Wednesday Weekly Roundup


And it’s April already? Where did time go? Last week I wrote almost 12K but I also threw away 5K. By Thursday I realized I didn’t need to retell everything and decided to just skip to the almost new stuff. So 5K went in the trash bin, or in an “attempt” copy of the manuscript. Afterward I wrote another 6800words, though, and I’m back to 23K into the manuscript like before cutting out those 5K. Same but different is good, and these characters still have surprises, I’m happy they get the spotlight now! 😀

I should have waited until next year, but well… this is just too good. April 1, 2011 also marks the publishing of my first novel, Books of the Immortals – Air. It’s its 9th bookversary, LOL! Since it falls on a Wednesday this year, I doubt next year it will be as perfect, so… I’ll celebrate now, hehe!

paperbacks of Books of the Immortals - Air

An extra happiness is…

I remember I made press releases, sent out 50 eBook review copies (and it still has less than 10 actual reviews on Amazon, so you understand why I stopped doing that) and even did a Goodreads Giveaway with the paperbacks I had left – I ordered 25 copies from Lulu back then. Then I did a new edition with Createspace, now KDPprint.

I did all of that only for that first novel. The rest just came out, announcing it on the blog and on Facebook and on Goodreads and that’s it. Because all that marketing effort had been close to useless, I stopped doing it. I kept doing guest posts and character interviews for a little longer, though… I stopped that too. I don’t think anyone ever bought one of my books because they read a character interview somewhere.

I might do more, eventually. I might do more Backstage Passes on the publisher’s page, or post something in my Facebook group. At the moment it’s hard enough to just write something new, without bothering with marketing stuff. I even stopped drawing (I’m falling behind with the latest strip, so I’ll probably use next week off day job to catch up and finish it, and I’ll do the paperbacks in May, when I doubt I’ll be able to do that trip I hoped to do) because it gives me time to think…

I know I’ll bounce back – I always do. Meanwhile, if you’re thinking of writing That Book, Kristen Lamb is back and she’s going to help you doing it! 🙂 Or you can take an online course or finally do That Thing you’ve always wanted to do, something creative you didn’t have time for so far… Or you can check the reprints from Kris Rusch’s Freelance Survival Guide! 🙂

Sunday night I had enough of writing and beta-reading, so I re-watched Kaabil. Next week I hope to watch something else, but being off Day Job I’ll have to schedule the week differently. Maybe I’ll even manage to finish Book 6 by Easter and move on to Book 7 the following week! 🙂

We’ll see. Meanwhile, stay home, stay safe and have a great week! 🙂

Happiness is…


Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote a little over 12K, and not because I had 2 extra mornings, since those extra mornings were not for writing, unfortunately. So I’ve dived into Future Earth Chronicles Book 6 and wrote whatever happened before the protagonist met the main characters of the first story arc. I did have some fun revisiting Rainbow Towns and a future North America mostly back in the hands of the First Nations – mostly.

ebook cover "Cop" (Star Minds Lone Wolves)I published another title even though nobody will buy it right now, probably. But then, it’s not as if I had dozens of rabid readers who look forward to my next book, LOL! So I’ll continue with my scheduled publishing every two weeks for the rest of the year, no matter how this goes.

I am now going to dive back into the Star Minds Universe and wrap up both the Lone Wolves and the rest of it. So now you have Star Minds Lone Wolves – Cop, in two weeks Assassin, two more weeks Spacer, then the rest of the Team‘s missions for another three ebooks, which will take us to the end of May. In June and July I’ll publish Star Minds Interregnum Volume 2 and some box sets, so stay tuned! 🙂

Also, I enrolled in the Authors Give Back sale on Smashwords. Almost thirty titles discounted 30% or 60%. Including Future Earth Chronicles, in case you wanted to try it – Book 1 is always at 99c, but now you can grab the other 4 at 1.20$each. Full list of my discounted titles on the publisher’s site. The sale goes on until April 20.

Considering the world-wide troubles, I won’t be doing any paperbacks just yet. I canceled the order for my new Kindle since they hadn’t sent it out yet, and I managed to get my parcels from the post office Monday morning before going to work. So, you better read e-books if you want. Or listen to audio. I still have 14 giveaway codes for Otherside from Findaway Voices, again only valid in US, CA and AU.

Research material

Please have a look at the Cave Creek Kickstarter if you haven’t already! I got my research books (see above), and will be writing for this… Help us reach the next streetch goal – and there are already 2 short stories for backers! 😀 Ebooks, so downloadable at any time (still saving mine to a special folder for when I’ll get a new Kindle) – this campaign closes really soon, probably hours from the time this goes live, so hurry! 😀

And if you’re on Facebook and want only readers’ news, you can now join my Street Team group, finally renamed after the poll I ran what? One month ago? Eh. Got busy, or better, distracted. I should probably add that link at the end of my books, for whoever is still on Facebook. Or you can subscribe to the publisher’s page, it’s not updated as regularly as this blog! 😉 Only for new releases or sales or other special events. So, suggested follow for readers is that one – if you’re not on Facebook or don’t follow me on Author Central, Goodreads or Bookbub, that is.

And while we wait for this to pass and for the new normal, let’s all play the Waiting Game. Here’s to hoping that this mess will bring earlier the Universal Basic Income… Have a great week! 🙂

Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise


And since COVID-19 is screwing with my posts, so that I skipped two weeks, and I no longer have guests, I shall go back to a monthly Words of Wisdom or Writers on Writing for the rest of the year. Have a great Sunday! 🙂

It is easy to fall prey to the idea that writing success is intrinsically bound to youth. Publishing loves a literary ingénue, as if no one over the age of 40 or 50 or 60 has anything worthwhile to say. Such is not the case. The older I get, the more I have to say and the better I am able to express myself. There is no age limit to finding artistic success. Sometimes it happens at 22 and sometimes it happens at 72 and sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. No, you are not too old to have a writing career, no matter your age. Yes, it is perfectly reasonable to feel defeated when you’ve worked so hard at writing and have yet to make your mark so long as you don’t stay defeated. No, you are not promised artistic success simply because you want it.

(…)

The older we get, the more culturally invisible we become, as writers, as people. But you have your words. Writing and publishing are two very different things. Other writers are not your measure. Try not to worry about what other people your age or younger have already accomplished because it will only make you sick with envy or grief. The only thing you can control is how you write and how hard you work. The literary flavor of the week did not get your book deal. All the other writers in the world are not having more fun than you, no matter what it might seem like on social media, where everyone is showing you only what they want you to see.

Write as well as you can, with as much heart as you can, whenever you can. Make sure there are people in your life who will have faith in your promise when you can’t. Get your writing in the world, ideally for the money you deserve because writing is work that deserves compensation. But do not worry about being closer to 50 or 65 or 83. Artistic success, in all its forms, is not merely the purview of the young. You are not a late bloomer. You are already blooming.

Roxane Gay

Some of these changes that major sites do are to get rid of pirates and scammers, and in the big sweep of the change, regular honest folks get swept in. Other changes came about because of investment, change of ownership, or new managers—things that happen in every business.

For eight years, I have told indie writers to go wide and to make sure they’re protected, legally and otherwise. Be cautious and conservative when you join new sites or new ventures. Make sure you understand the terms of service, and realize that with many companies, the terms of service are take it or leave it. When you have terms of service like that, your decision to take it had better be informed, and when you get bit on the ass, you should have known that the bite was coming.

Kris Rusch

THE INDIE AUTHOR MANIFESTO
We indie authors believe all writers are created equal, that all writers are endowed with natural creative potential, and that writers have an unalienable right to exercise, explore, and realize their potential through the freedom of publication.

  1. I hold these truths to be self-evident.
  2. I am an indie author. I have experienced the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from self-publishing.
  3. I have a right to publish.
  4. My creative control is important to me. I decide when, where, and how my writing graduates to become a published book.
  5. Indie does not mean alone. I choose my partners.
  6. I shall not bow beholden or subservient to any publisher. In my business relationships, I will seek partnership, fairness, equity, and mutually aligned interests.
  7. We indie authors comprise diverse writers, unified by a common purpose to advance, empower, and celebrate writers everywhere.
  8. I am a professional. I take pride in my work and I strive to improve my craft to better serve my readers, myself, my fellow indie authors, and the culture of books.
  9. My writing is valuable and important. This value and importance cannot be measured by commercial sales alone.
  10. I celebrate the success of my fellow indie authors, for their success is mine and mine theirs. Together, we are pioneering a better future for books, marked by greater quality, creativity, diversity, choice, availability, affordability, and accessibility.”

Mark Coker

So, for me, and maybe for you, there’s power in writing with intentionality.

Decide how you want the reader to feel, and write that way.

Decide what you’re trying to say, and why, and then fucking say it.

Know the purpose, aim your voice, write with vigor and deliberation.

Take command. Be confident. Be willful.

And play, too, to find out how to make it work. Compose and recompose a scene. Go one way with it, then rewrite it another way. Learn to see how intentional changes make for a butterfly effect in the work. Learn the weave and the weft of it. Don’t just go down the river. Put objects in the water, see how fast they move. See if they block the flow or speed it up or break the river in twain.

Write with intentionality.

Try it out.

Let me know how it goes, how it feels, how it works.

Chuck Wendig

 

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Image may contain: possible text that says '"And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and and exercised, and made art, and played and of listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met shadows. And the people began to think differently. "And the people healed. And, in the absence of people in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, heartless to when danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed images, and created new ways to live and heal earth fully, as they had been healed." O'Meara'

Sooo, it’s a pandemic. It won’t kill 2/3 of the world population like in my Future Earth Chronicles, but then, the unnamed pandemic of that series was only one aspect of the apocalypse. And if you’d like to read how life goes on after the apocalypse, check it out, book 1 is at 99c! 😉

What scares me is not so much the coronavirus flu but people’s behavior. As an introvert, I don’t mind staying at home, and this is probably the closest I’ll ever be to live the hermit’s life. But I miss being able to walk around. You need a permit to be out and about at this time in Italy, and until the lockdown is over.

I have a permit to go to work Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays (because Dayjob can’t shut down – yet), and another for when I need to go to the supermarket or the pharmacy or other urgent matters. I doubt going to the post office to get my parcels counts. I hope they’ll keep my Amazon purchases until this emergency is over.

Does this affect me as a writer? Kind of. The world finally stopped and everybody else’s feelings overwhelm me. I still wish I could move to a co-housing in a cold place, away from the current life and responsibility, except of course now it’s even harder than before. Writing helps, but…

Griffyndiggory wrote on Tumblr (it’s a photo, so he might have taken it from somewhere else): “My problem isn’t that my favorite characters aren’t real; it’s that I’m not fictional. I don’t want them to be real. What I desperately wish is that I could be fictional with them. It’s not that I want them here with me in this mundane and ordinary world; it’s that I want to join them in their extraordinary one.”

Yeah, coming out of those stories into the current world really sucks. But last week I managed to wrap up all the projects, and now seems a good time to go back to those Future Earth Chronicles. I still have five books to write, although they deal with secondary characters from the first five. That first arc is concluded. I wrote 11K+, bringing my yearly total so far to 95K. Might still be a little behind, but I will catch up, eventually.

me, ready to start writing FEC Book 6!

So, since you might end up locked at home like I am, no matter where you live, try to grab some books. And my British friends stay safe, since your leader believes in “natural selection” – we shall overcome! 🙂 You can get some advice from Chuck Wendig on working from home, or you can just chill with your family and watch Netflix.

Here’s how you can use your time in isolation to learn everything you wanted to. Museums and other public places now closed give virtual tours. Social distancing is not a bad thing, and yeah, it sucks to stay in in spring (northern emisphere), but again, it’s only for a few months, not the rest of your life.

I’m currently reading another bundle, the Might Have Been and trudging through Kristine Grayson’s trilogy. I managed to charge KK while I wait for the substitute, so hopefully it won’t die on me before I manage to get to the post office and grab the new one.

Oh, and the Cave Creek Kickstarter? There’s already a short story for backers, but I had to put it in a temporary folder, since I can’t put it on KK. I could read it with Kindle4PC, but I really prefer the e-ink of the normal Kindle (although the All-new Kindle – Now with a Built-in Front Light that I hope to never use, unless it’s different from what I’m thinking. I’ll know when I get mine).

Aaand there’s a new course on teachable, it’s free, so go check it. Kickstarter Best Practices for Writers is up and ongoing. I’m probably going to watch it while I pretend to study from home for DayJob… Not sure when I’ll be able to actually do it, but meanwhile I’ll start checking it!

Some writerly links: how Lawrence Block went indie because of traditional publishing stupidity. And a BBCArts article on book covers clichés – pity I don’t write in any of those genrse, but yeah, I should write my author name bigger! 😀

Author/journalist Damien Walter is running a brand new free daily open writing class. And if you want tips for writing marathons, check this article by my friend Leah Cutter!

Let’s not forget it’s Infinite Bard time again… go read the latest story and have a great week! 🙂

 

Happiness is…


Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote less than 9K again, but I had trouble with one story (I gave it up) and went very slowly with the rest. I’m trying to wrap up the Star Minds Universe, but some stories are not meant to be written at this time. I have finished writing the strip “Star Minds Kids and Teens”, though, but I still need to draw some strips. And do the prose version as well.

And we now have new covers on the contemporary titles, aaaand! A brand new title! Yes, some of the stories were already in Relationships, but there’s a new short story and the novella of the title, for which I thank Barbara “Abby” Palmer and Victoria “Tori” Zigler, without whom it would have never left my hard drive! 🙂

I did mention more Kickstarters and things to support, right? Well, check out this Cave Creek Kickstarter. I might be in those anthologies, if things go well, if not, it’s still a cool new world to discover. And it’s funded, so lots of goodies coming our way… I hear there are free stories along with the other free stuff! The first stretch goal is reached, let’s aim for the second! 😀

There’s also this friend of mine who launched a Kickstarter to fund his audiobooks. That”s something I might do too in the future, so I urge you to check it out! 🙂

And hey, psst… there’s an excerpt of my story, Olympia Nights, on Patreon… I know, you must be a patron to see it, but well… I thought I’d mention it anyway! You can see how it begins! 😉 I’ll also be interviewed on there, so stay tuned…

Disruption by Kris Rusch on how to deal with what’s going on this year. And more disruption with the sale of Simon&Schuster. Yeah, I know, shaky ground. But we’ll survive. And since we’re all more or less grounded, we should catch up on some reading or watching stuff.

As you might know by now, Italy is on lock down. I had to print out a declaration on where I work, in case they stop me and ask me wny I’m out and about. Snort.

Buses are empty and I won’t go to the supermarket until Saturday, but apparently people are panicking and stockpiling on toilet paper…

I can’t go to the cinema, because they’re off-limits, but I have a few codes for RakutenTV, so I might watch a couple of things on my computer soon.

I have finished the book on Medieval Africa, but I’ve been busy checking old Star Minds Universe novels to complete the series… and I’ve put a new Kindle in my Amazon shopping cart, although I’ll probably manage to finish reading the bundles I have on KK before it completely dies on me. I mean, it does charge, I just don’t have access to it anymore.

So, since I had to buy a couple of books for research purpose, I thought I might as well get a new Kindle. I could have stolen Mom’s unused Kobo eReader, but I never really understood how it worked, and could never see the books on it even if I attached it to my laptop with a USB cable. That’s what I can no longer do with KK, cause it’s invisible to laptop. Sigh.

So for the new title, I checked it looked all right on my Kindle 4PC app only. Just like I check ePubs on Adobe Digital Editions. Worse for my eyes, but still works.

The stuff will arrive at the end of the month – maybe, since COVID-19 is slowing down evev Amazon.

It almost feels like the Holidays, when everybody is busy with family business, to me. And of course I’m happy there aren’t many people around, since I’m so crowd-averse! 😀

I keep going to work by bus and I’m not particularly worried. This too shall pass.

Meanwhile, happy reading, writing, watching entertainment and have a great week! 🙂

Happiness is…


Wednesday Weelky Roundup


Last week I wrote almost 9K, but then, I had only three days for writing – with jetlag and cover rebranding. I more or less wrapped up the Lone Wolves and this week I’ll work on a Silvery Earth novella while I check files from the editor and prepare for next weekend’s publication. I probably won’t write too much either, since I have a few manuscripts to go through.

About the main event of the past two weeks that took me away from Day Job and COVID-19, well, it was a blast, as expected. Unlike 2017, I did make one sale, which means I’m moving forward! And I got to spend one week with awesome people who helped me overcome my latest lows.

Also, get ready for a new awesome magazine, Fantasy Quarterly. All fantasy stories for your reading pleasure, and I’ve read a few of them, they’re awesome. Eventually I might make it in there too, but for now get ready for my workshop buddies’ stories and some famous names to keep them company! 🙂

It was wonderful to see old friends again – virtual hugs to all if you’re reading this – and meeting a few new people. Some of them were luckier than me and sold at their very first Anthology Workshop, so kudos to them! 🙂 And I mean “lucky” in the sense they hit the Awesome Editors’ tastes better than me, but I don’t give my best when I have a theme and a deadline.

Sometimes I let deadlines for anthologies pass to make sure I give the topic a better shot! Anyhow, three of the rejected stories will be incorporated in novels, and one is out there again on submission. Not sure what to do with the other two, yet, probably stick them into the virtual drawer until next year. For now I’m happy just being back to writing every day.

Travelwise, I flew in via New York, where they only asked me if I’d been to China in the past 14 days. I watched Gully Boy and Crazy Rich Asians, but by the second flight I was too tired (and of course couldn’t sleep) so I only caught a glimpse of Ocean’s 8. By the time I got to Vegas, I’d been up 24 hours – I jumped into the first taxi and went straight to bed.

Then, during the workshop, Mom sent me a message about COVID-19 in Northern Italy, and my colleague copy-pasted a work email on FB Messenger (it was also a text message on my cell phone, I found it when I came back). The first masks appeared at LAX on my flight to Rome, half empty (more room to sleep, yay! As if I could, sigh…) and even landed earlier so I was home by the time it was supposed to land.

And nobody wants Italians anywhere anymore. Glad I left last week and came back before it spread or they would have sent me back as soon as I set foot at JFK!

Cartoomics (Milan’s comicon) has been postponed to October, which actually works better for me. As for the other travels, I guess I’ll stay at home in April and work on paperbacks, while waiting out COVID-19…

While at the workshop, I got word from the editor of Excalibur 2020: they have just launched the Excalibur Books Patreon.

The first goal is to assist with the formatting and cover of “Warriors of Olympia”, our Science Fiction & Fantasy Olympics anthology, and to build awareness of the writers involved. After that’s published and being promoted, we aim to provide future releases from a wide range of authors.

So go check it, I gave them permission to post excerpts of my story, give it a go! 🙂 I’ll also share a couple more Kickstarters for writing projects soon – not mine yet, unfortunately, since I still have to deal with a damn Day Job that complicates things, but I’ll give you a couple of projects to back up in the coming months!

And last but not least, it’s Infinite Bard time again! Go check the latest story, and that’s all for today! Have a great week!

I wanted to remind authors that the value of their writing transcends monetary measures. If your book has the potential to bring a smile to a single reader, your book is important. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, your book has the potential to change lives and maybe even save lives. What can be more important than that?
Just because your sales suck doesn’t mean that you’re not worthy. Most writers’ sales suck, whether they’re traditionally published or self-published. Most writers will have good months and bad months, good years and bad years. If you only measure your success by money, you’ll probably burn out and quit, but if you develop other measures of success, like finding joy in the creative process or making your next book better than the last or finding joy in pressing the publish button when you’re finally ready to share your soul with the world, then you’re more likely to continue writing and publishing. Therefore, you’re more likely to eventually emerge from your obscurity to achieve the greatest commercial success.

Mark Coker

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