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! Today we have someone from the new Silvery Earth. And since I’m such an awesome witch, I shall ask them questions at two stages of their lives! Or at least at two stages for the human, since the other barely changed in twelve years…

Let’s get on with this. Meet Torik, woodcutter’s son at Bargsea Fortress, a small kingdom on the northern great bay of Varia – I wonder if it has a name, but I guess that lazy author forgot to give it any denomination… Tell me a little about yourself, Torik.

CHILD TORIK: Er… I’m Torik. I’m Human. I have no magic. I’m short-lived. I’m a barbarian to the Magical Races. I’m ignorant. I know nothing of gods and goddesses. I’m scared of dragons. I’m ten, but I already help my dad chopping wood.

ADULT TORIK: I’m twenty-two and moved to the castle a few years back. Wood-cutting duties fell to my younger brother Baldric and I became the prince’s companion. Lambert is king now, we’re the same age.

Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

CHILD TORIK: dirty-blond mop of hair and poop-colored eyes.

ADULT TORIK: Long dark-blond hair and brown eyes.

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

CHILD TORIK: Hannibal! He’s a bully! Him and Klaus are the reason I left the village and found my magical friends!

ADULT TORIK: Myself, mostly. I feel like a failure and don’t understand why people would want to follow me.

Where do you live?

CHILD TORIK: in the village outside the castle of Bargsea Fortress.

ADULT TORIK: in the castle of Bargsea Fortress.

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

CHILD TORIK: Are you kidding? I’m just a child! Although I like gifting flowers to girls. Florina is quite nice among the Humans. And I like Kareena too, but she came and went too quickly, sigh.

ADULT TORIK: I’m a widower. I hope one day I’ll find Kareena and if she’s still free… Although I’ll probably never find her.

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

CHILD TORIK: Growing up?

ADULT TORIK: Finding a place to call home.

Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

CHILD TORIK: Yes! There’s seven of us – should have been twelve, but they died when they were really small. I have dirty-blond hair like mom, as does Mathilda, who is eight, Greta, who is two, and Baby Alric. Alexa, thirteen, Baldric, seven, and Elsa, five, have Dad’s brown hair. And then there’s Mom and Dad, of course.

ADULT TORIK: Greta, Alric and Mom passed away when I was still a child, which made me grow up faster. Alexa, Mathilda, Elsa and Baldric are all married and have children of their own now. Well, Elsa is expecting her first. My father is also gone, as is my wife and the children she gave me.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

CHILD TORIK: I have four awesome magical friends!

ADULT TORIK: I still have awesome magical friends, they all grew up like me, except Copperscales…

Which leads us to our other guest! You might see her as a girl with brown braids coiled around her ears or a teen with the same looks, but she’s not really like that. Hello, Copperscales. Tell me a little about yourself!

I’m a Fajrulo cub, barely over a century old. When Torik is adult, I can be considered a dragonette, since I’ve grown in size – from donkey to elephant – but I’m still a cub. I will live about nine centuries, so my life is still in its infancy, sigh.

Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Dragon cub with copper-colored scales and bat-like wings.

What is your role in the story?

Torik’s bogey man, then Torik’s teammate, then, twelve years later, Torik’s travel companion…

What is your relationship with the protagonist?

Torik is sooo cute! I want to mate with him when I grow up! Except I’ve been bluntly reminded that when I’m old enough to lay eggs, he’ll be long dead of old age, sigh!

Where do you live?

My lair is in a cave up the mountain towering over Bargsea Fortress and its forest, and it can be reached only in flight.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I’m a member of the Magical Races along with Goldenberry (Genn), Erwan (Waiora) and Winged Ylenia (Sila). Fajrulo don’t like their peers – in fact, after my mother left me when I turned a hundred, I’m the only one in the area – but they love humans. I’m particularly fond of Torik, in case you didn’t notice…

____________________________
Book(s) in which the characters appear:

Silvery Earth Kids (strip)

Silvery Earth Kids and Related Short Stories

Magical Friends

Random Friday


So, after drawing Rithvik and Kerrien, I decided to get back to comics. Maybe a new strip, maybe a webcomic. Not sure yet about formats, but definitely for online consumption first.

Researching the topic I see some webcomics are single-panel cartoons, others are three- or four-panels comic strips that ave the same structure as newspaper format. I probably won’t use the “infinite canvas” and will do a mix of single vignettes and strips.

I hate the infinite canvas… I won’t be reading Ren Rou’s next comic When We Fall because it’s an infinite canvas – she says it’s comes out better on phones… pity I don’t read on a phone because guess what? I’m old, and I  can’t see the damn screen very well! I loved her previous comic Stolen and saved the page to print them out and read it offline, but I’ll have to pass on this one.

For comics I’m still very traditional. Yes, I might follow Facebook pages of cartoonist, but I’d rather go to comicons and buy the books, possibly with a little sketch on them! But I understand the need to evolve, so I will give this webcomic thingy a try. Althought there’s the problem of finding a format that can be future-proof.

Da Strip was like the Peanuts, four identical squares that could be put on a square or vertical or horizontal, so that might be a good format for this project too. I still have the four-panels squares that I used for Da Strip, so I may start with that.

In the meantime, here’s some sketches I did while toying with the characters. I have no problems at drawing human-like chibis, but the little dragon was a challenge… so here you have some studies, a sort of cover art and a first sequence… in WiP format. It will need clean-up and colors before going online, but I thought I’d give a sneak peek.

And since #8Sunday was so successful, I’ll keep going with Beautiful – and since I have the drawings, I’ll post the 8-10 sentences referring to that particular vignette… have a wonderful weekend! 🙂 By the way, tomorrow Himalayas goes live… book 4 of the Future Earth Chronicles is here! 😀

Writer Wednesday


Last week I wrote 14K, almost two stories (the second I finished this week). I’m back on Silvery Earth exploring Water’s people for now. I had to check Books of the Immortals – Water and Chronicles of the Varian Empire – The Spell for some details, since Silvery Earth changed somehow after its first inception.

The first “part” of that world was the Varian Empire, “built” in 1993 with Lost and Oliver (now Chronicles of the Varian Empire – the Enlightened Emperor) but a major revision of the world happened in 2005-2006 when I introduced the Immortals and fine-tuned the Magical Races.

The Books of the Immortals were my first indie-published novels back in 2011 (available also as box set now) and from there the world expanded – its history if not its landmass, since the maps haven’t changed since. I do have a “bible” (some of it is in the appendix to Angelica, Scholar), but re-reading bits and pieces made things easier for me.

Audio update: the first audiobook is now in production! I listened to the extended sample and hope the narrator won’t have trouble with “epiteth” in the final version – it made me chuckle in the sample, but it’s probably not good for listeners of the final product. She’s very good, by the way. She kept me listening for 17 minutes! 🙂 Still waiting for the male auditions, although I listened to a few samples.

I was about to publish something last weekend, but then decided to wait until the next, which is good since yesterday, as I started the translation for the Italian version, I realized I had skipped some corrections (I’m using the proofreader-marked version for the translation)… Phew.

Those were on page 1 and I haven’t found others yet, but hopefully at the end of the week I’ll be done with the translation and be able to upload – possibly both docs, haha. Then I’ll work on inserting the drawings in the Italian version of Beautiful. By the way, here are a few pics of that illustrated paperback

As for still having a day job that pays the bills, I’m not ashamed of it, but I’m definitely sick of it. I’ll be able to quit, eventually, and will even have a minimum pension after 30+ years – possibly. Dunno on your side of the world, but it looks grim in Italy. One wonders why waste decades in a soul-killing steady job to get peanuts when retirement comes. Whatever.

Also, it might be romance week on Goodreads, but I have no recommendations for you. Valentine’s Day never meant anything to this aromantic lady, so… look at that cute drawing up there, ain’t it romantic? That’s all you’ll get from me! 😀

Don’t mind this grumpy old spinster, don’t forget to check her Patreon page and have a great week! 😀

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.

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! 😀

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