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About This Writing Stuff...

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This week, Amanda Headlee conveys the joys of her recent writing retreat in Vermont.  Danny Heitman talks briefly about brevity, while Brunonia Barry reveals ten aspects of her writing process. Never one to let anything slip by him, Joe Konrath responds to Terry Hickman's lament about the state of traditional publishing, but did Joe get the full story?  Tracy responds...

Jordan Dane offers advice on handling reviews--both good and bad.  Beth Bacon wants us to ponder a few questions about character, action, and story before delving into self-publishing.

Comic book legend and ReDeus co-creator Paul Kupperberg reminisces about the custom comics he worked on for DC, and I am ecstatic to share some posts from a woman after my own heart, SF writer Veronica Sicoe.  Veronica took a maternity leave from blogging, but she's back to talk about the importance of research and the proper use of astronomical measurements of distance when writing SF.   Be still my throbbing heart, for I adore this fangirl!

All that and a bit more.  Enjoy!

The Enlightenment of Escape by Amanda Headlee

Keep It Short by Danny Heitman

The Independent Bookstore Lives! Why Amazon's Conquest Will Never Be Complete by Andrew Leonard

4 Questions to Ask Before Self-Publishing by Beth Bacon

A Wake Up Call for Tracy Hickman by Joe Konrath

The Wake Up Call Heard Five Years Ago by Tracy Hickman

Building a Theme Through Character Arcs by Jami Gold

We Called 'Em Custom Comics and Custom Comics, Continued by Paul Kupperberg

Anonymous Question Submission: On Reviews by Jordan Dane

Distance Measurements in Science Fiction and The ERROR Terror by Veronica Sicoe

10 Tips About Process by Brunonia Barry

We Are Go For Launch!

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It seems the cat has finally clawed its way out of the bag, so now it can be told! I am ecstatic to announce that the anthology I both edited and contributed to will launch at Shore Leave 36, August 1-3, in Hunt Valley, MD.

Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity will be published by Firebringer Press and features 13 stories of fantasy, science fiction, and the paranormal. In addition to myself, contributors to the anthology include Mark Time and Parsec award winner, Steven H. Wilson (publisher at Firebringer Press), Susanna Reilly, Lance Woods, Daniel Patrick Corcoran, Michael Critzer, Amanda Headlee, and Stuart S. Roth.

The anthology will contain one interior illustration per story by phenomenal artist Michael Riehl, who has also created the cover art (see below). For those who attend Shore Leave, you've undoubtedly seen Mike's incredible hand painted ornaments in the dealer room.

Many of the writers plan to be at the con. For at least one of them, it will a first Shore Leave. For a few of them, it will be their first publication. To say that I am proud of them and our collective achievement is an understatement.

So, bottom line, I'm launching this fantastic book, bringing some new authors out to meet the fans, reuniting with so many friends I miss, and meeting a TV hero of mine (Richard Dean Anderson) all in the same convention. My head might explode that weekend!

Click here for convention information

Click here for author guest list (check back often as the list continues to grow!)

Cover art: Mike Riehl.  Cover layout: Chris Winner.

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By Your Side
May I present Michael Riehl's phenomenal cover art for our anthology, Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity.  Cover layout by Chris Winner, who is hard at work designing the spine and back cover.

The anthology will launch at
Shore Leave 36 in August. Mike will, of course, be a dealer at the con with his table of amazing ornaments.

In addition to myself, the following writers will be at Shore Leave 36 to sign copies and celebrate our shared achievement: Steven H. Wilson (our esteemed publisher and contributor), Susanna Reilly, Amanda Headlee, Stuart Roth, Lance Woods, and Daniel Patrick Corcoran.  Though he cannot attend Shore Leave, Michael Critzer rounds out our list of esteemed contributors.

Mike Riehl is also supplying 13 wonderful interior illustrations and will gladly sign copies of the book at his dealer table.

More updates to follow!

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About This Writing Stuff...

By Your Side
This week,  Steven H. Wilson tells us to get lost--in a story, of course!  Amanda Headlee discusses the importance of setting while Michelle Mueller provides tips on naming characters.  Bill Ferris offers hilarious advice on how to overcome rejection.  Karen Robertson gets technical with book apps, Jody Hedlund dishes on author-agent problems, and Neil Gaiman speaks of ghosts and fear.

All that, and a bit more...enjoy!

Getting Lost in a Story by Steven H. Wilson

The Changing Role of Literary Agents and New Submission Guidelines by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg

Set Your Story for Life by Amanda Headlee

Get Over Rejection in 6 Easy Steps by Bill Ferris

Publishing: Why You Should Care About Ebook vs. Print Formatting by Dean Fetzer via Joanna Penn

Telling the Truth About Client-Agent Problems by Jody Hedlund

Equal but Different by Amy Edelman

Five Myths About Book Apps by Karen Robertson

Five Tips for Naming Characters by Michelle Mueller

Neil Gaiman on Why Scary Stories Appeal to Use, the Art of Fear in Children's Books, and Most Terrifying Ghosts Haunting Society by Maria Popova

Shore Leave Continues to Build an Impressive Author Guest List for its August Show!  

By Your Side
In 2075, the moon is used as a penal colony, controlled by the Earth-based Lunar Authority.   However, the residents of Luna (known as “Loonies”), have grown tired of slaving for the Authority.   They have become restive…and a revolution is brewing.

Computer technician Manuel Garcia O’Kelly has developed a friendship with Luna’s central computer.  Nicknaming the computer Mycroft—“Mike” for short—Mannie is surprised to find that the computer has been learning human tendencies such as humor, subterfuge…and conspiracy.

Meanwhile, a protest meeting gathers.  After his shift ends, Mannie decides to attend the meeting, during which he meets the lovely and outspoken agitator Wyoming Knott (call her Wyoh, call her Wye, but never call her Why Not).

During the meeting, Wyoh speaks her mind about the raw deals dealt to the farmers and laborers on Luna.   The Loonies begin to rally behind her—until the Lunar Authority police disrupt the meeting, resulting in a violent and bloody riot.

Mannie and Wyoh escape to a hotel room where they are later joined by the elder scholar, Professor Bernardo de la Paz, who Mannie simply dubs “Prof”.   Assisted by “Mike”, the three begin to hatch a plan for revolution.

As time progresses, another violent uprising against the Authority leaves Luna’s warden in a vegetative state.  Lunar Authority police are all but completely eliminated by the Loonies.  Some of the police are executed for crimes of murder and rape.

Eventually, Mannie and the Prof venture to Earth to negotiate for the independence of Luna and recognition as a free state.   Life on the moon renders them incapable of coping with Earth’s gravity, leaving the Prof bedridden and Mannie wheelchair bound throughout their visit.  When the negotiations fail and the Federated Nations of Earth plot to have Luna’s ambassadors assassinated, Mannie and the Prof are smuggled off Earth and catapulted back to the moon where they receive a hero’s welcome.  

In his advanced years, the Prof barely survives the journey, but survive he does as Luna and Earth prepare for war.  With its limited resources, will the Loonies be able to defeat the overwhelming forces of the Lunar Authority and gain their independence?   If so, what will be the cost of freedom?

Heinlein’s Hugo-award winning novel is told in the first-person POV of Mannie.  While I thoroughly enjoyed the character’s voice and attitude, his outlook on life, his family interactions, and his participation as an officer in the revolution, there were several parts of the story that were told to the reader instead of shown simply because of the chosen POV.  Mannie cannot be everywhere at once, so he sometimes imparts to the reader what he learns as if writing in a journal, or speaks of events that happened to other characters, after the fact.  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is also not known for generous portions of white space as most of the chapters, while short, consist of seemingly interminable paragraphs of description.

I did not necessarily mind this, knowing full well that this novel was written in 1966, a time when storytelling styles were much different than what we find in contemporary novels.   As a fan of SF’s Golden Age, I’ve become accustomed to it.  As a writer, the style differences leap out at me. 

All told, I recommend The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.  Heinlein’s characters are unique, their story is engaging, and while the plot is sluggish at times, the characters more than make up for it.   Heinlein’s world building is exceptionally detailed and believable.


About This Writing Stuff...

By Your Side
This week, readers strike back against Lynn Shepherd for her diatribe against J.K. Rowling.  Birgitte Rasine explains the four elements of pain.  Catherine McKenzie cites five things to know before publishing your first book.    Speaking of publishing, Michael Kozlowski feels that a self-pubbed writer has no claim to the title "author". Digital Book World's Jeremy Greenfield responds.  Joe Konrath examines how writers and publishers ascertain their identities, which also ties into Kozlowski's article.

Amanda Headlee shares a touching history behind the creation of her story, "Parallax", for our upcoming anthology, Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity.   And did you know that writing is so easy, a caveman can do it?

All that and a little more.  Enjoy!

Crime Author Reaps Whirlwind After Urging JK Rowling to Stop Writing by Alison Flood

Theme of the Day: Pain by Birgitte Rasine

5 Things I Wished I Knew Before I Published My First Book by Catherine McKenzie

Gatekeeping: Snobbery or Quality Control? by Ed Charlton

Identity and the Writer by Joe Konrath

Self-Publishers Should Not Be Called Authors by Michael Kozlowski

Why Self-Publishers Should Call Themselves Anything They Want by Jeremy Greenfield

Shaping the Story by Amanda Headlee

How to Take Criticism Like a Pro by J.E. Fishman via Kristen Lamb

Writing--So Easy a Caveman Can Do It by Kristen Lamb

Here's What Pantsing and Plotting Miss: The Real Story by Lisa Cron

By Your Side
The Write Stuff Conference coming to Allentown in two weeks will bring an august cadre of talented and knowledgable writers to present on a wide range of topics.  

And then there's this schmuck. Click here to read an interview with me about what I'm presenting at the conference, my books, upcoming releases, and even a bit about audio books!

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About This Writing Stuff...

By Your Side
This week, Authorgraph founder Evan Jacobs examines discoverabilty and readership loyalty while the lovely Kathryn Craft offers advice on handling change.   Do you enjoy riding the rails?  Well, Amtrak is allowing writers to do so for free!   Joe Konrath has been busy taking plenty of people to task lately; this time it's James Patterson (again).   Jami Gold analyzes hybrid publishing and shows us how to avoid all things boring.  Kristen Lamb talks author brand, Jordan Dane gets into layers, and Eric Praschan delves into fear and pain for the sake of story.

And for some godforsaken reason,  the Huffington Post allows a whiny and petulant Lynn Shepherd to air her ludicrous grievances against J.K. Rowling...

The Lifetime Value of a Reader and Publishing's Post-Discovery Problem by Evan Jacobs, Founder of

5 Tips to Help Writers Embrace Change by Kathryn Craft

Inside Amtrak's (Absolutely Awesome) Plan to Give Free Rides to Writers by Ben Cosman

Konrath on Patterson Deux by Joe Konrath

Is Hybrid Publishing Always the Best of Both Worlds? and 3 Tips for Skipping the Boring Parts by Jami Gold

Author Branding-Harnessing the Power of Digital Age Storms by Kristen Lamb

Key Ways to Layer Depth Into Your Scenes by Jordan Dane

Using Real-Life Fear and Pain to Springboard Your Story by Eric Praschan

If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It by Lynn Shepherd

Why JK Rowling Has Failed Readers: A Letter from a Concerned Fan by Jason Pinter

About This Writing Stuff...

By Your Side
This week,  David Mamet makes it clear that drama is key in screenwriting.   J.M. Gregoire pens an open letter to indie authors with sage advice on craft and general behavior.   Jim Hines and Robyn LaRue both weigh-in on the recent publishing debates between Joe Konrath and, well, everyone.  Dean Wesley Smith dispels the myth that indies cannot get their books into brick-and-mortar stores while Joe Moore reminds us to identify our audience.  Allison Winn Scotch advises us to have contingency plans and Steven James wants to...pump you up!

All that and a bit more.  Enjoy, and don't forget about the Write Stuff conference coming next month in Allentown, PA!  

Thanks to the fine scribes at Crazy 8 Press for sharing some of these excellent articles.

David Mamet Screenwriting Masterclass in a Memo via Chris Jones

Open Letter to Indie Authors by J.M. Gregoire

The Gospels of Publishing by Jim C. Hines

The Great (Publishing) Debate - Arm Yourself with Knowledge by Robyn LaRue

A Victory Against Author Solutions by David Gaughran

Can't Get Books Into Bookstore Myth by Dean Wesley Smith

A Book That Failed and What We Can Learn From It by James Scott Bell

Pump Up Your Creativity by Steven James

Who is Your Audience?  by Joe Moore

After You Publish by Dave King

Plan B: or What To Do When Things Go Wrong by Allison Winn Scotch

The Write Stuff Conference is Coming in March! via The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG)


About This Writing Stuff...

By Your Side
This week, Donald Maass divides writers into classes, to which Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler provide a colorful response.  Speaking of class and the establishment, R.H. Kanakia offers his own observations.    Jami Gold defends pantsers while Jody Hedlund advises writers to go on a brutal attack (against their own writing).  Ollin Morales counsels us on writer's block.   Kristen Lamb delves into the topic of research.

And have scientists found the secret to writing a bestseller?

Also, check out the Write Stuff conference coming to Allentown, PA in March, organized by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group.  Many excellent speakers including bestselling writers, editors, and agents.  Somehow, little old me ended up on the list and will be hosting two sessions: Time Management for Writers and Differences Between Writing Short Stories and Novels.

All that and a little more!

Why You Should Hate the Creative Writing Establishment by R.H. Kanakia

In Defense of Pantsing and What Makes a Story Event a "Turning Point"? by Jami Gold

Attack Your Story so That Readers Don't Have To by Jody Hedlund

The Devil's in the Details: Taking Your Fiction to a Higher Level and Keep Research from Taking Over by Kristen Lamb

Scientists Find Secret to Writing a Best-Selling Novel by Matthew Sparkes

The Ugly Truth About Writer's Block (And It's Cure) by Ollin Morales

The New Class System by Donald Maass

Fisking Donald Maass by Joe Konrath

The Digital Revolution: Subscribing to Change by Erika Liodice (from Bethlehem, PA!)

Four Ways to Survive the Copy Edit Gauntlet by Ariel Lawhon

Writing a Mystery is no 'Joke' by Claire Langley-Hawthorne

The Write Stuff Conference is Coming in March! via The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG)

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Latest Month

April 2014

Novels by Phil Giunta

BY YOUR SIDE (March 2013)
You're all alone here, alone among the dead.

While haunted by visions of her brother's suicide,
psychic-medium Miranda Lorensen is called to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to investigate a series of bizarre deaths—some of which are also suicides. Miranda and her team of paranormal investigators quickly find themselves confronted by a vengeful spirit awakened thirty-three years after a bloody family tragedy. Miranda realizes that only she can stop the entity before it claims its final victims, but will her obsession for saving lives redeem her for the brother she failed?

A paranormal tale of child abuse and redemption.

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?



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