Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mojo Joe is coming

Back in April, the Humanities program at Northeast Texas Community College (NTCC) here in Mount Pleasant held a film program on four consecutive Thursdays. The science fiction films were offered as part of an extra credit program. It was a very successful project. I helped by introducing and offering what I knew about "Fahrenheit 451", which was the program April 16.

They are doing it again in October, this time with horror films. I will be doing the honors for "Alien" on Oct. 22. East Texas's own Joe Lansdale will be here the final week, on Oct. 29, for a showing of his own "Bubba Ho-Tep".

I was the one who suggested Mojo Joe back in April; I'm glad they asked him and I'm glad he's coming. I've also invited Joe for dinner; I plan to bake a lasagna. He says he'll be coming with daughter Kasey

Monday, September 28, 2009

Back in the groove

Sat down and got back in the swing of things last night with the fiction writing, banged out a little 700-word flash. I had an idea that worked out to just that length, and I think I said as much as needed to be said. Nice way to get back in the saddle. I don't think I've written anything original since before ArmadillonCon.

Had the day off, spent time doing a few chores around the house. While puttering in the storage shed I found the original of my father's discharge from the Italian Army in 1952. It includes vital information on his birth.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sweet 16

Dropped another two stories into slush piles today, one to Not One of Us (which I have subbed before) and The Future Fire (which I haven't). The Future Fire is planning a Feminist-themed issue, and I thought my story "Like Mother" might be a fit.

That brings the total number of stories in slush piles currently at 16, one of my higher numbers of late.

Nearing the goal post

The latest word is that "Fantastic Texas" is among the next four books to be prepared by Wilder Publications, so hopefully we should have a release date in a few weeks.

Bought a second car recently, a 1983 Chevrolet Celebrity in an auction that was seized by a local sheriff's department. Sales price: $100. Got a new battery and a tune-up, and it's inspected and running on the road. At its age I won't drive it long distances, but I've used it around town and began driving it to and from work. Total cost, including registration and new title: $536.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More pubs

Bewildering Stories will be publishing my story "Twilight on the Finger Lakes" on Dec. 14. I don't think I've sent them a story in about three or four years, but I thought this one might be a good match. It's an alternate history where O. Henry lives long enough to mentor a young Rod Serling, who lives long enough to mentor another author (In reality, both Henry and Serling died at anout 50).

Thanks to Ed Morris for successfully peddling one of our collaborations to a new outfit, Black Matrix Publishing. They will be publishing "Stairway to Heaven" in a magazine called Encounters in January 2010. This is a story where I did the first draft and then Ed came in.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Ones to Watch (yet again)

Adrian Simmons worked on the third annual installment of The Ones to Watch feature this past spring, but it hasn't been printed yet this year (it was printed during the spring of 2007 and 2008). A combination of factors have led to the delay.

He says it should finally run in IROSF in a month or two, and sent out the questions again, in case the participants wanted to revise them. I didn't bother to reference my previous answers, I just wrote up new ones from scratch.

Although I enjoy writing the s-f and fantasy, and I enjoy if other people like my stuff, I really feel I don't take it as seriously as a lot of my colleagues. If I had a forced choice, between working as a journalist and a fiction writer, I'd drop the fiction writing in a heartbeat. Maybe my opinion will change as I improve as a writer; honestly, I think I'm a good writer with great moments and stretches, but I'm not a consistently great writer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More from FenCon

That photo of Howard and myself a couple of posts ago was taken by chum Keith West, like I said, after Howard’s FenCon reading Sunday. I thought it would be nice since my collection “Fantastic Texas” is going to be published soon, and Howard wrote the intro – a photo of us together at the time.
That is NOT Howard Waldrop in the photo with today’s post, that’s Rhonda Eudaly Simpson, as a Redhead of the Apocalypse, at the entrance to the Dealer’s Room. This was an interesting moment; that little girl and her mom had just walked in, and when the kiddo saw Rhonda – bunny slippers, scythe, and all – she jumped back and up against mommy, whom I think you can tell was a bit startled by the effect.
A bystander said, “Rhonda, you scared the kid!”
I said, “Well, Rhonda, you’d scare me!”

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Interesting complications at home. To start: It rained all last week.

All week.

Never stopped.

Not a thunderstorm. A steady pelting rain.

Things got humid and damp. Inside the house. Inside the car. Everywhere.

Even though our house is on a hill, the ground became saturated. Thursday one of the two outdoor a/c units died. Ants had swarmed it trying to find higher ground, and it short-circuited.

Repairman cleaned out the ants.

Yesterday we realized the carpets in the guest bedrooms were wet. The drain for the a/c unit in the wall was clogged.

I don't know if the two things are related, but we will have to call a plumber for the drain.

Needless to say, no writing done recently.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back from FenCon

I had a great time at FenCon this weekend. Here is a photo of a highlight, me and Howard Waldrop after Howard had his reading Sunday afternoon.

My panel schedule was very accommodating of my work schedule. My panels Friday and Saturday were in the evening, so I could work during the day as per normal. That required that Friday I drive into Dallas, attend panels, and then drive back to Mount Pleasant, but it wasn't so bad.

My first panel at 9 p.m. Friday, on Femme Fatales, gave me the opportunity to meet GOH Lois McMaster Bujold. Old chum Brad Sinor was on that one, along with Julia Mandala and Melanie Fletcher.

Right afterwards at 10 p.m. came the panel on Plan 9 and Bad Movies. This was probably the most fun, for the panelists as well as the audience. I was the moderator, but Keith Candido (the artist GOH), Lee Martinez and Teddy Harvia provided a lot of the spark.

I drove back to Mount Pleasant (arriving at 1:30 a.m.) went to work Saturday and dove back out in time to make the 7 p.m. panel on Southern Fandom, moderated by Warren Buff, the Fan GOH. It gave me an opportunity to meet Alan Jackson. I was joined by old chum Lee Martindale.

Spent time visiting in the bar and in a few suites, and drove out to Oak Cliff to crash with mother-in-law. Got a good night's sleep.

Walked into the hotel Sunday and ran right into Howard in the bar; we were shortly joined by Alan Jackson. Now that was a conversation!

Attended Howard's reading at 1 p.m. He read excerpts from "The Moon World". It was tons of fun, and it was great to see Howard doing and feeling so well, then as well as throughout the convention.

Panel at 2 p.m. was on Self Promotion. Picked up a lot of good tips from Selena Rosen, Rachel Caine, Rie Rose, Shanna Swendson and Pat Blair. Attendance was still very good, although the con was winding down. In fact, all the panels were well attended.

Pat Blair is a relative newcomer who retired as a journalist; journalism is not that common a background for a s-f and/or fantasy writer.

Drove back home, arrived in Mount Pleasant at 6 p.m. Got another good night's sleep, and was back at work today.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Getting ready for Fencon

This coming weekend, just clearing the decks.

Weather has been miserable the past two days, a steady soaking rain. Today was the first day I pulled on a cardigan; I think I survived another Texas summer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My schedule for FenCon

FenCon is next weekend in Dallas, and I got my line-up of panels a few days ago. The panels are very accommodating of my work schedule - my sessions Friday and Saturday are at night, so I can keep my regular routine at work. I will leave work Friday, head into Dallas, drive back lat that night, and then head back after work Saturday. I will stay overnight Saturday at my mother-in-law's - maybe Patricia will come with me - and I will be back in Mount Pleasant Sunday evening.

Here is my line-up:

Friday 9 p.m. "I'm Not Bad,I'm Just Written that Way: The Femme Fatale in Literature".

This will be in the Trinity III room, moderated by Julie Mandala. Other panelists will include Brad Sinor, Lois McMaster Bujold, Mark Finn and Melanie Fletcher.

Friday 10 p.m. "Plan Nine from Outer Space and 50 Years of Bad Movies."

This will be in the Addison Lecture Hall; I'm the moderator. I will be joined by A. Lee Martinez, Keith Candidio, Caroline Fulbright and Teddy Harvia.

Saturday 7 p.m. "Southern Fandom".

This will be in Trinity III, moderated by Warren Buff. Other panelists will be Allan Jackson, Lee Martindale, A. Jackson and T. Morris.

Sunday 2 p.m. "Self-Promotion for Writers".

This will be in the Addison Lecture Hall, moderated by Shanna Swendson. Other panelists will be Rachel Caine, Selena Rosen, Rie Sheridan Rose and P. Blair.

They gave me a 10 a.m. slot Saturday for a reading, but I'll skip that; otherwise I'd take a day off from work for that one thing.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Collaborative efforts

Because of recovering from this bout of carpal tunnel, I've not done any writing for a few weeks. I have, however, invested some time working on genre-related chores.

Ed Morris and I have collaborated on a few stories - two which have seen the light of day, "Off the Hook" which was published in Dark Recesses in Dec. 2007, and "Acroscaphe" which was published in Planetary Stories in Dec. 2008. There's another three we've worked on together, but I haven't had luck so far, so I mailed Ed my sheets out of my submissions log and turned them over for his fresh input.

Of these five stories, "Off the Hook" is the only one where Ed started and I finished; in these other cases, the first draft was mine, which is why I took the lead in submitting.

I expect Ed will bring a fresh perspective; I think some of these stories have some real potential, especially "Uncle Gumball Saves the World".

"Off the Hook" I recall as a picture perfect collaboration; Ed had a good central idea; I took a look, saw things he didn't, and slapped it all into shape. It's one of the stories I'm the most proud of.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Good news

Looks like I've finally recovered from that pinched nerve in my left hand. Adding plain aspirin to the anti-inflammatory drug I was taking seemed to have done the trick. My left forefinger feels almost normal - doesn't hurt any more, and I have almost 100 percent mobility back.

Being a two-finger typist didn't help the problem, and also - well, you've heard the expression about sticking out like a sore thumb? While the finger was numb, it got banged and jammed a few times because of being out of alignment with the other fingers. Something as simple as grabbing the steering wheel of the car became painful when you smash your finger into the wheel as the rest of your hand glides by.

I was able to keep up with work at the office, but I haven't done any writing at home recently.

I have to work some Monday to get a paper out on the streets, but the office is closed for business and we'll go home as soon as the presses roll, so I'll have most of the day off.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Slow recovery

Still slowly recovering from aggravating the carpal tunnel. No writing going on. I'm wondering whether I suffered permanent nerve damage to my left index finger.

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...