Sunday, February 28, 2010

Taking the Longview

Autographing in Longview went great Saturday evening - sold a nice number of books, and the public was very receptive. Unlike the previous week in Paris - where the most common reason cited for not buying the book was lack of money - the turndowns in Longview were because of genre tastes.

I originally planned to stay two hours, from 5-7 p.m., but there was enough traffic that I stayed an extra hour and sold a couple of books during that last hour. I left at 8 p.m. - with a handful of money - and stopped at a nearby Long John Silver's (we don't have one in Mount Pleasant) to snarf a double clams dinner.

Trip back home was problematic - I took Patricia's car and forgot its right front headlamp is burned out. Got stopped by a state trooper between Gilmer and Pittsburg, and a city policeman in Pittsburg. I told the trooper I knew my light was out - "Sorry!" - but I can't change it myself. He just gave me a warning. Ten minutes later I told the same thing to the policeman in Pittsburg. He didn't even give me a warning, but the stops slowed up the trip home.

Will be at the Hastings in Greenville next Saturday, from 5-7 again.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Praise for "Stairway"


Tangent on-line has posted its review of the first issue of Encounters magazine, which features the story "Stairway to Heaven" by Ed Morris and yours truly. Although the magazine's offerings overall got very mixed reviews, "Stairway" did very well:

#

“Stairway to Heaven” by Lou Antonelli and Edward Morris

Our narrator Tom Di Salvo, a small town newspaper editor who lives in East Texas, has a problem: Laurie McKenzie, daughter of the deceased owner of his house, keeps popping up in odd places. Like on his doorstep. Or in his office, and she comes bearing a futuristic weapon, determined to take him somewhere in space where she’s been staying for the past fifty-some years, and never ageing a bit. Why? Because her drunken mother died in a car crash—after first killing Di Salvo’s wife.

Laurie and her buddies have been chosen from the hippie generation by the Telians, the “People” who are keeping an eye of Earth. But Laurie has something entirely different to prove to Di Salvo, that time travel works and that sometimes one is privileged enough, or lucky enough, to go back and make things right.

This SF/time-travel story begins with a bewildering question — why is she doing this, and why now? — and ends quite beautifully with a scene that pulls it all together. It’s an example of a story told with heart, and, along with its prose, qualities that make all the difference. The authors have dedicated it to Ted Sturgeon and Trent Zelazny, and fittingly so.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

First time visit planned for ApolloCon

I know many people who've participated many times at ApolloCon in Houston, but I've never gone myself. I don't have any ties or contacts in the city. I don't think I've visited the city more than three times in the 25 years. But I decided it was time to go, so I volunteered to be a panelist, and they've accepted. It will be June 25-27.

Monday, February 22, 2010

On to Longview

My next autographing will be this Saturday, Feb. 28, from 5-7 p.m. at the Hastings in Longview. I called the book manager today to confirm and firm up things, and dropped some posters in the mail to her.

I have now scheduled a signing for Saturday, March 6, again from 5-7 p.m. at the Hastings in Greenville. This time I asked for the 5-7 slot. I think it's the best, at least in these parts.

Gathering up requests for review copies, and the word is good,. Both the Austin American-Statesman and the Dallas News says they will take a look at "Fantastic Texas". I also have a request from a "Texas Bookshelf" web site.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Well, getting back to the the positive

As I previously mentioned, the signing in Waxahachie Feb. 13 went very well. The weekly county newspaper, The Ellis County Press, published a nice photo in color on the back page of this week's paper. Sheila Hatfield, on the left, owns the paper with husband Charlie Hatfield - who took the photo. We all worked together in the 1990s. All of us, including Patricia - that pretty girl on the right - went to dinner after the signing at a nearby pizza parlor.

Analyzing the flop of the signing in Paris, I will say that I'm not sure 2-4 in the afternoon is the best time. In a city like that - as in Waxahachie - I think Saturday night would have been a much better time. Also, the store seemed more disorganized that most - I don't think I ever spoke to the same person twice, and the manager on duty when I arrived had no idea a signing was planned.

In Waxahachie, by comparison, there was a neat table with a green tablecloth and my books set up for me when I arrived. That was cute to see, and the first time I had seen it. In Paris, they didn't have a book stand.

Of course, it might have helped if I had made some follow-up calls last week, or sent them a poster to put on the bulletin board. But with bronchitis and having lost my voice, that wouldn't have been pretty hard to do. Things weren't easy in general.

Longview next Saturday should go better. I will make some calls tomorrow, and the book manager there seems to be more on the ball. I've actually talked to her twice, and she asked for a poster. Also, Longview will be the largest city I've visited so far, with a population of 77,000.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Another first

Well, I guess it was bound to happen - the signing at Paris was a flop. No books sold at all. I didn't think the time they picked was good - 2-4 on Saturday. There was less traffic than I've seen before at any Hastings. Paris seems to be small for a Hastings, and the people seemed to be poorer. I had the most people ever claim they were too broke to buy a book

Friday, February 19, 2010

Antonelli and antibiotics

I don't know why, but more often than not when I travel to a con - or for anything outside of East Texas - I return sick, and Con DFW was no exception. By the time I was back home Sunday evening I was badly congested, and on Monday I slept 14 hours just to be sure I simply wasn't exhausted. I wasn't. My rasping cough got worse and worse and Thursday first thing in the morning I was at the doctor's.

I'm taking my antibiotics now, and I'm slowly recovering. Being sick all week has kept me from posting anything substantive about ConDFW - I hope to get to that later.

I have to travel an hour to Paris tomorrow afternoon for my third book signing. I know at least one of the area papers ran my news release.

Got some nice news today - Young Adult Literature Review, which just started publication, will publish my short story "Scouts' Honor" in its second issue.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A lesson learned

Back from ConDFW. Things went very well. Strangely enough, in the end I signed more copies of "Fantastic Texas" individuallly than at the autograph session. I think I made a mistake by scheduling the signing when I did. It was too soon after I arrived and I don't know that a lot of people knew I had made it. There were many no-shows because of the weather.

Both book sellers who were peddling "Fantastic Texas" seemde to be happy. One sold out completely and the other only had two copies left and said he'll have to reorder.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

At ConDFW

Arrived at Con DFW just before noon, attended first panel at noon, then had my signing at 1 p.m. Visited with some folks and then headed on down I-35 to Waxahachie, where I had my book signing at the local Hastings from 5-7 p.m. Book sales have been going well, although strangely enough I think I may have sold at Hastings than at the Con.

While in Waxahachie I had some old friends from the newspaper business visit; Gabe Smith, who was a reporter for me in the 1980s in Midlothian, and who now lives in Mansfield, and Charlie and Sheila Hatfield, who run the paper in Ferris.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ready for Waxahachie

Got a phone call from the book manager at the Hastings in Waxahachie to confirm everything is on for Saturday evening. That's the first time someone from a book store has called me. She said they've got their copies of "Fantastic Texas" on the shelf.

With Edge Books stocking "Fantastic" at ConDFW, and this news, everything seems to be set for the weekend. The Hastings in Paris, where I will have a signing on the 20th, says they would rather take copies on consignment, but the store in Longview - there I will be Feb. 28th - say they are getting their own stock.

Here is a photo from last Saturday's signing here in Mount Pleasant.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

"Fantastic Texas" publicity

The Ennis Daily News in Ellis County ran a story today in anticipation of my visit to Waxahachie Saturday:

Journalist, author to appear for book signing
Corrie DiManno, Staff writer
02-09-2010

Journalist by day, and science fiction author by night, Lou Antonelli is living a double life.

However, Antonelli is able to draw inspiration where the two worlds collide for his first book, Fantastic Texas.

Antonelli is going to be at Hastings in Waxahachie signing his book on Saturday from 5-7 p.m.

Fantastic Texas is comprised of 12 reprinted short stories that are all set in Texas, or in some cases, a secret, magical, alternative Texas-like the second story in the book, The Witch of Waxahachie which was originally published in Baen’s Universe magazine in April 2008.

That is all that's available on-line.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Scribble, scribble

Things went very well at the book signing yesterday at the Hastings book store here in Mount Pleasant. I was at my table from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and we sold enough books that the store's stock ran out and I had to delve into my wholesale supply that I brought as a backup. I sold one book as I was walking out the door; I had to turn around and sign a book that was on the shelf.

This was the first formal book-signing I have ever had. I knew some of the people who stopped by - to be expected, I guess, in your hometown - but there were many other people I had never seen before in my life.

Patricia was there most of the and helped out a lot. Afterwards we ate out and celebrated.

Next weekend I will be having a signing at 1 p.m.at ConDFW, and then I will be at the Hastings in Waxahachie from 5-7 p.m. Patricia and I will overnight in Waxahachie and drive back to Dallas Sunday morning.

Zane Melder with Edge Books has stocked "Fantastic Texas", so it will be available in the Dealer's Room.

I wish I could have made AggieCon this weekend, but I just don't feel up to two cons in two weeks. They had invited me as a panelist, but after I had accepted ConDFW. The line-up looks impressive this year, I will try to make it next year.

Got the TOC for the next issue of Abandoned Towers magazine, which will be out March 1. It features my story "Across the Plains".

Here's a little taste of what's you'll miss if you don't get a copy:

Table of Contents

Zap Zachary Returns by Stoney M. Setzer
Gold by Arthur Mackeown
Ray Guns by Doug Hilton
Othan, Debtor by Kurt Magnus
The Horrors of War by Chris Silva
Mindforms by Dal Jeanis
Jeffrey's Story by Guy Belleranti
Final Score by Brad Sinor
Riding to Hounds by Thomas Canfield
Copper-bottom's Downfall by Arthur Mackeown
The Last True Gunslinger by Y.B. Cats
The Empty Chair by Malcolm Laughton
'ware the power by Jack Mulcahy
Call of the Northern Seas by Norman A. Rubin
Hobocop by Kevin Bennett
The Grave of Armond Balosteros by E.W. Bonadio
The Last Saguaro by Doug Hilton
Odds Are by Kevin Brown
Grief, father dead, bathroom adrift with manta rays of green towels by Harry Calhoun
Black Bird by Thom Olausson
Searching for my Dream by John William Rice
Proudly Stupid by Christopher D. York.
Night Walk Demise by Carl Scharwath
Dimuendo's by Thom Olausson
Android Attack coloring pagey by Richard H. Fay
Interview with Poet and author, Alex Ness
The Man-Thing by Eric S Brown
Fantasy Artist Johnney Perkins
Nexus Point Recipes by Jalea Clegg

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Frustrating

If I get back another rejection that says a story is well-written and lots of fun, but not right for our publication, I'm gonna scream!!! I refuse to suffer for my art - and then foist it on my readers! If I want unhappiness, depression, cynicism and crushed dreams, I can watch the television news. Sheesh!

Looking forward to Saturday's signing at the local bookstore. Also laying plans for more signings, including one in Waxahachie Feb. 13. Facebook fans are up to 77. Everyone who's on board as a fan by the end of the week will be entered in the drawing for a free copy.

Monday, February 01, 2010

My schedule for ConDFW

The panels have been set for ConDFW (Feb. 12-14). I am happy with my schedule, which runs as follows:

Saturday:
Canterbury, 12pm - Tropes and How to Avoid Them.
Panelists: Bill Fawcett (M), Patrice Sarath, T.M. Hunter, Linda Donahue, Lou Antonelli
Ever groan while reading a story? Does seeing a ghost telling the hero he has a quest make you retch? The ever-present cliché will pop up when you least expect it, and ruin all the dramatic potential your story has. Our experts go over some popular ones…and show you how to avoid them.

Autograph Session (in front of the Dealers’ Room), 1pm – Lee Martindale, Kevin Hosey, Lou Antonelli

Sunday:
Churchill, 11am - Escape from the Slush Pile
Panelists: Chris Roberson (M), Lou Antonelli, Ciara Gold, Michael Finn, Selina Rosen
As the number of hopeful writers increase, the number of submissions increase. Piles upon piles of stories overwhelm every publisher and editor, and they have to make decisions on what makes it…and what is tossed in the slush pile. Our esteemed panelists discuss how to avoid being buried in the pile, and the mistakes to look out for.

Churchill, 1pm - Publishing 201: Publishing Novels
Panelists: Lou Antonelli (M), Ciara Gold, Richard Weber, Selina Rosen, Jack McDevitt
Putting together a novel is an exhausting business, but getting it out into the cold, cruel world is the next big step. Our experts talk about how to get your novel read, who to go to, and what to say. And watch out for rogue contracts!

Canterbury, 2pm - Self-editing Err0rs
Panelists: Lou Antonelli (M), Richard Weber, Julia Mandala
Last year our panelists discussed ways of catching those pesky errors. Now they tell you how to do it again, but with corrective ink.

I don't have anything scheduled later on Saturday because I will be doing a book signing in Waxahachie from 5-7 that night. I will probably overnight in Waxahachie instead of Dallas.

Latest reviews

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

---From the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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

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

- Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots

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

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

Recommended.

- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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