Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Now for Archon

Well, this is going to be an interesting week. I started a new job today as the manging editor of a small daily newspaper. For the time being I have a 45-minute commute, but the wife and I will be moving to the city by the end of the year.

It's nice to have both a change of pace and locale. The largest motivation for the change was pay, of course, but there are always other considerations.

I have to take Friday off because I already committed to attend Archon/NASFIC in St. Louis. Like I said, it will be an interesting week. This will be the first time I've attended a national convention.

Oh, here's my panels at Archon:

Fri, 10:00am GC - Ballroom A Is There Room in an SF Universe for God?

Fri, Noon HI - Ballroom B Laugh It Up, Fuzzball

Fri, 1:00pm HI - Ballroom B What do Aliens Mean in Popular Culture?

Fri, 8:00pm GC - Marquette A Far Out Physics

Sat, 10:00am GC - Ballroom D6 Lost and Forgotten Writers from the Pulp Fiction Era

Sat, Noon GC - Marquette A Knowing When to Stop Writing

Sat, 4:00pm HI - Exec 3 (Reading) Lou Antonelli

Sun, 10:00am GC - Marquette A Promoting Your Book

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Yet more on Conestoga

Yes, I said I was getting caught up.

Sunday I was on a panel at 11 a.m. entitled "As You Know, Bob", on the subject f infodumps. My colleagues were Gloria Oliver, Melanie Fletcher, Beverly Hale, and Glenn Sixbury.

I felt guilty about my panel the previous day. After what Eric Flint told me, I really was pretty much stunned. I don't recall a heck of a lot. So I wanted to do a better job on this panel.

As it happened, there was no indication on the program who the moderator was, and I volunteered. It was a very good panel, and I think everyne enjoyed it. Glenn later thanked me for moderating it.

BTW, these are four very nice people. Bev Hale is a real sweetheart; one of the nicest people I see regularly at cons.

Brad Sinor and I were supposed to have a reading at 1 p.m. I told Brad I wouldn't be able to do it. Because of allergies I've had throat irritation, and I realized if I read out loud for any length of time I'd probably lose my voice.

I was on the road by 1:30 p.m. There are some very desolate stretches of road between Tulsa and East Texas. I din not enjoy driving through them late Friday night, and I wanted to get home before dark.

Which I did.

More on Conestoga

OK, here's more on Conestoga.

Needless to say, with the demands of my job, I couldn't take Friday off. I left home Friday evening and reached the hotel at midnight. It still was plenty of time for my first panel Saturday, which I described in the previous post.

That evening there was a "wake" in the hotel bar in memory of Jim Baen. Paula Goodlett was nice enough to introduce me and mention the story that Baen's had bought, to the proverbial loud huzzahs. As the tumult died down, someone said "You need to write a sequel called 'The Nuns of Nacogdoches'!

Eric Flint turned around and said, "I'm NOT buying that!!!"

I fell back in my chair. "Oh, God, Joe Lansdale would kill my ass!"

Flint and friends had a 1632 mini-con within the larger con, and later that night they sent out for pizza, which is where I snarfed dinner. When I'm out of town on my own I will eat types of food that my wife doesn't like, which is why lunch Saturday was Chinese and pepperoni pizza that night.

I visited the FenCon and ConDFW suites that night. Both were serving up Shiner Beer, which was appreciated. FenCon is publishing my story "Body by Fisher" in its sounvenir program book.

OK, today's video is in honor of "The Witch of Waxahachie":

Some catching up to do

Sorry I haven't blogged in a week and a half, but I've been busy. I just finished out my two weeks at my old job. I start a new job next week. I found a job with a small daily as managing editor. It pays $13,000 more than what I'm making now.

The reason I've been so busy is that I've been doing two jobs for these past two weeks. The sports editor left (also to join the staff at a daily) two weeks ago. My boss didn't get the job filled, so for these past two weeks I've been having to do the news AND sports. And at the beginning of this week I was doing THREE jobs because the typesetter quit without notice. The paper where I worked comes out twice a week, so I had to do the news, sports and typesetting all by myself for the mid-week edition. Of course, I didn't get any extra compensation.

A new typesetter started Thursday, so things eased up slightly for the weekend paper, the last one I did. I'll probably need to do multiple postings to get caught up, especially since I was at Conestoga in Tulsa last weekend and I'm going to Archon in St. Louis next weekend.

I had a great time at Conestoga, and some very good news. Baen's Universe has accepted "The Witch of Waxahachie". It's been in the slushpile since April of last year. Managing Editor Paula Goodlett passed on it last year - something I learned at the previous Conestoga.

This year, Baen's editor Eric Flint was at Conestoga. When I got my list of panels, I saw we would be on the same panel at 11 a.m. Saturday. I thought, "wouldn't it be nice if he turned to me and said "I accepted your story."

Well, that's what happened!!!

The dialogue wasn't as clean cut as all that. The panel was on Alternate Histories, Secret Histories and Pocket Universes. When I strolled in I sat down next to Flint (who I recognized from his picture on the web) but of course he had no idea who I was.)

While I was mustering courage to introduce myself, Paula - who was sitting in the first row - caught my attention.

"Do you know when your slot it?"

Of course, I gave a general expression of puzzlement. Paul's eyes widened and she got Flint's attention. "Hey, that's Lou Antonelli. He wrote 'The Witch of Waxahachie.'''

Flint thought for a second and turned. "Hey, good story. Did you get your contract in the email?"

"No-o-o." I quavered. "I didn't know it was accepted."

"Oh, well, I've been really busy. I'll send the contract when I get back home. You're accepted."

"Thanx!"

Needless to say, I was otherwise speechless.

Flint said later one of the problem that bedevils him is that Baen's has relatively few slots. I found out that to get on their schedule, I had to pass muster with three editors, Paula, Eric and Mike Resnick. Paula said Mike is tough to please.

Later, Eric looked up his schedule on his computer in his room. "Witch" is slated to run next April.

More later.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Getting ready for Tulsa

I'll be off this weekend to Tulsa for Conestaga 11. Here's my intinery:

Saturday at 11:00 a.m. - Salon F: "Secret and Pocket Histories: Is history really that fun?"

Sun at 10:00 a.m. - Salon F: "As you know, Bob. The positives and negatives of infodumps."

Sun 1:00 p.m - Chickasaw: Reading.

I think I'll read "Avatar", the story that was publised by Darker Matter in April. It's certainly my high point for the year (so far) and the ONLY story I've ever had that got unanimously positive reviews!

Conestoga will be my first con since ConDFW in February. Fencon, which is also in Dallas, in September, will be publishing my near future disaster story "Body by Fisher" in its program book.

I got my panels for Archon, which is the NASFIC. I have seven panels on Friday, Saturady and Sunday, plus a reading. I'll post those later.

The nice thing about Archon, which is in St. Louis, is that I'll be able to take the Texas Eagle Amtrak train overnight both to and from. That should be comfortable.

I'm starting a new job at another newspaper July 30. When I accepted the post, I asked that I could still have Friday, August 2, off because I had already accepted the Archon invite and made my room reservation.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Nice egoboo

Jerry Wright of Bewildering Stories passed along this comment he received about a story he published in October 2005, "The Queen of Guilty Pleasures":

"As a writer of detective stories and other fiction and non-fiction, I want to
pass along my thanks for writing such a good piece. Dialogue and plot
development were top-rate. I'm also a Bettie Page fan, so I'm biased. Now,
back to BW to see if there are others there you've written."
--Walt Giersbach

Well, thanks Walt.

I'm getting for Conestoga next weekend, and NASFIC (Archon) two weekends after that.

OK, here's the Video of the Day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pretty coincidental

Just a few days after I got that letter about the honorable mention from the Writers of the Future, I received an email - at my newspaper address - from Galaxy Press, Turns out they offered a review copy of the latest edition. I said "sure!"

Reminds me of the first con I ever attended, ConDFW in 2003. I didn't pay, I got in on my media pass.

Here's the Video of the Day. If you ever see a story by me entitled "Holly with and 'E''', think of this tinny piano version of "Peggy Sue" - like you'd hear in an Old West Saloon.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Latest from Writers of the Future

I got a letter in the mail from the Writers of the Future. This is maybe the fourth of fifth time I've sent them a story. They said I was considered an honorable mention for the quarter January 1 through March 31. They said that means my story finished in the Top 10 to 15% of the entries. That's the first time I've received that type of letter.
I looked up more information on the web, and saw on a web site that "Honorable Mention" means quarter-finalist. Since WOTF conducts its contest on a quarterly basis (so it said) they decided to use the term "Honorable Mention" because quarter finalist caused confusion - some people apparently thought it meant they were a finalist for the quarter.
Back in 2002 I sent WOTF a story, which didn't do anything (It was "Dialogue", which was published by RevolutionSF in 2005 and was one of my three HMs in the YBSF that year). My next entry they lost for over a year. They later said a box of mail had been misplaced during a move. Needless to say, I stopped submitting.
Last year, though, at FenCon I attended a panel on WOTF. K.D. Wentworth got me interested and I started submitting again. My entry for the last quarter of 2006 didn't do anything (although the administrator hand-wrote on the form letter 'submit again soon'); this last letter is for the next entry, "Twilight on the Finger Lakes", which I later sent to a magazine called Pedestal. They returned it this week, but I got a "good" rejection; you know, "send more soon".
I got the 2007 SFWA directory in the mail a few days ago, and I see that a few new venues have been qualified as short fiction venues, including Pedestal and also Subterranean, Baen's Universe and Dark Wisdom.
OK, today's video is probably the WORST Star Trek parody even done. I stumbled across this piece of silliness while doing research on South Africa. It's
done by a comic called Caspar DeVries. Of course, it doesn't help that it's in Afrikaans, but I really don't think it would have made sense in any language. DeVries is like a Boer Benny Hill, but even more manic (if'n ya' kin believe that). I understand the AWB once put him on a hit list. No wonder.

Latest reviews

"It’s possible that you haven’t run into the stories of Lou Antonelli. Since 2003, he’s been publishing delightful short tales of alternate history all over the nooks and crannies of the SF world. Thanks to Fantastic Books, we now have 28 of these little gems in one place. "Many of Antonelli’s stories have an unexpected twist ending. And many of them are what he calls “secret history” stories, which aren’t exactly alternate history—they’re set in our familiar history, but there’s always some element that contemporary observers missed. " -

- Don Sakers, The Reference Library, Analog July-Aug. 2014

A better path develops for a distraught man in “Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli (debut 6/11 and reviewed by Frank D). Jake is about to end it all. He has been trying to keep his high maintenance wife happy for decades and has needed to embezzle to satisfy her spending habits. Now, on the verge of indictment and abandoned by his spouse, he buys a gun. Before he pulls the trigger, he spies a Kodak one-day photo hut. Curious, he pulls up to the window. They are holding pictures of him and his last girlfriend from 30 years before. The package is a lot thicker than it should be. Double Exposure” is listed as an Alternative History story but I would classify it as a Magical Realism tale. It is set as a second chance tale, a look into a life that should have been. The author is inspired by his memories of the old photo huts (I remember them) and of their disappearance. A cool idea (photos of another life), one that I could imagine would make for a great anthology.

- Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots

“Great White Ship”: A traveler stuck waiting for a flight strikes up a conversation with an old airline employee. The Old Timer tells him a story of a Great White Airship that arrives from a most unusual destination. The story of a craft from an alternate reality and how it got there is only the precursor to the final act. This is one of my favorite stories from this site. I have a great passion for lighter-than-air craft and their potential as a future means of transport, which opens the story. The author uses this speculation to launch into an engaging tale. As fascinating as the main story line is, the alternate history premise that accompanies it is just as worthwhile. This story was well written and very well thought out. It is well worth the read. Recommended.

- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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