Friday, November 22, 2013

Bad Markets: Weird T@les

If the "Save the Pearls" blow up hadn't turned you off from WT, then maybe this next bit will. To paraphrase what Keith West reported on his blog: Over the summer, WT's editor Marvin Kaye sent back an accepted story by Chap O'Keefe with a lousy explanation:

 "I regret to inform you that the publisher of We[ird Ta]les* has decided to pass on quite a few stories, yours included. This is a measure to reduce our huge fiction inventory."

Followed by:

"If you have not sold your submission elsewhere, try us again in 9 months. If we have room at that time, it will be an automatic sale."

Well gee, how gracious of them. O'Keefe wasn't the only one hurt, as this happened to seven authors total. It may not seem like a lot, but even one author having their accepted submission turned down is, in it of itself, unacceptable. It's like an employer hiring someone, then before the employee comes in for their first day of work, the employer says, "Changed my mind. Didn't want to hire you, after all."  

But it gets better when one of the contributing editors tries to defend this bullcrap.

"But for good or for bad, Mr. Kaye decided that that would/could put off opening up the submissions portal for several or more months. Like I so testily told Taran on FB, I would do this differently by soliciting much more if not all work. Then everyone knows up front not to ask and there would be less pressure on the staff. But it isn't my magazine. It's Mr. Kaye's and whether any one of us agrees or not. It is his to do as he sees fit. He has my confidence and only time will tell if this is a successful strategy or not."

Sending back accepted stories is a strategy? Then their other strategy must've been to ignore a good chunk of the submissions received, because I queried several times about my submission, sent in the summer of 2012, and never received one response. Finally, after a year, I marked them as "never responded" on The Grinder. I know other authors who had to do similarly.

It's pretty clear, especially the "I'd prefer soliciting", that these guys don't give a rat's ass about the people who submit to them. They will use you and abuse you as they wish.

This was why I wanted to post a warning on their site, seeing as they're reopening their submission portal, but as you might figure, the comment got deleted. I guess they learned from the "Save the Pearls" debacle and got better moderation.

Take caution fellow writers, this is not a good market. If you love your stories, send them to good homes. Apex, Shimmer, Strange Horizons, Horror D'oeuvres/DarkFuse, and many, many more accept weird fiction; WT's is no longer the niche market that its editors think it is. You don't have to settle for them. Even the honor of being published by We[ird Ta]les is gone, as the current publisher has tarnished the name. Do you really want to be associated with an editor who treats writers like trash, and blatantly ignores fellow editors' warnings?

*If you're wondering why I did the We[ird Ta]les, it's so I don't get picked up by the WT's search bots, and have some editor pop on here to half-ass his way through an explanation.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Movie Review: Thor The Dark World

The Marvel movie comic franchise is certainly on a roll this year, first with Iron Man 3, now with Thor: The Dark World. I reviewed the first Thor film back in 2011, which in retrospect, I think was I too kind to it. The Dark World vastly improves on the first film, making it better. Yes, that's right, the sequel is actually good! How often can you say that? The big reason for this is because it does what sequels are supposed to do, which is to progress the storyline.

We pick up shortly after where the Avengers left us, Loki is chained up and facing punishment from his pseudo-father Odin, while Thor must travel to all the nine realms and clean up the chaos Loki has caused. Meanwhile on Earth, Jane Foster is searching for a way to return to Thor. Jane comes across some weird reality warp, located in an abandoned building, falls into another dimension and becomes possessed by the Aether. Bad things ensue.

The Aether goes back to the Dark Elves, but not the Tolkien elves you might expect. These elves are from space! They've got space ships, cloaking abilities, lasers and so on. Their main goal is to return the universe to its former pre-big bang days, using the Aether to do this. They're a cool aspect to the story, even if they remind me an awful lot of the Necromongers from The Chronicles of Riddick. You know, the deathly pale type with dark armor, and scary booming voices. However, I will gladly take Dark Elves any day over Necromongers. (Seriously? Who thought that was a good name?)

If it weren't for the ears, you'd think they were brothers!

 There's still the weakness of the romance between Jane and Thor; the chemistry between the two actors is basically none. So you just have to accept that they love each other. But you aren't watching this film for Jane and Thor. You're watching this for Loki. And the writers must've known this, because Loki has all the best lines, receives a good chunk of the screen time, even when he's locked up for most of the film, and is pretty damn awesome all around. Tom Hiddleston is obviously having a blast playing the role, and good for him, he's a great actor. Should definitely see him as Hal/Henry in The Hollow Crown mini-series. 

I also want to point out another kudo to the writers for sticking with the Thor-Loki dynamic, a dynamic very similar to Batman-Joker...had not both Batman film franchises dropped the ball when it came to the Joker, although understandable in Nolan's case. Still, when you got a great villain, why do away with him?

The action is well executed and appropriately paced, if not a little Star Warsy. We have time to morn characters, and the funeral scene is quite fantastic. Motivations are clear, you aren't confused about who is doing what. The storylines between Asgard and Earth are tied together in a neat little package, with a few surprises thrown in. And chances are high that you'll be laughing at quite a few moments.

So yeah, go see it.   

*edit* Found this gem on 'teh internetz'.

 Homoerotic Thor? Yes, please. :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Flash Fiction: Eye of the Beholder & Oh Deity, My Deity

Halloween may be over, but there are still treats to be had--unless you went to the grocery store and found the leftover candy wiped out--or perhaps you'd prefer a horrific trick or two?

First up is Eye of the Beholder from Horror D'oeuvres; it does require a subscription to read the whole thing, but hey--if you enjoy horror in flash form, they have plenty of that. Also, they've got a book club deal. Very pleasant experience working with the editor, nice and prompt, and pays on acceptance. Funny thing is, I almost didn't send this story there, because I didn't think it was dark enough. It's not. It's just fucking weird.

How weird you ask? No spoilers, but it does involve an eyeball in a very unusual place. Further hints: inspiration for this story came from Japanese ghost story Shirime and the lewd meme, also riding a lot of public transportation in the Phoenix area. Oh, the weird things you will find while waiting for the bus...

And secondly, Oh Deity, My Deity from Black Frost Media--a newish market who also pay on acceptance. If only more markets could do that... You might recognize the deity character from a previous story. It's more of a prequel piece, and I'm currently shopping around a pre-prequel flash with Asteya, then sometime in the near-future I'll get around to writing the final fourth piece which will tie all the stories together. At least that's the plan.

This is also one of my rare 2nd-person POV stories. I kind of stopped writing 2nd-person after a number of rejection from editors saying they didn't like it. Psssh. I still stand by that 2nd-person is a perfectly fine POV, people just need to get that stick--or is it eyeball?--out of their ass.

Hope everyone had a happy and safe Halloween, and here's looking forward to Thanksgiving. Although according to the stores, it's Christmas already!