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>.

Latest reviews

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

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

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

---From the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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

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

- Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots

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

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

Recommended.

- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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