Sunday Surprise


And it’s another Sci-fi July author! And I even met him three years ago, yay! Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Michael W. Lucas!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Detroit, Michigan, and write from my authorial garret above my family home. As garrets go, it’s pretty nice. I have running water and a view of the power lines.

Why do you write?

Because I love doing it. I love telling stories. Good writing is clear thinking, and while my brain is usually full of mud writing forces me to sieve away the muck and produce clarity.

When did you start writing?

I was four when I discovered that books were not a gift from On High. They were produced by people–real people, not, like, TV stars or Presidents. People like me.

So I started writing books. And annoying my relatives and schoolmates with them. Now I get to annoy the world at large.

What genre(s) do you write?

As Michael Warren Lucas, I write SF and crime novels. I’m probably best known for the Immortal Clay books: a play off of Carpenter’s amazing The Thing, but set after we lose. I write just about anything as short stories.

As Michael W Lucas, I write nonfiction technology books. Nonfiction provides
some interesting storytelling opportunities. My fiction and nonfiction writing each feeds off the other.

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

I am always looking to become a better writer. Every book I write, I’m practicing a particular skill.

Writing is my full-time job, so I have business goals too. I’m looking to boost the share of my income that comes from fiction. Each novel I write sells better than the last, so the solution is pretty clear: write more novels.

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

Writing advice is a weird thing. What’s great advice for a beginner is terrible advice for a medium-stage author and irrelevant for an advanced author.

The best writing advice I’ve ever been given actually isn’t writing advice, it’s life advice: “Listen to the people who are doing the thing you want to do, the way you want to do it.”

Hanging around with other writers and talking about writing is great fun. I’m thrilled to hang out with more experienced authors, and I’ll happily chat with writers that aren’t as far along as myself. But I’m really choosy about whose advice I listen to.

Many people who can’t do a thing talk a really good game about the thing. That guy in your writing group who is full of comments about your use of passive voice and how you break up paragraphs, but who has never sold a dang thing?  He’s not providing useful information.

When someone tells you how your work made them feel, though: that is ALWAYS valid and useful. Always. It’s the most useful writing advice you’ll ever get.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I always have an outline. Permit me to present the complete outline for my crime thriller “Butterfly Stomp Waltz.” It’s utterly full of
robbery and bloodshed and vengeance.

Anthony Bourdain:

  • Atlanta
  • Portugal
  • Myanmar

Yep, that’s it. Food and travel shows are great for researching foreign places. If you can make the reader taste the food in that little town in the back of the Myanmar jungle, they’ll believe you’ve been there.

My writing speed depends entirely on the project. The novel I’m currently writing, a sequel to BSW called Terrapin Sky Tango, is being difficult.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

In the Montague Portal series, the Montague Corporation has figured out how to leap into alien universes with different natural laws. Unfortunately, not all of those universes like humans.

More unfortunately, we bring human nature with us.

Mind rotting from an incurable prion disease? Go to a universe where the disease cannot progress, and get attacked by aliens (No More Lonesome Blue Rings). Or be among the first to visit a universe, solve a robbery, and save the world. (Sticky Supersaturation). There’s a universe where density varies linearly and there’s no ground… more specifically, no grounds for murder. (Forever Falls).

Montague Portal is kind of Star Trek, but every story has a built-in excuse to change how everything works.

Hydrogen Sleets is set in a universe exactly like ours, but it’s only about half a billion years after the Big Bang. The universe contains only hydrogen atoms screaming past at half the speed of light and a 1960s-style space station made of spinning concentric rings. It’s not just a SF mystery where our heroine needs to figure out why people are going insane and attacking the station; it’s a corporate procedural, where the frustrations of working for a company form part of the story. With laser guns, and forbidden shwarma.

It’s a perfect book for the Sci-Fi July Bundle. I was thrilled to be asked.

Tell us about your latest book

I describe git commit murder as “If Agatha Christie ran Unix cons.” If you work in the computing industry, if you’ve ever been to a computer conference, this book is for you.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m currently writing a sequel to Butterfly Stomp Waltz, called Terrapin Sky Tango. Yes, I’m watching a few Anthony Bourdain episodes for that one. Plus a new, big nonfiction book.

Non-fiction Author

Fiction Author

Random Friday


Dunno on your side of the world, but this year, besides the usual (and worsening) heat, we even have fires. I mean, we always have fires in the summer when it doesn’t rain much, but this year it has been particularly harsh on me. Here’s a summary in English – my story is from Sunday, but as you can see, it’s not over yet.

My 3h30 train ride back home became an 8h30 odissey where only Techie Bro’s intervention allowed for a happy ending at that time – otherwise it would have probably lasted much longer.

Ice-cream in Massa

I spent the weekend in Massa (my father’s hometown) with a friend. Both writers, we mostly stayed in and did our stuff. Sunday my dad took us to the train station. She stopped in Pisa, so she took the regional train (cheaper) that was 10 minutes late. My Intercity was also 10 minutes late for much affluence at previous stations.

But I saw the train coming from the south (i.e. where I was headed) was 174mintes late. I was afraid something had happened on the line and I was soon proved right. First stop in Grosseto where we gained another 20 minutes of lateness. They told us it was because of a fire near Capalbio and that firemen were at work.

At that point my mother called me from Massa, since the fire was on the TV news. A ViP camping had been evacuated but it was mostly over. So on we went… and stopped shortly afterward, at Montalto di Castro. Again they told us it was because of a fire between Ladispoli and Fregene (north of Rome). We were still in Tuscany.

One hour went by. One and a half and the AC of the train was giving me a headache. I saw a train going north, and hoped things were clear, but we still didn’t move.

Then they told us that if we were headed for Roma Termini, we could take the train on platform 1 that would take us to Ladispoli where a bus service would take us to Roma Termini. Whoever was headed further south (the train was bound for Salerno) should stay onboard.

So I moved train, found a seat, and the train didn’t leave for another 10-20 minutes. The following stations it filled itself. At Civitavecchia there was still smoke and smell of fire and the refugees of another fast train (the one I could have taken that passed through Massa one hour earlier) came onboard.

Talking to a Filippino lady who had had the bad idea of visiting Pisa, leaving her husband and son in Rome, that train had met both fires and was by now 4 hours late. And it was canceled and wouldn’t go anywhere else. We found out that we were on a regional train that supposedly did Roma-Genova, but did only Ladispoli-Grosseto (it was probably the same that I had seen go north and that had come back one hour later).

The packed train ended in Ladispoli, where they told us there would be a bus service. The outside of the station was already packed with people from other trains, and the platform was so busy with people stopping and not moving that for the first time in my life I crossed the tracks to get out of the crowd.

Then I used the underground passage to go to the front of the station, since I had come out in the back, with the Filippino lady on my heels. No bus in sight, and hundreds of people milling around. The police said the bus were coming, and it was 9pm by now. I called my brother and told him the bus would only take me to Maccarese where we could take another train to Termini, so he said he’d come to Maccarese to spare me the last leg of the trip.

By 9.30 still no bus and the station restrooms were locked. The Filippino lady had struck a conversation with two students who had decided to go for a beach day in Ladispoli and had been stuck there for hours – bus had come at 6pm but there weren’t enough of them. One was Hungarian, the other Danish, but both studied in Denmark and were in Rome for some summer course.

My brother reached Maccarese and since no bus in sight he decided to come over to Ladispoli. With the help of the Danish girl I managed to use Google Maps and send him our location (we walked away from the overcrowded train station). Around 10pm, five minutes after 3 bus showed up, headed for the station, he arrived and picked us up.

stranded in Ladispoli – bus and Techie Bro arrived from this street

We live south of Rome and the highway is the one that takes to Fiumicino airport. The 3 foreigners needed Gianicolo and Nomentana, so we left them at a taxi parking near Eur (with 2 lone taxis – and I saw them trying to call a Uber before heading there) and I was home by 11pm.

Could have been worse. Midnight or 1am if I had waited for the bus+train+taxi from the train station in the center since I don’t trust the metro at night… Gotta love one’s Techie Bro who is not afraid of driving in the dark, right? Now my parents and sister will take that same train on Sunday… here’s to wishing them a prompt and safe journey!

On a last note: I’ve had a maximum of 3hours late, but being stranded 50km from home – 40minutes by car – was a first… Have a great weekend! 😉

Writer Wednesday


And here you have Kol-ian in all his might in another great bundle! 🙂 Love Magik Glow is now live with 7 great QUILTBAG stories, including the trilogy about the technological angel and his gorgeous brother-in-law! 😀 Get it now!

So, in spite of the heat and a weekend away from home, I still managed to get some writing done. I’m adding the last of the meat and hope to do a final pass next weekend, after which another novel will be off – not just to the beta-reader of the challenge, but to the cover artist, who is also a necessary beta-reader, and maybe another beta if she has time, but she’s probably busy with her fan-fiction contest…

We’ll see. I might just leave it at 2 – the cover artist because she’s from that culture and she can point out cultural mistakes, the “paid” beta because it’s his challenge! 😉 BTW I got a sketch of the cover, it’s going to be a great addition to the Vampires Through the Centuries covers! 🙂 And I might send an excerpt to Unusual Historicals again, hoping they don’t forget the second half of the bargain – the giveaway – like they did with Kaylyn last year…

I have written stories based on illustrations or covers in the past, in fact I might do it again in August, since I’m already thinking about the cover of that novel… and it is indeed fun – writing a novel from a cover or a story from an illustration. My two latest examples are Star Minds Third Generation – Iso-bel Aya Shermac and Starship Pilot (link to the inspiration art by Techie Bro)… Even though the second has only been used to illustrate the story for Patreon patrons, it still started from there! 😉

The writerly links of the week! The Newbie Author Marketing Manifesto – not sure what platform I have since some of those I have high and some I have very low for having been 7 years at it, but well…  As for the 3 tools, I have a website with a byline and this very blog. My email list is still lagging behind, but I’m waving madly to all of you blog followers and Facebook fans! 😀

If you’re having a bad writing day, read this post. Happens to everybody. I often flirt with Mr Procrastination, in spite of being married to Mr Writing. But it’s a muscle, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. So practise, practise, practise and you’ll forget what Writer’s Block is! 😉

Oh, and if you’re wondering why I never joined KDP Select and KU… it’s because it’s broken. And Amazon doesn’t seem to realize they’re pissing off customers too. Mighty Zon might fall soon if they don’t the address the scammers breaking the Kindle Store! 😦 If you’re an author, don’t use clickfarms. Or even better, don’t be Amazon exclusive – I do have sales on Kobo, D2D and Smashwords, and you’re missing on readers by ignoring everybody else.

And if you’re a KU subscriber, please please please tell Amazon to do something about these people. Or soon all the indie authors will leave KU and your subscription won’t let you read anything… Have a great weekend! 🙂

Happiness is…


Guest Post – Publishing on Bundle Rabbit – Barbara Tarn


How to be a bundle curator…

Library of Erana

So, you joined BundleRabbit… great! You’re just another hopeful author waiting to be picked up! And when you do get picked up, all you have to do is follow Diane’s advice – she is one of the authors of my first bundle and I couldn’t have said it better. She explains everything about how BR works for authors.

But wait, months go by and nobody requests anything. You see dozens of other great authors and start thinking… why not? Maybe I should become a curator! How hard can it be?

Putting bundles together at BundleRabbit is great fun, but it’s also exhausting. Not very hard, but there is a small learning curve.

First of all, you apply for “curator” status. Create a draft with your vision (it can include your book or not) and choose a release date, but check what else is coming out that month.

Try to book…

View original post 448 more words

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a Sci-fi July author! We even were in the same bundle last year! And I met him on the Oregon Coast this year! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Blaze Ward!

Where do you live and write from?

     “West of the Mountains, WA” USA

Why do you write?

     How do you make it stop?

When did you start writing?

     As long as I’ve had words. Professionally, about four years ago.

What genre(s) do you write?

    Primarily SF. Plus Fantasy, superhero, modern crime, and Post-apocalyptic-distopian-cowboy-stories

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

     Be the most successful writer nobody has ever heard of. (See Taupin, B.)

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

     They only win if you stop.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

     I write into dimly-lit hallways, so I know where it starts, and roughly where it ends, and let the characters and the story direct me. Fast writer, but not as fast as Dean. 400k/year the last 2 years.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

     I wanted to do something new for me and for a lot of what I’ve read. Hard SF archaeology, without gods, magic, or anything else. Focused on one person struggling to overcome her demons, and what it would really be like, exploring a potentially-hostile world.

Tell us about your latest book

     Flight of the Blackbird  5th of the Jessica Keller series. Epic Military Space Opera.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

     I will publish at least one thing on the 10th of every month for at least three years after I’d dead. Publishing four Science Officer books (5-8) this year, plus superhero stories and the cowboy collection.

____________________________________________
Web page
Facebook
Author Central

 

Random Friday


And since I don’t have much to say and it’s too hot for thinking, here’s another author of the fantasy bundle! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mario Milosevic!

Where do you live and write from?

In the Columbia River Gorge in the Pacific Northwest.

Why do you write?

I want to be part of the long tradition of storytelling.

When did you start writing?

Submitted my first story (to Analog) when I was 14. (It didn’t get accepted.)

What genre(s) do you write?

Fantasy, mystery, science fiction, literary.

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

I want to sell enough to quit my day job. I write 1,000 words every weekday without fail, and I send stuff out all the time.

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

Get a job. Most people don’t make a living at writing. Also, having other income frees you up to be as creative as you want in your writing.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Improviser. When I outline, it feels dead. When I improvise it feels fresh and alive. Fast writer. Speed brings out things I never knew I had in me.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

I live in the Columbia River Gorge, which is a beautiful place, and mystical as well. Our county has a law on the books which protects Bigfoot! Now how cool is that? I thought the gorge would be a perfect setting for a fantasy novel, so I imagined two societies, one in the gorge, and one above it. They are linked in ways I won’t give away here. I threw in some natural disasters from real life: The Missoula floods and the eruption of Mt. St. Helens (which is in our county) and I came up with an exciting coming of age story mixed with an after-the-apocalypse tale.

Tell us about your latest book

My most recent book is a collection of stories. The title says it all: 15 Strange Tales of Crime and Mystery. It’s got humorous, gruesome, futuristic, and fantastic, but they all deal with crime in some way or other. http://amzn.to/2tAWjXC

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Lots. I’m juggling numerous short stories, got a few novels making the rounds, and embarking on a series of stories about Red Fish Bay, my invented town on the Oregon Coast in which strange and mysterious things happen due to the fact that the town was the site of a meteor impact a few million years ago.

I don’t do much on social media, but here’s my twitter feed: https://twitter.com/mariowrites

My website: mariowrites.com

 

Writer Wednesday


And I’m in another, upcoming bundle! 🙂 Please like the page and wait for it! And a reminder that this (below) bundle is currently available only on DriveThruFiction and it’s a limited time offer, it will be gone after the summer! If you haven’t read the Assassins’ Guild stories, you can grab them in your favorite format here! 🙂

If you want to subscribe to my bimonthly newsletter (the next comes out in September), please do so and don’t ask me to add you manually – I wouldn’t know how to send you the welcome email with the free story… Or you can support me on Patreon, where I regularly post both for writers and readers! 🙂

And hello to the new followers, thank you for deciding to follow this very blog for whatever reason. Not going to ask anymore! 😉 Now, to the writerly news.

Novel #2 is well underway and I hope to have that first draft ready for “meating up” next weekend. I’m kind of jumping back and forward on this one because it has a predetermined outline, but I’ll still need to read it all in one sitting or two to see if it flows. Reaching the 20th century is easier and harder at the same time.

I mean, I can describe Jaipur or Delhi like I saw them last year (even though the characters are in Jaipur in the first half of last century), but at the same time… I don’t know. I guess I should do more travelogues, it would definitely help when I write! 😉 That darn setting still tends to escape me.

I’m still unsure about a secondary character and I’ll make up my mind when I reach the end and then cycle back  to add some meat. I don’t know why the first draft is always very sparse… maybe I need to think about it more before I cand add stuff?

Or maybe it’s just that my brain is fried during the summer? I hate it when cicadas sing all day, it means it’s too darn hot for my tastes and I should move to Iceland! 😦 Glad I found a nice desk fan for the writing times… 🙂

I’ll start the writerly links with this post by Tracy Cooper-Posey – why should historical characters sound like they’re speaking funny in historical novels? Since I’m currently writing historical fantasy, I think it’s perfect timing. I’ve had some betas pointing out some too modern terms in my fantasy too, but I tend to write plain English (with American Spelling – like Tracy, I grew up with British spelling) for the very reason she states.

I mean, I understand I better avoid 21st century slang, and I did use the “thou” and “art thee” once in a fan fiction, but it was precisely because the character had been locked up and sounded funny to modern English speakers (I sort of mention it in Kaylyn’s novel – Kris tells her that she has a “Shakespearian English” since that’s more or less the time she stopped speaking English).

And as a reader I hate even accents, so I say NO to that kind of gimmick. I hate it as much as purple prose and jolts me out of the story immediately! You want to keep Reader Me happy? Write in plain English. Your translator in some other language will thank you, trust me! 😉

And since the heat makes me sleepy, I can’t really read more (reading also makes me sleepy…) so I’ll probably have to pass a couple of interesting bundles because I have already too many books to read. I’m even supposed to vote for the Hugos, except I have read none of the nominees! 😦

Oh, and if you want to be on A Small Gang of Authors, here’s their joining page – you can either be guest, like I was, or join them (if you have a Blogger account)! And Bundle Rabbit has added the collaboration tab, so if you’re trying to set up an anthology, you can use that feature!

Just in case you’re new, Bundle Rabbit allows indie authors to set up their own bundles (and cross-pollinate their readers with other authors) and readers to discover new authors by buying a favorite name along with a few more. I currently have two curated bundles (means that I put them together) – one of fantasy novels and one of science fiction (space opera or humorous sci-fi) – and my books have been chosen for two more that I will announce as soon as they go live.

My next curated bundle will have vampires, so if you have a novel-length vampire story, join Bundle Rabbit and upload it, so I can find it in September when I start putting together the next one! 🙂

Check also the Book Spoltight on Library of Erana (supposedly just one, but there’s actually two, LOL!), with even very short excerpts to give you a taste. Have a great week!

 

Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise


I am a guest! At A Small Gang of Authors! And since I can’t comment on their blog because it’s only for Google+ users, I will comment here. Blame  it on the incompatibility between Blogger and WordPress! 😉

Joe Bonadonna *Waves madly* Hellooo! Thank you for introducing me to your gang! 🙂 It was a pleasure having you on my blog and whenever you want to come back… you know where to find me! 😉

Erika M Szabo Thank you for having  me! It was a pleasure! Whenever you want to be a guest here, just drop me a line! 😉

NN Light Thank you! Sorry for not responding on the blog… as I say below, if you want to be a guest on my blog… 😉

Cristina Grau Thank you for having me!

Mackenzie Flohr Thank you and welcome! Sorry I couldn’t reply under your message… I always welcome guest authors, so if you have a new release and want to answer my writerly questions, shoot me an email! 🙂

If there are more comments, I’ll add them below… so this post shall be edited a few times! 😀 Have a great Sunday!

EDIT:

Rick Haynes Thank you, Rick… hopefully in the next 3-4 years I’ll manage to get  rid of that darn DayJob! 😉 Besides, you find out you’ve had a career only when you look back…

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