Saturday, July 07, 2018

Cool canines

I have a small building behind the house where I keep my books, some furniture and the dog kennels. Because of its primary use, we call it The Library.

I have a lot of books, and for almost ten years I kept many boxes of them in astorage shed behind the last house where we lived. At the end of 2016, when we moved to Clarksville, when I went to move those boxes, I realized I had made a mistake. Being dark and undisturbed for so many years, cockroaches had got into a number of them.

After the cleanup, I resolved to not store books like that again, and so I have lined the walls of The Library with them.

The building is at the rear of the brick patio behind our house. The wooden carport is attached. It's leaning a bit with age, so I suppose The Library building may be helping to prop up the carport.

The Library does have electricity, so there is a refrigerator in there as well as a microwave. But when we bought the house the window for the air conditioning was empty.

Today Patricia and I saw a 5,000 BTU air conditioner for sale for a good price at the Walmart in Paris, so we bought it. I installed it and it is cooling the building down.

I think the pups will be pleasantly surprised when they go to bed tonight.

Lost rockets

While in Chattanooga for Libertycon, I met a number of authors who were among the so-called Sad Puppy finalists for the Hugo awards in 2015. If you are ever a finalist, you get a small lapel pin shaped like a rocket. I had two because I was a double-Puppy in 2015.

We fellow sufferers talked about the Puppy experience a bit. I told a friend why I didn't have my lapel pins any more.

I lost them the previous weekend.

I explained I never wore my lapel pins, but last year, at the last convention I attended for 2017, I met a fellow 2015 finalist who wore his. I asked if he was afraid to wear it in public. He seemed puzzled at the question.

"The way we have been vilified," I said. I'd be afraid to wear my pins, I'd be afraid someone would assault me at a convention."

My colleague said he earned his pin and he was proud to wear it.

I decided I'd start wearing my pins this year, and I took them with me when I went to SoonerCon in Oklahoma City June 22. After I checked in and got my badge, I took them out and I was going to stick them on.

I took the first one out, and as I tried to stick it on, I fumbled it. I never saw it land. It disappeared. I never saw it again. I put the second one back in its bag. The next day, I realized I'd lost it also.

After I told this story to one colleague at Libertycon, he said, "Well, you can always ask WorldCon for a replacement."

I laughed. "You've got to be kidding! They didn't want us to have them in the first place! Do you think they would ever give me a replacement!"

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

A busy ten days

It's nice to take this week off from work, the newspaper office is closed for our summer break. Last week was very busy. First, I attended Soonercon in Oklahoma City June 22-24. Then I came back and put out the June 28 edition of the paper. Then I turned right around and put together the July 5th edition of the paper. It was done Thursday.

In years past the paper has skipped the paper the week of the Independence Day holiday because our office is closed for summer break. but I decided we would still get our subscribers a paper. It was sent to the printer and then printed Monday, and put in the mail Tuesday so people would get it Thursday as usual.

Thursday I left for Chattanooga and Libertycon, staying over night on the way, and arriving Friday. I drove back to Clarksville Sunday. So it was a busy block of days.

I do have a confession to make regarding Libertycon: I shirked part of my duty. My last scheduled event was a reading at 1 p.m. Sunday. Two years ago, the last time I attended, I had ONE person come to my reading, Doug Loss. I met him at the con this year, and thanked him for coming last time.

Facing a 12-hour drive home, I felt leaving after the kaffeeklatsch versus the reading would probably decide whether I made the trip in one day, or whether I would have to stay overnight along the way. I decided the smart thing to do would be to leave at 10:30 a.m. and save the money. Things worked out as planned.

If anyone had attended my reading and wanted to buy a copy of my collection, I was already sold out. I didn't participate in the Authors' Alley, but I sold or gave away all the copies I had of "In the Shadow of the Cross" by Saturday. Two years ago I had been in the Authors' Alley and didn't see a book.

Two people grabbed me after panels during the con to sign books they had brought with them, a copy of "Cross" as well as "Another Girl, Another Planet".

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

My SoonerCon schedule

I will be in Oklahoma City June 22-24 for the SoonerCon convention. Here is my schedule. Hope to see you there!

The Author and The Anthology
Friday, June 22, 2018, 2:00 p.m.
Often a launch pad for new writers, anthologies are a great way to enter publishing and to network with writers and editors. A discussion of crafting short stories for anthologies and marketing your shorter work to net sales and build your audience.

Melyssa Childs-Wiley - M, Lou Antonelli, Walt Boyes, Cary Osborne, Selina Rosen, Tommy B. Smith

Readings: Alternate History
Friday, June 22, 2018, 4:00 p.m.
Lou Antonelli, David Carrico, Bekah June, Jeff Provine

Managing Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness
Saturday, June 23, 2018, 10:00 a.m.
Depression hurts, but help is out there! Health-care workers and mental-health advocates join together with fandom pros to share real resources for dealing with the black dog and staying sane in fandom.

David “Oak” Rice - M, Lou Antonelli, Peri Charlifu, Nadine Lewis, Rook Riley, Christina Stiles

Saturday, June 23, 2018, Noon
Lou Antonelli, David Carrico, K. W. Jeter

Fantastic Comedy
Saturday, June 23, 2018, 2:00 p.m.
There’re some great comic writing out there, from Xanth to Discworld to Myth Adventures. What makes a good sf comedy story? What are your go-to good reads?

Tracy S. Morris - M, Lou Antonelli, Linda L. Donahue, Tim Frayser, Rebecca McFarland Kyle, Susan Satterfield

From Science Fiction to Science Reality
Saturday, June 23, 2018, 5:00 p.m.
Taking your idea and creating new technology, systems, or compounds takes time, patience, and repeatability. How workers in STEM fields use the scientific method to turn dreams to reality.

Jan S. Gephardt - M, Astronaut Stan Love, Lou Antonelli, Clifford “Kip” McMurray, Richard Morgan, Adrian Simmons

You’ll Only Last a Week: Life Without Water
Sunday, June 24, 2018, 11:00 a.m.
Potable water is getting scarcer every year. Can humanity survive on rationed water only? What might a day with no water look like? How would you survive? What key changes would occur? Can we fully adjust to a day without water?

Jan S. Gephardt - M, Lou Antonelli, Deborah Chester, Michael Moe, Paula Helm Murray, Rook Riley

Writing in Someone Else’s Universe
Sunday, June 24, 2018, Noon
Shared worlds, threaded novels, collaborations; all the cool kids are doing it. What are the perks, and pitfalls, of the collaborative writing process?

Julia S. Mandala - M, Lou Antonelli, Walt Boyes, Rhonda Eudaly, K. W. Jeter, Christina Stiles

The Myth and the Monster
Sunday, June 24, 2018, 3:00 p.m.
“What makes you believe in things? It’s not what’s there, it’s about what’s not there…” – Damien Hirst, Artist

Folk tales through the ages have offered explanations for strange happenings and unusual encounters with nature. Panelists discuss the monsters of fantasy and their roots in folklore.

Lou Antonelli - M, Tim Chessmore, Bekah June, A. Lee Martinez, Paula Helm Murray, Laura J. Underwood

Monday, May 28, 2018

Farewell, Oh Great One!

I will always be grateful to Gardner Dozois for encouraging me and giving me invaluable writing advice when I was just starting to write spec fic back in 2003 and 2004, and ultimately accepting my first pro sale, "A Rocket for the Republic", which was published in Asimov's Science Fiction in Sept. 2005.

That was the only story of mine he ever accepted, because it was the last he ever accepted before he retired in April 2004. I will always be proud of the fact that mine was the last story he bought before leaving Asimov's after 19 years.

The story of our interaction was documented in "Letters From Gardner" in 2015, which I always thought didn't get a fair break because it was on the Sad Puppy slate for the Hugos and fell under the Anti-Puppy Purge that year - the ramifications of which are still being felt.

I met him in person three times: In 2003 at Philcon in Philadelphia, in 2011 at the Nebula Awards Weekend in Washington. D.C. and in 2013 at the WorldCon in San Antonio. He was easy to approach, friendly, and enthusiastic. It's no wonder he was so well-loved.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Worth the effort

With the Clarksville High School graduation coming up next Saturday, June 2, this coming week's paper is the issue where we publish the individual photos of the graduating seniors.

In larger cities it's usually impractical to publish all those individual pictures, but Clarksville's Class of 2018 has 33 graduates.

We will also print the photos of the graduating seniors in the other high schools in the county - Avery, Detroit and Rivercrest.

Interestingly enough. Clarksville, Avery and Detroit have almost the same number of graduates this year - 33, 33 and 34. Rivercrest has 44.

That's 144 seniors and 144 photos. Normally I'm not the person who composes the newspaper pages in In Design, but because this tribute to the seniors will add four pages to the paper - and the layout is fairly simple - I pitch in and do these pages myself.

So Thursday and Friday I spent most of my time making black and white (grayscale) copies of those individual photos and then laying them out on their respective pages, with the students' names.

I'm glad it's already done, and I know there will be many people next week who will appreciate the effort.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

My LibertyCon schedule

If you are planning to go to LibertyCon this year, here is my schedule:

Fri 04:00PM The Planetary Anthology Roundtable
Fri 05:00PM Opening Ceremonies
Fri 07:00PM What's New From Copper Dog Publishing
Sat 12:00PM Hollywood Science Fiction Luncheon Banquet and Guest of Honor Speeches
Sat 01:00PM Retro-Futurist Alternate History
Sat 04:00PM The Sha'Daa: TOYS Roundtable
Sat 05:30PM Sha'Daa: TOYS - Mass Autograph Session
Sat 09:00PM Copper Dog Publishing / Moondream Press Book Launch/Room Party
Sun 10:00AM Kaffeeklatsch
Sun 01:00PM Reading: Lou Antonelli & Dave Andy Schroeder

Cool canines

I have a small building behind the house where I keep my books, some furniture and the dog kennels. Because of its primary use, we call it T...