Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

This is the month of Heroika authors! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome M Harold Page!

HEROIKA1 New banner heroika_TChirezpromo

Where do you live and write from?

Edinburgh, Scotland.

Why do you write?

If I don’t, my head will explode! It’s just what I do.

When did you start writing?

As fetus, I scrawled stories on the inside of my mother’s womb! Seriously always and forever.

indexWhat genre(s) do you write?

I am published in Historical Fiction and Fantasy. I also write Space Opera.

What does your writing routine consist of?

Wake up. Get the kids to school. Write… remember to eat… write… fetch kids from school.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

Apparently, my fight scenes trigger your mirror neurons. I also do a good plot.

How? By studying. I teach and fight Medieval Martial Arts and, in the past, spent a good lot of time working out how plot works.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

The jumbled mess that is the inside of my head. Influences on Sky Tombs of the Earth Kings included time spent working on a collection of Industrial History photos, the 1935 Flash Gordon series, the works of Clark Ashton Smith, and my interest in how technology liberated women.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

False antithesis! I improvise my outlines until I can see the story, then I write it with great gusto. Normally I can do a book in 3-4 months.

Storyteller-Tools-New-Cover-188x300Tell us about your latest book

Shieldwall: Barbarians! in which a young Jutish prince must lead his unreliable warband into the teeth of Attila the Hun’s invasion of Roman Gaul. There is a really very big battle at the end.

Storyteller Tools: Outline from vision to finished novel without losing the magic which pretty much does what it says on the tin. I wrote four novels to order in just over a year; this is how I did it.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Both. Indie is something I do between traditional gigs. I like traditional because I am a great fan of professional editors, plus somebody else worrying about the cover and marketing; I’d rather spend my time writing.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

A YA Space Opera entitled “I was a Teenage Space Mercenary”.

heroika FINAL front ebookWhat is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

To live off my writing so that I can write more. In order to achieve this, I am writing more. Um.

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

Author Janny Wurtz once told me to read a book called “Techniques of the Selling Author”. Though it related mostly to short stories, the effect was life changing.


Author website: www.mharoldpage.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/M-Harold-Page/e/B00FLZP9VY

Foreworld Author Page: http://foreworld.com/the-authors/m-harold-page/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MHaroldPage

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mharoldpage

I blog at heroic fiction magazine site: www.blackgate.com

Random Friday

Since Mighty Jo seems to like to tag me, I’m playing along one more time… and again, I won’t tag anyone, but if you want to continue the game, simply link back to this post so I can read your answers! :) Here are the rules of the Love/Hate challenge. Participants list ten things they love, ten things they hate, and tag ten bloggers to do the same.

10 things I love (in no particular order)

1. writing

2. drawing

3. watching movies

4. listening to music

5. long-haired guys

6. Keanu & Hrithik

7.  stuffed unicorns

8. the smell of bread or freshly mown grass

9. daydreaming and brainstorming stories

10. my few true friends

Sunday procrastination! goes well with #2 and #6

Sunday procrastination!
goes well with #2 and #6

10 things I hate (in no particular order)

1. slow computers or internet connection

2. cruelty to anyone

3. guns

4. being sick

5. day job

6. traffic jams

7. rude people

8. lack of respect

9. summer heat

10. panic attacks

Have a great weekend! :)

Writer Wednesday

Writing… new stuff. Getting rid of B.G. Hope after all. So I’m unpublishing her titles, and will republish them soon with new covers (the ones that aren’t selling) or simply the main pen name (for the body switches – the only sellers). I took down her web page, by the end of the month I hope to have the publisher’s page ready with everything.

Writerly links! Staying sane in a crazy (self-publishing) world, guest post on David Gaughran’s blog. At the right time when I’m getting rid of a pen name for discoverability reasons… I’m in my fifth year of publishing, it’s time to reassess and replan for the future. If only it stopped shifting. It’s not about selling books anymore, in case you missed Joe Konrath’s post. That’s 2014. Sigh.

But then there’s Hugh Howey suggesting a Bookbub for indies. Readers as gatekeepers. Why not. I’m trying to be more of a reader this year, and trying to read more traditionally published books. I’ll let you know how many I did not finish (not which ones, only how many)! :)

The truth about writer’s block by David Farland – project block maybe, writer’s block… not so much. And these are not rules of fantasy – or how you can’t please every reader on the planet.

And finally – what’s an independent author? I don’t think you’ll see me to many more public events – I hate them too much – but if you enjoy one of my books, please spread the word, thank you! :) Have a great week!

Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! Remember that anthology about dragons, Heroika? He’s one of them authors, as promised! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Walter Rhein!

HEROIKA1 New banner heroika_TChirezpromoWhere do you live and write from?

I live in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. My family and I have a small house and we rent out the first floor. This is sort of a variation on the “micro-home” movement. I love the flexibility you get when you live in something small and you don’t have to be terrified about finding the mortgage money every month. That’s an important consideration when you’re addicted to writing. I don’t really take notice of my immediate environment anyway since I’m usually daydreaming (but I know my wife would prefer more living space).

Why do you write?

It’s a good way to sort out what I think about things. Writing can be something of a thought experiment. You create characters, conceive of how they behave, and then throw them in with other characters without really knowing what’s going to happen. That requires you, as an author, to consider behavior and the consequence of behavior. If you’re true to your conception of your characters, you can discover the limitations of certain beliefs. Sometimes your heroes become villains, not because they are evil, but because their fundamental beliefs are flawed. I guess I write mainly to avoid being trapped by such a circumstance in real life.

When did you start writing?

I had my first story published as a freshman in high school. I scribbled away pretty consistently after that, with occasional success. Even when I wasn’t specifically dedicating time to writing, I always played around with words and rhymes and things like that. My wife laughs at me because I’m always composing little songs (I didn’t realize I was doing that until she brought it to my attention). Writing is simply something that happens.

birkie imageWhat genre(s) do you write?

Lately I’ve been working in dystopian fantasy. When I need a break from that I’ve had success with travel, memoir, and humorous writing.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I try to spend about two hours writing in the morning. If I put it off until the afternoon, I don’t feel as sharp. Also, if I try to push for more, the work gets lazy. You notice the difference in quality when you do the edits. It was a revelation to realize what the daily limitations are. Prior to that I was always frustrated with my output since I felt I should have been doing more per day. Now I know exactly what a good day’s work is, and that gives me a reasonable, attainable daily goal.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

I strive for readability and I think I achieve it for the most part. I like to deal with complex issues, but if the writing is so convoluted that your readers get frustrated then you’ve not succeeded. The downside is that critics can be dismissive of work that is entertaining as well as stimulating. However, you can’t be too concerned about misguided perceptions like that.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

I’m probably in my stories more than I ever intended to be. The downside of that is that the version of me that exists in the work is a snapshot of the person I was while I was writing. There are things I wrote when I was younger that I wouldn’t write now. I might not believe those things anymore, but I still have to take ownership over them because they exist in the world attached to my name. It’s a good reminder for how people evolve, and it’s a very real example of why I need to have patience with others. For example, it’s frustrating to see people get irritated with how slowly their children grasp certain concepts. I’d probably get frustrated too, if I didn’t have a record of the evolution of my own development.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

All of the above. I have a general idea where I want the novel to go, but if I discover I can’t get to the conceived conclusion while still being true to the characters, the ending must change. Sometimes when a certain section of a book becomes plot heavy, I’ll write some notes, but mainly I’m guided by theme.

Tell us about your latest book

The next book I have scheduled for release is a travel memoir titled “Reckless Traveler.” It’s a collection of all the best stories from when I lived in Lima, Peru. I was there from 2001 to 2009, so the book covers quite a bit of time. It should be out soon (although I’ve been saying that a while).

13 10 25 READER Version Cover Spread FINALIndie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

I’m not sure where Perseid Press fits. I suppose they are Indie publishing. However, Janet Morris is the best editor I’ve ever worked with. She knows what she’s talking about, and her focus is to create great content. I also like that I have a lot of input as to how the book is finally released. I’m more concerned with creating quality writing than anything else, so I suppose it’s Indie all the way.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes, I have just finished the first draft to the sequel to The Reader of Acheron. There is still a long way to go with that book, but I’m excited about it. I believe it is a worthy sequel to the first book and I think fans of the first book are going to be pleased.

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

I think of my kids a lot when I’m writing. It’s important to discuss the problems you’ve encountered as a human being and what your solutions were, as well as the effectiveness of those solutions. Our lives are too large in scope to really understand all at once. Producing a novel every year or so is a great way to keep track. I guess I’m just trying to make sense of things.

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

Not everybody likes bacon.” The point being that with as delicious as bacon is, there are still people out there who absolutely hate it. If BACON has critics, what makes you think you’re writing is going to be universally adored?


Walter RheinSocial media:








Random Friday

Let’s call it Art Friday, although… well. Okay, I’ll start with Ro’s sketches that she gave me after I bought her comic (the husband-and-wife team of the previous post).

Balthazar Ro&Ale_resizeAnd then here’s what I did during that afternoon at home in Massa and the following morning while waiting for the time to get on the train back to Rome.

dunno their names or their adventures - just thinking about them

dunno their names or their adventures – just thinking about them

Me & Da Muses

Me & Da Muses

I know, I shouldn’t put my doodles next to someone who can draw…

I’m adding another sketch I did yesterday *cough cough* at a course I’m doing for DayJob… besides drawing Da Strip with Da Muses, I did another visualization of the above 3 nameless characters.


SPOILER AHEAD – do not scroll! :)

I did this Tuesday morning. All from memory, especially the clothes. Kaylyn is supposed to wear a 12th century bliaut. And I couldn’t remember how Rajputs dressed. So… pencil sketch from memory! With spoiler… sort of! ;)



Rajveer and Kaylyn with Samantha

Writer Wednesday

So, I went to Carrara Show and was reminded why I had stopped going to comicons or book fairs in the hope of selling my stuff. I couldn’t take it twenty years ago when Expocartoon started in Rome and I had my neat photocopied fanzine, just imagine what it could have been now.

me and Da Cover Artist Cristina Fabris - Day 1

me and Da Cover Artist Cristina Fabris – Day 1

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who didn’t sell, but I did meet a few nice people – cover artist Sir Wendigo and husband-and-wife creators of an indie comic – but the rest is totally forgettable. Okay, Saturday there was Leo Ortolani (see below) who was quite upset at the background noise even during his panels, but still…

CarraraShow1_resizeSunday my Italian beta-reader came, so I could sign her copies of my books. And that’s when I met the husband-and-wife team who produce this comic with vampires (he writes, she draws) and she had drawn the fangs “wrong”, so I had a long chat with him about writing and stuff.

But when even Lucio Parrillo couldn’t attract anyone at our table and left early, I thought “Okay, wrong fair to bring books. I should have stayed at home.” Monday morning I went to have a couple of comics signed by the author who had just arrived – yes, no money in, lots of money out, sigh! – and then I asked to go home.


Lack of sleep, waiting for the rest of the gang, watching people pass by without stopping – add some physical stuff and missing the internet… by lunch time I was back and crumbled to sleep for a couple of hours. Then I translated (from Kindle to notebook, since I left Netbook and Laptop at home – and did I mention I have only a Stupid-phone? It’s great as MP3 player, though! But I was offline for 4 days) Saif&Kilig, read my purchases, went out to buy a snack, did some sketches…

translating at the fair - Day 1

translating at the fair – Day 1

And brainstormed. About the Desi vampire. The next generation chasing stardom. The writing I didn’t do. The other things I could have done if I’d stayed at home. And how I’m such an introvert that 48hours constantly with people, albeit friends, completely drained me.

I guess I better stick to my writing cave. Now I’m working on Chasing Stardom, so I have something for the editor next week. The artist should be working on the cover. I’m waiting for betas on the Desi vampire, and already considering an alternative ending.

I’m glad it’s a new world of publishing. I don’t feel the need to do book signings – would be exactly like at the conventions I attended, with or without panels – and I don’t need to become an author-star like the ones I’ve seen around. Have a great week!

Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

words of wisdom, writers on writing, whatever you want to call it, five quotes by writers for your Sunday!

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

― Ray Bradbury

Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously.

– Lev Grossman

Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you.

― Neil Gaiman

You could have everything you’ve ever dreamed of as a writer, but that doesn’t mean you will be happy.  Happiness is something that comes from within.  It’s a state of mind.  The good news is, this is one area you have control over.  You decide how to respond to things that happen around you.  The older I get (I’ll be 40 in October), the more I’m convinced that the way you think has a huge impact on how you feel.

A quick disclaimer before I continue: you will not be happy every single day for the rest of your life.  There will be days that suck.  But overall, there could be an underlying sense of joy in your life if you start focusing on the positives.

Ruth Ann Nordin

“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”
George R.R. Martin


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