Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Short Story: Froggers

Again, I'm behind on announcing short story pubs. I do absolutely want to announce this one since the editor, Sam Bellotto Jr., is an awesome dude and probably deserves more credit than the likes of Lois Tilton give him. (She wants Hard Stuff, huh? I get ya. *wink wink*)

"Froggers" is my latest story from Perihelion Science Fiction, and is actually one of my oldest stories too; as in, it's seen A LOT of rejections. Despite what some silly editor said, thinking this was about current events, it's not. This pre-dates current events by a few years. Though I do have this crystal ball...

What are Froggers? So glad you asked...

And step up they did. One frogger—maybe male, but then again, they all looked the same—faced me on the terminal, its beady obsidian eyes on either side of its head stared at me. Always gave me the shivers. The scanner materialized a 3D form of the frogger’s body: bipedal humanoid with massive gut, thick neck, and wide flat head. The scan revealed active cultures churning in the frogger’s bowels, crawling on its slick skin. Froggers were best buds with these microorganisms, couldn’t live without them. Just watching those yellow dots dance all over the 3D form made me want to toss up lunch. 

So we follow cynical Joen as his day only gets worse--snot rockets, anyone? Eck! Then from worse to weird.

Funny thing: this story, like Neither Heaven Nor Hell, was originally written in 3rd-person, but once again, an editor of another magazine didn't "get" my 3rd-person style (which is written very close to the character's perspective) and asked for a change. That editor of course never got back to me. Go figure.

In other news, "The Ungreat Escape" will be in Milo James Fowler's upcoming space opera collection, called BEYOND. More about that on its release date of August 15th!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

You're a Writer, Not a Funder, Goddammit!

Okay, rant time. (Oh c'mon, don't groan like that.)

I saw a post that read:

Hey, short story fans. (snip) has announced that they have until Wednesday to raise the funds needed to keep publishing for another year. As folks who write and submit short stories, we all have a vested interest in helping keep good markets who pay writers fair prices (12.5c per word) afloat. If you've ever thought of submitting to them or enjoyed any of the stories they post for free online, now's a good time to show your support and subscribe to the next issue or donate via the link above. [/soapbox]

There's a lot wrong here. First off, it is not--I repeat NOT--the job of writers to help keep these online zines afloat. The job of the writer is to, well, write.

Secondly, if a magazine isn't making the moolah to keep the lights on, that means one thing and one thing only: no one is reading them.

And if no one is reading them, why would you, the writer, want to fund them so that they can continue to not be read?

This is all so backassward. Did you know there was a time when magazines paid writers, and not the other way around? It's true!

I think we just need to face the music and admit that the short story market is degrading at a rapid rate, because again, no one is reading these magazines--and yes, there are more than a few who have repeatedly asked for funds, not to mention all the anthologies with Kickstarters. If people were reading these magazines, the magazines wouldn't be asking for money. And don't say it's because the magazine offers their stuff for free, and readers today are cheap bastards. People pay for what they like, that's what makes things like Patreon feasible. Frex, that's what makes businesses blossom or fall: if people like your product, they'll pay for it, even if it's outrageously overpriced, like Starbucks' coffee.

Now that's not to say writers can't fund if they really enjoy the magazine. But don't do it if you just want another magazine to submit to. I still think the whole thing is off, much like paying magazines for personal critiques of your story, or paying to get atop of the submission pile. Better to let the magazine die, as it's nature's way of saying that what they publish isn't worth reading in the first place.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


*dusts off blog*

Wow, it's been awhile, huh? So on top of moving to LA, we also got two rat terrier brothers from Clearbrook Kennel. They turned 13 weeks old on the 4th of July, and they've been a joy, though A LOT of work, particularly in the potty training area. Their names are Django (yes, from Django Unchained) and Arkham (because boyfriend loves Lovecraft). Django is the one with pointy Batman ears, and Arkham has the white snout and huge puppy eyes.

Earlier pic, prolly 12 weeks old.
Yep, he insists on chewing his bone on top of the shoes.
Anyone order a box of cuteness? (9-10 weeks old)

I wanna say they're mostly housebroken, but they do have their accidents. Django in particular because he's stubborn as all hell; he doesn't like to listen. Arkham's a good boy, much more people-oriented; he listens and communicates by looking at you, looking at the door, then looking at you again, and whining. Arkahm is also the vocal one; besides whining, he can howl--not in a wolf way, just a cute lil' high-pitched howl. He also has a cheerful growly-bark which we've interpreted as his "Let's play!" bark. Both pups have a bit of guard dog in them and will notify us if the paper towels are in the wrong place, or if a bottle has fallen down. My favorite one is when they warned me about the watermelon I had purchased.

Hopefully I'll do some more blogging this month, assuming the puppies will let me.