Rejections Are Not Reflections

As I write this, emails are going out for the fiction selections (and rejections) for issue #134. This has been a tough reading period.

We had around 500 submissions between poetry and fiction. All of them were good. We wanted most of them. We can only take a few.

This is why rejections should never be taken personally. While sometimes it’s a hint that you need to work on something, often it comes down to factors you can’t control.

An example is genre. This submissions period most of what came in was fantasy. Last period it seems like there was an overabundance of sci-fi. No one can predict this, but here’s some tips on how to boost your chances.

  1. Mash-ups for the money. My job is to create a nice balance of speculative fiction. If I have 100 fantasy stories, I look closer at the other genres that come in. If you can give me a solid horror, sci-fi and/or fantasy blend, your chances just went up because it fits multiple genre. It’s more flexible.
  2. Stand out by looking pro. It does amaze me when we get a submission with typos and poor formatting. I’m not judging—I’ve submitted plenty of  poor looking manuscripts in my past. When I finally learned to submit with Shunn Formatting, my acceptance rates went way up. Click here to see what your manuscript should look like. I’ll get more into why in a later post.
  3. Fat word count is not a bonus. I am a firm believer in not writing for word count. If the story can be told in 300 words, use 300 words. If it needs 30,000, use 30,000. For a publication like Space and Time, shorter (within reason) is better. We are here to publish authors, the more the better. If I have a choice between two well-written 3,000 word stories or one well-written 6,000 word story, I’ll take the two 3k every time. My sweet spot seems to be 2-5k.

Writing is an art, submitting is a competition and publishing is a business. Keeping these things in perspective will increase your chances of getting a publisher’s yes. Most important, do not get discouraged when you get a rejection. It’s not a judgement on you, or even your writing most of the time. Very often it is simply too much of one thing and not enough of the other.

Whatever the outcome, every time you submit a piece you are a winner. You are way ahead of the masses of want-to-be writers that find reasons to never submit. You are the brave soul that extracted a piece of your secret self, pinned it on paper and tried to sell it. That takes guts, and I applaud you, whatever the result.

Now, do it again in mid-September when we open for #135 submissions.

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Review | The Spy Who Drank Blood by Gordon Linzner

The Spy Who Drank Blood by Gordon Linzner is a surprising and fun, modern take on vampires. Often humorous, the story has plenty of suspense and horror to keep readers engaged. The main protagonist is Blood, an old school vampire who has found new purpose. Terrorists, a feisty reporter and government intrigue mix it up into a nice blend of genres.

Linzner did a great job bringing the settings to life. I was often left with vivid imagery that stayed with me. Natural dialogue that helped me form an emotional bond with the characters was good. It heightened the tension when they were in peril. Good story arc with a satisfying end—but I agree with Blood about Davies. The guy would have deserved it.

This is a great book for those looking for an entertaining read with plenty of suspense and not too much dark. It’s pleasant and fun. The character of Blood is one I hope to see again.

You can find The Spy Who Drank Blood on Amazon here.

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Share Your Book Across Space & Time

Now you can display your book across Space and Time—advertising space is now available in issue #134. Full color 2×4 “bookshelf” ad is $50. Limited number available. Subscribers save 10%. You can find all the juicy details here.

Wonder what a “Bookshelf” ad is? Here is a sample ad for my own book, Bitter Suites...  and coincidentally I have another review up on Amazon, posted below.

I heard a rumor that a division of a trucking/logistics company is passing Bitter Suites around the workplace and loving it. When I was told that, it made my month. You can find Bitter Suites on Amazon here.

And here’s that review. Big thanks to SirReadsALot! It means a lot to this author.

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #Poetry, #ReadLocal, #SpaceandTimeMagazine | Leave a comment

#TBT | PC Resurrection, Again

The storm came out of nowhere. I heard the sirens go off in park across the street and I came out of my office to see rain shooting sideways, branches spinning in the air and lightning.  

I rushed back to my office to shut down and unplug my computer. As it completed its cycle, the power in the house went out. No surge, no lightning flash… but it was enough to send my computer to PC ER.

Fortunately, it is fixed and back better than ever. “The Computer Guy” lives right around the corner from me. He had my machine fixed in a day, managed to restore everything and sent it back with a solid state drive. It runs better than ever.

So fresh, so new…

Of course, all my wallpapers and so on went back to default. It was like turning on a new machine—fresh and full of hope. It reminded me of the one of last times I had a new machine like this so I went back to find a post on it for my #TBT post. This comes from 2015 when I had switched to a refurbished, second-hand (but awesome) laptop. The computer I’m on now came the year after.

It’s dawning on me that I go through a lot of computers. It’s lucky for me I have The Computer Guy just a few blocks away.


New Machine, New Beginning

Meet iNinja

Meet iNinja

A few weeks ago my computer (Lord Mac) up and died, taking all my files with him into the great unknown.

Today I am officially back to a computer, a souped up Macbook that runs like a ninja – quiet, efficient and quick. This new guy, who I am at this moment naming iNinja, was previously owned by a friend who is a Mac aficionado and she gave him all the bells and whistles he needs to reach uber status…

You can read the rest of that post here.

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Have You Been to PoetryNook.com?

Note: The first poem I entered for the 242nd Poetry Contest won Honorable Mention with Love Like Starlight. You can read that here.

Since yesterday’s post with Marge Simon  I’ve had poetry on my mind. But really, when do I not have poetry on my mind? One of the online gems I’ve found lately is PoetryNook.com.

On Facebook, Poetry Nook describes their site as a “Platform to help poets reach a wider audience.” They have an online library of over 300,000 poems and a free weekly poetry contest.

The poetry contest is easy to enter and you get a chance to interact with other poets via the comments. The contest kicks off each week on Monday morning and lasts until Sunday of the same week. They give cash prizes and poems are eligible for Pushcart nomination. Even better? Previously published work is okay.

The prizes are impressive, especially for a free, weekly contest:

•  $50 Winning Prize
•  $20 for Honorable Mentions
•  Eligible for a $1,000 Annual Prize
•  Eligible for Pushcart Prize nomination

I entered this week’s with my poem Unfelt Flames of Kate LeoneEnter the 244th week contest yourself here! If you do, let me know in the comments and I’ll come check your entry out.

Another cool feature to help poets get their work out is the fact that they automatically share on social media. I visited the Facebook page after I submitted my poem to the contest and found it posted there. I stumbled across it on Twitter as well. Getting your work in front of nearly 115,000 Poetry Nook fans is worth entering for that reason alone.

Besides tons of poetry in English, they have poetry in other languages as well. I love the Japanese poetry. I can’t read it at all but I do love looking at it. A thesaurus, book store, rhyme finder and poetry related news feed are all good things that kept me browsing and writing.

You do need to make a profile and log in, but that’s also free and ensures a community environment. I’m glad I stumbled across Poetry Nook. I find myself stopping in a few times a week.

Visit Poetry Nook here.
Poetry Nook on Facebook.
Poetry Nook on Twitter.

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #Poetry, #ReadLocal, #Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Post | Marge Simon: My Time with Star*Line

I get a blog vacation today thank to Marge Simon, my friend and guest poster today. I never knew this but she was the first president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. I’m also a recent member. If you are passionate about speculative poetry as a reader, writer or both, this is a good organization to be involved with.

She is an American artist and fellow writer of speculative poetry and fiction. Her poems, short fiction, and illustrations have appeared in hundreds of publications, including Amazing Stories, Nebula Awards 32, Strange Horizons, The Pedestal Magazine, Chizine, Niteblade, Vestal Review, and Daily Science Fiction.

I’d like to pretend I’m off somewhere exotic on my vacation, but I’m still in my closet, just off somewhere in Space and Time. Thank you Marge for the great post!


My Time with Star*Line by Marge Simon

 

First, I better start off with “What is the SFPA?”

We’re talking about the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. The SFPA’s founder was Suzette Hayden Elgin, a writer, poet and successful novelist and was considered an important figure in the field of science fiction constructed languages.

Thus, the Science Fiction Poetry Association began in 1978 to bring together poets and readers interested in speculative poetry. Members voted to rename the organization in 2017.

What is sf/f poetry? Everybody has a unique definition. To be sure, it is poetry (we’ll leave that definition to you), but it’s poetry with some element of speculation—usually science fiction, fantasy, or horror, though some include surrealism and some straight science.

I retired from editing Star*Line, the newsletter of the SF and Fantasy Poetry
Association in 2008. Why did I volunteer in the first place? Because I didn’t want to see
Star*Line and the SFPA fail.

Lord knows, we’ve had some narrow escapes — years when only two issues were published. Years when the editor or publisher fell behind, had other priorities, and/or couldn’t continue. Early in the ‘90’s, I stepped down from my role as president of the Small Press Writers/Artists Organization.

Summary of my history following: I took a year off, and felt I might be able to handle Star*Line, if needed. Too late, I realized that the then long time editor, Bob Frazier, had handed Star*Line over to a volunteer. Two issues came out and then nothing. So eventually I took it on myself. As one thing can lead to another, I was approved by our Founder, Suzette, to be the first official President of the SFPA.

We established and ratified a Constitution, and set things in place to maintain the SFPA with a democratic voting system. A few years later, I enlisted David C. Kopaska-Merkel,
editor of Dreams & Nightmares to edit and publish Star*Line, and he did a fine job for a
number of years.

Things have changed a lot with the advent of e-mail and the Internet. It makes it easier to review submissions and accept or reject them. Work that used to take weeks could be done in a day or even a few minutes.

Since its inception, Star*Line was the life-line of the SFPA– the umbilical cord that
provided news, articles and of course, hopefully the best sf/speculative poetry of the
times to its members. Today, it still does these things, but the sfpanet Yahoo group has
become the primary sounding board for member concerns. Someday, I hope that every
member can avail themselves of this discussion group. We still have a few who don’t
have internet access.

After I retired, Jeannie (F.J.) Bergmann took the helm for several years. Editorship then passed to Vince Gotera. Bergmann is now serving as Vice President. We are fortunate that such talented poets stepped forward to help keep our connections with members flourishing!

If you are interested in joining us –whether you are new to writing genre poetry or accomplished, please stop by our website: sfpoetry.com. There you’ll find a lot of interesting stuff –plus our free on line issue of ETTT (Eye Through the Telescope) which periodically changes themes thanks to members who volunteer to edit an issue.

Note: Star*Line newsletter is a paying print/PDF digest; ETTT is also a
paying market. You do not have to be a member to submit to either one. Oh, and I should
add — a list of markets for genre poetry is provided at our site: sfpoetry.com.

It’s all there, and more. Check us out!

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #PeopleCollection, #Poetry | 1 Comment

📬 From S&T’s Mail: Sleepwalker by Mikel J. Wisler

Look what came to Space and Time magazine’s mailbox—Sleepwalker by Mikel J. Wisler. S&T now welcomes readers to send in books and related items to be shared on S&T’s social media and (if we have time) review. Details at the end.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy Sleepwalker when it showed up in S&T‘s mailbox, but that mindset changed from a few pages in.  Thrillers are not my go-to genre generally, but Wisler managed to catch my attention and hold it through the entire book.

I do enjoy some violence, chaos and destruction in my light reading and the back cover sounded a bit tame for me. About a science teaching nun in Brazil who gets caught up in a convoluted intrigue of false identity and political conspiracy, I expected to read a few pages in and lose interest. The opposite was true. It probably helps a lot that the first word of the prologue is blood.

The plot was well-developed with plenty of action to keep me engaged. I liked how Wisler portrays the not-too-distant future. He gives just enough innovation to bring the reader to another time without bogging us down with technology. I liked the romance triangle he develops.

The story went beyond being simple entertainment for me by bringing up some ethical questions by introducing some different scientific and spiritual concepts. Throw in some philosophy and politics, and there is fuel for some existential blues.

Because S&T was sent an uncorrected ARC, I wasn’t paying attention to any typos and errors, but there were few. I do want to compliment the interior formatting. I loved the chapter heading art and the vertical title/author on every page. It was different without being a distraction. I’d recommend Sleepwalker to readers who enjoy some gritty science and tech in their thrillers. Thanks to Mikel J. Wisler for sending Sleepwalkers. I liked it.

Mikel J. Wisler is a writer and award-winning filmmaker behind several short films, including “Stop,” “Parallel,” and “Playing with Ice.” He co-founded of Stories by the River, a non-profit film production company focused on creating stories that examine the human condition.

Where to go from here:

Want to get on Space and Time magazine’s social media?

Send books and other items to the address below. I’ll be glad to share on S&T’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. If I have time, I’ll review and post on this blog to be shared on my social media in addition to Space and Time‘s. Reviews are not guaranteed.

All mail can be received at:

Space and Time Magazine
P.O. Box 214
Independence, MO
64051

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #PeopleCollection, #ReadLocal, #Reviews, #SpaceandTimeMagazine, #Submit | Leave a comment

#TBT: Fourth of July 80s Flashback

It was the late 80s. My favorite music was by Depeche Mode, Prince, Adam Ant, The Cure, David Bowie… I had discovered hair dye, colored mousse and cigarettes. I tried wine coolers for the first time… too much wine cooler that first time ensured it was the last time. I fell out of love with a boy named Nate who wore spurs on his Doc Martins… 

Fourth of July just happens to fall on a Thursday this year, and since Thursday is celebrated as #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) I thought I might look back in time to a fourth of July a long time ago.

I lived in Somersworth, New Hampshire and think I had just started my gypsy/hitch hiking era. I can’t remember whose couch I was sleeping on around this time, but this photo was taken in the drive way of my parents house. I was house sitting for them. I spent my time writing bad poetry and doing things I shouldn’t.

Where were you in the 80s? Do you remember a fourth of July holiday from that time?

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #ReadLocal | 2 Comments

Happy July! New Call to Corpse

Exquisite corpse fans will know that the poetry feature has moved from being a my blog thang to being a Space and Time magazine thang.

He’s still the same corpse we have come to know and love, he’s just growing up and making more friends. So, time to play games with him again!

New call to participate in July’s Exquisite Corpse. In case you don’t know (you wouldn’t be alone…), an exquisite corpse is a collaborative poem made up of lines submitted by different people with no knowledge of what anyone else has submitted. We all submit a line blind. Even I try not to look at the submitted lines until after I’ve written my own line. You can read more about them here.

At the end of the submission period the poem is put together. This is where the tricky magic comes in. Some months the lines go together so well I’d swear all the contributors were psychically linked. Other months are less cohesive and I really have to work at fitting it together.

In the end, I pop the poem onto an image and it gets posted online for the world to admire. I also send the image with poem to everyone who contributed. Everyone is credited in order of their line.

NEW: This time, there is a theme: revolution. Try not to use the actual word, just have it in there somehow. Be creative and have fun!

You can see last month’s poem at Exquisite Corpse Space and Time Magazine. If you ever lose him and his link, just look under the Table of Contents link on the Space and Time magazine home page.

Exquisite Corpses from the past:
Exquisite Corpse #1: Collaborative Poem
Exquisite Corpse #2: The Daunting Riddle
Exquisite Corpse #3: ‘Toxicated
Exquisite Corpse #4: Deceptions
Exquisite Corpse #5: Final Chimes
Exquisite Corpse #6: Treading
Exquisite Corpse #7: The Reckoning
Exquisite Corpse #8: The Last Kiss

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #Poetry, #ReadLocal, #Submit, exquisite corpse | 2 Comments

Accountability for Productivity

The best thing about self publishing is that you are accountable to no one.
The worst thing about self publishing is that you are accountable to no one.

First time at Camp Nanowrimo. Second Nanowrimo.

This year I made it my goal to branch out and submit my work to other places. Having the ability to publish on a whim is gratifying, but it has pitfalls. For one, self publishing can create a stagnant bubble with no fresh circulation from new exposure.

For another, there is no accountability. My publishing schedule has gone very loose now that I do this as a full time gig. It needs to be opposite. If I don’t sell writing, I don’t get paid. You’d think I’d be working at a feverish pace more. The truth is that I need to produce more.

A few week’s ago I was having a chat to a friend about submitting more work. We both agreed we needed to make goals and stick with them. I suggested checking back in with each other so we had some accountability. He agreed, and then I regretted it. Drat! Now I have a deadline, was my thought. We agreed Accountability Doomsday would be June 26.

That week I did normal writery stuff: I had a book signing, released an audio edition of Space and Time #133 (you should check it out here!), had a Skype meeting about virtual magazines, had a phone meeting about advertising on the magazine’s website, wrote some stuff, organized some stuff I wrote… and then suddenly it was Doomsday Eve.

Google Calendar reminded me of my impending humiliation. The week was just about up, and I hadn’t submitted one thing. I got busy, opened up my folders of finished poems and created a spreadsheet to keep track of submissions. With hours to go, I managed to submit ten poems and a drabble to new markets.

The next day, Accountability Doomsday wasn’t so ominous. I felt chuffed at my last minute  efforts. Imagine what I could do if I was regular? We both agreed having to report to someone was a productivity boost. My next thought was how good would this be as a regular blog feature?

So here’s the deal. At the end of every month I’ll post my productivity—how many things I’ve submitted, how many were rejected, successes/failures and maybe even word count. This is really just for me. Knowing my failures will be posted for anyone to see helps me not fail. You are free to berate and/or boost me.

I invite anyone else to do the same and reap the benefits of accountability.

For now, leave a comment telling the world how your last month was. So here’s me to start:

June 2019 | 10 submissions | 5 rejections
Year to date | 19 submissions | 5 rejections
Notes 
| I signed up for Camp Nanowrimo to finish the third part of Bitter Suites.

That’s me, how about you? Don’t worry if you didn’t keep records, how could you know this was going to be a thing? Just post a comment with what you’ve been working on and where you hope to go with it and we will check back in next month.

P.S. Anyone else doing Camp Nanowrimo?
P.S.S. The blog is going back to being scheduled posts four times a week on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Mondays. Daily is too much with all the deadlines I have piling up.

Posted in #amreading, #AMWRITING, #KCLocal, #MakeItLocal, #PeopleCollection, #Poetry, #ReadLocal, #SpaceandTimeMagazine | 4 Comments