Thursday, July 28, 2016

Latest biography

Jason Rennie at Sci Phi Journal is preparing to publish my short story "The Yellow Flag" next Monday. I supplied him with my latest biography to accompany it,. and here it is, for the record.

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Lou Antonelli started writing fiction in middle age; his first story was published in 2003 when he was 46. He’s had short stories published in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, India and Portugal in venues such as Asimov's Science Fiction, Jim Baen's Universe, Tales of the Talisman, Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, Greatest Uncommon Denominator (GUD), Daily Science Fiction, Buzzy Mag, and Omni Reboot, among many others.

His collections include “Fantastic Texas” published in 2009; “Texas & Other Planets” published in 2010; and “The Clock Struck None” and “Letters from Gardner”, both published in 2014. His debut novel, the retro-futurist alternate history “Another Girl, Another Planet”, is slated for release later in 2016 by WordFire Press.

His story “Great White Ship”, originally published in Daily Science Fiction, was a 2013 finalist for the Sidewise Award for alternate history. His short story “On a Spiritual Plain”, originally published in Sci Phi Journal, was a finalist for the Hugo award in 2015.

A Massachusetts native, he moved to Texas in 1985 and is married to Dallas native Patricia (Randolph) Antonelli. They have three adopted furbaby children, Millie, Sugar and Peltro Antonelli.

“The Yellow Flag” is his 100th published short story, and probably sets the record for all-time fastest turnaround in genre fiction. It was written, submitted and accepted between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on May 6, 2015.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Good news greeted with silence

Signed the contract this morning for "The Yellow Flag" to be published online by Sci Phi Journal on August 1st.

This is the story than went from start to acceptance in four hours.

Here's an interesting sidelight: I discussed this story at the recent LibertyCon during a panel, and later mentioned it both here and on my blog, "This Way to Texas", a week ago on July 17.

File 770 picked up the link last Sunday, with the comment "FAST WORK. Did Lou Antonelli maybe set a record?"

Make of it what you will, but while the people who comment on Flie 770 are usually quite free with their opinions, there wasn't a single comment about this. Which confirms the common observation about the people who hang out there, to wit: If you can't say anything evil about someone, don't say anything at all.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Bad news from a nice guy

Bill Crider is a genial, even-tempered man, a retired school teacher and a long-time writer of imaginative and enjoyable speculative fiction. He is prolific author and a frequent convention guest. His short story "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" is a finalist for this year's Sidewise Award in alternate history.

If you have ever met him or know him, you know he is always friendly, helpful, and approachable.

Like so many other of his friends, I was dismayed earlier in the week that he reported he had a potentially serious health problem. He posted on his blog Tuesday that his doctor ordered him to go to the hospital immediately because he thought he might be having kidney failure.

He posted Wednesday "Not kidneys. Very likely lymphoma. Biopsy tomorrow."

Bill is one of the few people of whom anyone can say "He's a nice guy" and not be suspected of the slightest sarcasm. Like so many other people today, he is in my thoughts and prayers. I hope he pulls through this health alert with his flags flying and his usual friendly grin.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

An oldie but goodie

Hey there, Lou Antonelli fans! I thought I'd link to this today.

The January 2009 issue of Ray Gun Revival is still available on-line. It includes my short story "The Silver Dollar Saucer", which was reprinted in both of my collections - "Fantastic Texas" and "Texas and Other Planets" - as well as the 2013 "Raygun Chronicles" anthology.

The story was originally accepted for publication by the Amazon Shorts program in 2007, but the fine print said authors accepted for the program had to also have books available through Amazon. My first collection, "Fantastic Texas", wasn't published until 2009, so Amazon withdrew the acceptance.

Amazon Shorts was Amazon's first attempt at publishing short fiction, and ran from 2005 to 2010.

"Ray Gun Revival" gave it a good home, and it's been popular ever since. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

It can be done

Those of you who attended the panel on short stories at LibertyCon that Friday may recall I mentioned that I wrote a story, submitted it, and received an acceptance in four hours.

That story is "The Yellow Flag" and it is being published on-line by Sci-Phi Journal on August 1st.

With publication scheduled of "Lone Star, Lost Star" by Fiction on the Web on July 31st, "The Yellow Flag" will be my 100th short story publication.

My 99th and 100th short story publications on two successive days.

By the way, "The Yellow Flag" was written the afternoon of May 6, 2015. It is the third story I have sold to Sci-Phi Journal; thanks goes to Publisher Jason Rennie.

As best I can remember, it is only the third story I have ever sold on its first submission. The first was "A Rocket for the Republic" in Asimov's in 2005; the second was "Double Exposure" in Daily Science Fiction in 2012.

"The technological equivalent of Pearl Harbor"

Back in the early 1990s I was the managing editor of the local newspaper in the city where the temporary headquarters of the Superconducting Super Collider were located - DeSoto, Texas.

The SSC itself was being constructed due south across the county line in Ellis County, and would encircle (underground) the county seat of Waxahachie. The labs and other facilities were supposed to move to the actual SSC site later.

Coverage of the construction of the SSC was an ongoing news item in my paper, until - of course - Congress cancelled the funding. My editorial criticizing the decision was quoted in The New York Times, and Sen. Phil Gramm quoted one of my lines in a speech, that it was "The technological equivalent of Pearl Harbor."

Years later - after I started a second career as a spec fic writer - I drew upon the experience as an inspiration and jumping off point for my short story "The Witch of Waxahachie", which Mike Resnick liked and Eric Flint bought for Jim Baen's Universe. It was published in April 2008.

Back in 2003 my wife and I bought some property in a tax resale auction as an investment. It has an undeveloped cabin, and over the years we have used it as long-term storage. We are finally selling it, and so yesterday I went to retrieve whatever was in there we wished to save.

Going through a briefcase of very old stuff, I found this button. I dusted it off and gave it a polish, and it looks good as new.

Sure brings back memories.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Back from LibertyCon

Jason Cordova giving blood
Libertycon is a great convention, and this was my first time to participate. I had two panels and they were a couple of the best panels I have ever participated in, I also ran into a lot of people for the first time and had a lot of great conversations.

My participation was limited somewhat because I made this into a family affair, bringing my wife Patricia as well as my little girl, Sugar. Because of that I didn't go to any parties or spent very little time in the Con Suite - Sugar being a dog.

The two panels I participated in at Libertycon were outstanding; large crowds and great participation.

Jody Lynn Nye moderated the panel at 4 p.m. Friday on the art of short story writing. I was joined by Scott W. Baker, Todd McCaffrey and Dan Thompson. The panelist were engaged and knowledgeable, I know the members of the audience picked up some great information.

I personally commended Nye afterwards for being a diligent moderator, it was one of the best jobs at it I've ever seen.

I moderated the panel at noon on Saturday on Retro-Futurist Alternate History. The attendance was even greater - the room was pretty full - and the panelists - Griffin Barber, Geoffrey Mandragora, Dan Thompson and James James L Young - were all full of ideas and enthusiasm. The audience seemed to enjoy it immensely!

I had a great time meeting some people in person for the first time - including Larry Correia and Arlan Andrews. Had a good time meeting some chums again, including Tully D. Roberts and Tom Trumpinski.

Larry Correia  is very friendly and open (and also quite busy); Tully D. Roberts  treated Patricia and myself to some delicious barbecue ribs and brisket (and Sugar got the bones, which made her one happy puppy camper); Jonathan LaForce cooked that great barbecue.

Other folks I ran into included Rich Weyand; old chums Brad Sinor and Sue Sinor; Ronald Zukowski; Gail Martin; Robert S. Evans; the "Jimmy Olsen" of the convention, Oleg Volk; Jonathan David Baird; Declan Finn; Arlan Andrews; Richard Groller; Alexander Moore; Larry Mitchell; and Jason Cordova, who I met while we were both giving blood.

There were a few people, such as Sarah A. Hoyt and Daniel M. Hoyt - who I was just able to say hi to as panels changed - or people I said hello to in passing by, like Toni Weisskopf and Jonna Hayden.

Those who can...

Never underestimate the mean-spirtedness and pettiness of some people. I suppose "Tales of the Otherverse" getting two nominations for the Sidewise award put some basement-dwelling douchebag's shorts in a twist; today someone tried to post an anonymous criticism of my story "Port Radium" on my blog, as a comment to a post from last September.

The "critique" was 628 words long, which is a good 16 percent of the length of the story being attacked. You wonder why such a smarty pants doesn't go ahead and write his/her own story?

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

A good example of a bad person

One thing I learned from the Sad Puppies debacle last year was never engage in a discussion in a venue you don't moderate.

Because the Puppy Kickers are spoiled brats who like to control things, having lived all their lives financially, socially or politically privileged. They've always had it their way, they don't know any other way. If you get into any discussion with them, they'll insult you and pile on.

One of the shittiest places to be trapped into a discussion at is File 770; as I've said in the past, Mike Glyer likes to cut and paste and mock people so they can held up to ridicule

Glyer excerpted the start of my post from Sunday "Causerie on Reaching 3000 Facebook Friends" a few days later. His tactic seems to have failed, there were few comments attacking me. I know it is hard for someone as socially inbred as Glyer to believe, but there may be a few people who understood what I was saying, and heck - who knows, anything is possible - some people might have agreed with me.

Finally, one last anonymous asshole weighed in and devoted his entire post attacking me. This "JJ" said"

"And the complete lack of self-awareness continues. There’s so much projection going on in that post, CUL could open his own theater."

I am quite aware of my own failings. I just don't believe in self-abasement before arrogant pricks like you. I AM entitled to my own opinion, and unlike you, I don't have Big Brother to stifle dissent for me, like you are trying to do. Did the Agitprop Bureau call you into action on this?

Nice try at cleverness with the cinema metaphor. You are more like an old-fashioned cassette tape - wound too tight and ready snap at any moment.

"Here’s a clue for your birthday, Lou, because you are obviously in dire need of one:"

It's Jan. 6, by the way. I'll be 60 next year.

"Hundreds of people didn’t de-Friend you on Facebook because they disagreed with your political opinions. They de-Friended you because you’ve repeatedly behaved like an epic-level asshole."

The defriendings mostly happened as soon as the Hugo finalists were announced, much before I lost my temper and flew off the handle. That was a while later.

"And those people who subsequently Friended you because you’ve repeatedly behaved like an epic-level asshole? You might want to think about that."

Ah, yes, short-attention span again. If you were intelligent and literate enough to read what I wrote accurately, you'd see what I said was that I built up my list again as I sent out Friend requests to people I think you be supportive, helpful and appreciative.

I've been very careful to screen Friend requests from people I don't already know. There have been a few times people have blatantly tried to troll me. They obviously want to make brownie points in their cadre or coven.

This JJ is a good example of the kind of bad people who proliferate at File 770. They hide in their anonymity like bugs hide under a rock.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Libertycon-bound

Libertycon is coming at the end of this week. If I was going alone, I might have flown, but since my wife is coming, I can drive - I have a co-pilot. We are even planning to take a family member - Orso po 'di Zucchero - who goes by Sugar. We feel as the Alpha Dog in the house she deserves a road trip.
It's a ten hour drive, but we will spend all day Thursday on the road.

Here is my schedule:

Fri 04:00PM The Art of Short Story Writing
Fri 05:00PM Opening Ceremonies
Fri 06:00PM Reading: Lou Antonelli
Fri 09:00PM Author's Alley (Antonelli, Carpenter, Martin, Swann)
Sat 12:00PM Retro-Futurist Alternate History
Sat 03:00PM Author's Alley (Antonelli, Gibbons, Swears, Wandrey)
Sat 09:00PM Author's Alley (Antonelli, Braker, Carpenter, Spriggs)
Sun 10:00AM Kaffeeklatsch

I am also down for a signing at 1 on Sunday, but my experience is that after noon on a Sunday people begin leaving a convention, and I doubt anyone will stop by. Plus I only have a handful of books with me, I doubt I will have any left by then. My wife and I will probably start the drive home after the Kaffeeklatsch.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Latest efforts

I spent a few hours today dictating the first rough draft of a short story using Dragon software. I haven't written anything new since February. I came up with 2,918 words - but just barely.

I've been cursed all my life with a weak voice, and it is hard for me for talk for such long periods of time. I will lose my voice and choke up. Whenever I'd had a full hour to do a reading at a convention, it's usually very hard for me to finish.

I managed to get to the end of my rough draft, but at the end I could barely make myself understood by the software. No matter, I intend to edit brilliantly.

I also got caught up this weekend with my submissions; I have 18 short stories in 21 slushpiles. I have five stories pending publication.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Causerie on reaching 3,000 Facebook Friends

Yesterday my count of Facebook Friends passed 3,000. That makes me think of a few things. At the start of 2015, I had just over 2,000 Facebook Friends. But I haven't gained over 1,000 since then - I gained a lot more. Let me explain.

First off, Facebook is a necessary evil. There are a myriad of social platforms today, the proliferation of which is leading America towards a collective nervous breakdown. People are too distracted and have the attention span - maybe - of a cocker spaniel. And as I have said before, we knew in the past men did not possess telepathy because if we knew what we were thinking about each other, we'd be at each other's throats. Well, the internet has accomplished that anyway, and we are indeed at each other's throats - figuratively. Only time will tell if we implode into a full scale shooting civil war, in which case the figurative will have become the literal.

I'm of the age and generation where this all sees unreal to me - it's like a video game. These people can't be real, can they - the things they say?

For the purposes of self-promotion - a painful necessity when you write fiction - I got on Facebook in 2010, and Twitter a couple of years afterwards. I seem to be able to handle Facebook somewhat; Twitter is still a mystery, although I do use it, also. I simply can't figure out the use of such broken thoughts such as appear on Twitter - except to perhaps induce schizophrenia. (In one of his last essays before he died in 2007, Norman Mailer opined Americans minds had been destroyed by the sporadic way advertisements interrupt the narrative on television.)

Other social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are a complete mystery. I have heard of a thing called Reddit - it sounds like the Devil's snooker room.

Well, by 2015 I had accumulated along the way maybe 2,100, 2,200 Facebook Friends - and then Sad Puppies struck.

Now, I tried to have a wide selection of Facebook Friends, and in previous years I had seldom unfriended anyone unless they were particularly obnoxious. One example was with John Scalzi, who I zapped a number of years ago after a post where he claimed to be God. I don't know if he was kidding or not, but honestly, I don't care. At the very least, it's offensive to anyone with religious sensibilities. But if there is one thing Scalzi is known for, it's for packing a lotta ego into a small body.

Another Facebook Friend I preemptively zapped years ago was Adam Troy-Castro, after he went online with an obscenity-laced rant about my governor, who was running for president at the time.

When the Sad Puppies witch hunt kicked off, my Friend count dropped like a descending elevator. Before April 4, 2015 - that's the day the Hugo finalists were announced - I had people like Patrick and Teresa Neilsen Hayden as Facebook Friends - heck, Teresa Neilsen Hayden had been panelists together at a few cons over the years - and others such as David Gerrold and Steve Davidson. They quickly disappeared, although I believe first out of the gate was Farah Mendelsohn.

My Friend count dropped below 2,000, but - let's face it - I didn't cover myself in glory by my testy reaction to the whole debacle. People who know me in person would probably say I'm pretty easy-going, but somehow somewhere in my mind, the names on the internet didn't register as "real" to me, and my normal social safeguards were compromised. I said things I would never say to anyone in person. It was like a video game. Deep down my brain didn't think it was all real. It was a combination of being a generational thing as well as my personality.

After August 22, 2015 - the day the s-f establishment took its revenge and No Awarded most of the literary Hugo categories - I decided that, since the internecine warfare had culled my Friends list, I would build it back up by reaching out to people who I thought would be more supportive.

There are some people who disagree with my on almost everything, but are broad-minded enough to still be willing to listen, and I respect them more than anyone. But I've made a lot of new Friends, and what's more important, these are people who judge me on the basis of my work, and what I say, and not what they read between the lines and what I must be thinking.

Facebook to me is just a tool, but fine craftsmanship can be enjoyable. I think my 3,000 Facebook Friends are now a much better selection of people, as far as being interested in my work, than they were a year ago.

So here's to you all, and here's lessons learned. Like veteran who survived a war, I wouldn't do it again, but having been through it, I'm better for it.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Cool acquaintances

One of the "cool" things that makes writing speculative fiction enjoyable (as opposed to the money - or lack thereof - and political correctness) is getting to know authors you enjoyed while young.

I've had that experience now a few times. In May WordFire Press released the Decision Points anthology, which includes my short story "The Milky Way Dance Hall". Among its many other distinguished authors are Robert Silverberg, whose story is "The Outbreeders".

Now, back 50 years ago, I distinctly remember when I first began to read s-f and buying books from the Scholastic Book Club. The first book I bought and read was "The Runaway Robot" by Lester DelRey. The third was "Steel Magic" by Andre Norton.

But the second was "Lost Race of Mars" by Robert Silverberg.

Back in 2013, when the WorldCon was held in San Antonio, I ran into Silverberg in the atrium of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. He was taking a break in an armchair and I went over and told him how great it was to meet him, and told him how the second book I ever bought was his, back when I was in the fourth grade.

He looked up me, scanned me a bit, and said, rather plaintively, "You've got gray hair."

One of my upcoming short story publications will be "Three Twilight Zone Variations on a High School Reunion" in The Third Spectral Book of Horror Stories. The TOC also includes a story by William F. Nolan,

Nolan, along with George Clayton Johnson, co-authored the book that became "Logan's Run", which was turned into the movie of the same name in 1976 - and which was one of the first s-f movies I ever saw.

Like I said at the top, it's pretty cool.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Working for a living

I got out of the habit of posting here regularly because the way the putz who runs the File 770 web page would cut and paste anything I wrote to hold me up to ridicule. Mike Glyer was an enforcer during the Sad Puppies debacle last year, and the worthless asswipes who comment on the web site are like the worst people in the world. Not the internet, the world.

Glyer used to work for the IRS, but retired last year, so whatever the case he always had plenty of time on his hands. It's easy to notice most of the people who populate the web page have government jobs - which means they really don't work for a living. If these dipshits ever realized how much hard-working self-supporting people resent lazy bureaucrats, the way the world works would be much clearer to them - from Brexit to Donald Trump.

Aaron Pound, one of the worst of the breed, is a government lawyer, for Christ's sake.

I'm probably doing myself a disservice by not posting more frequently, so I may pick up the pace a bit. Of course, I have to post AFTER working for an honest day's pay; sometimes I'm tired, but at least I know I support myself by my wits and my sweat, and not because I'm a politically-privileged hack.


Coming soon!

This is one of my best ever alternate histories.