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, May 24, 2011

I can't read.

I've recently come to the sad realization that I cannot read, novels that is. I've long been a fan of the medium, and have a fairly extensive collection of books, mostly novels I'm fond of. However, I can no longer read them, or more accurately, I no longer enjoy them.

I remember a time not too long ago when I'd be reading two different books at the same time (one on the toilet the other for all other times), and was able to fully enjoy both. Now I'll begin a novel and only a few pages into it, I'd already be contemplating skipping ahead or stopping the book altogether. I would like to point out this hasn't affected me when rereading novels I've already read.

Aside from my adult A.D.D. (which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone) I blame this occurrence on three different, yet somehow related things;

1) Comics: I am an avid comic collector but more to the point reader. Those 4-color 22 pages of soap operas in capes have long been an obsession of mine, and in all likelihood are the precursor for my situation. Most comic titles have stories told in several issues spanning so many months, but individually sate my appetite for the medium and the story. Also, with a 30 day bumper for said story to continue I can easily shift my focus to another character/team and story and not becoming bored at any point. Even when reading graphic novels (4-7 issues of a comic collecting a full story) I only read one issue at a time allowing for the proper break in between.

2)DVR: Like most people I'm a fan of TV, but not to an obsessive point like with comics, however the invention of DVR's allows me to record and watch more TV than I regularly would. What this has to do with the topic is that it also allows me to skip any parts I find boring. Commercials are a thing of the past. Women's fights in wrestling are irrelevant. The dialogue in Smallville (R.I.P.) was non-existent (which is decidedly better than the actual scripted conversations). This must have contributed to my 'instant gratification' mentality when it comes to reading.

3) My own writing: If you've visited this blog before you've most likely come to realize that I focus most of my efforts on short stories. I did this under the belief that it would help get me published earlier, and I've accomplished that, currently published in two different anthologies, and three more on the way (potentially all this year). Unfortunately, this practice has got me thinking 10,000 words or less for stories, a habit I'll have to break in order to resume writing my own novels.

All three factors add to equal a difficult time for the chosen pastime. I'm currently "reading" a book that I haven't touched in nearly a week, and I'm on page 10 and am already contemplating to skipping to chapter 3 to see if anything worthwhile has happened.

I may also need to add the last full length novel that I actually read as a reason, Steig Larson's Millennium Trilogy. You know what I'm talking about, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The girl who played with Fire, and The girl who kicked a hornets nest. The premise to each book was OK, but the execution was so overly drown out and unnecessarily convoluted that the first book that was 700 pages easily could have been 300, and would have been a great deal better.

So, as I said I can't read, but I'm hoping my eventual shift in writing to novels will once again change that, or I just might have to start watching commercials again.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rejection #9: Kicking @$$ so you don't have to

Here's a rejection letter I received over the weekend that I found particularly funny.  Typically rejections don't say much in terms of a reason, but this editor gave specific details and numbers.

Hello Alex,

Thanks for submitting to Local Heroes. Unfortunately I am going to pass on "Kicking @$$ So You Don't Have T" as it not quite what I'm looking for. Also, 74 utterances of the word 'shit' and at least 7 utterances of the word 'fag' and its varitions was also not an endearing quality.

Thanks again for makng the effor and taking the time to submit to LH.


Now in my defense, the story was written when I was in high school, and in my re-edit before submitting it, I cut out a lot of cursing, including over 42 utterances of the 'f-bomb'.  I find it somewhat telling that he calls me on the use of the word 'fag' but had no problem of me saying/writing a four letter Hispanic racial slur. 

I'm joking about this being a tell, but I do actually agree with him.  Had I written this story now, the language would have been toned down, and the dialogue done with much more maturity.  I still like the premise, and will most likely rework the piece and resubmit if time permits.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Short Fiction Accepted

It's my pleasure to inform all who read this that I have had another story accepted for publication!  This is my 5th, although thus far only 2 have been published.  This book will be an anthology from the publisher that also did the first book I was in (School Days: Tales With an Edge)  available here for those of you who have yet to purchase it.

This story is considered flash fiction as it is under 600 words, and if you search this site for a missing story, you should be able to figure out which one it is.

Even though I was fairly confident the story would be accepted, I have to admit my heart stopped when I noticed the reply email in my inbox this afternoon.  And I felt similar excitement as when I first read an acceptance letter.  It's such a great feeling, be sure that I'll continue to share it every time I experience it. 

As before, I'll let provide more information as it becomes available.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Save us Will Smith

The following is a quick 700 word flash fiction story. The submission call was looking for emails sent during a zombie invasion, and needed to be in actual email format. Initially I had looked over this anthology and the company publishing it altogether, but the seed was planted and this tongue in cheek story of one obsessed fan mostly wrote itself. Unfortunately, shortly after writing and submitting the story, the anthology was cancelled, and in turn the company folded. It appears my original assessment was correct, but at least now you get to read it for free, enjoy.

Save us Will Smith
Alex Azar

To: Will Smith (

From: Carl “#1 Fan” Tucker (

Mr. Smith, I know you’ve ignored my emails in the past, thinking me as just a crazed fan. And I am one, one among many.

This time however, I’m not writing about my movie idea (which I still think you’d be perfect for), but I’m not sure if you’ve noticed in your presumably lavish California mansion, but we in New Jersey are experiencing the first State-side signs of the zombie virus that plagued the UK.

I’m only bothering you because I know you’ve dealt with these kinds of things before, and you are a ‘Legend’ at it (yes, pun intended). I would have called your agent again, but the phones haven’t been working for a few days, and I’m piggybacking off of a neighbor’s Wi-Fi, and honestly, I’m scared of Jada.

I thought about emailing Bruce Campbell, but he laughed at my last movie pitch for him, so I blacklisted him, as if he has so much on his plate. You can read about it in my blog at… you know the site by now.

Oh right, the zombies. Well they’ve gotten my sister (no big lose there) but my parents are very upset about it, and are begging me to leave my room and join them. But I’ve seen the movies, I know the second I open my door, either my parents will turn, or some other zombies will break into the apartment. No thanks. I’ve got a month’s supply of Mountain Dew and PopTarts before I have to resort to my secret stash of Camo beer and beef jerky. I trust by that time, you’ll have come and saved us.

We're still not sure how the plague spread across the 'pond', but we know it started at the Jersey shore. From there it spread quicker than herpes at a frat party. New York City quickly cut off the bridges and tunnels saving the city, and the National Guard has prevented anyone from leaving. Oddly enough they're still allowing people to enter Jersey, but there never was a high amount of visitors here in the first place.

Still, even with those precautions we have to assume the zombies will breach the borders. It's that thought process that I'm trying to reason with you. If you could help us here and now, and prevent this from spreading, it'll be easier than having to save the whole country, and waiting for them to reach California.

Also, do you remember my girlfriend? I mentioned her in a couple of emails, well she hasn't been answering my emails, and I haven't talked to her in a while so I'm getting a little worried. I know she never answered my emails, or voice mails, or DM's, or texts, but now something might actually be wrong. Her last Facebook post was “OMG zombies :*(” I don't know if they got her or if she's safe. I was hoping you could check on her on your way to Jersey since she lives close to the border of Pennsylvania.

I don't want to bother you anymore, but one more thing. If the zombies have taken over New Jersey, there's going to be a lot of them. People underestimate how large of a population Jersey has. I was thinking maybe you should bring some help. I have a list of people I think are specially qualified for this situation. In no particular order;

Ving Rhames, Milla Jovovich, Woody Harrelson, and Simon Pegg should round out the team nicely. If Rose McGowan still has that machine gun leg, she'd fit perfectly, plus I don't think she's too busy nowadays anyway. And I guess if you think we need more help, I can remove Bruce Campbell from the blacklist.

I'd email all these people myself, but I think you'd have bigger sway since you are Will Smith after all. Plus, I don't know how much longer I'll have access to the Wi-Fi, and I need to post this email on my blog.

I can't wait to finally see you again, I assume the restraining order is null in lieu of the zombie apocalypse? Cool, thanks.

Your biggest fan,
Carl 'Agent C' Tucker

Alex Azar

As a side note, I had originally conceived this story with the fan writing to Bruce Campbell as mentioned in this final take, however I recalled a comic/TV movie that he had done that was along a similar premise. I then began of thinking of other actors who've fought zombies in movies, and for whatever reason I chose Will Smith. Other actors I had thought of were all mentioned in 'Carl's' email: Ving Rhames (Dawn of the Dead), Milla Jovovich (The Resident Evil series), Woody Harrelson (Zombieland) and Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bacon Product #5...

...Air Freshener
Any girlie man can have a pin-tree air freshener hanging from their rearview mirror, but it takes a special kind of person to fill their car (more likely a Hummer or Ford Bronco) with the sweet satisfying aroma of bacon to embrace all those that enter.  Guys, this is a great way to subtly hint to your date what you'd like for breakfast the following morning.  It's got to work, right?