Thursday, April 30, 2015

Promotional idea

Insofar as "On A Spiritual Plain" started life as a typewritten story, I have this idea: As the voting for the Hugo awards is going on, I do a random drawing and give away each week a page of the original typewritten manuscript. It might be fun and a helpful promotion.

That assumes that I can find and dig out the original manuscript, but I think it's in a pile somewhere in the house.

The final story was completed with Microsoft Word, but as I recall the first 12 to 13 pages were typed at the GalaxyFest convention in Colorado Springs in February 2013.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Hugo packet

I've been contacted by the administrators of the Hugo awards about contributing material for the voter packet. Jason Rennie, publisher of Sci-Phi Journal, is getting them "On a Spiritual Plain" in a few different formats.

John Teehan, publisher of The Merry Blacksmith Press, has graciously prepared a Hugo Preview of "Letters from Gardner" for the packet. The PDF file is 40 percent of the total book.

To all Hugo eligible voters out there: Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Post Ravencon

Drove to Richmond from Washington D.C. to attend RavenCon on Friday. The traffic on I-95 was the worst thing I ever saw in my life. At one point I went ten miles in an hour. I could have walked faster. I left four hours early for what should have been a two-hour drive and only got to my first event with 15 minutes to spare.

This was my first time at this convention,and I have to say I was impressed. None of the panels I had had less than two dozen people, even one that started at 10 p.m., except the very last one at 2 p.m. Sunday, and that still had a dozen people. People were friendly and relaxed. There was no fallout from the ongoing Hugo controversy, which was great. I know one writer who told me his wife would have attended but didn't want to get caught in the crossfire and stayed home.

My reading Friday at 6 p.m. went well, then I attended the opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. My first panel, on "The How and Why of the Short Story", was at 10 p.m. but still had two dozen people. Bud Sparhawk was the moderator, and I was joined by Warren Lapine and Kristin Mehigan. The panel went very well.

My first panel Saturday was at 10 a.m. on "Writing Dialogue".  Karen McCullough was the moderator, and the other panelists were Kate Paulk, Noah McBrayer Jones and Lawrence Schoen.

That was followed by "Tips for Aspiring Writers" at 11 a.m. with C.A. Adams, Ellie Collins, and Paula Jordan (moderator). My signing was at 1 p.m. at a table in the dealers' room. As I have seen to be the case when there's a signing in the dealers' room at any convention, it was a waste of time. People will not go back into the dealers' room for a signing.

My last panel Saturday was on Plotting and Pacing a Story. I was joined by Warren Lapine and Kristin Mehigan. Although I was not designated the moderator for any panel, both moderators for this and my next panel were no shows at the convention and I was drafted for the honor.

Here's a joke I told at the alternate history panel Sunday: I'm doing an alternate history about a German immigrant who comes to America after World War I. He flopped as a painter in Germany, and he has no luck here, also. One day, after taking a job flipping burgers in desperation, he finds he enjoys the business, and over time works his up to become the greatest hamburger mogul in the country.

Know what it's called?

The Man in the White Castle

My fellow panelists were Chris Nuttal and Steve White.

It was nice to see Bud Webster again, and I've was finally able to meet Ian Randal Strock and Warren Lapine of Fantastic Books. I met some people I've only known in myth and legend, such as Bud Sparhawk, Allen Steele, Kate Paulk, Gray Rhinehart, Jim Minz, John C. and L. Jagi Lamplighter Wright, among a few (and serve on panels with some of them). I did my bit as a Fantastic Books author and helped Ian Randal Strock at his table in the dealers' room when he needed to take a break.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

In old Virginny

I am in Virginia getting ready to head to the Ravencon convention in Richmond. The convention had floated the idea a short while ago about throwing together a panel on the subject of the current Hugo nominations.

They've decided not to go ahead. Here's the official statement:

After careful deliberation, the staff of RavenCon have decided to not host this panel due to the late nature of its proposal and the volatile nature of the subject matter. RavenCon is not the appropriate platform for this subject matter, and we do not wish to provide a platform to any side in this controversy. If, however, panelists feel the need to discuss this matter in further detail, the bar is always open.

Love the last line...

Monday, April 20, 2015

So nice chatting with you

In Texas we call this a "hateful redneck".
This is what happens when you try to defend yourself. This is from the blog run by Deidre Saoirse Moen, who advocates No Award for the Hugos this year.
---
Lou Antonelli says
April 19, 2015 at 3:45 pm
I accepted Sad Puppies support, I admit, but I had nothing to do with Rabid Puppies. How can you tell people not to read my works without knowing me or my writing?
Strikes me as unfair. I nominated my own entries, and I’ll vote fairly and not boycott anyone sight unseen.

Deirdre says
April 19, 2015 at 4:22 pm
Where did I say no one should read your work? Nowhere. I have said that I intend to at least try to read slate works—but only after voting closes.
If you accepted being a part of a slate, you are part of the problem. (And are on permanent comment moderation here.)

Lou Antonelli says
April 19, 2015 at 5:41 pm
Well, I of course, disagree. But your mind is made up. No use to talk about it, I guess.

Deirdre says
April 19, 2015 at 5:52 pm
I’ve been active in fandom, helping run conventions, since 1977. I’ve been involved in Worldcon fandom since 1984, though there were quite a few years between then and 1999 when I wasn’t attending.
You seem to think the sad puppy slate is acceptable behavior.
I feel sad for you that you believe that is ethical, moral, desirable, or that it will win you any meaningful favors. Had you been in the room (as I was) at Eastercon when the names were announced, you’d have heard the reaction. Felt the anger.
Because, you know what? You and your best buds don’t get to buy your way into Worldcon fandom and tell people they have to read your books.
You may be able to buy a Hugo Award this year. Doubtful, but possible.
You can’t buy our respect, though, and respect is what made the Hugos meaningful.
With that, I’m kicking you off my blog. You can come back when you’re ready to join polite society.
---
Apparently "Deidre Saoirse Moen" is Gaelic for "Not all the Nazis are in Germany".

Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Would Olympus Fall"

Got a look today courtesy of editor Eric T Reynolds of the beautiful cover by Heather McDougal for the Ruins anthology being published by Hadley Rille Books later this year.

This book will be the fourth in the series of Ruins anthologies. The last one was published in 2008. These are anthologies of Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Historical, and Mainstream stories with an Archaeology theme. This particular volume being called "Ruins Excavation", and my story is called "Would Olympus Fall".

Other authors who will be in this volume include Sarah Frost, Vanessa McClelland, Jamie Lackey, Tammy A. Branom, Micah Hyatt, M.C. Chambers, Kaolin Fire, Memory Scarlett, Rob Darnell, Jamie Lackey, Amy Herring, Ransom Noble, Micah Hyatt, Gerri Leen, Neil O’Donnell, Rebecca L. Brown, Jennifer Crow, Rob Darnell, M. C. Chambers, and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Missed one!

One of the drawbacks of being prolific, I guess, is possibly losing track of your own publications. I just realized, in looking over my bibliography in my Wikipedia entry, that I forgot "Ladybug, Ladybug", which was published in the GalaxyFest 2013 Yearbook. That was the convention in Colorado Springs where I typed up "On a Spiritual Plain". I corrected the entry, which also means I've had 93 short stories published.

I'm bit chagrined because "Ladybug, Ladybug" was included in "The Clock Struck None"

Friday, April 17, 2015

An orphan of the storm

As a result of the decision of two people to have their works removed from the Hugo ballot, the Hugo committee moved two other works up in the ranks and then closed the ballot yesterday

I think closing the ballot at this time was a smart idea; it's obvious that the SF establishment was "leaning on" — as they say in the Mafia — people to drop off the ballot. The longer this campaign of blackmail and threats continued, the more likely the ballot was to be unsettled.

One tidbit of information which caught some eagle eyed observers by surprise came from the updating of the nominating ballot range released by the Hugo committee. Although the actual number of nominations for each work is not released until after the awards are presented, upon the presentation of the ballot the range of the number of ballots for successfully nominated works is released.

For example, the range of nominations as released yesterday for the short story finalists was 132-226, which means whatever story got the most nominations had 226 and whoever finished fifth had 132. As a result of the update, you would expect the lower range to drop because whatever story originally finished sixth was moved up. However in the case of the short story category, the higher number also dropped, from 230.

I'm not a statistician, but I'm also not the only person who saw that and realizes it may mean that “Goodnight Stars” by Annie Bellet, which she withdrew, may have had the most nominations overall.

Having the most nominations is not a guarantee of finally winning the award, but honestly I thought I did well to make the ballot in light of competition and her story had a very good shot if not the best shot at actually winning the award. The fact that she may have lost this opportunity to win a Hugo because the smear campaign conducted by the SF establishment is reprehensible.

I've had more than one person urged me not to withdraw from the ballot. I'm a stubborn old cuss and I never seriously considered it. But I feel very sorry that Annie felt so buffeted by the storm. I did not know who she was or about her story before the nomination, so the nomination had some benefit for me. I hope she heals from this experience.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Two more scalps

Even before the nomination closed for the Hugo awards, there were a number of people who didn't want their names on the Sad Puppies recommendation list and asked that they be removed. Quite frankly, since the Sad Puppy list was only a list of recommendations, Brad Torgerson shouldn't have needed people's permission to put the name on the list. But the fact is the threats of retaliation against anyone associated with Sad Puppies is so severe that some people feared even having their names linked with it.

Yesterday two people who previously didn't mind having their names on the list and who are Hugo nominated decided withdraw the names. They are both young and probably afraid theircareers will be hurt. Quite frankly, I think it's a futile gesture. Their flirtation with deviancy will never be forgiven by the SF establishment.

I've had people urge me stay the course and not withdraw from the ballot; people who know I'm not terribly close to Brad Torgerson or Larry Correia. One advantage of being a part-time writer as that the threats the revenge and retaliation really don't bother me; I got a real job.

In light of the rule or ruin policy of the SF establishment, I don't know if the Hugo awards will be held this year, or if they will be held in the future. I'm proud of my works that are nominated, and I think they are worthy of recognition. No amount of backstabbing, backbiting, slander and character assassination can change that.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sad Puppies, pay your traffic tickets!

The news recently about the disqualification of two works from the preliminary Hugo ballot reminds me of something that happened to me in a real world political context.

I’ve been involved in politics — real politics — many times. I’ve been elected to office in high school, college, and public life. There are more similarities to what has transpired in the Hugo nominations then you might suppose. These disqualifications are a good example.

One thing I’ve seen that remains constant over time and circumstances is how in any system there is always an “establishment” — a group of people who benefit from the established order and are resistant to reform and change. It’s human nature to want things to stay the way they are when it’s good for you.

Many years ago I worked in a small town and ran a weekly newspaper. A competitor was in tight with the crowd that controlled city government and had the contract to print the legal notices. When I asked for the opportunity to bid on that contract, I was told the Council wasn’t interested and wouldn’t even bring up the subject. I realized if I was to have a fair chance at the business there would have to be change in the city Council, and so I organized and fielded my own slate of candidates.

As the dust cleared from the election and people were stunned to learn how effectively the proverbial applecart had been overturned, the vows of revenge and retaliation started immediately.

Two days after the election I received a phone call from a sympathizer who worked in the constables’ office.

“Lou, you have an outstanding traffic ticket here,” he said.

“I know, I need to come by and pay the fine.”

“You need to come by and pay the fine like now,” he said. “They put the ticket on the JP’s desk and she’s going to write a warrant for your arrest. “

I thanked my friend for his tip and rushed over to the JP’s office to pay the ticket immediately.

My point is, once you piss off the establishment, they’ll come after you. In the news from the Hugo administrator, not only did he mention the checking of the story by John C. Wright and the qualifications of John Eno, but the fact he was also asked to check the eligibility of other works by Wright and Tom Kratman. It was determined that the first two examples were ineligible to be on the ballot, but after due consideration, the second two were.

I also saw on his Facebook feed that Jason Cordova, who’s a Campbell finalist, was also getting grilled on his eligibility.

Just like what happened to me when I pissed off the small-town political establishment and they started to pick at and retaliate against me, the establishment in literary science-fiction is obviously working behind the scenes to attack the credentials of the finalists— while publicly they are viciously attacking the credibility of those same people.

So many of these establishment types like to self-justify their behavior with noble sounding rhetoric, but the fact is they are just pursuing crass self-interest, whether they gain financially, socially, or with their vanity.

Oh, by the way, a few months later I did get contract to publish those legal notices.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hugo challenges

From Mike Glyer at File 770:

Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon, has made changes to the final Hugo ballot to reflect  eligibility rulings by Hugo administrator John Lorentz.

“Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” by John C. Wright was previously published on a web site in 2013 prior to its inclusion in The Book of Feasts & Seasons in 2014, so it is not eligible for the 2015 Novelette Hugo. Replacing Wright’s novelette on the ballot is “The Day The World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014).

Jon Eno did not publish any qualifying artwork in 2014, so he is not eligible for the 2015 Professional Artist Hugo Kirk DouPonce has been elevated to take Eno’s place in the Best Professional Artist category.

Lorentz also reviewed the eligibility of two other works and allowed them to stand: Both Big Boys Don’t Cry (Kratman) and One Bright Star to Guide Them (Wright) were previously published in much shorter versions, and were significantly expanded to novella-length in their 2014 publication. Following previous precedents, for the purposes of the 2015 Hugos they are designated as new works.

---

Please note the disqualified John C. Wright story was not a Sad Puppy recommendation, but was part of the copycat Rabid Puppies slate.

It's good to see the Hugo admin exercising due diligence with the ballot before it goes out to voters.

This is the third Hugo nomination in a row for Heuvelt , 32, who was a finalist in the same category in 2013 and a finalist in the Short Story category last year. John C. Wright, who had a whopping six nominations this year, drops down to five.




Sunday, April 12, 2015

Next convention

Looking forward to my first Ravencon in Richmond, Virginia, in two weeks, April 24-26. Here is my schedule:

Friday:

6 pm (Reading) Boardroom

7 pm (Opening Ceremony) Rooms E & F

10 pm (Panel) How and Why of Short Stories / Bon Air
The How and Why of Short Stories
Our panelists discuss why they write short stories, how they develop ideas and characters, tips on writing short stories, potential problems to avoid and what markets to target.
Warren Lapine
Lou Antonelli
Bud Sparhawk
Kristin Mehigan

Saturday:

10 am (Panel) Writing Dialogue / Anna
Panelists discuss writing convincing, interesting dialogue. What about accents, physical quirks, and differing vocabulary from character to character? How can you use physical beats and dialog tags to pace a conversation?
Lou Antonelli
Lawrence M. Schoen
Noah McBrayer Jones
Kate Paulk
Karen McCullough (M)

11 am (Panel) Tips for Aspiring Writers / Room F
If you’re a new writer or someone who’s thinking about taking the plunge into the world of fiction, getting started can be a bit intimidating. Now’s your chance to learn some tricks of the trade from our panel of published authors. They’ll share tips and answer your questions about getting your writing career off the ground.
Ellie Collins
Lou Antonelli
Paula S. Jordan (M)
CM Adams

1 pm (Signing) Dealer’s Room

9 pm (Panel) Plotting and Pacing a Short Story / Anna
Tony Ruggiero
Lou Antonelli
Kristin Mehigan

Sunday:

2 pm (Panel) Alternate History in Science Fiction & Fantasy / Room E
What if the South won the Civil War? What if the Chinese discovered the New World? Alternative History has become a sub-genre of its own. But how does an author keep it plausible?
Steve White
Lou Antonelli
Christopher Nuttall
Danielle Ackley-McPhail


Thursday, April 09, 2015

Big increase

Now I see why some people are so unhappy at the turnover in the Hugo nominations as a result of the Sad Puppy effort. Look what happened to the sales of "Letters from Gardner" on April 4, the day they were announced.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The peasants are revolting!

The vast majority of science fiction fans, writers and editors are decent people, but there’s cadre of snobs and elitists that has coalesced in the past 20 years and they have meticulously, one by one, insulted, mistreated and disrespected thousands of other writers and fans.

One thing the elites in literary science fiction should learn from the Sad Puppies effort to democratize the Hugo nominations is that “Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.”

I’m a first generation American; both my parents fled the ruins of the Second World War in Europe to start new lives in the U.S. I was the first member of my family to speak English, complete my education, and attend college. There were times when I was growing up when there was no food on the table. My parents were mocked for their foreign ways and their accents.

I’ve become accustomed over the years to being treated like crap by snobs and the children of privilege. I attended an Ivy League university; I know the type. Privilege can come from money, birth, and – in a development that has embittered so many Americans – government preferences.

It’s hard for people outside the U.S. to understand how badly our cultural elites were intentionally subverted during the Cold War by the Soviet Union. Most Americans are Christian, patriotic, and believe in a European-derived civilization.

The children of the elites are not, and do not believe in these values. They think Christians are either bigots or stupid or both, America is evil, and European-based civilization is all that’s wrong with the world.

It’s their cultural heritage, the product of social inbreeding, intolerance, and ignorance. That ignorance has led them to ultimately treat anyone who does not fit into their tight little pigeonholes as second-class citizens.

If you spiritually impoverish a people, you increase the peasant class, and then run the risk that some day the peasants will revolt. That’s what the Sad Puppies effort is, a peasants’ revolt of science fiction fans, writers and readers.

The sneering clique of science fiction opinion leaders seem to be a clueless as the French aristocracy were before the guillotine blade dropped. They never knew what hit them.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Texas author finalist for literary award

Internationally-renowned science fiction and fantasy author Lou Antonelli of Mount Pleasant is a nominee for the 2015 Hugo Awards, the premier awards in the Science Fiction field, given annually for over 50 years in over a dozen categories, including best books, stories, dramatic works, professional and fan activities.

The Hugos are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year, organized and overseen by the World Science Fiction Society. The awards are given each year at the annual World Science Fiction Convention as the central focus of the event. The 2015 Hugo Awards will be presented at 73rd Worldcon, which is being held August 19-23, 2015 in Spokane, Washington, where the announcement originated via live streaming video at noon Pacific Daylight Time Saturday, April 4.

Antonelli is a double finalist for both the Best Short Story and Best Related Work, a non-fiction category. His short story, “On a Spiritual Plain”, was published by the Australian-based magazine Sci-Phi Journal. His non-fiction book, “Letters from Gardner”, was published by the Merry Blacksmith Press of Providence, Rhode Island, and features short stories plus correspondence from Gardner Dozois, long-time editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction. The book covers a year-and-a-half period when Antonelli was trying to break into the science fiction field.

In addition to being a rare double finalist, this marks only the fifth time in the award’s 60-year history where an author was nominated in both a fiction and non-fiction category in the same year; the most recent occasion was in 2008.

One of the most prestigious science fiction awards, the Hugos have been termed as "among the highest honors bestowed in science fiction and fantasy writing". The awards are named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled by the recognition from fellow authors and science fiction fans,” Antonelli said.

He is a journalist and the managing editor of The Clarksville Times in Red River County, Texas. He is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) as well as the Society for the Advancement of Speculative Storytelling (SASS).

Friday, April 03, 2015

"Author has book signing in Mount Pleasant"

Here is a copy of a news release I sent off to local news outlets about my book signing tomorrow:

--

Internationally-renowned science fiction and fantasy author Lou Antonelli will have a book signing at Hasting Entertainment in Mount Pleasant from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, April 4.

Published by The Merry Blacksmith Press of Providence, Rhode Island, “Letters from Gardner” features short stories plus correspondence from Gardner Dozois, long-time editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction. The book covers a year-and-a-half period when Antonelli was trying to break into the science fiction field. He submitted 16 stories to Dozois, who had been editor of Asimov’s since 1985, before making his first sale. Dozois retired after accepting “A Rocket for the Republic” in 2004. The book reproduces the correspondence between the editor and author.

“I was the last person who ever went through this process with Dozois at Asimov’s, which is why I thought it needed to be chronicled,” Antonelli said.

The book also covers how the stories were edited and revised after crossing Dozois’ desk as a result of his input, also making it a writer’s manual. All of the submitted stories except one were later published in other venues. Antonelli subsequently has had 92 short stories and three collections published across the globe.

At 2 p.m. Saturday Antonelli will watch a live streaming feed for the Hugo Awards, given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year, organized and overseen by the World Science Fiction Society. The awards are given each year at the annual World Science Fiction Convention as the central focus of the event. The 2015 Hugo Awards will be presented at 73rd Worldcon, which is being held August 19-23, 2015 in Spokane, Washington, where the announcement will be made. Antonelli will be available for interviews afterwards.

He is a journalist and the managing editor of The Clarksville Times in Red River County, Texas. He is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) as well as the Society for the Advancement of Speculative Storytelling (SASS).

"Letters from Gardner - A Writer's Odyssey" contains 16 stories and is 246 pages long. It is available through Amazon or directly from the publisher, Merry Blacksmith Press, at orders@merryblacksmith.com.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Latest signing

I will be at the Hastings Entertainment in Mount Pleasant from 1-3 p.m. this Saturday, April 4, signing "Letters from Gardner". I will be taking a laptop so I can live stream the announcement of the Hugo finalists, which will be at 2 p.m. local time.

The time I stepped on Brian Aldiss

Word has come that the great British science fiction author Brian Aldiss has passed away at the age of 92. After such a long and distingui...