Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm honored to accept an invite to be a guest speaker at the DFW Writers Conference to be held May 4-5 at the Hurst Conference Center. The invite said they are eager to showcase Texas writers, and would really like to feature a short-fiction specialist this year, as well as someone who could speak with authority on science fiction. See you there!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Update on "Raygun Chronicles"

Well, after one week the Raygun Chronicles kickstarter campaign is 15 percent of the way towards its goal of $8,000. It's averaged $200 a day - not shabby.

I didn't have time to post anything last week because of the crush of a deadline at the newspaper of an annual special section. It was an extra 24 tabloid pages published in the weekend paper. Glad that is out of the way. Like everyone else, some times are busier on the job than others.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Raygun Chronicles

The kickstarter campaign is off and running for the anthology "Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera for a New Age", edited by Bryan Thomas Schmidt and published by Every Day Publishing.

"Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age" combines the best stories from the six year run of Ray Gun Revival ezine with new stories from some of the top writers in science fiction today. 24 stories from writers including Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, A.C. Crispin, Mike Resnick, Seanan McGuire, Allen Steele, Brenda Cooper, Robin Wayne Bailey and Sarah A. Hoyt--all contemporary yet capturing the classic golden age feel of space opera in the past.

My story "The Silver Dollar Saucer", which was published in Ray Gun Revival in 2009, is being included.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Clock Struck None

My project for this weekend was compiling my next collection and sending it off to the publisher. "The Clock Struck None" is a collection of alternate history, secret history, and time travel stories. The proposed table of contents has 25 stories, and they come in at almost 83,000 words. All of them are previously published, and none of them have been reprinted. The lead story, "Great White Ship", was published by Daily Science Fiction and is on the Tangent on-line recommended reading list for 2012.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sein und Werden

Got word that the winter issue of the UK-based Sein und Werden is on the way. Editor Rachel Kendall said she has received it from guest editor Rhys Hughes. This will be both an ezine as well as a print magazine; apparently this will be the last print edition. Hughes said he delivered the magazine three weeks late. Kendall said it should be published by the end of February. Hughes bought my flash "Crab Apples" for this issue.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Plans for a new collection

Taking advantage of the fact I had 23 stories published in 2011 and 2012, I'm working on a TOC for another collection, a third in the series to follow "Fantastic Texas" and "Texas & Other Planets". In this case, I think I have enough material to use an alternate/secret history, time travel theme. Tentatively named "The Clock Struck None", I'm getting it together for a publisher I've pitched. I have assembled a preliminary list of 26 stories that have never been reprinted. The strongest may be the Daily S-F stories from last year, "Double Exposure and "The Great White Ship", but I also think "The Amerikaan Way" - originally published by Atomjack, and "Meet Me at the Grassy Knoll", published by 4 Star Stories, are strong entries.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Getting ready for GalaxyFest

Since I have committed to participate in GalaxyFest, and it's a relatively long trek to Colorado Springs, I feel I should make some hay from the excursion. A celebrity guest, Claudia Christian, is touting her book that was released last fall, "Hollywood Babylon", which details her battle with and recovery from alcoholism.

I'm going to double dip,as it were, and also get something useful for my newspaper. I contacted the publisher, Ben Bella Books in Dallas, and asked for a review copy and interview. I figure I can get a nice story for the Lifestyles section of a weekend paper to be published later in February.

They are sending a review copy, so I will have plenty of time to read it before the convention, and later in the month we will get back in touch - hopefully after I get my schedule of panels - and set up an interview time with Christian.

Also, like so many other conventions, GalaxyFest produces a souvenir book. In their case, proceed will help go to support the Colorado Literary Foundation. I emailed off a flash-length story over the weekend, "Ladybug, Ladybug", for inclusion.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A talent passes

Like a lot of speculative fiction readers and writers, I'm saddened by the death this past weekend of Steve Utley. He was diagnosed with fairly advanced cancer approximately a month ago, and then slipped into a coma late last week. I was checking my email and Facebook Sunday morning before going to church when Gardner Dozois posted that Steve has passed away the previous evening.

My first thought was to call and tell Howard Waldrop, since I knew he and Steve go back a very long ways, and if you know Howard, he doesn't do internet. He knew Steve had been in the coma, but as I suspected, my timing was such that I was the one to let him know Steve had passed on.

Howard said he knew Steve back when they both lived in Dallas, and Steve was at the last local science fiction club meeting he attended before he enlisted in the Army in 1970! Howard's first story acceptance happened while he was in the Army, so that goes back a long, long way.

Howard said that Steve had once been a heavy smoker, but had quit a long time ago; still, it couldn't have done much for his health in the long run. Utley was about 64, and had moved to Tennessee a number of years ago to be close to his elderly mother; as Howard noted, now his mother survives him, and since he had a sister die, his mother has survived both her children.

I met Steve a couple of times at past Armadilocons. We probably shared a panel or two, I really don't recall. He was friendly when we actually met face-to-face.

One nice thing about Steve was that he published with anyone, from Asimovs to Bewildering Stories. Back in 2007 I bought two reprints from him of stories that had originally been published in a small magazine called Sheol that he and Howard had written for in the 1970s. I used them in my short-lived ezine, Sentinel Science Fiction. Howard made the original suggestion that I ask about the stories, and he was right, they were good, and I was happy to give the some exposure again.

Utley was a very talented writer, and his passing is a milestone in the Baby Boom generation of s-f writers.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"There Was a Crooked Man"

One of my chores for this weekend was to finish reading the first installment of Ed Morris' "Crooked Man" series, which is slated to be published in a few months. I promised Ed I would do so, and write a blurb. I enjoyed it very much.

Here is a little background on this series, from the publisher Mercury Retrograde Press, which from what I can tell will be published in seven or eight books:

"On the American east coast four hundred years after a nuclear holocaust, Civilization has rebuilt from the ashes. The Imperial brain-trust of the great city of Shang 2 has invented a perpetual energy source, the Peacemaker. One disgraced soldier finds a way to harness that energy source toward godhood, and uses the Peacemaker to rip a hole in Spacetime to begin. He just never counted on getting caught..."

As I said, I enjoyed the first book, and here is the blurb I wrote:

"In this book, the first in the "Crooked Man" series, Ed Morris takes us on a far-ranging romp across quantum worlds to start us on a kaleidoscopic journey through time and space in pursuit of one of the most fully-fleshed out (pardon the grisly pun) villains in science fiction, fantasy and horror.*The Crooked Man, a supreme monster created through science run proverbially amok, will give you the cold creeps. In this start of the journey, we learn clues from the future on how this came to be, and start on a romp through Colonial-era Pennsylvania that reads like John Jakes gone to Hell on acid - a take on the era unique to Ed, and enormously entertaining.*Ed Morris has poured his heart and soul (I hope he gets it back!) into this tautly written science fiction horror thriller. The writing is tight, the pace like a rocket-sled, the imagery searing. You won't be able to put this story down until you've read it, and then you will be looking over your shoulder for...The Crooked Man."

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Never say never

Although I'm not seeking convention invites any more, on the other hand I'm not going to snub any con that is nice enough to ask me, and sure enough, I received an invite last week to attend GalaxyFest in Colorado Springs next month.

I considered attending GalaxyFest in 2012, but had to beg out because of health concerns. I already had my first bout with the flu the previous December and was badly run down as a result of that as well as working extra hours because staffing problems on the job. One thing I have learned is that, when you have working parents as employees, they often are out sick - not just when they are sick - but when their kids are sick.

The folks at GalaxyFest asked me to consider attending this year as an author, and I have decided to accept. The slate of guests looks pretty laid back, and I only have on other firm commitment this year, to ConDFW the following weekend (which being in Dallas and only two hours away is practically local). Since I'm not going to LoneStarCon in San Antonio and there really isn't an ArmadilloCon this year, I don't see a terrible demand on my time.

Strangely enough, my dislike for going to cons and getting snubbed by big shot pro authors peaked right at the time my schedule changed to where I could take a full weekend off. Since 2007 I have had a work schedule that required me to work Saturdays, which required me to often only attend cons starting Saturday night (such as I did at SoonerCon last year) or only on Sunday (which is what I did at FenCon in September), but my schedule changed as of Dec. 1st.

I have never attended a con in Colorado, so I am willing to give it a try. The guests authors at GalaxyFest seem among the nice guys, and the con got a great deal on the hotel rooms. Frontier Airways has frequent flights from Dallas to Colorado. So I am giving it a shot. I plan to take my manual typewriter and show young people how it was done at my author's table. I will be there Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 9 and 10.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

More Year in Review

Reviewing my records, I see I wrote ten stories this year, and published 12. Three stories were written and published in the same year - "Double Exposure" in Daily Science Fiction, "Barsoom Billy" in Science Fiction Trails' Martian Edition, and "The Relic" in Stupefying Stories.

2012 - The Year in Review

Well, in 2012 I had a dozen short stories published in venues big and small, ranging from professional level (Daily Science Fiction, Buzzy Mag) to non-paying. They were, in chronological order:

"The Centurion and the Rainman" - Buzzy Mag, March 2012
"Encounter in Camelot" - 4 Star Stories, Spring 2012
"Great White Ship" - Daily Science Fiction, May 11, 2012
"Accidental Witness" - Planetary Stories, Spring 2012
"Double Exposure" - Daily Science Fiction, June 11, 2012
"The Starship Theodora" - Nova Science Fiction, Summer 2012
"Pirates of the Ozarks" - Science Fiction Trails No. 8, Fall 2012
"Barsoom Billy" - Science Fiction Trails, No. 9 All Martian Spectacular Fall 2012
"Damascus Interrupted" - Phantasmagorium, Sept. 2012
"The Way of the Heretic" - 4 Star Stories, Fall 2012
"Snow Globe" - Bewildering Stories No. 500 Fall 2012
"The Relic" - Stupefying Stories Dec. 2012

The two stories in Daily Science Fiction, "Great White Ship" and "Double Exposure", were two of the best things I have written, and include some of the best snappiest prose I have ever come up with:

From "Great White Ship":

"You ever been to East Texas? You ever been in an East Texas thunderstorm?"

I shook my head.

"It's like God dumps a big tin bucket of water on top of your head, then drops the bucket over your head, and then he pounds on the bucket."

and also:

"I clicked on my radio. 'Something is just breaking through the clouds, hold on, Billy,' I said. Then I saw it. 'Oh, God!' was all I could mutter. It was like a giant ocean liner parting the clouds only 500 feet above the ground, and lumbering straight towards the main runway. A long, pale cylinder coming at us like the finger of God."

From "Double Exposure":

"Oh, my God!" he thought as he flipped through the photos. "This is the life I could have had!"

Through the photos--as happens with dying men--his life flashed before his eyes, but it was the life he should have had. The birth of their first son. Then their sweet baby girl. Their lovely house. Another son. Kids on bicycles. And on and on.

He began to cry.

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...