Tag Archives: testing the prisoner

One. At. A. Time…

Wait… whatever happened to the first draft of that science fiction novel that was in progress between 2016 and 2017? Heh, well ya know…
 
Thinking back, when I wrote my first two novels between 2007 and 2013, those were the only writing projects I was focused on at the time. No short stories, no editing anthologies. Just the novels. Testing the Prisoner then By Your Side
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One. At. A. Time.
 
Among the excitement of having my new Miranda Lorensen novella accepted by my publisher back in June—and a finishing the outline to her next full length novel earlier today—I don’t want to lose sight of the science fiction novel that I outlined in 2015, started writing in 2016, lost traction after four chapters, picked up again at the beginning of 2017, then lost traction again after four more chapters. To say that was frustrating as HELL would be putting it mildly.
 
That has never happened to me before. I typically stay with a project until it’s finished. So what the frack happened?
Well, in 2012, I pitched an idea for a speculative fiction anthology to my publisher (Firebringer Press). I became the editor and project manager on the book, as well as a contributor, and Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity was released two years later. That led to last year’s Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity and now, Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity is in progress. 
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On top of that, I finished three home renovations over the past year and a half, a violent storm collapsed part of the roof at my workplace this past July which meant weeks of recovering our IT systems (working around the clock early on), and I completed several short stories for various contests and anthologies, which was a blast.
 
While I’m proud of every anthology and short story as much as every finished home project, now it’s time to prioritize and get the science fiction novel back on track. I believe everything happens for a reason and perhaps time away from the novel will provide a fresh perspective when I sit down this week and read the first eight chapters and review the outline.
 
However, focusing on these next two novels will also mean declining any new short story work in 2018 (with one exception to which I’ve already committed). Fortunately, I wrote several short stories in 2016 and 2017 that are ready for submission to a few anthologies in the coming year. I also stepped down as editor of the Middle of Eternity series after volume three is released. 
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It’s time to get back to novels.
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One. At. A. Time. 
 

A New Miranda Lorensen Adventure…

Some of my readers have asked about the next adventure of my psychic medium single mom, Miranda Lorensen. After all, it has been almost five years since my last novel, By Your Side.

The wait is nearly over. Like Mother, Like Daughters, a novella starring Miranda and her daughter, Andrea, is coming soon from Firebringer Press.

After Andrea Lorensen’s closest friend, Wendy, is found murdered during a paranormal investigation, Andrea is determined to find the killer—with some help from Wendy’s ghost. Meanwhile, Miranda is invited to speak at a paranormal conference in Salem, Massachusetts. While there, she reunites with a gentle spirit she has not seen in over thirty years. This time, however, the encounter reveals an astonishing truth about Miranda’s past life—a truth that could kill her. 

Below is the preliminary cover, subject to some tweaking. The image was created by the incredible Laura Inglis who also created the cover art for my first two novels (Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side), while credit for the title font goes to Chris Winner who also created the titles for By Your Side, Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity, and Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity.

To say I’m excited about it would be an understatement.  What’s more, Like Mother, Like Daughters will be paired up with a vampire novella by Steven H. Wilson and the entire book will be formatted exactly as the old ACE double books. Read one story, flip it over to read the other. I grew up reading those so the fact that Firebringer intends to release such a book has me over the moon!

Look for more updates in the near future!

Like Mother, Like Daughters Cover

After Action Report: Philly Non-Sport Card Show

Some excellent finds at the Philly Non-Sports Card Show at the Merchants Square Mall in Allentown today. Two ADPAC Star Wars stickers from 1977 as found in General Mills cereals in Canada at the time, a three-sticker strip from Superman III as found in boxes of Ziploc bags in 1982, and a new 12×18 poster from Topps of the bounty hunters from Star Wars.

Always great to see super talented artist pal Laura Inglis whose art graces the covers of my novels Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side. Laura also recently completed the cover art for my upcoming novella, Like Mother, Like Daughters.

Star Wars Bounty Hunter Poster by Topps Trading Cards

Star Wars ADPAC Stickers

Superman III Ziploc Stickers

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! 

Book Review: Not Bad for a Human by Lance Henriksen with Joseph Maddrey

“One thing I know for sure: God didn’t bring me this far to drop me on my ass.”

Lance Henriksen is well known to SF and horror fans for such films and TV shows as Aliens, The Right Stuff, Millennium, Pumpkinhead, Aliens vs. Predator, and much more.

In his autobiography, Henriksen depicts a childhood fraught with poverty and insecurity with a mother who survived a succession of failed, and sometimes violent, marriages. His brief service in the U.S. Navy was no less problematic and ended in his arrest and discharge after going AWOL.

Wandering across the country and through Europe with a strong passion for art, Henriksen finally found his calling in acting—despite illiteracy. He eventually used scripts to teach himself to read. Over time, he moved from stage to film and, reluctantly, to television, becoming close friends with directors and actors such as James Cameron, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris, and others.

Most of the narrative focuses on Henriksen’s method of embodying the characters he portrays and often breathing life into them by going off script and improvising lines that he feels would be more natural than what had been written. On many occasions, his directors were receptive, other times less so. Many pages are dedicated to his experiences making AliensThe Right Stuff, and Pumpkinhead while an entire chapter is devoted to the arc of Frank Black, his leading character from the Chris Carter series, Millennium. 

Frequent mention is made of Henriksen’s enjoyment of pottery as an art form. When filming on location domestically or overseas, he frequently sought out potters who were creating the most original work. At one point, Henriksen himself had created so many pieces that his wife prompted him to open an online shop.

Though he admits to making a string of low-budget films simply to pay the bills, Henriksen tried to find something redeeming in nearly every character he portrayed and to this day, the septuagenarian still enjoys learning and growing as an actor and exploring new concepts.

It should be noted that I acquired my signed hardcopy edition of Not Bad for a Human directly from Mr. Henriksen at Monster Mania convention in August 2011. In fact, we swapped books. I gave him a copy of my first novel, Testing the Prisoner, and we chatted briefly about independent publishing.

Phil with Lance Henriksen

Lance Henriksen: Not Bad for Human

Testing the Prisoner on sale at Amazon: $3.99

Since Amazon adjusts prices at their whim, I just discovered today that the paperback edition of my first novel, Testing the Prisoner, is on sale for $3.99. That’s $1 less than the Kindle version! I have no idea how long this sale will last, so if you’re interested in an emotional and deeply human story wrapped in a paranormal mystery, you will not be disappointed.

Daniel Masenda thought he had made peace with his dark past when he left his home for a better life fourteen years ago. As the mayor of a small, tranquil town along Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Daniel has everything he ever wanted – until a series of haunting visions, coupled with the death of his estranged mother, pits him against two ghostly entities at war with one another. Each has its own agenda as they force Daniel to relive moments from his violent youth and push him to the edge of insanity. As his idyllic life begins to unravel, will he be able to decipher the message behind the hauntings before they destroy, not only him, but the soul of someone he left behind?

Testing the Prisoner by Phil Giunta

 

Check out the reviews for Testing the Prisoner on Amazon and Goodreads and pick up a copy today. Thank you for supporting small press authors!