Saturday, May 10, 2014

On collections

"The Clock Struck None" is my third collection in five years; "Fantastic Texas" was published in 2009 and "Texas and Other Planets"in 2010. "Clock" seems to be getting the best reviews of the three so far; the positive review in the Reference Library of Analog is very gratifying.

I picked up two tricks over the years from various writers that have contributed to all these collections. First, I learned from Jay Lake that — while learning of one's craft — it doesn't hurt to submit often and everywhere. There are some authors who only submit to pro publications or publications of a certain level. But I saw a long time ago that Jay Lake was willing to submit to any publication which — in the phrase used by a fellow author once on a panel — "has a pulse". Jay is certainly an accomplished author, and I have to say that I think the constant writing has helped me improve my craft; 82 stories published in 11 years is a testament to that.

I learned from Joe Lansdale that developing a large body of published short stories gives you the ability to assemble a collection whenever needed. Joe has had hundreds of stories published over the years and he can pull together a collection with any theme whenever asked.

Fantastic Texas was obviously a collection of Texas-themed stories. "The Clock Struck None" is all alternate or secret history. Eventually I suppose I will be able to assemble a collection of space opera or time travel stories, too.

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Latest reviews

"It’s possible that you haven’t run into the stories of Lou Antonelli. Since 2003, he’s been publishing delightful short tales of alternate history all over the nooks and crannies of the SF world. Thanks to Fantastic Books, we now have 28 of these little gems in one place. "Many of Antonelli’s stories have an unexpected twist ending. And many of them are what he calls “secret history” stories, which aren’t exactly alternate history—they’re set in our familiar history, but there’s always some element that contemporary observers missed. " -

- Don Sakers, The Reference Library, Analog July-Aug. 2014

A better path develops for a distraught man in “Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli (debut 6/11 and reviewed by Frank D). Jake is about to end it all. He has been trying to keep his high maintenance wife happy for decades and has needed to embezzle to satisfy her spending habits. Now, on the verge of indictment and abandoned by his spouse, he buys a gun. Before he pulls the trigger, he spies a Kodak one-day photo hut. Curious, he pulls up to the window. They are holding pictures of him and his last girlfriend from 30 years before. The package is a lot thicker than it should be. Double Exposure” is listed as an Alternative History story but I would classify it as a Magical Realism tale. It is set as a second chance tale, a look into a life that should have been. The author is inspired by his memories of the old photo huts (I remember them) and of their disappearance. A cool idea (photos of another life), one that I could imagine would make for a great anthology.

- Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots

“Great White Ship”: A traveler stuck waiting for a flight strikes up a conversation with an old airline employee. The Old Timer tells him a story of a Great White Airship that arrives from a most unusual destination. The story of a craft from an alternate reality and how it got there is only the precursor to the final act. This is one of my favorite stories from this site. I have a great passion for lighter-than-air craft and their potential as a future means of transport, which opens the story. The author uses this speculation to launch into an engaging tale. As fascinating as the main story line is, the alternate history premise that accompanies it is just as worthwhile. This story was well written and very well thought out. It is well worth the read. Recommended.

- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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