Random Friday


For Author Voice I had to look up Stage 4 writers, which made me go to my physical bookshelves and plunge into the past – end of last century.

The first book I read in English in the late 1980s was Tanith Lee’s The Silver Metal Lover. I loved it – still do, still reread it from time to time. I bought another title by her and did not finish it. Same with Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy – did not finish.

Then I read the Belgariad and the first two books of the Chronicles of the Cheysuli in Italian, and during my next trips to England, I bought the originals. Now, that was love at first sight! I bought many series from David Eddings (I still have to get the last, co-authored with his wife, but I even have his early contemporary titles) and a couple from Jennifer Robertson (if I couldn’t find all the books in the bookshops, I didn’t even start the series).

So I was very happy to go digging through those old paperbacks, looking for author voice. I know I bought all those titles even if the storylines were repetitive (especially David Eddings, after reading his Rivan Codex, I started seeing his pattern – that’s an excellent book on world-building, by the way), so it must be because of the author’s voice.

I hope to reread all of them, along with the Dragonlance books, sometimes, since they’re the reason why I write fantasy! And I still have four titles from SFF bundles I bought Nov.2014 – Mar 2015… not to mention this order from Amazon (I prefer non-fiction in paper, especially if it’s illustrated like the ones below)…

2016-04-13 17.37.47My TBR pile never goes down, and even if it’s just on Kindle, I do have a list that covers both sides of a sheet of paper still (I delete the read titles, so that’s still a lot of stuff to read – not to mention the piled paperbacks on my desk).

When I’m not researching for Kaylyn, I’m going through the bundle of shorter works… so far, so good, will tell more when I’m done. Go grab it before it’s gone!

I better go back to making up stuff, although historical research and reading old chronicles is sometimes fascinating… and I still have a long batch of non-fiction books on writing on the Kindle, but well… I want to read for entertainment for some time! Off I go! Happy reading!:)

Writer Wednesday


I would like to thank the guys at Draft2Digital (especially Aubrey) who helped me deal with Apple for two titles in the past week. They’re an awesome distributor and without them I’d definitely stop sending my books to Apple. I’m sick of their rejections. And don’t even think of buying me i-Things because I’ll resell them, I don’t want any Mac-stuff in the house!😦

choicesetc_resizeI have published a new title, but some distributors are still lagging behind. It went smoothly on Amazon, took a little longer on Apple (with the above mentioned help) and Kobo is still stuck in nowhere land. So I contacted Kobo support. In the meantime here are the available retailers on the publisher’s page.

I should have uploaded it as new title. Meh. Anyhow, if you want to read that story that was a sore project block from September to January, go grab it now. It’s the only new title in that collection, but I think it’s nice – if you like contemporary stories, that is. If you’re only for SFF, skip this title!:)

This week I hope to upload the preorder for Charioteer of Buddha, since I now have the wonderful cover by Shafali Anand. I will put a placeholder manuscript, since the editor still has it, but will get back to me before the end of the month.

And by the way, the mighty cover artist is also a writer, can you believe it? She won a Honorable Mention at Writers of the Future like me (in a different quarter)! Read her story at My Story Doctor! And then join me in screaming “We want to read those stories, publish them! Poor babies are sick to be stuck in that drawer!”

By the end of April I hope to publish The Archers on the other sites after its KDP Select term ends (April 20), then the collection of contemporary stories, that will also have a POD version. I’m currently doing the Author Voice workshop, and so far no writing to be done, so I’m good!:)

Speaking of Author Voice – the first assignment says I have a solid author voice. Which reminded me of a conversation with a friend in the 1990s when she told me “Can you write a story where you’re not in it?” Since I used to put myself as a character in my stories back then, I objected that I wasn’t in the m/m stories I was writing at the time (since there were no female characters in them), but she insisted I was in them.

I guess I didn’t understand what she was telling me then, but obviously I already had an author voice. It changed through the years, but that’s another blog post. A couple of links, one to make you smile and the other is actually a series. Kris Rusch is talking contracts again – don’t miss any of those posts, even if you’re indie published. Because as you can see from the funny post, writing is a business, therefore it has contracts.

Go read all of them. The first is really short. Now I better go back to Kaylyn and finish it by the weekend!😉

Happiness is…


54

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!😀

Random Friday


Since I gave up on the challenge that should have ended today (started April 1, end should have been April 8) and spring is killing me (cool mornings hot lunch times, gaaaaaah), I thought I’d just sort of pass. About Kaylyn update, I’m about 17K in and the plot keeps changing under me, so I don’t think I’ll manage to finish it by the weekend, but hopefully by next week yes.

Just an announcement for a reading Friday. Grab this bundle while you can, it’s shorter reads (between 10K and 35K I’m told) that can keep you company when you have a short trip. And now I’m leaving you with the words of others – words of wisdom, writers on writing, call them what you want. I’m already tired from typing this, so I better use my energies to take Kaylyn to her next destination. Have a great weekend!

***

Things change in this industry every day.  If you’re like me, you probably find it bewildering at times.  But take heart.  Some things never change.  The most important thing that will never change is that books are magical containers for delivering stories and knowledge.  You create magic.
The industry will change – players will go out of business and others will rise and fall and rise again – but books will always remain.  Authors will always remain.  You are the captain of your personal adventure in publishing, and the course you chart is rife with opportunity.
(…)
Luck plays a factor as well, but only for those who implement best practices first.  Best practices prepare you to capture lightning in a bottle when luck strikes.  Luck strikes all the time.  It’s word of mouth.  It’s a blog post or a tweet or a Facebook mention or a review that recommends your book.
The books you have in you are important. Your books are important to the future of book culture and humanity.  Don’t let anyone or anything discourage you from putting your book out into the world.

Mark Coker

But if you want a career as a writer, if you don’t want to have a day job, if you only want to write, then it seems to me the safest path to take is the indie path. You’ll have more opportunity. You can work hard and publish a lot and make money doing so.
Will every indie writer make six-figures per year? Hell, no. Nor will every traditionally published writer. But what this particular Author Earnings report shows is that if you want the chance of making six-figures or more per year with your writing, the best publishing path is indie.
(Provided you continue to learn your craft, are a damn fine storyteller, have excellent covers, do the right amount of marketing… and on and on and on.)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I made a comment at some point over the last few days that bothered a number of people. I said I could always tell if a person was going to make it. I did not mean in their storytelling skills. I meant in their drive and persistence.
Anyone can learn how to tell a good story. Persistence over years is impossible to teach.

Making choices to write is always a key indicator. How often do you make the choice to write when others are doing something that sounds like fun?
Dean Wesley Smith

(On getting to the typewriter)… “For me, a lot of times the real barrier to get to work – to get to the typewriter or the word processor – comes before I get there. I had one of those days today where I thought to myself: “I’m not sure if I can do this.” I have a lot of days like that. I think it’s kind of funny really, that people think: “Well, you’re Stephen King, that doesn’t happen to you,” as if I wasn’t really the same as everybody else.”

Stephen King

In the past year, I’ve had so many friends feel burned out. Tapped out. Done. Finished. Writing became this chore that they had to do to keep up with… what? Financial obligations. Reader expectations. Personal goals….

When I start to get burned out, it’s usually because I haven’t had enough creative time. It’s because I’m focusing on the publishing and selling aspects of this business and not on the writing parts. I NEED the writing. It’s still my most-fun-thing. My escape. My happy place.

Elizabeth Hunter

Writer Wednesday


Update on the experiment! March wordcount was really low (less than 27K), so I thought the challenge of writing a 52K novel in 8 days would boost that for the month of april.

Except I picked the wrong novel!😉 I should have done it with a Silvery Earth novel, or just said “I will write 42K in 7 days, no matter how many stories that makes”. Anyway, I had planned to start on Kaylyn in April, so I started with Kaylyn.

Day 1 I wrote 3007 words. Barely on targed. Day 2 I wrote 4666words. Slightly more than necessary. Except Day 3 I wrote only 3997 words instead of 5000. And Day 4 I lost 2 hours with the online workshop video-watching, so I wrote only 575words of mostly adjusting scenes or rewriting the last.

At that point I sort of gave up on the challenge, since halfway through I wasn’t even close to where I’m supposed to be. Why is Kaylyn so delayed? Because it’s historical fantasy. Which means I need to stop and check facts every scene or so. I haven’t outlined except with a vague idea of where she’s supposed to be at any given time.

And then when I got to that point, I found that either I had no info on that place (Kingdom of Aragon), or it wasn’t interesting enough at that time (Alexandria of Egypt), so in spite of having studied the 12th century for my (fully) historical novel, since she’s not really walking in my other characters’ footpath, it’s not really helping.

And soon I’ll get to the 13th century, that I had barely started studying years ago. Add to that the start of Author Voice (although for the first assignment I simply sent an extract of the current WiP, so no real sweating on that one except for the time it took to go through the videos that included the excellent lecture The Stages of a Fiction Writer: How to Know Where You Are In Learning and How To Move Upward) and I just gave up the thought of keeping up with my teacher!😉

What’s coming up in April – will tell next week, along with the writerly links I didn’t have time to check this week. Just wanted to let you know that I’m Author of the Month again, sharing that space with the wondrous Ubiquitous Bubba, the surviving lost twin of Douglas Adams with the same sense of humor even though he’s American (which is why he’s the lost twin of the late British author, LOL!).

Feel free to drop by and ask us questions or follow the discussion. Have a great week!:)

Happiness is…


brand new vignette… refers to last year’s workshops, but I’m starting a new one TODAY, yay!

150

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!

Soo! Tell me a little about yourself.

My name is Dii – Dii’Athella is the longer version. It’s elven. I’m told it means Flower of the Dawn. I’m about twenty-five summers – although I don’t know my exact age. I was taken from my true mother as an infant and given to a human family. They did not take me to raise me as their own, I was a Kept – a slave. I’m an elf – elves have no rights, no liberty, no justice in Eranan law.

Ugh. I already hate your world. Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Female, red hair, tattoos, elven, midnight blue eyes.

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

My Keeper Joset Tremayne. He’s the one who stole me from my mother’s arms. Although I do not know how my mother ended up in the Enclave. Joset used me….Please do not ask me the details. Let’s just say he’s very unpleasant, he’s cruel and unfeeling. He beats all his servants and slaves. By law he does nothing wrong. I was property – to be treated as he wished but surely property does not think, does not feel or hurt.

I am a sorceress – which made me doubly forbidden. The Order of Witch-Hunters rule the land, and by their law magic is illegal. Anyone caught using it can be taken and imprisoned or executed. There is no trial – I think that’s what you call it in your land. Magic is just there, it infuses the land, some people are born with it. Magic does not know it’s forbidden. How can it be forbidden – it just is. Like the sky, the sun, the moon and the gods.

I know exactly what you mean. I do have my own share of magic people of other worlds don’t understand. Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

Yes. And yes.

So tell me more about your world.

I now live in Tremellic, which is a valley community at the far edge of Erana. The Jagged Peak mountains look upon us and the Shimmering Forest guards our border.

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

Lord Archos. He is kind, clever, powerful and charming. He’s an excellent lover, a courageous fighter and a shrewd businessman. He is also a mage, our magic met and now we are more powerful together. He loves me for what I am, what I was, and what I can be.

Sounds like a dream man! What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Surviving.

I get a lot of answers like that, I wonder why… Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

Archos is my family, and his friend Olek. Olek is like the brother I never really had. Ozena lives with us too. She’s an elven huntress from a local elven community which was destroyed by slavers. It’s nice to have a female companion about the manor. My Keeper had a son – Ulric – who was sometimes kind to me. Mostly he was his father’s son and could not see me as anything more than a pretty dalliance, someone to warm his bed. He cared for his own pleasure, and the honour of their house. He was not a man. He was a child, and a petulant one at that.

Most men are – I think it’s called Peter Pan syndrome somewhere… Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I have a tattoo which spirals from my cheek to my thigh.

Whoa, neat! What 2 or 3 questions do you wish I’d asked and what are your answers to them?

Oh gods, I do not know. Perhaps why I visit the Enclave in Varlek when I know it is a terrible place?

Varlek, one of the largest cities has an elven Enclave. I suppose in your world it would be called a ghetto. All elves must live there – unless they live in the house of their masters. It’s a terrible place, there is much disease and poverty. The Enclave is another tool of the Order of Witch-Hunters – to keep the humans and elves apart. Highlight our differences you might say. Elves and men are really not that different, there are a few cosmetic differences – elves have different ear shapes, we are slightly smaller and our features more pronounced. But elves and humans can interbreed – any child thereof is classed as a half-elf and subject to the restrictions of all elves. Even if it’s father is a lord of the land. Why did we visit the Enclave? Ozena’s sister was taken from Szendro, and often such elves end up in the Enclave, the slave markets or worse. As it happened the elves we found were not of Szendro. That’s another story – and you must read my adventures to find out who they are.

I’d not dare to enter the Enclave alone, but some humans do feel pity for the elves and bring medicine or extra food. Officially it’s not allowed but a starving, sick elf cannot work and besides disease can spread to the humans. The Witch-Hunter guards turn their eyes away if the payment is large enough. Money can buy freedom, of a sort. Or at least pity and mercy.

Archos tells me it depends on the particular guards – some turn aside. Others do not. Some of the merchants pay to the temple. The priestesses are allowed in the Enclave to give alms, bring herbs and prayers. I suppose it keeps order. Vestiges of the old religions linger and not even the Order often dare to defy the gods. It’s more, I think, they ignore it, or perhaps feel that angering the gods helps no one.

Any mage knows the gods are real, or at least were. Many do not walk the lands now, the magic is not as Powerful as once it was and so although the beliefs do linger they are often not strong. Do I believe? Yes, of course. When one has nothing but hatred and fear one looks beyond the mortal for hope. The gods are there, getting their attention – that’s another matter entirely.

Another question? What are my hopes for the future? I’m an elf – and even within Tremellic where elves are treated well it’s hard to believe we will ever be truly free. For now the Witch-Hunters ignore Tremellic – Archos pays vast bribes to keep it so but the more we interfere the more likely they are to come. My hopes for the future are to live with the man I love, and to be safe and happy. I hope for the elves to be free, but I know that is a dangerous hope. We cannot simply sit back and do nothing but for every elf we save, for every mage we help the risk of Order ‘pacification’ increases. My hopes are that we live to see another sun rise, another moon rise. I will say this – despite my fear I will never again become a prisoner of the Order. I will live as freely as I can or die trying. The Order think they rule this land, think they rule magic. Magic does not agree.

Well, thank you for your time, Dii’. I see we have another guest… Tell me a little about yourself, my good lord.

Ulric Tremayne, son of Lord Joset Tremayne of Reldfield. I am heir to the lands, and all its chattels. I am twenty-five or so. Really does it matter? As yet there is no Lady Tremayne. My mother is father’s…concubine. She is a mage – but that is of no matter. In our lands she has protection. Have I a wife? Not yet, I do not need the burden of a wife and my father is still young enough to have many years left to him and perhaps if he takes another mistress there will be another son.

I like the company of women. I am the master’s son and so if I command they warm my bed. Then there is Dii. Such a sweet creature, poor soul. But of course she’s a Kept. Property. I suppose Mama is too, if I think about it. There is no point in taking Dii as any more than the whore she is – any offspring would be half-elven bastards. Dii brings me pleasure but it can never be more than that. Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Black hair, young and handsome.

What is your role in the story?

I’m the son of Lord Joset Tremayne. When Dii runs away I go to seek her. Father has a temper, he does not treat her kindly and so if I can return her to the household I may be able to pacify him. Dii is his prize Kept, she has certain….skills, and charms. Dii brings us a goodly amount of coin. Besides it is dangerous world for a young elven woman. Dii knows nothing of it. She is safer within our house.

What is your relationship with the protagonist?

I suppose you could almost say Dii is my foster sister. Mama certainly tries to treat her as a daughter. My mother had a true born daughter once – stillborn. I don’t recall her, I was either very young or not yet born. I try and tell mother Dii is just a Kept, an elf but it doesn’t help. I worry for them both. Father could easily end his protection and Mama would have nothing, perhaps end in the Enclave prison, or worse. Dii is an elf and a mage. The Order do not look kindly on her type.

Where do you live(world/town/whatever)?

I live in Reldfield. It’s a town West of Jaeden and the city. We have other holdings but that is where my father chooses to reside.

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

I can take any girl I choose in the household or from among the Kepts. Dii is my favourite but I am a young man, I take my pleasures where I wish.

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Finding Dii. The foolish girl ran from our protection. You’d not think it so hard to find one red-haired elven girl but she’s clever. She finds herself a protector. Dii has something about her, an allure. Many men find her irresistible.

Do you have a moral code?

I wish to protect the honour of the House of Tremayne, and of course our interests. I don’t think I’m cruel but well, elves are elves aren’t they? The law is the law.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I have an attraction towards red-haired women, but I can’t think why.

*to herself* Glad I’m a brunette! *back to Ulric* What 2 or 3 questions do you wish I’d asked and what are your answers to them?

What will I do with Dii when I find her?

I’ll bring her home. I know she fears my father but I’m sure I can placate him. At least I think so.

What do I think of the Order of Witch-Hunters?

They can be….heavy handed at times. I mean one hears stories but rumours are just that rumour. Erana can’t be an easy land to rule – there are many factions after all. They leave us alone – in fact now I think of it some of my father’s cronies wear the colours of the Order. It helps to sweeten them, after all my mother is a mage. I try and stay out of their way but I know mother and Dii fear them. The law is the law.

_____________

LBTS Book IThese characters appear in Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles.

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles series – an adult fantasy/fantasy romance series, with a touch of erotica.

The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles – Book I

In a dark world where magic is illegal and elves are enslaved a young elven sorceress runs for her life from the house of her evil Keeper. Pursued by his men and the corrupt Order of Witch-Hunters she must find sanctuary. As the slavers roll across the lands stealing elves from what remains of their ancestral home the Witch-Hunters turn a blind eye to the tragedy and a story of power, love and a terrible revenge unfolds.

Available as an e-book in all the Amazon stores, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and the Smashwords associate stores.

Also available as a paperback on Createspace and Amazon.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1481255622

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1481255622

Audio Book

http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/The-Light-Beyond-the-Storm-Chronicles-Book-1-Audiobook/B01DAQSCIC/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Light-Beyond-Storm-Chronicles-Book/dp/B01DAQRYV8/

http://www.amazon.com/Light-Beyond-Storm-Chronicles-Book/dp/B01DASVPLQ/

***

More info on the author’s website

Random Friday


This is no April’s Fool. I have decided to take up the challenge and write a novel in 8 days, since I need 52K to get to the length of Rajveer the Vampire. So today I’m starting Kaylyn and will finish by the 8th, if I can keep up with the workshop starting next week and the DayJob still taking half of my day!:)

So today I’m writing the first 3000 words, tomorrow 4000 and so on, adding 1000 words every day. Which means that on the last day I’ll need to write 10000 words. I’ve written 10000 in two days, I guess I can just sit down and write them in one!😉

Random randomness, here’s the artist’s news. A few attempts at digital painting along with the original drawing (pencils only or pencils+acrylics). So, from left to right: colored pencils (2hours), colored pencils + acrylics (+30mins. I’m bad with brushes, sigh), digital attempt 1 (+30mins), digital attempt 2 (+30mins), digital attempt 3 (+almost one hour and 3 levels)…

2016Dabboo_resizeI guess I still have some work to do before I can do the water effect properly (the original photo is included in this post)…

And last random topic of the day – if you’re a Trekkie, you might want to check this offer. Again, it’s not an April’s Fool, so enjoy some 700 (yes, seven hundred) Star Trek e-books discounted or free to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the TV Series!:)

And there’s also this Award-winning Canadian SF&F bundle for a limited time only! If I werent’s such a slow reader myself… If only my TBR pile went down a little…

BTW, I had a Kindle scare the other day, it seemed dead and I was afraid I must buy the new models, but luckily the troubleshoot page helped me to give it back its life. Phew! Long live Kindle Keyboard!:)

 

Writer Wednesday


After dealing with Mr Procrastination for two whole weeks, I finally managed to get back to writing on Easter weekend. My weekly wordcount (10K) was covered in two days. Now I have the rest of the week to write 20K more and catch up on the lost time, haha!:)

And from the guy who invented the “WIBBOW test”, here’s a helpful metaphor for writers. My weak leg of the table is #4 – marketing and the business side of writing. I guess, like Leah Cutter suggests, I should buy a hat. Or a wig. Wait, I already have wigs. When should I wear the wig – as the author or as the publisher? Decisions…

Openings_resizeAnyhow, I did manage to upload the new short stories that sprang from last year’s Depth Workshop… As is now usual for the new titles (but I still haven’t done it for the previous ones), the Amazon link redirects you to your Amazon store.

And next week I start another online workshop, so maybe more contemporary stories will come out eventually. I’m not sure I want to keep writing those, but if some nice prompt… prompts me, I’ll write them!😉

In a couple of weeks you’ll get the other novella, “Changes”, the one that was stuck in project block for months, along with the other stories by the discarded pen name. So look out for “Choices, Changes and Other Stories” if contemporary fiction is your thing.

In the meantime I’m finishing those Silvery Earth stories before refining the last scene in Chandaka’s story as per suggestion of Mighty Beta Jo and then onward with Kaylyn’s book.

No more writerly links – but the ones above are well worth the detour!:) Have a great week!

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