Happiness is…


Random Friday

So, London! It keeps changing under me. When I got to Greenwich, I got lost – and I used to know it fairly well, having attended the Eurocentre in Lee Green (now closed, I’m afraid) four times!😦 Anyhow, had a look at the O2 (unfortunately I was 3 hours early for the movie, so I didn’t see it at all – will have to get the DVD) and enjoyed the rides and met with friends and bought meself stuff!🙂

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Now, the books! They were all pocket books for 3.99£, how could I leave them there? One I’ll need for Ingolf the traveling vampire, one for Bran and his millenarian siblings and one for next book, Shashank, since he’s the only one who actually gets to see the great Moghuls beyong Akbar. Add another non-fiction that I’ll use for whenever I wrap up the story, starting in Mumbai 2005… I’ve got some reading to do!🙂

And still speaking about vampires, here’s yours truly posing as the protagonist of Norman Blood at the tower of London. Of course you need to use your imagination and see a man with a helmet instead of the backpack and a sword instead of the hand in pocket. And the wall around the White Tower was built in the 13th century, so only William the Conqueror’s keep in the background…

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At the National History Museum they have this simulator that makes you live the 1995 Kobe earthquake… and then I came back and we had another big quake on the boot-shaped country!😦 Here you have a sequence of the shaky-shakes – I felt only the 3.40am one. At noon of the 24th, 160 hits: 59 between 3.0 e 4.0,  5 between 4.0 e 5.0 and 1 more than 5.0, in Norcia (PG) 5.4 at 04:33. I was asleep again by then.

Villages such as Amatrice (home of the world-famous pasta sauce Amatriciana) is almost completely destroyed – and it was full of tourists… Norcia is the home of my fave salami… Already almost 40 dead at lunch time and it was as strong as the one in 2009 that destroyed L’Aquila at 3.30am.

There’s another report, with even higher dead toll. Definitely not a nice year – but then, I never liked leap years! Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday

And it’s another Kobo Promo! On the front page only this week, then it will rotate back untill the end of the month! Go grab it now! Doesn’t it look great? The cover is by awesome Shafali Anand… Go to this page now!

Kobo Next Promo

No writerly news, since I only revised Kaylyn while in London and I had another manuscript to read in Tuscany. I should be back to writing soon, maybe this afternoon itself, but I better reread where I was. Jumping from the past to the future takes some adjusting even for me!😉

Besides I’m coming up with new vampires and I bought 3 non-fiction books in London for the next stories (more on that Friday), so… more notes that eventually will become the “Guide to Vampires Through the Centuries” – although I’m not sure yet if it should be a PDF or a web page. Both I can update whenever a new title comes out… we’ll see!🙂

Oh, and I was interviewed! Check this chat with the wonderful Fiona McVie who was patient enough to wait for my return from my week off to receive my answers! Naming names, giving away tidbits and no spoilers ahead!🙂

Now if you’re still thinking of going traditional with your novels, please check this article: Traditional Publishing Takes Less Time… NOT! And beware of agents. I mean really beware of agents. Now let me go back to my own writing and have a great week!🙂

Happiness is…


Martin Rinehart part 3


With that, Maxine waved four fingers at Jillian (waitress, Proprietress Rose’s lover and now partner in The Rose). Rose joined them, giving Maxine’s shoulders a gentle rub. “Who’s your new, beautiful friend, ladies?” she asked.

“Rose, meet Sam,” Maxine introduced her. To Samantha, she added, “Rose was the original owner and La Pierre’s first open lesbian,” she added.

“You are too sexy for words,” Rose replied to Maxine, continuing to massage her shoulders.

Jillian arrived, with fresh margaritas, in time to hear Rose’s threatened infidelity. “Oh no you don’t, Rose. I’ve got first call on those boobs.” To Maxine she added, “Any time you want to see how good a woman can make your nipples feel…”

“Sorry,” Maxine apologized to both. “I’ve got heterosexual tendencies. Can’t help it. I was born that way.”

Samantha scoffed. Acacia and Louise were laughing. Maxine was smiling. She didn’t really mind being called ‘Sexy’ by anyone who was sincere. Rose and Jillian shared an affectionate kiss and went on about their business.

Changing subjects, Samantha commented on the roses painted on The Rose’s walls and ceiling. They were sitting in a rose bower. “Yes,” Louise agreed. “Martin told me to tell you, Sam. He said you’d want to know. Our bower has no thorns.”

Samantha looked closely. Louise was right. “I’ll add a footnote re painted roses,” Samantha promised. “Now tell me more about your married romance. Were you all equals or was there a central player?”

“Ace was central,” Louise answered. “Especially in the beginning. She gave us lectures on how to be sexy. Explained Thing One and a woman’s wifely duties. We called her ‘Professor Donovan’.”

“Should I know about Thing One?” Samantha asked. “And aren’t ‘wifely duties’ a relic of the bad old days?”

Acacia took over. “Thing One,” she explained, “is to always remember that he has two primary sex organs. One between the legs and the other between the ears. You have to stroke the one between the ears, too. Ask Lou about wifely duties.”

Smantha turned to Louise.

“You’ve got to be careful about Martin,” Louise started. “He writes about sex…”

“Sometimes including all the details,” Maxine interjected.

“He writes about sex,” Louise resumed, “and about about Maxine’s sexy big boobs and how everyone, me included, wants to get their hands on those boobs. But he’s also got a serious side. He opens the book with a memoriam for Ethel Byrne, the early twentieth century birth control advocate. Birth control means you can have a few years of marriage where sex is for bonding, not making babies.”

“So the wife still spreads her legs, but not to make babies?” Samantha asked.

“No, no,” Louise disagreed. “Well, yes and no. The smart wife, the one who pays attention to her wifely duties, understands that the male’s biological purpose is to shoot sperm into the baby-making machinery. But that only lasts for seconds. The best time for the male is when he’s at the edge. It’s your wifely duty to get him to the edge and keep him there.”

“That’s the maximum dopamine technique,” Acacia added. “We think it helps make your mate addicted to you, like a drug.”

“Serial multiple orgasms,” Maxine added. “I used to call my sisters here ‘conniving bitches’ but I’ve learned myself. Coming as often as you can is definitely a wifely duty.”

“Should we explain about ‘being new’ and the Coolidge Effect?” Louise suggested.

“And about The Plan and how Dr. Soeur tried to save my marriage?” Maxine added.

“I think I get it,” Samantha summarized. “This is a post-feminist look at the importance of coming a lot, to make sure your man is addicted to you.”

“Exactly,” Acacia concurred, as if Samantha had been serious.

“And it’s about Max’s sexy big boobs,” Louise reminded them, perhaps revealing her own focus.

Maxine looked at her footless friend. “You’re a kinky bitch, Kinky.”

Louise smiled and turned to Samantha. “When Tom first called me a kinky bitch,” she explained, “I knew I was succeeding at my wifely duties.”

“Come on,” Acacia said to Samantha. “I’m driving you back to the airport. Do you think you can email us a copy of the interview?”

“I don’t need a lift, I don’t travel by plane,” Samantha replied. “I’ll email your author a copy of the interview. You girls have been fun.”

“Sure,” Acacia agreed. “We’re all living happily ever after.”

“You have no idea how screwed up my marriage was for five years,” Maxine remembered.

“Without these guys I might have been divorced,” Louise added.

“She doesn’t have any idea how screwed up your attorney was,” Acacia confessed. “Smart about everything except herself.

 ARC copy of explicitly sexy.

Martin Rinehart part 2

Tuesday, June 21, 2005, 5:05 P.M. The Rose Cafe, La Pierre, MI, USA.

Acacia Donovan (5’3”, age 26) and Maxine Gulden (5’8”, age 31) were sitting sipping their usual frozen margaritas when Louise Wilson (5’6”, age 27) arrived with their interviewer, Samantha. Louise introduced ‘Sam’ to ‘Ace’ and ‘Max’ and then excused herself. (She’d been on the road since 3:00.)

“Hi guys, I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example! Well, I’ll be meeting him in Amristar in a few months, but whatever…”

She cleared her voice. “She’s very nice,” she said waving in the general direction of gone Louise, “but tell me about her hand. I didn’t know what to say. She didn’t seem self-conscious about it.”

“Oh, shit,” Maxine exclaimed.

Acacia made a decision. “We’re not supposed to tell you too much about the last year, since it’s all part of the book’s plot. Lou lost ‘two point seven fingers’ (her words) in an accident last fall. She was bicycling.”

“Not to mention both feet,” Maxine added.

Acacia would have kicked her under the table if she was sure she wouldn’t hit Samantha by accident.

“Both feet?” Samantha asked. She smiled and showed her eagerness to hear more. She didn’t have any purse, nor a recorder. She didn’t look like a journalist. She seemed too young to be anything, really, but Acacia and Maxine felt compelled to keep talking.

Acacia knew Martin would be mad, but it was out of the bag. “Right. Double btk amputee. That’s Below The Knee. She wears prosthetics.”

“Amazing. I would never have known. She seems perfectly normal.”

“She’s too beautiful to be normal,” Maxine added.

“Max is an artist,” Acacia explained. “If you want to learn about tits, ask Max to compare Titian’s Venus di Urbino with Manet’s Olympia.

“I’d noticed she was beautiful,” Samantha agreed. “But not at all stuck up. And speaking of beautiful, Max, you’re the classic Italian black-haired beauty.”

“I’m beginning to like this girl,” Maxine said to Acacia. “Dad imported Mom from Naples. And you’re looking good yourself, Sam.”

“Well, thank you,” Samantha responded. “I’m immortal, by the way…” She winked. “Twenty-three forever is boring, though. Your lives are so much more interesting!”

Louise rejoined them. Jillian arrived with margaritas for Louise and Samantha.

“To Martin’s new book,” Samantha toasted. “Explain what an ‘erotic, married romance’ is.”

The book’s heroines looked at each other. “One word each?” Acacia suggested. Her friends agreed. “Why don’t you start, Lou.”

“You mean, ‘Why don’t you start, Kinky’?” Maxine corrected.

“Oh, pish tosh,” Louise demurred. “Erotic means that it has sex. Lots of explicit sex. Max insists that we always have lots of details about the sex.”

“Kinky?” Samantha asked, looking for information about name origins.

“Oh, of course not,” Louise answered, not entirely truthfully.

“I’ll take ‘married’,” Acacia volunteered. “But why don’t you do ‘romance’ first, Sexy.”

“Sexy?” Samantha made further inquiries.

“Just look at those sexy big boobs,” Louise directed. Louise always called Maxine’s breasts ‘sexy big boobs.’ They were, in truth, a bit too large for a regular D cup bra. “The bartender here named her ‘Sexy’,” she added.

“A ‘romance’,” Maxine interrupted this discussion of her anatomy, “is a love story with a happy ending. Nothing more. But it can be pretty special if it’s told well. Think about Pride and Prejudice, for example.”

“OK,” Samantha agreed. “But what is a ‘married romance’?”

“I’ll take that one,” Acacia began. “It’s strange. But what’s strange is that it’s strange.”

Her two friends recognized the attorney’s jury-grabbing habits. Samantha raised her eyebrows.

“You’re going to explain?” she asked.

“A ‘married romance’,” the attorney began, “is simply a romance about married people. About people that said, ‘I do,’ before the story starts.”

“That’s fine, even though I’m not married,” Samantha said. “So?”

“Take me,” Acacia illustrated. “Half a year before I had my first drink with these two I had said to myself, ‘This marriage is heading toward the rocks and there’s nobody steering.’ Typical two-career couple. Herman was building a website business. I was building a law practice. But our sex life was down from maybe five times a week to just once or twice.

“You know,” she continued, “lack of sex wasn’t the problem. It was a symptom. I decided to use sex as the solution. I told Herman I was going to be the sexiest wife a man ever had. Little, flat-chested me. I wouldn’t mind having Max’s boobs, but I figured I could learn to be sexy anyway. Now you’ve got what could be a classic ‘married romance’ plot. You’ve got the passion fading. You’ve got at least half the former lovers wanting to light the fire again. You with me now, Sam?”

“I think so,” Samantha shrugged. “Saying ‘I do’ doesn’t lead to Happily Ever After. Half of all American marriages end in divorce. Those are the tragedies. The HEAs are probably the exceptions in the other half. Yeah. I can see room for romances after ‘I do’.”

“Exactly,” Acacia agreed. “Now what’s strange is that ‘married romance’ is so strange as to be almost non-existent. It’s such a big, fertile territory. I’d think that anybody who was married, or even wanted to be married, would want to read stories about marriages that reached HEA. Even if the HEA was just temporary.”


Martin Rinehart part 1

Barb: I’m away, so I’m leaving the blog in good hands! I want you all to welcome Martin Rinehart, author of the forthcoming Explicitly Sexy books. Tell us about your books.

Martin: It’s really just one novel. The story of three married women who want to have honeymoon-strength marriages. They meet after aerobics, twice a week for cocktails and girl talk, usually about their relationships, often about their sex lives. It’s about 240,000 words. A trilogy in print, an heptalogy in ebooks.

Barb: You were telling me about your characters writing their own dialog. Care to elaborate?

Martin: My first try I realized my characters were all talking the same way. I had about a third of a full-length novel but I threw it out. Took each character out for a nice long lunch and really focused on the way she spoke. Tried again. It was better.

After they each started speaking in their own voices I began getting the strange feeling that my characters were writing their own dialog. They were talking to each other and not paying much attention to me. I posted about this in a writers’ forum. The response was overwhelmingly, “Me too!” Seems that some characters will openly revolt and spoil your plot. “No,” she said, “I’d never do that. I’m not that type.”

Barb: So could I interview your characters?

Martin: Sure. Why don’t you talk to them right after the end of the novel. That ends on Friday, June 17, 2005. They’ll probably want to get together again the following Tuesday.

Barb: Unfortunately I’m not the one who is able to jump around time and space and chat with characters. It’s Samantha who does the interviews for this blog. So I shall let her take over if you don’t mind. And since it’s a nice long chat, let’s spread it out throughout the week, shall we?

Coming next: interview with the Explicitly Sexy heroines part 1 and part 2.

Martin’s book if you’d like an ARC.

Happiness is…


Random Friday

Let’s make it Art Friday!


Like I say on DeviantART, this should have been a cover. I did it and brainstormed the story, but then ended up not using it (I have a better painting by someone else) and will probably describe the characters differently anyway. Or maybe I’ll write their story too. Or maybe it was just practice.

It did help brainstorming the next story while coloring it!😉 But now I’ll have to improvise and the guys in the story probably will not look like this. And it’s another light Star Minds Interregnum story, then I’ll probably write another dark one – again, to alternate, haha!

All these stories are short enough to submit them to traditional markets, so don’t expect any of them before 2017. I might not submit them all, but some definitely!😉 I still have 3 Quests books and 2 Vampires Through the Centuries stories to publish along with a couple (make it 4) more collections, so I’m covered until December.

Rambling too much, so here’s to the end of Art Friday – refers to that story that made me cry when I wrote it.

crying4blogAnd to end on a colorful note: DeviantART’s birthday celebrated.


Last but not least – The horrible hidden truth about self-publishing to keep you thinking until I come back… and get back to writing!😀 Have a great weekend!🙂

Writer Wednesday

Body Switches is only 4.99$, only on Kobo, and only for today! Go get it now, if you haven’t already! This is my bestselling title on Amazon and I’m excited it will be brought to the attention of Kobo readers!🙂 Stay tuned for more Kobo promotions…

Also, I have adjusted the prices on Kobo. Australian and Canadian users should find lower prices. UK and NZ readers will find them only on the higher priced books. I have 99 books under the main pen name (and 99 sales, let’s see which gets to 100 first!), it will take me some time to adjust all the prices to the local currencies! I will do it with Amazon too – but some currencies I really have no idea of how much I should ask…

About Amazon, here’s some advice for KDP authors. Since my readers don’t like to leave reviews (my above mentioned bestseller has 0 reviews…) and I’ve tried Select/KU with one title and it didn’t work for me, I don’t feel particularly threatened. But then, you never know!😉

Now I’ve put out two new titles for the whole month at the same time, since I’ll be traveling for a week. And since they’re related, I thought I might as well publish them together. So there you have Tales of the Northern Kingdoms volume 1 and volume 2 – print version in September.

Covers are by Silvano Beltramo and volume 1 has the Quests Book 1 protagonists, except he drew them when I hadn’t actually written the story and had done only b&w sketches of the characters, so there… not perfect, but still quite good!😉 And volume 2 features Prince Splendor and Billinda.

As for how I divided the stories… well, volume 1 has the new ones, the ones I wrote between the end of last year and this year, while volume 2 has the older stories rewritten… see if you spot any difference in my writing between the two!🙂

Bundles bundles bundles! Non-fiction writing bundle: Gonzo Writing Book Bundle! Eight books. Normally $20.00, but with coupon code DRAGONPUNCHER, you’ll knock that cost down 25%, to $15.00. Sale runs until Monday, 8/15.

Or you can take the Speed and/or Productivity workshop to become like me (I certainly don’t need at least those two, LOL!). Fiction bundle: the Sci-Fi May Day bundle is still there for a little longer. 10 sci-fi novels for under 10$ – go grab them!

Next week a guest will take over… Talk to you again on the 24th! Have a great two weeks!🙂


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