Monday, May 30, 2005

Smoke and Djinns

I worked on "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" today. I've finished the first draft and I ran it off tonight. Read it to the spouse. The story has some unusual - for me - formats in it; a couple of fake news articles, and a TV skit transcript (not exactly "Stand on Zanzibar" but still a little confusing when read out loud).

I *do* like the way this version has turned out. I wll edit the draft and pull it through to Pagemaker tomorrow, where I usually do my last changes.

Albedo One e-mailed. They didn't go for "V.S.A.". I got "Fermi's Fraternity" ready to mail to them tomorrow. They are probably my fastest overseas venue - I usually hear from them in a week and a half.

I sent "A Djinn for General Houston" by e-mail to Wendy Bradley in Wales, who is planning a new publication, to be called "Farthing". She just opened for subs May 15. "Djinn" was at Would That It Were, but the latest information tracked down courtesy of Ralan Conley was a letter from the publisher basically said he was giving up and would only work on WTIW in his spare time. The publication seems to be defunct, so I'll get the story back into circulation.

Tomorrow is my last day to run errands before I start my new job Wednesday.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

"The Hideaway" is published

Boy, they work fast at Alienskin. Their June/July issue has been posted, and so "The Hideaway" has been posted:

Since "Big Girl" is still up at Ultraverse, that means I have two stories in current e-zines at the same time:

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Nice rejection

I know some authors have said getting a nice and polite rejection is aggravating. This must be what they're talking about:

"It was well received here, but after some thought we have decided not to accept it for publication. I love the atmosphere and historical detail, but the story as a whole doesn't work for me. It never develops sufficient conflict or tension for an action-oriented story. I hope you'll consider us again, and I wish you the best success in placing this story elsewhere."

Thursday, May 26, 2005

A sale!

Got word via e-mail this morning from Kate Patterson at AlienSkin magazine that they loved "The Hideaway" and will publish it in their June/July issue. She sent along the contract, which I replied to - that serves as the electronic signature.

So another story heads from the "slush" to "published" pile. I even get some money for this - the story is 3,041 words.

This will be my second publication with magazine. They published my short "They Call It Time" back in December.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ambiguous Header

The folks at Lenox Ave. e-mailed back. Turns out, they did get my story, but the auto-responder message was ambiguous, which is what confused me. They said they would revise the message. Anyway, the story's in.

"Business as Usual" is done and will go in the mail tomorrow to Sheila at Asimov's.

According to my log, I have 27 stories out at 24 different venues. I'm ready to drop one story, which has been out since October 2004. Magazine must be dead.

I'm ready to get back to "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes". I've given this story special attention. It's alternate history, which is always a hard sell. But I like it myself. It's time to finish it off and send it out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Disposing of the Arthurian Mythos

Well, I finished "The Man Who Machine-Gunned the Lady of the Lake" and dropped it in the mail to Sheila at Asimov's. That's the first story I've completed in a month and half. I've made great strides today in finishing up the story I originally called "Choice Used Men". It's now called "Business as Usual". It'll probably be finished by tomorrow. I'll see if anythingis returned before I send it off.

Monday, May 23, 2005

The search is over

Well, looks like the job search turned out well. I'll be starting at my new job June 1st. I was offered the post last Wednesday. Friday was my last day at the old job, so I have a week and a half between jobs. I guess I'll use this time to write full-time.

My proposed new boss said all my references at the other places I've worked praised me. That's always nice to hear.

I will be commuting to the new job - but hey, my commute was .8 of a mile for the last year and a half.

I spent most of the weekend getting caught up on housework and then getting caught up on my records and paper work in my personal office. Things had gotten a little behind in the past two or three weeks because of the killer pace I was keeping on the job.

OK, here's the latestfrom the sci fi roundup. "Fermi's Fraternity" didn't clear the second reading at Andromeda Spaceways, so it's back home. Futurismic returned "The Dragon's Black Box". I've sent them "The Idiot Box". Fictitious Force returned "The Runner at Dawn." I sent the story to Brutarian.

I've sent "Video Killed the Radio Star" to Leading Edge magazine. This is the first time I've submitted to this mag, but "Video" is 9,700 words long - it's the longest story I've ever written - and there aren't as many plces I can send it.

I've tried to send "A Djinn for General Houston" to Lenox Ave. , but their auto-responder keeps kicking it back. They are reading for a themed issue - "Mechanical Oddities" - and the story certainly fits, but I'm not sure I'm gettingtheir subject line right. I've sent a separate e-mail inquiry to the editors.

OK, now that things are returning closervto normal, I'll be posting more frequently.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Keep 'em rolling

Although I may not have time to write because of the job search, I see no reason to keep stories already written lying around. This past weekend I got caught up and shuffed the submissions, to wit:

"Wish List' to Strange Horizons (I got this back from Aeon, and they said they liked the story but it didn't make the cut, please send another one).
"Avatar" went off to Aeon.
"Body by Fisher" went to Challenging Destiny.
"The Dragon's Black Box" went to Futurismic.
"VSA" went to Albedo One.
"The Silver Dollar Saucer' went to Ideomancer.
"Insight" went to Feral Fiction.
"The Runner at Dawn" went to Fictitious Fiction.
"Twilight on the Finger Lakes" went to Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Only Challenging Destiny, Albedo One and F&SF are mail subs, the rest went off via e-mail or sub forms.

Ian Redmond at Andromeda Spaceways asked for my bio over the weekend, so he's getting together the issue which will feature "The Cast Iron Dybbuk". ASIM also sent word that "Fermi's Fraternity" passed the first round of reading.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Obviously busy

Well, my pace of posting may slow down a bit, since I'm having to work on my job while also conducting a job search.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Oh, well...

Oh, well, I'm working out my two weeks notice at the newspaper. I've developed severe hypertension because of the work schedule and the difficult people I have to work with. Monday a little thing pulled a piece of office politics that almost caused me to stroke out. I have to move on. Whether I resigned or was fired is up to semantics. I'm glad to be going, anyway.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

A rattlesnake in my bed

This is not some clever turn of phrase.

Friday night, after the baseball game, I grabbed some dinner and went to stay at the cabin. Friday both Asimov's and Analog came in the mail. That's the first time I can recall they both arrived on the same day.

I was eating dinner and reading the magazines when, at about 10 p.m., I pulled out the sleeper sofa. There was a rattlesnake curled up inside! Needless to say, I took off fast. I didn't even take my hat.

I went into Malakoff and rented a motel room. The next morning I went back in broad daylight. I saw why the snake had come in the cabin - he was molting. But the bastard was behind the sofa. He must have been three feet long - and no rattles. Probably was going to grow up to be the size of a boa constrictor.

A neighbor came over to visit with me and he was nice enough to dispose of the snake with a hoe I had. Dropped his corpse in a trash barrel. I also threw in the shed skin the snake had left behind.

I saw that a board has warped and pulled away from the wall behind the sofa, which is how the snake got in. I nailed that down firm and tight.

Otherwise, I did the things I had planned to do - dropped off boxes of books and other stuff I wanted to store, and I sawed down some branches which had been rubbing against the roof and causing leaks. Nailed up some asphalt shingles to patch the leaks. I bought a 20-foot aluminum ladder just for that job (the cabin is two stories). Worked like a charm, though. I left the ladder at the cabin.

It's raining today, so I got the patch up job on the roof done just in time. The cabin's already suffered some water damage, but this should halt the deterioration.

The 2nd baseball game was 2 p.m. Saturday. We won, so we advance in the playoffs. Got a spectacular photo of when the players doused the coach with the ice water. I got the shot just as the cylinder of water hit the coach.

Drove home, washed up, watched "The Incredibles" with wife on DirectTV. Ah, civilization! Laughed my butt off.

Got the book proposal in the mail Friday before I left town. Otherwise, no submissions or rejections in the past few days. Bought some IRCs at the post office Friday for foreign submissions, and stocked up on stamps.

Off to see the mom-in-law.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Well, it's not all THAT quiet.

I should say my foremost concern the past few days has been getting together my collection proposal. That's why I haven't hit the short story routine. I had to reset "Silence is Golden" because it was typeset so long ago it wasn't in a format compatible with the version of Pagemaker I use now.

But I think I have everything together and I should drop the four stories I have picked in the mail to the editor tomorrow.

Albedo One returned "Body By Fisher". They said they prefer stories that are more character driven. I may send them "V.S.A", which came back today from Brutarian. I just dropped "Avatar" into the e-mail in-box at Lenox Ave.

I have to cover a baseball playoff game tomorrow in a town that's 90 miles from here. The good news is that it's only 17 miles from the cabin we own near Cedar Creek Lake. I plan to haul some stuff to the cabin and sleep overnight and then do some repairs and clean-up Saturday.

I'll come home Saturday night, and I guess, and then it's off to the mother-in-law's Sunday.

I was unhappy last night as I drifted off to sleep to feel some palpitations and realize I forgot to take my blood pressure medicine that morning. I got up and took it - I need to be more careful.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Nothing Much Shaking

Haven't done anything on the fiction front for the past three days. Been pretty busy at work. I did get word yesterday that I have been accepted for a Texas Press Foundation workshop to be held the first three days in June. It will be on sports coverage in community newspapers. It will be run by TCU, and it's all expenses paid. I get a hotel room for two days in Fort Worth, and all meals included. I had to write up a couple of short essays on the application. I'm happy to be accepted.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Ultraverse and Aeon

Chris Africa at Ultraverse e-mailed and said he's running a little behind on putting up the latest issue of the mag. He said it's been pushed back to next Sunday. He's pretty thoughful to send an apology.

Aeon magazine opened its latest reading period today. I e-mailed them "Wish List".

Off by Two Miles

When I checked my trip odometer Saturday, I saw I had driven 148 miles on Friday.

The North and East Texas Writers Organization (NETWO) had a writer's conference Saturday in Winnsboro, which I attended. I had to cover the kick-off of the local youth baseball and softball association summer season at the little league park at 9 a.m., and I took some pictures during the lunch break of a downtown street fair. Otherwise, I spent the day at the workshop. I already knew two of the guests, Bill Crider and H.J. Ralles. I picked up some pointers and visited with a literary agent they flew in from the East Coast, and an editor with a Texana-themed publisher based in Austin.

I didn't ask for an interview with the agent, but I was pleasantly surprised when I chatted with her - she had a lot of experience with sci-fi writers. I knew she must have, when during the course of her formal talk she mentioned Reginald Bretnor. I was the only person in the audience who knew who Bretnor was. We chatted 2 or three times during the day, and I got her card. Since I've not written a book, I don't have anything to pitch to her. But I'll keep in touch.

As for the editor, she's willing to read some of my stories. I pitched her a collection of Texas-themed sci-fi, fantasy and horror. I'm sending her four stories this week.

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...