Sunday Surprise

sog advertAnd it’s a guest! And an old friend, since her first interview came out with her first book that I loved (and it came out before more famous shades of gray was published – and it’s a completely different genre!)! So, here we are again, almost five years later, another six books for a great series I keep recommending whenever someone asks me. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back fellow indie author and beta swapper Joleene Naylor!

Where do you live and write from?

We recently moved back to southwest Iowa, which is where I grew up at it. There are things I miss about southern Missouri, like the warmth, but there are things I’m enjoying. Like autumn was much autumn-ier here. The change of location hasn’t had any impact on my writing, except that the moving and house renovations put me behind.

Why do you write?

Hmmm. Everyone asks this question and I usually give one of the standard answers, but the truth is I don’t know. I took a writing break for a few years and I got back into it because I wanted to join a Harry Potter fan fiction/role play group. Then I started the vampire series because I wanted to write something dark…I guess I write because I can.

When did you start writing?

I used to write “books” when I was a kid, which went into my teenage and early adult years. (I have several novels stacked up in notebooks) but as I mentioned above I quit for a while and it was the Harry Potter Fans Around the Globe Yahoo group that got me going again. Wow, looking back on it those first few posts were terrible! It just shows if you don’t use it, you lose it.

CoL advert1What genre(s) do you write?

Speculative fiction. I have vampire series Amaranthine, but I have been considering doing a second fantasy series on the side if I ever get time, and then there is the meg project I have with a co-author. We may never finish it but by God we’ve made a go at it.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I need a routine, but alas it’s all very random. Everything I do is random. Sometimes I think a schedule would be great, but I never manage to stick to one.

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

I’m good at torturing characters. I’d actually like to torture them more than I do, but I try to stay lower key. I think that’s why the unpublished Patrick prequel had issues from beta readers – because I torture him a LOT.

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

This is where I am supposed to tell you about all the vampire series I read, but truth is I’m bad and I don’t. Most of my inspiration comes from anime. I’d love to see the Amaranthine series as anime or manga.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Improviser most of the time. If I do an outline I feel like I’ve already written the book. And I’m slow. Mind numbingly slow. Probably because I lack that writing routine…

CoL for amazonTell us about your latest book

Clash of Legends is the seventh book in the series. It’s the end of a story arc and wraps up a lot of things that readers have been waiting for. Or I hope they’ve been waiting for it. For new readers, it could be read as a standalone if you don’t want to invest in six previous books.

The explosive seventh installment in the Amaranthine series brings blood, ruin, despair, and hope, for even in the darkest night there is still a moon.

After the battle in Indonesia. Katelina wakes in Samael’s domain. Though her memories are tattered, she knows someone is missing: Jorick.

Her vampire lover gathers an army to save her from the ancient, but his master Malick interferes. For five hundred years Malick has manipulated and ruined Jorick’s life. When he leaves Katelina broken and bleeding in the bowels of his oasis, it’s the final straw.

While Malick sets up his glorious war with a living legend, Jorick plans the ultimate taboo: to kill his master. He’s tried before and failed. Will this be different, or will he and Katelina be crushed in the carnage of a greater battle, between two whose blood goes back millennia?


amazon –

B&N –

smashwords –

apple –

kobo –

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Indie. I like to control everything, and this way I can.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m planning to rework that Patrick sequel I mentioned and give it away to people on my mailing list (you can sign up at ), There’s a short story collection I’d like to finish (Tales of the Executioners), and then the eighth book, of course. There are some people who think I should quit the series after the next book because it’s too many books for one series. What do you think?

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

I’m going to be honest again. I don’t ever expect to make a living from my books – it was hard before and is only getting harder. Many traditionally published authors don’t make a living wage, and there are even fewer indies who do. I just want to know that there are people who enjoy my stories. Sure, I’d like there to be hundreds, but you know what? When I had seven fans I was happy, too. So as long as people are enjoying it I’ll keep plugging along.

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

That’s a tough question. I guess the best is to never give up and not to expect too much. Having goals is great, but none of us will be the next Stephen King just by putting a book on Smashwords. Be realistic, and then work towards whatever your goal is, whether it is to be the next Stephen King or just to entertain people.

joleene naylor 2About Joleene

author blog:

FB author page:



good reads:

facebook profile –

pinterest –

google + –

Random Friday

I almost skipped this one to. Heh. Well, if I get fed up, I can always blog weekly instead of every other day. Just to keep it regular, I mean. With this month I finish the new Happiness Is… anyway, so from April I’ll start from the beginning again. For the second time.

Unless I make the strip a weekly feature. Except I wrote only 44 until now, so it wouldn’t last a year. Besides, some of them are probably personal jokes that nobody but me would get, so… I don’t know when I’ll start publishing them.

But what started for fun will probably become some kind of extra, or behind the scenes, or the author’s life and brainstorming with Da Muses which can be added as special thingy to either newsletter subscribers or at the end of a collectors edition or I don’t know yet. Maybe a Patreon reward. Still working on that.

For now I’ll just give a preview of the last 3 strips – they should be all colored in the final version.

blog_resizeAnd since it’s sort of Art Friday… I did another pencil portrait last weekend. Might do another this weekend, who knows. If I’m not too busy rewriting and editing! ;)

Writer Wednesday

So, I’m quickly finishing the last sci-fi stories to get back to Silvery Earth. I didn’t write all the stories I wanted in the past two months, but I’ll have another bout of sci-fi later in the year! :) In the meantime, Star Minds Next Generation Diaries is with the editor and I’m working on covers. I’ll probably publish Kay-low’s story first, and then the whole SMNG companion.

I’m also waiting since I submitted one of the Diaries as last minute entry for a traditional magazine, but they haven’t rejected it yet. Which might mean they’re overwhelmed with submissions and still haven’t gotten to it – or I have a chance of publication. In the latter case, I’ll have to pull it out of SMNG Diaries and add it back in later this year when I do the POD version.

Did anyone notice the Sunday Surprise? Yep, no post! ;) I have run out of guests and had just done the words of wisdoms the previous Sunday, so I skipped a post… So if you’re an author and would like to be interviewed on this blog or have one of your characters interviewed, drop me a line. I’ll have the usual Author of the Month soon, and a special guest at the end of the month, but the rest is pretty much free…

Some writerly links: from Kobo Writing Life 11 tips for promoting your book. And in case you haven’t heard, it’s Read and Ebook Week – but I’m not participating this year. For the first time since I started publishing on Smashwords (way back in 2011) I won’t join the bandwagon. I might discount my books for a limited time, but not when everybody else is doing it – so if you’re interested, keep an eye on this blog! ;)

That’s part of my new marketing strategy, along with higher e-book prices, something even David Farland now suggests (I guess spending one week with Dean and Kris helped, LOL!). And submitting to traditional magazines, although I haven’t yet (except for that last minute submission). I’m still working on those stories, but this month I hope to submit a few.

Finally, did you see Joe Konrath on Kindle Worlds? I will have to check his Timecaster series, just in case… I don’t write mysteries or thriller – yet. I have tonz of SFF to write first, then maybe I’ll experiment in those genres! ;) It’s sort of out of my comfort zone, so I want to do it eventually, but not in somebody else’s world – although I might try with Barry Eisler’s John Rain, the short story I read was great. Still need to find time to read the novels, though.

Anyhow, that’s all for today! :) Have a great week!


Happiness is…


Random Friday

Random randomness – not much to say, so… I uploaded another digital painting of Kay-low, Kol-ian’s son… This time with Jay-lee in the background. I’ve sort of experimented with the “painting” (I’m not a painter, I suck with brushes), since for Jay-lee I tried to make the black marks vanish, while they’re still very visible in Kay-low.

The previous drawing of Kay-low is here, his story should come out sometimes in March. He’s a wannabe galactic rockstar, so… that’s the reason for this look (and the fact that he is as much of a rebel as his father was at his age, LOL!). Except Kol-ian has genetically reinforced skin, so no tattoos allowed (hence the retractile wings to be “different”).

I’m also drawing those strips, but I’m not sure I’ll ever publish them. I’m having fun doing them, but I don’t thing they’re for public consumption – unless I decide to make a fool of myself in public! ;) I might put one on DeviantART because it mentions a fellow Deviant, but the rest… I haven’t decided yet.

And February is over, so… until next month – have a great weekend! :)

Writer Wednesday

The Hero Initiative is over, let’s hope that someone finds my Happiness is… entertaining enough to try the rest… If not, well, just another marketing experiment.

This month it was Kobo’s unexpected royalty payment that covered the electricity bill – unexpected because I never know if and when they’re going to send me the money. I had to wait until I had approx.100CAD$ (around 70euro) the first time, but this time it was less than 35euro and they transferred the money anyway. Maybe they took off the minimum treshold…

The most still comes from Amazon, especially Amazon Italia, in spite of a 99cent bestselling short story. Not enough to pay the upcoming phone bill, though, unless I add the Draft2Digital money that stays on my Paypal account (too low amount to transfer it to my bank account). Sigh.

You might have figured it by now, but this year I’m writing more than publishing. My problem is not writing – I’m sticking to my weekly wordcount without effort – it’s finding betas for everything. Since I’m writing shorter works, sometimes I can submit them at the offline writers group, but it’s once a month, and I’ve written 2 or 3 this month.

Next month I want to submit to them a short story with an upcoming theme, so I can submit it in April, so everything else falls behind. Not that I’m in a hurry to submit or publish those shorter works, but sometimes waiting for feedback is frustrating. I’d publish a lot more if I could find more loyal betas – but I keep losing them to life rolls!

Anyhow, the learning must continue, and I guess it will only improve my writing! ;) And I’ll start saving on editing expenses (although I plan on redoing some covers) if I publish less… while royalties trickle in so very slowly that sometimes I wonder why I’m still doing it. But I can see the long term thing, even if this year I haven’t really programmed everything I want to write and have only a vague idea for 2016…

But then, I must also train myself to run a business, and that’s going to take some time! :) So, even if I don’t see very far at this time, doesn’t mean I don’t think long term. I’m not going to quit anytime soon. I still enjoy doing my own covers as well as asking other artists to work for me. And I still enjoy writing, and I’m experimenting again.

My latest experiment, a novella, is currently out to betas… we’ll see if it passes the test! :) I also translated one of those shorts to see if I could get more betas among my Italian friends… no, I didn’t, so… I won’t bother again. 4 people had it for a week, and only 1 sent me her feedback. It’s a short story, not a novel. Sigh.

Amazon vs Apple – an interesting comparison. For when I hit that “publish” button again. I’m on both, but Apple sales (via D2D) are minimal for now… That’s all for today! Have a great week! :)

Happiness is…


Sunday Surprise

no more guests, but lots of words of wisdom or writers on writing or… well, you got it. Happy Sunday!

Now I believe a writer is someone who writes. Maybe you get paid. Maybe you don’t. Maybe people agree. Maybe they don’t. You don’t need anyone’s approval or acceptance or imprimatur or validation to consider yourself a writer. But legacy pundits like agents and publishers don’t want you to believe that. They want you to feel that the only way you can call yourself a writer is if they agree. And their approval comes at a high cost.
The legacy world doesn’t want you to feel like you’re a writer if all you do is self-publish. Because they need you to make money.
Your peers may not consider you a writer if all you do is self-publish. Because they need to protect their own identities, and that means dismissing yours.
You may not feel like a writer until you meet certain criteria. But consider this: who sets those criteria? You? Or an industry that wants to make money off of you?
Readers don’t care. Readers just want a good book. Maybe we all should worry less about labeling, and more about writing.
Joe Konrath

I don’t write every day. I never have. But I do write most days, and I’ve filled thousands of pages of notebook paper with writing. I swear there’s no magic trick, no simple solution, no get-writerly-quick scheme. You have to write a lot of words. You have to write your heart out. And in the end, you discover that the writing’s what matters. Writing is its own reward. I promise.
M. Molly Backes

Being patient and having a long view was crucial, I think. I didn’t get discouraged, because I had no expectations. It isn’t like my books go stale. They’re all e-books and print-on-demand paperbacks. They are brand new and always in print, just waiting to be discovered. I firmly believe that if a well-read author commits to honing their craft and writing two novels a year for ten years, they will be able to make a career out of writing. The beauty of self-publishing is that you can give yourself that ten-year chance. You don’t have to rely on being discovered by an agent. You don’t have to waste your time querying and spending the two or three years it can take to get a single book published. And you aren’t limited to the narrow window in which your book will be displayed on a store shelf. You can publish now and publish forever. That’s a huge benefit, one that I recognized very early on.
My one other piece of advice is that you should publish your works as if millions of people will read them. Invest in quality cover art that looks great both in print and on a small online thumbnail. 90% of the bad covers out there are due to horrible font selection. Don’t get fancy; use something big, bold, and blocky. And get help with the editing, even if that means exchanging services with other writers. Don’t be in a rush to publish. Make your work shine.
Hugh Howey

A lot of writers obsess and rewrite paragraph after paragraph, chapter after chapter, seldom if ever completing a draft. Those who do complete a draft then spend years rewriting and rewriting and never quite come to the point that you HAVE to come to: this is done, this is enough. There’s something to be said for rewriting; it can be when you find your way past the chaos in your own head to what the story needs to say, but the endless polishing, the shifting of sentences here and there, becomes a form of procrastination. It puts off the horrible moment when you need to say, “It is finished.” No book is ever truly finished with and completed; there is always more you could do. Yet to become a book rather than a work continuously in progress, it’s vital that you stop and step away and let it alone to fly into the hearts of readers.
Vivienne Tuffnell

There are a million ideas in a world of stories. Humans are storytelling animals. Everything’s a story, everyone’s got stories, we’re perceiving stories, we’re interested in stories. So to me, the big nut to crack is to how to tell a story, what’s the right way to tell a particular story.
– Richard Linklater

Random Friday

I wanted to post a preview of the new strip, but it’s really not done yet, so maybe some other time. It was related to last Saturday, which for most of the so-called civilized world was Valentine’s Day or lovers’ day or whatever you want to call it. It never had any meaning for me, so I never bothered celebrating it.

But this year I sort of celebrated it, since I finally managed to get to the post office and retrieve the commission I requested to lovely Mrs Waffle! :)

IMG_9333Ain’t it neat? Now it’s on my wall, next to Colleen Doran, Sir Wendigo and a couple more (and there’s room for more… will have to stalk some other artist for an original sketch, LOL)…

IMG_9334See? And I know I don’t really look like that, but it’s close enough! ;)

My Facebook friends must have the default newsfeed of Top Stories, since I got plenty of comments and likes on the latest Happiness is… as if I never post anything else… And that picture is 1) two years old and 2) I had just come out of the hairdresser, which mean 48hours later it was all gone. You can see some of it in the above picture, and it obviously doesn’t look like in that Happiness is…! ;)

I’ll take it to my hairdresser tomorrow, with an idea I got about my next visit… in a couple of weeks. If it works out, I’ll post a picture. Maybe. I’m not very good at selfies, not even with a real camera and not a cell phone (did I mention I only have a stupid-phone?). Ah, well, we’ll see.

One last bit of randomness – 15 things that introverts would never tell you. I hotly subscribe to all of them, but mostly #7 and #8, and not because I’m a writer! But then, that’s probably why I don’t have that many offline friends… Which is fine, really. See #2! ;) Have a great weekend!


Writer Wednesday

Happiness is… is included in this bundle. As they put it on DriveThruComics FB page:

The Hero Initiative creates a financial safety net for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work.

The We Love Comic Creators Bundle offers over $120 worth of digital comics from Valiant Comics, Top Cow Productions, Inc., ASPEN COMICS, Devil’s Due Publishing, Renegade Arts Entertainment Ltd, and more for only $20 with proceeds benefiting the Hero Initiative!

This amazing Bundle will only be available for a week, so don’t delay!

Really, 20 buck and you get tonz of comics! :) Go get it now! :)

Some writerly links this week… Are you a happy writer? I’m not complaining, although I’ll be happier when I’ll be able to quit DayJob (or marry one of Da Muses, haha! ;) Nah, too late for wedding dreams). I look forward to the days I won’t have to “take vacations” from my day job, because I’ll be doing it all year long.

I don’t meet the new SFWA requirements yet either, but what the hell. There’s still plenty of time. Or maybe not. Who cares. Next year I might try to go to the Superstars Writers Conference – or maybe when I’m rid of DayJob, since it’s always hard for me to plan trips in February (so I’ll miss the Anthology Workshop until I manage to quit).

If you’re “new” to writing,  check this post about misinformation and then this post about novel lengths. Having grown up with shorter novels, I was baffled when I started researching guidelines for traditional publishers. Luckily indie publishing came along… now my stories are the length they need to be! :) Which means, by the way, that I won’t write any novel this year – unless one of those stories grows up on me! :D

So, now, back to practice… I mean, writing. I have a couple of betas comments to ponder and new stories to write and the month is half gone, so… Have a great week! :)


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