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Apr. 17th, 2016


Next Stop on the 2016 Rotundo World Tour: CONgregation

The next stop on the 2016 Rotundo World Tour is CONgregation, April 22-24, here in sunny Omaha.  I’m doing a couple of panels:

Saturday, April 23

10:00 am – 11:00 am   Writing Workshop (Ballroom A)

Join award-winning author Matthew S. Rotundo for a fun and interactive writing workshop. Bring paper, pen, and imagination!

Sunday, April 24

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm   Reading (Ballroom B)

Come for a treat, stay for a tale! Matthew S. Rotundo will bring the treats . . . and the tale. There might even be a prize!

I’ll have copies of Petra with, in case by some weird chance you haven’t purchased yours yet.  And of course, I’ll be happy to sign them.

Hope to see you there!

Current Music: "I Wonder"--Indigenous

Mar. 30th, 2016


I am now an Unreliable Narrator

The good folks at the Unreliable Narrators podcast have interviewed yours truly.  In it, I discuss PetraFrom Earth I Have Arisen,” and other groovy things.

Check it out, if you’re of a mind.


Current Music: "Learning to Fly"--Pink Floyd

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Mar. 4th, 2016


Eldritch Embraces, now available for your delectation

And in short fiction news, Eldritch Embraces: Putting the Love Back In Lovecraft, an anthology containing my story “Take This, and Eat,” is now available from Dragon’s Roost Press, in both paper and electronic editions.

I’ll let the publisher tell you about it:  “We’ve taken two of the most terrifying concepts in literature, the cosmic horror of the Cthulhu Mythos and Romance, and combined them in 31 tales which will terrify, amuse, and possibly even move you.”

Plus, a portion of the proceeds from the anthology go to the Last Day Dog Rescue organization.

So there you go.  Love, romance, and Elder Gods. And you get to help out dogs in need.  What more could you ask for?  A free sample?

OK, if you insist.  Here’s a (*cough*) taste of “Take This, and Eat:”

A kind of chicken teriyaki dish, Leah had said.  And it certainly looked promising at first—generous portions of noodles and meat, without too many vegetables for Darren to pick around.  It smelled spicy, sparking a bit of an appetite in him.  Using the tongs the waiter had brought, he optimistically helped himself to a heaping plateful.

Then he caught a glimpse of the tentacle in his food, and his appetite vanished.

At first he thought he might be mistaken, but a second glance confirmed it—long, black, rubbery, with small suckers running down its length.

Once again, that’s Eldritch Embraces, featuring my story “Take This, and Eat.”  Have a tentacular time!

Current Music: "Man on the Silver Mountain"--Rainbow

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Feb. 28th, 2016


Rotundo’s Oscarology, 2016 Edition

Oscar time is upon us once again.  Here at fabulous Chez Rotundo, things are even more hectic than normal, which means my annual Academy Award post will be rather abbreviated.  But such Oscar analysis/wisdom as I have, I hereby impart to you.  You’re welcome.

I’ve only managed to see 2 of the 8 nominees (The Martian and Mad Max:  Fury Road) this year.  But as I’ve said before, I never let total ignorance get in my way.  So here we go:

Best Picture

And right out of the gate, we have a very tough category to pick.  This one is usually easy, especially if you look at the precursor guild awards.  But this year, the Screen Actors Guild gave its top award to Spotlight, while the Producers Guild and BAFTA went with The Big Short, and the Directors Guild honored The Revenant.

What to make of this mess?

Honestly, I have no idea.  The safest bet would probably be The Revenant, which garnered the most overall nominations. On the other hand, The Big Short‘s PGA win is significant because the PGA uses the same preferential voting system the Academy uses.  On the third hand, comedies fare poorly in this category.

The last time we had this much disconnect between SAG, PGA, and DGA?  Why, it was just two years ago, actually, when American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave, and Gravity vied for the top honor.  We ended up with a rare split between Best Picture and Best Director, with 12 Years a Slave getting the big prize.  Because I’m feeling ornery, I’ll make a similar prediction for this year, and go with The Big Short.

Best Director

Despite the horse race for Best Picture, it looks like Alejandro G. Iñárritu will pick up his second Oscar in a row, this time for The Revenant.

Best Actor

Here’s an easy one:  SAG winner Leonardo DiCaprio will finally pick up his first Oscar, for The Revenant.

Best Actress

Brie Larson looks like a lock, for Room.

Best Supporting Actor

The SAG went to Idris Elba, for Beasts of No Nation.  But Elba wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar, which leaves this category wide open.  Amazingly enough, it appears Sylvester Stallone has become a sentimental favorite, reprising Rocky Balboa one more time in Creed.  I guess that makes as much sense as anything this Oscar season.

Best Supporting Actress

In a category that has been rife with upsets in the past, the best bet appears to be Alicia Vikander, for The Danish Girl.  That’s my pick, but I wouldn’t be surprised to be wrong here.

Best Original Screenplay

Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, for Spotlight.  Writers Guild winners.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, for The Big Short.  Also WGA winners.

Best Animated Feature

Inside Out.  Say it with me, kids:  never pick against Pixar.  At least, not in this category.

Best Foreign Language Film

Everyone seems to be talking about Hungary’s Son of Saul.  I’ll go with it, but for this category, you could just easily throw a dart at a dartboard and pick a winner.

Best Cinematography

I thought Emmanuel Lubezki’s win for Birdman last year was a bit of reach; the camera work struck me as too self-indulgent by half.  That said, he’s up for an Oscar again this year for The Revenant, and he has a new gimmick:  the film was shot almost entirely with natural light.  I’m guessing that will be enough to garner another win for him.  Certainly the American Society of Cinematographers thought it worth honoring.

Best Production Design

Period pieces tend to do well here.  Much has been made of Mad Max: Fury Road, and indeed, it did win an Art Directors Guild award for Fantasy Film.  But The Revenant won the ADG award for Period Film, and the Academy tends to pretend science fiction doesn’t exist.  So I’ll go with Jack Fisk, for The Revenant.

Best Film Editing

Nine of the past 12 Eddie winners for best edited dramatic film have gone on to win an Oscar.  This year, that would favor Margaret Sixel, for Mad Max:  Fury Road.  But again . . . it’s science fiction.  Ew.  I’m going with Hank Corwin, whose work on The Big Short won an Eddie for comedy.

Best Costume Design

Celebrated costumer Sandy Powell is competing against herself this year, for Cinderella and Carol.  And though Oscar’s disdain for SF is well established, flashy often wins in this category.  So I’m going with Jenny Beavan, for Mad Max:  Fury Road.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Score another win for flashy:  Mad Max:  Fury Road.

Best Original Score

What’s that you say?  Ennio Morricone has never won an Oscar?  That’s good enough for me.  Morricone, for The Hateful Eight.

Best Original Song

Lady Gaga appears to be the favorite, for “‘Til It Happens to You,” from The Hunting Ground.  But I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sam Smith win for “Writing’s on the Wall,” from Spectre.  Still, I guess I’ll go with Gaga.

Best Documentary Feature

Amy looks to win this one.

Best Documentary Short

A pick ’em category.  I’m going with Body Team 12.

Best Sound Mixing

The Revenant, I think.  The Cinema Audio Society like it, and it’s Best Picture front runner.

Best Sound Editing

The Revenant could just as easily snap up this one, too, but I’m guessing it will go to Mad Max:  Fury Road.

Best Visual Effects

Mad Max: Fury Road.  It’s one category SF films are allowed to win, and Mad Max is also up for Best Picture.

Best Short Film (Live Action)

I’ve seen comedies win this category before, so I’m leaning toward Stutterer.

Best Short Film (Animated)

Um.  World of Tomorrow.  Because who knows?  Pixar’s Sanjay’s Super Team is also nominated, but Pixar doesn’t fare as well in this category as it does in Animated Feature.

And that’s all, folks.  Enjoy the show!

Current Music: "Stone the Crows"--Down

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown


Feb. 22nd, 2016


Petra in Print!

PETRABookOne-semifinal1If you’ve been waiting for the print edition of Petra, wait no longer.  It’s now available here.

Sorry it took so long, folks.  Publishing your own book has its share of rewards, but it’s awfully time consuming, too.  I’ll be quicker with the next one, promise.

As a refresher, here’s some jacket copy:

Welcome to Petra.

It is the ultimate prison. Inmates from all of Ported Space are dumped there, forgotten, and left to survive however they can. Hope dies. Escape is impossible.

Disillusioned war hero Kane Pythen comes to Petra on a fact-finding mission, but gets caught in an uprising that threatens to expose a shattering secret. And Rolf Ankledge, Petra’s ruthless warden, will stop at nothing to keep it from reaching Ported Space. If Kane involves himself, he risks losing everything he has. If he does nothing, he betrays the last shreds of his ideals.

The prison break of the millennium is on. Now Kane must race against time and vicious forces from all over Petra if he ever wants to see his wife and daughter again.

Some reminders:

  • If you enjoy Petra, please consider leaving a review for it, even if it’s just a sentence or two.  The more reviews the book gets, the better Amazon likes it.  The better Amazon likes it, the happier Matt will be.

  • Also, make sure you sign up for my mailing list.  You’ll be among the first notified about any new developments, such as special offers, or the release of the next book.  No spam, I promise.  Your email will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

  • The Nebula nomination window has closed, but you can still nominate for the Hugos.  If you’re a Hugo voter and would like a copy of Petra, hit me up in the comments.  Make sure to specify your format preference.

  • And of course, the Kindle edition is still available, too.

If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

To sum up, then:  Petra in print.  Reviews good.  Author happy.

Rock on.


Current Music: "Land of Hope and Dreams"--Bruce Springsteen

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Feb. 8th, 2016


Progress Report, in which I demonstrate my erudition and eloquence

Blah blah new words blah Petra Rising.  Blah blah blah Magic Meter:

Pithy observations on writing blah blah blah.

Blah blah snippet:

Cromberg slammed the door behind him after entering.  “What the hell are you thinking?”

Kane stood at the water pump near his kitchen, working the handle, holding a small bowl beneath the spigot.  He had a washcloth draped over one arm.  The pump took its time drawing water from the well.  The previous night’s fire had taken its toll.  Given Purgatory’s proximity to the river, the well would refill soon enough.  At worst, he had to tolerate making a few extra pumps.  Others on Haven had it much worse.  He’d seen it during his outreach missions to the Bone Tribes.  Nonetheless, the delay annoyed him.  Emma’s words still rang in his head:  We need the Portal.

“Come in,” he said to Cromberg.  “Have a seat.”

Write Club blah:

Tier one blah blah blah Apex, blah 11 days.

Blah snappy signoff line blah.


Current Music: "Like a Stone"--Audioslave

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Feb. 2nd, 2016


Progress Report, in which I once again demonstrate my sunny optimism

So blog posts continue to be sporadic, obviously.  For me, it’s been all Petra, all the time.  (And hey, did I mention I’ve published a novel?  And that if you’re a potential Hugo and/or Nebula voter, I can get you a copy?)


Anyway, now that I have basically taught myself how to make a book, I’ve turned my attention back to other writing stuff, like updating my database, getting some short stories back into circulation, and—wait.  What’s that up ahead?  Could it be Magic Meter?

Yes, folks, I’ve actually banged out some new verbiage on Petra Rising.  Which is good, as I’m gonna need a finished novel sometime before the onset of the next ice age.  Got a long way to go yet, clearly, but the journey of a thousand miles . . . well, you know the rest.

A snippet, for your perusal:

“Even that’s too much.”  Loren’s tone was firm.  “We can’t have a member of the leadership council toddling off to Control on a wild goose chase.”

The ghost of a smile touched Kane’s face.  “And now we come to the second part of my proposal.” 

“Which is?”

“I’m resigning my seat on the council.  Effective immediately.”

With that, Kane stood and exited the room, trailing silence in his wake.

Hell, I even have a Write Club updates:

Four days to a tier two bounce from Fantastic Stories of the Imagination.

And after 706 days, I’m finally, officially giving up on Inscription.  I may be the last person on Earth to do so.  I guess I’m just too much of an optimist, sometimes.

Really, though, isn’t that what these progress reports are all about?  Optimism?  Or at least hope?

Yeah, maybe.  I’ll try not to take so long to send the next update.

‘Til then . . .

Current Music: "Whiskey in the Jar"--Thin Lizzy

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Jan. 23rd, 2016


2015 Pimpage, aka Petra is available for your nominating pleasure


So it seems that award season is upon us once again.

If you’re reading for the Nebulas or Hugos, and are looking for some slam-bang space opera adventure, you might enjoy my novel Petra, published December 2015.  If you’d like a copy, hit me up in the comments.  I have mobi and epub versions available.

As always, I encourage you to read widely and recognize that which you deem worthy.

Here endeth the pimpage.  For now.

Current Music: "Voodoo Chile"--Jimi Hendrix

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Dec. 15th, 2015


Petra is here!

And just like that, Petra, my debut novel, is released into the wild.



Any questions?

Holy wow, Matt!  That’s awesome!  Where can I get my copy?

So glad you asked.  It’s available here.

What’s it about again?

Here’s some jacket copy for you:

Welcome to Petra.

It is the ultimate prison. Inmates from all of Ported Space are dumped there, forgotten, and left to survive however they can. Hope dies. Escape is impossible.

Disillusioned war hero Kane Pythen comes to Petra on a fact-finding mission, but gets caught in an uprising that threatens to expose a shattering secret. And Rolf Ankledge, Petra’s ruthless warden, will stop at nothing to keep it from reaching Ported Space. If Kane involves himself, he risks losing everything he has. If he does nothing, he betrays the last shreds of his ideals.

The prison break of the millennium is on. Now Kane must race against time and vicious forces from all over Petra if he ever wants to see his wife and daughter again.

Sounds groovy!  Besides buying Petra, is there anything I can do to help?

Tell a friend.  Heck, tell all your friends.  And if you enjoyed the book, please do leave a review for it.

I can’t stress that last point enough.  Word of mouth is critical for all writers, but doubly so for us indie authors.  You don’t have to write a major essay.  Even a sentence or two helps.  And in addition to helping me, you’ll also be helping out your fellow readers.  So, you know, win-win.

I like dead tree books.  What about print?

A print edition is coming soon.  I’ll announce here when it’s available.

And when’s the next book coming out?

Sometime in early 2016.

Can you be more specific?

Tell you what:  sign up for my mailing list, and you’ll be among the first to know when it’s available.

No spam, I promise.  Your email will never be shared, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Well, that’s just awesome, Matt.

You already said that.  But thanks.

If you have any other questions, leave ’em in comments.

And that’s about it, except to say I hope you enjoy Petra.

Current Music: "Making Memories"--Rush

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Dec. 13th, 2015


Presenting: The Petra Cover

Petra has a cover!  See?


Ain’t it purty?  All thanks to Ryan Malm for the design.

The book will launch in the next day or two.  It’s taken me a bit longer than I had anticipated to work out all the formatting and ebook conversion details, but it’s finally ready.  I’ll announce here when the book is available for purchase.

I’m excited to share Petra with you.  I hope you enjoy it.

Current Music: "Rain"--Candlebox

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Oct. 29th, 2015


Coming Soon: Petra

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you have undoubtedly heard me mention my novel Petra.  You might have been following along when I banged out the first draft.  Or maybe you came in while I was working on the sequel, Petra Released.  Or more recently, perhaps, you’ve seen my updates on the (excruciatingly slow) progress of Petra Rising.  And somewhere along the way, you might have asked, “Golly gee, Matt, is there any chance that any of us will ever get to, you know, actually read Petra?”*

I’m happy to report that the answer is yes.  And soon.

That’s right, folks:  I’m publishing Petra.

Yes, I’m jumping into the self-publishing pool.  This was far from an easy decision to make, and it’s definitely a risk.  I don’t mind telling you that I’m a bit scared.

But I’m also excited.

And scared.  Did I say that already?

Anyway, you might have questions.  I’ll take a stab at some answers:

So what is this Petra, anyway?

It’s the story of a far-future prison world.  Petra is the final repository for the worst of the worst—no appeals, no parole, no escape.  But it also hides many secrets, which could shatter society if they ever got out.  And somewhere in the dark heart of Petra, the jailbreak of the millennium is on . . .

Sounds exciting!  When will it be out?

I’m targeting next month for the ebook release, probably just before Thanksgiving.  I hope to have more firm dates soon.

Will there be a print edition?

Yes, I plan to make a print edition available at some point.  I’ll let you know when I know more.

What possessed you to venture into the world of independent publishing?

That’s a long story, probably a separate blog post.  For now, suffice to say that now seems like the right time to try it.

What comes after Petra?

Then comes Petra Released, early in 2016, I hope.  And sometime after that, Petra Rising.  I mean, once I finish it, and all. Watch this space for updates.

So it’s a trilogy, then?  Will there be other Petra stories?

These three novels will complete a story arc, but there is definitely room for further adventures, assuming anyone is interested.

Have you always been this cool, Matt, or is it a more recent development?

Aw, gee.  You flatter me.

If you have any other questions, drop me a line in the comments.  Good wishes are also welcome.

Here we go . . .


*Probably you’ve never actually asked that, but work with me here, wouldya?


Current Music: "Take Some Time"--Indigenous

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Oct. 21st, 2015


The Rotundo World Tour Rolls into MileHiCon!

It’s time for the last stop on the 2015 Rotundo World Tour:  MileHiCon!  Here’s my schedule:

Friday, October 23rd

4:30 pm, Video Room—Dune Discussion.  Right after the screening of Dune, join me and Vivian Caethe for a discussion of the film.  Sparks will fly during this one, I think.  You won’t want to miss it.

Saturday, October 24th

7:00 pm, Avistrum (12th floor)—Award Winners Discussion & Readings.  Looks like there will be five us reading, so we won’t have a whole lot of time, but remember:  I always bring treats to my readings.  Come for a treat, stay for a tale, that’s my motto.  Or would be, if I had a motto.

Sunday, October 25th

1:00 pm, Wind River A—Strange Stars: How SF&F Transformed Popular Music.  SF and fantasy literature has had a vast influence on TV and movies—and also on popular music, from David Bowie to Parliament Funkadelic to Iron Maiden to Radiohead to Janelle Monae. We’ll discuss how various artists have drawn from SF/F and share some of our favorites.

4:00 pm, Wind River B—Alternative Endings.  Even the best story could do with a little tweaking. We’ll discuss popular movies and books and dream up what-if endings with more spice and pizzazz.

You’ll also find me at the bar, and generally gadding about, as I am wont to do.  It’s MileHiCon, after all.

Hope to see you there!

Current Music: "Still I'm Sad"--Rainbow

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown


Sep. 28th, 2015


Progress Report, in which I refrain from getting too crazy

Petra Rising has more words!  See?

And some of them might even be good.

I mean, no promises, or anything like that.  Let’s not get too crazy.  But I keep moving forward, which sure as hell beats the alternative.

Your snippet:

Loren came back to the table, peering at Emma as if she were some strange insect specimen.  “Emma, if I’m understanding you correctly, you’re proposing total surrender.  Why would you do that?”

“No.  Conditional surrender.  I have to figure that the Compact would much rather take this place without a fight.  That gives us some room to negotiate.”  Emma paused.  “It’s not the greatest bargaining position, but it’s the best we’re likely to get.  It’s certainly better than condemning everyone in this settlement to death in a war we can no longer win.”

No updates for Write Club.

Onward.  That-a-way.

Current Music: "Pack It Up"--Joe Bonamassa

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Sep. 15th, 2015


Progress Report, in which I keep good company

Still inching along with Petra Released.  Magic Meter says so:

I could whine about this, but really, minuscule progress is certainly better than none at all.  And if it turns out that I finish this thing right around the time George R.R. Martin turns in the last installment of the Song of Ice and Fire saga . . . hey, at least I’ll be in good company.  So that’s something.

Your snippet:

Emma braced herself inwardly, said, “I have an alternate suggestion.”

The council turned to her as one.

Though seated, she felt momentary vertigo, as if a giant fissure had opened at her feet.  She pushed forward with what she had been rehearsing for the past two hours:  “Without the platforms, we might want to consider whether an armed conflict is . . . strategically worthwhile.”

Eyebrows raised around the room.  Cromberg gaped.  “What in the hell are you talking about?”

Write Club update:  A tier one bounced from Flash Fiction Online.  Response time, 14 days.


Current Music: "The Unforgiven III"--Metallica

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Aug. 31st, 2015


Progress Report, in which I compare my novel to a plant, and praise the writing gods for their wisdom

One trip to WorldCon and a few baby steps later, Magic Meter has this to say about Petra Rising:

Which isn’t at all impressive.

The good news is that chapter 3 is done.  Also, right at the end of last night’s writing session, I discovered that a certain random bit of information from Petra Released is going to be a factor in this novel.  I had no idea when I wrote it, several years ago, that it was going to resolve a certain plot point in a future volume.  Just one of those random gifts from the writing gods, I guess.  I’m not sure I deserve gifts from the writing gods at this juncture, but who am I to question their wisdom?

Anyway, it’s encouraging.  This story has a lot of life in it yet, despite my neglect of it.  In that, the novel is a bit like the philodendron by my desk at my day job.  It just won’t die.  I swear, I could spray that plant with Roundup and it would still grow.  So let it be with Petra Rising.

Your snippet:

Purgatory’s admin building—a kind of town hall, she supposed—nestled near the bunker, built on the remains of command center that dated back to the settlement’s earliest days, when it had been an experimental prison camp.  It was a simple, one-story structure of wood and repurposed concrete and steel.  The paint on the walls, made from native plant pigments, was wearing thin, revealing the patchwork of building materials beneath.  A few gouges showed where shrapnel from the explosion had hit, but at least the fire hadn’t reached this far—a small comfort.

It could have been worse, Emma kept telling herself, though she had a hard time believing it.

WorldCon was a great time, by the way.  Potentially very interesting developments on the professional front, but it’s too early to go into that yet.

Write Club updates:

Tier one bounces from Betwixt and IGMS.  Response times,  24 and 55 days, respectively.

And a tier two bounce from Nameless. Response time, 407 days (!).

All praise the writing gods.  Onward.

Current Music: "Your Own Worst Enemy"--Bruce Springsteen

Aug. 17th, 2015


Next Stop on the 2015 Rotundo World Tour: Sasquan

The 2015 Rotundo World Tour rolls into Spokane, Washington, this week for Sasquan, the 2015 WorldCon!

I’ll be signing at the SFWA table in the Dealer’s Room on Wednesday from 4:00-6:00.  Do stop by and say howdy.  Would love to see you!

I go once more to be among my people.  I love WorldCon.

Current Music: "Breadfan"--Metallica

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown


Aug. 11th, 2015


Progress Report, in which steps are taken

The horse and I took a few baby steps last week.  And so Petra Rising proceeds.  Really, really slowly, but it proceeds. Here’s Magic Meter:

Baby steps, man.  Baby steps.

On the plus side, I broke 10K words.  So that’s something.

Your snippet:

Allons said, “Do you know what today is?”

Ferson tensed, as if Allons had just sprung a pop quiz on him.  In the desolation of Farside, it was easy to lose track of days.  He considered a lighthearted response, decided against it.  Humor would probably not play well at the moment.  He figured simple honesty would be his best option.  “No.  Some special occasion?”

Allons snorted.  “Yeah, you could say that.”  He reached for one of the bottles, but only stroked the side of it.  “Real special occasion, Boll.  It’s ten years to the day that we attacked Mainland.”

“Oh.  Jesus.”  Ferson dropped his gaze.  At least he understood Allons’s dark mood now.  It wasn’t the kind of anniversary anyone in New Cassea was likely to celebrate.  “Ten years.”

“Yeah.  I keep track of this shit.  Someone has to.”

No updates for Write Club.

Giddy-up.  Or something like that.

Current Music: "Deify"--Disturbed

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Aug. 3rd, 2015


Progress Report, in which I eye a horse, warily

In a previous post, I discussed how difficult it’s been to regain normalcy and productivity.  And it occurs to me that regular progress reports were once part of that normalcy.  Maybe the new normal doesn’t have room for them anymore . . . but maybe it does.  Who knows?  The only thing to do, I guess, is try, and see if they still fit.

I won’t say I’m climbing back on the horse.  Let’s say I’m eyeing it warily.

Since we’re here, I’ll trot out Magic Meter to bring everyone up to speed on Petra Rising:

Well, OK.  That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Since I’m feeling so adventurous, I’ll even post a snippet:

The desert at sunset.

Ferson Boll normally welcomed the end of another day on Farside.  Dusk and dawn were the most temperate times.  One could find just enough solace in the cool of the coming night to make toiling in the fields—with all the attendant dust, sweat, and hard work—worth the trouble.  And the stark hardpan extending to the horizon, backlit by the glow of the setting sun, had its own kind of beauty.

Nightfall was usually Ferson’s favorite part of the day.  But as he wound through the New Cassea settlement, on his way for his weekly bout of drinking with Major Jon Allons, he finally admitted to himself that he didn’t care for these particular nights.  In fact, he had come to dread them.

The horse stands just over there, pawing the ground, eyeing me as warily as I’m eyeing it.  I take a step toward it.

Write Club update:

Oh, far too many to recount here.  Suffice to say there have been a lot of them.

Where’s my saddle blanket?

Current Music: "Vevey (Revisited)"--Yes

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Jul. 31st, 2015


Next Stop on the 2015 Rotundo World Tour: OSFest 8

The next stop on the 2015 Rotundo World Tour is right here in Omaha, for the Omaha Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival, aka OSFest.

As previously announced, this year’s Author Guest of Honor is . . . well, me.  This is my first GoH gig.  I’d say I’m excited, but that doesn’t seem to do justice to what I’m feeling.  I am truly honored by this, and hope I can make it worth everyone’s while.

Here’s my schedule, and it’s a busy one:

Friday, July 31st

5:00 pm–Pantsers vs. Planners:  A panel of writers discuss two different approaches to writing, the advantages and disadvantages, varied approaches, etc.  Nebraska A

6:00 pm–Star Wars Match Game:   It’s the classic game show with a Star Wars twist! Join guests of honor and staff with our host Genetic ʺGeneʺ RayBurn as contestants try to win prizes by filling in the ________.  I have a ______ feeling about this!  Main Stage

Saturday, August 1st

9:00 am–Coming up with A Killer Plot:  Have you ever wanted to write a great story with a killer plot? Come join a panel of authors and learn how they compose a plot. We’ll discuss the Hero’s Journey and other tropes, and teach you the necessary parts for a great story!  Colorado C/D

10:00 am–Writing Interesting Characters:  When crafting a story, good authors carefully craft memorable characters. What makes them special? Why are they the way they are? Come listen to professional authors discuss how they come up with fantastic characters to carry a great story along.  Colorado C/D

11:00 am–Going Down the Research Rabbit Hole:  Researching for a story or novel can be a Wonderland rabbit hole with no bottom. New writers often ask, “How much research is enough? When should I stop? Should I stop at all?” And then they scream and fall into the abyss of insanity. This panel of experienced authors will answer those questions before you throw yourself off the cliff into insanity.  Colorado C/D

2:00 pm–Who Will Win the Iron Throne:  So, Song of Ice and Fire fans, you’ve read all the books, watched every episode, read all the fan theories. Now it’s your turn: How do you think it will all shake out? Who will live? Who will die? Who is Jon Snow’s mother? And when winter finally comes, who will wind up sitting the Iron Throne?  (Needless to say, but we’ll say it anyway:  SPOILERS WILL ABOUND, for both the show and books.)  Nebraska B

4:00 pm–Sticking the Landing: Ending Your Story:  Endings are the most powerful moment in books and stories. Why do some endings leave a lasting impact and others just fizzle? How do endings in a series differ from stand-alone stories? This panel will discuss why some endings work or don’t, and how to maximize their impact.  Colorado C/D

5:00 pm–Matthew Rotundo Reading:  Hey, wait.  That’s me!  Remember my motto, folks:  Come for a treat, stay for a tale.  There will be treats.  I always have treats.  Colorado A

10:00 pm–Legends Lost: Leonard Nimoy and Christopher Lee:  A look at the live of Leonard Nimoy and Christopher Lee among others we lost this past year.  Main Stage

Sunday, August 2nd

11:00 am–It Ain’t the Writing, It’s the Rewriting: The Power of Revision:  Rewriting and revising are arguably the most important part of the writing process. These experienced authors talk about revision techniques to make your story shine, without polishing the shine right back off again. How do you find your invisible weaknesses? How do you work around those weaknesses?  Nebraska A

And of course, in between times, I’ll be generally gadding about, as I am wont to do.

If you’re local—or if you’re not local but feeling like a road trip—do stop by.  It should be a blast.

Current Music: "Arlandria"--Foo Fighters

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown


Jul. 13th, 2015


Signs of Life

You might have noticed that the blog’s been dark for a while.  (Or, more likely, you didn’t.)  But for the three of you out there who read this thing, suffice to say that the Vastly Overrated Real World has been kicking my ass of late, and I hit what can only be called the Nadir of Suck with the death of my father, back in May.

Yeah, in case you hadn’t heard:  my father died last May.  I might write of it sometime, but not at the moment.  For now, I’m too busy trying to crawl back to some semblance of normalcy and productivity.  And let me tell you, my friends, it’s been a lot harder than I dreamed it could be.

I’ve debated whether I even want to continue with the blogging, whether it serves any real purpose.  Then again, one could argue that writing fiction serves no real purpose, either, and I still keep doing that (albeit at a pace lately that one could charitably call glacial, if doing so weren’t an insult to glaciers).  Still, I thought some sort of update was in order, so here it is.

I won’t promise that I will be resuming regular blogging anytime soon.  We’ll just take it slow, and see what develops.

Hope you all are well.

Current Music: "Mr. Crowley"--Ozzy Osbourne

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

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