Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ravencon coming up

I will be in Williamsburg, Virginia, for RavenCon April 29 through May 1st. Here is my tentative schedule:

5 pm (Panel) Guilty Pleasure: The “B” Movie / Room G
7 pm (Opening Ceremony) Large Auditorium

6 pm - 8 pm (Panel) Ask SWFA / Room G

10 am (Signing) Dealers Room - John Teehan of The Merry Blacksmith Press will be in the Dealers Room, so copies of "Letters from Gardner" and "Texas & Other Planets" will be available for purchase.
Noon (Panel) Learning to Write: Workshops, Books & Classes / Room 8
2 pm (Reading) Room J - I will be reading my short story which is included in the Decision Points YA anthology being releasednext month, "The Milky Way Dance Hall".

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Some feedback on a rejection

"It is really well-written, but far too predictable. I knew exactly what was going to happen on almost every page that the story held no "interest for me other than the good writing. But I can't buy a story on that basis alone.

"Also, this is one of those overused plotlines in the same vein as "let's go back in time and kill Hitler." I kept waiting for the narrative to take an intriguing new direction, but it never happened."

I've joked in the past that, with my background in journalism, I have a decent grasp of the English language, and I've never been told a story was poorly written - just that it had other minor problems such as plot, pacing, characterization and so forth. This is a good example.

I've said in the past any feedback from an editor is good, and this is valid criticism. It's nice to see normal feedback with a rejection, and not all the bad faith hatchet jobs myself and a lot of Hugo nominees had to endure last year. This example of feedback starts off by highlighting the positive aspects of the story, but then segues into the problems - which is always a valid approach. Last year most of the reviews of Hugo-nominated stories skipped the positives, went straight to the negatives, and usually segued into personal attacks. Not all, but most. Which is why, unfortunately, I'm grateful when an editor sends honest feedback with a rejection.

Not that all my feedback are rejections. I should have between one and three acceptances to announces soon.

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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