Tag Archives: elsewhere in the middle of eternity

Getting Back on Track

So I recently finished a short story about a young man who buys a haunted Camaro—and inadvertently destroys the life of a paroled car thief. The story is now in the hands of critique partners and happens to be the only writing project that I actually finished this year. If you followed any of my previous updates, you’ll know that 2017 has kicked the shit out of me and in doing so, caused my writing output to plummet. 
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Going into 2017, I promised myself not to write any more short stories this year so I could focus on the first draft of the SF novel I started writing last year. Four chapters into the first draft by April 2016 and the novel ended up on the back burner for a home renovation, a Kickstarter to fund a new anthology, the release of said anthology, and writing six new short stories for contests and anthologies.
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As productive as that was and as proud as I am of those stories, the SF novel languished. Then came 2017 and I set my sights on finishing the first draft by December. Four more chapters were written between January and May… and the novel was again sidelined while I edited submissions to a new anthology, finished a month-long home renovation, then watched my summer collapse along with the roof at my workplace as a result of a severe storm. I want my summer back, damn it!
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So, to get my writing chops back in shape, I cranked out the aforementioned short story about the haunted car—just so I could feel good about finishing something this year.  I thought I would then return to the SF novel…
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Instead, I’ve spent the past week crafting the plot synopsis for my next full-length Miranda Lorensen novel. Almost there. I spent more time working on it in my sunroom this evening—and peeking up every so often to watch a tiny bunny roam around my neighbor’s shed. Who can resist bunnies?
If all goes as planned, this novel will tie directly to the novella that my publisher accepted back in June. The novella, Like Mother, Like Daughters, addresses some aspects of Miranda’s life mentioned in my novels Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side
 
I jotted down a quick jacket blurb for the novella recently. It needs work, but…
 
Psychic-medium Miranda Lorensen and her daughter Andrea set out for a “girls night of ghost hunting” at the home of Andrea’s closest friend, Wendy. When Andrea Lorensen stumbles over Wendy’s dead body in the woods, the shock triggers Andrea’s own latent abilities as a medium. Against her mother’s wishes, Andrea decides to ensnare Wendy’s killer with help from the other side.
Meanwhile, Miranda travels to Salem, Massachusetts to speak at a paranormal investigators conference. When she is invited to participate in a local ghost hunt, Miranda encounters a spirit that leads her to the truth about her past life.
Like Mother Like Daughters title
Now, hopefully, the novella will be released next year with the novel to follow a year or so later. My concern is that as of 2018, it will have been FIVE years since my last novel. Yikes!  
 
During that time, I’ve been focused on short stories and editing anthologies, which has proved fruitful. My publisher and I have released two volumes of the Middle of Eternity speculative fiction series, my work has placed high in a few local contests, and I’ve been published in a handful of other wonderful collections such as the ReDeus mythology series and Beach Nights. I firmly believe that short stories and novellas are nutritious parts of a well-balanced writing career. 
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As much fun as those projects have been, a few solo publications are definitely needed within the next year. While Miranda has earned a modest fan following–and several readers have contacted me to ask when to expect her next adventure–people have short memories these days so I hope all of this works out as planned! 

Of Home Renovations, Work Disasters, and Book Signings…

In a previous post, I discussed the recent home renovation project that consumed most of June for me. I painted a large portion of my second floor through the middle of the month and the renovation was completed as of June 29 with the installation of new carpet! Now, approximately 80% of our second floor has new carpeting.

Since then, I have been busy reassembling our dining room and library with little or no time at all for writing. In fact—and to my chagrin—my SF novel-in-progress took a back seat for the entire month, but that wasn’t entirely unexpected to be honest.

New Carpet-Library

New Carpet-Hallway  New Carpet-Stairs

Empty Bookcases

Bookcases Filling Up

To make matters worse, a severe storm struck my area on July 1, causing a partial roof collapse at my workplace, accompanied by flooding and a natural gas line rupture to the generator that provides power to a portion of our IT equipment in the event of a main power failure—which also occurred.

As a member of our IT Infrastructure team, I was called in to assist with disaster recovery implementation, an activity that required participation not only from my own immediate team, but various members of our corporate parent’s IT group as well as vendors of the two or three of the major hardware and software platforms we rely on.

After a continuous 50-hour conference call, during which I slept no more than 4-6 hours, our systems were restored and business was able to resume. Unfortunately, the disaster occurred on my birthday, forcing me to cancel all plans with my wife and family. A final critical issue remained outstanding into Monday that I was not able to resolve until July 4…so that holiday was also lost.

It has been a brutal four weeks, friends. I am exhausted to the point of burn out and as of this writing, we are still working through new and unexpected problems, while I’m still working to put my house back in order.

On a high note, the Bethlehem Writers Group announced the winners of their 2017 short story contest and I am proud to have taken an Honorable Mention (as I mentioned before!) with my story “So Hungry…,” which will be published in the fall edition of the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable online magazine.

Also, I look forward to my book signing at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, DE on Thursday, July 13 from 11AM to 1PM. The titles available for purchase at the signing include my paranormal mystery novels, Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side as well as the speculative fiction anthologies Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity and Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity, and of course, Beach Nights!

Lastly, I will be meeting with Firebringer Press publisher Steven H. Wilson next week to discuss the release of my paranormal mystery novella, Like Mother, Like Daughters later this year.

Once the mayhem subsides, I hope to return to work on my SF novel in progress and resume some semblance of a normal routine.

Enjoy your summer!

 

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.

 

OK, Now What Am I Working On?

Amidst all of the turmoil, chaos, and uncertainty that continues to be 2016, I must admit that it was not a bad year for me as a writer. I always wish I’d done more, of course, but I’m grateful to have four stories and an essay published across three anthologies, one of which was a second place contest entry that earned me $250. Click on each cover below for more information about the books.
Write Here Write Now Cover Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity Beach Nights
 
Last month, I had a short vignette accepted for the 2017 anthology of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group. That book will be titled the Write Connections and is slated for a March release.
 
I also finished my first of what I hope will be three stories for Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity, the third volume in the Middle of Eternity speculative fiction series (no release date yet) and I’m working through a gods and monsters tale that is due in six weeks. YIKES!
 
Most importantly, I wrote the first four chapters of an SF novel that has been in development since 2012. It’s one of those projects that, at first, I simply tinkered with between other stories, but I finished the outline in 2015 and wrote four chapters over winter before being pulled away onto other projects. I intend to switch my focus back to this novel and complete the first draft in 2017, even if that means postponing or turning away some other projects. Only so many hours in the day and while I love writing short stories and editing anthologies, it’s been over three years since my last novel was published, so I’m overdue! 
Shout out if you’re working on any cool projects!