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The Submissions Grinder

Listed over there on the left is probably one of the best sites I’ve ever found on the internet that helped the writer.  It’s Duotrope’s Digest.  It was a fantastic resource as it listed tons and tons of markets for writers, helping them find a home for that story about the hermaphroditic Sasquatch that no one else wants.  They were free and their data was extremely useful.  They took donations on a “pay as you like” basis.  I donated the proceeds from several stories, because, well, they helped me get stories into home.

Well, starting on 2013, they now charge a fee.  A pretty steep fee, too.  $50 a year, or you can pay $5 a month.  You can imagine the outcry from people who merely felt they were entitled to free stuff and now they would have to pay for it.  After that storm blew over, the real users of the site came out and started bringing out the real facts – the stats will now suffer because only those that pay for the service will now log their stats.  Very true.  Also, usually writers don’t have a lot of disposable cash to pay for something like that.  I know I have $50 to spend on it, but I have other things that I need more than a subscription to a site that I can use a spreadsheet and Writer’s Market from Barnes & Noble.

I won’t get into the good or bad of Duotrope going to a pay model.  I don’t care, as I will not pay for that and if you want to, please, do so.

Enter the awesome David Steffen from Diabolical Plots.

I won’t go on about this, but I will direct you to the article, and information about their attempt to create a (free) replacement for Duotrope – The Submission Grinder.


The Submissions Grinder

Good Start to 2013…

I received an email this morning informing me that I had been paid for my story “Terminal,” and that the anthology containing it, Dark Stars, was out on Amazon today.  I happily took my hard earned loot and headed over to Amazon to check it out.

You should too, just click on the picture…

Dark Stars

Hmmm.  My name seems to be missing a letter on the cover.  How vexing.  However, it’s spelled correctly inside the book at the story as well as in the author bio at the end.  It’s also spelled correctly on the Amazon listing.  *shrug*  Irritating, but nothing to get too worked up over.

And no, I didn’t see the cover before release.

Anyway, it’s only $3 for your Kindle, so why not? 🙂

How things change

About a month ago, I pulled Mist out of the office and started reading it.  In case you don’t know, Mist is the novel I wrote a few years back.  So large I broke it into three parts, because each item by itself would be the length of a novel.  Well, I was ready to get to work on it.  I think I read about two chapters in it (and damn, they need some work).  Then, something else stepped in my path.

As you know, I’m the Assistant Managing Editor at Tangent Online, a fairly large and well known short fiction review site.  I haven’t done much with the position since earning it last year, aside from maintaining it’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Well, the Managing Editor ran into a rough patch, and needed me to take over for a while.  So I’ve been learning that, in addition to various other personal life items that just kept me busy in the evenings.

Swallowing your time (and your soul) since 1996

Oh yeah, there’s also Diablo 3, but that’s another story.

Anyway, I’ve nearly gotten my hands around this editor thing, which is pretty demanding work when I have work to do.  I have a new appreciation for what solo editors have to do to keep things floating, I can say that for certain!

So I just keep on moving.  I haven’t written much in well over a year, aside from some gaming material for personal use.  I have a lot of ideas flowing and lately the itch to sit down and write something has started to grow.  I think here in a few months, once I get past a few other hurdles, I will be ready to get back into the writing game.  At the moment, I have noting even to send out to publishers, and I really need to correct that!  I have a ton of finished stories.

Well, finished as in the first draft is done.  Which means I have about 6 or 7 more revisions of each one before they are ready for sending out to people for consideration.

Mist looms, as well.  It’s time to get it right, and get it out into the world.  I just need to get this next review posted to Tangent…

Have $12 burning a hole in your pocket?

Well, you should.  I mean, how else will you buy this?

Mystic Signals #13

Go buy Mystic Signals #13 over at Amazon, now!

“Karma” is now up!

Head on over to to check out “Karma” in all its 950 word glory!

And “Karma” gets a home…

Looks like Short Story Me liked “Karma” enough to select it for publication!  Nice to see that someone there could be bothered to, you know, read it and all that.  I’m very pleased that this piece finally found a home, so many years after it was initially written.

However, this puts me in a bind.  I’ve always had a couple stories floating around in various places.  Well, with the sale of “Karma,” I have nothing else left to send out.  I have a lot of stuff written, but nothing is ready to send out!  So I guess its time to bust out some of these stories I’ve had sitting around and actually edit them and get them ready for mass consumption!

You’ve got to be kidding me…

Many years ago, while in a quiet moment at the computer shop in which I worked, a story idea popped into my head.  I belted it out, and in about thirty minutes had a 1000 word story called “Karma.”  It’s a fantasy story, about an undead assassin who gets what’s coming to him.  I was proud of it, enough that when I seriously started pursuing the glorious life of a writer, I pulled it out and edited it into the 950 word powerhouse that it is now.

Now, it’s made the rounds.  A couple of high end publications had narrow fields which included it, but eventually it was cut.  Which tells me its good.  Damn good.  Just not quite good enough.  But, after even more revision, it is about all it can be at my current level of skill.  I’m okay with that, and its still making the circuit.

This morning, though, I received a rejection that just blew my mind.  I won’t say who it is from, as that isn’t really necessary.  It’s bad enough I had to bitch about here.

Here it is, in its entirety (names changed to protect the… err… innocent?)…

We can’t use your story at this time. We hope you have some luck placing it with another market. See below for editor notes. Please submit more fiction.

Your submission of “Karma” was reviewed by John Q Editor.

The thing is, I didn’t read all of it, but it quickly became a vision of the afterlife, and we’re really not interested in stories that are a glimpse of the afterlife. Granted, all writers must write these stories, and obviously some do get published (Sixth Sense), but it’s not right for our magazine.

Now the form part at the start of this rejection is fairly normal.  “We don’t want it, good luck placing this junk with someone else.  Oh yeah, send us more of your junk.”  Every writer sees them.  I’ve learned to ignore that part of the message.  It’s a rejection, and for whatever reason (however nebulous), they didn’t want it for their publication.

For most rejections, that is all you get.  A simple “Thanks but no thanks.”  Sometimes you get lucky and the reader provides something further.  It’s usually a reason why they  won’t take it (didn’t like the character, the story was too drawn out, too much exposition, etc.) and maybe something constructive like “delete pages 5-9 and you will have a good story.”

The part that blew me away on this rejection was the feedback.  Bear in mind, this story is 950 words. 950 words is a fast read.  Double spaced, its a 3 page Word document.  We’re not talking about a time commitment, on any level.  So yeah, the reader above chose not to read it, and on top of it all, quickly proved that he didn’t by assuming what the story is about.  Also, he brought up the movie Sixth Sense to prove his point.

What?  Unless the Sixth Sense he’s talking about features an undead assassin who serves a mysterious master who loves a dose of Karma and Irony, then I’m not sure what he’s talking about.

The editor/slush reader is well within their rights to not read something, that is fine and dandy.  But to call attention to the fact by proving you didn’t even finish reading the first 100 words, well, that’s unprofessional and not very intelligent. Had he just said that he didn’t finish reading it as it felt like something he wasn’t interested in, then I wouldn’t be here writing this.  Now would I?

I also fully respect that the reader felt it wasn’t right for their publication.  I wouldn’t expect a publication that takes vampire robot stories to accept a werewolf hooker story.  But make the rejection a little more friendly.  Come on, you’re making a struggling writer a little sad that their story wasn’t up to snuff.  To be rude and say “Hey, I didn’t read your steaming pile of excrement because it is a werewolf hooker story and we only take vampire robot stories,” when had you read further than 20 words in you would have seen it was a werewolf hooker who teams up with the main character, who just so happens to be a vampire robot.  Well, that’s just bad form.

You know what, give me a form rejection.  At least that way I don’t know you didn’t take it because you don’t like how I had the letter T in the character’s last name.

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.