Random Friday


Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

We have a couple today, so let’s start with the man! Tell me a little about yourself

I was born as Ajay, but at twenty-two I earned my assassin’s name, Talwar. The Assassins’ Guild of Agharek has become a closed, secret sect, hence I’m not supposed to utter that name outside of it.

Art by Rossana Beretta

Don’t worry, we already heard that name… in Saif and Kilig! Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Tall, dark hair and eyes, tawny skin.

Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

My cousin Rajiv a.k.a. Khopesh who is too full of himself. He’s a bully and he’ll never forgive me for the fact that I marked him with the seal of Zindagi.

Readers can see that years-long grudge also in Fighting Monks School, a novella included at the end of Kilig the Sword… Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

Yes to both! I’m an assassin, but I worship Zindagi, Goddess of Life, thus I will never kill unless it’s absolutely necessary – and protecting loved ones falls in that category. My life is meaningless without them, so of course I’m ready to die.

Where do you live?

I was born in Agharek, but after my fight with Khopesh, I crossed what is left of the southern kingdoms and found refuge in Godwalkar.

Which is where Kilig was born and lived… Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

My childhood friend Ashrita a.k.a. Khanda has become a beautiful, lethal woman – and she wants me. Who on earth could resist her? She’s the reason for my fight with my cousin and well worth dying for.

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Take ourselves safely away from our powerful family influence to live as we please, not having to kill, following someone else’s orders.

Thank you, Talwar! Let’s hear your beautiful companion, then. Tell me a little about yourself (name, age…)

I was born Ashrita, but I earned my assassin’s name, Khanda, one year in advance. I was so eager to see Ajay again that I was the best of my course! So, even though I’m one year younger, we became assassins at the same time.

Art by Rossana Beretta

Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Long black hair, ice-blue eyes, voluptuous body (in everybody else’s words).

What is your relationship with the protagonist?

We grew up together, but then his father sent him to study at the monastery of Zindagi. I missed him very much and thank the gods he hasn’t changed too much in seven years…

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

He’s still my proud and shy friend, and I’m glad we eloped and got married to start a life away from our families.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I can talk to birds. A fortune teller once told me I have Sila blood, whatever that means…

***

Check out the story of Talwar and Khanda – Assassins in Love.

After his initiation ceremony that has taken him away from the monastery of the fighting monks of Zindagi, Talwar becomes an assassin – and hates every moment of it. His childhood friend has also become a female assassin with the secret name of Khanda and she has always had a crush on him.

Can the two rebellious assassins get away from their families and the Guild’s traditions to leave in peace following their own heart? A journey through the former southern kingdoms of Silvery Earth.

E-book available on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, DriveThruFiction, Kobo and Smashwords.

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Writer Wednesday


Welcome to Writer Wednesday, where I dispense my weekly writer’s wisdom… not! 🙂 I don’t have real wisdom to pass on, but since I was asked something that really grates on my nerves, I thought I’d give the long answer here. Warning: YMMV or each and everyone of us has a different answer to this.

It all started on Goodreads:

GRquestion

Now, the long answer – and my advice to young writers – is: if you write to the market or to make money, if that’s success to you, you’re in the wrong business. If you want a career as a writer, you must write what you love.

And, by the way, a career happens while you’re busy living. You can work towards it by setting realistic goals – which means something you can control. Your writing output, you can control it. Selling a million copies? That’s beyond your control. It’s a dream, not a goal.

Sure, dream big, but set realistic goals to reach that dream. Decide early on what’s success to you: finishing a story? Putting it out there (trad, self or indie)? Buying yourself a coffee with the first royalty check from a retailer? Writing all the stories that come to mind? Make those darn characters in your head shut up?

I was lucky to grow up before the internet, I guess. I’ve been writing for almost 40 years (my first story dates back to Summer 1978) and of course more than half of it sucks and will never be published, but at least I have a routine, I have fun and have no critical voice because nobody ever told me I was supposed to do this or that to write a literary masterpiece. I was a one-draft-writer for almost twenty-five years! 😉

So now, even when I “rewrite”, it’s to adjust plot holes or change the ending or a scene because I came up with a better one. It’s definitely not polishing, which means I’m still fairly prolific. I write the story, I reread it, correct it, send it to proofreader and out it goes into the wild.

How do I measure my success? By the fact that 5 years into my indie publishing life

  1. sales are very slow, but growing
  2. I’m still writing what I want to read
  3. I even stopped “recycling” old stories because I have so many new ideas!
  4. I’m still learning craft and business
  5. I’m still having fun writing new stories

In another ten years I’ll look back and go “Wow, look at my career!” So, if you want to be a professional writer with a career, you can’t

  1. write to the market
  2. hope to strike the jackpot with a couple of books
  3. quit after 1 or 10 books

Quitting is the end of your career along with unrealistic goals.

Now go and have some online workshops on craft and business either at David Farland’s or Dean Wesley Smith’s. I’m currently finishing Teams in Fiction and it gave me an idea for a series I might write when I’m done with the current Silvery Earth and Star Minds stories (all brand new) and inbetween the Vampires Through the Centuries books (that come out 2 a year, 1 novel + 1 novella).

And by the way, it’s okay to change in course during your writing life. I’m another writer who writes during major holidays because people are too busy with their life and their family to bother me, so beyond the customary lunch or dinner with aging parents, I’m free to do as I please! 😉

Now I better go back to Norman Blood… Then some Kaylyn’s rewrites will be in order to adjust it to the other story! Have a great week! 😀

 

Sunday Surprise


Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

Cinder Boy_resizeSo, you must be the gorgeous guy on the cover of the book! Tell me a little about yourself!

Book? *stares blankly at her* My name is Rohan and I’m in my twenties, but they keep calling me Cinder Boy. I supposedly own a manor at the edge of the forest, but my stepmother will never allow me to take my late father’s place!

Oh, why do we always have evil stepmothers in fairy tales? *snorts* Let’s move on. Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

I’m tall, well built, with blue eyes.

Yes, we can see that! *chuckles* Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

I have my stepmother and my stepbrothers who are doing their best to keep me out of my father’s legacy… they treat me like a servant in my own house!

Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

I don’t have anyone left. My mother died when I was a child, my father remarried that bitch and then passed away… But if I could, I’d enter the service of the king and do my best to protect the royal family.

Where do you live?

In a manor not far from Ker Noran, a small northern kingdom on the shore of the River Wated.

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

Unfortunately no. I’m not allowed to go to the castle anymore. I live a very solitary existence.

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Finding my father’s weapons and armor to attend the tournament for the return of Prince Kurtis, so I can show the world my worth even though I was never officially knighted.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I have found a pond of warm water in the forest. I like to go there and bathe and relax after the day chores. It’s my secret place, so don’t tell anyone.

I won’t! Although the readers can admire you doing just that on the book cover, LOL! But let me get to the next guest… Another handsome young man, trust me! Tell me a little about yourself, my lord.

Prince Kurtis of Ker Noran. I’m twenty-nine, but since I decided I will not get married, my father will pass the throne to my younger brother Ewan.

Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Tall, strong and dark-haired.

What is your relationship with Rohan?

Coming back from Moriana where I’d spent three years, I saw that gorgeous young man bathing in a forest pond very close to my father’s castle. Pity he’s probably just a servant and I’m very busy catching up at Ker Noran, but as soon as things calm down, I’ll claim him.

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

I wouldn’t mind a relationship with Rohan, he looks very sweet. You might have guessed by now that I don’t want to marry because I prefer men… but so far my relationships haven’t lasted!

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Finding out who the Nameless Knight is, and then getting to Rohan’s heart.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I have Waiora friends. They’re members of one of the Magical Races, they’re water people. One of them was my first male lover and we’re still friends.

Cinder Boy buy links

Writer Wednesday


And since the first June sales was on DriveThruFiction, I thought I’d make a new banner for them… there you have it, with the new title on the side. Soon all three in a single book with printed version. I only need to order a cover for it, so stay tuned! 🙂

DTFscreenshot

Now, about the short story that became a novel a.k.a. current WiP. Book 1 and 2 are done and out to editor. But I have more ideas for Quests, so I might write another two books. Final titles are The Path of Water (Book 1) and The Path of Fire (Book 2) and I have ideas for The Path of Air (Book 3) and maybe The Path of Ether (Book 4) and The Path of Earth (Book 5). Some of you might recognize the Immortals of the eponymous books.

In the meantime I’m back to the Southern Kingdoms for more tales, some sprang out of Book 2, some came up as sequels of something I have already written, some were still in idea form, and some are a wrap up of the southern kingdoms with Books of the Immortals – Air.

I guess I’m busy for the rest of the summer with Silvery Earth, LOL! I’m still toying with the Quests covers, but for now I’ll keep all the illustrations under wraps, so you’ll have to make do with the first three.

Cinder Boy_resizeAnd of course the third fairy tale revisited as m/m romance is out! Here’s Cinder Boy in all his glory… guess which fairy tale is retold here…

Now I’m ordering a cover for all the fairy tales revisited, so that after the summer I can make a volume that will include Beautiful, Colors and Cinder Boy.

I shall hire a new artist, so you’ll see the results then. By the way, Sir Wendigo did a great job for the cover of Male Lovers of Silvery Earth volume 2, featuring Nerian and Riander from Colors, but again, you’ll have to wait until after the summer! 🙂

Sooner than that, you can admire Silvano Beltramo‘s covers for the Tales of the Northern Kingdoms, and Cristina Fabris‘s covers for the Tales of the Southern Kingdoms – at least in ebook form. All POD are to be made after the summer.

And soon I shall reveal Shafali Anand‘s cover for Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness as well, so stay tuned. I’ll set up the assetless pre-order button for that one, even though pre-orders haven’t done much for me in the past, but you never know. Mark Coker insists it’s a way to the best sellers lists, but whatever… 😉

Cautionary tale for indie writers – sneaky money grabs. Hope none of you was with Booktrope! Yes, it’s not just traditionally published writers who should beware these days… sigh! And what exactly makes a damn good story? I’ll let the experts speak…

I’m quite happy with having almost reached Pulp Speed 1 with my wandering, questing characters, haha! In fact I’m dreading taking a few days off writing at the end of the month… that Ground Effect in writing is great!

Now I better upload a couple more titles to Bundle Rabbit and get back to work – I even started another online workshop, so… busy June, onward! 🙂 Have a great week!

Saturday post


Since this week is screwed anyway with three posts in a row, I thought I’d do one on Saturday instead of Friday. And since it’s not a usual day for a post, I’ll do an unusual post – the maps post! 🙂

I’m working on the tales of the northern kingdoms, so here’s a little chronology of the most wandering characters – Beautiful, Prince Splendor and Quests.

First is Beautiful, set in the year 1350 – same map as the upcoming Lovers, but Rithvik and Kerrien seem to wander a lot more, or better, they make a journey that can be followed on a map.

Beautiful_resizeThen we have Prince Splendor that is set twenty years later (1370), and the borders are more or less the same, the itinerary slightly different.

P&A_resizeFinally we have Quests. It’s set in 1405 and as you can see, the borders are shifting. Soon the Varians and the Blackmore will start the long war that will end with the birth of the Varian Empire (see full chronology).

Quests_resizeHere’s the complete journey, improvised as I wrote along that brought the wordcount up to 40K almost. I hope to finish this weekend, like I said, but simply looking at the map made for an excellent plot of the heroes’ journey! 😉

And… little spoiler! See the yellow arrow? Yes, I’ll be soon writing more tales of the southern kingdoms with two very special half-bloods visiting them! 🙂

All the maps are by the awesome Federico Distefano, although the writing and the itineraries are added by yours truly. They’re like the real maps of Silvery Earth where the Sila draw them and the Genn put in the writing (although I’m afraid he doesn’t have wings and I don’t have pointed ears)! 😉

Have a great weekend! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


charioteer-of-buddha_resizeSo, Kaylyn is done and going out to betas… They should get back to me by June, so in July I have time to revise and in August I can go to the London public libraries if I need to fact-check something! I already booked the editor for September, when I’ll set up the pre-order button on Amazon with a temporary manuscript. The other pre-order button will be set up as soon as I have the cover.

As for Charioteer of Buddha, I’m giving it away for free with the next newsletter, so if you haven’t subscribed yet, do it now. I will put the coupon for a free download from Smashwords in the newsletter. The newsletter will go out May 2, so you’ll be immediately able to claim the e-book. If you’d like to support me instead, pre-order it now for 2.99$. The price will go up to 4.99$ by Friday 5.

I keep thinking the online workshop is going badly, and then it’s not. If you’d like another point of view on WMG Publishing workshops watch this testimonial. I bow to an author who is not camera-shy like me. And I may be biased with these workshops, since when I grow up I want to be like Dean and Kris! 😉 (as if I were a youngster still, LOL!)

Anyhow, this workshop will be percolating in me for the next few months, like the others did. I shall work on this week assignment this afternoon, since until yesterday I was busy finishing a new Amazons story that sprang to mind when I thought about me and Da Muse – so there you have it, an Amazon painter and her muse, haha! Wait until next month and you’ll be able to read it!

TodayPeople_resizeAnd another title is out, a collection of all the contemporary stories I’ve written so far, both with the discarded pen name and the main one. Today People will come out in print as soon as I get the proof and check the interior (I already know I screwed the cover, LOL!) – which should happen today, thus I won’t start on a new story until tomorrow.

So making plans for the next month: back to Silvery Earth both to complete the Tales of the Northern Kingdom and to tell more stories of Amazons and Varian Emperors – which means a time gap in the history of about six centuries between Kingmakers and the fall of the Varian Empire. Sometimes it’s like writing historical novels, you have to check you’re not contraddicting yourself with something you wrote in another story! 😉

Also, coming soon and unmissable sci-fi bundle. Subscribe now to be notified when it will go live – but I’ll make sure to remind you it is, since I’m in it! 🙂 Limited time offer with nine other wonderful sci-fi authors… go grab it on May 1st! 🙂

And that’s all for now… I think you’ll have an Art Friday, so stay tuned! 😀 Have a great week!

Sunday Surprise


Quick update on Kaylyn… 26K in, more than halfway, BUT I had to skip a chapter. I need to check the Travels of Marco Polo for some details, since the one chronicle in readable language isn’t enough. Enough Olde English and medieval Latin for now! 😀

Tomorrow I will have to go back and write the visit of China, at the court of Kublai Khan, then I can resume the story after Chittor and the meeting with Rajveer, which I have completed with a couple of deleted scenes from the very first version.

Onward now to the rest of the story! The mythology of my vampires is considerably expanding from Rajveer’s book, haha! Hope I don’t lose track of everyone! 😀

Writer Wednesday


So last week I finished expanding the former graphic novel that is also a fairy tale revised (without the m/m factor). Currently adding words to Colors (Snow White slashed), a.k.a. the new ending (two more chapters, much like I did with Beautiful that went from short story to novel, LOL!). It will probably still be a novella or a very short novel, but whatever… I always end up rewriting the ends these days! 😉

Which is totally fine, by the way. Then I need to write the prose version of another old graphic novel before the end of the month, so in February I can move to something else – namely my vampires historicals and contemporary stories.

And I will format and upload a new title this weekend, so stay tuned for more Tales of the Northern Kingdoms. The editor wanted to surcharge me for breaking her heart with this one, so I hope other people will enjoy this old story revised! 🙂

This weekend I’ll also be working on more POD, but it will be the Italian editions that I plan on moving from Lulu to Createspace. Not that I sell many, but at least with Createspace they’re available on Amazon and I can do the Match Book thing.

Next month I will do the Createspace edition of whatever is left on Lulu in English (namely, the Books of the Immortals and the Tales of the Southern Kingdoms, starting with the Books of the Immortals, since I want new covers on the southern kingdoms books).

As for writing, I have a slightly clearer idea and priority list, but it’s still quite shady in the second half of the year. I jotted down all the stories I’d like to write/redraft and will also have to plan my vacations by the end of February, so maybe next month the picture will be complete.

I still have to color Samantha the Witch and the Desi Vampire. I’m thinking of putting the no-text pages on DeviantART, but still have to figure out how to publish the 18pages comics. And I’m getting new ideas as well… but that’s for next post! 🙂

Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday


Hello beautiful people who keep showing up. This is a writer’s blog and this is a writing post! 😉

Yesterday I was checking through an old story to see if I had a description of a town I’m reusing in a story – my series is based on the world of Silvery Earth throughout its history, hence the need to reference to places I have already used in other stories – and noticed a “shocking” thing: I ended a chapter on a cliffhanger!

So it wasn’t all crap after all! I don’t do this anymore because it irritates me, but obviously I used to do it. Which tells me that maybe I could redraft some of those old stories after all. They need a lot of meat to meet the new standards, but they’re not totally hopeless! 🙂

So eventually I’ll get down to rewrite the stories of the Moren Empire, adapting it to Silvery Earth. Originally it was classical high fantasy with elves and dwarves, but turning it into a Silvery Earth “cycle” might be a good thing. When I’m done with the Tales of the Northern Kingdoms that spawned after the death of the last Moren Emperor, that is! 😉

Currently rewriting and expanding an old graphic novel that was also a fairy tale revisited (without the m/m aspect of the latest works) and adding more to Colors, the Snow White-slashed story I started in December. Having heard from the betas, I came up with a different ending, which is not at all unusual for me. That’s how Beautiful went from short story to short novel! 😀

And how Rajveer was rewritten as well… but that’s why I love my beta-readers. Their comments help to make my stories better. They force me to think about what I’ve poured out and make sense of it! A very special thanks (in totally random order) to B-Abby, Lissa, Linda, Camila, Tori, Joleene, Nikalee, Jeff, Shafali and whoever else happened to read a story of mine before publication and comment on it! 🙂

A random selection of links for other writers who happen to stop by:

Penguin Random House and Author Solutions (Davig Gaughran) i.e. writer beware, beware and beware some more.

Starting Late (Dean Wesley Smith) which goes well with this guest post by CD Reiss. Starting late or 20 (like her) or 40 (like me) years ago doesn’t change a thing – as long as you don’t quit. Quitting is the only thing that can stop you from achieving success.

Reactive Business model (Kris Rusch) and if you’d like to sign up for a writers’ workshop, check WMG Publishing online and offline workshops – I can vouch for both, worth every penny…

Have a great week! 🙂

Sunday Surprise


My name is Brenda de Zorig and I’m a journalist for the Konigtown Gazette. I’ve been on the road for years as an actress in an itinerant company, but eventually decided to go back to my hometown to start living of the thing I like the most – writing. So while I write my Masterpiece, I took this job at the Gazette and they send me on various assignments… I thought I might as well starting interviewing random people. Since I intend to write fiction, but truth is always stranger than fiction, I’m eager to hear about people out there – on my world or beyond.

We have two people here today… Two handsome, mysterious men… Let’s start with the younger. Tell me a little about yourself

My name is Zafar Nagarkar, but the galaxy got to know me as Zaphadin, the king of music. I’m thirty-five now and I retired from the spotlight – at least with that stage name. I might come back with my real name for other artistic endeavors. I love dancing and singing, but I’m a complete entertainer, so I wouldn’t mind try acting as well.

Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Brown curls and bedroom eyes… Boneless body when I dance!

Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

Besides myself, I guess my mighty manager Dahumada became the enemy. I trusted him too much and he squeezed the life out of me, giving me a complete nervous breakdown. I was young when I met him, and he promised me fame and fortune… and he did give it to me, but…

Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

I’m a meek Ypsilantian man, I couldn’t kill anyone. And I’m very queasy in the presence of blood. As for dying for the ones I love… I was very close to attempt suicide, but never found the courage to do it.

Where do you live?

On Marc’harid, the former Imperial planet. I was born on Ypsilanti, lived fifteen years on Vilas Lok – when I was in the music business – and now I’ve retired on Marc’harid, preparing for my next projects.

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

Yes! Although I almost lost him! He was my professor at university, I fell in love with him at nineteen. He was with me when I started my music career, but soon I got carried away and completely forgot him. He’s the only one I ever loved – he’s older than me and can be a father, a brother, a lover… and he writes marvelous song lyrics and stories and… can you tell that I adore him? I’m going to marry him!

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Get out of the celebrity machine. Ten years of struggles before I could actually be free.

Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

I’m the third of three children. My elder sister Jaya has always been my supporter. My mother opposed my dreams at first, but when she saw how I came alive on stage (at Jaya’s wedding), she forgave me and allowed me to be what I wanted to be – even though on Ypsilanti men don’t have much freedom.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I think I said it all in my autobiography…

ZaphadinDTFAll right, I guess we’ll have to read the book then… Let’s hear your partner, here. Tell me a little about yourself

My name is Rashaun Khanna, I’m a professor of Ypsilantian culture. I lost my post at Lycoris University to follow Zafar in his dream, so I became a writer. I still do some teaching to make ends meet, but most of my income is royalties from the stories I write.

Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Tall and dark-haired.

What is your role in the story?

I was Zafar’s manager until Dahumada walked into our lives. Zafar was a wedding singer and a model who wanted so much more… So we followed Dahumada to Vilas Lok, where at first he hired me to write Zafar’s songs and then did his best to throw me out of Zafar’s life. He succeeded – keeping us apart for ten years.

What is your relationship with the protagonist?

I absolutely adore him. Who wouldn’t? He’s so handsome and sweet and… I wasn’t much older than my students when I met him, and I’ve had another student coming at me, but only Zafar swept me away. I couldn’t resist him.

Where do you live?

Ypsilanti, except for the brief stay on Vilas Lok. I was there only for five of Zafar’s fifteen-years career. Then I went home. Well, of course now we both moved to Marc’harid, but that’s another story.

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

He let me go – apparently forgot me for his career. But ten years later he came back, drained, and as soon as I lay my eyes on him, I knew he was still the only man I wanted to spend my life with. I had found someone else by then, but Aryan immediately knew he couldn’t compete with Zafar. Zafar owns my heart since he was nineteen.

_____________________

King of Music – Zaphadin (the true story of the man behind the myth)

He loved to entertain his friends with songs and dance moves. And one day at a wedding banquet he met the manager who made him a galactic phenomenon – he can dance, he can sing, he can entertain you like nobody else, he’s the king of the music business! During his fifteen years career, the star of Zaphadin kept rising in popularity while at the same time the man’s morale plummeted into desperation. That’s why at the height of his fame, he walked away from it all.

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