Random Friday


  • And it’s the reading year! 😉 goodreads2016

Ahem! In spite of the above, I have read 49 books, including 2 collections, a book bundle (the sci-fi mayday you can still find at the usual retailers) and two manuscripts. Only 5 were non-fiction (will have to catch up with the research next year for the vampires through the centuries…), and only 2 were paper books, both re-reading.

Actually one of the two is a trilogy that I hadn’t read in 25 years and that I’m currently finishing and makes me want to go back and re-read the other trilogy in the series, except I have it in Italian only, while this one I have in English. It was one of the first English books that I bought way back in the nineties… and since it’s still a 5stars, here it is:

Dragonlance Legends Trilogy by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman!

You’re better off reading the war of the lance first, but this is good too! 😉

As for the other 5 stars (in order of reading):

The Red Wraith

Veiled Alliances

The Silver Metal Lover (another re-reading – I got the Kindle edition because the paperback has become too hard to read, sigh… small print…)

Heaven Painted as a Cop Car

Blaster Squad #1 Terror on the Moon

Fangs and Fun

The Battles of Hastings

Dead Money

Now here’s to hoping I’ll read 50 books next year – 50 fiction books and 10 non-fiction (that’s about the number of books I have to read for the vampires research, haha!)!

So, if you still have some gifts to make, buy some books! There are stories for every reader above… fantasy, sci-fi, thriller, humor… take your pick! Happy reading! 🙂

Random Friday


Like I said, I’m back to the Star Minds universe and the first story is Aliens on Earth. By some internet serendipity, on Facebook I found this spoof of Trip Advisor.

Translation: Planet Earth (Solar System) “Terrifying” (one star) by Oinega87 Nice but polluted environment. Disorganization in all areas and staff not very good. Inhabitants that eliminate each other for no reason. Much better the old management with dinosaurs. I will not return.

Which, coincidentally, might be the review of my Reptilian visitor, except the Earth of 2046 of my story is not as badly off as we will be when we reach that year, haha!

Now, I’ve also been reading sci-fi to get back into the mood. I reread Rendezvous With Rama because I needed to see how someone else described an asteroid crashing on Earth (although in my case it’s not Earth that will be hit, don’t worry) and then I started on Callisto: Dead Colony.

That’s probably the kind of stories I will never write about hostile space environments and things like that, but I must say so far the two books are in the same vein, although the second (and newest) has more action. But then, the first is a classic, so kudos to the author for keeping the pace! 🙂

And you can get Callisto: Dead Colony in Sci-Fi the May Day Bundle along with Technological Angel (book 1 of Star Minds), so go grab it if you don’t have it already! Have a great weekend!

Random Friday


Welcome to random randomness. Sort of. I watched Pan, which might actually sound like a good prequel to Peter Pan, but makes me wonder. Does Hollywood really think that making sequels and prequels to classics is a good thing? No risk-takers there anymore. No original screenplays, please, just in case we can’t sell the movies. Sigh. So reminds me of traditional publishing…

I mean, the kid is great, Hugh Jackman unrecognizable, but… was it really needed? You know what it did to me? I went to finally read the actual book! I have downloaded it on K.K. ages ago, and now I finally got to reading it, LOL! And since the first two chapters reminded me of another movie, so…

I rewatched Peter Pan. Of course it’s slightly revised, but it’s so much more  faithful to the book (and original play, apparently, I haven’t read that one)! This Peter Pan might be slightly older than the previous one, but it’s certainly closer to JM Barrie’s spirit, IMHO.

Now prepping for art weekend. Cristina is coming over and I hope to do at least two more illustrations for Quests, although only 3 out of 5 will be used as covers. I guess I’ll post what I won’t use on DeviantART when I’m done… Gotta wrap up book 2 and send it off to editor as well…

Have a great weekend!

Random Friday


Warning, reader rant ahead.

So, I downloaded some samples of books from an article I read somewhere and then from the blog hop last week and in between longer readings I thought I’d give them a read, so I could decide if I wanted to buy the book or not.

I have limited reading time and a long TBR list, so reading samples before actually buying has become more of a habit lately. Except I was more than a little disappointed with certain small publishers who use up to 60% of the sample for their publisher shit.

Listen, I don’t care about all that boilerplate stuff publishers put at the front of printed books. I’m downloading an e-book sample, and you better let me read the story in that sample! Because 4 pages out of 10 (I’m simplifying, since I’m math-challenged) are not enough to hook me, and you’ve just lost a sale.

Now I almost feel sorry for  the author who trusted you enough to license her book to you. Almost.

Second thing: if of a 20% sample of the whole book (is that how much Amazon lets you sample, or is it set by the publisher?), 60% is boilerplate and only 40% is story, I’m also prone to thinking this might be a short story, therefore not worth my money. Again, I’m math-challenged, so this thinking of mine might be wrong.

And then there’s those small publishers who publish only on their site or certain retailers, where 1) you need to register 2) I’m not even sure they have mobi file available. Sorry, guys. I have a Kindle. I don’t mind coming to your site, but if you’d allowed me to read the sample on Amazon, it might make things easier for me.

I already have too many accounts – as an author. I don’t want many more to be a reader. So, a couple of missed sales for you. You might not care at all, but I thought I’d let you know.

And I’m not naming names, but if you do that (put all that boilerplate stuff at the front of the ebook or not publish on Amazon at all), this is for you. Think about it. If you don’t care about those missed sales, good for you.

And to those of you who do things right, know that three of your books – for which I downloaded a sample – are now on my TBR pile and I will download them as soon as what’s already stored on K.K. goes down a little.

Now I better go back to that TBR pile, bundles of fiction and non-fiction, not to mention the paper books on my desk… I wish there were more hours in the day, but then… reading sends me to sleep, so I’d rather keep it for the evening! 😉

Have a great weekend! 😀

Random Friday


For Author Voice I had to look up Stage 4 writers, which made me go to my physical bookshelves and plunge into the past – end of last century.

The first book I read in English in the late 1980s was Tanith Lee’s The Silver Metal Lover. I loved it – still do, still reread it from time to time. I bought another title by her and did not finish it. Same with Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy – did not finish.

Then I read the Belgariad and the first two books of the Chronicles of the Cheysuli in Italian, and during my next trips to England, I bought the originals. Now, that was love at first sight! I bought many series from David Eddings (I still have to get the last, co-authored with his wife, but I even have his early contemporary titles) and a couple from Jennifer Robertson (if I couldn’t find all the books in the bookshops, I didn’t even start the series).

So I was very happy to go digging through those old paperbacks, looking for author voice. I know I bought all those titles even if the storylines were repetitive (especially David Eddings, after reading his Rivan Codex, I started seeing his pattern – that’s an excellent book on world-building, by the way), so it must be because of the author’s voice.

I hope to reread all of them, along with the Dragonlance books, sometimes, since they’re the reason why I write fantasy! And I still have four titles from SFF bundles I bought Nov.2014 – Mar 2015… not to mention this order from Amazon (I prefer non-fiction in paper, especially if it’s illustrated like the ones below)…

2016-04-13 17.37.47My TBR pile never goes down, and even if it’s just on Kindle, I do have a list that covers both sides of a sheet of paper still (I delete the read titles, so that’s still a lot of stuff to read – not to mention the piled paperbacks on my desk).

When I’m not researching for Kaylyn, I’m going through the bundle of shorter works… so far, so good, will tell more when I’m done. Go grab it before it’s gone!

I better go back to making up stuff, although historical research and reading old chronicles is sometimes fascinating… and I still have a long batch of non-fiction books on writing on the Kindle, but well… I want to read for entertainment for some time! Off I go! Happy reading! 🙂

Random Friday


Since I gave up on the challenge that should have ended today (started April 1, end should have been April 8) and spring is killing me (cool mornings hot lunch times, gaaaaaah), I thought I’d just sort of pass. About Kaylyn update, I’m about 17K in and the plot keeps changing under me, so I don’t think I’ll manage to finish it by the weekend, but hopefully by next week yes.

Just an announcement for a reading Friday. Grab this bundle while you can, it’s shorter reads (between 10K and 35K I’m told) that can keep you company when you have a short trip. And now I’m leaving you with the words of others – words of wisdom, writers on writing, call them what you want. I’m already tired from typing this, so I better use my energies to take Kaylyn to her next destination. Have a great weekend!

***

Things change in this industry every day.  If you’re like me, you probably find it bewildering at times.  But take heart.  Some things never change.  The most important thing that will never change is that books are magical containers for delivering stories and knowledge.  You create magic.
The industry will change – players will go out of business and others will rise and fall and rise again – but books will always remain.  Authors will always remain.  You are the captain of your personal adventure in publishing, and the course you chart is rife with opportunity.
(…)
Luck plays a factor as well, but only for those who implement best practices first.  Best practices prepare you to capture lightning in a bottle when luck strikes.  Luck strikes all the time.  It’s word of mouth.  It’s a blog post or a tweet or a Facebook mention or a review that recommends your book.
The books you have in you are important. Your books are important to the future of book culture and humanity.  Don’t let anyone or anything discourage you from putting your book out into the world.

Mark Coker

But if you want a career as a writer, if you don’t want to have a day job, if you only want to write, then it seems to me the safest path to take is the indie path. You’ll have more opportunity. You can work hard and publish a lot and make money doing so.
Will every indie writer make six-figures per year? Hell, no. Nor will every traditionally published writer. But what this particular Author Earnings report shows is that if you want the chance of making six-figures or more per year with your writing, the best publishing path is indie.
(Provided you continue to learn your craft, are a damn fine storyteller, have excellent covers, do the right amount of marketing… and on and on and on.)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I made a comment at some point over the last few days that bothered a number of people. I said I could always tell if a person was going to make it. I did not mean in their storytelling skills. I meant in their drive and persistence.
Anyone can learn how to tell a good story. Persistence over years is impossible to teach.

Making choices to write is always a key indicator. How often do you make the choice to write when others are doing something that sounds like fun?
Dean Wesley Smith

(On getting to the typewriter)… “For me, a lot of times the real barrier to get to work – to get to the typewriter or the word processor – comes before I get there. I had one of those days today where I thought to myself: “I’m not sure if I can do this.” I have a lot of days like that. I think it’s kind of funny really, that people think: “Well, you’re Stephen King, that doesn’t happen to you,” as if I wasn’t really the same as everybody else.”

Stephen King

In the past year, I’ve had so many friends feel burned out. Tapped out. Done. Finished. Writing became this chore that they had to do to keep up with… what? Financial obligations. Reader expectations. Personal goals….

When I start to get burned out, it’s usually because I haven’t had enough creative time. It’s because I’m focusing on the publishing and selling aspects of this business and not on the writing parts. I NEED the writing. It’s still my most-fun-thing. My escape. My happy place.

Elizabeth Hunter

Random Friday


This is no April’s Fool. I have decided to take up the challenge and write a novel in 8 days, since I need 52K to get to the length of Rajveer the Vampire. So today I’m starting Kaylyn and will finish by the 8th, if I can keep up with the workshop starting next week and the DayJob still taking half of my day! 🙂

So today I’m writing the first 3000 words, tomorrow 4000 and so on, adding 1000 words every day. Which means that on the last day I’ll need to write 10000 words. I’ve written 10000 in two days, I guess I can just sit down and write them in one! 😉

Random randomness, here’s the artist’s news. A few attempts at digital painting along with the original drawing (pencils only or pencils+acrylics). So, from left to right: colored pencils (2hours), colored pencils + acrylics (+30mins. I’m bad with brushes, sigh), digital attempt 1 (+30mins), digital attempt 2 (+30mins), digital attempt 3 (+almost one hour and 3 levels)…

2016Dabboo_resizeI guess I still have some work to do before I can do the water effect properly (the original photo is included in this post)…

And last random topic of the day – if you’re a Trekkie, you might want to check this offer. Again, it’s not an April’s Fool, so enjoy some 700 (yes, seven hundred) Star Trek e-books discounted or free to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the TV Series! 🙂

And there’s also this Award-winning Canadian SF&F bundle for a limited time only! If I werent’s such a slow reader myself… If only my TBR pile went down a little…

BTW, I had a Kindle scare the other day, it seemed dead and I was afraid I must buy the new models, but luckily the troubleshoot page helped me to give it back its life. Phew! Long live Kindle Keyboard! 🙂

 

Random Friday


Let’s make it Reading Friday! 🙂 There’s the post on reading by Dean Wesley Smith and also another on Shannon A. Thompson’s blog. I’m not a huge reader, but I do read, in most genres – as long as there’s a plot. And while I go through my SFF bundles, I took a break to read my other reading love – comics and graphic novels.

Last year two classmates gave me an Amazon gift card. I finished using it this year, with the following purchase.

2016-02-24 13.34.18To the bookseller bemoaning Amazon – if I ever get to London, I’m not setting foot in your shop, since I doubt you’ll store graphic novels. And I don’t drink whiskey. If I buy PAPER books on Amazon it’s because local bookstores don’t stock them (and not only because they’re in English and I live in a non-English speaking country – we do have English bookshops).

Now, to my purchases! I am I known fan of Colleen Doran (see my sidebar, LOL) and I’ve wanted to check Gone to Amerikay since it came out. I wasn’t disappointed, the three intertwined story-lines (1870, 1960 and 2010) are beautifully rendered by Colleen with the nice colors of José Villarubia. The story is a nice mix of history and fantasy, with ghosts and historical events. I like mostly the splash pages that show New York in the three timelines – and how it changed throughout the years.

Drawing the Line was brought to my attention by a Goodreads friend who had read and reviewed it. Being a little leery of underground comics, I did a quick google check for more about the stories inside the book. I don’t like all the drawing styles, but most of them yes. With comics and graphic novels, if I don’t like the art, I don’t enjoy the story, so that’s why it’s critical that I see something in the drawings.

None of these ladies has an hyper-realistic style like Colleen Doran, but some were really neat. An Ideal Girl and The Poet, Sharmila reminded me of some French BDs, and the simplicity of Asha, now made me wish I could see it in colors. Lots of nice stories by very nice women – highly recommended for India lovers and not only! 🙂

Final thoughts on reading. You may have heard that Unberto Eco is dead. 60% of Italians read less than a book a year, but 98% are mourning his passing… will we get “distilled” Eco novels at newsagents now? 😉 I have never read him and I don’t know what to think of this. Definitely a leap year that’s taking away a lot of artists and writers and creators and actors and… but this year too shall pass!

Happy reading – I have a beta-reading weekend ahead, so… I won’t be idle!

 

Random Friday


While I wait for a manuscript to beta-read, I’ve been catching up on my TBR pile – namely, the two bundles of SFF titles I got between end 2014 and beginning 2015 (hence no more bundles until those are all read!).

I’m enjoying the current book, and I enjoyed to start of a novel by a writer friend who was trying something new and his critical voice stopped him. But at the same time, I’m worried for readers.

I’m not a big reader myself, although since I started writing in English I read a lot more compared to when I did everything in Italian. And this might be happening only in Italy where nobody reads and the few who do mostly read genre books.

Anyhow, at our newsagents they advertize abridged versions of bestsellers. A 600pages Wilbur Smith novel “distilled to 280”!! An Italian author’s 312 pages reduced to 120!! Is readers’ attention span so low these days?!

I used to read “abridged versions” for kids of Salgari books. I remember in the 1980s Mom stopped buying a TV guide because it published “distilled” Harold Robbins novels (read: all the sex scenes crammed in 10-20 pages – I thought he wrote erotica, and I never read a full novel, LOL!).

So I guess it’s nothing new, really. But what does it say about Italian readers? That they like short books? And is it the same elsewhere?

Now, I’m not particularly worried for my books (I’m not a bestseller and my books are pretty short anyway), but I’m wondering. It might be just Italian traditional publishers doing this…

So I’m asking – does it happen in your country too? Do you like “distilled” or “abridged” versions?

Have a great weekend!

Year in Reading


Since Friday was Christmas and I don’t have anything for Sunday anyway, I thought I’d do a spurious post about my reading year. I don’t think many people will wander on blogs on Christmas Day, and even today is risky, but well… wouldn’t let you 4 days without posts, LOL!

I have read 39 books (might be 40 if I manage one last title this last week of the year) including 7 manuscripts and 12 non-fiction books (which means I’m halfway through the non-fiction bundle I’ve bought in two separate bundles between end 2014 and beginning 2015).

I read also 2 anthologies/short story collections – When the lights go out and Fairy Tales Slashed. The latter I loved in spite of the bad formatting, typos and missing words everywhere, so it’s a recommended reading if you like that genre (m/m).

I had also bought 2 bundles of SFF with the non-fiction bundles, and I think I’m halfway through those too. I’m still trudging through a Campbell Anthology (I think from 2014), and I’m skipping all the novel excerpts! 😦

I did not finish a couple of books (one non-fiction and one fiction) – the first because I don’t have that problem so I’d rather read other stuff before getting to that topic and the second because it really didn’t drag me in.

Of those almost-40 books, only 5 were paper books… (and the manuscripts were printed, of course, I just can’t read on a computer screen). I prefer reading non-fiction for research purposes on paper, but if it’s books on writing, my Kindle is just fine! 😉

Now, the recommended FICTION reading list by Barb!

A walk across the Sun (contemporary story set all over the world – India, Europe, US…)

Ivory (science fiction)

Alien Influences (you can guess from the title – SF)

and the above Fairy Tales Slashed. For the NON-FICTION (all books on writing)

The pursuit of Perfection: and How it Harms Writers

Million $ Productivity

The Write Attitude

Now for next year I hope to read 50 books, if possible 30 fiction and 20 non-fiction (I still have some of those bundle books and I need to study business and publishing in Italy, I already have one book I bought last year, I really should start it, LOL!).

That might take down my TBR list a little, and then I can tackle the Smashwords wishlist or the Goodreads want-to-read list! 🙂 Happy reading!

 

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