Wednesday Weekly Roundup


As promised, here’s the link to my latest published story:

Crime and… (Blaze Ward Presents: Issue 5)

I challenged folks to give me a crime story with a one word title that could complete that phrase above.
Many answered, and nearly twenty made the final cut, from coziest fun to darkest noir, always with Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment in the back of their minds.
Historic tales sent in mid-Twentieth Century Los Angeles or Budapest. Modern mysteries from small towns to Appalachia to the big city.
Crime takes many forms. Where will it take you?

Neat cover, innit? I Go check it now! Available as ebook and paperback for your reading pleasure!

A UK chain of used bookstores has set up a system to pay authors royalties on sales: here are the articles on The Guardian and The Bookseller.

So I guess it’s time I put out more paperbacks, innit? I wonder if the books I left at bookcrossing zones or on UK trains could end up in those shops, LOL! Hopefully my paperback sales will slowly grow and in the future I’ll be able to take advantage of this. I haven’t joined the system yet.

Last week I wrote 12K, two stories, both for the Portals Collection workshop, because this week I’m starting a new routine at the day job, so I thought I better do it early. It was an unsettling week and the end of some kind of era, and here’s to hoping this new “era” will last as shortly as possible in this everchanging world.

Yesterday it poured at the time I was supposed to go home, so it was a wasted afternoon. Today I’ll decide what to write next, probably more shorts since I’m keeping the Duology for July. My wordcount might go down again, but it doesn’t matter, like I said. I may not reach my 500K this year, but it’s more eventful than 2020 for me, so…

Last week I also read the Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction and all those pulp writers made me think of me when I started writing. I think I was an unpublished pulp writer until the indie revolution, LOL! Now I’m thinking of getting the other volumes in the series, but I also need to help someone set up a book in Italian, so we’ll see.

It’s recommended reading, I got the paperback, but the ebook is also available for the visually impaired! It’s fun and interesting, and in some places I felt as if I were back to Future Earth Chronicles – Asian Ways, since Arjun and Yuu get to South India. And I wish they translated in English the novel they only excerpted, abridged, in this volume. Sigh.

Anyhow, I wish you all a wonderful week… and happy summer if it’s your favorite season! 🙂

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I went over 15K again, although it took me a couple of false starts before going (and a deleted scene that had to be rewritten). Still in present and future Earth, watching the apocalypse unfold through my vampires’ eyes. Should take me to August, and then we’ll see! 🙂

Meanwhile, a gentle reminder that the Smashwords Sale is almost over. If you want to grab those first five books with the brand new covers at half-price, go get them now! And don’t forget the code for the latest title, so you can add it to your shopping cart for free! 🙂

And after two weeks of our Mighty Chuck fighting The Zon POD Service, we finally have More Future Earth paperback! Now the anthology is really complete, go check it out!

If you’re an indie author and you’re still chasing algorithms, I suggest you read this post by David Gaughran. It has a cute unicorn! 🙂 I don’t even try to follow or predict algorithms, since they’re way smarter than me anyway.

And I read Homo Deus, which hasn’t endeared the little buggers to me! 😀 I’ve come to the conclusion that hunting algorithms is like catching typo faeries – a useless endeavor! 😉

Although algorithms can be fooled. This week Facebook keeps reminding me where I was last year at this time (20BooksEdinburgh for the newbies of this blog). How about 2, 4 7, 10 years ago? They can’t remind me anything because I didn’t post anything…

So, algorithms can be fooled. Don’t feed them data or they’ll turn into Gremlins and get in charge of your life – well, your decisions, mostly! 😀

Maybe next year I’ll relaunch for my 10-year anniversary. Maybe I’ll do a Kickstarter. Maybe. Definitely no earlier than next year. When hopefully things have settled to the new normal even in Yankee country. Because even though in Italy it’s not that bad, I’m worried for my North American friends.

We shall overcome. Meanwhile, I’ll keep writing. And publishing. And writing this blog. Have a great week! 🙂

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote a little over 9K and wrapped the Future Earth Series. Now, during this week and the next, I probably won’t be writing much, since I need to go through all the 5-and-a-half books to make sure they flow… and 10 and 11 won’t get to the proofreader until next week.

The cover reveal event will be on this very blog on Sunday, July 27! There will be giveaways and I’ll introduce you to the new covers for the old titles, as well as the new titles, so mark your calendars (or follow this blog, LOL!)

It’s been fun, and interesting – a new way of writing a series for me, but then, this series is different from the others. It has numbered books for a reason! 😉

I don’t know yet what I’ll write next, but probably I’ll stick to vampires, in the past, possibly, since the two I want to mention don’t survive the apocalypse – well Bran’s first fledgling doesn’t survive the Roman Empire, LOL!

And meanwhile, there’s another anthology out! One again Mighty Zon proved difficult, but we made it! The paperback is not ready yet, but the ebook is live everywhere… Check out More Future Earth and this batch of new stories.

More stories for our future – with less tech, probably, but still life on our planet. Post-apocalypse, dystopia, last men and women usually struggling to survive. Bookstores as treasure troves or abandoned places, factories and cities in various states of disrepair, locations from North America to Europe to Japan, all over our beautiful planet.
The Book Store by Jason A. Adams
The Last Books of Nara by M.L. Buchman
Access All Areas by Fulvio Gatti
Lisa’s Odyssey by Barbara G.Tarn
A Cupboard Full of Seeds by Meyari Mc Farland
The Crossing of the Moons by C.A. Rowland
Imposible by Lesley L. Smith
The Last Maple by Rebecca M. Senese
Alone at the End by Vonnie Winslow Crist
A New Script by Tao Wong

Also, theres a Kobo promo coming up, but it will be on the Publisher’s Page. So if you’re interested only in new titles, you can follow that! 😉

You may have heard of the changes in publishing and the awesome Kickstarter Brandon Sanderson ran. Now there’s even going to be a (paying) Kickstarter Full Workshop to help you start your own campaign. I still can’t do any of it until I’m an employee (don’t ask!), but hopefully at some point I’ll be able to quit and will have a project worthy of a Kickstarter (because at the moment, I really don’t have any).

Another interesting post is Kris Rusch’s Holes in the Economy, and mostly her writerly advice (which I’m following, in case you didn’t notice, LOL!):

We can’t keep track of it all, so we keep track of what we can. All I can do right now is urge you to do a few things:

  1. Have compassion for the people around you—all of them. We’re very stressed out as a world right now.
  2. Write a lot and publish a lot.
  3. Wear a damn mask and stay six feet away from others.

Eventually, this DDoS attack of news and change will ease. It always does. When, none of us knows. We can only trust that we will get through this.

And we will get through it together.

Unfortunately I can’t, at this time, write about fictional heroes dealing with pandemics or economic collapses (in fact the Future Earth Chronicles are well after the actual apocalypse), and I’m looking for humorous stuff both to read and to write. I’ll find something, eventually… but I’m wondering how Urban Fantasy writers are doing in the pandemic – are they adding it to the magic and vampires and werewolves and angels and demons or are they just ignoring it?

Today I want to end with a couple of R.E.M. songs, since I think both apply to me at this time…

and

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! One of the anthology authors agreed to answer my 6 questions… so please welcome Mary Jo Rabe!

What hopes and fears do you have for our future?

I worry about the exhaltation of ignorance and hope that enough young people can be inspired to learn facts instead of prejudices.

What is your story in the anthology about?

It is about time travel and a cat and the Michigan State University campus.

What inspired your story?

I wrote this for the “write 30 stories in 60 days challenge” back in 2017. I started remembering the time I studied at Michigan State University (1969 to 1973).

What else do you write besides sci-fi (especially if it’s not your preferred genre)?

I prefer science fiction, since that’s what I love to read. However, I also write fantasy and historical fiction occasionally.

What should readers know about you?

Possibly they don’t need to know anything about me. I don’t think I’m that interesting. I grew up on a farm in eastern Iowa and have lived in Germany for more than 40 years where I was a librarian in a small special church library.

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

I am so very grateful for the wonderful anthologies you put together!!

Mary Jo Rabe grew up on a farm in eastern Iowa, got degrees from Michigan State University (German and math) and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (library science) where she became a late-blooming science fiction reader and writer. She worked in the library of the chancery office of the Archdiocese of Freiburg, Germany for 41 years, and lives with her husband in Titisee-Neustadt.

She has had stories accepted for Fiction River and Pulphouse. She has published “Blue Sunset”, inspired by Spoon River Anthology and The Martian Chronicles, electronically and has had poems and stories published in Alternate Hilarities, Pandora, Stygian Articles, The Martian Wave, Astropoetica, The Sword Review, Raven Electrick, Mindflights, and Space and Time.

Personal blog: https://maryjorabe.wordpress.com/

Website: https://www.teedsgalaxypress.com

She indulges in sporadic activity on Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote almost 15K, but had to wrap up the last book on Monday (holiday in Rome only). I’m starting to send them to the proofreader so by August they’ll be all shiny and ready to hit the retailers. Cover reveal will be at the end of the month for the whole series.

And welcome to Sci-Fi July! The first title is a collaboration anthology I’m quite proud of. Future Earth Tech features quite diverse stories set in the future of our planet. It’s part of my Curated Anthologies series and it’s available both in ebook and paperback.

The future of our planet and our technology – mind uploads, augmented humans, time travel, solar punk and all the good and bad future technology will bring. Be it post-apocalyptic or futuristic, our future is coming faster than we think.

The stories:
Legacy by David Bruns
Grow Beyond Your Limits by Katharina Gerlach
One Line of Bad Code by Barbara G.Tarn
The Last Woman on Earth by David H. Hendrickson
Scrap me by Stefon Mears
Remembrance by Debbie Mumford
The Quest of Souls by B.A. Paul
Sagan in the Past by Mary Jo Rabe
The Right Resources by Rei Rosenquist
Dancer by Blaze Ward

I enrolled all my books in the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale. Everything 50%off, but no free titles – the 99c titles stay at 99c. I have tried free, and it didn’t bring in any sales, so the cheapest stay cheap, the rest gets the discount. And the couple of new titles won’t be discounted either, feel free to wait for the next sale! 🙂

Mark Coker has brushed off his imaginary crystal ball to predict post-pandemic publishing for indie authors. And if you still feel in shock or survival mode about all this, read Kris Rusch’s post on Shock, Survival, and Forgiveness.

I have dived in Homo Deus for research purposes (and because I’m curious like that, LOL!), but since it was written in 2016, I wanted to know Harari’s stand on the current pandemic. So I found this article – dates back to March, but on the spot. It mentions when the US banned all travel from Europe, and now Europe has banned travel from the still infected US… biting back their fearless (useless) leader a few months later! 🙂

On Monday I forgot my mask when I went out for a walk and ended up NOT having breakfast outside as I normally do. They might have made an exception if I went quickly in and out, since I normally do wear a mask and they know me by now, but I decided not to risk it.

I just walked around the suburb (a green one, in the outskirts of Rome) and had breakfast at home instead. The coffee of the moka machine is less strong than the one I can get out there, but it’s enough to have me going, especially if I don’t have to go to work.

This week I’m working at another branch and must take 2 buses to get there, which isn’t that bad at 7.30am, but when I come out at lunch time it’s baaaaad. Did I mention I hate summer? (for newcomers – every single year of blogging! Hate the summer and can’t stand AC, hence I want to move to a northern country)

Yesterday I broke my glasses at 7.30, glad I don’t really need them for work! And the branch had a blackout, so we started working at 11 instead of 8.30, but whatever… still I took the afternoon off and didn’t go through the latest book. I prepared manuscripts for the upcoming titles, toyed with covers and went to the optician to have my glasses repaired in a couple of hours.

Today I’m going through the last book of Future Earth Chronicles, and tomorrow I’ll probably move to the next project… still not sure if I want to go back to Silvery Earth with more quests or do that project that I shelved back in March. We’ll see. I’ll try not to take the rest of the week off from writing, though! Have a great week! 🙂

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Stories from the Twilight Zone. Foreword by Anne Serling. In my father's final interview he said that he felt his writing was "momentarily adequate." And, when asked what he wanted people to say about him, as a writer, a hundred years from then, he responded, "I don't care that they're not able to quote any single line that I've written. But just that they can say, 'Oh, he was a writer. Thatìs sufficiently an honored position for me.'"

and that’s enough for me as well!

So I wrote. Slowly but steadily working on the current WIP and planning the next book with Google maps and Wikipedia and all that stuff needed when writing in the real world, in places I’ve never been to (and never will, at least in the current case – Africa is too hot for my tastes). 12K last week, and I’m almost done with Book 7 too. Onward to book 8 this week, I guess.

I was thinking I wouldn’t extend the Smashwords sale, but after reading Kris Rusch’s post, I decided to do it at least for Future Earth Chronicles – with 9$ you get 5 ebooks and a complete arc about life after the apocalypse! And since it was either all or nothing, here’s the list of the discounted books again… only on Smashwords, extended to May 31!

And I also have a new title out – the last of the Lone Wolves, Fabio, who almost speaks like his great uncle Daniele, since even though Earth is now part of the Star Nations in this alternate future, he still grew up in Rome and sometimes uses the same words that probably drove text-to-speech and other software crazy in the Trilogy or wherever Daniele was present! 😉

And of course it was already live when I realized I used the wrong background image (the watermarked version, not the actual JPG) on the cover… so one hour on Sunday late afternoon, just before dinner, was spent changing the cover everywhere, including Facebook. You can tell I’m not really myself from the rookie mistakes on the latest two titles! 😉

Next month more Team’s missions… meanwhile, happy reading! I’m currently on those Stories from the Twilight Zone that I mention above, having finished at least one of the bundles I still have on KK.

Another Kickstarter worth backing if you’re a writer – Writing Bundles (and workshops)! I am not ready to launch anything, maybe next year or later, but I’m keeping an eye on projects and will post the links here if I think they might interest you.

A friend of mine has a new ebook out, And Then…: An Assortment of 12 Delectable Tea-time Cookies (link to Amazon.com), a collection of 12 quick-to-read and delightful-to-savor stories in various genres. Also, there’s this new anthology out – no, I’m not in it, but I thought you might enjoy it:

It’s time to turn the “man and his dog wandering through a dystopian world” trope on its head, and tell the stories about cats and their women – their badass women!

CAT LADIES OF THE APOCALYPSE
Available in print and ebook from your favorite online retailers

RE: Covid-19, if you have enough of all this misinformation gone viral, here you have a few fact-checking by an expert trying to stop this. The guys knows his stuff. Feel free to follow all the links he gives. Also, if you wonder why some people are still not staying at home, here’s a research explaining our psychological response to Covid-19.

And here’s some words of wisdom about it all from The Chuck Wendig himself. I guess we’re all broken right now, and even if I’m still writing, it doesn’t mean that I feel good. I’m seeing a lot of things going in the backburner and my expectations are null – I have lost them and don’t see them anywhere around me. I will need some searching to get back on track.

Ending on a ligher mode, if you want to chuckle, check the 13 wildest conspiracy theories of all times, starting from Covid-19 is caused by 5G (debunked above)… But onward we go! Have a great week! 🙂

 

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I basically wrote only the short story for the anthology workshop and nothing else, so around 3500words. I finished later than the previous week, and even though I went through the current project, I ended up not adding much to it, nor continuing it, knowing that I’d have to stop after the weekend.

So I’ll finish that when I’m done with the Anthology Workshop assignments (this is the last before the Holidays, so I have two more weeks to write those 10K to complete my yearly goal). I spent the weekend finishing the clean-up of the inventory, and redid a clean Excel sheet of what I have out there. In spite of taking down many, I still have 170 titles between ebooks, paperback only, collaboration anthologies and comics single issues (less than 50 are in Italian, so about 120 in English! 🙂

Now I can start with a clean slate next year. I mean, I can keep going, probably with new things and old series and whatever I feel like writing, since I have no pressure to write the next big hit. I have ideas for almost all my series, and writing prompts for anthologies, and other exciting things I’d rather not elaborate too much right now.

And since we’re almost at the end of the year, let’s close with a bang! My short story One Line of Bad Code was published on Sirius Sci-Fi! I think I mentioned a sale a few weeks back… and you can read it for free! 😉 Go check it!

Meanwhile another publisher folded, when I went to submit, the email bounced, the wordpress site was set to private and the post on Facebook where I had seen the open call had vanished… sigh.

And since we have the paperback too, gift your friends with a wonderful book by many awesome authors including yours truly and her next strip!

I Like My Science…MAD (Blaze Ward Presents Book 2)

I like my science…mad.

How mad, you ask? Come with us on a twisted journey of science gone wrong and gods rising to threaten us all. Of private detectives on the moon and dieselpunk ladies saving the day. Academics making dark pacts and taking vengeance into their own hands.
Mad.

The second Blaze Ward Presents anthology asks writers and readers to envision mad science and entertain us all.

They succeeded. Come see.

And here are the buy links for the paperback and the eBook universal link. Give some madness for Christmas! 🙂

And since I’m tooting other people’s horns…

Readers of Urban Fantasy – we have a little something for you. How about a curated collection of 20 books? With three tiers of buy-in and a broad range of books in the Academy (like Hogwarts, but different) sub-genre, you will find something you like.

There are secrets to be learned. Evils to battle. And worlds to explore. You’ll love this collection, because it comes from some of the finest minds in storytelling. Get it now.

https://20bookpacks.com/UFAcademy

Unfortunately, no one from the European Union can buy the set because of VAT.

Glad I’m not really a fan of that genre. Because I’m a grumpy old woman and don’t care about magic academies, haha! I wonder if there will be readers for an urban fantasy series with a middle-aged protagonist? 😉

And if you’re on Twitter to follow artists, please take note of this: Twitter bots will make pirated t-shirts with your requests. Check how artists on Twitter tricked spammy t-shirt stores into admitting their automated art theft. And grab that image for your next requests! 😉

And last but not least… it’s Infinite Bard day again! Happy reading and have a great week! 🙂

Random Friday


Last Sunday Techie Bro called and asked if I wanted to go to a fantasy fair somewhere outside of Rome. We left at 2pm and went to Oriolo Romano, where there was this Pellicano Fantasy event. It was in the park of a villa, up in the hills, so it was much cooler than Rome!

If you stood in the sunshine it was hot, but under the trees it was almost perfect, with a cool breeze, and before the battery died (I still need to get used to a camera that needs recharging at home, not simply sliding in another AA battery or whatever) I managed to take nice shots of the woods that I may use for the background of The Path of Wood instead of a stock photo.

Yeah, I guess us creatives are always writing, LOL! By the way, check this post by a photographer, some things he says apply to writers as well (namely, stop trying to sell your books to other writers, you need to find your READERS!).

Anyhow, I also met a friend I hadn’t seen in ages, she used to do comics in the late 90s (when we had those photocopied zines), but not she does body painting.

She spent the whole afternoon painting images from the movie Legend on the body of a very young woman who wants to be a model while I wandered among the booths and stands. There were Vikings and medieval knights, cosplayers and steampunkers. There was a small horror section with a small house of terror (no, I didn’t go in, not a fan!).

There were the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Star Wars Italian fans, the Lord of the Rings gathering and even mermaids (and a merman) in the fountain. Oh, and Far West because of Bud Spencer and Terence Hill movies. We left at 7.30pm, definitely refreshed, and when I got home around 9pm I found it hotter than ever! 😦

So, here’s a short slideshow, a mix of pics taken with the camera (before it died) and the smartphone…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now don’t forget to grab a copy of An Interpretation of Moles, there’s even a paperback if you prefer dead-tree books! 😉 It’s a lovely collection that includes some strips of Silvery Earth kids… and other awesome authors! Have a great weekend! 🙂

Random Friday


And the last author to answer my 6Q is workshop buddy Laura Ware. That’s all for the Portal Anthologies… but stay tuned for more Eclectica Authors! 🙂

Fantasy Portals Author Interview – LAURA WARE
1. What is it about portals that draws you to it?
A portal is a way into another world, something different and maybe exciting. To me, books are portals that lead us to different worlds.

2. What is your story in the anthology about?
My story is about a woman who’s a frazzled full-time mom. A portal offers her a chance to escape her world – but such an escape comes with a hefty price.

3. What inspired your story?
For one thing, I have been that full-time mom (grin). I am also a full-time caregiver at the moment, and I know the feeling of wanting to escape your life, if only for a moment.

4. Do you always write about portals? If not, what do you write about?
I write in a variety of genres. Some fantasy, a dab of sci fi, contemporary, and Christian fiction.

5. What should readers know about you?
I love writing stories! Hoping to get more out this year.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Check out my website at www.laurahware.com. I am trying to update it, so please be patient with me.

Random Friday


And again, since Sundays are busy with Eclectica authors, a short summary of the More Portals authors who answered my 6Questions. Check also this guest post on Library of Erana. Ladies and Gentlemen, from More Portals Debbie Mumford and Lana Ayers!

DEBBIE MUMFORD
1. What is it about portals that draws you to it?
Fantasy is my genre of choice, and one of the elements of fantasy that has always fascinated me is thresholds. Whether it’s a threshold of light (dusk and dawn – the thresholds between day and night, light and dark), or of place (I’m particularly drawn to beaches – that place where it’s not quite land, not quite ocean), or that magical witching hour: midnight (is it today or tomorrow … or neither?). Thresholds are magical, and a portal, well it’s definitely a threshold and in some ways, the highest form of magic! After all, a portal can transport you from here to … well, that’s the question, isn’t it?
2. What is your story in the anthology about?
My story (Beneath and Beyond) is a science fantasy about two scientists who discover an ancient door buried far beneath the polar icecap. When their team manages to open it, the scientists discover the unbelievable.
3. What inspired your story?
“Beneath and Beyond” was written in response to a challenge from my writing group: write a story that combines science and fantasy. Voilà! “Beneath and Beyond” was born!
4. Do you always write about portals? If not, what do you write about?
I write about all sorts of things! From dragon-shifter fantasy romance to space opera to time-travel romance to historical fiction, if an idea pops into my brain, I embrace it and write. I write for general adult audiences as myself (Debbie Mumford), but I also write for kids and teens as Deb Logan — by channeling my inner child!
5. What should readers know about you?
I’m a wife and mother … and grandmother! I’m an only child with five older brothers (really! My brothers ranged from nine to eighteen when I was born), and I’m a mother of twins. Family is very important to me and figures prominently in my writing.
I love dogs, am fond of cats, and have been known to befriend dragons … Chinese Water Dragons to be specific!
6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I love to hear from readers! I hope you’ll visit my website (debbiemumford.com) and consider subscribing to one or both of my newsletters. Both Debbie and Deb give new subscribers FREE stories for joining their lists!

LANA AYERS
1. What is it about portals that draws you to it?
Ever since childhood, when I felt alien and other, waiting for my true non-earthling people to come and collect me somehow, I’ve been drawn to the idea of portals. Portals are escape hatches from mundane experience into the extraordinary.
2. What is your story in the anthology about?
My story “Sideways” is about a woman a little too focused on the past to see what is right in front of her. On an ordinary workday, her experience in a portal, forces her to shift perspective.
3. What inspired your story?
The portal in “Sideways” was inspired by a dream I had where things immediately went awry.
4. Do you always write about portals? If not, what do you write about?
In the purest sense, all stories are portals to new experiences. But time travel is my favorite kind of portal to read and write about. Writing poetry, which for me is a portal to the inner emotional realm, is another of my vices.
5. What should readers know about you?
Growing up in a one-tv household with an older brother who controlled what we watched is how I became a Fantasy & Sci Fi geek. My brother gifted me the universe and beyond, and for that, I am forever grateful.
6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Here’s a quote from author Deb Caletti that nails one of life’s best true portals: “I understood right from the start that every set of library doors were the sort of magic portals that lead to other lands.”
http://LanaAyers.com

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