Expanding the Universe

May 22, 2017

Like many fine people on this varied planet of ours, I love Star Wars. In fact, being born in 1980, I’ve been a fan for pretty much my entire life. I got a little burned out in the mid-late 90’s, but things have redeemed themselves, and I’m happy with what’s available.

There are many games available, including a collectible card game from FFG—Star Wars Destiny. A great game! I love it and am always coming up with new decks and itching to play.

Also available? Stories. Right now, comic books are hot, and it’s good to see that the hobby and art form are doing so well. Marvel has a great series going with the Star Wars comics, and they’re telling stories for some of the best characters—a Lando Calrissian series is set to debut later this year, and there will be a Captain Phasma limited series as well. Poe Dameron, my personal favorite, has his own ongoing series too.

But they aren’t doing fiction like they used to. There is of course Star Wars Insider, and sure, there are novels coming out, and thankfully they aren’t going into the ridiculous areas that the old Expanded Universe book did in the 90’s. (It’s funny because I used to love those trilogies, but looking back now I can’t understand why I was so into them—they’re terrible!) One thing they used to have was the Star Wars Adventure Journal, a great inclusion in the meta.

Geared more towards the role-playing game by West End Games, it contained new campaign ideas and characters for the table-top game, but also had short fiction. One of my first attempts at getting published was with this book, released every few months like a magazine (but man, that thing was thicker than most novels!).

Some of the fiction was great. Stories of random characters not in the movies, people that did dirty work or had crazy things happen to them, all within the realms of Star Wars. In fact, Rogue One seemed like a story that could have come from there, whether or not it was so closely attached to the first movie.

The stories behind the stories.

Why aren’t they doing anything like this anymore? Or am I just missing it?

Not just because I want to write Star Wars stories (well, I could, but I don’t do fan fiction, and I’d love to have these get out there somehow), but I’d love to read some as well. Narrative vignettes of random people, somehow doing something involved in what you see in the movies, or a far-off backwater world with smugglers getting in a shoot-out with Stormtroopers…tons of things that could happen.

What do you say? Would anyone else want to see something like this? Do you know of something like this right now?

At the very least, maybe I could contact Disney/Lucasfilm themselves and start begging. We could even do a petition for it. I hope you’d sign in.

I’m serious.

The Wish

March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of my rich Irish heritage (okay, maybe a quarter of me?), I’m celebrating the day not by getting plastered and running around like an idiot with a Kermit the Frog puppet hanging from my backpack, but instead with the one thing I love best–telling a story.

It’s short, silly, and probably not very good. Still, I had fun writing it. Enjoy!


The Wish

Amidst the chaos of climate change and wishy-washy weather patterns, spring had come early. Not budging in temperature or lack of precipitation for two weeks, people let out a collective breath and pulled out their light jackets. Joey maintained his heavy boots and gloves, though. Working outside for long periods of time always brought a chill to his bones.

This most recent assignment too him away from the city, away from even the most remote of the new subdivisions. Out in the country, one would frequently spot a patch of trees, even tiny forests larger than a few yards put together.

Not out here. Rural and countryside, no doubt, but these fields stretched into the horizon. Forests, true to their name, dotted the endless plains, filled with flora and fauna of all sorts. Possibly even some we know nothing about, Joey thought.

He pushed his way through the barriers of tall grasses and scraggly shrubs. Darkness, despite the patches of streaming sunlight illuminating the foyer of the smaller trees, reigned supreme. He stood still, clutching his weapon close to his torso, allowing his eyes to adjust.

So much green. Even this early in the year, the trees and all of their subordinates had sprouted into life, damn the potential frost or chill. Vines choked trees, plants littered the ground, and moss carpeted anything it could. Joey breathed in deep, the sweet and sour, musty and fresh scents mingled in his nose.

Whatever this forest boasted, whether real or not, would never expect such an early discover. Tales from travelers and even the errant farmer spoke of something emerging under the light of the moon or cover of darkness, destroying anything and everything in its path. There was no pattern, and no rhyme or reason. With zero percent failure, Joey had no doubt this would end the way his agency expected.

Small creatures scurried out of sight, leaving nothing but scattered dead leaves in their wake. Birds took off and landed, their screeches and cries echoing in the silence of the early morning. Joey’s footsteps crunched on the ground, but placed with care and practice as to keep attention away from himself.

Deeper into the woods he went, gripping his rifle tight, but held low. Eyes darted in every direction, scanning for any possible lair belonging to the scourge of the countryside. A mound, a fallen tree, or even a large nest up above might house this creature, this thing that no one could describe with anything other than fear.

Joey smiled. He had put down scarier beasts than the most experienced D&D player…and this was real life.

He checked his watch. Only fifteen minutes had passed. Behind, the treeline of the forest still stood close. Had he been walking that slow, or was this treacherous terrain? Not that it mattered, this job was over when it ended. He continued on.

Twigs snapped and leaves rustled. Nothing out of the ordinary, and not anything that would terrorize under cover of darkness. Still, he gripped his Model 70 tighter, finger grazing the trigger. One after the other, he stepped forth over a narrow fallen tree.

The nearest house had to be over two miles from here, a storage barn maybe one. So how did he hear music all of a sudden?

Cheerful, upbeat music, fiddles and flutes and drums all working together in rhythm and speed, emanating from somewhere ahead. Joey peered through the scope attached to his Winchester. Panning the forest from left to right and back again, nothing revealed itself. Still, someone or something was out there. Whether some carefully hidden musicians or a radio left behind by some partying country kids, Joey’s ears never deceived him.

It grew louder with every step he took. Moving in a straight line directly through the middle of the woods, Joey knew he followed the right path. More instruments joined in with the growing volume, sounds of rhythmic clapping and foot tapping rounding it out. Wherever it came from, it sounded like a pretty good hootenanny.

And then he saw it.

Through the dim light of the midday forest, golden illumination flooded out of a three, tall and wide. On the side opposite Joey, the light and music spilled onto the forest floor. He crept around the base, holding his breath.

An opening no taller than a toddler and just as wide revealed itself. Joey backed away, but cocked his body to the left, allowing him to see inside. While the tree was no more than three feet wide, the inside held much more, a paradox to the human eye.

Not to Joey. Some of the things he had seen and dealt with would cause a comic book artist to faint. This was real. And he knew exactly what was inside.

None of them had noticed him. The ten little folk, no taller than two feet each, danced and clapped and played their music. Amongst the ornately carven interior, the leprechauns carried on without a care in the world. However long this fete had been going on was anyone’s guess, but Joey had a feeling they never kept track. While legends dictated that he would get three wishes by catching one, he knew that to be nothing but a mummer’s tale. Something else was going on here, and he knew exactly what.

Whipping around, he raised his rifle and prepared to fire. Silent and lithe, the giant snake reared back, ready to strike. Had he waited even one second longer, those massive fangs would be sunken to the gums in Joey already.

“Don’t even think about it,” he whispered. “Don’t make another move.” Animals rarely understood when he talked to them, but it comforted him to do so. Pointing a long gun at them usually got the point across, but a well-timed bullet also helped.

Slowly, the snake sunk closer to the ground. Its forked tongue flickered, eyes locked on Joey’s. Trailing off into the distance, the only possible way to measure its length would be to kill it, but the head had to be the size of a moped. At its widest, the tube-like body rivaled that of Joey’s wide, muscular frame, but could easily swallow him whole.

He held firm, feet not moving. If the pale green reptile speared into him, it would take quite a bit of force to knock him over. One bullet from his gun, however, would make a quick end of his stand-off foe.

“Ye didnae fall fer it!”

The voice resembled every stereotypical leprechaun voice he had ever heard on television or a movie. Those sprang from truth, Joey reflected, so it made sense. He never took his sights off the massive beast or lower his weapon, but the wee-folk had his attention.

“You were a distraction.”

“True. And our friend brings us the baddest of the bad.”

“I’m not bad.”

The snake moved backwards, less than a foot. Joey’s finger grazed the trigger, but didn’t squeeze too tight.

“Yeh’re all bad. Yeh jes’ don’na know it.”

The snake’s head lifted from the ground. Joey’s heart jolted. Before he could even blink, the beast reared fully back, immediately shooting towards him.

His ears rang with the gunshot. Before the snake even had a chance to open its wide, fang-filled mouth, Joey had pulled the trigger. The large green head exploded, blood spattering the surrounding trees.

He spun at the waist, right arm shooting forth. His fingers wrapped around the leprechaun’s jacket as the little man gasped. Joey lowered his gun as he pulled the wee-folk up to his eye line.

“I want a wish,” Joey growled.

“Yeh get three.” The leprechaun clawed at Joey’s hand and wrist, but may as well have been punching a brick wall.

Joey smiled. “I only need one. Get me a monster worth going after. Something that won’t go down without a fight.”

The leprechaun’s eyes threatened to bulge from its head.

“Yeh don’na want that! I’ve seen it, believe me, it’s ugly.” He rolled his eyes back to the tree. “Wanna come in an’ have a pint or two? Special brew, just for us wee folk.”

Joey pulled him closer so that their noses practically touched. “I like ugly. I want terror. I want evil. I want to feel like I need to run for the first time in my life.”

The leprechaun looked off to the side for a moment. A wide grin appeared as his eyes returned to Joey’s.

“How about a dearg due?”

Joey scoffed. “Stake through the heart.”

“Dullahan?”

“Give it gold.”

“Balore?”

He hefted up his rifle. “Shoot it in the eye.”

Beads of sweat dripped out from underneath the leprechaun’s bowler hat. He tugged at his collar, taking a deep breath.

“What about…Caorthannach?”

Joey dropped the little faerie. His mouth fell open, corners curling up. Slowly, he nodded.

“There’s no water around here. I won’t know what to do.”

“Wish granted, then.”

Joey looked down at the little man. “When and where?”

A sideways pillar of flame erupted scant feet to the left of Joey. He spun around, the darkness giving him no obfuscation as to what approached: a massive skull, enwrapped in fire.

He gripped his Winchester close to his body. That wouldn’t help, but it gave him comfort. The only thing he could do at this point was run.

Another burst of flame came close to him. The heat singed a few hairs on his arm. With a final look and nod at the leprechaun, Joey turned back towards the way he entered the forest and started to run.

He would have loved to take up the leprechaun on his offer of beer, but this was far better. Finally, a reason to run.

 

THE END

Time to hang it up?

March 9, 2017

This is one of those days where I keep asking myself, “What’s the point?”

For a very long time, I’ve loved writing. When I was a sophomore in high school, I started writing my own stories. My junior year, I made the decision to pursue a creative writing degree. I never looked back.

But let’s face it, there isn’t exactly a huge job market for that. Maybe I could have gone into television or comic books, but they’re not exactly markets you walk into. I’ve struggled at getting anyone’s attention, but it’s been very few and far between.

I’m 36 years old. In June, I’ll be 37. I’ve been actively pursuing the elusive published story for more than half of my life. Not much has come of it.

Sure, I’ve had a few stories accepted. Some even made money. $36 here or there, nothing to write home about. But it was a start, and it was acknowledgement.

It’s been too long since my last one. I’ve sent out a steady stream of short stories, flooding the market with them all at once. I get some very polite, well-written rejection letters that prove the editors have actually read the story. I’ve gotten some (most, actually) that tell me they took one look at my name and tossed it out right away.

Just a few weeks ago, I self-published my first novel. It was exciting! I put a lot of effort into it, especially considering I was 100% responsible for all of it. I’ve advertised in many different ways, begged “friends” to read and review, and spent countless hours promoting it.

I have sold exactly 1 copy.

You didn’t read that wrong. One. Uno. Solo. Ein. A, an, un, une. Okay, you get the point.

Don’t think I’m doing this just to make money. But how frustrating is it to have all those years of schooling, all those late nights of sending stories out, writing, editing, frying my eyeballs from staring at the screen too long, everything I’ve done…and I have one sale to show for it.

No reviews, no sample copies downloaded for free, no clicks on the ads, no likes on Facebook, no anything.

So why? Why should I continue? Why should I finish the short story I’ve been writing these past few days? Why finish the book I’m 3/4ths of the way through writing? Why edit the stack of stories I’ve been hanging onto?

I used to say it was because I love it. But lately, I don’t think I do. Lately, I don’t know what to think, other than to just give it up.

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

Mr. Proactive!

January 25, 2017

I’ve been busy busy busy!

A short story I’ve had an idea in my head for over three years finally got written. I’m happy with it, but it’s not perfect. I know that’s nothing to worry about, especially at the beginning of it, and also because it’s part of a triptych. Three related stories, all with the own characters and plots. Now I just need to write the last part!

I went through my writing folder and found several stories I had, erm, forgotten about. I hate it when I do that, but several works are finished, and have been for some time. I need to go through this more often!

This also means there is another flash piece I can give ya’ll! I have a whole bunch all ready to go, but this one especially fitting, given recent events. You’ll know what I mean soon enough.

Also, with all these ideas out of my head, I’m able to get back to the nitty gritty. In the Pale Moonlight is almost ready for release (next month!!!), and The Third Tower is able to get finished…finally!

Just wanted to keep ya updated. Hope you’re having good luck too!

PS – I’ve been listening to the Gone Girl soundtrack for the past few days. I haven’t listened to it in some time, but man, it really gets my brain juices flowing!

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!

Rogue One

January 16, 2017

I wrote this a few weeks ago, but it goes beyond simply talking about the plot and fun stuff of the latest Star Wars movie, and more into writerly motivations and musings, but still, please stop reading if you don’t want spoilers. That’s right: SPOILER ALERT!

I’ve always loved Star Wars. In fact, it’s what inspired me to become a writer. Back in 1994 I was reading Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy, and loved every minute of it. I know a lot of people have given some horrid reviews of the 90’s era Star Wars novels, and I’m sure if I went back after 20+ years and reread them, I’d agree. But hey, I was 14 and thirsty for anything Star Wars related.

I loved the role playing game by West End Games and drove my friends insane begging them to play it with me. We had fun, but it was no AD&D Second Edition. One of the coolest parts of that game was the digest with new scenarios and characters and fiction. One night while flipping through, I saw at the front of the book submission information…and decided I’d write a story.

It lasted all of one page and I gave up after a week.

Regardless, I will always and forever love Star Wars.

So it’s no surprise that I loved Rogue One!

What a great, gritty story. Hopeful, but intense as hell at the same time. And from a writer’s point of view, incredible characters.

I felt like I knew enough about all of them to care. They had their motivations, their strengths and weaknesses, and their own story arcs. Sadly enough, they all died, but not surprisingly. Some went out in a blaze of glory, and others had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Which brings me to my only complaint about the movie: Baze Malbus.

Going into this film, I loved the look of this guy. Big, heavy weapons, a gritty appearance, and the faithful companion to his oldest friend. I was not disappointed in the movie at all, as they did an excellent job with his character. Except for his death…

They could have done a better job giving him a reason for it. His friend died, and ran out into an active firefight to check on him, took out a few enemy troops, and then died in an explosion. It really accomplished nothing. Like I said, I know that in real life, these things happen, but why did he have to be so mindless about it?

As a writer, I’m taught that things need to happen for a reason. There needs to be a motive, a purpose, something that makes a man do what he’s doing. So why couldn’t they have him just get enraged and charge the battlefield, taking out as many guys as he could along the way? Why not have him jump onto a troop transport swarming with enemy troops and pull a grenade, taking out himself and everyone else, thus securing a safe passage for the other characters?

It bugged me, and still does. I know it can’t change, but it makes me realize that when I write something, I’ll need to follow these rules or guidelines so that no one is scratching their heads.

However, at the end of the movie, everything was redeemed. The last five minutes were more amazing than anything I think I’ve ever seen in a movie.

Darth Vader, mowing down an entire platoon of Rebel troops like it was nothing? Fuck yeah! Lightsaber in one hand and the Dark Side in his other (seriously, it showed him waving his hand and fist to fight these guys), he plowed down that corridor and tore through those men. I know he’s the bad guy and all, but shit…I wanted to see him win just out of general principle.

I will study that scene. I will write my own version of it. It will become my go-to for any and all action scenes I write, now and forever more.

Well, maybe not all of them. But most of them. And nothing will be as awesome as that.

Naughty Cookies

December 24, 2016

Three years ago, there was a contest for a flash fiction piece about Christmas. This was super mega micro flash, because the story couldn’t be more than 250 words. I didn’t win (big shock) but I did manage to write a flash story at 250 words. Since it’s about Christmas and that just so happens to be tomorrow, enjoy as my gift to you this year!


“Naughty Cookies”

by Myke Edwards

Typically reeking of garlic and liquor, gingerbread and nutmeg wafted through the alley this particular Christmas Eve.  Nick waited at the dumpster, tapping his foot.  The man with the bag was ten minutes late.

Frigid air swirled about, carrying the distant sound of ringing bells.  Up above, Nick saw scant, brave stars poking through the light pollution of the city.  A dark object glided among them, better late than never.  It doubled back, descending and landing atop a nearby building.

With a grunt, a man, taller than a spruce tree and dressed in red furs landed on the ground.  Coming from five stories up, his boots left an indentation in the concrete.  Over his shoulder, he hefted the bag, overstuffed and bursting at the seams.

“What took you?” Nick asked.  He approached the man.

“Too many naughty children this year.”  He tossed the bag to Nick, like it weighed nothing.  “I couldn’t get them all.”  It landed heavy on the ground between them.

“Then go collect what you can,” Nick said.  “Your workshop on Mars could always use more workers.”

“I lost half of my elves this year!  I need to collect as many of those naughty children as I can.”

“Why did you even send the elves out?  You know the bad kids always kill them.”  Nick opened the bag, cringing at the sight.  Countless corpses of elves, already beginning to decompose.

“I can’t be everywhere at once.  Now recycle them into cookies.  I’ll be starving by tomorrow morning.”

THE END?


Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah to one and all! Happy Holidays and anything else you may celebrate! No matter what you believe and celebrate, I love, cherish, and respect all my sexy friends 😉

So close I can taste it

December 17, 2016

As we (here in Ohio, at least) delve into colder temperatures and stupid snow all over the place, I suddenly have a lot of free time. My day job is centered around selling building supplies to contractors (and the occasional clueless homeowner…seriously, are there any homeowners out there that actually know how to fix their house without making it worse?!), we are experiencing a lack of business.

This has been beneficial for me personally, because I can get a lot of stuff done that otherwise I’d have to squeeze in somehow–especially with Rogue One this weekend! I hate to plan my life around movies, but c’mon, Star Wars!!!

Ahem. Anyway…

I’ve talked about my novel, In the Pale Moonlight, several times over the years. It’s been a long time coming, specifically because I’ve taken a long, long time with it. Mostly, it was laziness. I’d write a lot, put it aside for “a week or two” and several months later I’d get back to it. Even after it was done, I putted around with editing it, but ultimately, got it all done.

So my attempts to get it accepted by an agent were met with either stock rejections or silence. It won’t keep me down, however, and I declared loud and clear that I was going to self-publish it. There’s so many free programs online that hey, this can’t be that hard, right?

Wrong! It’s so much work that other people would typically do for me had this been accepted by an actual publisher. It’s okay, I’ve learned a lot about it, and also about myself.

For starters, I really make a lot of typos. I mean, not as many as some people I know (every other word, like seriously!), but I’ll gloss over a word or two here and there. Not to mention, there’s a lot of sloppy writing in there. So I decided to go through the book just to make sure there weren’t any major issues, figuring it would take a day or two.

Two weeks later, I came out with a new draft of the book. Typos fixed, grammatical errors taken care of, and awkward sentences rewritten, it’s got a fresh sheen on it that no one can take away from me.

As far as I’m concerned, the book is good to go!

All I need to do is format it (well, finish formatting it, I’m almost done) for Smashwords and Amazon and whatever programs I plan on putting it on. I also have to finalize cover art, which is much more difficult than you’d think. I know, I know, you have a program or website or this and that and I need to check it out right now! I’ve seen all of them, tried them all, etc. I have something in mind and it isn’t as easy as you want it to be.

Finally, I need a release date. Do I plan it a month in advance, so I can promote it? Two weeks? Two months? Six months? I don’t know…and I’m worried that I won’t give myself enough time to prepare. Not to mention, I’ve got to start worrying about marketing and promotions for it…

Ugh. It will (hopefully!) pay off in the end. Not that I’m looking for a huge payday–I’d love to be able to pay off my car, my credit cards, my student loans, or anything else, but let’s be honest: am I going to be a millionaire from this?

Nope. But my book will be published and available for one and all. In the end, that’s all I can hope for.

Wish me luck–I’m oh so close!

Unprofessionalism

November 20, 2016

Unprofessional. It’s a word no one likes to hear, especially when directed at themselves. Well, some people get a kick out of it, but that’s usually a false reaction, fake laughter used to cover up the pain of the reality that someone has just dumped on them worse than The Rock giving Mankind all those chairshots way back in ’99.

Ahem. Anyway.

No one likes to hear it, and no one wants to believe it’s true. But there are times when even the most depraved, the most “lower-rung” people need to shout it out, and let someone know. Or sometimes, let something know.

Like a publication, perhaps.

Don’t get me wrong, professionalism is rampant in the publishing industry. I would certainly hope that no publication would go to “print” if it wasn’t up to snuff, but the people behind it can sure have some unprofessional behaviors.

Some really shitty unprofessional behaviors.

I understand I’m at their mercy. I send them a story in the hopes that not only are they going to publish it and help boost my career by however much more it can with the people that read their magazine, but also in hopes that they’ll hand me money. I get it. I don’t have a lot of room to complain.

So why do I have to sit and wait with my mouth shut when they break their promises?

A very major, very well known science-fiction publication currently has a story of mine for consideration in an upcoming issue. One thing I love about them is they have a monitoring system, where I can see the progress on the story. Is it simply received? Is it under review? Has it been rejected? I can see with my own eyes the answer to that question! Holy fuck the future kicks ass!

They tell us writers to wait about two weeks before we get an answer. In worst case scenarios, it could take upwards of three months! I get it—a popular mag like that, especially one that pays as well as it does, and they’ll definitely have a massive slush pile to get through. Even with twenty first readers working around the clock, I can believe that they’ll have a lengthy wait.

Well, it’s been almost four months. Guess what the status on my story is?

Received.

Fucking received. They haven’t even opened it up and read it yet! And guess what? If I email them and follow the progress from that moment on, I guarantee that within 24 hours the progress will go from under review to rejected. Then they’ll send me a form letter without an apology, and move on.

Because fuck me, right?

Because I’m just a flyspeck in the grand scheme of science fiction, and they know it.

Because they’re unprofessional.

I’m tempted to email, and have been for some time. Oh no, I won’t be asking about the progress of my story. I’ll be telling them to just forget about it. I know and they know, before even reading the story, that their answer is going to be no.

Cynical? Damn straight. Honest and realistic? You better believe it. Irritated and frustrated? Of course I am.

Look, I get it. I’m no one. I’m not a well-known author that they’d be honored to publish. My story might be good, it might even be great. But I have to be realistic here. They haven’t bothered to look at it yet, so why would they give a flying rat’s ass about it now?

The same goes for a lot of publications, too. They hold on to your story forever, only to give you the most basic rejection letter. Reading some of the editor’s blogs from these magazines, however, I can only come to the conclusion that they’re more interested in people paying attention to them and the crazy, goofy, nerdy hobbies that they partake in than the magazine they’ve signed on to edit.

Unprofessional.

If I were editing a project, something I plan to do in the future, I wouldn’t make it about me. It’d be about the hard working authors who submit their stories to it. It’d be about the stories themselves, not the lines I’ve broken just to add my voice into the chorus of mewling people hoping to change something that isn’t even in need of fixing. It’d be about the entertainment that you, the reader, gets out of it.

Not me.

But hey, I can’t change that. I’ve recently decided that since the few publications available to me aren’t even acknowledging my existence, I’ve got to move on from short stories. I’ve got to move on to finishing the big works, and getting them out there.

I’ve got to make this matter, and say fuck you to the unprofessional assholes who’ve tried to keep me down.

Now, you’re probably wondering, what if one of those magazines does accept my story? What if they do eventually get back to me? What if something really bad happened, like a bad injury/illness/death? I’ll accept that, but you know what? I hope they understand they just need to maintain their promises. I’ve learned that there are some people just not worth your time when it comes to these things, and I really hope that list doesn’t keep growing.

“Why not just self-publish, Myke? Only you are in your own way in that case.”

I did. Don’t you remember? Surely you downloaded or purchased one of my stories, and then left a nice review for it, right? Sure you did.

Just get over it, right? Just deal with it. No one wants to hear my bitching. I get it, sure I do. But don’t make a promise and then expect everyone to bend over and back away.

It’s a strange life I’ve chosen. I’ve gotten used to the let-downs, but trust me, it doesn’t mean I have to like it. And that is professional on my behalf.