Saturday, December 31, 2011

Adios, 2011

Well, this is the last day of the year. It's been a good one, in many respects. No major health issues, job is fine, lots of fiction published.

I've been on vacation since Christmas Eve, so there's been no new writing done. I did pick up a copy of a book, "H. G. Wells: Journalism and Prophecy", at a used book store Wednesday. It was published by W. Warren Wagar in 1964. It is very interesting to read some of Wells' essays written in the last 40 years of his life. I think it will be valuable both for research as well as cerebral stimulation.

I also picked up a copy of the 1977 edition of Fredric Brown's "What Mad Universe."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Kudos from Bewildering Stories

Don Webb of Bewildering Stories has sent word that "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry" has been given one of the ezine's Mariner Awards for 2011. "The Mariner Awards are named for one of the first successful interplanetary missions. The more than 43 titles listed — out of 383 for the year — are the crème de la crème, the ones that the Review Board rated “very good” or “excellent” in 2011. They have earned Bewildering Stories’ most signal honor." says the website.

If you'd like to read the story, go thisaway:

Monday, December 26, 2011

"Rockets and Reindeer" takes off


4 Star Stories published my short holiday-themed story "Rockets and Reindeer" in its winter issue. You can find the story here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Not much to report...

...on the genre front. Daily Science Fiction returned my flash "Wet and Wild", but noted it almost made it to the second round. When I wrote it at FenCon someone suggested I send it to them, "they use a lot of flashes." But I already had "Great White Ship" in their slush pile - which they accepted.

Much of this coming week will be taken up with cleaning and otherwise getting ready for the house sitter who will be here between Christmas and New Year's. Patricia and I will be on the East Coast visiting family.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday "Bigfoot Fruit" basket

I finished up "Bigfoot Fruit" tonight. Came in at 4,488 words. This is the 99th story I've written. I submitted it to one of the major genre mags. This will probably be my last story for 2011, I can't see how I would have time between now and the end of the year to write another one.

I got a rejection today from one of the major mags. The editor wrote "It's nice to see an upbeat story - seems like everything that's coming across my desk these days is depressing." Still didn't buy the story, but that's an interesting comment.

Got suggested edits from David Gray at 4 Star Stories for "Rockets and Reindeer". Did them and sent it back. This will be my 11th story published this year, my 61st overall.

"Rockets and Reindeer" was originally published as a Christmas Eve blog post in 2004, so I suppose it would be considered a reprint.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Bigfoot Fruit" is ripe

Finished the first draft of "Bigfoot Fruit" today. Came in just under 4,600 words. I had done most of the work by Monday, but I had to add an ending today. Ran it by Patricia and she said the ending worked fine. I will start tweaks and edits tomorrow.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Almost done

I worked Sunday and today on "Bigfoot Fruit". Almost finished, just need one scene at the end for the closing. Length just passed 4,000 words.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Latest acceptances


Got word that Wesley Kawato at Nova SF wants to buy a story of mine; we have to work on the edits, but I don't think that will be a serious problem. Nova SF previously published my story "Good Old Gal" in Issue No. 18 in 2006. If this holds true, it is my third story already set to publish in 2012; I have already signed contracts for Daily SF and BuzzyMag.

David Gray at 4 Star Stories says it looks like a go for "Rockets and Reindeer" to run in the Winter issue. That will be my 11th story published in 2011.

Started the weekend with a household chore; I had to dispose of a brush pile in the back yard that's been accumulating since Spring 2010. Normally, it would have been torched last fall or winter, but we have been in a drought and a burn ban was in effect until last Tuesday. We had almost five inches of rain last weekend, which allowed the burn ban to be lifted.

The pile was about 15 feet long, ten feet wide, and maybe four feet high. I started it at 2 p.m. and it was essentially burned down to embers by 10 p.m., although the ashes are still smoldering this morning.


Friday, December 09, 2011

Back on-line

Just finished a two-day process of installing a new desktop computer. I retired a computer I bought in the summer of 2003. It served me well, but it just too slow now for surfing the web, and the hard drive was 90 percent full - I couldn't install any new software.

The old computer was in a room where DSL ran, but when we got a laptop for the wife two years ago we got a wireless router, so I have the new desktop on wireless and I moved it to my personal office - which means I have two desks now, one with a computer and the other with a typewriter.

That's uncommon.

Scanned the first draft of "Bigfoot Fruit" and will be working on it this weekend.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

“Troop 50 goes hiking”

In 1969, when I was 12 years old, I joined the Boy Scouts. The first time I went on a hike and overnight camp, I was so impressed that I felt compelled to share news of the event with the world. I used a piece of yellow lined paper that was supposed to be for a 7th grade French assignment and instead printed in longhand the 149-word story below. I dropped it in the mail to the local weekly newspaper, the Billerica News, owned and operated by Stanley J. Bocko – who also happened to be the local Democratic State Representative – and they printed it in their next issue, during the first week in December. I didn't think to include a by-line. The adult leaders were puzzled about where the article originated until I fessed up.

I still have the clipping, and so in commemoration of the start of my career as a published writer – and thanks to the modern miracle of optical character recognition software – I bring you the tale from 42 years ago:

Troop 50 goes hiking

On November 28, Troop 50, which is sponsored by the First Congregational Church, on Andover Road, held its annual November Hike This year it was held in Buddy style, scouts being assigned to partners, and hiking in two's. The route began at the First Congregational Church, wound around Farmers Lane, ascended up Fox Hill, and went down to the gravel pits off Pond St. Once there, the partners set up separate camps, using large sheets of plastic for shelter.

All cooking was done without utensils, meaning no pots, pans, knives, forks, etc. At first it seemed hard, but the newer scouts soon got the knack of it.

After eating breakfast Saturday morning, the scouts broke camp, some hiking back to their homes, others leaving in cars. The trip was well enjoyed by the 20 plus scouts who attended, and they are looking forward to the same trip next year.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Off to slush

I finished "Digging on Olympus" this morning. The first draft was almost 4,000 words, but it shrank down to 3,820 by the time I was finished - which is a good sign. This is the first case where I wrote a story at home on a typewriter, scanned the pages and made a file of it. I've dropped in the slush pile of one of the major magazines this morning. That makes four subs I got off this morning.

"Digging" is the eighth story I've written this year - the 98th overall. I'm probably going to attack "Bigfoot Fruit" next.

Six stories ahead

I just realized that "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry" is the 60th story I've had published. My first was "Silvern" in Revolution SF in June 2003. Golfers take pride is being able to "shoot their age". Since I am 54, I am six stories ahead of my age.

Attempting to improve on that record, I've subbed three stories today, one in the mail to F&SF, and e-subs to Daily Science Fiction and Not One of Us. I am trying to get caught up on my submissions list, which has been neglected while I was recovering from the cold and sinusitis.

"Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry"

Bewildering Stories is up with its latest issue, and they've published "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry". It's the second story I've published with them this year (The first was "Blackhats and Blackberrys) and my tenth of the year.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

All quiet

Nothing to report on the fiction front, still working on the finishing touches for "Digging on Olympus". This weekend is the first is almost a month that I've been completely healthy, since coming down with a cold that ended in sinusitis. I have a number of chores and errands I need to get caught up with, that have been put off because of ill health.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Final touches

I scanned "Digging on Olympus" and I am currently doing final tweaks and edits. Some strange ideas in here, but some sharp dialogue, also.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"Digging on Olympus"

Back on Nov. 17 I got a three and a half-page start to "Digging on Olympus" before my cold turned into sinusitis and I got real sick. I finally picked up where I left off this evening, and I suppose I'm feeling much better, because I finished the first draft of the story. It came in at 15 pages, so I'm guessing it's 4,400 words.

I'll have to run it through OCR software to turn it into a Word file.

"Pirates of the Ozarks" sold

David Riley of Science Fiction Trails says the contract's in the mail for my latest weird western, "Pirates of the Ozarks", which will be published in Issue No. 8 in 2012. That will be my third story in Science Fiction Trails; "Professor Malakoff's Amazing Ethereal Telegraph" was published in Issue No. 4, and "A Djinn for General Houston" was published in Issue No. 5.
The cover over there was for the issue that featured "Professor Malakoff", I still think that cover's a hoot.

That's my third story already slated for publication in 2012, since Daily Science Fiction has bought "Great White Ship" and Buzzy Mag has bought "The Centurion and the Rainman".

I'm recovering from this bout of sinusitis, I've been taking anti-biotics since Tuesday, and I think I'm about ready to write up some new stories.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Stalled

Haven't gotten back to the short story I started a week ago, the onset of my cold prevented that. I went to the doctor and got a shot and a prescription Tuesday. That seems to be helping, but this was one of the worst cases of sinusitis I've had in a while.

Patricia and I will be leaving in a few hours to her mother's for Thanksgiving. She lives an hour away, between here and Dallas.

I got an invite to submit to a weird western-themed anthology yesterday. I think I have something for them.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Drink Tank 300 debuts




Well, Chris Garcia got his Drink Tank 300 out today. The "300" refers to the number on contributors, and in the enumeration I am No. 248. The PDF document is 271 pages and can be found here.

Chris won the fanzine Hugo last August for Drink Tank, and less than a month later we were both guest authors at FenCon/Deep South Con in Dallas - we served on one panel together. That was the first time I ever met him (and vice versa). I was doing my schtick typing a story on a portable typewriter in the second floor gallery of the hotel Saturday night when I came up with "The Quantum Gunman", a 1,300 word "muddled worlds" short story.

I had done the same thing at ArmadilloCon in Austin in August, and produced "The Stinky Men" - which is currently in a slush pile. "The Quantum Gunman" flowed from a story idea I've had for a number of years, but otherwise didn't plan or outline the story in advance.

As I typed the story on my portable Smith Corona Classic 12, I would lay the pages out on the table in front of me. I started writing at 6 p.m. and Chris was among the many people who came by to read it as I progressed. I finished at 8:30 p.m. - I think the story is six pages long - and a little while later Chris stopped by again.

He finished reading it, said he enjoyed it, and asked what were my plans for it. I told him I'd try to get it published, and he offered to add to add it to Drink Tank 300. I handed it to him, and said "It's all yours." I think the process from beginning to acceptance took three hours.

Chris had to scan the manuscript, of course, to get it in Drink Tank 300. It takes up two pages, Pages 181 and 182. This special issues has a number of distinguished contributors, including John Scalzi and Greg Benford.

I'm happy to have helped with his gigantic project - Chris is a nice and humble guy. Anyone who saw his acceptance speech at the Hugos - in person or on video - knows that.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

No progress on the fiction front

The low grade cold that's being passed around everyone at work and at the schools - where my wife works - finally blew up on me Friday, and I really got sick. I got a sore throat and really bad congestion. I worked very sick Saturday, and slept almost 12 hours Saturday night, but the combination of rest, Diabetic Tussin, cough drops, nasal spray seems to have driven the cold back a lot, and I'm feeling better. Needless to say, no fiction writing accomplished.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New start

With all the publications I'm having, I need to write up some new tales, so I started tonight on my latest, "Digging on Olympus". It's a tale of some fellows who take advantage of the collapse of the federal government in the near future to dig up Montezuma's treasure on federal land - and get more than they bargained for.

I am typing this up on my portable typewriter. I got 3 1/2 pages done today, so it probably comes to 800 words.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Good news

I got my payment in the mail today from BuzzyMag for "The Centurion and the Rainman". They're very professional, the story isn't slated to be published until sometime next year, and they pay pro rates, by the SFWA's standard - five cents a word. Mucho gracias!

It looks like I will meet my goal of having eleven stories published by the end of the year. David and Mary Gray plan to publish a holiday-themed story, "Rockets and Reindeer" in 4 Star Stories' Winter issue. Bewildering Stories is slated to publish "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry" on Dec. 12. And Chris Garcia says he working hard on Drink Tank 300 and it should be out soon. It will feature "The Quantum Gunman", the story I wrote on my portable typewriter in the gallery of the hotel during FenCon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Latest issue of Alt Hist is out



Mark Lord at the ezine Alt Hist reports the latest issues has been published. The third issue of Alt Hist includes two stories about the American Civil War, one about the great Tesla, a tale of post-war revenge set in Dublin, and a compelling story about the early years of the space race.

Full list of stories and authors:

‘A Light in the Darkness’ by Ian Sales
‘Dublin Can Be Heaven’ by Séamus Sweeney
‘Riders on the Storm’ by Arlan Andrews
‘Bummers’ by Matthew Warner
‘To The Stars’ by Brooks Rexroat



You can buy a copy here from Smashwords.



If you want to buy it from Amazon for kindle, try here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Professional standards

I got an email from the SFWA this week. It was a reminder about voting in an ongoing election that continues until Dec. 15. The group wants to re-incorporate in California (from Massachusetts) and needs 2/3 of the membership to approve. I only became an Active member of the SFWA - with voting rights - on Oct. 22 after I presented my contract with Daily Science Fiction. It was my third sale that meets the SFWA standards for membership. I assume the voting started before my membership was upgraded, which is why I didn't get the original notice of the election. This leads me to think about those standards. For a short story writer, it's three sales at at least a nickel a word, with a magazine that been approved by the SFWA. Such venues have to have been in business a year. The standards used to cite circulation, but they have been changed now to allow ezines with a requisite number of page views. The dollar amount isn't important - I think there's a minimum payment of fifty dollars.

Although my sale to Jim Baen's Universe, "The Witch of Waxahachie", remains my most profitable sale (I got eight cents a word), the sale of "Dispatches From the Troubles" remains my second highest sale. Although GUD pays only three cents a word, "Dispatches" was a novelette, of over 11,000 words. Although it didn't count as a pro sale, it paid more than my sale of "A Rocket for the Republic" to Asimov's and "Great White Ship" to Daily Science Fiction because of the length.
The SFWA used to count sales at three cents a word as pro level up until 2003, then upped it to five cents. Now, here is what occurred to me - If that old standard still applied, I would have been able to get upgraded to an Active member of the SFWA almost two years earlier. I signed my contract with GUD on Nov. 4, 2009. I got the contract from Daily Science Fiction on Oct. 20, 2011. Perhaps easing up on the standard a bit might draw more people into the SFWA, or draw then in earlier, like myself. We're in the fourth year of a recession, it must be harder and harder to get members to join.
I don't see any reason why, in addition to keeping the nickel a word level, the SFWA couldn't add the provision that three cents a word is good if the sale is over $250.
Just some random thoughts. I asked that a hard copy of the incorporation referendum material be sent to me, and I got it in the mail today. I will sit down and read it over the weekend. I will see what's exactly in the bylaws about the membership requirements.

Friday, November 11, 2011

B'ois d'arc, Osage Orange, Hedge Apple..

Whatever you call it, this tree is interesting, because of its fruit. It has large, fleshy fruit with seeds inside - and there is no native North American animal that eats it. It is one of a handful of North American fruits - the avocado is another one - which are "orphaned" this way.

Some scientists think this is a result of the North American extinction event during the Pleistocene. It has been suggested it may have been eaten by the giant ground sloth that went extinct. Or perhaps mammoths or mastodons may have eaten it. Another suspect is the equine that went extinct - a theory reinforced because domestic horses introduced by the European settlers will eat the fruit, hence another name, Horse Apple.

When first found by explorers over 200 years ago, the trees' natural range was very restricted, essentially in the Red River Valley. It has subsequently spread, because the settlers found it is almost indestructible and impervious to disease and insects. The Plains Indians greatly valued it for its strength, and they would travel long distances to the Red River Valley to get the wood, hence the names B'ois D'arc (bow wood) or Osage Orange (from the Indian tribe.) Hedge Apple comes from its planting as fence rows by pioneers.

Now, MY theory - based upon the fact the trees were found along tributaries of the Red River (there is a B'ois D'arc Creek in Northeast Texas), and that is not the area you might find horses or mammoths (but yes, maybe sloths - don't mess up my theory with facts) is that the seeds were still being propagated by an almost extinct mammal...

Google the movie "The Legend of Boggy Creek" and the Fouke Monster to see what I mean.

I know there are a few of these trees here in Mount Pleasant, and this evening I happened to drive past one, so I stopped and loaded a plastic grocery bag of with a half dozen of this... Bigfoot Fruit.

I put some in the fridge, and I have one on my desk. Maybe it's time to write the story.

Coming in 2012



Received a copy of the final edit of my story "The Centurion and the Rainman" which will be published in Buzzy Mag next year. The new publication should be starting up soon after the first of the year. The edit was sharp and polished, by a very professional author. I'm quite pleased.


I'm happy to be on board with the new magazine. They also pay pro rates.


Combined with "Great White Ship" in Daily Science Fiction, it looks like I will have have some nice publications in the spring

"Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry"

I've received word from Dob Webb, editor at Bewildering Stories, that they will publish my short story "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry" on Dec. 12. I've had eight stories published so far this year, so that would be my ninth. Right now "The Quantum Gunman" is with Chris Garcia, to be published in Drink Tank No. 300. I also have another story in a slush pile where, if it is accepted, it would be published by the end of the year. If Drink Tank comes out by the end of the year, that would be my tenth story published in 2011, which would match my previous record of 10 in 2005. If I manage one More before the end of the year, I'll have 11 in '11.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stunned

I got an email today from one of my three best friends in high school. I hadn't heard from him since about 1976. Turns out, he moved to California in 1980. I moved to Texas in 1985, and another high school chum moved to Florida about the same time, so we had all scattered. The fourth had moved to New Hampshire. I had seen him last year at my 35th high school reunion.

After exchanging emails with the fellow in California, I went to call my friend in Florida, whom I hadn't spoken to in maybe five or six years. I had lost his home address and you couldn't look him up. He was a lieutenant in the sheriff's department, and like so many people who work in law enforcement, he kept his home address and phone number confidential.

But I knew where he worked, so I called his office and asked for him. There was a long pause on the phone... and I knew something was wrong. Very wrong.

He had been on leave, and about to retire, when he had a fatal heart attack just a few days ago.

I emailed the fellow in California and called the guy in New Hampshire tonight, to give them the news.

I hoisted a pint of Fosters tonight in his memory, and I'm feeling very subdued.

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Z Word

I finished my essay on my relationship to the zombie sub-genre of horror, "The Z Word" on Sunday. Clocked in at about 1,700 words. I sent it off to the editor, still haven't received any acknowledgement it was received.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Better safe than sorry

I may sound like a wimp for turning around and skipping Contraflow when the low pressure indicator went on in my rental car Saturday morning, but some of you may recall that in the summer of 2009 I ignored some warning signs and pressed on driving from East Texas to Oklahoma City for SoonerCon and I blew my transmission.

I was stranded seven miles south of Henryetta, Oklahoma. I forgot to take my cell phone, and so I couldn't call for help. I found that that these days, because everyone has a cell phone, no one would stop and see if I needed help. After an hour a state trooper came by. By the time I was towed into Henryetta, it was past 5 p.m. and my car couldn't be fixed until Monday. Michael Moe was nice enough to drive out to Henryetta Saturday morning and bring me the rest of the way. On Sunday, Gorg Huff drove me and dropped me off in Dallas, where my mother-in-law lived.

I went back to Henryetta in October so sell the car for salvage. It was Columbus Day - which is a state holiday in Oklahoma but not Texas - and I couldn't transfer the title, so I gave it to the purchaser and told him he could send me the $100 when he got clear title. He actually did.


With all this in mind Saturday morning, I was very uncomfortable driving farther and father from home at like 4 a.m. with a warning light staring at me. Also, I had never driven from East Texas to New Orleans before, and I am completely unfamiliar with the route. Call me a chicken, I felt a lot better when I reached home.

Praise for "Music for Four Hands"

Shedrick Pittman-Hassert at his web site "Serial Distractions" has posted the following review of "Music for Four Hands":

Review: Music for Four Hands by Lou Antonelli and Edward Morris
Posted on November 5, 2011 by Shedrick

(I’ve been following Lou Antonelli’s career for the past couple of years now. He’s a frequent panelist at the various sci-fi cons that I get to attend in the area and always presents an interesting view of the business. His stories are unabashedly old-school and are usually interesting takes on alternate history set in the weirds and wilds of East Texas. In the chapbook Music For Four Hands, Antonelli teams with 2009 Rhysling award nominee Edward Morris on four intriguing science fiction tales set in alternate times, alternate worlds, and in our own backyard.

The collection opens with a piece that serves as an opening curtain on the show called, aptly, “The Scene is Set”. It is very evocative of the sights and smells of a dark carnival (ala Something Wicked This Way Comes). In hindsight, it doesn’t really gel with the tone of the more full-blown stories in the collection. Nevertheless, it is a gem in and of itself.

The first tale, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”, takes on an alternate history in which the late, under-appreciated comic Ernie Kovacs does not die in an automobile accident (while trying to light a cigar) in 1962 and how this fact affects the smoking industry and the unlikely livelihood of another historical figure. The story does a great job of invoking the time period and Kovac’s wit. The extrapolations from the pivotal event are interesting and unexpected. However the end comes rather abruptly and ultimately leaves it being the least satisfying of the four stories in the collection.

“Off the Hook” is another story involving a comedian who encounters something from the unknown. Jimmy Slade is a successful but cynical older comic who never really recovered from the early death of his talented former partner, Danny Deuce. After meeting a “Stranger” who could be Death himself literally knocking at his door, Slade makes a Faustian bargain to give Danny a second chance. A fine fantasy with a lot of heart.

“Acroscaphe” is a delightful story about first contact–and about how self-interest can literally (and figuratively) muddy the waters of cross-cultural understanding. It reads a bit like a drive-in movie directed by George Pal; a lot of fun and it’s central premise does a good job of capsizing your expectations.

The final story, “Stairway to Heaven”, is probably my favorite in the collection. A miserable small town newspaper editor in conservative East Texas meets a beautiful hippie chick who’s been missing since 1971. After several increasingly tense encounters, she gives him a chance to see how the other half lives. Sparkling dialog helps to make the characters pop from the page; it feels as if the authors had a lot of fun with this one and it translates well to the reader. The ending is satisfying and even a little wistful. A very strong finish to a good collection.

Music for Four Hands is a fine collection of original and entertaining tales. This a great book for whiling away a sunny afternoon. These are the kind of stories that brought me into science fiction as a kid–they not only make you think a little bit but, even more importantly, inspire you to daydream.

---

Very good review, and more importantly in my opinion, Shedrick "gets it" as far as where the stories are coming from, and where I'm coming from personally in my fiction.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Car returned

I don't know how seriously I should have taken that low tire pressure light, but really, at 4 a.m. in the dead of deepest, darkest, East Texas, I wasn't willing to take a chance.

The rental agency is not going to charge me anything, actually they would owe me money, since I gave them back a half tank of gas more than they gave me.

Hopefully, this will make them think to check cars better before sending them out. Unfortunately, there's only one car rental agency here.

Regrets to Contraflow

I had to shoot off this email this morning to Ray Boudreau and the folks at Contraflow:

Ray -
I'm terribly sorry, I have to beg out. My rental car developed a problem at 3:30 a.m. this morning that made me turn around and head home rather than break down in the middle of nowhere. There are long stretches of nothing between East Texas and New Orleans, and I was afraid of getting stranded.

I really appreciate the invite, and I'm sorry it didn't work out. but I've had some terrible experiences in the past with problems developing when I traveled out of town to conventions and I've turned into a big chicken.

Please keep me in mind for the future. I hope everything goes well this weekend.

Lou Antonelli

---

The problem was a warning light came on about the tire pressure, and I mean it when I say there are long stretches of absolute nothingness between here and New Orleans. I had no tire pressure gauge, and no way to air up any tires. If there was a flat, I can't change the tire (because of carpal tunnel syndrome). In the end the decision to turn around was made because, 1) My blood pressure was soaring over the nervousness and aggravation, and 2) my blood pressure is also soaring because I am irate at Enterprise Rent-a-Car. I rent cars to travel for peace of mind, and having a panic attack at 3:30 a.m. in Bigfoot Fart, East Texas, is not peace of mind. I didn't quite make it to the Louisiana state line before I tossed in the towel and turned around.

Oh, I guess I'm showing my age, but I can remember when you could look at a car tire and tell if it was getting low. In this case, the tires are so shallow that they look pre-flattened to me.

Then again, that may be why they have pressure indicators on the cars now.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Off to the slush pile

I took the flash I typed on the Sunday of FenCon, "Wet and Wild", and run it through OCR software so I could make a Word file of it. I might have subbed it as is - the way "The Stinky Men" is circulating (and Chris Garcia has "The Quantum Gunman" for Drink Tank) - but honestly the ribbon was getting too faint (it was the ribbon on the typewriter when I bought it, so God knows how old it was).

It's only 520 words. I sent it to Gordon at F&SF, since he looks at stuff and returns it quickly if he doesn't want it. I DID type the cover letter - since I've bought a new ribbon.

I expect I'll type a story while at Contraflow, too. Since my reading is the last thing I do, maybe I'll try what I did at ArmadilloCon and type an original story for the reading.

Ready to Contraflow

I will be in greater New Orleans Saturday and Sunday for Contraflow. Here are my panels:

Saturday 11 a.m. - How to Promote Yourself Online: So now that you are published how do you sell that work? Guests Lou Antonelli, Rob Cerio and Jeannie Holmes talk about how to promote yourself online.

Saturday 4 p.m. - Ebooks - Is this the future of publishing?: Is this the future of publishing- It seems today many are making the switch from print to digital formats, is the future of publishing? Come discuss with authors and publishers Lou Antonelli, Allen Gilbreath, Kim Richardson, and Toni Weisskopf.

Sunday 11 a.m. - The Importance of Place in Science Fiction & Fantasy: Regional authors Kurt Amaker, Lou Antonelli, Andrew Fox and Jeannie Holmes discuss how using regional settings influences writing in science fiction and fantasy. All of these author's works are set in the southern region from Texas to Mississippi.

My reading will be Sunday at 2 p.m. Since I am taking my portable typewriter, maybe I'll do what I did at ArmadilloCon and read a story I typed (I wasn't scheduled with a reading at the last con I attended, Con DFW.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

"The Z Word"

I've been invited to submit an essay on my opinion of the sub genre of zombie writing for a book, with special emphasis on writers delving into the subject of zombies. Considering that "Good News for the Dead" is the only zombie story I've ever written, I'd say I fit that bill.

Part of the pitch was "I'm only asking a few, select authors that I admire and read (like yourself) before asking more authors."

Well, I'm flattered.

"The stated goal is to release a quality but cheaply priced (99 cent eBook, break-even pricing if we go to print) to get it out there and get people interested in seeing what authors have to say about the sub genre, and also as a way to introduce you to fans who might not know you yet or are new to reading about zombies."

I'm good with that. I am working on the essay, which can be up to 2.500 words, this week. I already have the title, obviously, that line from "Good News" about "the Z Word."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Taking stock

I must admit, I'm not doing too shabby with the fiction writing. I just realized that, for the first time in my life, I have signed contracts and two stories pending at pro rates - "Great White Ship" with Daily Science Fiction and "The Centurion and the Rainman" with Buzzymag. "Ship" also counts as a pro sale; although Buzzy pays a pro rate, as a new mag they're not an SFWA qualifying publication yet. And Chris Garcia has "The Quantum Gunman" - the story I banged out in the foyer on my portable typewriter while at FenCon - which he plans to publish in Drink Tank 300.

I've also had eight stories published this year, to wit:

* "Black Hats and Blackberrys" - Bewildering Stories, March 2011
* "Irredenta" - World SF Blog, March 15, 2011
* "Meet Me at the Grassy Knoll" - 4 Star Stories, Spring 2011
* "Hopscotch and Hottentots" - Shadowgate, April 2011
* "Ghost Writer" - Flashes in the Dark, June 16, 2011
* "Mak Siccar" - 4 Star Stories, Summer 2011
* "The Goddess of Bleecker Street" - Kalkion, July 2011
* "Re-opening Night" - 4 Star Stories - Sept. 2011

I have seven stories in various slush piles, so there's possibilities there, also.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Renovation

I think I'm going to take the promotional blog I originally created up after I sold my collection "Fantastic Texas" - which has lain dormant for two and a half years - and renovate it into a blog on the subject of my fiction in general. "Fantastic Texas" is still just as good a title as any for a blog about my fiction. It will be a good place to also tout my upcoming publications.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nanowrimo?

I'm wondering whether I should try Nanowrimo this year and spend November trying to write that great novel. And wouldn't it be cool to do it on a typewriter? Did I even get that right? Nanowrimo? Ah, heck...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

OCR solution

Although I love using my Smith Corona typewriter, there is a practical problem in using it to write a story, since there are so few fiction venues that still take hard copy submissions. But I recently stumbled across a simple fix - OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software. I am going to try it. I recently ordered and got in the mail a new ribbon, so my pages should clean and readable.

Monday, October 24, 2011

False starts and fragments

I took a little time over the weekend and went through a folder in keep on my computer called "Works in Progress". This is where I have stashed stories or fragments over the years when I can't keep going or I am unhappy with the outcome.

I thought it might be helpful if I cut and pasted all these false starts and fragments into one file where I could more easily read and compare them. For example, I have two separate false starts for two stories, called "Desarrollo Separado" and "Sympathy for Salieri". In the case of "Desarollo", seeing them together gave me an idea how I might cobble together a story from the two parts. There's at least one complete story in there, called "Osteopithicus" that I finished but wasn' t happy with and never subbed.

These stories or fragments are in addition to stories which I did finish and DID sub which I have laid aside for further work after getting feedback from editors by way of rejections.

Anyway, the new file, which I labeled "False Starts", come to 44,000 words, so I definitely think there is some material to be mined there.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Beware the spam filter!

I think we've all heard cautionary tales about how careful spam filter monitoring is important to authors, with all the submissions and correspondence that we do through email, but I received another reminder Wednesday.

I always check my spam email box, and I'm glad I did, because my acceptance from Daily Science Fiction landed there.

This doesn't happen very often, but back in 2004 I had the same thing happen when Andromeda Spaceways accepted "The Cast Iron Dybbuk". The acceptance sailed all the way through the ether from Australia to drop smack dab in my spam.

I think I have pretty good spam filter settings, but in both cases, the acceptances came from an email address that I had never received an email from before, and I had never sent an email to before. That makes sense - you send submissions to one email address, and you get rejects from the slush pile reader. The acceptance come from a different direction.

I suppose the spam filter regards an email address where there has hasn't been any communication before - either coming or going - as suspect.

This certainly highlights the fact you should NEVER set your email to delete spam unread!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fast and professional

I read and approved and returned the contract from Daily Science Fiction tonight for "Great White Ship". I must admit, they seem to be very professional, I only received the acceptance yesterday. Also, the contract was one of the most clearly-written and concise I have ever seen. I have a good feeling about this, I'm glad they like the story.

They also asked for a short (250 words or less) bio and some author's comments, at the same length. I attached all that.

I also logged onto the SFWA web site tonight and uploaded a copy of the contract to show I made the sale. As my third sale at the pro rate, this should get me upgraded from Associate to Active status.

I wonder if I am the first person to get active status on the basis of a sale to Daily Science Fiction? They were just approved as a qualifying market a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Great news!


Got word today that Daily Science Fiction wants to publish my story "Great White Ship". Needless to say, I'm thrilled. It's the first time I've cracked that market, which pays pro rates. In fact, this will be my third pro rate sale, so once I sign the contract I will be able to upgrade my membership in the SFWA from Associate to Active member.

My previous two pro sales were "A Rocket for the Republic" in Asimov's in 2005 and "The Witch of Waxahachie" in Jim Baen's Universe in 2008.

"Great White Ship" will be my 59th story published since 2003. Daily Science Fiction just became the most recent SFWA-qualified market, only about a couple of weeks ago, I believe.

I've had a lot of cash sales over the years for small amounts, and in at least one case, I made a semi-pro sale that - because of the rate and length of the story - paid more than a pro sale, but this is only my third sale that meets the pro rate guideline.

In light of how this is only a sideline for me, and I enjoy my regular full-time job, I can't hardly complain. In fact, when I was speaking at the writers group I referred to in my previous post, someone asked me, whether if I had a choice, I would rather write fiction or be a journalist, I had to confess I'd rather be a journalist.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Guest speaker

Thursday evening I was the guest speaker at a local writers' group, the North East Texas Writers' Organization (NETWO). They had a monthly dinner meeting at the local Applebee's. I haven't had much interaction with the group over the years; these are folks who mostly write books (of the dozen people in attendance, only one - in a show of hands - conceded to writing short fiction) and since I work primarily in short stories, there's not a lot of overlap. Also, I really don't think there are many people in the group who read fantasy or science fiction. But since I got the invite I thought it would be fun to make an appearance.

Despite the variance between what I do and what these folks are interested in, I think they enjoyed it. I spoke a little about how I broke in, and what my writing is like, and I ended by reading "Off the Hook" from "Music for Four Hands".

I also sold a few books, two copies of "Music" and three copies of "Fantastic Texas". Unfortunately, I didn't have any copies of "Texas & Other Planets" to sell. I've got an order on the way from John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press.

One of the NETWO members blogged about my visit, which you can read here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

My schedule for Contraflow

My next - and last - convention for this year will be Contraflow in New Orleans Nov. 4-6. CONtraflow will be held November 4-6, 2011 at the Clarion Inn New Orleans Westbank in Gretna, Louisiana

It will feature scientist, public speaker, and award-winning author David Brin as our Author Guest of Honor. Also featured will be Dr. Demento’s “Most Requested Artist of the 21st Century”, the great Luke Ski as the Musical Guest of Honor; long-time leader in the New Orleans fan community Robert Neagle as the Fan Guest of Honor; and game master and designer Michael "Scotty" Scott as our Gaming Guest of Honor.

I have received my schedule of panels, which is as follows:

SATURDAY 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Panel Room 1 How to Promote Yourself Online
03:00 PM - 04:00 PM Panel Room 3 Ebooks: Is this the Future of Publishing?

SUNDAY 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Panel Room 2 The Importance of Place in Science Fiction
02:00 PM - 03:00 PM Panel Room 2 Reading

Monday, October 10, 2011

Positive signs

My story "The Centurion and the Rainman" which has been bought by BuzzyMag is with an editor for line editing. I turned in my revised version - in response to the original edit - around Labor Day. Hopefully this process will continue to go smoothly. BuzzyMag expects to debut at the start of the new year.

I also got an email that a story has passed the first round at Daily Science Fiction. I didn't even know Daily Science Fiction HAD a second round, I've never been there before. So that's another piece of good news.

The knee continues to get better, by way of recovery from last Thursday's fall. I have a day off from doing the paper today.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Close call

I had a rather startling accident Thursday, and while I walked away relatively unhurt, I was badly shaken. Somehow a blue Ethernet cable that runs under my desk had pulled, or been pulled, away from the wall, and I didn't notice it was under my feet. It was 7:30 a.m. when I jumped up from my seat and realized a foot was caught in the cable.

I had jumped up fast enough that I was already off balance by the time I realized my foot was caught, and I was helpless as I fell down like a ton of bricks.

On the way down, I think I made a flash decision NOT to throw my hands out - because I would probably break one or both of my wrists - and I twisted somewhat to ultimately take the brunt of the fall on my left knee.

You can imagine what I thought as I was going down. Some of my thoughts included:

A. I've never broken a bone before. I hope this doesn't hurt too much.

B. Patricia is not going to enjoy getting the phone call that I'm in the hospital.

C. I wonder who'll get the paper to press today.

My cry as I went down was essentially a strangled scream of surprise and dismay. I can imagine what it sounded like to Rey, the sports editor, who was the only other person there.

After I landed I rolled over on my back, Rey rushed over and asked if I needed an ambulance. I told him I wanted to lay there a minute and see how I felt.

I didn't feel any sharp pains, and after a minute I realized I had survived the fall intact. I got up on my own and after a few minutes got back to work.

I took a bad jolt and I felt somewhat woozy until after lunch, but all things considered I think I was pretty lucky. I'm glad Rey was there, in case I had needed any help. It's also good to see I'm not that fragile.

Probably as a result of the overall stress to my system, by Friday I had caught a stomach virus that's been going around the office, and I had a stomach ache Saturday. It seems to have been a 24-hour thing, and I'm feeling better now.

My left knee remains sore, but it never swelled or discolored, and it will probably feel normal in another day or two.

Although I have some things to do Monday, it is my day off from doing the paper, so I have a little time to recover. I skipped church this morning, Patricia has to give my regards since she teaches third and fourth grade Sunday school.

Like I said, a close call, but it turned out OK.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

"Re-Opening Night"

The autumn issue of 4 Star Stories is on-line, and they've published another story of mine, "Re-Opening Night". This story is a mash-up of vaudeville and space opera, if you can believe it, that incorporates that old routine most people remember as "Niagara Falls" - Slowly I turn, step by step, inch by inch.

It allowed me to dredge out and hold up to the light old racial and ethnic stereotypes, both to remind us of them and highlight how wrong they were. Some of the terminology is crude, but appropriate for the protagonists, who've been reconstituted after being disembodied in 1927. In the back of my mind I recall a story I read years ago by Brenda Clough called "May Be Some Time" about a frozen Antarctic explorer from the Robert Scott Expedition being thawed out in modern times.

Another interesting thing is how, having missed the last three quarters of the 20th Century. how much the protags missed. They missed the Great Depression, much less WWII and all else.

This is the third story 4 Star has published of mine this year, and my 58th story overall since 2003.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Photos from FenCon

Sitting in the gallery last weekend and banging away on my Smith Corona Classic 12 portable typewriter attracted a little attention. A few photos found their way onto the internet. I've copied four here. The top right one was posted by Rie Sheridan Rose on Facebook, from when I pretended the typewriter was a real old-fasioned "laptop". The others are from when I was sitting at my table. The top left one was taken and posted on his blog by my good friend Keith West. The one below that was actually posted on the FenCon Facebook page. The bottom photo was taken by Charles Tolliver and posted on facebook. Thanks, folks. As you might surmise from the changed shirt, three of the photos were taken Saturday, and one on Sunday. Chris Garcia has the story I wrote on Saturday, "The Quantum Gunman", and will publish it in his Drink Tank 300 issue





Thursday, September 29, 2011

Last nuggets from FenCon

Pardon the episodic nature of my posts, but I have to take breaks because of my carpal tunnel syndrome.

Apparently over time I've helped some people advance their writing. While at FenCon I had one guy tell me that thanks to some insights I gave him on how journalists think and act, he was able to develop a character in a book he just finished. Another fellow said that after taking some advice I once gave on a panel he was able to make his first sale.

I'm also pleasantly surprised that people are buying my books. Zane Melder of Edge Books sold out of "Texas & Other Planets". Selina Rosen said "Music for Four Hands" sold well, at least ten copies. One time I found a guy waiting for me at the entrance of a panel to sign his book, which means he looked up my schedule. I had a number of people come up to me (and my typewriter) in the gallery and ask me to sign their books.

Speaking of my typewriter, many people took my photos, and at least three - FenCon itself, Rie Sheridan Rose, and Charles Tolliver - posted pix on their Facebook pages. My old friend Keith West also posted a photo on his blog. In Rie's case, I put the typewriter in my lap so we could say it was an old school laptop.

The strangest thing was that at least five time people came up to me and started to talk thinking I was Lou Anders - which is pretty goofy, especially if you know what we look like. I told Lou that Sunday afternoon. He suggested I should shave my head and he could grow a goatee.

Well, one more con for this year. I'll be at Contraflow in New Orleans Nov. 4-6.

And then there's Warehouse 13

Sunday morning Bill Ledbetter and I and other Baen-type authors joined Toni Weisskopf in the hotel restaurant for breakfast. Bill and I were both published in Jim Baen's Universe. Among the folks there was Sarah Hoyt, who had a story - "Scraps of Fog" - in the same issue that ran "The Witch of Waxahachie, April 2008. I remembered it, too!

I've heard and seen Toni a number of times over the years. It was nice to have a chance to chat and pick her brain. When I returned home and got caught up with my email, I saw that we will be sharing a panel at Contraflow in November.

As in the case Friday and Saturday, I only had one panel that day. Sometimes you get your panels from a con and you wonder what was running through their minds, and then there's times you can tell they really paid attention to your requests. When I saw FenCon put me on the panel for Warehouse 13 ("Don't Touch that Artifact") - and made me moderator - I knew they paid attention to my questionnaire. Thanks, guys!

The panel convened at 11 a.m. Sunday, and I was joined by Rosemary Clement-Moore, Karen Bogen, Aelle Able and Michelle Bardsley. Michael Finn had asked me to also be on the panel, and since there was an extra chair - and he's such a nice guy - and I'm such a nice guy - he joined us.

For the most part were were all Warehouse 13 enthusiasts (there are many weeks it's the only television show I watch) and so we all had a good time and the panel went very well.

Afterwards I set up in the gallery again. People stopped by to get me to sign theirs books, and all three - Fantastic Texas, Texas and Other Planets, and Music for Four Hands - all made an appearance. In the meantime a banged out another story, a flash called "Wet and Wild". People asked me what happened to "The Quantum Gunman" and I told them I gave it to Chris Garcia for Drink Tank 300, so I hope I got it a little more attention. I brought "Wet and Wild" - which was only three pages long - back home with me.

Coincidence

Tuesday night, after I posted here, I emailed Chris Garcia. He replied that he was - at that moment - keyboarding "The Quantum Gunman". He said he plans to use a copy of a typed page as a graphic with the story. He said he still has to figure out how to do that since Drink Tank is printed in a landscape format. Good luck, Chris, this guy is really enthused!

As I have mentioned. I returned to Fencon Saturday in time for my panel on "How to Build a Scientist" at 2 p.m. I was the only non-scientist on the panel, which was helpful in my moderating because I had nothing to contribute - so I could concentrate on moving the panel along. My compatriots were Guest of Honor Gail Carriger, Scientist Guest of Honor Les Johnson, Alexis Glynn Lattner and Scott Padgett. I really don't even understand what any of them do for a living, but as for the moderating - well, the panel was very well received by the audience, and one panelist afterwards complimented me on the job I did.

Bill Ledbetter and I then went out to The Tasty Greek on Belt Line Road and enjoyed some tasty Middle Eastern cuisine. We came back to the Con and I set up in the gallery and, as I mentioned before, typed up "The Quantum Gunman". Bill was nice enough to put me up for the night in his guest bedroom since my original plan for Saturday night accommodations fell through.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chris Garcia, Drink Tank and the Quantum Gunman

My panel on Friday night was called "The Liar's Panel". Given the late hour and subject, it wasn't a very serious panel, but lots of fun, and everyone - panelists included - enjoyed it.

My fellow panelists included Brad Denton - an old acquaintance now by now - Rosemary Clement Moore, Steve Wedel, and moderator Chris Garcia.

I'd never met Chris before - he lives in California - but he seemed like a nice guy, very cheerful, upbeat and friendly. It was afterwards that I made the connection and realized he's the guy who won the Fanzine Hugo this year for "Drink Tank". I told a friend how nice he seemed, and they said "he's still on the high from the Hugo". He also said Chris' Hugo acceptance speech was quite a funny and touching scene.

Now, Saturday evening, as I typed out "The Quantum Gunman" I would lay out each page in succession on the table of the gallery. Some people came along and read it in installments as I banged it out. When it was all laid out, Chris came by and gave it a read. He liked it and asked me what I was planning to do with it.

He is planning a special project for the 300th issue of Drink Tank, called Drink Tank 300, where he will feature 300 different contributors. I told him if he wanted "The Quantum Gunman" for Drink Tank 300, it was all his, and he took it and walked away with a big smile.

I'm happy to help out. Chris said he is planning to get Drink Tank 300 out in October or maybe late November. I'm looking forward to it.

Oh, and while I thought the person who told me about Chris' acceptance speech was exaggerating, Chris confirmed the account himself. I subsequently saw that Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing referred to it as the "greatest Hugo moment in recent history".

"The Quantum Gunman" is the 97th short story I have written.

Back from Fencon

FenCon went very well this year. I'm sure hosting the DeepSouthCon drew a lot of extra people, but the Fen Folks were up to it all. You could tell they were very concerned and diligent to be good hosts.

My schedule was a bit screwy. Since I worked Friday I indicated that I should have no panels before 5 p.m. They followed my wishes, and my first panel was Friday at 10 p.m. I left Mount Pleasant about 5:30 p.m. and got to Dallas in time to spend a couple of hours before the panel visiting with people. After the panel I left to drive back to Mount Pleasant. Because of particular reasons that aren't interesting to the layman, I really wanted to to do the Sunday paper, and when I saw my first panel on Saturday wasn't until 2 p.m., I decided to work Saturday morning and rejoin the convention afterwards.

It got there in time for the 2 p.m. panel, and afterwards caught a late lunch with Bill Ledbetter at the Tasty Greek restaurant on Belt Line Road. When we got back to the convention I set up my typewriter in the gallery and began my little gig again - like I did at ArmadilloCon - where I write a story in public.

I banged out a six page story, "The Quantum Gunman", between 6-8:30 p.m. I also used the typewriter Sunday, and I am now suffering the side effect, because my carpal tunnel syndrome has become inflamed. I have to sign off for now and get a cold pad.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fencon starts Friday

Fencon in Dallas starts tomorrow. Just to repeat, here are my panels for the weekend:

Friday 10:00 PM Live Oak
This is not the Liar's Panel
Tall tales that may or may not be true. Once the door closes, don't believe anything you hear! Especially the part about the cake. Panelists: L. Antonelli , R. Clement-Moore , B. Denton , S. Wedel , C. Garcia *

Saturday 2:00 PM Addison Lecture Hall
How to Build a Scientist
Need a brainiac scientist for your science fiction story? Most of our panelists are honest-to-pete card-carrying scientists, who will discuss the realities of living a life of science. Find out what drives their research: Grant money? Tenure? Curiosity? Peer pressure? Panelists: G. Carriger , L. Johnson , A. Latner , S. Padget , L. Antonelli *

Sunday 11:00 AM Live Oak
Don't Touch That Artifact!
Warehouse 13 is one of the hottest shows on Syfy. What makes it so engaging? Come listen as our panelists discuss the antics of Myka, Pete, Claudia, Jinxie, and Artie and their efforts to corral the most powerful objects in the world. Panelists: A. Ables , M. Bardsley , K. Bogen , R. Clement-Moore , L. Antonelli *

* denotes Moderator.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Zombies are loose!

The ebook "Zombiefied! An Anthology of All Things Zombie" By Carol Hightshoe - Published By Sky Warrior Book Publishing - is now available for $3.99 from Smashwords. Here's the description:

Zombie crime fighters, politicians, soldiers, rescuers—but a Zombie prom date or bowler? If you’re looking for Zombies, prepare to be ZOMBIEFIED! Two dozen amazing zombie stories sure to breathe life back into the Undead. If you’re looking for stories that shamble, groan, and eat brains, you’re sure to become ZOMBIEFIED. Stories by Dayton Ward, M.H Bonham, Gary Jonas, David Lee Summers, Carol Hightshoe, Laura Givens, Rie Sheridan Rose, Lou Antonelli, John Lance - And Many More!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Respect

In checking my submissions log last night, I noticed it has been 90 days since I sent out a mailed sub to a particular venue. Having had some bad experiences with stories that were lost, I queried the magazine. I got a reply that same evening. I replied:

"Thanks for the prompt reply. It's nice to be treated respectfully. I've had a number of cases where I never got a reply to a query, much less a rejection; one time, I waited a year and a half for a reply to a query - and then it WAS a rejection. So thanks!"

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Moderation

In checking the latest programming update for FenCon, I see I am now listed as the moderator for the Saturday 2 p.m. panel on "How to Build Scientist" I should be able to do a good job as moderator since I have no science background whatsoever and should keep the discussion running smoothly because I won't really be able to add anything.

Got the "The Stinky Men" back from Gordon, who noted it is obviously a homage to "The Ugly Chickens" (Guilty!) and not as good a story (Guilty!). I was already thinking it might find a better home in a non-genre magazine, someplace where people won't recognize "The Ugly Chickens" comparisons.

Of course, the story was written as sort of a gimmick in the dealers' room at ArmadilloCon, so there are constraints involved in its inception. I just played out an idea in my head, I didn't even write up an outline.

One thing that DID surprise me is that Gordon said he still gets typed manuscripts, generally from people in prison!

I had sent photocopies of "Stinky" to Bill Crider and Jayme Blaschke, both of whom had read some of it as it was being written. Bill said he thought it's a perfectly publishable story. Jayme said he thought the last scene, the epilogue, was unnecessary.

I have another place I want to send the original typewritten manuscript to. Then I will think about entering it into a Word file, at which time I will probably make some edits.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

FenCon schedule

I've gotten my schedule for FenCon in Dallas, which is coming up Sept. 23-25. When I got the first version, I had a problem with some of the scheduling, so I got back to the planners, and they made a nice switch that leaves me very satisfied. I have three panels in three days, which leaves lots of time for enjoying Dallas and genre chums. Here are my panels:

Friday 10:00 PM Live Oak This is not the Liar's Panel Description: Tall tales that may or may not be true. Once the door closes, don't believe anything you hear! Especially the part about the cake.Panelists: L. Antonelli , R. Clement-Moore , B. Denton , S. Wedel , C. Garcia *

Saturday 2:00 PM Addison Lecture Hall How to Build a Scientist Description: Need a brainiac scientist for your science fiction story? Most of our panelists are honest-to-pete card-carrying scientists, who will discuss the realities of living a life of science. Find out what drives their research: Grant money? Tenure? Curiosity? Peer pressure? Panelists: L. Antonelli , G. Carriger , L. Johnson , A. Latner , S. Padget

Sunday 11:00 AM Live Oak Don't Touch That Artifact! (M) Description: Warehouse 13 is one of the hottest shows on Syfy. What makes it so engaging? Come listen as our panelists discuss the antics of Myka, Pete, Claudia, Jinxie, and Artie and their efforts to corral the most powerful objects in the world. Panelists: A. Ables , M. Bardsley , R. Clement-Moore , L. Antonelli*

The asterisks denote the moderators, so you can see I will be moderating the panel on Warehouse 13, which I will really enjoy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Re-opening Night"

Over the weekend I finished the rewrite for "Re-Opening Night", the story that's going to be published at 4 Star Stories. Everything seems to be a "go" for publication in the quarterly issue that will come out right around the time of FenCon.

"Re-Opening Night" would be my 58th publication, I believe. Meanwhile I am working on the slush pile and preparing to send some stories out again.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Prepare to be "Zombiefied"

I received word that the anthology "Zombiefied" being published by Sky Warrior Books should be out in a Kindle edition by Oct. 1st, so if you and/or your friends like short stories about the world of the undead, take note.

The editor of "Zombiefied" is Carol Hightshoe. Sky Warrior is run by Maggie Bonham. On their web site they describe themselves as "publishers of quality Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror in e-book formats by established authors."

My story "Good News for the Dead" was originally published in M-Brane SF No. 3 (April 2009). Scott Cupp, in his June 23rd, 2011, review of "Texas & Other Planets" - which includes "Good News for the Dead - on the Missions Unknown web site, said it was an "interesting zombie story (a rare thing in my opinion)."

This will be the first time I've had a story reprinted in a themed anthology. I assure you, "Good News for the Dead" is the only Christian zombie story you will ever read.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Latest sub, and latest start

I started a new story today, a fantasy called "The Man Who Couldn't Fly", about a man who finds himself in a alternate world where levitation is commonplace, and he is the object of sympathy and condescension because he can only travel on foot. Got the start down, just past 1,000 words.

I sent off a story to David and Mary Gray at 4 Star Stories a few days ago for their third quarterly issue, which should come out this month. The first reaction to "Re-Opening Night" has been very positive.

Monday, September 05, 2011

"The Stinky Men" shoves off

I've got the original typed manuscript of "The Stinky Men" ready to go out in tomorrow's mail to Gordon Van Gelder at F&SF. I doubt he'll buy it - Gordon is a tough sell - but he's the last of the major genre publishers who still only takes mailed submissions.

This is the story I typed while sitting at my table in the dealers' room at ArmadilloCon. I typed eight pages that Saturday, and then, after reading what I had Saturday night, returned on Sunday and backed up a page and picked up again to come up with a better ending. So pages 1-7 were typed Saturday and 8-11 on Sunday.

Although I doubt Gordon will buy the story, I want him to at least see it, if for nothing but for the novelty's sake, so he can say years from now some crackpot in East Texas was still sending him typed stories in 2011! In the meantime I had better start typing it up in a Microsoft Word file.

I'm actually sending him the original, but needless to say, I've made a few photocopies.

The story came in at 2,860 words - by my manual word count. This is the sixth short story I've finished this year, the 95th in the past ten years. Right now I have dozen stories in various slush piles.

Skin deep

On a personal note, I was relieved after a visit to a dermatologist last Thursday. A few weeks ago, after I trimmed back my beard to cope with the summer heat, I found a brownish blotch on my cheek I had never seen before that had appeared under the beard. I had never seen a spot like this before, and I had never seen one that just "appeared". Of course, I thought it might be skin cancer.

This was my first visit ever to a dermatologist. He said what I had was a seborrheic keratosis, a benign growth that comes with age. He examined me and said I had a couple on my back, I just didn't know they were there.

No treatment is necessary. I will just let my beard grow back over it. Although I had to spend a little money for the visit - most of the cost is covered by my insurance - it was worth it for the peace of mind.

I had to work today, but the office was closed for business and the news staff came in and knocked out the Monday paper with blazing speed. I got there by 6:30, and everyone else came by and we were done and the paper was rolling off the press by 10:30 a.m.

A lot of people I know in the genre writing field spent this past weekend at DragonCon in Atlanta. Early Sunday morning while cooking breakfast I was watching CNN News and they had a long report on the event - a number of interviews plus extensive footage of the parade. DragonCon attracted 45,000 people, which sounds small compared to ComicCon, but as one of the people interviewed pointed out, ComicCon is run by a company, while DragonCon is the largest fan-run convention in the world.

Looking forward to FenCon at the end of th month.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Rewrites

I spent some time this weekend doing a little rewriting to the end of "Passport to Pleasantville" before dropping it over the transom at Analog.

David and Mary Gray are planning their third issue of 4 Star Stories for later this month and I spent a lot more time fixing' up a old story of mine that I had dropped in the trunk. I sent it to them this evening, the story is called "Re-Opening Night".

I was tickled when John DeNardo with SF Signal, when he recalled his visits at ArmadilloCon, called me "The Hardest Working Man in Texas". I have inquired about renting some table time in the dealers' room at Fencon.

My next task is to clean up the original typewritten manuscript for "The Stinky Men" and send it off

Friday, September 02, 2011

Some last asides from ArmadilloCon

When I met Paulo Bacigalupi in the atrium of the hotel, I had been chatting with Rhonda Eudaly and Bill Ledbetter. The subject of the pronunciation of his name immediately came up, and Paulo - apparently after many years of experience - instantly began to explain it. I cut him off. "Hey, I know how to pronounce Ba-cha-ga-loop!* He gave a big smile.

I reminded him that in one part of Italy it's so common it's actually considered a generic name. "Yeah, I've heard it's like a joke name!" he said.

I said, "it's like Boudreaux in Cajun Country."

Being Italian-American, I suppose I never gauged how hard it is for other people to pronounce his name, but honest to god, that afternoon someone came up to me in the dealers' room and said, "Hey, Lou, I heard you know how to pronounce Paulo's name!"

As the panel on Secret History that met at mid-day Sunday was breaking up, I waved a mass market paperback copy of Steven Brust's "The Paths of the Dead" at him - and the audience. I said that while I don't read high fantasy, I bought the book Thursday in the Dollar General store on Jefferson St. in Mount Pleasant. I had stopped to pick up some groceries on the way home from work, and while standing in line, I caught sight of the paperback spin rack - and Steve's book was sitting there.

Well heck, I thought, that must be a sign - so I bought it. I told Steve "you know you are a best-selling author when you're on the spin rack in the Dollar General in Mount Pleasant, Texas! That means your books are sold EVERYWHERE"

I think he really got a kick out of that! I asked him to sign the book, too, and he did, with a big smile.

Well, unless I think of something else, I think that's it for my ArmadilloCon observations. As you can probably tell, I had a pretty good time.

* In most polysyllabic Italian names - such as both Bacigalupi and Antonelli - the emphasis is on the second syllable. Therefore Paulo's name is pronounced Ba CHA ga loop just like my name is pronounced An TON el li.

Baciagalupi is often spelled with an "a" in that second syllable. A variant pronunciation acts like that "a" is always there, and also uses the "i" at the end as a very weak vowel. That pronouncation would be Ba chee-a ga loop-a. Italians tend to really stifle vowels at the end of words - and in Italian every word ends in a vowel - which is why the typical imitation of an Italian accent has a weak "uh" sound at the end of every word, "I'ma gonna knocka you brainsa out!"

Can't miss this event!

The Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy (TBRC) is pleased to announce that the annual Texas Bigfoot Conference, for the third consecutive year, will be held in Tyler at the Caldwell Auditorium, 301 S. College Ave., October 1, 2011. This is the eleventh year for the conference, previously held in Jefferson.

The Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) scientific research organization, sponsors the event and the 7:30 PM evening banquet, held at the Discovery Science Place, 308 N. Broadway Ave. The banquet will spotlight the talents of singer/songwriter Lenny Green and a special presentation by Dr. Ian Redmond, a world-renowned tropical field biologist and conservationist.

Dr. Redmond spent years studying mountain gorillas with the famous researcher Dian Fossey and has been featured in 50 documentaries. He advised actress Sigourney Weaver for the Gorillas in the Mist movie, had a character based on him in the film, and is in high demand as a public speaker around the world.

Earlier this year Redmond was a featured scientist on the History cable channel documentary Bigfoot: The Definitive Guide, as was Jeff Meldrum, an anatomy and anthropology professor from Idaho State University. Dr. Meldrum, author of the book Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, will also be speaking at this year's conference.

General admission is $25, with various upgrade packages available. Discounts are available for students, educators and active military with proper ID.

The TBRC is comprised of volunteer investigators, scientists and naturalists, actively engaged in activities designed to test the hypothesis that a very rare form of unknown primate-commonly referred to as bigfoot or the sasquatch-resides in very remote areas where there is abundant rainfall, dense forestation, and low human population densities. Even Henry Gee-senior editor for Nature magazine-concedes the plausibility of the sasquatch's existence given the incredible rate at which large secretive mammalian species continue to be documented even into the twenty-first century (http://is.gd/g36zW).

The TBRC is funded by membership dues, fundraisers, and the annual Texas Bigfoot Conference, in addition to donations and grants. The TBRC desires to enhance the credibility of bigfoot/sasquatch research and facilitate a greater degree of acceptance by the scientific community and other segments of society of the likelihood of a biological basis behind the sasquatch mystery.

For more information on the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy go to www.texasbigfoot.com<http://www.texasbigfoot.com>.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

People at ArmadilloCon



Since I made the commitment to man my table at the convention, I pretty much stayed there when I wasn't at any panels. Although the dealers' room closed at 6 p.m. Saturday, I then had panels at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and a reading at 10 p.m. so I didn't have much free time, especially when you factor need the need for a meal. I was also tired after the long drive that morning. The net result was I never stepped foot in the con suite Saturday, or as it turned out, all all during the convention.

Still, I ran into a number of old friends. Two I didn't see enough of were Adrian Simmons and Bill Ledbetter, but as I mentioned in a previous post, Adrian was tied down at his own table in the dealers' room. I didn't see Bill until Sunday. Turns out he got to the con later than me, he had tp send a kid off to college at Tarleton in Stephenville.

The convention was an opportunity for me to meet some people I had never seen before. I didn't share any panels with the Guest of Honor, Paolo Pacigalupi, and I despaired of meeting him, and then Sunday morning I ran into him at the coffee shop in the atrium of the hotel. I told him that last fall when I met Paul DiFillipo in Providence we joked that if all three of us could get together in one place we'd have the vast majority of Italian-American s-f writers in the country (the other member would be Ben Bova).

I'd actually sent an email to Paul last spring urging him to come to ArmadilloCon so the three of use would get together, but I suppose he wasn't willing to blow hundreds of bucks for an airline ticket on a whim. Paolo had met Paul in the past, and asked me to pass long his regards. I bet we'll all meet finally in the WorldCon in San Antonio in 2013.

The main things I asked Paolo were his Italian roots (it was his great-great-grandfather, who he is named for, who trotted down the proverbial banana boat gangplank). In my case, it was my grandfather and parents who both immigrated. Also, I've always been puzzled by the fact that, when I read his short story "Pump Six", it was obvious the author was familiar with the physical layout of Columbia University in New York City - which I attended - but I have never seen any indication that Paolo attended Columbia. He said he didn't, but his wife went to Teachers College, so that's cleared up.

The Guest Editor was Lou Anders - someone else I have never met - and we shared a panel at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon on "The Rise of Steampunk Fiction". The moderator was Katherine Kimbriel, and the other panelists were Bev Hale - a dear friend - and T.M. Wagner. It was a very good panel, with good discussion and lots of information - the panelists were will chosen - though it occasionally got confusing - at least to me - as people referred to "Lou". At one point I referred to Anders as "the real Lou".

Anders had nabbed the Hugo for Best Editor - Long Form at the WorldCon the previous weekend. As the panel broke up I suggested he should have brought it, and used it to bang on the table when he wanted to speak.

Old chum Jayme Blaschke and I were on the panel at 7 p.m. on "What is the Next Big Literary Movement in Texas?", which was moderated by Don Webb. The other panelists were Rhonda Eudaly, Lee Thomas and Katy Stauber. This panel I suppose was the obligatory Texas-themed panel, and in truth, I don't think we had much to say - but we flung the bull well. Don started the "TexCore" literary - which I suppose is hard-core Texas-themed fiction. This panel was more fun that informative - but what's wrong with that?

At 8 p.m. I was on the panel about "Cyberpunk - How it Influenced Fiction, technology and the World". How I managed to be on panels about Cyberpunk and Steampunk on the same day I'll never know. Bruce Sterling - who was a last minute addition to the con - was on this panel. I can recall that we've ever been on a panel before. The moderator was Chris Brown, and other panelists were Michael Finn and David Cake, who is the TAFF person this year from Australia. Rick Klaw was supposed to be there, but didn't make it. When I saw him Sundayhe said he was just not feeling well by that time.

This was a very well attended panel, with some very knowledgeable people, and I think the audience got a lot out of it. My supposition is that it was put there to make sure I didn't show up at the Elizabeth Moon and Wiscon panel, which was held at the same time.

One highlight (or low point) depending on how you look at it, was when I told a joke and it fell flatter than a pancake. I realized then I needed dinner and my blood sugar was really dropping.

Later than evening I attended a reading by Rie Sheridan Rose of the beginning of a horror story called "The Skellyman". It was very good, though not something I would write. Then at 10 p.m. I had my reading, which drew two people, who listened to my first eight-page rough draft of "The Stinky Men". I later leaned on their feedback for a rewrite.

After that it was to bed, I was exhausted.

The highlight of the con for me was the panel on "Secret History" held at noon on Sunday. In addition to being on the same panel with Howard Waldrop, it was loads of fun because this is really the type of fiction I have written the most best about.

The moderator was Madeliene Rose Dimond, and the other panelists were Steven Brust and Alan Porter. This was an interesting mix, especially since Brust writes high fantasy and Porter has worked primarily in comic books, but it worked very well.

The panel had the perfect combination of information and fun, I think the audience really got a kick out of it. The high point for me was, when during a discussion of how you can ever know what really happened in an event, we touched on the Dominque Straus-Kahn case. I dismissed DSK as "Pepe LePew with money" and Howard nearly died laughing.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More from the dealers' room

By the way, I gave away Bic Orange Fine Point pens to anyone who bought a copy of "Music for Four Hands" from me in ArmadilloCon. That way, they would have the pen the book was signed with, and I helped spread the pen - kinda like Johnny Appleseed and apple seeds.

I saw a number of chums in the dealers' room, including Scott and Sandi Cupp. Bruce Sterling had a table down the aisle. It seems he's pretty much living in Turin now, but he was home for a while and had a garage sale; of course, his garbage was more interesting that most people's collectibles.

Adrian Simmons was farther down the block, with his own book publisher. I didn't really get a chance to talk, since he was tied up there, and unfortunately we didn't share any panels.

Joe and Kasey Lansdale were down the block and around the corner, selling Mojo-iana as usual.

My autograph session was Sunday at 2 p.m. and I shared the table with Josh Rountree and Rick Klaw, two very knowledgeable people. It was to have a few people stop by and get their books signed; I've had many times in the past when I sat there without so much as a bill collector stopping by. I know in at least one case I sent someone down to Zane Melder at Edge Books and they also came back with a copy of "Fantastic Texas" for me to sign.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Anthology sale



I've signed a contract to have "Good News for the Dead" reprinted in an anthology called "Zombified" being published by Sky Warrior Books. I had submitted the story to the editor Carol Hightshoe. Sky Warrior is run by Maggie Bonham.
On their web site they describe themselves as "publishers of quality Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror in e-book formats by established authors."
"Good News for the Dead" was originally published in M-Brane SF No. 3 (April 2009). Scott Cupp, in his June 23rd review of "Texas & Other Planets" on the Missions Unknown web site, said it was an "interesting zombie story (a rare thing in my opinion)."
This will be the first time I've had a story reprinted in a themed anthology. It should be out this fall.

The typewriter times

Spent Saturday and Sunday in Austin at ArmadilloCon. My idea about bringing a portable typewriter to my table in the dealers' room proved to be a great idea. In the two days I actually banged out a 12-page story, a homage to Howard Waldrop and "The Ugly Chickens" called "The Stinky Men".

I sold enough copies of "Music for Four Hands" (ten) to pay for the table rental to recoup my cost of the table, so the venture cost me nothing. Having the table was like having a private office, it gave me a place to hang out and spread my stuff. And instead of looking like some lonely mook trying to sell books, I had something to do between visits with bystanders.

I worked Friday and didn't leave Mount Pleasant until 5:30 a.m. Saturday, so I didn't get to the convention until about 11:15 a.m. I set up my stuff and went to lunch with my younger brother, who lives in Austin. I left the typewriter behind with a sheet of paper in it where I had banged "Out to Lunch".

I was back by 1:15 and the rest of the afternoon - except when I had a panel at 3 p.m. - I spent at my table, visiting and typing. Bill Crider came by and bought the first copy of "Music for Four Hands", which I suitably autographed. He took a photo of me at work, which you can see on his blog.

The story actually flowed well enough that I had an eight-page first draft done by the time the dealers' room closed at 6 p.m. I read that story at my scheduled reading at 10 p.m. - which despite the late hour attracted two people - and on Sunday backed up a bit and did a new ending.
Jayme Blaschke read the first draft of "Stinky Men" earlier in the evening and he also said the ending was weak, but I was actually surprised that I could come up with something finished by the time the dealers' room closed. I need to send him a photocopy of the final version.

I will go back and made correct some typos I made along the way, but I have something that - while not the most brilliant story in the world - will at least not make editors' "eyes bleed" - to use one of Howard Waldrop's phrases.

The story, as I said, is obviously inspired by "The Ugly Chickens" and I flat-out used a "Professor Waldrop" in the story. I probably should sent Howard a copy, too, just for grins.

People said they could hear the clacking of the typewriter all across the dealers' room, and a number of people stopped by in search of the sound. Some also took pictures; it was cute when a few people with children told them what I was doing, since the youngsters didn't even know what a typewriter was.

A few people also made comparisons to Harlan Ellison (who wrote a story back in the 1980s called "Hitler Painted Roses" while sitting in a store window) and, of course, Howard, who still uses a typewriter for real.

I probably will send "The Stinky Men" to Gordon VanGelder at F&SF since he is the last of he Big Three magazines that only takes hard copy. Even if he doesn't buy it, he can still say years from now that he still got a typed submission - by mail - as late as 2011.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Leaving for ArmadilloCon

I'm hitting the road early Saturday morning for Austin and will be spending Saturday and Sunday at ArmadilloCon, so bye for now!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Music for Four Hands"

I came home this afternoon and found a box leaning on the front door. I got the 20 copies of "Music for Four Hands" from Yard Dog Press. The officious release date for the chapbook - the date in the book - is Sept. 1, 2011, but I will be selling copies at ArmadilloCon this weekend. That's advance sales I guess. That's one of the reasons I rented tables in the Dealers' Room. In addition to giving me a place to park my portable typewriter I will have copies of "Music" there. Zane Melder with Edge Books will have copies of "Fantastic Texas" and "Texas & Other Planets", but I knew that "Music" would come out so close to the con that the only way to have it there would be if I bring it myself - which I will indeed do.

Since "Fantastic Texas" was published in 2009 and "Texas & Other Planets" in 2010, this means I will have had three books published in three years.

When I came home, it was earlier than usual. A thunderstorm rolled through the city - the first genuine gully-washer in months and months. I haven't rolled up the windows of my car in ages, and I ran out in the rain to do that. I got soaked and chilled, and an hour later began to retch. I went home, took some medicine, and went to bed. I'm feeling better now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

News from Tallahassee (?)

There was some surprising news today from Ann Vandermeer, to wit:

--

I am very sad to have to tell you that my editorship at Weird Tales, which has included one Hugo Award win and three Hugo Award nominations, is about to come to an end. The publisher, John Betancourt of Wildside Press, is selling the magazine to Marvin Kaye.

Kaye is buying the magazine because he wants to edit it himself. He will not be retaining the staff from my tenure. I wish him the best with the different direction he wants to pursue, including his first, Cthulhu-themed issue. The current issue of Weird Tales is #358, just published. My last issue will be #359, which Kaye plans to publish in February of next year. Other stories I bought will be published in various issues thereafter.

The past five years reading fiction for Weird Tales magazine has been an honor for me. I had a blast doing this but I have also contributed to the canon of “the weird tale”—a responsibility I take seriously, not only for the readers of today, but for the readers of tomorrow. This iconic magazine originally blazed a trail for new approaches to dark fantastical fiction, and I did my best to return to that legacy. In addition to bringing home the first Hugo Award win in the history of Weird Tales, I was also only the second female editor of the magazine, and presided over the only all-female staff ever for the magazine.

---

Ann goes on to offer thanks, her future plans as well as she knows them, and something of a valedictory. If you want to read the rest on the Weird Tales web site, go here:

I had the opportunity to meet and visit with Ann in June at ApolloCon. She was very nice and struck me as very dedicated to the genre. I'm sure she and husband Jeff will go on to bigger and better things, but still, everyone hates an unplanned and unanticipated career move.

Monday, August 22, 2011

News from Reno

The world science fiction convention was in Reno this past weekend. The s-f pros and diehards were all gathered up and appeared to have a good time, from all the postings on the internet I read. I really doubt I'm an important enough writer to spend time at a world con; I went to NASFIC in St. Louis back in 2007 and got the cold shoulder from a number of pros.

Also, WorldCon always seems to be the weekend before ArmadilloCon, and I simply don't have the stamina to attend two cons on two successive weekends. So now, I'm looking forward to 'DilloCon this weekend. I have a few friends there and a decent set of panels, considering I'm not getting there until Saturday morning (I work mornings Saturday on my job at the newspaper, so to attend all three days of a con I'd have to burn TWO vacation days. My compromise is to work Friday and take Saturday off).

Next month I will go to Fencon in Dallas, and in December I plan to be at Contraflow in New Orleans.

San Antonio won the vote in Rno to host WorldCon in 2014, which should be fun. Everything I've heard about the last WorldCon there in 1997 was positive. Although I doubt I'll be any closer to being considered a serious s-f writer then, I'm sure I'll attend because it's so close.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Disappointments

A few months ago I made plans to offer a class through the continuing education department of the local community college, "The Art and Craft of Writing Speculative Fiction". Plans went well for a while, but about a month ago the department went silent and now communication has completely ceased. I guess the class was rejected and the director didn't want to face me. The only reason I know she's alive is that I saw her picture in the paper. Oh, well.

And over a year ago I sent my novel version of "The Witch of Waxahachie" to a New York publisher. I've queried a few times in the past couple of weeks, but, again, I can't even get a a reply. I suppose no reply is a rejection.

I think during the Recession some people are being stretched so thin at their jobs they can only keep up with bare essentials, and they don't even have time to tell you to go away.

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...