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!

Latest reviews

In a spare, swift, convincing narrative style, conveying in a deadpan voice a wide array of sometimes Paranoid suppositions about the world, Antonelli juxtaposes realities with very considerable skill, creating a variety of Alternate Worlds, some of them somewhat resembling the constructions of Howard Waldrop, and making some sharp points about American history, race relations, dreams, and occasional nightmares in which the twentieth century goes wrong. [JC]

---From the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

A better path develops for a distraught man in “Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli (debut 6/11 and reviewed by Frank D). Jake is about to end it all. He has been trying to keep his high maintenance wife happy for decades and has needed to embezzle to satisfy her spending habits. Now, on the verge of indictment and abandoned by his spouse, he buys a gun. Before he pulls the trigger, he spies a Kodak one-day photo hut. Curious, he pulls up to the window. They are holding pictures of him and his last girlfriend from 30 years before. The package is a lot thicker than it should be.

Double Exposure” is listed as an Alternative History story but I would classify it as a Magical Realism tale. It is set as a second chance tale, a look into a life that should have been. The author is inspired by his memories of the old photo huts (I remember them) and of their disappearance. A cool idea (photos of another life), one that I could imagine would make for a great anthology.

- Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots

Great White Ship”: A traveler stuck waiting for a flight strikes up a conversation with an old airline employee. The Old Timer tells him a story of a Great White Airship that arrives from a most unusual destination. The story of a craft from an alternate reality and how it got there is only the precursor to the final act.

This is one of my favorite stories from this site. I have a great passion for lighter-than-air craft and their potential as a future means of transport, which opens the story. The author uses this speculation to launch into an engaging tale. As fascinating as the main story line is, the alternate history premise that accompanies it is just as worthwhile. This story was well written and very well thought out. It is well worth the read.

Recommended.

- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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