The Round 9 Title — Behind the Green Door — voting is in full swing. We’re almost halfway through the voting round, and we have a race on our hands (Gary and Perry). Assuming everyone has read the three stories titled Behind the Green Door, you can vote for your favorite in THIS POST. If you’ve not yet read the stories, that post also has links to the stories. Plus, I link the stories (and their blurbs) below.

I normally populate reminder posts with artsified versions of my photos, but I thought I’d try my hand at using AI Art Generators to provide graphics reflecting what each writer submitted.

Sounds like fun, no? . . . let’s get started.

So, I got me another rejection . . . but, it felt pretty good. 


Well, Bob, I’m glad you asked. I got me another somewhat personalized rejection. And, you know what; it even had a hint or two about the writing and the reason they didn’t pick it up. 

The story in question is Stopover. Note: that’s a protected post. The subscribers who read my fiction (all six of them) have already read it, but if anyone else wants to read it, just leave a comment below and I’ll email you the password.  

Anyway, here’s the feedback I received:

Well, not in this post, but in the next; the password protected post. Yup; you read that right. Password Protected Post. I’m reserving the right to potentially submit this story . . . probably in the distant future, if ever. 

Hey, how about that! It’s a MMMM in a PPP. 

Anyway, I began writing this particular Michelle Maul story just before Trump was elected. I know, it seems like it’s been years, but it’s only been eight months. Eight long, torturous, excruciating — I’m sorry; what? 

Oh, the photo. Well, I’ve been playing a lot with Deep Dream. I think I’m getting pretty good at finding combinations of photos to blend. If you go to THIS LINK, you can see my gallery and when you click on a photo, it also shows you the original and what it was blended with. BEWARE: you can only reach the gallery if you create an account or login with Facebook or Twitter. Sorry; their rules, not mine. I’ll be posting a few of the photos here and in future posts, but there’s a lot of them. 

You can click on the photos here and they will open in a new window, but the sizes vary. That’s because they limit the number of photos that can be done in a given period at a given size. If you’re interested in a photo, click on it and it might be one of the larger ones . . . or not. 

So, back to Michelle Maul, Mitch to her friends, and her trusty .45, Matthew. Let me tell you the long and torturous road here . . . 

terribleminds is the site of Chuck Wendig, a “novelist, screenwriter, and game designer.”

His current flash challenge (HERE):

“I want you to write the end of a long journey. . . It’ll require you to bring some skills to bear to make it work, to give us all the information we need, and to make it more than a snapshot in time or just a vignette.”

Readers are to pick one and go off to a dark corner and write a 1,500 words flash piece, apparently applying “skill,” whatever that means. 

I own that skill. As for writing something . . .  

I’m tossing around a few ideas — story ideas — related to the eventual integration of robots into our society. When I say robot, most people think of intelligent robots, but I view the matters of intelligence as separate.

Robots, to me, are and will always be mechanical devices no different than washing machines or toasters. They might integrate some “smarts” in the form of sophisticated programs — it’s not easy consistently burning toast at a setting of “4” and utterly fail to toast at a setting of “3” — but machines are never going to be anything more than machines.

It’s a fine distinction but think of our bodies as machines controlled by computing centers with poorly thought-out and buggy software.

That’s how long I waited for a rejection to a story I submitted on December 19, 2015. I waited that long because — on the off chance it was accepted — it would have a lot of exposure. 

That brings the total for my short stories rejections to fourteen, but it also frees up the story for submission — and rejection — to other markets. (note: I have more rejections in the flash-fiction markets)


At this point, my confidence in these stories is unfounded but remains unshaken. I like my stories, so that’s understandable.

At least, this time I received a bit of feedback . . .
“This one was a little heavy on the exposition for us, but another editorial team might respond differently to your story, so I wish you the best of luck placing it elsewhere.”

I had to stop and think about what that meant . . . 

A year ago this week I was attending Viable Paradise XIX. In fact, on this very day, the Wednesday of that week a year ago, I posted the assignment that was due on Thursday. At the time I did not know it was intended to be submitted for publication. Because I did not know, I wrote a humor piece and posted it HERE, blowing my First North America Serial Rights and making it a long shot that anyone will pick it up and publish it. 



Well, some of the Vipers wanted to relive the experience. 

So, they asked Uncle Jim to provide a prompt. His answer? The Snail Rodeo. So, we are supposed to write a story incorporating a snail rodeo. The stories will be judged and the winner will win . . . satisfaction. 

Yesterday, I wrote a piece on writing. From the comments, I gather some readers felt the need to encourage me, to shore me up, as it were. Perhaps they even felt sorry for me. While I appreciate their concern, I fear I might have inadvertently mislead my readers.

For that, I offer my apologies.

The piece was not offered as a voyage down the well of self-pity and I consider it a failure on my part if even a few readers took it as such. At best, it was an update of my current efforts sprinkled with what I thought was humor and sarcasm. Most, if not all, of my writing posts — and there are many — are sprinkled with the same. Some self-deprecation, some flat out humor, some Trump-like bragging (only I don’t mean it), and a bit of rumination about the art itself. It’s never saying “woe is me, the world done did me wrong.”


Some might know I don’t take compliments well. It embarrasses me and I’ve only recently learned to just say “thank you” instead of stepping back from the compliment.  

Here’s something everyone should know; I’m even less comfortable taking commiseration or words of encouragement. For one thing, if it’s offered it means I complained about my life. I can’t say I’ve never done it, but I can say if it happens, it’s a slip.

The last thing I want is to mislead someone into thinking I’m in need of encouragement, or being told to I should “soldier on.” I especially do not want anyone feeling sorry for me. I mean, I can’t keep them from it, but I tend to discourage it.  There is nothing anyone should feel sorry about.


Where am I going with this? For them concerned that I might be getting despondent and depressed because of rejections, let me clear up a few things about writing. Specifically my writing.

Nothing new on the short stories and the novel submissions. Rejections from the larger outfits come at a glacial place. Right now, all four of the September 2015 stories are out for submission. I play the lotto, and I can tell you I think the odds are better  that I will win the jackpot than actually having one of my fiction masterpieces picked up for publication. But, I took an oath to submit, submit, submit, and so I do, I do, I do.

Yes, that is one of them taunt-the-Universe statements made in the vain hope said Universe will prove me wrong. Think of it like praying but rather than a creepy malevolent deity being called upon to intercede in the workings of the universe, it’s the Universe itself, and its henchman, Chance, that is challenged to prove it deserves a leading role in the play fueled by the delusions of people.


By the way, no new photos here. Processed differently, yes, but all have appeared in previous posts.