Writer Wednesday

Less productive week inbetween projects, I still tend to take a day off to check the previous work and prep for the second. Except I’m adding stuff in while I write the “companion”, so I’m waiting to re-read the whole draft until I’m done with both. Still having fun with those characters and even found models for the covers – one will be NeoStock, the rest will be DepositPhoto. So yeah, I’m also making mock covers, prepping for the summer, LOL!

Although the Silvery Earth covers are still illustrations (by the Awesome Federica Manfredi), but for sci-fi I’ll move to composites. Except the Post-Apocalypse Chronicles, whenever I get to writing book 2 (hopefully as soon as I wrap up these Star Minds novels) I’ll order the cover to the same artist who did Brainwaves. Gotta be consistent in the series, right? πŸ˜‰

And we’ve got sales! Bundles sales! Spring Surprise is on sale until April 28. The Immortals and the Vampires of the World are on sale from 24 to 30 April. It is also the last week for Vampires of the World, it will be archived in May, so get it NOW! Only 3.99$ for 8 awsesome vampire novels!

And we got a batch of writerly links! πŸ™‚ First, Chuck Wendig entered an Amazon Bookstore! Yes, you read it right, a brick-and-mortar Amazon bookstore! Can you believe it? Those shelves look great, by the way.

David Gaughran on giving a voice to Indies AND how to make killer promo graphics in Canva – the one above is still plain old Photoshop 7.0, but we’ll see! πŸ˜‰ And if the demon of self-doubt bites you, Johanna Penn and writing and the fear of judgment. I obviously don’t fear judgment, but I do get self-doubt every now and then – with the umpteenth rejection, reading a much better writer, etc.

But then, scientists link depression and anxiety to high creativity, so… Even though I don’t say it out loud, I do have bouts of depression and anxiety. If it’s the price to pay for creativity, I’m okay with it! πŸ™‚

Now back to writing and prepping the next bundle… Have a great week! πŸ˜€


Writer Wednesday

So I’m all set with New Netbook that has Office 365 installed… and suddenly I understand why in the past a beta-reader told me there were missing words/sentences in my manuscripts. Apparently Office 365 hates Open Office by Oracle and doesn’t show the last line of something written originally to be saved as ODT (I always save as Word.doc, but I guess there’s something underneath that I don’t see)!

Thus I need to be careful when I write something on Laptop, since Netbook won’t show me everything. But since it’s low on memory, I guess I can uninstall Office 365 and download Open Office instead – problem solved! πŸ™‚ As soon as either Techie Bro or a Techie Friend helps me, I’ll get rid of the problem…


So I had the creative weekend, and I managed to do 2 covers for upcoming projects, plus I got the cover for Fall of the Southern Kingdoms, so Easter Weekend I will put on the publisher’s hat again. I’m quite happy with one of the covers, but you’ll see it soon enough.

Plus I finished editing another project (the one I made the cover for) and sent out a short story I wrote in the middle of the current project (it was a prequel/backstory for a character in the series anyway), so I didn’t write as much as expected, but it’s fine.

Now I must finish the current project before April 22nd when I hope to get to London for a couple of days of research (so I won’t have time to meet my British friends – again. Sorry…) before coming back and hopefully doing some prep work for this summer’s publishing.

I’m thinking of doing another online workshop, but at the same time I feel I have too many projects this year and won’t be able to write them all – if I do, I’ll hit that wordcount, though! πŸ˜‰ So maybe I’ll postpone more workshops to next year. Both the craft and business things.

What else? Well, if you crave vampire stories, both Nightly Bites are now available in paperback and ebook, so go get them! And if you want longer works, Vampires of the World is still out there.

I will also start putting together a new bundle on another topic next month, so stay tuned. Here’s the list of the currently available bundles I’m in – for all tastes, really, take your pick! Have a great week! πŸ™‚

Random Friday

Besides bundles that I hope to read soon and some “housekeeping” (of the publisher page and other writerly things, not really the physical house, LOL!), I’ve been watching some DVDs. I started with 1453 that I bought in London last year about the birth of the Ottoman empire.

Besides the weird thing of a movie dubbed in English without subtitles, which made it at times hard to understand for a non-native speaker (I love my subtitles!), it was interesting and epic enough, although I felt the transitions were a little choppy. And they all looked the same to me – Turks, Greek Christians and Genoese – but well… it was kind of nice to see the Christians be the bad guys for once! πŸ˜‰ The fall of the holy roman empire of orient or byzantine empire or whatever you want to call it didn’t look too bad. And I haven’t thoroughly studied that time period yet, so I don’t know if there are inaccuracies. Probably won’t watch it again, though, but it was a nice change of costumes and setting for a historical movie!

Then, since I was depressed, I rewatched some comedies – Bride and Prejudice and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’d have continued with Galaxy Quest et all, but I decided it was high time I watched the box sets of old TV series that had been on my shelves for years.

So I opened the two box sets of The Persuaders and watched 2 or 3 episodes per day. I absolutely loved Brett Sinclair and Danny Wilde when I saw their adventures on the Italian TV back in the early 80s, so much so that I don’t remember right now who was my favorite. Probably the English lord, though! πŸ˜‰ Both Tony Curtis and Roger Moore looked great in their forties, pity they’re both gone now.

Anyhow, IMBD says 1971-1972, but the Roman numerals at the end of the episodes say 1970. Whatever the exact year, there’s definitely a 1970s feel. And I got to see London, Paris, Rome and even Geneva in those years (whatever the years, I lived in Paris from 1970 to 1973) and it’s really cool.

Unfortunately it’s the Italian box sets, so I have the Italian subtitles on the original English soundtrack. At the same time it shows how often the adaptation is completely different (like the episode in Italy/Rome, the subtitles mentioned Madrid…). I also like the mix of European languages used (the polygloth is the English lord, of course, can Americans speak anything else beside English? πŸ˜‰ Although I don’t hear much difference in their accents) and yes, it’s a funny series, although I really don’t know what they’re actually doing. They’re not spies, not assassins, just adventurers getting themselves in trouble?

Two worlds collide when the titled Englishman, Lord Brett Sinclair, and the Bronx-raised, self-made American Danny Wilde, reluctantly join forces to right wrongs, and to protect the innocent.

So what are they? Vigilantes? Private Investigators? They don’t always work for Judge Fulton either…

A pair of Playboys with nothing in common but trouble!
The classic ’70s British cult adventure series!

Anyway, it’s been a fun blast to the past and certainly helped me smile again. Now I’ll be dreaming those two for some time I’m afraid… and the yellow Aston Martin and the red Ferrari with a Modena plate they’re driving! πŸ˜€

One last thing… I feel totally overwhelmed by the company of the cover artists below (l.to r. Silvano Beltramo, Shafali Anand, me and Federica Manfredi), but don’t worry, I’m not giving up drawing or digital painting, quite the opposite… πŸ˜‰

Stay tuned… Have a great weekend!


Random Friday

To continue the Art Fridays related to my characters rendered by myself or other artists, we now have the Tales of the Northern Kingdoms!

So, let’s start with Quests book 1. I thought that story would be much shorter and I had planned to put it on the cover of Tales of the Northern Kingdoms, hence I ordered it before actually writing it. Silvano did the drawing from my B&W sketches and improvised the colors, so he couldn’t know, haha!

Anyhow, here’s Hinrik, Bellinda and Keneith on the cover of Tales of the Northern Kingdoms volume 1,

TNK1ebook_resizeand by Barb on the cover of Quests Book 1.

PathWaterEbookI’m still working on the cover of Quests Book 3, but here you have the protagonist, Sayla, in two attempts.

As for Tales of the Northern Kingdoms volume 2, again Silvano did the prince and the adventurer for me, based on the drawings of the comic I did in the 20th century… and that I sorta kinda recycled for the cover of Prince Splendor! πŸ˜‰

Splendore and Billinda by Silvano

TNK2ebook_resizeand by Barb.

PrinceSplendorDTFHave a great weekend! πŸ™‚


Random Friday

Re: the paperback of Male Lovers volume 2 – it had been linked to volume 1. I contacted Author Central and asked them to link it to the right kindle book. Took me some digging on the Amazon links to figure out what happened. That’s why it showed up correctly on Barnes&Noble but not on Amazon. Sigh.

Anyhow, I’ll do a couple of Art Fridays, but not just of my art (that sucks compared to the cover artists I hire, LOL!). More of the various versions of my characters, done by me and by another artist – or three. The first ones were Kilig and Hakeem, for which I did the covers of the single parts, but then hired someone else for the whole novel. And had them drawn also on the aforementioned volume 1. So here follow the various versions of the assassins/lovers of Silvery Earth.

Kilig and Hakeem by Barb

Kilig and Hakeem by Barb

Kilig and Hakeem by Cinzia Di Felice

Kilig and Hakeem by Cinzia Di Felice

Kilig and Hakeem by Sir Wendigo

Kilig and Hakeem by Sir Wendigo


Kilig and Hakeem by Cristina Fabris

So, there you go! Four different artists’ take on those guys! Cinzia and Cristina added Guisarme and Sabre – you can see Sabre in Hakeem’s rival and here’s Guisarme by yours truly.


This is a very tragic story for adults only. If you’d like to check it, here’s the link to the novel Kilig the Sword that gathers it all. In Male Lovers Volume 1 you can have a taste with the story that started it all, Saif’s Legacy…

Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚


Sunday Surprise

Covers rebranding! So, uploading the first novella by former pen name with new cover. Here is the comparison between the two.

It was the first title with another pen name I uploaded way back in 2011 – the original short story, that is. The following year I put up the expanded version with the new cover (cover picture by Mary R. Vogt @ Morguefile).

BoF2015_resizeThis year I reformatted it and changed the pen name and the cover… And lowered the price. Only 2,99$ now.

I will do the same for most of that pen-name titles (the body switches have the same cover, but then they had better cover and were “best sellers”, while these other titles sold nothing or only a couple of copies).

I’ll be working on more covers this weekend, to save on some expenses. I have a couple of Star Minds Interregnum covers to work on, plus the cover of a novella I sent to Writers of the Future. Experiments with digital painting, still trying to learn that damn Photoshop! πŸ˜‰

Have a great Sunday! πŸ˜€

Random Friday

And it’s Art Friday, since my procrastination techniques brought me to do a few more covers for stories I still have to write – but then, that might push me to actually write them, so that’s not bad. It’s bad in that I didn’t start coloring SKYBAND #13, that’s what the procrastination was for, LOL!

Anyhow, you can see the new (and old, actually, since some of these are already out there, but I thought I’d upload a bigger and more visible version) covers in my DeviantART gallery. I’m very happy with the princely or kingly couples of the southern kingdoms, especially the last one. Reference was from these two photos, I don’t know for the life of me where I got them from, but I assume they’re out of copyright.

MTSKreferenceSo this will be the cover of More Tales of the Southern Kingdoms – out next year. This year I hope to publish Male Lovers of Silvery Earth and I have done two covers – same but different. Since this short anthology will cover centuries of Silvery Earth history (with short stories and novellas not related to each other), I thought to put 4 drawings (out of 6 stories). Now I need help to choose the frame!

MM4blogWhich one looks better to you? Left or right? Let me know in the comments, thank you! πŸ™‚ Three stories will be reprint (in fact two cover images were already used – albeit one in B&W), the other three are currently with betas, so I can send them to the editor ASAP. 5 are love stories (hence the flames might be a good thing?), one is drama (Lords of War – available in TSK2).

TSK4blog_resizeOh, and these will get new covers as well – only one cover image, and then a second, thumbnail, on the back cover of the upcoming new POD version… So even if I reuse the frames of TSK2 it won’t be a problem…

That’s all for today! Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday

OK, I’m going to start with links and then update you on my writing progress (hint: slow – too sleepy and sweaty to produce with winter rhythm).

A discussion on film-making that sounds a lot like the discussion on publishing – print vs. pixel. Sounds familiar, right? Because publishing is following the music AND film industry, LOL! I wish they were ahead, but no, they’re just following… maybe I should go back to writing screenplays, LOL! πŸ˜‰

Kris Rusch on the deal breakers series – please check the comments as well, as there’s a bunch more infos. And then there’s Joe Konrath on Harlequin’s mistakes part 2. And Smashwords on the future of e-book publishing at RWA 2012. Indie romance authors are going on the New York Times bestseller’s list – but this won’t push me to write more mushy romance! πŸ˜‰ Hey, I gotta write what I wanna read, right? Or I’ll just quit writing because I’m bored! πŸ˜€

And don’t forget to check Dean Wesley Smith’s post on killing your sales one shot at the time. I know I still write my name too small on covers, but it’s because on the graphic novels, the author’s name isn’t too big (usually because there’s more than one, LOL) and I want the covers to look all the same – the Silvery Earth ones, at least. I write my name bigger on other titles or for other pseudonyms… that’s probably why B.G.Hope is selling “more” than Barbara G.Tarn? πŸ˜‰ (shorter name too, easier to fit on a cover, LOL).

Now, I’m falling behind with the next story, so I better get back to work. I tried to work on the laptop, but in the middle of a chapter it switched from Italian keyboard to American keyboard and suddenly I couldn’t find the symbols for punctuation anymore – I have no idea what I touched, and I hope it will get back to normal, or I’ll have to attach my external wireless keyboard to it to keep working, sigh. I don’t know why it does this, but one day I was trying to post on Facebook and couldn’t find the ❀ keys to make the heart. And yesterday the ” suddenly became @ and I had to stop! 😦

I got my Chicon7 “itinerary” and I’m on 3 panels, so if you’re attending the worldcon, check your program for Barbara G.Tarn. I’m not a moderator anywhere and hope not to make a fool of myself! πŸ˜‰ See, I’m even in the list of participants! πŸ˜€ So if you happen to be there, stop by and say hello, don’t be a stranger, OK? πŸ˜‰

Looking forward to head back to New York and Chicago (two of my favorite cities, the third being San Francisco)… but still two weeks and a half to go! So, back to writing… and I better stop drawing and watching DVDs as an excuse to procrastinate, LOL! πŸ™‚ Have a great week!

Birth of a cover

I already described this on a private Facebook group, but it was only with images of the various steps, so I’ll try to elaborate on that “post”. It was originally done as “create a cover in 5 steps” (see the #5 again?) but let’s see if it’s still 5 or more.

1) pick a photo to copy from. After reading some discussions on how to create your book cover and where to find the photos etc, I decided NOT to post the original photo, because I found it on some Six Sentence Sunday, and can’t really say where it comes from, so I don’t know who to ask permission to display it. I assume it’s a stock photo because it was on another writer’s blog, not a photographers, but you never know. And I hope re-drawing it is OK. I did change it a little! πŸ˜‰

2) trace it – I don’t have a specific table for that, so I use the window! πŸ˜‰ Or some technical paper I learned to use while in art school. Depends on how accurate I want to be. For my portraits, I use technical paper, for covers I usually use the window, so the drawing won’t look too much like the model. πŸ˜‰

3) pencil drawing

4) inked drawing

5) choose a frame – I have now a few I use for different series in the same style (art nouveau). This frame is the same of Starblazer cover.

6) color (digital painting with Photoshop CS3 – don’t ask me to use another, I’m already struggling with this one! ;-))

7) choose a font and add title&author (a.k.a. lettering)

The comment I got in the original 5-steps post was from the great caricaturist Shafali who said:

Beautiful. Just one comment though:) Though it’s very informative but this is more of a development process – would love to hear about the idea generation bit:)

She’s totally right, of course. To which I replied:

you mean how I came up with this idea for the cover? Well, I’m VERY character-oriented, so I always feature my main characters on covers. In this case it’s a M/M love story (with a poor woman involved, but I thought I’d concentrate on the two lovers), so I found a pic of two men – should I post that too? – and went from there…

And when I showed the printed version to my offline writers group, most wondered why the “girl” had no breasts… I had to tell them “guys, it’s two young MEN!”! πŸ˜‰


Hope your weekend was better than mine. Saturday morning i caught a virus/worm (in the form of a “malware detector” no less, how wicked is that?) that blocked my PC – my brother saved the day, BUT I still can’t reinstall the printer, the driver fails to install, so I can scan, I have a fax (that I don’t use) but no printer! 😦

The scanner works, though, so I scanned chapter 7 of SKYBAND, so I can start coloring and lettering. This week I’ll be working on chapter 8 at work and the above-mentioned at home. I also went through my notes and research for the end of the historical novel (I had stopped at the death of King Richard and needed to check again the facts under King John), so I hope to write The End on draft 1 this week. Then I must leave it aside for some time and go back to it around the end of the summer – although in this case it might be hard to edit after such a long time, as I’ll probably forget where I found the stuff I used in the book. Although I have a limited number of chronicles to look at… we’ll see.

Still have to hop around your blogs, be patient with me, but I can’t read on screen for very long, so I print out even blog posts and read them offline. I went through the Six Sentences yesterday because Sunday I couldn’t print anything! But don’t worry, you’ll have some links on Friday anyway. πŸ˜‰

Mailman was good so I got my printed copies of Fire. It is now available on Lulu, although only in the “US edition”. By the way, I took off the “European edition” of Air as well, makes more valuable the copies I have ordered! πŸ˜‰ I’ll feel less guilty asking for 20euros, as it’s a collector’s edition now! πŸ˜€

Fire, "European" Air, and Air!

Something I found this weekend:Β  things that happen when you choose your cover from stock photos –Β duplicate. Check these two books from two different authors… Sunlit Days moonlit nights and Safe with me… (I’m going to buy the second as soon as it’s complete, and I see there’s a new cover on the Volume1, good job, Shaina! ;-))

Not being able to “work” meant I watched a couple of DVDs from my pile… and I picked up Dhoom 1 & 2. I can see the influence of American movies such as Point Break, Speed and Ocean’s 11, but all is boiled down Indian style, with wonderful disco songs to dance to.

Did I mention in my last ramblings about Bollywood I might soon have another “movie crush”? Well, ladies, check out Hrithik Roshan in the opening titles of Dhoom 2 (gentlemen, you can watch him do the same number in the company of beautiful Aishwarya Rai in the end titles):

Arf! Pity he’s married and younger than me! πŸ˜‰

Anyway, both movies are fun to watch, with your “strange couple” of cops who will be back in action next year. Abishek is the tough guy, Uday Chopra the funny one, and if they pick up another bad guy had good looking as the first two (John Abraham and Hrithik Roshan), well, I’m not going to miss Dhoom 3 next year! πŸ˜‰

Have a gread week! πŸ˜€

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