Tag Archives: testing the prisoner

Podiobooks Merges with Scribl

Founded over a decade ago by Evo Terra and Tee Morris, Podiobooks was once a source of free audio books from a variety of authors both new and experienced.  However, as of January 2017, Podiobooks merged with Scribl.com. A visit to Podiobooks.com now will redirect visitors to a special page on Scribl that explains the merger and much more.

“Podiobooks.com has merged with Scribl. All of the old books from Podiobooks.com are now here and still available on iTunes, Google Play, and just about everywhere else you find podcasts. Our commitment to providing you with great, free audiobook content in podcast form is going strong. Now it’s just part of a larger strategy that better fits modern publishing needs.”

What is this CrowdPricing they speak of on Scribl? Read more about that here.

All audio books that were available for free from Podiobooks remain so, even after their migration to Scribl. As such,  you can now find the audio versions of my paranormal mystery novels, Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side, by clicking here. 

 

Hold On To the Light Inside of You

This morning, I learned about a brilliant initiative called Hold On To The Light, spearheaded by SFF author Gail Z. Martin. 

Beginning on September 20, hundreds of science fiction and fantasy authors began an online conversation across blogs and socialHold Onto The Light media about mental illness, domestic violence, suicide, depression, PTSD, and related issues that are often extremely upsetting
and difficult to discuss for so many.

Click here to read the first blog post from Hold Onto The Light

Over the past five years, I’ve opened up about my nearly 40-year battle with depression both on social media and at personal appearances. I sometimes discuss how depression has affected my writing and I never cease to be surprised at how willing others are to reveal their own struggles. My, times have changed. Society is finally opening up a dialogue about mental illness and that’s wonderful. The old stigmas are rapidly disintegrating.

My first novel, Testing the Prisoner, is a paranormal mystery that deals with the brutality of child abuse and the trauma that stays with the victims for the rest of their livesTesting the Prisoner by Phil Giunta. This was intimately familiar territory, but that made it no less challenging to write. I had to confront my own pain, my own memories, my own struggles with a darkness that pushed me toward a desire to take my own life at least a half dozen times during my younger days and even a few times in recent years.

Still, I knew the story had to be told for a number of reasons. First, I wanted to let others who have been victims of child abuse to know that they are not alone. Secondly, and perhaps more selfishly, I wanted to turn the tables on a demon that has persistently robbed me of happiness and instead, use it as a storytelling tool to launch my writing career.

As for surviving depression, perhaps it was faith, willpower, or a hope for a brighter future that dissuaded me from any “permanent solutions” to my problem. Much of the credit should also be given to SFF fandom and my growing interest in writing. Watching Star Trek and seeing Star Wars at the tender age of six inspired me. Later, the media tie-in novels became a gateway to speculative fiction and hard SF in my teen years. I began reading Asimov, Clarke, Ellison, Bradbury, and many others. Like many SF films and TV shows, books became my anti-depressant and while they were not an instant panacea, they helped pull me through countless dark and terrible times. They still do today.

Most importantly, the friendship and community that I found in SFF fandom has been the most enriching experience I could ask for. The best and most supportive friends in my life came from my three decades attending SF conventions such as Farpoint, Shore Leave, Balticon, and others.

More, I wouldn’t be published today were it not for the mentorship of august writers like Steven H. Wilson, Howard Weinstein, Michael Jan Friedman, Bob Greenberger, and Aaron Rosenberg, all of whom I met at the aforementioned cons. I am honored to call these chaps my friends, and in the case of Steve, Bob, and Aaron, my publishers!

If you are suffering from depression, I encourage you to reach out and find the help you so richly deserve. You are not alone. You have a right to happiness and health. You have a right to achieve your potential without being hagridden by a demon that wants to convince you of the lie that you’re inadequate, unworthy, or that life is not worth living. I beg you to find the light and hold on to it.

About Hold On To The Light

September/October are the months for Depression Awareness, Suicide Prevention, Bullying Prevention, Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness, World Mental Health Day and Domestic Violence Awareness.

What’s our end game? We want to bring the issues, struggle and treatment out of the shadows and make it clear that no one is alone in the journey. We want to demonstrate fandom taking care of its own. And we want fandom to be a safe space for everyone.

The steering group behind #HoldOnTotheLight is made up of John Hartness, Jaym Gates, Jean Marie Ward, Emily Leverett, Mindy Mymudes and Gail Z. Martin.

How can you help? Share, retweet and engage with the blog posts and social media outreach about the campaign and by the participating authors to spread the word. Encourage the conventions you participate in to add or expand panels on mental wellness. Learn more about the issues, so you can be an educated participant in the discussion.

If you want to get even more hands-on, please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hope for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Together, we can #HoldOnToTheLight because #FandomTakesCareOfItsOwn.

You can find updates with links to author blog posts and updates about related news here, and on the HoldOnToTheLight Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/276745236033627/ and on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/WeHoldOnToTheLight (note the ‘we’)

Media: Contact Gail Z. Martin via www.AscendantKingdoms.com

 

Phil Giunta Regenerates Limbs, Releases Warlocks, and Builds Androids in the Middle of Eternity

Our Kickstarter campaign to bring you volume two of our Middle of Eternity anthology series has managed to raise approximately $2,200. However, we have only 3 days left to raise  the remaining $300 to meet our goal. Otherwise, the project will not be funded at all. If you’re considering whether to back our project, please click here to check out the various donation levels and the rewards we’re offering on Kickstarter.  We deeply appreciate your support!

Although I occasionally talk to myself, I didn’t see much value in interviewing myself since I know all of the answers to any questions I would ask.

As with our first installment, Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity, I’m excited to return to the series not only as its creator and editor, but also to once again contribute a hat trick of stories. Our second volume, Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity, is due out in a just few short weeks and will launch at Shore Leave 38 SF convention in Hunt Valley, MD!

In lieu of an interview, permit me to offer you synopses of my three contributions:

In “Life and Limb”, we travel to Galway, Ireland to meet Michael Whalen, surgeon-turned-biomechanical engineer, who comes into possession of an ancient prosthetic arm that might have once belonged to the legendary King Nuada of Celtic mythology. Michael doesn’t believe in folklore—until an amputee’s arm begins to grow back after exposure to the artifact!

In “Working the System”, a reluctant Lt. Cameron Glazier is ordered to slaughter a team of military androids after the government, known as The System, abruptly bans the use of all artificial intelligence.  As a result, android creator Doctor Oliver Michaud goes into hiding—and sets into motion a plan of revenge against Glazier and all those he holds responsible for the obliteration of his life’s work.

Years after an attack left him disfigured, Simon Ramirez finds himself living on the streets of Philadelphia—until he unwittingly releases a warlock from an antique decanter. In return, the warlock sends Simon back to the comfortable life and marriage he once enjoyed, but will Simon squander his second chance and end up even worse off than before? We’ll find out in “My New Shiny”.

This concludes our interview series of the creative minds who have come together to produce yet another exciting anthology. Thank you so much for your support and I hope you will jump on board and join us for another wild ride through the Middle of Eternity!

A Pennsylvania resident, Phil Giunta graduated frProfile3om Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia with a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and continues to work in the IT industry, although he would love nothing more than to escape corporate America and open his own bait and tackle shop, or explore outer space in a starship, which might allow him to open a bait and tackle shop on another planet. At least he has a plan, but we digress…

Phil’s first novel, a paranormal mystery called Testing the Prisoner, debuted in 2010 from Firebringer Press. His second novel in the same genre, By Your Side, was released in 2013. His short stories appear in such anthologies as ReDeus: Divine Tales, ReDeus: Beyond Borders, and Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity, which he also edited. The second installment, Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity, is slated for release in July 2016.  Phil’s paranormal mystery novella, Like Mother, Like Daughters, is due out later in the year.

 

EIME Title Page

 

Upcoming Appearances in April

I shall be sharing a table with Firebringer Press publisher and writer, Steven H. Wilson, at Amazicon: The Pop Culture Convention in Wilmington, DE, April 15-17. Artist pal Laura Inglis, who created the cover art for my novels, Testing the Prisoner and By Your Side, will be a guest as well. Actors, writers, comic book artists, and cosplayers will all be on hand for a fun, escapist weekend of genre entertainment. Hope to see you there!

Amazicon Logo

 

The following weekend, I will be a guest at The Great Philadelphia Comic Con, April 22-24 in Oaks, PA. Celebrity guests include Bruce Boxleitner, Denise Crosby, Julian Glover, Ray Park, Robert Duncan McNeill, Garrett Wang, Roger Cross, and more! I will be sharing a table with fellow writer and pop-culture maven Joseph F. Berenato on Friday and Saturday. I will not be there on Sunday.

phil-giunta

Hope to see you there!

 

Send the Elevator Back Down

An unexpected honor came today when fellow writer and GLVWG member David Miller asked me to type up the improv speech I gave on Saturday at the Lower Macungie Library local author event. David shared it with other members of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group today.
 
The exercise provided an opportunity to polish the speech, improving the focus and making it less frenetic as improv routines can sometime be. Truly, it’s a touch of personal history about my journey as a writer and to honor those who have mentored me, guided me, and eventually invited me to publish with them.


Send the Elevator Back Down

Phil Giunta

Comedian Steven Wright once told this joke: “When I was little, my grandfather used to make me stand in a closet for 5 minutes without moving. He said it was elevator practice.”

Today, I’d like to talk to you about elevators.

There’s a wonderful quote making its way around the internet from actor Kevin Spacey. “If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.”

I began writing in the realm of fan fiction back in the late 1980s. For the uninitiated, fan fiction is generally a story based on your favorite characters from television or movies such as Captain Kirk, Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones, the list goes on. I know people who wrote fan fiction based on everything from Bonanza to Quantum Leap.

I found fan fiction to be a marvelous training ground for storytelling. Of course, I couldn’t sell these stories because they were based on copyrighted characters, but I did pass them around and the general feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

It was at about this same time, when I began attending an increasing number of science fiction conventions such as Farpoint, Shore Leave, and Balticon in Maryland and I-CON in Long Island, New York. In addition to meeting so many actors I’d grown up with, I also met many of my favorite writers such as Harlan Ellison, Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, Howard Weinstein, Bob Greenberger, Steven H. Wilson, and others.

There I was, holding my stack of novels and comic books eagerly waiting to get them signed and to chat with bestselling authors I never thought I would meet. Little did I know that when I was waiting in autograph lines, I was actually waiting for the elevator.

Over the years, I continued to write and to glean advice from many of the aforementioned writers who would return as regulars to Farpoint and Shore Leave. I appreciated their patience and guidance, hoping I was not making a nuisance of myself.

Of particular note was Steven H. Wilson. By the time I met him, Steve had just written a few issues of Star Trek and Warlord for DC Comics and was beginning to craft what would become his science fiction audio drama series, The Arbiter Chronicles. Like me, Steve had also started in fan fiction, but was further along the road than I was. Yet not so far that getting there seemed daunting. I wanted to be that guy.

Steven also founded Farpoint in 1993, and it was at that convention where I came in second place in a writing contest. Steven personally encouraged me to keep writing. Little did I know that the friendship we were forming was also the elevator door opening.

Flash forward to 2007 and Steve had already won both the Parsec and Mark Time audio awards for his podcasts of The Arbiter Chronicles. He had also self-published his first novel based on that series and had received an excellent review from the Library Journal.

By this time, I had moved on from fan fiction and had outlined an original paranormal mystery novel. I asked Steve for the particulars of self-publishing, as the option certainly interested me. However, the business aspects of it seemed a bit overwhelming at the time (not so much today) so I asked him if he was accepting submissions. He agreed and two years later, Testing the Prisoner was published by Firebringer Press, followed in 2013 by my second paranormal mystery, By Your Side.

By 2010, I was attending Farpoint and Shore Leave as an author guest, which I still do today. The reviews for Testing the Prisoner were outstanding and I was beginning to blog.

I was now in the elevator and let me tell you, it was nice and shiny in there.

In June of 2012, I received an email from the aforementioned Bob Greenberger, who is a fantastic SF writer in addition to his long tenure as an editor at DC Comics. Along with another comics veteran Paul Kupperberg and fellow award-winning writer Aaron Rosenberg, Bob had co-created a new fantasy series called ReDeus. Deus is, of course, Latin for God. Slap the “Re” in front of it and it becomes a bit of a pun as in “Again God”. The series ponders what would happen if all of the ancient mythological gods returned to Earth in the 21st century. It was to be published by Crazy 8 Press, a small press formed by Bob, Aaron, Michael Jan Friedman, Peter David, Glenn Hauman, and Howard Weinstein.

Bob was reaching out to other Shore Leave writer guests to see if they would be interested in contributing a story to their first anthology. What an honor! I eagerly accepted, knowing very little about mythology. Bob then sent the series bible with a story deadline of about two weeks. Yikes! They wanted to debut the book at the upcoming Shore Leave convention in August.

The elevator was going up…and fast! I remember researching and writing furiously until 2AM and even writing while on a Saturday conference call for my day job. I work full time in IT. Another technician and I had to migrate a physical server to a virtual machine. If you’re not a tech geek, don’t worry about it. The point is that it became a 12-hour ordeal. When it was the other tech’s turn to take over for a few hours, I wrote like a maniac. I finally finished and submitted the piece on my birthday, July 1.

Two days later, it was accepted with minor revisions. Not only was I published in the first volume, Divine Tales, I returned for the second, Beyond Borders—where all stories take place outside of the USA. I was invited back for the third volume, Native Lands (stories of Native American gods), but was overwhelmed with recording the audio for By Your Side and planning my upcoming wedding. I politely declined, avoiding the risk of promising a story, then failing to deliver.

It was during this time when I decided to pitch an idea to Steve Wilson. I know several wonderful writers who came up in fan fiction and had moved onto crafting original fiction. Some were submitting to magazines but getting nowhere. I knew their work was outstanding and I wanted to find a way to showcase them. I asked Steve if I could submit a collection of their original genre stories with an eye toward publication. Steve agreed, as long as I edited. He and I also tossed in a few of our own tales.

At Shore Leave in 2014, we launched Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity, an anthology of SF, fantasy, and paranormal fiction. Through this book, we brought about five new authors to the public eye and showcased the wonderful work of an Allentown artist.

What a joy it was for me to see these writers at their first launch, signing books and engaging with readers. I had just barely started my own elevator ride when I was holding the door open for others to take the journey with me (thank you, Steve!). In three months, we’re launching a second volume, Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity, and possibly a third in 2018.

If you’re lucky enough to find success and you know talented, burgeoning artists, give them a chance to blossom by sending the elevator back down. If you’re just beginning your career, as I am, attend conferences and library events. Network with those further along the road, and learn as much as you can about your craft.

You never know what can happen simply by waiting for the elevator.