The Latest From the Rejection Files

dragon

from “The Hobbit” (2012)

I’ve received three story rejections within a relatively short space of time recently, which is disheartening. The first one was a long shot I sent to Uncanny Magazine. I wasn’t surprised when they sent a very speedy rejection email back to me, but I figured “worth a shot.” Of course that means the short SciFi story has been rejected three times so far.

However, the other two I actually thought had a chance. Here are excerpts from them both:

Strange Pawns

NOTE: The one requirement for this anthology was that both dragons and vampires had to be included. I set my tale in alternate versions of World War Two just for giggles:

Hodhas and Meldaborne personally led the 2nd Airborne Wing of Dragons on their fourth night of successive attacks against Berlin, supported by scores of RAF Mosquitoes. The city suffered from round the clock bombing runs, with the American Army Air Force assailing the capital by day.

The RAF insignia was proudly displayed by the dragons, each wearing a large sash that encircled their torsos. Jagi, however, had hers painted directly on her scales.

“Maintain formation in the dive, my cohorts,” ordered Hodhas, who seemed all but invisible against the ebony sky. “Our plunge to the Reichstag is coming up in moments.” Each of the dragons tilted their wings in acknowledgement, deftly avoiding flak from anti-aircraft guns on the ground, or those few that were left after the last twenty-four hours of perpetual bombardment.

“On my mark…dive!” The obsidian mother dragon curved her body downward, folding her wings back like a falcon, and in unison, 58 other dragons, one of six remaining attack forces, followed, screaming out of the ether like enormous birds of prey.

“I see something ahead. Too small to be aircraft, and we know the Luftwaffe has been destroyed…” Hodhas never finished her sentence as hundreds, perhaps thousands of bats surged upward from the city under cover of darkness, each with a wingspan of six feet or more. Their cries were maddening, and both fang and claw pierced the armor of the dragons, causing blood to be drawn from a dozen wounds in a matter of seconds.

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Are the Science Fiction “Culture Wars” Still Alive and Well?

dragon

Image found at DragonCon.org

I’ve tried to steer this blog away from the more controversial and/or political topics I’ve covered in the past, but then I read Richard Paloinelli’s missive Wikipedia or WikiPravda?. Richard and I share some similar viewpoints, but I lack many of the wounds and scars he’s received in the past, such as those attributed to Mike Glyer at the File 770 science fiction fanzine. I think I was contended with there exactly once. It actually impressed me, since relative to Glyer’s readership, I’m pretty much a nobody.

In the recent past, I’ve heard that Wikipedia, Patreon, and YouTube have been accused of attempting to shut out politically and socially conservative creative voices through censorship and defunding. Since I’m merely a consumer of Wikipedia and YouTube and wouldn’t know what to do with Patreon, I’ve had no personal experience, but on the other hand, I have no trouble believing they are all biased left, either.

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“The Deseret War” To Be Published In The Anthology “A Mighty Fortress: Mormon Steampunk Volume IV”

shoulder wheel

Promotional Image of this year’s Mormon Steampunk anthology published by “Immortal Works”

Remember (or maybe you don’t) when I said that so far this year, nine of my short stories have been accepted for publication, but I can only talk about eight? Well, I just got permission to talk about the ninth. It’s a very differently themed anthology put out by Immortal Works, a small publishing outfit in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The anthology is called “A Mighty Fortress: Mormon Steampunk Volume IV” and stories submitted had two main thematic requirements. First, that it had to be Steampunk. Second, that it had to involve the Mormon Church. Yup, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Normally, I don’t think of those two topics going together, but I managed to make it work.

Here are the specifics at the “Immortal Works” Facebook page. You should be able to read them even if you don’t have Facebook, but I’ll post the info here just in case:

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What the Heck is a “Neffy Award?”

neffy

Screen capture of a portion of Mike Glyer’s online fanzine “File 770”

Having (finally) successfully subscribed to Mike Glyer’s File 770 online SciFi fan newzine, I find that most of what this rather prolific blog puts out doesn’t catch much of my interest. Of course, with WorldCon Dublin coming up next month, a lot of the content is focused there. They also put out a tremendous number of articles about various awards, again, most of which I don’t have an interest in.

However, I did pause to read Neffy Award Ballot Is Out. I’d never heard of the Neffy Awards, so I looked them up.

But before that, I took a look at the ballot, which lists science fiction and fantasy works nominated in a number of categories. They include Best Novel, Best Shorter Work, Best Book Editor, Fanzine, TV Show, Movie, Anime, and so forth. Needless to say, I didn’t recognize any of the names and most of the category entries. Oh, I have heard of “Game of Thrones” and I used to watch “Supergirl,” but that was about it. This reminded me that as a “fan,” I’m probably really lacking in keeping up with what’s current (to find out what I’ve been reading and watching lately, go to my Reviews page).

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Author Update May 30, 2019

scifi

Cover art for the Cloaked Press anthology “Spring Into SciFi”

As of today, I still have six stories accepted with four in print. Haven’t heard back again from Cloaked Press about the status of their 2019 edition of the SciFi anthology “Spring into SciFi” which features my short story “The Recall.” However, the Impossible Hope anthology which accepted my tale “The Switchman’s Lantern” is going through final edits.

Now for the more distressing news. As of a few days ago, my rejection list grew to 11. Actually, it’s more like 14 since a publication that accepts multiple submissions rejected all 4 of the stories I sent them.

hope

Proposed cover for “Impossible Hope” anthology

As of last night, the number of stories I’ve submitted that are still pending is up to 13, although I think a few of the magazines are struggling with deadlines and are (temporarily) in limbo.

I’m toggling between working on my novel and writing short stories to keep my focus from getting bogged down. The continued lack of a day job also preys on my mind, since unemployment insurance is meager and won’t last forever.

All I can do on all fronts is to keep plugging away and to trust in providence, which up until now, has never let me down.

Interviewed by L. Jagi Lamplight Wright from Superversive Press

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Promotional image of author and editor L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright

A few months ago, I wrote about being interviewed by Jensen Reed, co-owner of Pixie Forest Publishing.

A few days back, I was interviewed again, this time by L. Jagi Lamplight Wright at Superversive Press. One of the differences here is that I participated in Jagi’s “Guinea Pig” fiction writing class, a curriculum she was experimenting on last November, so she knows my writing in a different way.

Click on this LINK to read the full interview, which includes a brief excerpt from the first chapter of my WIP novel.

From the Rejection Roster: Excerpt from “Ice”

ice

© National Geographic – projection of South America if all Earth’s ice had melted.

I’ve been doing a lot of marketing, progress updates, and reviews lately but not so much fiction writing on this blog. The reason is that I’m scrambling between writing the second draft of my first novel and writing and submitting short stories, hopefully faster than they are rejected.

Yes, I’m human, so having one of my tales not make the cut stings a bit, even though it’s totally anticipated and “normal.”

I still don’t like it.

So I decided to regularly (not sure how regularly yet) post a passage from one of my rejected missives that is temporarily out of play for your enjoyment and consideration. Naturally, the excerpt isn’t the story, but maybe it will be enough of a hint to tell you if anything is a bit “off” about it or if you can suggest improvements.

Therefore, without further ado, this short preview from my short story “Ice.”

“You mean to do this, then?” Afternoon of the next day, both the Captain and his First Mate stood on the dock listening to Eralia shout orders from the Star’s main deck, and watching longshoremen bring crates, barrels, and nets of supplies on palates and mule-drawn wagons, loading them aboard and down into the holds.

“In all of our days together, you’ve always followed where I’ve led. Why question me now?” Yong turned to Andrada who was still looking at the ship, the bustle of the crew, the same men and women doing the same work they’ve always done, but for the Mindanao native, it was as if this would be their last voyage.

“A man, a seasoned sailor, killed himself just because he knew we were coming to see him. It bothers me.”

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Special Offer for the Kindle Edition of “Magical Reality”

Promotional image for the anthology “Magical Reality”

For a limited time only, the Kindle edition of the Pixie Forest Publishing fantasy anthology Magical Reality, featuring my short story “The Dragon’s Family” is available for $2.99 USD or free with Kindle Unlimited. Don’t miss out.

Film Review: Aquaman (2018)

aquaman

Promotional image for the 2018 film “Aquaman.”

I happened upon the DVD of Aquaman (2018) at my local library and couldn’t pass it up. The film has gotten rave reviews, and given the DCU‘s relatively poor track record compared to Marvel, I decided they were due for a win.

First of all, I love Jason Momoa as Arthur/Aquaman. Even as a kid, the blond, orange shirted Aquaman of the comic books seemed pretty silly to me, especially when compared to Marvel’s Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, so Momoa’s interpretation of Aquaman is an incredible improvement and a joy to watch. I also loved Temuera Morrison as Arthur’s Dad Tom and Nicole Kidman as his Mom Atlanna. An additional treat was the appearance of Willem Dafoe as Vulko.

All that said, I thought the movie was “okay”. Oh sure, plenty of action, thrills and chills, but it didn’t really stand out. There are already plenty of films about reluctant, exiled kings and their rise to power against evil. Frankly, Marvel’s Black Panther (2018) did it better, although it’s tough to compare the two characters.

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Haven’t Seen “Endgame” Yet and Other Updates

endgame

Promotional poster for “Avengers: Endgame” (2019)

No, I haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame yet, and unless I go with my sons and grandson, I probably won’t see it in the theater. Yes, I’ve heard it is THE film to see, blowing away all of the other Marvel superhero movies, so I’m certainly stoked. I know my ten-year-old grandson is stoked. Hopefully, if I see it while it’s in the theaters, I’ll find a way to sit through a three plus hour film without a potty break.

I’m not particularly interested in spoilers, but given various complaints about how last year’s Avengers: Infinity War ended, I did write a commentary with a few predictions, though of course, I wasn’t (very) seriously suggesting that my crystal ball was any better than all the others.

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