Following the journey of award winning author, Alex Azar, as he travels the publishing world and all things interesting. To reproduce or publish any material found within this blog, please contact me at

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The kid has done it again!

I just received word, that another short story will be published in an anthology.  And with this contract I can give a little more information.  The story is called "I knew we Kept you Around for a Reason" and it's about the horrors some people will go to fit in and be cool. As soon as I have info on where and when you can purchase, rest assured you'll find it here.

Have a good one.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rejection #6: Full Circle

I felt it only fitting that following my post of announcing that I will be published that I post another rejection letter. I wish I had a rejection for the story that was accepted as a show that persistence pays off, but it was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to.

So instead I present a different story rejected.  Like most of the rejection letters I've received they were encouraging in their dismissal, so it's not a complete shut out.

Dear Author,

Thank you for your submission to Fallen: An Anthology of Demonic Horror. Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly what we were looking for at this time, so we are going to have to take a pass on it. This is in no way a rejection of your story based on quality; it simply means that our anthology is moving in another direction.

Best of luck,

** *****
N***** F****** P********

Like I said, they weren't completely dismissal of the story, but having reread it I wonder if this wasn't a generic rejection they send to all authors.  If you notice, they don't mention my name, nor the name of the story that was submitted.  They do say the name of the anthology, but it is much easier to copy and paste the book name, than the author and story title.  But I will give them the benefit of the doubt because one of my good friends is being published within the anthology, so it's safe to assume they know what they're talking about..

Next time I'll get them, have a good one

Monday, November 22, 2010

Azar Rising is getting published...

...well not Azar Rising per se, I'm getting published.  Contractually, I cannot go into details, however it is a short story that will be in an anthology with other authors.  As soon as I have more details to share, you can read about it right here, stay tuned.

Have a good one.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coaching Team Sports

Coaching Sports Teams
by Alex azar 

Standing on a bench Coach Conic preaches to his audience about the importance this night entails.  With a lump in his throat and a tug at his heart he fills the otherwise silent locker room with his sermon.  His words fall on 24 pairs of ears, all belonging to soon-to-be men, who for three hours a week worship this man as their savior and leader.  This is high school football.
“Gentlemen, tonight begins your journey to manhood.  Most would say that journey ends the first time you have sex, but if that were the case, half of you would already be men, and the other half won’t become so for another 20 years.”
After a quick chuckle from the group, Thomas Johnson, a transfer student and the only player on the team to not have had the privilege of playing under the guidance of Coach Conic for the past three years raises his hand with a puzzled look.  “Coach, I know I’m new around here, but this is just high school football, right?”  The entire rest of the team seems to lower and shake their heads in unison.  Noticing this, Johnson defends himself, “I mean guys, come on don’t you think he’s taking this a little too seriously?  It’s just football, it’s not pro, or even college.”
Professionally hiding his anger and disgust Coach Conic composes himself, “Johnson, you’re right you are new here, and you better be damn glad I let you on the varsity team.  This is my first year coaching an entirely senior team.”  Jumping down from the bench, he points to the entire ensemble before him.  “For each and every one of you, this is your last real season of football, in fifteen minutes you start the first game of the only season that will matter in your life.  Furthermore, this is my last year coaching, when the season is done, so am I.”
Everyone in the locker room drops their jaws, including the defensive coach who was also clearly unaware.  “Larry, what are you talking about, you’ve still got another ten years coaching, minimum.”
“I know, I know but I’m going to end on a high note.  I’m going out with a team of seniors after winning nationals.  I understand that’s still another four months away, but that journey starts tonight.  After this season, you’ll all go on to play college ball, and that’s the beginning of the end.  High school ball is the pinnacle period of the sport, because this is the last time the sport is played for the love of the game.  From here you go to college, were all that matters is what pro team you can go to for the most money.  And love is replaced by greed, passion by money, that Johnson, is why this season is so important.”  After shooting a look at Johnson, Conic jumps back on the bench, “Team, the moment is at hand; on three tell me who you are.”  The entire team begins slamming the locker doors repeatedly, and over the clamor, “One, two… THREE!”
In a unified eruption, “Devils!”
With a final synchronized slam of locker doors, “BLUE DEVILS!”
The team runs out of the locker room, down the long dark hallway, and explode onto the football field, led by their captain quarterback, Jermaine Worthman.  The team’s greeted by the roar of the crowd, a crowd ecstatic at the sight of the team they know will bring home a championship again this year.  The roar continues for another ten minutes until little Amy Presley steps onto the field at the fifty yard line.  She sings a rousing rendition of the “National Anthem,” with a voice so loud and powerful it has no right coming from this tiny 95lb girl.
After little Amy steps off the field the chant starts, “Devils!” And it doesn’t end until the victorious Blue Devils walk off the field after a record breaking opening day 56 point shut out.  The team’s journey to manhood has truly begun this glorious night.

And so the season went, victory after victory, shut out after shut out.  In total, the team amassed over three hundred points in this single season, allowing less than 60 total points.  Truly a record breaking season; a season, more than any other, meant to go into the history books. 
If asked what they attribute the teams stellar performance, the fans are torn.  Half accredit Coach Conic’s passion for the game and infallible coaching skills, and the other half accredit the immaculate playing by this incredible team of All Stars, all destined for fame.  However, if any player is asked, they all attribute their victories to their desire to please Coach Conic, during this, his final season.  To the team, every victory, every touchdown, every interception, even every tackle is dedicated to Coach Conic, the man who single-handedly ushered them into manhood, even the doubting Johnson. 
Standing on a bench Coach Conic preaches to his congregation about the importance this night entails.  “Gentleman, it seems like it was only yesterday that I was atop the bench in our own locker room, preaching to you all how important this season would be.  Well, here we are four months later and I’m still standing on top of a damn bench, we’ve still got another 15 minutes before kick off.  But the difference is, this bench is in the locker room of the Arizona Cardinals, and in 15 minutes we kick off to the last game of our lives.  Gentlemen, welcome to Nationals!”
The team erupts in a wail of joy, the moment is almost enough to bring a tear to Coach Conic’s eye, but not quite.  That’s when team captain Jermaine stands up just before Conic and quiets down the team.  All eyes on him, but Conic’s the most confused, “Coach, in appreciation of all that you’ve done for everyone of us, we all pitched in together and got you something.”  Jermaine directs Conic with his hand to look towards the door, where Johnson is coming in with a large box.
“Gentlemen…”  Too choked up for words Coach Conic can’t find anything to say.
Coach Rice, the defensive coach puts his hand on Conic’s shoulder, “Larry, you didn’t even see what they got you, don’t cry yet.”
Laughing, Conic hops down form the bench and opens the box that Johnson and Jermaine placed before him.  He pulls out a 12’ bronze statue of a football team, holding up a coach, and an engraving on the front.
Coach Conic
Coach of the Millennium
Thanks for the Memories

Now Conic does shed a tear, “All I can say is, let’s see if I can live up to it.  Here we go again for the last time, on three tell me who you are.”  And in a practiced rhythmic pattern the entire team begins slamming the locker doors repeatedly, and in labored breaths through the tears Conic yells for the last time, “One, two,… THREE!”
Slamming the locker doors for the last time, slamming the doors as a sign of their dedication, slamming the doors for the love of the game “BLUE DEVILS!”
Led for the final time by Jermaine Worthman, down different yet familiar hallways, the team runs out to the field, they run to glory.  
This is high school football.


This was another one where it took me six days to think of the story and only a short while to actually write it.  The major difference being the two-three paragraphs that I edited out of the end.  After the halftime speech in the final game the original ending had the coach kill the entire team and himself so they wouldn’t be corrupted, but that seemed too extreme even for me, and just altogether out of place.  So what’s left isn’t much of a story per-se, one friend likened it to a journalistic piece, which I can’t wholly refute.  I would like to mention that the name Coach Conic was a coach from my high school track team and felt it worked well with the ‘c’ theme.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What if?... The Social Network

Just came across this video of different director's takes on The Social Network.  I'll admit I didn't see the actual movie, but I know enough about it, and the parodied directors, to enjoy this video to no end.  It contains alternate takes by Guillermo Del Toro (highlight of the video), Michael Bay, Quentin Taratino, Wes Anderson, and more, originally posted here on College Humor


Monday, November 15, 2010

Rejection #5: Little Changes

Hi Alex,

Thank you for sending us your story, but unfortunately it isn't right for this anthology. Best of luck with it elsewhere.


This rejection letter was so short it felt very impersonal and cold.  And while she doesn't outright say it, it makes me feel like she hated this story. I can admit it's not my best writing (I was rushed on the deadline after my previous attempt went far beyond the word limit), but I feel it deserves a little more tact.  She doesn't bother saying whether she liked it or not, just that it wasn't right for the anthology, but can't spare the few key strokes to explain why it didn't fit.  I'm typically not a very bitter person, but I'd expect a little more professional courtesy from a publisher/editor. 

I've decided while writing this, that I will post the story here next week, to see what you think.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quiet on the Bus

Quiet on the Bus
by Alex Azar

Bruce Robert Tanner has a rage within him, a rage that manifests itself as a hulking behemoth. The only thing that can abate the rage if it becomes agitated is Miles Davis' “Blue in Green.” The melodic notes send Robert to his happy place.
In this time of technological advancement, Robert refuses to upgrade his 1st gen MP3 player that holds less than a gig's worth of music. All he needs is “Blue in Green” and he's happy. The MP3 can play at a volume of 50, but Robert finds 25 ideal; not too loud but loud enough to block out most distractions.
The MP3 is especially needed today. The August heat beating on him through the window of the crowded bus is relentless. Coupled with the broken A.C. and standstill traffic, Robert tries to lose himself in Miles' trumpet, raising the volume from 25 to 30.
Making it worse, there's a baby crying two seats in front of him, whose mother is oblivious of, unable to pry herself from her phone conversation. Volume from 30 to 35. There's also an Asian couple sitting on either side of the aisle. Robert can't tell if they're arguing or not but he's positive they're talking too loud. 35 to 40.
“Can you keep it down please? No one wants to hear your conversation.” He says it to no one in particular, hoping everyone will listen. They don't. Later, he'll think maybe the Asian's didn't even understand him, and it's not the baby's fault.
The traffic lets up and the bus finally starts moving. The two men behind Robert begin a conversation about the heat. “Really? You're talking about the weather. Please, just keep it down.” 40 to 45.
At that point, a woman standing in the aisle dials a number on her phone. “Hi honey, I'll be home in five.”
“How was that necessary?1?” 45-50
Momentarily the bus quiets down, and Robert can see the bus driver looking back. The moment passes and the conversations resume. 50.
The baby continues to cry. 50.
The bus breaks screech. 50.
The cacophony is enough to drown out “Blue in Green,” Robert can't hear the piano, or even Miles' trumpet. He tried to stem the rage, but the intrusive conversations begged for him to join them.
Despite his efforts, the rage took over and Robert was no longer there on the bus. After a few short minutes of unbridled rage, Robert returns to find the bus in complete disarray and no passengers left alive, except for the little baby still crying.
Robert is now sitting on a medical gurney, with an EMT checking his pupils. “Heh.”
“Is something wrong, sir? You seem to have survived the crash with no injuries.”
            “Hmm? Oh, would you be able to charge my MP3?”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rejection #4

This rejection was a little surprising.  I was pretty positive that it was exactly what the editors were looking for but alas I was wrong.  I think part of the buildup for me was that I hadn't received the rejection when they had announced all rejections were sent.  In my mind I believed that meant it was accepted, I just hadn't been notified yet so I inquired, and...

Alex Azar,

Thank you for querying. We did read your story, not sure why the response
didn’t reach you. It pasted below, and sorry for the delay:
Thank you for your giving us the opportunity to read Hypothermia. Sadly,
we regret to inform you that we are declining acceptance at this time.
This was an interesting story, but it just didn’t make the final cut for
Seasons in the Abyss. Thank you again for sharing your work with us and we
wish you the best of luck placing this story in another market.
We do our best to reply in a timely manner so please report our response
time at Duotrope’s Digest
****** ***** & the ***** ***** Staff

I find it odd that even though I hadn't received the response when I was supposed to, they would ask me to 'report their response time.'  This was the same publisher that had rejected No Lights in my Rejection Letter #2, and I'll admit they rejected that pretty quick (I still think it's because they knew I lied haha)

I want to tell you more about this story, Hypothermia, but it is actually the story for 'h' in my Alphabet Project so I'll save it for then.

Monday, November 8, 2010


It's come to my attention that some may not have noticed the 'pages' I currently have.  If you look below my profile picture to the left you'll see my current three pages "Rejections" "Top 25 Books" and "Overrated Top 5."  The pages are fairly self explanatory, but I wanted to make you are aware of them before I began adding more.

On that note, if you have any recommendations for future pages, please feel free to comment.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Best Thing to Come out of the TV Show 'Shit My Dad Says'

CBS has a new show on the air called Shit My Dad Says, or more accurately $h*! My Dad Says, starring William Shatner.  The premise of the show is that it's based off this guy's twitter account where he posted a bunch of dumb/funny things his dad 'supposedly' says.  I don't know if any of the tweets are actual quotes from his dad, but I know the TV show is pretty painful to watch.  William Shatner is the only thing worth while on the show, but it's bogged down by so much cliched sitcom fodder that he rarely has a chance to shine.

However, the show has produced one good thing, William Shatner, in keeping with the 'beeped' theme of things you can't say, sings Cee Lo Green's 'Fuck You' on the Lopez Show... comedy gold.

And keep an eye on the back up singers dressed in some of Shatner's more famous TV uniforms, like Captain Kirk and Sergeant T.J. Hooker.  The third singer is wearing his clothes from Shit My Dad Says

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


by Alex Azar

“I’m sorry Walter you’re…”
“Excuse me, I’m 77 years old, I have a son that’s 56 and a grandson that’s older than you.  Only my family and friends call me Walter, you can call me Mr. Carter.”
“Very well, Mr. Carter, as I was saying, you’re going blind.  You have some nerve damage in the cells located in the rear of…” 
“It’s probably for the best.  These eyes of mine have seen more than their share of tragedies, and not enough miracles.  Well Dr. Musa, for how long does this old man have his dignity?”
“Actually Mr. Carter, you have several different options available.  There is surgery, medications, or even laser treatments.  All of which have made substantial advancements in the recent past.  Your glaucoma is still in the early stages, I think medication would be your best option.  However, if at anytime you feel the need to move on to a different treatment I will be more than happy to give you all the information to make the proper decision.”
“So long as you’re the one who gets paid”
“Excuse me?”
“Nothing. One would think a man at my age would be through with all his important decisions.  OK Dr. Musa, why don’t we go ahead with the medication for now and as for the other processes, we’ll cross the bridge when the water’s right”
“You’re the boss Mr. Carter, see Jackie at the desk and she’ll give you the prescription.  Have a wonderful day Mr. Carter.”
“Thank you and the same for you Dr. Musa.”
At a local diner, where Mr. Carter has become a regular over the ages, he sits at the corner table, alone, as always.  He mulls over his untouched tomato soup, fidgeting the prescription with his thumbs.
As a waitress passes by, she observes, “You OK Mr. Carter?  You haven’t touched your soup yet, usually by now you’d have already been done and paid for.”
Not bothering to even look up from his soup, “Just another chapter in this old book we call life, Mrs. Johnson.”
“Now Mr. Carter, how many times do I have to tell you to call me Lucy?”
Responding as emotionless as ever, “I’ll call you Lucy when I think it’s proper for you to call me Walter.”  Attributing his rudeness to his age, not to mention his sour mood, Lucy shrugs the comment off and continues with her duties.  Finally ready to eat his rapidly cooling soup, Mr. Carter is interrupted, yet again.
“Hey Mister, how come you look so sad?”
Turning to see who this rude intruder is Mr. Carter turns to face a young boy no older than six.  “I just received some very disturbing news, I’m going blind.”
“That’s not nice, you should be sad.”
Chuckling at the child’s innocence Mr. Carter responds, “You know child, you’re right, I am sad, but I also feel a sense of relief.”
“How come mister?”
“Even you can tell I’m old, and I’ve seen a lot in my time, and when you get older you’ll learn it’s not all good.”
As the child contemplates the old man’s words, Mr. Carter is again ready to dive into his soup, when he is yet again interrupted, “Hey, Lucy’s shift is done, I’ll be your waitress now. Walter was it?” Asks the new waitress, cracking her gum with her teeth. 
Again shying from his soup, Mr. Carter’s demeanor is not that of a happy one, “Excuse Mrs. I am 77 years old, I have a son that is 56, and a grandson that is 38, my friends call me Walter, you may call me Mr. Carter.  You may also leave me be, your tip shall be awaiting you when I leave.”  Shocked, the waitress stammers off, leaving Mr. Carter to finally enjoy his now cold soup, under the unwavering gaze of the little boy.
Silent, the child just watches Mr. Carter eat, as he himself tries to understand the meaning of what the old man had told him.  Just then the boy’s father vigorously grabs his arm.  “Billy I told you to sit still while I went to the bathroom.”  Turning to the old man, “I apologize for my son bothering you.”
Still concentrating on his soup, “No, it was no bother at all; children are the only people that don’t treat us old folks like children.”  With that said he gives the father a crooked look.
Ashamed for being scolded, the father begins to shy away when he recognizes Mr. Carter, “Oh my God, you’re Walter, Walter Carter the famous journalist.  Walter I’ve read…”
Cut off by his son, “Dad he’s 77 years old with a son that’s um… 56 and a grandkid your age, only his friends call him Walter…”  Realizing he just called him Walter the boy covers his mouth with his hands.
Finishing for the boy, “That’s right, and you can call me Mr. Carter.”
At a complete loss for words, the father simply lowers his head and begins to walk away.  “I was telling your son that not everything in this world is perfect and that me going blind could also be a blessing.”
"You’re going blind?  That’s terrible, throughout your days and you experiences you must have seen more than most handful of people ever will.”
“That may be so, but I’ve seen more tragedies than miracles in my time.”
Refusing to accept Mr. Carter’s look on life, “But you did so much for this city as a cop, and even more for the country as a soldier, and all the wonders you must have seen as a journalist.  You can’t truly mean to say that the negatives of the world outweigh the positives.”
Having given up on enjoying his soup, Mr. Carter sides the bowl away still holding the prescription, “Was there good in all that I saw? Sure, but were they more miraculous than the tragedies I experienced?  Why don’t you be the judge?  Sit down and listen.”  With that the father takes the seat across from Mr. Carter, and places his son on his lap.
Still toying around with the prescription in his hand, Mr. Carter begins, “When I was a cop, still walking the beat around 125th and 9th Ave, a little kid no older than your son here, came running up to me crying.  He said his brother was in trouble and they needed help.  Not knowing what was going to happen I called for backup, and went with the kid.  What he didn’t tell me was that his brother was 19 years old and trying to get into this thug gang.  His initiation was to rape and kill a senior citizen in front of all his loser thug friends.  Here I am, a rookie cop on the beat charging into a small dark room with about a dozen thugs all of whom were more heavily armed than I was.  They saw a ‘pig,’ and I saw my life flash before my eyes for the first time.  The bullets started flying and the only casualty was the little kid who came and got me, the only one of them to do the right thing.  Ballistics claimed it was one of the thug’s bullets but to this day I still feel like it was my own.  In any case it was still my fault for charging in there without a handle on the situation, for not even knowing the situation.”
Almost too scared to ask the question, the father stammers “What about the senior citizen?  Did she live?”
“The boy that died, was so worried about upsetting his brother, that he waited until they were almost done with her to come looking for help.  She was dead for at least half an hour before I even showed up on the scene, at least that’s what forensics claimed.  And this is the world so many of us refuse to see.”  Mr. Carter intensely looks at the father, hoping that the story made his point.  The father went into a slight depression, and a long silence ensued.
Breaking the silence, the son asks, “What’s a senior citizen?”
Again laughing at the child’s innocence, Mr. Carter light heartedly replies, “A senior citizen, is an old person like me.”
“Oh OK, so what did they do to the old person after you saved her?”
Unable to answer the child and scar him forever, “I think I’m done telling stories for today.  If you and your son ever want to hear more, I’m here every Friday at the same time.”
Not willing to leave it at that, the father intervenes, “But what about that serial killer, the 2nd St. Strangler, a lot of good was brought about, right?”
“It’s hard to claim any good comes from a killer like the Strangler, but yes two rival gangs set aside their differences when members from both were killed by this psycho.  Some black gang and a Spanish gang , they pulled together and actually inspired people to get out of their homes and do something about the killer.  Word has it they still, to this day, have an agreement, a type of respectful parley.  But it can’t be forgotten that the Strangler killed four females before he was stopped, also let it be known these people are still thugs and killers themselves.  They terrorize the streets on a daily basis, and for a longer period of time than the serial killer.  For whatever good they did, they should never be glorified.”
Somewhat content with this revelation the father replies, “I’ don’t think anyone is trying to glorify these gangs but they did bring the city closer in a time of desperation.  So that should count as some good you’ve seen in your time.”
Frustrated at the man’s ignorance Mr. Carter retorts, “Some good?  During my time as a soldier, not only was I captured and tortured for three months nonstop, upon my negotiated release I became over glorified.  I was glorified for surviving three months of torture, but more so for enduring a life time of horrors that still follow me to this day.  The demons in my closet aren’t of my own doing, but those forced upon me while serving for the good of my country.  But after that, in a follow up tour, I had to witness three quarters of my platoon burnt to the ground with napalm, an act that was deemed a crime against humanity, and its use illegal during war.  This for the same country that used not one but two nuclear bombs in a single war.  Oh don’t for a second think the ‘good’ memories end there.  Later yet, as a war journalist for the army, I did a joint reporting with a local news channel in the Middle East.  While there, we had to drive by and watch a community wide killing of all women, while the men were away fighting a territorial war.  Worse yet the children were forced to watch their mothers and sisters murdered.  And what did we do as this was going on?  We were given orders to stand down and not initiate, because we had the news crew with us, and couldn’t endanger innocent lives for a foreign war.  All of which ignited a war that rages on today that we hear no word of because America is ‘the best country in the world’ and is so self absorbed that it’s blind to the truth outside it’s borders.”  Slamming his cup of water on the table Mr. Carter stands with tears in his eyes, “That’s the good these eyes have seen, that’s the positive of this world!”  Out of breath, Mr. Carter sits back down looking intently at the father.
Unsure of how to respond, the father feels it best to leave now, “I’m sorry we bothered and agitated you.  You clearly have enough to deal with.  We’ll leave you be.  Have a good day Mr. Carter”  With that the father stands up begins to lead his son out. 
“Bye Mr. Carter, sorry you’re going blind.”
Patting the child on his head, “You’re my friend you can call me Walter.”  As the two walk away Walter places the tip for the waitress on the table, still holding the prescription.  Fumbling with it in his hand, deeply thinking about what just transpired and what’s going to happen from here.  Walter still contemplating, pounds on the table unsure of what to do.
           As if on cue, the waitress passes by asking, “Was that your family Mr. Carter?”  Walter tosses the prescription into the soup and walks away.

Now that you’ve read the story, let me tell you that I actually met Walter Carter.  I was in the ER several years ago, I think for coughing up blood, anyway not relevant.  What is, is the fact that I got bored waiting to be seen by the doctor after waiting to get a room for three hours, even though I worked at the hospital, so I started walking around.  I passed an open curtain with an elderly black man sitting there talking to a nurse, and she called him Walter.  He said the line that I used several times throughout the story verbatim, a line I’ll never forget.  The nurse walked away upset, so I went over and started talking to him.  He told me he was a former boxer that trained with Muhammad Ali when he was still Cassius Clay.  I was enamored for the 20 or so minutes I talked to him until his doctor came back to him.  I told Mr. Carter that I’ll leave him alone with the doctor, when he pointed at me, and said “You, you’re my friend, you can call me Walter.”  It made me so proud, even more so when I heard the doctor call him Walter, and wasn’t met with the same kindness I got.  When blindness came up as the topic, I knew I wanted to steer away from the extreme I went with in Anger Management, and as a result is the story you just read.