Sunday, September 04, 2016

Been away for a while

I left on Wednesday, August 24, to the East Coast and a respite visit with my mother while my sister took a few vacation days. I got back to Texas Monday, August 29, and had to hit the ground running at work because of the time I was away from the office. My time is also being eaten up as my wife and I work on the closing for a new home in the city where I work, which would end the 46-mile (one way) commute I have been making since January of last year.

Since my last post here, I sold two stories. I received word the day I arrived in Virginia that Silver Pen will publish my tail-biting time travel story "Time Like a Rope", and The Gallery of Curiosities podcast on Wednesday bought "If You Were a Dinah Shore, My Love".

Meanwhile The Siren's Call ezine has published "And He Threw His Hands Up in the Sky".

Speaking of "If You Were a Dinah Shore, My Love", it may seem a little strange, but you'd be surprised how often stories start with the title first.

Snappy or catchy titles have a way of prodding a good writer's creativity.

Back in 2003, when I was just starting out, I tried coming up with phrases that I could hang a story on. It often was as simple as flipping randomly through a dictionary.

One phrase that stuck to the wall was "Cast Iron Dybbuk" and I successfully wrote a story to go with the title. I sold it to Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine and it was published in the Summer of 2005.

In 2004, the first time I ever met Joe Lansdale, he told me he does the same thing, and in fact one of his bigger successes in short stories came when he wrote a story to match the title "Tight Little Stitches in a Dead Man's Back".

I bring this up to say that while many people have held forth about Rachel Swirsky's story "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" during the past few years, all that talk led me to come up with the abysmal pun "If You Were a Dinah Shore, My Love" - but then I was able to write a story to match it, and you know what - It turned out pretty good.

So as the saying goes, "It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good."

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"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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