A polymath rambling about virtually anything

Posts Tagged ‘creative writing’

Last Issue of RRR

Posted by Scott Holstad on March 20, 2016

It’s the first day of spring and that means the Spring 2016 issue of Ray’s Road Review has been published. Please feel free to drop by and read some fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Additionally, we’re going on indefinite hiatus, which makes us a bit sad. My severely poor health makes it no longer possible for me to hold down my poetry editor duties and Gretchen and Chris are going to pursue their own things for the time being. At some point in the future, we hope to come back and start back up, but that’s probably a ways down the road. I feel proud to have been a part of something that has become such an excellent literary journal and I’d like to thank Chris for giving me the opportunity and Gretchen for being a big part of it.

Posted in Publishing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

New Ray’s Road Review

Posted by Scott Holstad on September 23, 2015

I’m pleased to announce the publication of the Fall 2015 issue of Ray’s Road Review. It has plenty of new fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and photography. Feel free to check it out at http://raysroadreview.com.

Since I’m the poetry editor, I may as well plug the poets. They are Ruth Z. Deming, Ernest Williamson, R.T. Castleberry, Ross Knapp, Michael H. Brownstein, and Lowell Jaeger. There’s also a book review. It’s a pretty good group of poets representing wide styles of poetry with a variety of subjects. If you enjoy contemporary poetry, check it out.

Posted in Publishing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Submission Guidelines

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 26, 2015

Why don’t so many people read or adhere to magazine submission guidelines? This is the eternal mystery for me. As a magazine poetry editor, I have published a set of submission guidelines that I expect people to follow when submitting. I don’t think it’s too much to ask. When you’re a writer submitting to a magazine, presumably you’re putting yourself and your work out there as a professional to be taken seriously, not as a schmuck. You don’t submit whatever you want however you want. Every publication has guidelines. One of the first things you learn when writing and beginning publishing is to read and follow guidelines. It’s just common sense. One of the easiest ways to make sure your work doesn’t get read is to not go by the guidelines. One of the easiest ways to make sure your work does get read is to follow the guidelines. Simple.

Editors set up guidelines to streamline things and make their jobs a little easier. They get deluged with submissions. Sometimes it’s simply overwhelming. If everyone submitting can stick to the same format, it really helps. But if people are submitting all sorts of ways, it can really throw you off. It also helps to level the playing field. If everyone follows the same guidelines, presumably there won’t be anyone getting preferential treatment. That’s not always the case, but it helps.

My guidelines are a little strict, but certainly not as bad as many magazines I’ve submitted to over the years. More lenient than many even. And my response time is better than average. One of the things that has mystified me, however, is how many poetry submissions our nonfiction editor gets. I mean, what the hell? Why? Our fiction editor never gets any. I, as the poetry editor, get a ton. But our nonfiction editor gets quite a few and forwards them to me. And you know what? They ALWAYS suck! Always. They’re horrible. It’s like sixth grade poetry. And they obviously haven’t read the guidelines, which state to email the poetry submissions to the poetry editor, giving my email address. So, they’re not to be taken seriously, since they don’t take their own submission seriously. And I’ve taken to trashing them. I used to read over them and consider them. And respond. But at the beginning of the year, I grew tired of the idiocy and posted a post on the website telling people this practice will no longer be tolerated and any poetry submission sent to the wrong editor will simply be deleted unread. And still they come in. Dolts! What the hell are they thinking? Who emails poetry submissions to nonfiction editors? I would never think of doing that. That’s just damned stupid. In fact, when I was heavily submitting, I tried hard to find out the name of the poetry editor and mailed my submission to him or her by name. The pros who send me submissions read over our masthead on the website and often do that to me. You can tell who the pros are by their submissions. There’s a reason why they have the good credits. They write better poems and they follow submission guidelines. Simple.

If any of my readers can shed some light on why anyone would submit their poetry submissions to the nonfiction editor, I’d love to hear it. Thanks.

Posted in Publishing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

A Review of Theories of Flight

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 25, 2015

Theories of Flight (Samuil Petrovitch, #2)Theories of Flight by Simon Morden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book in a three book series and I loved the first book so much, I had to get the next two. However, this one wasn’t quite as good as the first one, in my opinion. Still, it was pretty good and I enjoyed it.

Dr Samuil Petrovich is a scientist who has just discovered how to make anti-gravity. He works and lives in the Metrozone, which used to be London before Armageddon changed the world some 20 odd years ago. Before that, he lived in Russia. We’re never told just how he came to the Metrozone from Russia, nor how he survived Armgeddon.

In the first book, he meets a great woman named Maddie who’s an Amazonian nun with a huge gun who helps him defeat the New Machine Jihad. This book picks up four months later. And they’re married. The romantic in me had hoped to see the two of them together and I’m thrilled that they’re married. Unfortunately, the book starts out with his discovery of anti-gravity, only to have him receive a call that Maddy’s been shot — she’s in the army now. His face is all over TV, but he can’t stop to enjoy the fame — he’s got to get to the hospital. He does and she’s generally OK and actually goes back to the front lines quite soon after. Meanwhile, Sonja contacts him, as does Chaim, the old cop he barely got along with from the first book. He tells Sam that the CIA is after the technology behind the New Machine Jihad and has sent agents to the Metrozone. Unfortunately, he’s killed shortly thereafter. Then, the gist of the story starts. The Outties, the people who were barred from entering London during Armageddon and have lived in the outskirts in radiation ever since, are attacking with a force of some 200,000 people and the Metrozone army has to fight them off, and they don’t have enough forces. Sam takes his rat, his tablet I guess, and takes off across town in search of Maddie, but finds he’s on the wrong side of town and is surrounded by Outties and all of the bridges are wired to explode. Not good. He has a VR companion named Michael who he has running data crunches for him and he takes over command of the army with his help, using the US government’s own computers for computing power, as well as Wall Street’s. And then the book gets repetitive. See Sam run. Run Sam run. Watch Sam run. Sam runs. A lot. He’s shot at too, and does his share of killing people, but mostly he runs. Along the way, he gathers up a 14 year old wonder girl named Lucy as a companion, Sonja’s ninja bodyguard is killed, Valentina, a Russian mobster’s hit woman who’s helping him out, is along for the ride, and they all search for Maddie. Fruitlessly. By the end of the book, you’re banging your head against the wall, wishing the two would just get reunited to stop the damn running. However, along the way, Sam is able to keep up with his VR, command the military, stop the attack, attack the CIA agents, rescue Maddie and Lucy, who had been captured, and the end is grand. Except you don’t get to see Sam and Maddy together. She rides up on a motorcycle after he’s had a meeting with some city leaders and talks to him for a minute and then rides off. And that’s it! Very unsatisfying. I hope the third book will have more of her because she was such a great presence in the first book and I really missed her in this one. Still, it was a fun read, even with all of my complaints, and certainly recommended for any cyberpunk/sci fi fan.

View all my reviews

Posted in Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

New RRR Out!

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 21, 2015

Since it’s the first day of summer, I’d like to announce the publication of the Summer 2015 issue of Ray’s Road Review. Please read and enjoy.

Since I’m the poetry editor, I’d like to highlight the poets. They include Susan C. Waters, Bill Abbott, Ivan Jenson, Grant Mason, Mitchell Grabois, Michelle Askin, and Erren Kelly. Additionally, there are two books reviews for books by Frederick Pollack and Dimitris Lyacos. I hope you like it all.

Posted in Publishing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Review of Ambient

Posted by Scott Holstad on June 7, 2015

AmbientAmbient by Jack Womack

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliant! Ambient is a 1987 (publication date) update of A Clockwork Orange with some additional ultraviolence and a new language thrown in. The author even pays tribute to A Clockwork Orange early in the book.

In this book, we follow O’Malley, a bodyguard for a dysfunctional CEO of a major company in a 21st century dystopian New York City. Avalon is Mister Dryden, his boss’s, mistress/concubine. She’s very young and very hot and has a thing for wigs. And O’Malley is in love with her.

O’Malley has another side to him. His sister is an “ambient,” or a genetically modified mutant living amongst each other who have their own language-within-a-language and who tend to be pretty violent. But hey, everyone in this book is violent. Rapes, muggings, murders, etc., are commonly seen and passed on by. O’Malley lives with Enid, his sister, in a run down nightmare of a place where no sane non-ambient would go. He’s accepted there because of her. Oh, and in addition to naturally occurring mutants, there are those who wish to join them and become ambients. Enid is one of these. She’s 6’3″ tall and has spikes sticking out of her head, pointed sides out. She’s also had her breasts cut off. She has a girlfriend who’s a psychopathic midget. Normal, right?

The army is fighting another army on Long Island and boys are being chewed up left and right. It’s your duty to serve, unless you can get a sweet gig like O’Malley has. The army boys are always shooting at people, into crowds, on buses and trains, raping girls in the streets — they’re insane.

Meanwhile, Mister Dryden’s father, who worships Elvis, owns the corporation and seems to be wanting to re-take control of what he’s given his son. He views his son as unstable. His son views him as unstable. Something’s got to give, right? Well, Mister Dryden convinces O’Malley to put a bomb under his father’s desk next time they’re visiting his estate, so he does. And he and Avalon finally hook up. Mister Dryden tells O’Malley he’ll have to get out of the country for awhile until the coast is clear, so he makes plans to do so. He and Avalon decide to go together, so after the bomb is set, they take off. And encounter some problems. People are out to get them. But why? Turns out Avalon knew about the plan, knew where the bomb was and went into the office and changed the time for it to go off when both Mister Dryden AND his father would be in there. However, they don’t know if it went off, or if it did, if the men were in there. So, they don’t know if there’s a manhunt on for them or not. And apparently there is.

O’Malley takes Avalon to his place in the Ambient part of town to hide out. The next morning, there’s a car outside, waiting. So they take off. And a chase ensues. They wind up down in the subway tunnels and come across a religious service the ambients are having, who do not like being interrupted. Just as they’re about to be killed, Enid intervenes and saves their hides. She and her girlfriend then take them through the sewers to a safe house. Tired, they fall asleep. When O’Malley wakes, he finds Avalon gone with a left for him note saying, “You’re next.” He’s both frightened and livid. He figures Mister Dryden has done it, so he goes after him. Then he goes after his father. He’s introduced to Alice, a monster computer that knows just about everything and is reunited with Avalon, who appears to have betrayed him to Mister Dryden’s father. He can’t believe it. And then … what? Do you actually think I’m going to tell you the ending? No way! It’s a great book and you’ll have to get it and read it and find out for yourself what happens. Apparently, this book is part of a series, perhaps the first one. If so, I want the others. It’s kind of cyberpunk, but not really. It’s kind of sci fi, but more just dystopian, so if you want to classify that as sci fi, have at it. It was a hard book to read because of all of the violence, and I’ve seen and read more than my fair share. At some times, it felt like a nightmare. I was honestly glad when it was over and I had finished. But I loved it. It was really original and really awesome. The characters were great, the plot was great, the dialogue was insane. Good stuff. Five stars. Strongly recommended, if you can stomach it.

View all my reviews

Posted in Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

%d bloggers like this: