Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Neanderthal tales

Ted Kosmatka is collecting up stories to read with the goal of pitching a Neanderthal-themed collection to a publisher. I emailed him my story "My Ugly Little Self" which ran in the U.K. publication Twisted Tongue in Dec. 2007. Ted's story "N-Words" was reprinted in both the Dozois and Hartwell "Best of" anthologies this year.

Got promising news from a semi-prozine, that they are considering a story for their Spring 2010 issue. The editor asked for a rewrite of the ending, which I've done and sent on its way.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Latest sale

Got the contract in the email yesterday from the magazine Abandoned Towers. It started last year and is up to issue No. 3. They will have a fourth issue in a while and my story "Across the Plains" will be running in Issue No. 5, early next year. It's a small sale, but its a print magazine, and keeps up the process of emptying the trunk. It is a fantasy, whereby I depict an incident that explains where a 12-year old kid name of Bobby Howard gets visions of a barbarian past.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another Honorable Mention

Tuesday, June 23, was the release date for Gardner's annual anthology, "The Year's Best Science Fiction". This is the 26th annual edition. I logged in and ordered it from Amazon, and it arrived in today's mail (Saturday).

It was nice to see he recognized "The Witch of Waxahachie" in the honorable mention list. That's the tenth time he's done that since the 2004 volume. I've had at least one every year since then except for 2007.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Black Hats and Blackberrys"

Started work yesterday on my next story, a little piece of science fantasy about a fellow who somehow shoots off an email warning to an ancestor to prevent a family tragedy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Another off in the mail

Finished up "The Centurion and the Rainman" today; clocked in at 5,617 words. It's going out in tomorrow's mail. It's the fifth story I've completed since May 26; the fourth this month ("Blue Tango", which is a collaboration with Brad Sinor, left May 26).

The four solo efforts that have been completed since June 1 are "Great White Ship", "Mak Siccar", "Hopscotch and Hottentots" and now "Centurion". And I'm ready to launch into the next one, "The Stinky Men".

I don't know why, but I just like these most recent stories better than stuff I have written before.

"Centurion" is the 83rd story I've written since I started in Sept. 2002. With the publication of "Airy Chick" in Alienskin this month, I've had 43 publications - so I guess I'm batting .500. This month also marks six years since I had my first publication, "Silvern" in Revolution SF. Next month will mark four years since my first pro story, "A Rocket for the Republic" came out in Asimov's.

It doesn't seem like all that long.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Fantastic Texas" update

Ian Strock says "Fantastic Texas" is next on the conveyor belt and he'll be working on it soon. Then it will go to Warren Lapine for him to sprinkle publisher pixie dust (or whatever it is publishers do).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"The Centurion and the Rainman"

Started my latest short story Wednesday, essentially finished it yesterday. I will probably polish it up and run off a copy to proof this evening. Came in at 5,600 words. It's another divergence for me, it's a near future tale (set in 2036). It explains what happened in 2012, and who autistic children really are.

Anyone who read "The Witch of Waxahachie" will see my fascination with magic versus science as competing lifestyles. In this case, the worlds overlap, with the science world oppressing the magic world. I like the neologism "Apartech" - it won't come as a surprise that I studied South African history in college. The name of the protagonist, Andy Donard, plays off the name of a famous South African security officer who helped behind the scenes to bring down the Apartheid regime - Don Card.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

World Horror Convention going to Texas in 2011

I'm reposting this article from Ian Eandal Strock from SFScope today:


The World Horror Society has announced that the 2011 World Horror Convention will be held in Austin, Texas, from 28 April to 1 May. Convention co-chairs Nate Southard and Lee Thomas have already announced author Sarah Langan as their first Guest of Honor.

The WHS says that Austin was chosen for "its unique style and rich genre history. The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was filmed near the city, and the remakes of both Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th were filmed in town. Austin also serves as home to the largest urban bat colony in North America, and at sunset 1.5 million bats fly over the city, truly marking it as a horror locale. (There's a reason the city's motto is 'Keep Austin Weird'.)"

Southard said "Texas has a long history of strange fiction, serving as home to such luminaries as Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock, and Joe R. Lansdale. Bringing the World Horror Convention to Austin is a natural. It's a vibrant city with a taste for the eccentric and a love of the arts. Further, its central, southern location makes it convenient for travelers throughout the US, and visitors from abroad will have no trouble reaching us either."

Of Langan's choice, Thomas said "We couldn't be more pleased. Sarah was at the top of our list, and her enthusiastic agreement to attend really set the tone for what we hope to achieve with this convention. We'll be inviting additional industry luminaries, and we'll make announcements when those folks are confirmed."


Yeah, I know exactly what you're thinking, probably the same as I:


I notice they say Sarah Langan is the first guest of honor. They better get Nacogdoches on the phone, pronto!

Monday, June 15, 2009

"Hopscotch and Hottentots"

...is done. Clocks in at just over 4,000 words. As I mentioned before, it's unusual in being set in outer space. But it really doesn't delve into hard science - more sociology and linguistics. I may send it to Stan Schmidt first.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Emptying the trunk

I've been working on my next story after coming back from SoonerCon, which has the rather bizarre title of "Hopscotch and Hottentots". It sounds strange, but as much as I poke at it, I can justify the title. It's a bit of a stretch for me, it's set on a world settled by humans a thousand years in the future.

With the publication of a half dozen stories since last December - to wit:

"Video Killed the Radio Star" - Apehelion - December 2008

"Acroscaphe" (with Ed Morris) - Planetary Stories - January 2009

"The Silver Dollar Saucer" - Ray Gun Revival - January 2009

"Professor Malakoff's Amazing Ethereal Telegraph" - Science Fiction Trails No. 4 - March 2009

"Good News for the Dead" - M-Brane SF April 2009

"Airy Chick" - Alienskin magazine, June 2009

... my inventory has become depleted, which is why I seem to have become more motivated to write some new short stories. I was very happy to get some of these stories in print - "Video", "The Silver Dollar Saucer" and "Professor Malakoff" are in in my upcoming collection, "Fantastic Texas:.

Since finishing work on the collection, I've finished "Blue Tango" (with Brad Sinor), "Great White Ship" and "Mak Siccar". "Hopscotch and Hottentots" will probably be in the mail this week.

I don't know why, but these stories are coming in shorter and tighter. I actually think they have some potential. Maybe I'm improving as a fiction writer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quick turnaround

I was logging in the publication of "Airy Chick" into my records, and I realized that story has one of the fastest times from completion to publication I ever had. It was first sent out April 10, 2008, and was published June 5, 2009, so it was just under 14 months.

Of course, it was a flash, which may have helped. It only ran through two slush piles before sticking at Alienskin.

Not bad for a conceit, really.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


For the time I attended, Soonercon was alright. Of course, as I noted in a previous post, I got off to a bad start. I missed my panel and reading Friday, and didn't get to the con until about mid-day Saturday. I made my two panels, one at noon and one at 4 p.m. and that was it - I didn't have any panels Sunday. Gorg Huff from the 1632 gang was good enough to take me and drop my off in Dallas at my mother-in-law's on his way back to Austin Sunday. He left about mid-day, so my participation in the con was essentially just over 24 hours.

It was good to see Paula Goodlett from 1632 and Baen's again. I haven't seen her in person in about two years. It was also great to see Bill Ledbetter. As someone who lives in the Dallas area, Bill was willing to help me get there, but since my mother-in-law lives in Oak Cliff and Gorg was driving through Dallas (if you know Dallas neighborhoods, you know why it works) I accepted his offer.

My mother-in-law loaned my her car and I drove back to Mount Pleasant Sunday night. Patricia drove the car back into Dallas today and will be staying with her for a while.

Enjoyed the stay with Beverly and Mike Saturday. We all had dinner at a great Indian restaurant. Beverly cooked breakfast Sunday. I also enjoyed the other members of their family, Zoe and Cassie - two really great Canine-Americans. Sweet pups. They seemed to like me, too.

Spent some time with Brad and Sue in the Green Room. To their credit, Soonercon had a nice Green Room. Not all cons have a Green Room and a Con Suite, and it was appreciated by a number of people. At the very least, that's where you can tell people to meet you.

I was happy to get home. I'm taking the freakin' bus to ArmadilloCon!

Monday, June 08, 2009

"Airy Chick"

The current issue (June/July) of Alienskin magazine features my story "Airy Chick" as the lead in its flash section - sort of a satirical take on the Bottleneck Theory of the European gene pool.

The web site is www.alienskinmag.com.

Alienskin graphic licensed by Hemera Technologies, the Big Box of Art.

Putting things in perspective

I have a lot of catching up to do, and the easiest thing to do right off is to reprint my column in today's newspaper, because it tells what happened to me this weekend.


We start this story in the middle: It’s 9 a.m. this past Saturday and I’m all alone in Room 26 of the Relax Inn on Trudgeon Street in Henryetta, Oklahoma, feeling sorry for myself.
I’m waiting for someone to (hopefully) arrive and give me a ride to Oklahoma City. Suddenly I am humbled by a reminder of what day it is.
OK, let me backtrack a bit. As I have mentioned in the past, I’ve had some success in my hobby of writing science fiction and fantasy stories. As a result, I get invitations to be a guest panelist at literary conferences, and I’ve spoken as far away as Cincinnati and St. Louis, and closer to home, in Tulsa, Dallas, Austin and College Station.
This year I accepted an invitation to speak at one in Oklahoma City, and early Friday afternoon I hit the road for the four-hour drive.
After leaving a tollbooth on the Indian Nation Turnpike, I had trouble accelerating, and my car finally ground to a halt as I tried to climb a hill. The engine revved, but there was no motion. Not a good sign.
After raising the hood, I went to the back of my station wagon to retrieve some tools. When I grabbed the tailgate, it felt slippery. I raised my hand and realized it was coated with a thin reddish liquid: Transmission fluid.
“This is Not a Good Thing,” I thought.
A helpful state trooper came by and called a wrecker, who towed the car seven miles into Henryetta. Unfortunately, we arrived after 5 p.m. and so the car couldn’t be fixed. The tow truck driver dropped me off at a nearby motel.
As he pulled away and I walked up to the office, I saw to my dismay a sign that indicated that - despite outward appearances - the motel was out of business. A note indicated the location of another motel, down the road, so at 6 p.m. I began to walk down Trudgeon Street with two carry-on-type bags and a briefcase.
Yep, the other motel was down the road – two miles down.
After I was about halfway there, an old boy in a pickup asked me if I needed a lift, and he took me the rest of the way. That’s how I ended spending the night at the Relax Inn in Henryetta.
I called my hosts in Oklahoma City and told them what happened. They said they would come get me (not a short drive – Henryetta is still over 100 miles from Oklahoma City). As I had already missed my panels for Friday, I suggested they could just get me in the morning.
So that’s how I’m watching TV alone in a motel room in Henryetta on a Saturday morning, and as I clicked the remote, I found the live broadcast of the memorial ceremony at the American Cemetery in France to commemorate D-Day.
And as I watched that, and heard some of the recollections of the Normandy Invasion, I said to myself “you over-fed lucky schmuck, you don’t have a thing to complain about!”
It didn’t change any of my circumstances, but it sure put things in perspective.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Looking good

News from Warren Lapine's blog on livejournal:


"Okay, Folks, Here it is. the Cover of the first Tir Na Nog Press Realms of Fantasy Magazine. The painting is by Dominic Harmon."


Looks pretty good, don't it?

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...