Writer Wednesday

First, the links. I you have ONE book to market, you might want to try AskDavid – personally, I wouldn’t know which title to send him, LOL!

Now, in case you’ve been living under a rock (but in that case you’d have no internet access, therefore wouldn’t be able to read this blog, hehe!), this is the best time to be a writer. But it’s actually also the best time to be a filmmaker! And the answer to both is – DIY! Now anyone has the means to bring his/her work of art to the world, be it a book or a movie…

And again, writers have options. Which writer do you want to be? Here’s David Farland and Kris Rusch on the many career possibilities for writers today. And finally, Dean Wesley Smith has done the Pricing 2013 post – and check the comments as well. Personally, I’ll probably stick to the pricing I have now (based on wordcount), but we’ll see. I’m also very behind with the print version of this year’s novels, but as they’re shorter that the BoI, I plan on publishing two stories together in print. And I still have to finish one.

Except I plunged into my sci-fantasy project, so I dunno when I’ll finish the CVE, LOL! Anyway, a post on Goodreads made me think about my writing process. I consider myself fast and prolific – a draft is written in a month, and that’s for sure. Then I might forget about it to work on something else for months or years. So last year I published novels that had been completed in 2010, this year I slowed down because I’m actually rewriting stuff – and sometimes I get entangled in the changes, LOL!

I’ll try to summarize the time it took me to bring certain books to publication or the the state they are in at the moment.

BoI – Air (published April 2011): first draft (Italian) 2006. 3 more Italian drafts (one I tried to move it to the usual Medieval Europe setting, then I put it back in the India-inspired setting). First English draft 2008. More drafts with minor changes after each beta-read until 2010 when writer burnout hit. Final draft 2011.

CVE3 – The Enlightened Emperor (a.k.a. Lost&Oliver): first draft 1993 (part 1) 1994 (part 2). This is actually the only Italian novel that I submitted to an Italian trad.pub. in the 1990s and it was rejected (because they wanted it through an agent – and there are no agents for new writers in Italy, only for established authors who need to negotiate foreign rights or foreign authors who need to negotiate Italian rights). It had a couple of drafts and “another version” (where Lost and Oliver ended up together instead of with their respective girlfriends! ;)). I rewrote it this year, did a couple of drafts trying to figure out how to present it at its best and published it August 2012.

The Fern & The Cross (remember the historical novel I was working on?): screenplay drafts date from 2007-2008. First prose draft 2011. A second this year. The final draft sometimes in 2013, hopefully, and then I’ll decide what to do – query or self-pub? Next year’s decision! 🙂

Soul Stealers (published September 2011): first Italian draft 2003. Screenplay drafts 2007 (at least 2) and 2008. Prose version 2011. Mentions Technological Angel.

Technological Angel (sci-fantasy baby I’m currently working on):  first Italian draft 2002. Subsequent Italian drafts 2003 (3 with minor plot adjustments) and 2005. First English draft April 2012. Second English draft September 2012. Publication date – aiming for December 2012.

So, even if some of these stories were born a long time ago, I guess I’m still a fast writer. I outline, but also improvise, which means that I don’t know if the Technological Angel sequel is one or two books yet, but it is a series, so I have found a collective title, Star Minds. More about this as I proceed in the writing. Anyway, since the writer burnout I don’t do all those drafts anymore. I know I can’t please every reader, so I tend to give the same copy of the story to different people – if only one person points at something, I might ignore it, if two or more notice, I have a problem!

My other problem is still finding beta readers, as I live in a non-English speaking country and the few natives I meet every month at my offline writers group are not genre readers, so they’re the wrong target for my stories. Yes, their comments can be useful, but often they’re not really helpful. Anyway, enough rambling for today… I better go back to writing! 😉

Writer Wednesday

OK, new month, summary of the past one! 🙂 Smashwords sale results: 40+ free downloads, 6 with 50% discount and 8 with 75% discount. Let’s hope people read them and post a review. There was also a sale on DriveThru, and I sold the BoI over there as well. Plus on Amazon I’ve sold 4 copies (full price) of Johnny&Marian – in spite of having it discounted elsewhere. Obviously Kindle owners don’t go outside of Amazon (except myself, LOL).

Great posts (not many as I was too busy revising manuscripts to check all the blogs I normally read): Stephanie Laurens weathering the transition – great speech for the lucky people who could attend the RWA event. That’s one more reason to try to get there next year! 😉

An older essay A Writer Without A Publisher Is Like A Fish Without a Bicycle: Writer’s Liberation and You. Great comparison between marriage and publishing. The Old Maid here appreciated it very much! 😉

Go help kickstart a wonderful project – the Fiction River Anthology! The video is just great, I already miss those workshops on the Oregon coast! 😉 Besides, if you’re a writer, you really want these anthologies to come out. Imagine they picked your story for one volume… yeah, I can dream, can’t I? 😉 I know they already reached the first goal, but we do want them to get those anthologies out, don’t we? 😉

Last year I had the WoW Saturdays from June to September… This year it’s already August and still nothing. Well, it’s changing now! From August to December I will have Writer Wisdom Sundays – five quotes from writers on writing sharing their wisdom! 🙂 Unless I have a guest or interview – which is still writers on writing sharing their wisdom, except in a slightly longer form, LOL!

Now to this week’s writerly announcement: CVE3 is OUT on Smashwords and Kindle and DriveThru! And then I’ll upload it also to XinXii. In the meantime, here’s the cover: from chapter  2 of the book, Lost and Oliver! 🙂

Now back to writing as B.G.Hope (she’s selling so well, 4 copies in a month, LOL) and reading some more… have a great week! 😉

Writer Wednesday

From Smashwords site:

July 20, 2012 – Big industry news.  Author Solutions, one of the companies that put the “V” in “Vanity,” was acquired yesterday by Pearson, and will be operated within their Penguin imprint.  Read the story here.    It’s cool traditional publishers are starting to recognize the importance of self-publishing within the overall publishing ecosystem, but Author Solutions?  I’m scratching my head.  They’re well known for some questionable business practices, particularly around their aggressive sales tactics.  They earn over 2/3 of their income selling services and packages to authors, not selling books to consumers.  When I read this story here – http://www.business2community.com/books/publishing-predator-creep-0212342 – my blood boiled.  Blogger Emily Suess has been maintaining a fascinating collection of stories about Author Solutions on her blog at http://blog.emilysuess.com/tag/author-solutions/.  Will Penguin clean up Author Solutions’ act, and start focusing on helping authors sell books, as opposed to selling services to authors?  Let’s hope so.  If not, Penguin just wrapped an albatross around its neck.

I’m quite baffled too by Penguin’s move. Traditional publishers are losing their heads? Do writers still need New York? Apparently not, according to some indie authors. Check Kris Rusch’s deal breakers for 2012. Welcome to the revolution, says Kristen Lamb. And Carolyn McCray tells the best practises for Amazon e-book sales (OK, that’s actually one year old, but you never know – might still work!). Oh, and did you hear about the class act against Harlequin?

Bloggers, beware: you CAN get sued for using pics on your blog. A blogger’s story. I normally use only my pics – or if I have a guest, he/she comes in with his/her own. Yeah, I know posts look better with pics instead of all writing, but considering the breach of copyright involved, I’m not going to put a pic only to lure in readers. So, no pics this time, LOL!

Dean Wesley Smith on editing and proofing – again, do we really need traditional publishers for that? I don’t think so, but it’s a free world, do what you want! 🙂 And check his tips on blurb writing if you can’t attend his wonderful workshops (I did last October, the same pair that’s just finished now), the post is an eye-opener, and have a look at the comments section as well. Finally I have Joe Konrath’s thoughts on this everchanging world of publishing…

Now to my writing news! 🙂 Last week of Smashwords sale – everything 75% off. Which means even more free titles. Thanks to the person who gathered a whopping 7 books with the new discount! 😉 Really, you got yourself a deal! (And I think I know who you are, so double thanks – I’ll get to your book as soon as I can and pay full price for it!).

Got CVE3 back from the editors, so one last pass, then formatting and up we go on Smashwords and Kindle – and later on XinXii. That’s because I have to pass the document through calibre for XinXii, and I don’t like the way the e-books look on there, LOL! The meatgrinder or uploading the Word.doc saved as HTML to Kindle look so much better… I might try the MobyCreator as well… maybe…

Also finished Technological Angel, now on its way to beta-readers. I hope the only one who has read the original story (in Italian) tells me good news – that it’s improved! 🙂 Now before I actually write down the sequel, I better move on to other projects. When the first book is out and the worldbuilding established, I can work on the next story, right? Gee, I’ll have to do another “bible”… as if I didn’t have enough already, both for Silvery Earth and the science-fantasy series! 😉 Like my cover artist says – I’m a volcano. I’m already working on both covers, although I’ll probably have to ask for help when I must choose one! 😀

I’ve also finished SKYBAND 11, so I’ll do a PDF for DriveThru first and then maybe upload it to Lulu as well – but I’m not really selling the printed copies, so I don’t know. In August DayJob should allow me one week of drawing at work, so I might be able to do #12 before heading for Chicon! 🙂 And as the story is getting more interesting for me (I look forward to the last chapter, but I can’t jump to it, LOL), maybe I’ll manage to finish it by the end of the year – wishful thinking? We’ll see! 🙂

Writer Wednesday

Writing weekend was good – Saturday working on CVE3, Sunday on Technological Angel. The new “slashy” ending of my science-fantasy has already given birth to another drawing that might become the cover of a (probably) shorter sequel – no spoilers, so no previews, sorry! 😉 I already started thinking about it, but we’ll see if I deem it worth writing, or better, worth publishing! 🙂 Some stories I’d rather keep them for myself, but I love this couple – so why do I want to hurt them and tear them apart in a sequel? Because sometimes I’m a sadist author! 😉

Anyway, I agree with Kris Rusch again – writing can be taught or learned, through hard work and not giving up just because someone didn’t like your story. And no need to go to university or college or whatever you call it for that. I’m proudly self-taught and was happily unpublished for thirty years, which allowed me to refine my craft and find my voice. Now, not everything I wrote is publishable. Even the comics and graphic novels – I look at my older works and go “Yikes! I better write the prose version of that!”.  But then sometimes I go “Yikes!” even with SKYBAND – why? Because I don’t practice enough! Drawing is definitely a hobby, but writing must become my career.

And thank God the world of publishing is changing. Yes, I’d love to find somebody who does the formatting and marketing and dealing with Amazon, Smashwords, etc for me, but at the same time I’m sick of waiting for somebody to help me, so I trudge on, hoping to find validation through my readers, who haven’t found me yet, but I’m not stopping now. During the weekend I also re-read a couple of my stories (Lords of War and Allan de Sayek) and I’m still one of my favorite authors, LOL!

Anyway, here are some posts for you. The future of publishing. Traditionally published author going indie. Traditional publishers vs self-publishing. Challenges to innovation in publishing. Why e-books are not paper books. McMillan’s plans for the future.

As for the future of Unicorn Productions, books will keep coming out, available mostly in e-book format until I find someone who really really really wants a dead tree book (I still have paper copies of BoI – Air, collector’s edition as I unpublished the “European Version” from Lulu). For me, I’d rather read printed PDFs or on my Kindle. Soon I’ll go direct to Kobo, so even if some titles will still be through Smashwords (or maybe I’ll opt them out from Premium Distribution), more will be available there (there were more when they didn’t require an ISBN – I had to opt out half the titles at Smashwords because the short stories don’t have an ISBN. Hopefully I’ll be able to upload those direct. And for the new titles, I’ll study the FAQs and then decide, LOL).

Now I better go back to writing. Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday

So, you’ve just had the last “original” Happiness Is… From June I’ll restart from the first, that went live in October 2009, when I had no followers at all.  The vignettes will probably be quite new to you all, and by the time I post again all 135 of them, I might have a few more to add – and almost three years will be gone by, LOL! Where did the time go?

Hope you had all a great weekend. I’m currently rewriting CVE4 and had to stop and re-read before continuing (I wrote it back in 1993, typed it sometime in 2004 and haven’t read it since). I took out three chapters that were too episodic and didn’t really move the story forward (one was actually based on a dream… and I had to take it out… I’m not Dustin, see? ;-)) and then had to combine chapters of the last third – that used to be the first story I wrote in English then translated into Italian in 1996 – because they were too short compared to the rest. As it couldn’t stand on its own and it still deals with the same characters seven years later, I added it to the rest.

Also, CVE3 (a.k.a. Lost&Oliver) I had it printed out and gave it to read to a friend and the shrink I saw at the time. Heck, I even submitted to a trad publisher that specialized in fantasy, and who replied they didn’t take unagented submission – now, there are no agents in Italy, except the ones that deal with rights of foreign writers, so how’s that for twisted? 😉 Anyway, I had a couple of people read it. But CVE4? Nobody read it. So here I am 20 years later finding holes in my plot and useless, meandering chapters, LOL!

I’ve heard from all the betas and editors in the meantime (that was fast, thanks, all!) and ended up discussing changes with a couple of them. Originally I had thought it episodic because I dreamed to see it drawn by Rosinski as a French BD (comic) – Oliver does look like a beardless Thorgal after all – so that’s why it reads like a collection of short stories. But I love the story and the characters, so I’ll make it a real novel – and if some deleted chapters can stand on their own, I’ll add them to the Records of the Varian Empire.

And it’s going to be one book (CVE3+4), so as soon as I finish the second part, I’ll re-outline it all, tighten it and rewrite. Glad I found some input to tame my episodic writing! 🙂 And glad I found the courage to withdraw it from publication next month and wait until I’m happy with it. So the next Silvery Earth novel will probably be out in August instead of June, but it will be better that what I originally had. I probably need a new title as well, but I’ll brainstorm with beta&editors…

You might have heard, but the Taleist Survey results are now available on Amazon. I’m not sure I recognize myself in the lot, but I’m glad I participated. Next year’s version I’ll have more data to share, LOL! Speaking of surveys, here’s one for UK authors – like Dean says,  (this is) information that should scare the hell out of traditional publishers.

Joe Konrath about traditional book contracts – yikes, run for the hills! But like Nathan Bransford says – traditional vs. self-publishing is a false dichotomy. Personally, I don’t think I’ll go near a traditional publisher anytime this year, but I can’t speak for the future. I’m getting used to the fact that I work better alone, and have given up the hope of finding the perfect team (and I badly need a better artist than myself for my graphic novels, sigh. Those temperamental artists drive me crazy! ;-)).

I’ll close this post with my brainstorm on moleskine about the next CVE. See how a very secondary character jumped out to say he wanted me to tell his story? Sorry, pal, wait in line! I just love when I make connections between books, though, LOL! *spoiler alert* – click to enlarge image at own risk! 🙂

Writer Wednesday

First of all, please hop to Madison’s blog as she was kind enough to let me ramble about my experience with self-publishing so far. It’s a good preview of the non-fiction book I might end up writing one day, LOL! Anyway, an excellent post to make an informed decision about which way to publish is here at Writers in the Storm. It’s a series, so you might want to tune back in next month! 😉

As sales keep tickling in very slowly, I must say I’m happy so far. I wasn’t expecting to make any money in the first year, and I didn’t. I hope to cover my expenses, or at least half of them, this year, and hopefully next year, I’ll cover them all and start earning.

It’s certainly not a “get rich quick” thing and it’s certainly not for everyone. But for someone like me, with a huge unpublished backlist, it’s just what I was waiting for. I can reach more people with an e-book than I could reach with paper copies of my old fanzines during the 1990s. So I welcome the digital revolution – although I still have to experiment, especially with some formats.

I typed a short story in Italian that was still written with an electric typewriter, and had a lot of fun. I also translated another short story and it was so dated – cameras with films, remember them? I had to take off that reference and just left it as “taking pictures and having them printed”, the reader is free to imagine a phone or a digital camera! 🙂

Mark Coker has an interesting post on agency pricing, but I still haven’t figured out if it’s good or bad for authors. I won’t raise my e-book prices more than what I’m doing this year, but then I’m not really a traditional publisher.  And I still have to read his Secrets to ebook publishing success, but I don’t believe in freebies, as from what I’ve seen, freebies don’t bring readers. And I sell more if I put a higher price tag for some reason. So that’s my experience.

About “technique” – some musings about descriptions, because by blogging serendipity I read about it both on David Farland‘s newsletter and re: racist Hunger Games Fans. Mr Farland is of course an advocate of good descriptions and feelings and all, but then you read that other article and have to wonder: why bother with descriptions if the reader will picture the character like he or she wants? Personally, I get lost in too much description – I have a very visual imagination and I don’t need lots of input to imagine something or someone. So again, there are contrasting suggestions here. Which is better? Depends on the reader, depends on the writer.

Please note I haven’t read Hunger Games but from the citations in the articles, it seems pretty obvious to me the color of the children is not all “white”, but I come from a white-centered background, so I understand how a reader might just ignore the “olive skin” detail. Personally I’ve started putting non-white characters in my stories only lately (except for the Japanese wandering in my stories in the 1980s) and I hope it’s obvious (also from the tags) that BoI – Air is India/Persia inspired and BoI-Fire is Africa inspired, so it has a lot of black characters – starting from the cover. Yeah, they’re not all “white” on Silvery Earth. I’ve even decided that some of the Magical Races can have darker skin (mostly the Sila, as they’re always in the air and under the sun. The Waiora living underwater don’t make much sense, they’re pale for lack of sunlight! ;-)) but I still have to write a story about a Sila with “chocolate skin”! 🙂

I hate reading descriptions, therefore I don’t write many of them. I’m sure my reader is smart enough to imagine whatever he or she wants. I might be wrong, but my background for stories is probably more visual than written. Lots of comics and graphic novels, and movies and TV series inspired the first works, and this hasn’t changed. That’s why I don’t like literary fiction and purple prose.

Now the final announcement: Chronicles of the Varian Empire – The Left-handed Warrior is out on Smashwords and Kindle! Here’s the blurb:

The struggle between Humans and Genn gets vicious.
Orphaned by Human bandits, adopted by Genn, seeking revenge and becoming a warrior under a not-so-accomodating Emperor. Especially if you refuse to serve him to side with the Genn.

Welcome to Silvery Earth. Water beings, winged people, shape-shifting dragons and elf-like beings mingle with humans throughout the history of this world.

I shall try to post some excerpts in the upcoming Sundays… Now back to work! 🙂

Six Sentence Sunday

One last bit from Allan de Sayek just to let you know of Nazir’s fate… continuing from last week.


Allan gaped. Nazir… a slave? “To whom? To do what?” he panicked.

“He’s chained to row in a galley. You will not see him, ever, again.”


Wanna know more? Allan de Sayek is out on Kindle and Smashwords.

Now hop back to the Official Blog for more six sentence goodies… have a great Sunday! :-)

Six Sentence Sunday

Continuing from last week’s post – from Allan de Sayek, m/m romance set on Silvery Earth…


“Thank the Gods!” Allan joined his hands and looked at the painted ceiling, relieved.

“But I did punish him and will also punish you,” his father continued.

“You haven’t hurt him… physically, have you?” Allan worried his father could have made a eunuch out of his lover.

“No, I sold him as a slave.”


Allan de Sayek is out on Kindle and Smashwords.

Now hop back to the Official Blog for more six sentence goodies… have a great Sunday! :-)

Six Sentence Sunday

From my newest release Allan de Sayek, a fantasy m/m romance on Silvery Earth.


When he awoke the sun was high and his father stood next to the bed, arms folded over his chest, wearing a frown that didn’t allow much hope.

Allan pulled himself up, gathering his wits. “Father, where is Nazir? Please tell me you haven’t killed him, as I am the one to blame.”

Prince Ahmed’s lips twitched as if he had repressed a smile. “No, I haven’t killed him, Allan.”


Allan de Sayek is out on Kindle and Smashwords.

Now hop back to the Official Blog for more six sentence goodies… have a great Sunday! 🙂

Six Sentence Sunday

In CVE – The Spell, Desiderio finds himself 100 years in the future… with only Brendan to guide him.


“You know, my lord, you have a wonderful name,” Brendan said, breaking the silence. “Desire is all that you inspire!”

“Excuse me?” Desiderio glared at him.

“You’re gorgeous.” Brendan blushed and smiled.


CVE – The Spell is available on Smashwords and Kindle.

Now hop back to the official blog for more six sentence goodies! Happy Sunday!

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