Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tales from the Wild Weird West

Bruce Bethke says my latest story, "Riders of the Red Shift", should be published sometime in the middle of July in the special Tales from the Wild Weird West issue of Stupefying Stories. Looking forward to it.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I'm gonna plotz!

I received an outstanding piece of good news in an email this week, probably the best piece of news since Gardner accepted my story for Asimov's years ago. I can't talk about it because it involves news that's embargoed until this weekend. But I was really floored when I got the email. I'm very happy. Otherwise, can't say anything for a few more days.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Progress

I hooked up the external floppy drive, and it works great. My old backup files are mostly Plain Text or old versions of Word, but I also have a number of backups in Pagemaker 5.0 Pagemaker and Wordperfect files and also Word Perfect. I have the setup disks for both programs, but they won't run on the current version of Windows. However, I also have the disks for Windows 3.1, so I may very well install that so I can run the old versions of them.

All my hard copy submissions up 2005 or thereabouts were done in Pagemaker. I know that might sound difficult to some people, but I used Pagemaker from 1995 to 2001 when I ran my own newspaper, so when I started writing stories in 2002 I just naturally used Pagemaker. I segued to Word in the middle of the last decade.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Great service

Wow, got my external floppy disk drive in the mail today, bought it on eBay Sunday. That's service! I can read the backups of old stories.

I need to read old backups of my stories from before 2005 - which are saved on floppies - as I write up my next project, "Letters from Gardner" for John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press. More recent backups, as you would expect, are on thumb drives.

Monday, June 24, 2013

New members

Had some conversations over the weekend just past with some fellow writers, looks like I recruited two new members for SASS, the Society for the Advancement of Speculative Storytelling, the writers' group I've helped organize. Some very positive chats with these people as well as others, pleasant interactions.

SASS has its own web site, if you want to check it out

Otherwise, the only other thing I did writing-related was place a bid and win a external floppy disk drive. I have a bunch of floppy disks I used as back-ups for stories eight years and longer ago, and I need to access them for my next book project. I got one on eBay for $14.01, it should do the trick.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Shutdown

The World S-F Blog has been suspended after a four-year run. It was a venue for original and reprint short story fiction, publishing 60 short stories. My story "Irredenta" was published March 15, 2011. It is unusual - for me - in being set in outer space.  It remains on-line, here:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Quite a milestone

Today marks the tenth anniversary of my first publication, when Jayme Blaschke published "Silvern" in Revolution S-F on June 17, 2003. This was his introduction:

"New writer Lou Antonelli isn't really a new writer at all. A longtime newspaper editor and reporter with multiple awards from Texas Press Association in editorial, column, and feature writing, Antonelli has recently turned his hand to science fiction with impressive results, as evidenced by the following story."

Dang! That was a fast ten years, Since then I've had 78 more short stories published, and two reprint collections, "Fantastic Texas" and "Texas & Other Planets". The next, "The Clock Struck None", is due out this fall.



"Silvern' is still available on-line, click here:

Interview

I was interviewed by the staff of the Rockland (Mass.) High School newspaper when I visited the school June 6th, the day after my induction in the Academic Hall of Fame:

Interview with Lou Antonelli from David Cable-Murphy on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lone Star Con bound

You would think when the decision was made to hold the the World Science Fiction convention for 2013 in San Antonio I would have been happy, but the reverse was the case. The Texas s-f literary clique, based in Austin, doesn't like me very much. It's nothing personal, they don't like anybody who admits to being a Christian or not voting for Obama. Like the s-f literary community in general, they engage in political correctness that ranges from the simply snobbish and abusive to blood-curdling Khmer Rouge revolutionary socialism.

Last year, when I didn't get included in the anthology that is being published in conjunction with the convention (I don't want to hash over the details again; suffice to say, it was obvious from the start I wasn't going to be admitted to the clubhouse) I pretty much saw the handwriting on the wall and realized I wouldn't get invited to the convention as a panelist. My communications with the con were spotty, at best; for the longest time they didn't even have my name spelled right on the list of registrants.

Earlier this year, I saw signs of life, and after I was contacted by the membership chairman the spelling of my name was corrected. But I didn't think anything else about the convention and I assumed I wouldn't be going. However, in April, I was actually emailed a questionnaire and invitation.

Although I don't have many friends in literary science fiction, I have a few, and I know a number of people who will be going. S-F means a lot more to them than it does to me; my writing is old-fashioned and traditionalist, and I spend very little time writing. I know some people think that can't be true because of the frequency of my publications, but because of my day job as a journalist I can write publishable material very quickly.

I have some small role in the s-f scene, and I felt I would be a hypocrite if I didn't try to help if offered the opportunity, so I completed the questionnaire and said I would be willing to be a panelist. I see as of the latest update on the Lone Star Con - done on June 5th - I am listed a a panelist. My name is even spelled correctly and it has a link to this web site.

So I have laid plans to attend. I suppose as large a convention as it is - and as large and nice a place San Antonio is - I should be able to stay out of the way of trouble. Barring unforeseen circumstances - which can always erupt at a newspaper - I will be taking a four-day break on the Labor Day weekend, Thursday through Sunday, to attend.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Latest sale

Just sold another story, this time to Carol Hightshoe at The Lorelei Signal, who will publish "Bindlestiff's Daughter" in the October 2013 issue. I got the acceptance and the contract in email Saturday night.

The Lorelei Signal is a web based magazine dedicated to featuring strong female characters in Fantasy short stories. In "Bindlestiff's Daughter" I made an effort to stretch a bit and write a story with a strong and assertive female protagonist.

"Bindlestiff's Daughter" will also be published in November in Mystic Signals, which is a print publication that includes all of the stories published in The Lorelei Signal and Sorcercous Signals, both products of Woilfsinger Productions.

As currently scheduled, this will be my 7th publication in 2013, my 82nd since June 2003.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Hall of Fame

With my plaque after the banquet.
I traveled to Massachusetts Wednesday to attend my induction into the Rockland High School Academic Hall of Fame. I got a great deal on Spirit Airlines, a round-trip non-stop ticket from DFW to Logan Airport for $127. I had to leave Dallas at 1:15 a.m. but who cares at that price?

I picked up a rental car and was in Rockland by 7 a.m. (With the bargain I got with the plane ticket, the car rental proved to be the single largest expense of the trip.) My Motel 6 room in Braintree cost double of what it would have in Texas. I tried to keep costs down because this was a purely personal trip; Patricia wasn't able to come, school was still in session.

When I arrived in Rockland I went to the school administration office and was there by 7:30, so I called Patricia back in Texas and gave her a wake-up call (she always gets up at 6:30 a.m.) and then reported I was back in the Principal's office! I handed the phone over to a staff member to confirm it.

I visited the church I used to attend when I was growing up there, Holy Family Catholic Church, and stumbled into the daily 9:00 a.m. Mass. Afterwards, I went over to the town library and checked out the expansion and improvements that have been done since I left the city.

I took a few minutes to read the local newspapers, and saw that the Rockland Standard name for the weekly newspaper I worked on as a teenager has been officially retired. It was changed to the Rockland Mariner in March 2011. I didn't know what, Patricia and I were last in Rockland in November 2010.

I then drove to Providence and had lunch with John Teehan of Merry Blacksmith Press, and talked about my next book project while eating seafood at Iggy's Doughboys and Chowder House overlooking Narragansett Bay. The food was great and the sea breeze smelled wonderful. John and I talked shop and had a very productive visit.

I drove back into Massachusetts and checked into my motel in Braintree, and then after a short nap, drove back to the South Shore and to the function hall in Abington where the dinner was being held.

The Rockland High School Academic Hall of Fame was instituted in 1988, and has 88 members. There were four inductees this year; one of them, Steve Sangster, was my health education teacher (I was a member of the Class of 1975) and he just retired last year as principal of Rockland High School.

I sat in the audience between Scott MacKinlay and Joe Waisgerber, who were the principal and head guidance counselor when I was in school. It was great to see them again, and wonderful to see them hale and whole after all these years.

At one point, MacKinlay was talking to another teacher, and when I went to interject, stopped and turned around. "Louis, how many times have I told you not to interrupt when your elders are speaking!" he said grasping my forearm. "Haven't I taught you anything?

Gulp! "Yes, Mr. MacKinlay!" said I, rather sheepishly. I'm 56, and he can still school my ass!

One former teacher, Ellen Donahue, came over and said hi. It was great to see her looking so good, and she reminded me of some stories.

The Hall of Fame induction is held in conjunction with the underclassmen's academic awards banquet; the theory is that the academically outstanding students can see Rockland graduates who went on to do well for themselves.

I pretty much gave them a pep talk; I always thought Rockland has somewhat of an inferiority complex. I told them about some perspectives and experience they might find useful.

In summation, I apologized to any educators in the room who were there when I was such an obnoxious teenager: "I'm so damn sorry!"

One teacher is left at the high school from when I was a student, Madeline Lannin-Cotton; she teaches journalism. She arranged for me to speak to the undergraduates in her journalism class (the seniors have already graduated) and other English classes on Thursday, and I flew back late Thursday evening.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

What the market of ideas will bear

The Science Fiction Writers of America are having one of their periodic meltdowns. It reminds me of the way the Jacobins kept sending each other to the guillotine during the French Revolution.

This time it is over sexism in the organization's magazine. Two issues ago the SFWA Bulletin had a cover with an old-fashioned pulp-style chick in chain mail. That sent the PC Nazis into the usual frenzy. In this latest issue, two old-time authors, Barry Malzberg and Mike Resnick, expressed some opinions - in a regular column they collaborate on  - about censorship and PC that seemed to be deliberately provocative. It seems to have been directly a result of the controversy over the chick in chain mail cover.

The editor of the magazine is gone, and the group has formed some sort of study group to mollify the usual suspects. I read my copy of the magazine today, and while - in my opinion - the comments by Malzberg and Resnick fall well within protected opinion, freedom of speech is a tenuous thing when your opinion is too far out of bounds of your audience. I don't know whether Malzberg and Resnick expected the blow back they got, but they should have.

Old timers remember when opinions could range as far to the right as to the left in public discourse, but practically speaking, the U.S. now is a socialist country and you get a lot less leeway when veering to the right than the left.

You just can't race so far ahead or away of your constituency. I favor the legalization of marijuana - even William F. Buckley came to the same conclusion before he died. But you won't see me advocate that position in my community newspaper, it's too at odds with public sentiment, at least here in East Texas.

Thankfully, with the formation of SASS, people like me who want a genre-related venue that explicitly eschews political views of all sorts have some place to go. It's hard to think of the SFWA as a literary group; it's more like a revolutionary socialist club made up of writers.

When I was in college, I could never tell the difference between all the Marxist factions and caucuses - Workers Labor, Democratic Socialists, Trotskyites, Stalinist, Moaists, and one and on. I suppose if I was interested in politics, I could join a political club today, but the fact is if you belong to the SFWA you belong to a political club. The hair-splitting and back stabbing is silly and useless.

The existence of SASS is a great comfort to me, because it gives me - and others - a place to meet and discuss the genre of fiction we love without having to pass political and cultural litmus tests.

This latest PC blowup in SFWA is irrelevant to literature.

May is the cruelest month...

T. S. Elliot was wrong, May is the cruelest month - and the start of June also. If you are in community journalism, you know what I mean - this is when everything wraps up for the school year. Busy, busy time. That's why I haven't posted in a week. After a 14-hour work day Thursday, I was so exhausted I called in sick Friday.

Weeky Roundup

Last Saturday, as part of the Red River County Historical Society's annual Fall Bazaar, the Red River County Public Library hosted a h...