Writer Wednesday


Okay, first here’s the Booklinker Amazon Link of the latest title, click on it before Booklinker starts sending me emails that I didn’t put it to good use and I’m missing sales. Since I have no way to unsubscribe to those, I’d rather you just click on the damn link so they’ll shut up.

I’m doing it for all the new titles, but sometimes I set it up before I actually publish the title on the Publisher Page, and so a week goes by before the link actually goes live and I get those silly reminders. I wonder what happens when I start making the links for the old books. I guess I’ll make a post with all of them and kindly request you to click on them even if you don’t have a Kindle or an Amazon account! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, Amazon Fall is slowly coming out on all retailers. I’ve had sore throat and fever over the weekend, so I’m late in uploading (and there’s a holiday in Canada, so Kobo is slower than ever). I guess I’ll let the publisher announce it properly along with whatever else is planned for the site! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Putting back my writing hat on – current WiP is definitely a novel. Part 1 is around 45K (and I’ll have to change slightly that map I posted on Saturday) and then there’s part 2 that I think will be around 20K or 30K. So the whole novel will come out after the summer, I guess. Part 1 will be in the Tales of the Nortern Kingdoms (volume 1) and Part 2 in More Tales of the Southern Kingdoms (volume 2) as well.

With the Blog Hop I didn’t have time to check other blogs, but on a mailing list I was sent these two links on how Amazon works, so I thought I’d share them with you: part 1 and part 2. Now I better send out that prize for the Blog Hop.

I will give a special mention to one reviewer who wrote a very poignant blog post for the hop – I assure you that I will always write the stories I want to write, not the stories that sell! ๐Ÿ™‚ I will probably have more ACE characters from now on, except on Silvery Earth they don’t have those labels, so you’ll have to look for them! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a great week!

EDIT: blog hop winner contacted with special thanks to Random.org. Thanks to all who stopped and left a comment during the hop!

Writer Wednesday


Getting the first and last cold of the season in this crazy March weather means that I’m not really writing. Cough is disruptive to concentration and besides I had a meeting with the offline writers group (that I hoped to turn into something more of a critique group, but so far only one person agreed on most of what was said of critique groups) and then Aunty Duty and then I’m off to Iceland for five days, so… I guess I’ll just resume writing when I come back.

I already know how I want to start on Kaylyn’s novel, but while I’m traveling I hope to re-read my historical shelved novel to see if I can get back into the 12th century Europe atmosphere before continuing! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was also reading a steampunk novel until Monday night, so that didn’t really fit the mood of what I was supposed to write.

Yes, I flirted with Mr Procrastination this week, but I’m not in a hurry, I know next week I’ll get back on track! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Writerly links: Copyedit from Heck and other copyediting problems… And yes, there’s always too much to do, either trad or indie published! ๐Ÿ™‚

For those of us who worked in traditional publishing, we know the amount of work is massive, even though it seems it shouldnโ€™t be. And I often hear beginning writers talk about how they want to go to traditional publishing because it will be less work.
I actually have to keep from laughing and snorting at that. But there is no way to tell the poor deluded souls the truth because even if I tried, it wouldnโ€™t make sense, so best to just let them go and lose a few books and a few years to the experience.

So, my dear friends, take it from a pro. Dean knows what he says! ๐Ÿ™‚

Mighty Zon’s latest – how they aim at scammers but hit authors. I have downloaded the sample of Walter Jon Williams book, but I still have so many books to read on my TBR Kindle virtual list! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I have only one title in KU/KPD Select, but that’s another lesson for authors – don’t put all your eggs in one basket! ๐Ÿ™‚

As for Amazon’s reply to the topic – methink that long ToC at the beginning of the book taking away half of my sample is a very bad reader’s experience, but that’s just me. Often I haven’t bought a book for which I downloaded a sample, because half of the sample had unnecessary stuff (usually in trad pubbed books) and it didn’t give me enough insight of what I was buying.

So there, that’s my reader’s experience.

And continuing on this topic, since I’m a proud Kindle Keyboard owner, I thought I’d let others know about Amazon’s software update on old and old old Kindles. Mine is updated since I charge it on the laptop and I guess it “sees” the wi-fi when charging. In fact, in the past couple of months I’ve seen it doing weird things and feared it was about to die.

Hope “K.K.” survives a little longer, I hate my smartphone touch screen enough, I wouldn’t want to deal with that on my e-reader! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a great week!

Random Friday


Let’s make it Reading Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s the post on reading by Dean Wesley Smith and also another on Shannon A. Thompson’s blog. I’m not a huge reader, but I do read, in most genres – as long as there’s a plot. And while I go through my SFF bundles, I took a break to read my other reading love – comics and graphic novels.

Last year two classmates gave me an Amazon gift card. I finished using it this year, with the following purchase.

2016-02-24 13.34.18To the bookseller bemoaning Amazon – if I ever get to London, I’m not setting foot in your shop, since I doubt you’ll store graphic novels. And I don’t drink whiskey. If I buy PAPER books on Amazon it’s because local bookstores don’t stock them (and not only because they’re in English and I live in a non-English speaking country – we do have English bookshops).

Now, to my purchases! I am I known fan of Colleen Doran (see my sidebar, LOL) and I’ve wanted to check Gone to Amerikay since it came out. I wasn’t disappointed, the three intertwined story-lines (1870, 1960 and 2010) are beautifully rendered by Colleen with the nice colors of Josรฉ Villarubia. The story is a nice mix of history and fantasy, with ghosts and historical events. I like mostly the splash pages that show New York in the three timelines – and how it changed throughout the years.

Drawing the Line was brought to my attention by a Goodreads friend who had read and reviewed it. Being a little leery of underground comics, I did a quick google check for more about the stories inside the book. I don’t like all the drawing styles, but most of them yes. With comics and graphic novels, if I don’t like the art, I don’t enjoy the story, so that’s why it’s critical that I see something in the drawings.

None of these ladies has an hyper-realistic style like Colleen Doran, but some were really neat. An Ideal Girl and The Poet, Sharmila reminded me of some French BDs, and the simplicity of Asha, now made me wish I could see it in colors. Lots of nice stories by very nice women – highly recommended for India lovers and not only! ๐Ÿ™‚

Final thoughts on reading. You may have heard that Unberto Eco is dead. 60% of Italians read less than a book a year, but 98% are mourning his passing… will we get “distilled” Eco novels at newsagents now? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have never read him and I don’t know what to think of this. Definitely a leap year that’s taking away a lot of artists and writers and creators and actors and… but this year too shall pass!

Happy reading – I have a beta-reading weekend ahead, so… I won’t be idle!

 

Writer Wednesday


Another half month gone, yikes! Trying to finish that Silvery Earth novel so I can go back to my vampires through centuries. I’m now using every other morning to read the magazines I bought last year or earlier for research purposes, so when I get down to writing the actual stories, I’ll know what I’m supposed to look for.

Keeping an eye on that KDP Select title… hopefully I’ll make a Kindle Countdown soon. Got my January report for KENP read… peanuts. Not really worth it, but I had to try with at least one title! ๐Ÿ™‚

When I put the Amazon links, I usually go to the KDP dashboard to get them – and take out everything after the ASIN (mostly because I hate long URLs). Turns out I’m doing something right. If you don’t do like I do, start doing it, and here’s why.

Or you can do what Joe Konrath does. I should probably do my bibliography too at some point. For now you can see the reading order on the publisher’s page for Silvery Earth and Star Minds. I’ll add more when I have more. There’s no real reading order for the Body Switches (and I do plan on writing a couple more)! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I was also a guest on a couple of blogs last week – my productivity tips are almost lifted off the How to book, and then there was an interview at Book Goodies. Check them both if you haven’t already.

More writerly links: About Time and Sales, Balancing the Parts of Modern Publishing and Money Talks. Lots of food for thought on all of them. And then there’s the different kinds of English – I use American spelling, but the rest is… European, since I’m not a native, LOL! But then, I write mostly SFF, so does it really matter?

Now I better go booking my next online workshop. Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday


I finished redrafting Rajveer the Vampire. Cut out 11 pages, added in almost 40. It’s a 50K novel now, and my dear betas who read the first draft might not recognize it – well, at least not the end. I’ve added as much meat as I could, and it’s still an historical (fantasy) story.

One might think it’s easier to write in the present, but when one starts on the historical path, even 10 years ago, things were different! Thank Google for the instant answer to my many questions (although it screws Google analytics and their attempted targeted advertising – which I ignore anyway, LOL) while writing the new ending – including the fact that in 2005 there were Blackberry phones more than Smartphones.

Technicalities, but some readers are… well, you know them. Although since I’ve put vampires in the story, they can’t real expect total accuracy. I try to be as accurate as I can in the historical bits, but it’s still fiction – much like Kris Rusch’s musings on Writing for the Ages and dated science in old sci-fi stories.

Funny also that I added a questionnaire at the end of Rajveer – not as extensive as this one, but still with specific questions on pacing and other things, which I normally don’t. I guess whoever will read the second and final draft will get some of those questions too…

I mostly need to be told where I went too fast, where I forgot setting and if there are glaring plot holes, and that’s why I’m not really into paid beta services, although apparently they provide deep feedback. I only want to know where you – as a reader – stopped. Or what kept you going. Or… well, you get the point.

Writerly links – Joe Konrath fisking John Scalzi on (you can guess) Amazon KDP Select/Unlimited new paying system… Even if most of last year’s revenue for me was from Amazon Italia, I’m not Amazon exclusive and sales sank anyway this year (maybe also because I haven’t uploaded anything in months, although I’ve started the next translation).

It’s a roller-coaster – and e-books are forever. I might not be able to quit DayJob yet, but eventually I will. Even if the vampire stories don’t take off, I’ll probably keep writing them – one a year, since it’s historical fantasy that needs research – because I’m having fun in creating a different kind of universe, set on Earth, based on Earth history, but with enough fantasy to be fun.

And I don’t think you need to answer all the 50 questions about your author platform. But yes, you do need to ask some questions. I still don’t have (and don’t want) a Twitter account and still struggle with keywords, but well… you never stop learning! It’s constantly a work-in-progress, like my publisher’s page! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m skipping the Smashwords sale, but I’m already on the Blanket Permissions List on DriveThru, therefore participating in the “X-mas in July” sale with all titles at 25%off – only on DriveThruComics and DriveThruFiction… Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday


What’s new this week? Well, the new title is not ready, so… since Smashwords now allow assetless preorders, I thought I’d start telling you about that Desi vampire I’ve been hinting at for months! ๐Ÿ™‚ I still have to rewrite the end, but in the meantime, I set up the preorder button on Smashwords itself.

A “sun clan” warrior can never become a true child of darkness.
In 14th century India, Rajveer, a proud Rajput warrior of a Suryavanshi clan, is turned into a bloodsucker by an ancient Celtic vampire. Immortal, he loses his family to war and time and travels through northern India, seeing history unfold. Threatened by both human wars and evil vampires, can he remain true to his sworn vow not to take human lives?
A vampire’s journey through the centuries.

Rajveer the Vampire will come out on November 1st, All Saints Day (and National Holiday in Italy, but it’s a Sunday this year, sigh). I thought it was fitting, since he is… undead. Although maybe I should have picked November 2, or Commemoration of All Faithful Departed! ๐Ÿ™‚ But that’s a Monday, so not good for this year.

Sample chapters will be available after the summer and the price will go up in November when it goes live, but… I’ll keep you posted on this. I was thinking of a special release for this one, so there you have it. A pre-order button. Stay tuned for more in the coming months.

Some writerly links: Amazon has changed the Unlimited royalties – I guess it works sort of like Scribd (when I see on Smashwords how much I earn depending on how much the reader read, I cringe). So, really no use in going exclusive with Mighty Zon. Who, by the way, is being investigated by the EU. And here are Hugh Howey’s thoughts about the new KU payout structure.

Slightly related is Kris Rusch’s post on gaming the system. I will soon set up another pre-order button for my non-fiction book, but it won’t tell you how to get rich quick in the ebook market or how to climb Amazon’s charts. I totally agree with Kris when she says:

Who cares, the writers say, whether or not the books get read. One writer even said itโ€™s not normal for people to read the books they download (!).

Every writer should care whether or not people read their work. Back in the days before the internet (when we had to walk uphill in the snow both ways to the library to hunt the wild paper books), writers would sometimes buy their own books by the case to game the bestseller lists.

In that instance, just like in the gaming of Kindle Unlimited, the goal isnโ€™t to gain readers, itโ€™s to hit something important to the writerโ€”like a bestseller list or a certain percentage of a prize pool.

Huh? Why do you write, then? Hopefully those people will vanish soon… I have no idea of my Amazon ranking. And I don’t care. I want to be the best writer I can be. I should probably delegate a few things – even the things we are good at sometimes are time suckers, like Moira Allen says.

I’m off DayJob this week, but the heat and errands are making me lazy… so while I wait for betas to turn in manuscripts, I’m reading, relaxing and waiting for my trip to Turin to work on the Unicorn Productions web page. Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Writer Wednesday


Star Minds Next Generation is now available as print book on CreateSpace, Amazon, Barnes&Noble and probably some other retailer through the distribution channels! The Matchbook thingy means that on Amazon you get the ebook for free if you buy the printed book – although I have no idea where that comes out! ๐Ÿ˜‰

youngKing_resizeNew title out – The Young King – on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Apple, Kobo, Smashwords and DriveThruFiction. This short story was included in Male Lovers of Silvery Earth and More Tales of the Southern Kingdoms. This version is slightly different from the above after the cover artist commented on the story and the Italian version is currently my bestseller – in fact for the first time I published the Italian version first, since the changes were made after the cover artist commented on it and she doesn’t speak English. The awesome art is again by Cristina Fabris.

No writerly links for you this week except one – apparently Amazon will allow us to do giveaways! Will have to keep an eye on that, study it and eventually use it. Not that the Goodreads Giveaway brought in many readers, but then… Amazon bought Goodreads and now it allows Giveaways, so let’s try it at some point!

Since I have total randomness on Friday, I’ll add a reading suggestion here: Assassins in Love by Kris De Lake. Although some of the romance tropes make me cringe, if you love sci-fi romance, you’re gonna enjoy this! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I like the style and the two voices and the setting and whatever is not romance, LOL! And it’s a paper book, so it’s a signed copy, yay! ๐Ÿ˜€

Have a great week!

Sunday Surprise


To celebrate the brand new cover by Cristina Fabris, Technological Angel will be at 99cents ONLY on Amazon, Kobo and DriveThruFiction and ONLY from today and until March 23! See the neat little email KWL sent me when I experimented with their brand new button “Set Promo Price”?

KWLsaleSorry for all those other currencies, the 99cents is valid only for US$ and euro on Kobo (link to Kobo US). As for Amazon, I set the price to match the US$ amount, sorry (link to Amazon.com). It should be lower on the other Amazon shops as well, but not as neat as Kobo.

DriveThruFiction is only in US$, so… ๐Ÿ˜‰ You can still choose between PDF, e-pub and mobi. Grab the first book of Star Minds at a discounted price for a limited time! ๐Ÿ˜€

Check also their Sales Guide for more special offers – DriveThru specializes in SFF, comics and Games, so if that’s your cup of tea, go and check them!

I also have bundles with them, like the five Books of the Immortals or the Chronicles of the Varian Empire – PDF or e-pub or mobi bundled for a discounted price. I have a banner running at the bottom and even managed to squeeze Star Minds in the Featured Product Window, see? ๐Ÿ˜‰

DTFsaleHave a great Sunday!

Random Friday


Since one of my Mighty Editors (yes, I have more than one because I’m too prolific, LOL!) is fighting cancer, I’ve helped by going to her wishlist. See if you can find something you’d like to give her – not only in this particular wishlist, but all of them!

Which made me muse about my own use of Amazon, although I never really made a wishlist there, but today’s rant is about my history of Amazon purchases.

Being Italian, I was definitely an early adopter, since I started buying from Amazon in 2004.

My first order was Oct.20, 2004 (two books and one VHS). The latest was in January when I got me Da Muses latest movies on DVD…

In almost ten years, Mighty Zon provided me with:

5 VHS

6 CDs

49 DVDs (half Bollywood, one quarter Keanu’s and the rest various)

19 comics and graphic novels

26 non-fiction books (mostly Osprey for my historical research)

6 fiction paperbacks

1 Barbie collectors editionย (even had to send it to Jen’s, since they didn’t ship to Italy!)

1 Kindle Keyboard

12 Kindle books (+ 13 on Amazon UK and 15 on Amazon.it – I moved my Kindle every time a new Kindle shop opened, LOL) – that’s 40 in total, not counting the ones I don’t get from Amazon… yes, my Kindle is full of books to read, sigh!

And that’s not counting the shopping on Amazon.UK, Amazon.FR and Amazon.IT. I guess it’s time they start paying back in the form of royalties from KDP, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I haven’t reviewed everything, since I’m not a reviewer and it’s too time-consuming. Besides, I review only what I loved. Sometimes I get those emails saying “Your review has helped a customer”, but this doesn’t push me to do more! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now back to writing… Don’t forget to help Katy by getting something on her wishlist… Especially if you’re an author and you see your books on her list! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday


The blog hop is over, the winners have their coupon for free download. I ended up giving one to each commenter (who wanted one), since comments came in either very early or very late, so even if I moved from 120 to 113, I felt that those people who eventually made it down that long list deserved a prize, if only for reaching my blog! ๐Ÿ™‚ So, happy reading and if you can, leave a review on the usual places – if you forget, I won’t hold it against you. Like Kris Rusch says, it’s word of mouth that sells, not reviews, tweets, constant announcements, etc. So, if you enjoy the read, spread the word, thank you.

Not sure if it’s the blog hop or else, but another record month for visits. We’ll see if it keeps up and if I start finding my readers. For sales, this month has been very slow – only Kobo/inMondadori (yeah, Italian short stories, can you believe it). Just sayin’, not complaining. My sales go like my blog and my mood – up, down, like a yo-yo, life is just a giddyap a gogo (okay, showing my age again)! ๐Ÿ™‚

I have finished the first draft of Choices, so if there’s some male volunteer, I’d really love to hear your input on that story. Just because it has a male protagonist, although it’s probably aimed to women readers! ๐Ÿ™‚ย  In the meantime,ย  since May is almost over, I’ll move on to the next project – back to Silvery Earth and the Amazons. I’m rewriting my original Amazon story (that had sequels through the years, part 1 was written in 1985, part 2 in 1990, part 3 in 1991 and part 4 in 2004 + I’ve added the sister’s story recycling old Amazon stories from the end of last century, so the draft I’m going to translate/rewrite is from 2010), so I’m very excited.

Speaking of the other Amazon – a.k.a. Mighty Zon – the internet is ablaze with their announcement of Kindle Worlds. See the reactions of Passive Guy (especially in the comments), Chuck Wendig, John Scalzi and Laxmi Hariharan. What do you think of legal fan fiction? Personally, I’ve never written fan fiction (but I’ve read some slash, even with celebrities in it) and I don’t have fans writing stories set on Silvery Earth or in the Star Minds universe, so I’m not really bothered yet. But the comment #7 (Saruby) on John Scalzi’s post kinda made me think:

I am not a writer, but I do have some legal training and I would strongly advise anyone not to sign any contract that does not include specific reversion rights within a limited term. Also, no one should be able to use your ideas in other media without paying you. In the long run, any contract that takes rights (and therefore money) away from the writer is bad news. Far from helping publishing, Amazon is pushing a scheme that will deter writers who want to be self-supporting. Who can afford to write when future income from your work goes to someone else? These schemes will kill publishing.

I don’t know about that, but I’ll just keep my eyes open. We’ll have to wait and see… This new world of publishing is shifting so quickly, sometimes I think I’ll never be able to keep up! My new sloth-ness isn’t helping either, but I’ll keep trudging ahead. There’s no stopping now! ๐Ÿ™‚ Want a study on readers’ habits (albeit based on romance readers)? Check the RWA stats. And they’re just for the US. Don’t forget, my American friends, you’re not the only living and reading beings on the planet! ๐Ÿ˜‰ What about the rest of the world?

Again, about the quick shifts, read Dean Wesley Smith’s take on the dismission of Ella distribution and the changes in the field of printed books. Yes, things are that fast in shifting – needed 2012, not needed 2013. He also suggests to follow Passive Guy, but I’ve given up because he posts too often, and it’s mostly reblogs with some comments (took me to go back 6 pages on the blog to find the post mentioned by Dean…). Still this post about trad and indie has interesting comments from the IP lawyer married to a major writer (Mr.PG himself, in case you didn’t get the joke) about how rules don’t really apply to both.

Now, on writing, take your pick. Outliner or improviser? You can see how others do. I’m in the middle – I write a very brief outline and mostly improvise while writing, but unlike Ruth Ann Nordin, I don’t have problems adding scenes where needed. I write backwards, bones first, meat after! ๐Ÿ˜‰ That’s why I never know my final wordcount when I start. I have tried more specific outlines or character bios, but they felt like waste of time and went mostly unused anyway. But if you like outlining, please check how Rami Ungar does it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Whatever you choose, remember: we’re all different. You have to find your own way. What works for you. There are no rules, as long as you finish your story!

See also why 90% of the advice about writing is bullshit right now. While I was reading I thought “Hey, sounds exactly like those creative writing books written by editors who dissect novels of (often dead) authors and want to teach you how to write without asking the author” – summarized in the post’s P.S.! A real writer won’t really know how he or she writes. I could never “teach” you how I write. I could teach you how to format or upload your stuff to the different retailers, but that’s it. That’s the technical part. For the “artistic” part, we’re all on our own. We must experiment and try different things and don’t let other’s (or our own) expectations take us down.

I want to tell stories. I have written down a lot (some good, some bad) and have more to tell. I have a very niche readership and I haven’t find them all yet. Actually, I can still count my readers on my hands – but I don’t care. I’ll keep writing and publishing and writing more stories – for the fun of it. I do write for myself first… so I won’t stop until I get enough (which hopefully is… never!)! ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy writing!

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