Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

And it’s another Eclectica author! Her short story collection is awesome, you’ll see it in my recommended reading list at the end of the year… but why wait? Get it now along with all the other awesome authors! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sherry D. Ramsey!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and I can see the Atlantic Ocean from my house. I’ve lived here all my life, except for my university years (also spent in a port town…do I see a pattern here?). I can’t imagine living far from the scent of the salt sea air.

Why do you write?

I think I’m just mentally tuned that way. Stories and characters show up and I simply want to write them…to delve into the possibilities and challenges they present. I can go for stretches without writing, perhaps a month or so, but I always come back to it.

When did you start writing?

The first “real” story I remember writing was around the eighth grade. It was a very Edgar Allan Poe-type story, with a creepy house and a storm and portraits on the walls whose eyes followed the main character. My teacher at the time really encouraged my writing, and I give him a lot of credit for making me believe this was something I could actually do.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write all over the speculative fiction spectrum (although not much horror). Science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy; I love it all, often mashed up with a dash of mystery and detective.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

I suppose my goal as a writer is to give readers stories they can get lost in and enjoy, and characters they will love and care about. I lean toward writing that primarily entertains (although it can certainly have important underlying themes and messages). I think reading is a necessary form of release and escapism that helps keep us sane in an increasingly crazy world.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

It’s a pretty simple one, really: “Keep going.” The writing life has a lot of ups and downs—the downs usually dominate at first—and it’s so important to keep writing, keep learning, and keep improving. I believe it will happen for most people if they really love to write and accept that it’s a process of getting better in small, incremental steps.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Big-time improviser who dabbles in outlining with varied success! I can appreciate the value of an outline in many cases, but I’m not always so great at implementing one. I tend to write fast first drafts, and if I don’t start with an outline, I make one as I go—it’s an invaluable tool for those inevitable revisions.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

My book in the bundle is “The Cache and Other Stories,” a collection of (mostly) previously-published short fiction. The stories range across the specfic genres, so it’s a great fit for the Eclectica bundle. You’ll find an alien ship in a forest hideaway, ghosts inside a computer network, a distraught goddess in a detective’s office, a teenage busker on a space station, and more.

Tell us about your latest book

My latest book is the novella “Toil and Trouble,” the fourth installment in my Olympia Investigations series (one of the earlier OI stories is in the book in this bundle). Here’s the blurb:

Acacia Sheridan is a private detective with a special gift for perceiving the supernatural. When a local coven of urban witches mistakenly summons a malevolent spirit, they look to Acacia to help track him down. Inconsistencies in the witches’ story make Acacia suspect they’re not telling her everything—and then the murders start.

With her assistant Oliver stressing over an unfortunate witch encounter in his past, a demon on the loose, and a handsome police detective who wants to know too much, Acacia’s up to her sixth sense in supernatural trouble in this new novella in the Olympia Investigations series.

It’s available in print and multiple ebook formats, and you can find your favourite retailer link at https://books2read.com/ToilandTrouble

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Always! I’m currently working on revisions for the fourth book in my Nearspace series, and writing the first draft of a new comic fantasy novel I hope to release later this year. Juggling projects is my usual modus operandi (whether that’s a good thing or not, I’m never sure), but those are my projects while I wait with bated breath for spring to arrive in my part of the world.


Random Friday

I would like to publicly thank Ilaria for “slapping” me and reminding me of the Happiness is vignettes. I hadn’t done one in too long, too busy complaining and whining and feeling blue. So here are the  latest three, with the new Chibi style.

For the visually impaired:

Happiness is… bouncing back! (after the umpteenth life-roll)

Happiness is… the first professional publication (got 100 likes and 30 comments when I posted the picture on my private profile on Facebook – a record, LOL!)

Happiness is… the excitement of a new project (in this case Silvery Earth Kids, I’m shown drawing with the laptop glaring at me)

After I showed Silvery Earth Kids to another friend who encouraged me, I also bought some strips at the comicon I was attending and became depressed because all those strips were semi-autobiographical, while mine are complete fantasy.

I considered writing Grumpy Old Barb, but really, who would want to read that? There’s still Me and Da Muses, but do I really want to redraw those strips that were still halfway from my latest style (and more like the first Happiness is…)?

Then Ilaria reminded me of the weekly vignette, so here we go. I shall endehavior to find more Happinesses to draw, chibi style. I’m sure Chibi Barb is nicer than Grumpy Barb! 🙂

And of course Silvery Earth Kids will start showing up somewhere at some point… I still have to decide where! 😀 Have a wonderful weekend!

Writer Wednesday

Last week I started Legends of the Moren Empire volume 2 and wrote almost 12k – but again, I have a very detailed outline that is the Italian version in a previous version with the usual fantasy elves and dragons that need to be turned into the new Silvery Earth. I’m also proud to announce that 5 months in I already reached half my goal, 250K (reminder to newcomers – I plan on writing another 500K this year).

A friend posted this article about the real reason fans hate the end of GoT which made me realize that I write that kind of fantasy. An editor of the first couple of years even said my writing reminded her of George R.R. Martin (that’s why I bought Game of Thrones, but it’s still on my desk, TBR, since 2008 or something).

So, I write sociological fantasy on a secondary world. I don’t kill of my main characters in every book, since mine can be read as standalone, but I do change protagonist with every story. Yes, sometimes they’re related, but sometimes they’re not. I’m still filling the holes in the history of the world. The world itself is the series, not the characters.

So it doesn’t really matter from where you enter Silvery Earth, just start exploring… that’s why I have both a chronology and a more segmented list – like, if you want only certain kinds of stories, you can get just those and won’t miss much. It’s definitely an unusual series, with a lot of books, but then, it doesn’t matter at which point you come in. The other series are better appreciated in order (although the only series with numbered books is Future Earth Chronicles).

And we got paperbacks a go-go! The five Future Earth Chronicles (with alternating interior paper cream/white/cream/white/cream), the Vampires Through the Centuries Novellas and Male Lovers of Silvery Earth Volume 3. I even got my copy of Pulphouse #5 and it’s awesome! 🙂

And there’s a new story out at The Infinite Bard! Check what readers have to say about the first four and go read for yourself! 🙂 Read the latest story at The Infinite Bard! 🙂 Have a great week! 😀

Happiness is…

Sunday Surprise

And it’s another Eclectica author! I met her and she’s the sweetest girl in the universe! 🙂 Can’t believe it’s been two years already since… And she was even in Nightly Bites Volume 2! Anyhow, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Felicia Fredlund!

Where do you live and write from?

I currently live in Japan, Kyoto to be more exact. This is also where I write, usually in my apartment.

Why do you write?

I write because I want to experience different kinds of lives. And I would love to live in a mystical world with magic, but alas, that isn’t possible, so I’ll do it through writing.

When did you start writing?

Somewhere in my teens. I was a bit late to reading, only starting to love it when I was about 11 years old, and then I needed a few more years to fall in love with writing.

What genre(s) do you write?

I tend to write a lot of fantasy, especially longer works. My short stories fall all over the map through from contemporary to science fiction, from horror to romance, and most things in between.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

I’m not exactly sure how to answer this. I don’t have an overarching goal as a writer. I want to write a lot, hopefully find a lot of readers, and have fun.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Have fun. Otherwise get a job with an easier paycheck.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Improviser. As to fast or slow, I’m not sure. I think my typing speed is pretty average and beyond that it is about the amount of time I spend.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle.

It is called Dear Brother and is about a young man trying to deal with the grief from the loss of his brother. I wrote it about a moment I had, dealing with grief from the loss of my mother.

Tell us about your latest book

Angel’s Demise is an urban fantasy short story. Coming out later this May. It is about a guardian angel desperately trying to keep her charge alive. It is pretty twisted and dark.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

A few. Several more short stories will come out this year. Plus two novellas: Commissioned Magic, set in my Riala City fantasy world that is about a painting magician who gets an unusual commission; and the other one is untitled currently, but is the first of several Guild Adventuress series stories (I have another two finished).


Random Friday

While I try to figure out what to do with the web strip and before I finish cleaning, coloring and lettering the 70+ I already have, here’s a few more sneak peeks on the Silvery Earth Kids.

Since the Patreon page is closed, I uploaded the presentation strips to DeviantART along with the character sheets and the new characters I came up with last week – Adwin and Kareena, although I haven’t really written them into the strip yet.

But during the past two weeks I finished the first notebook and was busy with other things, so I didn’t continue it. I hope to do it in June when I’ll also work on the prose version.

There’s also a short, two-strip preview about the kids’ winter (strip # 50 and 51, I did a couple more since – still about 20 to go). The visually impaired version follows (please note that it’s unedited and unproofread at this stage).

Silvery Earth Kids in Winter Wonderland

Torik awoke with a shiver. His little brother had stolen all the blanket again. Seeing light coming in from the small window of the attic and hearing muffled sounds coming from outside, Torik sat on the bed, wide awake and kind of excited. It had snowed!

He quickly dressed – tunic, breeches, boots, hooded short cloak – grabbed his gloves and a scarf and ran out of the house. Yes! Snow covered everything! Adults were already cleaning the streets, so he ran out of the walls and towards the forest.

The fresh snow made a strange sound under his boots and he giggled. He reached the clearing where he usually met his magical friends and found them all there, already building a snowman. Copperscales sat on the side of the clearing, her scales gleaming in the timid winter sun, watching the other three work.

Goldenberry had a pale-blue hooded coat and suede boots. Her hood was up, hiding her golden mane and pointed ears, and she had pink gloves with white rabbit fur at the wrist.

Erwan, who usually wore a simple tunic of Waiora fabric and sandals, now had pants and boots and a long blue coat with a pale-blue scarf wrapped around his neck and fur-rimmed gloves of the same color.

Winged Ylenia had her usual tight-fitting body with elbow-length sleeves and her pink flat shoes, although her red feathered wings kept her away from the snowy ground. Her legs were naked as usual, but she wore gloves to touch the snow.

The snowman was almost done when Torik arrived, so he didn’t have much to do except help decorating it – giving him a face and arms made of sticks. He wondered where his friends had found a carot to use as nose, but didn’t dare ask.

Copperscales rose to join them as they gathered next to the snowman.

“Aren’t you cold, Winged Ylenia?” Torik asked, pulling down his scarf to free his mouth.

“I manipulate air, as long as I cover my hands to touch snow, I’m fine…” Winged Ylenia answered with a smile.

“I manipulate water, fancy a warm bath?” Erwan asked.

“Yes!” Goldenberry clapped her gloved hands.

A little incredulous, Torik followed them to a nearby pond that looked covered in ice. Erwan knelt to touch it and the ice melted, not only that, but the water started fuming, clearly much warmer than the air above!

Amazed and impressed, Torik quickly undressed and followed again his friends in the water. It was indeed warm, perfect to have a relaxing bath!

“Wow, this is so cool!” he said, excited.

“Snow all around us, and we’re warm!” Goldenberry added, emerging from a dive. Only she and Erwan seemed willing to put their heads underwater, though. Winged Ylenia also made sure her wings didn’t get too wet, while Copperscales lay on her back, playing dead on the surface of the pond.

When they all had enough of the warm bath, they went back to shore and dressed. A warm wind even dried Erwan and Goldenberry’s hair. Torik knew it was Winged Ylenia’s doing.

“Thank you for keeping the air warm around us while we dressed,” he told her before pulling up his hood and scarf as the air slowly cooled around them.

“You’re welcome…” Winged Ylenia bowed her head with a smile while Goldenberry rushed to hug Erwan.

“We have awesome friends!” she said as Copperscales watched them, crouched next to the snowman.

Torik agreed with her. He had wondrous, awesome, magical friends, no doubt about that! Winter would be very interesting with them around!


Writer Wednesday

Last week I wrote almost 14K, wrapping the Lone Wolves and even writing the two short stories I need to submit for anthos. I already submitted them too. And I wrote a third that will possibly work for another antho, but I haven’t sent it to the curator yet.

So, productive week, hopping through series (Star Minds Universe, Future Earth Chronicles, Vampires Through the Centuries and Silvery Earth – yep, I think I touched them all!), the writing is still going great. Everything else… meh!

I lost almost an hour (bad connection? Firefox issues? Old computer? No idea, but it was very frustrating!) to gather the audiobook links after a Google Alert informed me I was on Audible. Firebird wasn’t there yet, but The Hooded Man and Otherside are available at most places at last. Except Kobo, still lagging behind. And I still have codes valid for US, AU and CA of Otherside in anyone is interested.

Well, I did publish the first five missions of the Lone Wolves Team, as promised. But, after Kris Rusch’s blog on Patreon and in spite of their recent ToS changes, I ended up closing my Patreon account, and after David Gaughran’s lengthy explanation of the MailChimp debacle, I closed that account too. My newsletter was discontinued anyway, useless to keep it open.

I didn’t open new accounts yet, though. After Tori was locked out of her Facebook account for a day, I was considering adding an admin to the author page, but then gave up the thought. I haven’t joined Pinterest or Ko-fi yet, and still haven’t decided which webcomics sites to join – but then, if there’s one project that might make me go through Kickstarter stress, it’s Silvery Earth Kids, so… I’ll ponder my option a little longer on that one.

As for the things that were on Patreon, I’m going to start a regular feature on the publisher’s page. Every Sunday Backstage Pass will take you behind the scenes of the books. So, for readers only, hoping they’ll follow that instead of the newsletter. I will post articles, deleted scenes, alternate openings, etc. starting next Sunday. If interested, be sure to follow UPB that doesn’t have a Facebook page because it was supposed to be a static place to find the books.

I might make the Pinterest page under that logo and Ko-fi as the writer/artist… I’ll think about it during this week as I get back to the Legends of the Moren Empire and Silvery Earth Kids… Have a great week!


Happiness is…

and with this cold spring, snuggling in a blanket to watch TV still sounds heavenly! 😉 (although I’m scheduling this at the beginning of May, by the time it goes live, the heat might have come… sigh!)

Sunday Surprise

And from the Eclectica Bundle, another awesome author ansering my writerly questions! Her story of socks and aliens is really funny! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Thea Hutcheson!

Where do you live and write from?

In my lovely lavender lair located in a small Denver Suburb, high atop the shoulder of a great hill.

Why do you write?

I love story telling, I always have. I used to creep out of my bed at night when I was little and slip into my little sister’s bed and tell her stories when she couldn’t sleep, all sorts of outlandish tales of tiny cowboys and fluttering ghosts and baby doll’s that told secrets to special little adventure girls.

When did you start writing?

When I was nine I started to write them down. When I was thirteen I started my first novel, but the next door neighbor lady got hold of it and I nearly died of shame from the way my adventure came out of her mouth.

What genre(s) do you write?

I love to write SF, fantasy, urban fairtales, time travel, and a thriller, just to prove that I could do it.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

I would love to become a full-time writer as it has been my life-long dream. Unfortunately, the achievement comes in dribs and drabs as I juggle two jobs and caring for my mother. But now I am concentrating on developing enough product to have something to market.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Oh, Heinlein’s rules, of course.

  1. You must write.
  2. You must finish what you write.
  3. You must refrain from rewriting, except where you agree with editorial suggestions.
  4. You must send what you finish out into the world to look for a home.
  5. You must continually refuse to let it back in the door so it must stay out in the world until it finds a home.
  6. Rinse and Repeat.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I have improvised, but I have been trying out various outlining methods to avoid some of the rabbit holes I have chased myself into.

I am fast. I can crank out a thousand words an hour. Not all will be good. But some will be awesome and I can get lost in the tale I am telling myself.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle

I wrote a story a long time ago as an answer to a fellow writer’s claim that no one could make a story about laundry interesting. I flipped the idea and flapped silly thing about, and it became “Fishing”, a story postulating one idea about what happens to the socks in the laundry. It was also my very first professional SF sale. Jim Baen’s Universe published it and then included it in the first Best of Jim Baen’s Universe.

So, I thought it was time to flip that story again and look at it from the other side and came up with “Sock and Pins and Aliens”.

When Megan moves into her new house, things begin to disappear. Weird things like socks, and decorative pins, and a cheap class ring. Things she just saw recently and don’t have a lot of value, but she misses them all the same. She can’t decide whether to blame it on her cheating ex or a klepto ghost. When her best friend sends a geeky ghost hunter her way, Megan finds a new chance for romance and something she never expected in her wildest dreams.

I will have you know, I never lose socks in the laundry anymore as I use these super fancy clips to keep them together. Except that there was this one pair I really like, lacy and slinky, that I never did find after I put them in the washing machine.

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)

Weird Wild West

…some of the weirdest and wildest western tales that you could shake a rattlesnake at.

Edited by Steve Vernon

Featuring “Over the Wire”

Brice Sebastian is a half-breed riding his Iron Horse across the White Man’s West stringing telegraph wire.

He knows these things: copper wire shouldn’t hum or tingle before it’s live.

It shouldn’t open a door to a new land full of fantastic beasts, either.

But it does, and that opens up a dangerous new door onto his life.


Any other projects in the pipeline?

I am working on the third in a time travel series.

The first is about a young woman from the near future who takes on a job delivering a message for a goddess. The goddess never mentions traveling four thousand years into the past to save the people an entire culture, the eruption of Mount Thera that will destroy the Minoan civilization, or that she’ll fall in love with a handsome animal magician she can’t have.

The second book is set in the same time period, but the main character is a young forensic anthropologist from the 1980s. He takes on a quest to protect a young shamaness when the world blows up, but finds himself sold as an oar slave almost as soon as he arrives in the Bronze Age Middle East. He hates the goddess, he hates the ocean, and he hates sailing, but he falls in love with woman he is sent to protect and must keep safe when Mount Thera erupts.

This third book sets both of them and their newly found lovers from the ancient Middle Eastern culture in a new quest to rescue animals in the path of a flood for this goddess. They learn they are part of the goddess’ secret organization whose job is to travel into the past to save those parts of the Earth’s inhabitants that the goddess cannot bear to see lost forever when disaster strikes. But Chaos has other ideas about the tide of time and fate.

I love research and ancient cultures, so for those who love the past and lots of magic, these stories are crisp and well-fleshed out.

Thea Hutcheson web site

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