You are viewing matthewsrotundo

Previous 20

Oct. 20th, 2014


Progress Report, in which I feel brave and reckless

When we last left our hero, he had pretty much written himself into a corner.  But wait!  What’s this?  Looks like an update from Magic Meter!

Ha!  Take that, stubborn story!

And that’s a first draft.  Since I didn’t put it in the Codex contest, I suppose there’s no need for anonymity:  it’s called “The Applause,” although that title might change.  I’m still not sure the piece works, but then, I never am.

And what the hell—since I’m feeling all brave and reckless, here’s a snippet:

As Crystal takes the stage, I huddle in the shadows in the corner of the bar, wondering if I am actually capable of killing her—or whoever it was that did this to me.  An hour ago, I wasn’t so sure.  But with every minute that passes, I become more certain that I can do it, that I will do it.  If I have to.

Cheerful, eh?  Hey, what did you expect?  It’s a Halloween story.

Now I have to get ready for MileHiCon, and figure out my next novel project.  I’m kinda interested to learn what it will be, because at the moment, I got nothin’.  So that’s exciting.

Kind of.

No updates for Write Club.

Laterz . . .

Current Music: "Rub Me Raw"--Warren Zevon

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Oct. 18th, 2014


Where to Find Matt at MileHiCon 46

The last stop of the 2014 Rotundo World Tour is upon us:  MileHiCon 46, October 24-26, in Denver.  Here’s my schedule:

Friday, October 24

3:00 pm– Choosing a Writers’ Group (Grand Mesa B-C)

7:00 pm–Short Story Sampler, Vol. 1: Discussion & Readings (Mesa Verde C)*

Saturday, October 25

2:00 pm–Keeping Expository Lumps Digestible (Mesa Verde A)

Sunday, October 26

1:00 pm–Ask the Authors (Mesa Verde C)

*Remember that I always bring bribes treats to my readings.  Come for a treat, stay for a tale—that’s my motto.  Or would be, if I had a motto.

I love MileHiCon.  Hope to see you there!

Current Music: "Thunder Road"--Bruce Springsteen

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown


Oct. 13th, 2014


Progress Report, in which I demonstrate a special skill

So that hard stop I mentioned last week?  Proved to be a bit harder than I thought.  Which is to say, I managed some 1600 words on the new story, and . . . well, Magic Meter paints the rest of the picture:

Yeah.  See, not quite done.  And it’s already over 5K words, which was supposed to be my upper limit.

Now, I was traveling over the weekend, but even so, I could probably could have finished this thing . . . if I only knew how it ended.

That’s right, folks:  I’m at the climax of this piece, and I don’t know what happens next.  Most writers struggle with the famous “muddle in the middle,” and I’ve certainly tussled with it more than once.  But it takes a special kind of skill, I think, to write yourself into a corner at the very end of a story.

Odds are good, of course, that the problem is not with the conclusion, but with something that came before.  Which is of little comfort (or help) at the moment.

Whatever.  I’ll figure it out.  I think.  I hope.

No updates for Write Club.

Back to the grind . . .

Current Music: "Long Distance Blues"--Joe Bonamassa

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Oct. 6th, 2014


Progress Report, in which I face a hard stop

About 2600 words on the new story brings Magic Meter here:

Remember how I was worried about whether this story would work?  Well . . . maybe it will.  Maybe.

It’s a strange one, that’s for sure.  But then again, it’s me.  What else would you expect?

Oh, and something else I should note:  unlike other word count goals, that 5K upper limit is not an educated guess.  It’s a hard stop.  This one is for a contest, remember, and 5K is the maximum allowable verbiage.  I’m not sure I can wrap up this first draft in another 900 words, but it will be close.  Enough, I hope, for me to make a few judicious trims before the deadline.  Which, by the way, is this Sunday.

So will our hero make the deadline?  Tune in next week to find out!

No updates for Write Club.

Laterz . . .

Current Music: "Especially in Michigan"--Red Hot Chili Peppers

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Sep. 29th, 2014


Progress Report, in which there is a strange new development

And in a strange new development, I actually committed verbiage last week, beginning a new short story.  Look!  It’s Magic Meter!

Would you believe, folks, that these first draft words are my first of 2014?  You would?  Well, that’s because you’ve been following these progress reports, then.  And, you know, thanks for that.

But I digress.  All I meant to say is that I’ve been doing nothing but rewrites up to this point.  It’s good to be working on something new.

As this is a contest story, the title will have to remain classified.  I’ll probably change it at some point, anyway.  And no snippets, either, I’m afraid.  Sorry about that.

I don’t even have any updates for Write Club.  Gee, I guess I don’t have much for you at all.

But there’s Magic Meter, right?  So that’s something.

And I’m out.

Current Music: "Time For Me To Fly"--REO Speedwagon

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Sep. 23rd, 2014


Progress Report, in which I get what I deserve

So, last week.  Not a really good one, writing-wise.  Because reasons.  Let’s just leave it at that, shall we?

Oh, and lest you think I’m letting myself off the hook, be assured that the writing gods have seen fit to punish me appropriately, to wit:

Write Club updates:

A bounce from an agent on a requested partial.  Response time, 52 days.

And personalized rejection from  Response time, 373 days.

No more than I deserve, I guess.  The writing gods have spoken.  All praise the writing gods.

Yee.  Ha.


Current Music: "Tomorrow"--Bob Seger

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Sep. 15th, 2014


Progress Report, in which I make no promises

So that idea I’ve been nursing?  The one I’m not sure will work as a story?  I did a wee bit of research and started scribbling notes, getting into that phase of the process that I like to call dream time.  And now I actually have some characters and a plot.  A little more dream time, maybe, and I’ll actually be able to start drafting.

And I’m still not sure it will work.

Not that that will stop me, natch.  Sometimes you just write the damned thing because you have no other choice.

Right, then.  No promises, but there’s a chance Magic Meter may make an appearance next week.

No updates for Write Club.

And I’m out.

Current Music: "Intension"--Tool

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Sep. 8th, 2014


Progress Report, in which I discuss how it’s supposed to work

The story seeds I was given for the Codex Halloween Contest appear to have germinated.  I think.  Which is to say, I have an idea.

It’s little more than that at this point, but hey, it’s a start.

To be honest, I’m not even sure it will work as a story.  But that’s the thing about ideas:  they usually sound kinda stupid in the early stages.  It’s only after you dress them up with characters and plotlines and such that they become something cool.

That’s the way it’s supposed to work, anyway.  We’ll see.

Write Club updates:

Five days to a personalized bounce from Urban Fantasy Magazine.

Eighty-eight days to learn, after querying, that Crossed Genres never got my submission.  Sigh.

Movin’ on . . .

Current Music: "Shakedown"--Bob Seger

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Sep. 1st, 2014


Progress Report, in which I get back into the swing of things

When you’ve returned home after a long trip, getting back into harness can be, shall we say, a bit daunting.  I don’t really know where to begin.  But I’m a creature of routine, and my routine includes these progress reports.  So I figure I might as well start there.

It is perhaps needless to say that I didn’t get any writing done while in London and Paris.  But boy, did I see a lot of cool things that could be story fodder.  Like this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

Who knows?  Some of this stuff might someday find its way into my fiction.

In the meantime, though, I’ve done some database updates and caught up on some correspondence, and my next project beckons.  The Codex Halloween Contest is running again, and this year, I actually have time to participate.  New verbiage, ho!

Write Club updates:

A tier two bounce from Fantastic Stories of the Imagination.  Response time, 5 days.

And an apologetic, personalized no from an agent on a requested full.

Ah, nothing like rejections to get me back into the swing of things.


Current Music: "Spit You Out"--Bullet for My Valentine

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Aug. 30th, 2014


And now, an interview with your host (me)

So the blog’s been dark for a while.  Sorry about that, folks.  I was kind of in Europe.

But take heart; I’m back.  I still have lots of catching up to do, and I suppose some kind of report on my travels is to be expected.  For the nonce, though, please to enjoy this little interview with me at OSFest, courtesy of Zorra Reed, she of Sirens Trinity Productions.

In it, I discuss Alembical 3, the way I’m wired, and karaoke.  As one does.

There.  Hope that tides you over.

Current Music: "Streets Cry Freedom"--Badlands

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Aug. 4th, 2014


Progress Report, in which I collapse in a heap

A funny thing happened while I was taking one last pass through “The Winter Palace,” scouring for typos or other infelicities—OSFest 7.

Panels.  Seeing old friends.  Making new ones.  Eating.  Drinking.  Readings.  Making merry.  Staying up way too late.  Getting up way too early.  Even getting interviewed.  (!)  And then collapsing in a heap when it was all over.

In other words, it was a con.

Right.  So now I need to finish up that cleanup draft, and get ready for Loncon 3.  Which, you know, is in London.  Eep!

Write Club update:  A request for a partial from an agent.  Response time, 3 days.  Hmmm . . .

And I’m out.

Current Music: "Pain and Sorrow"--Joe Bonamassa

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Jul. 29th, 2014


The 2014 Rotundo World Tour Rolls into OSFest!

This weekend, it’s the next stop on the 2014 Rotundo World Tour—the Omaha Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival, aka OSFest 7.

Here’s my schedule:

Friday, August 1st

Character Building - Steps to take when constructing engaging characters in a novel, manga, or comic. Learn how to create memorable and real characters.  (6:00 pm, Iowa Room)

Saturday, August 2nd

Hard Rocking SF – Panel discussions on SF in rock music including bands, lyrics, and cultural influences.  (11:00 am, Missouri Room)

Mining for Story Nuggets – Where and how to get ideas for short stories and novels.  (2:00 pm, Colorado Room)

Writing 101 – Learn the basics of what you need to know to get started as a writer.  (5:00 pm, Colorado Room)

Sunday, August 3rd

Matt Rotundo Reading – I’ll be reading from “From Earth I Have Arisen.”  And remember my motto:  come for a treat, stay for a tale!  (12:00 pm, Fireside Readings)

Dates, times, and events are subject to change.

Do stop by and say howdy.

Current Music: "One World"--Dire Straits

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown


Jul. 28th, 2014


Progress Report, in which you might need some sodium chloride

A quick 8300 words on “The Winter Palace” rewrite brings Magic Meter to that most magical of places:

And that’s that.  I think this little bird is ready to leave the nest.

I gotta be honest, folks:  I like this one a lot.  Like, a lot a lot.  Of course, given that I’m the worst judge of my own work, you should take that with a rather large block of sodium chloride.

A final snippet:

At the secret door, rock in hand, she hesitated, torn in an agony of doubt and fear.  She was only a little girl.  How could she be expected to do this?  It was so wrong . . . and at the same time, it had to be her, and no one else.  She had climbed thornfruit trees, had braved the catacombs.

And for my next trick . . . um.  I don’t know.  Need to think of something.  If anyone has any ideas, do let me know, will you?  Thanks in advance.

Write Club update:  A tier one bounce from an agent on a novel query.  Response time, 26 days.

On to the Next Big Thing.  Whatever that may be.

Current Music: "Try a Little Tenderness"--Three Dog Night

Jul. 21st, 2014


Progress Report, in which I do not ask for your approval

Business travel and a metric crapload of familial obligations last week = meager progress on the rewrite of “The Winter Palace.”  But such progress as there was, I submit forthwith for your approval:

OK, I’m not really asking for approval.  It’s just an expression, folks.  Go with it.

Anyway, hoping for better progress this week.  As always.

Your snippet:

“The Nayeed—”  Jessica stopped herself before she said anything more.  She’d been on the verge of asking if it was true that the Nayeed had built the Winter Palace, but Father would demand to know who had told her that.  She licked her dry lips.  “Father . . . are the Nayeed all liars, like the snakes?”

Father exchanged a glance with Mother.  “They . . . one must be careful with them.  They do not love northerners.  But not everything they say is a lie.”

“Not like snakes, then?”

“No, not like snakes.  But you still stay away from them, all the same.”

No updates for Write Club.

And I’m gone.

Current Music: "Superhuman"--Velvet Revolver

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Jul. 14th, 2014


Progress Report, in which I contemplate the possibility of producing moose drool

Finished my read-through of “The Winter Palace,” made my notes for the rewrite, and have actually embarked on same.  There’s even a new Magic Meter to mark the occasion.  See?

Most of the revision work on this one needs to be done at the beginning, and even that isn’t really all that much.  Truth is, I’m pretty happy with the story.  It needs only a few tweaks, methinks.  If you’ve been reading these progress reports of late, you’ll know that comes as a refreshing change of pace.

Of course, it might still be so much moose drool.  Occupational hazard, that.

Your snippet:

“It is a great secret.  You must promise not to tell anyone else.  If the king’s soldiers ever learn of it, or even your wise father, you would never be allowed to play there.”

“I promise, Gan.  I won’t tell anyone.”  She would have no trouble keeping the secret, since he was probably lying, anyway.

Write Club updates:  A couple of form bounces from agents on novel queries.  Response times, 10 days each.

Back to the word mines . . .

Current Music: "Locomotive"--Guns 'n' Roses

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Jul. 7th, 2014


Progress Report, in which manuscripts fly

Database updates, story submissions, and other Writing Related Program Activities last week.  Given that my short story inventory has been steadily depleted over the years (a consequence of focusing on longer work), it rather surprised me that I still had so many manuscripts in need of homes.  Who knew?

Well, off they go, to make their way in the world.  Fly, my pretties!  Fly!  Fly!

So the desk is cleared (sort of), and I’ve begun a read-through of “The Winter Palace,” in the hope that it, too, may soon fly.

Or, you know, get shot down.

Speaking of which . . .

Write Club update:  A tier one bounce from Read Short Fiction.  Response time, one day.

Fly, my pretties.  Fly.

Current Music: "Rock Me to the Top"--Tesla

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Jul. 2nd, 2014


Progress Report, in which I venture once more into the undiscovered country

Once again between projects, which means catching up on Writing-Related Program Activities, as Jay would have called them.  First up was getting some novel queries into the world.  No, not for Apocalypse Pictures Presents, but for Wet Work.  Believe it or not, there are still some agents out there who haven’t yet had the privilege of ignoring me.  Well, for some of you in the undiscovered country known as Agentland, that long-awaited moment has come at last.  Enjoy.

Next up, I need to arrange beta readers for Apocalypse Pictures Presents, take care of some overdue correspondence, and then take one more pass at “The Winter Palace.”  I’ve been keen to send that one to market, but just haven’t had the time.

And at some point, I need to figure out what my next novel will be.  A lot of writers will tell you that their heads are full to bursting with story ideas, but mine . . . isn’t.  I figure that I had too much brainspace devoted to APP.  Now that I’ve freed up some room, perhaps the muse might grace me with her presence.

Either that, or I’m completely written out.  What are the odds?

Write Club update:  Since I’m a couple of days late with this report, I might as well mention that one of those agent queries has already been shot down.  Response time, two days.

Hey, it beats getting ignored.  Kinda.

Laterz . . .

Current Music: "Xanadu"--Rush

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Jun. 24th, 2014


Progress Report, in which a new champion is crowned

Another 5300 words last week, which prompts a special announcement from Magic Meter:

Yes, folks, the second draft of Apocalypse Pictures Presents is finally done, as of 6/22/14, 10:46 pm, CDT.

And with that, APP takes the crown for the Most Difficult Project I’ve Ever Worked On.  Hands down.  Without question.  Nothing else even comes close.

And with any luck, nothing else ever will.

Seriously, folks—the rewrite took longer than the first draft.  And the rewrite is 7K shorter.  Jeez.

What does it mean?  Was the work demanding that much more of me?  Was I just being lazy?  Some combination of the two?  Hell, I don’t know.  Ask me a year from now.

Your final snippet:

Then his feet slipped on the concrete and Gil went sprawling.

“Kill him!”  That was Ross, from the vicinity of the pit.  As if Berkowitz needed any such instruction.

I go to drink from the cask of victory.  But I go wearily.

Current Music: "Grey Seal"--Elton John

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Jun. 17th, 2014


Progress Report, in which I speak French

Another 3.1 K on the Apocalypse Pictures Presents rewrite, and Magic Meter says:

One more logistical hurdle to clear, and then we’re down to the denouement.

The word is denouement, folks.  It’s from the French.  Look it up.

Oh, never mind.  Here’s your snippet:

He checked his own pistol one more time.  Fully loaded, safety off, ready to go.  He hoped he wouldn’t need it; Susan had berated him repeatedly what being such a lousy shot.  But if he did have to fire it, their chances of survival would be slim, anyway.

A wash of headlight illumination at the east doors, and the drone of an approaching engine, though he did not see the vehicle.  Gil holstered his pistol—carefully—but made sure it was visible.

The engine cut off.  Car doors opened and closed.  Footfalls on the concrete outside.  Gil drew a shaky breath and wished Johnny Cascio were there.

No updates for Write Club.

Until next week, au revoir.

Current Music: "Crazy"--Gnarls Barkley

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Jun. 11th, 2014


“From Earth I Have Arisen” Flies in Alembical 3

Hey, did I mention that Alembical 3, featuring my novella “From Earth I Have Arisen,” and work by Kam Oi Lee and John P. Murphy, is now available from Paper Golem?

Well, it is!  Order your copy here, or from your online vendor of choice.

Current Music: "Music Man"--REO Speedwagon

Previous 20