Happiness is…


24

Sunday Surprise


Should have been artworks, but there’s only one new upload on DeviantART (although it’s two drawings, done last weekend). Been watching old movies and writing and reading, so… no more pencil portraits for now. So Thus I’m posting the “summary” of 2013 and how I got to doing a strip. These strips are done copy-pasting from Superdeformed Threesome Millennium, included in 15 years of Creative Barbwire – all from 2013! Enjoy.

summary

Random Friday


so totally random, we’re going to tackle wigs and hair extensions (the totally fakes one, LOL!)! :D That’s because my sister gave me wig-with-extension for my b-day, so here we go.

The first was a 6$ witch-wig bought in Grand Rapids, Michigan for Halloween 1998… I put next to it the hair at the time – waaaay to short, but I had to cut it because it had been burned by a bad perm. To dress as Lady Unicorn I needed long hair, though, so I went to buy a wig with Renee.

WigsFast forward new millenniums and comicons. I wanted to see what I looked like platinum blond, and bought a cosplayer wig at some Torino Comics for 30 or 35euro… hadn’t tried it on until my sister gave me her present! So you have the wig+extension my sis gave me and then that cosplayer wig (my real – now colored – hair in the center)… Maybe my hairdresser is right not to decolor my hair, LOL!

And then there are the extensions… usually bought at open-air markets and used both for parties or for medieval dinners…

ExtensionsThat’s all for today! Have a great weekend! :)

Writer Wednesday


Rajveer the Vampire – an historical fantasy novel by Barbara G.Tarn

In this new novel, Barbara G.Tarn combines her love for history (especially medieval) and fantasy. It’s the story of a vampire through the centuries that will appeal to both historical fiction readers and vampire lovers all over the world.

RajveerA “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 centuries.

Rajveer the Vampire by Barbara G.Tarn is now available for preorder on Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes&Noble and Apple for 4,99$.

Since it’s been two months since I set up this assetless pre-order, I thought I’d give a sample now. The final draft is currently being edited, so hopefully when I upload to Amazon, I can forget about it until release date! :) So, just to make you curious, here you have the (for now) unedited opening five – my fave number! – paragraphs of Rajveer the Vampire.

***

CHAPTER ONE – KINGDOM OF MEWAR, AD 1301

Chittorgarh crowned the flat narrow summit of its hill under the stars, towering above the surrounding valley with all its gates locked. The walls that stretched along the edge were the continuation of the steep slopes, the lower part made of rock as if they’d grown out of it. What looked so high from the valley was barely taller than the palaces and temples enclosed in the fortified walls of the capital city of the Kingdom of Mewar.

Rajveer stared worried at the full moon hovering over the battlement. His watch duty made him feel uneasy that night. It was all too quiet. Even owls were silent, waiting. He had been assigned to the wall-walk near the Suraj Pol, the uppermost gate of the eastern entrance, and couldn’t shake off his uneasiness.

He gripped the hilt of his faithful sword before looking down the steep slope over the solid parapet. No trace of life – animal or other – out there. The stone of the battlement felt dead cold under his touch.

He turned to the buildings within the precincts. It all looked quiet – as usual. The smell of jasmine came up from the royal palace’s wall. The moon reflected itself in the nearest pond, close to the western battlement, and the Kirti Stambh dominated everything like a dark presage of doom.

***

From September 1 it will be available for preorder also on Amazon at the same price of 4,99$ and samples of the first chapters will be available on all retailers.

The price might go up on the release date, November 1, 2015, so order it now.

Preorder on Apple US, Barnes&NobleKobo and Smashwords.

Happiness is…


23

Sunday Surprise


twice in a month, but well… surprise! Words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatnot! Have a great  Sunday!

If you are still following what some English teacher taught you, toss that out and write your stories the way you want to write them. And then release and do it again.

Perfection is the death to all art. Voice, painting, and writing stories. Chasing perfection by rewriting and rewriting only hurts your stories past a certain point.

Do your best, fix mistakes, and release.

And, as Pharrell said as the woman left, “Remember to have fun.”

Dean Wesley Smith

Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.
Raymond Chandler

the following are all from Self-published authors blog.

Write the story you want to write.  Be passionate, follow your heart, and ignore what others are writing.  Just be you.
Debbie Conrad

The most important lesson I’ve learned from self-publishing is; spellcheck is no substitute for a good editor. And a good editor is one that is first and foremost, a fan of your work.
Gwen Rhea

Before you spend one dime, one minute, one ounce of energy on anything, whether it’s choosing a publisher, releasing your book, publicizing, advertising, marketing, do your research. At your fingertips is a vast information pool of success stories and failures. Tap into that to learn the best ways to publish and promote. Learn from others’ mistakes so you don’t repeat them. This will give you a leg up and pave the way for a better chance at success.
Eva Lesko Natellio

The best advice I’ve learned from self-publishing is to just do it.  I took a “write-a-story-in-one-day” challenge, and from that I completed a short story.  With that, I loaded up to Amazon and *poof* I am a published author.  There’s so much talk about building your brand, having a platform, developing and maintaining a website, being active on social media and all that, but if you don’t have a book published, then why all the effort?  If people like you but have nothing to read, that’s a waste of potential.
That and find an editor.
DW Hirsch

Random Friday


I had time to read a couple of the non-fiction books from the two bundles I got probably last year (or one last year around NaNoWriMo and the other this year? Can’t remember).

30 days in the word mines by Chuck Wendig: if you’re just starting and need to set up a routine, this book is  for you, whether you’re doing NaNoWriMo or just want to see if you can actually write. It’s very slangy and funny, and full of F-bombs, so if that’s not your thing, skip this. It’s also short and sweet, so plenty of time to read some more when you’re done!

The pursuit of perfection and hot it harms writers by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: some of her blog posts put together in another short ebook with lots of info on the publishing world, creative writing courses and how it’s impossible to write the perfect book – special guest Workshop Bill (a.k.a. Shakespeare) in a sorta parody like Workshop Jane (Austen) had here.

This book on editing also sounds good, but I haven’t read it, so I trust David Farland’s comments. I might add it to my TBR pile one day…

I’ve also uploaded on DeviantART some discarded covers:

Firebird – a Silvery Earth novella that should come out this fall.

SMI – Galaxy Police (the final cover will be by Shafali Anand), that will come out at the end of the month.

And a detail of the sleeping beau of the story I’m still currently writing… that’s the first attempt, the final one will be much better! :)

I might go back to pencil portraits this weekend… or keep experimenting with digital painting! ;) That’s just a… Sunday Surprise!

Have a great weekend! :D

Writer Wednesday


Summer is over, yay! Well, at least it’s cooler, finally! :D Been writing – back to the Northern Kingdoms of Silvery Earth before the Varian Empire. Some new stories and some “recycled”. Not all the old stories will be rewritten, but a couple are worth a second chance…

So, toying with the “clean” map, trying to place castles and towns that might not be there anymore centuries later. Maybe I should do a slideshow with the “political” evolution of Silvery Earth, LOL!

Anyhow, I might interrupt the current, new short novel – especially since I submitted the first part/chapter to a mag and I have until the end of the month to get that umpteenth rejection letter – to rewrite an old graphic novel (unpublishable, the drawings really suck!!) and sort of tie it to it. I’ve done 3/5 of the new story, but I need to decide a little more background on the characters before I continue, and rewriting the old thing might help!

I’m still not very good at deciding beforehand how characters are. You can check this interesting discussion on how other people do it – a guest post on Joe Konrath’s blog. I’ve tried to use those “character sheet” taken from various places (both writing and screenwriting), but they just don’t work for me. I need to discover the characters while writing them…

But then, I’m signing up for two online workshops in September, so things might change! :) Therefore I better hurry with rewrites, so I can write new stuff with maybe a new style afterward! ;)

By the way, there’s a new title out, but not the official announcement yet, since it’s still missing a buy link… sign up for the publisher’s newsletter be updated. At some point I’ll figure out some way of rewarding you for subscribing, but I’m still working on it…

Since this is the year of experiments, after the pre-order on Rajveer the Vampire (more on that in September as well), I want to try the KDP Select/KELP thingy, after reading Joe Konrath’s numbers. Not because I think I can sell as much as him, but because I want to try with one novel.

Except I don’t know when the next novel will be ready! ;) Hopefully by the end of the year… or it might be the next. I can give Amazon 3months of exclusivity for an experiment, I guess…

Here’s the ultimate guite do self-publishing and book distribution tools anyway – I will probably still use most of the distributors for the next few titles (most certainly for Star Minds Interregnum and its related tales).

And an interesting take on getting indie books to libraries – which I don’t expect to reach from Italy, but if you’re in the US, you might want that.

Oh, and welcome to the new world of publishing, where writers can have a career even after walking away from a traditional publishing contract. What traditional publishing says it does best is no longer real… Have a great week!

Happiness is…


22

Sunday Surprise


And it’s our author of the month on Goodreads! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Laurel Heidtman!

catch-cover-kindleWhere do you live and write from?
I live on private land inside Daniel Boone National Forest in northeastern Kentucky with my husband, four dogs, and two cats (all rescues or strays that have found us). We’re ten miles from a county road and no other houses close so it’s a great environment for writing. No distractions other than animals who think I’m their servant! My husband, fortunately, doesn’t see me that way.

Why do you write?
I enjoy it. I wouldn’t say I have to write—it’s not a compulsion like chowing down on chocolate—but I like making up stories, worlds, and people. Like any child I went through a myriad things I wanted to be when I grew up, but “writer” was the only one that never changed. While I wrote off and on during my life, I never devoted myself to it until the last couple of years. I retired from the nine-to-five grind in 2008, and in 2013 I decided I needed to give it a shot. I published my first novel in spring of 2014.

When did you start writing?
As I said, I wrote off and on ever since I learned to write, but my mother told me that I used to make up stories based on the pictures in books before I could read. So I was creating stories even then.

boy-next-door-frontWhat genre(s) do you write?
I write mysteries as Laurel Heidtman and romances as Lolli Powell.

What does your writing routine consist of?
I often write in the morning. My husband usually takes a dog and goes to a local diner for coffee with other retired guys, so it’s quiet. But that’s not a hard and fast rule for me. Sometimes I do other things in the morning and write later. The only goal I have is to write every—or almost every—day.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
I think that by living as long as I have and working in a lot of different professions, I’ve developed the ability to make different characters/environments believable.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
If by inspiration, you mean where do I get my ideas, I don’t always know. Something fights its way up from the muck of my subconscious, and when I’m lucky, it grows into something I can use. Sometimes the germ of it comes from something I’ve seen in the news and it grows from there, but other times, I honestly couldn’t say where it comes from.
I’m not sure I know what you mean by asking if I put myself in my stories. If you mean, do I base characters on myself, no. That wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as inventing them. But if you mean, do I get caught up in the world of the story and kind of walk through it while writing it, definitely! When I stop writing for the day, I can picture the characters going about their business in their world, just waiting to pick things up the next day.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Funny you should ask that about outlining. I’m not an outliner—never have been, not even in school. When a teacher required an outline for a paper, I would quickly write the paper, then create the outline. But as I write, I do a synopsis of each chapter/scene a few ahead. Sometimes I run into tough spots in the center of a book and have to spend time working through them, so I’ve thought about trying to outline. This week I enrolled in James Patterson’s MasterClass, and he’s a devotee of outlines. I pictured those bulleted things they tried to make me do in school and was pleasantly surprised to find he does what I do—a chapter by chapter synopsis, but he does them all before he starts writing the book. The complete story is all worked out in his head and on paper before he
writes the first sentence. Since I do a truncated version of that now, I might be able to manage that, and I plan to try with my next book.
Fast or slow? I’d have to say slow, but that’s often because I get bogged down. I have a friend who can whip out a first draft in a month or so, but it takes me two or three months. But I don’t write the entire day either, so maybe that’s not so bad.

Bad Girls Cover KindleTell us about your latest book 
My latest is Bad Girls, the second in my Eden mystery series. The books of the Eden series can be read as standalone novels. All are set in the college town of Eden, Kentucky, and feature most of the same characters, but in each book a different character takes center stage. Bad Girls “stars” Cal Becker, the former Chicago cop turned insurance investigator readers met in Catch A Falling Star,
the first book in the series. He’s moved to Eden with his niece, Marnie, a troubled young woman with an alcoholic mother and drinking problems of her own. Cal has offered to pay her way through Raven University and move to Eden with her, but on the day of their arrival, Marnie disappears.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie publishing. I went that route mainly because I’m old and figure I don’t have the time—and I certainly don’t have the temperament—to go through the years of rejections that most successful authors have to endure. I’ve also found I enjoy all aspects of self-publishing, even the marketing.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 11.28.39 AMAny other projects in the pipeline?
I’m currently working on the first book in a series under the Lolli Powell name. The title is Runaway Angel and will start in 1962 when the main character is 16-years old and forced to leave home. I plan on following her through her life, adventures, and romances in subsequent books.
I also have plans for a thriller titled Whiteout (under the Laurel Heidtman name). In fact, now that I’ve been inspired by James Patterson, I’m going to try his technique of doing a complete outline of Whiteout.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
My goal is to entertain people with my stories. I read fiction to be entertained. I want to be thrilled and moved and kept awake by a novel, and that’s what I want mine to do. To achieve that, I keep writing, reading, and—I hope—learning.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s advice I’ve often read—make writing a habit. Carve out as much time in your day as you can and write, because while practice may not make you perfect, it certainly will make you better. And don’t worry about making the first draft perfect. Just get the story down and pretty it up later.
__________________________

DSC_0167 - Version 2Find Laurel online

Website

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