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.

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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