Random Friday

And the publisher’s page is up! There’s still some work to do, but well… this weekend, I guess I’ll be busy again. Writing, hopefully drawing and completing what I need to complete on the web page – probably “cleaning” this blog as well. Some of those pages up there will simply link to Unicorn Productions page!

And I’ll take off the widget for the newsletter subscription on this blog. I’ll send an email to the two people who signed up so far to tell them to do it again on the publisher’s page. Of course for news and other crazy stuff, you can always come here, but if you’re a reader and you don’t care about things unrelated to my books, you can migrate there and be updated only on new releases or what I’m working on.

I won’t post regularly there, since this year I don’t have a regular publishing schedule. That’s why I haven’t set up anything on Patreon yet either. Too busy with redrafting and expanding and writing new stuff. And submitting, so until I know if stories are accepted or rejected, I can’t publish them. Sigh.

I have mentioned a cover rebranding. The wonderful artist Marta Baroni is working on the second batch (that includes the titles of the discarded pen name), but in the meantime you can see what great job she did with the Italian titles. Unfortunately I’m having trouble on Kobo with a couple of titles, if they don’t solve the issue by the end of the week, I’ll send those two titles via Smashwords.

A special thank to Silvano, who besides being a great artist is also a wonderful web designer! :) And the WordPress software, of course. If I had to study HTML to start a web page, I’d never do it! ;) Back to work on Rajveer… I already added 6000words and haven’t even started on the new ending… my dear betas won’t recognize it when it comes out! :D

Have a great weekend! :)

Writer Wednesday

Sooo, soon this blog won’t be used for publishing announcements anymore, therefore I might reduce the number of posts again. I’ll still ramble on writing on Wednesdays and on other stuff on Fridays, but we’ll see.

I’m falling behind with my set wordcound (does anyone remember my writing challenge? I’m supposed to report every first Wednesday of the month… Seems like I’m doing it every other month…). We’re now six months in and I’ve reached 220k of new words… I’m 30k behind my schedule! I wanted to have 500k of new words by the end of the year, so I better get back to writing, LOL!

Guess I’m spending too much time rewriting. Or researching. Or tending the garden of older titles. I’m having a cover rebranding on the Italian stories – and the contemporary English stories as well. The ones that were previously published under the dismissed pen name (and that mostly didn’t sell anyway). And working on the publisher’s page – which took most of my Monday off.

Anyhow, I have a few writerly links for you this week. The Great Amazon Histeria… Part 31! And then The Real Price of Traditional Publishing. Still looking for an agent? Wake up, it’s the 21st century! And finally Tips for Working with Beta Readers (I’m guilty on many of those points for the latest beta-read… but I’m not like that, usually, LOL!).

Now back to redrafting the Desi vampire – which, by the way, means “Indian from India” (and a few more countries, as specified in the Wikipedia entry above), not to be confused with all the other Indians now scattered throughout the world. But that word will stay in the working title, not the final one. Blame me for watching too many Bollywood movies.

It’s not writerly, but I’ll leave you with the Desi Girl and the Desi Boyz! ;) Have a great week!

from the movie Dostana (which means “friendship”) and the one below is the title track

Both movies are very funny and highly recommended! ;)

Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

Last guest of the month! Another Heroika author! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Joe Bonadonna!

HEROIKA1 New banner heroika_TChirezpromoWhere do you live and write from?

I live and work where I was born and raised — Chicago, IL, USA.

1 (2)Why do you write?

I’ve always been something of a natural-born fabricator and exaggerator of the truth — I’ve enjoyed telling tall tales ever since I was a kid. Starting as far back as I can remember I was a fairly voracious reader. I really have no memory of learning to read and write, of when and how that happened; it just seems as if I’ve always been able to do both. My Dad worked next door to a book bindery called Spinner Brothers, and was friends with the manager there. So Dad always brought home these wonderful books for me back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, many of them educational books for kids; they had no dust jackets, however; the books were shipped elsewhere for that. The only publisher I remember among the lot is Grosset and Dunlap. I am very fortunate that both my parents encouraged and supported me in anything I tried my hand at. They always believed in me. When I was a kid I’d always make up little plots and scenarios for my toy soldiers, give them names and dialogue. I’m an only child, never had an imaginary playmate, but my soldiers, cowboys, Indians, dinosaurs, knights, and other toy figurines served me just fine.

When did you start writing?

In 4th grade — 1962/1963. The first story I remember writing was inspired by an episode of J2 (2)oseph Stefano’s original The Outer Limits television show. The episode is called “Nightmare,” and the next day I wrote a sequel about the alien Ebonites landing in and attacking my old Chicago neighborhood. Big mistake on their part. I also wrote a play in 6th grade called “The Return of the Greatest Monster Ever,” which was a sequel to Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man. Unfortunately, no one in the neighborhood said, “Hey — my Dad has a barn. Let’s put on a play!” In freshman year of high school I wrote a sequel to the Ray Harryhausen special FX classic film Jason and The Argonauts, using various bits and pieces torn from the pages of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology — Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes. I called this innocent attempt at screenwriting Jason and The Glass Impala. In every story I’ve thus far written and published, there is some type of “Harryhausen creature.” One of my publishers’, Airship 27 Productions, has a new anthology series called Sinbad: The New Adventures, which picks up where the Sinbad films left off. My one contribution, “Sinbad and The Golden Fleece,” is my homage to Ray Harryhausen. Hey, maybe I should try my luck with Hollywood again: I guess I have “writing sequels” in my blood, lol!

DOCTORS IN HELLWhat genre(s) do you write?

I’ve written in 4 genres so far. My first book is epic/heroic fantasy, a picaresque novel titled Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser. Then I wrote a space opera called Three Against The Stars. My third novel is a sword & sorcery pirate adventure, Waters of Darkness, which was co-written by veteran fantasy author David C. Smith. I’ve also written one horror story, Queen of Toads, which will be published in an upcoming anthology scheduled for next year. I am now writing my fourth story for author/creator Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell series: this shared-universe series defies description because just about all genres can work within the confines and rules of Hell. Many people have called the series “Bangsian Fantasy,” a genre which concerns the use of famous literary or historical individuals and their interactions in the afterlife. It is named for John Kendrick Bangs who often wrote such stories. I try to create a sort of neo-Gothic horror/fantasy with the stories and characters I write about for the series.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I take a lot of notes while sitting in front of the television watching PBS shows like NOVA, or some mindless late-night talk show. I’m an early-morning writer, so I like to hit the keyboard at about 5 AM or earlier, and work until I’m exhausted. Huge amounts of coffee play an important role in the writing process, too. Sometimes in the evening I’ll proof and edit what I wrote that morning, or if I have a hard time getting started at the crack of dawn, I’ll proof, edit, and rewrite what I wrote the day before. I usually start with what Alfred Hitchcock called the McGuffin, or perhaps a character or two. Then I build from there: my stories are not about the McGuffin but about the people who come into its orbit. Why do they want it? To what lengths will they go to possess it? Will they beg, borrow, betray, lie, cheat, steal, or kill? What do they plan to do with it? Hide it, use it, sell it, give it away, or destroy it?

5 (2)What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

My characters and the dialogue I write for them. People tell me they like my characters, the way they “talk” and interact, and they like my sense of humor, too. I just try to create and develop stronger and more realistic characters. Over time I’ve learned that doing a little research into the lives of real people helps me with not only bringing more depth to my fictional characters, it also sparks more story ideas and plot twists. I find action and battle scenes difficult and boring to write: I prefer the “bat out of the hell” sudden burst of action, the sudden shot from out of the dark. I’ve witnessed quite a few fights in my time on this planet, and they were a far cry from a boxing match. I saw guys get jaws and noses broken with one punch, saw skulls cracked, leg bones snapped, and blood spurt faster than New York minute. So I try to hit the reader that way — hard and fast. Battles scenes are totally different, often requiring the use of military strategy and tactics, and a lot of research and preplanning “choreography” is called for before I start the actual writing. I’ve written only a few battle scenes, and have just completed a 40-K word siege of a city. I’m getting better at it, but I still have a ways to go.

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

Mythology, legend, folktales, history, and in the biographies of real people I find interesting. I try to read out of the genre in which I write, and I’ve found a lot of inspiration in the crime and mystery stories and novels of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Cornell Woolrich, Chester Himes, Mickey Spillane, James M. Cain, and many of the authors who wrote for Black Mask magazine back in the 1920s and 1930s. I watch a lot of PBS mysteries, especially the period pieces like G. K. Chesterton’s “Father Brown” mysteries, and I’m a huge Dorothy L. Sayers fan, too. I am also heavily inspired by the classic Warner Brothers Studios gangster films of the 1930s, and the film noir that followed in the 40s and 50s. Film directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, John Ford, Raoul Walsh, and William Wellman are a big influence on me. Screenwriters like Charles Brackett, the great Leigh Brackett, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, and Preston Sturges are among my heroes. In many of my stories I try to capture the flavor of the dialogue from a Howard Hawks’ film. I suppose a little bit of every writer goes into his or her characters. My character of Dorgo the Dowser is pretty much me: his tales, which I call gothic noir, are almost all written in first person, so his voice is my voice, his attitude is my attitude.

6Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I can be both an outliner and an improviser. As every writer knows, every story is different, and it depends on the story. Each story has its own needs and goals, and each story requires a different set of tools to design and build — which is what I call the outlining and the writing of a story. If the characters are really “talking to me” then I just hold on to my seat and write by the “skin of my fingers.” Sometimes, as in the case of many Dorgo the Dowser stories, which are often little puzzles or mysteries, I have to do a lot of outlining and plotting in advance, planting a few clues here and there along the way. I am a very slow writer, hardly prolific. I’d starve if I had to depend on writing for my bread and butter. Sometimes I feel like Jeff Goldblum’s character in the 1979 film version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers: he plays a writer who agonizes over each and every word, who will spend days searching for the perfect word. Not a very productive way to write, to say the least.

Tell us about your latest book

Well, my latest novella was recently published in the first volume of author Janet Morris’ new anthology series of heroic fantasy: Heroika: Dragon Eaters, published by Perseid Press. I’m proud to have my story included in this splendid volume with 16 amazingly talented writers, including Janet herself. These are heroic fantasy tales that span the ages, from the distant past to the distant future, with a couple of stories, like mine, taking place on alternate worlds. There is even a steampunk tale and one that takes place during the American Civil War. We’ve taken the dragon hunting and slaying to new heights, including recipes for cooking dragons. It’s a really fine volume of tales, and a lot of fun to read, if I say so myself. It’s been getting many excellent reviews.

bigMy story, The Dragon’s Horde, is set 500 centuries after the last dragon was destroyed. It concerns a high priestess named Shadumé, who is sent on a mission by the goddess she serves to destroy the egg of a Queen Dragon before it can hatch and begin a new cycle of Dragon Wars. Shadumé is accompanied by two very unusual wolverines and her ex-lover, Vadreo, a descendant of the Dragon Eaters of old. He is one of the warriors who guard his people against the Draakonim, humanoid creatures bred by the last Dragon Queen to serve her and her spawn. The story asks the questions: Who came first, the dragon or the egg? And who laid this new egg of a Queen, if dragons have been extinct for 500 hundred-years? It’s a character-driven tale with what I hope are some unexpected twists and turns, and through it we learn the connection between Man, Dragon and Draakonim.

(Also, by the time this is posted on your website, Doctors in Hell, volume 18 in the Heroes in Hell series, should be published. It includes my story, Hell on a Technicality.)

Dragon Eaters, is available worldwide in paperback, Kindle, and Nook editions. Here’s the link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/HEROIKA-DRAGON-EATERS-Janet-Morris-ebook/dp/B00VFVCQRS

7 (2)Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

My first book, Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser, I self-published through iUniverse. Probably not the best choice in publishers for a book of heroic fantasy novellas, but 5 years ago I knew nothing about small press and DYI publishing. Since then, I’ve had the great fortune to write articles for Black Gate online magazine, and meet and connect so many authors and publishers. My Three Against The Stars was submitted to and published by Airship 27 Productions, and Waters of Darkness was published by Damnation Books. Authors Charles Saunders and Milton Davis asked me to contribute a story to their sword and soul anthology, Griots: Sisters of the Spear, and author Janet Morris asked me to write for her Heroes in Hell series, as well as her new venture, Heroika, of which Dragon Eaters is the first volume. At my age, I figured I’d forego the query letters to agents and traditional publishers, and just self-publish; all those letters and research into where and to whom to send them takes time, and I’d gone through all that back in the 1970s and 1980s. My original plan was to just publish one book, retire and go wander off somewhere. But self-publishing opened a lot of doors to me, and more doors are opening all the time. I’m having a ball. When the fun stops, then I’ll go take up golf or something.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’ve been toying with a sword and planet novel over the past few years, something along the lines of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Leigh Brackett, but with a more hip, 21st century attitude. I have two more Dorgo the Dowser novels in the works, and doing research for a weird western. I hope to continue writing for Janet Morris’ Heroes in Hell series because it’s challenging, rewarding, makes me “up my game,” and is so much fun. My latest story for Janet is “Hell on a Technicality,” and it appears in Doctors in Hell, which I believe is volume 18 in the long-running series, published by her Perseid Press.

8 Sinbad The New Voyages 4 (2)What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

To get published, to get people to reading my stories, of course, and hopefully hear back from them that they enjoyed what I wrote. One thing I work at is writing for the heart, not for the head. I don’t feel that I have any special wisdom or insight, or anything of grave importance to say, and I don’t want to make people think about anything in particular — they will form their own thoughts and ideas while reading my stories. I just want to entertain and, above all, I want to make people feel something. I think there is some warm and comforting aspect about my stories, no matter the plot or setting. Someone told me that reading my stories is like reconnecting with a long-lost friend. That makes me smile. I want to touch emotions, make people laugh and cry.

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

Write what you feel, what you love, of course. Explore human emotions, relationships, and the way people interact. Remember: dialogue is action, and it can move the story forward, conveying information that, if given as exposition, can all too often be dull and boring. Show, don’t tell: action speaks louder than words. In screenwriting, you can’t write what can’t be filmed, like thoughts and emotions: you have to show what characters are thinking and feeling through something they do, how they react to a situation. Anger? Have them throw something at the wall. Nervous? Have them light a cigarette or pour a drink. Happy? Have them dance around a room. Very simple, really. I also suggest that you read outside the genre in which you write: don’t limit yourself to just horror or fantasy — read romance, history, mythology, mysteries, WWII thrillers . . . read a little bit of everything. Write and revise, and don’t be afraid to cut the fat. And a good editor can make all the difference between a so-so story and a very good or even great one.

Thank you very much for featuring me on Creative Barbwire!


Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser — Heroic Fantasy. http://www.amazon.com/Mad-Shadows-Weird-Tales-Dowser/dp/1450276156 

Three Against The Stars — Space Opera.

Waters of Darkness, (co-written with David C. Smith) — Swords and Sorcery.


Azieran Presents: Artifacts and Relics — Extreme Sword and Sorcery.
Sword and Sorcery tales, created by Christopher Heath. Published by Heathen Oracle. Featuring “The Book of Echoes,” by Joe Bonadonna.

Griots: Sisters of the Spear. Sword and Soul Heroic Fantasy. Created by Milton Davis and Charles Saunders. Published by MVmedia. Featuring “The Blood of the Lion,” by Joe Bonadonna.

Poets in Hell — Bangsian Fantasy, Volume 17 in the Heroes in Hell series, created by Janet Morris. Published by Perseid Press. Featuring “Undertaker’s Holiday,” by Joe Bonadonna and Shebat Legion, and “We the Furious,” by Joe Bonadonna.

Sinbad: The New Voyages, Volume 3 — Heroic Fantasy anthology, created by Ron Fortier, published by Airship 27 Productions. Featuring “Sinbad and the Golden Fleece,” by Joe Bonadonna.

Heroika: Dragon Eaters — Heroic Fantasy anthology, created by Janet Morris. Published by Perseid Press. Featuring “The Dragon’s Horde,” by Joe Bonadonna.

Doctors in Hell, volume 18 in the Heroes in Hell series, created by Janet Morris. Published by Perseid Press. Featuring “Hell on a Technicality,” by Joe Bonadonna.



Hello, My Name is Max and I Have Autism, by Max Miller. Published by Authorhouse. Essays and artwork written and drawn by 13 year-old Max Miller, edited by Joe Bonadonna.

COMING SOON:Being Max’s Mom, by Rebecca Miller. Edited by Joe Bonadonna.
Her story of raising her autistic son, Max, and the battles she fought with schools and doctors and government bureaucracy in order to give him the best of care and teach him to cope with the world.









Random Friday

Plenty of guests this month, so I’m using even the random Fridays. This is just another Heroika author! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Cas Peace!

HEROIKA1 New banner heroika_TChirezpromoWhere do you live and write from?

I’m from the UK, from Hampshire, a southern county with a coastline and lots of lovely countryside. I’m fortunate enough to live in a pretty 1900s flint and brick cottage on the outskirts of a typically English village. It’s one of those places where most people know each other, and it’s a vibrant village with a good community. There’s always something going on, whether it’s a fete, a barn dance, a charity concert, or sports events. It’s a beautiful and a fun place to live. Both me and my husband work from home, and I have two favorite places to write. In the winter I write in my study, which also doubles as a music room. In the summer, I write either in my conservatory overlooking my garden, or actually in the garden, where I can watch the birds. My two rescue dogs love it when I write in the garden!

Why do you write?

I just love it. I love creating new worlds and characters, which is why I mainly write fantasy. I also like the feeling of being in total control of the world I’ve created – that is, until my characters take over and start doing their own thing! I also love dabbling with experimental pieces and also poetry. You never know what you can do until you try, and with writing, you can literally try anything you like. It’s very freeing, very liberating. It’s the only time I ever feel truly myself.

When did you start writing?

I began at school, I guess, I really enjoyed my English assignments, especially essays and creative writing lessons. I also contributed a few poems to school magazines. I didn’t get much time for writing when I was first married, but I do remember starting a YA fantasy of sorts when I realized my marriage wasn’t going as I’d hoped. But my writing career really got underway after me and my second husband returned from living in Italy, in 1994. I didn’t go back to work and had time on my hands. That’s when the writing Muse struck in earnest, and she hasn’t left me yet!

What genre(s) do you write?

I mostly write what I love to read: Fantasy. But I’ve also written a non-fiction book entitled For the Love of Daisy, which was a cathartic experience after our beloved Dalmatian, Daisy, developed a spinal condition. Dealing with a disabled dog who didn’t want to die was very hard, and I decided to write about our experiences and the various therapies and aids we found to enable her to live as full a life as possible.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I’m a full-time writer, so my day consists of walking the dogs until around 9.30 am, and then sitting down to write. After lunch I write some more until it’s time for the dogs’ second walk, and then I write until around 5 pm. I’m also a freelance editor/proofreader, so if I’m not actively writing, I’m working for clients. I’m very fortunate to be able to work like this.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

I’m what I’d call an instinctive, or maybe intuitive writer. I haven’t done any writing courses or anything like that, I simply write what comes into my head. I like to use my own emotional life experiences to inject realism and emotion into my writing, although I do have one author friend who thinks I use far too much emotion! I can only write if my ideas are flowing well – if I get stuck on anything, I have to walk away until I know where I’m going again. I like to feel I’m in tune with my spiritual side, as well. Sometimes I feel I’d like to be able to write in a more literary style, but my brain simply doesn’t work that way.

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

As I never actually set out to become an author, the whole thing came as a complete surprise to me. I was simply bored one day after we’d come back from Italy, and just started writing out a little scene I’d had in my mind since watching a kids’ TV show in the 70s. That seemed to open some sort of floodgate, and my entire Artesans of Albia series (nine novels in all!) just came pouring out. So I have no idea at all where that inspiration came from! But the short story I wrote for HEROIKA: Dragon Eaters is inspired by the English patron saint, St. George. I decided to retell his slaying of the dragon, and also drew on some research I undertook into the lives and rituals of druids in Britain. There is an entire wealth of inspiration to be found everywhere you look – a creative writer can use almost any situation as the basis for a story. And I believe that every writer has to put at least a little bit of themselves into everything they write, otherwise it will have no authenticity.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Definitely improviser, as you’ve probably guessed! But these days I think I’m edging more toward outlining, at least in a basic sense. I don’t like too many guidelines, and as long as I can see a beginning, a middle, and an end, I’m fine. I’m also pretty quick, because I’m too scared of losing the ideas. I scribble as quickly as I can, and then fine-tune later.

Tell us about your latest book

I’m still in the middle of publishing my triple-trilogy Artesans on Albia fantasy series. Five books have been published so far: King’s Envoy; King’s Champion; King’s Artesan; The Challenge; and The Circle. The sixth book, Full Circle, is a little late, it should have been out in April, but it will be out soon. The series is doing really well and I was thrilled when Janet Morris agreed to endorse the series. Here’s the link to King’s Envoy: http://geni.us/1o97

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

I was originally published by a US indie company, Rhemalda Publishing, who released my entire first trilogy, but they were forced to close their doors in 2011. I took some time thinking about what to do next but eventually decided to go down the self-publishing route. I’m extremely grateful to Rhemalda because not only was it a blast working with them, but I learned so much about the publishing game that it enabled me to go it alone. Now, unless I was fortunate enough to be approached by one of the larger publishing houses, I doubt I’d go back to being traditionally published. I really like the freedom of having complete control over my work.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

As I already mentioned, I’m still working on the remaining books of my Artesans fantasy series. I will continue to edit, copy-edit and proofread for clients, and also to write for anthologies. Because I am also a singer/songwriter, I also write and record folk-style songs to go with my Artesans novels. There’s a song or piece of music for each book so far, and I’m working on a song for the sixth book, entitled Beyond the Veils.

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

My main goal as a writer is to write the sort of novels and stories that I love to read, and to learn how to improve my writing. I’m doing this by taking notice of any feedback I get, and by pushing myself as a writer. If along the way my writing gives pleasure and excitement to others, then that is a bonus I never expected to achieve. I am always humbled when complete strangers become friends, by taking the trouble to tell me how much they’ve liked my books. It’s an awesome feeling.

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

Never Give Up. I think most writers have been told this in their career, but it really holds true. You can’t learn to write if you never write, and you can’t achieve publicaton if you give up trying. Oh – and if you’re going to self-publish, do find yourself a good editor! *winks*

1stTrilogyBannerWebsites and Social Media:

Cas Peace website: www.caspeace.com

Blog: http://peacewrites.blogspot.co.uk/

Amazon Author Profile: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0098KMASI

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cas.peace

Twitter: @CasPeace1

Reverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/caspeacewithntn?profile_view_source=header_icon_nav

Writer Wednesday

What’s new this week? Well, the new title is not ready, so… since Smashwords now allow assetless preorders, I thought I’d start telling you about that Desi vampire I’ve been hinting at for months! :) I still have to rewrite the end, but in the meantime, I set up the preorder button on Smashwords itself.

A “sun clan” warrior can never become a true child of darkness.
In 14th century India, Rajveer, a proud Rajput warrior of a Suryavanshi clan, is turned into a bloodsucker by an ancient Celtic vampire. Immortal, he loses his family to war and time and travels through northern India, seeing history unfold. Threatened by both human wars and evil vampires, can he remain true to his sworn vow not to take human lives?
A vampire’s journey through the centuries.

Rajveer the Vampire will come out on November 1st, All Saints Day (and National Holiday in Italy, but it’s a Sunday this year, sigh). I thought it was fitting, since he is… undead. Although maybe I should have picked November 2, or Commemoration of All Faithful Departed! :) But that’s a Monday, so not good for this year.

Sample chapters will be available after the summer and the price will go up in November when it goes live, but… I’ll keep you posted on this. I was thinking of a special release for this one, so there you have it. A pre-order button. Stay tuned for more in the coming months.

Some writerly links: Amazon has changed the Unlimited royalties – I guess it works sort of like Scribd (when I see on Smashwords how much I earn depending on how much the reader read, I cringe). So, really no use in going exclusive with Mighty Zon. Who, by the way, is being investigated by the EU. And here are Hugh Howey’s thoughts about the new KU payout structure.

Slightly related is Kris Rusch’s post on gaming the system. I will soon set up another pre-order button for my non-fiction book, but it won’t tell you how to get rich quick in the ebook market or how to climb Amazon’s charts. I totally agree with Kris when she says:

Who cares, the writers say, whether or not the books get read. One writer even said it’s not normal for people to read the books they download (!).

Every writer should care whether or not people read their work. Back in the days before the internet (when we had to walk uphill in the snow both ways to the library to hunt the wild paper books), writers would sometimes buy their own books by the case to game the bestseller lists.

In that instance, just like in the gaming of Kindle Unlimited, the goal isn’t to gain readers, it’s to hit something important to the writer—like a bestseller list or a certain percentage of a prize pool.

Huh? Why do you write, then? Hopefully those people will vanish soon… I have no idea of my Amazon ranking. And I don’t care. I want to be the best writer I can be. I should probably delegate a few things – even the things we are good at sometimes are time suckers, like Moira Allen says.

I’m off DayJob this week, but the heat and errands are making me lazy… so while I wait for betas to turn in manuscripts, I’m reading, relaxing and waiting for my trip to Turin to work on the Unicorn Productions web page. Have a great week! :)

Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

Another Heroika author! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome Mark Finn!

HEROIKA1 New banner heroika_TChirezpromoWhere do you live and write from?

A small town in North Texas called Vernon. It’s the hometown of Jack Teagarden and Roy Orbison.

Why do you write?

I’ve always been an entertainer and I love to tell stories. I like the intimacy of using my words to put pictures in people’s heads.

bandt thumbWhen did you start writing?

I wrote my first short story for a class assignment when I was 12. I started writing for myself when I was 15.

What genre(s) do you write?

I try not to chase that elusive beast, “genre,” because I don’t read that way, either. That said, I mostly write fantasy, horror and mystery.

What does your writing routine consist of?

For novels, I focus on writing a chapter a day. I like to break the larger story down into manageable chunks. Also, I can’t write dialogue unless my shoes are off. It’s weird, but it’s true.

Sharkey thumbWhat do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

I get compliments on my muscular prose, but I think my biggest strength is my “voice,” which reads like how I speak. Also, I am good with action, a skill set I picked up from reading and re-reading Robert E. Howard over the years.

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

Heh, inspiration. I’ve got a handful of notebooks full of little thoughts and ideas I will never get around to writing. I get a lot of inspiration from real world events, strange factoids I come across, and history.
As for putting myself in my stories…yes and no. I don’t consciously insert myself into the hero, a la Tom Clancy. But I would be lying if there wasn’t pieces and parts of me in every character I develop. How can there not be?

TOLK thumbOutliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

For short stories, I wing it. For novels, I outline. Either way, I’d say I’m a fast writer. I used to be much faster…

Tell us about your latest book

I just had a comic book story published over at Vertigo—a short story for their anthology series, “Strange Sports Stories.” I worked with my longtime friend and collaborator John Lucas and we had a ball with it. As for books, the third and final novel in my “Con-Dorks Saga” is about to drop. It’s called “One in a Million” and it’s a contemporary fantasy with a lot of irreverent humor.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

I like Indie publishing, because I think the niche marketing idea works better for me and what I write. That said, I wouldn’t object to a big contract, but I am not going to chase it.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’ve got short stories in two other forthcoming anthologies, “Barbarian Crowns” and “Asian Pulp.” Also, I’m about to start writing the second novel in my mystery series about a Hollywood stuntman who gets paid to dress up as the gorilla in movies. It’ll take place in Mexico and it’s called “Viva Gorilla.”

mark finn headshot 1What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

I am writing what I want to write, in a way that makes me happy, and people are responding to it favorably. That’s the best. I’d like to get my mystery series published, and so I am seeking an agent to help me with that. But getting to write the stories that interest me is the best part of doing what I do. I don’t chase market trends or try to shoehorn ideas into fad genres. I am my own compass.

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

“Step One: put your butt in the chair.” Best advice I ever got.


@finnswake on Twitter and Tumblr


Random Friday

I didn’t want to leave out our Author of the Month. She’s also a contributor to Strange Portals! She finally found the time to answer my writerly questions, so I’m very happy to introduce you all to C.G. Coppola!

57a04-strange2bportalsWhere do you live and write from?

Well I currently reside in Jacksonville, Fl but I write from my laptop which normally sticks to my desk but may move to the recliner or the table. Or pretty much around the house. But it does stay in the house. I’m not one for writing outdoors or in coffee shops around people. I’m a little paranoid they’d read it. And point out the grammatical errors.

Why do you write?

Because I have to (boring response, ay?) I just love writing. I love everything about it, the freedom it gives you and the power. I’ve been doing it since I was little and am entirely convinced it’s what I’m supposed to do with my life.

When did you start writing?

When my mother took away my Barbie dolls. I was forced to record their adventures instead of playing them out. Strange tESCAPE FROM HARRIZEL VS 2 - 2000ransition but a good one, I think.

What genre(s) do you write?

I like Science Fiction and Fantasy because it opens the flood gates to where everything and anything can happen.  And that’s what I like in my stories. Everything and anything.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Music. The stories are in the music.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I’m a mental-plotting-panster. Is that a thing? What I mean is I see the story in my head: I know the big events and main arc, but the details… why should I get in the way of the characters explaining all that? PLUS I might’ve gotten an event wrong in which the characters will right everything again. So I guess it’s a little of both.

Tell us about your latest book

DISCOVERY AT NERWOLIX- VS2 - 2000So the last book I released was the third in my series, Arizal Wars. The book is Discovery at Nerwolix, and follows the next chapter in an epic Sci-fi Romance plot that involves aliens, new worlds, lots and lots of battles, friendship and even some sex! I released it in September last year and have done little (probably no) advertising, which is why you haven’t heard of it.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/470681 – Smashwords

http://www.amazon.com/Discovery-Nerwolix-Arizal-Wars-Book-ebook/dp/B00N2BUFNQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409159039&sr=8-1&keywords=discovery+at+nerwolix – Amazon

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

I’m going Indie right now but realizing I don’t have the attention span or motivation to market. Which is sad. I usually say I’m going to do this or get that done and I just sit down and write some more. Which is all fine except no one reads it. And my characters only exist on the page. I may try traditional publishing—who knows!

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Oh yes! I’m working on a fantasy piece told from two perspectives: a runaway princess and a rogue assassin. Together, and with the help of a young street kid, the trio escapes their toxic realm in search of safety in the White Wastelands that lay beyond. I’ve got some romance and of course, lots of action again! I can’t stop writing action.

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

I just want to write. Seriously. If I had a fan base and a book tour and a lot of positive feedback—all of that would be great. A perk, you could say. But I want to pump out stories all day as a day job and hopefully make enough to live. Even meekly, if possible. I should probably be doing a whole lot more to achieve it. Like, I don’t know, maybe advertising? Getting more into the community? Right now I’m just focused on writing. I am going to the Writer’s Digest Conference in NY next month. Maybe I’ll get some pointers and learn some stuff to help!

PLAGUE OF MYBENCIA - VS 2 - 2000What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

I don’t think I held onto any one specific advice during my studies (B.A. in Creating Writing. Woop!) but the thing that all my teachers and established writers have agreed to: never give up. Keep working. Keep reading. And keep writing.

Where to find C.G. Coppola


cgcoppolawrites@gmail.com or cgcoppola@gmail.com

twitter: writercgcoppola

Writer Wednesday

I am grateful to the numerous guests I have this month, which spares me from writing posts, LOL! The heat is here, and my brain is all mushy, so I’m happy to let everybody else fill this blog’s schedule.

I’m writing – more Star Minds stories (mostly unrelated to the main characters) and some unrelated sci-fi stories to submit. I hope in July to get back to Silvery Earth – or maybe in August, we’ll see. I have a certain Desi vampire to set free… but I’m still waiting for betas! :)

I’m also reading sci-fi – my first panel’s moderator (Chicon 2012), Hugo Winner Mike Resnick! Can’t believe it took me two years to finally read one of his novels! You’ll find it in my end-of-the-year reading post, for sure!

And then I’ll read a non-fiction writing book – I’ve read one in Italian, but it started well and ended meh. Also gave some very iffy information at some point (and even mixes up KDP and KDP Select). Maybe I should write that book for Italian indies.

I’ve also made a first draft for the ESL writers who wanto to try indie, but it’s not a real book yet. When I’m ready, I’ll ask if any of you would like to beta-read non-fiction. No hurry, though, because over here it’s darn hot, so I don’t want to rush anything.

Next week I’m off DayJob and hope to work on the publisher’s page. I hope it will be live by the end of the month, so I can take down a few things here! ;)

Also, no writerly links, except this one. I admit I don’t go to Kindleboards, but sometimes they can be fun!

Leaving you with random vignettes with Da Muse(s)… Have a great week! :D

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