Random Friday


The heat is already frying my brain, so I don’t have much to say. I go out in the morning, come back for lunch time and just write.

So I’m just going to post this short comic about me and Da Muse and his stupid hats.

To see the original that prompted this, go to his Facebook page (or Twitter, or Instagram, or whatever… I’m only on Facebook, so…). Still have no idea if and when you’ll be able to read Da Strip! 🙂

Oh, and I watched ABCD, and recognized teacher Vishnu from ABCD2. Great choreographies, story okay. I haven’t seen the Hollywood equivalents such as Step Up, so I can’t compare…

Prepping for the weekend, lots of publishing stuff to do! Have a great weekend! 🙂

Random Friday


With special thanks to a Goodreads friend *waves at Jessica* I was introduced to the Diabolic Shrimp. It’s an authors network, but it’s also for readers.

The very kind Josh said that if I happened to know readers or writers, I should invite them to join the fun too. His words:

I’m adding a FREE opportunity to advertise your book that will only take a moment of your time.  If you are willing to share Diabolic Shrimp in FIVE social media posts or TEN individual messages to other people (readers or authors), then I will post your book in the footer of Diabolic Shrimp for a whole month.  This will include the cover picture, a two sentence description, and a link to the book landing page (see my example on Diabolic Shrimp).  This appears on every page of the site including the homepage.  I only have three spots available so please contact me at this email or on the site if you’re interested.  (This option is currently booked up until January 2018! L  I’m researching ways to free up more advertising space.  Just wanted you to be aware of it for the future.)

For the second feature, I’m creating a new drawing called the Shrimp Tank.  I will draw a ticket from the Shrimp Tank every month and buy a book from whoever is drawn (this is in addition to my monthly buy and the book I buy to give away to readers).  When you get a ticket entered into the Shrimp Tank, it stays forever, so everything you do builds your chances to be drawn over time.  There are several ways to get tickets (one of them is FREE).  You may have noticed I highlight an author’s novel each month.  If you buy that author’s novel, I put FIVE tickets into the Shrimp Tank for you.  I will place THREE tickets in if you buy another author’s book that I’ve also bought (it has a picture of me with their book on Diabolic Shrimp).  If you buy one of my (Josh Grant’s) novels, I put THREE tickets into the Shrimp Tank.  And if you’re all for the free option, either sharing Diabolic Shrimp in one social media post or individually messaging three people will get you ONE ticket (you can do this multiple times if you like).  You don’t need to provide proof of any of these things (Diabolic Shrimp is all about integrity), just email me and tell me what you did and provide your name so I can add you to the Tank.

Now, since he’s also a writer, I hope to have him soon on this very blog for an interview. If you wish to know more, hop here. And if you want to join, here.

In the meantime, I wish you a great weekend! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


Some writerly wisdom about books needing time to cook. Even mine are not always as immediate as they used to be. Yes, I’m still mostly a pantser, but since Technological Angel sometimes it takes me months before I start the actual writing. That’s why I decided beforehand which novels to write for the summer challenge – because they were already on my ToWrite list and ready to be jotted down.

I discarded one idea because I had a novella that was already almost a novel itself, so I postponed that one to after the summer. I knew I had to write the vampire novel during the summer anyway, I simply had to write it all in a month instead of two. Which is perfectly fine.

If I keep going like this, I might even be able to start it this month. Knowing I’d miss a week of writing in June, I chose a novella to expand as first novel, so it’s going quite well. I’m almost halfway through and if I can read it all in one sitting over the weekend to make the necessary adjustments (I’m aiming at the 17th, not this Saturday), then I can send it off with a few days to spare for the next one…

Busy writing summer, but since the heat is starting to show up, I’m very happy to just go home and write. And make covers. I like hiring other artists, but sometimes I like doing my own covers as well, so… Experimenting with transparent PNGs and art nouveau frames and stuff like that. It’s a Silvery Earth novel, of course! 😉

Patreon update! I decided to start uploading the rewards even if there are no patrons. So on the 5th of every month I’ll post the “5 things I learned” posts (one is already live) and on the 10th I’ll post the monthly free short story. At least people reaching the page now can see there’s stuff behind the  paid wall! 🙂 I know “curiosity killed the cat” but since you’re not cats (are you?), you’ll be fine… just poke around and see if you find anything you like! 😉

And if you like sci-fi, here’s another bundle of books… while you wait for the next one with yours truly, of course! 😉 Should be out July 4th, the mighty Bundle Rabbit is working on it (and changing stuff around so when I get to the dashboard I go “AUGH!” like Lucy Van Pelt. I’ll get used to it! ;)), just stay tuned. If you like giving to charities, go to Story Bundle (or other curators on BR, I honestly don’t pick a charity since I’m in Italy and I wouldn’t know which one to pick).

And where are we going with e-books? Check Amazon’s latest… I don’t mind a moving cover – I had considered it myself and thought it would be cool on e-books – but everything else… nyeh. They say I can switch that off… well, I have an old Kindle Keyboard, so I doubt it would work anyway. And I certainly won’t use the laptop version (or the smartphone… that small screen makes me want to scream most of the time!)…

But well, maybe younger readers will enjoy that. Although… can this still be considered a book? The EU had decided for lower VAT on e-books, but if they’re like that, can they still be considered books? Mini-movies? What? Who knows. On DeviantART they were already doing motion comics, but this is something else.

And Mighty Zon is still in trouble – it might be customer-friendly but it’s really pissing off authors and publishers. And soon even customers will feel cheated by the fake books that climb the Amazon charts. Don’t put all your eggs in their baskets is still sound advice. I’m still toying with their AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) but it’s probably my last attempt in that department too.

Random Friday


To complete May wordcount, I wrote another 5100 words in the last three days, so I’m pretty confident I can finish those three novels in three months. Here’s my prepping calendar with the (very few) trips on it – but then I’m the one who vanishes in the summer because it’s too hot to do anything besides writing at home, haha!

I watched Bamako and it’s an interesting take on Africa, with the trial within the story. They don’t often talk about themselves, so it was a window on that side of the world where  I’ll never go because it’s a warm country so it’s not on my map of travels (I really made a huge exception for India! 😉 But I’d move to a northern country anytime)…

It was a pleasure to see Aissa Maiga again (saw her in Bianco e Nero that I may have mentioned somewhere on this blog years ago – when one has such an old blog, it becomes a hassle to search things in it, LOL!), since she’s not only very talented, but also very beautiful IMHO.

I’ll have to make her a black princess on Silvery Earth sometime – maybe in the coming novel? Oh, wait, I do have a black warrior woman there… mmmm… Have a great weekend! 😀

Writer Wednesday


While cleaning the spam comments I found an old post of mine from 2010… Let’s see how things have changed since!

Anyway, here are my six:

1) Find an agent

2) Publish a novel (first step of MANY :-D)

3) Start the Silvery Earth web page

4) Become a best selling author in my genre

5) Write and publish all those Silvery Earth novels/stories/graphic novels (for that staircase, the sky is the limit! ;-))

6) Quit the day job and live of my writing (and I’m not greedy, I only want to be able to quit the day job).

#1 Nope. No thanks. No longer looking for that.

#2 Done. First of many as advertized. I started publishing in 2011, but I do not wish to count how many are novels or collections or whatnot. That’s almost 150 titles to check, so… just gone and done it! 😉

#3 Even better, I have Unicorn Productions web-page, with all the books in all the series and genres and languages and whatnot! Yay! This happened in 2015…

#4 Er… still working on that… And even though I definitely love SFF, I’m also tackling other genres lately, so… maybe I haven’t found my true calling yet! 😉

#5 Done and even added the Star Minds series and the Vampires Through the Centuries and the Body Switches

#6 Still working on that one too. By the way, I tinkered with the Patreon rewards again, since it was too complicated having tiers with the same amount. Would you prefer a Paypal Donate button? 😉

Moving on! Wordcount for May is 32K, not counting this week. I also spent almost a week doing non-writerly things so I’d be ready for the Novel Challenge starting tomorrow. So hopefully in the next three months I’ll write a lot more because a) I have a challenge and b) it’s the summer, it’s too hot to be outside, hence more time to stay in and write! 🙂

Last week I formatted all the ebooks that will come out this summer, did the covers and so on – I only have one story that will go to the proofreader on Monday and will come out in August, but I’ll tinker with that cover during the upcoming long weekend (June 2 is national holiday in Italy) and since it’s a novella, it won’t take me long to format it for publication.

Still two more authors’ interviews for the Fantasy bundle, then I’ll introduce the Sci-Fi bundle coming in July. Still waiting for Worldcon to let me know my schedule, but I hope to have a panel or three. At least I’m in the list of the Also Appearing now, yay! 🙂

Have a great week! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


I have added a couple of rewards (at the lower tiers) for writers. So if you’d like to hear some tips or experiences or other writerly stuff by yours truly, you can do so by supporting me on Patreon. If you’re just a reader who enjoy my fiction (bless you), you have even more choices. Either way I’d greatly appreciate it, even if you pledge only 1$ a month! 🙂

Last week of may and I’m prepping for the Novel Challenge while writing a fan fiction – clearly a crossover between vampires mythologies! 😉 I won’t say anything about it, but anyone familiar with my vampires will recognize my submission when it goes live. The voting is anonymous, so feel free to vote for somebody else, LOL!

This week writerly links. A hot steaming sack of business advice for writers by Chuck Wendig. Although I should take him off my blogroll, since he enjoys hunting unicorns. The Lady of the Unicorn, here, can’t really allow that, can she? 😉 And you probably all know that I don’t agree on anything about agents, but if that’s your thing…

I’m still studying the series about branding. That homework is tricky, though. It will need some percolating in my slow mind. I think I said 2011 was the year of the Sloth, but this year things got even worse, haha! 🙂 I have worked on a cover this weekend, and I’m keeping the fonts consistent for the series and sub-series (like you can see in the Silvery Earth trailer, each sub-series had a different font and frame).

If you still need some motivation, and while you wait for my own post on the topic (I hope I can write my own in 3 to 5 years, but I’m not there yet, haha!), here’s 20 things learned from writing full-time for three years. Wait, I actually do write full time (except for those wasted hours at the part-time office chair), but I don’t earn a living from it… mm, complicated stuff.

Anyway, if you need a boost on productivity but don’t want to pay an online workshop, that post is excellent advice. And don’t get depressed when you read “You’re going to get hacked!” or someone’s frustration and disappointment. Re: Amazon (I guess that author went through this Amazon Alert and decided to back out of it) I also had problems with them in the past.

When I was publishing SKYBAND with Lulu, I had someone selling it on Amazon without buying it from me at 100$ (a 10$ single issue) and the representatives weren’t really helpful. One of my ebooks is still in Draft form because they didn’t receive my copyright ownership and had blocked my KDP account.

Life is too short to worry about pirates and Amazon and whatnot. Like I said more than once, I might one day give up publishing and start another kind of business, keeping my writing private and/or for my few readers. One day. I’m still trying to think long term. It can’t be considered a career until 10 years have gone by, and they have not. Not yet. They’re flying by, but I still have a few years of experiments and attempts at finding my readership.

Ending on a non-writerly note because Da Muses’ alerts were kinda funny lately for opposite reasons. One is reknown for his immortality (yeah, right) hence the only 50+ worth watching and the other was given for dead at 43… I’m sorry I missed that Facebook hoax! 😀

Hoping I made at least the ladies smile with the last paragraph, I wish you a wonderful week! 🙂

Random Friday


From Dave Farland’s newsletter – Science fiction fans, please take this survey! I did, even though I admit I had trouble finding books in those categories… but I’m not a strong sci-fi reader. Not yet! Now I even downloaded the Hugo nominees, but I don’t know when I’ll be able to read them. And I’m supposed to vote. Sigh.

I had my fangirl moment when I received Colleen Doran’s envelope… I donated that money 2 years ago, I think! I knew she was sending out stuff now, but still it was a wonderful surprise! 😉

And to finish on total randomness… I watched another DVD inbetween stories. La graine et le mulet (a.k.a Couscous) was an interesting take on immigrants – north-Africans in France to be clear. A very realistic movie, kinda slow (actually, very slow, 2h30 of close-ups…) with a not so clear ending that left me a little disappointed.

It made me realize how too many close-ups are jarring, and I’ll try to remember it when I write, since I also tend to focus on the character(s) and forget the setting. Might have been because none of the characters had an interesting (for me) face I could just watch even if it were a still picture or maybe it’s totally true that it’s better to back off some time to give the reader a better view.

And the belly dance at the end… a twenty-year-old with such a belly bump made me wonder if she was pregnant, and if that was part of the movie! Too many unanswered questions in this “slice of life” story for my tastes… And I was falling asleep on the extras, so I just gave up on the whole thing, haha!

Have a great weekend! 😀

Random Friday


On the long weekend of May 1st, I finally found the time to unwrap and watch Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata that I bought, like, 10 years ago in Turin but hadn’t dared watching for its length. Being a TV mini-series, it’s structured in three parts, so I managed to watch the three chunks during the weekend.

Besides the fact that the only Indian actress is Mallika Sarabhai playing Draupadi (and having watched the extras where she explained what the Mahabharata means to Indians and how she made sure no Indian would be ashamed of this work), and that the writer and director stuck to a very teatrical version (it’s based on a stage-play, and in spite of what the director says in the extras, they didn’t really take advantage of the slightly different media – even though it was 1989, the could have had better VFX… 😉 ), I have my own “version” in mind, the abridged, illustrated version of my childhood that was pretty much lost in that version, except for a scene or two.

“Indian Tales”

And even those scenes that reminded me of that old version – take the fight of Bhima with Hidimba… in the movie the exile is with Draupadi, in my book, as you can see from the illustration to the left, the exile is with his brothers (only 2 of them, without the twins present in the movie) and his mother…

Not to mention the international cast feels like watching Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing where Denzel is Keanu’s brother… half-brother… whatever, I doubt Shakespeare had a black man in mind when he wrote it (nothing at all against Denzel, since he’s a wonderful, great, actor, I just thought he was miscast in that movie, but that’s just me! 😉 ).

I also found it quite colorless… definitely not like a Bollywood movie, haha! 😀 And again, it felt like a filmed stage-play, more than a TV-movie or 6-hours-long film.

Now, I understand it’s no easy feat to adapt the epic, since it has so many versions and it’s so convoluted. I’ll probably watch the Indian version that will come out in a couple of years too, regardless of who will be in it, just out of curiosity, but still… I’m not Indian, but I have my own idea of what that story is, so I might be disappointed again! 😉

Have a great weekend! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


While on the train to Milan I had plenty of time to think (and to read, but that’s a topic for another post) and tried to express how my way of writing changed in the 21st century. So here goes:

Before 2015: first drafts (or Draft Zero like I called them) were written longhand with almost no corrections by the seat of my pants. I did the research (ex. for historical novels) and then wrote. Then I typed everything in the computer, rewriting as needed so that I’d have a clean draft. I type with 10 fingers, so that wasn’t the hard part. There were no hard parts, since I’ve been a one-draft writer for the whole 20th century and started redrafting only after reading that I was supposed to do that. Wordcount was available only after publication at that point.

After 2015: I started typing Draft Zero and cycling through the first draft. I had a writing netbook with internet access and could stop and Google anything from a translation, a word check to anything else needed. Then I synched with Laptop through Dropbox. I was then able to figure out how much I wrote every year in real time. Like I said in previous posts, I wrote 450K in 2015 and 470K in 2016.

Now Netbook is dead, so the same applies to Laptop. Except it has considerably slowed me down, especially with contemporary or historical works, because I’d stop and fact-check for almost every scene. What might have been quick with SFF became a longer process, mostly because I can’t read on screen and need to print out and highlight manually.

I love ebooks, but not for non-fiction/research. So I might be less productive this year, but hopefully I’ve reached the upper lever of storytelling. Sometimes I wonder if that happened because I switched languages and stopped rewriting old stuff. And I don’t want to turn off the internet while I write because I use Google translator a lot – and all that research helped me expand my English vocabulary.

When I translate books into Italian, things I wrote even two years ago (when I abused of online generators… ahem…), I cringe. Hopefully when I start translating the latest works, I won’t cringe anymore. And I hope the change it’s not too obvious in series like Vampires Through the Centuries (even though all the books are standalone so far)!

What I mean is – you need to find what works for you, and it might change through the years. I have learned a lot since I joined the indie world and will keep learning. Whether it’s the new language or simply that I started learning again (I will freely admit that I was pretty static in Italian, but in English I had to find my voice, and it’s not exactly the same as it used to be – at least from one of my Italian first reader’s perspective).

I won’t take Dean’s challenge because I already have too many stories to write this year on my list – going “pick me! Pick me!” – and I don’t think they’re all short stories. I mean, I know I can write 30 stories in 30 or 60 days if I put my mind to it, but now is not the right time. I am already prolific, I don’t need this to write more! 😉

I’m leaving you with some writerly links – Chuck Wendig’s advice after 5 years and 20 books: 25 lessons (special mention #1 and #5, the latter being what I discussed above). David Farlands tips – One Impossibility (to keep in mind when writing SFF, haha!). 14 sites for book cover design @Digital Reader. And more business advice from Kris Rusch.

Oh, and I found a neat marketing blog for indie authors that has both podcasts and written posts! Studied the written parts (podcasts don’t hold my attention, unfortunately) and will try to apply some to that ugly beast called Marketing… Take this post on why FB needs to do something with those darn pages! Until a few years ago, FB gave the option of choosing if one wanted to be herself or the author.

This no longer applies. I was able to attend a FB party a couple of years ago *waves at Joleene* because I simply switched to the author ID. This year it was a nightmare and my private profile showed up a couple of times. Also, this year I’ve seen an option to create groups from the page. But the page still can’t join groups except the one she/it creates…

More coming bundles: Writers bundle @Storybundle and Faery Summer bundle coming soon @Bundle Rabbit. Now I’m heading back to my writing cave to ponder the next bundle and write the next story… Have a great week! 🙂

 

Random Friday


So, the Easter weekend I needed a break from the publishing and some inspiration for the writing… hence I started on the DVDs ToWatch pile. First I watched Monsoon Wedding. Mira Nair was Indian cinema for me before Gurinder Chadha and the discovery of Bollywood. I loved her movies, but stopped following her more or less when MW came out in 2001.

I found it at 3£ in London last year, and I’m glad I saw if now… After visiting Delhi and so many more movies with Indian weddings and KNPH (which I would have totally missed back then – a movie called “kaho naa…” what?). I definitely liked it, and enjoyed the extra with the director talking about the Punjabi community of Delhi…

Then I watched Bhaji on the Beach, another 3£ DVD from last summer, another Gurinder Chadha dramedy. Definitely the end of 20th century, with no cell phones and no internet to distract us! And I liked all the intertwined stories of the various women of various ages and their interactions with men – both British and Indian.

I also re-watched Target for inspiration, and then managed to finish the story! 😉 Although Target is definitely an 80s movie. Some nostalgia hit – no cell phones, no internet, how did we survive that? 😉 Well, we’re Generation X, I guess! Or, like my friend Fulvio says, we’re unique (he’s not totally a Millennial and I’m not totally a Baby Boomer, and we’re not Gen.X either… but then, we’re Jedi twins – 18 years apart! 😉 LOL)…

Anyhow, have a great weekend! 😀

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