Thursday, March 31, 2011

Another collection?

I was asked by a publisher I saw at a recent convention to send him something, so I am trying to work up another reprint collection. One complication is that some of the stories only exist on floppy disks now, from their original backups, so I have to work on gaining access to them again.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Shadow Gate" debuts Friday

A new print publication, "Shadow Gate", is set to debut on Friday, April 1. They must be close to roll out. I got my Pay Pal payment for my story, "Hopscotch and Hottentots".

In its web site, the magazine describes itself as having "a vision through which we can view many worlds and new exciting situations."

"We are a simple short story magazine that only accepts and presents the best."

They also quote Gene Roddenberry, "For me science fiction is a way of thinking, a way of logic that bypasses a lot of nonsense. It allows people to look directly at important subjects."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Random updates

Thanks to John DeNardo at SF Signal - again - for posting a link to 4 Star Stories' first issue. He listed the ezine's debut last week under News, and in Saturday's post he listed it under Free Fiction. The leadoff story is my "Meet Me at the Grassy Knoll".

Left work a little early yesterday (I normally work until at least 1 p.m. on Saturdays) and drove to Tyler. The Texas Associated Press Managing Editors had their annual confab at the Courtyard by Marriott there this weekend (which is why I don't mind that AggieCon apparently apparently forgot I'm alive).

It's over a 60 mile drive, and I got there 20 minutes late for the annual awards luncheon, but actually the timing was perfect - I sat down just as they were serving the entree.

The Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune is a small daily, and it shows when you compete in press contests; we're small even in our division, and there are much larger papers that have greater resources. But we took two awards this year, a third in General Column writing and an Honorable mention (4th place) in Feature Series. Since I took over as managing editor we've had two previous awards, an Honorable Mention (in this case, the equivalent of third place) for Spot News Photography in 2008, and an Honorable Mention for Speciality Reporting in 2010 (we were blanked in 2009). After the lunch I called the publisher and also the honorees to give them the news. It was especially nice for the staff writer who won the third in Columns, because she didn't know I had entered her in that category. That was a pleasant surprise.

Since Tyler is a much larger city than Mount Pleasant (15,000 vs. 125,000) - it has a larger selection of stores - so I took advantage while I was there to stop at a health food store and buy some Vegemite. They didn't have Vegemite, but they had Marmite, so I bought a couple of jars. As I had heard, they taste much the same, but the Marmite, if anything, is stronger. It also has a different consistency, it drips like caramel.

I stopped at a local small indy bookstore, "Once Again", and a chatted them up for a book signing. I've pretty much decided to stop wasting time with the chain stores. Asking the staff at a Barnes & Noble or Hastings for help with an author event is pretty much like stopping a member of the crew of the Titanic on the deck while the ship is sinking and asking them where the restroom is. They're going to pretty much ignore you, and they certainly won't help you.

The other route I'm pursuing is setting up events at local libraries, with the local Friends of the Library. I visited the library in New Boston in August and I'm due for a return visit this August.

Before I left the city it was time for dinner, and I snarfed a double clams meal at the local Long John Silver's - we don't have a Long John's in Mount Pleasant.

Getting back to genre news, I have received notification that my money from Shadow Gate is in my PayPal account. Shadow Gate should debut April 1, and it will be a print mag, so I will get a copy in the mail. "Hopscotch and Hottentots" will be my fourth story published this year.

Getting back to Aggiecon, I enjoyed my visits in 2006 and 2007, but since then they've either not sent me an invite, or it went out so late I had previous commitments. Well, it's not like I don't have other places to be...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Another bookstore closing

Just received word that Prospero's, a great little bookstore in Marshall, Texas, will be closing April 15. I did signings there last year for both "Fantastic Texas" and "Tcxas & Other Planets", and they went very well. I sold 13 copies of "Texas & Other Planets" there in December.

It's always been hard to run an independent bookstore, and it's only gotten worse in the last few years.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Hopscotch and Hottentots"

My short story "Hopscotch and Hottentots" will be featured in the premiere issue of the new ezine Shadow Gate. It is set to debut April 1. That will be the second time in a row I have a story in the first issue of an ezine, since "Meet Me at the Grassy Knoll" is in the first issue of 4 Star Stories, which debuted March 20.

Speaking of 4 Star Stories, it got a little notice upon its launch this week, in places such as SF Signal, (myself and fellow 4 Star author Bill Ledbetter are both SFWA members), the Website at the End of the Universe and SF Scope. I think people in general think it's laudable for anyone to start a new ezine now.

Both ezines, by the way, pay - small amounts, to be sure, but still appreciated.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Editors' Choice

"Black Hats and Blackberrys" has been picked as an Editors' Choice in the first quarterly review of 2011 at Bewildering Stories.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Meet Me at the Grassy Knoll"

4 Star Stories went live yesterday just before midnight with its first issue. I share the TOC with Rhonda Eudaly, Bill Ledbetter and David Gray. In the introduction to the story, the editors said:
"If you had to come up with a word to describe Lou Antonelli, you would have to come up with at least three: talented, fun, and prolific. Lou is a gifted writer and editor who has had more than fifty science fiction short stories published since the summer of 2003. Lou also does an incredible impression of Marlon Brando as the “Godfather.” Living and working in Texas since 1985 has inspired Lou to use Texas as a location for many of his science fiction stories. 4 Star Stories is very happy to offer for your reading pleasure Lou Antonelli's “Meet Me at the Grassy Knoll".

This is my third story published so far this year, which equals all my publications by number (but not output) for all of 2010 ("Dispaches from the Troubles" in GUD was a novelette, over 11,000 words long.)

It is my 53rd story published since June 2003.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New ezine ready to launch

The husband and wife team of David and Mary Gray are launching a new ezine, 4 Star Stories, with plans for it to be on-line by the end of this weekend. I have met David and Mary many times, they live in the Dallas area. They told me at ConDFW in February of their plans. I told them I thought it was a great idea, and I sent them a story. "Meet Me at the Grassy Knoll" will be in their first issue.

"Grassy Knoll" solves the riddle of whether there was a second gunman at the Kennedy assassination, and who that gunman was. It's actually rather snarky. I think you will like it. I will post when the story is actually published.

"Snow Globe" complete

"Snow Globe", the third story in my series that began with "Passport to Pleasantville" and continued with "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry", is done and has been submitted. It came in at 4,173 words. It tightened over 200 words in the final edit, a good sign.

That's the third short story completed since the start of the year. It is the 92nd I've written since 2002. With the publication of "Black Hats and Blackberrys" in Bewildering Stories and "Irredenta" in the World SF Blog this past week, I've had 52 published.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Free fiction

Thanks for John DeNardo at SF Signal for including "Irredenta" in his line-up for free fiction today.

Back in 2012

Deborah Kent, the Guest Liaison for this year's Conjour, sent an email out Wednesday thanking all the guests (prompt, and a nice touch) and inviting us all back next year. She noted it will return to ts previous time, which is the last weekend in January, which will be January 27, 28, and 29, 2012. I already replied and said I will be there.

Got a turndown from Strange Horizons that said some positive things, which was good; feedback of any kind from an editor or slush pile reader is always helpful, and usually valid. If they read the story closely enough to make comments, it held their interest, which is half the trick.

Won't be going to AggieCon, which is next weekend. The Texas Associated Press Managing Editors are having their annual conference in Tyler.

I need to do final edits on "Snow Globe". This is the story I read at ConDFW. I ran off a hard copy and marked up final edits last week, but I haven't gotten back to it because of distractions in the daily grind. Should finish it up this weekend, though.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On the air

I should mention The Dead Robots Society podcast web site recorded the panels at Conjour, in case you want to hear them. I think they were pretty informative, the audience seemed to get a lot out of them. Here's the link:

Conjour post-mortem

I enjoyed Conjour this past weekend. It was small, but comfortable. The size allowed more interection with other guests than I have had at some other cons.

I was unable to attend Friday, my department at work has been hammered by absenteeism. We only have eight people to begin with; one person is now half-time because of battling cancer, and last week another person went on an extended sick leave (to to three months). The company is not hiring replacements. Toss in a few vacation days, maybe one or two sick days, and we get really understaffed. Friday we were three and a half people down, so it was impossible for me to leave early. I left home at 4:15 a.m. Saturday and - thanks to the GPS - arrived at the University of Houston at Clear Lake for my first panel at 10 a.m.

It was the start of spring break at the university, but there was a good cadre of students there and they did a great job running the con, all things considered. They were understaffed, so I can sympathize.

Among the panels I participated in:

Mining Myth and Folklore with P.L. Blair, Bill Fawcett, Michael Ashliegh Finn, Robert Stikmanz, and Beverly Hale.

Character Development, with Paul Elard Cooley, Michael Willett, Jodie Lynn Nye, and Charlie Brown.

Plot Development with Paul Elard Cooley, Julia Mandala, P.L. Blair, and Jody Lynn Nye.

Writing 101 wth Rhonda Eudaly and Julia Mandala.

Critiquing For Others with Terry Mixon, Amanda Kimmerly, Michael Ashleigh Finn, and Beverly Hale.

Revising Your Work with Paul Elard Cooley, Jody Lynn Nye, Beverly Hale, Julia Mandala, and Michael Ashleigh Finn.

I also attended and was on the panel for the showing of the complete "Metropolis".

Got to meet some new people, perhaps make some new friends. All in all, a very pleasant experience.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"I am a veteran of a war no one remembers."

Lavie Tidhar, at his World SF Blog, publishes fiction every Tuesday, and this week's featured story is "Irredenta". It's a little different for me; it's set off-world, but it's not a space opera. The story was originally described at a workshop as"elegaic". That's a good term, it's melancholy and poignant. Not one of my normal turns.

If you read "Irrendenta" and then "Black Hats and Blackberrys" at Bewildering Stories, you may think I'm a manic-depressive, because the tone of the two stories are so different. "Black Hats" is smart-ass time travel revenge story, while "Irredenta" is about bitterness, loss and, ultimately, redemption.

Not a bad selection of stories, though; great entertainment for all tastes. With the publication of "Hopscotch and Hottentots" at Shadow Gate, anticipated in April, I will have already equalled the number of stories I had published in 2010 - and I think I have another story just about lined up at another venue.
"Black Hats" is the 51st story I've had published since June 2003, and "Irredenta" is the 52nd.

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Black Hats and Blackberrys"

Bewildering Stories has published a fun little time travel story I scribbled out, "Black Hats and Blackberrys". Give it a read; I hop you have a chuckle.

It has been described as a revenge story done right, which is not a bad assessement.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Off to Houston

I will be at Conjour this weekend, the con held at the University of Houston - Clear Lake. I have never attended this one, so it will be a first. Here are my panels:


10-11 Mining Ideas From Myth and Folklore

1-2 Character Development I

2-3 Humor in Speculative Fiction

4-6 The Importance of Metropolis

Reading 6:30-7:00

8-9 Plot Development II

9-10 Writing 101


11-12 Portrayal of Religion

12-1 Critiquing for Others

1-2 Revising Your Work

The con committee put me down for a couple of panels Friday evening, but I won't be able to get there until Saturday. Last minute events - such an employee who's had to take an extended sick leave - won't allow me to get away early enough Friday. Still, lots of panels, should be interesting.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Twenty months for a rejection

Just got an email today, a rejection for a story I submitted May 26, 2009. That's almost 20 months. In the past, I've had similar waits from little pissant venues, but this was from one of the best paying ezines - which just goes to show how painfully hard it is to break into writing, especially in a recession, when even the major players are overstressed and underfunded.

Thank God I have a real job.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

An anniversary

Yesterday was the day the state high school girls basketball championship was played in Austin. The occasion prodded me to call Howard Waldrop in Austin and remind him of an anniversary.
Back in 2004 my duties working at the Winnsboro News, a weekly paper in Wood County, Texas, included covering the high school basketball games. The Lady Raiders advanced all the way through to win their regional championship, which meant they got to play in Austin - Texas state semi-final and championship games are always played in Austin.
I have always been a big fan and great admirer of Howard Waldrop, and it occurred to me do double dip - since the newspaper was paying for mt trip to Austin - and look him up, if I had the time.
As it happened the Winnsboro team won the semi-final game on Thursday, which meant I had a day layover - the championship would be played Saturday night - so I had all day Friday to myself.
I had looked up Howard's address on the internet, and Friday morning knocked on his door. What follows I have reprinted from Howard's introduction to "Fantastic Texas":


A few years ago there was a knock on the door.
I opened it. A very New-York-looking individual stood there.
“Are you Howard Waldrop?” he asked.
“Depends on whether you have a summons to serve me, or not.” I said.
He explained that his name was Lou Antonelli, he was a reporter/editor from East Texas and he was in town to cover the state basketball playoffs, where his town had both the Boy’s and Girl’s teams in it. And, oh yeah, he was trying to be a science fiction writer.
I invited him in, and offered him the only thing to drink in the house, water.
We had a nice talk. He’d come to E. Texas a few years before to run a newspaper, had one of his own for a while, worked for others and now was doing about 4 people’s jobs on another.
I got his address, he promised to write, and took back off to some sweaty gym to cover his town’s losses to a pack of gorillas, or something.
When he got back home, there was an acceptance letter from Gardner Dozois at Asimov’s for his first sf sale.
He thought coming to see me (the equivalent of Romans rubbing a red-haired fellow for luck) had something to do with it.


The following year Winnsboro made it to Austin again, but they lost in the semi-final game - which should have meant I would go back home immediately - but I had come down with such a serious case of the flu that I had to stay an extra day and take medicine just to feel well enough to drive.
Since I had no idea where the nearest pharmacy was, I asked for Howard's help, and he drove me to a Walgreens where I stocked up on medicine and comfort snacks.
When I got back home I went to see the doctor, who said "I've had a lot of cases of upper respiratory infections this winter, but you've got the flu. I don't know where you got it."
I changed jobs later that year, and so I don't have to make those trips to Austin to cover sporting events any more. When I saw that the state tourney was being held last night - and Winnsboro was playing again - I called Howard to remind him of how we first met in person.
Over the past seven years we've visited a number of times, but that was the first time we met in person.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Gibberish from Jayme

Jayme Blaschke had some very kind comments about "Texas & Other Planets" on his blog "Gibberish" yesterday, which I herewith reprint:

So, Lou Antonelli has a new book out. This is news like Charlie Sheen saying something crazy is news. Happens pretty much every time you turn around. Lou has become one of those, whatchamacallit, "proflific" authors. He writes short stores. Lots of 'em. Fortunately, most of 'em are pretty good. Dandy even. I know there have been one or two occasions where I've been struck with a twinge of jealousy because Lou thought up a clever concept before me (and by "before me" I mean "never in a million years would I strike upon that idea").

Lou published his first short fiction collection, Fantastic Texas, back in 2009. It was a compilation of all of his science fiction and fantasy stories set in--you guessed it--the Lone Star State. Fast-forward to 2011. Lou's got his second collection out, Texas & Other Planets. This one contains a bunch of Texas-themed stories, but as the name implies, there are some other planets thrown in there for variety.

Oh, and I wrote the introduction.

Now, I know what you're thinking: Why would Lou, who seems a relatively sane and level-headed fellow (the Charlie Sheen reference above notwithstanding) commit certain career suicide with such an ill-considered move? Well, I'll tell you: He's trying to commit career suicide. It's the only explanation. That, or he felt some sort of misplaced obligation due to the fact that I was the first editor to ever publish him back when I served as fiction editor at RevolutionSF. I published quite a few of Lou's stories during my tenure, all but one (if my memory isn't betraying me) eventually earning some Year's Best honorable mention or other. I generally use overblown, gushing comparisons when discussing them, such as "Evocative of a classic Asimov logic puzzle, with better characters" or "channeling Bradbury." They're mostly included here, along with Lou's "A Rocket for the Republic" which marked his first professional sale to Asimov's. It was also Gardner Dozois' final buy before he stepped down from the editor's chair. He wanted to go out on top, I suppose. In any event, I bust Lou's chops pretty good in the intro, so it's safe to say he'll never make the mistake of asking me to write another intro for him again. That's probably a moot point, though, because of the career suicide and all. So what you folks need to do is rush over to Amazon and buy that book right now before it's too late. You'll be glad that you did.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

"Snow Globe"

Working on the final edit of "Snow Globe", it's come in so far at a tight 4,600 words, which is a good sign. This is the story I read at ConDFW.

Got the proposed panels for ConJour, which is being held March 12 and 13. Topics I've been picked as a panelist for include Character Development, Mining Mythology and Folklore for Ideas, Portrayal of Religion in S-F, Horror and Fantasy, Critiquing for Others, Revising Your Work, Plot Development, and Collaborations.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Nearing the 100 mark

I notice that "Tell Gilgamesh I'm Sorry" is the 92nd story I've written in eight and a half years. I've had 50 published, so I'm still batting .500.

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...