Thursday, March 31, 2005

Finger Lakes, Dry Falls, and Big Girl

Absolute Magnitude is re-opening to submissions tomorrow. "Dry Falls", the story I did in collaboration with Jerry Wright, has been sitting at home, so I dropped it in the mail to them today.

Worked up the manuscript for "Twilight on the Finger Lakes". It's ready for the final proofing.

I finished up the revision for "Big Girl" for Chris Africa at Ultraverse and e-mailed it to him today.

I'm driving to Houston to cover the state power lifting meet on Saturday, so I'll be out of pocket for a few days.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

New submission

Back in February I picked up a flyer at ConDFW for a web site called Dark Energy. I recently checked them out, and they seem pretty respectable, so I dropped "After Image" in the e-mail to them. Their auto-responder works - a good sign.

That's 23 stories bouncing around various slush piles.

I was looking for a new venue. A few places I've submitted before - Chizine, Alienskin and Aeon come immediately to mind - are closed to submissions right now.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The old and the new

Spent some time working on the first draft of "Twilight on the Finger Lakes" last night.

I also prepared three more submissions. I'm sending Albedo One "Body by Fisher", Brutarian "The Dragon's Black Box" and Gordon Van Gelder "Insight".

"The Dragon's Black Box" has only flown past Sheila Williams so far, but the fellow at Brutarian has been real good about sending stories back promptly, so I thought I'll let him take a peek next. The worst that can happen is that it comes back in a couple of weeks.

"Body by Fisher" and "Insight" are among my oldest stories, ranking 4th and 1st. They go back to 2002. They may be reaching the end of the line as far as top-ranked venues are concerned.

(By comparsion, "The Dragon's Black Box" is the 48th story I've written - finished it in January.)

"Insight" was once just about sold to Chizine, but the editor asked me for some changes before I resubbed, and the e-mail sub never went through. By the time I followed up, the reading period had closed. He was unhappy - and so was I. Stuff happens.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Congrats to Sgt. Chip

The Hugo nominations were announced Saturday. I was pleased to see Brad Denton's "Sergeant Chip" was nominated in the Novella category. I liked the story very much, and I've told Brad that a number of times. I shot him an e-mail as soon as I found out. He responded very amiably.

I attended Brad's reading at ArmadilloCon last fall, which included the beginning of "Sergeant Chip". He lives in the Austin area. I was happy to meet him and to get to know his work better.

I called Howard Waldrop on the phone and told him about the nomination, since I know Howard doesn't use the internet. He and Brad go back a long way. Howard was happy to hear it.

I had sent Howard a copy of "The League of Dead Nations", and he sent me a note with some comments. I got that in the mail today, too.

"The Silver Dollar Saucer" dropped in the mailbox yesterday. "Good Old Gal" went in the mail today to Challenging Destiny. I got "Body by Fisher" back today from Gordon Van Gelder; he made some really positive (and helpful comments). Gordon is good about noting similarities between stories, and sometimes he catches things I never would have.

I finished the first draft of "Twilight on the Finger Lakes" last night. I'm not sure if editors will "get" this story, but I'm goiing to whip it up and send it off.

It rained all Easter weekend, but the weather was beautiful today.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The latest

Ran off the manuscript for "The Silver Dollar Saucer" last night. I'm going to proof it and see if it's ready to roll.

Got back "The Dragon's Black Box" from Sheila Williams at Asimov's. She said it was sweet but didn't work for her.

Got reject from Challenging Destiny for "The Runner at Dawn". Sent the story by e-mail last night to Ideomancer. Am sending Challenging "Good Old Gal" now.

The legal pad on the wall says there's 19 stories out there in the slush pile.

There's a cold rain today in East Texas. Blecchh!!!

Friday, March 25, 2005

The League, the Saucer, the hideaway and the Wish List

Things have been fairly quiet its week. "The League of Dead Nations" is done and was sent off to Asimov's.

Alienskin was very praiseworthy but ultimately returned "Wish List". I immediately dropped it in the slushpile at Futurismic. At Andromeda, "The Hideaway" passed its first reading. "

"The Silver Dollar Saucer" is coming along nicely and many be done by the end of the weekend.

After I finish "Saucer" I need to get to the rewrite of "Big Girl" for Chris Africa at Ultraverse. He needs it by April 10 to publish in May. That will be my first story in that publication.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The latest

Well, I'm on blood pressure medicine after my doctor's visit on Saturday. I'll keep checking my blood pressure to see if its going down. I will be going back to the doctor in a month.

I've also tightened up my diet because my blood sugar was starting to creep up.

Oh, science fiction! Well, a few recent developments. I got word that a story passed the first reading at Andromeda. That's always positive.

I've also finished the first draft of two stories and may be getting them off in the mail this week. One is 5,000 words (The Silver Dollar Saucer) and the other is 3,000 (The League of Dead Nations). For some reason, I really like "Saucer". I have the same good feeling I had when I sent "A Rocket for the Republic" off.

I had already taken a first stab at "League" when I visited with Howard Waldrop on March 4, and he liked the story. I might sent it to Howard for his feedback.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Another Change in Life

One of the things that came through as a result of my visit to the doctor Saturday - because of the normal kind of things they do when you check in - is that my blood pressure was high. The doc asked me to check it for a week and if it stayed high, to come back.

I've been checking it at a machine at a local pharmacy. The prospects are not good. It looks like it's staying high, so I will be going back to the doc and getting some blood pressure meds.

On a professional note, I got an e-mail from Sheila Williams at Asimov's. She initially had suggested my story would run in the Oct./Nov. double issue. But she said yesterday she has a slot for it that will work for September, so she's asked for my bio. I will e-mail it to her today.

She said I'll be in good company, the issue will include stories by Brian Aldiss and Fred Pohl. Wow!

Happy St. Patrick's Day. I'm wearing my "Honorary Irishman" badge.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Anti-nelli Anti-biotics

Well, I got to the doc yesterday and his diagnosis was acute bronchitis. I pretty much knew that. I think the surprising thing is that he said it sounds like - from my symptoms from last week - that I actually had the flu and not the upper respiratory cold-type crud that most people have had. Interesting. I'm taking my antibiotics and slowly getting better.

I need to try to update my submissions log and see if there are stories that need to go out again. I haven't touched that stuff in two weeks. I got a letter in the mail from William F. Buckley, Jr. yesterday. I had told him about the story that ran in Bewildering Stories the week of Feb. 14 (Issue 135), "Won't You Come Home, Bill Buckley?". He said he tried to pull it up but couldn't, and asked if I'd send him a copy. I will.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Sound alikes

These two next posts sound a lot alike, because I originally tried to post on Tuesday and my browser crashed when I sent the post - so I assumed it didn't go through. I went to redo the post today without noticing that Tuesday's post actually DID make it.

Death, why do you dawdle?

As we all get older, we all get crappier - health-wise, I mean. But sometimes, things just get ridiculous.
A couple of weeks ago I entered into an extremely busy stretch on the job, caused by the fact that both the girls and the boys basketball teams were in the playoffs at the same time. This is good for sports, but remember, I'm a one-man sports department.
With spring sports starting up, we had an overlap here where during one week, I was covering six different sports - both boys and girls basketball, softball, baseball, power lifting and golf. I think I turned in over 1,000 travel miles for reimbursement.
The payoff set in last week when - I assume because I was run-down - I had a sudden and vicious on-set of a cold that sent me to bed. The problem was, the girls basketball team made the state Final Four and was playing in Austin March 3.
I dragged myself out of bed and drove the 500 miles to Austin Thursday. It was horrible. I was so weak I had to stop three times on the road just to cat nap so I could have the strength to keep driving.
I did make the game. Our team lost. I checked into a motel and passed out Thursday night.
Friday about noon I called Howard Waldrop and told him my plight. I had told Howard I was coming to town. He was real nice and actually drove me to Walgreens where I restocked on cold medicine. We then repaired to his place and visited for a couple of hours. I ran out of steam and went back to the hotel, where I essentially slept and took cold medicine until Saturday morning.
I made it back to Winnsboro Saturday morning. I'm still sick, but right now the real problem is that I have bronchitis coming is as the cold is trying to leave. I have a doctor's appointment for Saturday to get some meds and clear this thing up.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

One Foot in the Grave

Wow, this has been a miserable week - and I'm not out of the woods yet. Last Wednesday, as I was finishing up the week's paper, I had a sudden, vicious onset of a cold. The severity of the attack must have been caused by the fact I've been running around so much and I was badly rundown. By 1 p.m. I had to go home and go to bed. The girls basketball team was playing at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday in the state semi-final tournament game - so I faced a five-hour drive.
I did get on the road Thursday morning, but I was so sick I had to stop three times while on the way to Austin and take cat naps because I couldn't stay on the road. I made it to the game on time, but my photos sucked because I was so sick. Our team lost, too.
I checked into a motel that night and had to stay in Austin until Saturday because I was too sick to travel. I used a motel over the fence from Howard Waldrop's, and Friday at mid-day I called Howard and told him what was going on. Howard - nice guy that he is - was good enough to drive me to a Walgreen's and I stocked up on medicine.
We did visit for a couple of hours, but by 2 p.m. Friday I retreated to my sick room until I started my drive back to Winnsboro Saturday.
I still sick as a dog. My nose has been running so badly it's bloody. My stomach's upset because of all the post-nasal drainage. I actually had to stop taking decongestant because it increased the flow too much and I got nauseous and started to retch. I'm just taking some diabetic tussin for now, but I plan to go to the doctor Friday because I'm sure I have bronchitis coming in because of all the irritation. Of course, my head feels like I've been kicked by a mule.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


I picked up the usual load of helpful hints at the Con - although, since the GOHs were Patrick and Theresa Neilsen Hayden, not as much as I might have otherwise. They're great people, but they're book editors, and I'm doing short stories now. I took a lot of notes I may need later, though - it should be years before I write novels.

Most aspiring science fiction writers must want to write a great book. There was a panel on how to escape the short story slush pile that was scheduled opposite the Haydens' discussion on how to find a good agent, and it died. So I went to the Haydens instead.

Truth be told, my attitude for now is that I'd rather write short stories forever - but I'm sure the exposure and money will eventually drive me to novels.

I met Hilary Ralles again. I first met her at ConDFW in 2003. She's a YA author, and I told her she was my inspiration to write a YA story - the story that just sold to Beyond Centauri. She remembered me and was happy that my story was a hit.

I picked Lee Martindale's brain about the pros and cons of joining the SFWA. She's very knowledgeable about the outfit and her insight was very helpful. Her reading was the only one I attended. She read stories of hers from "Turn the Other Chick" and "Bubbas of the Apocalypse" and I nearly died laughing.

The rest of this post is a repeat of one I did at the Asimov discussion board, so please excuse me if you read it there, also:

As it turned out, there was a book dealer at ConDFW this weekend who had a huge selection of old paperbacks (mostly beat up, but I prefer them that way - I bought a copy of "Rocket to the Morgue" by Anthony Boucher off e-bay a couple of years ago and I've never had the heart to even take it our of its plastic cover because it is in mint condition).

I bought 20 paperbacks. I am particularly happy with this collection. What do you think?


Beyond the End of Time - Fred Pohl, ed. 1952

Star 2 -Fred Pohl, ed. 1953

First Flight: Maiden Voyages in Space and Time - Damon Knight. ed. 1963

The 6th Annual Edition: The Year's Best Science Fiction - Judith Merrill, ed. 1961

Mind Partners, and Other Novelettes from Galaxy - H.L. Gold, ed. 1961

12 Great Classics of Science Fiction - Groff Conklin, ed. 1963

Beyond Belief - Richard Hurley, ed. 1966

An ABC of Science Fiction - Tom Boardman. ed. 1966.

Nebula Award Stories - Damon Knight, ed. 1967

World's Best Science Fiction 1970 - Donald Wollheim, Terry Carr, eds. 1970

Nebula Award Stories 10 - James Gunn, ed. 1975

The 1980 Annual World's Best SF - Donald Wollheim, ed.

Years Best Science Fiction #10 - Terry Carr, ed, 1980.

The Seven Deadly Sins of Science Fiction - Asimov, Greenberg, Waugh, eds. 1980

Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories (4 Volumes - 1944 through 1947) - 1981 through 1983


Ray Bradbury - The Golden Apples of the Sun, 1952.

Ace Double

Twice Upon a Time by Charles Fontenay, and The Mechanical Monarch by E.C. Tubb, 1958.

This is a record for the most books I have ever hauled away at one time - at least from a con. N.B. This list probably indicates where my tastes generally lie - nothing later than 1980.

I skipped the whole cyperpunk era. If the cyberpunks weren't loose in the 1980s, I might have tried to start writing in my 20s and 30s, instead of my 40s.

Well, nothing you can do about trends.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Boy, have I have busy

I went to sessions at ConDFW Friday, Saturday and Sunday - but it was real hard. The local girls basketball team played in the regional tournament both Friday night and Saturday afternoon in a city 45 miles east of Dallas. Both Friday and Saturday I drove to Dallas and then back out to the basketball game, and then back home (since I was already halfway home by then). Saturday morning I also went to a power lifting meet BEFORE I went to Dallas, in a city just east of Tyler.

AND since the local team won the regional championship, I have to be in Austin on Thursday - and probably Saturday, if they go through to the state championship.

I have't been able to write a lick in over two weeks.

Whatever happened to that old Sunbelt?

By LOU ANTONELLI Managing Editor It’s rained almost daily for the past four months. The ground is saturated; walking across grass is lik...