Scavenger Hunt with Matthew S. Rotundo

It’s that time again! Matthew S. Rotundo has graciously agreed to do a Scavenger Hunt! If his interview has piqued your interest in his space opera series, then line right up: I’ll tell you how you can win an e-book of either Petra (book one) or Petra Released (book two).

Unlike the Scavenger Hunts that we did for Maria V. Snyder and J.L. Gribble, I’m re-doing the structure in order to 1) encourage more entries and 2) make it reasonable for the author to provide copies. What does that mean?

If I receive 10 entries or less: ONE winner receives an e-copy of either Petra or Petra Released.

If I receive 20 entries: TWO winners receive their choice of either Petra or Petra Released, e-copy.

If I receive 30 or more entries? I’ll talk to Matthew to see if he’s willing to up the number of winners.😉

So, not only should you ENTER, but it benefits you to signal boost the Scavenger Hunt, because the more people who enter, the more chances you’ll have to win (so long as you provide the right answers, of course).

Ready?

Question #1: (from Taking Off Like a Rocket): Name one convention Matthew has attended this year that’s mentioned in the interview.

Question #2: (from Politics in Fiction): What inspired Matthew to write a science fiction novel that takes place on a prison planet?

Question #3: (from The Heart in Conflict): Besides himself, who does Matthew feel is criminally under-read?

Just click the link below to go to the entry form (at Google Drive) and fill out each question. Each person answering all three questions correctly will be placed on a list for a random drawing.

You have until Tuesday, August 30th to enter, and the winners will be notified by email on Wednesday, August 31st.

One entry per person, no purchase necessary, void where prohibited, all entrants’ information will be deleted once winners have been confirmed, etc. If you’re unsure as to whether or not your entry came through, please comment here to ask.

To enter, please click below and fill out the form. May the odds be ever in your favor!

ENTER: Scavenger Hunt with Matthew S. Rotundo

Music Monday: The Civil Wars’ “Barton Hollow”

So I stumbled on this song quite by accident, but I’ve had it on repeat ever since. See, I use my iPhone’s Bluetooth to play my iTunes music through my Sync system in my car. There are quirks, one of which is if I happen to close out iTunes on my iPhone, then the next time I drive, Sync just picks something somewhat at random. And on Monday, it picked “Barton Hollow” by The Civil Wars.

I almost skipped it in favor of another song/album I’m used to hearing, but then I said, “Eh, why not?”

This song…. it just sticks in your head, and I think what really does it for me is the tension in the harmonies. It probably doesn’t hurt either that I’m rewatching Justified with my husband and my in-laws, and this song just absolutely belongs on that show.

So yes, “Barton Hollow” is a little more folksy, a little more bluegrass than I usually listen to, but oh, it’s an earworm.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Sound off below!

Reminder: Music Monday is about the music, not the videos. Videos are just the medium I’m using to share the music, and some videos aren’t actually videos at all. Enjoy the songs, but if YouTube forces you to watch some sort of advertisement before you can get to the music, please be patient.

Speculative Chic Round Up: Week 3

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ancillary-mercy-by-ann-leckie-500x750Greetings, and welcome to week three of shameless self-promotion! Our third week at Speculative Chic  was SUPER BUSY, with three days in a row with two posts instead of one. Why all the craziness? Well, we wanted to get our Hugo Reading project wrapped up before the rockets were handed out on Saturday night (and to that affect, CONGRATS to N.K. Jemisin for her Best Novel win!), and I have to say, it’s been a joy to see all these different bloggers reviewing in one place! But we did MORE than just book reviews, so let’s break it down:

Monday, as usual, was another round of My Favorite Things. Nancy discussed Star Trek Collectibles, Bingeable Books, Animate Cat Rosebushes and Power Armor with Sherry, Lane, Keyes, and Whitney.

Then on Tuesday, Tez managed to nab all kinds of eyeballs with The Culling: Clearing the Clutter of Unwanted Books. We promise: no books were harmed in the making of this post!

Wednesday brought our very first day of duel posts. First, Betsy sat down to review the Nebula-winning and Hugo-nominated Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Then yours truly introduced the Orphan Black Rewatch, which starts in September. Whether you’re watching for the first time or the twentieth, we’d love to have you aboard!

jim-butcher-aeronauts-windlass-cover-530x800Thursday had Nu reminiscing about the past ten years of her writing career and the events that jump-started her path to publication. Then Sharon came by and explained how Jim Butcher finally helped her see the Steampunk light in her review of The Aeronaut’s Windlass.

Finally, on Friday, we learned from Coach Sherry that too much feedback CAN be a bad thing, and then Janicu wrapped up our Hugo reading project with her review of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy. Spoiler alert: it’s a very satisfying end to an awesome trilogy.

What’s on the agenda next week? My Favorite Things returns, of course, and then we’ll discuss portrayals of teens in the apocalypse, debate the pros and cons of Suicide Squad, talk about why Squirrel Girl should be your new favorite superhero, celebrate the return of Harry Potter, and then, if we’re LUCKY, we might gather around the campfire to whisper about Stranger Things.

Won’t you join us?

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The Heart in Conflict with Matthew S. Rotundo

Signing at VromansWelcome to third and final installment of Calico In Conversation with Matthew S. Rotundo. If you missed Parts One and Two, click below to catch up:

Part One: Taking Off Like a Rocket
Part Two: Politics in Fiction

Editor’s Note: this interview was originally conducted in March through July of 2016.

***

What else do you have noodling around in that brain of yours? Petra Released came out the end of July, and Book #3 is inevitable. Once you’re done with this story arc, what else do you hope to dig into? Other science fiction ideas? Fantasy? Noir?

Oh, you want to be careful about looking into my brain.  :-)  But since you asked . . .

Let’s see. Post-Petra, I have a few other projects that will need my attention. I’ve written an urban fantasy novel that’s first part of another series. I’d like to take a crack at the second book. There’s also a near future post-apocalypse novel that probably needs another rewrite. And then there’s this novelette I wrote, a story I dearly love that is — get this — middle grade fantasy . . . and which might be the start of yet another series.

See what happens when you peek inside my mind? It’s a mess in there. I warned you.

You’re writing science fiction, but it’s clear you’ve got lots of other ideas and genres percolating in that brain of yours. Would you talk about your influences as a writer?

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Music Monday: The Lumineer’s “Stubborn Love”

Last week’s post got me nostalgic, and that got me thinking about another song/video that really punches me right in the gut. By itself, The Lumineer’s “Stubborn Love” is a good song, with a particularly profound lyric, “The opposite of love’s indifference.”

But when I saw the video for this song, and every time I’ve seen the video since, it kills me. Because the story told feels like my story. Yes, the little girl in the video is older than I would’ve been, but this video/song combo taps into my unconscious memory, because I feel like I’ve been here (and based on what my mom has told me about growing up, I have).

This is the rare case where the video really elevates the song into something more. At least for me.

Take a listen:

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Sound off below!

Reminder: Music Monday is about the music, not the videos. Videos are just the medium I’m using to share the music, and some videos aren’t actually videos at all. Enjoy the songs, but if YouTube forces you to watch some sort of advertisement before you can get to the music, please be patient.

Speculative Chic Round Up: Week 2

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Wonder-Woman-Teaser-posterHave you discovered Speculative Chic, yet? We just finished our SECOND full week of posts, and below is what you may have missed:

On Monday, Nancy sat down with Sharon, Casey, and Carey to discuss their Favorite Things: spoiler alert: Lindsey Stirling, Heavy Metal Comedies, and Female Superheroes are involved!

Then Tuesday brought us our second Sound Off! where Nancy, Keyes, J.L. Gribble, Betsy, Whitney, and Sherry all told yours truly what they REALLY thought of Star Trek Beyond. Spoiler alert: comments get controversial!

Wednesday brought us the second book in our Hugo Best Novel examinations with Snow Crash-loving Keyes thoroughly examining Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves. She tells us the good, the bad, and the perplexing. The amazing woman even read the book twice!

On Thursday, our convention-guru Venessa Giunta sat down to explain what conventions are, why you should go, and most importantly, HOW TO SURVIVE. I’m telling you, I wish I had this advice two years ago.

113Last but not least, our Creativity Coach Sherry Peters came back on Friday to talk about the value of having a creative outlet, and how there needs to be no other goal than creativity for creativity’s sake. For someone like me who has to make EVERYTHING competitive, it’s a damn good reminder.

What about next week? NEXT WEEK WILL BE EPIC! It’s the first week we’ll be doubling up: not EVERY day, but at least TWO days: you’ll get one post first thing in the morning, as usual, and then another will go live in the afternoon (assuming you’re on the East Coast, of course). We’re wrapping up our Hugo Best novel reviews with Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass, and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy. We’ll also have our weekly mash-up of favorite things, and a few other treats besides!

So don’t miss out! You can’t guarantee I’ll remember to put up these round-ups EVERY week, so the best way to get every post is follow the blog or subscribe to the feed,and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, where our moderators are doing more than mirroring Spec Chic posts: you’ll find a TON of fun, extra goodies!

And if you’re already there? Be sure to show the love: like what you like, share what you want others to see! And feel free to stay in touch: is there something you’re hoping to see on our ‘zine? Just let us know!

This concludes my weekly, shameless plug for attention. You may now continue about your regularly scheduled activities.

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Culture Consumption: July 2016

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So Happy August! I bring you the belated Culture Consumption for July, but at least this month, I know where the month went: Speculative Chic! So far, so good, but starting a fanzine meant less time for other things, like…oh, I don’t know…READING. I still managed some movies and television though, so let’s take a look at what July had to offer, shall we?

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Politics in Fiction with Matthew S. Rotundo

P1060077Welcome to Part Two of Calico In Conversation with Matthew S. Rotundo. If you missed Part One: Taking Off Like a Rocket, feel free to click here to catch up!

Editor’s Note: this interview was originally conducted in March through July of 2016.

***

Let’s dig into Petra. It was a lot of fun re-reading it after reading the initial draft, what…. nearly ten years ago? I also remember at that time, I was a complete crazy person who read through that sucker TWICE (I don’t do that anymore with novels), so the published version is my third time through, and still, despite remember various details and broad strokes of the story (your ending is specifically memorable), I found it to be an engaging, fast read, and I’m really disappointed there wasn’t more interest when you shopped it around. I mean, I know SF has been a hard sell in the past ten years, but dang. This is one of the most professionally polished self-published books I’ve ever read, and believe me, I’m not saying that because I know you. You mentioned you hired a copy editor and a cover artist. How did you go about finding the right ones for your book?

Wow. Thanks so much for the kind words. Petra is a labor of love, as I’m sure you’ve guessed. In addition to the writing itself, I went to some trouble to teach myself how to format both ebook and print editions of the book. That was an inordinately time-consuming process, but I learned a lot, and am grateful for it.

I do wish the market — i.e., publishers and agents — had shown a bit more interest. Of course, I think it’s brilliant, but then, I would, wouldn’t I? Still, there is a glimmer of a possibility that a traditional publisher might pick it up. In the meantime, though, I’ll just keep plugging along with it.

My copy editor, Tamara Blain of A Closer Look Editing, came recommended to me. She did a sample edit of the opening pages, so we could be sure her style meshed with mine. Did it ever! She really knows her stuff. Beyond that, though, she has a lot of experience with independent publishing, which has been invaluable to me. She pointed out issues I never would have thought of on my own. So a lot of the credit for the polish you admire goes to her.

As for my cover artist, Ryan Malm — he’s my niece’s husband, and a talented graphic artist. It was kind of no-brainer to contact him.

Who knows what the market will bring, and what it will look for? If not Petra and its sequel (sequels?), perhaps something else you write in the future will be published through a traditional house! Then again, maybe you’ll get addicted to being an indy author and eschew the traditional publishing process!

But let’s stop speculating: What advice do you have for authors considering the self-publishing route?

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Music Monday: Lindsey Stirling’s “Something Wild”

After a couple of weeks of possibly obscure, progressive rock, I wanted to do a little something different this week, and the perfect opportunity arose with the release of Lindsey Stirling’s new video for “Something Wild,” which features Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, and is part of of the soundtrack for the 2016 remake of Pete’s Dragon, which I’m still not sure I’m okay with them making, but here we go.

I’ve been listening to this song off and on, as it was part of my pre-order for Stirling’s new album Brave Enough, so I had no idea it was part of Pete’s Dragon until I watched the video. And frankly, this is one of the cases when the song and the video goes pretty well together, and I love the way scenes of the movie are intercut with the story of the video, which features two children diving deep into the world of pretend. I admit, I get a little choked up, but I’m just going to chalk it up to nostalgia and move on.

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Sound off below!

Reminder: Music Monday is about the music, not the videos. Videos are just the medium I’m using to share the music, and some videos aren’t actually videos at all. Enjoy the songs, but if YouTube forces you to watch some sort of advertisement before you can get to the music, please be patient.

Speculative Chic Round Up: Week 1.5

fifth-season_0I don’t intend do to this every week, but it’s been a week and a half since Speculative Chic launched, and I wanted to give you all a chance to see what kind of awesome my contributors have been publishing. So, if you haven’t yet started following Speculative Chic (the best way is subscribing through email/Wordpress), here’s what you may have missed:

Welcome to Speculative Chic

Sound Off! Ghostbusters

My Favorite Things: Soundtrack Love, Fairytale Dectectives, and Awesome Aps

You Can’t Kill The Truth: Re-Reading Mira Grant’s Newsflesh Series Part One: Feed

51OXCIqV26L._SX277_BO1,204,203,200_Broken Earth, Broken Characters: A Review of N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season

Welcome to the Bookstore

Dear Sherry: Scared to Share

As you can see, we’ve already got a lot of content to sift through, and that’s not going to change! Excepting weekends, you can expect to see at least one new post daily, and the content varies from fangirling, commentary, reviews, writing advice, and the inner workings of bookstores. And it varies week to week!

So if you haven’t checked us out yet, please do! Feel free to like posts and comment on those that catch your interest: let Spec Chic’s authors know how much you appreciate their work!

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