Sunday, December 31, 2017

My sixth story of the year

My sixth short story publication in 2017 was “Riders of the Red Shift”, published in the inaugural issue of Astounding Frontiers in July.

It was originally written for "Rayguns Over Texas", the anthology put together for the WorldCon that was held in San Antonio in 2013. BY then I had already been pegged as non-PC by the "in crowd" and blacklisted by editor Rick Klaw. You probably never heard of "Rayguns Over Texas" because it sucked. Klaw does, too.

It was later picked up by a magazine publisher who said it was one of the best things he'd ever read, but his little publication got so behind publication schedule that I withdrew it two years after I signed the contract for it.

That was because James Reasoner of Rough Edges Press was putting together his anthology "Rockets Red Glare", and I thought "Riders" would be a great fit. James agreed, and took it.

Then Superversive Press launched a new magazine, Astounding Frontiers, and I thought "Riders" would be such a good fit that I took it back from James - promising to write him a brand new story - and sent it to Jason Rennie at Astounding, who did did indeed publish it in Issue No. 1.

The story? It's about how we sometimes clean up and cover up old historical facts to make people look better. It's set a few hundred years in the future, on the fringes of the solar system - another unusual foray for me into real outer space.

Here's the link to Amazon:

Eligibility posts continue:

My fifth story of this year was "A Stone’s Throw”, published this summer in 4 Star Stories.

It's genesis was simple - you ever wonder while driving what is WRONG with the idiot other driver?

I have a retired engineer tinker in his garage and combine a gamma ray surgical knife's ability to shoot a beam with an MRI machine into a radar detector-type device so you can can scan the brain of the idiot in the next car and figure out what is wrong with them.

When I submitted an early version of the story years ago to Analog, Stanley Schmidt said - as I recall, paraphrasing a bit - that the story was fun, but my physics completely bogus, and he has too many readers who'd know that and he didn't want to have to deal with the Letters to the Editor.

Well, here is the version as ultimately published in 4 Star Stories:

http://www.4starstories.com/Short_issue2/html/story_1.html

Year in Short Fiction - Cont.

My fourth story of the year was "The Last Run of the Piney Woods Express", published the "Bewitched, Betwixt and Between" anthology by Crosstime Publishing.

It is a ghost story, a rare foray for me. The idea grew from an actual incident I covered as a journalist where a railroad basically did a sneaky and unannounced demolition of an old and historic railroad depot, to avoid any attempt to stop it with an injunction.

This was a good example, by the way, of government meddling having unintended consequences. The feds promulgated a regulation that said that even if an entity like the railroad donates a structure for a public use, any asbestos has to be mitigated FIRST.

The railroad had indicated it was willing to donate the depot to the local historic society, but when the regulation was passed, putting the burden of cleaning out the asbestos on the railroad, it decided it didn't need to spend thousands of dollars on a building that had been derelict for years, and wanted to give away anyway.

They filed the demolition permit in Austin so no one locally knew of it, and then bulldozed the building in one day before anyone had a chance to stop it.

If you know anything about the Burlington Northern Railroad, in many ways they are legislatively above most of the laws the rest of us has to follow, as a result of concessions granted in the Robber Baron Era when railroad development was needed for the Westward expansion. They even have their own police, who have been known to confront local police.

Well, in my story, the sudden demolition of a depot has unintended consequences for the head of the demolition crew, who is confronted by some ghosts very irate at being evicted so suddenly.

https://steemit.com/books/@jonathanbaird/bewitched-betwixt-and-between-anthology-will-be-out-wednesday

2017 in Review - Story 3

Next on my review of my short fiction in 2017 is “The World Turned Upside Down” published in the Rocket’s Red Glare anthology from Rough Edges Press.

James Reasoner and Rough Edges is definitely one of the best, in terms of quality writing, small presses out there. His "Tales From the Otherverse" in 2015 was the best alternate history anthology of the year. I was a part of it, and it produced TWO finalists for the Sidewise awards, including the winner, Bill Crider's "It Doesn't Matter Any More"; James had the other finalist.

Shortly after "Otherverse" came out, I made an offhand comment from James that he should do a space-themed anthology with the U.S. as the good guys. He thought that was a good idea, and the outcome was "Rockets Red Glare".

I had a previously written story in mind to submit while it was being compiled, but then a couple of months before its issue date, I was invited to submit to the first issue of a new mag just starting up. The story I had already presented to James was such a good fit for the new mag that I asked if I could withdraw it and write a replacement.

That story, "The World Turned Upside Down", is one of my few forays into space. It's core concept is how artifacts and historical facts can be lost or misinterpreted. A reviewer on Amazon said "The penultimate story, by Hugo and Dragon award nominee Lou Antonelli, was an interesting contemplation on the Stars and Stripes from a future perspective on a post-nationalist Mars colony."

https://www.amazon.com/Rockets-Red-Glare-Brad-Torgersen-ebook/dp/B0728GCJ2S

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 in Review - Story Two

Following up on my comprehensive eligibility post of a few days ago, I think I will do some posts individually reviewing my ten published short stories of 2017.

My second story of the year was "Watch What Happens", published in Fiction on the Web in March.

The story hearkens back to when mechanical watches could be very complex - they were like the IPhones of their day.

The story's setting is obviously influenced by the TV series "Pawn Stars". The protagonist is drawn from myself when I was young, broke and lonely.

I use the "Maguffin" of the watch to come up with a very Twilight Zone-like ending.

http://www.fictionontheweb.co.uk/2017/03/watch-what-happens-by-lou-antonelli.html


The Year in Review - Part One:

Following up on my comprehensive eligibility post of a few days ago, I think I will do some posts individually reviewing my ten published short stories of 2017.

The year started with "The Silver Crescent", published in Issue 705 of Bewildering Stories (January).

Bewildering Stories, if you don't already know, is an on-line webzine that's been published weekly- with amazing regularity - since the summer of 2002. It published my third short story, SPPAM, back in December 2003.

"The Silver Crescent" is based on an article I found in a 1968 issue of Reader's Digest by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in which he suggests a wide scale project building atomic energy plants for desalinization in the Middle East would create jobs, increase the fresh water and therefore help economic development, and be something that the Israelis and Arabs could cooperate on for the good of the region.

It's not an alternate history, but it's definitely set in a future that you would find improbable - but hopeful.

Set in the near future, it starts in the midst of a nerve-wracking crisis - Iran shot off a missile to attack Israel. It was shot down, and the attack covered up, but tensions in the Middle East are boiling over.

An American representative, trying to mediate the crisis - remember, Iran HAS signed a nuclear energy accord - brings an Arab-American engineer from home, who has a radical proposal - hold the Iranians to their assertion they are developing atomic energy for peaceful uses.

The engineer has a set of plans originally drawn up under the Shah's government in the 1970s for a vast atomic-powered desalinization plant on the Iranian coast - plans that were dropped when the Shah's government fell.

He suggests the Iranians - as a face saving gesture - announce they are going ahead with the old plans, and that's why they still need their nuclear materials for.

The diplomat suggests the Iranians take the deal, because the U.S. is the only thing keeping the Israelis from turning Iran into a glass ashtray.,

To read how this turns all turns out, here's the link:

Friday, December 29, 2017

Best of the Year list

Wendy Delmater Thies includes "Another Girl, Another Planet" on her list of Fave Reads of 2017:

"If they don't make this into a blockbuster movie, they're nuts. You'll love it. "

Well, I certainly agree. Read her blog post here.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Annual eligibility post

It's that time of the year again, for the annual eligibility post - a blog or social media post listing of what you published in 2017 that is eligible for awards such as the Sidewise, Compton Crook, Dragon, Endeavour, Hugo, Lambda, Nebula, World Fantasy Award, and WSFA awards,

Here is the round-up of what I had published in 2017:

First and foremost, my debut novel "Another Girl, Another Planet". It was a finalist in the alternate history category for the Dragon award (I got beat by Harry Turtledove). It's got 17 review on Amazon, rated 4.6 stars.

My short fiction:

1. “The Silver Crescent” – Bewildering Stories, Issue 705

2. “Watch What Happens’ – Fiction on the Web, March 2017

3. “The World Turned Upside Down” – Rocket’s Red Glare anthology, Rough Edges Press

4. "The Last Run of the Piney Woods Express" - "Bewitched, Betwixt and Between" anthology, Crosstime Publishing

5. “A Stone’s Throw” – 4 Star Stories

6. “Riders of the Red Shift” – Astounding Frontiers, July 2017.

7. “The Orphan Hunter” – Aphelion, August 2017

8. “The Mole and the Sun” – Surprising Stories, September 2017

9. “Milady Wakes” – Theme of Absence, September 2017

10. “Queens Crossing” – More Alternate Truths, B Cubed Press, November 2017

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

All feedback is good

My position is that any feedback from an editor on a submission is helpful. For example, this accompanied a recent rejection:

"While limited attention is paid to plot, the concept is firmly in charge of this story, and most of the word count consists solely of the undeveloped characters simply discussing the premise. While the idea is strong, I'm afraid the execution fell flat for me."

Well, you know what, the editor is right. I tossed off the story on an impulse because of a neat idea that popped into my head. When what you have is all idea and no plot or characterization, that's a conceit.

I HATE it when editors see through you!

But the rejection note confirms that it still is a neat idea, so maybe I can add a little something to make it better.

Like a plot, maybe...

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Classy guy

Back on Dec. 1, I made a plea as I faced an electrical disconnect for people to maybe buy a few copies of "Another Girl, Another Planet" to help me out. If you follow me you probably know 2017 has been a very difficult year for myself and my wife financially.

Your response was wonderful and heartwarming. Thanks again, all of you who helped. Things worked out great.

I posted the same plea on my blog, and on Dec. 18 the following comment was made:

"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."

"Well, I'll tell you Lou, I *would*, but there's always the chance that David Gerrold might publish something, so I think I'll save my money to pass to him instead.

"Good luck with the welfare and everything, given that it's being cut by Trump...

"- RDF"

Yep, a real class act. I wonder what RDF stanfs for?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Great reading!

For your year-end list of best anthologies, as well as best story nominations, you can't beat "Alternative Truths" and its follow-up "More Alternative Truths." It's an amazing one-two punch of brilliant speculative fiction.

MAT includes my alternate history "Queens Crossing", a take on a different - or maybe not-so-different - version of Donald Trump.

For the holiday season B Cubed Press has put both Alternative Truths and More Alternative Truths: Stories from the Resistance on sale on Amazon.com.

These are the perfect gifts to awaken the complacent, support the resister — and startle your right-wing relatives or coworkers. There’s still time to give an ebook copy that will arrive before Dec. 25!

Alternative Truths — Stories, poems, and essays including: “President Trump, Gettysburg, November 19, 1863” by Jim Wright; “Relics: a fable” by Louise Marley; and “The Last Ranger” by Blaze Ward. Five stars on Amazon.com, with 90 reviews.

“Shocked on election night? This book is for you.” — Amazon review

Free! on Kindle Unlimited
$2.99 Kindle ebook
ON SALE: $11.00 paperback

Buy NOW:

More Alternative Truths: Stories from the Resistance — Stories, poems and essays includi: “The Ten Commandments Renegotiated” by Jim Wright and Bobby Lee Featherson; “A Modest Proposal for the Perfection of Nature” by Vonda N. McIntyre; and “Queens Crossing” by Lou Antonelli. Foreward by David Gerrold. Five stars on Amazon.com.

Free! on Kindle Unlimited
$5.99 Kindle ebook
ON SALE: $14.66 paperback

Buy NOW:

Friday, December 22, 2017

Thanks for your patience

I need to apologize for not posting very much in recent weeks, but the combination of the traditional holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas - and the subsequent loss of working time - plus some personal end-of-the-year activities has combined to cause me to neglect my fan base.

I've also been pretty sick with the usual cold/sinusitis which seems to hit this time of the year. Many days it's all I can do to stagger home after work, and I haven't had the strength to do anything in the evening.

But my office is now closed on a holiday break until Jan 2, so I plan and hope to get better health-wise and caught-up work-wise.

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.

Original Fiction - "False Flag" by Lou Antonelli

The school shooting wasn't what it seemed ... Dickey slammed the hatchback shut and handed Marissa her assault rifle.  She looked at...