August 9th, 2006

My First Blurb!

So as one might imagine, I've struck up some e-relationships with many of my slush survivors that have been published in RoF (along with a few that haven't). One of the ones I communicate with fairly regularly is Ken Scholes, author of "Of Metal Men and Scarlet Thread and Dancing With the Sunrise." His piece was a brilliant science-fantasy, with a story set in the kind of world that made me start (and keeps me) reading this brain candy in the first place.

So it came as no surprise that during the course of our emails I learned that we share a love for many of the same fantasy authors. What did come as a surprise was when Mr. Scholes (whose career is really taking off by leaps and bounds these days) casually mentioned the possibility of the two of us collaborating on a piece together at some point down the road.

Needless to say, I was hugely flattered. And based on tastes, we both had reason to believe our two warped minds working as one could put forth a killer story. But, IMO, there was a major snag. I had read Ken's work and loved it. He had yet to read anything of mine, though, and I just didn't feel comfortable with us agreeing to work together on anything until he read a sample of my writing and got a proper feel for the kind of tales I like to write. So I emailed him a copy of my story, "Feelings of the Flesh," which is due to appear in a future issue of INTERZONE as my first published story.

Today I head back from Ken, and I received what I consider my first real blurb:

"You are a fine writer, Doug. The REH - CAS influences are very cool to see. This read like what might've happened if Solomon Kane had visited Zothique."

REH & CAS refer to Robert E. Howard & Clark Ashton Smith, two of my favorite fantasy writers. Solomon Kane is one of REH's more memorable characters, and Zothique is perhaps CAS' most memorable world. To be mentioned in the same e-breath as these two writers by someone as hugely talented as Ken has just made my week. And it's only Wednesday! It was also a really interesting experience to know that one of my published slush survivors was reading my story, and to actually catch myself fretting, wondering what he'd think about it.

But I couldn't have asked for kinder praise. So thank you, Ken, and I look forward to the day we hit upon a story that shall make everyone's jaws suitably drop when they read it.

Realms of Fantasy Reviewed

So the reviews for the August issue of Realms of Fantasy have gone up at IROSF: http://www.irosf.com/q/zine/article/10302#rof

I was quite curious to see what Lois Tilton would think of this issue, especially since it has four slush survivors in there. Well, she pretty much hammered it. Some nice compliments here and there, but overall she wasn't exactly enthralled with the offerings.

So at this point she's now read & reviewed six stories that I've pulled from the slush, and she has yet to slap a Recommendation on any of them.

This has taught me something very interesting, I think, this being that just as a reviewer can be less than enamored with a particular writer, she can also feel the same way about a particular editor's taste. It makes perfect sense when you stop and think about it, but the possibility never occurred to me until now. Does this mean that I'll never pull a story from the slush that Ms. Tilton will recommend? Of course not. But clearly the two of us have very different opinions about what tends to constitute a good fantasy story, because I've publicly raved about more than of these tales in question (and will continue to).

So you learn something new every day. And these are just some harmless observations. I'm not bad-mouthing anyone's taste in stories. Ms.Tilton is certainly entitled to her opinions. I just find this whole scenario interesting enough to post about on my blog.

Now with that said, Ms. Tilton does review Interzone regularly for IROSF, so when my story is published in IZ, I do find myself curious if her opinion of my writing will be higher than that of my editorial taste. Regardless, since it will be my first published story (and hence the resulting reviews will be my first ones as well), the result should certainly prove itself another learning experience . . .