet), I’ve had multiple queries, asking editors what’s the status on my story sent out half a year ago, with no response.

Is there some behind the scenes “let’s screw over this Myke Edwards guy, because fuck him” conspiracy going on? Are they just lazy? Did I do something wrong and they just tossed out my submission without bothering to let me know?

Why keep writing if no one cares? If people won’t even post my story on an unpaying blog that posts free stories for people to write, why bother? I mean, seriously, that means I literally can’t even give it away for free.

Maybe I’ll finish the story. Maybe today, even. Maybe I’ll edit The Third Tower and attempt to get it published. Maybe I’ll realize that someone, somewhere, gives a shit.

And that is what is horrifying to me. Not knowing whether or not I should keep going, keep working hard at punching a brick wall because maybe, just maybe, despite my broken and bleeding knuckles and overly-exhausted nature, it will fall down and I can get by.

Maybe.

Bowing to the Master

August 27, 2017

Earlier in the week, I created a “master list” for writing. It is my most important stories that need worked on, and specifically what needs done with them. I’m very happy I did this.

Mainly, it’s staring me in the face. I literally wrote with an ink pen on college-ruled paper what needs to happen. It is sitting on my desk in a place where it won’t get covered with junk. I need that.

See, I have this big problem with mentally telling myself to remember to work on something. As the days pass and I still haven’t touched it, it slowly slips away, and I move on to something else, usually not involving writing at all.

Sound familiar?

We all do it. I know not everyone does, but a vast majority of human beings don’t follow their own basic rules or agendas. It’s okay, but not for me. I was having one of my typical days of anguish last week while on vacation. Five days in a row without having to work, and did I work on writing at all? Not very much.

I know my wife and I did a lot of fun little things, so it wasn’t like five 24 hour writing sessions in a row. But I could have done more. I should have.

So I made the master list. Not only am I managing to get these things done, I’m also able to plot out timelines of when they’ll be out and into the wilds. I think that was the main reason, to be honest. In addition to not having The Third Tower finished and ready for editing (which, believe me, is at the top of the list like King Kong high atop the Empire State Building…), I realized that I have three short stories out in the wilds right now, and they’re not exactly having much luck.

More stories need to be out making the rounds. Things need to be edited (seriously, why would I do a second draft on something in 2012 and then never touch it again?), and things need to be ready.

Things need to be DONE.

And that’s what I’m doing with my master list. If you don’t have one, seriously consider it. It might just change the way you work on your writing.

Vacation’s Over

August 20, 2017

Today is the last day of my vacation, and I’m feeling that sadness that always comes with it. My wife and I took some much needed time off this past week, but with a lack of money, couldn’t really go anywhere. (The best thing was, hands down, no mosquitoes!) We took a day trip to Cleveland on Friday, and the day before hit up my alma mater, Bowling Green (more on that in a minute), but mostly just stayed at home.

I smoked cigars, got to see one of my oldest and dearest friends (hi Noah!), drank a lot of beer, took walks, did yard and house work, and ate out a lot. It’s nice, but I think if we actually took a trip, we’d be dying to get home and get back to work. (I would have loved to have gone to Gencon or even Boston to share the love!) Instead, we’ve loafed about and realized how awesome life is without going to work.

Writing was on my plate, though, and I finished a story (yay!). More importantly, though, I made a list of necessary things to do for writing. Stories to finish, edit, prep for self-publish, things like that. I’m pretty happy, but now I just need to find the time to get it all done!

Going to Bowling Green was fun, but had its downsides as well. For starters, I wanted to eat at the student union but all of the cool little independent restaurants are gone! It’s all chains, and things I don’t like at that. So we went to a pizza place across the street from campus. It started raining right when we were done, which soon became pouring.

It wouldn’t stop. We were soaked, and couldn’t just enjoy walking the campus. Since it’s August in Ohio, all the buildings had the air conditioning cranked up, so we were freezing inside.

My biggest issue? I realized that since graduating 12.5 years ago, I haven’t had a major publication ever. I’m not poo-pooing the publishing credits I do have, but no books picked up by a publishing house, no stories in a professionally paying market, no major contests, no inclusion in big-time anthologies.

It’s okay. I’m surviving, of course. It just stings to go into East Hall and see the display case of alumni publications and even reading the blurbs in the semi-monthly college publication with so-and-so’s latest publication in whichever magazine.

I’m trying, though. Hopefully this new list of important can get me moving and working hard enough to get things where they need to be.

This doesn’t mean I have nothing, though. Good things are coming!

Last year, I was published in Bards & Sages Quarterly. At the beginning of the year, there was a poll to vote on best story of each particular issue, which will all then be collected into a special publication, Bardic Tales & Sage Advice. My story won for my issue! It should be out soon. REAL soon! As always, I’ll keep you informed of when it is released.

Also, and this has been out for a while, but Crimson Streets (also something I was published in last year) has collected the first 26 stories in a handsome paperback. I’ve read pretty much all the stories online as they came out, but reading through again, I’m reminded of how many great short pieces are out there. Seriously worth checking out, not only for great reading, but to support the small presses and show us that you want to see more!

Crimson Streets!

All in all, things are going well. I feel like with the closing weeks of summer, seeing kids going back to school and realizing that I haven’t had a single publication this year, I’m feeling a little depressed. But not to worry, I’ve got tons more, and no need to worry. My fingers have a lot of stories left in them, and I’ve got lots of time!

Stay awesome, my friends.

No More Waiting

July 27, 2017

There are times when you have to say—no, SCREAM!—that enough is enough. You just can’t take it, you’re done, and any further attempts to get you seeing things from any other point of view simply won’t work anymore.

You probably think I’m referring to my attempts at getting published. I’m not, although there are several publications I wish would hurry up with any kind of contact. Nope, I’m talking about something that doesn’t affect me so much as an author as it does a reader, a fan, and a huge nerd.

George RR Martin. Specifically, his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of books. More specifically than that, “The Winds of Winter,” the next book in the series.

This past weekend, Sand Diego ComicCon happened, once again overcrowded and full of all sorts of news. It was announced that Winds probably won’t hit until next year, 2018. Possibly even early 2019.

What the actual fuck?

I understand there are factors to consider here:

*It may have the seventh and final book alongside it (can’t remember the name, don’t feel like looking it up)

*He’s a busy man, contractually obligated to edit and write many, many other things.

*He’s got a history of lengthy waits between major projects.

I get it. I’ve been with him for a long time now. I first read A Game of Thrones back in 2002, and quickly devoured everything I could. But the wait for “Feast for Crows” and then “A Dance with Dragons” interfered with our enjoyment, but didn’t destroy it. For a long time, I was more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and accept that hey, he’s not perfect, and we might just have to wait.

But not anymore.

I’m done, and while that makes no difference to him or you or anyone, it’s awakened something in me I never really noticed before.

Yes, I’ve sat on projects. I’ve waited, gotten lazy, gotten sidetracked, and at times simply didn’t care. In fact, a novel I’m almost done with (and have been almost done with for several months now) has been collecting dust for quite a while. After numerous attempts to write it and stick with it, life happens.

But not anymore.

I’m making it clear to myself and everyone that no matter what, my projects will get done. I will write, edit, workshop, edit some more, and submit to the appropriate parties when I need to, and make sure it all gets done. No ifs ands or buts, my writing will be written, and (hopefully) read.

That’s my promise to you.

No projected dates of several years in the future, no “one of these days” bullshit promises, no nothing. Just a promise that if and when I start something, I’ll finish it.

My dad’s best advice to me was “Don’t talk about it, do it.” I’m living that advice right now and every day.

That’s my promise to you.

(And yes, I’m well aware of the TV series Game of Thrones. I don’t watch it and don’t want to. I’ve read those books at least three times each except for Dance, and the show deviates too much for me to enjoy it. Sorry, I know it bothers people that I made a decision that affects no one but me, but hey, there you go.)

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.

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.

It’s Time

February 13, 2017

Well call me Mr. Bigtime.

Things have been happening for me. Good things, things that make me feel like an actual, real-life author. I know I am, but this is for real. This is awesome.

Where do I start?

For quite some time now, I’ve spoken about my novel, In the Pale Moonlight. Never at length, and never anything revealing. But it’s coming soon, and I’ve had so much to do for it. After 60+ failed attempts at getting an agent, I made the tough decision to self-publish. I realize that self-publishing isn’t the taboo thing it once was, but I wasn’t crazy about it.

Self-publishing is good because I control everything. I don’t get shafted on money, I don’t have ideas and decisions tossed out because someone wants to vicariously implement their thoughts onto mine, etc. It’s bad, though, because I’m 100% responsible for everything.

EVERYTHING.

Artwork, promotion, dates, times, formats, basically just getting shit done is 100% on me, with no one else there to do it for or with me. Sure I can ask for help, but for what? “Hey, can you bust your ass for me so I can possibly make a couple bucks with my novel and you’ll get a hearty pat on the back?” Yeah, no.

It’s okay, though. I’ve learned a lot. And I’m happy with myself for managing to get it all done. Formatting, proofing, artwork decisions (believe me, there were a LOT!), promotions, all of it. I’ve worked very hard on this, and I feel confident in myself.

The book is coming out on February 27th.

That’s two weeks from now! Preorders are available, and the book is easy to find online. Smashwords, Amazon, and all the other sites they’re affiliated with. It’s even on Goodreads! Hell, I’m an official Goodreads author now!

It’s exciting.

While it’s true that “anyone” can do this, how many actually do? How many put the work in to not only write a book start to finish, but also go through all the steps of getting it online and ready to sell/read/enjoy?

Like I said, I’ve put in a lot of work. And I know it’ll all be worth it. I couldn’t be happier to share it with you, and I’m sure you’ll all enjoy.

Thanks so much for your support!

Smashwords

Amazon