Saturday Sales


Skipped Random Friday and Sunday Surprise since it’s July and there are so many sales going on!:) So, in no particular order…

Amrendra is now complete with part 4. If you got it on Amazon, you’ll probably receive the updated file. If you got in on Smashwords, you probably should go download the new file.

And if you haven’t bought it yet, well, there’s 50% off on Smashwords!:) I enrolled a few more books on the Smashwords site-wide promo – see below.

Star Minds – the Trilogy

Star Minds Snippets

Star Minds Next Generation

Star Minds Next Generation Diaries

Star Minds Chasing Stardom

Star Minds Interregnum

Body Switches

Today People

Rajveer the Vampire

All are 50% off until the site-wide sale that ends July 31. And don’t forget the pre-order for Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness, in September I’ll upload the temporary manuscript.

And the Sci-Fi May Day bundle is now available (for a fixed price) on Amazon and Kobo. It’s temporary, so get it now! 10 sci-fi novels bundled together, don’t miss it!

Happy summer reading!

Writer Wednesday


So, Norman Blood is wrapped and out to betas/proofreader. Kaylyn is almost wrapped – second draft still in creative voice because I found more stuff to dump in and came up with a few more things and betas pointed out a couple more, so there. Second draft and almost 60K.

Then I’m taking a break from fantasy and history and heading back to the science fiction stories (well, science fantasy, since my science is really more fiction than real) with Star Minds Interregnum Volume 2 – a couple of stories inspired by the drawings of Techie Bro who is also a very good artist, but don’t tell him. Hopefully he’ll allow me to use his digital paintings as e-book covers, haha!

I’m done with Teams in Fiction and later in the year I’ll do the Science Fiction Classical workshop (for the brand new series I hope to start next year). And by the way, Essentials Workshop is now FREE on YouTube, so go and listen to it. I also recommend any of the other online workshops available, especially if you’re in a dry spot, dealing with writer’s block.

The new series? One of the SMI Vol.2 stories? Spawned from online workshop assignments. So they’re good for your muse, if you’re fighting with her. I’m not fighting with mine, but it was great having those ideas. Now I shall let everything sink in before I start applying it, LOL!

I’m still learning and honing my craft – I want to DO BETTER! Which doesn’t mean I’ll rewrite the old stories, but from now on I’ll be more careful in the physical descriptions of my characters. I never wanted my stories to be all-White, but since I discovered Writing with Color, I hope to improve my depictions of PoCs in my SFF and historical stories.

I apologize for past works. I won’t use food to describe darker skin ever again. I will learn to describe Asian eyes properly. I wasn’t aware I was insulting anyone. In my defense, English is not my first language, so I lacked the vocabulary for more diverse descriptions, so thank you for helping me expand my knowledge in that field!:)

Oh, and… latest marketing tip: write the next book! More books out, more discoverability! See Author Earnings presentation at RWA if you don’t believe me… So go back to writing and remember Heinlein Rules!

Have a great week and happy writing!😀

Happiness is…


69

Sunday Surprise


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!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

And we’re finally off that darn new Silvery Earth! It’s a brand new world! No, universe! No, wait… let’s hear it from these people here.

Hello, there! Tell me a little about yourself!

NAMTAR: I am Corporal Namtar, serving under Maharani Uma and Commander Kartikeya in their fight to secure freedom for the people of Yuanshi. The events chronicled in City Of Deceit took us somewhat out of our comfort zone, into a world where politics is played out by double agents and interstellar battleships. Naturally, I relied on my wits, charm and intelligence to survive. Unlike the man next to me.

INARI: I’m Private Inari and I work with him. I ain’t one for using wits but I am good at shooting things. I was a corporal once, for almost five whole minutes.

Wow, what a pair! Let’s play a game! Describe each other’s appearance in ten words or less!

NAMTAR: My colleague is a fat Greek slob from the gutter.

INARI: Namtar is a stuck-up lanky Russian who talks rubbish.

Tee-hee! You guys are weird! Anyhow, what is your role in the story?

NAMTAR: As you may know, author Ms Bennion is steadily chronicling the heady events of the last decades of the twenty-third century, where humanity has learned to cross the cosmos and reach the nearby stars.

I’m glad it’s someone else from that crazy Silvery Earth author and I hope she treats her characters well – unlike another author of a vampire series who likes to maim and kill off her characters! Tell me more about her books!

NAMTAR: In her latest book, City Of Deceit, followers of the late Maharaja are fighting for independence on the terraformed moon of Yuanshi in the Epsilon Eridani system: a battle against the security forces of the Que Qiao Corporation, which cares only for profits as it harvests Yuanshi’s wealth on behalf of governments on Earth. The story sees us accompanying the widowed Maharani Uma to Earth to take Yuanshi’s plea for independence to the United Nations. Nothing goes as planned, all the players are double-crossing everyone else and we end up fighting for our lives aboard one of the first ever space battleships. As you might expect, my role involves a lot of clever subterfuge and quick thinking to save the day.

INARI: I did stuff too. I liked the lightning-ball cannon. Being space pirates was cool.

Battleships and space pirates! Wow! So what is your relationship with the protagonist?

NAMTAR: The main protagonist of City Of Deceit is Raja Surya, Maharani Uma’s son and the young heir to the throne of Yuanshi. The story follows the trials and tribulations faced by the Maharani in London, as seen through the eyes of Surya and his friend Zotz Wak from the hollow moon. The young Raja is quite headstrong and more than capable of getting himself and others into trouble. The author’s first book, Hollow Moon, chronicled how we kidnapped Surya so he could stand with Commander Kartikeya at a peace conference, though I assure you our intentions were honourable. The safety of the Raja is paramount. We do what we can to serve.

INARI: The Raja wanted to go to Earth so I smuggled us both aboard the shuttle. The Maharani called me an idiot. Ravana’s friend Zotz came with us to the floating village in London.

I love those Indian-sounding names! Did you know I met an Indian vampire? I wanted to keep him, but he preferred to go back to Earth. *sigh* But I digress!! Where do you live, what is your world called, etc.?

NAMTAR: Our service to Maharani Uma and Commander Kartikeya demands that we operate from the rebel city of Lanka on Yuanshi. Before the war, the Maharani resided in the capital Ayodhya, which was much more to my tastes. Kubera Palace in Lanka has seen better days. Civil war does put a dampener on the finer things in life.

INARI: We get about a bit. I hate sleeping on spaceships.

What’s wrong with spaceships cabins and bunk beds? *mutters to herself* Will have to interview more spacefaring people! *grins at guests* Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

INARI: I had a girlfriend once. Hujing, back at the mining village where I grew up on Taotie. Then Namtar arrived and spoiled everything. I ended up in jail.

Men! They only bring trouble, don’t they? *snorts*

NAMTAR: My fat friend here had just stolen a military Local Ambient Megastructure Projector, an interrogation device that projected hypnotic illusions. She would have not have fallen for a lazy lump of lard like him otherwise.

Mmm… yeah, whatever… What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

NAMTAR: There were some hairy moments aboard the dreadnaught as I recall. Events were somewhat complicated by crazy cyberclones and giant alien spiders. Walking in Earth’s gravity was quite a challenge in itself after a lifetime on low-gravity worlds. Especially seeing as I had been wounded by an imbecile with a harpoon.

INARI: That was an accident, honest.

You guys are the best frenemies I ever met! *grin* Do you have a moral code?

NAMTAR: As a devotee to the Dhusarian Church of Yuanshi, I believe that true wisdom will be delivered by the galactic travellers known as the greys. All we can do is prepare the way so that humankind is ready to receive this gift.

INARI: Moral code? Big guns are good.

*burst out laughing* Careful with those guns! You might shoot yourself in the foot! Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

NAMTAR: I played a role in a fairy tale somewhat reminiscent of Cinderella. Hanuman and Ganesa, the crew of the rebel freighter Sun Wukong, first met at the annual American Christmas Ball in Lanka. It was I who procured their invitations.

INARI: He ain’t been no fairy godfather to me.

Would you really want him to be your fairy godfather, though? Time’s almost up! What 2 or 3 questions do you wish I’d asked and what are your answers to them?

NAMTAR: Maybe a question on whether we will appear in future tales by the author? Our involvement in this saga of interstellar chicanery certainly does not end with the events chronicled in City Of Deceit. Of course, Ms Bennion may decide that publishing further exploits of Inari’s contagious stupidity is too much for discerning readers. While you’re at it, could you ask Inari to stop picking his nose?

INARI: I was going to ask about lunch. Do we get one with these interviews?

Mmm, lunch? Why not? I have this prolific hand that can produce anything… *waves her left hand* Do you need a menu to choose or do you already know what you want?

* * *

ebook_cod(vh)_reducedCity Of Deceit (Hollow Moon #3) by Steph Bennion

Raja Surya, young heir to the throne of the moon of Yuanshi, cannot stay out of trouble for long. Zotz Wak, intrepid boy inventor otherwise known as The Flying Fox, decides Earth is the place to become a man. Together they must battle the dystopian darkness of 23rd-century London: a city of deceit, under the thumb of corporations, its people barricaded behind flood walls, bewitched by the hypnotic holoverse and worse.

The United Nations is deciding the fate of Surya’s world. The Que Qiao Corporation is using the threat of alien monsters to call for war. Ravana O’Brien, the heroine of their previous adventures, is stricken with a mystery illness and her hollow moon home has problems of its own.

Surya never thought he would be in the captain’s chair aboard the first ever interstellar battleship. Zotz never expected to find himself accused of being a spy and terrorist at the centre of political skulduggery in London. The far-flung worlds of the five systems would never be the same again. Taranis, the dark priest of destiny, has returned.

http://www.wyrdstar.co.uk/books/cityofdeceit.html

AUTHOR BIO

Steph Bennion was born and bred in the Black Country, spent too many years in the big bad city that is London and now lives in Hastings, a very nice town by the seaside. Her books are written as a reaction to the dearth of alternative heroes amidst young adult bookshelves swamped by tales of the supernatural. For every aspiring vampire or wizard, she believes that the world needs an astrophysicist, an engineer, or at the very least someone who will one day work out how to make trains run on time.

Goodreads

Facebook

She was interviewed on this very blog almost three years ago

Random Friday


I could ramble about a couple of things… I did my own meme without even reading the article it refers to…belly bumpReally, people, mind your own business and stop judging based on looks or color of skin or shape of eyes or whatnot. It’s just a body, and it’s what we’ve been given to be in this world, don’t mess with it. Movie suggestion: Disfigured, as already done a few years back.

And another movie watched that has nothing to do with our bodies’ shape or color but completes (for now) my series of Fairy Tales Revisited At The Movies (my own definition of it, of course) is Beauty and the Beast – the French version. Quite faithful to the original tale, except they mixed two, methink. But well, not a big mess like Snow White and the Huntsman, haha! Not sure I’m looking forward for the Hollywood version, though.

I could post latest portrait of Da Muse (probably a few years ago), but whatever…

2016eight4blogAnd I’d like to repeat what I already thought last November…

Diwali

Forget Western so-called elegance, you look so much better like this!😉

My brain is still fried from the heat, so I’ll just wish you a great weekend…

Writer Wednesday


Welcome to Writer Wednesday, where I dispense my weekly writer’s wisdom… not!:) I don’t have real wisdom to pass on, but since I was asked something that really grates on my nerves, I thought I’d give the long answer here. Warning: YMMV or each and everyone of us has a different answer to this.

It all started on Goodreads:

GRquestion

Now, the long answer – and my advice to young writers – is: if you write to the market or to make money, if that’s success to you, you’re in the wrong business. If you want a career as a writer, you must write what you love.

And, by the way, a career happens while you’re busy living. You can work towards it by setting realistic goals – which means something you can control. Your writing output, you can control it. Selling a million copies? That’s beyond your control. It’s a dream, not a goal.

Sure, dream big, but set realistic goals to reach that dream. Decide early on what’s success to you: finishing a story? Putting it out there (trad, self or indie)? Buying yourself a coffee with the first royalty check from a retailer? Writing all the stories that come to mind? Make those darn characters in your head shut up?

I was lucky to grow up before the internet, I guess. I’ve been writing for almost 40 years (my first story dates back to Summer 1978) and of course more than half of it sucks and will never be published, but at least I have a routine, I have fun and have no critical voice because nobody ever told me I was supposed to do this or that to write a literary masterpiece. I was a one-draft-writer for almost twenty-five years!😉

So now, even when I “rewrite”, it’s to adjust plot holes or change the ending or a scene because I came up with a better one. It’s definitely not polishing, which means I’m still fairly prolific. I write the story, I reread it, correct it, send it to proofreader and out it goes into the wild.

How do I measure my success? By the fact that 5 years into my indie publishing life

  1. sales are very slow, but growing
  2. I’m still writing what I want to read
  3. I even stopped “recycling” old stories because I have so many new ideas!
  4. I’m still learning craft and business
  5. I’m still having fun writing new stories

In another ten years I’ll look back and go “Wow, look at my career!” So, if you want to be a professional writer with a career, you can’t

  1. write to the market
  2. hope to strike the jackpot with a couple of books
  3. quit after 1 or 10 books

Quitting is the end of your career along with unrealistic goals.

Now go and have some online workshops on craft and business either at David Farland’s or Dean Wesley Smith’s. I’m currently finishing Teams in Fiction and it gave me an idea for a series I might write when I’m done with the current Silvery Earth and Star Minds stories (all brand new) and inbetween the Vampires Through the Centuries books (that come out 2 a year, 1 novel + 1 novella).

And by the way, it’s okay to change in course during your writing life. I’m another writer who writes during major holidays because people are too busy with their life and their family to bother me, so beyond the customary lunch or dinner with aging parents, I’m free to do as I please!😉

Now I better go back to Norman Blood… Then some Kaylyn’s rewrites will be in order to adjust it to the other story! Have a great week!😀

 

Happiness is…


68

Sunday Surprise


PathWaterEbookHi 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!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

We’re still on the new Silvery Earth! That’s a batch of old and new characters in this novel…

Hello, handsome! Tell me a little about yourself.

I’m Hinrik, I’m twenty-five and I’m enrolled in the Salamar army. We marched off to protect Moriana from the Varian attack, but we failed.

Bummer. You do look like a defeated soldier… Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Well-built warrior with chestnut brown hair and turquoise eyes.

Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

I don’t know. My mother is dead and I don’t have anyone left. I fight out of duty and respect for my captain.

Mmm… you forgot to mention the melancholy of your eyes! Where do you live?

Salamar, capital of the Salamar Kingdom, on the shores of the great river Ondan.

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what it is about them that you find appealing?

It’s unrequited love and I don’t want to talk about it.

Man, I must say you’re handsome even when you brood! So what is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Survive rape and finding self-respect. And my true calling.

Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

My mother was a washerwoman. I was her only child. She never married after breeding with a “demon” and was cast out by everyone. She said my father was a “magical being” who lived in the river, but I never believed her.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I have these turquoise eyes and water seems to have a healing power on me.

You’re forgetting to mention you’re very shy… Let’s see if the lady here is more talkative!

Hello there, tell me a little about yourself.

Bellinda, daughter of Joyrise, also known as Joris, and a Human. I’m half-blood and for some thirty-five years tried to fit in either with the Genn or the Human communities, sort of succeeding. As you can see, I have the body shape of a female Genn with small tits, but the round ears of Humans, and my hair is dark blond.

Where do you live?

I was born in Havenstock, capital of the Varian Kingdom, and spent a lot of time in the Genn villages of the forest of Appleyard. Our warmongering king made me want to leave, though, so now I’m exploring the northern kingdoms, starting with Salamar.

A-ha! So that’s how you bump into Hinrik? What’s your role in the story?

I’m a healer, and when Belfi brought bruised Hinrik to the camp, I had to do something! I mean, he wasn’t visibly wounded or dying, but he was upset and filled with pain…

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

I was. With Keneith. Because he’s tall and handsome and a powerful half-blood. I loved his black eyes and his smile. Then we moved together to Havenstock and things started falling apart. He’s still my best friend and traveling companion. We watch each other’s back.

Well, thank you, Hinrik and Bellinda, and good luck with your quest! May you find what you’re looking for, whatever it is…

Quests Book One – The Path of Water

Random Friday


Let’s make it Art Friday. There you go, the evolution of the Quests covers. I guess I forgot the K.I.S.S. rule with them. So, here’s the first two attempts:

PathsAttempts4feedbackSmall

Then I experimented with the water and fire brushes I found at Obsidian Dawn – this is my credit to them for these illustrations, the background was done with their brushes. I still use Photoshop 7, and they’re probably the only ones who provide these!😉 The second attempt in this case is a little less illustrated, but I felt it didn’t go well with the other Silvery Earth covers.

PathsAttempts4feedback2smallAnd here’s the last attempts with the brushes, then I went back to a simpler version with no brushes, with special thanks to the suggestions of Shafali and Silvano. I would like to thank also Joleene, Cristina, Fulvio and Enrica for their input.

PathsFinalsNow I’ve added some stuff in Book 2, so it might come out later than expected, since I’ll need the editor to do a quick second pass… so expect it in 3 weeks instead of 2! Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday


Aaand… the first quest is out! It’s not a real quest – like in a “Fantasy Quest” way – but it is a quest nevertheless. Might not fit all the parameters, but it’s still a quest. An inner quest, more like!😉 Stay tuned for the evolution of the cover art, and enjoy this first book, The Path of Water. The book page even has a map of the wanderings of the characters!😉

PathWaterEbookHere’s the blurb:

Hinrik survives the battle outside the walls of Moriana, battered and hurt. He drags himself to the River Ondan to put an end to his misery.

But it’s just the beginning of a new life of discoveries about himself and the world, a quest for his true calling in life. He is a half-blood and must learn what it means with the help of Bellinda the healer and Keneith the magic user.

The warrior, the healer and the magic user are all outsiders or outcasts looking for a place to call home in a hostile world, away from the aggressively expanding Varian and Blackmore Kingdoms.

A story of the northern kingdoms of Silvery Earth with magic and pain, loss and rebirth.

The newsletter #3 has been sent. Next one in a couple of months – and I will send it only to the people who actually open it. This time the bonus was a free unpublished short story.

I’m done with more tales of the southern kingdoms, that will include also the story of a black princess from the newly born Black Empire (you might have heard of it if you read Books of the Immortals – Fire that is set two centuries later). If there’s any PoC out there who would like to give it a beta-read, drop me a line.

Writerly links! Let’s Get Digital is free! I still have to read it, but it must be a good guide for beginners. Whenever I make it to reading it, I’ll let you know…

And for those of you who still think about a traditional publisher, please read this post about the Midlist Rules!

And how to find happiness as a writer! Hints, write what you love and have fun…😉

Now I better go back to writing… Norman Blood at last! Back to the vampires through the centuries for the rest of the month!

Have a great week!

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