Wednesday Weekly Roundup

And for the third week in a row I was under 5K, but the yearly total is almost 450K. This week I hope to plunge back into writing, although I have a couple of books to edit/format/upload, but since I’m off DayJob, I should be able to up my wordcount and go back to my usual standards.

Last week I went to Lucca Comics and Games, so I was out of town from Wednesday to Sunday lunchtime. I started the new short story Sunday afternoon and should be almost done by now. I also thought what else to write in the next two weeks – things that will be published next year anyway.

For the rest of the year, unless writing for the Anthology Workshop, I’ll either go back to the Star Minds Lone Wolves (a couple more titles and the new team started with Mission #30 that is still unpublished) or Silvery Earth (I had ideas for a 5th Quests book, now I have another 3, so I could start working on another Quests book – or a Silvery Earth Heroine).

By the end of the week I’ll send off to Mighty Editor everything I wrote besides The Beast, or Torik’s story, like we call it between me and Mighty Editor, since at 95K it’s the longest Silvery Earth novel to date (beaten only by Star Minds the Trilogy). And “the rest” is over 50K, a batch of short stories and novellas to either submit to magazines or that will be published next year.

At the comicon, besides showing Silvery Earth Kids proof around (with no success, so I’ll be busy lettering the Italian version this week), I also went to a couple of workshops with a tax expert (yes, I found one, yay!). Unfortunately it seems laws in this country are even worse than I thought and they keep changing (our man mentioned the law changed 4 times in the past 7 years), so now I’m looking for someone living in a country with fixed laws to do business who is willing to adopt this grumpy old spinster! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Just kidding, but I see my independence (or the top of my mountain, like Michael Anderle calls it) going back a little more. I shall start working on some kind of plan soon, I doubt luck will come into play before the end of the year. Next year is next year and we’ll see!

I’ll do more experiments, probably sign up with Book Funnel and try group giveaways, or maybe trying to get a Bookbub or something. I don’t know, there’s still two months and some accounting to do before I make up my mind. It might not have been a bad year all in all, but still not a runaway success. Oh, well.

Besides taking pictures of cosplayers and steampunkers, I bought some indie comics and made some new connections. The weather was dreadful, it rained 2 days out of the 3 I spent in Lucca (Wednesday and Sunday were for travels), but it was a nice trip with my siblings (with Mom worried she’d lose us all on the way back, LOL! Moms…).

Among my booty, there was this English comic, Boylord: Genesis. I might have missed the Kickstarter, but I found it at the comicon and even have a drawing of awesome artist Manuela Soriani in my copy! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Like that reviewer says on Amazon, it’s a nice blend of fantasy and sci-fi.

Now back home, busy working on the non-existend business and creating more things while trying to clean up my house and throw away or resell stuff because I accumulated too many things and I want to move to a smaller place. I feel doing this physical cleaning of stuff kind of helps also cleaning my mind/spirit/soul and prepare me for what’s to come. I might be wrong – I’ve been wrong before and will be again – but at the moment it feels like the right thing to do.

Back to writing or formatting and wishing you a wonderful week! ๐Ÿ™‚ And if you’re NaNoWriMoing, happy writing! ๐Ÿ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup

Last week, while jotting down a couple of ideas in my moleskine, I saw an idea that suddenly appealed to me, so I interrupted what I was doing to write that contemporary short story of about 7K. With whatever I had added to the other project, last week clocked at over 8K written. Now I’m back to that other project, still contemporary, hoping to nail it by the end of the week.

On Sept.28th I tried uploading the Quests Box Set to D2D, but somehow couldn’t make their meatgrinder (however they call it, I know that term is the Smashwords one, LOL!) “read” the file correctly, so I had written to support for help. On Monday they got back to me when I had completely forgotten about it… anyhow, I managed to upload the file and this time it came out fine, so there you have it, the Quests Box Set with the new covers! ๐Ÿ™‚

During the weekend I was supposed to start lettering the strip of Silvery Earth Kids. But on Friday I went to Romics and talked to Bigio (whose comics and webstrips are only in Italian, unfortunately), showing him my Instagram account and he gave me some advice. So there you have it, new backgrounds on some strips (including Torik’s New Clothes, but I won’t show it yet, haha). And while preparing the squares for lettering, I found I had forgotten to color one. And that another had to be modified for the square size.

So in the end, no lettering, but hopefully I’ll manage next weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, since DeviantART has this Cosmic Corsair contest and I’m supposed to do another strip for another anthology, I’m thinking of going back to the Star Minds Kids and do something with them for both projects.

And the NaNo bundle is out! So if you’re looking for great writing books, go grab it now. And I have a name for my burnout – the critical voice again!

Thatโ€™s what the critical voice does. It makes writing hard, unpleasant, and something to be avoided, rather than embraced.

All of us who write face that. We just have different battles with our critical voices. Some writers battle the voice in the words on the page. Other writers battle the voice in the types of stories itโ€™s okay to tell. And apparently, some, like me, battle the voice on expectation of production.

I got “I hate everything I write” (but kept writing anyway, LOL!). Now I’m going to kill that bastard off. It had never really raised its ugly head before, so I’m sure I’ll get rid of it soon. Now, granted, I might lack the talent to be a successful author, but I’ll keep writing and learning and publishing more slowly until death! ๐Ÿ™‚

See how serendipity brings the right posts at the right time? Besides, I was trying to put together a document for my editor in November (after she does The Wanderers next week), and I kept finding short stories I wrote in the last three months (since I finished the novel) that I hadn’t put on my written list… so I did write quite a lot in spite of my critical voice.

And I even submitted some, and one passed the first step, now I’m waiting for the “second level” to decide if they buy it or not. If they don’t, I already know where to submit it next year (won’t open until February 2020). I had actually displaced a couple of anthos guidelines I had written stories for, so I had to go looking for them, and write the title of the story I plan to send them after Mighty Editor’s pass.

So, maybe I’m already climbing back up. It’s probably the start of my third writing phase (the second started around fifteen years ago, when I took the first craft workshops and learned about POV and other neat tricks), although I’ll have to read more fiction to better figure out readers’ expectations. I’m also considering collaborations, so this workshop on shared worlds is very timely! ๐Ÿ™‚

And then, summer is over, autumn is here and I feel much better! ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t have big plans for the end of the year, just keep trudging (writing and publishing also in Italian), and then we’ll see. I have the Anthology Workshop in February and then I’ll think about other writing trips. Maybe another writing retreat. I got a couple of flyers at Worldcon in Dublin, so we’ll see.

I hadn’t realized people are boycotting Kickstarter… but then I spared myself a Kickstarter stress. Again, maybe next year! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday

Here we go with some innovation/tech ramblings! ๐Ÿ™‚ I heard about Google Nest Hub Max and, boy!, was I creeped out! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I don’t know about you, but this facial recognition thingy still makes me uneasy. Although I might go to Milan to check an exibition called Training Humans, I still don’t want to see it in my home – or that of my friends.

I read an Italian article about the simulation inside the C-TOC, the IBM fully-operational Security Operations Center being driven around on a semi truck to provide education and support to professionals and consumers. It has apparently reached Italy and they did a demonstration of how it works. It also gave me some ideas for the next story, although I wasn’t thinking about a cyberattack, but the simulated disruptions might happen even in my story, so it was good inspiration! ๐Ÿ™‚

Someone shared how driverless cars might increase sex – and just the title made me think of Shan-leo, who lost his arm because he was busy with his girlfriend! ๐Ÿ˜‰ This story is in Star Minds Next Generation Diaries and not even a mighty Sire like him will ever be whole again! ๐Ÿ™‚ Not to mention the consequences for Izzy-lee… better or worse depends on your thought on life, death and immortality through technology!

I’m not totally against new tech, mind you, especially if it helps disabled people. And I already explored brain implants and telepathy in Brainwaves. And my many terraformed exoplanets might have some base in what is actually out there, since water was found for the first time on a “potentially habitable” planet. Maybe eventually I’ll be able to write hard SF, haha!

Since we’re talking future and futuristic, you heard about Matrix 4, right? I’ll have to rewatch The Matrix to complete the translation of Brainwaves, since I now know the English original almost by heart, but I don’t remember what the dubbed version said. So I might watch most of the movie in English and switch to Italian for that one scene.

Which one? “Ignorance is bliss” – as mentioned in the English version. Can’t for the life of me remember what it sounded like in Italian. And I had the VHS. It was the first Keanu movie I saw in theaters. Then I bought the DVD, discovered the original versions and now I can’t stand dubbed movies anymore. Meh.

Anyhow, another busy weekend re-uploading stuff coming up… Hope you have a better and more relaxed weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜€

A study says brain training shown to restore sharpness in older adults.ย  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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.ย The book mentions a novel by Valerio Massimo Manfredi about Spartans, so I downloaded the Kindle sample.

I read it and oh, my!ย 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.ย 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Don’t forget to check the Backstage Pass post on Sunday… I actually changed topic and postponed the difficult one to next month! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚


Writer Wednesday

No real writing last week, although I did start The Path of Dreams on Sunday, but I didn’t have time to type anything yet. One chapter down, but I don’t know the wordcount. Back on track today, though.

I slept at the Trinity College (the year of sleeping on campuses, and I didn’t even go to college or university, LOL!) and I walked all over the place because why not. I bought a rain poncho to protect myself and the backpack from the Irish rain, since I was outside more often than Edinburgh.

I went to three panels at Worldcon. One was cancelen, another I couldn’t get in. And the belly dance class lasted almost two hours instead of one. Boy, am I rusty! I should really do it regularly, my limbs coordination currently sucks. I better look for something in September…

Shoutout to the awesome bookseller Hodges Figgis who carried my books for five days and sold 6 out of 8! And I left the Moles anthology at the book swap, grabbing a novella in return that I read on the plane back – Genesis by S.E. Sasaki, quite a nice introduction to her world.

In Dublin I met with friends (both 20Books alumni and Italian friends, plus the woman who started me on Worldcons by suggesting I attend Chicon 7 and bought the last two books), explored the town (even with a Hop-on Hop-off bus to have a general idea), went to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and bought books, comics and DVDs.

Now I’m still quite shaken by the traveling (and guess who’s welcomed me back? The dreaded heat! AUGH!), but settling back in the routine. Still off day job until Sunday… Now hop off to the Infinite Bard for another free short story and have a great week!

Random Friday

So, before finishing the last chapter and writing the epilogue of The Path of Metal, I opted for some brainstorming while drawing instead of playing Bubble Witch Saga 3! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The result is another portrait of Da Muse (who may or may not be a grownup Torik, I was missing his Dhoom 2 looks, LOL!) and the discovery that I actually have a trilogy on hand.

The Paths Trilogy (The Path of Wood, The Path of Metal, The Path of Dreams) follows the Silvery Earth Kids some twelve years later in their adult years. Book 1 is about Torik, book 2 is about Adwin’s twin sisters, book 3 about Prince Lambert, now king, of course, although he loses his kingdom very quickly.

So I’m going to take the first 2 completed books to Dublin and start jotting down an outline for book 3, so I can start writing it as soon as I come back. Mighty Editor will be busy come mid-October, but my readers will have a trilogy for the Holidays (which might actually feel like a real fantasy novel of 100K, since I’m usually around 50K – 45K book 1 and 35K book 2 at the moment)!

And there will be also a paperback with the strip of the Silvery Earth Kids (are you following them on Instagram yet?) – with of course a prose version for the visually impaired – and hopefully a 2020 calendar. If you want a black&white preview of the strip, get An Interpretation of Moles, out now!

I might set up pre-order buttons whenever I have completed all three books and made the covers. Still tinkering with them, of course. I also want to redo a cover for the Star Minds Starter, but it’s not easy to find images that match my idea of the technological angel – even Phoenix Lu’s awesome art made his heart kind of too light, he has black hair, like Da Other Muse! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And that’s all for today! Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday

It should probably have been a different kind of post, one that I’ll elaborate more when I resume the Backstage Pass on the publisher’s page in September, but I’d like to ramble on my virtual casts. I mean, I already mentioned Da Muses who seem to be everywhere – although neither is in The Path of Wood, but that’s because it’s about Torik grown up, and he must look more or less like the child I’m drawing in Silvery Earth Kids! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Although I sort of cheated even in that strip. The previous strip, Me and Da Muses, had them both. When I did the character design for Silvery Earth Kids, I did keep a couple of things from Da Muses. Well, one, mostly: the hair. I changed the color, but Torik and Erwan have Da Muses’ hair.

When it came to “cast” for the grown-up version, I did find someone who could be Torik, but then everybody else was 3D rendering (usually by Ravven because she’s the best). Even the Path of Metal will have a cover by Ravven and I cast two of her 3D rendering characters as protagonists.

Not going to show my cover attempts yet, but the ramble is about casting and I wanted to mention how I found the twin protagonists’s younger brother on Yahoo, as I went to check my email. See this article about a teen who wasn’t hired because of his extreme hairstyle and became a model?

He’s the younger brother. He’s just perfect. I mentioned (in The Path of Wood) that the eldest and one of the twin girls have brown eyes like their father, and the other twin and the youngest have blue/grey eyes like their mother. He’s even the right age for my secondary world fantasy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

For Future Earth Chronicles I took random pictures from the internet (that of course I cannot share because copyright)โ€ฆ So even my casting process has changed through the years, LOL!

One last comment on my (usually famous) virtual cast: here’s what crushes on celebrities say about us (meaning middle-aged women, although I’m not really a Mom, but I guess I had some kind of Mom Crush…)! And, when I’ll be Diane Keaton’s age, if a Keanu Reeves walks to me, I’d definitely dump the Jack Nicholson in my life, unless it’s Keanu himself, of course! ๐Ÿ˜€

Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

EDITED TO ADD: I just saw in the dashboard that this is post #2300… and in a couple of months I celebrate 10 years of blogging… just sayin’! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Random Friday

Last Sunday Techie Bro called and asked if I wanted to go to a fantasy fair somewhere outside of Rome. We left at 2pm and went to Oriolo Romano, where there was this Pellicano Fantasy event. It was in the park of a villa, up in the hills, so it was much cooler than Rome!

If you stood in the sunshine it was hot, but under the trees it was almost perfect, with a cool breeze, and before the battery died (I still need to get used to a camera that needs recharging at home, not simply sliding in another AA battery or whatever) I managed to take nice shots of the woods that I may use for the background of The Path of Wood instead of a stock photo.

Yeah, I guess us creatives are always writing, LOL! By the way, check this post by a photographer, some things he says apply to writers as well (namely, stop trying to sell your books to other writers, you need to find your READERS!).

Anyhow, I also met a friend I hadn’t seen in ages, she used to do comics in the late 90s (when we had those photocopied zines), but not she does body painting.

She spent the whole afternoon painting images from the movie Legend on the body of a very young woman who wants to be a model while I wandered among the booths and stands. There were Vikings and medieval knights, cosplayers and steampunkers. There was a small horror section with a small house of terror (no, I didn’t go in, not a fan!).

There were the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Star Wars Italian fans, the Lord of the Rings gathering and even mermaids (and a merman) in the fountain. Oh, and Far West because of Bud Spencer and Terence Hill movies. We left at 7.30pm, definitely refreshed, and when I got home around 9pm I found it hotter than ever! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

So, here’s a short slideshow, a mix of pics taken with the camera (before it died) and the smartphone…

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Now don’t forget to grab a copy of An Interpretation of Moles, there’s even a paperback if you prefer dead-tree books! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s a lovely collection that includes some strips of Silvery Earth kids… and other awesome authors! Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday

Okay, I had to share this because I think it’s too cute. I’ll try to do also a 2020 Silvery Earth Kids Calendar, it will be available with the strip paperback. Meanwhile, here’s a preview with the (unedited) prose version for the visually impaired underneath.

Torik’s New Clothes

Torik got out of bed, washed his face, then grabbed his clothes. He put on his breeches and realized that not only the looked shorter than usual, but also he had trouble making them fit around his waist. Even his tunic looked kind of small for him.

“Mooom! My clothes have shrunk!” he complained.

“No, honey, you’ve grown up,” she replied patiently from the other side of the room. “You need new ones.”

“Oh.” Torik stared at his clothes, disappointed. He tried to squeeze in them anyway, and then checked his boots.

“My boots have shrunk too!” he whined.

“Wear sandals until we get you new ones,” his mother replied.

It was summer, after all. Although going to the forest with sandals wasn’t the best option.

Muttering under his breath, Torik laced on his sandals. They were kind of short too, but at least they didn’t squeeze his feet. The clothes were really uncomfortable, though.

“Can’t move, can’t breathe…” he grumbled.

“Here, take Dad’s old tunic for today,” his mother said, handing him the garment

Torik eagerly took off his own clothes and threw them on the bed. Dad’s tunic was so big, his hands vanished inside the long sleeves and it reached well below his knees. He could go out without breeches, though.

Feeling slightly ridiculous, Torik got ready for the day. Luckily he was spared wood-cutting and his mother took him to the tailor’s shop and then to the shoemaker.

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! ๐Ÿ˜€

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

How To Shorten Your Amazon Links

Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ˜‰


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