Monday, December 30, 2013

Just shamblin' along

Author Kevin J. Anderson recently used Facebook to solicit some suggestions for corny jokes to be used in his Dan Shamble Zombie P.I. series. He promised that if he picked your joke, he'd send a Dan Shamble book. He got a good response, and one of my jokes was a
keeper, so he's sending me a book. Thanks, Kevin.

On another front, review copies have begun going out for "The Clock Struck None". I see John DeNardo at SF Signal got his. I have already scheduled my first signing, on Jan. 25 here in Mount Pleasant.

On yet another front, the slate for the SASS board of directors has been completed. I am awaiting approval from the incoming president for the news release I will be sending out.

Over at the SFWA web site, I submitted myself as one of the featured authors, so I am in the front page rotation now. I have also submitted "The Clock Struck None" as a featured book, but they don't put books into the rotation until a month before the release date. The release date for "Clock" is Feb. 14.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Final version of "Letters from Gardner"

Me with Gardner and George R.R. Martin at the WorldCon in August.
With "The Clock Struck None" being released, I'm now just finishing the corrections to "Letters from Gardner", thanks to my friend and proofreader Gabe Smith.

It took all afternoon, and gave me a massive headache, but it's done and off to John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A good year for anthologies

Looking back at the year almost past, I realize it was a standout because I had four stories published or reprinted in three different anthologies.

"The Silver Dollar Saucer" was reprinted in "Raygun Chronicles", "Great White Ship" and "Double Exposure were reprinted in "Rocket Dragons Ignite: Daily Science Fiction Year 2" and "Hearts Made of Stone" was published in the original anthology "Song Stories"

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Start of a new tradition?


On Christmas Eve, I pulled out my 1926 Literary Digest edition of "The Complete Works of O. Henry" (all of 1,317 pages) and read "The Gift of the Magi" to my wife and mother-in-law.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review copies

Fantastic Books Publisher Ian Strock and I have discussed who is to get review copies of "The Clock Struck None". If anyone out there would like a review copy, please feel free to email me and we'll see what we can do.

I had to work Saturday covering the memorial service for Country Music Hall of Fame member Ray Price. They needed a short story for the Associated Press.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Available for pre-order

"The Clock Struck None" is now available for pre-order at Amazon, right here

Meanwhile, I expect to have the final edits done on "Letters from Gardner" this weekend.

On the short fiction front, after sending off "Three Twilight Zone Variations on a High School Reunion", I got a start on my next story, "Message Found on an End Roll of Newsprint", The story starts with a neologism that gets you right into the spirit of the story:

"Cannilbalerinas".

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Latest story completed

Finished "Three Twilight Zone Variations on a High School Reunion".  A tight 2,594 words.  And it's submitted. I now have ten stories in various slush piles.

"Three Variations" is the 110th story I've written in eleven years; I've had 81 published.

Latest on "Letters from Gardner"

John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press has looked over the revised manuscript of "Letter from Gardner" and approved the additions. He said after proofing is complete, we should be able to come up with an agreement after Christmas.

So it looks like both "Letters from Gardner" and "The Clock Struck None" will be published next year. 2014 is shaping up to be a good year for me.

Farewell, Rey

One bad thing about being a news editor is having to write about the death of someone you know. Yesterday night I had to write, for the second time in less than three years, about the death of a staff member, Our sports writer was found dead in his apartment. Adios, Rey Sifuentes, Jr., we all miss you at the Daily Tribune.

Monday, December 16, 2013

"Three Twilight Zone Variations on a High School Reunion"

Spent time Sunday starting my next short story, "Three Twilight Zone Variations on a High School Reunion".  I typed out nine pages of a first draft on my Smith Corona Classic 12 manual typewriter. Tonight I ran the pages through a scanner and then through OCR software to convert them into a text file, and then started editing and revising. Up to 2.145 words, this will be a tight story, my guess no longer than 2,500 words.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A letter to my high school German teacher

After renewing an acquaintance last week, I shot off a letter today to my old high school language teacher,who I saw back in June when I was inducted into the Academic Hall of Fame at my high school in Rockland, Massachusetts:

Here is a excerpt, with suitable editing to preserve privacy:

---

While at the high school, Mrs. (another former teacher) was exuberant over how nice it looked after the renovation. "Doesn't it look great?!" she exclaimed.

And I said - truthfully - "I haven't set foot in the school since probably 1976; I never saw it run down, or become run down. Actually, it looks the same as when I last saw it."

That gave her some pause for thought.

It's these little observations that I've collected over the years for my speculative fiction. For example, imagine this scenario: As I walk into the school, and I think to myself what I just said - "Sheesh, it looks exactly the same!" - I knock my head, and when I come to, I'm back in high school.

Maybe I'm back in 1975, and I look the same and everyone looks the same, but I still have all my memories from up to 2013.

Or I'm back in 1975 and everything is the same, but everyone shrinks in horror because I suddenly aged 38 years.

Or the school is exactly the same as in 1975 - including posters, bulletin boards and such - but there is no one there, at first; then classmates begin to appear, but they are the one who have already passed away, and I'm afraid I'm a ghost, too, and fearful of being fated to wander the halls forever.

That's a little insight on how the mind of a speculative fiction writer works. I was just as imaginative and creative when I really WAS in high school, but now I have the writing chops to put that into print, plus I have the hard-won wisdom to put life's experiences into perspective.

Skidding back down to Earth in a shower of sparks, I am so impressed you read and like "Texas & Other Planets"! My next collection will be coming out early next year; its lead-off story is the first story that I've ever had nominated for a literary award. I will get you a copy.

One final note, regarding visiting the school: When we went into the media lab, where I was interviewed by the school paper, I commented - along the lines of how much the school looked the same as I recalled - that it used to be the language lab, and also still looked the same.

The media lab guy said, "Hey, I think you're right! You have a good memory."

The only thing missing was you at the head table giving me the Texas skunk eye when you could see my mind was wandering. But now you can take satisfaction in knowing I was just laying the groundwork for a fiction writing career.

Stephen King has said he doesn't have to come up with plots for his horror stories, he just remembers his nightmares. I have a good enough memory to remember my daydreams.

And turn them into fantasy and science fiction.

Oder, wie man sagt auf Deutsch, fantasie und zukunftroman.

Hah, see I WAS paying attention, after all!

All the best,

Lou Antonelli

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Weekend Update

Taking time this weekend to catch up on submissions and maybe start a new short story. With the work I've been doing on "The Clock Struck None" as well as "Letters from Gardner", I haven't finished a new short story since April.

I currently have seven short stories in various slush piles.

Friday, December 13, 2013

"Kindermarchen"

It's nice to see Howard Waldrop's latest collection, "A Horse of a Different Color", getting great reviews. It was just released last month by Small Beer Press. One of the stories Howard included was "Kindermarchen", which I published in Sentinel Science Fiction - the website I ran in 2007. Howard made note of that in his afterword for the story:

"I wrote this the morning of Friday, July 15, 2005, at Conestoga, a late-lamented convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I read it on Sunday afternoon and revised it the next week.

"It was bounced a couple of places (Ellen Datlow; F&ST) before Lou Antonelli who'd always wanted to publish something of mine, bought it for his website and paid me $25.

"It was ignored by the rest of the whole world."

Well, maybe it won't be ignored so much any more. I always was impressed with it, and it's also been cited in the positive reviews the collection has received so far.

Paul DiFilippo, writing in Locus last month: "A fairy tale dark and poignant is the brief 'Kindermarchen'".

Howard also got a great review by Dana Jennings in the New York Times on Tuesday. Jennings commented

"'Kindermarchen' takes the tale of Hansel and Gretel and transforms it into a haunting fable of the Holocaust."

"Kindermarchen" is a relatively short story, only 1,600 words. When I published it, I ran a photocopy of Howard's typed manuscript through some OCR software to convert it to a text file before I cleaned it up. I'm glad I took the effort and helped the story get some attention.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Waiting for the release


While waiting for the completion of my next collection, "The Clock Struck None" from Fantastic Books, I thought I'd post this pic that shows my alarm clock in front of my two previous collections on my bookshelf.

This is the same alarm clock I hooked on a lanyard and wore around my neck in San Antonio during WorldCon. I didn't buy the clock as a gimmick for the con, I've had it in my personal home office for some time. I find the steady mechanical tick-tock soothing; I rewind it every morning and evening.

I didn't go out of my way to find the clock. I stumbled across it on a shelve at a local hardware store. Small towns in Texas often have a hardware store that stocks one of EVERYTHING.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

From an old teacher

Back in June, when I traveled to my hometown of Rockland, Massachusetts, to be inducted into the high school's Academic Hall of Fame, I saw some of my old teachers, including Ellen Donahue, who tried - somewhat futilely - teach me a foreign language (German).

With "The Clock Struck None" ready to be released in a little while, I was thinking of sending her a copy. I was able to get her email address from a teacher still at the school. I shot her an email this weekend.

Her reply was very nice:

"I was thrilled that you were inducted into the Academic Hall of Fame - well deserved, I think.

"I read Texas and Other Planets and was fascinated by how much history you incorporate in the stories (Yellow Rose of Texas, the San Patricio Brigade, etc.) - both history and science fiction are addictive, I find.
"When I finished the book, I donated it to the Rockland Public Library (via Mrs. Looney, who is a trustee), as they should have the works of "local boy made good"!

"Looking forward to reading more of your work."

I'm impressed she bought a copy of "Texas & Other Planets" on her own. Kathleen Looney was an English teacher at the time I was in the high school.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Last story of 2013, first story of 2014

Despite all the work I've been doing on my various books, I still have two unpublished stories out there, "Riders of the Red Shift" which Bruce Bethke promises to publish in a Stupefying Stories special "Weird, Wild West" issue, and "Bindlestiff's Daughter" which will be published in The Lorelei Signal.

The special issue of Stupefying Stories was originally planned for late summer, but got moved back as the real world intruded on Bruce's life. His mother went on hospice and the passed away. The latest word I have from Bruce is that the special edition will come out later this month.

Carol Hightshoe of the Lorelei Signal went through a period of unemployment. "Bindlestiff's Daughter" was originally to be published in October. The latest word is that it will be part of a special double issue next month.

I need to write a few more short stories, I haven't finished anything original since April. My supply is starting to dwindle

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Three books in various stages of development

Right now I have three different books in various stages of production and development at three small press publishers. Just Friday I saw the proposed cover for my next collection, "The Clock Struck None", which should be out soon from Ian Strock's Fantastic books. I made some suggested changes to the back cover blurb and caught a spelling blunder on the front.

"Letters from Gardner" has been revised and returned to John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press.

And a novelization of my 2008 short story "The Witch of Waxahachie" is at a third small press ready to be read.

I also have eight short stories in various magazine slush piles.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

It's book bomb time!

It's book bomb time for the brilliant new Space Opera anthology "Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age". It's release day was Tuesday, Dec. 3, so this is the first weekend you can log onto Amazon and buy your copy here:

If you haven't read about it already, here is the cover blurb:

"A school teacher who moonlights as an assassin, a corporate agent kidnapped and faced with a man she never wanted to see again, galactic knights and pilots defending the spaceways, a black bear who wants to be a priest, and a time traveler who discovers he was born a prince - these and more tales await you inside "Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age", a collection of new tales in the Golden Age style.

"With larger than life heroes, rayguns, space ships, robots, pirates, romance and more, here come 25 new tales of great fiction from top names like Seanan McGuire, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, A.C. Crispin, Allen M. Steele, Mike Resnick, David Farland and more. Strap in, set your weapons, and get ready for a fun ride!"

My contribution is a reprint of a story that was originally published in Raygun Revival in 2009. Writing on the Amazing Stories blog, reviewer Keith West said:

"Lou Antonelli is a northerner who lives in Texas these days and mines the history and folklore of his adopted state for his fiction, fiction that’s unique and unlike anything being written by anyone else. In “The Silver Dollar Saucer” he takes a couple of two bit desperadoes on a flying saucer ride."

Other reviewers report:

"RAYGUN CHRONICLES breathes supercharged life into the space opera genre with exciting and inventive new tales by a superb line-up of writers. This is why science fiction will live forever!"--Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of "Patient Zero".

"RAYGUN CHRONICLES is an impressive anthology with an impressive list of contributors, a real showcase of the color and scope of what science fiction can be."--Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of the "Saga of Seven Suns".

"Wonder, adventure, romance, humor-space opera delivers all of these, and this anthology brings together some of the finest talent in the business. Strange new worlds await. So lower your shields, engage your thrusters, and prepare to jump to warp speed!" -- Dave Wolverton, New York Times bestselling author of "Star Wars: The Courtship of Prince Leia".

"These stories bring the reader back to the days when we dreamt of blasters and flying cars. Golden age space opera fun with a strong Western feel." -- Alex Shvartsman, Editor "Unidentified Funny Objects".

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Progress

I've added about 1,400 words to "Letters from Gardner" tonight and last night. I'm adding some of the practical nuts and bolts of writing tips which John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press suggested people might interesting. As I went back over my manuscript, I noticed I didn't have a real lot of basic writing tips accompanying each story, but then I realized that's because I learned how to write as a journalist - not as an s-f and fantasy author - so I found a good place in the first chapter to segue into the basics of writing taking off from my career as a newspaperman. I think it works.

Monday, December 02, 2013

And it's back to Lou

John Teehan at Marry Blacksmith Press has gotten back to me on his first evaluation of "Letters from Gardner". He's very positive, but suggested I some make some additions on the craft of writing that aspiring authors would probably find interesting and helpful - getting more specific on how the critiques were used and the stories rewritten.

I started on that tonight and went back through the first four chapters.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

"Custodes"

In case you missed it, my alternate history story "Custodes" has been published in The Fifth Dimension. Their blurb for the issue states "The Fifth Dimension features some of the best science fiction and fantasy fiction and poetry. This issue features religious oppression, bizarre aliens, cocky captains, bizarre diplomacy and so much more."

In addition to myself, the issue features stories and poetry from Bruce Boston, Wayne Carey, C.J. Carter-Stephenson, Jeffery Scott Sims, Francis W. Alexander, Robert P. Hansen, Kurt MacPhearson, and David C. Kopaska-Merkel.

Here's how it begins:

--

Sergius rubbed his chin as he read the placard on the exterior of the Roma Locomotive Terminus. It was blatant but effective.

“Do You Have a Hot Tip?

“CHRIST-STOPPERS offers a reward for information leading to the arrest and execution of ANY CHRISTIAN

“30 pieces of silver!

“You will remain anonymous.

“Telephone today I-DCCC-DLV-MCCXII”

The businessman smiled. “Someone must have a sly sense of humor,” he thought, “using hot tip on a poster printed after the Great Fire.”

As he rubbed his chin, he realized he needed a shave. “Damn, it is a long train ride from Mediolanum,” he thought.

He snapped his fingers as he got into the taxi. “The Coliseum Plaza, and quickly.”

---

Here's a link where you can buy the issue on Smashwords.

Weeky Roundup

Last Saturday, as part of the Red River County Historical Society's annual Fall Bazaar, the Red River County Public Library hosted a h...