First Blog of the New Year

We’re already 12 days into 2016 and I haven’t even posted here yet. Shame, shame. But what did you expect, really? I’ve just got a little to talk about today.

I, myself, and I, as Dark Futures, am nominated in a number of categories in the 18th Annual Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll. I won’t go on too much about that here, since I already wrote extensively about it on the Dark Futures site. I will, however, talk about a couple of these in particular.

The first being my Cyberpunk Writers Facebook group being nominated in the Writers’ Discussion Forum category. [linky] I started that group a bit under a year ago and it has grown like mad. There are very nearly 700 members in total and probably 20 or more who are regularly active at any given time. I spend a fair amount of time trying to make the group the best it can be, so you could say I’m proud of it. Vote for it. What’s even cooler is it’s currently in the lead, even beating out at least one much larger group. A much larger group which has banned me. Twice. So take that, ya jerks! Vote for it. Vote for it. Vote for it.

Second, look at this:

Cover - Web Friendly 2

That right there is the cover art of the second issue of Phase 2 Magazine. It’s awesome and was done, as always, by my friend Jason Miller. All of the covers he’s done for me have been awesome but we agreed this is the one we thought was best received by other people. That’s why it’s nominated in the Magazine/e-zine Cover Art category. It’s awesome, you know you like it, and you should vote for it. It’s there and ready for your vote. So go do it.

Like I said, you’ll also find me and Dark Futures and Phase 2 in a number of other categories but there’s no need for me to go through all of that right now because I already did that.

There’s probably not a lot of anything else of importance to talk about, so I’ll just go through some things quickly.

The first season of Ash vs Evil Dead ended a couple of weeks ago. You may remember I wrote about that show after the first episode. The season was solid all the way through. I had a big, stupid grin on my face for most of the finale. The ending was…well, it wasn’t an ending. I’m glad the show has already been renewed for a second season because it is very much needed. That said, the ending didn’t seem forced to try to get a season two. It made perfect sense for the world and the characters involved, so I don’t have any real complaints. I just want more. I also want to see Amanda return for season two, but I don’t know how likely that is.

I wrote a cyberpunk retelling of the Edgar Allan Poe story, The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar. I think I’ve mentioned that here before. Anyway, I got it finished and submitted and it will be appearing in an upcoming anthology from Punk Writers Press. Go me. I’m not in love with how it turned out, but they seemed to think it was good enough and that works for me.

New X-Files starts on the 24th. My girlfriend and I have ten episodes left of the 9th season in our watching of the entire old series, so we’ll make it with no problem. I’m stoked.

Unfortunately, the new X-Files premiers during the time of the Royal Rumble, which is lame. We’ll still watch both. I don’t have much for thoughts going into the Royal Rumble at this point. I haven’t even seen all of RAW from last night because the stream was messed up. I did see Kalisto is the new United States champion, though, which is awesome. He deserves some time with every belt for the performances he’s been giving lately.

Aaaand, that’s all for now.

Where I’m At

Not that I have many followers to notice, but I haven’t been posting to this blog very regularly. I have been spending more time at a computer actually getting things done, though, so it’s safe to say you’ll be hearing (or not) more from me in the coming year. I’m not ready to commit to a regular posting schedule or anything, but maybe we’ll get there, too. Writing and publishing, not only a blog but also fiction, can feel like a constant uphill battle with ADHD but I get there.

My main focus at the moment, and what I should really be doing right now, is wrapping up the details for Phase 2 Magazine issue 4. I have stories accepted and mostly just editing and formatting remain. I’m waiting to hear back on contracts from a couple of writers but if they don’t get back to me in time for this issue, they’ll just get bumped to the next or to the first omnibus (releasing early next year.) I’m planning a Wednesday release for the issue, either way.

As for that omnibus, I’m going to aim for a minimum of 50k words. I’m hoping to go closer to 70k, but we’ll see how things work out. It will include all the stories published in the first four issues of Phase 2 Magazine as well as content which will only appear in the omnibus. I might run one of those stories on the Dark Futures website as a bit of a preview. Again, we’ll see. Also about the omnibus, Jason Miller has completed a painting for the cover. You can see it on Deviant Art right here. He seems worried it’s too graphic or potentially offensive. I don’t think he needs to worry about it. What do you think?

As I blogged about before, I’ve still been following Ash vs Evil Dead. I think it’s the best damn thing on TV right now. I’m sad there’s only one episode remaining. Maybe after it’s done and I rewatch it all, I’ll write about my complete thoughts on it.

I’ve also been following the WWE, as I have been since Stephen Amell feuded with Stardust in August. That feud seems to be making a return, too. I’m hoping we’ll see another Amell vs Stardust match of some kind (the last one was a four man tag match) at Royal Rumble next month, though I’ve seen some people predicting they’ll save it for Wrestlemania, since the last one was so popular. If they do that, it would be especially great to see Stephen Amell just in the Royal Rumble match itself. I don’t expect that will happen, and he obviously wouldn’t win, but it would still be fucking awesome.

Also on that note, my girlfriend and I attended WWE Monday Night RAW live at the Target Center in Minneapolis last week. I haven’t even uploaded any photos from it to my personal Facebook page, so I have none to share right now but probably will eventually. The next time the WWE is coming back to Minnesota is March, but that’s an off night WWE Live event, so I don’t think I’ll bother to go. If I’m going to take the night off work and spend the money, I’d like to at least see the big stars. Granted, most of my favorites are closer to mid card, but still.

Anyhow, in bad news, my water heater stopped working a few days ago. Fortunately, my mother lives only about a mile away and I’ve been able to shower there. It’s just inconvenient. Hopefully that will get fixed soon. If you want to help, go buy Dark Futures and Phase 2 stuff from Amazon so my bank account will get a boost at the start of next month!

In better news, I’ve easily written more this month than I have in the preceding several combined. I hope to continue this trend. One of the things written this month was a bit of flash fiction written for a writing contest in the Space Opera: Writers group on Facebook. I may post that here eventually, but it got a little rushed, so it may see another revision first.

I also completed a story which was for an upcoming Writerpunk Press anthology and is a cyberpunk (or probably more specifically post cyberpunk) retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar. It uses a character I had developed for a WIP (but now possibly put to rest) novella and fits in the cyberpunk setting I’ve been very gradually developing over the past couple of years. I intend to write a lot within that setting. Hopefully I do.

I’m currently working on a story I hope to submit to the Altered States 2 anthology, but I think I got a bit carried away with the outline and it could turn into something longer instead. We’ll just have to wait and see.

And, finally, as always, I’ve been keeping up with the Cyberpunk Writers Facebook group I run. Activity died down a bit around Christmas but it’s starting to come back around.

That’s all I’ve got for now. This has been a general update on me and what I do. Is there anything in particular you’d like me to cover next time? Anything you’d like to discuss that I’ve mentioned here? I’d love to hear from you. We can talk in the comments here or my About Me page will tell you where else you can get a hold of me.

Scott Weiland Has Died

Word is coming in that Scott Weiland, best known as the former vocalist for Stone Temple Pilots has died. In Minnesota, no less.

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Image taken from the statement on Scott Weiland's Facebook page. I claim no ownership.

Somewhere in my CD collection, I have two or three Stone Temple Pilots albums and a Velvet Revolver album. I always enjoyed Weiland’s work, though I never got into it enough that I followed him closely. In fact, I was not even aware he was scheduled to play in Minnesota tonight. Had I been, I may have tried to be there.

Weiland had the ability to sound like an entirely different person from one track to the next, doing whatever the particular song called for. That skill always blew my mind. It seems there are few who can do that or, at least, few who exercise that ability.

No information has been released about cause of death at this time, though people are drawing obvious conclusions already. Weiland struggled with drug addiction, particularly heroine, much of his life. That shit can really do a number on your body. Even if drugs weren’t directly involved, they may not be free of all blame for someone dying at the age of 48. Maybe we’ll never know for sure. His family is under no obligation to release that information, as far as I know.

Scott Weiland will be missed. It’s a damn shame to lose someone so creative when they’re far from what should be the end.

Ash Vs. Evil Dead

While I stuck this in the Reviews category, it’s really more of a first impression thing and I won’t be rating by stars or anything.

I, like many other people, have been eagerly awaiting the premier of Ash Vs. Evil Dead since I first heard confirmation the series was happening. That day finally arrived, fittingly on Halloween, this past Saturday.

The excitement this series generated online caused Starz to renew it for a second season before it even premiered. I no doubt contributed to that, sharing several posts from the show’s Facebook page while watching and reading whatever I could find about it.

First, I’d like to say Evil Dead is probably my favorite horror franchise. Take what you want from that, as I’m not usually someone who gets really into horror movies or even books. The first Evil Dead movie is quite possibly the creepiest film I have ever seen. The first time I saw it, it brought me to a level of suspense not unlike paranoia. It’s not the scenes of graphic violence and death that did it, but rather all the space between. Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness managed to keep a level of weirdness similar to the first movie, then add a thick layer of fun like no one but Bruce Campbell can. This TV series continues that in the same gory form.

static1.squarespace.com Seriously, he flies through the air to catch his chainsaw hand, then unleashes hell on the walking dead.

The first episode of Ash Vs. Evil Dead was everything I could want it to be and even a little more. Ash is back. There was comedy. There’s Bruce Campbell. The characters are simple but not flat, as is what you’d expect and need to tell this sort of story. Oh, and it’s Bruce Fucking Campbell playing Ash again.

One thing to note is Sam Raimi, creator of the Evil Dead franchise wrote and directed this first episode but none of the others in this season. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t worry be a little. I eagerly look forward to next week’s episode. It’s even half as good as the first, this will be a series worth watching again and again. If it’s not, hopefully they can find what writers work best for the series and give us a great second season. Either way, I’ll probably keep watching.

First and foremost, this show is for those who are already fans of the franchise. That much should be obvious. After them, it’s for the growing faction of horror TV fans. Do you like American Horror Story but want something a bit more off-the-wall insane? Do you like The Walking Dead but wish it weren’t so goddamn boring? This show is for you.

I’d suggest anyone who can stomach a lot of gore and wants something exciting should check it out. If you’ve already watched the show, I’d love to hear what you thought of it in the comments.

Open Sci-Fi Markets 10/05/2015

I’ve let it be far too long since I’ve posted here, but I’m going to make up for that right now with a post that’s actually useful. Useful to some, anyway. I’m going to list and give my thoughts on a few sci-fi markets that are currently open for writers. This list will be by no means exhaustive.

Now, I will admit that I’m doing this in part for my own later reference. However, I feel it’s still worth mentioning Dark Futures, which I am the Editor-In-Chief or and produces Phase 2 Magazine. Dark Futures is a paying market and that’s something which is very important to me. At this time, that payment is a flat $5 per accepted story and that includes reprints. Agreements are also nonexclusive. One potential downside is our turnaround time for reviewing submissions can be quite lengthy. You can, of course, withdraw your submission at any time. We also accept simultaneous submissions, we just ask that you let us know if you need to withdraw your submission because it was accepted elsewhere under an exclusive agreement. You can find our full submission guidelines here. You can find out more about Phase 2 Magazine here.

Now onto Altered States 2. This is a cyberpunk anthology to be released by Indie Authors Press. It is being edited by Jorge Salgado-Reyes and Roy C. Booth, both of which are moderators with me in the Cyberpunk Writers group on Facebook and have been published in Phase 2 Magazine. There’s no firm deadline for this anthology. They are instead simply saying “until filled”. This way you know they’re working to accept only the stories worth accepting. They have a ways to go to fill it yet but, if you’re interested, don’t wait too long. They prefer stories between 2,000 and 10,000 words but say they can be flexible. Of course, keeping it in their preferred range is probably your best bet. They will consider reprints but they’re not preferred. Payment on this one is a flat $10. You can find full submission guidelines here.

Next up is a sort of bucket list market for me: Analog Science Fiction & Fact. This is one of the few sci-fi lit zines you can walk into a book store and buy a hardcopy of. They pay pro rates (which is $0.07 per word these days, if I remember correctly). These are the big boys, no doubt about it. Their turnaround time can be a bit slow but the payoff is huge if they accept. Full submission guidelines can be found here.

Crossed Genres Magazine is one of the zines I have a subscription to because I like what they’re doing. I’ve submitted to, and been rejected by, them once, myself. They’re not exclusively sci-fi, but that is one of their accepted styles. Each issue has a theme so they have what you’d call rolling deadlines. I think each theme is open for a month or so. They pay pro rates and probably get fewer submissions than someone like Analog. Full submission guidelines, as well as a list of upcoming themes, can be found here.

Finally, we come to what may currently be my favorite literary zine and is definitely a bucket list market for me: Grimdark Magazine. They’re not exclusively sci-fi, but they do accept it and the term grimdark actually originated with sci-fi. Warhammer 40,000, specifically. And, boy, am I a 40k junkie. I also happen to know, from numerous discussions on Facebook, their editor is a big 40k fan. They’ve also recently been publishing authors known for writing 40k fiction, both with Black Library and on the Games Workshop end of things. They pay a pro rate, more or less. Payment is in Australian currency and since SFWA standard is US currency I think it technically comes up a little short but it’s still damn fine money. Full submission guidelines can be found here. Be warned, this is a tough market to crack. They’ve been getting a lot of support from well known authors of the style and that’s a lot of what they’ve been publishing. Hell, Duotrope lists them as having a 0% acceptance rate. Of course, that just means anyone who reports on Duotrope has never been accepted by them.

That’s all I’ve got time for right now, but if this post goes over well I’ll do more like it in the future. I’ll even get into smaller, less known markets and possibly ask editors some questions for all of us.

JustSmoke Day

For the people of Mankato, Minnesota, the 4th of September was more than just Force Friday, it was JustSmoke Day. That’s the annual celebration of the day JustSmoke came to Earth. Or his birthday. Or the birthday of a guy called Nutz or Fuzz or maybe Justin. Nah, can’t be Justin.

Anyway, JustSmoke Day manifests itself as one of the biggest and best showing of local and local-ish music of the year. The lineup this year was certainly no disappointment.

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Of particular note here is the style biters, who hadn’t played a show since this same event a year ago, though I’m told they may be doing stuff more regularly again soon. They were a little rusty but entertaining as always. The also don’t have a drummer at the moment, so their set was very much like the early days of the band with just Sea Dubbz and Alex singing/shouting/rapping over a track. That made me feel a little nostalgic. If you have the time, I suggest you check them out. They have some recorded music online and there are numerous videos of them on YouTube (I’m probably even visible in a few). None of that really does justice to the live show.

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From then on (since CCWD took the opening slot) was a showcase of Mankato hip-hop, including my personal favorite, Professor Fresh. Fresh does not disappoint. Ever. It’s something that lies outside his skill set. He’s got quite a bit of music online and I suggest you listen to it and buy it all. Even if you think you don’t like rap music, give it a shot. I’ve gotten a few people who said they hated rap into the local scene through his music. Real hip-hop isn’t played on the radio.

Anyhow, this was the fifth annual JustSmoke Day and I’m sure there will be more. If you ever find yourself in the Mankato area around this time of year, you should really try to make it out. We may not have shows like this as often as we used to, but when it happens it is still a thing not to be missed.

Do you have any favorite local musicians in your area? If so, let me know in the comments and maybe link me to their website or Facebook page. I’m always open to new music.

Force Friday

This past Friday (September 4th) is what is being called Force Friday. It was the release day of all the new Star Wars stuff. That’s toys, some games, costumes, general merchandise, and even a few books.

I’ve already purchased the audio book for Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath, which is set after Return of the Jedi and will serve as the start of a lead in to The Force Awakens. I’ll be listening to that just as soon as I finish Dune.

If particular interest among the toys was a remote controlled Millennium Falcon quad flyer — basically a full on drone. I think I would enjoy owning one of those far more than a grown man should but I managed to resist the temptation to buy it. First of all, the price tag is a bit out of my reasonable budget. Assuming I don’t want to eat all ramen all month, that is. I believe it was about $110. Second, it was made by Air Hogs and I heard their stuff is not the most durable. In a month of so, I will read some reviews of it and reevaluate if I may want to save my pennies to acquire one.

So it looked like I was going to make it through Force Friday without buying any toys that I have no actual use for but want nonetheless. Of course, I’m weak and I could not allow that to happen. Apparently Micro Machines are making a comeback and there is a Star Wars ship blind bag made buy them. I picked one of those up. I gave a few packs a feel before deciding on one that felt particularly flat, hoping it would be a Millennium Falcon. It wasn’t, but I’m not disappointed. I could think of worse ways to spend $2.49+tax than this:

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And that’s all I’ve got to say for now. Did you buy anything on Force Friday? Let me know in the comments.

What To Expect

It has been a few days since this site launched and since my first post, so by now I feel like I owe any potential audience a little more. I was cut short last time and didn’t get around to letting people know just what to expect from this site. I’ll do that now.

First of all, this will be my personal blog. That’s the main thing, really. I’ll talk about the things I want to talk about because I can. That may be rants, or announcements, or just about anything.

Something which will probably make a regular appearance here is announcements. I’ll announce here when I sell a story, when anthologies or zines with me in them release, and that sort of thing. I’ll also probably post about anything I edit and release with 19th Day, Dark Futures, Phase 2, or whatever else. In this sense, this will be much like a blog of any other writer.

Reviews, or at least my disorganized thoughts on things, will also probably be a fairly common thing around here. If I really like a movie, game, book, or whatever else, I like to tell people about it. It can spread the enjoyment and grow the overall support for the thing I like, which will help it continue.

Thoughts on ongoing things I like will also be pretty common. The big thing here will be comic book based TV shows. Arrow, The Flash, that sort of thing. Because of my schedule, I don’t get to watch these things live so I won’t have a recap up the next morning or anything, but usually within the week I’ll probably have something to say about the most recent episode and where I think the story is going. Trying to figure out what’s coming is one of my favorite parts of watching a series. Pro wrestling (WWE) will also fall under this heading to some extent, but I’m not likely to post about that as regularly.

Eventually, I may host some blog tours or do some interviews. That’s likely a ways off, though, and nothing I’m putting too much thought into at the moment.

Any questions? Anything you’d like to see here?

Introduction

My name is David Stegora and you have, most likely through clicking a link I posted somewhere, found your way to my new blog, Anomalous Monologue. (Say that five times fast.) This will be the place, for the foreseeable future, where I will post about things which interest me, announce my publications, and that sort of thing. In other words, this is where I will talk to myself in cyberspace.

As this is the first real post on this blog, I feel an introduction is in order. I’m probably not going to say much that you couldn’t learn from the about me section linked at the top of this one, but who really clicks those links, anyway?

As previously stated, my name is David Stegora. I’m a writer, or so I’m told. I often feel the situation is more similar to me continuing to make up stories and write them down, the way I did for Dungeons & Dragons when I was a kid, I’ve just gotten better at it and people even occasionally pay me to do it.

I am also Editor-In-Chief (a title which I gave myself) of something called Dark Futures Literature LLC or DarkFuturesFiction.net. That’s something I started in 2012 when certain aspects of my life situation changed and I found myself with more money and more time than I previously had. Yes, that’s a fancy way of saying I became single.

I’m sure I’ll give a more thorough accounting of the history of Dark Futures at some point in the future. For now, let’s just say this: I started out knowing almost nothing. I learned a lot. Things changed. Then, Phase 2 Magazine was born.

Which brings us closer to the present. Phase 2 is still going (in fact, the third issue was just released) and I am still its editor (another title which I gave myself.) I’m proud of how it progresses and of each individual issue. Readership is relatively small, but growing, and I feel like I’m doing something worth doing.

More recently, I have taken on a new project, though it has yet to really gain any traction. That is 19th Day Proofreading. I want to use my experience editing for Dark Futures and learning as a writer to provide a cheap proofreading and basic editing service to people who can’t afford to hire a seasoned professional editor, or just need basic work done for something. I’d also like to make a few extra dollars to go toward improving Phase 2, buying copies of books, and that sort of thing. I’m available for hire directly (just check out the link above) or through Fiverr. If you’re interested in hiring me directly, mention this blog post when you contact me before the end of the month, I’ll double your order (up to an additional 6,000 words).

All in all, I think this has been a decent introduction. I will return before long to discuss what can be expected from this blog in the future and then to commence with that plan.

Watch This Space

Welcome to anyone who happens to find this blog earlier than I intended. My official launch date is September 1st, but I wanted to make sure to get things in order before then. Up along the top of this page you should be able to find whatever information you’d like until I get things going properly tomorrow.