Wednesday Weekly Roundup


This week’s big announcement is… publishing news! Please welcome my latest baby, first of three that will come out in the coming weeks! And since the WP dashboard is fighting me, check the blurb on the publisher’s page, sigh.

For now there’s the ebook only, I’m waiting for book 2 and 3 to come back from Mighty Editor, then I’ll prepare all three paperbacks and they’ll come out with the last ebook in October. Oh, and I made a new series page for urban fantasy if you want a preview of the other books and what’s next.

And we’re approaching the end of my Kickstarter campaign – next Wednesday it will be over – with not yet 50% funding. Check it out one last time, even 1euro will do, and share it with your friends. I’m happy it was a short one because the stress was… interesting! πŸ™‚

Now, since you can see how many Kickstarters I’ve backed on my own, let me give you a rundown on the ones that are still active at this time. Check them out and possibly give them some love. Good reading stuff all over the place!

Relics of the Ancients: a space opera adventure trilogy because what’s not to love about space opera adventure?

Spade/Paladin Conundrums: A Kickstarter Campaign I normally don’t read mystery, but I’ve been to a number of sci-fi convention… imagining a mystery at the next Worldcon tickled my curiosity (I do hope to get to Chicago next year, 10 years after my first worldcon, same place)! πŸ™‚

The Gripping Fireheart Fantasy Series because who doesn’t love some fantasy? A smaller project that needs your help, much like mine! πŸ™‚ Also, the author is European like me! πŸ˜€

End of the Line Another European author (or at least based in Europe) rebooting a disaster novel set in the Arctic. So check them out and give them some love, especially the European ones! πŸ˜‰

Last week I did some writing (a little over 7K), but again, a lot of non-writerly stuff, trying hard not to get used to no-DayJob schedule. It was only two weeks after all. Plenty of time to reschedule my life in a couple of years or so – hopefully.

I also did a lot of thinking on what to do next, but I’m clearly not ready for Very Important Decisions yet. So I’m going to finish the year by writing shorter works, and will publish a couple more themed collections of originals, then next year we’ll see.

The next longer work can be serialized, but Kindle Vella is still US only at this time and I’m not sure Patreon would work as a subscription place. I will have to research how to bring it to you regularly before I start publishing it. I have also considered starting my own magazine (best way to serialize that project), but I’m not sure I can keep it going for longer than my old, photocopied stuff yet.

Maybe I will try to figure out what my strength are. This podcast was enlightening on many things. Maybe I will take the CliftonStrengths assessment next weekend.

This week is back to work with physiptherapy Mon.Wed.Fri afternoons, so probably less time to write. I’m just going to take it easy on myself, since my body is getting old and achy! πŸ˜‰

Last announcement: my Jedi twin has a collection of short stories out! Check it out – you might have already read him in my curated anthologies, but this is all him! πŸ™‚ Who doesn’t want to know what happens in The Record Store at the Edge of the Time Stream? πŸ˜‰ Have a great week! πŸ˜€

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote 11K+ on assorted shorts and will continue to do so this week, so I have some stuff ready for Mighty Editor the first week of September! πŸ™‚ Covers are also almost ready, I’ll probably work on them next weekend, just in case.

Next week and the following week I’m off DayJob, so I’m going to catch up on all those online workshops and pop-ups I accumulated during the summer. And here’s a reminder that through today only, you can get all the workshops half-off (with one or two exceptions, that Dean explains).

I will go through the Kickstarter workshop first, then the pop-ups I gathered through Kickstarter or the Collection Workshop. I was thinking of doing some short traveling in Italy, but no, I’ll leave that to October when I have another two weeks off.

So “back to school” next week, yay! I usually call it research, but it’s still learning. I do have plenty of non-fiction books in my reading, be them history or some topic I don’t know much about. I might not recommend them in my end-of-the-year reading list (I only do fiction there), but I do add them to my Bookbub recommendations if I find the book on there. I may have already mentioned that I gave up on Goodreads a long time ago! πŸ˜‰

For some mysterious reason, my 2-year-old printer suddenly stopped printing in colors. I tryed to uninstall and reinstall the drivers, but nothing… I guess I’ll keep it and buy only the black cartridge for now. I actually need to print in color only to do my pencil portraits, and I still have a few printed but not drawn, LOL!

Well, I also print out my final ebook covers… I guess I’ll stick to the mock-covers until I fix the problem or buy a new printer. The shop I usually go to is still closed because, thanks to Covid, we’re back to pre-2010 August closures. Sigh.

Oh, and I restarted posting Da Strip on Instagram, even though it’s still a PITA (can’t upload from PC, phone doesn’t see Dropbox, had to copy everything on microSD card) in case you want to follow. Last week was quiet enough that I managed to draw a few more in the morning (yeah, at DayJob), and I’ll try to do more from now on.

I guess that’s all for today… have a great week and Happy Birthday to Me! πŸ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


As promised, here’s the link to my latest published story:

Crime and… (Blaze Ward Presents: Issue 5)

I challenged folks to give me a crime story with a one word title that could complete that phrase above.
Many answered, and nearly twenty made the final cut, from coziest fun to darkest noir, always with Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment in the back of their minds.
Historic tales sent in mid-Twentieth Century Los Angeles or Budapest. Modern mysteries from small towns to Appalachia to the big city.
Crime takes many forms. Where will it take you?

Neat cover, innit? I Go check it now! Available as ebook and paperback for your reading pleasure!

A UK chain of used bookstores has set up a system to pay authors royalties on sales: here are the articles on The Guardian and The Bookseller.

So I guess it’s time I put out more paperbacks, innit? I wonder if the books I left at bookcrossing zones or on UK trains could end up in those shops, LOL! Hopefully my paperback sales will slowly grow and in the future I’ll be able to take advantage of this. I haven’t joined the system yet.

Last week I wrote 12K, two stories, both for the Portals Collection workshop, because this week I’m starting a new routine at the day job, so I thought I better do it early. It was an unsettling week and the end of some kind of era, and here’s to hoping this new “era” will last as shortly as possible in this everchanging world.

Yesterday it poured at the time I was supposed to go home, so it was a wasted afternoon. Today I’ll decide what to write next, probably more shorts since I’m keeping the Duology for July. My wordcount might go down again, but it doesn’t matter, like I said. I may not reach my 500K this year, but it’s more eventful than 2020 for me, so…

Last week I also read the Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction and all those pulp writers made me think of me when I started writing. I think I was an unpublished pulp writer until the indie revolution, LOL! Now I’m thinking of getting the other volumes in the series, but I also need to help someone set up a book in Italian, so we’ll see.

It’s recommended reading, I got the paperback, but the ebook is also available for the visually impaired! It’s fun and interesting, and in some places I felt as if I were back to Future Earth Chronicles – Asian Ways, since Arjun and Yuu get to South India. And I wish they translated in English the novel they only excerpted, abridged, in this volume. Sigh.

Anyhow, I wish you all a wonderful week… and happy summer if it’s your favorite season! πŸ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


The classic editor comes and goes from this dashboard, so some learning curve will be involved in the coming days. Now I might need a couple of weeks to get used to the new thingy, but hopefully it won’t be too messy. Slowly getting the hang of it, so to speak.

Anyhow, Newsletter #1 is ready to roll with a full novel as free download. It goes out tomorrow and you still have time to subscribe, get the free story immediately and wait for the novel tomorrow. Still can’t figure out how to put sign up forms elsewhere, so please hop off to the publisher’s site and dump your email in the newsletter sign-up, thank you! πŸ™‚

Also, last days for the sci-fi bundle… grab it now if you haven’t already! Do you like space opera? How about military science fiction? Do you love the old masters and especially the book club, where you bought one book and received ten more? This is way better. https://20bookpacks.com/IASFA-Sci-Fi-Book-Bundle

The International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors (IASFA) is a professional organization focused on aligning readers with authors. We are building the organization that currently numbers over 600 authors published within the SFF genres and growing. Stay tuned as each month we’ll offer full book samplers for free along with less frequent paid book bundle promotions. Help yourself to find your next favorite author by joining the IASFA newsletter. https://iasfa.org/book-promotion-calendar/

My friend Francesco Verso published his first collection of short stories in English. If you’d like to try some Italian sci-fi, here’s what he has to say:

Writing short stories – contrary to popular belief – is very hard. You can’t procrastinate, you can’t hide behind turns of phrase, you have to know where you are going and which buttons to press to reach the point in as few words as possible. Paradoxically the short story is the narrative form most suitable for the accelerated times in which we all find ourselves: brief, dense, and compact, the short story is a precious and agile interface for understanding the future we will be living in for the rest of our days. These are my first eleven short stories written between 2008 and 2020, inside you will find a kaleidoscope of visions of the future, ranging from augmented reality to artificial intelligence, from gamification to #solarpunk, all the way to biotechnology and post-humanism.

You can find his book on Amazon.IT (and probably the other marketplaces as well, but this is the link he gives).

And for a different kind of sci-fi, Cygnus Rising by Craig Martelle, the first book in the Cygnus Space Opera series, is on sale for 99 cents from tomorrow. “From the ashes of their past, Cygnus was rising. From space they came, to space they returned, humanity searching for a way home.” Grab it from your favorite retaile fromr April 1. Limited time and no, not an April Fools’! πŸ˜‰

Now back to regular programming! Last week I wrote 13K (more or less like the previous week) on my urban/contemporary fantasy Duology, hoping to finish a fist draft by Easter. There’s still some way to go in world-building and other stuff, so I don’t think this will come out anytime soon, but well… I’m on it! πŸ˜‰

Now that Holi came and went, I had to rewrite a couple of scenes in the Duology… but I’m keeping everything in the “deleted scenes” file, just in case. The Duology ends in October, hence I won’t be able to publish before then. It will soon be dated, even if I don’t mention it’s 2020-2021, but I thought the now would be a good time to mix some magic into the hell we’re going through all over the world.

Last weekend I did most of the fun publishing stuff, i.e. covers! I like choosing the stock images and possibly get the background from my own pictures to save credits, but some places I’ve never been to, so I must use stock images. You can already see some results in the Books of the Immortals cover variants that will be available to Newsletter subscribers throughout the year: Books of the Immortals – Fire has a stock image of Timbuktu, Books of the Immortals – Ether has Junagarh Fort of Bikaner in the background, taken by yours truly back in 2016 during my tour of Rajasthan.

So I prepared all the covers for the books coming out in the next few months, and now I’m left with the boring part – editing and formatting. This morning I’ll be busy helping my friend and cover artist Cristina (who did the original Books of the Immortals covers) with her own stuff as well and no new titles will come out this weekend because it’s Easter. Most people will celebrate it – or Passover – so I won’t bother publishing anything.

Then it will be box sets and collections, and the new titles should arrive in June. It’s novellas and short stories. I have a bunch of short story collections to publish as well, and possibly another curated anthology or two. We’ll see.

paperbacks of Books of the Immortals - Air

And let’s not forget tomorrow it’s the Bookversary of Books of the Immortals – Air! Here you can read that first announcement… ten years already… where did time go? Anyhow, get the ebook for free by subscribing to the newsletter above! πŸ™‚ With a variant cover, but it’s still the same book… or wait a couple of weeks for an even better deal… stay tuned!

A last suggested article/book in case you’re a buddying writer – For Independent Authors: The Ultimate Guide to Publishing Wide. I’m notoriously wide, although I don’t go direct to Nook and Apple, but I use both Smashwords and Draft2Digital as distributors. I have only one short story in KU, Lisa’s Odyssey, at least in English. Now I shall go back to my writing and editing and formatting paperbacks… have a great week! πŸ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


A bundle so packed full of science fiction,
we had to assemble it in orbit.

Over twenty authors have joined the International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers (IASFA) in a massive book bundle to warp the space-time of readers everywhere.

IASFA Book Bundles are a way for people to discover quality books written by popular authors. You know how it’s always hard to find something good to read? IASFA can help solve that with monthly free book promotions as well as through a massive Book Bundle like this.

https://20bookpacks.com/IASFA-Sci-Fi-Book-Bundle

The Science Fiction Book Bundle! From fantastic worlds to scowling spaceship commanders, from exploration to colonization to alien contact. There is something for everyone and probably your next favorite Science Fiction author can be found right here. We’ve compiled a bunch of hot titles and can offer them in a bundle for much less than a dollar each. Take a look and see what there is to see.

Books included:

Battlenaut Crucible By Robert Jeschonek
Cartwright’s Cavaliers By Mark Wandrey
Cygnus Rising By Craig Martelle
Day 115 on an Alien World By Jeannette Bedard
Emergence By Jacki Rawlinson
Forced Conversion By Donald J. Bingle
Forced Vengeance By Scot C. Morgan
Freedom By Fire By C.P. MacDonald
Ghost Probe By Craig A. Price
Hurt U Back By Tim Taylor
Janissaries By Chris Kennedy
Kaine’s Sanction By D.M. Pruden
On Station By J. Clifton Slater
Quinn of Cygnus: Lift Off By AM Scott
Salvage Title By Kevin Steverson
Standing the Final Watch By William Alan Webb
Star Compass By Anthea Sharp
Super-Sync By Kevin Ikenberry
The Chemical Mage By Felix Savage
The Chronicles of Jegra: Gladiatrix of the Galaxy By Tristan Vick
The Earth Concurrence By Julia Huni
Thief (Star Minds Lone Wolves) By Barbara G. Tarn
Tribari Freedom Chronicles By Rachel Ford
Uprising By Jerry Shepard
Warrior Wench By Marie Andreas

The International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors (IASFA) is a professional organization focused on aligning readers with authors. We are building the organization that currently numbers over 600 authors published within the SFF genres and growing. Stay tuned as each month we’ll offer full book samplers for free along with less frequent paid book bundle promotions. Help yourself to find your next favorite author by joining the IASFA newsletter. https://iasfa.org/book-promotion-calendar/

The Science Fiction Book Bundle will be available from March 15th thru April 4th.

***

And now we’re back to your scheduled programming… I can’t tell you how excited and humbled I am of being in such company! πŸ˜€ I personally met two of those awesome authors (Robert Jeschoneck and Craig Martelle) and I know they’re all (the 19 of them) excellent storytellers! πŸ™‚

Go check that bundle if you love sci-fi space opera! And if you’re not familiar with my Star Minds Universe, this is a very good way of grabbing a discounted book along with many more! πŸ˜‰

Now, in my enthusiasm of having more or less tamed the WordPress Newsletter plug-in and wanting to inform my newly found subscribers of the above, I sent the welcome email with the free story and the IASFA bundle link two days in advance to the first eight awesome people who accepted the subscription (including Joleene Naylor)… sorry if that link wasn’t live yet on Friday night!

And then I realized (thanks to Tori) that the welcome emails were sent automatically – again with the link to the bundle before it went live. Apologies about that.

There are still glitches, apparently, so if you couldn’t download the PDF (again, thanks, Tori, for pointing it out), reply to the welcome email and I’ll send it over. Hopefully the problem is fixed and the new subscribers won’t have problems with the download.

If you haven’t subscribed yet, and want a free story that won’t be available for sale while you wait for the official newsletter #1 coming out for the 10th anniversary of Books of the Immortals – Air (April 1), you can still do it at the publisher’s page (couldn’t copy-paste the sign-up thingy anywhere else, sorry).

Last week I wrote almost 13K, finished book 1 and started on book 2 when I got the news that Rome and Latium will be in lockdown until Easter again. Sigh. One year later and we’re still at this point. What bothered me the most last year was the long lines at the supermarkets. Hopefully it won’t be so this year – and I’ll still go to work every day.

Anyhow, since I can’t move in the real world, I’m going to travel with my characters until Easter. They’re lucky to be able to move in the pandemic-ridden world, LOL! I planned my vacation time for the whole year, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to move around much anyway.

The Easter week I’ll have to work from home anyway, prepping that newsletter, some paperbacks and other publishing stuff, but I would have loved to be able to meet with my cover artist. We used to do creative weekends, then weekends became off-limit, so I hoped I could have lunch with her during the week, since I’m off DayJob, but no siree, we’re in lockdown, no moving around in Rome! 😦

Vaccines (not enough of them) are for the over-80, medical staff, teachers and immunosuppressed people like my colleague Marco who’s been working from home for a year, and despite the vaccine doesn’t know when he’ll be able to come back to the office. My father had his shot yesterday, my mother postponed to the end of April just in case he reacts badly.

Hope things are going better on your side of the world and we’ll soon be able to travel again. I mean, I don’t mind traveling through Google Maps and Wikipedia, but sometimes just going somewhere and actually meet people instead of reading Quora answers on places is better. And I’m an introvert! πŸ™‚

That’s all for today… have a great week!

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote only 8K, but most of the weekend was spent editing after getting the manuscripts back from the editor. I’m kind of in-between projects as well, wrapping up a story and not sure if I want to continue what I had interrupted or start something else.

And I backed another sci-fi Kickstarter! πŸ™‚ Yes, I might end up writing more sci-fi this year, and it won’t be in the Star Minds Universe. Or Future Earth Chronicles, for that matter. I wrote a hard SF story (still doing the rounds at traditional magazines) and I might explore that sort of future during the year.

I also somehow plan to write less and read more, LOL! Unfortunately, when I write a lot, I lose reading time (did I mention I’m a slow reader) to going through my own manuscripts, so… I will have to find a new balance this year. It might have to do with last year’s mess or my ever-changing moods or I’m evolving again as a writer, but I’m going to take it easy.

And here I’m saring Angela’s Tips for a Happier Writing Life, see if anything applies to you! πŸ™‚ Also, you might want to start thinking long term. I definitely won’t be here in 50 years, but, like my friend’s, my writing might still be. So, where do you want to be long-term, say in 50 years?

The ten biggest literary stories of the year – a reminder of what 2020 was like. And a reminder that we’re still in the Technological Era… after sharing articles on GPT3, meet its artist brother, Dall-E, the OpenAI’s image generator. Ain’t it cool? I hope to integrate some of this tech in future sci-fi stories! πŸ™‚

Now, I did mention I gave up on Goodreads long ago. It seems like this year a ton of bots have joined, so I reinstated the challenge questions. Despite that, friend requests keep coming with that “hi 51XXXXX” I don’t know where they got from. Sorry, “friends”, if you want to connect with me, it’s not on Goodreads that you’ll find me.

I should probably clean my friends list over there like I did with my Facebook private profile, quietly deleting people I never hear from and not accepting new friends unless we met in meatspace. Except I can’t be bothered going on Goodreads anymore, so I’ll just leave those people hanging and ignore them. Sorry.

Follow me on Bookbub instead, and I might soon share a reading recommendation (if it’s in their system, since I’m not very good at adding books that are not mine on that platform, LOL!). If you’re still following Audiblegate because you have audio books with them, here’s an update. Wishing you a wonderful week! πŸ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


The first writing week of the year ended with 11K written, even though I spent Sunday morning drawing Da Muse for his birthday! πŸ™‚ I also used that time to think about the stories I was writing (because they’re entwined at the moment, so I kept jumping back and forth between them for most of the week), but decided not to change the current plot.

I also rearranged the side-bar of this very blog, adding the “follow me on Bookbub” button and moving things around a little. I also had a small trouble with the publisher’s site, but my Awesome Webmaster solved the problem of the failed plug-in in under a minute, or so he said! πŸ˜‰

And of course, I hit the publish button on Future Earth Chronicles Book 11! Please welcome back Luke, who first appeared in Book 4 as vampire food in the alien facility under Mount Kailash… and see where this books takes him! πŸ™‚ Being a sapling’s symbiont is not as bad as it sounds.

Luke got his microchips back and bonded with Xex, the alien sapling who came back with the Mothership. Now he must gather the Rainbow Towns security robots with his symbiont to face a new threat: a gathering of Asian vampires.

His life changed when the wanderers freed him from Daniel and the alien facility, and now it’s about to change again.

Book 12 (Mighty Editor’s favorite) will be out in two weeks, so stay tuned! πŸ™‚

If you want free (or cheap) books, subscribe to IASFA – there’s currently a batch of military sci-fi on offer and more to come. “Each month we’re spotlighting works by hundreds of SciFi and Fantasy authors. Every book will be available for free during the promotion. Don’t miss a single one. Get on the list.”

I checked, and not all were free yet, but one was at 99c on Kindle and after trying the sample I bought it anyway (it was free everywhere else, just not on Amazon, and I can’t download mobi from Smashwords anymore). I also downloaded more samples on KK, so my TBR list is growing again, sigh. I’ll never get to the new Kindle, LOL!

And a new bundle is out! Fantasy romance, so if you fancy that, go check it. It includes “Beautiful” from yours truly – a Sleeping Beauty retelling as m/m romance more about the happily ever after than the before. The Love an Magic Bundle is available at the usual suspects!

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/bundles02/production/BundleArt/montages/000/000/249/original/montage.png

In other news I had to comment on Dean’s post My Novel… since that’s what I usually ask about MY books! πŸ˜€ Especially before becoming a mysanthrope who doesn’t like to go out, I happened to tell my friends about the stories I were writing at random moments, and whenever they saw me again, they politely asked “How’s your book?” to which I stared blankly at them and asked “Which one?” Perks (?) of being too prolific, I guess.

And Kris’s post on Audio (2020 in Review) worth checking especially for the last part, or how artists have braved the pandemic and reorganized themselves. My audio sales have flatlined and I don’t know when I’ll have the money or the inclination to do more of them, and I’m still considering other venues for the strips.

If you watched Space 1999, raise your hand and I’ll high-five you. I know most of you weren0t even born when the TV series aired (including Tori), but you might have caught up with some reruns in the 20th century. I backed this Kickstarter and received my ebook copy with intro from Barbara Bain (who, for me, is Dr. Helena Russell of Space 1999, I didn’t see many episodes of the Mission Impossible TV show of the 1960s, but I definitely saw all of Space 1999, in Italian AND French). I got the PDF for now, since I can’t upload to KK, but I want to start reading it! πŸ™‚

I might use my vacation time to program just that (the art part, not the audio part, sorry), finding another venue for the strips. I’m considering Tapas that allows also novels, especially episodic ones (like many of mine are). But I need to have a clear mind, which isn’t something I have yet.

Recovering from the Holiday Season is taking longer both because of what’s happening in the world (especially US and UK) and because I’m no longer young and full of dreams, but – since I’m here and now – I guess I’m meant to go through this mess and emerge victorious, or at least alive! πŸ˜€

So I’m not making too many programs just yet, taking one step at a time and keeping going. If you’d like to subscribe to my newsletter, there’s a link on the publisher’s page, I still haven’t studied how importing (from my old Mailchimp account, for example) works on WordPress. I won’t start sending it out until I have at least ten people subscribed.

I know there’s no free story just yet, but that’s another thing to do sometime this year. Be patient, and hopefully I’ll manage to do everything! πŸ™‚ Meanwhile, have a great week! πŸ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Happy Holidays (because from 1 November to 15 January there are approx.29 holidays observed by 7 of the world's major religions)Last week I wrote 8700words and completed another short story for submission, then I’ll probably call it a year! There are a couple more with themes that intrigue me, but there is no hurry to write and send them out. To reach 600K, I should write 38K in the coming 3 weeks, which might happen, since I started a new project. If it doesn’t, well, I already reached my yearly wordcount! πŸ˜‰

As of December 2020, Lisa’s Odyssey is available on Kindle Unlimited for 99c (link to Amazon.com) This is the first story included in the Future Earth Chronicles Shorts, and it’s practically a standalone, since it’s so much earlier than the others (22nd century instead of 25th)! And it will be FREE for four days – from Dec.19 to Dec.21.

Also, I’m enrolling books in the Smashwords End of Year sale starting on the 18th, since they added that nifty feature of gifting ebooks. So if you already have my books and would like to gift them to your friends, now is a good time, they’ll be discounted for the sale. Everything 50% off unless the book is at 99c.

Digital gifting will be up this year due to the global pandemic. Your best fans have already purchased your ebooks, but have they purchased your ebooks for their friends yet? Now that we’re opening the sale before Christmas, it’s a great opportunity for your most loyal readers to purchase your books for friends and family. Learn more about the ebook gifting feature here – https://www.smashwords.com/about/gifts

And since it’s still before Christmas, I’m going to give my recommended reading list for this year, just in case you don’t know which books to ask for Christmas! πŸ˜‰ The list is in the order I read them, and if I found them on Bookbub, I probably recommended them there as well.

I’m giving the Goodreads link so you can then choose where to buy them. Although I’ve given up on Goodreads long ago, and probably soon so will you. I’m not sure what API access is for, but Goodreads definitely looks obsolete. Export your data & reviews while you can, import it to a place like https://beta.thestorygraph.com/ or readng. I’m no longer doing this, so I won’t bother.

Anyway, here’s my 2020 5-star books, highly recommended! πŸ™‚

A Sudden Outbreak of Magic by Michael Jasper

Utterly Charming, Throughly Kissed, Completely Smitten by Kristine Grayson

Snow Truer Love by A.J Tipton (warning, adult content)

Into the Forest Shadows by J.A. Marlow

Sword & Blood: The Vampire Musketeers (The Vampire Musketeers #1) by Sarah A. Hoyt, Sarah Marques

Glamour of the God-TouchedΒ by Ron Collins

On the Edge of Faerie by Stefon Mears

Drinking Heavy Water by Michael Warren Lucas

A special mention goes to The Phantom Games – it’s a mix of essays and short stories, and the short stories are all top notch! πŸ™‚

I also have a lot of Did Not Finish this year, but life’s too short to waste time with books that don’t hold you. So I’m not giving a total count, and as usual, I’m not mentioning the non-fiction books I read. But for the first time, I’m going to list the samples of books I’m going to get next year when K.K. goes away or something – meaning I was intrigued and will love to continue reading!

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Lion’s Blood by Steve Barnes

The Salvage Crew by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne

Shadow Messenger by T.A. White

Zero Sum Game by Cody L. Martin

ARC: Titanic in Space by Dirk Walvoord

Leveled Up Love – a gamelit romance comedy by Tao Wong and A.G. Marshall

Automatic Reload by Ferret Steinmetz

And last but not least, don’t forget to check out the collaboration anthologies, the curated anthologies and the bundle Nightly Bites – the latter will be gone soon! Have a great week! πŸ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote 14K+ which means I’m past the previous years’ wordcount by now. I might actually make it to 600K this year, LOL! After all, there’s still almost a month, definitely three weeks, if I keep going like this, I might! πŸ˜‰ I will have to wrap FEC 11 tonight so I can print it out tomorrow and have a last pass before sending it out to Mighty Editor.

And the Series Pages on Amazon are now live, albeit only on Amazon.com! Aren’t they neat? You can even purchase the series in bulk (I presume under 40 books, since the option is not there for Silvery Earth). I think it’s a nice accomplishment for my ten years of indie publishing, what say you? πŸ˜‰

And the last book of this short trilogy about the vampires going into the future is out! Vampire War shows the Future Earth Chronicles from the vampires’ point of view. On the cover, Lihua, the “Chinese Menka” who showed up in Future Earth Chronicles already. Note that she’s not a point of view character, though, since it’s still Rajveer’s story. And Miyako and Claire.

Rajveer has been around the Mediterranean with Kaylyn for four hundred years, trying to find a way inside the Rainbow Town where Kris, Alain, Shashank and Juhi vanished during the invasion of the Romanian horde. Until their maker shows up in Istanbul with Kris and Alain to update them.

Miyako feels the Asian vampires on the move and thinks she owes it to her maker to keep an eye on them. After two covens converge on Beijing, she and Ingolf take it upon themselves to figure out what the Asian vampires are up to.

Claire was safe in Rainbow Town until she found out the truth behind the underground settlements. Her symbiosis would bring a new treaty and an army of robots to confront the united Asian vampires, ready to attempt what the Romanians couldn’t way back when.

I’m also rambling on Joleene’s blog, about this whole trilogy and other stuff… check out my interview, she does ask some very neat questions! πŸ™‚

It was definitely a release week, because you can now purchase also Blaze Ward Presents Issue #4: Cloak and Dagger!

Cloak And Dagger. These words were the inspiration, the dare I put to the writers out there. Create for me art on that theme. They responded with music, words, and excitement. Science fiction, urban fantasy, or sword and sorcery fantasy. Come explore the many places that twenty-odd visionaries went when they heard those words and enjoy all the bright and dark places you might go. Part of the Blaze Ward Presents anthology series, be sure to get them all wherever you get your books: An Interpretation of Moles, I Like My Science…MAD!, and Nuns With Guns.

My story in this anthology is a short sequel to Joint Operations, my one and only spy story. I didn’t have time to check the other stories yet, but I know many of those writers and they’re all awesome, so go check it out and grab it, in ebook or paperback! πŸ™‚

And now I’m going to tout a couple of friends’ horns! πŸ™‚ The book I beta-read and loved is now out! Check out Drinking Heavy Water by Michael W. Lucas, a great sci-fi romp on a weird planet. I wish I was a faster reader to be able to check all the other Montague Portal novels!

And this is from the awesome editor of Halloween Harvest, Mark Leslie Lefebvre:

This is a tough post to share.
It’s about a book that was tough for me to read.
Especially from the privilege of the warmth, comfort, and security of a home…
…where I’m surrounded by books, surrounded by so many of those objects we take comfort in because they can perhaps, allow us to momentarily forget our mortality.
Allow us to forget there’s not that much separating us from our having, and not having. From having warmth, security and comfort, to having nothing but the clothes on our backs.
This was also a tough book for me to publish. But I wanted to do something. I wanted to share the story of my friend Peter.
It’s not easy to read about something like this happening to someone I love.
It’s a story that the charities don’t want you to read.
It’s about a fate that can strike any of us, at any time, that we don’t want to think about.
I met Peter C. Mitchell in the mid 1990s when we were both working as booksellers at the Chapters in Ancaster, Ontario.
He was one of the most well-read, intellectual, and witty book nerds I’ve ever had the honor of working alongside.
Though he kicked my butt at chess and book trivia board games, I loved hanging out with him, because he challenged me. He made me think. He made me laugh.
We worked together over the years, he was a trusted friend who babysat my only son, he was also a first reader and wonderful editor for plenty of my fiction and non-fiction stories.
It has been several years since I’ve seen him in person.
He returned to London in 2017 to complete his research on a book entitled β€œA Knight in the Slums” a self-confessed vanity project about his great, great grandfather, Sir John Kirk, and the man’s dedication to bettering the lives of the disabled and the working poor in Victoria-era London.
A perfect storm of calamities ironically left Peter penniless and sleeping rough, falling victim to the very same ailments John Kirk fought.
That nightmare inadvertently gave Peter an inside look at the very systems put in place over a century earlier by his great, great grandfather and those who, like him, were trying to help.
That experience frightened him more than the horrors of homelessness itself.
And that is the story of Rude Awakenings from Sleeping Rough.
This is a book being published independently by my own Stark Publishing imprint in a stealth manner and on a shoestring budget and is being used to help earn Peter his way out of his situation.
Unlike most traditional publishing deals, the author is earning 80% of the net profits on sales of the book. (It’s typical for a first-time author to earn 8% – and, if they’re well established, as much as 20%)
Because I’m not publishing this book to make money. I’m using it to help drive funds towards a friend who does not want charity. He wants to earn his way out of the hole he is in. And he wants his story to be shared.
Below is a link to the book at the various retailers where it is available.
It can, of course, be special ordered in paperback or hardcover via any local bookshop, as it is distributed via Ingram. (And I encourage folks to consider ordering books via local bookstores whenever and wherever they can. Local businesses serve the local community and culture and allow the revenue to stay local).
If you know someone in the media or a book reviewer who might be interested in a review copy of the book, please have them contact me – mark@markleslie.ca
A new online platform has created a centralized online shopping platform for independent bookstores around the country. And when I clicked on the link, it told me it’s coming to the UK as well, so it’s not just for the US. In case you’re Amazon-averse, you can get your books from an independent bookstore through Bookshop.
Yesterday I sent out the last batch of short stories on submission after receiving the umpteenth rejection. So I sent out 25 stories, sold one that will come out next year, but saw two published that I submitted last year. We’ll see what happens with the last five still out there! πŸ˜‰ And that’s all for today! Have a great week!

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote only 5K, but I consider it mid-projects. Besides, I spent most of the weekend trying to decide what to write next for an anthology, so I’ll be working on short stories this week. Next week, if I write all the stories for the anthos I have eyed, I’ll get back to FEC 11, otherwise, November! πŸ™‚

And as NaNoWriMo approaches, here’s some good advice. You know I don’t participate, because I write all year round, so I never did it.

And if you want a real challenge, write the 50,000 word novel in the month and publish it in the same month, meaning you have to have it done ahead of time enough to get the typos fixed and to do a cover. Now that’s a real challenge. Write and publish a book in the same month.

And that won’t happen either, since my editor (who fixes typos because I don’t have a native speaker first reader who can do it, unlike him) is already booked. So even if I actually write FEC11 in November (which I probably will, even if I start late, I’ll finish it, but since those are around 40K, I’ll have to add stuff to reach 50K), it’s booked for proofreading in January.

But I usually write 10K/week, and I’ve almost reached my yearly wordcount goal, so I’m not going to bother with that challenge, not this year (probably never. I know I can write a novel in a month, a clean first draft). I’ve done it in the past and can do it again whenever I need to.

Now for some more paperback beauties, here’s the two anthologies I mentioned last week. As soon as I finish the current beta-reading, I’ll dive into them.

By the way, this is the second book from this author, in another series, so I’m going to name him. Check out Michael Warren Lucas’s novels! They suck you in and won’t let go! The previous one is a new series, so I can’t say much about it yet, but this one is in the Montague Portal series, so check it out! πŸ™‚

Kris Rusch on the future of entertainment in the 21st century. The sad news is the closure of Cineworlds all over the UK and US. I’m not sure about the US, but I definitely went to Cineworld O2 Greenwich and Cineworld Wembley (for Kaabil and War), so I’ll miss them. I wonder where I’ll be able to watch another movie in a theater – I stopped going in Rome because they closed all the theaters that showed original versions except a couple, now I’ll have to stop going to London too? Sigh.

Anyhow, this pairs quite well with this other article on how 5G and big data are ushering in a wider technological revolution. So more changes a-coming.

The 20th century is dead. The way we communicate, the way we learn and work, the way we are governed. We’re on a sharp trajectory into the new age of technology and communications. Current and past methods of working are quickly becoming obsolete, and it’s evident that this rapid change is in part due to the huge strides we’re making in mobile technologies and data.

I won’t miss the 20th century, mind you, but I kind of dread the inevitable change to a new technological dawn. Anyhow, we’ll see. After years of DayJob nightmares, I had my first CreativeJob nightmare about rights and copyright and contracts other messes. Might be because I had read the latest Writer Beware post, or because my family is as unsupportive as ever… Have a great week!

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