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Mar. 3rd, 2018


Rotundo’s Oscarology, 2018 Edition

Last year, Rotundo’s Oscarology performed abysmally—perhaps my worst year since I started doing these posts.  So, like Shaun White, I’m looking for redemption in 2018.  Here goes nothin’:

Best Picture

Kudos to you if you predicted Moonlight would win last year’s Best Picture award.  Not many saw that one coming—especially with most of the precursor guild awards (Directors Guild, Producers Guild, American Cinema Editors, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts) going to La La Land.  I picked that film to win in a walk.  Look where that got me.

This year, we have a lot more uncertainty up front.  The DGA and the PGA went to The Shape of Water, but the Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA gave their top awards to Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.  Unlike most years, we seem to have a genuine horse race going on.  Will the ever-stodgy Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences deign to give its highest honor to a fantasy film, even over a topical movie?  It wouldn’t be unprecedented (see The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King), but it would be highly unusual.

You know what else is unusual?  For the director of a Best Picture front-runner like Three Billboards to get snubbed in the directing category.  It’s even more unusual for such a film to win Best Picture.  It’s happened before, though, and in recent memory (see Argo).

Or will all this uncertainty, coupled with the preferential ballot AMPAS uses for Best Picture, lead to an upset, with Get Out surprising everyone the way Moonlight did?  This has become a popular pick among Oscar prognosticators, but I think they’re putting too much stock in the Moonlight win.  Moonlight, at least, was a drama; Get Out is horror.  Only one horror film has ever won Best Picture—The Silence of the Lambs—and that movie benefited from the patina of respectability bestowed by Hollywood heavyweights Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Jonathan Demme.

I think we can also get a hint from the number of nominees each film has in the acting categories.  Get Out only has one.  The Shape of Water has three.  Three Billboards also has three, and two of them are likely to win (see below).

Oh, and one other tidbit about SAG—I mentioned Argo earlier, that Best Picture-winning movie whose director wasn’t nominated. You know which film SAG gave its Best Ensemble award to that year?  Right.

That’s it.  I’m leaning toward Three Billboards.

Best Director

Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) won the DGA—a very accurate predictor in this category.  And as mentioned above, Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards) didn’t get nominated.

Best Actress

Frances McDormand, SAG and BAFTA honoree for Three Billboards, looks to add another Oscar to her trophy case this year.

Best Actor

Normally, if Daniel Day-Lewis is nominated, I assume he’s going to walk away with the award.  Not so this year.  Gary Oldman won the SAG for Darkest Hour, and I think it very likely he’ll be taking home an Oscar.  This one checks all the boxes:  respected industry veteran, physical transformation, biopic.  Yep, this one goes to Gary, and it’s about damned time.  Oldman is one of our very finest actors, and this award is long overdue.

Best Supporting Actress

Allison Janney, for I, Tonya.  She won the SAG.  And how awesome will it be to finally see her pick up an Oscar?

Best Supporting Actor

The supporting categories are often fertile ground for upsets.  SAG gave its Best Supporting Actor award to Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards, a decision that has stirred some controversy.  So if there’s going to be a surprise in the acting categories, this seems the most likely place for it.  Add to that the fact that Woody Harrelson is also nominated in this category for the same movie, meaning he could split the vote.  And then there’s Willem Dafoe, nominated for The Florida Project, in seemingly prime position to swoop in and nab this one.  All the pieces are in place.

But I’m not buying it.  All those factors were in play at the SAG awards, too, and Rockwell won, anyway.  Actors, as I’ve said many times, are the largest voting bloc in the Academy.  I can’t see all the SAG voters who went with Rockwell suddenly changing their minds.  So I’m sticking by Sam.  (But if Dafoe wins it, don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Best Original Screenplay

Jordan Peele’s Get Out won the Writers Guild award in this category, and has been lauded as a savage commentary on race relations in the U.S.  But it’s also a horror film—as noted above, not generally a genre that Oscar loves.  (Exceptions include Best Screenplay wins for The Exorcist and The Silence of the Lambs—so, you know, it’s possible.)  Note, too, that Three Billboards was not eligible for a WGA nomination in this category, and that it won a BAFTA, which has some overlap with Oscar voters.  But I don’t know that it’s enough overlap to make the difference, and this award may well serve as Peele’s consolation prize for missing Best Director.  That’s a consolation prize I could live with.  My pick:  Peele, for Get Out.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Wait a minute.  You’re telling me that James Ivory has never won an Oscar?  Ever?  Not even during the heyday of the Merchant Ivory films?  And he won the Writers Guild award and the BAFTA?  That’s good enough for me.  Ivory, for Call Me by Your Name.

Best Animated Feature

Welcome to your Oscar Lock of the Year.  Coco has won accolades from the PGA, ACE, ADG, BAFTA, CAS, and it won the Annie.  Never.  Pick.  Against.  Pixar.

Best Foreign Language Film

Once again, your most wildly unpredictable category proves . . . wildly unpredictable.  I’m leaning toward Chile’s A Fantastic Woman.  Its transgender lead, Daniela Vega, is a presenter at the Oscars this year, which might indicate how AMPAS feels about the film in general.  Also, my tea leaves this morning formed the shape of Chile.

Best Cinematography

Man, I’m really torn here.  The American Society of Cinematographers once again gave its top award to Roger Deakins, for Blade Runner 2049.  Yet despite being nominated what seems like a few million times, he has never won an Oscar.  I’ve picked Deakins before on the basis that he’s really, really due—and I’ve been burned.  But sooner or later, the losing streak has to end, doesn’t it?

On the other hand, The Shape of Water was often gorgeous to look at, including that terrific opening shot.  And it’s a Best Picture contender.  And it got the most nominations overall.  One ignores these facts at one’s peril.

On the third hand, Rachel Morrison, for Mudbound, is the first woman ever to be nominated in this category, right at the same time as the #MeToo movement.

Some good news for Deakins this year:  None of his competition features groundbreaking 3-D work (as in past winners Avatar, Hugo, and Life of Pi) or flashy tracking shots (as in past winners Gravity, Birdman, and La La Land).  So maybe he’ll finally catch a break.  I’m taking a deep breath and going with Blade Runner 2049.

Best Production Design

I’m going with Art Directors Guild winner The Shape of Water here, mostly for that laboratory set.

Best Editing

ACE winner Lee Smith (Dunkirk) put on a bit of an editing clinic, juggling three separate plotlines, each with its own timeline, all intersecting at the climax.  I can see Oscar voters rewarding that.

Best Costume Design

Period pieces do well here, and the Costume Designers Guild gave its award for Period Film to The Shape of Water.  But then, Phantom Thread won a BAFTA.  And wouldn’t a movie about a fashion designer seem to be kind of a natural for this category?  It sure would.  Maybe.  I think.  Anyway, that’s what I’m picking to win.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Oscar Lock of the Year, part 2:  Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, and Lucy Sibbick turned good-looking Gary Oldman into Winston friggin’ Churchill, people.  Darkest Hour won a BAFTA in this category and the Makeup & Hairstylist Guild award, and will win an Oscar, too.

Best Original Score

Alexandre Desplat, for The Shape of Water, is my guess.  But I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hans Zimmer win for Dunkirk.

Best Original Song

This category was originally created for musicals, which used to be a lot more common than they are these days.  So I always look for songs that are actually performed during the movie (as opposed to running over the end credits, say).  That would narrow the list to two:  “This Is Me,” from The Greatest Showman, and “Remember Me,” from Coco.  And did you know that “Remember Me” was written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the team that won an Oscar for Frozen’s “Let It Go?”  True!  I’m going with “Remember Me.”

Best Documentary Feature

Jane, the documentary about Jane Goodall, has been wiping up the competition this awards season, including a PGA win.  Should be an easy pick for an Oscar, too—except that it wasn’t even nominated.  So who the hell knows?

Of the films that did get nominated, the buzz seems to favor Faces Places, based largely on the appeal of veteran documentarian Agnès Varda.  But you know, Last Men in Aleppo is about the White Helmets, the internationally recognized rescue organization.  And can you name last year’s winner for Best Documentary Short?  Hint:  The White Helmets.  Coincidence?  I think not.

I dunno.  I’ll follow the buzz, I guess.  Faces Places.

Best Documentary Short

My neighbor’s dog told me to go with Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405.  When my neighbor’s dog speaks, I listen.

Best Sound Mixing

I’ve noted in previous years that war movies do well in this category.  To be a little more precise, loud movies do well in this category (as you might expect).  Do we have any loud war movies among the nominees?  Maybe one that won the CAS and the BAFTA in this category, and is also a Best Picture nominee?  Hmmm . . .  could it be . . . Dunkirk?

Best Sound Editing

I’m thinking Dunkirk here, too.  See above.

Best Visual Effects

What to do, what to do.  Blade Runner 2049 took home a BAFTA in this category, but the Visual Effects Society gave its top honor to War for the Planet of the Apes.  VES did the same thing for both previous Apes films, though, and Oscar stubbornly (and bafflingly) refused to follow suit.  What to do, what to do.  Will AMPAS finally recognize the tremendous work Weta has been doing in the Apes saga?  I have my doubts.  I’m going with War for the Planet of the Apes, but I would not at all be surprised to see it go to Blade Runner 2049.

Best Short Film (Live Action)

DeKalb Elementary tackles the subject of school shootings.  Can’t get much more topical than that, can you?  It’s my pick.

Best Short Film (Animated)

The Pixar entry in this category is Lou, but Pixar doesn’t do nearly as well here as it does in the Animated Feature category.  Dear Basketball, on the other hand, won an Annie, and was drawn by Disney vet Glen Keane.  So that’s my pick.

And there you have it—my bid for Oscarology redemption.  If I bomb out again this year, maybe I’ll just hang it up.

Nah, probably not.  See you next year.

Current Music: "Pushit"--Tool

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

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Oct. 15th, 2017


Last Stop on the 2017 Rotundo World Tour: MileHiCon

The last stop on the 2017 Rotundo World Tour is just around the corner—MileHiCon in Denver, October 27-29.

I missed MileHiCon last year due to time constraints, so I’m very excited to finally return. Here’s my schedule:

Friday, October 27th

2:00 pm — 3:00 pm   When Movie Versions Go Wrong (Mesa Verde B)

What common elements seem to plague the worst film adaptations you’ve seen?  What challenges specific to science fiction/fantasy/horror have proven especially problematic for film adaptations?  Can a movie diverge vastly from the book and still be good on its own merits? Are there times alterations improve the material or are necessary for a successful switch in media?

3:00 pm — 4:00 pm   The Finer Points of Editing (Mesa Verde B)

What steps can you take to improve your own editing? When do you really need outside help? To what extent can an author really self-edit effectively?

Sunday, October 29th

1:00 pm — 2:00 pm   The Worst Movie You Ever Paid to See in a Theater (Mesa Verde C)

We’re not talking late-night cablesurfing or a Netflix misfire, but those movies you actually paid money to see in a theater . . . what was the worst? (And did you sit through to the end?)

Wow, this one should be fun.  Rest assured, I’ll have a list.

2:00 pm — 3:00 pm   Group Reading & Discussion:  Urban Fantasy  (Wind River B)

A reading, you say?  Hey, you know me:  if I’m doing a reading, I’m bringing treats.

And of course, I’ll be hanging around the bar, the con suite, the dealers’ room, wherever.  I might even have books for sale.

Hope to see you there!

Current Music: "Look at Little Sister"--Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

May. 30th, 2017


“The Hills” Ascends to Enter the Aftermath

Am quite tickled to announce that I’ve sold “The Hills” to the Enter the Aftermath anthology from TANSTAAFL.

Enter the Aftermath is the second in a planned 3-book series of anthologies.  The first, Enter the Apocalypse, came out earlier this year.  Following Enter the Aftermath will be Enter the Rebirth.

“The Hills” was my 24-hour story from Writers of the Future.  For those unfamiliar—when I was in Hollywood for the Writers of the Future workshop, we were tasked with writing a full story in just 24 hours.  I blogged about it here and here and here.

Anyway, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for this story. Many years ago, I had submitted it to Edmund at Intergalactic Medicine Show, who told me it read like the first chapter of a novel. I considered his remarks carefully and discovered he was quite wrong. It’s actually the second chapter of a novel—Apocalypse Pictures Presents, which I may blogged a bit about, too.  So there, Edmund. Nyah, nyah, nyah.

But like I said, I always loved the original short story, and it seemed like a good fit for this anthology. And the editor apparently agrees.

Been a while since I’ve sold some short fiction. So yay. And who knows? Maybe this bodes well for the novel.

Current Music: "Cemetery Gates"--Pantera

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Apr. 25th, 2017


Spring Sale! Get Petra and Petra Released for $.99 Each! (Cheap)

Spring is here, so what the heck:  I’m having a sale on the Petra books, now through May 7th. The ebooks are going for just $.99. That’s right; a measly buck gets you an ebook edition of either Petra or Petra Released.

So if for some weird reason, you don’t have your copies yet, well, now’s your chance! See the links below for your vendor of choice.

Sale ends May 7th, so don’t delay!



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Current Music: "Yours Is No Disgrace"--Yes

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Apr. 22nd, 2017


The 2017 Rotundo World Tour Begins: ConStellation 8

The 2017 Rotundo World Tour begins April 28th-30th, at ConStellation 8 in Lincoln, Nebraska!

Here’s my schedule:

Friday, April 28th

6:00 pm — 6:50 pm   A Long Way down the Road to the Chemist (Vega)

A recent article by astrophysicist Michael Strauss in AEON discussed the difficulties in conveying the vastness of space: “The real challenge is to tie the story to human emotions, and human sizes and timescales, while still capturing the enormous scales of the Universe itself.” Is science fiction capable of conveying these scales in any relatable way? What works have actually managed the trick? Or is it even worth attempting?

Saturday, April 29th

8:00 pm — 8:50 pm   The Oscar from Another World (Vega)

Arrival. Mad Max: Fury Road. Gravity. Inception. Avatar. District 9. All of them were recent nominees for Best Picture. None of them won, but are all these nominations evidence that the Academy’s long-running snub of science fiction will end soon? If so, when? A discussion of what it might take for a genuine science fiction film to finally win the big prize.

Sunday, April 30th

12:15 pm — 12:45 pm   Matthew S. Rotundo Reading (Vega)

You know my motto:  Come for a treat, stay for a tale!  So there will at least be treats.  And maybe even a prize!

Schedule, as always, is subject to last minute changes.

I wasn’t able to attend ConStellation last year, and I’m really sorry to have missed it.  So I’m excited to be going back.

Stop by and see me!

Current Music: "Madman Across the Water"--Elton John

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Feb. 27th, 2017


An Interview with Yours Truly

The inimitable C. Stuart Hardwick has an ongoing interview series with Writers of the Future winners.  This month, he’s tabbed me as his “veteran” interviewee.  Interested parties may find the results here.

In it, we discuss the effects of winning the contest, bits of workshop wisdom, and corn.  Because no interview is complete without a discussion of corn.


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

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown


Feb. 26th, 2017


Rotundo’s Oscarology, 2017 Edition

If anything can bring this blog out of its state of suspended animation, it would be my annual Oscar prediction post.  That’s how seriously we take the Academy Awards here at fabulous Chez Rotundo.  So here goes.

I’ve seen 3 of the 9 Best Picture nominees this year, for what that’s worth. (Hint:  Not much.)  For the record, those films are ArrivalHidden Figures, and La La Land.  My personal favorite of those three?  Arrival, by a rather large margin.  But I can’t vote, so let’s get into predicting how the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will.

Best Picture

I’ve said in the past that the Academy rarely nominates bad pictures, but it does sometimes honor overrated ones.  Take, for example, 2011’s The Artist—a fluffy confection telling a story done much better decades earlier, in Singin’ in the Rain.

And speaking of fluffy confections, this year we have La La Land.  It’s an entertaining film, but that’s about as far as I’m willing to go.  The songs are largely forgettable, the singing merely passable, the plot simply cliché.  Best film of the year?  Not even close.  But remember the wit and wisdom of William Munny:  “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”  It’s won top honors from the Directors Guild, the Producers Guild, the American Cinema Editors, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.  A lot of those voters are members of the Academy, too.  And the way Best Picture votes are counted favors a film that many people think is good over one that a few people think is great.

So there you go.  Even though you’re likely to hear a lot of heated political rhetoric on Oscar night, the Academy’s top award will go to an innocuous, nostalgic embrace of old style Hollywood.  La La Land in a walk.

Best Director

The DGA went to Damien Chazelle for his work on La La Land, and that award is a very accurate predictor of this category.

Best Actress

Emma Stone, for La La Land.  Isabelle Huppert has a very outside chance of an upset, for her performance in Elle, but Stone won the Screen Actors Guild award, and that’s enough for me.

Best Actor

This one looked like Casey Affleck’s to lose, for Manchester by the Sea.  But then the SAG went to Denzel Washington (Fences).  And the press Affleck has gotten recently certainly won’t help his cause.  Washington, on the other hand, is highly respected in the industry.  I’ll go with SAG here, as I so often do, and pick Washington.

Best Supporting Actress

This is a category that has been historically prone to upsets, but not this year, I think.  Viola Davis looks to be a lock.  She’s been nominated twice before, her role in Fences is a lead rather than a supporting one, and she won the SAG and the BAFTA.

Best Supporting Actor

The SAG went to Mahershala Ali, for Moonlight, so that’s the way I’ll go.  And hey, after last year’s complaints about lack of diversity at the Oscars, how about a year when three of the four acting awards go to people of color?

Best Original Screenplay

Here’s one award that I don’t see going to La La Land.  Its charms come from sources other than its script.  I’m figuring BAFTA winner Kenneth Lonergan for this one, for Manchester by the Sea.

Best Adapted Screenplay

If I had a vote, it would go to Eric Heisserer, for Arrival.  The Writers Guild agreed with me.  But I don’t get a vote, and we all know how AMPAS feels about science fiction—in a word, icky.  Interestingly, the WGA winner for original screenplay, Moonlight, has been classified as an adaptation for the Oscars, due to some rule quirks.  So I see Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney winning, for Moonlight.

Best Animated Feature

The general rule here is Never Pick Against Pixar, except that Pixar didn’t get a nomination in this category.  However, its parent company did, for Zootopia and Moana.  Given the near-universal acclaim for the former film, and the fact that it has won the PGA, ACE, and Annie awards, I think it takes home the animated prize.  Kubo and the Two Strings could pull an upset, but I don’t see it happening.

Best Foreign Language Film

The critics adored Germany’s Toni Erdmann.  But Asghar Farhadi has a previous win in this category, for A Separation.  And the attendant press regarding Farhadi’s boycott of the ceremony this year in protest of the Trump administration’s immigration policy has put something of a spotlight on him.  I’m picking The Salesman to win.  But as always, one could throw a dart at a dartboard and just as easily nail this category.

Best Cinematography

The American Society of Cinematographer’s top award went to Grieg Fraser for Lion.  But ever the rebel, I’m picking against the precursor guild winner here.  Oscar has an odd fascination with long tracking shots—cf. Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman.  Guess which nominee opens with a long tracking shot?  Why, that would be La La Land.  All that kinetic camera work by Linus Sandgren seems more likely to nab the Oscar.

Best Production Design

Your watchword for this category (and several others) is flashy.  The Art Directors Guild loved those Golden Age sets for La La Land, so expect it to win here, too.

Best Editing

Here’s an award that historically goes hand-in-hand with the Best Picture winner—except that it hasn’t lately.  In the 2000’s, Best Picture and Best Editing went to the same film 7 of 10 times.  So far in the 2010’s, it’s only happened once, for 2012’s Argo.  Maybe I’m reaching, and maybe I’m a letting my heart overrule my head, but I’m thinking Joe Walker’s skillful handling of the myriad time jumps in Arrival will be enough to garner an Oscar, beating out La La Land.  And Arrival won an Eddie, too. What I’m saying here, it could happen.

Best Costume Design

La La Land won the Costume Designers Guild award in the Contemporary category.  But the Contemporary CDG winner has never won an Oscar.  This one always goes to either period pieces or flashy (there’s that word again) SF/fantasy films.  So I see BAFTA winner Madeline Fontaine winning, for Jackie.

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Again, look for flashy to win the day.  That would favor either Suicide Squad or Star Trek:  Beyond.  Both films won Makeup & Hair Stylist Guild awards.  Toss up.  I’m picking Star Trek:  Beyond.

Best Original Score

So there’s a musical that’s about to win Best Picture.  What do you think the odds are that its score will also get an Oscar?  Pretty good, I’d say.  BAFTA winner Justin Hurwitz, for La La Land.

Best Original Song

So there’s a musical that’s about to win Best Picture.  What do you think the odds are that . . .

Well, hold on.  Crazy as it may seem, I’m picking against La La Land in this category.  For one thing, the songs just weren’t all that great.  For another, two songs from the film have been nominated—“Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” and “City of Stars.”  The latter has been getting a bit of a push from the studio, but for my money, the former is superior to it.  The point is that I see those two splitting the vote.  And for yet another thing, there’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, nominated for “How Far I’ll Go,” from Moana.  Seems like everything he touches turns to gold.  So I’m going out on a limb here, and picking Miranda to get his EGOT.

Best Documentary Feature

O.J.:  Made in America has won the DGA, PGA, and ACE awards.  I’m picking it to win here, too.

Best Documentary Short

You haven’t seen any of these films.  Neither has anyone else in your Oscar pool.  Don’t sweat it.  I’m picking The White Helmets.  You do what you want.

Best Sound Mixing

War movies (hello, Hacksaw Ridge) do well in this category.  But so do musicals.  The Cinema Audio Society honored La La Land.  It’s my pick here.

Best Sound Editing

La La Land.  See above.

Best Visual Effects

What to do, what to do.  Doctor Strange‘s mind-bending city folding, à la Inception?  Or The Jungle Book‘s photorealistic CGI animals, à la Life of Pi?  Coin flip.  I’m going with The Jungle Book.

Best Short Film (Live Action)

So I’ve managed to see this year’s live action and animated short film nominees.  You might think this would give me an advantage in predicting winners.  Not so much.  If anything, it makes the decision harder, and is no guarantee of accuracy.

Usually, the nominees in these categories are a mixed bag, but this year’s crop is pretty impressive, especially among the live action shorts.  I was genuinely moved by Silent Nights.  Sing (not to be confused with the animated feature of the same name) made me feel like cheering.  Timecode was charming, and featured a hilarious last line.  Ennemis intérieurs was tense and sobering.  Even La Femme et le TGV will bring a smile to your face.

So what to pick?  I have seen that whimsical stuff has fared well in this category in recent years, so I’m going with Palme d’Or winner Timecode.  But I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Silent Nights or Ennemis intérieurs win.

Best Short Film (Animated)

I mentioned earlier that the rule for Animated Feature is Never Pick Against Pixar.  But Pixar has not had anywhere near the same level of success in the Animated Short Film category.  Nevertheless, I’m taking a deep breath and picking Piper for the win here.  Water has been notoriously difficult for 3-D animation, but the sea foam in Piper is startlingly rendered.  The same goes for the animals.  The film also won an Annie.  And it’s friggin’ adorable.

And there you have it.  Best of luck with your own picks.  Enjoy the show!

Current Music: "Hellion"--W.A.S.P.

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown


Nov. 4th, 2016


Petra Released: It’s Everywhere!

If you’re looking for a non-Kindle version of Petra Released, today’s your lucky day!  You can now find it at any of the following outlets:

Apple iBooks
Barnes & Noble

Enjoy!  And if you like it, please leave a review. Heck, leave a review even if you don’t like it.

Current Music: "Ride the Lightning"--Metallica

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Sep. 1st, 2016


Petra Goes Wide!

PETRABookOne-semifinal1Some of you might have been wondering when the ebook edition of Petra might become available epub (i.e., non-Kindle) format.  Wonder no more!

Petra is now available in your most popular ebook outlets, like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and more.  You can even find it in the iTunes store.  And of course, if Kindle’s your thing, we’ve got you covered there, too.

And so I continue to build my nefarious media empire . . .



Current Music: "Stone the Crows"--Down

Aug. 25th, 2016


Join the Scavenger Hunt and Win a Copy of Petra or Petra Released!

Now that all three installments of my Calico in Conversation interview are live, it’s time for a little game . . . and you could win a free ebook copy of either Petra or Petra Released!

See, it’s a scavenger hunt.  All you have to do is correctly answer three questions about the interview, and you will be entered in a drawing for your choice of either ebook.  You only have until August 30th to enter, though, so hurry.

(They’re easy questions, don’t worry.)

And the more people who enter, the more freebies will be available.  See here for details and spread the word.

What are you waiting for?  Click here to get started!

Current Music: "Wild One"--Thin Lizzy

Aug. 4th, 2016


Next Stop on the 2016 Rotundo World Tour: MidAmeriCon II

The 2016 Rotundo World Tour rolls into Kansas City for MidAmeriCon II, aka the 2016 WorldCon.  And kids, let me tell you, I’ll be busy.  Here’s my schedule:

Wednesday, August 17th

2:00 pm — 4:00 pm   Volunteering at the SFWA Table (Convention Center, Dealer’s Room)

Stop by and say hi.

Thursday, August 18th

10:00 am — 12:00 pm   Writing Workshop 1B

All sessions are filled.

1:00 pm — 2:00 pm   As You Know, Bob . . . :  The Fine Art of Exposition (Convention Center, Room 2209)

Exposition is writers giving readers information they need to understand a story. How is it possible to convey the necessary but not at the expense of the enjoyable? We try not to lecture…

3:00 pm —  4:00 pm   Launch Pad (Convention Center, Room 2210)

Launch Pad is an annual event whereby a group of invited writers, editors, and creatives learn about modern science, specifically astronomy, so that they can in turn use it in their work and inspire others. Members who have attended Launch Pad discuss how it has affected their writing and ideas.

Friday, August 19th

10:00 am — 11:00 am   The New Space Opera Golden Age on the Screen (Convention Center, Room 2503B)

There appears to be a resurgence in space opera on the silver screen, including The Force Awakens, Jupiter Ascending, Interstellar, and Guardians of the Galaxy, not to mention new TV shows like Babylon 5, The Expanse, and the forthcoming Old Man’s War. Is this an encouraging sign that public interest and enthusiasm for science and SF is on the rise? Is this resurgence manifesting in literature as well? What more do we want to see?

1:00 pm — 2:00 pm   Why “A Long Time Ago . . . ?” (Convention Center, Room 3501F)

George Lucas set Star Wars in a galaxy far, far away, but also a long time ago.  What is the importance of setting his saga in the distant past?  How would our perceptions of it have been different if it were set in our time in a galaxy far, far away or if it had been set in the future?

4:00 pm — 5:00 pm   50 Years of Star Trek, Part Two:  The Influence (Convention Center, Room 3501H)

Star Trek is fifty years old. It has inspired writers to write, children to become scientists, scientists to become astronauts and fans to write erotica. It has an enormous influence and in this session we take a look at the myriad of ways it has done so for a disparate group of people around the world. 

Saturday, August 20th

11:00 am — 1:00 pm  SFWA Business Meeting (Convention Center, Room 2205)

Open to SFWA members only.

4:00 pm — 5:00 pm  Autographing at the SFWA Table (Convention Center, Dealer’s Room)

I’ll be back at the SFWA table on Saturday to autograph copies of Petra and Petra Released.  Note that due to Missouri law pertaining to non-profits, I can’t sell anything at the SFWA table itself.  But I will have copies of both books, which you are welcome to purchase from me any other time.  If, you know, you’re of a mind.

Sunday, August 21st

12:00 pm — 12:30 pm   Reading (Convention Center, Room 2202)

You know my motto:  come for a treat, stay for a tale!  I always bring treats to my readings.

See what I mean about being busy?  And that’s just during the day.  At night, I’ll be bopping around the parties and such.

Ah, WorldCon.  Can’t wait.  Hope to see you there!

Current Music: "Voodoo Chile"--Jimi Hendrix

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown


Calico in Conversation Interviews Your Humble Servant (Me)

The fabulous Shara White is the brains behind the Calico in Conversation interview series, in which she chats with various authors about . . . well, whatever comes up in conversation. And this month, her featured author is, uh, me.

Part one of the interview is here. Part two will go up on the 9th, with part three following a week later. I’ll update this post with the links when I have them. The interview was conducted over several months, and covers a variety of topics. Of course, there’s plenty of talk about Petra and Petra Released.  But we also discuss lessons one can learn from karaoke, politics in fiction, and even a bit about Harlan Ellison. Because Harlan Ellison, that’s why.

This interview was a lot of work. But a lot of fun, too. So do check it out.

Current Music: "Tears"--Rush

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Jul. 25th, 2016


The Wait Is Over: Petra Released Is Now Available!

Petra Released, the second book of The Prison World Revolt series, is now available here!

The prison world is free. Or is it?

A grieving Kane Pythen, exiled on Petra light years from his family, has found a haven among the inmates he aided in a failed escape attempt. But after a devastating attack on their settlement, he must lead a dangerous foray into Bone Tribe territory, in search of a new home before the impending winter finishes them off.

Worse, the expedition uncovers a plot to seize control of Petra that could kill millions, including Kane and his friends. The shadowy forces in Farside are on the move, too, intent on eliminating all enemies. And in Ported Space, the powerful Petra Compact is hunting for the explosive prisoner records that were smuggled offworld—which have fallen into the hands of Kane’s wife, Tayla . . .

The battle for Petra has just begun. Kane and Tayla must brave merciless enemies and unlikely allies to save themselves and all they believe in.

If you enjoy the book, please consider leaving a review for it where you bought it, or on Goodreads, or on your own blog.

And if you still haven’t read Petra, well, now’s the time to get caught up.

So?  What are you waiting for?

Current Music: "The Fountain of Lamneth"--Rush

Jul. 17th, 2016


Next Stop on the 2016 Rotundo World Tour: Bennington Public Library

The 2016 Rotundo World Tour rolls into Bennington, Nebraska, for an appearance at the Bennington Public Library on July 26th, at 7:00 pm.

By cosmic coincidence, that just happens to be the day after Petra Released drops. Copies of it and Petra will be available for purchase. And if you’d like me to deface your books with my signature, I will be happy to oblige.

Odds are there will be a reading. And some Q & A. And treats.

If you’re local, or if you just happen to be in the area, stop on by!

Cuz, you know, it would be awfully awkward if no one showed up.

Once again, that’s Tuesday, July 26th, at 7:00 pm.

Hope to see you there!

Current Music: "Between the Wheels"--Ruch

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Jul. 16th, 2016


Coming Soon: Petra Released

Ever since the release of Petra last December, people have been asking me when the next book is coming out. I had originally hoped for sometime in April, but everything takes longer than I think it will. But now I’m confident in making this announcement:

Petra Released, the next book in The Prison World Revolt series, will be released on July 25th, 2016. Read on for details. And check out that awesome cover!

The prison world is free. Or is it?

A grieving Kane Pythen, exiled on Petra light years from his family, has found a haven among the inmates he aided in a failed escape attempt. But after a devastating attack on their settlement, he must lead a dangerous foray into Bone Tribe territory, in search of a new home before the impending winter finishes them off.

Worse, the expedition uncovers a plot to seize control of Petra that could kill millions, including Kane and his friends. The shadowy forces in Farside are on the move, too, intent on eliminating all enemies. And in Ported Space, the powerful Petra Compact is hunting for the explosive prisoner records that were smuggled offworld—which have fallen into the hands of Kane’s wife, Tayla . . .

The battle for Petra has just begun. Kane and Tayla must brave merciless enemies and unlikely allies to save themselves and all they believe in.

Look for Petra Released, the second book in The Prison World Revolt series, on July 25th. And tell a friend!


Current Music: "Dance of the Dogs"--Lynch Mob

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

Jul. 2nd, 2016


Petra on Sale! And a Bunch of Other Great Books, Too!

There’s a whole host of science fiction & fantasy ebooks on sale this weekend for 99 cents each.  And Petra is among them!

That’s right, folks, the Kindle edition of Petra is only 99 cents this weekend!  Click on the image below to see all the titles available.

Thanks to the inimitable Patty Jansen for organizing this.  Click through and enjoy!

Current Music: "The River"--Bruce Springsteen

Jun. 28th, 2016


Out of the Darkness

Wow. The blog’s been dark for a couple of months now. That’s a long stretch of time. Let me explain.

No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

I’ve been slowly working toward getting Petra Released ready to unleash on the world, and I’m crap at multitasking.

But I thought a brief post to the effect of “I’m not dead” might be in order. In fact, you can expect a flurry of activity soon. News, like winter, is coming.

In the meantime, hi. Hope you’re well.

Current Music: "Under the Radar"--Joe Bonamassa

Originally published at Matthew S. Rotundo's Pixeltown

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

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