Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Boston plans

Plans are being made for me to do a reading from "Fantastic Texas" and sign copies of the collection at a meeting of the Friends of the New Boston (Tx) Public Library in July. I was editor of the newspaper there from 2005 to 2007. New Boston is the county seat of Bowie County, whose largest city is Texarkana - setting for my story "Avatar". I hope to get both the New Boston and Texarkana papers to cover this. I plan to rebate a third of the cover price of the book to the Friends; at the wholesale price I'll still make money. I read "A Rocket for the Republic" at a meeting of the Friends in 2006, and they enjoyed it a lot, it was a great time.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

FenCon 2010

I've gotten my invitation to be a panelist at FenCon 2010, and just emailed my acceptance. It's in September and will be my fifth con this year. I've already been to ConDFW last month.

I might as well note the rest of my Con schedule here:

Conestoga: April 23-25
ApolloCon: June 25-27
ArmadillocCon: August 27-29
FenCon: September 17-19th.

Hope to see you down the road...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Eight out of ten stars

"Fantastic Texas" has gotten a good rating at the web site Bookcrossing.com, eight out of ten stars.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/7816631

Monday, March 22, 2010

Advertisement

Got word from Ian Strock that an ad is planned for Fantastic Books in an upcoming issue of Realms of Fantasy magazine which will feature "Fantastic Texas".

Saturday, March 20, 2010

History of S-F

I've been contacted by Mike Ashley, a historian and anthologist in the U.K. He is
working on the final volume of a history of the science fiction magazine for Liverpool University Press. This volume covers the years 1981 to the present, so there'll be a fair coverage of online magazines.

He wants my input as an author who broke in via ezines, as well as information about Sentinel S-F, the ezine that I published five times in 2007.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More good publicity

The March issue of the Texas Press Association monthly member publication, The TPA Messenger, blurbed me and "Fantastic Texas" in its Newsmakers column this month.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Report from Greenville

The autographing in Greenville Saturday night was a moderate success. Not as good as Longview two weeks ago, but some sales and not nearly as bad as Paris. I was surprised that this store seemed to have the least traffic of any I'd seen. Hastings seems to have a problem because some of its stores are located in some older strip malls and they seem to be becoming run down. Overall, not a bad night, and Patricia came with me, and afterwards we ate dinner at Red Lobster. Yumm...

Ive had five Hastings signings in six Saturdays. This run started Feb. 6 here in Mount Pleasant. I am taking a little break for now.

Most of this time, I've had bronchitis. It started Valentine's Day weekend, while I was at ConDFW. I was on antibiotics from Feb. 18 until last Wednesday. I seem to be getting better; I'm taking Diabetic Tussin now and waiting. Patricia went to the doctor last Monday, and she's taking antibiotics. Everyone at work eventually came down with the same thing, and it's still very prevalent. Since I was the first person to get sick, and it was after my visit to Waxahachie when I did the autographing Feb. 13, it's been called "The Waxahachie Crud" at the office.

Interestingly, Patricia's birth mother lives in Ellis County, and we had anticipated getting together with her on Feb. 13, but she begged off, saying she had the flu. So there may be something to that "Waxahachie Crud" after all.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I think his last name was Campbell...

Got some nice comments this week from another newspaper editor here in east Texas who got a review copy of "Fantastic Texas":

"The review copy arrived yesterday, and I read two or three stories last
night.

"You have remarkable talent.

"When I was in Jefferson City, Mo, some years ago, I lived across the
street from Gen. Lawrence Heinlein, brother of Robert Heinlein. He told
me that Robert's writing career took off when he sent a story, I think
in the 1940s, to one of the early Sci-Fi magazines, whose editor was
legendary. I think his last name was Campbell.

"Anyway, the editor wrote him and asked "how long has this been going
on?", and Heinlein became a regular contributor.

"Keep up the good writing!"

Monday, March 08, 2010

Nice rejection

Last fall I tried to expand my horizons and I sent a short story off to "The New Yorker", They sat on it for about four and a half months. I got a form rejection last week, but the editor wrote on it at the bottom "'Catch a Falling Star' is an enjoyable story - not right for us, though. Thanks for the submission."

That's somewhat of an encouragement, I guess.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Overlooked

This past week I had a strange distraction - a stray cat came to live on my property without my permission, and it took almost full-time efforts of both myself and the local animal control department to stop it.

I couldn't let my dogs in the back yard - I had to walk them on a leash - because they would go wild at the cat, which just stayed out of their reach. The cat wouldn't go into any traps, no matter what they were baited with (including raw fish).

I would find the cat at night and in the morning nose to nose with my dogs at the front picture window, the dogs trying to bust out the window. It wouldn't come when called; nothing the animal control dept. and I did would either catch it or drive it away.

The problem actually began two weeks ago, but it reached critical mass last weekend because it rained all weekend. I had to walk the dogs in the rain while I had bronchitis, and it made me sicker. Because the dogs were agitated by the cat, they wouldn't even do their business outside - I had to drag them inside and then when they relaxed, they'd do what they were supposed to do. My house was filling up with crap and mud.

Last Monday I basically went off on the city and started screaming at everyone - city manager, police chief, code inspector (one of the problems was the cat was hiding in a vacant structure nearby). During the week they laid out at least seven traps, and got one property owner to board up a structure, but the cat remained at large.

I had bought an animal trap of my own, as well as a BB gun. The efforts of us all were certainly driving the cat from pillar to post, and finally on Friday night it slipped up. It was in front of the house taunting the dogs when I ran to get the BB gun. The car ran around the house and headed through the back yard. I loosed the dogs out the back door, and they treed the cat in a small tree. I shot it with the BB gun until it dropped out of the tree - right between the dogs. They took their revenge for two weeks of harassment.

I left the cat in a plastic bag on top of a trap animal control had on my front porch. They hauled the cat and all the traps off Saturday.

I hate that the cat had to die, but it left us no choice. My dogs can finally romp in their own back yard, and now that I don't have to go out in the cold my bronchitis is getting better. I've been on antibiotics since Feb. 18. (Patricia has bronchitis, too).

After all this, I forgot that last weekend a headlamp on Patricia's car was burned out, and when I went to go to Greenville to sign "Fantastic Texas", I remembered that. There was no way to get the light fixed on a Saturday afternoon, and there is no way I'd drive 50 miles down I-30 with a light out, so I called the Hastings and begged out. We rescheduled for next Saturday the 14th.

My car is an antique, 27 years old, and I don't drive it out of the county.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

"Fantastic" Review

Serial Distractions, a web site maintained by Sherick Pittman-Hassett here in Texas, has reviewed "Fantastic Texas". I can hardly see how I could hope for anything better:

Review: Fantastic Texas by Lou Antonelli

I first encountered Lou Antonelli at ConDFW in 2009. He either moderated or participated in the more excellent panels that I attended that year. He struck me as a very practical-minded writer who was passionate about what he was doing. His descriptions of some his published stories intrigued me: steam-powered rockets in the Republic of Texas, alternate universes where witches resided in Waxahachie, and the rebuilding of East Texas after a nuclear incident.

Fantastic Texas collects the best of these tales. All are set in Texas and display a unique brand of native Texas charm and sci-fi “weirdness”; which is ironic as Mr. Antonelli is a transplant from Massachusetts. Nevertheless, his stories demonstrate that if he wasn’t born here then he’s definitely assimilated Lone Star culture.

Most of the stories are told in either first-person or in monologue which brings a personal touch to the stories and gives them an immediacy that I enjoyed. These stories are also inherently optimistic; there are dastardly deeds done to be sure, but there is a thread of that can-do Texas determination woven into the fabric of each tale that reassures the reader that no matter what happens the characters will keep moving forward and striving for a better life.

The best demonstration of this quality is the story “Avatar”. in which the residents of the Republic of East Texas have rebuilt as best they can after a nuclear apocalypse and may have discovered a way to resist the sickness caused by fallout–as well as uncovering the tragic secret of an ancient race. This is not the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max or Gamma World (though I love those works dearly). It is a world where some people have descended into barbarism, but where many have simply picked up what was left and made the best of it. This is as true a picture of human nature as any punk-future setting and just as entertaining.

Like any anthology, its strength and its weakness is variety. Some stories are stronger than others, but there’s not a bad story in the bunch. I particularly enjoyed the aforementioned “Avatar”, “Professor Malakoff’s Amazing Ethereal Telegraph”, and “Body by Fisher”. The former is a nice piece of western steampunk about a carpetbagger with a broken telegraph who encounters a little too much local color. The latter is set in a near future where the staff of a small news outfit deals with a nuclear accident. In “Fisher” Antonelli best captures characters who deal admirably with an adverse situation.

Antonelli is an experienced journalist and is currently the managing editor at the Mt. Pleasant Daily Tribune. This background enhances his writing; the prose is lean and the dialog rings true. The “real” East Texas shines through each and every one of these stories. Anyone looking for weird tales with a decidedly Texan twist should pick up Fantastic Texas.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Latest tale

Finished the edits and send off "Scouts' Honor" to Young Adult Literature Review. It's slated to run in April, in its second issue. One of my few forays into YA, but lots of fun.

Latest reviews

"It’s possible that you haven’t run into the stories of Lou Antonelli. Since 2003, he’s been publishing delightful short tales of alternate history all over the nooks and crannies of the SF world. Thanks to Fantastic Books, we now have 28 of these little gems in one place.

"Many of Antonelli’s stories have an unexpected twist ending. And many of them are what he calls “secret history” stories, which aren’t exactly alternate history—they’re set in our familiar history, but there’s always some element that contemporary observers missed. " - Don Sakers, The Reference Library, Analog July-Aug. 2014

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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