Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote another 12K and started on the next (or previous?) book… proceeding slowly and almost in the dark, but that will make for nice author’s notes or possibly future backstage passes, LOL!

And RE: the latest Happiness is… (my first professional sale), Facebook reminded me a year ago I posted my author copy. It’s still out there, if you’d like to read it, in Pulphouse #5, although I plan on republishing that story soon.

If you have trouble with critical voice, now there’s a workshop to help you killing that critical voice. Personally, I don’t have a critical voice when I write, although every now and then self-doubt bites me when I’m least expecting it, but never while I’m writing. So if you need help in that department, to make writing fun again, go check that online workshop! 🙂

According to some, it’s the right time to read crime novels. Which is perfect for the release of my cover artist and friend’s first novel, Viral Sin.

I’m going to quote an Amazon reviewer, since unfortunately I’m never in the mood of reading thrillers and crime novels:

It was a debut novel by Shafali Anand and let me congratulate her for the work she has done. The hype around corona virus and it’s impact on us is unquestionable that made me read this book. The book starts with multiple characters who lives in different parts of the country having different backgrounds and different kind of lives but fighting against the same enemy. The author has beautiful and in a very simple language explained the effects of this virus on their lives be it temporary or permanent. Some lost their lives while batteling and few won the battle. But life must go on. I would like to recommend this to all those people who are afraid of facing the situation. It will definitely bring positivity to their lives.

So check it out and give her some love! 🙂 And there’s also this other friend of mine who has a suspense novel coming out soon. You can already check the pre-order at this link! Go check them out, right now! (One links to Amazon India, the other to Amazon.com, but I’m sure you can find your own Amazon shop if you’re not in those countries)

Me, I’m more for humor these days, so I’ll recommend this anthology about Nuns With Guns! How crazy is that? And yes, I wrote a story for this! 🙂 This is part of a series, and the previous two volumes had my strips in them. But this time it’s a prose short story, so no drawings! 😉

How’s the lockdown going for you? Are you a “covivert”? I am – I mean, I’m not thriving, but I’m not suffering either. Although I haven’t been in complete lockdown, unfortunately, since the demands of Day Job forced me out of the house! 😀

As announced, DeviantART changed its interface to the new Eclipse, which took away the only think I enjoyed – the llama trade. I was on DeviantART as hobbyist artist and I don’t care for all their new features – show of your portfolio and whatnot. So I’m giving it another couple of weeks, then I’ll close the account.

Some things better vanish from the internet, and the rest might end up in my Instagram. The Sunday Strip is still going, but I haven’t reached the newer strips (still to be colored, lettered and prepared for upload). I hope to catch up on that in the coming two weeks, when I’ll be off Day Job.

Meanwhile I added another mug to my Zazzle store, and hopefully today UPS should deliver my face mask, so next week I’ll post a pic! 😉 Now I shall wait with dread for the new WordPress Editor… sigh. What happened to “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”? Can any IT person explain to me this need to upgrade stuff when nobody asks for it?!

Panic afternoon on Monday when I saw that D2D had sent to Vivlio the delisted Italian titles that I entered in KU. It ignored the delisted English titles, but probably decided that, since Vivlio is European, the Italian titles were meant to be distributed there. Erm, not.

Also, Vivlio seems to be worse than Apple for links inside the ebook… how dare I link to this very blog? So another title unpublished! 😉 The clean-up continues… Now I better go back to writing, I have another book and a half to finish! 🙂 Have a great week!

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! 🙂

 

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! 🙂

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote almost 6K, but again, I was able to write only from Friday afternoon. Now I should be able to be back writing daily, since I finished reading for the workshop, yay! Back to the Star Minds Universe, although I might not wrap everything up before I leave – but you’ll have something coming out in March, don’t worry! 🙂

Since I’m done reading for the workshop, I started a non-fiction book I bought last summer in Edinburgh. I’ll need it for that story I have post-poned writing and I found out it’s actually perfect for Black History Month! Medieval Africa 1250 – 1800 is currently showing me that black slave trade was actually started by the Arabs long before Europeans managed to colonize Africa.

My wandering Norse vampire will probably go to the Mali Empire and sail with that emperor who vanished with his ships long before Columbus reached the New World. And he will definitely find his way back to this side of the world, since he even survived the apocalypse! 🙂

And I got another couple of rejections. It’s the third year in a row that I submit to those anthologies, and this time the reply included this note:

While we enjoyed reading the story, we have decided to pass on including it in the anthology where it was submitted.  Please keep in mind that we had over 1400 submissions and we accepted 22 stories total, so competition was tough.

Wow. Talk about competition! I guess that market will be tougher to crack from now on! One more waiting for results, as well as the coming up Anthology Workshop, then I better start sending out stuff again! 😉 I will try to be optimist and keed trying!

The publisher’s page is now safe! (or at least the home page is, doesn’t seem to work on the other pages) I asked my Awesome Webmaster to add the https to it. Eventually it will have a shop (not this year, not the next, but it’s in the future), so that’s always good. Especially with major retailers and publishers bailing on Amazon, so eventually I’ll do it too.

I should start working on the promised paperbacks, but will probably do when I come back and prepare the publishing schedule for the coming months. Stay tuned for more Lone Wolves and a makeover of the contemporary titles along with a new one. Then I’ll either go back to Silvery Earth or go with the new series. We’ll see.

And I would like to publicly thank Brit Marling for her awesome article about the strong female lead. There was always something that bugged me in the Hero’s Journey, and now I know what or why. That’s also why I don’t really write that kind of story, because I’m not interested in any of it.

So here’s to hope more women write stories for women that don’t have Lara Croft types of heroines! 🙂 Or, which might be fun, someone actually writes the Lady Hero’s Journey! 😉

Last couple of days for the Celebrating Male Lovers bundle… get it now! Leaving you with the usual writerly quote… have a great week!

We make something good, a blintz, a story, by having worked at blintzmaking or storywriting till we’ve learned how to do it.

With a blintz, the process is fairly routine. With stories, the process is never twice the same. Even a story written to the most prescriptive formula, like some westerns or romances, can be made poorly, or made well.

Making anything well involves a commitment to the work. And that requires courage: you have to trust yourself. It helps to remember that the goal is not to write a masterpiece or a best-seller. The goal is to be able to look at your story and say, Yes. That’s as good as I can make it.

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

Random Friday


Total randomness again. In case you missed it, I was on the KWL blog yesterday, talking about character-oriented stories with a batch of other authors. I shared it on Facebook, but I know not all of you are on Facebook! 😀

A study says brain training shown to restore sharpness in older adults.  Now, if only I could decide which adult education course or physical activity I want to start, LOL! I’ve been checking dance schools and university programmes, but haven’t decided yet.

The re-share of this Robin Williams tribute by a Facebook friend came at a serendipitous time to remind me that

Depression, anxiety and panic attacks are not signs of weakness.
They are signs of trying to remain strong for far too long.

Considering how sick of adulting I was this past summer, I guess this is totally right! 🙂

Last weekend I watched one of the DVDs I bought in Dublin and read a lot from one of the non-fiction books I bought in Edinburgh. Movie first! Keanu was a fun action romp, and since it was a comedy, it had a happy ending! 😉 Not a cat person, but the kitten was cute and it was very entertaining.

The Spartans by Paul Cartledge is good research for two short stories. One is already written, the other on the list to write. The book mentions a novel by Valerio Massimo Manfredi about Spartans, so I downloaded the Kindle sample.

I read it and oh, my! Haven’t read novels in Italian in years, and boy did his “epic literary” voice got on my nerves! The omniscient narrator of the 1980s, the tone… not for me. But l did pick a few tips for adding the five senses in my 2 stories set in ancient Sparta/Greece.

I will submit both to anthologies and if they get rejected, I’ll have the first two chapters of Helios’s story. Probably just a novella, since he doesn’t last long, but Bran’s first fledgling has now been mentioned in relation to Rajveer, at least in Kristine.

And speaking of the guy who inspired both, the Greek God of Bollywood, here’s his latest dance number of the upcoming action movie War. Apparently they closed Positano beach to shoot this video! 😉

Don’t forget to check the Backstage Pass post on Sunday… I actually changed topic and postponed the difficult one to next month! 😉 Have a great weekend! 🙂

 

Random Friday


Non-writerly things to do in Edinburgh if you’ve already been there as a tourist. After my adventurous journey that made me lose the start of the show and a full day of writing (but then, I didn’t write on Sunday either, haha!), I had planned to start slow and meet with my PENfriend Dawn on Friday morning.

When I saw her wandering through England (she’s from Australia), I asked her if we would manage to meet during her stay, and we did! Meeting in person after 25 years of snail mail and then the internet is still the most awesome thing that can happen. So we walked from Pollock Halls to the Royal Mile, but it was still quite warm and sunny, so I didn’t get much further. We stopped in a cafe and went back. It was only a couple of hours, but most awesome!

Then I got to my writing room with the fantasy crowd for the rest of the day, and the weekend was the conference itself. I skipped the ceilidh – well, I went there, took some pictures and ran away because, people! – but Sunday night I had the funniest Ghost Bus Tour with Eddie Volvo introducing us to the ghosts of Edinburgh and with a short walk through a cemetery. There was also a brief séance and it was a funny experience. I guess it would have been even better at night, possibly in winter when the sun goes down earlier.

Monday after the writing was Axe-throwing Day. It poured when we left Pollock Halls, so nobody could have their picture on the throne of axes since it was drenched. But it was a funny experience, I even hit the targed once during the competition, which gave me a half point that didn’t put me in the last ones group. And of course I worked it into both The Path of Wood and The Path of Metal, yay!

Tuesday was sunny again, so with my roomie we opted for having lunch in town, since it was no longer included. We left around noon, took a day ticket and ate in a pub on the Royal Mile, then went hunting a convenience store since my smartphone chord stopped workin and I couldn’t recharge it! We found one in Grassmarket and kept walking all around the castle hill.

And there were two used bookstores on the way. Yeah. Bad roomie. She god nothing and I got four, see? All for research both to make Silvery Earth more believable and for the Vampires Through the Centuries series.

We took the bus back to the castle (we were writing in St.Leonard Monday to Wednesday) because we’d been told that there would be a bagpipe playing for us at 4.30, but apparently he didn’t show up. There was one, but he wasn’t for us, but for some other group. Oh, well…

I didn’t get to hike on Arthur’s Seat because that night I hit the bed with my toe and it’s now all blue and painful. I can still walk, mind you, and somehow happy to wear sandals, but well… maybe some other time, I guess…

Back in the Roman heat, sigh! Have a great weekend! 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Random Friday


I’ve been reading the last paperback I got in London about the Celts. I bought it to understand better where Bran the Raven came from, but I’m using it also for Torik now.  And I started taking notes for the ancient fledglings of Bran the Raven, namely Helios of Sparta, Marco of the IX Legio Hispanica and Gallo-Roman Druidess Blandine who fleetingly showed up in the novels of Vampires Through the Centuries.

I’d bring those to Edinburgh, but maybe it’s better if I take those to Dublin instead. If I’m overwhelmed at Worldcon, I can always go to the Irish Library and study for Drustan and the state of Ireland in the first century CE (when Helios and Marco go there with Bran, and where Drustan is made).

So I’m trying to go through some antiquity history, which I haven’t studied since high school 35 years ago. Of course the first place to look is Wikipedia, but then I expand and look also elsewhere. I’m considering other Osprey books, but since Bran is no warrior, he’s probably going to stay away from wars anyway, so I don’t really need to study campaigns. He’s probably staying in Carthage when Hannibal conquers Rome! 😉

Anyhow, after Silvery Earth I might go back to those vampires. Write the stories of the ones who show up in Future Earth Chronicles and the older ones who don’t make it to the 21st century. And then we’ll see. I might try to write to market after Edinburgh, if I find a genre I like to read (and it won’t be urban fantasy, even though I’m a city woman).

My brain is too fried to make decisions now. I’ll finish studying the Celts and then we’ll see. Have a great weekend! 🙂

Random Friday


Reading suggestions and my take on this: I read The Paper Menagerie and didn’t particularly liked it when it was nominated for a Hugo. I checked the sample of Crazy Rich Asians, but either I get the paperback or the DVD of the movie, since the Chinese parts as footnotes on Kindle are not really nice. And I know it’s a trilogy, but I read mixed reviews on Goodreads.

Currently reading: The Kiss Quotient, even though it’s a 5.99euro ebook! And ops, just discovered it’s also a trilogy when looking it up on Goodreads. Oh, well. Maybe I should have looked for the box set… (although the Kindle box set for Crazy Rich Asians was crazy expensive…)

I guess I’ll try to catch up on some reading while I’m writing more slowly, LOL! Although none of the above were on my TBR pile, but well… still have a dozen bundles to go through both fiction and non-fiction – hence I’ll let Write Publish Profit 2.0 offer pass, but grab it if you feel like it.

And since I discovered Joe Konrath has resumed blogging, I’ll add this post on your book marketing plan and why it won’t work. I totally agree with him. I’m so bad at marketing precisely because so many things don’t work for me, so I’m not doing them even if everybody is screaming I should do them.

Because I’d rather be writing and it’s all a question of luck anyway. So while I wait for my lucky star, let me go back to Silvery Earth Kids and its sequel. I thought it would be only Torik and Copperscales, but Prince Lambert and Goldenberry seem to want in on the ride too… we shall see! 😀

And if you’re still new to this, here’s a post worth studying.

How To Shorten Your Amazon Links

Have a great weekend! 😉

 

Random Friday


I will try to condense this in a shorter review, but I wanted to talk about 21 lessons for the 21st century. I think everybody should read it, young or old. Especially teens and their teachers (or home-schooling parents) – and writers. Especially SF writers, but also all kinds of storytellers.

It does help to make sense of where were heading – or not heading if we don’t pay attention. I’ll stop screaming “It’s the apocalypse, waaah!” and start repeating “No, it’s not that. Truth is, l just don’t understand what’s going on in the world.” instead.

You will need an open mind, of course. He debunks myths and conspiracy theories alike. He cites The Matrix, Truman Show and even Huxley’s Brave New World.

He has a letter for a teenager of today. He explains myths and stories we tell each other and ourselves. l have been aware of the lies l tell myself that tend to become truths for at least 20 years now, so l can confirm his thesis.

He made me want to read his other books, but now I’ll take a break and read something lighter because it gave me a lot of food for thought.

He also gives good advice to sci-fi writers on how to imagine the future. Yes, I started reading it to help with my Future Earth Chronicles, but if found it fascinating in many other ways, giving me answers to questions I had.

Of course he doesn’t have all the answers, but he will make you think, and then you can come up with what works for YOU. Because, like for writing, what works for me or him, might not work for you or anyone else.

I don’t know if I understand myself and the world better now, but I feel better knowing I’m not the only one confused and scared by these quick changes. Yes, I know life is change, but things are going way too fast for my comfort – but I’m an old lady with half a century of stories on her shoulders, it will take time to take off some infrastructure!

If you’re young, you might find it easier. Or maybe not. Maybe you’re happy to be a slave of the algorithms for the time being. I still don’t know if I love or hate all this tech. I still can’t see a future. I’m probably still too deep in my Future Earth Chronicles after a non-nuclear apocalypse to fully recover hope.

But I still recommend this book to everyone! 🙂 Happy reading!

Random Friday


Since the year is almost over and I probably won’t finish another book before then, I’m going to do my Yearly Recommended Reading post now! 😉 Also because it’s the time of the Small&Medium Publishers Book Fair here in Rome, but for the first time since its inception, I’m not going there every day (just today to say hello to a couple of friends).

This year I read 54 books – although 7 I did not finish – and 6 and a half were non-fiction (as are the last two). Usually the fiction is read on my Kindle (a.k.a. K.K.), while the non-fiction is on paper because it’s better for research. Unless the novel is signed, then it can be a paperback, LOL!

Anyhow, of the fiction books, here are the 5 stars I gave (in order of reading – with links to Goodreads even though I’m not putting them on my Goodreads profile. Long story, not going back there! 😉 ):

Burn Card: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery  by Dean Wesley Smith

The Last Giant  by Mario Milosevic

Dragons’ Choice (Sorcha’s Children #1) by Debbie Mumford

Against Time  by Dean Wesley Smith

Beyond Control, Interlude, Beyond Reach: Book 1 Bundle of the Beyond Saga  by Rebecca M. Senese

Fairchild  by Blaze Ward

Kings of the Wyld (The Band, #1)  by Nicholas Eames

Entanglement (Future Fiction Trends Vol. 4)  by Vandana Singh

Faring Soul (Interspace Origins #1)  by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Hollow Moon (Hollow Moon #1)  by Steph Bennion

Hydrogen Sleets: a Montague Portal novel  by Michael Warren Lucas

Sticks and Stones: A Trek Novel  by Robert T. Jeschonek

Coffee Cup Dreams  by J.A. Marlow

Mrs Funnybones  by Twinkle Khanna (not a novel, more a memoir/journal and it’s hilarious)

(you can grab the following 4 all together in Sci-fi July Redux)

Stealing from Pirates  by Stefon Mears

A Jack By Any Other Name (The Space Operetta Series Book 1)  by Lesley L. Smith

Raven Rising  by Sean Monaghan

Sector Justice  by Dean Wesley Smith

(I’d add Jorick’s origin story, but I’m not sure it’s available for public consumption yet, I got it from Patreon…)

Dancing with Tong Yi (Uncollected Anthology, #1)  by Leah R. Cutter

And the series Zeena Dragon Fae by Victoria Zigler (smashwords link cause it’s faster)!

And these are the books I’m finishing the year with – sorta/kinda research for Future Earth Chronicles.

Putting the science in fiction and 21 lessons for the 21st century (non-fiction)

Giving the list so early means you have time to request them for Christmas… so happy reading! 🙂 And have a great weekend!

%d bloggers like this: