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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Well crap….

January 22, 2017

I’ve made some bad mistakes before. Some I’m so embarassed by I’ve blocked them, or at least go out of my way to bury them. What I did just a little bit ago might not be the worst thing ever, but I feel like I’ve made such a stupid, amateur mistake that it might cost me.

I just submitted a story to a few publications. You know, the typical thing. Unfortunately, instead of using my professional email address that I always do, I was still signed in to my regular, personal use email.

I highly doubt any of these publications even notice that stuff, let alone care. For all I know, they might have authors that use emails like footlongdong_69@yahoo.com. I don’t even know if that’s real, nor do I care. And I’m sure they don’t either.

The point is, I can’t believe I let myself overlook that basic thing. Especially because on every cover letter and within the submission itself, my professional email address was on there. They might be like, huh? But then realize what a dolt I am, and toss it in the trash.

Maybe that’s why NewMyths.com rejected the story within ten minutes?

Yep, no joke. Never happened, not ever, not once. Not even with The Dark, who is quick enough to get their rejections to me within 12 hours.

Anyway, I hope this doesn’t cost me. I doubt it will, but when it comes to the things we love, the things we put our hearts and souls into, we worry about minutae, because we demand perfection.

So why can’t we give ourselves what we want?

PS – Glad to hear about so many women in the Women’s Marches all across the country today! I know several fine ladies who participated, and I’m so proud and happy to see so many people banding together against tyranny and oppression! Keep up the awesomeness!

Updates

October 30, 2016

There have been some good things going on lately. A few bad, too, but isn’t that par for the course? I’m not on top of the world, but things are looking up, so I’ll take that as a win.

The Good:

-The poll that I’m in is going very well. Thanks to everyone who has voted for me! I appreciate the assistance and support. It’s good to know that so many people believe in me. Even if I don’t win, I know I’ve got more than enough love from all of you, and you’ve got mine as well.

-Some publications that I’ve submitted to are taking longer than usual to get back to me. I know that this doesn’t necessarily mean anything and I really shouldn’t get my hopes up, it’s nice to think that they’re deliberating over my work. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get that long awaited email very, very soon and have a new reason to dance on top of a table.

-A year or so ago, I wrote a story that was basically my realistic take on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. You all know how much I love MOTU, and I really love the sword & sorcery aspect to it, not to mention the sci-fantasy twist. I’ve written a lot of stuff like that, but never anything inspired so directly by it. By realistic, I mean that it’s going to have much more adult themes, and more understanding of how and why things are the way they are other than simply to sell toys.

Well, the story ended on an ambiguous note. Apparently, no one wanted it because it doesn’t slap you in the face and tell you directly what happens at the end. Yep, you read that correctly: publishers think that you’re an idiot and need me to hold your hand and tell you straight up what’s going on.

So I decided to make this into a serialized story. As of now, there will be 7 parts to it. I’ve been busting ass on part 2, and am almost done…but every day I say I’ll finish it, and life happens. Could today be the day? I hope so—it’ll allow me to get the rest of it done as well!

-Lots of people have been interested in my Halloween story! The sheer amount of exposure I’ve got with it is amazing! But maybe you could support a struggling author? It’s only $.99, folks!

The Bad:

-A publication has had my story since June 27th. They haven’t even opened it and looked at it yet. Come on, this is one of the biggest and most well-known pubs in the USA. You can find it at any chain bookstore, fer cryin’ out loud! I know they’ll say know (yeah yeah, so what if I’m cynical?), but why make me wait so long? Unprofessional, I say. Feh!

-I don’t have as much time to write as I’d like. Typical, but I’m trying so hard to do it and life just keeps getting in the way.

-I haven’t even started looking at getting “In the Pale Moonlight” published. A friend was supposed to be reading it, but she hasn’t said word one about it. I really need to get off my arse and just do it!

That’s all. I’m happy and working, but need to get it moving a little better. Wish me luck, and stay awesome!

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.

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.

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!

Several weeks ago, I received an email.  It was one of those emails that you’re always dreading opening, but more than relieved when you do.  The news in there was not fame and fortune, but a potential doorway to those things was opened.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, someone wrote to tell me they wanted my story.

I’m always happy by this.  The payoff was $10, but hey, it’s a sale!  Another listing for my writing resume, another name for editors to notice when they are deciding whether I am worth publishing or not.  I mean, they’re looking at the quality of my writing more than anything, of course, but I have a feeling that the more publications one has, an editor opens their eyes just that much more.  Or not…but that’s not the purpose of this.

The point it, I was elated.  More than thrilled.  It was a story that I highly doubted would ever get published.  It was a publication that had turned me down numerous times.  It was $10 that I can use to…huh.  Well, I’ll figure that out later.

So I went ahead and email the editor back.  Sure, I said, I’d love to be published by you!  Please let me know if I need to do anything, or just sit tight.

And since then, I have been.

I haven’t heard back from him.  That was early July.  Today is September 2.  I mean, he hasn’t even email to apologize for the wait, maybe let me know that he’s hella busy and will sent a contract, or news, or money, or whatever, when he has time?

Nope.  Nothing.  At all.

And it isn’t just this one.  There are contests I’ve applied to.  Anthologies, that had strict deadlines.  I even had a rewrite request, back in May.  Well, where’s the “Please hold tight while we continue reviewing, we are busy as hell right now”?  I did get one of those, but that was late June.  So far, nothing!

I know, I know.  If you want an answer now, then it is a resounding NO.  But I’d like an answer sometime…hell, just an acknowledgment.

I get it.  Editors are people too.  They don’t always edit their online magazine as their only job.  In fact, they’re lucky to even focus on it more than once a week.  Don’t you just think it’s rather…rude to leave people hanging like this?

I know there are others out there who agree with me.  One of the worst things is not knowing whether or not you should submit your story to another publication.  Because let me tell you, waiting on pins and needles for up to six months (sometimes more!) just to hear a bullshit “we are sorry but this does not fit our needs at the current moment” blowoff is, well, bullshit.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am perfectly willing and able to wait.  But when it’s obvious they never even looked at it, it’s obvious they couldn’t give two shits about you or your story, what are we doing this for?

Because we love it.  And no one can take that away, no matter how long you have to wait.

Still, I’d love an answer…