Random Friday


Mostly about writing, since while I was away all hell broke loose at Mighty Zon! πŸ˜‰ Just kidding, but here are two links from two authors who had problems with KU and Amazon policies. A romance writer leaving KU and David Gaughran’s missed planned promo.

Readers, especially voracious romance readers, please take action like Krista suggests:

So, dear reader, unfortunately, I have to leave Kindle Unlimited.

I hate doing this to you. If you want me to come back, tell Amazon. Tell them that they are not providing a good customer experience. Tell them that you want authors to be paid fairly. Tell them to get a grip on their business and not let fake books take all the money from real authors.

Email Jeff Bezos himself. (jeff@amazon.com)

If you want to help me, tell a friend about my books. Tell them I’ll be on iBooks now.

Aaaand, on a happier note, voting on the Amaranthine fan fiction (including yours truly) is open! Go vote, it’s anonymous! πŸ™‚ I’m not telling you which is my favorite, but please note it’s not mine! πŸ˜‰ Great stories, all! πŸ˜€

I subscribed toΒ  the Maim Your Characters email course after reading the umpteenth writing tips of mistakes to avoid when injuring fictional characters.Β  Now I’m going to use the current work for the homework, since us Sadist Authors love to hurt our characters, don’t we? πŸ™‚

Oh, and I found out by pure chance that Love Magik Glow is on sale… but I don’t know for how long, since the curator didn’t answer my query. I think the sale is valid also for the retailers, not just Bundle Rabbit. That you should check every now and then, since new bundles keep popping up every day.

My TBR pile will never go down… Now I could ramble on some more, but I still have that novel to finish… so I’ll get back to writing! πŸ˜‰

Closing with a very short gallery of Helsinki souvenirs… Have a great weekend! πŸ˜€

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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


I was hoping to publish the spy story this month, but the Italian betas destroyed it, so I decided to postpone. I had in mind to write more anyway, so it will definitely be a novel, hopefullyΒ  before the end of the year. And I’ll be publishing only Italian titles for the summer, the next English title will come out in September – probably mid-month – so stay tuned.

Slowly starting on the August novel knowing I’ll have to interrupt for Worldcon, but I have a long weekend ahead (Monday off work, leaving on Tuesday), so I might be able to throw in 10K before I go.

I printed out flyers and catalogs to display on my table on Friday at the convention – I’ll be in the Creators Alley for one day. I tried out a new look, but it probably won’t last… it’s high maintenance and I hate high maintenance! πŸ˜‰

Same hair, same T-shirt, special guest Da Other Muse

Anyhow, I should be fairly recognizable… if you’re in Helsinki and see someone with blue “chatouches” – that’s me! πŸ˜‰

Now, the writerly links! The art and science of selling books with social media, something that I may explore in September because currently I already feel overwhelmed. And how to get book reviews as an unknown author – another topic that I’m postponing to after the summer. I really should start gathering reviews on the latest titles, sigh.

How Facebook Groups for Pages can help authors – although having lost the possibility to interact in group and events as my author page, I lost interest in that stuff. If I activated the author‘s group, would anyone be willing to join? Considering the low interaction levels of this very blog, I doubt it would help much, but feel free to share your thoughts in the comments…

I’ll also have to study those polarities of book marketing, because I’m not sure where I am yet. But again, after the hottest season of the year and my most hated! Looking forward to the cooler Finnish weather but sorry it will last only for a week, sigh!

Have a great week!

Random Friday


Total random stuff. I watched the French DVD I got in Paris and it was as funny but sad as expected – a family dramedy with a happy ending. And I rewatched Any Body Can Dance 2, just for the dancing, since there’s no real story in that series, LOL! Which, considering has me mixing a European and an Asian movie and enjoying both for different reasons, takes me to the next random topic, cultural appropriation.

I read this wonderful article on whose culture is it anyway, and what about hybridity and thought the author made great points. I’m Italian, but I grew up in France and Switzerland, in an international town (Geneva) with people from all over the world, then came back to the Eternal City and hated it.

Still today, almost 40 years later, I get irritated when I’m pinned down as Italian and asked if I do this or that – I don’t. I feel international, I love a lot of stuff from a lot of countries and I don’t think it’s cultural appropriation. When I write, I try to be respectful of whatever culture I try to cover and to find people in that culture/religion who can help me fact-check. *waves at beloved cover artist*

But sometimes I’ve stumbled on such harsh cultural appropriation articles that condemt it completely, that I almost felt guilty to try to write a story of humanity as a whole and not as a single ethnicity/religion/race. I was even irked by the clearly European and tattooed young woman who visited the Taj Mahal with a sari (maybe I was envious, LOL!).

Thing is – I’m not trying to appropriate anything. I’m enjoying the diversity of this crazy world. And soon I’ll start on a projection of our future, it will be utopia (with a dark side) but I intend to put a society where skin color doesn’t matter and the borders are no more. You might call it globalization, but it’s still a post-apocalipse story, hehe! πŸ˜‰

So I plan to have black people, Asians and white people all living together and not being bothered by race or religion. They’ll have other problems to face! πŸ˜‰ And I’ll try to come up with a culture that is a fusion of all we have today (it’s set in the 22nd century, so plenty of time to develop that) plus possibly something original.

Mission impossible? Probably. We’ll know at the end of August. Have a great weekend! πŸ˜€

 

Writer Wednesday


Wrapping up Shashank’s story, I finally finished reading all that non-fiction. It was wonderful and entertaining and idea-generating, but now I look forward to going back to novels! πŸ˜‰ I disagree on some historical facts with some of those authors, but others gave me insight I wasn’t expecting.

I even re-watched Bajirao Mastani, since the Maratha Peshwa appears briefly in the novel – it reminded me to look up those fearsome whip-swords Ranveer Singh is handling in the movie! Shashank is the son of a weapon seller and he’s always interested in weapons, even those dreaded firearms the author hates.

I sent off the novel and maybe will write a short story to go with it. Unless it turns out to be a novella or something bigger, in that case I’ll postpone to September, since it’s definitely NOT a novel and it wouldn’t be long enough for the challenge. I have until Friday to figure it out, during the weekend I want to prep for the August novel.

Next week I’ll be deep in my sci-fi novel and ready for Worldcon! I’ll repeat all this, but if you happen to be in Helsinki, here’s my panel schedule.

As you can see, I’ll be in good company! πŸ™‚ And hopefully I’ll be able to sightsee a little too, since I’ve never been to Finland.

Some writerly links – Mastering Amazon Ads. I will have to do a few more experiments, but so far the ads I ran brought 0 sales. And tips to promote your book @OurAuthorGang.

Want to support an author’s or illustrator’s new book but can’t afford to buy it? Here’s what you can do. And if you do buy it, please leave a review.

And a long podcast on Joanna Penn’s blog – I read the transcript, but if you like podcasts, go listen to how to write fast, publish slowly and focus on your author marketing with Rachel Aaron. Lot of good advice, I’m keeping the transcript for later use! πŸ˜‰

All of these excellent marketing and branding tools will have to be put to use after the summer, when the novel challenge is done. But I do intend to focus more on marketing (no more than a weekend per month!) and try some stuff. I’ll have to make sure I target the right people, since here’s what happens when reader targeting goes wrong.

Maybe the historical novelist indeed had a game of thrones in his story. And there’s no copyright on titles, so he was free to use the sentence. But yeah, they probably attracted the wrong crowd.

So for the last quarter I’ll focus on other marketing and branding experiments, and maybe even my Patreon page might become project-driven instead of monthly as it is now. While I focus on each of my series for the above, I’ll try to make up my mind and figure out what I want and how to achieve that slow growth I’m aiming at! πŸ™‚

Have a great weekend! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday


And I’m in another, upcoming bundle! πŸ™‚ Please like the page and wait for it! And a reminder that this (below) bundle is currently available only on DriveThruFiction and it’s a limited time offer, it will be gone after the summer! If you haven’t read the Assassins’ Guild stories, you can grab them in your favorite format here! πŸ™‚

If you want to subscribe to my bimonthly newsletter (the next comes out in September), please do so and don’t ask me to add you manually – I wouldn’t know how to send you the welcome email with the free story… Or you can support me on Patreon, where I regularly post both for writers and readers! πŸ™‚

And hello to the new followers, thank you for deciding to follow this very blog for whatever reason. Not going to ask anymore! πŸ˜‰ Now, to the writerly news.

Novel #2 is well underway and I hope to have that first draft ready for “meating up” next weekend. I’m kind of jumping back and forward on this one because it has a predetermined outline, but I’ll still need to read it all in one sitting or two to see if it flows. Reaching the 20th century is easier and harder at the same time.

I mean, I can describe Jaipur or Delhi like I saw them last year (even though the characters are in Jaipur in the first half of last century), but at the same time… I don’t know. I guess I should do more travelogues, it would definitely help when I write! πŸ˜‰ That darn setting still tends to escape me.

I’m still unsure about a secondary character and I’ll make up my mind when I reach the end and then cycle backΒ  to add some meat. I don’t know why the first draft is always very sparse… maybe I need to think about it more before I cand add stuff?

Or maybe it’s just that my brain is fried during the summer? I hate it when cicadas sing all day, it means it’s too darn hot for my tastes and I should move to Iceland! 😦 Glad I found a nice desk fan for the writing times… πŸ™‚

I’ll start the writerly links with this post by Tracy Cooper-Posey – why should historical characters sound like they’re speaking funny in historical novels? Since I’m currently writing historical fantasy, I think it’s perfect timing. I’ve had some betas pointing out some too modern terms in my fantasy too, but I tend to write plain English (with American Spelling – like Tracy, I grew up with British spelling) for the very reason she states.

I mean, I understand I better avoid 21st century slang, and I did use the “thou” and “art thee” once in a fan fiction, but it was precisely because the character had been locked up and sounded funny to modern English speakers (I sort of mention it in Kaylyn’s novel – Kris tells her that she has a “Shakespearian English” since that’s more or less the time she stopped speaking English).

And as a reader I hate even accents, so I say NO to that kind of gimmick. I hate it as much as purple prose and jolts me out of the story immediately! You want to keep Reader Me happy? Write in plain English. Your translator in some other language will thank you, trust me! πŸ˜‰

And since the heat makes me sleepy, I can’t really read more (reading also makes me sleepy…) so I’ll probably have to pass a couple of interesting bundles because I have already too many books to read. I’m even supposed to vote for the Hugos, except I have read none of the nominees! 😦

Oh, and if you want to be on A Small Gang of Authors, here’s their joining page – you can either be guest, like I was, or join them (if you have a Blogger account)! And Bundle Rabbit has added the collaboration tab, so if you’re trying to set up an anthology, you can use that feature!

Just in case you’re new, Bundle Rabbit allows indie authors to set up their own bundles (and cross-pollinate their readers with other authors) and readers to discover new authors by buying a favorite name along with a few more. I currently have two curated bundles (means that I put them together) – one of fantasy novels and one of science fiction (space opera or humorous sci-fi) – and my books have been chosen for two more that I will announce as soon as they go live.

My next curated bundle will have vampires, so if you have a novel-length vampire story, join Bundle Rabbit and upload it, so I can find it in September when I start putting together the next one! πŸ™‚

Check also the Book Spoltight on Library of Erana (supposedly just one, but there’s actually two, LOL!), with even very short excerpts to give you a taste. Have a great week!

 

Sunday Surprise


I am a guest! At A Small Gang of Authors! And since I can’t comment on their blog because it’s only for Google+ users, I will comment here. BlameΒ  it on the incompatibility between Blogger and WordPress! πŸ˜‰

Joe Bonadonna *Waves madly* Hellooo! Thank you for introducing me to your gang! πŸ™‚ It was a pleasure having you on my blog and whenever you want to come back… you know where to find me! πŸ˜‰

Erika M Szabo Thank you for havingΒ  me! It was a pleasure! Whenever you want to be a guest here, just drop me a line! πŸ˜‰

NN Light Thank you! Sorry for not responding on the blog… as I say below, if you want to be a guest on my blog… πŸ˜‰

Cristina Grau Thank you for having me!

Mackenzie Flohr Thank you and welcome! Sorry I couldn’t reply under your message… I always welcome guest authors, so if you have a new release and want to answer my writerly questions, shoot me an email! πŸ™‚

If there are more comments, I’ll add them below… so this post shall be edited a few times! πŸ˜€ Have a great Sunday!

EDIT:

Rick Haynes Thank you, Rick… hopefully in the next 3-4 years I’ll manage to getΒ  rid of that darn DayJob! πŸ˜‰ Besides, you find out you’ve had a career only when you look back…

Random Friday


Been reading non-fiction for the next novel, hence I finally made it to the book that was given to me by the travel agent before my trip to India last year – the autobiography of Gayatri Devi. It helps me to get in the mood of closer times (early 20th century) and it’s also quite interesting, although I probably won’t use any of it in my novel (although they will be in Jaipur when she’s there)! πŸ˜‰

The postfaction in the book dates from the same year my brother got a magazine about India (1991) and inside I found a picture of the Maharana Arvind Singh Mewar that you can compare below with the more recent picture that’s included in the official guide to Udaipur’s city palace… Heck, not even on Wikipedia they have that younger pic of him, LOL!

Anyhow, I’m having fun with Sir George and Shashank hanging out in Patna and Kathmandu in the 19th century… then I’ll have to cover the 20th, but it will be complete long before the anniversary of India’s Independence Day! πŸ˜‰ By then I’ll be coming back from Worldcon and diving into a sci-fi novel – probably dystopian, definitely not science fantasy since it will be set on future Earth.

Didn’t have time to watch the French DVD, so I guess that’s all for now… I hope to have a first draft done for next weekend when I’ll have some train time to check the manuscript and add more meat. I might also write a short story about Sir George when I finish the novel, because even though he’s one of Menka’s wretched children, he might be interesting to write about… any suggestions for sites about British gentlemen of the early 1800s?

Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday


Aaand… here we go!

Star Minds Next Generation

It’s available for pre-order on all retailers and will come out soon! So you’ll have both fantasy and sci-fi for your summer reading! πŸ˜‰ I’m very happy with the authors in this bundle – this time I have met most of them personally.

You have a great variety – from my Goodreads friends Steph Bennion and Ubiquitous Bubba, who were interviewed on this blog for Wyrd Worlds, some workshop buddies I met on the Oregon Coast (Rebecca Bates, Michael Lucas, Russ Crossley, Blaze Ward, Robert Jeschonek), to the man who made us meet (Dean Wesley Smith – the kind of writer I want to be when I grow up) and a few more that I found browsing the awesome content marketplace at BundleRabbit.

So I’m still riding the fantasy bundle, reading all the other books, and already I’m starting a new journey, a trek to the stars with these wonderful fellows. I made a book trailer for it and it will come out on Independence Day (which, by the way, is the birthday of my Australian friend, maybe she’d like one as a gift? πŸ˜‰ ), so stay tuned…

The indie community is really great. Because there’s no such thing as a self-published author – that’s so 20th century thinking! πŸ˜‰ And also this small post on negotiation is a good way to remind us that traditional publishing is still tricky. And if we want to tackle the audio market independently it’s getting easier every year. Now Draft2Digital offers audiobooks as an alternative to ACX…

It’s really a great time to be an author. Final wordcount for this month in July, but know that I finished and sent out the first novel of the challenge. Onward to the vampires novel that must be finished by the end of July… have a great week! πŸ™‚

 

Writer Wednesday


So, it’s official, I’m in the Worldcon Programme! I can’t be more specific right now, but stay tuned for days and times. Great panels coming ahead, really great panels. Looking forward to them! If you happen to be in Helsinki for Worldcon 75, let me know! πŸ™‚ I will post my schedule closer to the dates…

Aaand… three months after the Anthology Workshop, I made a sale! My first professional sale! So, time for a little happy dance! πŸ˜€Ahem! Where was I? Ah, yes, the novel challenge. Probably three-quarters done, but I’ll need to go back and add the meat during the weekend. Some things never change, some things do. I still have to print it out and make the additions on paper. At least I don’t do the first draft longhand anymore! πŸ˜‰

A good reminder that writers (or any kind of creative person) are the worst judges of their works (besides giving it away for free or cheap, that is). I currently think my novel is a mess, but I’ll let the first reader and proofreader be the judges.

For a good laugh, how to fail as a writer – let’s not forget writing by committee. If you don’t write by committee, you’ll never make it! And on a more serious note, what makes a $100K Author (don’t look at me!). I am currently running an Amazon ad, but so fare it’s only expenses and no sales. Will report after I complete 3! πŸ˜‰

I shall leave the announcement for the next bundle for next week… when I’ll have changed the pictures on the Facebook page! πŸ˜‰ But if you want a hint, just head there! πŸ™‚ Have a great week! πŸ˜€

%d bloggers like this: