Random Friday

So, here’s a summary of the past two weeks! ;) First I went to Bologna, although I spared myself the 477stairs of the Torre degli Asinelli (kudos to Jen for doing them, LOL!). The day started badly with us missing the train, but the rest was fine, in spite of the rainy aftertoon.

Then off to Paris we went, and Sunday was baaad for the rain and everything closed – so we wandered aimlessly and lost some time, but well… Monday and Tuesday were better and we managed to see a few things, included some not really on Jen’s list like the Cluny museum. We also spent a lot of time waiting in line – to go up the towers of Notre Dame (again, only Jen, I waited downstairs), to go down the Paris catacombs or again up the Eiffel Tower (2nd floor only since the third was too crowded and it meant more waiting in line to get there).

Then the good French food was gone and I flew on the other side of the pond… Watching movies on the plane and in Long Island, and then off again to Portland and Lincoln City. I won’t elaborate much on that workshop, but my answers to that first question “What kind of writer do you want to be” might change slightly as soon as I elaborate on all the stuff I’ve learned during that week. I also managed to write the fourth part of Kilig&Hakeem, the new ending, some 10k started in Paris and finished in Lincoln City in approximately a week.

On the way back on that endless Delta flight (left one hour late from JFK and arrived one hour and a half late at the gate in FCO…) I didn’t manage to sleep much, so I watched two more Bollymovies, Dedh Ishqiya and Satyagraha. The first was action-comedy, the second drama, so not many dance items in either. But there is one dance scene of Madhouri Dixit in Deh Ishqiya – and I love her dancing almost more than Hrithik’s. I mean, since I’m a woman, I’d love to dance like her! ;) Ah, well, maybe in my next life – no, wait, I’ll be a man in my next life! Damn! :D

That’s all for now. Will be at Lucca Comics and Games today and tomorrow, and will resume normal programming on this blog next week… Have a wonderful weekend!

Writer Wednesday

My name is Brenda de Zorig and I’m a journalist for the Konigtown Gazette. I’ve been on the road for years as an actress in an itinerant company, but eventually decided to go back to my hometown to start living of the thing I like the most – writing. So while I write my Masterpiece, I took this job at the Gazette and they send me on various assignments… I thought I might as well starting interviewing random people. Since I intend to write fiction, but truth is always stranger than fiction, I’m eager to hear about people out there – on my world or beyond.

So, here we are again with women in breeches! Hello there. Tell me a little about yourself.

1-katelinaMy name is Katelina Mauldin and I’m almost twenty-six. I guess the most interesting thing about me isn’t really me, but the company I keep. I’m dating a vampire. There. I said it. Jorick is a vampire, but he’s not a run of the mill, sparkles in the sunlight, only eats animals and cries to himself kind of vampire. I’m pretty sure he feeds on people when I’m not looking, and he’d much rather crush an enemy’s skull than cry about anything.

Interesting. I don’t think we have such creaturs on my world. Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

I think I’m pretty plain. Jorick disagrees.

Men! *snorts* Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

I’ve had a lot. Right now it’s Malick, a really old vampire who’s bored with the world and decided to shake things up by killing everyone. He’s the vampire who turned Jorick, so I think Jorick feels responsible, almost like it’s his father running amuck. That’s why we’re trying to stop him instead of letting the vampire governments do it.

Oh, wow. That’s a challenge! Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

I actually have killed vampires before, and there have been a couple of times I thought I might die, so yes, I would. And Jorick would do the same for me.

You found one of those? *chukles* Lucky woman! Where do you live?

I lived my whole life in a small town in Ohio until I met Jorick. I was living with him in Maine until we had to go to the vampire Guild…Right now we’re in Europe, chasing after Malick and his henchmen, but hopefully we’re going to go home soon!

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

That would be Jorick. What do I like about him? You mean besides the fact that he’s gorgeous and immortal? Seriously though, he seems kind of grumpy sometimes, but really he’s sweet, sensitive, and caring. He always makes sure I have food, or heat, or all the things that I need that he hasn’t had to think about for over five hundred years. Remembering that stuff can’t be easy, but he tries. Men who put that kind of effort out are hard to find.

Indeed. I already said you’re a lucky woman – I wish I could find one of those! What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Dealing with all the horrible stuff my author throws at us. Blood thirsty vampires, allies who betray us, the whole overbearing vampire government and their elite police… it’s crazy!

Ah, a familiar term: “police”! We also have that! My friend Thea works for the town police! Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

My father died when I was little, so it’s just been me and my mother. Lately though, I think she’s taken up with Brad, who is half her age. He used to date one of my friends. The whole thing is crazy, and I’ve tried to tell her, but she isn’t listening. I know it’s going to be a disaster in the end.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I used to own over forty colors of nail polish. Then crazy vampires trashed my apartment, and now I have about twenty-five left. Oddly enough they’re in Maine at Jorick’s house, so I still can’t use them.

What 2 or 3 questions do you wish I’d asked and what are your answers to them?

If your boyfriend is a vampire, are you planning to be turned?

Yes. Eventually. When the time is right, and things are prepared and all that…okay, I’m kind of hesitant about it. Not because I don’t want to be with Jorick just… well, it’s a huge commitment, you know? Once you’re immortal, you’re immortal. No Takies Backsies, as they say.

Before you met Jorick, did you believe in vampires?

Ha! No! Who would believe in vampires? They seem like silly Hollywood stuff that Halloween movies are made of. And then – boom – I discovered the truth and my belief that the world was a safe, sensible place was destroyed.

Do you ever regret having that perception destroyed?

Sometimes. But having it intact would mean that I had never met Jorick, and I’d rather face the nightmares then be without him.

Thank you, Katelina! Oh, we seem to have an old wizard on this side… Hello. Tell me a little about yourself.

19 - malickYou can call me Malick. As to my age… Let’s say I walked the earth before the so-called Christ was born.

Don’t know who that is, but you look like an old wizard to me… Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

I would hope to say fatherly, but perhaps it’s sinister.

What is your role in the story?

Ah! What is anyone’s role in the story of life? Can an existence be summed up with a single label? Some might call me a villain, others a monster, and still others a god. I will take whatever title they wish to lay at my feet and do my best not to disappoint their expectations.

What is your relationship with the protagonist(s)?

Katelina? She was an insignificant mortal, no different from any of the countless millions that swarm this planet, until my son Jorick chose her as a mate. Her presence at his side is what led to her meeting Samael in the cave and… well… we don’t want to give too much away, do we? Let’s suffice to say that I find her a useful tool when necessary.

Where do you live(world/town/whatever)?

You may call it my oasis, where my faithful gather in the desert.

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

Are not all interactions with other sentient being relationships? If so I am in many, I even have a relationship with you, my interviewer, no matter how brief and distant. But then, does that not sum up all relationships? No matter how important one thinks they are, in the end they truly only brief, distant things, where the other participant is only allowed as close as we wish them to be. Unless, of course, one of the participants is like me. I can open your mind like an egg and read everything that you want to keep hidden, if I choose to.

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

That would be my son, Jorick. He has become misguided, and I have faith that I may yet lure him back to my side. There are those who believe I should let him go, but I admit I find that difficult. He has always been my favorite.

Do you have a moral code?

What are morals but convictions of convenience? Do not morals change as the centuries pass and societies evolve? Should not our own morals change as we, too, evolve?

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

The master who turned me long ago resembled a child, and at one time we passed ourselves off as father and son, an amusing twist of the truth. However, I do not know what ever became of him.

What 2 or 3 questions do you wish I’d asked and what are your answers to them?

Are you really trying to kill everyone?

Ah! Yes, the human child told you that, didn’t she? From her feeble point of view I suppose it would seem that way to her. What she fails to realize is that in order to wish everyone’s destruction I would have to care about everyone, and I simply do not. Whether they live or die means nothing to me.

Then what is your ultimate goal?

Ha ha! Do I have one? Or do I have many little goals that will all coalesce into something interesting?

halloween sale

Book(s) in which the character appears and links

The Amaranthine series including Shades of Gray, Legacy of Ghosts, Ties of Blood, Ashes of Deceit, Heart of the Raven, Children of Shadows

(these links are to the website pages since it has all the buy links on them)

Sog – http://www.joleenenaylor.com/books/sog.php

Log – http://www.joleenenaylor.com/books/log.php

Tob – http://www.joleenenaylor.com/books/tob.php

Aod – http://www.joleenenaylor.com/books/aod.php

Hor – http://www.joleenenaylor.com/books/hor.php

Cos – http://www.joleenenaylor.com/books/cos.php

joleene naylor 2Author bio & social media/website, etc.

Joleene Naylor is the author of the glitter-less Amaranthine series, a world where vampires aren’t for children. As a compliment to the novel series, she has also written several short stories, including the Vampire Morsels collection, and has plans for an Amaranthine Encyclopedia.

In her spare time, Joleene is a freelance book cover designer and for-fun photographer. She maintains several blogs full of odd ramblings, and occasionally updates her website at JoleeneNaylor.com. She and her husband live in Villisca, Iowa near the famous – and reportedly haunted – “axe murder” house. Though she enjoys the paranormal, she refuses to invite the ghosts for a visit. Between the cats, dogs, and turtles, her house is full enough.

author blog: http://joleenenaylor.wordpress.com/

FB author page: https://www.facebook.com/joleenenaylorbooks

twitter http://twitter.com/joleene_naylor

website- http://JoleeneNaylor.com

good reads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3165393.Joleene_Naylor

facebook profile – http://facebook.com/joleene.naylor

about.me – http://about.me/joleenenaylor


Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! He’s author of the month over at the Smashwords Authors group on Goodreads, and unfortunately his time is almost up, but well… ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Roger Jackson!

gatheringWhere do you live and write from?

I live in a suburb of Nashville, TN.  I have a home office where I do my writing, on a pretty white desk with a natural wood top that I bought off Craigslist for $50.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

When did you start writing?

I started writing when I was a teenager.  I wrote several Sci-Fi short stories that never got published, although not from trying.  I started with a small electric typewriter and mailed out lots of paper to Amazing Stories, Isaac Amimov’s SF Magazine, and all the other great magazines of the time.  Then I graduated to a PC with a real word processor.  It was amazing. 

I got to the point where other aspects of life took over and I gave up writing for several years.  I didn’t miss it and I was never upset that I hadn’t made it as a writer.  Then one day, an idea came to me.  I didn’t think of it as a book idea, it was just a daydream kind of idea.  A plot developed and characters gained personalities.  I turned it over and over in my mind until I decided that the idea had possibilities.  I sat down at my computer and typed out a few lines.  I did a few lines for a couple of more weekends. 

All of a sudden, the story came flooding out of me and I couldn’t stop writing it.  I became obsessed.  When I finished, I was amazed at what I had done.  Now I have three full novels and I’m working on a fourth.

What genre(s) do you write?

I don’t know that I write within a well defined genre.  At first, I classified it as young adult.  Some people agreed.  Other people, including some agents, said, no, this isn’t young adult.  They are more for an older audience.  So I decided that maybe I’m good at writing crossovers. 

I like writing emotionally charged, character driven stories.  I love to develop relationships and interactions.  One of my books, A Shade of Mind, (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords) is a dark romance with a hint of the paranormal.  My other two books, A Gathering of Lions and Lambs and A Reckoning of Lions and Lambs, (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords) are apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic.  All of them have a present day setting and a realistic nature. 

reckoningWhere do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

I get my inspiration from many different sources: the people around me, news stories, dreams, nature.  All these different inputs get mixed up in my brain and sometimes a legible idea pops out. 

I don’t intentionally put myself into my stories, but I suspect there are elements of me buried in there somewhere.  I use characteristics of people that I know.  My wife and daughters have recognized a couple of people in my characters.

Do you have a specific writing routine?

I have no routine.  My life won’t allow that.  I have a day job, a wife I love to spend time with, one daughter who lives away but we visit sometimes, another daughter who just started college, two dogs, a house and a yard.  Unfortunately, I’m not one of these people who can get by on three hours of sleep at night.  I like a full eight.  I write when I can, and write as much as I can in one sitting.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I’m definitely an improviser.  Sometimes new characters develop as I’m writing.  I had one that was going to be in a couple of chapters, but ended up being a major player.  The story and characters evolve as I write.

I’m not a prolific writer.  I can’t put out three books a year.  I’m good if I can get one out a year.  But once I get in the groove, I can output a lot of pages in a short time.

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)

My latest book to get published is called A Reckoning of Lions and Lambs, Book 2 of the Lions and Lambs Saga (Amazon, B&N, Smashwords).  I mentioned this in a question above.  The story is present day.  A plague (a cousin of Ebola) becomes airborne and it is deadly.  There is no cure.  The main character, Jacob Trimble, witnesses the death of everyone he knows and expects to follow them in death soon afterward.  But he recovers from the virus and he lives.  The story revolves around his ability to survive after his world comes to an end.  He finds leadership qualities within himself that he didn’t know were there, but his decision to lead comes with a heavy price. 

shadeIndie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Indie publishing.  I looked at getting an agent and going traditional publishing, but I knew how difficult it was to do that with little or no previous recognition.  I also knew that first time writers do not receive a favorable deal most of the time because of that.  That’s not good or bad; that’s just the business.

I liked the idea of being in total control of my work.  Self publishing is easy, but the marketing is hard work – but it is rewarding work.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I am currently working on Book 3 of the Lions and Lambs Saga.  It will be entitled A War of Lions and Lambs.  I also have an idea for a more realistic version of vampires.  My idea involves the homeless man that is living in the main character’s basement is a vampire.  In my world, vampires are not undead super-human beings.  They are a different species that live on blood.  I like the idea so far and it is beginning to flesh out.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

I love writing.  It is an artistic expression.  My short term goal is to write books that I like, and also ones that other people will enjoy.  I believe I’ve done that.  My long term goal is to have my work discovered an enjoyed by a large number of people.  I’m working on that.

Thank you for this chance to talk about something that is dear to me.  I appreciate you doing this for me and all the writers in the world.


Where to find Roger Jackson




Author Central


A reckoning of lions and lambs on Amazon for the Kindle, Barnes & Noble for the Nook, and Smashwords.

A gathering of lions and lambs on Amazon for the Kindle, Barnes & Noble for the Nook, and Smashwords.

A shade of mind on Amazon for the Kindle, Barnes & Noble for the Nook, Apple iBooks (through iTunes), Sony eReader, Kobo, and Smashwords.


Random Friday

Still in Lincoln City with borrowed laptop under a pouring rain, so this will be short. Let’s make it movie Friday! ;) On the plane (Rome-New York), I watched Dhoom 3. Loved the Chicago sights (you might remember I was at Chicon when they were shooting it), still not too fond of Aamir, but was glad to have Jai&Ali back in action. If it weren’t spoiler, I’d say which Hollywood movie they got the idea from! ;) I also re-watched Chennai Express, since it’s such a long flight. Didn’t watch anything on the New York-Portland, since they gave me no earplugs (and I hate those things anyway, they keep falling out of my ears…).

I got to see Bang Bang in Long Island and I enjoyed it. I was offered the DVD but it had no English subtitles, so I said “No thank you” – I’ll wait for the official version. I also got myself some DVDs and a couple of soundtracks, so I might talk about those when I get back as I get through them. Bang Bang… is just fine. Action and romance and dance items – even Jen was much happier with this one (and she recognized more Hollywood movies it was inspired from than me, since I’m not really an action movies geek)! ;)

Now today John Wick comes out. I hope to see it either in Lincoln City or Portland, but if I can’t for lack of time, well… the DVD is mine as usual. It isn’t announced for an Italian release yet, so I might as well just get the DVD (along with Bang Bang) sometimes in January, like I did for Krrish3 and Man of Tai Chi last year! ;) It’s good to have two muses, especially when they have movies out at the same time, LOL!

But I should really get away from this third world country that never shows their movies in theaters… :( It’s tough when your friends tell you “But he hasn’t done anything in years!” – he has, but it didn’t come out in Italy (last movies to come out in Italy for Keanu were The Day the Earth Stood Still and then 47 Ronin – Hrithik never made it to the Italian screens, only Shah Rukh Khan with My Name is Khan).

Enough movies rambling! Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday

Currently in Oregon for a workshop I can’t say much about yet – stay tuned, next week I’ll tell you everything – and not really eager to publish something new, although I do have something. Well, it’s the third version of an already published short story, but since I don’t have the cover yet, it will have to wait. Nobody offered guest posts or character interviews, so I’m improvising from the lovely location I’m at – the Historic Anchor Inn of Lincoln City.

Writing-wise, I’m currently adding a part 4 to Kilig and Hakeem’s story, even if I already got the Assassins’ Guild edits back from the editor. But I can’t look at them on this tiny screen, so I’ll just keep writing and then send it out to betas and then to her. So the final book is actually going to be longer than expected. Not bad for what was supposed to be a one-shot novella.

Anyhow, first night homework was “What kind of writer do I want to be” and I think now is a good time to think about it. I’m a storyteller and I’ll keep writing stories until the day I die, and that’s for sure. But I’d also love to share those stories with the world – find my 5000 true fans (if you go back to the beginning of this blog, you’ll see what I mean) and live off my royalties, doing the thing I love doing the most: writing (with some drawing on the side, LOL)!

I’m productive, so I can start a Patreon campaign soon. How soon, depends on how long it takes me to make decisions and schedule my writing so that I can compensate whoever decides to support me. I’m also thinking of giving away a short story or a novella to newsletter subscribers – something that will never be published online, so the only way to read it is by subscribing to the newsletter.

If the recession in Italy rids me of the DayJob, I’ll start doing formatting for other authors or write that “Indie Author” guide in Italian (and English for non-Americans). Apparently non-fiction sells better and e-books are forever and can be updated at any time, so… yeah, I might do that. After I finish writing the fiction pieces I want to write this year (at the moment: finish Assassins Guild story, write Star Minds Next Generation book 2 and if there’s time, rewrite an old story that matches my Amazon novella that I translated last year but haven’t published yet because they go parallel and I don’t want to rewrite one when I finish the other). And I might dig into cover art and graphics as well.

But until then, I’ll just keep writing and publishing to the usual places. This month I’m taking a break, but next month I’ll be back with more titles, so stay tuned. Now off to writing some more (if I read, I’ll fall asleep, LOL!). Have a great week!

Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

d40388e226a77c7ce70c8ceee77644540f223979_resizeDid you support her Thunderclap? Yes? No? Well, she’s back anyway. She was already in Wyrd Worlds, but she’s also in Wyrd Worlds 2. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back A.L. Butcher!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Bristol, in the South West of the UK. It’s an historic city, John Cabot sailed from Bristol to America, Isambard Kingdom Brunel built bridges and railways here, and there has been a settlement in these parts since the Stone Age.  

When did you start writing?

At school, same as everyone else…. Seriously though I assume you mean storytelling? I was always an imaginative child, I was the one writing the poem/short story for the school display or off somewhere in my own head. I’ve written poetry for as long as I can remember and stories almost as long. OK, a fair few were best not mentioned, but a fair few were worthy of note, even at school. This progressed to writing fan fic for Phantom of the Opera and adventures for games.  Then onto novels and short stories.  I think either you are a story teller or you aren’t. Learning the technical ins and outs – now that is another matter. An author can always learn something new.
What genre(s) do you write?

Fantasy, fantasy romance and erotica. I’ve mentioned the poetry and I occasionally dip into horror.

LBTS Book IWhere do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

Everywhere. Books I’ve read, films I’ve seen, nature, people, other stories I’ve written. I think every writer puts him or herself into his or her own books, certainly fiction writers do.  If you mean do I cast myself? Not on purpose.

Do you have a specific writing routine?

No. I have lots of folders of notes and half-ideas. I am far too chaotic for routine;)

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

See number 5. I have vague outlines but they are just that – vague. I’ve tried to plan but they end up changing so now I just have notes and ideas, which work, or don’t. I do have someone I discuss ideas with and she tells me if they are stupid.  I work full time so I only get to write in the evenings and weekends, assuming I am not too tired. If I am good and motivated I can usually write a short story in an afternoon but a novel – that is a totally different matter. It usually takes me about a year or more to write a novel. Is that  fast or slow?

Book 2 EbookTell us about your latest book

Wyrd Worlds II. It is an anthology produced by a collaboration of science fiction and fantasy authors from the Smashwords author group on Good Reads. As the name suggests it is the second we have done, and it is a lot of fun. It is free – which is a good way of spreading our names. Hopefully someone will read the book and decide to check out the authors’ other works. At least that is the plan.

What else? Now let me see. Also fairly recently Spectacular Tales with the Indie Collaboration – another free science fiction and fantasy collection offered for free.

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends – audio book. – Tales of Erana is a collection of mythic style tales set in the world of my novels. The e-book was released a while ago but the audio book is new. It is great hearing such tales read like fireside wisdom and storytelling.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Indie. I like the freedom it brings. The deadlines and control of the book are mine. My books are generally a little outside mainstream as the novels contain a degree of erotica. Indie publishing allows for the more varied and outside mainstream books to be published.  Of course there are downsides.

a lady in a medieval gown sitting on a stone and reading a bookAny other projects in the pipeline?

Book III of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles is in progress, plus several short stories. There will be an erotica collection with a fellow author later in the year as well, we hope.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

Finishing my series, and hopefully publishing a few more novels. I’d like be able to live from the writing, but for indies that is rare. What am I doing? I keep writing, Book III will be out soonish and I am planning book IV.  I’d like to produce a roleplay game system for the world as well. That won’t be until most of the series is done, and I need to find an artist for that.  I try and promote regularly, but that too has its pitfalls. The line between promotion and over-promotion is a thin one indeed. Networking has provided some great contacts and opportunities so, with luck, that will reap rewards.


The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series – an adult fantasy/fantasy romance series, with a touch of erotica.

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I

In a dark world where magic is illegal and elves are enslaved a young elven sorceress runs for her life from the house of her evil Keeper. Pursued by his men and the corrupt Order of Witch-Hunters she must find sanctuary. As the slavers roll across the lands stealing elves from what remains of their ancestral home the Witch-Hunters turn a blind eye to the tragedy and a story of power, love and a terrible revenge unfolds.

Available as an e-book in all the Amazon stores, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony and the Smashwords associate stores.

Also available as a paperback and Large Print on Createspace, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Shining Citadel – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles –Book II

Who rules in this game of intrigue where magic is forbidden and elves enslaved? Journey where beliefs shatter like glass, truth is unwelcome and monsters from ancient times abound: share the romance and revenge, magic and passion, and the wages of greed in a world of darkest fantasy.

Available as an e-book in all the Amazon Stores, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony and the Smashwords associate stores.

Available as a paperback on Amazon, Createspace and Barnes and Noble.

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends






Audio Book





erana banner

Wyrd Worlds II




The Indie Collaboration Presents: Tales from Darker Places



chronicles bannerAuthor Bio:

A. L. Butcher is the British author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series and several short stories in the fantasy and fantasy romance genre.  She is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet and a dreamer. When she is grounded in the real world she likes science, natural history, history and monkeys. Her work has been described as ‘dark and gritty’

Blog: http://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430414.A_L_Butcher



Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarkFantasyBeyondTheStorm


Random Friday

This piece was submitted to an anthology of rejections and it was, well, rejected (with a very nice rejection letter). I thought I’d share the story with you anyway – just to fill in a random Friday! :)


by Barbara G.Tarn

This is an old story, mostly from last century. There was this Italian girl who was uprooted from French-speaking countries, where she was doing just fine, to go back to her hometown. From an international setting to Europe’s most provincial capital, Rome. She hated it. And locked in. And started writing stories, where she had boyfriends, plenty of friends and lots of adventures while in real life she was painfully shy and definitely an introvert.

She wrote and wrote, dozens of notebooks throughout high school and beyond. She even took a typing course, and started typing with ten fingers on electric typewriters. You guessed it – that was me. I wrote and dreamed to be published. I did a couple of contests, but either I didn’t win or it was vanity presses asking money to have you in the anthology. Glad I didn’t have any money and my mom was savvy enough not to give it to me! We even watched together a TV show that had a vanity publisher vs. a real publisher, and they said “A real publisher will not ask for money, he will pay you” – which was what I always thought.

The 1990s came (and the PC with a black&white screen, since I used it only as word processor) and I realized that if I wanted to be published, I needed to submit. Doh. I know, too locked in to realize the most obvious thing to do. No publisher could know I was writing hundreds of great stories if I didn’t query, right?

So I sent a manuscript to a medium publisher of genre fiction that screamed “amateurish” since I had put my cover on it. Yikes. I didn’t know the rules, so I broke them. I thought to impress them with my drawing skills, and probably failed completely. The manuscript was sent back to me with a short letter saying they didn’t accept unagented submissions. What? Agents?

It was the dawn of the internet, so with some research, I found a literary agent. They kindly replied that they didn’t take on new writers. What the…? Publishers didn’t want unagented submissions and agents didn’t take on new writers? I was bummed. But I kept writing.

I started writing gay fiction and submitted to a small GLBT publisher. I received a nice long rejection letter that basically said “Your characters have no past and no future. You’re not literary enough. Why don’t you try to write for TV?” I tried with another work, and the second rejection was blunter “We didn’t like your novel, thank you.” Oh, well.

But the lightbulb of an idea switched on at the mention of writing for TV. You see, I have a visual imagination. I write down the little movies playing in my head. My first stories were often episodic like TV shows. I stopped watching TV in the early 1990s, but I still watched and loved movies. Hollywood movies.

So I decided to start writing in English. It was the beginning of the new millennium, internet was available and finding screenplays and how to write them online not an impossible feat. Since the prose is simpler and English is a second (or third) language for me, I decided to start from there.

In the meantime, I attended book fairs and comicons in Italy and France, talking to publishers both of books and comics, trying to find the perfect match. Before submitting, I always made sure to buy at least one book from the publisher to see what kind of stories they liked – which means I read a lot of crap, mostly from new authors. I didn’t find anything worthy, but discovered a couple more vanity publishers in the process… and I turned down their offer.

A few more rejections and fruitless trips to LA later, I was thinking of querying traditional publishers again. My English had improved, I had an English-speaking writers group and felt confident enough to go back to my first love, prose. Writing screenplays wasn’t as satisfying, since there were too many rules and it was almost impossible for a foreigner to break into Hollywood. Which, by the way, would mean spending my life rewriting other people screenplays, not writing my own stuff. Not exactly what I had in mind.

I translated a fantasy novel into English. I checked guidelines and wordcounts, and started rewriting. I was stuck in rewriting hell, though, and I never reached the “minimum wordcount” required in traditional publishing. But I did write one query letter for DAW books.

I never sent it. E-books and the indie publishing revolution happened. I’ve published my first e-books in 2011, including that novel. I stopped trying to fit into a mold. I’ve published almost seventy titles, in two languages, long or short, drawn or written. I was always prolific – another no-no for traditional publishers – and even if I’m using a couple more pseudonyms, I have one main pen name.

I might never reach 100,000 words for a novel, but I write what I want to read and have fun doing it. I have my own voice, untouched by years of no feedback except a couple of friends who helped me tame my fantasies and checked for plot holes. Eventually, I did go to creative writing courses and learned about points of view and other “rules”, but I basically stick to what I know.

I sometimes get discouraged by the time wasted in the publishing stuff – formatting, mostly – since I’d rather be off writing. But now I can draw my own covers (and got better at it) or hire an artist and nobody will care. I am in control of my writing and my career.

Because I’ve heard that publishing a short story in a magazine might be “free marketing”, I submitted a couple of shorts to SFF mags who accepted e-mail submissions. I collected a couple of rejections and went on to publish the shorts in my anthology (they were related to my science fantasy series). I might try to send more in the future, just in case. I can wait the time it takes those editors to accept or reject my stories before I publish them myself.

I have now published two million words of fiction, and I’m not counting the blog posts, or the comics and graphic novels. I enjoy being part of the indie revolution. I know my readers will find me in the sea of new books. It’s a slow climb, but I won’t have to deal with rejections from the gatekeepers anymore!

Writer Wednesday

My name is Brenda de Zorig and I’m a journalist for the Konigtown Gazette. I’ve been on the road for years as an actress in an itinerant company, but eventually decided to go back to my hometown to start living of the thing I like the most – writing. So while I write my Masterpiece, I took this job at the Gazette and they send me on various assignments… I thought I might as well starting interviewing random people. Since I intend to write fiction, but truth is always stranger than fiction, I’m eager to hear about people out there – on my world or beyond.

EarthCoverSo, erm… hello. Tell me a little about yourself.

I’m Samantha and I come from another world. We can all do some kind of magic, and we usually are born twins. My twin’s name is Sonia, and we’re twenty-three. Of course we’ve been twenty-three forever, and we’re not really looking for our Prince Charming. I mean, not even my friend Jessica, who doesn’t have a twin, or my elder sisters Veruska and Vanessa who are twenty-five…

Whoa, slow down! Lots of names that make no sense here! Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

*glares for the interruption* A brunette with blue eyes, what else? Don’t you have eyes?

*rolls eyes* Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

No, I don’t, or I wouldn’t be bored and spend my time watching other worlds such as yours!

Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

Honey, we don’t die on Silvery Earth. So your question makes no sense whatsoever.

Wait, my world is called Silvery Earth and we’re not immortals!

That’s because you were created by that silly Italian writer. That’s the NEW Silvery Earth. I’m from the original Silvery Earth. It might have been created by a child with a wild imagination and an overdramatic story sense, but it’s not just for kids anymore.

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

No, I told you, I don’t believe in Prince Charming. Although if I ever find a Desi vampire… I might think about it! But only if he looks like… well, I’m not saying. Just in case. Careful what you wish for, it might happen and you might not like it! Ask Marian, if you don’t believe me!

Who’s Marian? *shrugs* Never mind… What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

I don’t have challenges. I’m the deus ex machina! I’m the one who switches bodies at will, so it’s my “victims” who have challenges to overcome! So ask that to Johnny&Marian, Ciaran&Harith or Pat&Babs!

*sighs* This is getting worse every minute… Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

Mmm… never been in love and probably never will. All powerful in my world and all the others… why am I still talking to you anyway? You’re boring. You fell in love with a portrait!

*glares* I didn’t!

You did! Yes, Kevan de Sire is gorgeous, but he’ll never look at you!

PODAnd I don’t expect him to! Damn! Are you a witch of what?

A witch, a fortune teller, a faery in human form… that’s how they’ve called me so far.

So you read the future?

Unfortunately, no. That would be fun.

*snorts* Trying to change it, mostly?

*grins* That would be really fun… but not going to happen, unfortunately. Are we done yet? I’ve got things to do!

Like what, switching bodies?

Nah, I promised three would be enough. So I’ll have to find another pastime. Maybe I’ll go looking for that Desi vampire after all. On Earth. Ever heard of Earth? No? Thought so…


Brenda de Zorig is one of the protagonists of Books of the Immortals – Earth. Samantha the Witch is the one to blame for the three body switches – Johnny&Marian, Ciaran&Harith and Pat&Babs. And she might eventually meet a Desi vampire.


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