Thursday, January 06, 2005

Getting All Caught Up

Wow, I haven't had a chance to update this blog since Christmas Eve. But when you're really busy, you just have to set priorities and let some things drop.
Needless to say, like with so many people, there's a lot of planning to do in conjunction with Christmas. Things were especially strained this year because Patricia sprained her back around the middle of the month. It was touch and go whether she'd have to go see a doctor. The crisis passed, but not without a lot of rest, with the result that I had to finish the Christmas shopping. I got the last of the presents bought on the Monday before Christmas. (Remember, the nearest shopping mall is 45 miles away in Tyler).
Patricia was able to wrap all the gifts up, and I got them to the local office supply store by the Thursday before Christmas - not quite in time to get there by Christmas Day, but close enough. I was happy we came as close as we did, all things considered.
We spent the Christmas weekend visiting; her mother on Christmas Day, and her father Dec. 26 (her parents are divorced). Mom lives in Dallas and dad lives in Cedar Hill. We drove the round trip both days - over 400 miles. Again, a lot of work - but worth it.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to take much of a break. The local basketball teams played in a tournament Monday through Wednesday after Christmas in a town 85 miles away. I had to make the round trip 3 days in a row. I did have Thursday off, and then had more games to cover Friday (New Year's Eve).
At midnight, I had to attend the swearing-in of the new county sheriff. Boy, was I wiped New Year's Day!
After all this hustle and bustle and running around, I got pretty run down and have been battling the flu ever since. Of course, this is the time of the year when lots of people have the flu - but I guess I'm frustrated because I know I pretty much had it coming because of the pace I've had to keep up.
Have there been any science fiction developments recently? Well, Monday I got a check for $5 from Alienskin magazine for my flash piece they ran, "They Call It Time". Not much, but note: It's the first actual payment I have ever gotten for a story! I photocopies the check before I cashed it, and used it to buy a frozen pizza and a TV dinner. So there!
Bill Rupp at Continuum Science Fiction says they should have the fall 2004 issue printed by now (running a little late, but that's par for the course for these small publications). The table of contents is up on his web site. My story, "Double Crossing the Styx", is listed. If and when I get a copy of the magazine, it will mark my first ink and paper publication. Another small check should be on the way.
Referring back to those basketball games, I DID have time between games to scribble notes and outlines in a pad, so I did get some science fiction work done. I worked up a full 2-page outline for a story idea I've been kicking around for a while, "The Devil Woman of Mars vs. the P.A.R.T.Y. Animals of Texas " (P.A.R.T.Y. standing for Provisional Army - Republic of Texas Youth). Something screwball and cowpunk and fun.
Otherwise, the only thing I've written recently was that story "Rockets and Reindeer" I posted on Christmas Eve. I just about did it to keep in shape because I knew I would have a fallow period here.
Well, I have to work on some other submissions. Oh, by the way, today's my birthday. I'm 48.

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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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