Monday, August 30, 2010

Back from Austin

Got back home about 10:30 p.m. last night, got up at 5:30 and spent a full day at work. Any hopes I had of knocking off early died when a board I cover, which meets at 3 p.m. and which has been known to meet for only 15 minutes to a half hour, had the longest meeting I've ever seen in my three years on the job here. I had to cut out with the meeting still in progress or I wouldn't have gotten my rental car returned to Enterprise by 5 p.m.

Saw Jayme Blaschke at ArmadilloCon, he has agreed to write the introduction for "Texas and Other Planets". I spoke to Gardner Dozois in the phone, and he has agreed to write a blurb.

The hotel where the con was held had a strange layout - all the meeting rooms are in the basement, and the main banks of elevators did not go down there. They come out in the ballrooms. As a result, the most direct route from the lobby to the con was up and down a steep marble staircase. The only elevator to that lower level was in the corner of the atrium and went down to the pool outside on the patio. I think everybody will remember this as "The Con in the Basement".

That was the one down side. The con itself was great - the programming was excellent. People were picked who could talk intelligently on the appropriate subjects. I think the con-goers really enjoyed themselves.

I shared a room with Bill Ledbetter and Adrian Simmons. That worked out well for all of us. We all drove in separately - Bill from the Dallas area, Adrian from Norman, Oklahoma, and myself from Mount Pleasant. Since I was a last-minute addition, I slept on a guest cot, but it was actually quite cozy. The con-goer I had shared a room with in the past couldn't make it this year.

I may blog later on details, but I need to get to bed.

Review in Tangent

Here is the review of "Fantastic Texas" in Tangent, cut-and-pasted:


This is the first short story collection by a Texas journalist who has been publishing almost ten years with over 40 stories published in various venues. These 15 stories all take place in his beloved adopted state of Texas.Lou Antonelli is a journalist and thus has a journalist’s simple and clear style of writing; he is easy to read. His voices for his characters are delightfully idiosyncratic. You will not find any conceptually mind-blowing stories here, nor any literarily exciting fictions but you will find 140 pages of the best kind of “popcorn” fiction or beach reading, and this is a good thing. These are all enjoyable and perfect examples of well written SF in a sort of 1950’s mode, which I enjoy. The first story was Antonelli’s first publication in Asimov’s, a story Gardner Dozois bought just before announcing his retirement. “A Rocket for the Republic” is one of Antonelli’s “monologue” stories. It is an old man telling his life story to a journalist. A very old man. The story he tells is related in wonderful dialect about an alternate Texas where a rocket ship was launched in the 1800’s before the civil war. It’s delightful. Kind of Texas steampunk, if you will.The next offering also concerns a journalist doing his job. (You will find--naturally--journalism being a major thread throughout a lot of this collection.) This one is about parallel worlds. The world next to ours works on the principle of magic rather than science. It’s charming.In “Avatar” a survivor after a nuclear conflagration gets a history lesson from a descendent of the Aztecs. “Silence is Golden” tells about the discovery of radioactive “mercury” in a mining concern in East Texas (another monologue story with a wonderfully regional voice), “Rome, If You Want To” is about very unusual tourists in Houston during a record setting heat wave, and “Professor Malakoff”s Amazing Ethereal Telegraph” is another “western steampunk” story about a magician who can feel telegraph signals in the metal of his teeth and how he uses that to bilk rubes in the back areas of Texas. Other stories include “Video Killed the Radio Star” which deals with over-zealous, over-rich, and over-whelming Texans who want to set up their own republic in the near future; “Body by Fisher” concerns a Buick that runs on gasoline in a future of electric cars and how it is useful in a major emergency; “The Silver Dollar Saucer” tells the tale of two outlaws taken to a spaceship and who use their native wit to return to earth; “The Cast Iron Dybbuk” (great title) and what came out of it; another monologue by a grandmother explaining why her granddaughter is such a “Big Girl,” and “The Rocket-Powered Cat,” a short story about internet dating services with a major sting in its tail. All in all an enjoyable read on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Put your feet up or go get a tan and enjoy some breezy 1950’s-type SF stories.

Reviewed by Bob Blough


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Off at ArmadilloCon

I'm in Austin at the ArmadilloCon convention, about halfway through. Had three panels and a reading so far, getting ready for a panel at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, Tangent has come out with its review of "Fantastic Texas" and its very positive:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Agreement reached with GUD

GUD and I have come to an agreement over terms for including "Dispatches from The Troubles" in "Texas and Other Planets". Basically, we will just work on a one-time waiver to their exclusivity clause. This allows me to include "Dispatches" in the new collection.

GUD's position as the original publisher of the story will be protected. I agree this is very important, I give them a lot of credit for including the story in their issue No. 6. As part of the galley I saw the list of contributors; this will be a very impressive issue.

In addition to allowing me to include a more diverse selection of stories, "Texas and Other Planets" will be at least 30,000 words longer than "Fantastic Texas". I think that will work out very well.

Now to firm up the table of contents.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Antonelli signs contract for "Texas and Other Planets" with Merry Blacksmith Press

John Teehan, publisher of Merry Blacksmith Press, and Texas science fiction and fantasy author Lou Antonelli announced Monday, August 23, 2010 that they have signed a contract for a reprint collection of short stories, "Texas and Other Planets".
Antonelli has had 50 science fiction and fantasy stories published in the U.S., Australia, Canada and the U.K. since he took up writing fiction in 2002. His first collection, the Texas-themed "Fantastic Texas", was published by Fantastic Books in 2009.
Recent releases by the Merry Blacksmith Press include "Broken Mirrors" by Tim Pratt, "The Wannoshay Cycle" by Michael Jasper, and Ron Collin's SF short story collection, "Piccaso's Cat & Other Stories".
Its most recent release is "Anthopology 101: Reflections, Inspections and Dissections of SF Anthologies" by Bud Webster.
Lou Antonelli's short fiction has been published in over two dozen venues, including Asimov's Science Fiction, Jim Baen's Universe and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.
Unlike his previous collection, "Texas and Other Planets" will be not comprised solely of Texas-inspired tales, said Antonelli.
"This collection will give me the opportunity to reprint my most entertaining stories without regard to theme," he said.
With over a decade's experience in professional typesetting and book design, John Teehan started The Merry Blacksmith as an independent press in the spring of 2010
"We have plans for the future to expand our titles to cover a wide range of interests, and represent the singular attribute of quality," said Teehan. "We are proud to publish this collection of fine fiction by Lou Antonelli, who's made a name for himself in a few short years."
"While our interests are wide and varied, many of our books will appeal to fans of science fiction, fantasy, horror, comics, and other such fine geekery," added Teehan. "We geeks inherited the Earth, and we mean to keep it that way!"
"Sounds like another fun project," Antonelli concluded. "I'm looking forward to it."


Monday, August 23, 2010

Contract signed

John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press has mentioned that my collection is upcoming on his web site,

I signed and dropped the contract back in the mail to him today. Like he said, stay tuned. I hope we will have a formal announcement shortly.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Armadillocon coming up

I'm looking forward to Armadillocon next weekend. Just as a recap, here are my panels for the weekend:

Fr2200SB No Matter What I Do, Cleveland Still Loses
Fri 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Sabine
L. Antonelli*, R. Bennett, S. Swendson, M. Fletcher
You went back in time, stomped some butterflies, and returned, but nothing important changed. How hard is it to change history?

Sa1000SB Promoting Your Work (and Yourself)
Sat 10:00 AM-11:00 AM Sabine
G. Faust, S. Wedel, P. Kitanidis, R. Eudaly*, K. Hoover, L. Antonelli
As an author, you work hard to promote your work. But shouldn't you promote yourself as well?

Sa1200SB The Trials and Tribulations of the Short Story
Sat Noon-1:00 PM Sabine
M. Bishop, H. Waldrop, L. Carl, J. Blaschke*, L. Antonelli, S. Allen
In the short story, you have 7500 words to introduce characters, set up the plot, develop the plot, and then wrap it all up. Our panelists discuss the agonies and rewards of the short story.

Sa1330SA Reading
Sat 1:30 PM-2:00 PM San Antonio
Lou Antonelli

Sat 4:00 PM-5:00 PM San Antonio
L. Carl, K. Hoover, J. Hall, S. Cupp*, M. Bishop, L. Antonelli
Some works don't fit in one genre. Our panelists talk about writing and reading those works, and how to describe them to others.

Su1200SB Planning for Your Time Travel
Sun Noon-1:00 PM Sabine
J. Cheney, K. Kimbriel, L. Antonelli*, P. Sarath, M. Williams, R. Clement-Moore, S. White, T. Mallory
So, you're going back in time. What will you need to bring and what will you need to remember to make it?

Su1500DR Signing
Sun 3:00 PM-4:00 PM Dealers' Room
G. Wilhite, L. Antonelli, B. Mahoney

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A good week

Copies of the contract for my next collection, "Texas and Other Planets", are going back and forth between myself and the publisher.

Finally got galley proofs of "Dispatches from The Troubles" from GUD. That's my chore for tonight - checking them. Since the story is over 11,000 words, this is harder than it sounds.

Finally, the reading and signing at the New Boston Friends of the Library Monday night went very well. We had a small, appreciative crowd, and sold seven books - which for the size of the crowd was a lot. The Texarkana Gazette ran a big story in their weekly edition for Bowie County.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Next collection

Just got the contract via email for my next reprint collection. This will not be all Texas-themed, and therefore will be called "Texas and Other Planets". Reading the contract over now...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

News flash

This just in from Damien Broderick via the Fictionmags group at Yahoo:

"I hear from Chum Warren Lapine that his company, Wilder Publications,LLC, has sold the PoD trade paperback press Fantastic Books. (FB has released four of my and Rory Barnes' sf books in handsome editions, and at least one of Chum Paul Di Fi's). FB has been bought by Ian Strock. It will be interesting to see what directions it takes."

Armadillcon Guests

I must say I am impressed with the line-up of guests for this year's ArmadilloCon. There's 93 - including myself.
Joseph Abbott
Paul Abell
Sanford Allen
Aaron Allston
David Lee Anderson
Lou Antonelli
Renee Babcock
Neal Barrett, Jr.
Paul Benjamin
Robert Jackson Bennett
Carol Berg
Katharine Beutner
Matthew Bey
Jayme Lynn Blaschke
Michael Bracken
Steven Brust
Elizabeth Burton
A. T. Campbell, III
Matt Cardin
Lillian Stewart Carl
Dave Chang
J. Kathleen Cheney
Rosemary Clement-Moore
Bill Crider
Scott A. Cupp
Madeleine Rose Dimond
Amanda Downum
Rhonda Eudaly
Gabrielle Faust
Sara Felix
Mark Finn
Michael Finn
Melanie Fletcher
Brad W. Foster
John Gibbons
Beverly A. Hale
Joan Upton Hall
Nancy Holzner
Kenneth Hoover
Al Jackson
Derek Johnson
Pauline Baird Jones
Rocky Kelley
Julie Kenner
Katharine Eliska Kimbriel
Phoebe Kitanidis
Rick Klaw
Kim Kofmel
Joe R. Lansdale
Kasey Lansdale
Alexis Glynn Latner
William Ledbetter
Stina Leicht
Scott Lynch
Bob Mahoney
Tess Mallory
Ari Marmell
A. Lee Martinez
Joe McKinney
Karen Meschke
Nancy Jane Moore
Chris Nakashima-Brown
Mark Nelson
Jess Nevins
Gloria Oliver
Cary Osborne
Lawrence Person
Alan J. Porter
Doug Potter
Jessica Reisman
Paige Roberts
Josh Rountree
Patrice Sarath
Adrian Simmons
Willie Siros
Jack Skillingstead
Nate Southard
William Browning Spencer
Matt Sturges
Shanna Swendson
Lee Thomas
Dan Tolliver
Mikal Trimm
Melissa Tyler
Thomas M. Wagner
Howard Waldrop
Don Webb
Steven Wedel
Martha Wells
Skyler White
George Wilhite
Mark L. Williams
Steve Wilson

Friday, August 13, 2010

Armadillocon schedule

I got my schedule for ArmadilloCon today. Looks good, here it is in the raw:

Fr2200SB No matter what I do, Cleveland still loses- The difficulties of changing history
Fri 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Sabine
L. Antonelli*, R. Bennett, S. Swendson, M. Fletcher

Sa1000SB Promoting your work (and yourself)
Sat 10:00 AM-11:00 AM Sabine
G. Faust, S. Wedel, P. Kitanidis, R. Eudaly*, K. Hoover, L. Antonelli

Sa1200SB The Trials and Tribulations of the short story
Sat Noon-1:00 PM Sabine
M. Bishop, H. Waldrop, L. Carl, J. Blaschke*, L. Antonelli, S. Allen

Sa1330SA Reading
Sat 1:30 PM-2:00 PM San Antonio
Lou Antonelli

Sa1600SA Crossing Genres: It's Like a Western, But in Space, with Victorian Overtones
Sat 4:00 PM-5:00 PM San Antonio
L. Carl, K. Hoover, J. Hall, S. Cupp*, M. Bishop, L. Antonelli

Su1200SB Planning for Your Time Travel
Sun Noon-1:00 PM Sabine
J. Cheney, K. Kimbriel, L. Antonelli*, P. Sarath, M. Williams, R. Clement-Moore

Su1500DR Signing
Sun 3:00 PM-4:00 PM Dealers' Room
G. Wilhite, L. Antonelli, Ma. Finn, B. Mahoney

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Good omen

When I stepped out of the shower this morning, the local Golden Oldies station was playing "Planet Texas" by Kenny Rogers.

Great way to start the day:

Getting ready to visit New Boston

I've sent publicity to the papers in New Boston and Texarkana about my visit Monday as the guest of the New Boston Friends of the Library. The Bowie County Citizen's Tribune in New Boston has run a nice advance piece:

Monday, August 09, 2010

Submitted in a New York minute...

I pitched "The Witch of Waxahachie" last week to a New York book editor, and today I gave him a little poke by voice mail. He got back to me and said he'd love to read my book.

Needless to say, the manuscript was sent by email in... well, you know...

"Fantastic Texas" reviewed at Tales of the Talisman

As I mentioned in a previous post, David B. Riley has reviewed "Fantastic Texas" in the current issue of "Tales of the Talisman" (it's the lead off review in Volume 6, Issue 1). Here is what David wrote:

"Fantastic Texas" is an eclectic collection of twelve of Lou Antonelli's short stories that are in some way connected to his beloved State of Texas. From ancient nuclear wars, to the secret of sexual attraction, with stops along the way for Bigfoot, ancient demons, and the truth behind alchemy, the stories in this book will take you on a truly fantastic journey through versions of Texas that were, could never be, and might have been.

"In 'A Rocket for the Republic' steam played a big part in the first rocket launch from Texas, which was about a century earlier than we thought. An unexpected experiment still running in the abandoned Superconducting Supercollider will introduce you to "The Witch of Waxahachie". And where would you go if global warming forced you out of Dallas? Maybe "Rome, If You Want To"?

"My personal favorite is "The Silver Dollar Saucer", one of Antonelli's growing list of weird western tales. It's amazing what a silver dollar can buy.

"My two quibbles about the book is that it's a bit on the thin side, running only about 150 pages and carrying a fairly stiff $13.95 cover price for such a thin trade paperback. Also I was unimpressed with the interior design and layout. It struck me as almost amateurish in appearance.

"Still, that is far outweighed by the chance to read some really first class stories in one place. Antonelli is a newspaper editor and an up-and-coming author of speculative fiction."

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Three years ago...

at about this time, I was at the Holiday Inn in Collinsville, Illinois, recovering after a visit to the local emergency room.

I was a panelist at the NASFIC in 2007, which was held in conjunction with St. Louis' Tuckercon. I had a very bad time of time of it that weekend.

I changed jobs at the very end of July; my boss at the old job, to save money for the lousy company that owned the newspaper where I worked, had me work two jobs the last three weeks I was there. The sports editor has given her notice a week before I did. He made no move to fill the job, so I did both the job as managing editor and sports editor for those three weeks. At one point, someone called in sick for three days, and then I was doing three jobs.

This is the way dishonest businesses cheat their employees - give you duties that are impossible to accomplish in a 40-hour work week and forbid overtime, so you have to work off the clock to keep your job.

Every summer, I have to battle sinus congestion and inflammation. Working 70 hours a week for almost a month left me so debilitated that what should have been a simple allergy attack turned into a vicious inner ear infection.

I went to work at my new job for three days at the start of August - weak and stunned - and then took off for St. Louis. I didn't know what was developing, and unfortunately I took the Texas Eagle train from Texarkana to St. Louis overnight.

I didn't know I had an inner ear infection, and the rocking of the train aggravated it so bad that I threw up, and the next morning I essentially passed out in my seat. I only got off the train when the conductor went to check tickets for people WHO GOT ON at St. Louis and realized I should have gotten off. The train was ready to leave, but he stopped it and they helped me off the train.

The person from the convention who had come to pick me up had already left, but they came back and took me to the convention center across the Mississippi in Collinsville.

Once off the train I recovered a bit, and with the help of rest and Dramamine I made it until Sunday, but the inner ear infection festered and Sunday afternoon while trying to rest in the green room I realized I was too dizzy to walk and I called 911.

The local hospital treated me like crap when they learned I didn't have health insurance - since I had just left my old job - and they just thought I was a fat schlub with high blood pressure. They gave me some blood pressure medicine and shoved me out the door.

I told them I thought there was something wrong with my inner ears, but the nurse wouldn't even look.

Tuckercon put me up in Holiday Inn an extra night and then took me to the airport the next day. I was still so sick the van had to stop by the side of the highway so I could throw up on the way to the airport.

I flew into Dallas and then Texarkana, and first thing Tuesday saw my doctor, who quickly diagnosed the ear infection and prescribed the antibiotics I needed. I went back to work Tuesday afternoon.

Thanks to COBRA, most of my emergency room visit was later paid for. The hospital still wanted a couple of hundred dollars; I told them they needed to close down and go into a business they are better suited for, perhaps as a slaughterhouse.

Tuckercon was great; they sent the guy back to the train station to pick me up after I missedgetting off, and then I went to the hospital they had a member of the con committee stay with me the whole time and keep in constant contact with Patricia back home. They also comped me the room Sunday night.

Since then, in 2008 and 2009, I have had the same allergy attack at the same time of the year, but the conditions of 2007 were unique; and while I've had to deal with the ear congestion and coughing, I have coped rather well. I don't feel bad at all.

What a difference three years makes.

Just some thought as this year's NASFIC in Raleigh, North Carolina, winds up. I'm starting to think about the WorldCon in Reno next year.

Umm, I wonder how I handle altitude sickness???

Oh, I forgot to mention the hospital - it's actually in Maryville, Illinois, it's called Anderson Hospital. If, God forbid, you ever have to go there, don't. That was the worst hospital visit I ever had in my life. A bunch of callous butchers, I'm lucky they didn't throw me in the dumpster.

Not that I'm bitter...

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Heady company

Duotrope, the resource web site for writers, apparently has a feature called Editor Interview. They ask editors of various venues their answers to some standard questions. Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine is the latest subject. One of their editors named Patty Jansen, was recently interviewed, and in response to the question, "If you publish fiction, who are your favorite fiction writers?", replied

"In the case of our jumbled and many-headed publishing cooperative, that's a hard question to answer. Every editor will have their favourites. We like and have published work by Jay Lake, Aliette de Bodard, Brian Stableford, Stephen Dedman, Sean Williams, Tom Holt and Jim Hines. Recent issues have seen stories by Rob Shearman, Anna Tambour, Jason Fischer and Felicity Pulman, as well as original nonfiction by Elizabeth Bear and Eric Frank Russell. We've also published fiction by a surprising number of US magazine editors - Lou Antonelli, Matthew Bey, Matt Kressel and others. And I might as well mention that we've just published a poem by Graeme Garden."

I guess having published Sentinel SF in 2007 qualifies me as an editor, too.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

No progress today

No work on the fiction front today, I'm still a little weak from battling this cold/allergy attack, but on the positive side I'm feeling a lot better and the coughing has pretty much subsided. Unless there is an unforseen development (like a chest cold) this actually may be one of the mildest annual allergy attacks I have had. Iwas still sick enough last night I skept in a guest bedroom.

Came up with an idea for a fantasy steampunk tale, based on a mondegreen, called "The Rocket Pony Show".

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Small victories

Since last Friday I have been battling my annual late summer allergy attack; by Monday my ears were so congested I couldn't talk to anyone on my cell phone or my cordless phone. It was this annual event three years ago that - raging out of control - led to my collapse and being rushed to the emergency room at NASFIC while I was in St. Louis.

Since then, I have learned to keep on top of the problem (in 2007, the problem was the ear congestion turned into an inner ear infection). I have been doing that again this year, with good results. Tonight my left ear popped.

Let's be thankful for small victories.

On another subject. I sent off my signed copy for the contract for the "28th Dimension" anthology in the mail, and I got David Riley's copy of his review of "Fantastic Texas" he wrote up for the current issue of Tales of the Talisman. Still have to read it.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Nice call

I think I mentioned at some point the original working title of "The Fontane Sisters are Dead" was "Golem Gal, Won't You Come Out Tonight" but that was quickly discarded at too hokey.

Another candidate title was "Hearts Made of Stone" but my instincts told me there would would also not be a good choice.

I learned today through John DeNardo's SFSignal that Norilina Books has posted the table of contents of the anthology "Warrior Wisewoman 3" edited by Roby James, and the second story in the book is called "Heart of Stone" by Joel Richards.

I knew "Hearts Made of Stone" would be too easily confused title.

Both earlier titles leave fossils in "Fontane Sisters". The story's protag, Joe DeNardo (now where did I get that surname?) calls the creature "Golem Gal" a couple of times in the story, and the song itself gets heavy airplay, not only for its appropriateness but because it fixes the time frame of the story (early 1955).

Patricia had warned me that if I belt out "Hearts Made of Stone" at home one more time she will assassinate me...

Monday, August 02, 2010

Review of "Fantastic Texas"

David Riley of Science Fiction Trails has reviewed "Fantastic Texas" in the current issue of "Tales of the Talisman". This is, I believe, the first review in a print venue. Because of that, I haven' read it yet. David reviewed "Fantastic" for Amazon, and gave it generally positive marks.

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...