Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Getting back into action

We've had a guest for the Christmas holiday, and that combined with people off from work has kept me pretty busy, so I didn't have time to do any posting. Things are slowly getting back to normal, so I suppose I will able to get into posting regularly.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Busy time of the year

Yep, not much going on in terms of the genre writing. Despite the holidays there's no break in the newspaper publication schedule, and there's three people off on vacation during this and next week.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two books to sell

As a side note, the signing in Nacogdoches was the first time I ever had both "Fantastic Texas" and "Texas & Other Planets" at the same event. I didn't have any copies of "Fantastic Texas" the week before at Prospero's in Marshall, and I probably missed a few sales as a result. At least three people asked about "Fantastic Texas".

Although the siging in Nacogdoches was a lot less fruitful than the one in Marshall, I did peddle a copy of "Fantastic Texas".

Here is a photo of me at the table with both sets of books.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Visiting Nacogdoches

One of the problems with book signing seems to be the two types of businesses involved - newspapers for the publicity, and the bookstores themselves - are two of the businesses which have been hammered the worst in this recession.

One of the dirty little secrets of modern American businesses is how badly they under staff. Book stores are a prime example. They really don't hire enough people to do the work properly. Service suffers, and the they people they DO hire come in at a ridiculously low wage and really don't know anything about books.

Chain-owned newspapers also chronically under staff, and what's worse, they produce a workload and tell the employees they MUST do that work - when it it is a physical impossibility, therefore encouraging employees to work unpaid hours.

I saw this pattern back in the 1980s with the Harte-Hanks chain of newspapers, and they eventually had to divest of their newspapers as the state and federal government began investigating them for labor fraud.

It's not that the few employees who remain at a paper like the Sentinel don't mean well, they simply can't keep up with the work. I emailed a news release about my visit last Monday, and then made three of four phone calls during the week before actually getting the managing editor on the phone Friday. (One of the things you learn when calling these meager newspapers these days is that you hardly ever get anyone on the phone, because you probably have six people doing a dozen people's work).

She hadn't even had time to read my email. Of course, nothing ever got in the paper.

Meanwhile, I had sent the Hastings posters. When Patricia and I arrived Saturday afternoon, they didn't have my name on the sign and they never posted any of the posters. So there never was any advance notice of any kind.

Given that, I'm surprised I sold any books, but I did. Between the gas and the dinner (and some books we bought ourselves) I probably broke even.

I had called Joe Lansdale and let him know I would be in town. Joe and Karen came by the Hastings, and after Patricia and I left at 7 p.m. we all met at the Cotton Patch Cafe nearby.

Joe put his finger on the issue when he said Hastings will let you do a book signing, but they won't do a thing for you. That's why he doesn't bother with them, and I have to agree, he's right.

The week before, when I had my signing at Prospero's in Marshall, Don Falk put my posters in his window and blogged about it. He also put me near the front door (the Nacogdoches Hastings stuck me in a corner). I sold a lot more books.

Also, although the Marshall newspaper is another chain-owned plantation, they still managed to get some notice in there, which certainly helped.

Patricia and I both ate chicken fried steaks at the Cotton Patch - the outfit's speciality - and enjoyed visiting with Joe and Karen. Joe has a wealth of experience. I wish I saw him more often, but Nacogdoches is two hours away from Mount Pleasant - as far as Dallas.

The photo above is myself holding a copy of "Texas & Other Planets" with Joe and Karen inside the bookstore.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yet another collection

Selina Rosen at Yard Dog Press says she is buying a collection of four collaborative stories by myself and Ed Morris, called "Music for Four Hands". It's about 22,000 words long and features "Off the Hook", originally published in Dark Recesses; "Acroscaphe" which was published in Planetary Stories; "Stairway To Heaven", which was was published in the first Black Matrix Press anthology "Encounters; and "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" which was published in The Fifth Dimension.

Needless to say, Ed and I are thrilled. Here is his summation of the Table of Contents, as culled from Facebook:

"Smoke"- Alternate history take on the life of visionary comedian Ernie Kovacs, and his views on drug prohibition.

"Off the Hook" - On the last day of his life, a comic named Jimmy Slade tries to cut a deal with the Angel of Death

"Acroscaphe" - A Fifties 'big big' thriller, this one dealing with Jumbo Shrimp.

"Stairway To Heaven" - A bitter newspaperman discovers a time-traveler from the 1960's messing about on the grounds of an old house, and in his life. The lady's not sure anything nowadays can glitter, but comes with a terrible gift at an even more terrible price.

"Nicely done collection of stories"

Got my first review of "Texas & Other Planets" at Amazon from David Riley, editor of Science Fiction Trails. He gave it five stars. Here it is:

"In reviewing Lou Antonelli's second collection of short stories, I should mention that I published two of the featured stories in Science Fiction Trails, which I edit. Like a lot of Antonelli's work, his beloved Texas is the backdrop to a fair bit of the book's content, though not everything is a Texas tale. This is a collection of science fiction that moves seamlessly through some very different time periods. My personal favorite was "Good News For the Dead." It's not the first time dead people have been put to work, but the take on it is fresh and well told. The book is nicely laid out and well edited. These are Antonelli's best stories and there really isn't a bad one in the bunch."

Monday, December 13, 2010

East Texas author visits Nacogdoches Hastings Saturday

Here is the text of a news release I wrote in preparation of my visit to Nacogdoches this coming Saturday:


Give the gift of imagination this Christmas.
East Texas author Lou Antonelli visits Hastings Entertainment in Nacogdoches this coming Saturday, Dec. 18.
Antonelli will be selling and signing copies of his science fiction and fantasy short story reprint collection, “Texas & Other Planets”, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“Texas & Other Planets” contains 20 short stories previously published in the United States, England and Australia, and – as the title indicates – many are set in the Lone Star State, Antonelli’s adopted home.
A Massachusetts native, Antonelli is currently managing editor of The Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune. He broke into the top ranks of American science fiction and fantasy writers with the publication of “A Rocket for the Republic” in Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine in 2005.
“A Rocket for the Republic” is the lead-in story for the collection. Gardner Dozois, editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction at the time, says of his latest collection, "Lou Antonelli is an ambitious young writer with lots of imagination and verve, who never forgets about the mysteries of the human heart."
Ten of the stories in “Texas & Other Planets” have been included in the annual Honorable Mention compilation list for the “The Year’s Best Science Fiction” published annually by St. Martin’s Press and edited by Dozois.
Antonelli’s first collection, “Fantastic Texas” – published in 2009 – included only stories set in the Lone Star State. “Texas & Other Planets” includes the best of the previous collection as well as other award-winning stories.
Publisher Merry Blacksmith Press states: “Following Lou Antonelli’s critically praised first collection, ‘Fantastic Texas’, comes another collection of some of his very best. Lou is easily one of the hardest working and most recognized short story writers in science fiction today.”
Hastings Entertainment is located at 4501 North Street in Nacogdoches.

{the end}

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A visit with Prospero

Book signing event Saturday at Prospero's in Marshall went great. Set a record for books sold at one event, and also a single buyer record, as one customer bought THREE copies - one for himself, and two as gifts. That never happened with "Fantastic Texas", though I have had people buy two copies at once. Thanks to Ed Clikard being for the biggest fan of "Texas & Other Planets"!

Prospero's is a small, independent book store - there is no chain book store in Marshall - and the ratio of sales to traffic was very high. It's a neat little place, very cozy and nicely decorated, and I urged Patricia to come. She agreed with me and enjoyed the day. We were there from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Thanks for Don Falk for hosting me twice in the same year! He's a great guy!.

Only small drawback was that I had at least three people ask me about buying "Fantastic Texas" and I had no copies to sell them. I didn't anticipate there would be still be a demand. I gave them promotional business cards, and told them they could buy it online. Meanwhile I am dropping an order in the mail to Ian Strock at Gray Rabbit Publishing, who took over the Fantastic Books titles.
One strange thing: The reason I asked for the date is that they have an event in Marshall once a month called Second Saturday, when they block some streets downtown so people can stroll among the shops as well as street vendors. But they cancelled it for this month. I don't know if that had any impact on the traffic at Prsopero's; I'm inclined to think the cold weather was more of a factor. After dark, people began to come into downtown to see the lights, but they didn't drop in the book store - I don't think we sold any books during the last hour.

While at Prospero's I got a call from the book manager at the Hastings in Nacogdoches. I had planned a signing for "Fantastic Texas" there back in May, but had to cancel because of the death of my father-in-law. I promised I would reschedule, but then after inking the deal for "Texas & Other Planets" I decided to wait until I could return for a signing for both books. The Nacogdoches book manager said I could have a signing on Saturday, Dec. 18, the last Saturday before Christmas - which is great. My rationale for getting in a few signings before Christmas is to take advantage of holiday shopping. Yesterday in Marshall there definitely seemed to be a number of people in Prospero's doing holiday gift shopping. I will be be going to Nacogdoches whether or not I have "Fantastic Texas" in hand. The reaction of people to "Texas & Other Planets" has been very good - they love the title and the cover.

The publication date of "Fantastic Texas" last year was Dec. 19, so it just missed the holiday shopping season. I have avoided that snafu with "Texas & Other Planets". John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press says some orders have also come in through Amazon.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Latest Update

Merry Blacksmith Press is offering a holiday special with free or reduced shipping on nearly all titles until Dec. 18. Now is a good time to order your copy of "Texas & Other Planets"!

I'm all set for my first signing, I will be at Prospero's bookstore in downtown Marshall starting at 10 a.m. Saturday

Monday, December 06, 2010

Special giveaway

I guess I'm lucky to have two collections come out within a year of each other; the officious publication date of "Texas & Other Planets" was Nov. 14, while "Fantastic Texas" was published Dec. 19, 2009.

To celebrate the first anniversary of "Fantastic Texas", I am repeating the special giveaway offer using Facebook I had when it first came out; anyone who is a fan by Dec. 31 will be entered in a drawing to receive a free copy.

Meanwhile, I sent out a news release to the newspaper in Marshall about my upcoming book signing at Prospero's, and I sent some posters to the book store.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

First signing for "Texas & Other Planets" set

I will be having the first book signing for "Texas & Other Planets" this coming Saturday, Dec. 11, at Prospero's Books in downtown Marshall. John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press has promised me I'll have at least ten books in hand this week. I expect to sell them all. I had a signing for "Texas & Other Planets" on June 12, and considering the time of the year and traffic, it went very well, which is why I wanted a return appearance.

When "Fantastic Texas" came out, I had my first signing here in Mount Pleasant in February. but the Hastings book store can't get me a date earlier than Jan. 22 for "Texas & Other Planets". They won't have any signings between now and Christmas as a matter of policy. By then I will have a larger shipment of books in. John is getting me a rush order in time for this weekend's event in Marshall.

Marshall has an event called Second Saturday each month to encourage people to visit its downtown. That's the reason I called Prospero's; I wanted to get in for the Second Saturday before Christmas.

Prospero's is an independent book store, run by Don Falk, and is located at 210 N Washington Ave, just down the street from the county courthouse. It's a very pretty place.

When I was there this past summer, a local videographer came by and did an interview, which resulted in my first YouTube video. Here it is:

Friday, December 03, 2010

ConJour 2011

I've accepted an invite to be a guest at ConJour, the con at the University of Houston at Clear Lake, which will be held March 11-13.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Positive press

I had an interview Monday with a reporter from the Rockland Standard, the newspaper where I first cut my teeth in journalism, and it is in this week's paper.

One my stops while in town last weekend was the building where the newspaper was headquartered back then, in the 1970s. It is at 65 Grove St. in Rockland. It still looks the same, although it is secured and empty. Patricia took a photo of me at the back door, where I went in hundreds of time when I was in high school.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Three Amigos

I stopped in Rhode Island Saturday, Nov. 27, while on the way to my 35th high school reunion in SE Massachusetts to visit with John Teehan, publisher of Merry Blacksmith Press, to celebrate the publication of my second collection, "Texas & Other Planets". We met for lunch at Iggy's clam shack in Warwick, which has a spectacular view of the water, joined by Paul DiFilippo, who lives in Providence. John presented me with the printer's proof of "Texas & Other Planets", which I proudly hold up here, flanked by Paul (left) and John (right). In addition to enjoying the great seafood and view, Paul commented we constituted 50 percent of the body of Italian-American s-f authors (the other two, we agreed, being Ben Bova and Paolo Baciagalupi).

Pre-orders for "Texas & Other Planets" opened Nov. 22, and books should start shipping by the end of this week. Get 'em while they're hot!

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