Writer Wednesday

This week I’m trying to wrap up the vampire stories. Two shorts and a novel. More research and one last check of the final draft of Rajveer the Vampire, but it’s really the last books I’m reading for this novel.

I found useful info in the Invasions of India that I will keep handy for writing one of the next books, but totally gave up on History of the Moguls, since they seem to mix everything (Tamerlane with Babur, Akbar with Alauddin Khalji) – unless one reads it just for fun. But the history is  really messed up.

I found many more books on the subject, but I’m not going to check them now. I’m also reading Vikram and the Vampire – I’m sure the English translation is not exactly as the original, but well… it’s also giving me nice insights on the country! :)

After this vampire week, I’m trying to stay offline for 10 days – but I’ll bring a notebook, just in case! ;) As soon as I come back, I’ll upload another ex-B.G.Hope title with new cover, then I’ll start publishing some Star Minds Interregnum stories. I know, I’m supposed to say this on the publisher’s page, but…

It doesn’t have any followers yet. I finished working on the single books pages – adding maps, characters interviews, whatever I could, so please go have a look. No, I’m not asking to tell me what you think, but if you like what you see, subscribe to the newsletter. I don’t post there as often as I do here, and only about new titles! ;)

If you’re an author and would like to be featured on my blog, drop me a line. Author and characters interviews are available. With a change of interviewer for characters. Brenda is probably not the best person, so Samantha is taking over the character interviews. See them bickering here, and answer Samantha’s questions if you dare! ;)

Gentle reminder – it’s the last week at 20%off on DriveThruFiction and DriveThruComics. On DTF the ebooks have all kinds of files (PDF, mobi and e-pub) and there are even bundles discounted available (Books of the Immortals and Chronicles of the Varian Empire). On DTC… S.K.Y.B.A.N.D. has only PDFs (and a POD version for the Omnibus).

Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

Covers rebranding! So, uploading the first novella by former pen name with new cover. Here is the comparison between the two.

It was the first title with another pen name I uploaded way back in 2011 – the original short story, that is. The following year I put up the expanded version with the new cover (cover picture by Mary R. Vogt @ Morguefile).

BoF2015_resizeThis year I reformatted it and changed the pen name and the cover… And lowered the price. Only 2,99$ now.

I will do the same for most of that pen-name titles (the body switches have the same cover, but then they had better cover and were “best sellers”, while these other titles sold nothing or only a couple of copies).

I’ll be working on more covers this weekend, to save on some expenses. I have a couple of Star Minds Interregnum covers to work on, plus the cover of a novella I sent to Writers of the Future. Experiments with digital painting, still trying to learn that damn Photoshop! ;)

Have a great Sunday! :D

Random Friday

Still working on the publisher’s page. Still writing new shorts – and redrafting them because the betas are just so awesome that I can’t ignore their suggestions (mostly because they point out something that already looked so-so to me). Still coming up with new ideas and improvements to what is already written and… in spite of the mushy brain and the awful heat, I guess I shouldn’t complain.

I even had time for a pencil portrait or two, while I brainstormed with myself what was next. Will send off a story tomorrow, and then work on two more. When I’m happy with those other two, I’ll go back to Rajveer for another pass and adjustments. Things I need to add in after I took out other stuff.

I’ll be re-uploading a former-pen-name title with the new cover this weekend. Stay tuned. This gal has a very personal style and she’s doing wonders. Pity her comic is still only in Italian (and probably French). See if you can tell her covers from mine on the Italian titles! ;)

Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday

Since I shared some of my research when I wrote the historical novel (still in that drawer, by the way), I thought I’d do the same this time. Mostly because I found conflicting stuff! ;)

In the History of the Mogul dynasty in India : from its foundation by Tamerlane, in the year 1399, to the accession of Aurengzebe, in the year 1657 (try to find the PDF version since the TXT is unreadable) I’ve skimmed over Akbar’s chapter and I’ve seen where someone thought something came from.

Chittorgarh. Wikipedia informs us that it had 3 “jahuar” (the self-immolation of royal ladies in case of siege). The most famous being the story of Rani Padmini (siege by the Sultan of Delhi in AD1303), the last being by Emperor Akbar. In the aforementioned book, they’re mixed. Like I said, I only skimmed (while trying to make the text-only version readable) the above book, but it was kind of funny to see two stories set one century and a half apart mixed together. I’ll have to go back and read the PDF! ;)

I also gave up trying to read the mobi versions of any 19th century text dealing with history or other stuff I might need for research. The software really can’t figure out what is written and nobody checks what comes out of it. And if there are notes under the page, the mobi file is impossible to read. So, back to PDF for scanned old paper books! :)

Anyhow, from now on, I’ll stick to the suggestions of good ol’ Bram (Stoker, who else?). When criticized because he didn’t go to Transylvania to write Dracula, he said,

Trees are trees, mountains are generally mountains, no matter what country you find them and one description may be made to answer for all this reinforcing the old adage among novelists: Never let the facts stand in the way of a good story.

Before I show off the covers for the former-B.G.Hope-titles, another post on book cover twins. That’s why I prefer to hire artists to do my covers. Here’s more reusable cover art for your historical novels – except mine is (will be) historical fantasy, so… commissioned cover(s) again! ;)

The secret art of reaching “the End” – just in case you still have procrastination problems! :) Or rewriting problems. Or “I want to make this perfect” problems. Finish what you write and move on! :D And don’t waste time fighting the wrong war.

Have a great week!

Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! Smashwords Authors group monthly feature on Goodreads! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Elizabeth Grace Foley!

Corral Nocturne eBook CoverWhere do you live and write from?
I’ve lived my entire life in upstate New York.
Why do you write?
Perhaps…because I can’t help it? I’ve been making up stories in my head ever since I was a little girl, and as I grew older, the impulse to write them down and refine them into real, carefully-crafted fiction grew stronger and stronger. It’s just something that I love to do.
LeftHandKelly-eBookWebWhen did you start writing?
Technically, my first fiction writing was done on sheets of paper stapled together to make “books” almost as soon as I learned how to write. I was always writing something and occasionally daydreaming about being an author someday, but I really began to get serious about writing and developing my craft about seven or eight years ago, I think.
What genre(s) do you write?
Everything I write comes under the heading of historical fiction. I’ve written in several sub-genres or variations on the genre, though—Westerns are my main interest; I also write historical mystery, and I’ve written a few short stories set in other periods (i.e. the Civil War and Great Depression).
Mrs. Meade Volume One Front CoverWhat does your writing routine consist of?
My daily routine isn’t carved in stone; I like to do most of my actual sit-down writing in the morning when my mind is freshest. My projects have a basic routine, though—I handwrite the first draft, then type it and edit as I go. After having some family members and beta readers read it and give feedback, I do several rounds of edits as needed, both on paper and on the computer.
What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
Well, I’ve been told by readers that my writing has an old-fashioned feel and authentic-sounding dialogue for historical fiction. If that’s so, I credit reading plenty of older literature all my life, which is great for making that sort of thing second nature. Personally, I think creating interesting, likable characters may be one of my strengths, possibly because it’s one of the things I enjoy most. Almost all of my stories begin with characters that I build the plot around.
RanchNextDoor_smallWhere do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
To answer the first part of that—well, pretty much everywhere. Books, movies, history, life in general. History is one of my biggest inspirations. To the second part—ah, that’s the trick question for a writer! I’ve never deliberately based a character off myself, but I know bits of my personality and ways of thinking must creep into all different characters and stories inadvertently.
Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
I outline longer works to give myself a sense of where I’m going, but not too rigidly. For short stories I usually just make a list of scenes. And slow writer, definitely!
Wanderlust-Creek-smallerTell us about your latest book (add link if published)
My most recently published book is Wanderlust Creek and Other Stories, a collection of Western short stories. My personal favorite of the collection is the title story “Wanderlust Creek,” which is about a young rancher and his wife struggling to hold onto their land and their dreams in the face of adversity from without and within.
Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie. I learned about indie publishing at just the right time, after I’d been trying to find a way into the traditional short story scene, but struggling unsuccessfully to find markets that accepted the kind of story I was writing. A lot of things about it appealed to me: the aspect of creative control, the favorable royalty system, and no need to search for those markets.
Some+Christmas+Camo+Final+MediumAny other projects in the pipeline?
The fourth entry in my Mrs. Meade Mysteries series, The Silent Hour, will be releasing this fall. Right now I’m working on revising a historical/Western novel manuscript, but I know it’s going to need a lot more work, so there’s no timeline for its release yet. One day!
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
I’m better with short-term goals than I am with long-term. But my ambition has always been to write a novel, so the one big step I’m working toward is to make that a reality. I’d like to write any number of historical novels; I have plenty of ideas stored up. Right now I’m just working steadily away on the manuscript that I hope will be my first full-length novel, trying to make it the best work I know how to do.
War-Memorial-SmallWhat is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
I’ve occasionally been plagued with doubts over whether what I was writing was “serious” enough or meaningful enough, especially compared to what other writers were doing. Then one day I saw this tweet by Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist: “Whenever I have tried to do what I thought was ‘serious’ it has thrown me off the scent of my own talents.” That was a big encouragement and relief to me—it’s encouraged me to focus on my own writing strengths and do what I find most enjoyable and meaningful, and not compare my work to others’ so much.

Random Friday

While I wait for some more feedback, I’m already changing things around again… taking out other points of view and researching the other characters so I can have a clearer idea of how things go. And the discarded first ending? It’s not going to vanish. A condensed version will come out as comic book – chibi-style. Which will allow me to use the whole first page for the title “Samantha the Witch and the Desi Vampire”! :)

I have written it (it’s about 20 pages), but I won’t start working on it until probably Rajveer the Vampire comes out! I still need to draw that last chapter of S.K.Y.B.A.N.D., color the strips and other vignettes and possibly go back to my usual pencil portraits. Maybe when it cools down! :)

I’ll leave you with some sketches of the alternate ending – cover and lettering attempts while I was supposed to pay attention at a DayJob course…

Writer Wednesday

I don’t know on your side of the world, but here it’s veeeery hot. Hasn’t been this hot since 2003. So my brain is kinda mushy, but I managed to wrap up a few projects. Rajveer the Vampire and some Star Minds Interregnum stories.

And I wrote a short story, “recycled” from an old graphic novel, for prompt submission. And I’m waiting for another couple of submissions. So, I might not be publishing, but I’m submitting, therefore I’m waiting for more rejection letters to pile up in my folder! :)

This week I want to write two more shorts of the vampires series, one for a publication and the other for the Ink Slinger’s Halloween anthology (which might or might not be the first chapter of book 2). I’m still not sure about the series title, but I guess Vampires Through Centuries will have to do – unless I come up with something better! :)

Still working on the publisher’s site (and cleaning up this blog a little – I might make a new header too soon, or maybe not! ;) I changed the Italian blog because it’s the only actual newsfeed in Italian, but this is still independent from Unicorn Productions) where you might see a new title, but not really the announcement, since D2D support hasn’t come back to me yet.

Anyhow, Star Minds Chasing Stardom is almost out… with the marvelous cover of Mighty Maurizio Manzieri. The book page still misses some links, but well… like I mentioned, I’ll announce new release on UPB from now on – but I really wanted you guys to see this cover (since the blog has 500+ followers and the publisher site none yet).

By the way, nobody answered to my question/giveaway for Rajveer the Vampire… either you still haven’t found the blog post, or you’re too shy, or you think the answers are already given, or… I don’t know. Even if you’re not Indian, I think the answer is pretty obvious – from the book blurb itself, but well…

I’m still willing to give to the first 10 (TEN) people who guess why he has that symbol on his forehead the PDF of the first (UNEDITED) chapter one month and a half before everybody else. For a chance to this sneak-preview, send your answers to barb (at) unicornproductionsbooks (dot) com. Or use the contact form above…

No writerly links, although I have read some writerly wisdom around the blogosphere… Have a great week!


Happiness is…



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