Random Friday


And in a bout of total randomness, I give you Da Muse Friday 🙂 This week’s Google Alerts were particularly inspiring – although there are still a few inaccessible sites because of the darn GDPR (did l mention it sucks? 😉 ).

So, he’s on vacation with his kids, busy climbing mountains and doing road trips… And coming to Rome! 😀

When in Rome… next time do call Barb! But avoid the summer, I know you don’t care about the heat, but l do!

Although I didn’t even go looking for Da Other Muse when he came to shoot John Wick Chapter 2 – and it was February!

So who am I kidding, not going Muse-hunting anytime soon! 😉

Then there’s this American Youtuber dancing Bollywood songs in Manhattan… Sorry, Q Park, you are no match for Mr. A! 🙂

Not even Da Muse himself can do it like he did it in 2006 anymore, sigh! Anyhow, here’s some real Bollywood in all its glory only for you! 🙂

I don’t have any new drawings to show, but you can always check the gallery… Have a great weekend! 🙂

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Writer Wednesday


And the third “youngster” is out! This is Jes-syd, Iso-bel’s ex-boyfriend, and he’s a hacker in the truer sense of the word (not a security cracker)! 🙂 Star Minds Lone Wolves – Hacker is now available as ebook at the usual suspects… and no WiP of the cover, since he wasn’t on a cover before.

And he isn’t inspired from a drawing either. I debated between two models and ended up choosing the one that looked more like the description I gave of him in Iso-bel Aya Shermac. I had seen that guy first and wrote the story with him in mind, so this time no NeoStock model for our Sire hacker! 🙂

One young man, two passions: computers and Iso-bel Aya Shermac.

Jes-syd lost his home planet at twenty, and with it his beloved girlfriend who survived but vanished on him without explanations. Five years later he works at the Serenaide Labs and has a new girlfriend, another survivor like him, but things don’t go smoothly between them.

The Tech Fair and a visit from Ypsilanti bring the news that there are more survivors on the dead planet, hidden underground in what’s left of the Vaurabi Labs. Jes-syd’s mother made it with a few more and Jes-syd hopes to get back with Iso-bel again – whenever he manages to find her and give her the good news.

A young Sire survivor who loves computers and his first and only love, a lone wolf hacker who is trying to fight his own grief. A Star Minds universe standalone story of hackers, crackers and survivors.

Bonus story: Wonder Man or how Hariel earned his Codename

And last week I wrote 11K of Hariel, our Wonder Man and the eldest of the future team. I hope to finish his story this week, so I can write a couple more team stories to submit to trad markets before the end of the month. I’m at 292K, so pretty much on schedule to reach my goal of half pulp speed before the end of the year! 🙂

For those of you who arrived late and have no idea of what I’m talking about, here’s Dean’s post about pulp speed. I’ve been trying to reach 500K since 2015 and it seems that this year I’ll finally reach the goal. And I hope to sustain it for the coming years.

And for those of you who just joined, I shall remind you that some books are discounted at Smashwords only for the month of July, if you want a taste of how I write. Or you can subscribe to the bimonthly newsletter and get some free short stories as well as the news from this writer if you can’t be bothered to follow me on Social Media or this blog.

David Gaughran on Amazon Algorithm – whatever that means. I don’t bother with it anymore. Obsessing with sales just hurts my head, so I don’t care anymore. Although I’m happy when I see those spikes at some retailer! 😉 Also, I certainly want to be a long term writer! 😉

And being a writer who has dabbled in screenwriting, I can tell you this review of Save the Cat is spot on. I haven’t read the book itself, but if it’s for screenwriters, it’s NOT for fiction/prose writers. Trust me. I tried it. I have a cinematic prose, I thought I can easily turn it into a movie screenplay… not! So unless you’re trying to break into Hollywood, just ignore that book! 😉

Now I would like to take your time to read the last instalment of Adventures of a first-time editor about the Anthology Workshop. What, you don’t want to join the Writer Club? Bad writer, you! I hope to see you in 2020 at the Anthology workshop. Unfortunately I can’t afford those offline workshops more often than every three years, sigh.

Now I better go back to writing… have a great week! 🙂

 

Happiness is…


Happiness is… helping a car-less neighbor – who is now in his  mid-90s but still there…

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! More fantasy during the sci-fi month, yay! Epic fantasy no less! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sarah Ashwood!

Where do you live and write from?

I’m a genuine Okie from Muskogee (Muskogee, Oklahoma), in the USA.

Why do you write?

Writing allows me to tell the stories in my head and give life to the characters who live there.

When did you start writing?

I wrote a few short stories off and on throughout my childhood, but it wasn’t until I was about 18 and discovered the epic fantasy genre that I found my passion. My Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy was born from this.

What genre(s) do you write?

As already mentioned, I write epic fantasy, but its subcategories would be portal fantasy and fairytale fantasy. There are elements of both in my fantasy novels. I also write historical fiction.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I am a stay at home mom of three young boys. There is no writing routine for me. It’s write whenever and wherever I get the chance! However, I always, always drink coffee when I write, so I guess you could say that’s a routine.

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

My gift of description has been complimented by readers and fellow writers. I’m not sure how I developed that particular quality. I simply try to describe what I see in my head without it being too wordy, since there is such a thing as being too descriptive.

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

Inspiration comes from all over. The world around me, music, other people, my own life…
I would say the MC in my Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy, Hannah, is the closest I’ve ever come to putting myself in my writing. She reeks of my sense of humor. She’s also a caring person, but rather quick tempered. She definitely gets that from me.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I always start with a brief outline, but it usually gets trashed as I write. I tend to be an extreme pantser. You should see the jumble of notes I jot down to try and keep everything straight while the novel grows! As for the other question, I tend to set a daily goal of about 1,200 to 2,000 words a day, and I usually accomplish my daily goal. You can get through a novel fairly quickly at that rate, I find.

Tell us about your latest book
Aerisian Refrain is the first book in a brand new fantasy series called Beyond the Sunset Lands. It’s a follow up series to my current fantasy trilogy, the Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy, and has many of the same characters. However, Aerisian Refrain can be read as a standalone.
Aerisian Refrain tells the story of a world-famous performer, Annie Richards, who is haunted by troubling nightmares to the point that she’s given up her career and is on her way to her childhood home to convalesce, when creatures straight from her nightmares bring down her plane. Annie wakens in a parallel world, Aerisia, a world inhabited by fairies, giants, immortal warriors, dragons, and pirates. Not only must Annie stay alive, but she has to track down the truth behind why she’s there and who she is meant to be.
Currently, Aerisian Refrain is on a special pre-order sale of just $0.99! Find Aerisian Refrain on Amazon and Goodreads.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy was published by a small publishing company, but I’m publishing my Beyond the Sunset Lands series (a planned four book series) myself. I loved having a publisher for handling a lot of the leg work (and expense!) of getting my first books off the ground, but as an Indie I also love the control I have over every aspect of the process.
Currently, I also have three books with an agent. Been traditionally published by a major publisher has always been a dream of mine. I long for the day when I can walk into a bookstore and pull my book off the shelf! However, even if that happens, I will likely still remain a hybrid, and go Indie on certain series.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes! Watch for a fun Young Adult Fantasy/Fairytale called Knight’s Rebirth, coming in time for Christmas 2018! It’s the story of a famous knight, Sir Buckhunter Dornley, who is content to live alone until he meets the charming and outrageous Princess Mercy. When he discovers Mercy lives under a deadly curse, how far will he go to break it?

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

My ultimate goal as a writer is simply to tell my favorites of the stories I create, and share them with the world. When I get reviews or messages from readers telling me how much they’ve enjoyed my work, that inspires me to keep going!

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

Write. Just write. You can polish it later, but you can’t polish what isn’t written.

_____________

Author Bio:

Don’t believe all the hype. Sarah Ashwood isn’t really a gladiator, a Highlander, a fencer, a skilled horsewoman, an archer, a magic wielder, or a martial arts expert. That’s only in her mind. In real life, she’s a genuine Okie from Muskogee who grew up in the wooded hills outside the oldest town in Oklahoma and holds a B.A. in English from American Military University.
She now lives (mostly) quietly at home with her husband and three sons, where she tries to sneak in a daily run or workout to save her sanity and keep her mind fresh for her next story.

Sarah’s works include the Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy and the fantasy novella Amana.

To keep up to date with Sarah’s work and new releases, sign up for her newsletter. You can also visit her website, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Random Friday


Since it’s the summer, it’s hot outside and I’m half-hibernating as usual, I’ll use these random Fridays to introduce you to the authors of the sci-fi anthologies. I might get to August, or not… Anyhow, I shall start with my Jedi Twin, Fulvio Gatti, the guy who wrote 30 stories in 30 days as a challenge and kept me busy all of May.

But among those 30 stories there was the one I chose for the Sci-Fi Stories – Starships anthology! The rest mostly is being submitted to traditional markets, so I’m glad he let me add his story to this indie project. I’m sure you’ll hear about him again in the near future! 🙂

Here he answers six very quick questions.

1. What is it about starships that draws you to them?

They are the best way to sail into infinite adventures in space!

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

It tells the story of a bunch of funny space travelers I hope we’ll meet again in the future.

3. What inspired your story?

I just let my imagination create some characters that would be funny to follow around in their adventures. This is the result, I hope you’ll enjoy.

4. Do you always write about starships? If not, what do you write about?

I’m interested in any kind of fantasy, suspense and speculative fiction that let us travel through time and space while focusing on compelling characters. We fight along with them through new places, surprising discoveries and mystery solving.

5. What should readers know about you?

I want to write funny, compelling and imaginative stories like the ones I’ve grown up with, from Star Wars to Ninja Turtles.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I hope my stories will speak for themselves!

Fulvio Gatti is an Italian journalist, writer and mostly a geek, so much so that his latest nonfiction book published in Italy is about how geek culture is taking over the world. He has written graphic novels, nonfiction books and short stories. In the northwestern part of Italy where he lives he is an event organizer, translator, radio speaker and even deputy mayor of his town. He has now started the conquest of English-speaking markets, so reader beware!

Writer Wednesday


So last week I did my usual 10K to be on track with the writing. Still with the Lone Wolves since it’s sci-fi July and soon you’ll get another book in the mini-series/sub-series. I’ve started another novel but will throw in more “missions” of the team anytime I finish the current project ahead of time – which normally happens, LOL!

And I also had time to format the first paperback! So if you’re a fan of dead tree books (means you don’t have trouble with your eyes like us elderly people, I had a friend asking me for the ebook because he can’t read the paperback…), you can get Sci-Fi Stories – Starships in paperback now. I’ll do the other as soon as the other anthology goes live, since there’s no pre-order on Createspace! 😉

Thank you all who bought either the above anthology or the bundle Sci-fi July Redux. Remember this bundle won’t be out forever and it’s 10 novels of sci-fi space opera for your entertainment, so if you like space opera, make sure to grab it now.

I mean, look at those names! Kevin J. Anderson! Robert Jeschoneck! Kristine Kathryn Rusch! Dean Wesley Smith! Barbara G.Tarn! Er… scratch the last one, she’s a nobody! 😉

But well, if I make it big, you can say you started following me before I got famous! 🙂 Before I got published in some traditional mag (which at the moment is scheduled for January 2019 – unless I sell something else in the meantime)! 🙂

If you prefer short stories, there’s always the curated anthologies… and hopefully soon more short story collections (gotta write them first, though!)! 🙂

Next weekend I’ll prepare Jes-syd and the second anthology goes live… In the meantime I better go back to writing. Have a great week! 🙂

Happiness is…


Happiness is… the online blogging community – except all those names are gone from my blogroll. I wonder if they’re still blogging, LOL! 😀 Aren’t they saying blogging is  dead? 😉

Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, call it what you want! Here’s a break from Sci-fi July with lovely advice from wonderful authors.

I pretty much considered myself a failure by everything I had been raised. A successful person would be working a “real” job, raising a family, saving for retirement. A successful person didn’t work as little as possible to give myself more time to type made-up-stuff on a typewriter.

The concept of being a fiction writer was so alien to how I was brought up that I didn’t even realize until I was almost thirty that real humans wrote all the novels I read.  Yet I loved the challenge of telling stories.

And I think I loved more than anything that making up stories wasn’t a “real job” that people would accept. My estranged mother, right up until the day she died, thought I had wasted my life.

Wasted my potential” as she used to say.

And by the time she died I was a major bestseller. Didn’t matter. To her way of thinking, the real job way of thinking, I didn’t really work.

I didn’t get a paycheck, cash it, try to make it stretch until the next paycheck. Therefore I was a failure. Period.

The very real fear of not having a real job if you were raised in that kind of thinking is almost impossible to break. To this day I honestly don’t know how I escaped it. And I haven’t escaped it completely.

Dean Wesley Smith

I’d like to offer for your approval the highly unfashionable idea that good storytelling trumps everything else. Writers whose characters are made of purest silly putty and who can’t parse a simple English sentence regularly end up on the bestseller list because they know how to tell a story and keep readers turning pages.

There seems to be a school of thought that lovely writing is all that literature is about. I love to bask in beautiful writing, but I much prefer writing to be in aid of something, which is to say a good story. Likewise, I fully appreciate well-drawn characters, but well-drawn characters with nothing to do but gaze at the wall and soliloquize to themselves are pretty darn dull.

– Walter Jon Williams

I’m also confused by the fact that such a large part of recently written science fiction is very pessimistic. It worries me particularly that in SF aimed at children and young adults, dystopias have become the popular and most frequently published subgenre. I myself am naive enough to believe that we would feel better if we could read about a future that is worth living in. I’m also naive enough to believe that we currently have all the information we need to create such a future. Why, then, do so few science fiction writers nowadays describe this kind of alternative? This remains a mystery to me but it would be nice if more writers were to even give it a try.

– John-Henri Holmberg.

Remember This: Human Beings Learn Best Through Storytelling

We live inside stories. We learn empathy from stories. We gain other points of view and other ways of thinking from stories.Stories open new worlds. Stories create community.

Stories have great value—not just as entertainment, but from one human being to another.

Your readers might love your characters, characters those readers would hate in real life, and those characters might make it easier for your readers to understand their corner of the world.

Finally: Value Your Art

Kris Rusch

Hope is your beacon of light during the darkest of times as the tiniest sliver of light shines brightest just before the dawn. The best advice I can give to you for the difficult days ahead is to find the things and people they give you hope. Follow them. Support them. Do what you can to ensure the things that give you hope can continue.

Do not go gently into that good night. Fight. Hold on to your hopes and dreams for the future. Art harder. Live bolder. Become the best and strongest version of yourself that you possibly can. Take care of yourself and your fellow humans.

Love with all of your might, but whatever you do, never give in, never lose hope.
Steven Spohn

Random Friday


And in the midst of this space opera July, let’s get back to Earth for a moment. And to Social Media hell. You know those pretty Facebook backgrounds? Forget them if you have a visually impaired friend! Here’s from my good friend and fellow author Victoria Zigler:

I noticed recently that Facebook started having background options for posts.

This was fine at first, because my screen readers – both JAWS (my computer one) and Voice Over (my iPhone one) were happy to just tell me the background existed and which style had been chosen, and then read the text to me. Voice Over especially was good about this, since it likes Facebook better than JAWS does. Anyway, at that point I had no problems with them. Even used them a few times myself.

However, Facebook must have fiddled with the feature or something, because now it won’t tell me what the background is. Worse, it won’t tell me what the person’s post says. I just get a message saying, “Awesome text background,” and nothing else.

I’m letting people know so they’re aware that this can cause problems for blind people following their social media. If people who read this continue to use the backgrounds even with this knowledge, that’s fine. It’s your choice. Just be aware it means I won’t be reacting to – or potentially commenting on – the posts in question, since I’ll have to use the same rule I use for images: if I don’t know what it is, I don’t react or respond to it.

Got it? And it’s for this reason that from now on if I comment on the Happiness is vignette, I’m going to repeat what’s in the vignette. I know those must have been the most boring posts for her, but describing a vignette isn’t really a good idea. But at least if I comment it, now she’ll know what I’m talking about. Trying to make this blog a little more visually-impaired-friendly, okay?

Because I love Tori and I’ve met her and she’s sweet and the only one who regularly comments on my blog. Now, I’m not expecting her starting to comment on the Happiness is (it’s always the same 150 vignettes rotating since 2009), but I’ll try to remember there are people like her out there who might not enjoy those colorful Facebook backgrounds…

By the way, her books are also in the Smashwords sale, go check them! 🙂 This weekend I’ll be busy with the paperback of Sci-Fi Stories Starships… you enjoy your summer! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


And since I was reading so much sci-fi, I decided to keep writing sci-fi – well, science fantasy, since that’s what Star Minds is. So I will write more stories of Star Minds Lone Wolves in July then we’ll see. Because I don’t have to do research for those and I even re-read some of the older books (which meant I had to make a last minute change to the latest title) while looking for a story.

And after Icy Aya, please welcome Shanell! 🙂 Our starship pilot, that you first met in Star Minds Third Generation Snippets or you can find in the upcoming anthology Sci-fi Stories – Starships, finally has her short novel! Here’s the birth of the cover with the evolution from Techie Bro’s version to the current one – a change of look and starship that was already hinted at in Adventurer.

David Farland answers the question Does Social Media Work? You know the answer, don’t you? Nope, nope and nope! Not anymore! Especially not Facebook! 😉 So let’s start thinking outside the box (and ignoring those Facebook “suggestions” that only want you to spend some money on Facebook ads). How? Dunno. Experiment.

I’m keeping this blog active and the publisher’s page updated. Does that help? Dunno. Too early to say. But if you want some predictions on where social media are going, check out this forecast. I look forward to less self-promotion and more effortless self-expression! 🙂

I will mention today is the day Sci-fi July Redux aaaand Sci-fi Stories – Starships go live! Go grab them! Fill your e-readers with some sci-fi for a thrilling summer! 🙂 Yes, even bundles don’t sell that much anymore. I guess we saturated the market… Not sure about the anthologies, since mine never sold much… but after spending a long weekend curating the next, I sure hope you’ll at least check them out! 🙂

Also, I enrolled some books in the Summer/Winter Sale at Smashwords… go check all the authors participating! 🙂 Useless to put my own profile, since it doesn’t show in the list which are discounted and which aren’t… I made a list on the publisher’s site! 🙂

Last but not least, What I Learned by Dean Wesley Smith… from him and Kris Rusch I learned what Harlan says: Money flows TO the writer! Not that I’m getting much yet… sigh! But it’s the year of writing and being halfway, I’m at 270K, so… I’ll just keep writing. And maybe publishing, LOL!

Have a great week! 🙂

 

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