All posts by Barb
Posted by Barb on 09/12/2013
Please WordPress, stop making silly useless changes to my dashboard, thank you.
Ahem – total randomness! Larry Elmore, one of my favorite fantasy illustrators (I own a pencil drawing by him, yay!) is having another kickstarter project: the sequel to his comic SnarfQuest. I’ve re-read the old one (B&W and very 1980s, especially in the girls’ hairdos! And I have a signed copy that I bought at Lucca Comics in 2003!), but the broken English is too hard on me, so I’ll pass. If you like comics and fantasy, you might want to try this full color version – I don’t think you’ll miss the first part! To back this project go to Kickstarter! I’ll just keep waiting for the results of the previous project that I backed up last year – the books are shipping, but I assume I won’t see anything until January…
26 questions people from India are sick of answering. Someday I’ll have to come up with something similar for Italians, although, since I don’t look Italian, I don’t get many questions, haha (I hate the sun and the seaside, can’t sing “O Sole Mio” and have never seen a mandolin in my life – oh, and Rome is not like in Roman Holidays anymore, that was, like, half a century ago! We’re very behind, but not that much!). Anyway, I’ll never be able to do a post like that – with all those Bollywood stars “involved” (hello, Hrithik, hope you are back from your medical check up and everything is fine! ;)). I can’t name all the movies because there is a little too much of Kajol (not my favorite lady, LOL)! And don’t worry, my Indian friends, the sari my mom brought me from her trip to Ladakh and Kashmir stays in the wardrobe!
Last day of the Fair of Medium and Small publishers here today, will tell you more about it all soon… And here’s a summary of yours truly (I don’t have anymore panels today anyway, and even the ones I saw in the past 3 days ended up being totally uninteresting) – you can probably add me with my sword looking for blood. I want to move out of this stupid country. Argh.
Back to uploading titles… Kobo is slooooooooooooooooooooow in converting and Apple is already backlogged – that’s why you can’t find Star Minds Snippets on Apple yet – yes, they’re that backlogged. I uploaded it Nov.22, amd it’s still pending review. What will happen to the titles uploaded later? 10-15 weeks to review means you’ll see them after the Holidays… so you i-Something owners better get the e-pub from somewhere else and stop trusting your Mighty Mac so much! And no, I’m not going direct to the i-bookstore, sorry! Have a great Sunday!
Posted by Barb on 08/12/2013
And it’s the week of mentioning Viv! Her post reminded me of that ad I saw in the London cinema before Krrish3 that made the hairs on my arms rise and made me wince. I can’t even remember the company, but it’s Kevin Bacon advertizing a “family” service – a family of 4 sitting at a table and toying with tablets or smartphones and communicating through chat or FACEBOOK MESSAGES! Is this the 21st century family? Gee, I’m glad I don’t have one!
Technology is killing relationships everywhere and the fact that it’s so fast, makes everyone go crazy – they have to run and be constantly connected and… Gee, I’m breathless only thinking about it. It was only 15 years ago that we didn’t have cell phones and internet and were used to a much slower pacing. I go to work by bus, but I’m the only adult (along with foreigners who are either tourists or don’t own a car). Everybody else has their car glued to their bottom and can’t take the time for a train ride or a flight to visit another town.
This world is screwed up. Stop the world, I wanna get off – like Extreme used to sing in the 1990s. And it got much much worse since. People are afraid of loneliness, of being bored. Personally, I get bored at watching them play with their technological toys. My brother posted this on Facebook, saying he was a little worried.
I told him “Don’t worry, I don’t let Dear Nephew to go to Amazon” – he only goes to PBS Kids, he probably haven’t figured out what a web browser is, but he’ll be 9 next month, so I’m sure he will! And I’m always in the room with him (mostly because sometimes he demands translations, to which I reply “If you say please, I’ll translate, honey” “Please, Auntie, what are they saying?” “That’s better!”). But that’s why my mom doesn’t want internet, she’s afraid her grandson might go to unsuitable sites and her husband catch all the viruses available online, LOL!
So, slow down, and listen to yourself. Like Viv says,
Once in a while, take off the gloves, take off whatever it is that stops you truly connecting with life and other people. Touch life and let life touch you.
Christmas is fast approaching, time to reconnect with yourself first, if you want to have a wonderful Holiday Season. Have a great weekend!
Posted by Barb on 06/12/2013
Snow started falling on the blog last Sunday (courtesy of WordPress as usual, and until Jan.4), so I changed the theme like every December. The snow on white background is annoying, on pink background it’s… festive! But then I noticed some widgets were missing from the sidebar, so I turned it off and put back the old theme. So you had only 3 days of snow on this blog, sorry…
You had NaNoWriMo, I had the month of writing in Italian, so here’s how it went. On Nov.30 I wrapped Mind Link, so I’m left only with Slave Traders to translate (and the Snippets, but they will come out next year). I’ve “wasted” a week writing in English, but since the response of the beta-readers to that almost-12K story was overwhelmingly positive, I’m happy to fall behind with the Italian ones – although it means I’ll have to keep reading in Italian for another week or two. I have recovered my rhythm and voice after 2 years of writing exclusively in English, though, so the final translation should go smoothly.
So, this month you’ll have one new English story next week, since Mighty Editor already got back to me (this weekend I have some formatting to do, LOL), and then for Xmas I’ll have the Italian version of Star Minds. The single books might have different covers than the English version, but that’s OK! Now, to the writerly links of the week!
David Farland on choosing a career path. And thank God for the diversity of writers out there. Don’t be a sheep, find your own way. This goes for blogging too. Should you stop blogging or not? Well, it depends. I’m doing it because I enjoy it – and I’m not using it as a marketing tool. I don’t tweet because I don’t think people can communicate in 140 characters, but that’s just me. Find what’s good for YOU. And don’t beg readers by constantly pitching your books – see Kris Rusch’s discoverability part 2!
Now, when you’ll have Joe Konrath’s literary empire, you might want to think about what happens to your estate when you go wherever your religion or belief says you will go without your material body and possessions. Personally, I don’t have a literary empire, and it’s another material possession that I won’t be able to take with me, not even in my next life, so I’ll worry about it if and when I’ll get there (meaning both when I’ll have a literary empire or when I die – I might die before having a literary empire, so…).
Best writing advice evah – just write, stupid! Research is fine, but please don’t waste all the time researching instead of writing. I’ve poured out that million words of crap long ago, but if you’re just starting, don’t be daunted. Get them out as fast as you can, so you can become the wonderful writer you want to be. The first thing you write won’t be as perfect as the last. Just keep writing, and enjoy the process. If you don’t enjoy it, just quit.
Viv pointed me to the Fussy Librarian that featured her book, so I checked the book submissions guidelines. I’m never going to get there, since I don’t have enough reviews – not even BoI-Air, the most reviewed book, gets 10 reviews, so… bummer. But if your book meets their requirements, feel free to submit them!
That’s all for today… Saint Barbara waves good-bye and goes back to her writing cave!
Posted by Barb on 04/12/2013
Posted by Barb on 02/12/2013
Since I’ve already interviewed him, but he has a new book out, here’s everything you need to know about his latest “baby”. AND there’s a short story as well! Welcome back, Tim Flanagan!
The Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown, or The Pumpkins of Doom.
A Lawrence Pinkley Mystery
By Tim Flanagan
with illustrations by Dylan Gibson
Pinkley’s skills are called into play in the first case of a reluctant career.
One night, in a high security laboratory, a scientist mysteriously disappears, leaving behind an overly nervous assistant and a trail of pumpkin juice. Pinkley is hired to investigate the disappearance by the professor’s beautiful daughter, forcing him to quickly learn the skills he needs to solve his first major crime.
But every move Pinkley makes is being watched.
As he blunders from one clue to the next he stumbles across secret messages, talking pumpkins, the Russian mafia, and hired hitmen. His life now depends on him solving the case. Not to mention the future of mankind!
Publication date : 15 November 2013
Tim Flanagan Profile Info
At some point in Tim’s childhood, he was abducted by aliens and sent on a voyage of knowledge and discovery across the universe. Eventually the aliens realised how pointless this was and, as a failed student, he was returned to Earth and left with a family who brought him up as a human bean. But, the persistent memories of new worlds, dragons and other creatures, continued to knock at his frontal lobe, desperately trying to break out.
To avoid making a mess and calm his imagination, Tim began writing as a way to communicate with Earthlings. Fuelled by Chilli and Nachos and a bottle of wine, Tim manages to balance a love of loud rock music and fast cars (preferably red!) with emotional chic flicks, smart leather shoes and a well tailored suit. He has successfully infiltrated the humans and hides behind the façade known as a family. He learns from his children, but is regularly told to stop acting like a child by his wife.
Naturally shy and unsociable by nature, he is selective of the human company he keeps, preferring to be around old books, bonsai and art. He cries at ‘It’s a wonderful life’ but sulks if fed evil vegetables disguised as Parsnips or Peas. He is bored by mundane conversation, excited by architecture and castles and fuelled by Caramel Latte Macchiato’s.
Occasionally, he likes to catch up with old acquaintances on Tatooine, Westeros, and Middle Earth, and stare at fantasy and concept art as if it is a window to his childhood adventures. He is always trying to learn lessons from the masters; Mr Charles Darwin and Mr Lionel Ritchie, about life and love. Tim’s galactic mission is to translate his brain activity into a language that inspires and entertains you, transports you to different worlds and grants you an audience with the characters you have dreamt about, but never dared to remember. All of this in an attempt to redeem himself with his childhood alien abductors and travel the stars once more.
The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough (Book 1)
The Moon Stealers and the Queen of the Underworld (Book 2)
The Moon Stealers and the Everlasting Night (Book 3)
Book 4 coming out end 2013
The Curious Disappearance of Professor Brown
My blog is the best place to get an insight into my mind. There are various posts and videos that have nothing to do with writing, sometimes just things that made me laugh or made me think.
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/timflanaganbooks
Twitter : http://www.twitter.com/timflanauthor
Google+ : http://www.google.com/+TimFlanaganAuthor
Join my mailing list. I don’t do spam so will only contact you when I have a new book release.
Links to books:
And now… the short story!
The Mystery of the Purple Christmas Goose –
A Lawrence Pinkley Mystery
The highlight in Whitby’s social calendar was the annual Christmas market. Local traders dressed up as characters from the books of Charles Dickens, drank too much mulled wine and said ‘by jove’ far too often. The snow covered street down to the harbour was lined with stalls, whilst barrows sold steaming hot meat sandwiches and pies.
I left my Detective Agency and strolled towards Healthcliffe Ablett’s prize winning goose stall, but as I approached I saw an angry looking Ablett poking a rival poultry farmer in the chest.
‘This is your doing!’ he shouted. ‘You knew I would win the rosette for best bird again.’
‘I’ve been on my stall all day!’ responded Peter Tweedy.
‘You,’ said Mr Ablett upon seeing me. ‘You’re a detective – prove this scoundrel defaced my prize winning goose.’
I stepped nervously forward, conscious of everyone watching. In a cage at the side of the stall was a goose covered in purple liquid.
I bent down and looked at the goose, instantly aware of a strange fruity smell. I dipped my finger into the purple liquid, sniffed it then touched the end of my tongue. Blackcurrant juice. I looked up at Mr Ablett’s table – directly above the bird cage and hidden behind some country cider was an empty bottle of blackcurrant.
‘The bird’s covered in blackcurrant juice,’ I announced. ‘The bottle must have fallen over and tipped onto it.’
As I examined the bottle I was surprised to find that the top was still screwed tightly on, whilst near the base was a small hole in the plastic.
Floating on top of what remained inside the bottle was a white flake of wax.
Bored that nothing interesting was going to happen, the crowd instantly dispersed. On the table where the bottle had stood I could see a ring of white melted wax.
Why would wax be inside the bottle as well as around the base? I thought to myself. For it to get inside it would have to go through the small hole. Or, maybe it was already in the hole? What if it had been used to block up the hole?
I could feel heat coming from the chestnut stall next to Ablett’s stand. If the wax had plugged the hole in the bottle, the heat coming from the neighbouring stall could have been enough to soften it and allow the blackcurrant to drain freely out of the bottle. It seemed that Mr Ablett’s goose had been intentionally, but cleverly, ruined.
With the argument forgotten, Mr Ablett carried the bird into a nearby hairdressers to shampoo it back to its former glory.
Mr Tweedy walked over to the chestnut seller and suspiciously stuffed a handful of banknotes into his hand before turning to me. ‘Will you be looking for a goose for your Christmas table?’
‘Yes,’ I replied, wondering if he had anything to do with the waxy plug.
He put his arm around my shoulders and walked me over to his stall.
‘Choose your goose. I don’t want any money for it! My way of saying thank you for stopping that old fool from making a scene.’
Although I still had my suspicions, Mr Tweedy was right; I had spared the town an embarrassing event that would have spoiled the Christmas market.
I chose a prepared bird that looked far more appealing than a blackcurrant marinated goose, and began to leave. As I did so, I noticed a book poking out from Mr Tweedy’s waistcoat pocket: Dodgy & Crook’s, 437 Ways To Knobble The Competition.
Posted by Barb on 01/12/2013
Random thought of the day: ‘Krrish 3′ sets new record, earns Rs 228.23cr in fortnight, and here’s my contribution to it!
Second thought is sort of related, since we’re talking about TV, but at the same time it’s a reality show (so not really TV, IMHO) and it’s about writing. But I didn’t want to ramble on Wednesday, so I’m sharing it now. Had to learn it from the New York Post that we have a reality show in Italy with writers. OMG! That’s where you’ll NEVER see me, trust me! (also because I don’t watch TV and even if I watched it, I’d avoid reality shows at all costs, LOL)
Anyhow, lots of things stated in the article are true. Italians write but don’t read. I had a comment on my Italian blog by someone who said that in his booklet he suggested the wannabe writer doesn’t read anything for at least 2 months before starting to write, lest he unconsciously plagiarize something. Excuse me? Of course a beginner will write like someone else, until he/she finds his/her own voice, so what?
As for the “problems” of the contestants: writing in public wouldn’t be a problem with me – when I write, I’m in another world, I don’t care who’s watching me. Got used to it when I went to illustration school and people watched me draw. And I’m even more concentrated when I write, so… no big deal.
Reading in public – now, that’s another story. I never learned (and never will) to read aloud to myself for flow like so many suggest, and I had to read aloud once at my first creative writing course back in 2001. Never again. That’s why when I’m invited to those book signings or books presentations, I always decline. I’m not a writer who likes the sound of her voice. So no thanks, do not invite me, I won’t come. I’m too busy… writing!
Of the judges – I’ve red only one book from one of them. But then, Italian traditional publishers are all for literary fiction, and that’s why I switched to English. Even if I had learned about the silly reality show on time, I wouldn’t have submitted a thing anyway. Happy indie author can’t bother with trad pub anymore. Well, unless MONDADORI (not Bompiani) offers me a lot of money – which they never will, LOL!
Next week we’ll have the fair of small&medium publishers in Rome again, and I’ll be attending. If I learn something more on the Italian market, I’ll let you know.
Ending with sort of Art Friday – I’ve done 2 covers for the novelette I plan on publishing in December and can’t decide which is worse. Any suggestions? Leave them in the comments… Thanks!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Posted by Barb on 29/11/2013
So, you saw the announcement on Sunday – I improvised, LOL! It was quite an adventure this time, since I struggled a little with CreateSpace and then the Smashwords auto-vetter kept telling me my image was too small (in spite of being 11MB and waaaay bigger than their minimum requirements), until I wrote to the customer support asking what was wrong with the auto-vetter (even when I updated the doc for Star Minds, it told me the cover image was too small – and I hadn’t touched it!). They did reply on Monday, but I saw it was approved (manually) for Premium catalog in less than 24hours.
First it was the meatgrinder, now the auto-vetter… come on, Smashwords, I know you can do it! I love their series manager, and in fact I rearranged Star Minds on the series page… because it’s only 9 books, LOL! Silvery Earth has so many, that the new ones won’t get in chronological order in the series manager, that’s for sure…
Anyhow, now you can have all the links – I got the B&N one Sunday night. Star Minds Snippets is now out on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes&Noble, DriveThruFiction and POD (printed book) at CreateSpace, with Kobo and Apple still lagging behind. Kobo told me the title was published, but it didn’t show up in the Kobo store for another few hours, grrrr!
Don’t you love that cover with Ker-ris (and Kol-ian’s scarred back)? I’m refraining from asking a third drawing to Phoenixlu, since I’m thinking of doing another version next year before Loncon… The power of indie publishing! But I can make it a real trilogy (well, four-logy if I add the Next Generation) by switching things around a little… I’ll leave that final decision to the new year’s resolutions, though!
Writerly links of the week: Anne Lamott’s timeless advice on writing which goes very well with Dean Wesley Smith myth-killer (re: perfectionism and rewriting to death – a.k.a. Rewriting Hell). Joe Konrath and the art of bitching – don’t, just don’t. Unless you’re a ten-year-old, that is.
Kris Rusch on discoverability (part 1) or how you don’t need a traditional publisher to be discovered. And if you find useful to have a yearly planner for your writing, go to Writing World again. Considering how I’ve been doing this year, maybe I should start using one of those too, LOL!
Well, my writing/publishing planner simply states “this month publish this and this and write this and this” and then I jot down when I’m supposed to send stuff to editors. So, very easy planning, like for the blog, LOL! Writing wise I’m past 2/3 of Mind Link and hope to finish the translation by the weekend, so in December I’ll have only Slave Traders to translate.
And I hope to hear from a beta-reader soon, so I can start revising the Male Lovers of Silvery Earth anthology… although the whole anthology will probably come out in 2014, since I managed to commission an artist on DeviantART I’d been keepeing an eye on for over a year but who was closed to commissions until now… More on that next week!
By clicking the wrong link in my bookmarks, I discovered that WeRead (something like Goodreads, connected to Lulu), has become a link to Flipkart, so I searched for my name and yay for Smashwords premium distribution, here I am! I have no idea of the exchange rate, but you can see my book priced in rupees! I knew they had sent them, but I never bothered to check – until one of my bookmarked pages turned out to be Flipkart (I’m not going to miss it, BTW. I hated WeRead, since there were mistakes in book attributions and nobody ever answered my complaints…)!
That’s all for this week! Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and have a great week everybody else!
Posted by Barb on 27/11/2013
Posted by Barb on 25/11/2013
Star Minds Snippets – a companion to Star Minds is now out on Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes&Noble, Apple (US i-bookstore), DriveThruFiction and POD (printed book) at CreateSpace. Cover art by Phoenixlu.
Have a great Sunday!
Posted by Barb on 24/11/2013