Monday, February 28, 2011

"Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry"

Finished up the second story in my Rebuild series, "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry" and subbed it today. After final edits and tweaks - wherein it contracted another 200 words - it finished up at just over 5,800 words.

As I mentioned before, the first draft of the third story in this series, "Snow Globe" (original working title "She Melted in My Arms) is done. It was read at ConDFW.

Have to find find time for two other genre-related projects, a book proposal to foist on a publisher I met at ConDFW, and a continuing education class proposal I want to run by the local community college. This is also an outgrowth of ConDFW, from some of the work I did for the panel on "Escape from the Slush Pile".

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The plots thicken

Didn't actually do any genre writing this week, but that's because I spent a lot of time revising some outlines. "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry" and "Snow Globe" are so close to being finished that I need a few more stories ready to enter the production line very quickly. My best guess is that "Davis Ex Machina" and "Going After Bozo" may be next in this line-up.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Blurbs set for "Music for Four Hands"

Spoke to both Joe Lansdale and Howard Waldrop yesterday, they've both agreed to blurb "Music for Four Hands". Called Selina and told her, she'll send them a copy so they can check it out. Ed Morris is happier than a pig in poop.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Panels at ConDFW

My panels at ConDFW went very well. My first, at 10 a.m. Saturday, was on the subject of how to get started writing. It was the first panel I moderated. I was joined by Ciara Gold, Lee Martinez and Dusty Rainbolt. We all had great anecdotes and information for the audience, and I think they enjoyed it and learned a lot.

Between that panel and my next one, at 3 p.m., I ran up to Plano, to a shopping mall, and picked up a skirt from Talbots that Patricia had ordered. I caught lunch across the street at a Wendy's.

The 3 p.m. panel on Philip K. Dick only consisted of myself, Guest of Honor Tim Powers and Robert Stikmanz. Tim had a lot of first-hand information on Dick - having known him personally from 1972 to 1982 - and Robert also had some interesting information. This was also enjoyable for the audience.

That evening - thanks to some help via cell phone from my brother - I found a Middle Eastern restaurant that I used to visit when I lived in Dallas County, called The Tasty Greek on Belt Line Road in Addison between Webb Chapel and Josey Lane. I shanghaied Bill Ledbetter.

I ate a large appetizer platter and a gyro, while Bill had a gyro platter. The food was great, and Bill agreed. The proprietor said he recognized me and asked me where I had been. I moved from Dallas County nine years ago, so it is quite possible I may not have been there since 2002.

On Sunday morning at 11 a.m. I moderated the panel on Escaping from the Slush Pile. I was joined by Ciara Gold again, Jaye Wells, Selina Rosen and O.M. Grey. Both Ciara and I brought handouts for the audience, and we all had great advice and example for the audience. I think they really got a lot out of it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Back from ConDFW

I returned from ConDFW yesterday. Things went very well, perhaps better than I would have expected.

I got off at the time I wanted. I picked up the rental car and was on the highway by 3:15 p.m. Friday. I arrived at the Crowne Plaza by 5:30 and very quickly ran into Keith West, Bill Ledbetter, Sam Taylor, Michelle Muenzler and Brad and Sue Sinor.

I brought some books with me and left copies of "Texas & Other Planets" with Zane Melder of Edge Books and Willie Siros in the dealers room.

Two of the first people I met were David and Mary Gray, of the Buzz Blaster radio workshop fame. David said they have decided, with the number of venues that publish s-f shrinking by the day, if not the hour, that they are starting up their own web zine to give folks another place to publish.

I promised them I would submit a story, which I have already done. The ezine will start in April and publish four stories in four issues per year. It is called Four Star Stories. The web page is already up, go check it out.

Opening ceremonies were at 8 p.m. One interesting thing happened during the opening ceremonies, when the con committee announced they were having a fundraising silent auction. Someone's uncle died and left them an enormous collection of memorabilia - most of it apparently being science fiction. The con committee was selling it off.

Two of the movie posters were not genre-related, though; both the one for "Apocalypse Now" and "The Blues Brothers" were signed by the cast.

During the opening ceremonies, I sat in the front row between Brad Foster, and Mark Finn - who happens to own the local movie show in Vernon, Texas. Mark started to drool when he saw both posters, but especially the one for "The Blues Brothers". He looked up at the large poster and read off the signed names in amazement;

"John Belushi!"
"Dan Ackroyd!"
"Ray Charles!"
"Aretha Franklin!"
"Oh-my-God James m********** Brown!"

I have this small idiosyncrasy that when I laugh uncontrollably my knees buckle, and I laughed so hard I pitched forward and fell onto my hands and knees onto the floor. I got back up as quickly as I could, but I still laughed for ten minutes.

Finn later commented on his Facebook page: "I nearly killed Lou Antonelli by invoking the power of James Brown. Haaiioow!"

People who saw me keel over thought something was wrong or my chair had been pushed. It's not the first time this has happened; I fell out my chair laughing at a joke James Hogan told at ArmadilloCon in 2009.

The number of guests and attendees was definitely up from last year, when the event came on the heels of a nasty ice storm. Jack McDevitt, who was the Guest of Honor, couldn't make it because the Atlanta airport was shut down. He came this year, and I was able to talk to him as well as this year's GOH, Tim Powers. I was on a panel with Powers. though not with McDevitt, who still remembered me from the Nebulas in 2007. We talked in the dealers room, and he opined that "Texas & Other Planets" is a great title for a collection.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Finalized schedule for ConDFW

Here's my complete schedule of panels and signings this weekend in Dallas

Saturday:
Panel Room 1 – Warwick
10 am – Pieces of a Puzzle – How to Start Anything!
Panelists: Lou Antonelli (M), C. Dean Anderson, Ciara Gold, A. Lee Martinez, Dusty Rainbolt
A kernel of an idea, a fascinating hero, a breathtaking landscape – each requires something to spark the process of writing. How do you find the corner piece in the puzzle that starts the domino effect? Our panelists give suggestions and personal experiences.

Panel Room 3 – Canterbury
3pm – The World of Philip K. Dick (or How I Came to Love the Future)
Panelists: Tim Powers (M), Robert Stikmanz, Lou Antonelli
One of the most inspirational novelists of the last century, Philip K. Dick has left a lasting impression on the Science Fiction genre. Led by our Guest of Honor, Tim Powers, we explore the legacy he has left behind, from his writing, to the movies, to current science fiction, and beyond!

Sunday:
Panel Room 4 – Churchill
11am - Escape from the Slush Pile
Panelists: Lou Antonelli (M), Ciara Gold, Jaye Wells, Selina Rosen, Richard Weber, O. M. Grey
As the number of hopeful writers increase, the number of submissions increase. Piles upon piles of stories overwhelm every publisher and editor, and they have to make decisions on what makes it, and what is tossed in the slush pile. Our esteemed panelists discuss how to avoid being buried in the pile, and the mistakes to look out for.

Signing
Reading Room – Surrey (2nd Floor)
1pm – T. M. Hunter, Lou Antonelli

Panel Room 2 – Manchester
2pm - Interstellar Archeology: The Debunking
Panelists: Lee Martindale (M), Angeline Hawkes, Lou Antonelli, Scott Cupp, Chris Donahue
The second of two panels where we inflict discover startling artifacts of OBVIOUS alien origin. Our experts tell us how wrong the previous esteemed panelists were! Last year, Sunday’s panel thoroughly debunked Friday’s experts. Come see if the same holds true
this year!

The hotel is Crowne Plaza Suites
7800 Alpha Road
Dallas, Tx. 75240

I have prepared a handout for the panel on escaping the slush pile for the first 30 people who attend.

Anyone who attends my reading will eligible for random drawing to receive a copy of "Fantastic Texas".

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another story sold

I received word that a small new magazine called Shadow Gate will publish my short story "Hopscotch and Hottentots". That's two sales in two days. The first issue of Shadow Gate will be published in April. The only other time I've had a story in the first issue of a magazine was with "Stairway to Heaven" with Ed Morris, which ran in the first issue of Encounters in 2009 (and which will be reprinted in "Music for Four Hands", forthcoming from Yard Dog Press). So "Hopscotch" will mark the first time I've had a solo effort in the debut issue of a magazine.

This will be the 52nd story I've had published since 2003.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hither and yon

Got my first acceptance of the year, Bewildering Stories will be running "Black Hats and Blackberrys" in about a month. It's a flash, a little bit of whimsical alternate history fantasy. Editor Don Webb said "I imagine some may consider it a 'revenge fantasy in a number of ways, but I say if it is, it's done exactly the way it oughta be." I'm proud I managed to work a piece of business from "Blazing Saddles" into it, Webb said the ending "is falling-down funny."
I've had a number of stories run in BWS over the years; "SPPAM" and "I Got You" have been reprinted in "Texas & Other Planets", and "I Got You" was a Year's Best HM in 2005.

ConDFW has added its schedule of readings and signings. I did not ask for a signing; I've come to the conclusion they're a waste of time for lesser authors such as myself. My reading will be in the 1-2 p.m. hour slot on Sunday.

Finished up "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry" and read it to Patricia tonight. She liked it and got it, a good sign because she's not a s-f or fantasy fan. I should finish it up in a day or two.
Completed first rough draft of "Garden of Wonder". I may read it at ConDFW if I think it's ready; otherwise I will read "Gilgamesh".

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry"

Pretty much finished up with the first draft of "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry", story comes in at almost exactly 6,000 words. I had a few loose plot threads to tie up, but I think I've done that. I think the story title "She Melted in My Arms" is about to change to "Garden of Wonder". Outline for "Davis Ex Machina" is really coming together.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

ConDFW panels

Here are my panels for next weekend's ConDFW:

Saturday:
Panel Room 1 – Warwick
10 am – Pieces of a Puzzle – How to Start Anything!
Panelists: Lou Antonelli (M), C. Dean Anderson, Ciara Gold, A. Lee Martinez, Dusty Rainbolt
A kernel of an idea, a fascinating hero, a breathtaking landscape – each requires something to spark the process of writing.
How do you find the corner piece in the puzzle that starts the domino effect? Our panelists give suggestions and personal experiences.

Panel Room 3 – Canterbury
3pm – The World of Philip K. Dick (or How I Came to Love the Future)
Panelists: Tim Powers (M), Robert Stikmanz, Lou Antonelli
One of the most inspirational novelists of the last century, Philip K. Dick has left a lasting impression on the Science Fiction genre. Led by our Guest of Honor, Tim Powers, we explore the legacy he has left behind, from his writing, to the movies, to current science fiction, and beyond!

Sunday:
Panel Room 4 – Churchill
11am - Escape from the Slush Pile
Panelists: Lou Antonelli (M), Ciara Gold, Jaye Wells, Selina Rosen, Richard Weber, O. M. Grey
As the number of hopeful writers increase, the number of submissions increase. Piles upon piles of stories overwhelm every publisher and editor, and they have to make decisions on what makes it, and what is tossed in the slush pile. Our esteemed panelists discuss how to avoid being buried in the pile, and the mistakes to look out for.

Panel Room 2 – Manchester
2pm - Interstellar Archeology: The Debunking
Panelists: Lee Martindale (M), Angeline Hawkes, Lou Antonelli, Scott Cupp, Chris Donahue
The second of two panels where we inflict discover startling artifacts of OBVIOUS alien origin. Our experts tell us how wrong the previous esteemed panelists were! Last year, Sunday’s panel thoroughly debunked Friday’s experts. Come see if the same holds true this year!

As I have mentioned in the past, eight years ago ConDFW was the first con I ever attended, and it helped me get my start in genre writing.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Passport" stamped

Completed "Passport to Pleasantville" tonight. Clocked in at 6,583 words. That's a thousand words less than the first draft. I've found it's a good sign when a story tightens up like that. I've also noticed that a story often can drop at least one character as its being edited, and that happened in this case.

The story has been sent off to a slush pile. Next we start revising "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry" and finish up "She Melted in My Arms". With "The Old Man is Down the Road" and "Davis Ex Machina" after that that makes for a total of ultimately five stories in what I've dubbed my "Rebuild" series. All these stories are set in East Texas.

This has been an unexpected development. I've seen a lot of authors who write series - Steve Utley's Silurian stories come to mind, and when I was just starting out Charlie Stross' Accelerando series was coming out - but I didn't realize I was developing a series myself until I began to write done down some outlines. My story "Avatar" may be the inspiration for all of these, which is ironic because that story is an alternate history and can't be considered a part of the series.

The stories are all set in a world after a "Crash" has destroyed civilization, and people are muddling through their everyday lives as best they can. What the Crash actually was is unknown to most people, although in "She Melted in My Arms" we find one man who knows what truly happened.

Ed Morris said he's signed the contracts and other paperwork for "Music for Four Hands" and mailed them back to Yard Dog Press.

Looking forward to ConDFW next weekend, but I still haven't seen the programming.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Writing report

Knocked out another couple of thousand words on "She Melted in My Arms" today.

I dropped copies of "Texas & Other Planets" in the mail to Jayme Blaschke and Gardner Dozois. Jayme wrote the introduction and Gardener blurbed it.

Zane Melder with Edge Books says he will be stocking "Texas & Other Planets", but in the meanwhile I will bring him some copies at ConDFW weekend after next. I'm also waiting on the programming schedule for the convention.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Another start

Got a 2,000 word start tonight in the latest in my current cycle of stories, "She Melted in My Arms".

"Passport to Pleasantville" is ready for final proofing, first draft of "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry" is complete.

All these stories are in a shared world of a kind. The next in line will be "The Old Man is Down the Road". The one after that is tentatively titled "Davis Ex Machina".

"Davis" as in Bette.

Right now I'm calling this cycle the Rebuild Series.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Expanded ISFDB

Whoever maintains the Internet Speculative Fiction Data Base - usually referred to as the ISFDB - updated my info recently and considerably expanded my entry. They added "Texas & Other Planets", and under short stories, listed all the stories that were reprinted in "Texas & Other Planets" as well as "Fantastic Texas".

Got the contract and ancillary documents in the mail to Ed Morris for "Music for Four Hands".

Updated my submissions log and sent off a half dozen older stories to some smaller markets. I'm trying to make room for some of the newer stuff that is coming along.

I put "Passport to Pleasantville" in standard manuscript format in preparation for last read-through.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Two latest stories

Just about done with "Passport to Pleasantville". Ready to run off hard copy and do a read through. It's clocked in at 6,800 words.

I've also finished the first draft of "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry". It's come in at 5,800 words.

I need to set these down to cool on the window sill. I should update my submissions log.

Bad luck Friday

I normally drive a old Reagan-era sedan, but after and ice storm Tuesday the doors were iced shut, and I couldn't get them open, so I left it parked in front of the house. Wednesday and Thursday I drove Patricia's car - which meant I had to drive her to and from the school where she substitute teaches.

We got four inches of snow early Friday morning. School was cancelled, so I had Patricia's car - a Hyundai Sonata - all to myself. BUT there was so much snow and slush that Friday evening I couldn't get the car up either driveway - the one to the garage or the one in front of the house. This is the first time this ever happened to me in the three and a half years we've lived in this house. If I was driving my own car - which is a lot larger - I probably could have made it.

I parked the car two blocks away in the parking lot of a church and walked back home. NOW the story gets worse.

Saturday morning I walked back to the car, but it was so cold that I couldn't get the doors open again, despite the fact there was no precipitation overnight. After a while I got a back door open. I got into the back seat, and after some great effort, climbed into the front seat. I started the car and drove to work.

When I got the office, I still couldn't open the driver's side door. There were people inside the building, but nobody saw me, and my cell phone was dead - the battery had drained overnight while it sat in the car overnight - so I couldn't call anyone.

I assumed someone would eventually come to work, but I sat for 45 minutes, and gave up. I drove to a fire station to ask for help, but when I pulled into the parking lot of the fire station, I gave the driver's door a last shove, and it finally opened.

I drove to back to the office. By that time, TWO people had come to work. I also learned that someone had opened the door to the building while I sat there, but he saw me sitting in the car and didn't think about it. No one ever noticed I didn't come in the building.

Later in the day the temperature rose above freezing, and now most of the snow has melted. I hope to drive my own car to work Monday. It seems something is wrong with the front passenger door - the latch in the door seems jammed, maybe it was damaged by the freeze - so I will take it to a shop to be looked at.

Weather report

Well, plans to drop the contract for "Music for Four Hands" into the mail Friday didn't materialize. We had a snowstorm and it was all I could do to get to and from work. I'll have to do it Monday.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

...and now to you, Ed Morris in Portland

I've gone over the contract for "Music for Four Hands", as well as the assignment of copyright forms (a formality needed with a collaborative work) and they are going in the mail Friday for Ed to sign. He'll then send them to Yard Dog Press.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Latest contract




Got the contract and corrections from Yard Dog Press for my collaboration with Edward Morris, "Music for Four Hands". I'm putting work on "Passport to Pleasantville" and "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry" aside for the time while I work on these. Nice weather to stay inside, anyway.

Latest reviews

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

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

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

- Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots

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

- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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