#TBT | Interview with Gordon Linzner

Can you believe we’ve only had Space and Time for just over six months?

Back in February the founder of the magazine, Gordon Linzner was kind enough to grant me an interview. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him in person along with former publisher Hildy Silverman. Six months later with new insight I have more questions.

I think I can get Gordon to grant us another interview, but while I pursue that I’ll share the interview from last February as my Throw Back Thursday.  In this interview Gordon discusses the roots of Space and Time, the struggles to balance publishing and personal writing career and his books.

You can read that interview here.

My favorite quote from the interview is when I asked Gordon why he and a couple of high school students would launch a magazine. His answer is a perfect summation.

“Who knows why teenagers do what they do? Looking back, we were all outliers to some degree; it gave us something to do in place of ‘normal’ activities such as dating.”

You can find out more about Space and Time magazine here.

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To Grammarly or Not to Grammarly

A few weeks ago I had a question about Grammarly sent to my Inbox. For anyone who has never tried it, Grammarly is an online grammar checking, spell checking, and plagiarism detection platform.

They claim that with their help you will achieve “bold, clear, mistake-free writing with Grammarly’s AI-powered writing assistant.” I wrote such a long response I thought I’d save time and use it as a blog post as well.

The question was…

“I have Grammarly on board. Yup, Grammarly is tagging me. It’s a first offense; usually excessive commas. Do I correct or not?” 

And I answered: That’s your choice completely. Personally, I don’t like Grammarly and the rest. They are algorithms, not readers. They would probably tag Charles Dickens, Jack Kerouac and Tolkien as being wrong.

Writing and art are personal creations. They are all about invention within guidelines. If everyone held themselves to a strict set of rules, nothing new would be created. Salvador Dali would have been told his clocks were wrong and joined the Bob Ross Army of Artists.

But… you do need to polish your writing. We all do, always. No writer/artist ever reaches a state of perfection where they stop improving… until they are dead. Depending on an algorithm to improve your work is like thinking you will use a crutch for life, long after the broken bone is healed.

My opinion: do it the old-fashioned way. Read, study writing, take workshops, have HONEST beta readers. I’ve done this myself for the past ten or so years and it has improved my writing a lot.

My advice is to nestle into your natural genre, study all you can on it, read everything around the genre (non-fiction and news), find readers who appreciate that genre and then claim it.

The entire process takes many years, but it is the only way I have ever seen anyone succeed other than a few one hit wonders that vanish as quickly as they headline. I published End of Mae in 2010. Nine years later I think I can say I’m a moderately successful author. In ten years I hope to have morphed into a successful author.

To clarify what I mean by “read everything around the genre:” I write speculative fiction and poetry. It’s a blend of horror and science fiction with a little fantasy mixed in sometimes. I read about demons, ghosts, supernatural occurrences, cryptids, dark matter, conspiracy theories, aliens, UFOs, cloning, artificial intelligence, bio-tech, magic craft and anything attached to these topics. I find all this on my newsfeed, nonfiction section of the library/bookstores, blogs and magazines.

When I am in the middle of a story (right now, the expanded Bitter Suites) I read nothing spec-fiction except maybe to review. I don’t want other stories sliding in my brain to color what already exists pre-ink in my mind. I might read another genre to get different perspectives, but I will avoid the genre I’m actually working in while I’m working in it.

My thoughts: devour your genre in the beginning, build a foundation of comprehension and then build your own UNIQUE city of work on that. NOTE and DISCLAIMER: These are my opinions based on my observations. Your experience and path may lead completely different directions. Author experience may not be the same in all cases. Apply with discretion.

Wow, I guess I’ve written a blog post here. Mind if I do an edited and anonymous version of this as a blog post someday?

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Opinion Peace: Jim Smith on Recent Shootings

As I write this introduction, my local news feed claims that eight Walmarts in the US have received threats of violence. My inbox has blown up with people sending me a threatening screenshot that’s been circulating on social media for Kansas City.

Not far from where I live, Dmitriy Andreychenko conducted a “social experiment” by walking into a Walmart wearing body armor and carrying a loaded military-style rifle to test his Second Amendment rights in a public area. People are scared. In Manhattan, a back firing motorcycle caused panic. In Utah, a falling sign caused a mall evacuation. In Louisiana customers fled when an argument between two men resulted in drawn weapons.

This is all recent news. The atmosphere is riddled with fear and suspicion. Jim Smith from  late-night radio show My Generation w/ The Night Owl radio show on 91.3 WVUD-FM in Newark Delaware wrote up an interesting opinion piece on the curious place we find ourselves and generously agreed to let me share it here.

The following is written by Jim Smith regarding the recent shootings in the United States. All opinions are Jim’s. I thank him for taking the initiative to voice words on the situation. While I try to keep the focus here on writing, some things are too large to ignore. “Opinion Peace” is a first here, but I invite more personal essays.

Jim’s bio and links are included at the end of this piece.

Respectful discussion welcome.

Jim Smith

Even in a nation slowly becoming used to bad news, the reports of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas on August 3, 2019 shocked the country. People were told the news that 20 or more people (or more) were murdered just after 10:30 a.m. at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas which left most of us shaking our heads and wondering ‘how can these things happen?’.  But then, less than 24 hours later we wake up to find nine people killed and over a score of people wounded at a bar in Dayton, Ohio.

And once again, we are wondering why?  How can these things happen, and why with such seeming regularity these days? Is likely what’s on most people’s minds, especially since (according to a CNN article) this is the 115 mass shootings since May 2019 in the United States this year, and this is only August!

Some questions seem to inevitably flood into our consciousness every time something such as the El Paso and Dayton shootings are shown on our Televisions. Questions like, ‘how can this happen?’ of course, ‘why would someone do these things?’ and ‘why are these mass shootings happening so often?’.  All valid questions but, sadly most are unanswered and too often remain unanswered as most people return to their busy, and often complicated daily lives.  Also, many of the assailants are killed by police or sometimes give coherent answers, making the authorities rely in Social Media posts in their search for a motive.

Unfortunately, the usual stock answers cover the when, where and how’s of what happened but often overshadow the real question of ‘why?’  Those spurious answers tend to lean toward guns, and so-called ‘assault weapons’ and their ease of availability, or high-capacity clips and the deadly ammo they are designed to hold (basically designed to only be available to the Military).

But there’s more to it, but those extraneous points are seemingly lost on many people who depend on the Media for explanations. One point being, how can generally ordinary people be motivated to commit such horrific acts against random strangers? Is it the guns?  Of course that’s one element of the equation but we have to remember that not only was the United States itself literally born in a baptism of gunfire, but that guns have been with us for time immemorial and, by the numbers we have been awash in guns for centuries,

But in all that time, did people so casually use these guns against our fellow citizens as much as are used today?  The answer would appear to be no, but not because we didn’t have easy access to them.  In the 50s and 60s most people knew of people who had guns or owned one of two themselves, even the kids. It was considered a rite of passage in many areas of the country for a father to give his son a .22 rifle for his sixteenth birthday.

And then there was Television.  The Rifleman, Have Gun, Will Travel, Gunsmoke and a raft of other action-adventure shows were the Television norm.  And later it was James Bond, The Man From Uncle, I-Spy and a host of other spy, detective and police shows where the ‘good guy’ always had a gun.  And he or she used it, often.

Forgetting for a moment that many of these mass shooters weren’t even born when the abovementioned shows and movies were popular, one can ask, was that at least a part of the reason today’s world is what it is? Apparently not.  Children back then were shooting each other with imaginary, or toy guns with regularity and most never considered ever using a real one, despite having easy access to a real gun.

Of course some of these ultra-realistic, multiplayer video games, where players can blow someone’s head off with disturbing realism (and the ‘dead’ guy gets right up and then shoots back) may have some influence but more study on that influence seems to be needed.

And then there’s ‘The News’.  The never-ending 24/7 cycle of more information than you’d even need or want.  Depending which news outlet is your go-to information source, that could unmistakably affect people.  Even, and especially, children.  Decades ago, getting ‘the news’ was considered an ‘adults only’ pastime and most children didn’t pay much attention to what Walter Cronkite had to say every night.  And sometimes the parents would even send the kids out of the room. ‘Let the kids be kids and allow them to retain their innocence for a while.’ seems almost a foreign idea today.

Then, saving the ‘best’ for last, there’s Facebook and other Social Media outlets on the Internet.  When did regular society stop shunning people who had antisocial and violent opinions?  They probably still do, and the murderous wannabe ‘freedom fighters’ and their hateful ilk were usually ostracized by most folks, leaving them to spout their opinions to two or three people at the bar who would listen to them.

But clearly not today. With Social Media it’s almost impossible for people on the fringes of society to not find others who feel the way they do.  Apart from most online society they can seek out, and associate themselves with like-minded individuals.  And as it always is, there is strength in numbers and the people in these hateful and violent groups rely on others in their small circles to confirm and reinforce their antisocial leanings.  These groups act as a breeding ground for irrational hatred and then, without the filter of what general society may think, they act!  That is among the things we must look carefully at.

And of course, the general, consumer-oriented Media is not without their share of responsibility.  In a country of over 325 Million people there will always be murder and mayhem.  Historically, that seems to be human nature. However, with the 24-hour news media, when something happens in some small-town anywhere in the United States, it will become national news when before, it was relegated to perhaps a paragraph or less in your own local paper. This can also lead to fear and paranoia in the public in general, which leads to making people look over their shoulders in fear, although only a small percentage of incidents of mass killings are but a fraction of gun deaths in the overall population of the United States.

Which leaves the question and the debate, not just a matter of the who, what and where any more.  It’s about the WHY!  This is what is necessary before we can make any progress on this problem, because we haven’t heard the end of this.

Jim Smith

Jim Smith is a self-described “old fart who likes to write.” He has been a freelance writer since with articles published in the print edition of Mental Floss and Cosmos—Australia’s version of Popular Science—and has been published in Canada and regional publications across the United States.

Jim has a humorous take on his work. “Ever write an 800-word article on 1800s Oklahoma Sod Houses? No? Then just don’t as it’s in the top three most boring subjects on the planet. But they liked it and paid me (and I’ve never set foot in Oklahoma), so it’s all good.”

You can find Jim Smith’s late-night radio show My Generation w/ The Night Owl radio show on Facebook here.

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Exquisite Corpse Time!

We had an unprecedented 20 lines submitted for this exquisite corpse. If it continues to grow like this I will have a corpse army. Move over Walking Dead!

As much as I’d like to whip the veil off this new cooperative creation, he has graduated to his own private space at Space and Time magazine’s website. You can go find him here.

There’s a new Call to Corpse at the bottom of the same page. The theme is heat. Please submit your corpse line via that form to help me keep track. With 20 lines coming in it will be easy to miss one if they are coming in on two different emails, via text and scribbled on bits of paper.

I’ll be sending out the poem image to all our contributors later tonight with links, but since you took the initiative to read it here, you get to see it first. Now… who wants to Corpse again?

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#TBT | Space and Time, Vol. 4, No. 7 (August 1969)

What do DC and Marvel Comics have in common with Space and Time magazine? Short answer: Alex Saviuk.

Today’s throwback is already one of my favorites for the dynamic artwork. Still only a few year’s old, the magazine’s contributors were already showing considerable talent. When #7 went to press, Saviuk was a year away from graduating high school but he was already producing amazing work.

It’s no wonder he was working for DC Comics just a few years later. Saviuk moved to Marvel Comics in 1986 , where he had the longest run of a single artist on a seven-year run of Web of Spider-Man (issues #35–116).

Saviuk is not the only talent shining from the digest size pages: founder Gordon Linzner is back with “The Revenge of Nolfur,” Nestor Jeremko tells the tale of a man caught in the middle of the first black out—and his own nightmare. Kenneth Scher contributed “Cross and Double-Cross.”

All of the work in this early issue is intelligent and well executed… especially when you consider this stapled sheaf of pages is the work of such a young team. They weren’t making the big bucks off this publication. I doubt, given the 25¢ cover price, they were making many bucks at all.

This issue is proof that if you follow your gifts and do what you love, you can find success at it. It just takes passion, dedication, boldness and belief. All of that is apparent in this issue.

Space and Time, Vol. 4, No. 7 (August 1969) is available as a digital back issue for $2.99 here.

We are working hard to try to make all the previous issues available in this form because every issue is a treasure from our spec-fiction past… and because I need my dining room table back.

More photos from my back issue #TBT series will be posted in Space and Time magazine’s Facebook album page soon.

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LoH and a Hay(na)Ku

Hay(na)ku? When I first heard of this relatively new poetry form I had to try it. Poet Eileen Tabios is credited as the creator in 2003. Hay(na)ku is a 3-line poem with one word in the first line, two words in the second, and three in the third. There are no restrictions beyond this.

You can link your hay(na)ku up into chains, and reverse them. It seems limiting, and it is. My experience with the strict forms is they force me to be more creative. So far I’ve only tried one as my response to my monthly Ladies of Horror prompt. I went for a kitschy 50s era sci-fi paranoia feel. The choppy rhythm made me hear Captain Kirk’s voice.

You can read Butterflies Lie, my first hay(na)ku, here. Try one for yourself and share the link in the comments!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ladies of Horror, it’s a writing project on Nina D’Arcangela’s Spreading the Writer’s Word blog. Ladies of Horror – all the pieces are picture-prompt oriented with two authors posted per day.

Here are July’s images and the line-up…

Witching Hour
by Ela Lourenco

Paranormal Witness
by A.F. Stewart

The Deal
by Kathleen McCluskey

The Skin Walker
by Elaine Pascale

Into the Blackness
by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

When Death Came for Her
by Terrie Leigh Relf

Mater Natura
by Karen Soutar

by E.A. Black

Butterflies Lie
by Angela Yuriko Smith

by Mary Ann Peden-Coviello

Under the Blue Night Sky
by Melissa R. Mendelson

Bitter Skies
by Lori R. Lopez

by Michelle Joy Gallagher

by Christina Sng

Metal Meticulous
by Sonora Taylor

And She Will Live Forever
by Naching T. Kassa

What Gave Them the Right?
by Rie Sheridan Rose

A Nest for the Newlyweds
by Marge Simon

K.R. Morrison

by Scarlett R. Algee

by Suzie Lockhart

by Nina D’Arcangela

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Review | The Corpse Whisperer by H.R. Boldwood

I have to love The Corpse Whisperer’s Allie Nighthawk. She’s everything I aspire to be… if I ever find myself as an independent contractor for management of the undead. Funny, smart and practical, she has a unique way of looking at things and she isn’t shy about sharing.

An interesting concept, Allie has the ability to awaken the dead for the practical purpose of solving crimes. Who makes a better witness than the victim? Unfortunately, putting them back to sleep isn’t as simple—and that’s where things get interesting.

Set in Cincinnati, there is plenty of detail in the writing to make it believable. The dialogue has plenty of snap and the plot is surprising and moves quickly. And she’s a dog lover. What’s not to like? I enjoyed the story and look forward to the sequel. The Corpse Whisperer is great entertainment.

You can find The Corpse Whisperer by H.R. Boldwood on Amazon here.

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Exquisite Corpse Looking for Parts

E. Corpse courtesy of Kyra Starr

Remember our exquisite corpse from last month? You can find him at Exquisite Corpse Space and Time Magazine. I’m getting ready to put together August’s corpse and we have room for a few more lines. The theme is revolution, so I look forward to a revolting corpse. I’ll post the finished corpse next Saturday, August 10.

I’ll accept lines until August 7. Please note: the way to submit has changed. Please submit everything through this form. That helps me keep it organized. And again, the theme is revolution.

Thank you to everyone who participated last month. There will be a prize again. Winner is drawn at random and has nothing to do with the work submitted.

The winner for last month—which I forgot to post—was Marge Simon. Congratulations Marge! Her goodies were sent off before I remembered to take a photo. This month, let’s do another Edgar Allan Poe grave dirt necklace as a prize. It makes a great lucky charm for dark writers.

What’s an Exquisite Corpse?

An exquisite corpse poem is created by different people giving a line unrelated to the previous line. A poem is built from many authors, often following the same rule or theme. In this case, there are no rules but there is a theme. Also, it is a line, so no paragraphs please. You can read more about them here.

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#TBT | S&T Display at North Independence Public Library

If you stop by the North Independence Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library you can enjoy a display of Space and Time magazine history. The library has graciously allowed us the use of an entire display case in the entrance to share some of our memorabilia. With 53 years of history behind the magazine, there’s a lot to share.

Included are fan letters sent to founder Gordon Linzner from the beginning, vintage flyers, bookstore requests, original issue #3 from 1968, actual magazines from across the five decades, original issue #5 opened to a 14-year-old Gene Simmon’s (a.k.a. Gene Klein) illustration and a display of speculative fiction and poetry books with an explanation of what the genre is.

So many shelves to fill…!

It was fun to put together, and we have so much material on hand, I may look for someplace to do another Space and Time history exhibit.

If you stop by and see the display, share a photo on Space and Time’s Facebook! I’ll be posting an album of the display as soon as I get more photos. Visit the magazine’s Facebook here.

Special thanks to the  North Independence Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library for allowing us the space. The exhibit will be on display until October 1.

A Brief History of Space and Time

Space and Time magazine is the oldest continuously published semi-pro magazine in the speculative fiction genre. It began on June 3, 1966 when founder Gordon Linzner printed the first copies off of a mimeograph machine he purchased for $25. Gordon was a high school student at the time. He published Space and Time for the next 100 issues. Many names that are now famous created art, stories and poetry for Space and Time.

Some examples? Gene Simmons (a.k.a. Gene Klein), Jack Ketchum, Jessica A. Salmonson, Norman Spinrad, Jack Ketchum, and Aliette de Bodard.

In 2007, Gordon decided to retire from the magazine and focus on his own writing career. Hildy Silverman took on Space and Time and carried it forward for the next 12 years. Then, at the end of 2018, Hildy decided it was time for her to retire from the magazine. She issued a press release announcing the end of Space and Time

Local Independence residents Angela Yuriko Smith and R. A. Smith took on responsibility for the magazine at the beginning of 2019 with the publication of issue #133.

In all its 52 years of existence, Space and Time magazine was published on the east coast. The Smith’s relocated the magazine to the Midwest, specifically Independence, where now it is printed in Lawrence, Kansas by Allen Press.

Do you know what else hails from Lawrence, Kansas? Fictional characters Sam and Dean Winchester from the speculative fiction television series Supernatural. The television movie The Day After was also filmed in Lawrence. Who knew the Midwest was such a hotbed for speculative fiction?

Maybe that’s what Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz meant when she said, “‘Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

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Accountability | July 2019

Image by Simon Steinberger from Pixabay

Last month I promised I to post my writing productivity on the last Monday of the month. I invite anyone who is looking for some accountability to share their own progress in the comments. Doing this has been a big boost.

Knowing I had this ‘deadline’ spurred me on and I had a stellar month for submissions and writing. I wrote five new short stories for specific requests, streamlined my entire submission process, set myself up a proper Shunn template to copypasta and actively added new projects to my submissions folder. Because I got myself organized, I’ve been able to share submissions with other authors and share the love.

I started this at the end of June, so I rushed and submitted older work to markets I wasn’t familiar with. Most of it was rejected. By July I was writing for specific calls and my acceptances went up. Most of the subs are still being considered, so they’ll affect future month stats. I should also mention that I moved from free markets to paying markets in June. That reflects in my rejection/acceptance ratio. It’s a lot easier to get a yes for free work.

All in all, this is working for me—
01/2019 | 5 submissions | 5 acceptances | 0 rejection | 0 under consideration
02/2019 | 0 submissions | 0 acceptances | 0 rejection | 0 under consideration
03/2019 | 2 submissions | 2 acceptances | 0 rejection | 0 under consideration
04/2019 | 0 submissions | 0 acceptances | 0 rejection | 0 under consideration
05/2019 | 1 submissions | 1 acceptances | 0 rejection | 0 under consideration
06/2019 | 10 submissions | 0 acceptances | 6 rejections | 4 under consideration
07/2019 | 10 submissions | 3 acceptances | 1 rejection | 6 under consideration
Total       | 28 submissions | 11 acceptances | 7 rejections | 10 under consideration

 | My poem, “Love Like Starlight,” won Honorable Mention in the 242nd Weekly PoetryNook.com Contest. The prize was $20.

I also finished my Camp Nanowrimo goal of 50,000 words in a month. I finished today with a word count of 51,233. Originally I was just going to work on my Bitter Suites sequel, but I realized early on that was going to frustrate me.

I changed my goal to be total word count rather than a project word count. I didn’t count emails. That would have probably brought me to around 100,000 words.

So, good month. I feel like holding myself accountable has made a huge difference and I’ll continue doing this. Anyone who wants to benefit the same way can post their productivity stats in the comments each month.

How I organize submissions in Google Docs

Previous posts like this…

Accountability for Productivity
Posted on  by Angela Yuriko Smith

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