Writer Wednesday


While on the train to Milan I had plenty of time to think (and to read, but that’s a topic for another post) and tried to express how my way of writing changed in the 21st century. So here goes:

Before 2015: first drafts (or Draft Zero like I called them) were written longhand with almost no corrections by the seat of my pants. I did the research (ex. for historical novels) and then wrote. Then I typed everything in the computer, rewriting as needed so that I’d have a clean draft. I type with 10 fingers, so that wasn’t the hard part. There were no hard parts, since I’ve been a one-draft writer for the whole 20th century and started redrafting only after reading that I was supposed to do that. Wordcount was available only after publication at that point.

After 2015: I started typing Draft Zero and cycling through the first draft. I had a writing netbook with internet access and could stop and Google anything from a translation, a word check to anything else needed. Then I synched with Laptop through Dropbox. I was then able to figure out how much I wrote every year in real time. Like I said in previous posts, I wrote 450K in 2015 and 470K in 2016.

Now Netbook is dead, so the same applies to Laptop. Except it has considerably slowed me down, especially with contemporary or historical works, because I’d stop and fact-check for almost every scene. What might have been quick with SFF became a longer process, mostly because I can’t read on screen and need to print out and highlight manually.

I love ebooks, but not for non-fiction/research. So I might be less productive this year, but hopefully I’ve reached the upper lever of storytelling. Sometimes I wonder if that happened because I switched languages and stopped rewriting old stuff. And I don’t want to turn off the internet while I write because I use Google translator a lot – and all that research helped me expand my English vocabulary.

When I translate books into Italian, things I wrote even two years ago (when I abused of online generators… ahem…), I cringe. Hopefully when I start translating the latest works, I won’t cringe anymore. And I hope the change it’s not too obvious in series like Vampires Through the Centuries (even though all the books are standalone so far)!

What I mean is – you need to find what works for you, and it might change through the years. I have learned a lot since I joined the indie world and will keep learning. Whether it’s the new language or simply that I started learning again (I will freely admit that I was pretty static in Italian, but in English I had to find my voice, and it’s not exactly the same as it used to be – at least from one of my Italian first reader’s perspective).

I won’t take Dean’s challenge because I already have too many stories to write this year on my list – going “pick me! Pick me!” – and I don’t think they’re all short stories. I mean, I know I can write 30 stories in 30 or 60 days if I put my mind to it, but now is not the right time. I am already prolific, I don’t need this to write more! 😉

I’m leaving you with some writerly links – Chuck Wendig’s advice after 5 years and 20 books: 25 lessons (special mention #1 and #5, the latter being what I discussed above). David Farlands tips – One Impossibility (to keep in mind when writing SFF, haha!). 14 sites for book cover design @Digital Reader. And more business advice from Kris Rusch.

Oh, and I found a neat marketing blog for indie authors that has both podcasts and written posts! Studied the written parts (podcasts don’t hold my attention, unfortunately) and will try to apply some to that ugly beast called Marketing… Take this post on why FB needs to do something with those darn pages! Until a few years ago, FB gave the option of choosing if one wanted to be herself or the author.

This no longer applies. I was able to attend a FB party a couple of years ago *waves at Joleene* because I simply switched to the author ID. This year it was a nightmare and my private profile showed up a couple of times. Also, this year I’ve seen an option to create groups from the page. But the page still can’t join groups except the one she/it creates…

More coming bundles: Writers bundle @Storybundle and Faery Summer bundle coming soon @Bundle Rabbit. Now I’m heading back to my writing cave to ponder the next bundle and write the next story… Have a great week! 🙂

 

Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise


As promised, I shall start introducing you to my fellow bundle authors! And the first is ahead of me, down under, so I thought it would be perfect to introduce her first! 😉 Although she was the first to answer my questions probably because she’s ahead of the rest of us… And hey, we have the same writing guru (altough we did different online workshops from his list)! 😀 Anyhow, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Diane J. Cornwell!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in a country town in Northern New South Wales, Australia, about 2 hours from a major city and an hour from the closest beaches.

I love the peace and quiet, and slow pace of a country lifestyle, which is so different from the fast pace of cities.

Why do you write?

To amuse myself.

When did you start writing?

In primary school.

What genre(s) do you write?

So far, I have written in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Cosy Mystery.

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

My goal as a writer is to continue to learn how to write stories that immerse the reader from start to end without putting the book down. Basically write every story as a Page Turner while leading the reader on an emotional journey.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Best advice? “Keep writing and keep learning” from Dean Wesley Smith.

The next best advice was from Boy George talking about singing. He said “Break their hearts.” I took this to mean let the reader feel the emotions of the characters in each story.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I outline just enough to know where the story leads, then wait for my muse to change direction as the action unfolds. And enjoy the story as I write it.

I would say I am a slow writer, as I only write in the mornings, averaging 500 to 700 words per hour. If I am not interrupted by family and friends, or chores requiring my attention, I can keep writing for 3 – 5 hours.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

Rider is the first in my Tracker series.

It came about during a Dean Wesley Smith workshop course on Genre differences. One assignment gave us a male protagonist who works with horses and an female assassin antagonist, in a big city setting, searching for a missing person. I had to come up with story outlines for Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I let my muse play with the four outlines since I was out of my depth with Romance and Fantasy. Fun, to say the least. Yes I got the assignment done, and finished the Genre workshop.

After the workshop, I was planning on writing the SciFi story, but a Series course was developed by Holly Lisle, so I changed tack and chose to work through the series course writing in the new fantasy world I created based on the fantasy outline during the Genre course.

Thankfully, I am still amusing myself after writing Rider, Guard, Judge and Mage. Now I am writing the fifth Tracker story, I hope to tie up all loose ends developed over the four stories. I want to end the series positively, in case I want to add more stories to the series in a year or two, but I can’t guarantee there will not be any deaths of main characters or even minor characters.

When I have completed the Tracker series, I still want to write the Science Fiction outline from the workshop. And if I have time, the Romance and Mystery outlines at some future date.

You can visit the Tift Publishing Tracker Series page to see the covers and blurbs of the rest of the published Tracker series, and follow the links to the different distributors. However, I don’t expect the fifth book will be ready for a few months, as I have to finish writing it, then get it edited while the cover is created and approved. As soon as possible, the cover will appear on Tift Publishing home page and Coming Soon page, advising the publishing date.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I definitely don’t have a problem writing outlines from one or two ideas. There are always ideas popping into my head. If I think they are worth following up at a later date, I write down enough of the idea outline, 2 – 3 sentences, to remind me later what I was thinking, then promptly forget it while I work on current WIPs. Otherwise I would not get any stories completed, because I would jump from one idea to another.

An example of other projects is, while writing one scene, I wanted a talisman for the assassin, so I stopped writing to make a tatted bangle with beads. I had to borrow a jewellery making book from the library to work out the clasp. Once done, I went back to the scene and added the details of the tatted bangle. Then had to add the bangle onto the assassin’s arm in the cover images. Here’s a link to my djmills writer blog page with images of the bangle.

Story reveal here so stop reading if you want to read the stories.

SPOILER ALERT

SPOILER ALERT

My assassin, Misty Locke, is not a mage. Can’t do any magic at all. So, mages can stop her from killing them, if they are quick and agile.

She can not receive images in her mind from dragons and tracker horses. As she rides a tracker mare, Sweetie, but can not “hear” Sweetie communicate, and can not receive dragon images in her mind, I worked out how she could receive a talisman so that she can “hear” both trackers and dragons. The dragons would gift her a talisman, with the magic in the beads to allow her to receive dragon images.

The side benefit was she could also “hear’ her tracker mare, Sweetie, when she touched the talisman. You can read about the dragon talisman on my writer blog.

This was done to keep true to the culture in the Tracker series world. Now I am thinking about tooth extraction of citizens of Convane by medic mages or ordinary citizens. Fun and games.

If you want to learn more on my creative efforts you can follow my writing blog.

Or my DianeJCornwell author blog announcing new releases and sales, and other information for readers.

You can also sign up for the Tift Publishing Newsletter to announce each release and other publishing news, or by clicking the Tift Publishing link on the other two blogs.

Random Friday


So, the Easter weekend I needed a break from the publishing and some inspiration for the writing… hence I started on the DVDs ToWatch pile. First I watched Monsoon Wedding. Mira Nair was Indian cinema for me before Gurinder Chadha and the discovery of Bollywood. I loved her movies, but stopped following her more or less when MW came out in 2001.

I found it at 3£ in London last year, and I’m glad I saw if now… After visiting Delhi and so many more movies with Indian weddings and KNPH (which I would have totally missed back then – a movie called “kaho naa…” what?). I definitely liked it, and enjoyed the extra with the director talking about the Punjabi community of Delhi…

Then I watched Bhaji on the Beach, another 3£ DVD from last summer, another Gurinder Chadha dramedy. Definitely the end of 20th century, with no cell phones and no internet to distract us! And I liked all the intertwined stories of the various women of various ages and their interactions with men – both British and Indian.

I also re-watched Target for inspiration, and then managed to finish the story! 😉 Although Target is definitely an 80s movie. Some nostalgia hit – no cell phones, no internet, how did we survive that? 😉 Well, we’re Generation X, I guess! Or, like my friend Fulvio says, we’re unique (he’s not totally a Millennial and I’m not totally a Baby Boomer, and we’re not Gen.X either… but then, we’re Jedi twins – 18 years apart! 😉 LOL)…

Anyhow, have a great weekend! 😀

Writer Wednesday


The Path of Water (Quests Book 1)
And it’s now available for pre-order on Kobo and Amazon and Barnes&Noble! And the Bundle has a Facebook page! Go like it, so you’ll know when Apple also approves it for pre-order! 🙂

And a new collection is out as well – Quests Volume 2, soon out in paperback along with Volume 1. I worked on the PODs the whole weekend, but had trouble with the covers and then had to wait to order the proofs to make sure I’d be in to get them so… the dead tree books will probably be ready by the end of the month.

The covers are both by the awesome Shafali Anand who did a masterful job… You’ll see it complete when the paperbacks come out! In the meantime, enjoy these two! 🙂

I don’t really have any writerly links this week – except the usual suspects that you may as well check for yourselves – and I didn’t write as much as I wanted to. Okay, Da Muse thinks I found all the possible excuses (publishing stuff, digitalizing old pics) NOT to write, but well… it was Easter weekend, wasn’t it?

I’ll finish that novella before I go to Milan, so I have something to read on the train! 😉 Have a great week!

Sunday Surprise and Happiness is…


And some writerly quotes, words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever  for pondering on Easter Monday! 😉

Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him.
William Faulkner

Forget perfection. You can’t control success. You aren’t anybody else. You are you. It doesn’t matter if anyone believes in you. Let their disbelief charge your batteries. You can believe in you.

Focus on today. Not tomorrow. Not next year. Make something. Create something. Act in defiance of reality’s accord. Spit in the eye of any who expect you to do differently.

Relish in the unmitigated thrill of doing what nobody wants you to do.

Nobody wants you to be an artist.

But you do, so fuck them.

Chuck Wendig

I think the really productive pulp-speed writers at a deep level don’t care about the finished product. They did the best they could while writing. That was all they could do, so them move on.

The lack of caring comes from the fact that real pulp-speed writers of any era love the process of writing. Some love it for the challenge, some love it for the creation, some love it for the fear.  So when a story is finished, all the things they love about writing are done.

So they move on to the next story.

They just let go.

Very few writers have that ability. That’s why there are so few pulp-speed writers and so many writers who want to produce more but never seem to be able to.

Have fun with the writing. It is the first step to picking up production as a writer.

Dean Wesley Smith

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Oscar Wilde

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
Bernard M. Baruch

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Random Friday


Just wanted to let you know that Starship Pilot with Techie Bro’s illustration Ready for Take-off is now available for the first ten (10) patrons, no matter how much you pledge. So, if you’d like to read it before it comes out in the volume Star Minds Third Generation Snippets, you can become a patron of yours truly and have this neat illustrated preview.

Since I’ve decided to try and write a couple of short stories for submission, following some writing prompts I found on Reddit, and the magazine currently only wants fantasy and no sci-fi, I watched Warcraft that I found at the newsagent’s. I didn’t know it was directed by David Bowie’s son (I love his Moon movie) and I’ve never really played the game (although I know that my WoW (words of wisdom) Sundays used to confuse WoW (Worlds of Warcraft) fans, but I knew nothing of the franchise at the time), so…

It’s a nice fantasy movie… got choked up a couple of times and of course it’s only the beginning (in fact the Italian titles says “Warcraft – the beginning”), so there’s an open ending for sequels. And I was impressed by the CGI, they can really make anything look real!

So if you want to see orcs and gryphons and warriors in shining armor and even “boomsticks” (yes, those pesky guns are everywhere nowadays, haha!) with elves and dwarves, go check this movie – it’s not as long as LOTR (which I haven’t seen yet anyway, nor read the book).

Now I’m back to my publishing stuff… expect a new title soon… Have a great weekend and Happy Easter! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


And while I wait for feedback on the latest Vampires Through the Centuries, I’m keeping myself very busy catching those typo faeries on the next title and preparing for a weekend of POD formatting and another upload. I’m also trying an Amazon ad through the Easter weekend, we’ll see how it goes! 😉

So, it’s official, this wonderful box set of 12 novels at 12$ will come out May 26! Soon you’ll get to meet the other authors who trusted me with this adventure! I am extremely grateful to Chuck at Bundle Rabbit for making this possible.

This should soon be available for pre-order on all retailers. My novel is The Path of Water (Quests Book 1), but even if you have already read it, there are 11 more in this lot! Don’t miss it! 🙂

So, bundles are all over. If you don’t want to sign up for Bundle Rabbit as an author and don’t think you can write a novel yet, you may want to try the Great Bundle Workshop! Any story that you’ll write for this will go in a bundle, so what’s the risk? Read the questions answered too…

I’m going to see how the above bundle goes, and I might get hit by bundle fever – with novels! 😉 Here you have a post on newsletters and discoverability, and one on piracy and TakeDown notices and how they can hurt your visibility.

And you know you can write at any age, right? And if you can spare a $ a month for me, please hop to my Patreon page. I won’t bite and there are plenty of nice surprises there. Have a great week! 🙂

Ebook Bundles


While you wait for my post, here’s the perfect explanation of how this works!

D J Mills Writer

Have you thought about participating in eBook Bundles?

BundleRabbit.com sells eBook bundles at all eBook distributors as well as on their own web site.

I have heard good things about BundleRabbit, so uploaded Rider, the first in my Tracker Series, to see how the process worked. And have been selected for an upcoming bundle.

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Happiness is…


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