Tag Archives: testing the prisoner

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.

 

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!