Saturday, December 30, 2006

OK

Let's try that again

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SSV3B4psrw

Ahh, domesticity

Last night was the first Friday night I have spent at home IN THREE AND A HALF MONTHS!
Starting in August, I had to spend every Friday night covering football (remember those Friday Night Lights). Then I volunteered to play Santa Claus for the local Chamber of Commerce at the city park every Friday and Saturday night in December.
Because the local football team made a decent playoff run, the two commitments ran into each other, so I haven't had a free Friday night since August.
Ahh, it was so nice to stay at home, listen to the rain howl, and watch the boob tube with the wife.
Things are also looking up on the job. With the end of the holiday season the extra advertising that had increased the newshole I've had to fill should be ending, plus a new typesetter should be starting on the job Tuesday (I've only had a person in that job maybe two weeks since the end of October).
Well, here's a blast from the past that always puts me in a good mood. This is probably the live performance by any group that I like the best: Cheap Trick's version of "I Want You to Want Me" from their performance in Budokan in Japan in about 1979. Lord, it seems to so long ago.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SSV3B4psrw

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Synchronicity

Here's a little piece of weirdness:

I've had the Guy Mitchell tune "Singing the Blues" rattling through my brain for the past few weeks - you know, how you get a song stuck in your head.

I assumed it was some sort of subliminal message - I'm turning 50 next week (Jan. 6).

Today I was googling some research and found some information about the song. Guess what - it was the No. 1 chart topper at the time I was born: The end of 1956 and the start of 1957.

So the question is: Did I already know what - or do I just have a REAL good memory?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Farewell, Ultraverse

Got an email Friday from Chris Africa, the publisher of the ezine Ultraverse. She said that because of family reasons (a new baby a year ago) she doesn't have the time to update the web zine, so it's going to archive status and not publishing any new fiction.

Ultraverse published my story "Big Girl" in May 2005. This is the second year in a row I got word that a webzine that published me was closing down at the end of the year. The same thing happened with Astounding Tales last December.

Friday, December 22, 2006

"Eva" published

The December issue of Neometropolis has been posted, so "Eva" is available to read. The web site is www.neometropolis.com

As I've noted before, this is the first collaboration between Ed Morris and I that has seen the light of day.

This was kind of a weird collaboration, since I wrote the outline but Ed actually wrote the story. I had wanted it to be more even-handed, but things intervened to keep me from getting back to it, so Ed essentially did all the heavy lifting.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cyberpunk web magazine?

Recently heard from Ed Morris, my collaborating pal in Portland, that our first project together has been accepted by a cyberpunk web magazine called Neometropolis and should be published later this month. It's an alternate history story that delves into (what else?) the Third Reich, called "Eva". We combined forces on this back in March, I think. Actually, the story is attributed as "by Ed Morris (with Lou Antonelli)". I had the idea and the outline, but when we started, some personal deadlines interposed and kept me from working on it, so Ed actually did the heavy lifting and wrote the story up.
I probably would never have written anything that could be a good fit for a cyberpunk web magazine, but I understand from the way Ed wrote it up why they took it.
I am continuing the treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, and it does seem to be working. The sharp pains and subsiding but I'm not going to let up for a long time. I did not enjoy the pain I had towards the end of last week.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My apologies...

to anyone who follows my comings and goings via this blog, but I obviously haven't been posting regularly. My work load has been such that I've aggravated my carpal tunnel syndrome - to the point that I cut back on a lot of optional stuff. But the condition has deteriorated and I had to go to the doctor Friday. I'm wearing a brace on my leftwrist and taking some anti-inflammatory drugs. I hope things improve soon.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Things are looking up

Thanksgiving isn't a fun week when you work at a weekly or (in my case) semi-weekly newspaper (that's twice a week for you laymen). A holiday that falls in the middle of the week screws up the production schedule. For example, my weekend paper deadline is Friday - which wasn't affected by the holiday. But of course, I had Thursday off - which means that, unless I wrote at home and brought stories with me to the office on disk, I would have had to turn a deadline around minus 24 hours.
Which of course, couldn't be done. So I had to write at home. The wife and I drove three hours to Dallas for Thanksgiving dinner with the mother-in-law, and then stayed only three hours and drive three hours back again so I would have enough time to write. Which I did.
Thanksgiving week is also a pain because most of the normal sources of local news - the cities and schools - are closed most or all of the week. I really had to be creative to fill up the pages.
The sport editor did take the long weekend off on vacation time, so I covered a football playoff game the night after Thanksgiving. Fortunately, I was able to hitch a ride in the cheerleaders' bus for the two hours drive. It also turned out to be a great game; hometown Hooks is now the only local team still in the playoffs and they go to the regional playoff round tomorrow night.
Since Patricia was home from school last week, we had no fuss about the car - and thankfully, I found a set of wheels this week. The aforementioned sports editor recently bought an SUV and didn't trade in her 1994 Chevy Corsica (yes, the sports editor is a lady). It's got 206,000 miles but still runs quite well, and she's let me use it for the duration. Nice gal. In the meantime I have local towing service looking for a wreck where we can get a Ford F-150 motor for my old truck.
With school and city hall opening back up this week, things loosened up considerably,and with the loaner car I don't have to worry about wheels for the time being. So things are looking up.
We're having some winter-like weather tonight - its dropped below freezing and there's a little precip. Patricia checked the weather reports this morning and she's stayed over in Mount Pleasant rather than brave the highway home. Tomorrow is her last day of student teaching. After that, it's on the glidepath towards graduation Dec. 16.
Still working in fits and starts on the fiction. I have a completed first draft of a short story where I've really been hung up over the title - and then I remember a song from over 20 years ago. The title of the song fits my story perfectly. And since I looked up the video on YouTube, here it is:

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Automotive disaster

Well, the bane of the poor Americans' existence - car trouble - has struck. Friday night I was driving 50 miles to cover a football playoff game when 43 miles away (in other words, almost there) the truck conked out. I saw the engine was overheating badly and I was just able to pull into a convenience store/gas station before the engine died. I found the radiator completely empty. I put two gallons of coolant in there. The engine still cranked, but it seemed to put out steam. What I think happened in that the thermostat hung up and let all the coolant boil off, and then the engine overheated - and cracked. The crankcase is full of a water and oil mixture, so the coolant must be draining into one of the cylinders now. I think this is what's called a cracked head. (The engine actually still turns over fine, but makes a loud clacking sound).

Patricia came and retrieved me and I got back home about 10 p.m. Friday night. Yesterday (Saturday) I was lucky enough to find a local tow truck operator who hauled the Ford back to Hooks for only $80. Considering it was 43 miles and two counties away, that was a pretty good price.

Now I have to go about trying to narrow the problem down and getting it fixed as cheaply as possible.

Thankfully, Patricia is out of school for the Thanksgiving Break - and only has one week f school after that - so I think we can manage with one car for a while. I have to take care of all this while battling a cold - I stayed home Wednesday on s sick day to nurse myself, and it seems to have helped, but this thing may linger for weeks.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"The Prestige' and James Patrick Kelly

My wife and I recently went to see the movie adaptation of the Christopher Priest novel, "The Prestige". We both enjoyed it. Afterwards a certain similarity in a plot twist in the movie jumped out at me (like as soon as I hit the lobby) to a piece of business in a well-known story by James Patrick Kelly. I won't divulge it in case you haven't seen the movie. I e-mailed the esteemed Mr. Kelly and asked him about it.

As it so happened, he went to see the movie with his wife the same day, and yes, he knew what I was talking about. He said (tongue in cheek) he would have sent his crack legal team after Priest except both his story and Priest's book came out at the same time (which is true - it was 1995) and so there was no way one author could have known what the other was writing

It was a very pleasant exchange. And it leaves me wondering, why does this happen - different people all come up with the same idea at the same time? You hear editors mention it all the time.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Kiosk

I was browsing the December issue of F&SF and I see that a Bruce Sterling story, "Kiosk", is slated to be published in January.
That was the title of the story Bruce workshopped in March in Turkey City. It was pretty good the way it was (IMHO), but of course, he wouldn't have taken it to the workshop unless he wanted tweak it.
This should be interesting because I'll be able to compare what he peddled to Gordon Van Gelder and what we read at the workshop. As a neophyte, I should find this enlightening.
The child bride has been honking and snuffling and all day long. She'll probably have to take Monday off as a sick day. I think I even saw the dog's nose running.
I don't know how much it will help - in the long run this winter - but I DID get a flu shot about a month ago.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Jack Williamson passes away

Jack Williamson's life career began in the age of wonder* - when the potentialities of technology were only just being fully explored** - and ended during the age of plunder - when people began to realize that regardless of technology, people still need to get their hearts, minds and social systems in order. Truly a 20th century story.

When I first began to write s-f, and I began to pick up some books on eBay, one of the first I stumbled across was a perfectly pristine edition of "Rocket to the Morgue", written by Anthony Boucher in 1951 - a thinly disguised Williamson was one of the characters in the book. That was written more than half a century ago.

In his Wikipedia entry, it mentions that Isaac Asimov was thrilled to get a postcard from Williamson after he published his first story. That not only highlights how long Williamson was around, but also the fact that he was such a considerate person.

I've never seen or heard anyone say anything about Williamson except that he was gracious and polite.

I never met the man, but just this past year, I sent him a birthday card. My application to join the SFWA was approved in April, and shortly afterwards I saw from a calendar that his birthday was coming up on April 29th. Since I got the SFWA directory, I dropped him a birthday card in the mail.

I attended the Campbell conference in 2004. He wasn't there, but there was a documentary about s-f writers. Each time a writer was introduced, they started the segment with a voiceover and then brought the picture up, so you heard the author before you saw them. At one point, voice started up with a distinct drawl, and I sat up, thinking "Hey, that guy sounds like me!" Then the image faded into view. It was Williamson.

When I used to work at newspapers closer to the Dallas area, I would get news releases from Eastern New Mexico University about his library and conferences. It actually was a good way to keep on top of the news.

Williamson's own observation that he was drawn to the magazines he found in the news rack because the tales seemed so much more imaginative and interesting than his real life resonates with so many s-f authors - including myself. Perhaps that's one of the reasons s-f has lot a bit of its zip in recent years - the world is getting so weird that fiction pales by comparison.

As for his longevity, it just goes to show you that good genes and a good attitude go a long way. By way of my own personal comparison, I recall he was one year younger than my grandfather, who passed away 22 years ago.

You know the old saying, "you can't take it with you." We don't get to take anything material into the next life. We do get to take a good name and reputation, and measured by that, Williamson departs as one of the richest men in the world.

It's sad to hear he passed, but really, is anyone truly "dead" who is still loved by so many others?

Lou Antonelli

* Hardly surprising that his autobiography was titled "Wonder's Child".

** His first story was published three years before Thomas Edison passed away.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A disappointment

Well, maybe I can get caught up with some of the topics I have noticed and wanted to mention in the past few weeks. The one that's probably been sitting around the longest is Gerry Studds.
Gerry Eastman Studds was the congressman from a district south of Boston from 1972 to 1997. He was the local congressman when I started working in journalism at my hometown newspaper in the 1970s.
Studds was the first congressman I ever had to deal with in a reporting capacity. He was polite, articulate and as it turned out later, gay.
Much has been written and mentioned over the years about how states that were formerly solid Democratic - such as in the Sunbelt - now are Republican. What people tend to forget is that there are a number of northern states that used to be a lot more Republican.
Although the Democratic Party has always been strong there, I think most people would have considered Massachusetts a predominantly Republican state up until the 1950s. Even as it was trending heavily Democratic in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it elected a pair of Republican governors, John Volpe and Frank Sargent (Sargent was ousted from office by Michael Dukakis).
By 1970 probably half the state's congressional delegation was still Republican, but that changed in the 1970 and 1972 elections.
The congressman up until 1972 from our local district was a fellow named Hastings Keith - very honest and well-respected. Studds ran against him in 1970 and nearly beat him, and Keith, being the sensible man he was, realized the long-term trend was against him and retired. Studds won easily in 1972.
(Keith, by the way, in later years, led an effort to reform the congressional pension system, because he thought it was silly that many congressmen had multiple pensions from different sources when they didn't need the money; from what I recall, he had about three different pensions, from the military, congress and some other governmental service. He only passed away last year, from what I recall.)
Studds trotted to re-election in 1974 (a ham sandwich could have won re-election as a Democrat in that Watergate year), and then in 1976 he had a Democratic Primary opponent.
That was the last year I worked at my hometown paper, so that was the last congressional campaign I covered at home.
The Democratic primary opponent, Edmund Dinis, was the DA in Fall River, and he didn't run a good campaign. The main thing that came out was a lot of innuendo that Studds was gay.
We all thought that was mudslinging, and made fun of it, but in 1983 Studds admitted that a decade earlier he had an inappropriate relationship with a male congressional page. He was censured by the House.
I was appalled at the time, especially when I realized that the page had been the same age as myself. If I had been involved in Democratic politics instead of journalism, Studds may have been hitting on me instead.
A month ago Studds suffered a stroke and a week later passed away at the age of 69. A number of reports quoted his "husband" - he had entered into a gay marriage when Massachusetts made it legal in 2004.
Many of the reports noted he was the first openly gay congressman.
I don't know what leads people to be gay, although from my experience and observation one of the causes seems to be inbreeding among WASPy types. Studds came from an old New England family; of course, in retrospect, the surname almost seems like a joke.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hello there!

I haven't posted her for a few weeks - bad conjunction of events. The typesetter quit (with no notice) two weeks ago four days before the deadline for the single largest section the newspaper puts out each year. Needless, to say, it was hectic. The post still hasn't been filled, which means I've had to do some extra work (although I've been able to minimize the damage by shifting a few things around and making smart usage of some OCR software).
Not only does this eat up my time, but I have to space out my typing because of my chronic carpal tunnel syndrome. I have to alternate between typing and doing other things or else the pain gets unbearable.
Last weekend, I was two people shorthanded because the sport editor went out of town on Friday and Saturday to cover the regional cross country meet. Friday I worked a from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then covered the football game starting at 7:00 p.m. I was finished at 2 a.m. and then had to get back up and on the job by 10 a.m. Saturday and worked until 7 p.m. that night.
Like I noted previously, there was absolutely no way I could have attended World Fantasy Con.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Another publication

I received word from the publisher today thatNova SF has printed my short story "Good Old Gal" in its fall issue. I also found enclosed the check (yippee!)

This is my 27th story published since June 2003.

This story is a direct sequel to my very first story ever published, which was "Silvern" on RevolutionSF, in June 2003.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Oh, by the way

Here's the address for the blog I just mentioned:

http://mx.geocities.com/mticucea/

I what?

I was googling around and found this entry on a blog which comes out of Mexico, of all places. I can't really tell what the blog was about, because the important information was in Spanish, but this entry was in English, and I quote it verbatim:

"Silence is Golden. at RevolutionSF.com, a short story by Lou Antonelli. Ever wonder what the properties of a stable, trans-uranic, radioactive element would be? The mythical Element 126 is discussed here (that's right, you Smallville/Superman geeks out there, that's the element hypothesized for Kryptonite in the Superman Mythos too). Three words: Lou Antonelli KicksSomeMajorAss."

Huh? I'm honored.

YA prospects

The most recent issue of Ansible mentioned that a YA anthology is being planned in the UK for next year. The item included the email for the editor, Emil Fortune, so I queried about sending him "The Honor of the Blue Devil Patrol". He said he's be happy to take a look at it.

I dropped "Like Mother" in the mail today to Sheila Williams at Asimov's. I'm caught up on subbing existing stories, so next I need to finish up the most recent Antonelli/Morris collaboration, called "Stairway to Heaven". I need to pull it into a manuscript. I'll probably send this one to Sheila, too.

I have some other stories that need rewrites - one of the editors at Leading Edge said he'd be willing to look at "Dry Falls" after a rewrite, and of course, "Site Unseen" (the story I took to the last Turkey City) needs some fairly simple tweaking to make it a lot more explicable.

There's a health fair tonight at a local school. I'm going to plunk down $15 and get a flu shot. I've never gotten a flu shot - that I can remember - but since I'm almost 50, I think I probably need to.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Tap, tap, tap

I spent some time writing this weekend. I finished the first draft of a new story, tentatively called "Burning Down the Ruins". I also did some story shuffling, sending "Uncle Gumball Saves the World" to Sheila Williams at Asimovs, "Insight" to Stanley Schmidt at Analog, and "Avatar" to Nick Mamatas at Clarkesworld.
I also dropped the Contract and the Author's Questionnaire in the mail to the folks at Amazon Shorts.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Coincidence

I recently realized a very practical reason why I can't attend the World Fantasy Con this year. Each year one of the largest special projects we do at my newspaper is a special section commemorating Veterans Day. With the Red River Army Depot located here in Bowie County, we have a ton of former military people who live in the area. Veterans Day is Nov. 11; the special section will be published Nov. 8. This is such a large project that I will have to work on the previous weekend to insure it gets done on time - which is also the weekend of World Fantasy Con.
I wonder whether I recalled how the calendar fell all along, that's why I was always very tentative about going.
Also, after traveling out of town those three weekends in September, I am really enjoying staying home for now.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Here comes Santa Claus

I've actually had to cut back on my posting this past week because of carpal tunnel problems. I've had to do so much writing recently (mostly work related) that my left wrist is really getting gimped up. I'm one of those old fogies who only types with one finger per hand. That means both hands share the typing equally, and when I type a lot, the left will blow out first.
The local Chamber of Commerce got me to volunteer to help them in December. I agreed to be one of their Santa Clauses for the "Photos with Santa" project they will have downtown on the weekend. So I am letting my beard grow out. It's already getting fluffy.
Well, just as I completed my round of conventions for this year, I got the invite to ConDFW this week from Guest Chairman Dan Robb. Of course, I'll be happy to attend. They have Harry Turtledove as GOH. It will be held in February in Dallas. As I have mentioned before, ConDFW in 2003 was the first con I ever attended.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Back to Fencon

You might think with my crappy experience at the latest Turkey City, things sound pretty negative - but actually things have been going pretty good. Maybe that's why I was so PO'd at the workshop; it was first real bad experience I'd had recently.
Fencon the week before went great. This was the third year for the con; and the folks really seem to have gotten things together. They were nice enough to put me on five panels - three on Saturday and two on Sunday. I couldn't attend any panels on Friday because of having to work - high school football and all that. My first panel was Saturday at 11 a.m. on the Space Elevator.
I drove in from East Texas and got there with ten minutes to spare. I was kinda surprised a guy with no science background was made moderator but in retrospect it makes perfect sense, because I was able to concentrate on keeping the panel running along and didn't have a lot to interject myself.
The panel was very well attended, also. The room was packed.
I had a reading at 2:00 p.m. I flipped a coin with K.D. Wentworth to see who'd go first, She won, so I followed by reading the story that I've sold to the Amazon shorts program, "The Silver Dollar Saucer".
This was the first con I've ever been to where I noticed a number of people greeting me by name and shaking my hand. I've got to a lot where I essentially knew no one and was pretty lonely. I guess going to these things regularly is beginning to get me recognized.
I went to dinner with some of the folks from the Baen's Universe crew, and when i got back to the hotel I was buttonholed by a fellow who writes for the IROSF. He said he was thinking aboit doing a series of stories about new writers and wanted me to be one of his subjects. He said he thought of me because (and here he said "I hope you don't take this the wrong way") I'm older than most of the newbies. I wasn't offended at all, I said; it's been obvious to me for some time I was a late bloomer as an s-f writer. I've been a journalist for 30 years, and I only took up writing s-f in middle age. I told him I'll help him any way I can.
The Fencon hospitality suite was one of the better ones I've seen, interms of the quantity and variety of offerings.
I was able to visit with Lee Martindale on Sunday. The last time I saw her, on the Sunday of Conestoga, she was green and grumpy because of a cosmic migraine. For better or worse, I never get migraines, but apparently they really suck. I actually told her her complexion was different from the time I last saw her. She was back to pink after that horrid sea green.
I've heard a lot of people talking about going to World Fantasy Con, and I thought to ask her for her opinion of whether it would be worth it for me - at this stage of my career and considering the distance and money. She summed up in two words: "Not yet." Which was exactly what I had been thinking. Ah, that's wisdom.
Overall, it was very enjoyable. The first year Fencon was held, I could only attend on Sunday. Last year I was able to attend, but I wasn't a panelist. This year they were nice enough to invite me as a guest.
Both Fencon and ConDFW seem to be doing well. Guess who Fencon has for its GOH in 2007? Connie Willis.
ConDFW is having Harry Turtledove as GOH. Since I'm not going to World Fantasy Con (btw, another reason not to attend World Fantasy Con - my company does not allow vacation time in November or December) Fencon next February will probably be my next con.
After this stretch of traveling out of town three weeks in a row, I am enjoying the break. I wish things had gone better at Turkey City, but I think the fact it was fiasco may help it in the long run. One of the participants told me via email he felt I was perfectly justified in letting people know how I felt, and also that the feedback I had received was worthless.
The chairman has already indicated he is turning over the hosting of the next one to another member. (There's actually going to be one Oct. 14 called by Bruce Sterling himself, but we're looking beyond that.) Howard Waldrop, who founded the workshop in the 1970s with George Proctor, apparently is coming out with a Papal Bull on what needs to be done, but it's taking a while to getr to members - since Howard doesn't use the internet. He had to send it to somone to email.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Speaking of Baen's Bar

Speaking of Baen's Bar as I did in my last post: I was on a panel at Fencon with Paula Goodlett, the assistant editor of Baen's Universe. I was on two panels with William Ledbetter, who's been published by Baen. Both soundly espoused the efficacy of Baen's Bar as a place to post stories and get feedback.
Baen's Bar is secure and you have to get a password and all, so from what I hear posting a story there is not considered publication. Apparently it has a high level of quality among its participants.
I need to check it out as place to post stories that need critique and feedback.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Back from Turkey City

I haven't had the chance to post much recently, with having to travel out of town for three weekends in a row. First there was the trip to Austin for Howard Waldrop's 60th birthday party. Last weekend it was to Dallas for FenCon. This weekend it was to Austin for a Turkey City workshop.
My time has been limited, not only by being out of town for these weekends, but also because of my having to clear the decks during the week to be able to take off on the weekends.
Hopefully, I will get caught up on some stuff.
Turkey City was pretty much a complete waste of time for me. This was the fourth time I went, and the guest was Jeff Vandermeer - a very nice guy who also happens to be an excellent writer. It was a pleasure to meet him and chat a bit. For that matter, anything worthwhile for me happened during personal conversations.
The workshop chairman let all the story lengths slide, with the result that if everyone read everything, it would have come to 120,000 words. I actually kept my story within the official length of 7,500 words.
I brought a story that I felt needed some polish and a tweak. Unfortunately, the workshop chairman didn't read it all the way to the end - where there was a very obvious signal as to where the story was coming from.
It was probably my fault that I didn't pat a signpost close to the front that the story was meant as a homage to pulp mutant monster stories of the 1950s. The chairman read it straight and delivered such a vicious critique that it poisoned the workshop.
A few people intuited where the story was going, but the chairman's vicious denunciation poisoned the well so badly that the whole critique was blown. Only one person was smart enough to see it was clearly intended as a pulp homage.
The chairman's attack was so vicious and over the board I was literally at a loss for words, and so I didn't explain myself until the end. When I explicated a few simple points, it made perfect sense, and there was a collective "ah-hah!" - but the damage had been done.
Years ago, these kind of workshops were useful because there was no other way to get aggregate critiques. Although I did pick up a few points that will be useful in rewriting the story, I could have surely gotten the same feedback by posting the story on a place like Baen's Bar or maybe Critters.
I spent 13 hours traveling 720 miles and I spent $160 in gas finding out simplistic crap I could have learned on an internet forum. What a spectacular waste of time. Plus I could have avoided getting my ego trammeled. Individually, the folks in the workshop are nice, but collectively they're a lynch mob.
These kind of workshops need to be abolished and replaced by forums. Anyone who enjoys getting abused in person needs to join some kind of bondage club. For my part, it actually was a setback for my professional development because it makes writing s-f feel like some kind of self-abuse. As I told some of the workshop participants who stayed afterwards, it doesn't matter how useful or even well-intentioned the feedback is, when it is couched in such vituperative terms, it loses all its value. It's like saying to your spouse, "here's twenty bucks, you lazy and ignorant moron." Try it sometime - let me know how it turns out.
Apparently the regulars at this workshop have become inured to this kind of abuse. I'm glad I haven't. I'd like to think I can be a sensitive and considerate person and still be a an s-f writer. If I can't, it's a no brainer which I prefer. When I die, I hope there are people who will miss me - rather than celebrate.
The fact that Jeff Vandermeer is such a nice guy is a positive sign; and also that I think a number of people at the workshop were appalled how it spiraled out of control. I probably was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But that also applies to an innocent bystander who gets accidentally killed in a drive-by shooting.
Oh, well, you live and learn. If I hadn't gone, I wouldn't have believed it. I have nothing I plan to attend until as least February of next year - maybe by then the nausea will have passed. I know the WorldFantasy Con is in Austin in November, but I am not going to drive 13 hours for 720 miles and spent $160 in gas AND shell out $150 for a registration fee to attend the con. It's simply not a useful investment of time OR money on my part.
The viciousness of the critique at the workshop Saturday was so overblown that I actually thought I was being denounced and exposed as an imposter and was being expelled from the group - like they used to do in China during the Chinese cultural revolution. I was surprised I wasn't escorted to the door and frog-marched into the street. You had to have been there - it was surreal. I was thinking, "Hey, if you don't think I'm friggin' good enough to be a member, just send me an email. No need for this dog and pony show." I was mentally ticking off my sales and honors and thinking "OK, did I miss something? I thought I was considered an author."
Speaking of sales, I need to fill out the contract with Amazon Shorts and get it back to them. I've been too busy to deal with it lately, and it will give me something to do genre related OTHER than writing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

From Austin to Dallas

Patricia and I went to Austin over the weekend for Howard Waldrop's birthday. Brad and Barb Denton threw a barbecue on Sunday (Friday was Howard's 60th birthday).
Because Austin was hosting the Austin City Limits Music Festival this weekend, I didn't think I'd get a room in the city, so instead we stayed Saturday night at a motel in San Marcos, which is about 25 miles south of the city.
The big advantage there (at least for the child bride) is that the city has two back-to-back enormous outlet malls.
We left Hooks after lunch Saturday and got to San Marcos about 8:30. Patricia checked out the Talbot's Outlet store in the mall before it closed, and then went back the next day. We hit a number of stores before heading back towards Austin for the cookout.
Brad Denton lives in Manchaca, about 50 feet into Hays County. Lovely house as well as setting. He fired up the grill and everyone had a great time.
Some of the people I know who were there included Chris Nakashima-Brown, Jessica Reisman, Stina Leicht, Lawrence Person and Neal Barrett. I've met all of them (except Neal) at Turkey City.
Howard opened his presents and blew out the candles around 7:00 p.m. We gave him a pair of history books on the Late Roman Empire.
We hit the road and were back in Hooks by 2 a.m.
Coming up this weekend is Fencon in Dallas. I can't get there before Saturday because I have to cover a football game Friday night, but I'm on five panels Saturday and Sunday:
“Space elevator (I'm the Moderator for this one): The panel will explore the concept of the space elevator, including recent developments and the challenges that will be faced. Saturday 11:00 AM Guadalupe Room.
“Space hardware”: The cool toys that will get us out there. The panel may discuss the hardware of space travel - either in fiction or reality. Is it the hardware or the adventure that makes space so exciting? Saturday 3:00 PM Guadalupe Room.
“Trends in SF that should die”: Panel will discuss the overdone, pass , directions that we no longer wish to read. How do we gently dissuade writers from these stories? Will market forces take care of the problem? Conversely, do some trends die too early? Saturday 4:00 PM Trinity Room.
“Putting science back in to SF”: Panel will discuss if SF is straying too far from its origins. Sunday 10:00 AM Lonestar 1 & 2 Main Stage.
“Jim Baen’s Universe”: A panel discussing this online magazine and how it is different from other web publishing, its background, philosophy and writers. Sunday 11:00 AM Pecos Room.
My reading is at 2:00 p.m. Saturday. I plan to read "Berserker' which was just published by OG Speculative Fiction, and "The Silver Dollar Saucer", which has been accepted by the Amazon Shorts program.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Latest publication

"Berserker" has been published in the fall issue of the new magazine OG Speculative Fiction, available as of September 15 in pdf format from the following web site:

http://theopinionguy.com/page2.html

This issue No. 2 for the magazine, which debuted with a Summer 2006 issue. I found them because Ahmed Khan had a story in the first issue and posted on the Asimov's forum.

"Berserker" is a dystopian near future tale set in Texas revolving around the corrupt machinations of a pro football team.

Patricia and I are off to the Austin area this weekend. Brad Denton is throwing a barbecur tomorrow for Howard Waldrop's 60th birthday.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Unexpected request

I got back a story from the magazine "Leading Edge". It wasn't accepted, but the two editors' comments were very helpful and one of them asked that I rewrite it and submit it again.

I don't recall that I've ever actually gotten a request for a rewrite. This is a story that's been been around a while, so it's probably a good idea.

First, though, I have to finish the story I'm planning to take to the next Turkey City workshop on September 30.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Recovery

Thankfully I didn't need a doctors visit because of the ant bites. I was limping a bit when I went back to work on Tuesday; my feet were still burning. I pretty much left the bites alone and have let them heal naturally; (although I used various creams to insure I didn't get an infection or any other complications.)

I've learned from past experience that messing or scratching them will leave a scar. I did soak my feet both Tuesday and Wednesday to speed the healing. They've come along nicely. Thankfully, I still heal well (not always the case when you have Type II diabetes) The lawn is getting overgrown but I haven't the nerve to get back to it myself; we're going to pat someone to finish what I started.

In my last post I mentioned how the Labor Day weekend marked when I began writing four years ago. Yesterday the 8th marked the fourth anniversary of the first day I dropped a story in the mail (it also happened to be the 40th anniversary of the debut of "Star Trek", which attracted some oublicattention.)

While puttering around the web this week, I found out that GateWay s-f, which gave me my first acceptance, shut down on August 15. GateWay accepted a story of mine in January 2003 (although it wasn't published until December). I usually refer to Revolution SF as the first place I was published, which is true. I met Jayme Blaschke at ConDFW in February 2003, and sent him "Silvern" in March, which he published in June. That fall he also published "Silence is Golden" - which was the first story of mine to earn an honorable mention. So although GateWay was the first to accept a story, they were third to publish one.

I've also often given credit to Andromeda Spaceways because right at the start of that year they passed a story through the first reading. That was the first time I didn't get an outright rejection. They later didn't bite, but Revolution published the story, "Dialogue"< in 2005 (and it also earned an HM).

They folks at GateWay said on their web site they just had other things they needed to do and they planned a hiatus for at least two years, at which time they would consider starting back up. I give them - and anyone who loves s-f enough to try to maintain a webzine - great credit for their efforts.

This is the second webzine that has published me to go belly up. Astounding Tales shut down at rhe end of last year. In their case, it appears differences among the principals led to a bust up. They published "Circe in Vitro" in 2004. That earned an HM, too.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day weekend

Labor Day is a special anniversary for me - at least in an s-f context. It was on the Labor Day weekend four years ago that I wrote my first s-f story.

Oh, I wrote some stories when I was in high school and took an English elective in science fiction. I also took a stab at writing some stuff around 1988, but I only finished one story and never sent anything out.

In 2002 I was working at a newspaper an hour and 15 minutes outside of Dallas. My wife and I lived in a guest house on a lake. Just before the Labor Day weekend, the A/C conked. There was no way to get it fixed until after the long weekend.

By Saturday my wife couldn't take the heat, so she drove to Dallas and stayed at her mom's. I stayed behind; I had too much work to do, anyway.

But Saturday night I was real lonely and bored. I had a thought, and I googled around the web and found a web site where you could post s-f and fantasy stories. I stayed up until 4 a.m. and wrote a 2,000 word story. I posted it before I went to bed.

Sunday I got up at the crack at noon and logged on to see what people's comments had been. All were positive, and I realized maybe I should do this more.

After a crash research course on the web on how to format and submit stories, I sent the story off to Gardner at Asimov's. The log book says it went in the mail Sept. 8. 2002. (I later rewrote the story and also had the first version pulled off the web site).

The following January I had my first acceptance and my first publication was the following June.
In four years I have written 56 stories and had 26 publications. I can't complain.

Oh, what did I do this weekend? Caught up on sleep and rest and household chores - one of which kinda blew up in my face.

I use a push mower (or reel mower, as some cal it) for exercise. I really like using it on the lawn (I hate exercise because it bores me, but using the reel mower is exercise where I actually accomplish something).

BUT I must have stood in an ant bed for a few seconds while attacking a particularly tough patch of crab grass. I looked down to see my shoes covered in ants, and insofar as I wasn't wearing socks, they were on me pretty fast.

I ran into the house and junped in the shower, but I got bit pretty bad. I have about three different cremes in my feet. Ouch!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Down for posterity

I guess one of the outcomes of slowly breaking into the writing field is that I'm now listed in some reference works. I recently noticed that I'm now included in the ISFDB (Internet Speculativel Fiction Data Base) because "Rocket for the Republic" qualifies as a pro sale.

The ISFDB is a community effort to catalog works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. It links together various types of bibliographic data: author bibliographies, publication bibliographies, award listings, magazine content listings, anthology and collection content listings, and forthcoming books.

It is hosted by The Cushing Library Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection and Institute for Scientific Computation at Texas A&M University.

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/eas.cgi?Lou_Antonelli

I also found out yesterday I am included in the Locus Index of Science Fiction for 2005. This is a reference workt the magazine compiles from the publications it reviews. In this case, I have three stories; "Rocket", "The Cast Iron Dybbuk" in Andromeda Spaceways, and "The Honor of the Blue Devil Patrol" from Beyond Centauri.

http://www.locusmag.com/index/yr2005/s3.htm#A79.1

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A glut of fiction

When I came home last evening, I drove the pickup to the mailbox (our mailbox isn't on the same street as our house) and popped open the lid to be confronted with what looked like in solid wall of mail.

When I reached in, I realized my latest copies of Asimov's, Analog and Fantasy and Science Fiction all arrived on the same day. A reason the stack seemed so impressive was that both Asimov's and F&SF had October/November double issues (Analog was just the November issue).

I think hitting the s-f trifecta has happened once before, but what stood out was that Patricia's copy of Guideposts also arrived. I'm sure this is the first time all four magazines we get arrived on the same day.

Of course, Guideposts is a very different magazine from the ones I get. Strangely enough, it was mentioned during a panel I attended at Conestoga last month.

During a discussion on how to submit, one point made on a panel (by Beverly Hale, I believe) was that you must do some research and know your markets. "For example, don't send your vampire/lesbian/slasher story to Guideposts."

Today is the last day for the WorldCon in Los Angeles. It would have been nice if I could make it, but it would have been much too difficult in terms of time and money. Oh well, I'm sure I'll get to a WorldCon some time in the future.

Patricia and I do have an invite for the annual Bowie County 4-H banquet tonight. Of course, Ill be taking pictures and writing it up for the paper.

I will say one thing - given the choice between having dinner tonight at WorldCon or the 4-H banquet (if you know anything about 4-H banquets) I'm sure I'm going to having the far TASTIER meal!!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Talking to future s-f readers (and maybe writers)

My wife is a student teacher in a local third grade classroom. Recently, they asked the students to do a creative writing exercise. One of the kids took a stab at a time travel story, and that set my wife to thinking.

She asked me if I'd speak to the kids about writing - since I cover both fiction as an a-f author and non-fiction as a journalist.

I spoke to the kids for a half hour before lunch on the subject of writing - both the short stories and what I do for the newspaper - and then after lunch I read them the YA story that was published in Beyond Centauri last year, "The Honor of the Blue Devil Patrol".

Since the pivotal plot twist in the story centers on whether the Martian scout patrol will do the right (honorable) thing with the treasure they find, the classroom teacher was able to make little point on the subject of character to the kids.

The story was probably a little over the kids' heads, but they seemed to enjoy it. I tried to use some gestures as I spoke to illustrate the story to help them get the feel - like at the point in the story where the scout throws his canteen to distract the water-seeking skolopender. I was proud of the way I pantomimed lobbing the canteen.

I leaned on the skolopenders a bit - but the kids related to the "monster" aspect of the story. One boy asked me if the creatures are real. I said, "I sure hope not, but you're young. Why don't you go to Mars some day and let me know? But I'll be real old by then."

I put some term on the dry erase board to help the kids follows along - like skolopender, tovarish and such. I jotted down both Robert Heinlein and Stanley Weinbaum's names - because the craters named for them are mentioned in the story - and then introduced them as "Robert Heinwein".

At the end of my visit, I called up the boy who wrote the time travel story, gave him my personal business card. I told him he could call me for help any time. He have me a big hug in front of the classroom.

Well, I hope I did some good.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Latest story published

Revolution Science Fiction (www.revolutionsf.com) has published my latest short story, "Wish List", which can be described as a Post-Singularity farce heavily influenced by the likes of Charlie Stross and the late Robert Sheckley.
Over on the Asimovs discussion board, someone said it read like Molly Ivins channeling Fredric Brown through Rudy Rucker.
In the story, the last human being with a "real" job gains self-esteem after a bizarre disaster strikes a futuristic make-believe world.
This is my 26th story published since June 2003, and the sixth in RevolutionSF. Four of those stories have received Honorable Mentions in "The Year's Best Science Fiction".
Didn't get any writng done this weekend. Saturday I had to cover the annaul civic festival and I was out from 7 a.m. until past 9 p.m. that night. I could barely walk Sunday.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sad News

< want to make sure you know that my beloved wife Kathy Frost passed away this afternoon.  We are blessed to have so many wonderful friends and will be forever grateful for your support and prayers.

-Martin


Kathryn George Frost
1948 - 2006

 Major General (ret.) Kathryn George Frost, 57, of Latta, S.C., died August 18, 2006 following a four year battle with breast cancer.  At the time of her retirement in April of 2005, Frost was the senior woman on active duty in the U.S. Army.

A native of Dillon County, S.C., Frost grew up in Latta where she was valedictorian of her Latta High School class in 1967.  She was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of South Carolina in1970 and later earned a Masters in Counseling degree from Wayne State University in Michigan while on active duty in the Army.

Frost entered the Army with a direct commission in 1974 and served with great distinction for the next 31 years.  Her final assignment was as Commander of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), an $8 billion retail entity with 48,000 employees worldwide.  As Commander of AAFES, she was responsible for establishing post exchanges (PX’s) and base exchanges (BX’s) in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  Under her leadership, AAFES received a special award from the National Retail Federation for its work in these two war zones.

rior to serving as commander of AAFES, Frost served four years as the Adjutant General of the Army and as Commander of the Eastern Sector of the Military Entrance Processing Command. Her other assignments included two tours in Berlin, Germany, work on the staff of Gen. Colin Powell when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and assignment as a White House Social Aide during the Reagan and first Bush presidencies.

Frost excelled at everything she attempted.  She was first in her WAC (Women’s Army Corps) basic course and first in her WAC advanced training course.  The WACs were merged into the regular Army a year after Frost entered active duty. She was recognized as “South Carolina Woman of Distinction” at the 2005 Miss South Carolina Pageant, a proud moment for Frost who had been runner-up for “Miss Latta” as a teenager.

She met her husband, former U.S. Congressman Martin Frost (D-TX), when she was assigned to his district in 1996 as Deputy Commander of AAFES, which is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.  They were married in August of 1998 in the prayer room of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC., in a ceremony presided over by the Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Frost and her husband moved back to Latta earlier this summer when they purchased the house where she grew up.  She was a member of the Latta United Methodist Church.

She was the daughter of the late Gerry George and the late Dorothy Jean George.

Frost is survived by her husband, Martin, her sister Gwen Strickland, her brother-in-law Frank Strickland, and her nephew, George Strickland, all of Marion, three step-daughters, Alanna Bach of El Paso, Texas, Mariel Sala of Fort Worth, Texas, and Camille Frost of Santa Fe, New Mexico and three step-granddaughters, Helaine, Simona and Esther Bach all of El Paso and numerous cousins.

Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery following a memorial service at the Latta United Methodist Church.  The family requests that expressions of sympathy be made in the form of contributions to the Latta United Methodist Church or Latta High School. 

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Armadillocon

Armadillocon was held in Austin this weekend. I didn't go. Conestoga was just two weeks ago. I really enjoyed it, and didn't feel like making the effort to turn around and go to Austin two weeks later.
This year has been tight on money, what with car troubles, hospital bills and the wife completing her last semester of student teaching. I figured a few weeks ago I needed to drop a con somewhere; DilloCon seemed logical, since I wasn't a guest. All the other cons I've been to (ConDFW, AggieCon and Conestoga, plus FenCon so coming up in September) have been nice enough to invite me as a guest. Nobody would miss me at DilloCon.
I met Julie Czerneda (the GOH at DilloCon) at Marcon in Columbus back in 2004 - we were on the same panel. She's a nice person, and a great writer, but she works more in the long form. I think the gremlins that run DilloCon seem to be more impressed by novelists that short story writers.
I have back-to-back weekend trips coming up in September, since the next Turkey City is the Saturday following Fencon.
I met the FenCon folks at Conestoga, and they seem to be nice bunch who've got their act together. I'm looking forward to the Con.
Strangely enough, Tulsa is a lot closer to where I live than Austin. It took me three and a half hours to get to Conestoga, but it's at least an hour more to Austin (part of the problem is the fact it's a straighter shot to Tulsa from here in the environs of Texarkana than to Austin, because to get to Central Texas I have to head due west to Dallas and then south).
The biggest incentive for me to attend DilloCon would have been the chance to meet James P. Hogan - but he was also a special guest at Conestoga. We weren't on any panels together - and unfortunately all his signings were at times I WAS on panels.
Saturday afternoon I found out when he was doing his podcast, and I went up to the room. I sat through the podcast (which was a very interesting interview) and then buttonholed him.
I had taken a half dozen books with me, and we went down to the bar, where he was nice enough to sign them. We sat and chewed the fat for a couple of hours.
I think the funniest thing was when he opened a book and saw it still had a Hooks Library card in it (it had been taken out of circulation - I bought off the remainder table).
He raised his eyebrows and said "Ah-Hah!". Of course, he assumed I had stolen it.
Of course, I mumbled my explanation. I don't know whether believed me, though.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Texas Republicans committing slow suicide

by Cynthia Hall Clements

Cannibalism, noun. “The ritualistic eating of human flesh by a human being.
When Texas Republicans meet for dinner these days in Austin, moderate Republicans are on the menu. Chomp, slurp, and burp. Republicans are eating their own. Political cannibalism—a free-for-all on middle-of-the-spectrum Republicans—is the main course du jour for the powers-that-be in Texas Republican politics.
Those who refuse to adhere to the party line- goose stepping with the strict ideology of the national party platform—must taste really good to their fellow Texas partners in crime (not literally, in most cases, of course).
This battle is one of party unity versus political independence, consensus-at-all-costs versus constituent representation, the latter be dammed. It is David versus Goliath, but both sides are supposedly wearing the same team jersey. The enemy is within; the enemy is their own for Texas Republicans.
Here is the scenario. The state Republican Party paid for calls last fall to ascertain the popularity of certain, more moderate House Republicans, including and according to those allegedly targeted—Reps. Carter Casteel of New Braunfels, Tommy Merritt of Longview, and Charlie Geren of Fort Worth.
With a wink and a nod, and maybe a snicker or two, Jeff Fisher, the party’s executive director, wants us to believe—but only after nine months of duress from public pressure and media scrutiny —that the party financed this effort, these “survey calls,” to identify voters sympathetic to the Republican cause. They sought supporters of Proposition 2—a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage statewide, which passed last fall. Fisher says the targeted moderate Republicans and their allegations are “paranoid.” Fisher’s quasi-admission of pseudo-guilt is long overdue—and entirely-too-convenient right before the November elections—but doesn’t stray far enough into the realm of reality, let alone truth.
What Fisher doesn’t want us to realize is that the calls were in fact, a litmus test of sorts about what it means to be a Republican. Some centrist Republicans refuse to fit the neo-fundamentalist mold of the Party—a bottom-line, anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion ideology. He doesn’t want us to believe that Republicans are now seeking to redraw the boundaries, figuratively, not literally, on what a Texas Republican is and should be. Conformity is the Republican mantra. What Fisher really doesn’t want us to know is that the state Republican Party is turning on itself in a moment of political cannibalism.
The facade of party unity, of Republicans against Democrats, us versus them, is showing the wear and tear of fissure cracks. After over a decade of waging war against the Democratic Party in Texas—quite successfully, one might suggest—Republicans are dividing and conquering amongst themselves. And therein lies the insidious nature of exclusionary tactics, that eventually no one will be left standing. This path of eliminating those who are different is one that the Republican Party—nationally and statewide—has been pursuing with a vengeance for the last two presidential elections.
The Republican circle grows tighter and tighter through exclusion. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered persons. Reproductive rights advocates and the women who would attempt to fill prescriptions for Plan B, the emergency contraceptive. People of no faith and spiritual progressives. Eventually only socially and fiscally conservative white men—with a few token women and minorities—are left.
The gene pool of Republicans is shrinking through inbreeding and execution. Texas Democrats should be gleeful at the prospect of exiled Republicans joining their ranks. It is only time that compels moderate Republicans to re-self-identify their political persuasion. A political realignment looms.
Political cannibalism is a dangerous game of Russian roulette. Eat today; be eaten tomorrow.
#
Cynthia Hall Clements has worked for the legislatures of both Tennessee and Louisiana and was most recently a columnist for the Lufkin Daily News in Texas. She is currently attending law school.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Election Prediction: Democrats Will Take Back House

Monday , August 07, 2006


By Martin Frost

This year’s election is three months from this Tuesday, so it’s time to go out on a limb and predict the outcome in the battle for control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

With the usual caveat that events could change the dynamic in the next three months, let me venture the following prediction: Democrats will capture a net of at least 25 seats and will control the next Congress by at least 10 seats.

This prediction is based on the premise that Democrats will not lose any seats in which a Democratic incumbent is running for re-election. That’s exactly what served as the bedrock of the Republican’s historic win in 1994. No Republican incumbent was defeated that year. My reasons for believing Democrats can pick up enough additional seats for a majority are explained after my predictions.

Since Democrats are currently down by 15 seats, picking up 25 seats would give them a 10 seat margin when Congress convenes in January. If the bottom totally falls out for Republicans and there is a national tidal wave in favor of the Democrats, the margin could be much greater.

For purposes of this discussion, let’s assume a solid Democratic victory but not a tsunami.

Here’s how I get to a 25 seat pick-up:

(1) The Big Five: There are five states (Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana) with at least three Republican seats in serious jeopardy. In fact, there are four seats at play in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Let’s assume Democrats pick up two seats in each of these states for a total net gain of 10.

(2) The Rest of the East: Democrats have real chances of winning one seat in New Jersey and at least one seat in New Hampshire. That’s a net gain of 2 seats.

(3) The South: Democrats have a legitimate chance of gaining a seat in the following Southern states: Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky and Texas. There are several other seats at play in Kentucky and Florida, but for purposes of this discussion, let’s assume one in each state. That’s a net gain of 5 seats.

(4) The Midwest: Democrats have a real chance of winning Republican open seats in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. That’s a net gain of 4 seats.

(5) The Southwest: Democrats have a legitimate chance of winning a Republican seat in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. That’s a net gain of 4 seats. There are other seats at play in the region, but let’s assume just these 4 seats.

(6) Pacific Coast: Let’s assume one seat in California and one seat in Washington. There are other seats at play in the region, but let’s be conservative. That’s a net gain of 2 seats.

Those of you who are good in math will notice that I actually have identified 27 seats…that gives me a little margin for error. Politics is not an exact science.

The hardest part of this exercise is the five seats in the South, which has been a very difficult part of the country for Democrats in recent years. Maybe an extra seat or two from one of the “Big Five” will offset any races that fall short south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

The biggest wildcard of them all is the one seat in Texas (Tom DeLay’s district). It is impossible to predict that one with any great certainty because of the protracted legal battle over whose name will appear on the ballot for the Republicans. However, former Democratic Congressman Nick Lampson clearly has a big head start in that race and has a legitimate chance of winning.

Also, some Republican incumbents are very good campaigners and may be able to withstand a national trend. A good example is Heather Wilson in New Mexico. However, she faces a very accomplished opponent in Attorney General Patricia Madrid.

Why am I optimistic about a Democratic takeover?

Let’s look at two recent polls from very different sources, but both coming to the same conclusion…Republicans are in deep trouble.

An NPR poll of likely voters in the 50 most competitive House seats in the country (40 Republican seats and 10 Democratic seats) released on July 27 showed that a majority of voters in these districts disapproved of the job President Bush is doing and that only 29 percent of the voters said they intend to vote for their incumbent Congressman.

In 2004, voters in these 50 districts went Republican by about 12 percent. In the current poll, voters in these same districts said they would prefer a Democratic Congressman to a Republican Congressman by about 6 points.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, released the same day, gave Bush an approval rating of only 39 percent and gave Democratic Congressional candidates a 10 point lead over Republican Congressional candidates.

For a number of months, much of the press bought into the Republicans’ mantra that there weren’t enough seats in play for Democrats to actually take control of the House. There clearly are enough seats up for grabs and this is how you get to the magic number.

#

Martin Frost served in Congress from 1979 to 2005, representing a diverse district in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. He served two terms as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the third-ranking leadership position for House Democrats, and two terms as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Frost serves as a regular contributor to FOX News Channel and is a scholar in residence at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from the Georgetown Law Center.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Strange rejection

I received an emailed rejection this week which has to go down as one of the strangest I've ever seen. I will not name the mag, but the story was published a year ago and in fact is one of my Honorable Mentions in the current "Year's Best Science Fiction". I checked my submissions log and realized I had sent the story off and forgot to log it. I guess I should he grateful that it was rejected - but the story must have been sitting in the slush pile at least a year and a half or more. Wow!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Now a word from the other side

I recently received this column through some old news sources that haven't completely dried up. I thought I'd give it a little exposure. Martin Frost was my congressman the many years I lived in Dallas County. The Republicans gerrymandered him out of office in 2004. It's nice to see he's still in there sluggin'.

#

Anti-Republican Mood Could Give Democrats Default Win

Monday , July 31, 2006

By Martin Frost

During the 1996 and 1998 election cycles, Democrats picked up a net of 14 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, which is far more than in any cycle since. I was the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during those years, so I am often asked about the appropriate strategy for House Democrats this Fall.

For months people have been clamoring for a detailed statement of what Democrats would do if they are successful in taking over the House. This issue has been raised by the press, Republican critics and by some Democrats.

Some party leaders have attempted to fill the void. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid issued a detailed position statement earlier this summer. Sen. Hillary Clinton, a potential 2008 presidential candidate, issued her own position paper on key issues recently.

All this is important but, after a great deal of thought, I believe this year’s Congressional elections will turn on two basic statements for Democrats:

1. We are not them (the Republicans) and

2. The country desperately needs someone to serve as a check on the excesses and misdeeds of the Bush administration.

Both are variations on the same theme.

The “we are not them theme” was recently discussed by everyone’s favorite Washington political analyst, Charlie Cook, in a July 22 column for the National Journal.

To quote Cook, “For all the talk about Democrats needing to ‘be for something,’ a stronger case can be made that the Democrats should just stay out of the way and let events take their course. If Democrats prevail on November 7th….it will be because they are not Republicans and because people voted against Republicans.”

This was also echoed by former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who suggested recently that the Democrats should reprise the 1946 Republican slogan (“Had Enough? Vote Republican”) which led to a Republican take-over of Congress.

It goes something like this: Republicans have run up large deficits after inheriting a significant surplus from President Bill Clinton. Republicans have opposed an expansion of valuable stem cell research which could lead to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and a variety of other conditions affecting millions of Americans. Republicans have pushed for tax cuts for the wealthy while giving crumbs to the middle class. Republicans have made a terrible mess out of the immigration issue. Republicans have given tax breaks to big oil companies while gasoline prices continue to climb. In others words, it’s time to give the other side a chance.

Closely related to this argument is the idea that divided government (Republicans in control of the executive branch and Democrats in control of at least one house of Congress) really does serve the country, particularly when the executive branch is acting in a high-handed, autocratic way.

Examples of this include:

--The poor intelligence provided by the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq war

--The incompetent manner in which the administration has handled the occupation of Iraq

--Bush administration efforts to spy on phone calls and email traffic of American citizens inside the United States without a search warrant in the name of fighting terrorism

--Bush efforts to try prisoners being held in Guantanamo in tribunals deemed to be illegal by the U.S. Supreme Court

--Bungling by the administration in the response to Hurricane Katrina

--The mishandled Dubai ports deal

--Multi-billion dollar no-bid contracts to administration favorites to carry out reconstruction work in Iraq.

Should Democrats take control of the House or Senate, they will be able to conduct “oversight” hearings into activities run by the executive branch….not to punish or embarrass the White House, but to insure basic accountability. Witnesses would have to testify under oath and you can anticipate that a number of tough but fair questions would be asked.

Right now, there is little incentive for the party of the president to engage in aggressive Congressional oversight. However, some Republicans in Congress have started asking the administration tough questions in recent months, partially as a way of protecting themselves from voter backlash against unpopular policies this Fall.

Clearly it will be helpful to Democrats to advance specific ideas about major topics such as energy policy and the future of health care for the millions of uninsured in our country. However, it is possible that voters will not really be listening carefully to the specifics.

This may be the type of election which will be determined by the general mood of the electorate rather than specific policy positions by either party.

“We are not them” may be the most powerful thing that the Democrats can offer the voters this Fall...and it may just work.

More Kinky


My previous column about the campaign of Kinky Friedman for Texas governor was written before recent polls showed an upturn for Kinky. Here is the most recent polling data (which could change tomorrow in this volatile race):

A July 24 Rasmussen poll puts Perry (40 percent), Strayhorn (20 percent), Kinky (19 percent) and Bell (13 percent)


A July 24 WSJ/Zogby puts Perry (38.3 percent), Bell (20.8 percent), Kinky (20.7 percent) and Strayhorn (11 percent).


Kinky ran third in both polls. I stand by my prediction that Kinky ultimately won’t come close to winning, but he is doing better than I originally anticipated. Thanks to FOX website readers for calling my attention to the most recent polling data.

#

Martin Frost served in Congress from 1979 to 2005, representing a diverse district in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. He served two terms as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the third-ranking leadership position for House Democrats, and two terms as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Frost serves as a regular contributor to FOX News Channel and is a scholar in residence at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from the Georgetown Law Center.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Off to Tulsa

Well, I'm off to Conestoga 10 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so I'll be out of pocket for a few days.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More con news

I recently got my invite to next year's AggieCon, which will be held March 22-25 in College Station. I have happily accepted.

I also received and returned the guest questionnaire for FenCon, which will be held in Dallas Sept. 22-25. Sent that back, too.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Rocket "shows"

The child bride and I spent a pleasant Saturday visiting the most historic house in Texarkana. It's called the "Ace of Clubs House" because that's what it looks like from above. It had a central staircase with three octagonal rooms and one rectangular room on two stories. It has a nice cupola above the staircase which provided ventilation in those pre-air conditioning days (the house was built in 1884).

We took the tour and also did some shopping. I suggested we do something special because next weekend I will be out of town at Conestoga; the weekend after that we are hosting a Sunday school social on Saturday; the weekend after that is Armadillocon in Austin and I will be away again; the weekend after that is when the local civic festival where I work is held, called Pioneer Days, and I will be quite busy.

When we came home, I checked the mail and found my September issue of Asimov's. I remembered that Sheila Williams had previously said she would be printing the results if the 2006 Readers Awards in that issue, so I flipped it open to see "A Rocket for the Republic" has some in third in the short story category. It's nice to see how well it "showed" up.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Conestoga line-up

I will be guest at Conestoga 10 in Tulsa next weekend. It is being held at the Radisson Tulsa, 10918 E. 41st Street. I will be the moderator for the Saturday 3 p.m. panel on "SF Websites You Should Be Visiting" in Salon F. I am also on the panel for New Writers at 10 a.m. Saturday in Salon G and the panel on "I Made My First Sale - Now What?" at 3 p.m. Sunday in Salon G.
In 1997, Conestoga, Meisha Merlin Publishing, and Yard Dog Press all started up and there will be a heavy slant towards celebrating all three.
This will be my second visit to Conestoga. I enjoyed it immensely last year and am very happy to return. If you can make it, you'll enjoy it. Get a load of the guests:
Bill Allen
David Lee Anderson
Lou Antonelli
Margene Bahm
Paul Batteiger
Marty Belsky
Maggie Bonham
Peter Bradley
Robert D. Brown
Taylor Brown
Warren Brown
james k. burk
Glen Cook
Richard Cox
Sherri Dean
Bradley Denton
Larry Dixon
Linda Donahue
William R. Eakin
Suzette Haden Elgin
Rhonda Eudaly
Randy Farran
Melanie Fletcher
James Fowler
Melea Fowler
Tony Frazier
Tim Frayser
Amanda A. Gannon
John Gibbons
Bennie Grezlik
Talia Gryphon
Beverly Hale
Nikki Hartline
Lance Hawvermale
Carol Hightshoe
James P Hogan
James Hollaman
Gary Jonas
John Kaufman
Lee Killough
Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
Mercedes Lackey
Alexis Glynn Latner
Deborah LeBlanc
William Ledbetter
Greg Lower
Julia S. Mandala
Shay Marion
Lee Martindale
Deborah Millitello
Jim Murray
Paula Helm Murray
Jody Lynn Nye
Cary Osborne
Stephen Pagel
Dana Pattillo
K. Hutson Price
Dusty Rainbolt
M.T. Reiten
Ray Roberts
The Royal Gauntlet
Charles Sasser
Susan Satterfield
Mark Shepherd
Rie Sheridan
Bradley H. Sinor
Susan P. Sinor
Glenn R. Sixbury
Dave Smeds
Frank A. Smith
Caroline Spector
Keith Stokes
Mel Tatum
The Twisted Blades
Laura J. Underwood
Martin (T.M.) Wagner
Steven Wedel
Martha Wells
K.D. Wentworth
Craig Wolf
Janny Wurts
David Drake is the GOH, and the Toastmaster in Robin Wayne Bailey. There are so many guests the SFWA is having a regional meeting at 1 p.m Saturday - which will the first such meeting I will ever attend.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hey, maybe it's working...

I want to reprint a comment posted at the Asimov's forum by Ahmed A. Khan, right after I mentioned my acceptance at OG.

Ahmed has a story in the first issue and it was his recommendation that led me to submit there.

I don't know that I have a clearly defined goal when I write my s-f. I guess I probably do have some kind of agenda, and this fellow seems to have found me out:

"Hey, Lou, I am happy for you. I like your stories. Your stories usually have that little up-beat swing, that sense of fun, that has become so rare in SF, a genre that has starting taking itself too seriously."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Another sale!

Got good news today. Seth Crossman, the publisher of a new outfit called OG Speculative Fiction, has accepted my story "Berserker". The magazine debuted July 15. Ahmed A. Khan, who is a frequent poster at the Asimov's discussion board, had mentioned that he had a story in the first issue and recommended we check it out. I did, and thought it looked like a nice startup, so I shot them the story. Crossman said he liked it and will publish it in the second issue.
This was the first story I ever took to a Turkey City, in the spring of 2005. I think it was called "Why I Came to California" then. Interestingly enough, it's a monologue (like "A Rocket for the Republic") although its set in the near future.
This will be my 26th story since June 2003. OG will be my 13th venue. It's also a sale; I will get a check for this.
I hope this helps and encourages both other writers and the magazine itself. OG stands for "Opinion Guy" - that's the name of the web site - and apparently is a wing of a larger outfit.
They're certainly off to a good start, in my opinion.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A little explanation

I visited Jayme Blaschke's blog the other day, and saw that he had posted some links to videos from a web site called YouTube. I went there and thought it was interesting, and thought to try it. My story "I Got You" - which was published by Bewildering Stories in 2004 and earned an honorable mention in "The Year's Best Science Fiction, 22nd annual collection" last year - was inspired after I happened to hear this song, so I went to link the video. It worked, too - which kinda surprised me, seeing as how computer-clumsy I am.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Positive response to "The Runner at Dawn"

There been some nice comments aboit my story "The Runner at Dawn" which is on the current issue of "Worlds of Wonder".

This was posted on the Asimov's discussion board tbis week:

#

By bill bowler on Wednesday, July 12, 2006 - 09:12 pm:

lou - excellent story.

did you happen to see the article in the ny times today about the experiment with brain implants that have a cable that plugs direct into a computer and the subject (tetrapalegic) controls the cursor with his thoughts?

#

Another poster commented on the World of Wonder discussion board:

#

JP Dellova

Re: The Runner at Dawn
« Reply #1 on Jul 5, 2006, 11:25am »

I enjoyed this story a great deal. Hat's off to Mr Antonelli.

Despite trying to fight it, at times I had images of that old Disney movie, Tron , running through my head as I read the various computer as character sections. But the two stories have little in common, as far as I can see, other than having scenes taking place from the viewpoint of living software.

Very thought provoking. The reality of humankind merging, at least in part, with artificial intelligence, is becoming ever more a reality.

In my view, if humans don't incorporate software as part of our adjusted bodies, we'll soon become little more than an inferior pet to our own creations.

#

Nice to please the public.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Regrets to SoonerCon

I got an email from Soonercon today asking to confirm my participation for next weekend, and I had to beg off. My truck is acting funny and I'm taking it to the shop tomorrow. Because of the way it is acting, I am leery of traveling out of town until I get a better handle on the problem. As it is running now, I'm be very worried about trying to get to Oklahoma City. I hope to have a grip on the situation in time for Conestoga, which is three weeks away.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

More good news

I'll just reprint the news item I put up on my web site:

St. Martin's Press in New York City has just released "The Year's Best Science Fiction, 23rd annual collection", edited by Gardner Dozois, a collection of the outstanding science fiction short stories published during 2005.
Lou Antonelli was recognized with three honorable mentions in the honors list included in the volume. The stories cited are "A Rocket for the Republic", published by Asimov's Science Fiction (Sept. 2005), "The Cast Iron Dybbuk", published by Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Magazine (June/July 2005), and "Dialogue" published by Revolution Science Fiction (August 2005).
This is the third consecutive year Antonelli has been included in the honorable mention list; he has received eight honorable mentions in three years.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Some possible good news

I got a phone call from a friend today. She knows the owner of a Texas book publishing company. She was one of the guests at a reading of "Rocket" last fall and loves the story.
A few weeks ago, she asked me for a copy. She said she wanted to pass it along to the book publisher. This outfit only publishes Texana, but - as she noted - most of my stories are set in Texas. She said she wanted to see if they would bite at a volume of my fiction.
She called today and said the response was positive and asked if I could collect up three more stories and send them along. At first glance, I think I'll run off "Silence is Golden", "The Cast Iron Dybbuk" and "A Djinn for General Houston".
When the prospect first arose that I might get a collection published, I asked Jayme Blaschke - who was the editor at RevSf who published "Silence is Golden" - if he would be willing to write the intro, and he graciously agreed. Let's hope he gets the chance.
This isn't the first time someone expressed interest in publishing a collection of mine. The editor of another Texana house expressed some interest last year - but she left the company before anything came of it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

"Rocket for the Republic" latest

Mentioning the LACon Report reminded me that last week I got the latest issue of the SFWA Forum, a little chapbook-sized publication put out six times a year by the SFWA for its members. It's much less entertaining than the quarterly slick bulletin - it's where they put official minutes and resolutions and that kind of stuff.
One of the records they use the Forum to keep track of are the Nebula recommendations. Since I am not a full-fledged member of the SFWA, I cannot make recommendations. But I was happy to see that "Rocket" has picked up a couple of recommendations from full members.
From what I can tell, stories are eligible to be nominated for a year from the date they were published. So the way I read the rules, "Rocket" would be eligible for consideration until the end of this August (since it was published in the Sept. '05 Asimov's). I think the ballot closes every year in February.
It's kinda weird to see the story listed when I can't drop in a recommendation myself. Also, there are dozens of stories with a handful of recommendations - lots of good stories by lots of good authors. From what I can tell, you need ten recommendations to make the preliminary Nebula ballot, and from what I see, only one story has done that so far.
Well, it was nice to see a couple of old pros gave the story a thumbs up.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Strange coincidence

I got my LACon Progress Report No. 5 for July in the mail today. While I was flipping through it, something struck me.
I bought a supporting membership back in January, hoping I would be able to attend. But thanks to some unfortunate happpenings afterwards, that plan flew out the window. I simply don't have the money. This year I'm only going to cons in Texas and Oklahoma.
I HAVE NEVER BEEN ABLE TO ATTEND A CON I REGISTERED FOR IN ADVANCE.
Back in 2003, after I attended ConDFW in February, I resolved to start attending these things. I sent in a registration for Conestoga, in July. Autombile troubles kept me from attending. Then I sent in my registration for Armadillocon, in August. Car troubles again, plus I started a new job that week and had to move.
After that, I resolved I would never send in my money in advance. I was frantic to get to at least one other con before the end of the year, so I flew to PhilCon, which was held in December.
Despite the potential logistical nightmare (I didn't even reserve a hotel room in advance) I made it to the Con in great shape, found a hotel room within walking distance of its host hotel, got to meet Gardner Dozois, Tom Purdom, Michael Swanwick, amonng others, and listen to the likes of Gordon Van Gelder and David Hartwell.
All because, apparently, I just showed up at the door, money in hand. After that, I resolved (that's the third time I've used 'resolved' in this post) that I would never sign up for a con in advance. Sure, it's a little more expensive that way, but it seems to work for me.
So then I forget myself, sign-up for LACon in advance, and within maybe six weeks we have two accidents, a major hospital stay, and bills out the wazoo. So much for that idea.
Thankfully (and I mean that in the sense that I am thankful) I'm a guest at all the cons I plan to attend this year, except for Armadillocon. So there's no registration to worry about.
And you can be DARN sure I'm not going to sign-up in advance for DilloCon.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

"The Runner at Dawn"

The ezine Worlds of Wonder has published its summer 2006 issue. It includes my story "The Runner at Dawn". This is my 25th story published since June 2003. This is also my first appearance in this venue, and I appreciate them giving this little tale a good home. My thanks to editor Sharon Partington.

http://clik.to/wowzine

Monday, July 03, 2006

Book donation

The paper closed early for the 4th of July, so I got
home early. Since the library was still open (my local library is so small it closes at 5 p.m. and is not open weekends) I went across the street and gave them my best copy of "The World Turned Upside Down" I had. I'll pull a replacement out of storage.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sated on books

Mentioning the collection of books at the estate sale last month reminds me to mention that I think I've finally reached the point where I'm not interested any more in browsing book shops and book sales.
Quite frankly, I have so many books now - and so many of the books I feel I need for my s-f collection - that it's hard for me to think of any books I need any more.
I'm sure I'll think of some while browsing the dealer's room at upcoming conventions -but I have boxes of books in a storage building I can't even shelf for now.

In memory of Jim Baen

Jim Baen, one of the seminal figures in the s-f publishing business, and namesake of one of the major lines of books, passed away June 28 after suffering a stroke the previous week.

A moving and informative tribute was written by David Drake, who was the GOH at the very first con I ever attended, ConDFW in 2003.

Drake suggested at the end of his tribute that a fitting memorial would be to donate a copy of "The World Turned Upside Down" to a young persons or public library.

After my recent purchase of a 500 book collection at an estate sale, I have multiple copies of "World", so I'm walking across the street next week and giving a copy to my local library.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ethical dilemma

I had to ponder an ethical dilemma at work Tuesday. A man committed suicide Monday evening. Many newspapers don'r report suicides because - well, as far as crime news goes, there's no crime involved (suicide is a victimless crime) and also no arrest. Families are almost always devastated by suicides.

However, the circumstances in this case were unusual. The man shot humself on someone else's property, and outdoors; he also used a small caliber handgun, and he wasn't dead when emergency personnel arrived. He was taken by helicopter air ambulance to a hospital in Texarkana.

Needless to say, in a small community, the law enforcement response and the helicopter ambulance attracted a lot of attention, so everyone knew something had happened. I had two people ask me what happened before I made it to the phone and called the Sheriff's Department first thing Tuesday morning.

Circumstances being what they were, I felt there was no way I couldm't write the story up; rumors would have been a lot worse than the truth. I put it on the bottom of the front page, and the one concession I made to sensibilities was that I never used the word "suicide" - although everyone knows what a "self-inflicted gunshot wound" means.

Later in the morning, I was getting phone calls from people who couldn't wait for the paper to come out. One lady called and asked me for some information, which I told her. Before she hung up she said she called us because she knew we are an "honest paper".

That kinda made me feel good.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Tops in Community Service

The Texas Press Association today awarded my newspaper First Place in its annual press contest for Community Service.

Because of deadline issues, I wasn't able to attend the luncheon (it was over 300 miles away). I found out when they posted the winners on-line this afternoon.

In the 20 years I have been a newspaper editor in Texas, this is the first time I've ever taken a first place. The closest I ever came before was a second place in General Excellence in 1989.

The Pentagon wanted to close the Red River Army Depot last year as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process last year. That would have ripped the guts out of this county, and we fought it tooth and toenail.

Here's what the judges said about our effort:

"This newspaper committed resources from every department to keep the community's spirits up. Its multifaceted approach not only kept the community informed in each issue, but led the battle to get its readers to do something about the problem. And then the newspaper gave the credit to someone else for the success of the battle."

This is the nicest news I've had in a long time. I only became a published s-f author three years ago (my first story, "Silvern", was published in Revolution SF in June 2003), but I've been writing for newspapers for 30 years.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"The Three Year Rule"

Since I bother to maintain a web site (as opposed to this blog), I have offered it as a venue for publishing original fiction, Back in March we had our first submission, "The One Billionth Wish" by Peter J. Rosado.
Philip Hamm, a writer from the U.K., sent in another tale June 6, and I've also published it: "The Three Year Rule". I liked the fact it's almost all dialogue (I'm kinda partial to that - of course, "Rocket" was a monolgue) and the premise behind the story is interesting. It's almost an Orwellian dark fantasy.
Please read it when you have the opportunity:
http://www.cedarhillsentinel.com/
There is a place at the bottom of the page to log your opinion.
Interestingly enough, both stories came in at 1,700 words.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Book Haul

Just over a week ago, on June 9, I picked up what I estimate to be 400-500 books at an estate sale right here. It was a Friday, and friend called me at work and told me there were boxes and boxes of s-f books at the sale. The widow of a local man who passed away in Oct. 2004 put his library in the sale. When I took a quick look at the books, I realized this man and I had very similar tastes. I offered $75 for the lot and she took it. There were ten boxes and they nearly filled the back of my pickup. I spent until almost midnight looking through the boxes and reorganizing my library at home. The new books created a number of duplications, but I used a number of them to upgrade my library, i.e. swap out paperback versions for hardcovers. The previous owner apparently belonged to the SFBC for years.
Amomg the books I was happiest to see (which I didn't already have) was the first edition of "Dangerous Visions", the "Wandering Stars" anthology, and the Galaxy 30th anniversary anthology. There were also some Omni magazines from the 1980s and copies of F&SF and Aboriginal S-F from the '90s.
This fellow even had a paperback copy of James P. Hogan's
"Inherit the Star". I have a copy I bought in 1984 - it's actually the "oldest" book I have in my personal library (in the sense that I actually bought it for myself - when I was a teenager I always read books from the city and school library).
If you had told me in 1984 that 22 years later James P. Hogan and I would both be guests at the same convention. I would have been stunned - yet that's exactly the case with Conestoga in Tulsa next month.
I was already planning to bring my old copy of "Stars" for Hogan to autograph - but now I'll bring the other fellow's copy. And N.B. He was more on the ball than I was. The edition he bought came out in 1981, so he was three years ahead of me.
I found out later that, sadly, the man who assembled the collection commited suicide. This was before I moved here, and I don't know the details - and really, I don't think anyone else does, either. It's a shame - without sounding maudlin, suicide is such a sad and final thing. I'm glad I have the opportunity to keep the collection mostly intact - although its impossible for me to put all the books up in one place. In addition to those in my office at home, I now have boxes in a storage building behind the house. I also have boxes of non s-f books in a cabin we own near Cedar Creek Lake.
If Patricia and I retire to that cabin in 20 years or so, it may just become one big library.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Third Anniversary

I got an email this past weekend from Sharon Partington, the editor of Worlds of Wonder ezine. She's fixin' to publish my story "The Runner at Dawn" in the WoW summer issue, which will go online July 8. She sent a link to a html page and asked me to proof the story. That was a bit of a new experience - I've never had an online html proof.
I've never had anything published by WoW, but it looks like a nice ezine. "Runner" has been bouncing around for a while; I'm glad to find it a home.
It occurred to me (also this weekend) that this is the third anniversary since I was first published. "Silvern" was published by Revolution SF in June 2003. It seems so long ago. When it's online, "Runner" will be my 25th published story.
The second story I submitted to RevSF, "Silence is Golden" was published in August, and it was the first story that got me an HM in the YBSF. I've had a total of five stories published in RevSF, and gotten three HMs. There is an accepted story sitting over there now.
Since I have been published in so many places, I have been consciously submitting to new venues, which how I came to send a story to WoW. If I counted correctly. I've been published in 11 different places; WoW would be the 12th.
Still haven't cracked a major mag like Asimov's again, though. Just last week I got two rejections from two solid magazines which both said they enjoyed the story, it just didn't rise to the level where it made the cut.
Those rejections are probably the most frustrating of all.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Latest Story

I dropped a story in the mail today to Gordon Van Gelder at F&SF. It's a straight fantasy piece written under the inspiration of this year's Robert E. Howard centennial.

The collaboration between Ed Morris and yours truly is moving along. The story may be ready to go out soon. In this case, it's quite a piece of s-f with almost a retro pulps feel by the end.

Got word from Lawrence Person that the next Turkey City will be Sept. 30. The guest author will be Jeff Vandermeer. The date apparently was picked because it will fall essentially between Armadillocon and the World Fantasy Con.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Update

I spent some time this past weekend finishing up a story Ed Morris and I collaborated on back in February, and sent it off to Andromeda Spaceways.
I'm working an another collaborative effort, a story which may be a prospect to send to Interzone.
My health has been excellent of late - which is unusual. The new Diabetes medicine seems to be working better, and my left knee is only moderately painful.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Pomp and Circumstance

Last night was graduation night at most of the local high schools, so I was out there taking notes and photos for the paper. Our local high school had 91 graduates - not a real big class, but there are schools in rural Texas that graduate only one or two kids a year.
When you work as a small town newspaper editor, you go to a lot of graduations as the years roll by. However, until last night, I hadn't been to a graduation in two years. Last year I missed them because I was between jobs. My last day on my old job was May 20, and I started my new job June 1, so I missed the commencement season.
Last night's graduation reminded me of the commencement I attended in 2004. Gardner Dozois had accepted my story "A Rocket for the Republic" for Asimov's Science Fiction in March 2004. Up to that time, I had attended a total of two science fiction conventions in my life. Right after the acceptance, I realized I probably needed to get out more. The convention in Columbus, Ohio (Marcon) was coming up over the Memorial Day weekend, and I emailed and told them what had happened and said I wanted to attend. Ellen Datlow would be there; I had never met her.
In April they accepted me and put me on a panel on Submitting Short Stories with Ellen and Julie Czernada. I was very happy and I accepted. Then a few days later I realized the panel was at 2 p.m. Saturday the day after the local high school graduation. My wife and I went to the graduation at 8 p.m. Friday and then drove overnight 14 hours to Columbus. I made it with an hour to spare (I would have been exactly on time but we picked up an hour driving into the Eastern Time Zone).
I was glad to make the panel; it was a great experience, and I was very happy to meet with Ellen and Julie. I also attended a panel on Venus exploration by Geoffrey Landis Sunday morning that was worth the price of admission.
I'll never forget Saturday night when my wife and I were eating in the hotel's food court and people began sauntering by heading to that evening's costume ball. We're both SBC church embers, but wife's a native Texan and fifth generation SBC. I'm used to seeing leather corsets and fur loin cloths at cons, but the look on her face was priceless.
We drove back and made it to Texas by Monday morning; I got a short three hours of sleep and was back at work 8 a.m. Monday.
The rush and driving nearly killed my butt, though, and when I lucked out and didn't have to cover a graduation in 2005, and in fact had the whole Memorial Day weekend off, I felt it was cosmic payback.
I've told the folks in Marcon to keep me on their list; it's a great convention and I hope to make it again.
There seems to be a lot of cons over Memorial Day weekend. Howard Waldrop is off as Toastmaster at ConQuest in Kansas City. When I talked to him last weekend, and mentioned that I had to stay put because of graduation, he mentioned that he graduated from Arlington High School back in the 1960s, and it was a pretty big school by Texas standards even back then (Arlington, in case you're reading this from somewhere else in the big bad world, is smack dab between Dallas and Fort Worth and only seems suburban by comparison. It currently has a population of a quarter million people).
Howard said his graduating class had over 500 kids, and he recalls (and this seems to me a very Waldropian observation) at one point in the ceremony a pattering sound broke out that sounded very much like it had started to rain.
But it hadn't; what HAD happened it that as the list of graduates was read, everyone - students, teachers and relatives - had turned the page of the program at the same time. That's what made the sound.
Interesting, huh? He still remembers it after over 40 years.
Hope you have a very pleasant Memorial Day weekend.

Lies, lies, lies, and bullshit

At the Amazing Stories web site, there is a guest editorial by one Chris M. Barkley engaging in more useless navel gazing over the Sad Puppi...