Random Friday


Random randomness – not much to say, so… I uploaded another digital painting of Kay-low, Kol-ian’s son… This time with Jay-lee in the background. I’ve sort of experimented with the “painting” (I’m not a painter, I suck with brushes), since for Jay-lee I tried to make the black marks vanish, while they’re still very visible in Kay-low.

The previous drawing of Kay-low is here, his story should come out sometimes in March. He’s a wannabe galactic rockstar, so… that’s the reason for this look (and the fact that he is as much of a rebel as his father was at his age, LOL!). Except Kol-ian has genetically reinforced skin, so no tattoos allowed (hence the retractile wings to be “different”).

I’m also drawing those strips, but I’m not sure I’ll ever publish them. I’m having fun doing them, but I don’t thing they’re for public consumption – unless I decide to make a fool of myself in public! ;) I might put one on DeviantART because it mentions a fellow Deviant, but the rest… I haven’t decided yet.

And February is over, so… until next month – have a great weekend! :)

Writer Wednesday


The Hero Initiative is over, let’s hope that someone finds my Happiness is… entertaining enough to try the rest… If not, well, just another marketing experiment.

This month it was Kobo’s unexpected royalty payment that covered the electricity bill – unexpected because I never know if and when they’re going to send me the money. I had to wait until I had approx.100CAD$ (around 70euro) the first time, but this time it was less than 35euro and they transferred the money anyway. Maybe they took off the minimum treshold…

The most still comes from Amazon, especially Amazon Italia, in spite of a 99cent bestselling short story. Not enough to pay the upcoming phone bill, though, unless I add the Draft2Digital money that stays on my Paypal account (too low amount to transfer it to my bank account). Sigh.

You might have figured it by now, but this year I’m writing more than publishing. My problem is not writing – I’m sticking to my weekly wordcount without effort – it’s finding betas for everything. Since I’m writing shorter works, sometimes I can submit them at the offline writers group, but it’s once a month, and I’ve written 2 or 3 this month.

Next month I want to submit to them a short story with an upcoming theme, so I can submit it in April, so everything else falls behind. Not that I’m in a hurry to submit or publish those shorter works, but sometimes waiting for feedback is frustrating. I’d publish a lot more if I could find more loyal betas – but I keep losing them to life rolls!

Anyhow, the learning must continue, and I guess it will only improve my writing! ;) And I’ll start saving on editing expenses (although I plan on redoing some covers) if I publish less… while royalties trickle in so very slowly that sometimes I wonder why I’m still doing it. But I can see the long term thing, even if this year I haven’t really programmed everything I want to write and have only a vague idea for 2016…

But then, I must also train myself to run a business, and that’s going to take some time! :) So, even if I don’t see very far at this time, doesn’t mean I don’t think long term. I’m not going to quit anytime soon. I still enjoy doing my own covers as well as asking other artists to work for me. And I still enjoy writing, and I’m experimenting again.

My latest experiment, a novella, is currently out to betas… we’ll see if it passes the test! :) I also translated one of those shorts to see if I could get more betas among my Italian friends… no, I didn’t, so… I won’t bother again. 4 people had it for a week, and only 1 sent me her feedback. It’s a short story, not a novel. Sigh.

Amazon vs Apple – an interesting comparison. For when I hit that “publish” button again. I’m on both, but Apple sales (via D2D) are minimal for now… That’s all for today! Have a great week! :)

Happiness is…


140

Sunday Surprise


no more guests, but lots of words of wisdom or writers on writing or… well, you got it. Happy Sunday!

Now I believe a writer is someone who writes. Maybe you get paid. Maybe you don’t. Maybe people agree. Maybe they don’t. You don’t need anyone’s approval or acceptance or imprimatur or validation to consider yourself a writer. But legacy pundits like agents and publishers don’t want you to believe that. They want you to feel that the only way you can call yourself a writer is if they agree. And their approval comes at a high cost.
The legacy world doesn’t want you to feel like you’re a writer if all you do is self-publish. Because they need you to make money.
Your peers may not consider you a writer if all you do is self-publish. Because they need to protect their own identities, and that means dismissing yours.
You may not feel like a writer until you meet certain criteria. But consider this: who sets those criteria? You? Or an industry that wants to make money off of you?
Readers don’t care. Readers just want a good book. Maybe we all should worry less about labeling, and more about writing.
Joe Konrath

I don’t write every day. I never have. But I do write most days, and I’ve filled thousands of pages of notebook paper with writing. I swear there’s no magic trick, no simple solution, no get-writerly-quick scheme. You have to write a lot of words. You have to write your heart out. And in the end, you discover that the writing’s what matters. Writing is its own reward. I promise.
M. Molly Backes

Being patient and having a long view was crucial, I think. I didn’t get discouraged, because I had no expectations. It isn’t like my books go stale. They’re all e-books and print-on-demand paperbacks. They are brand new and always in print, just waiting to be discovered. I firmly believe that if a well-read author commits to honing their craft and writing two novels a year for ten years, they will be able to make a career out of writing. The beauty of self-publishing is that you can give yourself that ten-year chance. You don’t have to rely on being discovered by an agent. You don’t have to waste your time querying and spending the two or three years it can take to get a single book published. And you aren’t limited to the narrow window in which your book will be displayed on a store shelf. You can publish now and publish forever. That’s a huge benefit, one that I recognized very early on.
My one other piece of advice is that you should publish your works as if millions of people will read them. Invest in quality cover art that looks great both in print and on a small online thumbnail. 90% of the bad covers out there are due to horrible font selection. Don’t get fancy; use something big, bold, and blocky. And get help with the editing, even if that means exchanging services with other writers. Don’t be in a rush to publish. Make your work shine.
Hugh Howey

A lot of writers obsess and rewrite paragraph after paragraph, chapter after chapter, seldom if ever completing a draft. Those who do complete a draft then spend years rewriting and rewriting and never quite come to the point that you HAVE to come to: this is done, this is enough. There’s something to be said for rewriting; it can be when you find your way past the chaos in your own head to what the story needs to say, but the endless polishing, the shifting of sentences here and there, becomes a form of procrastination. It puts off the horrible moment when you need to say, “It is finished.” No book is ever truly finished with and completed; there is always more you could do. Yet to become a book rather than a work continuously in progress, it’s vital that you stop and step away and let it alone to fly into the hearts of readers.
Vivienne Tuffnell

There are a million ideas in a world of stories. Humans are storytelling animals. Everything’s a story, everyone’s got stories, we’re perceiving stories, we’re interested in stories. So to me, the big nut to crack is to how to tell a story, what’s the right way to tell a particular story.
– Richard Linklater

Random Friday


I wanted to post a preview of the new strip, but it’s really not done yet, so maybe some other time. It was related to last Saturday, which for most of the so-called civilized world was Valentine’s Day or lovers’ day or whatever you want to call it. It never had any meaning for me, so I never bothered celebrating it.

But this year I sort of celebrated it, since I finally managed to get to the post office and retrieve the commission I requested to lovely Mrs Waffle! :)

IMG_9333Ain’t it neat? Now it’s on my wall, next to Colleen Doran, Sir Wendigo and a couple more (and there’s room for more… will have to stalk some other artist for an original sketch, LOL)…

IMG_9334See? And I know I don’t really look like that, but it’s close enough! ;)

My Facebook friends must have the default newsfeed of Top Stories, since I got plenty of comments and likes on the latest Happiness is… as if I never post anything else… And that picture is 1) two years old and 2) I had just come out of the hairdresser, which mean 48hours later it was all gone. You can see some of it in the above picture, and it obviously doesn’t look like in that Happiness is…! ;)

I’ll take it to my hairdresser tomorrow, with an idea I got about my next visit… in a couple of weeks. If it works out, I’ll post a picture. Maybe. I’m not very good at selfies, not even with a real camera and not a cell phone (did I mention I only have a stupid-phone?). Ah, well, we’ll see.

One last bit of randomness – 15 things that introverts would never tell you. I hotly subscribe to all of them, but mostly #7 and #8, and not because I’m a writer! But then, that’s probably why I don’t have that many offline friends… Which is fine, really. See #2! ;) Have a great weekend!

 

Writer Wednesday


Happiness is… is included in this bundle. As they put it on DriveThruComics FB page:

The Hero Initiative creates a financial safety net for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work.

The We Love Comic Creators Bundle offers over $120 worth of digital comics from Valiant Comics, Top Cow Productions, Inc., ASPEN COMICS, Devil’s Due Publishing, Renegade Arts Entertainment Ltd, and more for only $20 with proceeds benefiting the Hero Initiative!

This amazing Bundle will only be available for a week, so don’t delay!

Really, 20 buck and you get tonz of comics! :) Go get it now! :)

Some writerly links this week… Are you a happy writer? I’m not complaining, although I’ll be happier when I’ll be able to quit DayJob (or marry one of Da Muses, haha! ;) Nah, too late for wedding dreams). I look forward to the days I won’t have to “take vacations” from my day job, because I’ll be doing it all year long.

I don’t meet the new SFWA requirements yet either, but what the hell. There’s still plenty of time. Or maybe not. Who cares. Next year I might try to go to the Superstars Writers Conference – or maybe when I’m rid of DayJob, since it’s always hard for me to plan trips in February (so I’ll miss the Anthology Workshop until I manage to quit).

If you’re “new” to writing,  check this post about misinformation and then this post about novel lengths. Having grown up with shorter novels, I was baffled when I started researching guidelines for traditional publishers. Luckily indie publishing came along… now my stories are the length they need to be! :) Which means, by the way, that I won’t write any novel this year – unless one of those stories grows up on me! :D

So, now, back to practice… I mean, writing. I have a couple of betas comments to ponder and new stories to write and the month is half gone, so… Have a great week! :)

Happiness is…


138And these are actually the new ones (from 2013 and 2014) – you can tell from the lighter color of my hair. So the next few ones are (often) brand new. Then back to “recycling”! ;)

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! She’s author of the month on GR Smashwords Authors, so go check her thread for more… in the meantime, ladies and gentlemen please welcome Jessica West!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Louisiana, but I write from my imaginary “man-cave”. I work in a corner of the den, away from the busier areas of my home and facing the wall. It’s easier to avoid distractions that way.

22095355Why do you write?

Sometimes I write because a story (or more accurately a character) has my attention and won’t let go. Sometimes I write to get some negative feelings off my chest. And sometimes I just need to work out some issue or other I don’t quite understand. In doing the latter, I’m able to better understand issues that illicit strong responses within me, and why they do. I share those things so that others can see one more perspective.

When did you start writing?

I started writing in April 2013 when I enrolled in a Beginning Writers’ Workshop.

What genre(s) do you write?

My favorite genres are Fantasy and Horror, but I dabble in many others. I return to Romance and Erotica occasionally.

What does your writing routine consist of?

Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. I’m actually getting better about that, though. I’m down to two cups in the morning and one in the afternoon. I do my best writing in the morning, so I try to put off everything until I’ve gotten a scene or two down. On a good day, I can write around 2k words or more.

What do y22772172ou feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

I think empathy is one of my strengths as a writer. I’ve always tried to put myself in the shoes of others so I can better understand them and get along. I think this is beneficial to my writing because it helps me keep an open mind, to really delve into the mind of a character and know why they are the way they are. And that’s essential to writing, in my opinion.

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

I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes daily conversations turn into long-form blog posts. Those are the best kind, I think. The ideas that grow and take shape naturally. I don’t put myself in my stories, but it’s nearly impossible to keep all of myself out of them. I can’t help but sneak in there somewhere. Even if I don’t see when I’ve done it, I know I’ve done it.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I do a little bit of both, actually. I like design documents, those that won’t ever see the light of day but help you better understand and remember what you’re writing. I write quickly when it’s “ON”. But when I’m forcing myself to write, I start out painfully slow. If I push through, though, I usually pick up the pace after about 30 minutes or so.

23008617Tell us about your latest book

I have a book coming soon (February 19, 2015) called A Strange Alliance. It’s a sequel to my first weird western novelette, Red River Rangers. Alliance wasn’t planned until after Rangers was released. My mom called me one day to tell me my grandmother had overheard some women in a doctor’s office talking about it. Apparently they liked it. And you know how encouraging that is for a writer. To think a complete stranger has read and liked my book enough to talk about it gave me a boost, so, in a way, I wrote it for them.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

If traditional publishing hadn’t evolved to what it is today, I’d say indie all the way. I’ve been going it alone so far, but I have something lined up with a publisher. I can’t talk about that yet, though. ;) But as it pertains to this question, I’d say it all comes down to the terms of each publishing company’s contract. One of the big things that is a deal breaker for me is the stipulation that you may have to refund a portion of your advance if your book doesn’t sell as well as they thought it would. I’m not a bank, and my book is not a savings account for a publishing company. I don’t agree with that practice at all. It’s things like that that make me wary of big publishing companies. You just have to read the fine print and make sure you understand and agree to all the terms. Indie publishing is great, but there’s a huge blind spot when publishing your own work. You won’t necessarily see your own mistakes. But readers will. Indie works if you find a group with whom you can trade editing/formatting/beta reading services, or if you can afford to hire a professional. Same with the cover, although some indies, like S.A. Hunt, have that well in hand and can make their own professional covers.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Oh my god, yes! I’m co-writing a series, but I can’t officially announce that yet. I have plans to contribute to two anthologies, though I can’t officially announce that yet, either. I’m planning a third weird western, but I need to get those other two things under way first. I’m also planning a Fantasy story, but I’m not sure yet if it will be a series or a novel. I have multiple povs and I’m still working on getting skilled enough to pull it off. Not quite there, yet, though. I have narrowed it down to four or five main characters instead of nine. That’s progress, right? ;)

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

I have small, short-term goals. Not really thinking to much about the end game. This is just something I want to do for as long as I can keep doing it.

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

Don’t measure your success by someone else’s yard stick, by Drew Chial. Definitely something I continually remind myself, and repeatedly recommend to others.

Thanks for having me at your blog, today. I’ll see you back at Goodreads!

__________________________

HeadshotJessica West is a Freelance Writer and Editor, an Independent Author, and Editor-in-Chief at Prose Before Ho Hos, an irreverent humor blog. She maintains a writing blog and her personal site as well.

Jess lives in Central Louisiana with three daughters still young enough to think she’s cool and a husband who knows better but likes her anyway.

She leaves a trail of blood or pixie dust in her wake, but such is the life of a Horror and Fantasy Writer. Though she prefers those genres, Romance and Erotica are her guilty pleasures. Many authors – including Stephen King, Clive Barker, Terry Goodkind, and Ayn Rand – have contributed to the delinquency of this intermediate writer, and now she’s just whistling her own version of Dixie.

Amazon’s Jessica West Author Page

Jessica West at Twitter (@West1Jess)

Jess’ Website: west1jess.com

Contact: jpwest6 at gmail dot com

Random Friday


Busy weekend, so only one Pencil Portrait because I was mostly out of the house seeing people and socializing (which left introvert-me exhausted, so I didn’t even start on the second). And since there’s also this video out last week, I had already done a vignette about this, but for now I’ll just say – the longest 2:33mins of video! :( Why do 4:52 minutes fly when he dances and I get bored after 30 seconds like this? I guess I’m not really interested in his abs after all! ;)

Anyhow, added balloons to the chibis for that thing (please note that the chibis were already posted on DA before the video came out – I added the ballons later just because if felt a good opportunity! ;) I know, I’m bad…):

defeatdefeatsmallNow I better stop toying with the chibis and get back to serious writing… maybe! ;) Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday


Star Minds Next Generation is now available as print book on CreateSpace, Amazon, Barnes&Noble and probably some other retailer through the distribution channels! The Matchbook thingy means that on Amazon you get the ebook for free if you buy the printed book – although I have no idea where that comes out! ;)

youngKing_resizeNew title out – The Young King – on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Apple, Kobo, Smashwords and DriveThruFiction. This short story was included in Male Lovers of Silvery Earth and More Tales of the Southern Kingdoms. This version is slightly different from the above after the cover artist commented on the story and the Italian version is currently my bestseller – in fact for the first time I published the Italian version first, since the changes were made after the cover artist commented on it and she doesn’t speak English. The awesome art is again by Cristina Fabris.

No writerly links for you this week except one – apparently Amazon will allow us to do giveaways! Will have to keep an eye on that, study it and eventually use it. Not that the Goodreads Giveaway brought in many readers, but then… Amazon bought Goodreads and now it allows Giveaways, so let’s try it at some point!

Since I have total randomness on Friday, I’ll add a reading suggestion here: Assassins in Love by Kris De Lake. Although some of the romance tropes make me cringe, if you love sci-fi romance, you’re gonna enjoy this! ;) I like the style and the two voices and the setting and whatever is not romance, LOL! And it’s a paper book, so it’s a signed copy, yay! :D

Have a great week!

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