Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Getting back into action

We've had a guest for the Christmas holiday, and that combined with people off from work has kept me pretty busy, so I didn't have time to do any posting. Things are slowly getting back to normal, so I suppose I will able to get into posting regularly.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Busy time of the year

Yep, not much going on in terms of the genre writing. Despite the holidays there's no break in the newspaper publication schedule, and there's three people off on vacation during this and next week.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two books to sell




As a side note, the signing in Nacogdoches was the first time I ever had both "Fantastic Texas" and "Texas & Other Planets" at the same event. I didn't have any copies of "Fantastic Texas" the week before at Prospero's in Marshall, and I probably missed a few sales as a result. At least three people asked about "Fantastic Texas".


Although the siging in Nacogdoches was a lot less fruitful than the one in Marshall, I did peddle a copy of "Fantastic Texas".


Here is a photo of me at the table with both sets of books.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Visiting Nacogdoches


One of the problems with book signing seems to be the two types of businesses involved - newspapers for the publicity, and the bookstores themselves - are two of the businesses which have been hammered the worst in this recession.

One of the dirty little secrets of modern American businesses is how badly they under staff. Book stores are a prime example. They really don't hire enough people to do the work properly. Service suffers, and the they people they DO hire come in at a ridiculously low wage and really don't know anything about books.

Chain-owned newspapers also chronically under staff, and what's worse, they produce a workload and tell the employees they MUST do that work - when it it is a physical impossibility, therefore encouraging employees to work unpaid hours.

I saw this pattern back in the 1980s with the Harte-Hanks chain of newspapers, and they eventually had to divest of their newspapers as the state and federal government began investigating them for labor fraud.

It's not that the few employees who remain at a paper like the Sentinel don't mean well, they simply can't keep up with the work. I emailed a news release about my visit last Monday, and then made three of four phone calls during the week before actually getting the managing editor on the phone Friday. (One of the things you learn when calling these meager newspapers these days is that you hardly ever get anyone on the phone, because you probably have six people doing a dozen people's work).

She hadn't even had time to read my email. Of course, nothing ever got in the paper.

Meanwhile, I had sent the Hastings posters. When Patricia and I arrived Saturday afternoon, they didn't have my name on the sign and they never posted any of the posters. So there never was any advance notice of any kind.

Given that, I'm surprised I sold any books, but I did. Between the gas and the dinner (and some books we bought ourselves) I probably broke even.

I had called Joe Lansdale and let him know I would be in town. Joe and Karen came by the Hastings, and after Patricia and I left at 7 p.m. we all met at the Cotton Patch Cafe nearby.

Joe put his finger on the issue when he said Hastings will let you do a book signing, but they won't do a thing for you. That's why he doesn't bother with them, and I have to agree, he's right.

The week before, when I had my signing at Prospero's in Marshall, Don Falk put my posters in his window and blogged about it. He also put me near the front door (the Nacogdoches Hastings stuck me in a corner). I sold a lot more books.

Also, although the Marshall newspaper is another chain-owned plantation, they still managed to get some notice in there, which certainly helped.

Patricia and I both ate chicken fried steaks at the Cotton Patch - the outfit's speciality - and enjoyed visiting with Joe and Karen. Joe has a wealth of experience. I wish I saw him more often, but Nacogdoches is two hours away from Mount Pleasant - as far as Dallas.

The photo above is myself holding a copy of "Texas & Other Planets" with Joe and Karen inside the bookstore.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yet another collection

Selina Rosen at Yard Dog Press says she is buying a collection of four collaborative stories by myself and Ed Morris, called "Music for Four Hands". It's about 22,000 words long and features "Off the Hook", originally published in Dark Recesses; "Acroscaphe" which was published in Planetary Stories; "Stairway To Heaven", which was was published in the first Black Matrix Press anthology "Encounters; and "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" which was published in The Fifth Dimension.

Needless to say, Ed and I are thrilled. Here is his summation of the Table of Contents, as culled from Facebook:

"Smoke"- Alternate history take on the life of visionary comedian Ernie Kovacs, and his views on drug prohibition.

"Off the Hook" - On the last day of his life, a comic named Jimmy Slade tries to cut a deal with the Angel of Death

"Acroscaphe" - A Fifties 'big big' thriller, this one dealing with Jumbo Shrimp.

"Stairway To Heaven" - A bitter newspaperman discovers a time-traveler from the 1960's messing about on the grounds of an old house, and in his life. The lady's not sure anything nowadays can glitter, but comes with a terrible gift at an even more terrible price.

"Nicely done collection of stories"

Got my first review of "Texas & Other Planets" at Amazon from David Riley, editor of Science Fiction Trails. He gave it five stars. Here it is:

"In reviewing Lou Antonelli's second collection of short stories, I should mention that I published two of the featured stories in Science Fiction Trails, which I edit. Like a lot of Antonelli's work, his beloved Texas is the backdrop to a fair bit of the book's content, though not everything is a Texas tale. This is a collection of science fiction that moves seamlessly through some very different time periods. My personal favorite was "Good News For the Dead." It's not the first time dead people have been put to work, but the take on it is fresh and well told. The book is nicely laid out and well edited. These are Antonelli's best stories and there really isn't a bad one in the bunch."

Monday, December 13, 2010

East Texas author visits Nacogdoches Hastings Saturday

Here is the text of a news release I wrote in preparation of my visit to Nacogdoches this coming Saturday:

#

Give the gift of imagination this Christmas.
East Texas author Lou Antonelli visits Hastings Entertainment in Nacogdoches this coming Saturday, Dec. 18.
Antonelli will be selling and signing copies of his science fiction and fantasy short story reprint collection, “Texas & Other Planets”, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“Texas & Other Planets” contains 20 short stories previously published in the United States, England and Australia, and – as the title indicates – many are set in the Lone Star State, Antonelli’s adopted home.
A Massachusetts native, Antonelli is currently managing editor of The Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune. He broke into the top ranks of American science fiction and fantasy writers with the publication of “A Rocket for the Republic” in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine in 2005.
“A Rocket for the Republic” is the lead-in story for the collection. Gardner Dozois, editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction at the time, says of his latest collection, "Lou Antonelli is an ambitious young writer with lots of imagination and verve, who never forgets about the mysteries of the human heart."
Ten of the stories in “Texas & Other Planets” have been included in the annual Honorable Mention compilation list for the “The Year’s Best Science Fiction” published annually by St. Martin’s Press and edited by Dozois.
Antonelli’s first collection, “Fantastic Texas” – published in 2009 – included only stories set in the Lone Star State. “Texas & Other Planets” includes the best of the previous collection as well as other award-winning stories.
Publisher Merry Blacksmith Press states: “Following Lou Antonelli’s critically praised first collection, ‘Fantastic Texas’, comes another collection of some of his very best. Lou is easily one of the hardest working and most recognized short story writers in science fiction today.”
Hastings Entertainment is located at 4501 North Street in Nacogdoches.

{the end}

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A visit with Prospero


Book signing event Saturday at Prospero's in Marshall went great. Set a record for books sold at one event, and also a single buyer record, as one customer bought THREE copies - one for himself, and two as gifts. That never happened with "Fantastic Texas", though I have had people buy two copies at once. Thanks to Ed Clikard being for the biggest fan of "Texas & Other Planets"!

Prospero's is a small, independent book store - there is no chain book store in Marshall - and the ratio of sales to traffic was very high. It's a neat little place, very cozy and nicely decorated, and I urged Patricia to come. She agreed with me and enjoyed the day. We were there from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Thanks for Don Falk for hosting me twice in the same year! He's a great guy!.

Only small drawback was that I had at least three people ask me about buying "Fantastic Texas" and I had no copies to sell them. I didn't anticipate there would be still be a demand. I gave them promotional business cards, and told them they could buy it online. Meanwhile I am dropping an order in the mail to Ian Strock at Gray Rabbit Publishing, who took over the Fantastic Books titles.
One strange thing: The reason I asked for the date is that they have an event in Marshall once a month called Second Saturday, when they block some streets downtown so people can stroll among the shops as well as street vendors. But they cancelled it for this month. I don't know if that had any impact on the traffic at Prsopero's; I'm inclined to think the cold weather was more of a factor. After dark, people began to come into downtown to see the lights, but they didn't drop in the book store - I don't think we sold any books during the last hour.

While at Prospero's I got a call from the book manager at the Hastings in Nacogdoches. I had planned a signing for "Fantastic Texas" there back in May, but had to cancel because of the death of my father-in-law. I promised I would reschedule, but then after inking the deal for "Texas & Other Planets" I decided to wait until I could return for a signing for both books. The Nacogdoches book manager said I could have a signing on Saturday, Dec. 18, the last Saturday before Christmas - which is great. My rationale for getting in a few signings before Christmas is to take advantage of holiday shopping. Yesterday in Marshall there definitely seemed to be a number of people in Prospero's doing holiday gift shopping. I will be be going to Nacogdoches whether or not I have "Fantastic Texas" in hand. The reaction of people to "Texas & Other Planets" has been very good - they love the title and the cover.

The publication date of "Fantastic Texas" last year was Dec. 19, so it just missed the holiday shopping season. I have avoided that snafu with "Texas & Other Planets". John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press says some orders have also come in through Amazon.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Latest Update

Merry Blacksmith Press is offering a holiday special with free or reduced shipping on nearly all titles until Dec. 18. Now is a good time to order your copy of "Texas & Other Planets"!

I'm all set for my first signing, I will be at Prospero's bookstore in downtown Marshall starting at 10 a.m. Saturday

Monday, December 06, 2010

Special giveaway

I guess I'm lucky to have two collections come out within a year of each other; the officious publication date of "Texas & Other Planets" was Nov. 14, while "Fantastic Texas" was published Dec. 19, 2009.

To celebrate the first anniversary of "Fantastic Texas", I am repeating the special giveaway offer using Facebook I had when it first came out; anyone who is a fan by Dec. 31 will be entered in a drawing to receive a free copy.

Meanwhile, I sent out a news release to the newspaper in Marshall about my upcoming book signing at Prospero's, and I sent some posters to the book store.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

First signing for "Texas & Other Planets" set

I will be having the first book signing for "Texas & Other Planets" this coming Saturday, Dec. 11, at Prospero's Books in downtown Marshall. John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press has promised me I'll have at least ten books in hand this week. I expect to sell them all. I had a signing for "Texas & Other Planets" on June 12, and considering the time of the year and traffic, it went very well, which is why I wanted a return appearance.

When "Fantastic Texas" came out, I had my first signing here in Mount Pleasant in February. but the Hastings book store can't get me a date earlier than Jan. 22 for "Texas & Other Planets". They won't have any signings between now and Christmas as a matter of policy. By then I will have a larger shipment of books in. John is getting me a rush order in time for this weekend's event in Marshall.

Marshall has an event called Second Saturday each month to encourage people to visit its downtown. That's the reason I called Prospero's; I wanted to get in for the Second Saturday before Christmas.

Prospero's is an independent book store, run by Don Falk, and is located at 210 N Washington Ave, just down the street from the county courthouse. It's a very pretty place.

When I was there this past summer, a local videographer came by and did an interview, which resulted in my first YouTube video. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9_JENSixPU

Friday, December 03, 2010

ConJour 2011


I've accepted an invite to be a guest at ConJour, the con at the University of Houston at Clear Lake, which will be held March 11-13.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Positive press


I had an interview Monday with a reporter from the Rockland Standard, the newspaper where I first cut my teeth in journalism, and it is in this week's paper.


One my stops while in town last weekend was the building where the newspaper was headquartered back then, in the 1970s. It is at 65 Grove St. in Rockland. It still looks the same, although it is secured and empty. Patricia took a photo of me at the back door, where I went in hundreds of time when I was in high school.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Three Amigos


I stopped in Rhode Island Saturday, Nov. 27, while on the way to my 35th high school reunion in SE Massachusetts to visit with John Teehan, publisher of Merry Blacksmith Press, to celebrate the publication of my second collection, "Texas & Other Planets". We met for lunch at Iggy's clam shack in Warwick, which has a spectacular view of the water, joined by Paul DiFilippo, who lives in Providence. John presented me with the printer's proof of "Texas & Other Planets", which I proudly hold up here, flanked by Paul (left) and John (right). In addition to enjoying the great seafood and view, Paul commented we constituted 50 percent of the body of Italian-American s-f authors (the other two, we agreed, being Ben Bova and Paolo Baciagalupi).


Pre-orders for "Texas & Other Planets" opened Nov. 22, and books should start shipping by the end of this week. Get 'em while they're hot!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Heading home

Patricia and I arrived in Providence Saturday afternoon, and we had lunch at Iggy's clam shack in Warwick with John Teehan and Paul DiFillipo. John gave me the publisher's proof copy of "Texas & Other Planets". John's wife also was there. It was the first time to meet them in person, and we had a great time. I had a fresh whole fried clam platter, Patricia had a tuna grinder.

John and Paul said they wanted to meet us for lunch at Iggy's because it sits on Narragansett Bay, and it was a great view. We all took photos to commemorate the occasion.

Then Patricia and I drove to Brockton and checked into our motel. We arrived at the class reunion by 8:00 p.m. at the Rockland Golf Course. I met with some old friends from high school. Some of my best friends live too far away and didn't make it. Attendance was rather small, and none of the senior class officers attended. Patricia enjoyed talking to people who knew me in high school. The high point of the evening - for her - was when Mark Albee asked her, "Do you have as hard a time shutting him up as we did in high school?"

I brought a half dozen copies of "Fantastic Texas" with me and I signed and gifted five of them to old classmates.

Sunday I took Patricia around Rockland. We stopped at the house where I grew up, and I posed in front with my copy of "Texas & Other Planets". We drove around downtown Rockland, and ate lunch at the China Plaza, a well-known local restaurant.

That afternoon we spent some time for Patricia, and shopped at the local Talbots. We also stopped at a Country Curtains store. We ended the night at the Hanover Mall.

Today (Monday) I had an interview with a reporter at the local newspaper at 10 a.m., then I took Patricia to the Brant Rock area in Marshfield. Then we drove to Plymouth to see the Mayflower II and Plymouth Rock, We ate lunch at Wood's Seafood on the wharf; Patricia donned a bib and had a whole fresh boiled lobster. She really enjoyed it. I had a whole fried clam plate.

Then we drove an hour to Billerica to see the house where I lived from age 3 to 13. We walked to the ruins of an abandoned bridge at the Concord River. Patricia though the river was very picturesque. I also showed Patricia the elementary school I attended.

Then we drove to Medford, where we stopped at the house where I was born. Finally, we stopped briefly in nearby Malden to visit an aunt, Wilma D'Allesandro and her husband, Joe. She warmed up some Thanksgiving leftovers. I gave them my last copy of "Fantastic Texas".

We arrived back in Brockton by 6:30 and started to pack. We will leave Boston Tuesday morning, and should be back in Mount Pleasant that evening.

I hope to post photos later.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am in suburban Washington D.C. where I spent the holiday with family members. I will be flying to Providence, R.I., tomorrow, where I should have lunch with Paul DiFilippo and John Teehan, before going to the South Shore of Massachusetts for my high school reunion.

Pre-orders have started for "Texas & Other Planets" and I should get a proof copy of the book from John. I have also set up an interview Monday with a reporter from the Rockland Standard, the weekly newspaper from my hometown.

Monday, November 22, 2010

AggieCon in 2011

I will be going to AggieCon in 2011. I participated in 2006 and 2007, but then haven't been back since. I've been trying to touch base with some cons to plan my schedule for 2011, in light of the need to do some selling for "Texas and Other Planets".

I should be able to pick up the first copy of "Texas" this weekend when I reach Providence. John Teehan, as well as Paul DiFillipo, may be meeting us when we arrive at 1:30 p.m.

I took some time today to do the slush pile shuffle, since I will be out of pocket for a while. I have 16 stories out there right now, give or take a few. Sometimes it's hard to tell exactly what stories are still under consideration. When I began writing a few years ago, I never used to encounter cases where I'd never hear back from a magazine at all, but by now there's some places - Interzone is the biggest case for me - where I can't even get a rejection. Tor.com has become another one. After a while you just move on and resubmit. Either the slush pile crunch has become harder in recent years, or I'm just not important enough an author, I suppose, to even waste an email rejection on. I spent some time today sending out queries, and I got at least one answer, which was helpful.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Making plans

I made the last reservations for a rental car and the motel today. We will be staying in Virginia Thursday and Friday and then SE Mass Saturday through Monday. We will be flying from Dallas to Washington late Wednesday and flying back from Boston Tuesday. That way I will be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and attend my high school reunion Saturday night.

Note to would-be burglars: We will have a house-sitter, and the dogs will still be at home.

Looking forward to meeting Paul DiFillipo. We are flying from D.C. to Providence on Saturday. Since my hometown of Rockland is halfway between Boston and Providence, I thought that we'd start in Providence and wend our way through the region for a few days.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ready for launch


Just got word from John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press that he got the proof for "Texas and Other Planets" from the printer and he is going to open it for orders on Monday.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Available for viewing

The Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) has a forum where works eligible for the Nebula Awards can be posted for members to read and consider when making nominations.

I have uploaded my novelette "Dispatches from The Troubles", which was published in the Summer 2010 issue of Greatest Uncommon Denominator (GUD) magazine.

If you are an author, feel free to visit and download a copy of the story (you must be a member of the SFWA, this is a secure web site).

Monday, November 15, 2010

Off to press

John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press says "Texas and Other Planets" is off to the printer for a last proof, and pre-orders may be taken within a week. Great news!

Since the official publication date of "Fantastic Texas" was Dec. 19, 2009, it looks like I will have two collections published with a year.

SFWA handbook


I got my copy of the 2010 edition of the SFWA handbook in the mail today. I've never had one of these handbooks before. It looks to be a great reference source, and I plan to plunder its wealth of information, especially with "Texas and Other Planets" being published. I've learned some things from hard experience with "Fantastic Texas", but there are still tips in the handbook I see can be useful.


I will be traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday, so this looks like a great book to take on the plane and train.
The handbook was produced by John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press, who's also publishing "Texas and Other Planets".

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ups and downs

Didn't post for the past few days - I've had to cope with some health issues. I started a new diabetes medicine - which may or may not have some side effects, it's hard to tell.

The reason its hard to tell is because, as is so often the case, different problems intrude on one another. This week I had blood pressure problems - purely situational - and it's taking me a few days to sort the problems out. I had a problem on Wednesday with a customer that - unfortunately, as I foresaw - cascaded into such turmoil that my blood pressure must have spiked into the "death is imminent" zone. I've been watching my blood pressure like a hawk since then.

The customer didn't mean to be difficult; she was - literally - a halfwit who wanted something and I couldn't achieve it for her. When you deal with a person of genuinely limited intellectual capacity, you have two problems:

1. They don't understand you; and
2. When they don't understand you, they think it's your fault

Because they don't have the intelligence to have self-doubts, it makes it hard to communicate. In this case, after some effort (spread over two days and multiple phone conversations) we got through to her (yes, I had to ask for help from other people).

THEN the woman, who had come to the office, finds out one of the documents she had been carrying was missing, and - of course - said we lost it. We had to turn the office upside down and eventually found it, on the floor, where she had dropped it as she shuffled around.

At the point she accused of us losing the document - when I thought we had her out the door - I just about stroked out.

This was all compounded by the fact that, like so many people of severely impaired intelligence, she mumbled and spoke very indistinctly. That combined with an East Texas dialect reduced me to having to ask for a translation from natives.

I didn't dare to check my blood pressure until the next morning, and then it was 214 over 114. It's much improved, but I'm monitoring it closely.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ker-blammo!!!

Oh, I forgot, Bill Ledbetter emailed and said he posted a comment over at the GUD magazine web site:

http://www.gudmagazine.com/blog/archive/2010/9/17/issue-6-is-ready-for-you/#comment_503

If you don't want to visit the GUD site and visit the entire entry foe the issue (which I recommend) here's a cut and paste of Bill's comments:

#

Like most of you, I was excited when the mailman brought my Issue #6 of GUD last week. But unlike most of you, I was looking forward to more than just entertaining stories, poetry and stunning artwork, because you see, this issue also announced my glorious death. State Police Chairman Guillermo (Bill) Ledbetter died spectacularly, when he and his driver were blown to bits by a terrorist bomb in Lou Antonelli's "Dispatches from the Troubles." That’s right I had been the victim of...wait for it...a drive by Tuckerization.

I first learned of my untimely death in August of 2009, when I got an email from Lou, containing excerpts from the alternate history masterpiece he had just recently sold to GUD. The key line in the email, and one that made me laugh the most, was "In a bucket" Haw! We aim to please!"

You see, Lou and I have been friends for years and at one of the many conventions we attended over that period, the conversation had rolled around to dying. I mentioned that instead of wasting away in some bed or falling dead in the street from a massive coronary, I would much prefer to be blown into bits so tiny, some poor slob would have to spend hours collecting my remains in a bucket.

So let that be a warning to you fine people. Never cross the Orange Klan and be very careful what you say around writers at conventions. Now I just have to come up with a suitable way to kill off a certain writer/editor that I know.

Ready for publication

Took a little while to look over the "final" version of Texas and Other Planets. Found maybe six mistakes, two of them on the back cover, and sent last email to John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press.

As I said to Teehan, if you mess too much with a story, you will start to make typos in corrections (I've seen this happen at a newspaper).

Looking forward to its publication, and I'm starting to think about some signings in December to get in there in time for the Christmas shopping season.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Almost ready

Got the (almost) final proof of "Texas and Other Planets" in the email today. Looking it over closely. Also have the cover spread. With a little luck, we might have this out in time for Thanksgiving.

Here's the text of the blurb on the back:

"Following Lou Antonelli’s critically praised first collection, Fantastic Texas, comes another collection of some of his very best. Lou is easily one of the hardest working and most recognized short story writers in science fiction today.

"This collection includes many incredible stories such as “A Rocket For the Republic,” "Professor Malakoff’s Amazing Ethereal Telegraph,” “The Cast Iron Dybbuk,” “Silvern,” “The Witch of Waxahachie” and many more! Look for stories set not in just the Lone Star state, but also on Mars, on asteroids, and in deepest space.

“Lou Antonelli is an ambitious young writer with lots of imagination and verve, who never forgets about the mysteries of the human heart.” – Gardner Dozois

“With this, his second collection, transplanted Yankee Lou Antonelli provides a useful buzz-saw for the discarded lumber pile that is current SF.” – Howard Waldrop

Friday, November 05, 2010

Convention news

I have received and accepted an invite to be a guest at Soonercon next year. So far I have also accepted invites to ConDFW and Conjour at the University of Houston.

Still admiring how good GUD looks.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Rising from the dead Thursday morning

Didn't get any sleep Tuesday night, thanks to Election Day, worked straight through to Wednesday morning and then knocked off and hit the hay Wednesday afternoon. Just reviving now.

Monday, November 01, 2010

GUD arrives

I received my complimentary author's copy of GUD in the mail today. I must admit, it's one of the best looking spec fic publications I've ever been in. It's 200 pages of all varieties of s-f and fantasy. You need to get yourself a copy. It strikes me as a publication you'd want to give a friend to show them what's going on in the genre today. It's tight, well-printed, and full of great stories.

Of course, I'm proud of my story, "Dispatches from the Troubles". It's unique among my alternate histories, and the longest thing I've ever had printed - at over 11,000 words, my first novelette.

"Dispatches" is the longest story in this issue at 35 pages, but I like to think it flies by, using the newspaper article format. It is also the finale in my upcoming collection, "Texas and Other Planets".

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Missed opportunity

Wouldn't you know it? I received an invitation to attend the Pineywoods Book Festival in Nacogdoches on November 27 - and I will be out of town that day for my high school 35th reunion in Rockland, Massachusetts.

I was going to have a book signing at the Hastings in Nacogdoches last Memorial Day weekend, but I had to cancel because of the death of my father-in-law. So I've never made it to Nacogdoches. Right now I feel I might as well wait to go to Nacogdoches until "Texas and Other Planets" is published and have a singing for that and "Fantastic Texas" together.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The latest

Waiting to get back the final version of "Texas and Other Planets" from Merry Blacksmith. Have a big visit on Friday with an endocrinologist - looking forward to some changes in my diabetes management.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Free speech - pfui!

I was dismayed - but not surprised - that a feminist science fiction convention this week rescinded its invitation to Texas author Elizabeth Moon to serve as a Guest of Honor. I thought, especially in light of the Juan Williams case here in the U.S. and the Geert Wilders case in the Netherlands, that it was a subject of general interest to my newspaper readers, and I interviewed Moon on Friday.

I wrote up this story for Sunday's paper, which I think is a pretty good summation of the subject, especially for members of the general public

#

Texas author un-invited as convention
Guest of Honor over remarks on Islam
By LOU ANTONELLI
Managing Editor
A best-selling Texas science fiction author has been un-invited as a Guest of Honor at a literary convention in the wake of controversial remarks she posted on her personal blog Sept. 11 on the subject of citizenship, assimilation and Islam.
Elizabeth Moon is a best-selling author who lives in Florence, a small town of approximately 1,000 people in Williamson County, 40 miles north of Austin. She said she received a phone call Wednesday evening from a representative of WisCon, the self-described “world's leading feminist science fiction convention” held in Wisconsin every spring, stating her invitation as a Guest of Honor had been rescinded.
Moon’s comments in her Sept. 11 posting, specifically on assimilation and Islam, has generated a firestorm of controversy among the science fiction community of authors.
Moon said she felt her comments were centrist and really didn’t expect them to generate as such controversy as they did. “The polarization of American politics, world politics, for that matter,” she said, “decreases the opportunity for civil discourse. What we dare not mention - because of fear of backlash - and cannot discuss calmly, because of the actual backlash and the feeding frenzy, is often what most needs to be brought into the open.”
Addressing the issue of assimilation and the proposed mosque to be built in the vicinity of the former World Trade Center in New York City, Moon had written, in part, on Sept. 11, 2010:
“A group must grasp that if its non-immigrant members somewhere else are causing people a lot of grief (hijacking planes and cruise ships, blowing up embassies, etc.) it is going to have a harder row to hoe for awhile, and it would be prudent (another citizenly virtue) to a) speak out against such things without making excuses for them and b) otherwise avoid doing those things likely to cause offence.
“When an Islamic group decided to build a memorial center at/near the site of the 9/11 attack, they should have been able to predict that this would upset a lot of people. Not only were the attackers Islamic - and not only did the Islamic world in general show indecent glee about the attack, but this was only the last of many attacks on citizens and installations of this country which Islamic groups proudly claimed credit for.
“That some Muslims died in the attacks is immaterial - does not wipe out the long, long chain of Islamic hostility. It would have been one thing to have the Muslim victims' names placed with the others, and identified there as Muslims- but to use that site to proselytize for the religion that lies behind so many attacks on the innocent (I cannot forget the Jewish man in a wheelchair pushed over the side of the ship to drown, or Maj. Nadal's attack on soldiers at Fort Hood) was bound to raise a stink.”
“It is hard to believe that those making the application did not know that - did not anticipate it - and were not, in a way, probing to see if they could start a controversy. If they did not know, then they did not know enough about the culture into which they had moved.
“I know - I do not dispute - that many Muslims had nothing to do with the attacks, did not approve of them, would have stopped them if they could. I do not dispute that there are moderate, even liberal, Muslims, that many Muslims have all the virtues of civilized persons and are admirable in all those ways. But Muslims fail to recognize how much forbearance they've had.
“I feel that I personally (and many others) lean over backwards to put up with these things, to let Muslims believe stuff that unfits them for citizenship, on the grounds of their personal freedom. It would be helpful to have them understand what they're demanding of me and others - how much more they're asking than giving.
“It would be helpful for them to show more understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship in a non-Muslim country.”
Immediately after the convention’s decision was announced, Moon posted a short note on her blog: “WisCon management has the right to make whatever decisions they think best for the convention. I do not and did not dispute their right to rescind the invitation.”
A native Texan, Moon was born Susan Elizabeth Norris and grew up in McAllen. She earned a Bachelor's degree in History from Rice University in 1968. She later earned a second B.A. degree in Biology. In 1968, she joined the United States Marine Corps, attaining the rank of 1st Lieutenant while on active duty in the Vietnam Era.
She has published 21 novels, including “The Speed of Dark”, which won the top honor, the Nebula award, from the Science Fiction Writers of America, in 2003.
Moon said Friday that the revocation of the invitation to be Guest of Honor at the convention, to be held in Madison, Wisconsin, May 26-30, 2011, wasn’t a surprise. “Earlier contact with the convention committee suggested it was likely,” she said. “They were under a lot of pressure.”
The convention’s statement posted on its web site Thursday read simply that it “has withdrawn the invitation to Elizabeth Moon to attend WisCon 35 as guest of honor.”
Moon said her comments posted Sept 11 “weren't intended to be inflammatory, but there's the firestorm. Compared to others I'd run across - on the same subject - which struck me as being far to either end of a spectrum of opinion, I thought they were in the middle somewhere.”
Charges of retaliation flew this past week on blogs and web sites across the internet. Moon was philosophical on the subject. “The right to free speech does not include the right to have everyone like what you say...there is no Constitutional right to be agreed with, liked, or befriended.”
“Nobody likes being dumped on,” she continued. “I do care, and it does hurt. But you have to be able not to be intimidated.”
“I've had to deal with this kind of pressure repeatedly, during and after the Vietnam War, for instance, and have sometimes been dumped on by both sides of a position at the same time.”
Moon noted she grew up in the Rio Grande Valley in a diverse culture that included many different types of people, including recent refugees in the wake of the Second World War. “One thing we learned was that nobody was ever totally right, and expressing your opinion was not an attack on any specific group,” she said. “Just voicing your opinion was not perceived as an all-out attack on someone. You never saw things in just black and white.”
“One of the necessary skills of citizenship is developing the ability to hear and think about criticism while not being intimidated by it.”
Moon decried the polarized tone of public discourse in America today. “There seems to be very little space for centrism left,” she said. “Remember Jim Hightower's book with the long title about what's in the middle of the road? A yellow stripe and dead armadillos. My personal view is that we need to widen the middle of the road, because everyone needs a turn lane sometime.”
America’s political parties have fallen prey to the same polarization, she noted. Neither party has any centrists left; years ago, “both parties had middles,” she said.
Responding to allegations that the convention’s action in dis-inviting might have a chilling effect on free speech, Moon agreed it might, “One, by intimidating or disgusting some who would otherwise have made useful contributions to a topic and thereby enriched the knowledge base. We lose the contributions of those who don't participate.”
“Second, by demonstrating the effectiveness of attacks in maintaining and directing power,” she continued. “This is a strong incentive for people who are willing to risk confrontation to use the same tactics that they see being effective. The answer to why bullies bully is that it worked for them. It's the same with verbal bullying as with physical bullying.”
Moon said she has no plans to attend the convention as a participant – “I wouldn’t go where I’m not wanted” - and as for the fall-out from the controversy, it’s too soon to tell the long-term effects. “Some people have said they'll never buy my books again and will tell others not to buy them. Others have said because of this they'll buy my books and tell others to buy them. Time will tell.”

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Big waste of time

The signing at the Tyler Barnes & Noble was a big waste of time, I didn't realize this was the annual Tyler Rose Festival weekend. Everyone essentially was at the festival - which was at the other side of the city - and traffic at the book store was pitiful. I didn't sell enough to cover the cost of my gas.

On the plus side, my beta reader has delivered a set of corrections which I can use when I get "Texas and Other Planets" back from Merry Blacksmith Press, and Gardner emailed me his blurb.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Signing planned in Tyler

Just a reminder, I will be signing copies of "Fantastic Texas" on Saturday, Oct. 16, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Tyler at the Barnes & Noble book store, South Broadway, Tyler, TX 75703. Its telephone number is 903-534-3996.

This will be my first signing at a Barnes & Noble. Previously I have done signings in Hastings, independent book stores, and at private groups. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Table of Contents posted

John Teehan has posted the final Table of Contents for "Texas and Other Planets" on the Merry Blacksmith Press web site. Note that there is a slight difference between the final TOC and what was originally proposed.
http://www.merryblacksmith.com/bookpages/texas.html

Monday, October 11, 2010

Torn from the pages of today's newspaper!

I used my personal column in today's paper to discuss my fiction writing - rather than the usual discussion of local public affairs - so I thought I'd cut and paste it here for the benefit of the followers of this blog:

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Last year, I signed a contract for a reprint collection of science fiction and fantasy short stories. The book came out right at the end of the year."Fantastic Texas" rounded-up a dozen stories set in Texas and published in various publications from the U.S. to Australia to England. It's been well received. One magazine wrote:"Lou Antonelli is a journalist and thus has a journalist's simple and clear style of writing; he is easy to read. His voices for his characters are delightfully idiosyncratic. You will not find any conceptually mind-blowing stories here, nor any literarily exciting fictions but you will find 140 pages of the best kind of ‘popcorn' fiction or beach reading, and this is a good thing. These are all enjoyable and perfect examples of well written SF in a sort of 1950's mode."As a writer who so far has only published short stories, I never had the status of having a book published. "Fantastic Texas" solved that issue, and it has also afforded me the opportunity to do book signings.
I started the rounds Feb. 6 here in Mount Pleasant, and since then I have visited Tyler, Longview, Marshall, Paris, Greenville, Waxahachie and New Boston. I also peddled copies at the various literary conferences I attended this year, in Dallas (three times), Tulsa, Houston and Austin. I will be back in Tyler again this Saturday from 1-4 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble for another signing (my previous visit was to the Hastings there).A few months ago, another small press publisher put out the word, through the appropriate genre sources, that he was open to book proposals. Although "Fantastic Texas" is, well, fantastic, after it came out I realized its virtues as a showcase for my fiction was limited by its theme.I pitched - and sold - the new publisher on a 20-story collection, which would be, in effect, The Best of Lou Antonelli, and came up with the snappy title "Texas and Other Planets".It's in production now, and I look forward to it coming out, hopefully in time for Christmas (what a great stocking stuffer!). "Fantastic Texas" came out too late last year to make the Christmas gift-giving season, but I have hopes for "Texas and Other Planets".
This second collection runs the gamut from my first story ever published - in the summer of 2003 - to a story in a magazine out right now called Greatest Uncommon Denominator (GUD) called "Dispatches from The Troubles", an alternate history set in South Texas.That story, by the way, is my 50th to be published.Almost all fantasy and science fiction authors - unless you're a legend like Ray Bradbury or Harlan Ellison - eventually write novels, and I'm no different. I have expanded my short story "The Witch of Waxahachie" - which is in both collections - into a full-length book, and it is currently on the desk of an editor in New York. Fingers are crossed.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Which way to Texas?

Kinda torn, have a bunch of ideas, can't decide which way to go. Space Opera? Fantasy? I think I may be Tex-ed out for the time being.

Need to spend Monday working on publicity for Saturday's book signing in Tyler. (In case you haven't noticed in the past, Mondays are a day off for me because I have to work Saturdays - Sunday's paper being the largest one of the week.)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Need to write again

After the hiatus from writing involved in getting "Texas and Other Planets" ready for the publisher, my stack of returned stories began to grow, and I spent most of this week doing that slush pile shuffle. I have 14 stories kicking around in various places, although I must admit in some cases I don't know whether they are still being considered.

I don't mind submitting to small venues, but sometimes these types take so long to reply, and they don't respond to queries, that you just move on and resubmit.

Th worst case was where a few years ago a small mag took TWO YEARS to respond with a rejection, by which time not only had the story been published elsewhere, it was in the Honorable Mention list in the YBSF.

I was caught up by Wednesday, so I thought to get back to the word processor and start something new, but then TCM showed "Forbidden Planet" and well, that didn't happen.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Book signing

I have my first book signing of the fall scheduled, I will be at the Barnes & Noble in Tyler on Saturday, Oct. 16, from 1-4 p.m.

I have cut back somewhat on signings in anticipation of "Texas and Other Planets" being published. In the case of locations I haven't visited yet, I'd rather show up with both collections. Once "Texas and Other Planets" come out, I will be able to visit places I have already been again.

Now that I've sent off the manuscript for "Texas and Other Planets", I need to get caught up on my submissions list and the old slush pile shuffle again.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Off to the publisher

I sent off the manuscript for my reprint collection "Texas and Other Planets" to John Teehan and Merry Blacksmith Press yesterday, Oct. 1. Twenty stories - 18 short stories, one flash and one novellete, 83,736 words. Stories range from being published in Asimov's, Jim Baen's Universe, Greatest Uncommon Denominator and Andromeda Spaceways In-flight Magazine to meager little ezines long since evaporated into pixel dust...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Barely here

My blog posting is sparse for now, as i work to finish up "Texas and Other Planets" for Merry Blacksmith Press. After losing Sunday to the brush pile fiasco, I got sick Monday, and I am just recovering, so I am behind the curve.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A day lost

Got up this morning to see a whole back corner of the yard covered in tree branches. A thunderstorm ripped through here yesterday; I assumed a large branch had given way.

But when I went over to the fence with pruning shears, I soon saw it was really a brush pile, and then I noticed some of the branches had been cut. It was easy to see a large branch had landed in a neighbor's yard, and he had chopped up the remains and tossed it over the fence into my yard.

It was a large pile, and the main part of the branch was so heavy it brought down part of my fence. I called the police.

The officer who responded looked over the pile and then went over to the next street. The person there said it was a tree than fell down in my yard.

The officer didn't buy it either, because there was no stump under the pile, the fence was crushed INTO my yard, and it was clear where his branch had broken off. I don't know what ticks me off more, the fact the guy lied so stupidly, or that he did so with such lousy English.

The officer suggested he toss all the stuff back into his yard, and I said that would be fine with me, but I said he needed to do it now. The Mexican copped an attitude when I said "now, and I warned him "I'm Italian. We invented attitiude. Don't give me that crap." And I left.

The officer stood there and watched as the guy and an accomplice threw most of the branches back over the fence. Then he left - maybe he got another call - and the pair disappreared, leaving the largest part of the branch still on my side of the fence.

After a while, I called the PD and asked if they had any idea what happened. No soap there. I got my chainsaw and sawed the branch into about eight pieces almost eight inches wide, and threw them over the fence. With the help of a visiting family member, we cleaned up the rest of the debris, and then it took three new t-posts to fix the fence.

I'll call the city tomorrow. The guy has a derelict vehicle in his back yard. There's also a camper in his yard. ICE will probably round up the bunch, anyway.

Meanwhile, a day I planned to use editing "Texas and Other Planets" went down the drain. Wonderful.

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Texas and Other Planets" Table of Contents

Here it is:

Table of Contents for “Texas and Other Planets”

"A Rocket for the Republic"
“The Silver Dollar Saucer”
"The Witch of Waxahachie"
“A Djinn for General Houston”
"Professor Malakoff's Amazing Ethereal Telegraph"
“SPPAM”
"Silence is Golden"
"The Cast Iron Dybbuk"
"The Rocket-Powered Cat"
“Silvern”
"I Got You"
"Dialogue"
"Scouts' Honor"
"Fermi's Fraternity"
"Circe in Vitro"
"Avatar"
"Pen Pal"
"Rome, If You Want To"
“Dispatches from The Troubles”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Praise

Still working on "Texas and Other Planets". I noticed that when John Teehan posted about it on his Merry Blacksmith Facebook page last week, Bud Webster said some very nice things:

"Lou's a terrific writer, and I have high hopes for the sales on this one. I can't wait for my copy."

Thanks, Bud!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

First in the gate

Howard Waldrop has already returned his blurb to me for "Texas and Other Planets". My work continues apace, I hope to have it to the publisher by the end of next week.

Meanwhile "Fantastic Texas" is on the rotation as one of the Featured Books on the SFWA web site. That's nice to see.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fencon post-mortem

Well, I'm back from Fencon. It was very much a mixed bag. Somethings went very well, others not so well.

First off, to be honest with myself, I pretty much went into the weekend under a pall. I had a regularly-scheduled check-up the previous Monday, and the test results came in Thursday night. They weren't good. For the first time in many years, my diabetes shows signs of deteriorating. This will result in my first visit to an endocrinologist soon. Needless to say, I wasn't happy, and a bit depressed. Then again, I've never believed in ignoring unpleasant realities, and so I plan to do what it takes to keep my health on a steady upswing.

I left East Texas Friday afternoon and arrived in Dallas maybe ten minutes late for my book signing. which was at 6 p.m. Didn't matter much, nobody wanted anything signed - from me as well as anyone else, from what I could tell.

I attended the Open Ceremonies, which had some funny stuff: Con Chair Julie Barrett singing "She's a Scientist" (to Monty Python's "He's a Lumberjack") was hilarious. The video parody of Star Wars set to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" done by Music Guests of Honor Jeff and Maya Bonhoff had everyone rolling in the aisles.

But then there's the "off" stuff. Some lady in the audience had a "Borg rabbit" that kept heckling the speakers. I think it started to weird out Toastmaster Joe Lansdale out (a difficult thing to do). Spider Robinson participated in the con "virtually", via Skype, and that's how he did his bit during the Opening Ceremony.

The poor quality of the video image reminded me, at least, of how far technology still has to go. I don't know Robinson, and have never met him, but he seemed to be putting up a brave front in the face of great sadness. The death of Jeanne seems to have been a terrible blow.

I held forth in the bar with the usual suspects - Bill Ledbetter, Adrian Simmons, Kathleen Cheney, Boyd Taylor and Michelle Muenzler - and had some great conversation. I stayed for the weekend at my mother-in-law's in Oak Cliff, and I was in bed by midnight.

I was unhappy to realize the next morning that I had completely forgotten to pack any shirts. I knew I would be able to buy a shirt of some kind in the dealers room, but my first (and only) panel of the day was at 10 a.m. so I moderated the panel on "Publishing and Art Scams" wearing a blue t-shirt.

Pat Elrod was the real spark plug here; she has a wealth on information on the subject and is passionate. Lillian Stewart-Carl also had some great tales to tell, and David Anderson added good examples from the art side of the genre. The members of the audience got a good run-down of the subject.

I had fewer stories to tell, and David Harvia also hung back a bit, but overall, it went very well and the many people in attendance probably are the wiser for it.

That was my one event of the day. After I bought a FenCon t-shirt, I spent the rest of the day visiting or dozing off in a chair. I stopped and visited with Joe Lansdale in the dealers room and got caught with his latest collections, "The Best of Joe Lansdale" and "Sanctified and Chicken Fried" - good stuff there.

That evening, the previously named usual subjects, plus Rob Rogers, drove up Midway Road and up to Belt Line and had dinner at a Middle Eastern restaurant. I enjoyed the ethnic cuisine - very hard to come by in East Texas - and since I had the best view of the belly dancer, I was quite satisfied.

Sunday I had three panels scheduled in a row, from noon to 3 p.m., and my reading at 10:30 a.m., but no one attended it, so I had more time to rest. Now, all weekend the con suffered from last minute changes as panels were swapped and flip-flopped, and that really kicked in for my next panel, "Don't Quit Your Day Job" which was moved up an hour. The audience and panelists both numbered three, as Melanie Fletcher, Adrian Simmons and I gave a real "one on one" approach. The people who were there, however, heard some good stuff.

The panel on Tesla & Co. - Mad Scientists had a much larger audience. The problem here was that the moderator, Bark Kemper, and I, are much more extroverted than the other panelist, David Gray - a real nice guy, but rather soft spoken - and in the end, I started to feel uncomfortable.

The panel on Time Travel had a half dozen guests, including Moderator Robert Sawyer, Sarah Hoyt, Frank Summers, Stephen Patrick, and Bill Ledbetter. I think the audience really enjoyed it. I was a bit nonplussed to see it segue into religion, especially in a direction I wouldn't have predicted.

I left Dallas at 3:15 and was back in Mount Pleasant in two hours. That's the last con for the year. While there, I accepted an invite to guest at Conjour at the University of Houston next year, and I decided to attend Soonercon. Of course, I will attend ConDFW in February.

That's enough for today.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

More on "Texas and Other Planets"


Merry Blacksmith Press already has a promotional page up for my next collection. Here's their blurb:

"From the author of Fantastic Texas comes a whole new collection of the finest short stories between the Rio Grande and the Kuiper Belt. Check back soon for a table of contents."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Looking forward to FenCon this weekend

I will be driving into Dallas late Friday afternoon and driving back Sunday evening. This will be my sixth (and final) con of the year. I attended Con DFW and MythCon, also in Dallas, ApolloCon in Houston (for the first time), Conestoga in Tulsa, and ArmadilloCon in Austin.

I think next year I will attend WorldCon in Reno, and SoonerCon in Oklahoma City, also AggieCon if I can swing it

Monday, September 13, 2010

Work continues

Howard Waldrop has also agreed to blurb "Texas and Other Planets". I dropped the TOC and other some helpful stuff in the mail to him today. Last week I sent stuff to Gardner, who has also agreed to write a blurb, and Jayme Blaschke, who is writing the introduction. Meanwhile, I'm getting the stories all collected up.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Positive sign

Got word yesterday that a story has passed the first reading at Apex Digest and has been passed along. That's a positive development, that's the first time that has happened. Apex is a quality mag and a place I'd like to crack.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Ian Randal Strock buys Fantastic Books

By Kit Hawkins
From SFScope - September 8, 2010
Ian Randal Strock is buying Fantastic Books from Warren Lapine. Strock expects the transition to be seamless, since he's been working as the publisher of the line since early this year.
Lapine founded Fantastic Books as a speculative fiction imprint of his much larger Wilder Publications. Originally, the plan was to bring out-of-print sf titles back into print through print-on-demand publishing. Under Strock's leadership, however, the company has expanded into original publications. Several single-author collections have already been published (including Lou Antonelli's Fantastic Texas, Scott William Carter's The Dinosaur Diaries, and Sarah Totton's Animythical Tales). Fantastic's first original novel, T. Jackson King's Little Brother’s World, will debut in a matter of days. And now the imprint will be a much larger part of a much smaller company, as Strock brings it under the umbrella of his own Gray Rabbit Publications LLC.
According to Strock, "The transfer of ownership, to the outside world, should be nearly invisible; mostly just an accounting change. There will be a different mailing address, and a different name signing the checks and contracts, but most everything else will look the same.
"Fantastic Books, under the Gray Rabbit aegis, will be exhibiting at this weekend's Brooklyn Book Festival, as we've planned for several months now. We'll also be at the World Fantasy Convention in October, and several other sf conventions in the coming months."
Acquiring Editors Douglas Cohen, Darrell Schweitzer, and Dave Truesdale are staying on in those capacities, and Strock expects to give them the go-ahead to start acquiring new books in the very near future. But until they say so publicly, the company is not open to unsolicited submissions.
Strock is the editor and publisher of SFScope.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

GUD issue No. 6 is published

I also got my check in the mail today, which is even better. Here is the blurb from their web site (http://www.gudmagazine.com/) The links in the TOC are to the story previews:

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Issue 6 bounds onto the scene with a bright and blooming selection of prose, poetry, and art. Whether it's old tales retold with a new face, like an irreverent version of Sleeping Beauty, or a tale of renewal on the Wheel of Life, Issue 6 has a fresh feel to it. We're stepping through doors into unexpected places, washing our brains clean of memories, and getting a shiny coat of paint.
As always, GUD brings you the cream: haunting stories, evocative poetry, and art that you'll want to frame and hang on the wall. Issue 6 has a fantastic alternate history from Lou Antonelli that'll make you look at US/Irish connections in a whole new way. Issue 6 has weird and wonderful art from Andy B. Clarkson. Issue 6 has poetry from Rose Lemberg and Jim Pascual Agustin. Issue 6 has...way too much to summarise.

Table of contents ~
As the Wheel Turns by Aliette de Bodard
Salad Days by E. H. Lupton
How to Recover From a Hundred-Year Sleep by Sue Williams
Dispatches From The Troubles by Lou Antonelli
The Naming Braid by Lindsey Duncan
In The Garden of Rust and Salt by Ferrett Steinmetz
Annicca by Ian McHugh
Who You Talking To, Zone? by Bob Tippee
The Last Butterfly by Lavie Tidhar
What Happens in Vegas by Caroline M. Yoachim
Hateful by Lydia Ondrusek
Maisy's Many Souls by Matthew Sanborn Smith
Doors by Rajan Khanna

It's all in GUD Issue 6. Come get it.BUY NOW—$3.50 PDF, $12 Print

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Success!

Completed my project to reorganize files and pull material that will help with "Texas and Other Planets". Shuffled a lof of books and files, but I'm much better positioned to deal with genre issues for the rest of the year.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Up to my elbows

I'm spending this Labor Day weekend up to my elbows in paperwork and boxes in my office at home, pulling files and records as I get ready to assemble the introduction for "Texas and Other Planets".

The necessity of dragging up old records has pretty much compelled me to finally get after a major reorganization of my files. It's a dusty, sloppy job, but it was needed, and it is producing results.

For instance, old emails which I printed and saved show my first exchanges with authors and editors as I started to submit. I found the first form rejection from Asimov's, stamped with the date of Nov. 12, 2002. I've also dug out the rejections where Gardner wrote me critiques and encouragement.

OK, back to work.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Latest review

Tangent 0n-line has reviewed Science Fiction Trails No. 5, which includes my short story "A Djinn for General Houston: http://www.tangentonline.com/print--other-reviewsmenu-263/225-annual/1414-science-fiction-trails-5-2010-annual
http://www.tangentonline.com/print--other-reviewsmenu-263/225-annual/1414-science-fiction-trails-5-2010-annual
In case you don't want to bother with the link, here's the pertinent part about me:

"The first reprint, by Lou Antonelli, is arguably the best story in the issue, but we don’t review reprints, so I’ll just say this concerns a “magic lamp” from the future, General Santa Anna, and a decidedly different “djinn” from the usual. (It’s really science, not magic, but remember Clarke’s Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”)"

"Djinn" was originally published a few years ago in Surprising Stories.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back from Austin

Got back home about 10:30 p.m. last night, got up at 5:30 and spent a full day at work. Any hopes I had of knocking off early died when a board I cover, which meets at 3 p.m. and which has been known to meet for only 15 minutes to a half hour, had the longest meeting I've ever seen in my three years on the job here. I had to cut out with the meeting still in progress or I wouldn't have gotten my rental car returned to Enterprise by 5 p.m.

Saw Jayme Blaschke at ArmadilloCon, he has agreed to write the introduction for "Texas and Other Planets". I spoke to Gardner Dozois in the phone, and he has agreed to write a blurb.

The hotel where the con was held had a strange layout - all the meeting rooms are in the basement, and the main banks of elevators did not go down there. They come out in the ballrooms. As a result, the most direct route from the lobby to the con was up and down a steep marble staircase. The only elevator to that lower level was in the corner of the atrium and went down to the pool outside on the patio. I think everybody will remember this as "The Con in the Basement".

That was the one down side. The con itself was great - the programming was excellent. People were picked who could talk intelligently on the appropriate subjects. I think the con-goers really enjoyed themselves.

I shared a room with Bill Ledbetter and Adrian Simmons. That worked out well for all of us. We all drove in separately - Bill from the Dallas area, Adrian from Norman, Oklahoma, and myself from Mount Pleasant. Since I was a last-minute addition, I slept on a guest cot, but it was actually quite cozy. The con-goer I had shared a room with in the past couldn't make it this year.

I may blog later on details, but I need to get to bed.

Review in Tangent

Here is the review of "Fantastic Texas" in Tangent, cut-and-pasted:

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This is the first short story collection by a Texas journalist who has been publishing almost ten years with over 40 stories published in various venues. These 15 stories all take place in his beloved adopted state of Texas.Lou Antonelli is a journalist and thus has a journalist’s simple and clear style of writing; he is easy to read. His voices for his characters are delightfully idiosyncratic. You will not find any conceptually mind-blowing stories here, nor any literarily exciting fictions but you will find 140 pages of the best kind of “popcorn” fiction or beach reading, and this is a good thing. These are all enjoyable and perfect examples of well written SF in a sort of 1950’s mode, which I enjoy. The first story was Antonelli’s first publication in Asimov’s, a story Gardner Dozois bought just before announcing his retirement. “A Rocket for the Republic” is one of Antonelli’s “monologue” stories. It is an old man telling his life story to a journalist. A very old man. The story he tells is related in wonderful dialect about an alternate Texas where a rocket ship was launched in the 1800’s before the civil war. It’s delightful. Kind of Texas steampunk, if you will.The next offering also concerns a journalist doing his job. (You will find--naturally--journalism being a major thread throughout a lot of this collection.) This one is about parallel worlds. The world next to ours works on the principle of magic rather than science. It’s charming.In “Avatar” a survivor after a nuclear conflagration gets a history lesson from a descendent of the Aztecs. “Silence is Golden” tells about the discovery of radioactive “mercury” in a mining concern in East Texas (another monologue story with a wonderfully regional voice), “Rome, If You Want To” is about very unusual tourists in Houston during a record setting heat wave, and “Professor Malakoff”s Amazing Ethereal Telegraph” is another “western steampunk” story about a magician who can feel telegraph signals in the metal of his teeth and how he uses that to bilk rubes in the back areas of Texas. Other stories include “Video Killed the Radio Star” which deals with over-zealous, over-rich, and over-whelming Texans who want to set up their own republic in the near future; “Body by Fisher” concerns a Buick that runs on gasoline in a future of electric cars and how it is useful in a major emergency; “The Silver Dollar Saucer” tells the tale of two outlaws taken to a spaceship and who use their native wit to return to earth; “The Cast Iron Dybbuk” (great title) and what came out of it; another monologue by a grandmother explaining why her granddaughter is such a “Big Girl,” and “The Rocket-Powered Cat,” a short story about internet dating services with a major sting in its tail. All in all an enjoyable read on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Put your feet up or go get a tan and enjoy some breezy 1950’s-type SF stories.

Reviewed by Bob Blough

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Off at ArmadilloCon

I'm in Austin at the ArmadilloCon convention, about halfway through. Had three panels and a reading so far, getting ready for a panel at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, Tangent has come out with its review of "Fantastic Texas" and its very positive:

http://www.tangentonline.com

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Agreement reached with GUD

GUD and I have come to an agreement over terms for including "Dispatches from The Troubles" in "Texas and Other Planets". Basically, we will just work on a one-time waiver to their exclusivity clause. This allows me to include "Dispatches" in the new collection.

GUD's position as the original publisher of the story will be protected. I agree this is very important, I give them a lot of credit for including the story in their issue No. 6. As part of the galley I saw the list of contributors; this will be a very impressive issue.

In addition to allowing me to include a more diverse selection of stories, "Texas and Other Planets" will be at least 30,000 words longer than "Fantastic Texas". I think that will work out very well.

Now to firm up the table of contents.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Antonelli signs contract for "Texas and Other Planets" with Merry Blacksmith Press

John Teehan, publisher of Merry Blacksmith Press, and Texas science fiction and fantasy author Lou Antonelli announced Monday, August 23, 2010 that they have signed a contract for a reprint collection of short stories, "Texas and Other Planets".
Antonelli has had 50 science fiction and fantasy stories published in the U.S., Australia, Canada and the U.K. since he took up writing fiction in 2002. His first collection, the Texas-themed "Fantastic Texas", was published by Fantastic Books in 2009.
Recent releases by the Merry Blacksmith Press include "Broken Mirrors" by Tim Pratt, "The Wannoshay Cycle" by Michael Jasper, and Ron Collin's SF short story collection, "Piccaso's Cat & Other Stories".
Its most recent release is "Anthopology 101: Reflections, Inspections and Dissections of SF Anthologies" by Bud Webster.
Lou Antonelli's short fiction has been published in over two dozen venues, including Asimov's Science Fiction, Jim Baen's Universe and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.
Unlike his previous collection, "Texas and Other Planets" will be not comprised solely of Texas-inspired tales, said Antonelli.
"This collection will give me the opportunity to reprint my most entertaining stories without regard to theme," he said.
With over a decade's experience in professional typesetting and book design, John Teehan started The Merry Blacksmith as an independent press in the spring of 2010
"We have plans for the future to expand our titles to cover a wide range of interests, and represent the singular attribute of quality," said Teehan. "We are proud to publish this collection of fine fiction by Lou Antonelli, who's made a name for himself in a few short years."
"While our interests are wide and varied, many of our books will appeal to fans of science fiction, fantasy, horror, comics, and other such fine geekery," added Teehan. "We geeks inherited the Earth, and we mean to keep it that way!"
"Sounds like another fun project," Antonelli concluded. "I'm looking forward to it."

#

Monday, August 23, 2010

Contract signed

John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press has mentioned that my collection is upcoming on his web site, http://www.merryblacksmith.com/

I signed and dropped the contract back in the mail to him today. Like he said, stay tuned. I hope we will have a formal announcement shortly.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Armadillocon coming up

I'm looking forward to Armadillocon next weekend. Just as a recap, here are my panels for the weekend:

Fr2200SB No Matter What I Do, Cleveland Still Loses
Fri 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Sabine
L. Antonelli*, R. Bennett, S. Swendson, M. Fletcher
You went back in time, stomped some butterflies, and returned, but nothing important changed. How hard is it to change history?

Sa1000SB Promoting Your Work (and Yourself)
Sat 10:00 AM-11:00 AM Sabine
G. Faust, S. Wedel, P. Kitanidis, R. Eudaly*, K. Hoover, L. Antonelli
As an author, you work hard to promote your work. But shouldn't you promote yourself as well?

Sa1200SB The Trials and Tribulations of the Short Story
Sat Noon-1:00 PM Sabine
M. Bishop, H. Waldrop, L. Carl, J. Blaschke*, L. Antonelli, S. Allen
In the short story, you have 7500 words to introduce characters, set up the plot, develop the plot, and then wrap it all up. Our panelists discuss the agonies and rewards of the short story.

Sa1330SA Reading
Sat 1:30 PM-2:00 PM San Antonio
Lou Antonelli

Overtones
Sat 4:00 PM-5:00 PM San Antonio
L. Carl, K. Hoover, J. Hall, S. Cupp*, M. Bishop, L. Antonelli
Some works don't fit in one genre. Our panelists talk about writing and reading those works, and how to describe them to others.

Su1200SB Planning for Your Time Travel
Sun Noon-1:00 PM Sabine
J. Cheney, K. Kimbriel, L. Antonelli*, P. Sarath, M. Williams, R. Clement-Moore, S. White, T. Mallory
So, you're going back in time. What will you need to bring and what will you need to remember to make it?

Su1500DR Signing
Sun 3:00 PM-4:00 PM Dealers' Room
G. Wilhite, L. Antonelli, B. Mahoney

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A good week


Copies of the contract for my next collection, "Texas and Other Planets", are going back and forth between myself and the publisher.

Finally got galley proofs of "Dispatches from The Troubles" from GUD. That's my chore for tonight - checking them. Since the story is over 11,000 words, this is harder than it sounds.

Finally, the reading and signing at the New Boston Friends of the Library Monday night went very well. We had a small, appreciative crowd, and sold seven books - which for the size of the crowd was a lot. The Texarkana Gazette ran a big story in their weekly edition for Bowie County.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Next collection

Just got the contract via email for my next reprint collection. This will not be all Texas-themed, and therefore will be called "Texas and Other Planets". Reading the contract over now...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

News flash

This just in from Damien Broderick via the Fictionmags group at Yahoo:

"I hear from Chum Warren Lapine that his company, Wilder Publications,LLC, has sold the PoD trade paperback press Fantastic Books. (FB has released four of my and Rory Barnes' sf books in handsome editions, and at least one of Chum Paul Di Fi's). FB has been bought by Ian Strock. It will be interesting to see what directions it takes."

Armadillcon Guests

I must say I am impressed with the line-up of guests for this year's ArmadilloCon. There's 93 - including myself.
Joseph Abbott
Paul Abell
Sanford Allen
Aaron Allston
David Lee Anderson
Lou Antonelli
Renee Babcock
Neal Barrett, Jr.
Paul Benjamin
Robert Jackson Bennett
Carol Berg
Katharine Beutner
Matthew Bey
Jayme Lynn Blaschke
Michael Bracken
Steven Brust
Elizabeth Burton
A. T. Campbell, III
Matt Cardin
Lillian Stewart Carl
Dave Chang
J. Kathleen Cheney
Rosemary Clement-Moore
Bill Crider
Scott A. Cupp
Madeleine Rose Dimond
Amanda Downum
Rhonda Eudaly
Gabrielle Faust
Sara Felix
Mark Finn
Michael Finn
Melanie Fletcher
Brad W. Foster
John Gibbons
Beverly A. Hale
Joan Upton Hall
Nancy Holzner
Kenneth Hoover
Al Jackson
Derek Johnson
Pauline Baird Jones
Rocky Kelley
Julie Kenner
Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
Phoebe Kitanidis
Rick Klaw
Kim Kofmel
Joe R. Lansdale
Kasey Lansdale
Alexis Glynn Latner
William Ledbetter
Stina Leicht
Scott Lynch
Bob Mahoney
Tess Mallory
Ari Marmell
A. Lee Martinez
Joe McKinney
Karen Meschke
Nancy Jane Moore
Chris Nakashima-Brown
Mark Nelson
Jess Nevins
Gloria Oliver
Cary Osborne
Lawrence Person
Alan J. Porter
Doug Potter
Jessica Reisman
Paige Roberts
Josh Rountree
Patrice Sarath
Adrian Simmons
Willie Siros
Jack Skillingstead
Nate Southard
William Browning Spencer
Matt Sturges
Shanna Swendson
Lee Thomas
Dan Tolliver
Mikal Trimm
Melissa Tyler
Thomas M. Wagner
Howard Waldrop
Don Webb
Steven Wedel
Martha Wells
Skyler White
George Wilhite
Mark L. Williams
Steve Wilson

Friday, August 13, 2010

Armadillocon schedule

I got my schedule for ArmadilloCon today. Looks good, here it is in the raw:

Fr2200SB No matter what I do, Cleveland still loses- The difficulties of changing history
Fri 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Sabine
L. Antonelli*, R. Bennett, S. Swendson, M. Fletcher

Sa1000SB Promoting your work (and yourself)
Sat 10:00 AM-11:00 AM Sabine
G. Faust, S. Wedel, P. Kitanidis, R. Eudaly*, K. Hoover, L. Antonelli

Sa1200SB The Trials and Tribulations of the short story
Sat Noon-1:00 PM Sabine
M. Bishop, H. Waldrop, L. Carl, J. Blaschke*, L. Antonelli, S. Allen

Sa1330SA Reading
Sat 1:30 PM-2:00 PM San Antonio
Lou Antonelli

Sa1600SA Crossing Genres: It's Like a Western, But in Space, with Victorian Overtones
Sat 4:00 PM-5:00 PM San Antonio
L. Carl, K. Hoover, J. Hall, S. Cupp*, M. Bishop, L. Antonelli

Su1200SB Planning for Your Time Travel
Sun Noon-1:00 PM Sabine
J. Cheney, K. Kimbriel, L. Antonelli*, P. Sarath, M. Williams, R. Clement-Moore

Su1500DR Signing
Sun 3:00 PM-4:00 PM Dealers' Room
G. Wilhite, L. Antonelli, Ma. Finn, B. Mahoney

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Good omen

When I stepped out of the shower this morning, the local Golden Oldies station was playing "Planet Texas" by Kenny Rogers.

Great way to start the day:

Getting ready to visit New Boston

I've sent publicity to the papers in New Boston and Texarkana about my visit Monday as the guest of the New Boston Friends of the Library. The Bowie County Citizen's Tribune in New Boston has run a nice advance piece:
http://www.newbostonnews.com/

Monday, August 09, 2010

Submitted in a New York minute...


I pitched "The Witch of Waxahachie" last week to a New York book editor, and today I gave him a little poke by voice mail. He got back to me and said he'd love to read my book.

Needless to say, the manuscript was sent by email in... well, you know...

"Fantastic Texas" reviewed at Tales of the Talisman


As I mentioned in a previous post, David B. Riley has reviewed "Fantastic Texas" in the current issue of "Tales of the Talisman" (it's the lead off review in Volume 6, Issue 1). Here is what David wrote:

"Fantastic Texas" is an eclectic collection of twelve of Lou Antonelli's short stories that are in some way connected to his beloved State of Texas. From ancient nuclear wars, to the secret of sexual attraction, with stops along the way for Bigfoot, ancient demons, and the truth behind alchemy, the stories in this book will take you on a truly fantastic journey through versions of Texas that were, could never be, and might have been.

"In 'A Rocket for the Republic' steam played a big part in the first rocket launch from Texas, which was about a century earlier than we thought. An unexpected experiment still running in the abandoned Superconducting Supercollider will introduce you to "The Witch of Waxahachie". And where would you go if global warming forced you out of Dallas? Maybe "Rome, If You Want To"?

"My personal favorite is "The Silver Dollar Saucer", one of Antonelli's growing list of weird western tales. It's amazing what a silver dollar can buy.

"My two quibbles about the book is that it's a bit on the thin side, running only about 150 pages and carrying a fairly stiff $13.95 cover price for such a thin trade paperback. Also I was unimpressed with the interior design and layout. It struck me as almost amateurish in appearance.

"Still, that is far outweighed by the chance to read some really first class stories in one place. Antonelli is a newspaper editor and an up-and-coming author of speculative fiction."

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Three years ago...

at about this time, I was at the Holiday Inn in Collinsville, Illinois, recovering after a visit to the local emergency room.

I was a panelist at the NASFIC in 2007, which was held in conjunction with St. Louis' Tuckercon. I had a very bad time of time of it that weekend.

I changed jobs at the very end of July; my boss at the old job, to save money for the lousy company that owned the newspaper where I worked, had me work two jobs the last three weeks I was there. The sports editor has given her notice a week before I did. He made no move to fill the job, so I did both the job as managing editor and sports editor for those three weeks. At one point, someone called in sick for three days, and then I was doing three jobs.

This is the way dishonest businesses cheat their employees - give you duties that are impossible to accomplish in a 40-hour work week and forbid overtime, so you have to work off the clock to keep your job.

Every summer, I have to battle sinus congestion and inflammation. Working 70 hours a week for almost a month left me so debilitated that what should have been a simple allergy attack turned into a vicious inner ear infection.

I went to work at my new job for three days at the start of August - weak and stunned - and then took off for St. Louis. I didn't know what was developing, and unfortunately I took the Texas Eagle train from Texarkana to St. Louis overnight.

I didn't know I had an inner ear infection, and the rocking of the train aggravated it so bad that I threw up, and the next morning I essentially passed out in my seat. I only got off the train when the conductor went to check tickets for people WHO GOT ON at St. Louis and realized I should have gotten off. The train was ready to leave, but he stopped it and they helped me off the train.

The person from the convention who had come to pick me up had already left, but they came back and took me to the convention center across the Mississippi in Collinsville.

Once off the train I recovered a bit, and with the help of rest and Dramamine I made it until Sunday, but the inner ear infection festered and Sunday afternoon while trying to rest in the green room I realized I was too dizzy to walk and I called 911.

The local hospital treated me like crap when they learned I didn't have health insurance - since I had just left my old job - and they just thought I was a fat schlub with high blood pressure. They gave me some blood pressure medicine and shoved me out the door.

I told them I thought there was something wrong with my inner ears, but the nurse wouldn't even look.

Tuckercon put me up in Holiday Inn an extra night and then took me to the airport the next day. I was still so sick the van had to stop by the side of the highway so I could throw up on the way to the airport.

I flew into Dallas and then Texarkana, and first thing Tuesday saw my doctor, who quickly diagnosed the ear infection and prescribed the antibiotics I needed. I went back to work Tuesday afternoon.

Thanks to COBRA, most of my emergency room visit was later paid for. The hospital still wanted a couple of hundred dollars; I told them they needed to close down and go into a business they are better suited for, perhaps as a slaughterhouse.

Tuckercon was great; they sent the guy back to the train station to pick me up after I missedgetting off, and then I went to the hospital they had a member of the con committee stay with me the whole time and keep in constant contact with Patricia back home. They also comped me the room Sunday night.

Since then, in 2008 and 2009, I have had the same allergy attack at the same time of the year, but the conditions of 2007 were unique; and while I've had to deal with the ear congestion and coughing, I have coped rather well. I don't feel bad at all.

What a difference three years makes.

Just some thought as this year's NASFIC in Raleigh, North Carolina, winds up. I'm starting to think about the WorldCon in Reno next year.

Umm, I wonder how I handle altitude sickness???

Oh, I forgot to mention the hospital - it's actually in Maryville, Illinois, it's called Anderson Hospital. If, God forbid, you ever have to go there, don't. That was the worst hospital visit I ever had in my life. A bunch of callous butchers, I'm lucky they didn't throw me in the dumpster.

Not that I'm bitter...

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...