Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Another sale

I got some good news this week. Atomjack has bought my story “The Amerikaan Way” and will be publishing it in April. This is my fifth sale so far this year.

Darker Matter and Twisted Tongue (in the U.K. have already weighed in so far. Atomjack is a nice little ezine. I think I’ve adopted an unofficial career goal of being published in 100 different publications. I’m a third of the way there already.

I made a goal for 2007 of moving out some of my backlog. Between these zines and Sentinel S-F, I’ve already committed seven stories. I’m doing this because:

1. Some of these tales just aren’t going to make it in the majors, and
2: I need to write new stuff.

The strategy seems to be working, and I’m beginning to see my inventory dwindle. It’s a good incentive for me to keep after it. During the past four years I’ve been writing, it’s not uncommon for me to have 18-20 stories bouncing between different slushpiles. At end of 2006, I noticed I had so many stories out there that I was effectively blocking myself off from sending perhaps newer and better stories to some places because of the older, and possibly not quite as polished, newer stuff. So I decided on a policy to more aggressively move out the older stories.

For example, “Insight” is my very oldest story, written in the fall of 2002 (not counting “Two Men in a Cave Without a Net”, which I wrote in 1988 and published in January on Sentinel S-F.) I peddled "Insight” off to Twisted Tongue. Howard Waldrop likes to note that he has a well-established reputation of selling stories to the LOWEST possible bidder. I may be giving him a run for his (lack of) money, but writing a lot and often seems to work best for me, so I have a lot of stories to peddle. Chris Nakashima-Brown hit the nail on the head when he posted on the blog “No Fear of the Future” that I was the “heir of the penny a word pulps.” I probably would have done great in the ’30s.

Getting back to “The Amerikaan Way”, it’s alternate history where the POD is that Pegleg Pete Stuyvesant repels the British from seizing New Amsterdam in 1664, and it continues as a Dutch colony until the time of the American Revolution. You can imagine the geographic complications of having the British colonies split by the Mid-Atlantic Dutch colony. The nub of the issue is that the V.S.A, (which is what the nation is later called) develops into the Apartheid regime in the 20th century instead of South Africa. The story’s protagonist is from a democratic and multi-racial South Africa, on a trip to notify his corporate office in New Amsterdam that they are bowing to international sanctions and cutting off trade with the polecat Amerikaan regime. But there’s a lot of skullduggery afoot, and as usual for an Antonelli story, plot twists and irony.

When I visited with him at ConDFW, I told Harry Turtledove that since I studied South African history in college I’ve used some of it in my stories. When it’s published, maybe I’ll send him a copy of “The Amerikaan Way”. I think it’s one of my better alternate histories (or at least my best solo effort, although I think at least a couple I’ve collaborated on with Ed Morris are at least as good, if not better).

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