Wednesday Weekly Roundup

Happy New Year! And no, I’m not going to talk about my goals for 2021 – only that I hope to hit those 500K words again for the fourth year in a row, LOL! And by the way, the grand total at the end of the year 2020 was as follow (580500 words for the visually impaired):

So, last week I wrote those 3600 words between Wednesday and Thursday plus another 8300 during the weekend (Sunday was the most prolific with almost 6K) for a grand total of 11900 words (that go in that Week 52 spot above,  next week will be Week 1 of 2021).

Two stories, one already submitted, the other will probably come out in February (and I might add something to it when I’m done with the last assignment). It’s a Silvery Earth story based on an image I found on DepositPhoto that will be on the cover, so you’ll see it next month! 🙂 Now I have a last assignment to submit, then I’ll probably go back to those vampires awaiting for their stories to be written.

My first expense of the year was buying a collection workshop that I’ll be doing with my friend Fulvio, so by the end of June you should expect two collections of portal stories from both of us, yay! By the way, you still have one day to take advantage of the discount – I bought those two workshops for the price of one (and yes, I gifted one to him)! 🙂

I went through a couple of old Silvery Earth books for the story I wrote last weekend and sort of cringed every now and then. Now, I’m not going to rewrite them, or even remake all 40 covers (some of them are alreay new), but maybe I’ll go through all of them once again. I kinda miss reading my own books, LOL!

I also plan on finishing reading all the stuff I still have on K.K. so I can load the new, still-unnamed Kindle and keep going. I have more bundles to read (and some are still in draft form, but I got the requests, so you’ll see some new ones soon, I’m sure) and books to dowload for which I loved the sample.

Speaking of bundles, this is the last week to grab the Nightly Bites bundle! The anthologies will still be there, but this bundle will be gone soon, so grab it now!

If you want to become more prolific, follow Dean’s math – I know I can hit that wordcount I set up for myself above. I have already made it 3 years in a row (after 2 false starts). Should I raise the bar? Not this year, no. I might be busy revamping all the titles after 10 years out there. Just in case.

I also have quite a few online workshops to check, although I haven’t worked them into my schedule just yet. What can I say, the Holiday Season ends today in Italy, and we’re still in half-lockdown until at least Jan.15, so… we’ll see. Here’s to hoping I’ll be able to travel again later this year! 🙂

Don’t get used to having so many images in one post, LOL! And ending with some words of wisdom – something I’ve always done and always will do, this year more than ever. Have a great week!

'Write what satisfies you, no matter what. Be your writer. Be the writer you want to be. Write what you want to read. Write what excites you. Write what thrills you. Write what delights you. Write what makes you angry. Write what makes you cry. Write what makes you laugh like crazy. Do not try to be anybody else's writer. Be the writer you want to be. -David Gerrold'


Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! And since she’s in all three of the Nightly Bites anthologies, you get three covers! But this particular interview refers to the newest anthology, Volume 3! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Joleene Naylor!

1. What is it about vampires that draws you to them? 

The variety. The stories can be gothic, contemporary, historic, futuristic. It can be scary, funny, romantic. Anything you feel like doing. As to why the vampires themselves are appealing, it’s the immortality, isn’t it? If I could live forever, I’m pretty sure I’d jump at the chance. So much time to get to do all the things you want to do.

2. What is your story in the anthology about? 

Jamie: Blood of Betrayal is the origin story for Jamie. A rebel in Scotland, Jamie is wounded and nearly dies in battle. He manages to return home, sick with fever, only to wake fully healed. He isn’t the only thing changed. In his absence, his wife died, and his father was murdered by the British, who then turned the lands and title over to his brother-in-law.

3. What inspired your story? 

My mother, actually. Jamie is one of her favorite characters so I told her if she wanted to make his past up for me, I’d use it. She did quite a bit of research, so it seemed a shame to waste it. Plus, you meet both Jamie and his master in one of the novels (Masque of the Vampire) so it seemed like a good idea to introduce readers to exactly what their story was.

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

I can write about other things, though I haven’t been just because of the branding. I’m a lot slower than some prolific writers I know *cough*Barb*cough* . But most of my writing has a darkness to it. I find it very hard to write cheerful, happy things. I once started a poem about a bunny. I won’t go into details, but by the end I made myself cry.

5. What should readers know about you? 
I’m not trying to teach you anything in my books or stories. I’m not trying to expand your worldview, or make you question your beliefs, or the way our society works. I’m just trying to entertain you.

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

I’d like to say thanks to Barb for having me! Other than the anthology, I’m not really promoting any releases – I’d need to get the book finished first (Did I mention I’m slow?).

Last minute addition: we now have also a Nightly Bites bundle, that includes another of Joleene’s stories! Check it out!

Wednesday Weekly Roundup

And last week I got back to my 10K or so, both writing that last story for submission (that will head for the editor’s desk with the rest next week) and starting a new project that should be quickly done so I can start writing for the Anthology Workshop at the end of the month.

After brainstorming with myself I decided to go back to the Star Minds Lone Wolves and next year will see three more longer stories and at least another ten Lone Wolves Team missions with new members. I’ve started with Kaori, who has shown up quite a lot in all the published books, and wrote her story. No spoilers for whoever hasn’t checked them out yet, though.

She’s on the cover of Star Minds Third Generation Snippets, though, as Galaxy Police rookie. The Lone Wolves are set ten years later, so her book is abviously titled “Cop”. Then I’ll have “Assassin” and “Smuggler” and more Team missions.

But going back to Silvery Earth, did you know November is Fairy Tales Retold Month? Yeah, I made that up, but look at the coincidence: I published More Fairy Tales Revisited and Fairy Tales Revisited came out in a brand new bundle curated by A.L. Butcher! 😉

The Backstage Pass is also about those fairy tales and how they came into being. I wrote them all months ago, but hoped to make it a book as long as the first one – except I didn’t actually found another Rithvik and Kerrien to play with! 😉 So there you have it, a shorter book waiting for more to become Volume 2! 😉

All in all I’m quite happy that last week I managed to finish the lettering on the Silvery Earth Kids strip (both English and Italian) as well as writing new stuff. Now I’m back to DayJob, so I’ll have to go around it – although I might actually be able to start working on the Star Minds Kids strip in the mornings.

On Sunday I watched How to Train Your Dragon 3 with Dear Nephew, and we had a lot of fun. I think it’s a nice ending for the trilogy, and I liked the extras (although some I watched alone, since he had to go back to Mom’s to do some homework).

By Christmas he’ll probably be taller than be, but he’s still pretty much into those 3D stories. He even sort of summarized for me a story he has in mind, but I don’t know if I’ll ever manage to make him write it, LOL! He says he has all the character names down, though – all in English, can you believe it! 😀

Oh, and Sunday night I updated the trailer for Silvery Earth! 🙂 Not a masterpiece, but at least I took out all the ugly covers and the books that are no longer available!

And it’s Infinite Bard time again! Go check the latest story! Happy reading and have a great week!

Sunday Surprise

And it’s the last guest for now. Another Eclectica Bundle author to close this series up for the summer. Hopefully more guests will show up in September. Meanwhile, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Diana Deverell!

Where do you live and write from?

I live on a hilltop in the Danish village where my husband was born. The window in my writing space overlooks Helnaes Bay and the Jutland peninsula is on the horizon. Because of the perverse nature of my creative process, I don’t stare at that view for inspiration.

The story I want to tell never seems to take place where I actually am. Some scenes in my international thriller, Night on Fire, are set in this village but I lived in Oregon when I wrote them.

Now, I’m in Denmark and the legal thriller I just finished happens in the landlocked cities of Eastern Oregon and Washington. I guess that’s how my imagination entertains itself when I cut it off from other distractions.

Why do you write?

I want to take my readers places and give them experiences they may not have the opportunity to enjoy in real life. And of course, like others who’ve posted here, at some point, I’m always wondering: What if things take a surprising turn? During the Cold War, I worked behind the iron curtain as personnel officer at the US Embassy in Warsaw. My international thrillers draw on that experience, but my burning question was: What if, instead of falling in love with a military attaché working for a NATO ally, I was seduced by a Polish intelligent agent? With that twist, my heroine doesn’t spend her time pushing paper—she’s passionately fighting evil.

My legal thrillers are told primarily from the viewpoint of an appeals lawyer. She has the skills and passion to force a broken justice system to treat her clients fairly. In college and for a few years after, I earned my living as a legal secretary. I’ve worked in law offices in California, Massachusetts, and Maine. I understand the legal process and the lingo and I’ve spent countless hours researching appeals law to get my facts right.

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

My personal goal with my thrillers is to imagine a fairer and more just world than I face. On the legal thriller side, I have a loved one behind bars. My inmate has another five years to serve on her mandatory sentence of nineteen years and two months. I visit her whenever I am in the US. Fourteen years into this, I have to steel myself to go through the sally port, because I hate being inside that prison—and I’m there for only one hundred and fifty minutes per visit.

In my legal thrillers, I want my reader to feel how decades-long incarceration adversely affects both inmates and correctional officers. The soul-destroying nature is worsened when the primary goal of imprisonment is punishing wrongdoers rather than preparing them to return to society as productive members.

And I also want readers to share my heroine’s personal satisfaction when she brings mercy, compassion, and fairness to her clients.

When did you start writing?

A creative writing class I took in college encouraged me to believe I could learn to write good stories. The second was an awareness that I’d tell better ones if I had a little more life experience. I spent twenty-five years getting that “little more” before I began seriously writing fiction for publication. I was lucky and a New York publisher gave me a two-book contract and released my first novel in 1998. My good fortune ran out when my publisher was sold to another. In the downsizing that followed, I wasn’t offered another contract. By 2011, I had my rights back to those novels and started indie-publishing them and brand-new novels as ebooks.

What genre(s) do you write?

Primarily thrillers and mysteries, set in current time. I’ve written short stories set in the past and featuring young adults and even one with a robot vacuum as a protagonist. But for my longer work, I like to spend my time with a sharp, gutsy woman as she digs into a contemporary problem.

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

I did not understand this piece of advice the first time I heard it: Reveal your character’s emotional history through the character’s opinion of the setting. But in several online workshops with Dean Wesley Smith I learned what he meant by that.

I saw that I should put my character in an interesting place packed with descriptive possibilities. She should experience that setting through her senses. What she sees, smells, hears, tastes, and feels triggers memories that are clues to her past. When I finally got it, I realized that I’d first recognized that technique in The Little Drummer Girl by John LeCarré, the spy thriller that hooked me on the genre. Instead of giving us big chunks of narrative back story, he slowly builds up Charlie’s history and the reader comes to understand and care about her.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I write as if I’m driving slowly at night, unable to see beyond my headlights, and constantly checking my guide books. I hit the million-words-published market last year and by now when do start a new book, I trust my subconscious to get me to a satisfying conclusion. Often it’s not one I anticipated when I began.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle.

I have two mystery titles in the bundle and each includes a bonus mystery. FBI Special Agent Dawna Shepherd stars in all four. Dawna was a college basketball star and she first appeared in the cast of my international thriller Night on Fire. Turns out, an FBI is very agent useful in thriller territory and she played a supporting role in two more international thrillers and my new political thriller, Bitch Out of Hell.

Dawna stars in sixteen published short stories, dealing with human trafficking, health care fraud, illegal sports betting, nuclear smuggling, and other not-homicide crimes. “Blown” is an entertaining spy caper that takes Dawna to Poland in hot pursuit of a renegade NSA contractor. The bonus story, “Polonaise,” is also set in Poland and has her protecting a witness scheduled to testify against a Warsaw crime boss.

In “Shaken, Not Stirred,” Dawna takes a break from busting bad guys to vacation in Mexico at SpyGirl Fantasy Camp with her pal, ex-Secret Service Agent Ladyshimarray Harms. My story answers the simple question: Does a hardboiled FBI agent ever get to have fun? The bonus story, “Hungarian Dance No. 5,”is the first published short story featuring Dawna and Ladyshimarray. They run into trouble during a teaching gig at the FBI’s international law enforcement academy in Budapest.

Tell us about your latest book

Lay Bare the Lie, my sixth Nora Dockson legal thriller, will be released on July 1, 2019. An ex-con, Nora pulled herself out of the gutter and became an appeals lawyer. She works only for convicted felons.

She’s sure her current client didn’t murder his wife. The jury was misled by testimony from an expert witness who reconstructed the crime based on bloodstain patterns. She’ll prove the so-called expert made leaps of logic incompatible with the latest forensic science.

But before she can started on the case, a family emergency pulls her back to her roots. Events spiral out of control. Instead of arguing in a courtroom, she’s struggling once again on the dangerous turf of her childhood. And this time she may not get out alive.

You can preorder this novel at the bargain advance sale price from your favorite ebook retailer by following this universal link.

For more about my books, visit my website

Writer Wednesday

On Sunday I had a panicky moment. Here’s what I posted on my private Facebook profile:

End of the year panic. A revised story vanished from Dropbox. Laptop said document no longer existed.
In my backup I had deleted the file – I had worked on it from Laptop and not on Dropbox. Fishing it in the recycle bin saved the day. Tears ready to flow out are gone.
Resaved on the Dropbox version and even printed it for a final read before a January publication (as soon as Wendigo sends me the cover art, that is!).
Feeling much better now. Will go back to Future Earth Chronicles after lunch, though! Phew!

Yeah, I had to do some Bubble Witch Saga to calm down, switch on laptop again after checking there was no trace of the edits on writing netbook, and retrieve the file – December 2018 version. Dropbox had the August version still. I probably picked the wrong file (from Documents on Laptop instead of Dropbox) when I started working on it and was surprised not to find the document with the new title – doh! It was on Dropbox!

Anyway, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Last week I added 2520 words to the above story as well as Future Earth Chronicles Books 3 and 4 and started on Book 5 for a grand total of 9K – which brings the 2018 final wordcount to +537K. Very happy with this result! Now here’s to duplicating it this year, LOL!

Last couple of days to get 10 novels for 5$, then the Sci-fi July Redux bundle will be gone forever! Don’t miss this opportunity! And if you prefer audiobooks, someone is giving away free coupons. I still can’t wrap my mind on listening to someone talk instead of reading, so I’ll pass – but I promise I’ll try to set up a couple of audios this year, just not in January! 😉

I’ll also probably take Dean’s challenge again, the short stories one this time, but I want to finish this cycle of Future Earth Chronicles (i.e. the first 5 books, there’s probably 5 more with other characters) first! 😀 I really need to write more short stories, so the challenge is an excellent way of forcing myself to do it – and if some of them span novellas or novels… well, even better, right?

New Years’ plans next week, although I already mentioned them before… in the meantime, have a great week and a WONDERFUL 2019! Happy writing, reading or whatever is your preferred pastime! 🙂



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