Sunday, June 24, 2012

SoonerCon - Sunday

Sunday was really my day at the Con. It started with a koffeeklatsch in the Con Suite. I had a nice long chat with Eric Flint, who bought The Witch of Waxahachie at Baen's Universe. Eric recalled that we haven't actually met since the NASFIC in 2007. I was also introduced to Peter Beagle, whom I had never met before.

In the hall I met Allison Stein, who did the cover for Music for Four Hands, and David Carrico, who I've met at other cons on Oklahoma. David said he had bought a copy of Music for Four Hands but hand forgotten to bring it. I told him to mail it and I would sign it, and he later did.

My first panel was When Supernatural and History Collide at 11 a.m. I was the moderator and my fellow panelists were Lee Martinez, Deborah Chester,  Brad Sinor, Craig Wolf, and Jeff Provine. There was a good crowd and the panelists were very involved, so it went very well.

I had a panel right after, at noon, called Crypotozoology in Urban Myth - again I was moderator - and I was joined by James Burk, Mark Finn, Neal Hallford, and Kevin Hopkins. Again, very good audience, lots of people, and things went very well.

I had a break for an hour and then a signing at 2 p.m. I sat with Mark Finn. The signing table was at the head  off the hallway where the traffic passes on the way to the panel rooms, so traffic passed us by and really didn't stop. This didn't seem to be a good set-up and the results were accordingly disappointing. I sold maybe two books.

By the time I had my last panel, on Airships and Aether at 3 p.m., not only had con-goers begun to drift home, but also most of the panelists. Jeff Provine and I were the only panelists left; I know Ethan Nahte had already left, and Adrian Simmons apologized to me earlier in the day. I think we had an audience of five, so things definitely petered off.

After the closing ceremony, Bev and Mike and others, a total party of eight, went to an Indian restaurant. The restaurant put out some extra offerings for fathers' day. We were there two or three hours, and had a great old time. Peter Beagle was there and it was nice to visit for such a long time.

Bev and Mike put me up for another night, and then I left OKC at 6 a.m. Monday morning. I was back in Mount Pleasant by 11 a.m.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Looking back on SoonerCon _Saturday

I really enjoyed SoonerCon last weekend, and I hope no one thinks that because I haven't posted extensively about it. I didn't enjoy it. I've just been very busy this past week, and as I noted in a previous post, dragging a bit because of lingering allergies and congestion. My wife is also congested; the lack of a hard freeze this past winter here in East Texas, followed by a wet spring, has led to the worst possible conditions for the proliferation of pollen, mold and general schmutz. As I mentioned previously, I didn't get to the con until 4:30 p.m. I went straight to a nearby parking garage and then walked a couple of blocks to the Sheraton. The first person I saw when I walked into the dealers' room when I arrived Saturday was Rhonda Eudaly, which was a piece of luck. She is the Mistress of Pens, and at a previous con I had given her one of my black Bic orange fine points. Since then, I found another supplier, and also got some reds and blues. I took a pair for her, and as soon as I saw her, I gave them to her. She was much appreciative. I said now our goal is to find one of the green pens. I walked right by Mike Moe at his installation, I didn't recognize him at first with his outfit and hat. Bev had a panel, and other things to do, so I went up to the Green Room. I haven't been to a Con with a Green Room in a long while, and it was very nice, not as crowded as the Con Suite. They also had some pasta and hot dogs.
I spent a considerable time in the hotel lobby chatting with Brad and Sue Sinor, and Adrian Simmons, as well as Gary Babb. I also ran into James Burk and Mark Finn and had nice chats. Bev, Mike and I later visited some con suites. Since I had arrived in my own rental car, I drove myself to Bev and Mike's place. I had a GPS, and I need to get it updated, because it wanted me to get on a highway that's been closed down. I started to get worried, but I eventually moved on enough that it stopped trying to get me on the closed freeway, and I got to their home fine.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Health issues

Allergies have often caused bouts of congestion with me - in my case it is my ears that clog up - and apparently my right ear has plugged up permanently. The OTC medicine I am taking isn't working any more, so I am going to change meds. I don't seem to have an infection, but it is uncomfortable, and the strain of having a long-running low-grade earache seems to be running me down. I made some adjustments this week, and they seem to bring some relief, so I will keep trying.

Today was Take Your Dog to Work Day, and I brought my little Black Lab mix, Sugar, to the office. She was incredibly well-behaved, I am so proud of her.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Back from SoonerCon

Although I wasn't able to get to Oklahoma City until 4:30 p.m. Saturday, I very much enjoyed the half a convention I was able to attend. The programmers were very considerate in adjusting my schedule and I had  three panels and my signing on Sunday. The only thing left from my previous Saturday schedule was a reading at 4 p.m., which I missed - not a big deal.

Bev Hale and Mike Moe were nice enough to put me up for both Saturday and Sunday nights. I also enjoyed their kids, Callie and Zoey - like my own children, two pooches. They also hosted Ethan Nahte Friday and Saturday night.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Off to Soonercon

My work schedule results in my participating with an abbreviated schedule, but I'm still looking forward to driving to Oklahoma City and attending SoonerCon. I will work a half day Saturday and then off.

Monday, June 11, 2012

SoonerCon coming up

SoonerCon is being held this coming weekend in Oklahoma City. I haven't been to one since 2009, when I had the unpleasant experience of blowing my transmission on the Indian Nation Turnpike and having to spend Friday night in Henryetta. Michael Moe picked me up and brought me to to OKC the next day, so I essentially only was there for half the con.

The past two years I have attended ApolloCon in Houston instead, but this year - after many glowing recommendations - I decided to return to OKC. Ironically, I will still be there only for half the con; because of work commitments I can't leave until mid-day Saturday.

That being the case, the programming people for the con have given me a great schedule. My only event Saturday is a reading at 4 p.m. I have three panels on Sunday, the first at 11 a.m. entitled "When Supernatural and History Collide: Cowboys vs. Aliens, Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, etc."

At noon I will be moderating the panel on "Cryptozoology in Urban Myth: Hate to Say it, We Need Bigfoot.

My signing is at 2 p.m., and then I will be on the panel "Is it Aether: How Spaceships Fly in Steampunk" at 3 p.m.

Michael Moe and Bev Hale are being nice enough to put me up for the weekend, a big help since recent hospital visits have run up thousands in deductibles.

Looks like it will be fun weekend.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Double Exposure" published

My story "Double Exposure", which is the Daily Science Fiction story for Monday, June 11, has been published and is going out to their approximately 4,500 subscribers. If you subscribe to Daily S-F, I know you will enjoy the story. In a week, it will be available to the public on the web site.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Double Exposure

I finished my edits for the story "Double Exposure" which will be published by Daily S-F on Monday. This will be my second story with them, exactly a month after they published "Great White Ship" on May 11th. This story would be classified as a flash, it's under 1,000 words, about 995 if I remember correctly. I like this story very much. The story has an obvious MaGuffin. This photo shows one of them, in the present time and reality.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A fan letter to Ray

Over six years ago, when I was still pretty wet behind the ears in this speculative writing stuff, on a whim I dashed off a hand-written fan letter to Ray Bradbury. It was pretty goofy stuff, but he was kind enough to send me this nice letter back:

Here is the text:

April 20, 2006

10265 Cheviot Drive • Los Angeles, California 90064

Dear Lou Antonelli:

Thank you for your good letter and kind words. I wish I could respond in length, but as you might guess, I get one heck of a lot of letters every week.

The bottom line is that I deeply appreciate your affection and I wish you well with your own career over the months and years.

Good luck and best wishes,

(signed) Ray Bradbury


Good-bye, Ray. You were an inspiration, a role model, and a wonderful example to all writers

Monday, June 04, 2012

To say nothing of Connie Willis

I'm sorry that's there's been a full week between posts, but honestly, late May is such a busy time in my business, I haven't had a free moment. When you work at a community newspaper, everything comes to a head at the end of the school year. But the two local high schools held their graduations this past weekend, so I think the hustle and bustle is starting to die down.

If the Nebula Weekend was either the following weekend or this past weekend, I couldn't have attended. Back in 2004, I accepted an invite to be a panelist at Marcon in Columbus, Ohio. It was a great con, but it was on Memorial Day weekend. I had to cover the local high school graduation on Friday night and then I drove 14 hours to make my first panel. The only reason I was on time was because I picked up an hour heading into the Eastern Time Zone. I'll never do that again.

This will be my last post about the Nebula Weekend. When I last left off, I had left Jim Freund's radio workshop. I realized going into that evening it would be the last of it for me; when I realized my mother was not coming back to Texas with me, I decided to stay in Great Falls Sunday and spend more time with her.

Saturday afternoon I met and chatted with a few people I had never met in person before. The hotel lobby was a good meeting place. I was very happy to meet Andy Duncan and told him how his 2001 Asimov's story "Lincoln in Frogmore" was a big influence my my writing "A Rocket for the Republic" three years later.

I met Walter John Williams, who seemed to be more casually dressed than most, and was wandering around barefoot. I started a collection to pay him to MC the awards barefoot, and I pitched in a silver dollar. I won't tell you where I pitched it.

I caught Sheila Williams and Gardner Dozois together with their programs handicapping the nominees for the Nebulas. I walked up to them and exclaimed, "Are you guys making book on the Nebulas!?" They opined which stories would be favorites on the basis of the authors' popularity and which one would win on merit. Interestingly enough, after the dinner I realized the winners were the ones they said stood highest on merit. I also took the opportunity to have a few beers, but since I hardly ever drink, three beers and I was loaded. Since I don't have a high opinion of hotel food in general, I wanted to make sure I had a square meal before the dinner. I walked a couple of blocks from the hotel and chowed down at an Indian buffet. I wished I hadn't had those beers earlier, because the food was nice and spicy and I would have enjoyed the cold brews then. But I also knew if I drank more I probably would have fallen face down on the sidewalk.

The reception before the actual dinner involved a lot of people jammed elbow to elbow in the lobby. The only way to get deep in the scrum would be to actually talk to someone, and since I know so few people, I spent a lot of time on the fringes. I dashed through occasionally and took some snapshots.

During the dinner, I sat next to Rich White and nominee David Goldman and his wife. I don't recall the other people at the table. The toastmaster Walter Jon Williams admonished all the nominees to repeat the mantra "It is an honor just to be nominated" whenever he snapped his fingers twice.

The keynote speaker was astronaut Mike Fincke, who wowed the groundlings with photos he's taken at the space station and while rambling around space. Bud Webster gave a nice speech on receiving the Service to SFWA Award. He's a nice guy and it also came over during his acceptance speech. I missed the presentation of the Solstice Award, having to hit the men's room (welcome to diabetes) but got back in time for Grand Master Award.

There was a theme running throughout the weekend about Willis - as well it should - and I thought her speech hit a nice balance between humility and impressiveness. She certainly fits the bill as a Grandmaster. I'm still puzzled how such an obvious anglophile grew up in Colorado; I always assumed she was a native Brit. I guess it's one of those things you just learn about.

The Ray Bradbury Award went to the episode of Doctor Who, "The Doctor's Wife" and Neil Gaiman was there in person to accept. He not only gave a nice acceptance but it was fairly short.

Delia Sherman won the Andre Norton Award for "The Freedom Maze" and then the short story Nebula went to Ken Liu for "The Paper Menagerie". He wasn't there to accept. I recall Gardner had said he was impressed with the story when he was handicapping the nominees earlier in the day and he recalled it well.

Rachel Swirsky was the odds-on favorite to win the novelette on the basis of her personal popularity, but the winner instead was Geoff Ryman for "What We Found." Ryman - a Brit - apparently deferred to American-style PC and invited Swirsky to the podium to tell him what to say, which resulted in the bizarre spectacle of the pair reciting some hackneyed "cute" standard thank you speech in tandem. It was bizarre, and real indication of how socially inbred the s-f community has become, at least the members in SFWA. I know a lot of people who watched it on a web feed and went "WTF?"

The novella went to Kij Johnson for "The Man Who Bridged the Mist". She was a no show and John Kessell accepted for her.

I had to leave at 10 p.m. as my ride arrived, but the evening was just about done. As I said, I spent Sunday and Monday with my family in Northern Virginia, and then flew back to Dallas Monday.

It was an interesting experience, but I'm sure glad the Society for the Advancement for Speculative Storytelling (SASS) is on the upswing, it's nice to have a place where I can feel at home and not have to walk on eggshells because of PC, or get snubbed because I'm a straight white Christian male. I doubt I'll have much - if anything - to do with SFWA in the future.

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...