Friday, December 08, 2017

Slush Pile Mambo

Right now I have a dozen short stories sitting in various slushpiles awaiting decisions, and eight stories accepted and pending publication. My latest short story, completed last week, is "Cain's Knife".

Sunday, December 03, 2017

A gold digger in training

Working so many years as a small newspaper editor, I've seen many, many Letters to Santa. It's a tradition in many small towns.
A good and smart editor will read them first. Unfortunately, you'll see cases where what a child wants for Christmas is for big brother to stop smoking crack, sister to get out of jail, or mommy to stop drinking, or for daddy to stop hitting mommy. It's sad, but I've seen it many times.
The most memorable Letter to Santa I ever read, however, was a funny one. A girl began hers with a series of questions:
"Dear Santa,
"I hope you are doing well. How is Mrs. Claus?
"How is Rudolph? How are all the reindeer?
"I hope all the elves are fine."
I never saw a letter before that began with all these niceties.
"Where is this girl going with all this?" I wondered.
Then I continued reading.
"Well, anyway," she wrote. "Let's get to the point. This is what I want for Christmas..."

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Latest sale

Just inked the contract with TANSTAAFL Press for the publication of my latest short story, "A Choice of Weapons", in its upcoming anthology "Enter the Rebirth", slated for publication next year.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Hard times

Today marks the first anniversary of Patricia and I moving into our current home. Although I took my current job in January 2015, I commuted 46 miles each way until we found a beautiful old home - which we bought at an auction - until we moved in Dec. 1, 2016.

Now, living in a rural county has many advantages - low cost of living, a slower pace, friendly people, scenic view and wide open spaces.

One big disadvantage? No jobs. My wife has never been able to find a full-time job since moving here. The best she has been able to do is work occasionally as a substitute.

Her unemployment, plus my drop in income going from working at a daily paper to a weekly paper means that our household income has plummeted 77 percent since the start of 2015. The long-term effects are becoming serious. Our savings are long gone and credit cards maxed out.

I've decided to start applying for various government programs. We're eligible for food stamps from what I can tell, as well as other assistance programs. I've started the application process for whatever programs we are eligible for.

In the meantime, the electricity is slated to be turned off next Tuesday and I don't have the money right now to pay the past due balance. I hope something turns up soon.

So, not to put too fine a point on it, now would be a GREAT time to buy a signed copy of "Another Girl, Another Planet". I've got a box sitting of them here at home.

With the luck we've been having here, I'm worried I may have to burn them in the fireplace to stay warm.

Thank you.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sent off this message this morning:

"I see you sent me a Friend request. I normally don't approve requests of people I don't know personally unless we have at least 100 Friends in common. Have we met, or do we have something in common?"

This person and I only have 16 Facebook Friends in common, but I didn't dismiss it out hand because:

1. It's not a young lady;

2. This person lives in Texas, and in fact in a city I have some ties to.

But one can't too careful, can one?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Humbled

Still kinda gobsmacked over the review that said "Queens Crossing" (in "More Alternative Truths") was such a plausible alternate history they were "temporarily disoriented" after finishing it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Miss him

What with the rollout of "More Alternative Truths" at Orycon in Portland, I'm reminded of an old chum who lives there, Edward Morris. We became friends as a result of his liking my short story that was published in Asimov;s in 2005, "A Rocket for the Republic", and as a result collaborated on a number of short stories, four of which were collected up in a chapbook published by Yard Dog Press in 2011, "Music for Four Hands".

Unfortunately Ed must hang out in certain circles that were extraordinarily hostile to the Sad Puppies effort in 2015. I don't like to bring that fiasco up any more, but it still hurts that we became estranged as a result. From what I can tell, he was so severely castigated for being associated with me that he lost his ever-loving mind, as least as it applies to me.

His last comments before he signed off in 2015 made me sad, and since then he's rebuffed any olive branches. It's too bad. I hope he'd doing well. He struck me as a nice guy who's had some bad breaks in life, both in terms of experiences as well as health.

Orycon in Portland reminded me of him, and I reached out in a message and suggested he'd like "More Alternative Truths". No reply, and more blocking.

Well, as Kurt Vonnegut used to say, "So it goes."

Saturday, November 18, 2017

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. who noted he could clearly see "canali" on the surface.
However, the Italian word was mistranslated into English as "canals" instead of "channels", leading to the assumption there was someone on Mars doing the digging.

Back in the 1970s, around this time of year, we were watching a Thanksgiving-themed movie at home in Massachusetts. The movie showed how the Pilgrims first made landfall at the tip of Cape Code - where Provincetown is today - but moved on because there wasn't a source of fresh water, and eventually landed in Plymouth.

My father, who was an Italian immigrant, opined he didn't know about the first landfall in Plymouth.
"I suppose they had to sail around and then come through the Cape Cod Canal."

I realized he made the Schiaparelli mistake backwards, and I explained to him that in English a canal is man-made. He'd lived in the U.S. for 20 years and always assumed that, from its name, the Cape Cod Canal was a natural waterway.

Just a recollection that crossed my mind with Thanksgiving coming in a week.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Latest aceptance

A few years ago, after I'd had maybe 100 or so short stories published, there was a lot of clamor from my fans for me to write a novel.

Problem was, I am so comfortable at the short story length, I just couldn't see my way to something that long.

But I knew that many novels were expanded versions of short stories or novelettes. I assumed at some point I would start a short story that could be drawn out to book length.

That happened at the start of 2015. I got into a short story and I realized I could make it out to novel-length. That became my Dragon finalist alternate history "Another Girl, Another Planet".

Earlier this year Superversive Press opened a call for a Mars-themed anthology. Shortly afterward, I happened to stumble across the start of the original story on my computer..

I finished it, and submitted it, and I'm proud to announce that it will be published in the anthology.

Anyone who's read "Another Girl, Another Planet" will understand why this short story version is called "The Girl Who Died Twice".

I know it's a little backwards now - the short story coming AFTER the novel - but I think that, in addition to it being a good story, it is interesting to see how you can tell from it how "Another Girl, Another Planet" evolved.

I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thoughts in the rear view mirror

Looking back on Windycon, I think in retrospect it may have been wrong-headed to drive there. I had the time, and took advantage of it, but it was 13-14 hours either way. Now that I'm 60 such such a long drive seems harder to take.

Saturday morning at the convention I wasn't feeling very good, and I think it showed. At one point someone observed I seemed to be "peckish".

By that afternoon I was feeling pretty rundown, and I attributed it to the strain of the long drive. I was even getting a sore throat.

Rather than risk getting sick and laid up 850 miles from home, I went to bed early and left Sunday morning, skipping my last two panels. All things considered, I think it was a wise decision.

Those of you who follow me regularly know I had planned a similarly-long drive over the Labor Day weekend to Atlanta and Dragoncon that was thwarted by traffic woes plus inclement weather.

I wonder if I subconsciously wanted to make the drive to Chicago to prove I could still do such a long trip. Perhaps a little stubbornness?

Last year made a similar excursion to Chattanooga for Libertycon. Patricia came with me that time, and she vowed never again. She's a smart gal.

A 13-hour drive seems a lot longer when you're alone.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Call now!

Still have copies of "Another Girl, Another Planet" after returning from Windycon. This was my last convention of the year, so if you want a signed autographed copy you'll have to wait until next year UNLESS you just want order one from me directly.

It makes for a great holiday gift (I recently sold one expressly for that purpose). All you need is a mailing address, PayPal and $25.

Operators are standing by to take your order.

Well, not really, it's just me. But I'll still take your order!

Return of the Texan

Had a great time at WindyCon in Chicago. Thanks to the ConCom and programming for having me. Sorry I didn't post anything over the weekend, but I forgot my Kindle at home when I took off. I moderated the panel on Time Travel, Saturday which went well. I left a little early and skipped my last couple of panels because I wasn't feeling good and I didn't want to get sick so far from home (I drove).My apologies tp the con.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Off to Illinois

I'll be driving to suburban Chicago Friday to attend Windycon. Wish me luck.

This will be about the same distance I would have traveled from my home to attend DragonCon in Atlanta over the Labor Day weekend. As you may recall, getting stuck on a blocked interstate for five hours - plus the remnants of Hurricane Harvey moving inland - killed those plans.

Now, on the Veterans Day weekend, I am attempting another long trek. Like I said, wish me luck!

If you will be there at the Westin Lombard Yorktown for the convention, say Hi! This will be my first time to attend WindyCon.

Here is my schedule:

Saturday, 10:00 am Autograph Session

Saturday, 11:00 am-12:00 pm - Boardroom - 11am Readings

I will be reading my alternate history short story, "Queens Crossing", which is in the "More Alternative Truths" anthology - being released that very day!

Saturday, 12:00 pm-1:00 pm - Grand Ballroom H - Everything Old is New Again

Saturday, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm - Lilac C - VillianCon Submissions

Saturday, 2:00 pm-3:00 pm - Grand Ballroom H - Developing a Language (Texters need not apply)

Saturday, 3:00 pm-4:00 pm - Lilac B - Will They Get It?

Saturday, 8:00 pm-9:00 pm - Lilac B - Writing for Kids

Sunday, 11:00 am-12:00 pm - Maple - How RFID/NFC works

Sunday, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm - Grand Ballroom H - Will The Internet Survive the End Times?

Monday, November 06, 2017

I think he liked it!

"Although Lou Antonelli and I may never see eye-to-eye on ANYTHING politically, I must tell you that I read his story with outrageous glee, and did everything I could to edit it well for him.
"That he took so many of my suggestions is something I'm proud of him for, and humbled by.
"His story, "Queen's Crossing," is one of my FAVORITE stories in this anthology, and it is extremely well-written.
"it was always my goal to ensure that GOOD stories would appear in this anthology, regardless of the author's personal ideologies.
"Louis Antonelli wrote a helluva good story, and I'm proud and honored to have been part of its development.
"Way to go, Lou!"

Thanks, Lou Berger!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Go and pre-order it now!

A few fans and friends have expressed surprise that I am participating in the anthology “More Alternative Truths”.

I did not support Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. I won’t say how I eventually did vote last year, but I have swung from Libertarian to Green over the years, depending on the candidates in the race. I know it’s a cliché, but some people like me really do “vote for the man” – or woman.

When I was asked to contribute to the anthology, there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to participate. Donald Trump is a rich source for satire. I respect the office of President, but no man is above criticism – or ridicule.

The challenge to produce a story worthy of its theme seemed to have brought out one of my best efforts. “Queens Crossing”, I believe, is one of the best alternate histories I have ever written.

Defending free speech is a big reason why I wanted to be a part of this anthology. The editors also seemed to reach out in a genuinely ecumenical way and draw in authors of all persuasions. I am joined in the Table of Contents by the likes of David Brin and Mike Resnick – hardly left-wingers themselves.

Literature should stand apart from personal opinion. If you go through life deciding whether or not you personally like the individual author, or his opinions, or whether he/she is a dog or cat person, and base your decision to read their works based on that - you'll deprive yourself of a lot of good reading.

It reminds me of the family I knew who stopped being Dallas Cowboy fans after 1989, because they were Southern Baptists - and so was Landry. When Jerry Jones fired Landry, they stopped being Cowboys fans because he fired a Baptist.

This talented line-up in "More Alternative Truths" has contributed to a volume that is in the best tradition of free speech, expression and thought – while also being entertaining. This anthology will make you think, perhaps chuckle, or even become thoughtful. I am proud to be a part of it.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Slated for release Nov. 11


Here's more information about the forthcoming "More Alternative Truths" anthology:
"More Alternative Truths is an exploration of the consequences of politics in our daily lives. More than our individual lives, but our American identity. This has become an unofficial theme of this anthology. So many of the stories ask what America has become? What will it be? Will it devolve into a Russian style Oligarchy or will we rise to the challenge and use our hearts, our minds and our votes to return to a rational democracy, of, by, and for the people. No one knows for sure. But these top tier talented authors from across the world, from Philip Brian Hall to Bruno Lombardi to Jane Yolen give us their visions.
"You will find the witticism of Jim Wright exploring Donald Trump as Moses considering the Ten Commandments. The mental genius of Edd Vick and Manny Frishberg as they give us a Trump tweetstorm. There is much to laugh about.
"There are serious visions as well. Brad Cozzen’s brilliant Poem, America Once Beautiful reaches poignantly from today’s reality into some salvageable vision of tomorrow that borrows f romyesterday’s values. The poetry in this volume, be it Brad, Jane Yolen, Gyndyn T. Alexander or C.A. Chesse will bring new meaning to words.
"For a fun romp, jump to Wishcraft.com by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, as she explores the importance of political hacks not annoying witches or K.G. Anderson’s, the Right Man for the Job, as LBJ rides to the rescue.
"Coping. How do we cope. This painful question is explored by three of our best and brightest. Jill Zeller, a woman who won’t write of Elves, has given us “A Woman Walks Into a Bar,” an affirmation of our own choices. Choices explored brilliantly by Karin L. Frank and Kerri Leigh Grady in their stories “HMO” and “Final Delivery.”
"There are many great stories in this collection but if you must read one, and only one, then read “Small Courages,” and let bring you tears of hope as you see our world through the eyes of a child and find that we can do it, we can survive, we will survive."

Friday, November 03, 2017

More Alternative Truths TOC

The "More Alternative Truths" anthology is being released Nov. 11. The Table of Contents is as follows:

Foreword David Gerrold 9
Orangemandias Adam-Troy Castro 19
The Right Man for the Job K.G. Anderson 20
I Am A Woman Jane Yolen 34
How Dangerous is Republican manic-depressive disease? Both bipolar phases are destructive, but the manic ones kill? David Brin 36
Drafting the President Lou J Berger 44
Dr. Republican’s Monster Jim Wright 54
A Letter from the Federal Women’s Prison Stephanie L. Weippert 57
One of the Lucky Ones Wondra Vanian 64
A Beautiful Industry Stuart Hardy 72
Queens Crossing Lou Antonelli 83
Small Courages Eric M. Witchey 93
The Ten Commandments Renegotiated Jim Wright and Bobby Lee Featherston 104
Illegal Citizens Irene Radford 113
During the Lockdown, After the Lockdown Michael Haynes 126
A Sonnet on Truth Philip Brian Hall 136
The Diplomatic Thing Esther Friesner 137
The Politicians Mike Resnick 154
A Modest Proposal for the Perfection of Nature Vonda N. McIntyre 176
Conspiracy of Silence Philip Brian Hall 180
HMO Karen L. Frank 189
Being Donald Trump Bruno Lombardi 202
America Once Beautiful Brad Cozzens 220
America First Tais Teng 221
Final Delivery Kerri-Leigh Grady 237
No Tanks Jane Yolen 253
Treasures Rebeccaa McFarland Kyle 254
Remembering the Bowling Green Massacre Steve Weddle 272
Tweetstorm Edd Vick and Manny Frishberg 274
The Tinker’s Damn Edward Ahern 283
Wishcraft.com Elizabeth Ann Scarbourough 286
A Woman Walks Into a Bar Jill Zeller 302
America Year Zero Gwyndyn T. Alexander 312
Future Perfect V. E. Mitchell 314
How to Recognize a Shapeshifting Lizardman (Or Woman) Who Has Been Appointed to a High-Ranking Government Cabinet Position Kurt Newton 321
I Didn’t Say That Jane Yolen 323
Non-White in America Debora Godfrey 324
Desperate Resolve John A Pitts 332
You are Weighed in the Balance Rivka Jacobs 341
Priorities C. A Chesse 352
The Healer Melinda LaFevers 354
Triple R Presents Colin Patrick Ennen 365
Donald, Where’s Your Taxes? Susan Murrie Macdonald and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough 368
A Spider Queen in Every Home Mke Morgan 370
Trickster Times Jane Yolen 397
About the Authors 398

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Latest publishing news


Coming next spring - Superversive Press will be publishing my latest collection of short stories. All the stories have some religious or Christian element (or lack thereof) central to the plot. This will be a mostly reprint collection, with maybe one or two original stories. It will be entitled "Shadow of the Cross".

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Updated list of upcoming short story publications

Queens Crossing" - More Alternative Truths anthology.

"Sketches From the Apocalypse" - Toys Sha'Daa anthology.

"Last Call" - Mercury-themed Superversive Press anthology.

"The Wrong Venus" - Venus-themed Superversive Press anthology.

"Dry Falls" - Somnium (Brazil).

"The Man Who Sold His Soul For His Country" - Forbidden Thoughts 2 anthology.

"A Choice of Weapons" - TANSTAAFL Press "Enter the Apocalypse".

Saturday, October 28, 2017

My expanded WindyCon schedule

WindyCon is coming up in two weeks. It is Chicagoland’s oldest science fiction convention. Windycon 44 will be held on November 10-12, 2017, at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center (70 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard, IL 60148).

I've posted my schedule before, but here is the expanded schedule panel descriptions and panelists. As you can see, I am moderating two of the panels.

10am Autograph Session - Saturday, 11-11-2017 - 10:00 am to 11:00 am - Signing Tables
Lou Antonelli / Lance Erlick
L. Antonelli
L. Erlick

11am Readings - Saturday, 11-11-2017 - 11:00 am to 12:00 pm - Boardroom
11:00am Lou Antonelli 11:30am Lance Erlick
L. Antonelli
L. Erlick

Everything Old is New Again - Saturday, 11-11-2017 - 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm - Grand Ballroom H
Remember 1967's The Time Tunnel? Well Time Travel is back on TV. How has time travel on TV changed?
L. Antonelli (M)
J. Nikitow
J. Ward

VillianCon Submissions - Saturday, 11-11-2017 - 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm - Lilac C
What if writers of dystopian stories are really submitting their world domination plans for peer review?
L. Antonelli
S. Burke (M)
C. Gerrib

Developing a Language (Texters need not apply) - Saturday, 11-11-2017 - 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm - Grand Ballroom H
Since your work is being read here we know it'll probably be in English but your world may have it's own unique slang, terms, or profanities (we won't ask). How to acquaint your reader to this language without interrupting the flow of you narrative.
L. Antonelli
W. Boyes
S. Burke (M)

Will They Get It? - Saturday, 11-11-2017 - 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm - Lilac B
When and what popular culture references/jokes can you write into a story or novel and how can you be sure your reader will understand them.
L. Antonelli (M)
E. Distad
R. Garfinkle
A. Woolard

Writing for Kids - Saturday, 11-11-2017 - 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm - Lilac B
An Adult discussion about sharing ideas with our youth.
L. Antonelli
R. Frencl
U. Vernon (M)

How RFID/NFC works - Sunday, 11-12-2017 - 11:00 am to 12:00 pm - Maple
How Radio Frequency IDentification / Near Field Communications work how they fit into our everyday life.
L. Antonelli
W. Boyes
J. Higgins
R. Waterson (M)

Will The Internet Survive the End Times? - Sunday, 11-12-2017 - 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm - Grand Ballroom H
Only the Nodes know for sure. Could the internet technology evolve to survive the end of times?
L. Antonelli
C. Johns (M)
F. McDonald

Friday, October 27, 2017

Curse you, auto correct!


I was going through the final file for More Alternative Truths - which is being released Nov. 11 - and saw that in my story "Queens Crossing" somebody's auto correct changed "DeBlasio" to "Delusional".

Sheesh...

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Remember the date: 11/11 at 1

I have a reading half hour at the WindyCon convention in Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. and I will take the opportunity to read my short story "Queens Crossing", which is featured in the new anthology More Alternative Truths.

This will be the public unveiling of the story, whose launch party is the following weekend at Orycon in Portland.

It's an alternate history that riffs off the fact that Donald Trump and Jerry Springer are roughly contemporaries who both grew up in Queens, New York, and... well, you'll just have to buy the book - or come see me at WindyCon.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Coming soon!


This is one of my best ever alternate histories.

A tale of two pretties...

 Here's a small point in my background of growing up: I went to one school district for seven years, and then another for five.

We all know people who went from the first day of kindergarten to graduation in the same school district. We also know people who bounced from district to district growing up - this is especially common in military families.

I am right in the middle. I spent seven years in one school district north of Boston, then we moved when my father was transferred in his job to a town south of Boston.

Although I spent more years in the first district, I've always considered the second my home because that's where I graduated from high school.

Now, because of the internet and digitization, high school yearbooks are now available to view on-line. I had a thought the other day - to look up the yearbook of the Class of 1975 at the FIRST school district I attended to see what it looked like.

In other words, what did the school and the students look like in the school I MIGHT have graduated from?

It looks a lot like my own yearbook - mainly because, I suppose, they're contemporary. The clothes and hair styles and furniture all look the same.

I was a bit surprised at how many of the seniors I still remembered despite not having seen them after seventh grade. The girl who I gave my first elementary Valentine card in second grade to. The girl I had my first serious crush on.

One thing that jumped out at me is that I somehow knew some of those students would have filled the same relationship roles as other students with me at the second school. The quiet friend. The goofy friend. The wild friend. I saw one student and he even had the same hair and expression as the guy who was my best friend in high school.

I thought to myself, "Omigod, if I had stayed there, HE would have been my [best friend's name]."

It's personal alternate history. I guess.

There was a girl in the first school who struck me years ago as having been very much like the girl in my graduating class who I took to the Senior Prom - the girl I dated my senior year.

When I looked up the first high yearbook, I read her entry, and yes, she was involved in many similar activities.

But what was the most striking is how much the two young ladies even looked alike. So I've cut and pasted the photos here.

There an alternate history triple play here. In one parallel world, my family didn't move and I dated and married the first girl.

In another parallel world, I dated and married the second one.

Now in point of fact, the girl I did date in high school had the good sense to dump me, and left me to mature and get a little wisdom so that years later I would be able to date and marry my wife. This is the best of those possible worlds, I'm sure.

Oh, you may be thinking, which of these girls is the one I dated and which is the one that was left behind when I moved.

I'm not saying. Does it really matter?

Friday, October 20, 2017

My WindyCon schedule

Here is my schedule for the upcoming Windycon Nov. 11-12:

Saturday, 10:00 am-11:00 am - Signing Tables -
10am Autograph Session

Saturday, 11:00 am-12:00 pm - Boardroom - 11am Readings

Saturday, 12:00 pm-1:00 pm - Grand Ballroom H - Everything Old is New Again


Saturday, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm - Lilac C - VillianCon Submissions
Saturday, 2:00 pm-3:00 pm - Grand Ballroom H - Developing a Language (Texters need not apply)

Saturday, 3:00 pm-4:00 pm - Lilac B - Will They Get It?

Saturday, 8:00 pm-9:00 pm - Lilac B - Writing for Kids

Sunday, 11:00 am-12:00 pm - Maple - How RFID/NFC works

Sunday, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm - Grand Ballroom H - Will The Internet Survive the End Times?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

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 half dozen authors from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Thanks go to Library Director Rachel Ellsworth, who purchased a copy of "Another Girl, Another Planet" for the library's collection.

I think Rachel bought a book from every author who was that day, which was a great thing to do.
She also bought a copy of AGAP for herself. Thanks, Rachel!

---

Only 12 days left in the Word Fire Press Adventure Science Fiction Story Bundle. For only $15 you get "Another Girl, Another Planet" PLUS another dozen excellent titles by authors Robert Asprin, Jody Lynn Nye, Kevin J. Anderson, Robert J. Sawyer, Gray Rinehart, T. Allen Diaz. Paul Di Filippo, Raymond Bolton, Andrew Keith, William H. Keith Jr., Louis Agresta, Brenda Cooper, and Jonathan Brazee.

Can't beat that deal with a stick! Click here!

---

It's another good day, meaning I signed yet another contract, this time with the Planetary Stories: Mercury anthology to publish my short story "Last Call".

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

From the You Learn Something Every Day Dept:


The Gold Medalist in this photo from the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Tommie Smith, was born in Clarksville, Texas, where I live and edit the newspaper today.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Spin rack latest


Those of you who follow me regularly know my policy of buying mass market paperbacks from the spin rack in dollar stores to encourage the stores to stock them (whether I plan to actually read the books or not). I've written about this in the past, with posts such as "The Spin Rack is Making a Comeback".
Yesterday afternoon I picked up this book at the Dollar General store in Blossom, Texas.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Word Fire Press Adventure Sci-Fi Story Bundle supports Challenger Center for Space Science Education.


The Word Fire Press Adventure Sci-Fi Story Bundle, organized by Kevin J. Anderson, launched Wednesday.

On his blog Kevin gave a rundown on the books in the bundle:

Strap into your cockpit, fire up the faster-than-light engines, and set course for the nearest star. I’ve got a grab bag of 13 excellent science fiction books all in one new Adventure SF StoryBundle. Get them all for as little as $15, and help out a great charity, too!

I put in a brand new action-packed story, The Blood Prize, featuring the popular character Colt the Outlander from Heavy Metal magazines, with all new art by the Aradio Brothers. Robert J. Sawyer offers his classic novel Far Seer (a planet of intelligent dinosaurs!). Raymond Bolton’s Awakening shows a fantasy civilization on the cusp of the industrial revolution faced with an alien invasion.

You’ll read different adventures on very different lunar colonies in Gray Rinehart’s Walking on a Sea of Clouds, Lou Agresta’s Club Anyone, and T. Allen Diaz’s Lunatic City, as well as Louis Antonelli’s alternate space race and murder on the moon in Dragon-Award nominee Another Girl, Another Planet.

Jody Lynn Nye’s Taylor’s Ark follows the adventures of a star-traveling MD with a specialty in environmental medicine, and Brenda Cooper’s Endeavor-Award winning The Silver Ship and the Sea is a gripping story of prisoners of war abandoned on a rugged colony planet. Acclaimed, award-winning author Paul di Filippo gives a collection of his best stories in Lost Among the Stars.

And for thrilling military SF, the bundle also has Honor and Fidelity by Andrew Keith and William H. Keith, Recruit by Jonathan P. Brazee, and the hilarious adventures of Phule’s Company in Robert Lynn Asprin’s Phule’s Paradise.

The Adventure SF Story Bundle runs for only three weeks. You can get the base level of five books for $5, or all 14 for as little as $15. Pay what you like, and a portion goes to support the great efforts of the Challenger Learning Centers for Space Science Education.

In the aftermath of the Challenger accident, the space shuttle Challenger crew’s families came together, firmly committed to the belief that they must carry on the spirit of their loved ones by continuing the Challenger crew’s educational mission. Their efforts resulted in the creation of Challenger Center for Space Science Education.

Challenger Center and its global network of Challenger Learning Centers use space-themed simulated learning and role-playing strategies to help students bring their classroom studies to life and cultivate skills needed for future success, such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication and teamwork.

Challenger Center transports students to a cutting edge Mission Control room and a high-tech Space Station. Whether their mission is flying to the Moon, intercepting a comet, visiting Mars, or studying the Earth from the International Space Station, students see classroom lessons brought to life in the engaging, dynamic, simulated learning environment.

A not-for-profit 501(c)(3) education organization, Challenger Center reaches hundreds of thousands of students, and tens of thousands of teachers every year.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Latest sale

It's always great to start the month by signing a contract. I'm honored to have signed my contract with B Cubed Press this morning for the publication of my alternate history short story "Queens Crossing" in the More Alternative Truths anthology, due for release in November.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Half dozen tales of the imagination

Between August 15 and September 15 I had to fulfill SIX commitments I made to submit for anthologies. I got them all done, so that's another half dozen stories in the Antonelli canon. They are:

For Superversive Press planet-themed anthologies:

"Last Call" - Mercury.
"The Wrong Venus" - Venus
"The Girl Who Died Twice" - Mars.

For More Alternative Truths - "Queens Crossing".

For Toys Sha'Daa - "Sketches From the Apocalypse".

For Whispers of the APOC - "Stuck in the Middle With You".

The last I recall half of these have been formally accepted.

Well, that's a relief. I'm moving on to new projects now, but if anyone has an upcoming anthology that needs a good story, don't forget, I work fast and cheap!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Take no notice

I've noticed that Mike Glyer - the guy who runs the File 770 web site - has always seemed to believe his self-identified "Sad Puppies" are some sort of minority group that need to be ethnically cleansed.

Glyer lurks around Facebook pages and blogs, and cherry picks postings that he and his coterie of hate-filled commentators can use to attack and abuse those Sad Puppies.

File 770 purports to be a news site about science fiction fandom, but it's extraordinarily biased. I've noticed that if I post something he thinks makes me look bad - even if any normal, intelligent and honest person can't see any problem - he'll copy and paste it for his jackals to feast on.

On Sept. 26 I posted here about my satisfaction at having become a finalist for the Dragon Award on my own terms, without seeking any organized support. I realized this morning, as I am plowing through breakfast, that File 770 didn't take notice.

Now, Glyer's posted more trivial musings - from me as well as from other people - many times in the past. My reasonable supposition is that he can't see any hateful hay to be made from my comments.

Prejudiced and narrow-minded, he and his claque of character assassins would not admit of the possibility that I am a competent writer and that the Dragon awards are an indicator of popular appeal among fandom.

OK, I guess at some level I could be accused of being piqued at not getting free publicity - but that's not really the case.

I just don't like File 770, Glyer, his flunkies, and all the people who are still flogging the Sad Puppy dead horse.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Interesting possibiity

With my alternate history "Queens Crossing" running in the "More Alternative Truths" anthology to be released in a couple of months, it occurs to me that next year I might be in the running for the Sidewise award in both the short and long fiction categories.

The Sidewise is a juried award, so there's no way of telling, but both "Another Girl, Another Planet" and "Queen Crossing" will have been published in 2017; the Sidewise eligibility is based on the calendar year.

"More Alternative Truths" is a sequel to the initial anthology "Alternative Truths", which came out in April and has been very well received. There's probably more than one Sidewise contender between the two volumes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cue the Frank Sinatra song

Here's a point I would like to make about being a finalist for the Dragon Award this year:

Two years ago, I solicited support from the Sad Puppies group for the Hugo nominations. I know Brad Torgersen and I thought it would be a harmless way to get support. Unfortunately, the Rabid Puppies picked up a lot of the same nominations (I never asked to be on the Rabid Puppy list) and the cumulative effect - where in some categories ALL the finalists were either from the Sad or Rabid list - provoked a reaction from the s-f establishment - well, we all know what followed.

I vowed afterwards I would not solicit support from any similar organized effort in the future.

This year I lobbied for "Another Girl, Another Planet" on my own. Along the way, some folks gave me their support - such as Jon Jon Del Arroz and Declan Finn - and I accepted it, but I did not go our and seek advance support from any organized sources.

I got on the Dragon ballot that way, on my terms, and I feel much better about that. Yes, I lost to Harry Turtledove in the Alternate History category - big surprise!

I was beaten fair and square, but I was in the running, and I did it on my terms. After the fiasco two years ago, I feel so much better about that.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Lies, lies, lies, and bullshit

At the Amazing Stories web site, there is a guest editorial by one Chris M. Barkley engaging in more useless navel gazing over the Sad Puppies vs. Rabid Puppies vs. blah blah blah issue and such.
I wouldn't bother to mention this except for one passage that caught my attention:

"Their views vastly contrast with The Rabid Puppies, primarily represented by Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day), John C. Wright and Lou Antonelli, they are unabashedly and enthusiastically racist in their worldview and their fiction. They believe a white male hegemony over all peoples of color, women and the LGBTQ community is the best course for the human race AND any aliens we may encounter, to put it mildly."

Ok, I don't know what kind of stupid bullshit rumors have wafted through Mr. Barkley's empty cranium, but it is specious to lump me in with Vox Day and John C. Wright.

Plus to claim I am "unabashedly and enthusiastically racist" in my worldview is simply libelous. I dare this hatemonger to point to anything I have ever said or did that was racist - because I'm not. As the first generation non-white child of an illegal immigrant, I have always felt revulsion towards ethnic and racial prejudice - I have been on the receiving end, believe me.

Mr. Barkley is entitled to his opinion, but not his lies. It's pathetic he tosses out such slander so casually.

But, as the saying goes, consider the source. Steve Davidson and the Amazing Stories web site are right up there with File 770 as the biggest cesspools of hate and bigotry against people who did them no harm.

Just to make my position on racism clear, I'm a Christian. God made man - all men: White, Black, Brown, Yellow, Red, whatever. A racist is God-defiant. He's putting himself above God by saying God made a mistake. A racist does the Devil's work.

Latest sale

I'm proud to announce my short story "The Man Who Sold His Soul For His Country" will be published in the upcoming anthology "Forbidden Thoughts 2"

No. 112

My latest short story has been published at the ezine Theme of Absence, "Milady Wakes". It is the 112th short story I have had published since June 2003.

http://www.themeofabsence.com/2017/09/milady-wakes-by-lou-antonelli/

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Was the ass-terisk a mistake?

In the process of discussing changing award rules recently over at File 770, Mike Glyer himself seems to opine it was wrong:

"That wooden asterisk was a self-inflicted wound that will never heal."

At which point somebody called Cheryl S. says:

"@Mike Glyer, that wooden asterisk was unfortunate, but it wasn’t meant to wound. If it nicked the very thin skinned, that’s the kind of thing that thicker skin would prevent. Since the wounded were the sort of people who say “snowflake” and “safe spaces” with scorn, I feel only a little badly and mostly just raise an eyebrow at their lack of appreciation for irony."

She added later in the same post:

"Did I cheer for all those No Awards from Spokane? Yeah, I did, watching/reading the live feed at a Michael Franti concert, because it meant that Worldcon’s organizational strength translated to public support when needed."

I mean, where do these people some from?

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Turtledove takes Alternate History Dragon award

Congratulations to Harry Turtledove for winning the Dragon Award for Alternate History.

He is the Dean of Alternate History, and the recognition is well deserved. I am honored to have been a finalist this year and included in such esteemed company

Just to show you how good an author Harry Turtledove is - bearing in mind that I don't read much original fiction these days as I am so busy writing - even I bought and enjoyed "Bombs Away".

It's hard to feel bad losing to a book you loved yourself.

Again, congrats Harry! You are the King!

Saturday, September 02, 2017

The end of voting

Well. today is the last day to vote for the Dragon awards. The presentation will be tomorrow (Sunday) at the convention. I'm sorry I couldn't make the it, but everyone understands how Harvey messed up my plans (that and the Arkansas highway people).

I've already been told by a number of people they'll be there tomorrow and rooting for me. Thanks! I already feel like a winner, with all the support and great reviews I have received.

I won't post a link to the sign-up to vote, because the deadline has already passed. But if you are going to vote today, I'd appreciate your consideration (I just voted yesterday myself).

To all my friends and colleagues at DragonCon: I see you're having a great time. Enjoy yourself, and be safe on the return trip. As a number of people have observed, Dragoncon will be there again next year, so here's hoping.

It was a painful decision to bow to fate and admit defeat and turn around Thursday, but I didn't want to be on the winner's list this year and then the Memorial List next year.

I'm home and safe and sound and dry and I plan to get caught up with my submissions and keep writing. Thanks for all the kid wishes and support!

Friday, September 01, 2017

To all my friends at DragonCon:

I cannot make it.
Although my corner of Northeast Texas was unaffected by Hurricane Harvey (we didn't even get any rain), as I drove through Arkansas this morning I caught up with the storm, which slowed down traffic.

Then at noon, about 40 miles east of Little Rock, it stopped completely.

Interstate 40 was completely closed eastbound between Little Rock and Memphis because of a major traffic accident.

I was trapped in the backup from noon until 5 p.m.

The loss of time was fatal to my traffic plans. Not to mention that being a 60-year old diabetic, getting trapped like that was VERY inconvenient.

By the time I was able to exit the interstate, along with all the other traffic, at Exit 193, I had to gas up my car - which burned a lot of gas idling for five hours - and turn around.

After that delay I there was no way I could get to Atlanta in a timely fashion. The interstate to Memphis was still closed, and any diversion from where I was would have added many hours to the drive.

Plus, from all indications, I would be driving in the remains of Tropical Storm Harvey the whole way.
I got back to my home here in East Texas at 9:30 p.m. - about the time I should have been reaching Atlanta.

I really looked forward to the convention, and everything looked good up until noon. It just goes to show you how quick things can change.

Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.

Everyone have a good time. I wish I was there with you all.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ready for Dragoncon

With Dragoncon ready to start, I have my fingers crossed in hopes "Another Girl, Another Planet" will take the Dragon award in Alternate History.

No matter what the final outcome, I am deeply honored to have my first novel as a finalist on the ballot.

Thanks go to so many of you for your support and kind comments. I want to especially thank Jon Del Arroz and Declan Finn for supporting me on their blogs.

Looking forward, I'd like to think "Another Girl, Another Planet" will be a contender for the Sidewise award next year. That's a juried award, so there's no public input. I was very honored when "Great White Ship" was a finalist in the short story category in 2013.

AGAP was eligible for the Dragon this year, but will be eligible for the Sidewise next year, because the Sidewise awards uses the calendar year for its eligibility period, while the Dragon uses June 30-July 1st. AGAP was released at the end of January.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Latest sales

I finished four short stories during the past week to meet commitments to anthologies. Two have already been accepted. My alternate history short story "Queens Crossing" will be published in the upcoming "More Alternative Truths" anthology, a follow-up to the critically-acclaimed "Alternative Truths" published earlier this year, and my short story "Last Call" has been accepted for the upcoming Superversive Press anthology "Mercury".


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Here is my schedule for DragonCon:


Friday

2:30 pm Autograph Session - International Hall South 4-5 - Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

4-7 p.m. Bards Towers (in the Dealers Room)

Saturday

10-12 p.m. Bards Tower

1:00 pm Panel: Significant Short Stories - Embassy AB - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour) Description: Our panelists discuss short stories that made or are making a significant impact on the SF field.

Sunday

1:00 p.m. Dragon Award ceremony

3-7 p.m. Bards Tower

I am on programming for a reading at 1 p.m. Sunday, but that is at the same time as the Dragon Awards ceremony.

I have no problem giving out my cell phone number if anyone wants to get a hold of me. It's 903-257-6573.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Down to the wire

If you didn't nominate for the Dragon Award and haven't gotten a ballot yet, you have until midnight Monday, August 28, to register and request a ballot.

If you participated in the nomination process, you should have already gotten a link to your ballot. The web site says the deadline to vote on the ballot in Tuesday, Aug. 29, again at midnight.

I had thought the deadline for final voting was extended to Sept. 2, as a result of some last-minute ballot changes - two people asked their works be withdrawn and the award committee revised the ballot and extended the deadline for voting so that people who voted before the withdrawals could get an updated ballot.

However, I'm not seeing that later deadline on-line, so it might be wise to vote by the 29th. If anyone has a link to a source for the Sept. 2 deadline, please let me know.

I may have just missed it, I haven't had my coffee yet this morning.

The Dragon Awards presentation will be Sunday, Sept. 3 at 1 p.m.

As I have stated previously, I am proud of "Another Girl, Another Planet" and I ask for your vote in the Alternate History category.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Between us two?

I've heard more than one person recently handicapping the Alternate History category in this year's Dragon awards saying that they think its between me and "Another Girl, Another Planet" and "No Gods, Only Daimons" by Kai Wai Cheah".

The logic here is that "Another Girl, Another Planet" is good enough and distinctive enough that it stands out of the eight entry field, while "No Gods, Only Daimons" has the support of the Rabid Puppy voting bloc.

I'm not sure I agree with that, but it sounds as good as any theory.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The time I stepped on Brian Aldiss

Word has come that the great British science fiction author Brian Aldiss has passed away at the age of 92.

After such a long and distinguished career, I'm sure many people have their own stories about their encounters with Aldiss. Mine is a little strange.

I had just started writing and submitting science fiction short fiction when, in the spring of 2004, I received my first pro acceptance, from Gardner Dozois at Asimov's

That made me think that I needed to start attending genre-related events - at that point I had been to a grand total of two conventions - and that summer the wife and I drove up to Lawrence, Kansas, to attend the Campbell Conference.

That year was the last where the members of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame were inducted at the conference (the event has since moved to the sf museum in Seattle). The living inductees were Brian Aldiss and Harry Harrison.

We arrived in Lawrence just in time for the dinner, and as I rushed into the student center - worried that we were running late - I saw a pair of old timers in tuxes heading for the door from the opposite direction.

As I ran up, I realized they were Aldiss and Harrison. In a clumsy attempt to be a gentleman, I grabbed the door to hold it open for Aldiss, who was first. But as I walked around him, I stepped on the back of his shoe and gave him a "flat tire". (My wife tried to make me feel better later by pointing out that Aldiss was wearing house shoes).

I don't think Aldiss was terribly happy, and I was so embarrassed I ducked both of them for the rest of the weekend.

That was my one encounter in person with Aldiss.

Ironically, the next year, when my debut story was published in the September 2005 issue of Asimov's, "A Rocket for the Republic",  the same issue included a story by Aldiss, "Pipeline"..

Sunday, August 20, 2017

In the race

It seems counter intuitive, but I think have a better chance of winning the Dragon Award for Alternate History than I had in getting on the ballot in the first place.

To get on the ballot, I had to compete with dozens of excellent books in the same category, while now on the ballot I'm only in a field of eight. Looking over the other works, I think I stack up well.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Compilation of Amazon reviews for "Another Girl, Another Planet"

Captivating mystery and original idea. Would make a great movie.

....finished it at 2 am, in a single sitting. Exciting, funny, charming; Heinleinian in that it combines adventure and philosophy, but its own unique pageturning self. Highly recommend.

Really fun book. Reminds me a lot of the early Heinlein stories. Part thriller, part mystery, part space opera it was the best read I've had in a long time. The universe it is set in is incredibly compelling (despite a nit pick or two), and it is a TREMENDOUSLY fun read. I was actually late to my doctor appointment because I literally could not put it down. I'm really hopeful there will be a sequel because I really enjoyed it.
I gave it four stars because there are a couple of spots that I found a little unbelievable (in regards to characters not plot). That being said, when Mr. Antonelli is on, he is ON. There are some action sequences that are really great, and some of sad parts are really moving. Well worth the money, definitely a fun, interesting, and compelling read.

Secret history wrapped in alternate history. I've been reading alternate history for some time now. I've only recently gotten into secret history with Simon R. Green's Secret Histories (aka Eddie Drood) series. (Secret history has been a longtime category of science fiction, just new to me.)
Another Girl, Another Planet uses an "unreliable narrator" for this alternate history. Where the person relating his story is surprised that anyone might believe his tale and where the person has no explanation for the fact that his story obviously took place in an alternate reality/parallel universe.
As someone who remembers well the 1960's through 1980's, I also definitely enjoyed Mr. Antonelli's use of historical figures (as well as some actual contemporary people) in this novel.
Another Girl, Another Planet is the story of a man sent to Mars in 1985 to be executive assistant to the colonial governor at the joint Soviet-NATO Mars base. Not only was there the joint mission on Mars but there was also a thriving joint Soviet-NATO Moon settlement (complete with several cities).
In this alternate reality, instead of an arms race after WWII the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact nations & the U.S./Western powers had a space race and ended up deciding to go together on both the Moon and later Mars, as a better use of both of their resources. They had even set up a fixed rotation where the base was operated by the Soviets this year and twenty years later NATO would smoothly assume control of the base (until the next fixed turnover). Even if it were NATO's turn to operate the base, both sides had to agree on leadership positions such as the governor & lieutenant governor. That is, if it is NATO's operation, the Soviets must sign off as well on these critical appointees.
This alternate reality had both robots and androids, although both had been banned from Earth and the Moon by the time the story begins. Said robots and, in particular androids, were on Mars to both help construct the colony and also work there as common laborers, maids, waitresses, etc. etc. I enjoy science fiction novels with mixed societies of humans and robots/androids.
Another Girl, Another planet is a good yarn. Good worldbuilding, interesting choices as to how this alternate history was different from our own history, and I enjoyed getting to know the various characters. So far as I know, this is Mr. Antonelli's first novel. His earlier work has been shorter fiction, a lot of them short stories, and most of them secret histories/alternate history as well. Recommended for readers of secret histories/alternate history and Mars!

This is a terrifically inventive and highly creative novel about troubles with androids set on Mars and set in an alternative future. It is quite funny and exciting, but the biggest joy is the well thought alternative history. Highly recommended.

Lou Antonelli is a creative writer & thinker. He seems to have a great grasp on beauracracy, politics & space travel. Love stories & greed. It's all there & more. I've read 30 SciFi novels in 2 years and this is up there with the best. Worth the read.

A nicely done, thoroughly enjoyable alternate history adventure, unfolding from a clever premise. Antonelli does a fine job spinning this well-wrought tale. Rather than focus on "the human predicament," he focuses on the characters' common humanity (or perhaps I should say "personhood") to deliver an emotional payoff with lots of impact. It's definitely fun for fans of space opera, "competent engineer" stories, and Golden Age fans, but I think it has broader appeal as well.

Excellent book! It's the first book I've read by this author and I wasn't disappointed. Earth. Mars. The Moon. It didn't turn out the way I expected, but it definitely left me wanting to read the next book ASAP. :-)

What begins as a distorted view of memory lane sweeps you into a future of space exploration, robots and people just being human. A stunner of an ending. Very enjoyable.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The spin rack is STILL making a comeback!


I'm still engaged in my policy of buying genre books from the spin racks in Dollar General stores to encourage them to stock these "gateway" mass market paperbacks. Here are two I bought last week, in Clarksville and Blossom, Texas. Total investment: $4. Value of great fun fiction: Priceless

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Doing it right this time

A couple of years ago, I had what I thought was a good idea at the time and suggested two works for a list of Hugo recommendations being compiled by an author colleague of mine.

That compilation turned out to work too well, and the success of those recommendations led to a backlash. I don't think I exaggerate when I say I think everyone involved didn't t like the ways things played out.

I resolved afterwards to never to seek support from any list in advance, but to "paddle my own canoe" - to use an old corny expression.

That's what I did in promoting "Another Girl, Another Planet". I am happy that some people and blogs decided to support it for the Dragon award, but I didn't seek any organized support in advance - although I'll accept it if offered.

Of course, I've asked many individuals for support, and some of those folks have their own lists and blogs.

I am proud of "Another Girl, Another Planet" and I think it stands on its own merits. I am very grateful to all of you who nominated it for the Dragon ballot, and I continue to to be thankful as the final voting progresses.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

News release from Dragon Con Media Relations

DRAGON CON’S DRAGON AWARDS PUBLISHES ITS 2017 BALLOT

Fans-Focused Awards Recognizes Excellence in Fifteen Categories of Fiction,

Comics, Gaming, and Filmed Entertainment

Second Annual Awards Will Be Announced at Dragon Con over Labor Day Weekend

ATLANTA – August 7, 2017 – Dragon Con’s Dragon Awards, a fan-chosen awards program to recognize outstanding achievement in science fiction and fantasy literature, comics, gaming, and filmed entertainment, has published its 2017 ballot.

The Dragon Awards are decidedly a “fans’ choice” award. All fans – not just Dragon Con members or attendees – are invited to select the Dragon Award winners by voting – for free – on the second annual Dragon Awards ballot. The full ballot can be accessed here: awards.dragoncon.org/2017-ballot/

To vote, fans much register on the Dragon Awards website: http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_signup.php   Ballots are then emailed to registered voters a few days later.

“We believe strongly in the principle of one fan, one vote,” said Pat Henry, president of Dragon Con, Inc. “We believe that the vast body of fandom is in the best position to identify and recognize the most beloved works in science fiction and fantasy today.”

Henry went on to encourage every fan to go vote for their favorite works.

“We all know that a determined minority can carry the day when not enough people vote,” Henry said. “For that reason alone, we think it’s critical that fans everywhere vote for the books, games, comics and shows they love.”

The Dragon Awards were introduced in 2016 as part of the 30th Anniversary of Dragon Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy, sci-fi and gaming convention.

To accommodate as many creative genres as possible, awards will be given in each of 15 categories covering the full range of fiction, comics, television, movies, video gaming and tabletop gaming. Winners will be announced on Sept. 3rd at Dragon Con, which will be held September 1 to September 4, 2017 in Atlanta.

The ballot was selected in an open nomination process. Using the dedicated Dragon Awards website, fans were invited to nominate one (and only one) of their favorite properties in any or all the award categories.  Nominations ran from early April until July 25. The best and most popular of the nominated properties were elevated to the ballot.

All voting will be done electronically and only on the Dragon Awards site. No memberships or other qualifiers are required, making the voting open to all of the fans of all forms of science fiction. Fans have until Monday, August 28th at 11:59 p.m., Eastern, to register.  Voting ends 24-hours later, on Tuesday, August 29th at 11:59 p.m., also Eastern.

Further details are available on the awards website awards.dragoncon.org. Please direct all inquiries to dcawards@dragoncon.org or mail them to: Dragon Awards, PO Box 16459, Atlanta, GA 30321-0459 USA

About Dragon Con

Dragon Con is the internationally known pop culture convention held each Labor Day in Atlanta. Organized for fans, Dragon Con features more than about 3,000 hours of comics, film, television programming, costuming, art, music and gaming over four days. For more information, please visit www.dragoncon.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, August 07, 2017

The Five Stages of a Dragon Award nomination (or Political) Campaign – with apologies to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

I mentioned in my previous post that self-promotion to get a work on an award ballot reminded me of running for public office.

After some reflection, I realized the stages in the both processes are the same, so I thought I’d put them down:

First Stage: EXCITEMENT
You’ve decided you’re going to toss your hat in the ring. You’re looking forward to the campaign. It’s going to be exciting and you look forward to doing great things. Your friends are all behind you, and with some elbow grease and a little luck, you’re a shoo-in.

Second Stage: REALITY SINKS IN
OK, you’ve begun to realize what you’ve gotten yourself into. It’s a lot more work than you anticipated, and you wonder if you are up to it. This is going to be real work, and you wonder if you have the time. The initial euphoria has worn off.

Third Stage: SELF-DOUBT
Now that you’ve been campaigning for a while, you’ve gotten to know the competition, and realize they are good – maybe better than you. Plus now you’ve learned some people you thought would help you have other plans, and some have decided to support other candidates. What have you gotten yourself into?

Fourth Stage: DEPRESSION
OK, now you see that you bit off more than you can chew. You’re strapped for time, you’ve lost supporters, and you have to admit there are other perfectly qualified candidates who could legitimately beat you. They’re just as good, if not better, and have better networks and connection than you do. You begin to think of your concession speech.

Fifth Stage: FATALISM
Election Day (or the deadline for nominations) nears, and you realize that, no matter what, this will all be over soon, and you’ll be able to relax. You decide to make one last push and pull out all the stops for a get-out-the-vote (or nomination) effort. You want to be able to say, at least for your supporters if not for yourself, that you gave it your best shot, and can hold your head high regardless of the outcome.

First thoughts on the Dragon award

I haven't posted that much regarding the Dragon Awards. I only learned of the final ballot Thursday night, and the following morning my wife and I left for the five hour (each way) drive to Austin for Armadilloncon. While at cons I don't post that much; I prefer to mix and mingle and enjoy the event.
So here are a few insights:

First of, self-promotion is hard work, and also tedious. It's a necessary evil, however, insofar as other authors are out there promoting their own works.

There's always a mix of private and public promotion. Old-timers and very successful authors do a lot of promotion behind the scenes, because they can. I was able to do some of that, also, but in my case most of my self-promotion was up front and public. As a part-time writer I don't have those really deep roots in the genre.

People reacted very well. I think it's like, every mom thinks their kid's cute. You allowed to toot your own horn and extol your own work. Even if someone isn't as enthusiastic about your work as you are, they will be polite and respectful.

I got a late start, compared to some other people, in promoting "Another Girl, Another Planet" for the Dragon because of a simple mental error. I assumed the eligibility period was the calendar year, as it is for the Hugos and Nebulas. The book was issued in January, so I assumed it would be in consideration next year. It was only in May that a friend pointed out my absent-minded oversight. The Dragons' period goes from July 1 to June 30 of the following year.

When the initial Dragon awards were announced last year, I was pleased to see one of the categories was Alternate History. Previously the only recognition I'd seen for my favorite sub-genre was the Sidewise Award. Alternate history is becoming more and more popular, and I applaud any efforts to recognize and highlight its best works.

I knew as soon as "Another Girl, Another Planet" was published it should be a contender for the Dragon award in that category, and the ongoing positive comments and reviews since its release convinced me it had a chance. Once I realized it would have to be on the ballot for consideration this year, I embarked on a program of promotion that reminded me very much standard political campaign.

It's best in a political campaign to keep the message simple and clear and repeat it constantly. My message - AGAP is a good book and deserves your consideration - seemed to have worked. By the time the nomination deadline neared, the repetition, though, was starting to drive me nuts. I got sick of hearing about Lou Antonelli - and I'm Lou Antonelli!

I've been a finalist for both the Sidewise and Hugo awards, and in both cases, if you have made the ballot, you are contacted in advance, and asked if you accept the honor. Sometimes people prefer to take a bye.

Nominations for the Dragon closed July 24, and after a week had passed I assumed I had not made the grade. I was sure of it last Thursday night when I received an email that had a link to the final ballot.

I opened the ballot, to see who HAD made the grade, and was startled to see my name there. The Dragon award apparently is less bureaucratic than some others, I suppose, and they simply released the final ballot the way the nominations fell.

I was delighted, of course, and very proud. I also saw I am in exalted company. The Alternate History selections are all excellent works and the ballot overall is very wide-ranging and inclusive. I mean, heck, when the honorees range from John Scalzi and N.K. Jemison to Vox Day and John C. Wright, you've covered the whole, and I mean whole, spectrum of authors!

I'm tired, as I just returned home from Austin, but I'll put down more thoughts shortly. Have a great week!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

The ballot has been released for this year's Dragon awards.

Here it is:

2017 Dragon Con Awards

This ballot must be submitted by Tuesday, August 29th, 11:59 EDT (UTC -4)


1. Best Science Fiction Novel

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

Babylon's Ashes by James S.A. Corey

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

The Secret Kings by Brian Niemeier

Rise by Brian Guthrie

Space Tripping by Patrick Edwards

Death's End by Cixin Liu

Escaping Infinity by Richard Paolinelli


2. Best Fantasy Novel (Including Paranormal)

The Hearthstone Thief by Pippa DaCosta

Beast Master by Shayne Silvers

Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter

Dangerous Ways by R.R. Virdi

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge by Larry Correia and John Ringo

Wings of Justice by Michael-Scott Earle

A Sea of Skulls by Vox Day


3. Best Young Adult / Middle Grade Novel

It's All Fun and Games by Dave Barrett

Swan Knight's Son by John C. Wright

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Firebrand by A.J. Hartley

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Rachel and the Many Splendored Dreamland by L. Jagi Lamplighter


4. Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel

Invasion: Resistance by J.F. Holmes

Cartwright's Cavaliers by Mark Wandrey

Caine's Mutiny by Charles E. Gannon

Iron Dragoons by Richard Fox

Alies and Enemies: Exiles by Amy J. Murphy

Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz

Starship Liberator by B.V. Larson and David VanDyke

The Span of Empire by Eric Flint and David Carrico


5. Best Alternate History Novel

Witchy Eye by D.J. Butler

Another Girl, Another Planet by Lou Antonelli

1636: The Ottoman Onslaught by Eric Flint

The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville

Breath of Earth by Beth Cato

A Change in Crime by D.R. Perry

No Gods, Only Daimons by Kai Wai Cheah

Fallout: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove


6. Best Apocalyptic Novel

Codename: Unsub by Declan Finn and Allan Yoskowitz

The Seventh Age: Dawn by Rick Heinz

A Place Outside the Wild by Daniel Humphreys

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

American War by Omar El Akkad

ZK: Falling by J.F. Holmes

Walkaway by Cory Doctorow


7. Best Horror Novel

A God in the Shed by J-F Dubeau

The Changeling by Victor LaValle

The Bleak December by Kevin G. Summers

Blood of Invidia by Tom Tinney and Morgen Batten

Live and Let Bite by Declan Finn

The Hidden People by Alison Littlewood

Nothing Left to Lose by Dan Wells

Donn's Hill by Caryn Larrinaga


8. Best Comic Book

Monstress by Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Eleven by Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs

Wynonna Earp Legends by Beau Smith, Tim Rozon, Melanie Scrofano, Chris Evenhuis

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa

Motor Girl by Terry Moore

The Dresden Files: Dog Men by Jim Butcher, Mark Powers, Diego Galindo


9. Best Graphic Novel

Love is Love by Marc Andreyko, Sarah Gaydos, James S. Rich

Girl Genius: the Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne, Book 2: The City of Lightning by Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio

Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Wild Card by Jim Butcher, Carlos Gomez

March Book 3 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin

Stuck in My Head by J.R. Mounts

My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris

Clive Barker Nightbreed #3 by Marc Andreyko, Clive Barker, Emmanuel Javier


10. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy TV Series

Marvel's Agents of Shield, ABC

Stan Lee's Lucky Man, Sky1

Stranger Things, Netflix

Wynonna Earp, Syfy

Lucifer, Fox

Doctor Who, BBC

Westworld, HBO

The Expanse, Syfy


11. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Movie

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 directed by James Gunn

Doctor Strange directed by Scott Derrickson

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story directed by Gareth Edwards

Arrival directed by Denis Villeneuve

Logan directed by James Mangold

Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins

Passengers directed by Morten Tyldum


12. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy PC / Console Game

Final Fantasy XV by Square Enix

Mass Effect: Andromeda by Bioware

Dishonored 2 by Arkane Studios

NieR: Automata by PlatinumGames

Titanfall 2 by Respawn Entertainment

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild by Nintendo


13. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

Con Man: The Game by Monkey Strength Productions

Super Mario Run by Nintendo

Sky Dancer by Pine Entertainment

Monument Valley 2 by Ustwogames

Pokemon GO by Niantic

Fire Emblem Heroes by Nintendo


14. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Board Game

Hero Realms by White Wizard Games

Mansions of Madness (Second Edition) by Fantasy Flight Games

Terraforming Mars by Stronghold Games

Gloomhaven by Cephalofair Games

Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow's Walk by Avalon Hill

Scythe by Stonemaier Games


15. Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Miniatures / Collectible Card / Role-Playing Game

Magic the Gathering: Eldritch Moon by Wizards of the Coast

Dark Souls: The Board Game by Steamforged Games

Star Wars: Destiny by Fantasy Flight Games

A Shadow Across the Galaxy X-Wing Wave X by Fantasy Flight Games

Pulp Cthulhu by Chaosium

Bloodborne: The Card Game by CMON Limited

Monday, July 31, 2017

Why I am in the doghouse...

Turner Classic Movies showed Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" last night at midnight. My wife recorded it and was watching it this afternoon.

During the the nerve-wracking final scene, when the characters are trapped in the house by the sea, I snuck up behind her chair, and crossed my arms, and then slapped each elbow with the opposite palm at the same time.

If you've ever done this, you know this makes a creditable flapping noise.

THIS IS CALLED BEING TOO CLEVER BY HALF.

Patricia jumped 20 feet, and now I owe her a week's worth of foot rubs, plus back rubs, and a lot more, and then she will - maybe - decide if I am allowed to live.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Another great review

Review: Another Girl, Another Planet by Lou Antonelli

By David Afsharirad 
On his blog Tyrannosaurus Ranch


I don't really read science fiction novels much these days. With as many science fiction short stories as I read in order to assemble The Year's Best Military and Adventure SF series, when it comes time to wind down with a book, I find myself reaching for different genres. When I do read a science fiction novel, I tend to gravitate toward older works that I've meant to read but haven't gotten around to. All this to say, if a science fiction novel came out in the last three or four years, there's a stunningly good chance I haven't cracked its spine.


But I made an exception for Lou Antonelli's Another Girl, Another Planet. The premise was just too interesting. I couldn't resist.


With Another Girl, Another Planet, Lou Antonelli gives us the 20th Century we deserved rather then the 20th Century we got. It's an alternate history story in which Admiral Robert A. Heinlein (yes, that Robert A. Heinlein) convinces the United States and the U.S.S.R. to work together on a joint space program, rather than against one another in an escalating arms race. As a result, by 1985 (when our story is set) there is a thriving colony on the Moon and the frontier has moved to Mars.


The hero of the story is Dave Shuster, a low-level bureaucrat who is sent to the Mars colony to take over a vacant administration position. Once there, however, he discovers that the Martian governor has died while he was en route. Shuster is now interim leader of the colony.


The engine for Antonelli's plot is an Asmovian mystery involving a mysterious robot and android factory on Mars and a missing girl (an old flame of Shuster's) back in New York City. The mystery is well-done and kept me turning pages, and Shuster, who narrates the novel, is a likable protagonist with a great voice.


But the real joy of the novel is the world that Antonelli has created. For one thing, it's incredibly well thought out. More than that, it's just downright fun. In Another Girl, Another Planet, familiar faces from our timeline turn up in different settings throughout. Familiar technology such as fax machines exist alongside Moon-to-Mars rocketships. To say too much would be to ruin the fun of the novel, so I'll just mention two things that typify what I'm talking about. The first is when Dave Shuster finds a cassette of Buddy Holly's early material, from 1957 - 1961, before he and The Beatles became engaged in the U.S. vs. Britain Music Wars. Another is that we find out what happened to famed skyjacker D.B. Cooper in this timeline.


If I have a criticism to level against the novel it's that, from time to time, the forward movement of the plot is sidelined so that some aspect of the alternate timeline and/or retro-futuristic technology can be explained. But these diversions are so entertaining that it's hard to say that they should have been cut. I certainly would have missed them. Readers not as enamored with 20th Century history and pop culture might find themselves a little lost in all of the references, but I suspect that, for the most part, they will just sail on by, not causing a distraction.


Published by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta's Wordfire Press, Another Girl, Another Planet is available now. Here's a link to it on Amazon. Or, if you prefer, you can buy a DRM-free version from Baen.com.


If there were more books like Lou Antonelli's Another Girl, Another Planet, I'd 

Slush Pile Mambo

Right now I have a dozen short stories sitting in various slushpiles awaiting decisions, and eight stories accepted and pending publication...