Sunday, December 05, 2004


My first published children's story, "The Secret of King Kong Mountain," is now available in the December 2004 issue of KidVisions webzine. This story is based on a hill in Vincennes, Indiana, in Hillcrest Park near where I grew up... a hill called King Kong Mountain. It was fun, as a child, to ride bicycles down this treacherous slope.

The rest of the story is purely fictional.

In other interesting news, I got an intriguing e-mail yesterday from the editor of an upcoming anthology. I had submitted a story to this anthology some months ago. The editor requested a revision for me to go on to the last round of picks. I made the requested changes and sent it back into him. Then, on October 25, he publicly announced the table of contents for the anthology -- and I wasn't on it. While I never received either an official acceptance or rejection, I took this as a pretty definite sign that I wouldn't be appearing in the anthology. I proceeded to submit the story to another market, this one that actually pays for the stories.

Yesterday, this editor sends me an e-mail saying that he needs me to let him know what I want the artist to do for the artwork associated with my story. I inform him of my confusion, since I wasn't on the table of contents and tell him that I'd like to pull the story, as it's been submitted elsewhere. He responds with apologies, saying he's sorry he can't use the story, and wishing me well -- but no actual explanation of what went awry with the table of contents and my absence from it.

Very strange stuff, and it only reinforces my determination to try and work exclusively with paying markets in the future. The royalties-only, print-on-demand, market is littered with people who, despite the best of intentions, just aren't able to handle the logistics of editing an anthology in a professional way. Working in the publishing industry now, I see how much goes into it and you really have to make it a priority if you're going to turn out a quality product.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


My birthday week just keeps getting better, as I discover today that I am in the Table of Contents for ChimeraWorld 2. This is a dark fiction anthology edited by Mike Philbin (previously known under the nom de plum Herzan Chimera, thus the anthology title) and published through Cyber-Pulp Books. I don't yet know the precise release date of the anthology and, in truth, I didn't even get final confirmation from the editor about my acceptance, but only found out because the contents happened to get posted to a mailing list that I'm on. My story was chosen out of a list of nearly 100 submissions, and this is the first time I've had a statistic like that to know where I fell.

The story that made it into CW2 was "Abraham Lincoln's Children," a story that was originally written for an anthology that was dual themed - vampires and cockroaches. I wrote this story, which I refer to as "dark science fiction," to play on the two themes of the anthology in a hopefully unconventional way. It was rejected, and I was honestly doubtful that such a peculiar tale would find a home anywhere else. It seems that my concern was unfounded, as it marks my third appearance in a paid print medium.

More details about the publication will be posted when the anthology is actual released for distribution. It will be made available in both ebook and trade paperback (print on demand) versions, to suite a wide range of readers.

Monday, October 11, 2004


Well, it does this year for me, at least -- with a touch of Christmas thrown in. When you consider that this Thursday is my birthday, it's almost as if a guiding hand were at work. A friend told me that the chaos of this summer was just a prelude to a groundswell of good things, and I'm beginning to believe him.

My second "official" story, "Ascension," is being released in Cyber-Pulp's Halloween Anthology 3.0. This is an annual charity anthology produced by Bob Gunner at Cyber-Pulp Books.

Unfortunately, the anthology doesn't pay anything, but the proceeds go to The Read Foundation of New York City, which I have personally never heard of before but which appears to be an incredibly worthwhile organization. It helps underprivileged children read, which is something I am wholly in favor of.

In other good news, I have found that an article I wrote reviewing the online game City of Heroes will be published in issue #6 of City Slab magazine. My hope is that this will become a regular gaming column in the magazine, which would be a wonderful notch on my writing belt.

Work still goes well, with the possibility on the horizon of full employment with CTB/McGraw-Hill, along with the benefits associated (i.e. 401(k), health/dental plans, discounts, etc.). I'm keeping my fingers crossed about that.

There are currently three anthologies being edited that have stories of mine in the final round of selections. I'm also keeping my fingers crossed about them. I should hear the final word in the next few weeks -- one of them is already well past the deadline, but the editor has had a number of personal health issues.

I would be remiss if I were not to mention the passing of Christopher Reeve yesterday. I will confess that I was never the biggest Christopher Reeve fan. I was generally unimpressed with him as Superman, though I did always enjoy Somewhere in Time. When he had his accident, though, I became a fan. I doubt it would be possible for someone to take a tragedy like that and deal with it any better than he did.

I do wonder if this will have any bearing on the upcoming election. It is possible that the death of Christopher Reeves will push stem cell research even further into the forefront of the national debate, just in time for it to become an even-more-major campaign issue than it was going to be previously. It would be intriguing if his death tilted a close election in the direction of John Kerry, who has clearly stated that increased stem cell research would be a goal of his. Thus, in death, he would have somehow helped to reach the political and social change that he spent the last decade of his life lobbying for.

To those close to him, I'm sure that such possibilities would be cold comfort, but I can't help thinking that it would give his death a meaning that most of us will never have, just as his life did.

I do hope that they take some time to put together a memorial vignette or something to run after Smallville this week. Perhaps some sort of announcement of a research foundation his family would like donations sent to... it seems appropriate.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


What, you may ask, is this new experience? Well, I can honestly say it's one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.

Yesterday, I arrived home from work and checked the mail, as I'm prone to do. What should I find there but an envelope from Yard Dog Press ... the publishers of The Four Bubbas of the Apocalypse, my debut anthology. In the envelope was a check for my royalties from the first half of the year.

I honestly wasn't sure if I'd ever see such a check. I had received an advance from them and, though it was small, I wasn't sure what sort of sales figures a small press anthology like FBotA would end up with. Still don't, actually. I'd have expected the pay stub to include some sort of information about total sales over that period times my percentage of the royalties minus the amount of my advance that was still waiting to be paid out, or something similar. I'd be interested to know if the book sold 100 or 250 copies to date. To be honest, I'm not even sure what the original print run was.

I hear horror stories (the real kind) about authors never getting paid from unscrupulous "publishers." Just the other day there was a posting on the HWA board about an anthology from a couple of years back that none of the authors ever got free copies of.

I got paid an advance, received a contributor's copy, got a discount on copies for resell, and continue to get royalties. I judge that this means not only have I been published in an anthology, but in a successful anthology.

Again, copies of the anthology can be obtained at AZJ's Four Bubbas page, signed by yours truly. Do not miss out on this monumental, phenomenal, and truly world-changing event. Granted, the world that is changed is a fictional one, but it's entertaining nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


As discussed earlier, I am currently working at a new job. I enjoy it immensely. Little other news on that front.

Last night I purchased STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT at the urging of my senior-year roommate, Xavier "Bad Luck" Rodriguez. He was a QualityAssurance Game Tester on it. An intriguing game. I'll probably be posting an Epinions review on it this evening, which I will link through the website. My instinct is to say that it's an okay game individually, but that I bet with a large number of players through Xbox Live or some other multi-player venue it is a lot more enjoyable, as the actions of the players have more sway on the overall outcome of the battle. As it stands, I don't feel like I necessarily have that much control over what ultimately happens.

The saga of trying to join two lives together in matrimonial bliss continues. The pressures of work and relationship weigh heavy. If anyone out there has a pipeline to the almighty, prayers would be appreciated at all times.

One of the anthologies that I'm waiting to hear back on a submission to is past its stated response deadline. This is the third extension they've posted about pushing the response deadline back and they're late on it. At this rate the apocalypse will arrive before this apocalyptic anthology (no, not another Bubbas one) arrives.

Just keeping everyone in the loop.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


It has only been just over two months since my last post, which means that I could, conceivably, possibly, actually keep some semblance of presence on this journal while doing all other things in my life. Dare I dream? We shall see.

Even further good news is that the renovations from the water damage is done on our house. We have beautifully painted rooms with some nice new additions of upgraded lighting fixtures and such. There is still some work being done on the dining room table which was carelessly damaged by one of the workmen, but once that is completed the entire fiasco will be behind us.

My job situation has also reached a high note. I am currently employed with CTB/McGraw-Hill as a Mathematics Content Editor. This means that I edit the mathematics standardized tests in such a way to match with the state standards that are being tested on. If the tests suck, it's not my fault -- talk to your representatives at the state level.

This is a fine job. Currently, I'm technically a temporary employ through Kelly Services. A position has opened for a full-time employee of CTB/McGraw-Hill in this position, however, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'm chosen for that.

Even more good news (yes, I am aware that this quantity of good news is abnormal, and I am duly disturbed by it) is that I have two stories which have been essentially accepted for publication. I'm waiting on some replies and details before I announce the full specifics of the publications. I've also got two stories which have made it to the final round of story selection in their respective anthologies. One came back for corrections, which I made and submitted, making me one of 16 finalists. The other, last I heard, was down to 20 stories the editor was deciding between. I will post more when I get more details.

On the matter of my impending marriage to Jennifer Jordan Sipes, things are going well. I promise that a picture of her will someday appear on my website to prove that she is not imaginary, although that requires me getting around to a scanner sometime which I've been woefully lax on.

We've set a date. The details will be posted in the weeks to come. We are currently constructing a website for the wedding, although only those who are invited will have significant access to it. Some pictures and information may get posted more generally, since the size of the guest list is being heavily influenced by the venue decisions and we will sadly have to cut significantly. I do apologize that we do not have the means to invite everyone whom we know and care for.

There it is -- the general state of things with me. Hopefully more good news will keep coming. Until then, remember that The Four Bubbas of the Apocalypse, featuring my first profitably published story, "Mr. Ned and Dr. Ted," is still on sale, with free shipping, directly from me!!!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


As per usual on this thing, I seem to be falling tragically behind on keeping up with my journals... It seems like a lifetime ago that I made my last post, and it's certainly not because I haven't had things to share. Rather, it is more appropriate to say that I've had so much to share that I've wanted to really wait until I had time to sit down and think about it before making a posting... and then more things happen... then more things...

Well, you get the idea.

I will be endeavoring to keep things more up to date, if only so I can keep track of them myself, since it would be the height of arrogance to think there's actually an audience out there avidly waiting to hear of the next stage in my adventure of life.

(If there is, please e-mail me at and let me know you exist... I will do my best to keep this more entertaining for you.)

Anyway, I'll post the abbreviated version of things now and speak in greater detail at some later point, hopefully in the upcoming days.

1. I've fallen in love with a wonderful woman, whom I've known for many years. Since high school, in fact. Her name is Jennifer Jordan Sipes.

2. I've gotten engaged to Jordan.

3. We bought a house in Anderson, IN.

4. I got fired, because they found out I was probably leaving in the fall anyway.

5. Four days after closing on the house, there was a massive water leak upstairs that flooded the house. Fortunately, there was little furniture moved in and virtually no personal property was damaged. We do, however, have about $15,000 in work being done by the insurance company, including a new vanity in the master bedroom, new ceilings and painting in most of the house, new floors in the downstairs bathroom and kitchen, and some new lighting and ceiling fans.

So I sit now in my office, which will be much more colorful in a few days, but which now is in a state of quasi-construction with exposed drywall for a ceiling ... the painter comes in on Thursday.

Thus is my life. It is grand. Despite all of the chaos, the euphoria of #1 & 2 above are enough to make it so that I am happy more often than sad which, those who know me can attest, is a rare enough thing.

Until next time...