Finished 2.0

November 11, 2018

(Note: I wrote this Thursday, and today is Sunday. I never had a chance to get this posted and finalized, so my apologies on the lateness. Also, it just goes to show how crappy I am with deadlines. I really need to work on that, and maybe consider another blog about it!)

Last night, it happened. After four months of procrastinating and yammering on and on about it, I finally sat down and finished my major edit, my second draft if you will, of The Third Tower. I only had two chapters remaining, yet for some reason, I wouldn’t do it.

A big part of it was due to time. I know, I know, a real writer prioritizes writing above all. Unfortunately, life happens and it’s not necessarily possible to sit down and focus. But this isn’t the time to split hairs and point fingers—it’s done!

It’s funny because a week prior–Halloween, in fact–I had this feeling of dread. Not that the Devil was going to come and kill me or whatever it is they think happens unless I give small children crappy candy, but for this novel. I had a very small number of chapters left to edit, and felt that I had to get them done without question. I hurried over to Biggby and goofed off for a while (actually paying bills) before I finally buckled down and did all of two chapters.

But I did them! And I felt great. I also felt like shit because I had hoped to get everything done, not just two. Still, it was an effort, and every little bit helped. If I had stayed at home and gave kids candy, none of that would be done. So, to all the neighborhood kids (and the kids from other crappy neighborhoods that don’t give out anything other than grief), I apologize that you were cheated of one single Twizzler or Jolly Rancher. I genuinely hope that your holiday and subsequently your life haven’t been ruined all thanks to me. Just know that I had important business to attend to, and I can gleefully write this blog knowing that my major task is completed.

Now, I have time to do all sorts of other stuff I’ve wanted to do. Not outside of writing; I’ve been doing all that all along (like the newest expansion for Star Wars Destiny: Across the Galaxy–a great set of cards!). No, I mean writing-wise. I’ve got story ideas. I have my next novel to work on. There’s even a webcomic I’m dabbling with. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get into assignment writing?

Years and years of repressed and ignored feelings have been surfacing, though. I’m not sure why, but all of a sudden, these past few months, I feel like everything is imploding on me. Fortunately, I’m able to see signs and I know to get the help I need. Not everyone has a support system, unfortunately, and not everyone is able to see that something is wrong—they just accept it for what is, and live with it until the worst happens.

I’m actually happy I’ve noticed this. I feel like writing, like I have so much to say—not just on the topic of my own mental health, but just in general. I don’t feel like a simple idea is a bad one. I don’t feel like I’m wasting time by writing basic stuff, stories and shorts that don’t accomplish much of anything. Somehow, making an appointment with a therapist has liberated me, and I don’t want to allow myself to be constrained by what I think or assume might be a dumb idea.

As many times as I say I’m excited for the future, nothing much comes of it. This time, I’m not sure anything different will happen. What I do know, however, is that I won’t be so depressed and negative about it anymore. Like I said earlier, life happens, and in some odd way, I’m okay with that.

Now, in addition to working on all of these new stories and edits, I’ve got to find a professional editor. Anyone know someone good, but inexpensive?

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Still at it…

September 26, 2018

Editing is not easy. I’ve never really looked forward to the task, no matter how large or small, but it’s something I do. Necessity is one of those annoying things in life, after all. But I don’t have to like it, and I don’t have to cruise through it.

So I’ve been trudging my way through The Third Tower, editing like a madman. Most chapters are no longer than five pages (double-spaced, natch), and you’d think I would get through one in no time at all.

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrongity-wrong!

My first draft was sloppy, to say the least. While I’m happy and occasionally impressed with my writing abilities as I read through it, there are a lot of things that need tweaking. Excess words, oddly phrased sentences, and just plain grammatically incorrect bits and pieces.

But then there’s the rewriting. Cutting words like crazy (hey, I’ve killed many darlings in this, and haven’t batted an eyelash at it!), adding new sentences, extra description and stage directions, the like. But man oh man, is it frustrating when I spend more time re-reading the same paragraph that is clearly a little off, but I can’t quite figure out what the specific issue is.

I guess patience is a virtue? I can take a little bit longer to have a better written piece in the end, with less work and time spent from an outside editor. Of course, I’ll need to be able to pay for one…

Stories are still getting sent out. I’m not neglecting everything, but naturally not writing anything new. For once, I don’t feel an urge to stop editing so I can work on a new story, but it also worries me. Am I out of ideas? Or is my brain finally allowing myself to focus…

Whatever the case, I hope to be done soon. Here it is, September 26, so I’ll say it now: The Third Tower will be fully drafted a second time by October 1.

If not, well, just wait longer, I guess…

Weekend Musings

August 11, 2018

Well, it’s Saturday. The weekend. Whoo hoo, and shit, right? Time for some margaritas and sleeping in. Or, in the case of an author, time to really put the nose to the grindstone and write, write, write!!!

Yeah, sure.

So here I am, stuck at work, because my job sucks. I work in an office, Monday through Friday, 7:30 to 4:00. I have to work every other Saturday, 8:00 to Noon. Since I do about four hours of actual work throughout the week, it leaves me plenty of time to “work on writing” and other activities. Mostly checking Facebook, sifting through ebay, and staring at the wall.

See, I’ve hit a slump lately. Aside from spending the last two weeks sick as hell and feeling beyond miserable—seriously, I haven’t wanted to do anything but curl up under a blanket and stare out the window—I’ve just felt…despair. Not at life in general (I always do that no matter what), but at my writing.

As I’ve said, on July 1st I started my big edit of The Third Tower. I did, too! I trudged through the first twenty chapters of the book, and felt very satisfied when I finished them. But I didn’t want to go any further, and haven’t wanted to, either. I keep wanting to write or edit other stories, but if I have an idea, I don’t want to start it, and I don’t want to clear the time to edit.

The problem? I often give my wife stories and chapters to have her check them out. She’s a voracious reader—seriously, she logs about 100 books a year, if not more. She knows the written word. She doesn’t read like an editor or another writer, but someone who loves stories. So I gave her the first two chapters to read, and see if she had any thoughts on them.

I got a shrug.

I haven’t tried to get her to elaborate, but I feel like that shrug told me it was just…meh. Not bad, but not great. Not the type of opening chapters that will make her want to come back for more, to keep reading until 3 am, and to eagerly await the next book in the inevitable trilogy.

So why should I continue? Why bother? Will someone else like the book, or will everyone give me the shrug? Is this yet another work of mine that I spent more than enough blood, sweat and (yes) tears on, that will ultimately end up in the “who gives a shit” bin?

Are my ideas really that bad?

So I’m in a bit of a slump. I want to finish it, but I don’t want to waste the time. I want to write other stories, but if no one’s going to read them, why bother? I have lots more to edit, but if no editors want them, why not do something else?

I’ll be over this soon. Probably once I sit down and start working on something. But that niggling little voice in the back of my mind keeps asking me the same thing, over and over: Is it really worth it?

I have been giving serious consideration to publishing something, and not just my own stuff. I really want to do a sword and sorcery anthology, and a science fiction antho as well. First, I need someone to fund the whole thing. Anyone got $5000 laying around with nothing to spend it on? Thanks, I’ll take it!

More positively, I’m eagerly anticipating my story “Sunday Evening” for publication in Broadswords and Blasters. It won’t be out for a few more months, but seriously, check that publication out! They are awesome, and have some great stories. No joke, I’ve been a longtime reader and fan before they even accepted my story. Please, support the arts!

I’m Still Here

August 1, 2018

I’ve been conspicuously absent for some time. Or haven’t you noticed?

I assure you, I’m okay. Fighting illness (just a cold, albeit one lasting several days longer than I’m used to…), but okay. I’ve been meaning to stop in and say hi, catch you all up, and do the usual, but just…haven’t.

So here it is, August 1st, and I’ve gone more than two whole months without blogging! Lazy! Apathetic! Callous! Shallow! Well, maybe not ALL that, but yeah, lazy at least.

I vowed back in June that no matter what I was working on, no matter what I had to do, I would begin editing The Third Tower as of July 1st. I held true to my promise! I started right away, and got into it when I had the chance.

And boy, has it been a go.

I’m literally one-third of the way through it, and it’s been a month! How?! It’s just so…tiring. I don’t know, I’m bumping into several issues, but I’m still working on it. I guess I just have to power through it. And I will, of course, but sometimes it’s hard to force yourself to do it, no matter how much you want to.

I have story ideas, and I’m eager to get working on two different novels. I’m looking into several different contests, and of course Star Wars Destiny has a new set and lots of tournaments right now. Oh, and I’ve been sick as hell (that really feels like it’s been going on for way too long).

I think I’ll go get a flat white tonight. Maybe I’ll vacuum my car. Maybe I’ll take a walk, go pet some dogs in the neighborhood.

Case in point: I’m alive. I’m here. And I’m working on it.

All of it.

The Latest

January 5, 2018

Aurora Wolf.

That’s the name you need to know. My story, “The Man Without a Planet,” was published on Aurora Wolf on January 1st of this year. What a great way to start the new year! (Full link below!)

That’s a story that has been out in the wilds for years. Making the rounds and barely getting any notice. Thanks to Mike Pennington for helping me out with that (and for the awesome artwork!). And thanks to you for reading it—it’s free!

So back a few weeks ago, I finished The Third Tower. I’m happy, and ready to get working on it. There’s a lot to fix, but I’m up for the challenge. My biggest vote of confidence was last night, when my wife read the first two chapters. She liked them, and said they reminded her of Robert Jordan.

I never read his work, to be honest. I know, I know, what a poser. What a fake fantasy fan I am for not having read, or even attempted to read, The Wheel of Time. It’s one of those things that I always said I’d get around to one of these days, and to be honest, I just haven’t had the time. I mean come on, it’s a long series!

Anyway, I’m happy to hear her comments. It makes me really want to get it finished, and get it out there. Agents, I’m always available to talk when you are…

Lots of short stories! I’ve written a lot, and been editing like crazy. I have two in mind that I want to start real soon, so hopefully the month of January will be a productive one.

Keeping it short this time. I hope all my sexies are doing well, and be sure to check out Aurora Wolf if you haven’t already!

The Man Without a Planet!

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.

Happiness Is…

November 27, 2017

Being finished!

Earlier today, I finished the final chapter of The Third Tower. Draft number one of my latest novel is completed!

I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am about this. I’ve had the idea for years. I mean, seriously, more than 15 years ago I started thinking about this. Three years ago (almost exactly, truth be told), I started writing it. After many breaks, starting it back up again, and repeating that procedure, I finally forced myself to quit dragging my feet and just finish it.

Naturally, I have a lot of editing to do. There are many, many, MANY contradictions and loose ends I’ve left in this, but it’s understandable. Writing something here and there over the course of three years, you’ll have that. I can’t imagine it will take long (famous last words…) to get it ship-shape, but I’ll get there when I do.

For now, I’m going to let myself relax. I have many other stories to write, edit, and attempt to get published. Who knows? Maybe my next big thing is right around the corner.

As for novel-length, well, er, novels, what’s next?

I’ve got a huge list of stuff that needs to be written. Things I’ve planned on for years. Things that hopefully won’t take three years of hemming and hawing to finish. Things that can get written and taken care of when they need to be.

I can’t wait for you to see this one, though. Stay tuned, big things are just around the corner.

Are You Long Enough?

November 19, 2017

Smart phones are great. I love how not only can I check my email, but I receive a cute little jingle that lets me know when a new email comes in. (Please bear in mind I’ve only had a smart phone since January. Yeah, yeah, get over it.)

So imagine waking up in the morning to the tune of a new email, long before your alarm goes off. This morning, I did, and I noticed it was from a publication! In fact, they’ve had my story since April. Yep, April—SEVEN months ago! I had a note to send a query on December 1st if I hadn’t heard from them by then. Let’s be honest, even though I expected a big fat NOPE on the email, I was hearing back from them!

Of course it was a rejection. But may I just say how absolutely fucking pissed off I am about this?

My story was rejected (actually, “withdrawn” was the term they used, so maybe they just took it out of consideration completely?) due to not being long fiction. Let me say that again—my 3,000-some word story was withdrawn because it isn’t long fiction.

SQ Mag, an Australian speculative fiction publication, has been going through some turmoil lately. No activity, long wait times, etc. At the end of October, they announced they were working hard to clean up their slush pile and basically redo the magazine. Great, they’re making an effort.

However, when I submitted back in April, and even now with their revamping, the fiction requirements were the same. 500 word minimum, 7,500 maximum. No serials, no fan fiction, yadda yadda…the same old stuff.

So how is it that a story that is 3,499 words long is not considered “long” fiction? I mean, I guess it’s not novella or even novel length, but if I’m reading correctly, that word count fits perfectly within their parameters for acceptable word counts.

This is the second Australian publication that not only made me wait forever for an answer, but gave a really annoying response when they finally got back to me. The sheer condescension, the utter pretention, the aggravating and rude cryptic responses…what the fuck? Is it just an Aussie thing? Or did I just happen to run into the first readers/editors that don’t give a shit about much other than their vegemite sandwiches?

Okay, that was uncalled for. I have no problem with Aussies, but I think maybe I won’t be submitting to their magazines anymore.

Speaking of long waits, Persistent Visions is getting a little out of control. Their slush pile is dating all the way back to November 14th…of LAST YEAR!

Guys…do you need first readers? I humbly volunteer to help out, FOR FREE, to get your slush pile back on track. It has been close to half a year since I submitted my story to Persistent Visions, and while I’m sure the answer is going to be a big fat no (hey, surprise me with another answer, guys!), I’d like to know that I’ll at least get that answer. I’d like to know if they’re okay, and not going through massive troubles in life keeping them from running this publication. They’ve got some great content, so check it out now. It’s free!

And finally, I have one chapter left to write in The Third Tower. One. Chapter. To. Go. Feels good to say! It should have been done three years ago, but that’s not the point.

I’m one chapter away from being done! Yay!

Totally unrelated–I saw Justice League last night. Awesome movie. Well done, guys.

Crispy Like the Air

October 16, 2017

Autumn is in full swing here in Toledo, and I couldn’t be happier. As much as I love warm weather, the low 90’s temperatures started getting old, fast. I don’t want to walk out of my house in the morning in mid-October and start sweating already, so this low 50’s stuff is very much welcome.

It always feels like perfect writing weather, too. You see the memes all the time, something about a cozy sweater, a blanket, a hot cup of tea or coffee or cocoa, a cat on your lap, and a good book. Or, a story in front of you that is being worked on with the utmost diligence. Cute. Clever. Cliché.

But, it’s truth. I feel more at ease when there’s a chill in the air. Maybe a part of it has something to do with the fact that I don’t feel the need to constantly be running around from place to place. I can sit still, open the curtains, and watch the leaves fall while I tap away at whatever chapter I’m in the middle of.

Speaking of, only a few more to go! The Third Tower is chugging along nicely, but I really wish I had more time to just sit my ass down and do it. It’s nice to chip away at it when I can, but it sure would be nice to pound out two chapters (or more!) in a day. Still, I’m getting it done, and not finding other things to do—seriously, other things are finding me.

There’s also a lot of big things coming soon from me. A new story, and one that’s been up for a year now, “It’s the Great Murdering Pumpkin, Charlie Townes,” is getting a major push! Keep your eyes open for that—it’s free!

Still waiting to hear from several publications. I hate to complain about the wait, but seriously, do they even read the slush pile? One keeps updating their status every day, but they’ve been “reading” submissions from November of last year for close to a month now. November of LAST YEAR. Reading, my ass.

But, I can wait. I’ll be patient, because I’m at their mercy. Not only that, but I have plenty of other options. Things are out there, and things are getting done. I humble and heartily thank those who are making an effort to further the artform, and the arts in general.

Seriously, writing, graphic art of some sort, music, performance, and any other thing you can think of, all deserve your support. Don’t do horrible things to ruin it, like that Weinstein guy and Al Michaels making tasteless jokes. Do what you can to keep it alive, and keep it moving. Yes, this might mean spending a little money, but even if it’s a measly dollar, does it matter?

Contrary to the fact that I haven’t been posting in a while, I’m happy. Things are going well. I really have nothing to complain about that would make much of a difference if I did. Where’s the harm in that? Hopefully, I can finish this book soon and find it a good home.

Hopefully, everyone can have such good fortune with whatever it is they do.

It finally arrived! Volume Nine of Bardic Tales and Sage Advice is finally here, in my grasp…and it feels delicious!

As you should remember, last July my story “Behind You, in the Corner” was published in a fantastic online publication called Bards and Sages Quarterly. Of course you bought a copy. Then, at the end of the year, there was a poll for the best/favorite piece from each issue. Thanks for voting for me, by the way.

My story won for the July issue. There were a TON of votes on it, so obviously people liked it. It didn’t quite make story of the year, but that’s okay. There was a response to it, and I’m happy about that!

Not only did I get an extra couple of bucks, it was published in BT&SA vol. 9, which we’ve been waiting in deep anticipation for over a few months now. Friday, it showed up and man is it beautiful.

Big thanks to Julie Ann Dawson, the editor. She had the foresight to read my story through to the end, and accept it for publication. I love visionaries like her, they make the world a better place!

And of course, thanks so much to everyone who voted. Thanks for reading my stories, following me, supporting me, all that jazz. I truly appreciate it and mean every word I say. You’re all awesome!

If you would like to buy a copy, go here:

Bardic Tales and Sage Advice vol. 9!

So, in other news, I’m chugging along at the Third Tower. Since I sit in front of a computer all day at work, I haven’t had the drive to write much lately. Then I was like, what about pen on paper? So, several recent chapters have been handwritten. I spent some time last night transcribing them onto the computer, which naturally killed my eyes and back (maybe I should have used a desk chair instead of a wooden kitchen chair?), but they’re all set. The best news is, I’m only 13 chapters away from the end!

I never wanted to have another several years long novel on my hands. I started this three years ago, took a break, wrote some more, took another break, and on and on…

Hell, I didn’t even touch it in 2016! I tried, I thought about it, but nothing came out. Shame on me. But hooray for me for getting it done now! Only a few more weeks and then it’s complete, and I can do anything I want.

Other short stories have been getting done as well. I just had one up on the online workshop last week, and it got 11 critiques! Most of them were very positive and helpful, and a lot of the reviewers “liked” the story. That’s promising!

Next up, I’ve got a mind-fuck fantasy story that takes place in the summer, but autumn has already begun. Hmm, unlike here in Toledo, where it’s been autumn for two days and feels like high summer.

Wishful thinking maybe? Nah, I’ll fight the heat and enjoy my maple pecan lattes and wear scarves like the hipster doof I am.

Later, sexies! Stay awesome, and thanks as always!