Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Good news

Got some real good news today, on the subject of peddling a collection, but I'll hold off on more details for a little while

Monday, March 30, 2009

A letter to Ray

I dropped a letter in the mail to Ray Bradbury today, telling him about my guest lecture on April 16 on "Fahrenheit 451". I offered an observation about his motivation when he wrote the story, and asked if he had any insights or comments he wanted to offer the college students.

I know he's a busy man, but he's also real nice. I dropped him a fan letter three years ago and he replied.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Back to weird westerns

Found this short clip featuring Jonah Hex that ran on the current Batman cartoon series:

I may not be a real Texan, you know, but my middle name is Sergio.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ray Bradbury - 'Fahrenheit' lecture

The local community college is having a series of films during April as part of an extra credit project in the sociology department. They will be showing "1984", "Forbidden Planet". "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "Fahrenheit 451". A pair of professors thought showing "science fiction"-type movies would prod the students to think. Now that's sharp.

I volunteered as a guest lecturer, and I will be visiting with them April 16 with my pearls on "Fahrenheit". I have a lot of material on it (including my copy of the 1951Galaxy magazine in which the original story, "The Fireman", ran) and Ray Bradbury.

The professor I spoke to didn't even know Ray is still with us. I'm sure I will be able to dazzle everyone.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More creds

Here's another snatch from a blog that indicates some people must have noticed my stuff around and about - John M. Whalen on his blog, wrote:

"Science Fiction Trails Issue No. 4 is currently available with my story "Firecreek" as the lead off story in the issue. I'm in good company with writers like Lou Antonelli and others."

Italics are my own. Am I good company? Nice to hear!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Science Fiction Trails hits the world

I received my author copies of Issue No. 4 of Science Fiction Trails in Monday's mail. This is a neat little annual original anthology featuring s-f stories in a weird/western setting. Previous issues have been well received and featured some pretty good authors, including Uncle River and Ken Scholes. In addition to my story "Professor Malakoff's Amazing Ethereal Telegraph", this issue features stories by John M. Whalen, Norman Riger, Trent Roman, S.A. Bolich, Sam Kepfield, David M. Fitzpatrick, and Laura Givens.

I love that cover - a robot cheating at poker!

This is my 42nd sale since June 2003. I have already had more stories published in 2009 than I had in all of 2008, when I spent so much time puzting around with "Dance with Me, Henry".

Monday, March 23, 2009

The REAL Lou Antonelli?

While reviewing some of my recently published stories, I visited the forums at Ray Gun Revival and stumbled upon this exchange. The January issue was No. 50, which was - rightfully - cited as a milestone.

Then Lee S. King, Ray Gun Revival Overlord, continued:

"Ray Gun Revival has been - and still is! - proud to give new and upcoming writers a chance, but it's nice to know we're starting to gain the attention of more established writers as well.

"With that, I'd like to point out that Issue #50 has a story by Lou Antonelli in it: "The Silver Dollar Saucer."

"Yes, the Lou Antonelli!"

Here are the next few ensuing exchanges:

Alice - "I never heard of him before. But I remember the story. I thought it was funny and great. Especially look out for a reference to "coal."

Lee King again - "Well, there are so many authors of note out there, and many I've not heard of, or if I have, I haven't yet read their stuff. No way to keep up.

"But I did know of Lou Antonelli and when he joined the forum, I did a triple take, and even IMed Phy and asked, "Is that the REAL Lou Antonelli that just registered?" Sure enough.

"And I did love the story. The Slushmasters did too -- good thing for their puny planets!"

Crimed - "In Silver Dollar Saucer, i really liked how the author worked the Russian meteor explosion into it. I watched a documentary on that a while back."

Referring to the Tunguska explosion, of course.

Nice comments about the story, and I'm startled to realize that some people recognize my name and consider me an "established" author.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Good News for the Dead"

Had an exchange of emails today with Chris Fletcher at M-Brane SF. He's readying issue No. 3 to be released April 1, and I have a story in there. I submitted it under the title "Business as Usual" but yesterday I had an insight, and he's agreed to change the title to the above.
"Good News for the Dead" is a phrase I've stolen from an essay by Arthur Clarke. He was making light of The Reader's Digest propensity for unremittingly cheerful stories. It really fits, in light of the fact the story features zombies, and there is a Bible verse that figures prominently in the story.
For those out there with like, no, Christian background, "gospel" means "good news", so the title really fits.
Chris is really gung-ho on his new mag and it shows. I'm glad I'm able to help.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The spin rack is not quite dead

Back in September, I did a story for the entertainment page of my newspaper on the integrated web portal run by Tor Books. The story about Tor.com gave me the opportunity to visit with Tom Doherty his own self, and during the discussion about how retail book sales have changed over the years, Tom mentioned how the collapse of traditional distribution systems have eliminated the old familiar spin racks. I have used a photo from the pilot episode of the Twilight Zone ("Where is Everybody?") to show what a mean. In this scene, the protagonist wanders through an empty drug store and between at least three of the old racks, giving them a whirl.

In a previous post a few months ago I mentioned how you could still find spin racks in small stores as recently as the '90s. I mentioned that I picked up a mass paperback copy of Diana Wynne Jones' "A Tough Guide to Fantasyland" in the only store in Ovilla, Texas, in 1998.

There are still back alleys where the good old spin racks can be found, however. Yesterday I stopped at a local Dollar General to pick up some mutt meal for my surrogate children, and I saw that not only does the store have a spin rack, there was a mass market paperback copy of Kristine Katherine Rusch's "Paloma" in it. It's a 2006 book in her Retrieval Artist series.

I bought the book. I guess that's the good news. The bad news is that - since the store was Dollar General - it was priced at a dollar (although in all fairness, the book may have been discounted because there seems to be a slight printing imperfection on the cover.)

The more bad news is that the store apparently has its paperbacks on clearance and I was only charged 30 cents for the book.

So we indeed may be seeing the final demise of the last of the spin racks.

I wonder how much Rusch gets off a 30 cent retail sale?

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Dance with Me, Henry" now available by PDF download

I had a thought. While POD printing is convenient, it isn't cheaper than mass producing books. The Lulu version of "Dance" is over $20, so I have gone back and modified the account so it's available via pdf download.

Stumbled across this video on YouTube recently. It's an abbreviated version of the song, but hey, dig those crazy go-go dancers.

Of course, whenever I hear this song I think of "The Witch of Waxahachie".

Saturday, March 14, 2009

M-Brane SF April issue TOC

Mentioning the upcoming issue of M-Brane SF made me think to check the web site. Editor Christopher Fletcher has posted the table of contents for issue three, which will be published April 1:

"Hard Frost" by Rhian Waller
"Business as Usual" by Lou Antonelli
"The Sufferance" by Richard Howard
"See Saw" by Catherine J. Gardner
"End Day" by S.C. Hayden
"Embrace" by T.J. McIntyre
"Time Noir" by Larry Ivkovich
"Tripsy" by Garrett Calcaterra
"Sleepless Sleep" by Bob Brill
"The Barking Death Squirrels" by Douglas A. Van Belle

According to Fletcher, "Those are the stories, and they are exciting. Like last time, there is a great variety of style and subject matter, ranging from off-world adventure to Earth-bound crisis and from comedy to tragedy."

Anniversary coming up

Next Tuesday, March 18, is the fifth anniversary of when Gardner Dozois bought my story "A Rocket for the Republic". When I started writing s-f in the fall of 2002, I quickly realized - after a little research - that Gardner was the most respected editor in the field, so I set a goal to sell him a story.

That's one of the few times in my life I actually succeeded in a lofty goal. Let's face it, folks, we seldom get what we want in life. That's usually for the best (I can't help but feel, just from a cumulative sense of intuition, luck is not random and most of us have more bad luck than good. Then again, considering how estranged we are from the Deity - whether you call him Jesus, Buddha, Mo hammed or whatever - I guess what we get what we deserve.)

Although Gardner retired right afterward, Asimov's agreed to honor his buys, and "Rocket" was published in Asimov's in Sept. 2005.

I've had some pretty good pubs since then, and some good reviews. "The Witch of Waxahachie" - Baen's April 2008 - is probably my most prestigious publication (also, the best paying). "Avatar" in the Brit ezine Dark Matter (April 2007) got the best reviews of any story I ever wrote; its the only story I ever wrote that received unanimously positive reviews.

Right now, I seem to be a period of clearing out the trunk. The acceptance of "The Man Who Machine-Gunned the Lady of the Lake" for the anthology being published by the North Texas Speculative Fiction Workshop, "The 28th Dimension: Tales from the Texas Zone", is my 46th.

Alienskin is publishing my flash "Airy Chick" in its June/July issue. M-Brane SF will publish "Business as Usual in Issue No. 3; I think that will be coming out next month. Science Fiction Trails will be publishing "Professor Malakoff's Amazing Ethereal telegraph" in its annual issue later this year.

Those follow the publication of "Acroscaphe", "Video Killed the Radio Star" and "The Silver Dollar Saucer" in December and January (by respectively, Planetary Stories, Apehelion, and Ray Gun Revival).

Ahh, just scribble, scribble, as they say.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Dance with Me, Henry" is available via Kindle

If you have an appropriate device, you can download "Dance with Me, Henry" via Amazon through its Kindle system. Since I'm using "Dance" as a promotional item, I set the miimum price - I'm not taking any profit - and so you can download the entire story for 80 cents.

What a deal!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Austin in August

I received an invite to be a guest panelist at ArmadilloCon this past weekend, and I have accepted, so I will be there Aug. 14-16. Last year was the first time I was able to attend as a panelist. Before that (in 2004) I attended as a fan, one of the few times I ever did that.

Here is the line-up so far for guests:

Guest of Honor - Scott Lynch
Two-time nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer

Artist of Honor - Stephan Martiniere
Winner of The Children's Hall of Fame Award, The Humanitas Award, The Parent's Choice Award, The ACT Award, The Spectrum Gold Award, The Spectum Silver Award, The Expose Master Award, The Expose Excellence Award, The BSFA Award, The Chesley Award, The Hugo Award, The Grand Master Expose Award, The Expose Excellence Award, The THEA Award and nominated for an Emmy Award

Editor of Honor - Chris Roberson
Finalist for a World Fantasy Award, nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer and winner of the Sidewise Award.

Fan of Honor - Karen Meschke
Chair of LoneStar Con 2, BoucherCon and ConMisterio 1 & 2

Toastmaster - Scott A. Cupp
Winner of the Golden Pagoda Award, nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer, finalist for a World Fantasy Award and honorable mention for a F&SF Competition

Special Guest - Joan D. Vinge
Winner of the Hugo Award, nominee for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer, nominee for the Nebula Award, winner of an American Library Association award and best-selling author.

My next con will be SoonerCon in Oklahoma City June 5-7. I will also be at FenCon in Dallas in Sept.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Another sale

Just got word that my really weird Texas tall tale, "The Man Who Machine-Gunned the Lady of the Lake" has been accepted for an anthology being published by the North Texas Speculative Fiction Workshops, called "The 28th Dimension: Tales from the Texas Zone".

I really am clearing out some stories...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

"Henry" shoves off

If hope those of you who followed along with my serialization of "Dance with Me, Henry" enjoyed the story. I got some useful feedback. This was my first stab at a book, and my goal was pretty much to write 100,000 words and see if I could do it and not make your eyes bleed.

For the sake of avoiding over-exposure, I have zapped the chapters from the blog now. It's no longer available here. As I mentioned earlier, I've made a hard copy available via Lulu's POD system (another first for me). I have a few books on the way; I want to see how these look. I will probably continue to tweak the book. In the meantime. I think it may be a useful promotional tool.

With this under my belt, I feel much more focused about approaching another book. (I guess a lot of you went through this when you were, like 14.). Fifty-one is probably late in this genre to write that 'first novel'. Then again, I was writing newspaper stories when I was 14. This fiction writing is a second lifetime.

I may possibly rework some of the stuff in the book into other works. The business with Mier Kahane ready to drop the Big One on the Egyptians over Ashdod, and the later demonstration of the bomb in the Negev, has the makings of a solid novelette or novella, IMHO.

As for my next work, I would suspect it would be an expansion from "The Witch of Waxahachie" - surprise, surprise - but who knows?

Monday, March 02, 2009

The latest sale

Got word yesterday via email that Alienskin will be publishing my flash "Airy Chick" in its upcoming June/July issue. That's the third story now in line pending publication. Science Fiction Trails is slated to publish "Professor Malakoff's Amazing Ethereal Telegraph" later this year, and M-Brane SF will be publishing "Business as Usual" in Issue No. 3. Its Issue No. 2 just came out March 1.

With the publication during the past three months of "Acroscaphe" by Planetary Stories, "Video Killed the Radio Star" by Apehelion and "The Silver Dollar Saucer" by Ray Gun Revival, it looks like my inventory is starting to drop. I may need to hit the writing table more.

"Airy Chick" will be my 45th story published since June 2003.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hard copy edition ready

BTW, today's chapter of "Dance with Me, Henry" is the climax. Wednesday I will publish the epilogue. If you liked the tale, and would like a hard copy, I've uploaded the story to Lulu where you can order a POD paperback. It is Lulu Item No. 6273265. Since I'm in the newspaper business, it was easy for me to typeset the story in an easy-to-read format. I even went to the trouble of making up a funny cover. Go over to Lulu and take a look.

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