“So Hungry…” Gets Honorable Mention in BWG Contest

About a month ago, I mentioned that my paranormal short story, “So Hungry…” made it into the final round of judging in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable annual contest.

I was alerted today that my story won an Honorable Mention and will be published in the Fall edition of the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable online magazine. Not too shabby!

Since I am permitted to republish the story 90 days after it is released by BWR, expect to see the story in print and illustrated in the next volume of the Middle of Eternity series next year or so. Stay tuned for more info!

Now I wait until August to hear how well I fared in the Rehoboth Beach short story contest. Here’s hoping that, at the very least, my story makes it into the anthology. I took second place last year, but I don’t dare think lightning will strike twice.

BWG Contest Honorable Mention

Book Review: Harlan Ellison’s Memos from Purgatory

For ten weeks in 1954, then twenty-year-old writer Harlan Ellison adopted the alias of teenager Phil “Cheech” Beldone and joined a NYC street gang called the Barons all in the name of research—an endeavor that nearly cost Ellison his life on more than one occasion, from the gang initiation ritual to the final savage, bloody rumble against a rival gang in Prospect Park.

Fast-forward seven years to 1961 when Ellison attended a gathering in NYC and encountered an old “friend” named Ken Bales to whom Ellison had loaned a typewriter—which Bales promptly hocked. While at the party, Ellison took the opportunity to demand compensation from Bales. A few days later, two detectives arrived at Ellison’s apartment based on an anonymous report of drug parties and illegal weapons. Was Bales the caller? Ellison seemed to suspect as much.

Known for this vociferous anti-drug lifestyle, Ellison explained to the detectives that there were no illegal narcotics in his apartment and the weapons, taken from a street gang, were now used as part of his popular lectures on juvenile delinquency. After allowing the detectives to search his apartment, Ellison is relieved to learn that no charges will be filed for narcotics—but they will have to arrest him on possession of an unregistered firearm, as a .22 caliber pistol was among the gang weapons.

Memos from Purgatory by Harlan Ellison

Thus begins the second part of this memoir—Ellison’s vivid and dramatic description of his 24 hours in jail. Here is where the narrative runs longer than necessary and I can understand why many readers consider it whiny.

Memos from Purgatory is an unflinching, up-close-and-personal examination of street gangs and the callous NYC legal system of the times. It was one of Harlan Ellison’s bestselling books for nearly 25 years. While the material is obviously dated, the color of Ellison’s honest and raw narrative has not faded. I think the same can be said for most of his work.

Of course, what Harlan Ellison book would be complete with an expository introduction? In this case, my 1983 ACE paperback edition contains three intros, one written for this book and two from each previous printing. Ellison’s commentaries are nearly as enjoyable his stories!



Local Author Event at The Sands Outlet in PA on August 5!

Folks, if you are in the Lehigh Valley area, there will be 24 local authors, myself included, selling and signing copies of their books at The Sands Outlets in Bethlehem, PA on August 5. See details below.

If you decide to come out and support local authors, note that not all of us take credit cards yet. As soon as time permits, I might break down and get the Square because, as we all know, it’s hip to be square.

Come out to The Sands Outlets in August and see us! Much gratitude to Larry Deibert for organizing this marvelous event.

Sands Outlet Local Author Event

Of Home Renovations, Writing Contests, and Audio Books…

For me, this summer has begun with a challenging and exhausting home renovation. We’re repainting an area of the house that has not been touched in 14 years—specifically, our library.

With five packed bookcases, two recliners, two tables, and more “stuff”,  and the fact that the library shares ceiling space with the adjoining stairwell and hallway, it’s no wonder that we left it alone for as long as we did. However, the carpet is in dire need of replacement and I thought that since we’ll need to move furniture to make that happen, I might as well repaint these areas.


As of this writing, I have patched and sanded where needed, primed, and applied the first coat of paint. The second coat of paint will be applied tomorrow evening and then I can clean up. After that, it’s touching up the window trim and inside the hall closet. The carpet installer will be out next Monday to measure for the estimate and provide samples. It’s a family-owned business and we had them out last June to replace the carpet in our bedroom–which I also repainted a few days in advance. They did a fantastic job and as such, we called them first.

On top of this, two high-profile projects at my FT job are keeping me busy and will consume part of my upcoming weekend and well as my summer. As you might have guessed, I have not written at all this week and probably won’t next week either,  but over the past two to three months, I did manage to write three more chapters in the first draft of my SF novel-in-progress while also editing submissions for Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity, the third volume in our series of speculative fiction anthologies.

The first volume is called Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity (released in 2014), and the second, Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity, was released last August. Our third collection has a tentative release of summer 2018.

On the short story front, I have two submissions out into two separate contests. The first is the Rehoboth Beach Reads Short Story Contest in Delaware, sponsored by Cat & Mouse Press and Browseabout Books. I won second place last year and my story was published in the resulting anthology, Beach Nights.

I already had a new story ready to go by the end of 2016 for this year’s contest, which is themed Beach Life. Winners will be announced around August 7-8. Watch this space for updates!

The second story is a paranormal tale set in New Mexico and was submitted to the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable annual contest. I was informed last month that the story made into the final round of judging and is now in the hands of NYT bestseller Carrie Vaughn to select the top three winners. Winners will be announced by July 1, which would make a marvelous birthday present for me! Stay tuned.

Lastly, when Podiobooks merged with Scribl.com, I was disappointed to see that the reviews for my audio books did not migrate over… then I stumbled upon my audio books at LibriVox and not only do they have the older Podiobooks reviews, but new reviews that I had not seen before. My exciting discovery for the week!

Click here to listen to Testing the Prisoner. 

Click here to listen to By Your Side. 





Book Review: Galactic Creatures edited by Elektra Hammond

Galactic Creatures is a fun collection of eleven short stories with a common theme of spaceships or satellites constructed in the form of birds, dragons, fish, and other animals. My favorites included “Dragon Child” by Leona Wisoker, the late, great C.J. Henderson’s “Lawn Care,” and Patrick Thomas’s novella, “Crossing Roads,” which concludes the book.

There were only a few editing issues that caught my attention. On my copy of the trade paperback, both the title and the editor’s name are misspelled on the spine and “Lawn Care” is interrupted three pages before the end by a brief excerpt from what appears to be a story outline that is completely unrelated to the theme of this anthology. Beyond those minor glitches, this is a fine collection of light and quick SF/Fantasy tales.

Galactic Creatures cover


Local Authors Day at the Sands Outlets – Bethlehem, PA

Thanks to the efforts of Larry Deibert, I am pleased to announce Local Authors Book Signing at The Sands Outlets in Bethlehem, PA. Saturday, August 5th, 2017 from 10AM-4PM.

The purchase of a book from one of the authors listed below will include a coupon book for discounts at The Outlets Stores. Thank you for supporting local authors! More info to follow. Stay tuned!

Larry L. Deibert-Vampire, Paranormal, Time Travel, Fantasy-Christmas, Military Romance

Janet Stafford-historical Fiction (American Civil War era) & Contemporary Romance.

Phil Giunta-Speculative Fiction (science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy).

Christina Paul-historical and Contemporary Romance.

Barbara Wall Steingas-Self-Help, Inspirational & Children’s Books

Mary Ellen Springsteen-Young adult, Adult Suspense Mystery

Paige Dearth-Horror

Ellwyn Autumn-Children’s Fantasy and Picture Books

Jack Hillman-Young Adult

Barbara Morgan-Illustrated Children’s Books

Jocelyn Cordes (Plum McCauley)-Children and Fantasy

Sharon Villone Riccione-Adult Literary Fiction

Michael Pogach-Dystopias & Thrillers

James Hockenberry-Historical Thrillers

Fritz Sprandel-True Adventure

Mary Shafer-Historical, Weather and How-To Non-fiction

Othy Jones-Historical Fantasy Adventure

A.E. Decker-Young Adult Fantasy

Sally Paradysz-Memoir

Carol L. Wright-Bethlehem Writers Group Anthologies Mystery

Sonya Christman-Mystery Thriller

K. Edwin (Keith) Fritz-Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Psychological Thrillers

Brenda Havens-Children’s Picture Books

Kate A. Brandes-Women’s Fiction with an eco-bent.