Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

AnthologyBuilder is seeking new ownership

April 30th, 2016 by Nancy Fulda

I have some bad news. As much as I love AnthologyBuilder, I no longer have time to maintain the database and submission system in the way the company truly deserves. Life keeps handing me new commitments and several of them are, quite frankly, far more important to me than running an online business.

So as of this morning, AnthologyBuilder is seeking new ownership. If you know someone who might be interested in taking over our current production system and customer base, please encourage them to get in touch with me.

As a company, AnthologyBuilder is mildly profitable. Back in the early days, when I was actively marketing and promoting the web site, it sold several hundred anthologies per year. Currently, sales are minimal. The database includes 1774 stories, poems and articles, as well as a sophisticated set of PDF generation and image manipulation software. The company name and operating slogan are trademarked.

Although price will of course be a factor in the negotiation, my primary objective is to find a buyer with the necessary skills to help AnthologyBuilder reach its full potential. The system is built on a basic structure of PHP and HTML. Possibilities for future expansion include digital anthologies, Android apps to facilitate anthology creation, APIs that allow online magazines to offer printed versions of archived stories, social networking, and marketing widgets that authors could include in their own web sites.

If I’m unable to find new ownership within the next few months, I’m afraid that AnthologyBuilder will have to shut down operations. If that happens, the web site will go offline and royalty payments will be issued to all authors whose earnings exceed the minimum threshold.

Please feel free to re-post this announcement on any blogs or web forums where it’s relevant.

Sincerely,

Nancy Fulda

Review: “Writing on the Wall” by Vaughan Stanger

June 22nd, 2012 by Nancy Fulda

Reviewed by Erica Inglett
Vaughan Stranger’s Writing on the Wall is a short read that focuses on just two characters and their daily routines. The story is entirely dialogue but still easily shows that the setting is in the future with advanced technology. In fact, the technology is all the two characters talk about, which shows the flaws with society making everything “bigger and better.”

I enjoyed the story. It confirms my belief that we should take some time to see the forest from the trees when creating something new.

Four Stars for “The Hidden Trail” by James Fox

February 28th, 2012 by Nancy Fulda

Reviewed by Stephen Cashmore
The Hidden Trail is a nice little story. I enjoyed it. It tells the story of a young boy, Craig, who is a Boy Scout in the USA who doesn’t fit in, mainly because of what the other boys in the group perceive as a know-it-all attitude. The reader knows something is going to happen to change this relationship, but it’s none too clear what it is until it finally happens.

The whole story is not overly dramatic, not overly sentimental; it strikes a nice balance between telling the story of the relationship between the boys and telling the story of the events which take place.

If I had any criticism it would be that one of the characters, Tim (I’m not really giving anything away here) is first mentioned briefly, then pops up as a main character, and it took me by surprise. I had to page back through to remind myself who Tim was. Forewarned, of course, you won’t have to do that.

Would I recommend The Hidden Trail for an anthology? Yes, I would. This would fit in nicely with any anthology likely to end up in the hands of children, or anyone who likes easygoing stories that, gently, make what is almost a moral point. I am creating an anthology for my own small son, and I think I will include The Hidden Trail for him to read – especially as he is a Beaver Scout!

Why use a proof reader or editor?

February 26th, 2012 by Nancy Fulda

Stephen Cashmore, one of AnthologyBuilder’s diligent reviewers, is a member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders and has an excellent eye for typos and grammatical inconsistencies.

Independent authors who are looking for proofreading — or who are wondering whether they need any — might like to take a look at his latest blog post: Why Use a Proof Reader or Editor?

Review: Tyche’s World by Stephen L. Antczak

April 29th, 2011 by Nancy Fulda

Reviewed by Stephen Cashmore
This story has an interesting premise – namely, suppose “luck” is something that could be created at a quantum level? Would it not therefore be possible to create good luck by conscious thought? On the assumption that a quantum field wasn’t already in place, wouldn’t it be possible to create one? The protagonist, a hard-headed scientist on Tyche, thinks the whole idea is nonsense, and sets out to disprove it. Does he succeed? That’s for me to know, having read the story, and you to find out.

The writing is reasonably solid – one or two phrases are a little odd, but nothing to get excited about. The dialogue flows well and feels real. I think my main issue with Tyche’s World is that it should either be longer, or it should drop some of the detail. For example, it tries to go into detail about each of the three main characters, and there simply isn’t room for that, so it comes across as slightly superficial. Ditto with the “science” and environment of Tyche. Contrary-wise, the build up to the experiment described in the story is put over in a couple of paragraphs, when it is clearly a key factor to the whole thing. The personal conflict between the characters, which leads to a pretty fundamental break-up, is not explored in much detail either. As a consequence of all these factors, the story relies heavily on its “big idea” – the characters and environment are vehicles for conveying the big idea, rather than being integral to it. Very much like sf used to be.

So if you’re looking for an sf story with a slightly 50’s or 60’s feel to it, Tyche’s World will fit the bill. If you’re looking for a more modern take, with a bit more depth and exploration of character to it, then it probably won’t.

Review: “Eschersketch” by Stephen L. Antczak and James C. Basset

April 26th, 2011 by Nancy Fulda

Reviewed by Ziv Wities
Stephen L. Antczak and James C Bassett’s “Eschersketch” has a brilliant premise and a lot of problems. The premise is this: protagonist Evan is in charge of a fabrication machine, which can make physical reproductions of most anything imaginable. Aiming both to test the machine to its limit and to impress co-worker Janey, Evan tests the machine by having it recreate the impossible realities of M.C. Escher – building up to a life-sized version of Escher’s Relativity.

I love this concept – it’s a perfectly plausible use of SF-nal technology, yet the moment Evan starts toying with Escher’s designs, the unspoken promise is loud and clear: Evan is going to make the impossible real. The anticipation is tremendous; the reader won’t rest until he sees the result.

But the rest of the story, alas, does a poor job of supporting this enthusiasm. Much of the story’s attention is devoted to Evan’s social awkwardness and to his infatuation with his co-worker; Evan is presented as an utterly pathetic individual, disliked by all – and justly so. I’m sure this was, to a large extent, the authors’ intention, but lacking any redeeming features, Evan’s resentful internal monologues becomes simply tiresome to wade through. It certainly doesn’t encourage me to feel invested in his romantic feelings towards Janey:

He decided that he desperately needed to get rich like Roberto. Then he could have the life his boss had, with the ThinkSmart and the hot young trophy wife — maybe even a passionate affair on the side with a woman like Janey. Just like Roberto.

Actually, that was unfair — Evan had no proof other than his own jealousy that there was anything going on between Janey and Roberto.

Yeah, there’s the start of a nice, healthy relationship. Evan clearly isn’t meant to come across as a particularly nice guy, but somehow his obsessive fascination with Janey seems intended to sustain and propel forward a 50-page story. Making matters worse, we get a few jaunts into Janey’s point of view, which portray her to be every bit as superficial as Evan’s interest in her – she doesn’t seem to have any life or interests beyond assessing the sexual and romantic potential of the story’s various cast members.

A poor romance/drama arc might have been only a minor ding against the story; unfortunately, “Eschersketch” plays more to its weaknesses than to its strengths. There are long swathes of the story where Evan’s pestering of Janey is the only thing going on; these may stretch the sense of anticipation beyond the point of genuine interest. Most disappointing is the ultimate payoff – when Evan does step into the much-awaited Escher-world, the result is an absurd and arbitrary conclusion which comes out of nowhere and gives little in the way of satisfaction.

In fairness, I think what Antczak and Bassett were attempting was less an SF yarn about intriguing applications of fantastic technology, and more of a classic horror structure: the Escher-world as a dark fate that lurks ominously in the wings until the big reveal. If I’d enjoyed the character arc more, this structure might have worked – it certainly does have that sense of ever-present dread, and something momentous about to happen, and when will he go in there already… that typifies that type of story. And I won’t reveal the ending, but I will say it would certainly fit the structure. Nonetheless, I can’t quite buy this as a horror story, simply because for so much of the story, there’s no actual sense of threat – quite the opposite, many details are provided that make the attempt seem perfectly safe and unlikely to produce anything remarkable. And again, a horror story relies on a measure of sympathy with the protagonist; for me, at least, “Eschersketch” didn’t have that.

It’s clever; it’s fresh; it draws the reader in right from the start. Alas, it doesn’t carry him through to the finish.

Review: “Barking” by Tracie McBride

April 21st, 2011 by Nancy Fulda

Reviewed by Stephen Cashmore
I’m afraid to say that I didn’t really take to this story. Why not? Well, the main reasons are that it isn’t telling me anything really new, despite its obvious efforts to shock; and the style in which it is told (“this isn’t me telling a story, it’s me talking to a psychiatrist”) is these days a little tired.

Barking tells the tale of a man whose chat-up line is that he’d been regressed by a psychiatrist, and it had come out that he had been a dog in a previous life. A fierce dog. He’d told the story so often that “he’d almost come to believe it”… and I expect that brief description together with the title gives you enough of a clue that you can guess the direction in which the story goes. It contains no direct speech. Events are described by “this happened… and then this happened…” and so on. In my opinion the overall structure is far too simplistic and the underlying plot far too obvious and – in this day and age – simply not shocking enough. Further, the story presents no real explanation of what is happening.

Maybe I’m being unkind, but I have a feeling that McBride is capable of much better stories than this. So, even if you are putting together a horror anthology, I don’t think I would recommend that you include Barking.

Review: Crushing Butterflies by M.K. Hobson

April 2nd, 2011 by Nancy Fulda

Reviewed by Stephen Cashmore
So this is my first review for AnthologyBuilder, and I’ve certainly struck lucky with Crushing Butterflies. The story is billed as being science fiction: that and the title tell any science fiction fan that it’s a story about time travel – in fact, Ray Bradbury’s famous story about stepping on a butterfly in the past and irrevocably and profoundly changing the future is mentioned in Crushing Butterflies, although not by name. What the title doesn’t tell you – but I’m telling you now – is that this is a good science fiction time travel story. For two reasons.

The first reason, which strikes you as soon as you start reading, is that the quality of Hobson’s writing is superb. She conjures up scenes and moods with a few slick phrases; describes places and actions with a few well-placed adjectives and adverbs, without overdoing either. The dialogue is terse but feels real, and is well constructed to move along the pace as well as the plot of the story. I loved the writing style.

The second reason is that Crushing Butterflies represents a new take on the time travel theme. Now that’s not easy to do, as it’s a subject that has been battered by hundreds of authors over many years. But this is a new twist. Really. The story doesn’t go into a Star Trek frenzy of describing machinery and paradox, but puts out its ideas very simply. Hobson tells us that in the world she envisages, time travellers are common, and a nuisance. So she doesn’t bother to go into technical detail – if her world can take all that for granted, then so can we. And it works.

I liked the writing; I liked the plot; I found I could empathise with the characters. I expect if I put my thinking cap on I could find a hole in the temporal logic (pretty much by definition, there has to be one in this genre), but I found I didn’t want to. Would I recommend this story for an anthology? I think my answer must be obvious: yes, I certainly would.

And we have a winner!

August 16th, 2010 by Nancy Fulda

Congratulations to Liz Holliday for creating the Most-Liked Anthology on AnthologyBuilder! Not only did her creation garner appreciation from the greatest number of individual visitors, but its fans also proved their devotion by voting daily during the Playoff Round.

Congratulations, Liz! A gift certificate for a free anthology has been sent to the email address on file with AnthologyBuilder.

Now, let’s have a final round of applause for our top three, who really battled it out for a while there. *clap clap clap clap clap*


With Stars In His Eyes:
The Stories of Vaughan Stanger

(69 votes)

The Draconomicon:
Here be Dragons

(47 votes)

Ladies of
Carpe Libris

(40 votes)

View the Final Standings

Cyborgs, Orcs and Aliens

August 4th, 2010 by Nancy Fulda

We’ve got New Fiction by DJ Cockburn, Liz Holliday, Desmond Warzel, Stephen V. Ramey, Tim McDaniel, R. S. Pyne, Heather Kuehl, and J. Kathleen Cheney.

Of particular note are Afterimage by J. Kathleen Cheney, The Only Good Orc by Liz Holliday, and Why the Aliens Did What They Did to that Suburb of Madison, Wisconsin by Tim McDaniel.