Tag Archives: beach nights

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. 

 

 

 

 

And the Awards for Beach Nights Just Keep Coming!

Just when I think the saga has reached its end… Many of you recall that last year, I took second place in the Rehoboth Beach, DE short story contest with my paranormal tale, “Tower Sixteen.” That story, plus 22 others, were published in the anthology, Beach Nights by Cat & Mouse Press in November 2016. 

Last month, the Delaware Press Association bestowed four awards on Beach Nights including best anthology, best edited collection, as well as two awards for individual stories. 

Well, yesterday I learned that Beach Nights and editor Nancy Day Sakaduski just won two awards from the National Federation of Press Women: First place for anthology and second place in the editing category! 

Here is a statement from the judges wherein, I am proud to say, my story “Tower Sixteen” is specifically called out along with “Flight of the Songbird”, which took first place in the initial Rehoboth Beach contest last year. 

What a fun and inviting collection! A wide range of stories nicely presented (including typography) and well edited. I realize judges chose the stories, but I can see your development and guidance as well. It seems while there is great variety, these are nicely edited and of high quality. These stories overall have excellent, memorable first lines – unlike collections where the reader feels the story could have started 2 pages in! Keep watching for that with your authors – that they show characters and actions, rather than describing them in exposition to set the scene. The very best of these do that. I was particularly taken with Flight of the Songbird and Tower 16, actually – I would agree with your judges on the strength of those stories. I also loved how you ordered the stories for flow, so the award winners are sprinkled throughout. Very interesting for the reader to discover those along the way. Nice work!”

 

 

Book Signing at the Beach!

Taking a few hours out of my summer vacation to sign books at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, DE on July 13 from 11AM to 1PM.

The titles I’ll have on hand include:

By Your Side by Phil Giunta Testing the Prisoner by Phil Giunta

Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity 

 

Browseabout Books is located just a block and a half up from the boardwalk at 133 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

What? No more cons for the rest of 2017?!

Sorry for the delay since my last post.  Once spring arrives, my workload around house and yard often becomes all-consuming. I was also a writer guest at the Great Philadelphia Comic Con for two days and had a great time with writer pals Bob Greenberger, Aaron Rosenberg, Peter David, Russ Colchamiro, and new friend, Heather Hutsell.

Phil's Table at Great Philly Comic Con

Crazy 8 Press at Great Philly Comic Con

It was great to see some excellent celebrity guests as well including Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5, TRON, and more) and Paul Freeman (Raiders of the Lost Ark, and more). There were many others, but those were the only two gents from whom I sought autographs. I had met Mr. Boxleitner about 15 years ago at Shore Leave where I had a Babylon 5 photo signed, but this time around, I wanted to get a few TRON items autographed.  As an Indiana Jones fan, it was fantastic to meet the gracious and genial Paul Freeman (Belloq).

Bruce Boxleitner (TRON, Babylon 5) Paul Freeman (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

One lesson I learned at this con is that I’ve reached a point where I’m starting to run out of room to display all of my books. I know, that’s a good problem for a writer to have!  So, the display is going vertical, ladies and gents. I ordered a six-shelf book rack, which just arrived today.

Book Rack

Although I’ll rearrange the books for better visibility. I was just toying with ideas when I set up the above picture.

Even though I’m not doing any more cons for the remainder of 2017, I do have three or four single-day library events and book fairs lined up where I can use this and of course, when I’m back on the con scene next year.

My reasons for taking a hiatus from the convention scene are many. First, I’m doing two fairly expensive home renovations this summer. Secondly, the sheer number and complexity of upcoming projects at my full-time job are daunting and will require some weekend and after-hours work. Thirdly, my writing time has been significantly drained by the editing work on the third volume in the Middle of Eternity series. Finally, I’m just burned out and I simply cannot do everything and be everywhere.

The first draft of my science fiction novel was supposed to be completed last year, but again, home projects and prepping the second anthology for publication consumed the first half of 2016. I managed to complete only the first four chapters in the novel. Disappointing.

Even after Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity was released in July 2016, I ended up spending a large portion of my writing time recording two of my three stories from that book on audio for podcast, which turned out to be an utter waste of about three weeks since a decision was made not to podcast anything unless ALL of the stories would be recorded. Well, most of the other writers either had no time, no interest, or no resources to record their stories. Thus, the podcast was cancelled.

I did manage to complete four short stories for various publications and contests between August and December. Then, as now, my novel saw only a modicum of progress, but two more chapters have since been finished. Still, the paltry progress is frustrating.

On the bright side, I shall be stepping down as editor of the Middle of Eternity series after book three is submitted to the publisher, which should permit me to fully focus on the SF novel.

What else have I been up to in my writing life? Well, one of those four short stories that I wrote in the latter half of 2016, “Once More, With Feeling,” was just published in a mixed genre anthology titled, The Write Connections, published by the Greater Lehigh Valley Publishing Group.

Two more of those stories have each been submitted to separate contests, the first (“So Hungry…”) to the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable paranormal fiction contest, and the second (“The Celestials”) to the annual Rehoboth Beach Reads short story contest sponsored by Delaware publisher, Cat & Mouse Press. I took second place in the 2016 Rehoboth contest and my story was published in the anthology, Beach Nights. Even if I don’t win one of the top three monetary awards this time around, I hope to at least see my story published in this year’s anthology, Beach Life.

The fourth story (“The Forest for the Trees”) will be included in the upcoming Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity, tentatively slated for release in July 2018. That tale is an 11,000-word fantasy piece set in late 17th century Finland. So much research was involved in the great famine of the time as well as Finnish mythology.

Speaking of Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity, I am off to edit a few more submissions this evening. The good news is that I have a three-day weekend ahead of me and maybe—just maybe—I can make some time to write…

Lastly, there is a good chance that my paranormal mystery novella, Like Mother, Like Daughters (written and submitted to the publisher in 2014), will finally be released in October as an ebook and audio book! Many of my readers have asked when the next story starring psychic-medium Miranda Lorensen will be released. Well, this is it, folks! It’s Miranda’s origin story and also involves her daughter, Andrea, who has a paranormal adventure of her own. Catch more of Miranda in my first two novels, Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side.

 

Beach Nights Takes Two Awards!

Many of you might recall that my short story, “Tower Sixteen,” won second place in the 2016 Rehoboth Beach Reads contest and was published in the anthology Beach Nights by Cat & Mouse Press in October.

I’ve just been informed by editor and publisher Nancy Sakaduski that Beach Nights has won two first-place awards in the 2017 Delaware Press Association Communications Contest: short story collection published by entrant (multiple authors) and book edited by entrant (Nancy Day Sakaduski).

Congratulations to all the Rehoboth Beach Reads authors! The book will now advance to the national National Federation of Press Women awards.

 

Reviewing Your Favorite Books, Even When You’re “Not Very Good At Writing”

While many of my readers take the time to leave reviews for my books, others often compliment me in person, via Facebook, or email, but when I ask these particular readers to leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon, they express reluctance, stating that they’re “not very good at writing” or they assure me that they will leave a review and never follow through. 
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Remember, you do not need to purchase a book from Amazon to leave a review for the book there.  Also, for those unfamiliar with Goodreads, it is a social media site for book lovers where you can rate and review books, create an online library of books you currently own and would like to read, and join groups of like-minded readers to discuss your favorite books. Best of all, it’s free to join!
 
The screen capture below shows two Amazon reviews for Beach Nights, a collection of short stories from Cat and Mouse Press that contains my paranormal tale, “Tower Sixteen”.  The book was published in October 2016. 
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Note the second review from Early LBI. It’s one brief sentence: “Great group of short stories.” Five words. That’s the perfect example of a brief review you can leave for any book that you enjoyed even if you’re “not very good at writing.”
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Ratings and reviews help authors immensely. As our volume of reviews and ratings increases, new promotional and writing opportunities open for us, new readers notice our work, and most importantly, reader feedback encourages writers by letting us know that our work is reaching and touching people. 
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