Sunday Surprise


Meet some authors of Witches: Cutter’s Final Cut – Issue 4 from Knotted Road Press on Facebook – the bundle Witches Wands and Wanderers is in its final week, grab it now or lose it forever!

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And now, here’s an interview from one of the authors of the Cutter’s Final Cut: Witches anthology!

You’ll find the Witches anthology as part of the story bundle, Witches, Wands, and Wanderers.

How long have you been writing?

About forty years, off and on. During some of that time I went back to school, held day jobs not compatible with writing and just basically lived.

What is your favorite work? Tell me a little about it.

The Urban Fantasy series I’m currently working on. It’s about five witches, the McMahon Sisters who live in a magical Queen Anne style house in the nearby city of Everett. The story is told through five novellas, one by each sister, about their war with a distantly-related cousin and the demons he controls. Some of whom are controlling him. Over the five novellas the sisters form a network of witches, shamans and demonologists who help them. Along with magic, love and a pooling of resources, the story is about building community.

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned while writing?

The most important thing is to trust my gut instincts. They’re always right.

What was the inspiration for this book or story?

This story is set in the same world as my McMahon Sisters novellas but the inspiration came from my volunteer work. Every week I work at a local animal shelter, The Noah Center, with cats. I clean their spaces and feed them. But mostly, I talk to them, socialize them and give them lots of attention. It’s absolutely rewarding to see them go out the door with their new person. And also heartbreaking sometimes. I want to take too many of them home with me but our house is full.

What was the hardest, as well as the easiest, parts of writing this book or story?

The hardest part was getting started. So many distractions and my life is always complicated. The easiest piece was describing the cats. Or perhaps I should say – the most fun.

Tell us one thing about your character that we don’t learn from the story, maybe a secret from their past or a hidden aspiration.

Maggie got burned badly by several bad friendships in high school. Ever since, she’s been a loner. She’s just now taking the first tentative steps towards making friends.

What sorts of superstitions or odd writing habits do you have?

I’ve come to believe that the less I talk or think about a story beforehand (besides building the world and figuring out a character), the more likely I’ll finish it. If I talk to people about it, I no longer feel the urgency to write it. I write to find out what happens during the character’s journey and at the end.

Do you believe in magic?

Absolutely. Magic surrounds us all the time. Most of us are simply too busy to notice or don’t believe in it.

What’s the question you always secretly wish someone would ask, but they never do? And how would you answer?

Can I give you a million dollars? Why yes, you can. No really, I can’t think of anything. I generally volunteer info on my own.

What are you currently working on, and what’s coming out next?

I’m working on the fourth McMahon Sister novella, which will be coming out in January. And then it’s on to the fifth one.

Where can people find you and your work?

www.lindajordan.net

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Today’s interview is with the lovely Burdock! I’m never sure what story I’ll get from them, but it’s always powerful. They’re a contributor to the Cutter’s Final Cut: Witches anthology, which is part of the current Witches story bundle!

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing since about 5th grade. I can remember showing bits if story to my parents, quite proud of my work. I have, shall we say, matured in style since then. I was lucky enough to be a Borders manager for about a decade (during undergraduate and some graduate years), and in the process of working with and becoming fast friends with an incredible collection of authors, I started to take my writing much more seriously. Having a bunch of local authors on hand for an informal writers group was perfect. I first published under my maiden name, and it has been a marriage, going public with my gender, and a name change since. It honestly, cliché aside, feels like forever.

What is your favorite work? Tell me a little about it.

A little over a decade ago I lost my sister. I wrote a story about it. Then I revised it for a few years, shifting it from personal narrative to mythic retelling of tragedy and forgiveness. You can find a version in Pole to Pole Publishing’s Re-Enchant collection. It is a story that still has sharp edges for me, and I don’t reread it often. But of my work, it is the favorite.

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned while writing?

It took me ages, but I have finally learned that I do not need to tie my writing up into neat boxes. I can leave things unexplained. I don’t have to have a reason for how and why everything is. Some things just are. And they are allowed to be that way. I sometimes think that is a more important aspect of the ‘show don’t tell’ directive. Show how things are. Show what they are. I don’t have to tell why. That happy little rebellion against the sort of formal forms I studied while earning my MA of English has been great for letting me get nice and cozy with writing the weird and surreal that I love.

What was the inspiration for this book or story?

Once upon a time I found a tiny, starving, recently pregnant, little cat while on a walk in a local swamp. We immediately decided she was a witch, but we took her in anyway. I tried to write a bit of whimsy about it and it was terrible so I stuffed it in the ‘maybe later’ folder. About a year later a very good friend uttered the words ‘grieve and release’ while suffering a deep loss. Those words and the intent behind them hit me perfectly. That story came back to me, and I poked at it and ‘Grieve and Release’ was written. I am still trying to take the advice of my friend, when it comes to the content of that title. I think the characters in the story manage it a bit better.

What was the hardest, as well as the easiest, parts of writing this book or story?

My notes, having been from a previous bit of writing, were a mess. My tenses were all over the place. I think I changed POV at least once. The messy backend of trying to work on something over a long period of time. But once I stuttered my way through re-creating the beginning, the rest was much easier. I knew what I wanted to do. I am always worried that it makes sense in my head, but not for anyone else, so there was also some extensive reading and commenting from an author friend that helped me smooth out the wrinkles.

Tell us one thing about your character that we don’t learn from the story, maybe a secret from their past or a hidden aspiration.

She never gave me her name. She never really let me know what she looks like. She is very present in the story. She has a colorful past that twists through and drives everything. And hopefully she will now have a colorful future. I didn’t even realize until I looked at this question that she was never named. I should name her.

Her name is Izzy.

What sorts of superstitions or odd writing habits do you have?

I have always had to fit my writing in around everything I have to do (job, school, farm), so I have had to learn to be able to write at the drop of a hat and take advantage of the bits of time I have. That said, I apparently like to find weird little nooks to write in. A hammock chair next to the pond. Up in the tree house. Middle of the woods. I like to be out away from all the things I get so easily distracted by. If I am really settled in for some writing it can be a bit of a pain to find me. If I have to write indoors (hello, NY winters), I must write to music. And I need coffee or tea on hand.

Do you believe in magic?

Of course. I am an inclusive heathen, and have been active in pagan communities for a couple decades at this point. Mine is an earthy magic. Land wights, the spirit of place, shifts of the seasons, toes in water, hands in the dirt. I keep a statue of Bragi near my main computer.

What’s the question you always secretly wish someone would ask, but they never do? And how would you answer?

People always ask why I would want to live out here in the middle of nowhere. I wish, for once, someone would ask why I would want to live anywhere else. My husband and I are particularly suited to living in the middle of nowhere with our land and our animals and our gardens. I like noticing the shape of the seasons. The way bird song changes between May and August. I love the sound of the wind and shape of the snow when we have nowhere to be but here by the fire. We joke that we have gone a bit feral. But really we are just content and happy with being out on the land here as opposed to doing the sorts of things people assume we want to be doing (movies, drinks, parties, dinners, shopping). It isn’t perfect. We miss a good dinner we didn’t have to cook that does not involve an hour of driving, and we definitely crave the ease of delivery. But not nearly enough to give up all of this for convenience.

What are you currently working on, and what’s coming out next?

I am always tinkering with short stories, and looking for anthologies to participate in. So chances are I will keep popping up in anthologies that way. I am hoping to get myself organized enough to get a collection of my work out within the next year or so.

The story that is currently demanding my attention is full of crows.

Where can people find you and your work?

I have a web presence at https://www.aprilsteenburgh.com/

I can be found on FB, https://www.facebook.com/fireun/ and I have an author page on Amazon.

Should anyone be interested in natural soaps and such, I have a storefront and Facebook and Instagram page for Twigloo Farms.

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Today’s interview is from Dayle A. Dermatis, who has both a collection of stories in the Story bundle, as well as a short story in the Cutter’s Final Cut: Witches anthology!

How long have you been writing?

Well…when I was in 3rd grade I wrote a story in which I invented GPS…although it included the element of being able to beam anywhere as well, because I was already a Star Trek geek. I started my first novel at age 12, received my first professional rejection slip at 16, and at 17 I submitted my first completed novel to NY publishers.

What is your favorite work? Tell me a little about it.

Of my own? Isn’t that like asking me which of my cats I love the most?

Probably the one that I’m currently working on…or the one that’s currently sitting in my lap.

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned while writing?

How much my subconscious already knows about the story. I’ll just be typing along and suddenly something happens that even I didn’t expect.

That said, one of the best pieces of advice I’ve received about writing is that if I knew everything that was going to happen, it wouldn’t be a surprise to readers either.

What was the inspiration for this book or story?

The bundle coordinator asked me for a collection of witch stories, and I had three stories in each of two serieses about witches.

What was the hardest, as well as the easiest, parts of writing this book or story?

I got a lot of positive feedback when I wrote the first “Desperate Housewitches” story, and for a while that made writing the second one difficult—was it as funny? Would it be as “good” as the first one? So I had to shut those voices down and just trust my subconscious again.

Tell us one thing about your character that we don’t learn from the story, maybe a secret from their past or a hidden aspiration.

Holly, in my Portland Hedgewitches series, has a prickly personality, but inside she has a soft spot for her beloved sister, Willow. And possibly other people.

What sorts of superstitions or odd writing habits do you have?

None that I can think of. I tend to write in an easy chair in a cozy, slope-roofed little room attached to my office, but in truth, I can write just about anywhere. I often get a lot done on planes.

Do you believe in magic?

Absolutely.

What’s the question you always secretly wish someone would ask, but they never do? And how would you answer?

Hm… I’ve answered this from the perspective of my erotica-writing nom de plume, Andrea Dale, but I’ve never really considered it for other fiction. I suppose it would be, Would you like an historic cottage in Snowdonia, Wales, to which I would reply, Yes, please and thank you.

What are you currently working on, and what’s coming out next?

I’m currently finishing up Shaded, book 2 of my Nikki Ashburne series about a former Hollywood party girl who briefly dies and when she’s brought back, can see ghosts. (Also, she’s very snarky.) My plan after that is to dive right into book 3, Spectered. I’ve got a story forthcoming in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, I believe in the November/December 2022 issue. I also publish a story a month, available at all the major retailers.

Where can people find you and your work?

My work:

DayleDermatis.com (where you can sign up for my newsletter and receive free fiction).

Patreon.com/Dayle (where you can get my monthly story for a modest donation).

Me:

• Rambling around the Pacific Northwest or the Adirondacks in New York.

• At a Styx concert.

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There are a few more coming out on the Knotted Road Press Facebook page, so mace sure to follow them! Have a great Sunday!

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Wednesday Weekly Roundup


And Book 3 of Immortaland Dragons is out! Thanks you for whoever is following me on Amazon and buys it as soon as it comes out, I hope you’re enjoying the reading! I thoroughly enjoyed creating this smaller world with less creatures and skin tones than Silvery Earth, but a much stronger magic system.

Last week I wrote almost 13K on the italian social sci-fi story, and I hope to finish it this week, so I can go through it and decide what to do with it. I will probably submit it to a publisher first, then indie publish it if they don’t want it.

Meanwhile I’m reading, so I’ll be able to write a few more stories in English before the end of the year. I have a few anthologies I want to submit to. And speaking of anthologies, I have a story in the one below!

Witches is part of a storybundle at this time, and you can find it here. For the visually impaired, the blurb is below.

Witches: Cutter’s Final Cut – Issue 4

Witches. Who doesn’t need more witches in their life?

These pages contain stories of witches, big and small.

There to save a baby’s life. Or perhaps a town. Or searching for a helping hand, a friend, or even a very special book.

If you’re looking for upbeat, contemporary stories with just that little bit of extra sparkle, you need this anthology!

Issue Four of Cutter’s Final Cut: dedicated to pushing the boundaries of genre fiction.

Be sure to pick up the whole series today!

My story is about an elderly witch and it’s very different from my other contemporary urban fantasy. Yes, this is the year of experimenting new subgenres of fantasy, LOL! And I’m still not sure what my next big project will be, but I’ll make further experiments also in sci-fi soon – well the Italian story is already an experiment, since I haven’t written much social sci-fi to date, except Soul Thieves.

In case you have no idea of what I’m talking about, here’s Wikipedia’s explanation:

Social science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction, usually (but not necessarily) soft science fiction, concerned less with technology/space opera and more with speculation about society. In other words, it “absorbs and discusses anthropology” and speculates about human behavior and interactions.

So there, now you know! Have a great week! 🙂

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


That sale I had last year at the anthology workshop? It’s one of them! I have no idea of when it will actually land in your inbox, so you better go grab your Halloween Spectacular Calendar! It makes a great gift too!

Here’s how it works:

Every day, starting on October 25, 2021, and running through November 2, 2021, you will get an original short story sent to you (or the recipient of your choice) via email.

Each seasonally themed tale is accompanied by an introduction by the editor of the Halloween Calendar of Stories, Mark Leslie.

You will get each story in ebook format (epub and mobi), so you can read them daily on your own device, anywhere, anytime you choose. Or you can store them up and binge on a weekend.

Your choice.

As an added bonus, all subscribers will receive the Halloween Harvest anthology, which includes all nine stories, plus two bonus stories! Halloween Harvest will be released just two days after the calendar ends, on November 4.

Stay tuned for more – and the announcement of my story in the calendar! 🙂

click on image to go to site

I think I realized what changed in my writing and why I’m no longer having fun. I used to write stories based on “movies” streaming in my head. I started losing that “sight” some time ago, in theory to learn my craft, add setting and so one.

Result: now I write prose in my head and it’s not as much fun. I should try to get back to writing movies but with the depth and setting and all the other stuff. Except currently I can’t even see those stories that I used to tell myself (not for public consumption because, hey, not everything we do creatively is for public consumption! 😉 ), so I’m probably burned out somehow.

That’s why I’m taking it easy this year. I want to get back my inspiration – I don’t even see Da Muses anymore! So, I want them back in my mind to create more awesome stories. Although I’m also changing topics and veering into historical time travel, there’s still room for them.

Clearly taking inspiration from still pictures is not the same thing as having a real person in mind! About the Ghost Bus Riders, I still have a virtual cast, although I couldn’t put them on the cover, but for other stories/series it was no longer the case. So, back to my roots!

This week I wrote only a short story for an anthology and the weekend was busy. I’m mostly done with physiotherapy (feeling better, thank you), so hopefully next week I’ll have more writing time and will start the next project.

It’s still short works for now, but I want to complete another Themed Collection before I move on. You will get one at the end of the month and one in December, but I need one for the new year as well! 🙂 Then we’ll see.

Next weekend I’ll upload the last Ghost Bus Riders book and publish also the three paperbacks. Meanwhile, you can check out Crunchy With Chocolate – dragon stories that include one of mine… how cool is that? 🙂

Readers can receive a 15% discount off the ebook by using code JS72Q at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1106225

Readers can receive a 15% discount off the physical book by using code Dragons2 at the WolfSinger Publications website: https://www.wolfsingerpubs.com/shop?Collection=2021+Releases

These codes expire on Oct 22nd

And WMG is doing a Fall Special Workshop Sale – their workshops are half price only until Sunday. Check them out! 🙂

And that’s all for today… have a great week!

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I theoretically participated in a writing marathon. I didn’t do the Zoom meetings (they were at 9pm in my time zone, not a time when I want to see and talk to people), but I did check in every day. I wrote four short stories for submissions, and two are already out there. Almost 10k in total, and I’m getting closer to my yearly wordcount.

The second two are with beta-readers, but they have a December 31 deadline, while the other 2 have a Halloween deadline. Speaking of Halloween, remember me mentioning selling a story at the Anthology Workshop last February, right before the Covid mess? It’s included in this Kickstarter! I’ll be part of the Halloween Harvest!

Go check the project and give it some more love! It’s funded, and you’ll get lots of stories right in your inbox! 🙂 Or you can give them as gifts to friends and family, if you feel so inclined… just sayin’! 🙂

Oh, and my book Magical Friends was reviewed by the Critiquing Chemist… please note that I didn’t read the review, so I have no idea of what it says. I saw the Google Alert and I think I’m out of the SPFBO I entered back in June. Oh, well. Maybe I’ll try again next year! 😉

A huge thank you to the Indian Kindle owner who got themselves the Vampires Through the Centuries ebooks! Next weekend you’ll be able to read more about all of them with Mortals Apocalypse! 🙂 Check out Helios’s story in The Phantom Games and stay tuned for the other vampire that will appear in the above anthology…

And in case you missed it on the publisher’s page, this is the last week to grab Future Earth Chronicles Shorts for free on Smashwords! Also, I have added a page on this very blog with all the other publications! In chronological order, more or less… hopefully more to come! 🙂

I am touched and awed to have an illustration next to my story in Breathe… I’m currently reading it, and I reread also my own story, that I wrote back in 2015. It was rejected 3 or 4 times before landing in the antho, and this reading felt new, as if someone else wrote it. Quite a weird feeling, to be honest.

And while researching last century for a story, I stumbled on a couple of things:

For the first time in history, chain bookstores outsell independent stores, signaling what many fear to be the death of smaller booksellers at the hands of superstores.

Sounds familiar? This is from 1994… an interesting year, as you can see:

White House launches Web page. Initial commerce sites are established and mass marketing campaigns are launched via email, introducing the term “spamming” to the Internet vocabulary.

Check also this other article on the dawn of commercial internet! I guess that’s all for today… have a great week! 😊

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote 11K, but didn’t wrap up the vampire book because on Sunday I was busy. On Monday I found a mistake in Rajveer the Vampire that nobody had noticed, so hopefully it wasn’t too bad, although it was repeated quite often – and I actually corrected the mistake when I wrote Kristine the Youngest, but I obviously didn’t reread the first book, LOL!

Anyhow, it’s corrected now (also on Shashank and Kaylyn, same mistake), and on November 2 – 5 years after the release of that first historical fantasy novel – you’ll be able to read the sequel, or what happened after the Battle of Chittor (in Kristine)! And then either for the holidays or in January, you’ll read the one I completed this week.

It’s done now, and I’m taking a break because I have a couple of stories I want to submit to anthos and the deadline is the end of the month, then I’ll get back to it and write the mortal’s version, or FEC 11. I won’t send any of them to the editor until December anyway, so I still have a month to write that book! 😉

And we got paperbacks! I’m still trying to declutter the house, so I might give away the extras. Brainwaves and Adventure Song I can send anywhere in the world, the first five with the concept covers, annotated, only in Europe. Are there any takers? If interested, leave a comment with which one you want/can get and I’ll contact you to get your snail mail addy.

these 5 can go anywhere in Europe only – sorry

these two can go anywhere in the world…

And there’s a promo/giveaway on Nightly Bites Volume 2! Check it out! I wanted to publish Nightly Bites Volume 3 this Halloween, but, like I said, I thought my American author friends would be more available after the election. So probably in January, or possibly March, like the above mentioned Volume 2! 🙂 Or I can do a rush job and have it out in December like Volume 1… we’ll see! 🙂

Good news, the anthology I was hinting at for the past months is now out! Here’s the UBL to Amazon, geotagged, for the ebook version. There’s also a paperback but they aren’t linked at the time of scheduling this post, although I requested Author Central to do so. Go check it and leave a review, because reviews are going to help this anthology immensely. Reviews will also be a sign of appreciation for our creativity and craftsmanship – me and the other authors will be immensely grateful!

This is the one where you can find Bran’s first fledgling, Helios of Sparta, and his good-bye to Greece and the Olympic Games where he had excelled as a mortal. I’m in very good company, so go check The Phantom Games NOW! 🙂

Another short story (unrelated to any series) was published in Breathe (which, incidentally is also its title). The PDF looks beautiful, but I didn’t have time to read any of the other stories (same for The Phantom Games, sigh). You can check it out below:

Order a print copy via Amazon (US)https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KSGX1FH
Order a print copy from Pothi (India)https://store.pothi.com/book/edited-jay-chakravarti-breathe/
Order a Print replica e-copy from Amazon (Worldwide)https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08L18MZYR
 
A wonderful analysis, framing the pandemic by Kris Rusch. I definitely don’t want to go back to 2019, but I don’t see much in the future yet, although I’m making tentative plans for at least my peace of mind – finding another job and another place to live. It’s probably going to be slower than expected, but we’re in a once-in-a-generation-world-changing event.

I have done my first short story translation, and I’m still pondering about the whole enterprise. I still don’t know how to handle freelance jobs in this country, sigh. That’s all for today! Have a great week! 🙂

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote a little over 10K, so back on track. Going back and forth between two novels, since they’re set at the same time, so adjusting the already done while I write the current one. The good thing of writing them at the same time or at least long before publishing them is an excellent way of making those minor changes that make the story better. Also because I improvise a lot, and then I have to change stuff around, LOL!

I hope to be done with this project during the coming two weeks, and then we’ll see. I’m thinking of taking at least a month to write short stories for anthologies, while I try to figure out what I want to write next. It’s probably not yet the time to pull out of the drawer my shelved project, so we’ll see.

And another Future Earth Chronicles book is out! Asian Ways follows Arjun and Yuu’s journey through India and China, which is more or less what I’m dealing with in the current novel – 400 years earlier. So, being in an Asian mood, I ended up rewatching Jodhaa Akbar during the weekend! 😉

It came out last week, but too late to include it in last week’s post, so here it is.

Revenge, reckoning, and redemption: HELLCATS, THE ANTHOLOGY has it all.

Presenting sixty nine stories of feline adventure that will make you chortle, chuckle, gasp, and guffaw.

We have: Pirates, cowboys, and spacewalkers.

Soul suckers, seers, and swashbuckling heroes.

With guest appearances by Mr. Darcy, The Madwoman in the Attic, and Hunter S. Thompson as a cat.

In the far reaches of outer space, cats crawl and pounce, shift and slaughter.

While back on Earth, the wicked are punished, the weak avenged, and the good guy wins against all odds.

We have paranormal fantasy, sci-fi, swords and sorcerers, cozy mysteries, romance, literary fiction, and much, much more.

All proceeds from this anthology will go to support a 79 year-old grandmother Erada who has been hounded through the courts and is in danger of losing her home.

The HELLCATS are a group of writers who banded together to try to prevent that from happening.

Help the HELLCATS help Erada keep her home.

Buy HELLCATS, THE ANTHOLOGY, now.

More reading recommendations – if you like mystery: Mystery, Crime, and Mayhem is a new Quarterly Mystery Magazine. The first three issues are already out! 🙂

And if you prefer horror you can check this Kickstarter: Feed the Obsession. In both cases I know many of the awesome writers involved in the projects, so check them out! 🙂

Speaking of Kickstarters… a comic book that funded in 24hrs… couldn’t be just because it has a very famous name among the writing credits, right?! This campaign is under fire for industry professionals because

“How is using a platform meant for people to KICK START projects they can’t afford okay for a company who admits they don’t need the money?”

But the publisher

claimed that the point of the Kickstarter was not to raise funds, as the publisher has “got the money for it”, but rather to take advantage of the untapped audience it can reach.

I guess both sides are right, but then, what do I know? I’m not ready for a Kickstarter yet! 😀

What else? Not much. Busy week at DayJob so far, so not much time to write, but I’ll catch up. Hopefully this afternoon itself. It’s kind of hot again, but I won’t be deterred, LOL! Have a great week!

Wednesday Weelky Roundup


Last week I wrote almost 9K, but then, I had only three days for writing – with jetlag and cover rebranding. I more or less wrapped up the Lone Wolves and this week I’ll work on a Silvery Earth novella while I check files from the editor and prepare for next weekend’s publication. I probably won’t write too much either, since I have a few manuscripts to go through.

About the main event of the past two weeks that took me away from Day Job and COVID-19, well, it was a blast, as expected. Unlike 2017, I did make one sale, which means I’m moving forward! And I got to spend one week with awesome people who helped me overcome my latest lows.

Also, get ready for a new awesome magazine, Fantasy Quarterly. All fantasy stories for your reading pleasure, and I’ve read a few of them, they’re awesome. Eventually I might make it in there too, but for now get ready for my workshop buddies’ stories and some famous names to keep them company! 🙂

It was wonderful to see old friends again – virtual hugs to all if you’re reading this – and meeting a few new people. Some of them were luckier than me and sold at their very first Anthology Workshop, so kudos to them! 🙂 And I mean “lucky” in the sense they hit the Awesome Editors’ tastes better than me, but I don’t give my best when I have a theme and a deadline.

Sometimes I let deadlines for anthologies pass to make sure I give the topic a better shot! Anyhow, three of the rejected stories will be incorporated in novels, and one is out there again on submission. Not sure what to do with the other two, yet, probably stick them into the virtual drawer until next year. For now I’m happy just being back to writing every day.

Travelwise, I flew in via New York, where they only asked me if I’d been to China in the past 14 days. I watched Gully Boy and Crazy Rich Asians, but by the second flight I was too tired (and of course couldn’t sleep) so I only caught a glimpse of Ocean’s 8. By the time I got to Vegas, I’d been up 24 hours – I jumped into the first taxi and went straight to bed.

Then, during the workshop, Mom sent me a message about COVID-19 in Northern Italy, and my colleague copy-pasted a work email on FB Messenger (it was also a text message on my cell phone, I found it when I came back). The first masks appeared at LAX on my flight to Rome, half empty (more room to sleep, yay! As if I could, sigh…) and even landed earlier so I was home by the time it was supposed to land.

And nobody wants Italians anywhere anymore. Glad I left last week and came back before it spread or they would have sent me back as soon as I set foot at JFK!

Cartoomics (Milan’s comicon) has been postponed to October, which actually works better for me. As for the other travels, I guess I’ll stay at home in April and work on paperbacks, while waiting out COVID-19…

While at the workshop, I got word from the editor of Excalibur 2020: they have just launched the Excalibur Books Patreon.

The first goal is to assist with the formatting and cover of “Warriors of Olympia”, our Science Fiction & Fantasy Olympics anthology, and to build awareness of the writers involved. After that’s published and being promoted, we aim to provide future releases from a wide range of authors.

So go check it, I gave them permission to post excerpts of my story, give it a go! 🙂 I’ll also share a couple more Kickstarters for writing projects soon – not mine yet, unfortunately, since I still have to deal with a damn Day Job that complicates things, but I’ll give you a couple of projects to back up in the coming months!

And last but not least, it’s Infinite Bard time again! Go check the latest story, and that’s all for today! Have a great week!

I wanted to remind authors that the value of their writing transcends monetary measures. If your book has the potential to bring a smile to a single reader, your book is important. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, your book has the potential to change lives and maybe even save lives. What can be more important than that?
Just because your sales suck doesn’t mean that you’re not worthy. Most writers’ sales suck, whether they’re traditionally published or self-published. Most writers will have good months and bad months, good years and bad years. If you only measure your success by money, you’ll probably burn out and quit, but if you develop other measures of success, like finding joy in the creative process or making your next book better than the last or finding joy in pressing the publish button when you’re finally ready to share your soul with the world, then you’re more likely to continue writing and publishing. Therefore, you’re more likely to eventually emerge from your obscurity to achieve the greatest commercial success.

Mark Coker

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I managed to write only 5400words, most of them during the weekend. I had to start reading for the  anthology workshop, and even though I’m currently able to do it at work, having to read 282 stories by Feb.19 means my writing time is reduced. So I’m writing on weekends only until I’m done reading.

After reading David Farland’s accountability post, I thought I’d ask you guys if you wanted an Accountability Sarge. I can set up a Team Wordcount spreadsheet where you can jot down your yearly goal and add your weekly wordcount along with mine… and if I see you’ve not been writing for a few weeks with no particular reason, I’ll go all Dean on you and kick you out! 😉

My offline writers group lasted quite a lot (and a few of them are probably still meeting), but I had enough of them long before it split. I joined in 2005 and it helped me gaining confidence writing in a second language, but it was very frustrating, since I was the only one constantly writing.

In 2015 I joined a mailing list that kept track of wordcount (previously used only to keep count of titles published), but since 2019, when that list folded, I’ve been keeping track on my own. Tried to add a couple of friends, but guess what? They dropped out pretty quickly. Sigh.

So if anyone is interested, either contact me or leave a comment, and I’ll add you to the Google doc. Weekly wordcount is due Sunday night wherever you are in the world. The Google doc will be held privately among the members so we can cheer each other on.

About that sale I announced last week, at the moment I can only point you at the publisher’s site. My story (set in Ancient Greece at the original Olympic Games) will be in Tales From Beyond Tomorrow: Volume 3.

GO HERE FOR VOLUME ONE 

GO HERE FOR VOLUME TWO 

As soon as I know more about this anthology to celebrate the Tokyo Olympics of 2020, I will let you know! 🙂 But there will be excerpts somewhere, so stay tuned…

In between reading, I’m brainstorming what I will write next – new series, finish Lone Wolves stories, more Silvery Earth. Looking forward to March, write-wise, LOL! I’m also considering what courses I could follow – writing newsletters, truly learning Photoshop, learning DAZ Studio? So many options… I’ll also have to put together some readers’ magnet and sign up for Book Funnel.

Still not sure about restarting a newsletter, though. Unless I come back fully recharged after a week in the company of professional writers who surely have great advice even on that, LOL! We’ll see. Now I better go back to… reading, sigh! Have a great week!

Writing ought to be a growth activity. You ought to be thinking that every story you write is standing on the shoulders of what you learned from writing the earlier ones. You don’t worry a ton about the older stuff because what you’re writing now is better. The newest story comes from a more experienced, more practiced writer.

Work on a new story.

James Van Pelt

 

Random Friday


And it’s another anthology author! She was also part of my first bundle and I met her at my first offline workshop on the Oregon Coast, back in 2011. She’s a sweet Canadian who writes gripping stories. You can find her work in Sci-fi Short Stories Space Opera Mashup as well as her own site below. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Marcelle Dubé!

1. What is it about space opera that draws you to it?

I love the vast scope of space opera, and the mystery of what might be out there, and the adventure of discovery. And if there are aliens, even better!

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

Station OSCX-9 is the story of Stokes, a young machinist working on an Orbital Station being constructed around Star CX-9. He and his crew are on a shuttle, heading back to their work site after leave, only to discover the construction site abandoned.

3. What inspired your story?

I’ve written a couple of other stories in the Alliance world, though none related to Stokes. Those stories are Jhyoti and Jhyoti: Planetside. While they both feature star ships, they aren’t technically space opera.

4. Do you always write about starships? If not, what do you write about?

Nope—in fact, I was very surprised to discover that I had actually written a space opera story. I usually write fantasies and mysteries. While many of my SF stories feature starships, many don’t.

5. What should readers know about you?

My stories never fit neatly into one category or another. My A’lle Chronicles series, for instance, is an alternate history / SF / mystery series. My Mendenhall Mystery series is technically a police procedural that feels like a cozy. I can’t help it…

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I’m tickled to be in an anthology with a collection of such fine authors!

Marcelle Dubé grew up near Montreal. After trying out a number of different provinces – not to mention Belgium – she settled in the Yukon, where people outnumber the carnivores, but not by much.

She writes science fiction, fantasy and mystery stories, and has 11 novels to her name. Her upcoming novel, Epidemic: An A’lle Chronicles Mystery, will be released in Fall 2018. Her short fiction has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies.
If you liked Station OSCX-9, you might also enjoy Jhyoti and Jhyoti: Planetside which are also set in the Alliance universe.

Learn more about her and her published work at www.marcellemdube.com

Writer Wednesday


Last week I wrote only 7K but I spent most of Sunday afternoon in blind procrastination (I should take Bubble Witch Saga 3 off the writing netbookw, LOL!). Maybe I was tired and needed a break, but I couldn’t come up with the next Lone Wolves Team story. So by the end of the day, I decided to start on the next project.

Except Monday afternoon, when I went to actually do the translations, I ran into another bump. I wrote those stories 20 years ago and I didn’t remember much of them. I re-read some, and 5 out of 6 had either rape or a tragic ending. So I’m definitely not recycling them at this point.

One is already included in the appendix of the next Silvery Earth Heroine (a relatively clean one, with no rape and no tragic ending) but the others… I can’t even stomach to reread them, LOL!

Doesn’t help that I keep thinking about a reader’s comment of them being “not so good” (we’re talking of Italian readers of a photocopied fanzine of the late 1990s – loooong before the indie publishing revolution, but it still stings).

So yeah. Not so good. Forget them. Chapter closed. Still wrote 316K by the end of July, so still on track. I’m going to improvise this month, but then, everybody takes August off, right? Right? 😀

I’m doing a last pass on a couple of stories (that I wrote this or last year, not 20 years ago) to decide if I want to publish them or not, and then I’m moving on. I’ll probably go back to the Lone Wolves and start writing Elsa’s story, or maybe Cherry’s story. And when I have my 3-hours train ride I’ll go through Hariel’s story and all the Team’s stories I have so far.

And we got paperbacks! Thank you to all of you who bought the Sci-Fi Stories anthologies and hope you are enjoying them! 🙂 The success of the second two makes me want to work on the fifth right now, but I shall wait until September! 😉

When I’ll also do the paperbacks for my own books – the anthologies are via BundleRabbit – although it’s not clear for how much longer Createspace will be available. Maybe I should start moving everything to KDP Print. Sigh.

Have you read the Bad Romance article I posted last week? See Kris Rusch’s reaction to it and the comments she got. I know some writers who write to market, but I don’t see them having a long career. I know writers who write to market because they want to make fast bucks. I’m sure they don’t enjoy it. And the ghost writers who sell their manuscripts? If I could do it, I could quit DayJob right now, LOL! I’m prolific, but only writing what I want to read! 🙂

There’s also a free Reedsy course on how to hack Kobo – or how to take advantage of Kobo Writing Life’s promotion tools. If you don’t go direct to Kobo, think about it. I have submitted a few titles to upcoming promos, we’ll see if I get accepted! 😉

Oh, I almost forgot. Authors Earnings at 2018 SFWA Nebula Conference report. Unfortunately the post with slides is very visually-impaired un-friendly, but I’m sure there’s the recording of the whole talk somewhere… And if SFF doesn’t sell well in paper might be because we’re getting older and have trouble reading small print? 😉 I love my Kindle for fiction – had to re-buy the ebook of The Silver Metal Lover cause the paperback was written too small…

And welcome to August, hoping the heat goes away a little, because it’s frying my brain and I can’t even write, sigh. Have a great week! 🙂

 

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