Sunday, August 24, 2014

Busy time

Tomorrow is the first day of school here where I live; my wife's a schoolteacher. Last week things were pretty busy, especially since I had to lend some crucial elbow grease in moving some things into her classroom.

Friday was the first preseason scrimmage for the local football team, which meant we published annual back-to-school football edition. That came to a total of 30 pages. Although I'm not the sports editor, I do have responsibility of getting the Associated Press articles that were used in that section. Plus, that was just an overall big project for the production staff.

And the newspaper office — after 40 years in one location — moved this weekend to a new building.

So it's been a fairly busy time.

On the writing front,  I got a request for a rewrite from an e-zine; and that's always a positive sign.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Kansas City in 2016

Over across the Atlantic it was announced at the world science fiction convention in London that Kansas City has won the bid to host the convention in 2016. The only other city which had a bid in was Beijing. Although Beijing would've been more adventurous and glamorous, let's face it — the votes were destined to go to Kansas City for practical reasons (only registered convention attendees can vote on the site selection).

The good news for me is that I can drive to Kansas City in eight hours; last year I was able to drive to San Antonio in six hours. The convention next year is in Spokane, Washington.

My wife and I were disappointed we couldn't go to London, but a lot of things would had to of gone right. However, Spokane and Kansas City seem much more viable, at least for me.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Letters from Gardner"

I've been going through the revised proof copy of "Letters from Gardner" this weekend. It's been a while since I wrote the book and so I've enjoyed rereading it. It seems obvious to me I spent a lot of time thinking about this subject before actually setting it all down in print.

The manuscript is 248 pages; I found typos or mistakes on 12 of them. I suppose there are still some lurking around, but one thing I've learned over the years as that — being human — to always be a mistake or two someplace. I've always thought the key thing is to make sure a typo is not egregious enough that people can't tell what you meant.

I hope to be able to post the cover art soon. If John Teehan gets this in print before the end of the year that will mean I had two books published in one year.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reviews of "The Clock Struck None"

There have been reviews of "The Clock Struck None" posted recently both at Amazon and Goodreads:

From Goodreads:

"A collection of 28 previously published stories, The Clock Struck None is an interesting mix of alternative and secret histories. Each story is prefaced with a short introduction that explains where it was first published and a bit about the writing of or inspiration behind the story.

While a majority of the stories take place in Texas, they vary greatly in time, subject and character. Thankfully, the point of view shifts between stories as well. Some are more successful than others, but this is something I expect in a collection of short stories. For me, some of the least successful were those involving actual historic figures. The most successful were the slightly more fantastic, those that left me thinking “hmmm.” The sixth story, “Double Exposure,” left me feeling nostalgic for fotomat booths.

"An enjoyable collection with some intriguing premises..."

From Amazon:

"The alternative history stories were inventive and interesting."

Monday, August 11, 2014

Thinking of Robin Williams tonight...

"I wish my agent Morty was here," Jimmy muttered. "He knows how to negotiate." Then he had a thought.

"Wait a minute. John and Jimmy and Gilda and Madeline - you're talking all these new kids... "

Jimmy stood up laboriously, ignoring the pain in his chest. "You bitch about your job, and you took Ernie Kovacs from us so soon? Man, come on. You couldn't have, like, taken Chevy Chase?"

Jimmy began to get that feeling, the feeling you get right when you're about to get control of the house, right when you know you're about to hold the audience in the palm of your hand. He had the room. He had it.

"What the hell was the problem? You take every-damn-body else and leave us with Chevy Chase? What, there was no more room in the van?"

The Stranger's eyes glowed with an angry glint that Jimmy somehow knew was a reflection of the Big Bang.

Then the Stranger cracked up. Laughter shook the walls of the dressing room. For one amazing moment, all the fatigue left the Stranger's face. Then he looked slightly startled.

"We might be able to sort something out, at that," he said at last. "Do you know how long it's been since anyone made me laugh?"

Jimmy grinned. "I'll bite. 'HOW-LONG- HAS-IT---' "

The Stranger cut him off. "Never."

---

From "Off the Hook" by Ed Morris and Lou Antonelli.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Ad Valorem"

Did a rewrite today of one of the oldest stories I've written that has never been sold. I think, from some of the topical references, it may go back almost a decade. I laid it aside years ago for some thought. Today I felt I could get my arms around it, and tackled the rewrite. Length contracted over 700 words - a good sign in my opinion. Final length is 2,888. Sent it to OMNI Reboot.

It's about a lady who cheats the tax man by impersonating her dead mother, who had her property taxes "frozen" when she turned 65. She works to fake a DNA test - with unexpected results.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A week's silence

I didn't have a chance to post anything this past week. It was sort of unusual. Oftentimes, I can tell if a busy but difficult few days are coming up, but this week was different. An unexplained absence and a sudden illness with a couple of employees caused some real logistical difficulties. I got home late most days and tired every day. I'm looking forward to resting this weekend.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

The SASS panel

Lou Antonelli, Scott Cupp, Bill Crider and Rie Sheridan Rose
Photo by John Husisian
The panel on SASS that was held at ArmadilloCon on Saturday, July 26, was the first event of its kind. I thought I’d take a few minutes to put down a report from what I recall. I didn’t take any notes at the time, I concentrated on participating in the panel.

The convention was held at the Austin Omni Southpark Hotel; this panel was held at 5 PM Saturday in the conference center. I would estimate they were about 15 members of the audience. The panelists were Scott Cupp, Bill Crider, Rie Sheridan Rose and myself. There were two members of SASS in the audience, Stony Compton and John Husisian.

We had free copies of “Rebel Moon” graciously donated by Bruce Bethke, co-author with “Vox Day”, to hand out to all participants.

Scott was the moderator and after allowing us introduce ourselves he explained what he found especially attractive with the organization was the support and member mentorship it offers.

Panelists didn’t really want to mention any other writers groups, but the pro group SFWA was hard to avoid. Scott specifically mentioned how sometime in the past he had looked into joining the SFWA and despite mentioning his publishing credits and honors, was basically told “we’ll get back to you.” He decided after that kind of interaction he really wasn’t interested in becoming a member.

Scott’s comments brought up the topic of snobbery which was a hard subject hard to avoid in the context.
I told how I ran for an SFWA office and was attacked because in my biography I referred to my dogs as my adopted “Canine American children” and I was accused of being disrespectful to the ethnic identity movement. That got a good laugh from the audience.

I explained my motivation for helping organize the group came from my interaction with professional writers. The SFWA  is an organization really geared towards people who make a living writing, and I simply didn’t feel it’s a good fit for a semi pro like me who has a full-time job and writes on the side.

Although a qualified for full membership in the SFWA couple years ago, I really don’t get much encouragement from it. I said that rather than complaining, I went to do something about it and I helped get together a group that bridges the gap from fans and aspiring writers to pros.

I still belong to the SFWA and so do a number of SASS members; most fighters belong to different groups and get different things from them.

During the introductions, Bill Crider wondered out loud why he be put on the panel — he was the only non-SASS member. But when he understood how the group was formed, he said he “got it”.  He is involved in a group that has a similar outlook for Western genre authors, the “Western Fictioneers”, that also only started a few years ago.

Rie Sheridan Rose explained how enthused she was when she learned about the group because it does not discriminate against self-published authors.

We explained we are interested in all forms of storytelling, and that includes gaming. One member of the audience pointed out that “Rebel Moon” is based on a game. Another audience member noted that we allow horror writers as members.

The panel included a nice-wide ranging discussion on a number of practical subjects, not just specific to SASS.

Audience members asked about workshops and critiquing, and one thing I said was SASS would not be part of the crab bucket affect, which so often afflicts writers groups, where everyone pulls down each other and nobody has any success climbing out of the crab bucket.

We did talk about the recently – floated idea compiling an anthology, and that met with a lot of approval. Crider said the Western Fictioneers have done that and it has proven to be so successful they don’t  even have to charge dues any more because they are making so much money from the anthologies.

Unfortunately, because of the way I had to rush to get to the convention – I worked until 2 a.m. that morning and drove to Austin starting at 7 a.m. – I didn’t have a chance to run any SASS literature off to hand out.

Lost in transatlantic translation

You probably know that the idea that Mars was inhabited came from the observations of the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiapparelli in 1877....