Random Friday

To celebrate the release of Nightly Bites Volume 2, I present you 5 characters interviews!

Character Name: I am the Aswang, and nobody ever gave me a proper name. Heck, even the dog has a name! But not me.

Which book/world/story do you live in?
The short story “The Aswang Who Ate Stardust” is about me. Well, kind of. It’s also about the people I’m not allowed to eat anymore.

Tell us about yourself:
I was born long before the white men came to the Philippines, and I used to eat little humans still in their mother’s womb. That’s what all Aswang do – but we are solitary creatures, and we can shift our shape. Which is why nobody ever gave me a proper name, I think. Anyway, I had made a human friend long ago. He was the only one who could see me for who I was, and we talked and talked and talked, and then he taught me how to meditate. And then he taught me how to eat energy from elsewhere, not just people and animals. Then he died, because that’s what humans do. I was good though, I didn’t harvest his energy, not even a tiny bit. He was a friend, the only friend I ever had. Which is why I still glean stardust – I mean life force – from other things. Sometimes it’s hard, but I’m sticking with the program. If I start eating people again, I’ll never make a friend again and that’s a sad fact of my life.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Well – I can shape-change, which is pretty useful, and I can suck stardust out of just about anything, so I’ll never really starve. My weaknesses? Computers. Man, those things are hard to figure out.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).
The dog of my human almost-friends, Jeek. He can see me, just like the monk used to see me. This, however, doesn’t make him a friend. He keeps barking at me no matter what I turn into. I like the man who smells like home, Raf. He’s cute, and his energy would taste super-succulent. So far I’ve feasted only on the stardust of his culinary creations, though. And his friend, Adam. He’s scary, but I like him because I know he’d protect Jeek and Raf from me. His stardust is strong and abrasive, like a desert storm. I hope the will see me one day, and talk to me. I hope he gives me a name. He gave a name to a dog – and am I less important than a dog?

Are you involved in a romance? If so with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?
Romance is for humans. I love them, though. I love their warmth and the stardust they give off when they create beautiful things.

What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?
I want to be their friend so bad it hurts – and I really want them to give me a name. A real name.

Give us your favorite piece of advice:

Never shape-shift into a coffee mug, because coffee’s hot.


Character Name: Jesslynn Cotterill

Which book/world/story do you live in?
You can find me in my own story in this anthology, as well as in the novel Shades of Gray.

Tell us about yourself: 
I have no idea what you want to know. I’m married to Oren, and am the mother of two children, Alexander and Tristan. My story takes place before the War Between the States in Virginia.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? 
I may not be beautiful, but I’m clever. I believe that brains will triumph over beauty always.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).
My husband Oren is important, of course. I mentioned my children. Though I have birthed many, only Alexander has grown out of babyhood, and now Tristan, not even a year old, is showing signs of the same malady that took the others. It is because of this that I should mention our neighbor, Jorick. An odd man, he is rarely home, and when he is he never walks in sunlight, only under dark skies. Neither does he seem to age or sicken. It is a secret I desperately need to discover if I want to save my sick child.

Are you involved in a romance? If so with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?
I love my husband, of course, but I would not go so far as to call marriage a romance. An important institution, yes. As for why he is appealing, he is a good provider, he is honest, forthright, and is able to take guidance from a firm handed woman. So many men have a problem with this, leaving many a wife in unhappy circumstances.

What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?
To save my children. I cannot bear to lose another.

Give us your favorite piece of advice:
Beauty fades, leaving only your wit and resourcefulness. Cultivate those over the appearance of the flesh.


Character Name: Dennis

Which book/world/story do you live in?
Present day, Toronto.

Tell us about yourself:
I’m a brand new vampire, only been one for about 6 months. I don’t look like a typical vampire. I’ve got red hair and I was fair skinned before I became a vampire so no change there.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?<
Greatest strength: I’m good with numbers and I like to help people, which led me into the field of accounting before I became a vampire. Greatest weakness: my fear of blood.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).
Giselle, my sire. Dr. Wilson, my therapist.

Are you involved in a romance? If so with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?
I’m with Giselle but since we’re vampires I don’t know how long that will last. She’s exotic and super strong for her size. I found her eyes captivating.

What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?
To be a real, full-fledged vampire, so my sire Giselle doesn’t have to take care of me anymore. And to make her proud.

Give us your favorite piece of advice:
Be willing to confront your fears. Even if it ruins your favourite jacket.


Character Name: Wolfgang Feuerlieiben

Which book/world/story do you live in?
So Many Nights, So Many Sins

Tell us about yourself:
I am old. Truth be told I stopped counting long ago but the world into which I was born was very different from yours. I have seen empires rise and fall. I have seen wars fought – mostly for the same reasons – over and over. I have seen humanity at its best, but mostly its worse. I have killed more times than I can remember – guilty, innocent – they are all relative. I hunt other vampires – usually because they are careless, wanton or stupid. And because it gives me something to do. Mortals are not a challenge – well unless there are lots – but vampires tend to be a little harder to despatch. Ennui – that’s the problem. Immortality is boring, and one must find something to fill the void. Humans live – they are born, they raise a family, or get employment, they have more descendants and they die. A few leave a mark on the world, most do not. But they much achieve whatever it is they are destined to achieve in a short time – and they make the most of it. Vampires don’t have that luxury. We are the lords of procrastination.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?<
Strengths – Arrogance, stubbornness, experience. Weaknesses – Arrogance, stubbornness, experience.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).
I can’t – they change so often.

Are you involved in a romance? If so with who and what is it about them that you find appealing? What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?
I meet someone in the course of the story. Other lovers – the priest who gave me the curse – who disappeared and I’m seeking. There have been others – but they are either long dead or long gone.

What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?
To die well.

Give us your favourite piece of advice:
He who fights with monsters should be careful, lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gazes long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.


Character Name: Alain

Which book/world/story do you live in?
The Raven.

Tell us about yourself:
My father was British, my mother is French. We moved to London when he passed away. We live with my aunt, uncle and cousins, but luckily I have my own room in the attic. I’m twenty-two and will be such forever. I was turned in 1997.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?>
I’m a hacker. Wikipedia says: “In computing, a hacker is any skilled computer expert that uses their technical knowledge to overcome a problem. While “hacker” can refer to any skilled computer programmer, the term has become associated in popular culture with a “security hacker”, someone who, with their technical knowledge, uses bugs or exploits to break into computer systems.” Well, I’m of the first kind. As for weaknesses… they say I have Asperger Syndrome. I don’t care.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government institutions, leaders, gods etc).
Besides my mother, I can’t think of anyone. My cousins are nice, but I’m not that attached to them. That’s probably why when a raven enters my life and reveals itself to be a vampire, I’m ready to follow him and become immortal.

Are you involved in a romance? If so with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?
I’m a socially awkward. I don’t care. Bran says it’s a good quality to be immortal – not being attached to anyone.

What is the one thing you want the most in the whole world?
I want to interact with computers, not people.

Give us your favorite piece of advice:
It takes stamina to watch the centuries go by.

Nightly Bites Volume 2 available as ebook and paperback

Grab it today!


Writer Wednesday

Slow start with the new project, hopefully I’ll catch up in the weeks to come. But I also wrapped up Nightly Bites Volume 2 and it’s now available for pre-order (goes live on Friday) as e-book and available in paperback as well! I am very excited about this volume 2, I think it’s actually better than volume 1!

Well, at least my story is. The one I wrote on the fly, inspired by the chosen cover. So the guy on the cover is Alain, Bran’s latest fledgling, and you’ll see more of him probably in the next novel that will come out in November as usual. Not the first time that I write inspired by an artwork (photo/painting/drawing/sculpture) whether I did it or someone else did it.

The other stories are also awesome and you should check it right now! It’s been already presented on Library of Erana and I will post more on Facebook in the coming weeks, and eventually on this blog, so stay tuned! 🙂

Now let’s go back to the Anthology Workshop for a moment. You can read another post about it here, about what it can do for you as a writer. I’ll make a short summary of what it did for me – one year later! 🙂

So, six stories in six weeks. I wrote all six, even the ones in unfamiliar genres: win. I knew they sucked, but not all of them – and the reactions were not as expected (the ones I thought were perfect were not and viceversa, but I’m getting ahead of myself).

Expectations: learning and seeing what it meant to run a traditional magazine – and meeting a couple of people in the process (of course I ended up in a room with 40-50 writers, but since we were all writers, well… some were nice to meet again, some were new, some I talked to, some I didn’t, and that was perfectly fine!). Of course I hoped to sell something, but that wasn’t my main goal.

Results: no sales, but great learning experience. What happened to those six stories? Well, here you go, one year later:

Story #1 and #5 are still in the drawer, dunno where to send them, will probably publish them in a collection of unpublished shorts some time later this year or at the beginning of the next. Story #3 might end up in an anthology, although I’ll probably publish first another story in the same genre. Story #4 might end up in a contemporary novel, if I ever get down to writing it.

Because Story #2 sold in a redraft after the workshop (still not out, I’ll let you know when it does) and Story #6 just proved to me that I better study more before I try to write in that specific genre, hence the attempts I’ve done through the months will stay in the drawer until I find a solid premise.

Of the 6 stories, only 2 were SFF (#2 and 3), the rest were contemporary. And I’m not very good with the real world. So for now I’ll stick to Silvery Earth and Star Minds and Vampires Through the Centuries and Future Earth stories and leave those in the drawer. After all, I’ve taken out of the drawer the historical novel, so I better put aside something else, right? 😉

Have a great week!


Happiness is…

Random Friday

So, last week I was off Day Job and after a few days at home to work on Nightly Bites Volume 2 (by the way, it’s up for pre-order, yay!) I hopped on a train to Milan with my friend and cover artist Cristina Fabris. We arrived around 3pm and spent the afternoon chilling out in our hotel room – she had work to finish and I had a novel to check, LOL!

Friday we met with her friend and fan Michel at the central train station and headed for Cartoomics, where I was supposed to meet two more of my cover artists, Lawrence Wendigo and Rossana Beretta, to give them proofs of the book with their covers…

I also had a list of comics I wanted to buy since I hadn’t gone to a comicon in a few years, so I ended up with a very heavy bag. And since I flew back from Linate (I had to use my Alitalia miles, LOL!), I decided to send some of that stuff back by mail.

Saturday morning I went to the post office and sent to my parents 4,1kg of comics. Then we went to the bookstores around Duomo, where I lost my hat (in the Mondadori flagship store – and they got rid of the Espresso Book Machine, IMHO…), then we met with Franco Giambalvo of an Italian SFF site.

We had lunch with him then spent an hour at Tempo di Libri, meeting Francesco Verso, then, being wrecked, we went back to the hotel. Sunday morning, we got home separated, since I flew and she took the train again…

And yesterday I retrieved the box of comics from my parents… destroyed, but the interior was fine, yay! Now battling a spring cold, but wishing you a wonderful weekend! 🙂

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Writer Wednesday

Aaand another bundle is out! Spring Surprise which includes Quests Volume 1 and other awesome books, curated by A.L. Butcher! 🙂 Go check it!

I’m formatting and preparing Nightly Bites Volume 2, so last week I wasn’t supposed to write with that and some traveling… except I wasn’t happy with the story I wrote for the anthology, so I wrote a new one! 🙂 A special thanks to Alex Butcher for checking the typo faeries on that one!

Hopefully I’ve caught all the typo faeries in this anthology, but if I didn’t… well, you know those pesky thingies, don’t you? Have mercy on a poor curator! 😉 Soon I’ll be able to share at least the ebook links, in the meantime you can see a preview on the anthology page

I also checked that historical novel… not as bad as I remember it, so we’ll see. Now I’m off into the new writing project, but since this year I’m experimenting also with publishing… you’ll probably see them all at the same time!

This summer I celebrate 40 years of writing, so it might be good timing to publish a few new titles all at the same time. We’ll see what I have ready then! Probably some Silvery Earth, some Star Minds and then we’ll see. I made some kind of writing schedule, but I also want to curate more bundles and anthologies, so it’s still not set in stone.

Writerly links! I told you about my week at the anthology workshop last year, right? Well, here’s an even deeper insight on what you do. I am not an editor (and probably won’t be, just a curator for those collaboration anthologies), but I was a writer with Ron and his daughter last year (and yes, they sold, I didn’t, LOL!), so I can confirm everything he says! 🙂

I’m facing some self-doubt these days, especially since I’m reading those bundles and find so many fine writers I sometimes wonder why I keep bothering (publishing, not writing, of course!), so here’s Joanna Penn’s advice for those days.

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



Happiness is…

Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! That Diabolic Shrimp who reviewed my book! And he’s a writer too! I thought his latest cover was awesome, and I invited him over. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Joshua Grant!

Where do you live and write from?

I live and write in the United States in the beautiful mountainous state of Colorado.

Why do you write?

My writing has always stemmed from boredom. I love reading books, watching movies, and playing video games, but when I ran out of material I enjoyed, I just decided to write my own. I love making a story with worlds and characters that I personally love. But as I wrote, I found that writing gave me a deeper perspective or moral issues too. Thus, in addition to being entertaining, I love to have a complex moral issue at the heart of each of my books.

When did you start writing?

I started writing in 8th grade when my English teacher, Mrs. Munos, assigned a short story to us. I did some dorky horror story with people snowmobiling across another planet, but my teacher left a kind note on it that encouraged me to keep going. I then began my journey in earnest when I was bored after a test and began writing my first attempt at a book.

What genre(s) do you write?

I bounce around the genres, but mostly write Horror, Sci Fi, and Fantasy, most of which is geared toward Young Adult. I like to sprinkle a lot of humor throughout my writing as well.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I’m kind of a weird creature of habit. I take a nice long walk around the neighborhood where I let my thoughts wander. I then come home, sit at the kitchen table, sharpen two pencils, and just go to town. I never make a plan, but typically have the whole book plotted out in my head before I even begin. When I finish writing everything long hand, I type it up as my first level of revision. I then usually shelve it for six months before going back and revising it several times before publishing.

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

One of my biggest strengths as a writer is persistence. I never write anything that I wouldn’t love reading myself. My love of my own stories and characters, and the twists I love to throw in, give me the juice I need to finish a novel in the first place.

I’m a very visual person. This is a great benefit as it gives me an edge in my descriptions. I love describing stuff in my novels and feel like a do a pretty good job while maintaining a balance between description and story flow.

Another one of my strengths is through creating likeable characters. I’m a huge people person, am a sensitive guy, and love to laugh and joke with people. I try to translate a lot of these qualities into characters to try to make them both believable and enjoyable to read.

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

Most of my inspiration comes from other books, or movies and video games. My horror book Pandora was influenced by the Resident Evil video game series. I wanted to create a book that captured the gritty feel of playing those games and trying to survive. I also wanted to create an imaginative and creepy environment filled with horrifying creatures.

On the reverse end, my YA fantasy novel The Fifth Ascendant was inspired by things like Final Fantasy or The Last Airbender. I wanted to capture the quirky humor of those series as well as the spiritual and deep emotional impact.

Of course, in all my series I write a lot of emotion with some kind of deeper meaning at the heart of things. I put myself in my stories in the sense that a lot of their emotions or struggles come from something in me, or something I’ve had to go through. Most of the characters have some part of me in them (but then there are some characters I just write for the fun of it and have nothing to do with me).

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I make a general outline in my mind for each book. Most chapters are already planned out in my head before I start writing. But as I write, stuff usually comes to me and then I improvise. Some of my best twists and plot points emerged as I was in the middle of writing something. It all just have to feel right. As far as writing speed, it varies. I generally write a chapter every two days. The longest thing I ever wrote, The Fifth Ascendant, was written in two months (the revising took much longer though).

Tell us about your latest book

My latest novel, The Fifth Ascendant, is by far my favorite thing I’ve ever written. The emotions, humor, and overall story are a huge part of my heart. I was very much inspired by the Final Fantasy series, as well as anime like Avatar: The Last Airbender when I wrote it, and tried to capture a lot of the fun characters and witty interactions those series offered. Check it out below if you’re interested!

The world of Drina is on the brink of destruction.

Twelve year old Kal’s dreams have grown dark. A missing Ascendant. The deaths of imperial soldiers at the hands of terrible monsters far below Skytown. It all must link back to the mysterious powers of his upcoming Ascendancy or perhaps his newfound visitor, a kid that only he can see—but none of it can prepare him for the adventure of self-discovery and world shattering consequences he’s about to be hurled down.

Nash, Ruka, and Jia are all on a top secret mission for the Heretic cause, a mission that could save their people and maybe the entire world—but one of them has a secret, a dark and tangled past that could doom them all.

Magic, humor, outrageous heists, horrific monsters, and yes, a fur bearing trout and a pickle are all along for the ride in this manic quest to keep the world of Drina from descending into darkness.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Once upon a time, I was dead set against ever self publishing. I wanted to go the traditional route and tried hard at it for several years. The climate and market of writing has changed vastly since then. In recent years, it has become a much better option to publish Indie, but only as long as you’re willing to play the long game and put a decent amount of time and effort into marketing. Now I’m an indie author and can’t ever imagine going back. The freedom and complete control of the entire process is liberating and challenges me to grow as a person. In many ways it pays better to you as an author as well. It fills me with a greater sense of pride when I actually sell something too, knowing that every part of that product was mine. I absolutely love it!

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I have a cagillion projects I’m working on at the moment. I’m working on three different series simultaneously, but I have a certain strategy for releasing them so they’re not all at once. I published The Fifth Ascendant this year and am currently writing its sequel, The Sixth Ascendant. I’ll be releasing the sequel to Pandora in the Fall, another horror book called Jericho where a man, his son, and a police officer they’ve never met all find themselves trapped in a desperate situation to survive the darkness that has befallen a small town. I will also be releasing a collection of short fantasy stories this year called Silly Tales from Albanon. Each humorous story follows a different character, from an adventurous gnome, to an Orc detective, to even a teddy bear assassin, all of which builds towards a surprise ending.

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

Each of my novels simply tries to capture certain emotions and examine a moral issue. When I feel like I’ve accomplished this, I publish it. I want to entertain people and make them feel something, but ultimately I create novels to satisfy something in myself.

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

Great writers write. It’s simple, but the message is powerful. You just got to believe in yourself and keep going. No great book was ever produced without a healthy amount of perseverance.


Find Joshua online and join the shrimps of his tank (including yours truly) at Diabolic Shrimp

Random Friday

Social media rant – I’ll try to keep it short. But I probably suffer from Social Media Fatigue, and I’m only on Facebook. I keep it because it’s a good way to keep in touch with friends all over the world, but sometimes it’s really annoying.

Like when it does those stupid videos to celebrate a friendship – as if we didn’t have a life or friends before Facebook. Not to mention the fact that not all Facebook friends are equal and I refuse to categorize mine. I’m annoyed enough already when they do those stupid videos with “Your posts of the past month” or “Looky look, your friends liked/loved your posts XX times” or any other silliness like that. I mean, do you really enjoy those?

Oh, and the weather forecast warnings. Who do they think they are? Now they’ve become a news channel too – with the Italian elections. Besides telling me to “Tell your friends you voted!” (uh, no, why should I, it’s none of anyone’s business!) they tell me “results are coming in” – who cares? If I really wanted to know, I’d go to Repubblica or other newspapers webpages – or any Italian newspage, why should I care about international Facebook? Besides, I’m sure I’ll see comments about that from my friends, so…

No wonder I’m not on Twitter, Instagram and any other trinket that is or will become the next fad of social media. Maybe I’m just a grumpy old woman, but really, enough.

Goodreads won’t let me sign in from Firefox unless it’s an anonymous window, so I access it from Internet Explorer’s successor, Microsoft Edge, on Netbook (although there might be something wrong in my Firefox, since even for DepositPhoto I had to open an anonymous window to log in).

Maybe I should join an interest network, instead. Find topics that interest me and follow those discussions. I like finding answers and discussions on Quora or Reddit. Maybe I’m just on the wrong platforms!

Or maybe, like I said, I’m just a grumpy old woman overwhelmed by those technological novelties! 😉 Have a great weekend! 😀

Writer Wednesday

In case you didn’t notice, it’s Read an Ebook Week on Smashwords again! And for the first time in a few years, I have some books in the sale. So the new people can have a look and spend as little as one dollar to try my mighty prose.

Ahem! Just kidding. I don’t write enchanting (or purple) prose at all, so if that’s your thing, you’re on the wrong blog! 😀

Last week I wrapped two projects and this week I won’t be writing much. Busy putting together an anthology and traveling, so my wordcound is currently stopped. But if I manage to catch up and keep the 10K/week wordcount, I have 2 weeks to spare, LOL! Definitely not panicking yet – maybe in June or July if I’m still waaay behind…

Some promised writerly links: Nine years a Penmonkey and Five Things I Learned Writing which includes just write even if you don’t know the genre – or something. And if you can stand the F-word, the three truth about writing and how the writing gets done! 🙂 There is real wisdom in that post.

Now as someone who hates the sound of her own voice, I’m afraid that soon I won’t be able to do anything if it all gets voice-operated. What do you think about those voice apps? Should we start telling stories through them? Check this post at Joanna Penn’s blog.

For me, at this time, no thank you. I still feel like an innovator because I went the indie route. And I still don’t have anything in audio (I don’t seem to be able to go direct to Findaway Voices through D2D, but I’m not going to press the issue yet).

Last but not least, here’s an open invitation to interview your characters. I’m currently working for the first interview of a few I can think of, and I’ll keep you posted when my characters will go live! 🙂

That’s all for today! Have a great week! 🙂

Happiness is…

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