Happiness is…


46

Random Friday


I don’t want to add to the general negativity, so I’ll let songs speak for me. It feels like life is like this at the moment:

But I’m like Elton John:

And I shall leave you with the funny version of how I feel these days – and also the stupidest reason (and probably not the real one either)…

February4blog_resizeDid I ever mention I hate leap years? That extra day in February is so… GAAAH! :D

Have a great weekend! :)

20 Questions With Author Barbara Tarn


And in case you want to know more about “Colors”, check this author interview… one of the funniest I ever had! :) Thanks, Dan, for having me! :D

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

head shot Your humble host

Also known as the Lady with the Unicorns, Barbara G.Tarn prefers to add a touch of fantasy to all her stories, past and present. She’s a writer, artist, world-creator and prolific storyteller with over 100 titles on Amazon.

Her novella “The Hooded Man” received an Honorable Mention at the Writers of the Future contest.

Used to multiple projects (a graphic novel is always on the side of the prose), Barb writes, draws, ignores her day job and blogs.

Today she shares some insights with us.

 

DAN: What is the working title of your next book?

BARB: Colors

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It’s Snow White slashed, so Snow White is male and will find a king to take him away from the bad guy and since Snow White Man didn’t sound very good, I thought I could use the colors – black…

View original post 2,115 more words

Writer Wednesday


January wordcount was over 40K. I redrafted Colors (next title out, currently with proofreader) and turned an old graphic novel into a novella – both these stories are 27K. Now I’m turning another graphic novel into a novel that should come out probably next month.

I did a new cover for Colors during the weekend since I wasn’t completely happy with the one I did in December. So I got to draw a swallow for the first time in my life. I found a cute pic on the Wikipedia page and went from there. Not telling you which one I chose, you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks! :) Probably less. And yes, the swallow is in the first scene of the story, so it’s a nice addition.

How to ESL ebookI also published that non-fiction book I wrote last year. I wasn’t sure it was any good, but a very precious beta who is also a cover artist and part-time writer said it’s good – short and to the point – so I’m putting it out there.

As soon as I finish the novel-redrafted-from-the-graphic-novel, I’ll go back to those contemporary stories that I kept on hold until the next offline writers group meeting (Feb.11), so next month expect another title of the discarded pen-name with new stories thrown in. I might then start working on the POD version! :)

And then I’ll be back to my vampires, since I need to finish Chandaka and Daya and then start on Kaylyn’s story. As for PODs, I’ll do the new edition with Createspace of the five Books of the Immortals… so I guess February is quite busy. And it’s a short month (although it has 29 days this year). And… I’ll leave the rest to Friday ramblings, LOL!

For some kind of serendipity, there was a lot of talk about contracts and publishers around the internet this week. Kris Rusch on indie contracts, Kameron Hurley on traditional contracts and Tricia Drammeh on choosing a publisher. And then get the guide on how to negotiate anything! ;)

Now I better go back to writing and drawing those covers (I don’t like the covers I have so far, but I need different reference for one and I’m not sure how to get it, sigh)… Have a great week!

Happiness is…


45

Random Friday


Considering that I keep talking about Muse H, you might think I have forgotten Muse K… not! Especially since he is now in Rome, shooting John Wick 2! :D No, you won’t see me stalking him around town (I don’t normally go to movie sets – once I went to Piazza di Spagna with a friend when they were shooting Ocean’s 12 because she’s a fan of Vincent Cassel and she hoped to get a glimpse of him) since

a) I still have a morning day job

b) I don’t live in the center and I don’t like going to the center

c) it’s January, it might not snow, but it’s cold to stay out waiting for someone to show up! :D

So I’m just thinking about him every now and then, rewatching DVDs (47 Ronin, thanks Jen!) and basically preparing to give up this fifteen-year-old obsession… with special thanks to the ever-present Mr Selfie! ;)

11 selfie

See, I even updated the chibis! ;) Actually there was another balloon on my head, but I’ll spare him that. I’m using that vignette on DeviantART too, so it’s not really secret. What’s “secret” is the original balloon for that drawing! ;)

So now you can also see how my chibis are improving! ;) Now I better go back to coloring Samantha the Witch and the Desi Vampire or you’ll never see that one either… although that was done before I bought the book on manga proportions! ;)

Thought I’d gift you with a sneak preview of the arrival of Rajveer on Silvery Earth… chibi-style (of course you can also see the novel’s cover with the amazing art by Shafali – but that’s because I need to put a summary of the novel next to that!)!

05small

Have a great weekend – I’ll be with my cover artist, drawing for 24 hours at least… so hopefully I’ll catch up! :D (and no, we won’t be chasing Muse K and his Italian co-star who is Cristina’s favorite, don’t worry – we’ve got work to do!!!)

Writer Wednesday


Redrafting of Colors done and out to betas. I’m not completely happy with the cover I did back in December, so I might do a new one for publication. I also plan on having someone else’s version of the male Snow White on the cover of the collection (POD and ebook) of the fairy tales revisited (not all are slashed), but I don’t know when that will come out. I still need to start writing Cinder Boy and I won’t make it until maybe March.

January wordcount is probably around 40K, so my 10K a week is more or less covered. I also did approximately the same amount of translations back into Italian in the mornings. Translations might slow down next month since I’m changing shifts at DayJob, but that shouldn’t bother you, the English reader! ;)

This month’s only English title is The Archers. As I mentioned last week, I’m experimenting with KDP Select. So it will be on Amazon only until mid-April. The volumes of the Tales of the Northern Kingdoms won’t be completed until May or June, so I decided to try with that novella the wondrous world of Kindle Unlimited. I shall ponder when to use the Kindle Countdown thingy, but I still have to study that one.

You can tell I’m not really worried by the “new” Kindle requirements (actually the spellchecker found a typo on The Archers that had avoided both me and Mighty Editor, so I happily corrected it before it went live).  Might be because I’ve read much worse stuff on Kindle, even from publishers, or because I don’t have reviews – it’s okay, if you spread the word without leaving a review or buy another title without leaving a review, I’m thanking you anyway – but I don’t think it will change much for me.

In February I shall publish more of those tales of the northern kingdoms, starting with Colors and the other fairy tale revisited. Write-wise, I shall go back to the contemporary titles and my vampires historicals before I start writing book 2, Kaylyn, in March. I’ll go back to Silvery Earth in April. And when I’m done with those tales, I’ll go back to Star Minds Interregnum (May or June). Stay tuned…

I’m also still working on the publisher’s page and the single books pages there. I’m thinking of adding a button or two on selected titles. I’m still toying with cooltext since I don’t have Word Art (but I might do something on my cover artist’s PC soon), but I don’t like the results so far.

Anyhow, you already know I’m QUILTBAG friendly, but I also wanted to add a button for ACE-friendly stories. I have found a brand new ACE book club on Goodreads, and it would be good if they could see which of my books are for them – or any other ACE reader in the world! ;)

I might have some writerly links… on how to stay positive when friends quit writing, on 25 more hard truths about writing and publishing… and the usual suspects, of course. Waiting to be guest on more blogs and hoping to have new guests soon…

Have a great week!

Happiness is…


44

Sunday Surprise


Cyber Bodyguard

by Barbara G.Tarn

C’ell’andy was confused. He remembered the explosion, and throwing Kol-ian to safety before being half-buried by a crumbling building. Now he felt a numbing pain and couldn’t tell if he was conscious or not. He still had a body and it was probably tied to a machine – he could feel the tube down his throat, but not much else.

He didn’t know where he was, if the darkness was inside or outside of him, or if he was alive or dead. His mind struggled to stay focused, to understand what was going on.

C’ell’andy, do you hear me?

The powerful mind of the Emperor echoed in the nothingness that engulfed him. This was getting scary – he didn’t know how to answer with his mouth full – then he remembered the Emperor was a telepath and he didn’t need to speak. The voice in his head was a mind projection anyway.

Your lower body is badly damaged, and we need to attach a prosthetic to keep you alive, the Emperor continued coldly. But we don’t have anything ready except a horse body. You might not live long enough to have a proper human prosthetic, but it’s still your choice. Do you want to live as a scary-looking cyborg, or would you rather die and be honored for saving my son’s life?

So he was alive, albeit maimed. He couldn’t die now. The Sire had the most advanced technology in the galaxy, so the prosthetic might actually enhance him. He was a bodyguard, sworn to protect the Emperor’s son. If the Emperor saw it fit to save him by attaching a weird-looking prosthetic to what was left of his body, he could only be grateful for the gift.

Let me live, Imperiestra.

You shall live.

C’ell’andy’s consciousness slowly faded away.

***

art by Silvano Beltramo

art by Silvano Beltramo

C’ell’andy put down the dumbbell with a sigh. Time for the last pull-ups. He didn’t have any abs anymore, and his upper torso muscles had atrophied during the past two months. He’d recovered their strength by now, though, in spite of the added weight of the prosthetic. His biceps swelled as he pulled up the miracle that kept him alive. It looked like a silvery horse body attached to what was left of his hips. In the daylight it gleamed white, which made a great contrast with his dark-chocolate skin.

“Bravo!” Tyro clapped his hands while C’ell’andy finished his exercise.

C’ell’andy’s naked upper torso and shaved head were covered in sweat, but the prosthetic didn’t produce any. He walked to his friend, relaxing as his new lower half moved under his command.

“You’ve recovered your full mass of muscles,” Tyro complimented him. “You look even more fierce than before.”

“I look weird, but I had no choice if I wanted to live.” C’ell’andy sighed. “I think the Emperor used me as guinea pig.”

“Well, you’d be dead anyway if your body rejected the implant,” Tyro said. “But I’m glad everything went well. You control everything now?”

“Yes.” C’ell’andy went through some gaits – walk, trot, canter, gallop – around the gym, then slowed again to a canter and then a walk. He stopped in front of the scientist who had created the artificial body. “How did I do?”

“Perfect. I knew you could do it. You’re ready to go back on duty.”

“I’ll stop to hug my wife and will be on my way.” C’ell’andy grinned and clasped Tyro’s arm. “Thank you, my friend.”

They exited the gym together, and as they walked through the Vaurabi Labs, C’ell’andy’s metallic hoofs clanged on the floor.

“Do you think you can add padded horseshoes so I don’t scare Kol-ian away?” the cyborg asked, frowning with worry.

“Sure!” The pale-skinned scientist was quick to fix the annoying noise.

C’ell’andy exited the Imperial palace and galloped back to his quarters, exhilarated. The housing looked very small with his new body, and his wife giggled as he bumped into furniture with his prosthetic.

“Sorry, I’ll have to figure out a way to sleep,” he grumbled. “So far I lay my head on a shelf with a pillow… let’s see if I can sit by the bed and use it the same way…”

He squeezed the implant between the bed and the wall and sat his horselike body down. Since it was mechanical, it had no problems in doing so. Rotating his torso felt uncomfortable, though, so he decided he’d have to find another solution.

He rose again to his four feet with a sigh and backed out of the narrow passage.

“We’ll work it out later.” L’ill’oretta slid a waistcoat on his shoulders. “I know you don’t have private parts to cover anymore, but you don’t want to be completely naked, especially in front of the Emperor – or his son,” she chided.

He adjusted the colorful sleeveless vest and turned to take her in his arms – his beautiful, pregnant wife who now barely reached his nipples. The implant made him even taller than what he already was.

“Thank you,” he whispered, before kissing her. He was grateful she had stood by him in spite of the maiming that had cost him his manhood. Well, the whole lower half of his body.

“You’re alive. Our child will have a father,” she replied tenderly.

He caressed her round belly, thanking the gods for keeping him alive. He might have a robotic body, but he still felt completely human. He was lucky the accident happened when L’ill’oretta was already expecting, or he might have lost his wife along with half of his body.

“Thanks to Tyro Megnaghy and his wonderful prosthetic,” he said.

“How does it feel?” she asked, curious.

“I’m getting used to it. Controlling four legs instead of two is tricky at first. Unfortunately it was the only implant ready and available when I was taken down.”

“You look gorgeous,” she assured. “Like our legendary man-horses!”

He chuckled and gently squeezed her in his powerful arms.

“I better go and see how Kol-ian is doing,” he said, then kissed her frizzy hair. He knew he hadn’t been replaced, and the little prince he’d protected from the explosion was locked in his room since the accident – two long months to attach the implant to his ruined body, make it work, and then for him to learn to control his new lower limbs through a neural interface inserted at the back of his neck.

“Sure.” She sighed. She was on maternity leave, which had allowed her to care for him before she got too big and needed care herself. “See you tonight.”

They kissed and C’ell’andy left their apartment to go back to the palace. He walked to the higher floors and the little prince’s room, mostly ignored in spite of the obvious prosthetic. He knocked before the door slid open and he entered the child’s apartment – an antechamber for playing and reading, and a bedroom.

ImperialPrincesTXTeng_resize“Prince Kol-ian?” he called, not seeing him on the couch as he expected. “Are you hiding?” he chided, stepping forward. He reached the bedroom and heard a ragged breath coming from behind the big bed.

“Why are you hiding, my prince?” he asked, stopping at the door.

A tuft of raven hair followed by a pair of big black eyes peered over the bed. The eyes widened and C’ell’andy heard a gasp. The head vanished again.

“Prince Kol-ian, may I come forward?” C’ell’andy asked. “Why are you afraid of me all of a sudden?”

“I’m not scared.” The childish voice was muffled. “I’m ashamed.”

Startled, C’ell’andy crossed the room and reached the corner where the prince was hiding. Kol-ian Vaurabi was six and his eyes were wide with pain, shame, guilt and who knew what else.

C’ell’andy’s impulse was to grab him and hold him to his chest. He followed through with it and picked Kol-ian off the floor. The child looked even smaller next to his mechanic body.

“Why are you ashamed?” C’ell’andy asked, puzzled, looking Kol-ian in the eyes and stroking his back with one hand as he held him with the other arm.

The child sniffed and lowered his eyes. “Because Granny is dead and you are maimed, and it’s all my fault,” he whispered.

“No, it’s not your fault,” C’ell’andy assured. “What makes you think you have anything to do with this?”

Barely a whisper. “They were trying to kill me. Because I’m the Emperor’s son.”

C’ell’andy sighed. “Well, that’s why I’ve been appointed your bodyguard. So nobody could hurt you. That’s why I’m protecting you. Unfortunately I couldn’t save your granny.”

Kol-ian sniffed again and glanced at his horse body. “You look funny.”

“Do you want to ride me?” C’ell’andy suggested with a smile.

Kol-ian nodded.

C’ell’andy moved Kol-ian to his metallic rump and wrapped the short arms around his waist. “Ready for a ride?”

“Yes!” Kol-ian said, finally loud. Soon he was all giggly, and his shame was forgotten while C’ell’andy caracoled between the two rooms making horse sounds.

The cyborg finally took the child off his back and threw him on his bed, where he landed with a soft thud and a final giggle.

“Thank you, C’ell’andy,” Kol-ian sighed, curling up. “Will you tell me the story of C’est’aran now?”

“Of course.”

C’ell’andy realized he couldn’t really sit on the boy’s bed like he used to. Drat, this prosthetic can be very impractical in some situations. He couldn’t lie to sleep, he couldn’t sit… but the happiness of the little prince riding his implant was priceless. Kol-ian was a gloomy prince – the second-born of the Emperor – who had found some affection only with his late grandmother.

The Imperial family was quite cold and used to hiding their feelings. Some said they didn’t have any, in spite of being Sire and telepaths and superior to other Humanoid races like C’ell’andy’s. But the cyborg knew Kol-ian had feelings, much like his mother used to.

It had been mostly his maternal grandmother who often made the child smile. Except the aging woman had been killed in the assassination attempt and Kol-ian was left with only his bodyguard, now a cyborg, who could still tell him stories of his home world, Ulba’wis.

Kol-ian listened wide-eyed for the umpteenth time to the story of C’est’aran, a hero from Ulba’wis. The Humanoids living there were warriors and had plenty of stories about wars and great adventures, while the Sire had lived in peace for centuries, until they’d become the dominating race among the Humanoids and had formed the Galactic Empire. For some reason, Kol-ian preferred Ulba’wissian stories to Sire stories.

“You will have your own child soon?” the boy asked when the story was over. He looked worried again.

“Yes, in a couple of months,” C’ell’andy answered, caressing the child’s black hair.

“So you will tell him or her your stories.” Kol-ian averted his eyes, disappointed.

“No, I will still tell them to you. It will take some time before my child will be able to listen to my stories,” C’ell’andy assured.

“Really?” Kol-ian brightened again. “Tell me another, then!”

____________________________________

Cyber Bodyguard is included in Star Minds Snippets. Pictures by the author and Silvano Beltramo.

Random Friday


Last weekend I went to Milan for a double birthday, meeting my friends and buying supplies – namely colored pencils. I have figured out by now the new name of what I use (Caran d’Ache Prismalo I), so hopefully I can look again in Rome without having to go to Milan.

I also bought a book to learn drawing. I checked one on how to draw fabric, have looked at the anathomy books, one on how to draw horses (but there were no riders on them, and it’s easier I need to draw a man on a horse than a single horse, unless I turn it into a unicorn, LOL)… ended up buying a book on how to do manga proportions.

So I’ve started experimenting both with Da Muse H (haven’t done Muse K yet) and Star Minds Kids, an idea that has been floating around my head for some time now. Here you see Da Muse H in the new 1:3 Chibi format (I think so far I was more 1:4 or 1:5)!

hrithik_and_barb_by_creativebarbwire-d9oj5l3

And you can see the WiP of Star Minds Kids on DeviantART as well, although the pencils with the “construction” underneath are probably clearer in this pic. And if you wonder why Kol-ian is sucking his thumb like Ker-ris youngest sister… well, you don’t have his sister! ;) Lin-sun is much worse than Lucy Van Pelt! :D

IMG_1406Had great fun with the proportions on this one to show the various ages…Kol-ian, Bess-lin and Ker-ris’s sister are 1:3, Kimy-val and Ker-ris’s youngest sister are 1:2, Lin-sun, Kay-low, Ker-ris and Leo-will are 1:4 and Leo-will’s sister is 1:5 – which means 2 to 5 circles in height, one for the head, the rest for the body.

That’s all for today! Have a great weekend!

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