Wednesday Weekly Roundup

Last week I wrote 11K+ on assorted shorts and will continue to do so this week, so I have some stuff ready for Mighty Editor the first week of September! πŸ™‚ Covers are also almost ready, I’ll probably work on them next weekend, just in case.

Next week and the following week I’m off DayJob, so I’m going to catch up on all those online workshops and pop-ups I accumulated during the summer. And here’s a reminder that through today only, you can get all the workshops half-off (with one or two exceptions, that Dean explains).

I will go through the Kickstarter workshop first, then the pop-ups I gathered through Kickstarter or the Collection Workshop. I was thinking of doing some short traveling in Italy, but no, I’ll leave that to October when I have another two weeks off.

So “back to school” next week, yay! I usually call it research, but it’s still learning. I do have plenty of non-fiction books in my reading, be them history or some topic I don’t know much about. I might not recommend them in my end-of-the-year reading list (I only do fiction there), but I do add them to my Bookbub recommendations if I find the book on there. I may have already mentioned that I gave up on Goodreads a long time ago! πŸ˜‰

For some mysterious reason, my 2-year-old printer suddenly stopped printing in colors. I tryed to uninstall and reinstall the drivers, but nothing… I guess I’ll keep it and buy only the black cartridge for now. I actually need to print in color only to do my pencil portraits, and I still have a few printed but not drawn, LOL!

Well, I also print out my final ebook covers… I guess I’ll stick to the mock-covers until I fix the problem or buy a new printer. The shop I usually go to is still closed because, thanks to Covid, we’re back to pre-2010 August closures. Sigh.

Oh, and I restarted posting Da Strip on Instagram, even though it’s still a PITA (can’t upload from PC, phone doesn’t see Dropbox, had to copy everything on microSD card) in case you want to follow. Last week was quiet enough that I managed to draw a few more in the morning (yeah, at DayJob), and I’ll try to do more from now on.

I guess that’s all for today… have a great week and Happy Birthday to Me! πŸ™‚


Wednesday Weekly Roundup

A bundle so packed full of fantasy,
you’ll need a bag of holding.

Over twenty authors have joined the International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors (IASFA) in a massive book bundle to enchant readers everywhere.

IASFA Book Bundles are a way for people to discover quality books written by popular authors. You know how it’s always hard to find something good to read? IASFA can help solve that with monthly free book promotions as well as through a massive Book Bundle like this.

The Fantasy Book Bundle! Discover fantastic worlds where princesses are assassins, elves cavort with dragons, and orphans aren’t always what they seem. From enchanted forests to perilous seas, there’s an adventure for everyone in these stories. Find your next favorite fantasy author in this fantastic bundle. We’ve compiled over twenty exciting titles and can offer them in a bundle for much less than a dollar each. Begin your epic fantasy adventure today.

Books included:

Truth and Other LiesBy Lyra Wolf
The Blood Stone: Curse of the Drakku Book OneBy Jason Nugent
MercenaryBy Catherine Banks
The Glass GargoyleBy Marie Andreas
Unbreakable FuryBy Kevin McLaughlin
Reecah’s FlightBy Richard H. Stephens
Book of the Immortals – AirBy Barbara G.Tarn
Fenzig’s Fortune: A Gnome’s TaleBy Jean Rabe
FairmistBy Todd Fahnestock
Creature Feature: A Horrid comedyBy Steven Paul Leiva
Sanctum: Sands of SeteshBy C.S. Kading
The Stones of ResurrectionBy Tameri Etherton
Bone TradersBy Rachel Ford
The Shape of DarknessBy D. Fischer
Dragon’s ChoiceBy Debbie Mumford
The Crimson ClaymoreBy Craig A. Price Jr.
Half-Bloods RisingBy J.T. Williams
By the PactBy Joanna Maciejewska
The Shadow and the SunBy Monica Enderle Pierce
Black Heart of the Dragon GodBy Craig Martelle
Sharp SteelBy William Alan Webb
The Watchers of Moniah Blade of DissensionBy Barbara V. Evers By M. Telsch-Williams

The International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors (IASFA) is a professional organization focused on aligning readers with authors. We are building the organization that currently numbers over 600 authors published within the SFF genres and growing. Stay tuned as each month we’ll offer full book samplers for free along with less frequent paid book bundle promotions. Help yourself to find your next favorite author by joining the IASFA newsletter.

The Fantasy Book Bundle will be available from April 19th thru May 9th.


And we’re back to your scheduled program! That was the big announcement, you can get Books of the Immortals – Air very cheaply and along with all those wonderful authors if you still haven’t read it! Go check out that awesome bundle! πŸ™‚

Last week I wrote less than 5K, again, but life is really getting in the way. I don’t want to talk about it, but whenever I’ll be able to quite that part-time day job, I might finally reach the pulp speed I’m trying to aim for. If you have no idea of what I’m babbling about, here’s some history for you, part one and part two. There’s even a meme on Facebook about the maths of doing it.

As you might be aware, I reached half-pulp speed in 2018 and have been keeping it since, but I still hope to increase the output. Reading those two posts was helpful to remind me I don’t need a beta-reader or three because I’m experimenting with a new genre. My trusted Mighty Editor and Proofreader already provides any feedback I might need.

So I might be writing less than usual this month, but I know I will catch up eventually. I can write 3K-5K a day if I set my mind to it. Doing it every day with everything going on in the world is clearly not possible right now, but eventually I’ll be able to train myself to do it.

Still, 145K words in almost four months are down. The Duology is helping me to deal with the pandemic, adding some magic to a dreadful world. I’m having trouble with older protagonists to put on the covers, though – I can’t find them anywhere on Depositphoto, so I’ll have to improvise.

I know that “a work is Urban Fantasy if it has a half-naked woman on the cover, and Paranormal Romance if it has a half-naked man on the cover.” (from TV Tropes) I know that mid-rifs for women or abs for men are a must, but if you have older protagonists (Generation X in one case, Millennials in the other), I don’t think they’d want to be represented as half-naked heroes or heroines in their twenties. Because none of us is in their twenties anymore (okay, some millennials are still in their late twenties, but the rest of us is not).

Since designing covers is the only thing I like about publishing, I’ll keep tinkering with them, since there’s no hurry to publish them. And I hope there are readers out there for fully adult protagonists dealing with magic in our cities. I still aim for an October publication, but I’m still world-building and I need to take another break from these characters.

The Portals Collection workshop starts soon, and I need to write a couple more Star Minds stories to close an era. Probably, LOL! I thought I was done last year when I published the box sets! πŸ˜‰ But then I’ll get back to the Duology and then a new series that popped into mind and for which I already have the perfect covers.

Did I mention I like tinkering with covers and making mock-ups? Maybe I should start making premades instead of trying to get into translations! πŸ˜€ We’ll see…

Now go grab that awesome fantasy bundle and have a great week!

Random Friday

So, before finishing the last chapter and writing the epilogue of The Path of Metal, I opted for some brainstorming while drawing instead of playing Bubble Witch Saga 3! πŸ˜‰ The result is another portrait of Da Muse (who may or may not be a grownup Torik, I was missing his Dhoom 2 looks, LOL!) and the discovery that I actually have a trilogy on hand.

The Paths Trilogy (The Path of Wood, The Path of Metal, The Path of Dreams) follows the Silvery Earth Kids some twelve years later in their adult years. Book 1 is about Torik, book 2 is about Adwin’s twin sisters, book 3 about Prince Lambert, now king, of course, although he loses his kingdom very quickly.

So I’m going to take the first 2 completed books to Dublin and start jotting down an outline for book 3, so I can start writing it as soon as I come back. Mighty Editor will be busy come mid-October, but my readers will have a trilogy for the Holidays (which might actually feel like a real fantasy novel of 100K, since I’m usually around 50K – 45K book 1 and 35K book 2 at the moment)!

And there will be also a paperback with the strip of the Silvery Earth Kids (are you following them on Instagram yet?) – with of course a prose version for the visually impaired – and hopefully a 2020 calendar. If you want a black&white preview of the strip, get An Interpretation of Moles, out now!

I might set up pre-order buttons whenever I have completed all three books and made the covers. Still tinkering with them, of course. I also want to redo a cover for the Star Minds Starter, but it’s not easy to find images that match my idea of the technological angel – even Phoenix Lu’s awesome art made his heart kind of too light, he has black hair, like Da Other Muse! πŸ˜‰

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

Writer Wednesday

And the yearly wordcount is over 300K, but I’ll need to slow down in August to revise a couple of things. I should be able to catch up in September, though! πŸ™‚

I found another publisher open to novella submissions, and I’m sharing it here in case you have a festive-themed novella. I might send them something for the advance notice novella series. And I’ll soon send something to Tor as well. Oh, and since I’m on a submission-call sharing spree, see if you have anything for Quoth the Raven celebrating the works of Edgar Allan Poe! πŸ™‚

Now, if you’re just starting, you might have to confront the 8 fears that hold writers back from publishing their books. But when it comes to cover art, please follow the Indie Author’s guide to hiring a cover artist! πŸ™‚ I’m a hobbyist artist, I’ll try to look for a typograpy and graphics workshop in my area to get even better.

Maybe one day I’ll make covers for other people as well! πŸ˜‰ Learning with my own, though, since this year I started doing composite of stock photos (either from Depositphoto or Neostock)… and I’m currently having fun in spite of a Photoshop 7.0 and very limited skills, LOL!

If you want to do it too, please read the Indie Author’s guide to stock photography! πŸ™‚

Our man David Gaughran is still on Amazon’s back. I haven’t managed to read Amazon Decoded yet, but here’s how to (ethically) hack Amazon categories. I’m not sure I tried to apply this to my historical novel, for example. Well, I did put the keywords but they don’t come out in the search, so… I guess next step should be writing to KDP support? Meh.

And in case you missed the cocky-gate, here’s a good summary. And there’s someone else trying to trademark Dragon Slayer as well… sigh. Glad there’s CockyBot to look after that mess! πŸ™‚

OH, SALES SALES SALES! On DriveThruFiction and DriveThruComics everything from Unicorn Productions is 25% off! πŸ˜€

Aaaand… we have a paperback for Sci-fi Stories Space Opera Mashup. So if you’re up for a dead tree book, it’s available too. For all four anthologies! πŸ™‚

That’s all for today… have a great week!

Happiness is…

Writer Wednesday

And since the first June sales was on DriveThruFiction, I thought I’d make a new banner for them… there you have it, with the new title on the side. Soon all three in a single book with printed version. I only need to order a cover for it, so stay tuned! πŸ™‚


Now, about the short story that became a novel a.k.a. current WiP. Book 1 and 2 are done and out to editor. But I have more ideas for Quests, so I might write another two books. Final titles are The Path of Water (Book 1) and The Path of Fire (Book 2) and I have ideas for The Path of Air (Book 3) and maybe The Path of Ether (Book 4) and The Path of Earth (Book 5). Some of you might recognize the Immortals of the eponymous books.

In the meantime I’m back to the Southern Kingdoms for more tales, some sprang out of Book 2, some came up as sequels of something I have already written, some were still in idea form, and some are a wrap up of the southern kingdoms with Books of the Immortals – Air.

I guess I’m busy for the rest of the summer with Silvery Earth, LOL! I’m still toying with the Quests covers, but for now I’ll keep all the illustrations under wraps, so you’ll have to make do with the first three.

Cinder Boy_resizeAnd of course the third fairy tale revisited as m/m romance is out! Here’s Cinder Boy in all his glory… guess which fairy tale is retold here…

Now I’m ordering a cover for all the fairy tales revisited, so that after the summer I can make a volume that will include Beautiful, Colors and Cinder Boy.

I shall hire a new artist, so you’ll see the results then. By the way, Sir Wendigo did a great job for the cover of Male Lovers of Silvery Earth volume 2, featuring Nerian and Riander from Colors, but again, you’ll have to wait until after the summer! πŸ™‚

Sooner than that, you can admire Silvano Beltramo‘s covers for the Tales of the Northern Kingdoms, and Cristina Fabris‘s covers for the Tales of the Southern Kingdoms – at least in ebook form. All POD are to be made after the summer.

And soon I shall reveal Shafali Anand‘s cover for Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness as well, so stay tuned. I’ll set up the assetless pre-order button for that one, even though pre-orders haven’t done much for me in the past, but you never know. Mark Coker insists it’s a way to the best sellers lists, but whatever… πŸ˜‰

Cautionary tale for indie writers – sneaky money grabs. Hope none of you was with Booktrope! Yes, it’s not just traditionally published writers who should beware these days… sigh! And what exactly makes a damn good story? I’ll let the experts speak…

I’m quite happy with having almost reached Pulp Speed 1 with my wandering, questing characters, haha! In fact I’m dreading taking a few days off writing at the end of the month… that Ground Effect in writing is great!

Now I better upload a couple more titles to Bundle Rabbit and get back to work – I even started another online workshop, so… busy June, onward! πŸ™‚ Have a great week!

Random Friday

As promised, here are the unused covers of the next generation (Jo, don’t drool on the second!). Very quickly done by throwing together different drawings. The only one that might look like the final one is Kay-low’s.

SMNGdiaries4blog_resizeLeft to right: Chibi, Dadina and Shan-leo. Wim and Dadina. Jay-lee and Kay-low. They’d probably end on the Lousy Book Covers blog as they are… (like Technological Angel did…)

I put the red bands to make them similar to the Star Minds Snippets stories (that had blue bands, see?)

SMS4blog_resizebut then, since I won’t publish them separately… and Kay-low is not included in the Diaries anymore… I can toy with it forΒ  another month, LOL!

The final covers for Star Minds Next Generation Diaries and Star Minds Chasing Stardom will be similar to the Star Minds Next Generation cover (same artist)! πŸ™‚

Now back to writing… Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday

I’m giving another shot at the pre-order buttons, so… you have one title out now and its sequel in a couple of weeks! πŸ˜‰

Maru&CiCoversSaif&Kilig is now out on Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, DriveThruFiction,Β  Apple andΒ Β Barnes&Noble! πŸ˜‰ Please admire the wonderful artwork by Marurenai

Kilig&Hakeem – the complete story, including the unpublished sad ending – is already available for pre-order on Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords. It will come out also on the other three sometimes in early December (I can schedule DriveThruFiction publications, but no idea if Draft2Digital will manage to send it to Apple and B&N on time – they don’t have a pre-order button yet). The cover is by Cinzia Di Felice – cropped, you’ll see the whole masterpiece next year on the POD version!

Aaand! Another title is up – for FREE! It’s Guisarme, also included in both Wyrd Worlds 2 and Saif&Kilig. You can find it on Smashwords and NoiseTrade. Cover art by yours truly (meh. That’s why I’m not posting it on the blog next to theΒ  other two ladies! πŸ˜‰ But I’m a hobbyist artist, they’re pros! πŸ˜€ ).

Star Minds Next Generation update: since the short story I hoped could stand on its own turns out to be just the beginning of a wider picture and raises more questions than it answers, I’m incorporating it in the novel, expanding it. So I’ll have 4 parts, with one longer than the others –Β as the main action is concentrated there – and the whole book telling the story spanning many years, instead the concentrated two yearsΒ of Star Minds Trilogy. So more like Star Minds Snippets with four stories pasted together covering a longer time span. In December I will complete this story, hopefully before the holidays (although I’ll try not to bother beta-readers during the holidays, I hope they’ll be available at the beginning of January).

There are still a couple of days to submit for the Anthology! Check the details here! And help us find a title!

Now, to the writerly links of the week! A mission statement from Writing World! If you haven’t subscribed to their newsletter yet, do it now. And get their Yearly Planner as well. I had it printed and bound and will try to keep a better track of my writing time next year.

Smashwords founder Mark Coker on ebook publishing and the challenges we’re facing. Here’s how to succeed! And remember, you fail only if you quit! πŸ˜‰ Or, for another view, self-publishing reaches the summit – although I’d still make a difference between self-publishers and indie publishers, but I don’t want to bother you here. You just find your own conclusions! πŸ˜‰

A few more for newbies: stay away from vanity presses. I guess I should translate this paragraph into Italian, since Author Solutions is now tarketing the Spanish-speaking market (but then, that’s a much wider market than the Italian one, LOL!). Check out this latest post by David Gaughran – especially if you’re not American. Penguin Random House might be coming to your country, and you better be aware. I did receive a couple of emails from America Star Books, but I promptly ignored them. And remember what Joe Konrath says – DON’T PAY ANYONE TO PUBLISH YOU!

Take the DBW writers survey – published or unpublished as you are. And you can tell them you heard about it on Hugh Howey’s blog, much like I did! πŸ˜‰ (I’m linking to him because I’m not sure the link otherwise works…) And one more article with David Farland’s wisdom: provide your own inspiration. Nobody ever gave me cookies for writing, but kept doing it anyway! πŸ˜‰

Have a great weekend! πŸ˜€


Random Friday

… sort of Art Friday. I’d start with the powerful ad that uses real google searches to show the scope of sexism worldwide – great pictures of women, and great message. And I thought I lived in the 21st century. Obviously not. I better move to Sylvania or Ypsilanti, LOL!

And then there’s Michelle’s “secret” life as a cover designer. I loved her cover for Cinders (which was done by her, with a friend as model, and itΒ  wasn’t a secret) and I know she’s a great photographer. Check what she did incognito and if you need a cover designer… try her! πŸ™‚

As you know, I do most of my covers – except when I hire other artists like Phoenixlu, Silvano Beltramo or Cristina Fabris, but I’m still the one adding the lettering, trying not to ruin the artwork. That’s because I like illustrated covers on SFF stories.

When I do it all by myself, I’m not the best cover artist (in fact, I was featured on “lousy book covers” – thanks, Mr Rodent, for the link, although I wonder what those Google Alerts are for, since they don’t show results when things like this happen). I’m not an Artist – with capital A – and I freely admit it.

That’s why I’m as hobbyist on DeviantART, and don’t offer cover design, not even for other genres. I use mostly my own photos (not as good as Michelle’s) for the contemporary stories – or I use silhouettes, like on some B.G. Hope’s titles. Well, even Barbara Sangiorgio has a couple of drawn covers… but still, I’m not a real cover artist.

Now, the next cover will be…

SDBarb2013Heh, just kidding. Won’t be the cover of the whole booklet, but it’s a start. Superdeformed Barb 2013 and the new muses (compare with the other two I posted last week). I’m working on it, but only in my spare time! πŸ˜‰ I still have to do the lettering of SKYBAND 13… I know, I’m a sloth!

slothHave a great weekend! πŸ˜€

Indie Publishing Week 2

I wish I had brought my camera as on my way back I saw a wonderful sunset with a very red sun. It was gone by the time I got home, sigh.

Anyway, after struggling with Photoshop this morning, here’s what we came up with:

Ladies and gentlemen, the book cover for Air, now on my Facebook profile like I’ve seen done by so many published authors! It’s so exciting to see the publishing date coming closer and closer!

Her cover represents Air itself in its Dancer incarnation. I will use my own drawings for the book trailer, so they won’t be as good! πŸ˜‰

A friend of mine offered to re-do my map(s), but I might play with some map-making software anyway. What’s a fantasy novel without a map? Exactly. I don’t know why my beta didn’t like my maps, but I’ll see to it I have one that looks professional!

So, what’s left on my list? Lots of things, actually… I better get back to work!

Have a great week!

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