Random Friday

Words of wisdom, writers on writing, just chill and enjoy these quotes!

And the best thing you can do for finding your process is to never be entirely sure that you’ve found your process.
Because once you’re sure, once you’re really for real sure that you’ve figured it out, you’ve closed yourself to change.
I’ve changed my process subtly over time. Sometimes by necessity. Sometimes because I hear how another writer does it and it’s a thing that sounds like it might work for me.
Sometimes the changes aren’t subtle.
Fiddle with the dials.
Jigger the levers
Stick the egg-beater up your — well, you know.
Change your process. A little here. A lot there.
Whatever makes the work better
Whatever makes you better.
(And happier.)

Chuck Wendig

Be tenacious and thick-skinned

“Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

-J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Great writers never quit. The writers who make it believe in their work. Believe in yours. Do not quit. You will face hardships and criticism, and it takes a lot of work to learn to accept the fact that not everyone is going to love your work. Take every piece of criticism from whence it comes and an added bucket of salt, and use it as a learning opportunity to make your next book even better. There is success at the end of the sweat and late night coffee number 10, and you’ll never know how much you can achieve if you stop short of giving publishing your very best shot.

Justin Osborn

Writing is hard when you start. You probably won’t have any fans cheering you on. If you’ve got a mother or a spouse who believes in you, count yourself extremely fortunate. Most new writers only get discouragement from their family members.
I once read an article that said that the average writer takes seven years from the time that they begin writing to the time that they begin publishing. Once you begin publishing, it normally takes five to seven more books before you can gain the status of a “lead author” for your publisher—the author who gets most of the hype and publicity during the month that his or her book is released. And after that, it may take years until you actually become an “overnight success” and have a novel top the charts.
There are ways to beat those odds–to publish much more quickly than seven years and to top the charts more quickly, but the truth is that if you are starting out as a writer, you’d better buckle down for the long haul.
So, I would rank persistence as one of the greatest virtues a writer can have.
On that theme, I would like to offer a couple of quotes from other authors. I once heard Dean Wesley Smith say, “When I was trying to break into writing, I felt like I was trying to break down a door by banging my head against it.” Ah, how I know that feeling! But he continued, “Now that I’ve gotten in, I kind of feel like I should make sure that the door is securely locked behind me.”
And the last quote comes from Kevin J. Anderson himself. “People often look at my big contracts with DUNE or STAR WARS or some other project and say, ‘Man, you sure are lucky! I’d love to do that!’ But I find that in my writing, the harder I work, the ‘luckier’ I get.”

David Farland

Critique groups really are invaluable. Except when they’re not. Readers, like reviewers, are going to give you mixed feedback, but there’s a chicken-and-egg conundrum going on here of, “I need critiques to learn to write well, but I need to know how to write well to be able to effectively judge my critiques.” Early on, everyone tells you to get a critique group, and it’s true you need feedback—but you need the right feedback, from the right readers, always balanced with your own artistic judgment, experience, and vision. It takes time to gain all of that.
So there you have it: an antidote to the relentless urgings to write with abandon, spew words onto the page, hit word count every day, just get that first draft done as fast as you can! You can take your time, build your skills, and write toward your singular vision slowly and in stages. If NaNoWriMo works for you, fabulous. If it doesn’t, fabulous. Like me, you can stink at it year after year and still end up with a bunch of books to your name. Don’t confuse speed for progress, but also don’t make excuses to let yourself off the hook from getting shit done. Often, we writers are like competitors on the Great British Bake Off comparing kitchen gadgets and recipes and proving technique when the only relevant question is, “Is the cake done and does it taste good?”

Fonda Lee

I’m considered a hybrid author. I’ve been with big publishers, smaller e-first presses, and now indie. In my experience, the only certainty with marketing is that the playing field is constantly changing. One year we’re all pushing Yahoo forum groups, then Myspace, now Facebook.
Yes, self-publishing has made it easier to put out a book, but keeping a consistent income in light of industry changes, marketing ups and downs, and what feels like a flooded marketplace can be difficult. There are many things we can’t control.So what’s an author to do when faced with this journey? Having allies to navigate the waters will make flowing with the changes easier.
After being in the ever-changing publishing world for close to 15 years, there is one tried-and-true marketing effort that has remained consistent—networking. I’m not just talking about going to conferences and meeting editors and agents to get those publishing deals. I’m talking about a vast resource of other professionally minded authors.

Michelle M. Pillow



Writer Wednesday

No real writing last week, although I did start The Path of Dreams on Sunday, but I didn’t have time to type anything yet. One chapter down, but I don’t know the wordcount. Back on track today, though.

I slept at the Trinity College (the year of sleeping on campuses, and I didn’t even go to college or university, LOL!) and I walked all over the place because why not. I bought a rain poncho to protect myself and the backpack from the Irish rain, since I was outside more often than Edinburgh.

I went to three panels at Worldcon. One was cancelen, another I couldn’t get in. And the belly dance class lasted almost two hours instead of one. Boy, am I rusty! I should really do it regularly, my limbs coordination currently sucks. I better look for something in September…

Shoutout to the awesome bookseller Hodges Figgis who carried my books for five days and sold 6 out of 8! And I left the Moles anthology at the book swap, grabbing a novella in return that I read on the plane back – Genesis by S.E. Sasaki, quite a nice introduction to her world.

In Dublin I met with friends (both 20Books alumni and Italian friends, plus the woman who started me on Worldcons by suggesting I attend Chicon 7 and bought the last two books), explored the town (even with a Hop-on Hop-off bus to have a general idea), went to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and bought books, comics and DVDs.

Now I’m still quite shaken by the traveling (and guess who’s welcomed me back? The dreaded heat! AUGH!), but settling back in the routine. Still off day job until Sunday… Now hop off to the Infinite Bard for another free short story and have a great week!

Happiness is…

Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! With a new bundle out, how could I not interview some fellow authors? Even if I didn’t curate it, I’m still curious about other writers’ process!Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Karen C. Klein!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in the Chicago area, but am making a move down to Fort Worth, TX. I tend to write from home on my laptop, but also enjoy taking my laptop or tablet out with me to a library or café.

Why do you write?

Gosh, I could probably write an entire book about why I write. I think the short answer is because I love to tell stories and writing them down in book form is my favorite “container” for sharing stories.

When did you start writing?

I started telling stories to my Aunts when I was four on the train to downtown Chicago. And I wrote my first fan fic when I was eleven and my first original fic when I was twelve. I lost the notebook with the fan fic, but I still have the notebook with the original fic.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write fantasy & sci-fi, broadly speaking. I love combing sub-genres of sci-fi and fantasy in new and interesting ways.

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

I want to write the books that I didn’t have growing up. I also want to write books about a better, more inclusive world, where people are better than they are in the real world. And I want my books to provoke an emotional response in my readers – give them hope, or make them angry or make them cry.

I achieve these goals by writing the stories that I wish I had or wish existed when I was growing up. Or I wish I had now. I write from a character driven position. I put a lot of heft behind a character’s emotional arc and growth. I don’t really have static characters on the page. I also study the world as it is now. I study history. To better understand humanity and our motivations as a species. Finally, I read a lot of fiction and non-fiction.

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

Take other writers’ advice with a grain of salt. What works well for someone else might not work for you.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I tend to start with a jumping off point, like a character or a world idea and then do some loose world-building before I jump into drafting. My drafts are mostly improvisation. I tend to rebel against traditional outlines in my fiction. I can outline non-fiction. Brains are weird. My writing is slow in that I don’t write every day. But, fast in that I can write an average of 1000 words in an hour when I am able to sit down and write. Not every writing day is a great day, but I try to squeeze the most out of what writing time I do have.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

The book that I have in this bundle is titled Shakespeare’ s Curse. It is about how the wizard Shakespeare was cursed into a map by his brother, the wizard Teneyros.

I had so much fun writing this short story because Shakespeare & Teneyros are more supporting characters in the first two books of the Chronicles of the Mages’ Guild books. This short story brings out their dynamic. And it gives readers a chance to find out how Shakespeare ended up as a map.

Tell us about your latest book

I’m drafting a book where the main character Adra is going to the city from the country to pursue her magical University education. Along the way, she discovers she’s not the humble orphan she thinks she is, but part of something much larger than herself. She finds herself unexpectedly caught up in political intrigue that brings the country to the brink of civil war.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I always have multiple irons in the fire so to speak. I am working on the next two novels of the Mages’ Guild series. Both of those are past the first draft stage. As well as collaborating with my friend Matt Hope on what we’re calling a queer space heist, which is still in the first draft stage. It is set in a world in the far future. Ella & Charlie are tasked with rescuing their royal friends off of a high security space station or the princesses and prince will be forced into unwanted arranged marriages for political alliance.

Website: https://karencklein.com/

Random Friday

Currently in Dublin, so this was scheduled before I left. A few links of things I found while checking Day Job Innovation Center articles. These go under the trends umbrella or lots of innovation stuff coming soon – yes, it’s all for the near future.

First – very apt for my current situation, LOL – 30 signs you’re a loner. Many of those signs apply to me. Like, my phone rang while I was composing this post, and I immediately put the number on Google and it was a call center. I don’t answer unknown numbers, but they do make me jump.

Also, there’s a rise in solo living but even though I’ve been living on my own for way too long, I’m considering shared housing instead (probably because I’m getting older and it’s recommended for women and the elders). I hope to eventually find my community offline, but it’s probably not in Italy.

All the above also led to the JOMO movement (the Joy of Missing Out) even for younger people. But there’s still a gap in the education system, and I hope they will introduce the education for the wise cyborg of the future soon. I mean, Dear Nephew is 14, I hope they have something ready for him when he gets to college! 😉

I’m trying to keep up with the changes in the world at large, but it’s not easy. A part of me misses the past, even though I know it’s gone. What can I say, I hope we all make it through this transition! 🙂

Watch this video about the Green New Deal that is supposed to create new jobs. Here’s to clean energy and reversing the climate change. Also, developers say 5G and augmented reality will change the way we live… not sure I want to try AR, but a faster internet would be lovely! 😉

And last but not least, Facial Recognition. I have seen young people who have it on their phone, but to me it’s still a little scary. I also hope you haven’t been playing with FaceApp, since it raises high security concerns and you might hav just given up your photos and personal data.

Wonders never cease… careful on social media and with new apps! 😉 Use technology but don’t let it use you! Have a wonderful weekend!

Writer Wednesday

Last week I didn’t do much writing, but I consider myself inbetween projects. This week will probably have no writing at all, and it will resume next week when I come back from Worldcon. Not worried at all, since I’m already at 375K anyway (for those coming in late, my target is 500K a year). The next Paths novel should take me to 400K and then I have a few more to write before the end of the year.

The Mission #30 was written, sent and rejected in less than a week, but since it comes after the epilogue of the Team‘s missions, it shall be the first of volume 2, coming out next year whenever I write another 20something missions. This team is still growing on me, and they’re keeping the name anyway, even though they’re no longer lone wolves! 🙂

And Rogue is out too, so the Star Minds Lone Wolves books are complete for this year. I updated the series page, redid the lettering on the single books covers and adjusted the backend matter. Now I’ll have to do it for the other Star Minds books, but I will do it in September. I did do a new trailer for the series, though! 🙂

I also added the Lone Wolves to Drive Thru, as you can see from the “sidebar”, since I sold a SKYBAND Omnibus in their Comics shop, but every now and then I get a sale even in the Fiction shop. We’ll see if a banner or two will make the Star Minds Universe soar over there too! 🙂

I also started unpublishing things. I made a list and will take down 25 Silvery Earth titles, 12 Star Minds Universe and 5 others. It will clean up my retailers dashboard and allow me to update the rest with less junk.

I’m mostly taking down shorter titles or single stories that are included in collections. I’ve been told that short titles sink faster in Amazon charts, so I might as well get rid of them since they don’t sell anyway.

So here’s the cleaned up Star Minds Universe and Silvery Earth on Smashwords. I have unpublished also from Kobo, Amazon and D2D. It’s been a long hot weekend, sigh. Let me know what you think of the new presentation of Silvery Earth on the series page, though!

An interesting post on how science fiction is dying again – the Hopepunk Edition. Considering the bleak present, I should probably write something about my apocalypse… and my vampires live through it, so they might be the right ones to tell that story! 😉

Currently flying to Dublin for Worldcon, so will update next week when I get back… If you’re there too, and see me wandering around, come and say hello. I have no panels, so I’ll be in and out of the buildings. And the curated anthologies will be available at Hodges Figgis booth in the dealer’s room (it’s a local bookstore for non-Dubliners). Have a great week! 🙂


Happiness is…

Walking in my characters’ path in London while I was writing The Fern and The Cross (as pictured above) or in Chittorgarh a few years later, looking for my vampires… 😉

Random Friday

So, before finishing the last chapter and writing the epilogue of The Path of Metal, I opted for some brainstorming while drawing instead of playing Bubble Witch Saga 3! 😉 The result is another portrait of Da Muse (who may or may not be a grownup Torik, I was missing his Dhoom 2 looks, LOL!) and the discovery that I actually have a trilogy on hand.

The Paths Trilogy (The Path of Wood, The Path of Metal, The Path of Dreams) follows the Silvery Earth Kids some twelve years later in their adult years. Book 1 is about Torik, book 2 is about Adwin’s twin sisters, book 3 about Prince Lambert, now king, of course, although he loses his kingdom very quickly.

So I’m going to take the first 2 completed books to Dublin and start jotting down an outline for book 3, so I can start writing it as soon as I come back. Mighty Editor will be busy come mid-October, but my readers will have a trilogy for the Holidays (which might actually feel like a real fantasy novel of 100K, since I’m usually around 50K – 45K book 1 and 35K book 2 at the moment)!

And there will be also a paperback with the strip of the Silvery Earth Kids (are you following them on Instagram yet?) – with of course a prose version for the visually impaired – and hopefully a 2020 calendar. If you want a black&white preview of the strip, get An Interpretation of Moles, out now!

I might set up pre-order buttons whenever I have completed all three books and made the covers. Still tinkering with them, of course. I also want to redo a cover for the Star Minds Starter, but it’s not easy to find images that match my idea of the technological angel – even Phoenix Lu’s awesome art made his heart kind of too light, he has black hair, like Da Other Muse! 😉

And that’s all for today! Have a great weekend! 🙂

Writer Wednesday

The grand total for the writing retreat (even though I didn’t write every day, and definitely not when traveling) was 14600words, although I finished The Path of Metal on Sunday. I printed it out on Monday at the office and did a final pass, reading it all in one sitting before moving on.

Now writing those short stories to submit to traditional markets with very tight deadlines. Including Mission #30 of the Lone Wolves Team, that therefore is not included in the last volume of our adventurers’ jobs, out now. I will add it to the collection of all the missions if it gets rejected (or will wait until I can publish it in the whole collection, depending how long I have to postpone it, LOL).

Next weekend I’ll upload Rogue, then pause the publishing for a few months. I considered enrolling it in KU so I could participate in the Kindle StorytellerAward 2019 on Amazon UK, but unless my one true fan (yes, Tori, I’m talking to you) tells me she doesn’t mind waiting 3 months, I won’t. If I happen to win (which I won’t), means it would be stuck on Amazon only for much longer. If you’re in KU and have published between May and August, do try your luck, though! 😉

I learned a few things and got a few ideas at the conference, so it’s time I start working on that rebranding – or tending my garden, as they say. Since “just write more books” doesn’t really work, I’m studying the Reader Magnets. Although the PDF is outdated RE: MailChimp, but I have no intention of opening another newsletter yet.

But someone pointed me to StoryOrigin, and they handle Reader Magnets and review copies even if you don’t have a mailing list. So I might try that too in the coming months (as well as signing up for Pinterest when I have the rebranded covers ready – not all of them, but still quite a few, I’m afraid).

I haven’t done a priority list yet, although I have booked out a few weekends to start the revamping of the publisher’s site. Might also give me ideas for the Backstage Pass posts! 😉 Oh, and another link of something I discovered in Edinburgh (thanks, Josie, glad I didn’t spend all my time talking to the only face I knew beforehand and saw your link on the group discussion) – Hopepunk. Might be something to consider when I re-tag my books! 😉

Now, you might have noticed my re-blog on Sunday. Yes, the awesome A.L. Butcher put together another awesome bundle, Here Be Magic, that includes yours truly. Soon you’ll hear from some of those authors on this very blog.

Aaaand, you guessed it, it’s Infinite Bard time again! Hop off to the site and read another free short story for your reading pleasure! 🙂 Have a great week!

Happiness is…

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