Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Since I’m well into that book 2 of the trilogy, last week I wrote 13.5K words, which brought my yearly total to almost 260K. Still behind since we’re past half the year, but I can still catch up. And if I don’t, I don’t care. The next project might be a novel, or it might be a series of short stories. I haven’t decided yet.

And I also want to write more stories to some themes so I can put out a few more short story collections before the end of the year. The publisher’s newsletter is coming soon, you can subscribe by entering your email on the home page.

This is also the last week of the Smashwords sale, everything 50% off (except titles at 99c and the two latest), so hurry. It ends on Saturday!

I have ordered the paperbacks of the latest two titles, but unless they deliver them a day early like they did for the previous ones, they won’t make it into this post. Very busy mornings at work with special thanks to this lovely pandemic, so I hope to have some energy to keep writing!

I won’t bore you on how Roman buses make it even worse by not showing up or having you wait for 35minutes. I can do that on foot in 20minutes, but at lunchtime it’s really tough. When they show up on time, it takes me thirty minutes (10 minutes first bus, get to the other bus stop in 10 minutes, 10 minutes second bus) to do those 5km, when they don’t, they don’t. One hour or more in total.

There, I said it, I bored you! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But you have one more reason why I want to move away from this town. A colleague suggested I get a two-wheels, but I used one for twelve years and that was almost twenty years ago and I’m not young enough anymore, especially on the Roman streets, famous for the “sanpietrini” and its holes (that can be deadly on a scooter). And my almost-26-year-old car is ready to retire, so… buses.

But then, without those buses, I wouldn’t have come up with the idea of the ghost bus, so… whatever! ๐Ÿ˜€ Have a great summer!

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


As promised, here’s the last title in English for the coming weeks. The next one will appear in July, so plenty of time for you to try any new title that fancies you (if you’re new) or catch up (if you’re old-timer of this blog). A Taste of Silvery Earth – 7 stories to introduce you to the world and itโ€™s history should give you a pretty good idea of what the series is like if you’re unfamiliar with it.

Other titles and series are Star Minds Universe (for now complete), Future Earth Chronicles (complete), Vampires through the centuries (for now complete, although I have 2 unfinished stories on my hard drive), and everything else. And box sets, if you’re voracious. And multi-author anthologies if you’re in discovery mood.

Last week I wrote almost 14K between the portal story and another chapter of the Duology (that will probably need tweaks when I get back to it, but it was another 6K in the kitty! ;p). I’m at 190K+ yearly count, so a lot more for you to read – some of it already came out, granted, but there’s still a lot to come! ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re a sci-fi writer, you might want to check the SPSFC and mark your calendars. If you’re a sci-fi reader, or, even better, a book blogger, they’re looking for you! (Giving up trying to use the “quote” block, and using italics for the quote):

What bloggers need to know:

Applications are now open to be one of our ten reviewers! Simply click here and fill out the form. As a former book blogger and reviewer, I know what youโ€™re in for. It will be a lot of work, but if you enjoy helping readers find hidden gems, it will be rewarding.

If you’re a fantasy writer, the original SPFBO opens even before the SPSFC, so mark your calendar for that one too. I participated last year with Magical Friends, this year I’m not saying yet! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Welcome to the wonderful world of indie publishing!

Signal boost for more sci-fi – if you’re a writer, it’s a paid market, if you’re a reader, well, it’s a new mag! ๐Ÿ™‚ Science Fictionery is ready to launch! Check it out – their first issue is full, but if you’re a writer, you can still submit to them. And if you’re a reader, stretch goals include:

  • Making each issue available in audio format
  • Custom artwork for our covers.

In their own words: ScienceFictionery is here to bring the best Science Fiction in the Galaxy, support writers, entertain readers, champion equality & diversity and to remind people that the future is theirs to craft. Check them out!

If, by any chance, you still think traditional publishing is for you, check this. I have a friend who writes literary historical novels, and she is rightfully looking for a traditional publisher. I told her to skip the agents and submit to the publishers directly. She found a British publisher who is accepting unagented submissions (and she’s British, so that works well for her), so I’m crossing my fingers for her.

But I’ve read her books and I know there would be no market for them, not even in the wonderful new world of publishing without some leverage from a big publisher. She already went the small publisher way for another book. and agreed it’s a waste of time.

Traditional publishing is still stuck in the 20th century, unfortunately. Avoid at all costs, unless you write literary stuff that won’t sell as indie. Anything else is fair game, if you manage to nail the metadata and follow David Gaughran’s advice on Amazon. Or grab the Write Stuff bundle before it’s gone.

You won’t get rich quick. You won’t be a bestseller in six months, unless you hit the jackpot and nail a subgenre where there’s little competition. But you’ll have a career.

Have a great week and happy writing and reading! :)In

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


And we have a new ebook out – a vampire called Sun! ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’ve read The Phantom Games or are familiar with Vampires Through the Centuries, Helios of Sparta is not new to you. And now you can finally read his story! ๐Ÿ™‚ For those who don’t know him at all, here’s the blurb:

A vampire called Sun in Ancient Sparta and beyond.
After meeting a mysterious barbarian who can turn into a wolf, Helios marches on Megalopolis with the rest of the Spartan army, only to be part of the defeat of 331BC at the hand of the Macedonians.
Worse than the defeat is the death of Helios’ beloved, Kyros, and when the blond barbarian shows up while he’s mourning, he lets Bran mesmerize him into accepting his gift.
Thus starts the life under the moon of Helios of Sparta, no longer a Hoplite and former Olympic champion, but a vampire through the centuries and around the Mediterranean to meet his destiny in Bran’s home island of Britannia.

And after spending about half an hour on BookBrush Friday night, I went back to the Covervault templates. For someone like me who has some Photoshop skills, BookBrush is clunky and useless. But if you have no experience, it can be a nice way of preparing your marketing cards.

I joined because I hoped to get some 3D box sets covers, but they’re behind a paywall, so I might as well grab the Covervault templates for box sets, which is a single expense and not a monthly or yearly fee for never using the site. I might eventually use the 15 free downloads on BookBrush, but not yet.

Can you sell more books when you’re terrified of selling? Kristen Lamb gives some very good advice here. I’m trying to make both this blog and the Newsletter (redux) more interactive, but besides my dear friend Tori, it doesn’t look like I’m achieving much! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hey, I’m only human and cannot produce billions of words a day like OpenAI’s GPT-3 algorithm! That’s why you have only a weekly post here and the occasional post on the publisher’s site and bi-monthly newsletter. And I’m a prolific writer… although last week I wrote less than 6k.

Life rolls, that’s what some people call them. Day Job is getting crazier and I started phisiotherapy for a shoulder that hurts, so less time to write. Also, sort of inbetween projects, so again, not writing as much as when I’m in the middle of a short novel! ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you dream of selling your book to Hollywood, read this cautionary tale. For the new people who joined, I started writing in English by writing screenplays, because the prose is easier – present tense, no need for descriptions or thoughts – and my writing style back then was pretty much a movie.

After my attempts at breaking into Hollywood, I decided to go back to prose because I’m a control freak. Movies and TV series are team works (and especially in movies, the writer is cut out of the equation pretty early), books are all their author’s creation. And I like to be the creative goddess of my stories, LOL!

Coming up – some heroic fantasy news! First of all, next week the International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors (IASFA) will announce a fantasy book bundle that will delight even the most discerning dragons. And yours truly is among them, so stay tuned.

Sword of Cho Nisi Trilogy by Dianne Gardner is a very complex campaign that has lots of moving parts and a lot of different levels for supporters to jump in at. Check it out.

Ending on a positive note – I tested negative for Covid. Now waiting for a vaccine, so I can travel again. Have a great week! ๐Ÿ˜€

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


And, as announced, the first book of the prequels is out! Alien Humans (Before Future Earth Chronicles Book 1) is a short novel or a novella (too short for a Bookbub New Release alert, so you won’t hear about it there) that tells of the arrival of the aliens and their human symbionts on Earth, and that’s Dinniel the cyborg on the cover. Guest stars, some well known (to who ever follows Vampires Through the Centuries) vampires! ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually Dinniel meets Alain, and you can read about him for free here.

Sometimes in the early 1980s an alien starship in the form of a silver disk landed on the Tibetan plateau, ready to settle on Earth. The two alien species living in symbiosis discover the local intelligent life is identical to the weak link of their bond, the humans who feed their brainwaves to the actual owners of the starship.

Meet Dinniel, Dachie, Sepideh and Pajtim, who are in their twenties and must learn to communicate and mingle with Terrans. And then the apocalypse generation, born on Earth and integrated in the 21st century culture: Jael, Dariox, Dayana and Donna who falls in love with Daniel the vampire.

Last week I reached 5800 words and had to stop, research and read for a professional anthology project. Then I started on the new assignment with anotherย  2300 words, so the grand total is around 8K. I guess that, since I have stopped working on that project, I will use the rest of the month to write for another couple of anthologies. The current WiP (novel) was changing under me with every new scene, so it will probably need more time to come to life!

I might as well get the other things out of the way first, but this year is probably the sci-fi and urban fantasy year. At least it feels so for now. We’ll see. I’m not berating myself for anything and just keep trudging forward, waiting for the dust to settle and see what the world will be like in the coming years.

Hopefully not like in the Before Future Earth Chronicles, since you know those years will lead to the apocalypse of western civilization! ๐Ÿ™‚ And the series page is updated, by the way. Although on Amazon I added them as prequels, so they won’t appear on the main series page just yet. But on the publisher’s page and Smashwords, they’ll be there! ๐Ÿ™‚

And there are free books again! This month it’s Epic Fantasy! Go check them! Who knows, maybe at some point there will be one of mine… probably towards the end of the year! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m supposed to check on trains and other real life stuff, but the weather is so dreadful that I’m kind of happy to go home and write, LOL! Now I better go back to work and finish and mail the latest short… Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


And since I got four rejections in one day, I can now announce that Before Future Earth will come out in February and March, so one month earlier than originally programmed! The prequels are short books and the last will be an omnibus that contains all three – a very short trilogy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And last week I dived into the Shelved Novel That Couldn’t Be Written last year, so I’m on a roll. I wrote 12K and finally have a plan and a form of worldbuilding and a story to sustain it. It’s slightly different from the original idea, but I’m quite happy with how it’s shaping up. It’s intercontinental urban fantasy – if such a thing exists! ๐Ÿ™‚ If not, I’m inventing it, LOL!

I’m not sure when it will be ready for public consumption, possibly in the second half of the year. I was stuck because I started working on it right before Covid hit us and wasn’t sure if I should set it before the pandemic or in the near future. I ended up chosing the present for reasons that will be clear when I publish it – I can always add prequels and sequels like I did with Future Earth Chronicles! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Love and Magic bundle was entered in the following promo for tomorrow, Feb. 4:

Calling all romance readers! Itโ€™s more than candy hearts, chocolates and flowers at N. N. Lightโ€™s Book Heaven Love and Romance Book Festival. 46 romance books featured plus a chance to win one of the following: Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card Enter to win a $25 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card Enter to win a $15 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card Enter to win a $10 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card Iโ€™m thrilled to be a part of this event. You wonโ€™t want to miss it. Bookmark this festival and tell your friends: https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/love-and-romance-book-festival

Interesting articles I read on the internets: why middle-aged men have trouble sustaining friendships. I’m not a middle-agen man, so why did I found it interesting? Because unlike the journalist’s wife, I hate the phone. So I’m very bad at sustaining in-person friendships. If I don’t do stuff with my friends, I tend to drift away.

I miss the creative weekends with Cristina. I miss going to workshops and conventions, even the crowded comicons that allowed me to be sociable for maybe one hour a day (I’m still 100% introvert and still hate crowded places). I don’t like the phone, even though video-calls were kind of a life-saver during lockdown (but my parents hate them, and I can’t blame them).

I’m good at keeping in touch with social media or email, but a complete disaster with the phone. I know people are busy, and always feel I’m intruding, especially on the phone. Because they all have families and/or pets, or a busy working life or whatever. I feel I’m the one who isn’t very busy compared to them, and I don’t want to disturb them, especially by phone.

In-person it’s different, they had taken the time to meet me, so we can talk! ๐Ÿ™‚ One at a time, or I’d get confused and end up listening in a corner. That’s why I’m not too fond of gatherings. But if it’s coffee with just one friend, I’m very happy. And I hope I’ll be able to do some of this later this year, when we’ll be able to travel again and possibly to hug again. I’m not a hugger, but every now and then I need a hug! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Some daydreaming to conclude the post. When I’ll be able to travel again, I want to visit my friends in Milan and Turin first, hopefully attend a wedding in Lucca and then I want to get out of Italy, again to visit friends and explore Europe. I don’t think I’ll make it across the Atlantic this year, still aiming for 2023 for that.

Like Abhay Deol said, 2021 better be better! So here’s to a quiet 2021, since January seems to have been quite hectic, especially in the US! ๐Ÿ˜€ May things calm down, the virus be defeated and all of us able to visit each other soon! Have a great week!

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote less than 7K, but again, I’m between projects. Haden’t figured out what to write next. I had a couple of ideas, but I wasn’t sure they’d work. Besides, most of Saturday was spent formatting the two box sets of the Star Minds Universe for D2D (and I even sent a “help!” request, then managed to fix the issue by tinkering again and again with the manuscript).

So now you have them! Star Minds is 530K and Star Minds Lone Wolves is 320K. All in one nice box set (each, of course)! Kol-ian and the Falstelo on the first cover, Kaori on the second. Check them out! ๐Ÿ™‚

The latest writing is now with Mighty Editor. I feel blessed I found her, because she’s both a first reader and a copy editor. That’s what I’d offer if anyone is interested. And yes, I pay her, so I’d do it for money too. Because that’s all you need to make your prose shine, a reader and a copyeditor. And no, I’m not giving you her name because she’s already over-booked, but I can do her job for you if you want! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Since I sent out my last submission for the year, I can make a summary. This year I submitted 28 stories to paying markets and made two sales to be paid and published next year. And I had two acceptances from last year published this year – The Phantom Gamesย and Breathe (paperback and eBook). I was also in two collaboration anthologies (royalty share): Blaze Ward Presents #3 a Blaze Ward Presents #4 and one curated anthology, Nightly Bites Volume 3.

And now another touting horn. I met both of these writers in Edinburg last summer, and look what they came up with!

Just released! Leveled Up Love – a Gamelit Romantic Comedy of epic proportions (150k words!)!

Dating Evolution is the next generation of relationship gaming with a real world twist! Did you ever wish your online skills translated into the real world? Now they can! Follow our quests to level up your love life and earn real life rewards!
Life was good for Zack Moore until his trustee managed to con him into signing up for DaEvo. Now, the buggy app has taken over his life, forcing him to leave his condo, interact with people in the real world and eat healthy to gain any gaming time.

Problem is, Zack has the biggest tournament of his life coming up. The Star Fury tournament is Zack and his teamโ€™s chance of going pro and making a name for themselves.

Now, Zackโ€™s swapping women around like the components of his starship; trying to find the balance between love and DaEvo. Good thing Zackโ€™s a pro at gaming.

But somethings canโ€™t be quantified.

Like love.

Leveled Up Love! is a Gamelit comedy romance written by Tao Wong, author of the bestselling System Apocalypse LitRPG and A Thousand Li series, and A.G. Marshall, author of the Fairy Tale Adventures series of books.

This is a fully co-authored book. Both wrote parts of this work, combining their humour. It is very much a romance. So, yes, there’s a happily ever after ending. Meanwhile you can check it out at https://readerlinks.com/l/1566449! I read the sample and it’s a blast! ๐Ÿ™‚

Also check out the two authors separately (although I’m told the final results isn’t like any of the single styles):

TAO WONG

Facebook

Website

A.G. MARSHALL

Instagram

Facebook

And now, some hope from this K-Shaped times!

We writers write out of our subconscious, and whatโ€™s infecting us all the most right now is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear caused by the uncertainty of our future, fear of catching the virus, fear of losing our jobs or our family or what we consider to be our own personal world.

That fear translates into the writingโ€”whether it shows up as fear of a project (I canโ€™t do that. Itโ€™s too hard) or fear of self-publishing (No one is reading right now, so why should I publish?) or fear of putting out an expensive product or fear of offending readers or fear ofโ€ฆwell, insert your own personal negative tape right here.

We canโ€™t really control the outside world right now. We can control our own behavior in it. On the virus level, thatโ€™s masking up and staying inside and getting the vaccine (yay!) whenever it becomes available in your area.

We can control how we handle our writing.

So anything you do is fine at this time. Publish a lot? Good. Publish very little? That’s fine too. Write a lot? Great. Can’t write for whatever reason this traumatic times are throwing at you? Don’t worry.

Help where you can. Do what you need to for yourself. And ask for help if you need it.

Weโ€™re going to get through this.

I promise.

And if Krish Rusch says so, I believe she’s going to be totally right. We’ll be fine. Even if I don’t know what my next project will be or if I’ll ever manage that collaboration with someone, even if 2023 seems so far away and I grow impatient by the minute because I’m sick of adulting. But this too shall pass, and we can only keep moving forward in the new world coming up.

A world where there might be a new copyrigth law and blockchain for authors and publishers in an age of artificial intelligence, when I no longer will see my older books with the ugly covers pop up on pirate sites and might even be able to sell from my own site. Not next year, no, but it’s coming.

Another article on GPT-3, that has evolved since the previous article I posted (referred to in this article)… It has learned to code (and blog and argue). But I’m not afraid it’s going to steal my writer’s job – or even my translator’s job, if I ever start one! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And that’s all for today. Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote 14K+ which means I’m past the previous years’ wordcount by now. I might actually make it to 600K this year, LOL! After all, there’s still almost a month, definitely three weeks, if I keep going like this, I might! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I will have to wrap FEC 11 tonight so I can print it out tomorrow and have a last pass before sending it out to Mighty Editor.

And the Series Pages on Amazon are now live, albeit only on Amazon.com! Aren’t they neat? You can even purchase the series in bulk (I presume under 40 books, since the option is not there for Silvery Earth). I think it’s a nice accomplishment for my ten years of indie publishing, what say you? ๐Ÿ˜‰

And the last book of this short trilogy about the vampires going into the future is out! Vampire War shows the Future Earth Chronicles from the vampires’ point of view. On the cover, Lihua, the “Chinese Menka” who showed up in Future Earth Chronicles already. Note that she’s not a point of view character, though, since it’s still Rajveer’s story. And Miyako and Claire.

Rajveer has been around the Mediterranean with Kaylyn for four hundred years, trying to find a way inside the Rainbow Town where Kris, Alain, Shashank and Juhi vanished during the invasion of the Romanian horde. Until their maker shows up in Istanbul with Kris and Alain to update them.

Miyako feels the Asian vampires on the move and thinks she owes it to her maker to keep an eye on them. After two covens converge on Beijing, she and Ingolf take it upon themselves to figure out what the Asian vampires are up to.

Claire was safe in Rainbow Town until she found out the truth behind the underground settlements. Her symbiosis would bring a new treaty and an army of robots to confront the united Asian vampires, ready to attempt what the Romanians couldnโ€™t way back when.

I’m also rambling on Joleene’s blog, about this whole trilogy and other stuff… check out my interview, she does ask some very neat questions! ๐Ÿ™‚

It was definitely a release week, because you can now purchase also Blaze Ward Presents Issue #4: Cloak and Dagger!

Cloak And Dagger. These words were the inspiration, the dare I put to the writers out there. Create for me art on that theme. They responded with music, words, and excitement. Science fiction, urban fantasy, or sword and sorcery fantasy. Come explore the many places that twenty-odd visionaries went when they heard those words and enjoy all the bright and dark places you might go. Part of the Blaze Ward Presents anthology series, be sure to get them all wherever you get your books: An Interpretation of Moles, I Like My Science…MAD!, and Nuns With Guns.

My story in this anthology is a short sequel to Joint Operations, my one and only spy story. I didn’t have time to check the other stories yet, but I know many of those writers and they’re all awesome, so go check it out and grab it, in ebook or paperback! ๐Ÿ™‚

And now I’m going to tout a couple of friends’ horns! ๐Ÿ™‚ The book I beta-read and loved is now out! Check out Drinking Heavy Water by Michael W. Lucas, a great sci-fi romp on a weird planet. I wish I was a faster reader to be able to check all the other Montague Portal novels!

And this is from the awesome editor of Halloween Harvest, Mark Leslie Lefebvre:

This is a tough post to share.
It’s about a book that was tough for me to read.
Especially from the privilege of the warmth, comfort, and security of a home…
…where I’m surrounded by books, surrounded by so many of those objects we take comfort in because they can perhaps, allow us to momentarily forget our mortality.
Allow us to forget there’s not that much separating us from our having, and not having. From having warmth, security and comfort, to having nothing but the clothes on our backs.
This was also a tough book for me to publish. But I wanted to do something. I wanted to share the story of my friend Peter.
It’s not easy to read about something like this happening to someone I love.
It’s a story that the charities donโ€™t want you to read.
It’s about a fate that can strike any of us, at any time, that we donโ€™t want to think about.
I met Peter C. Mitchell in the mid 1990s when we were both working as booksellers at the Chapters in Ancaster, Ontario.
He was one of the most well-read, intellectual, and witty book nerds Iโ€™ve ever had the honor of working alongside.
Though he kicked my butt at chess and book trivia board games, I loved hanging out with him, because he challenged me. He made me think. He made me laugh.
We worked together over the years, he was a trusted friend who babysat my only son, he was also a first reader and wonderful editor for plenty of my fiction and non-fiction stories.
It has been several years since Iโ€™ve seen him in person.
He returned to London in 2017 to complete his research on a book entitled โ€œA Knight in the Slumsโ€ a self-confessed vanity project about his great, great grandfather, Sir John Kirk, and the manโ€™s dedication to bettering the lives of the disabled and the working poor in Victoria-era London.
A perfect storm of calamities ironically left Peter penniless and sleeping rough, falling victim to the very same ailments John Kirk fought.
That nightmare inadvertently gave Peter an inside look at the very systems put in place over a century earlier by his great, great grandfather and those who, like him, were trying to help.
That experience frightened him more than the horrors of homelessness itself.
And that is the story of Rude Awakenings from Sleeping Rough.
This is a book being published independently by my own Stark Publishing imprint in a stealth manner and on a shoestring budget and is being used to help earn Peter his way out of his situation.
Unlike most traditional publishing deals, the author is earning 80% of the net profits on sales of the book. (It’s typical for a first-time author to earn 8% – and, if they’re well established, as much as 20%)
Because I’m not publishing this book to make money. I’m using it to help drive funds towards a friend who does not want charity. He wants to earn his way out of the hole he is in. And he wants his story to be shared.
Below is a link to the book at the various retailers where it is available.
It can, of course, be special ordered in paperback or hardcover via any local bookshop, as it is distributed via Ingram. (And I encourage folks to consider ordering books via local bookstores whenever and wherever they can. Local businesses serve the local community and culture and allow the revenue to stay local).
If you know someone in the media or a book reviewer who might be interested in a review copy of the book, please have them contact me – mark@markleslie.ca
A new online platform has created a centralized online shopping platform for independent bookstores around the country. And when I clicked on the link, it told me it’s coming to the UK as well, so it’s not just for the US. In case you’re Amazon-averse, you can get your books from an independent bookstore through Bookshop.
Yesterday I sent out the last batch of short stories on submission after receiving the umpteenth rejection. So I sent out 25 stories, sold one that will come out next year, but saw two published that I submitted last year. We’ll see what happens with the last five still out there! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And that’s all for today! Have a great week!

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote 15K in five days, and spent the weekend setting up another bundle, uploading another title, and setting up my series pages on Amazon. So this week I can announce TWO new titles! ๐Ÿ™‚

The first is the “middle book” of the Vampires Through the Centuries meets Future Earth Chronicles “trilogy”. On the cover is Ishaq, although he’s described as looking like Oded Fehr in The Mummy, but unfortunately I couldn’t put that on the cover! ๐Ÿ˜€ But the guy has a beard and is not too bloody. Ishaq is a fledgling of Arianrhod, Bran’s sister-in-darkness.

Ishaq ibn Tariq is an 8th-century Berber warrior under the Umayyad Caliphate. After his latest pilgrimage around the Mediterranean, he meets an old mortal acquaintance who introduces him to Rainbow Towns, the perfect places for a vampire to spend the years of the mortals apocalypse. Hidden underground settlements with 21st century smart-homes can allow vampires to spend a decade or three in comfort. Until they become prisons.
Alain is a 20th-century hacker with Asperger syndrome. With his girlfriend, he goes through the end of the Technological Revolution of the 21st century by finding refuge in Rainbow Town, where time seems to stop. They can’t go out, unless Alain remembers his way to the Darknet.
Bonus story: One Who Cannot Be Destroyed. Achyutam tries to get his wife back through the centuries, if only the damn western bloodsuckers didn’t always ruin his plans.

Now, that bonus story is also included in Nightly Bites Volume 3, that you should definitely check out, because 1) it’s longer than the previous two and 2) it has flash fiction and novellas and short stories, so a much wider variety compared to the first two! ๐Ÿ™‚ So check it out and give some love to my fellow authors who wrote great stories!

I am also setting up a limited time bundle on BundleRabbit after a long time. I was spurred by another curator who took out my book from his bundle because “could not find an email on your website to communicate with you” (which prompted me to modify the Contact Me page) when he had already received my acceptance.

You see, there’s a forum on BundleRabbit, where curators can communicate with whoever is in their bundle or collaboration. I had to withdraw a request for my latest bundle (it’s the 4th, in case your wondering) because that author indeed had no way to contact him by email to prod him into accepting the request.

His contact page said to leave a public comment and had no link to send him a private email – which is what I did with another author who promptly wrote back with questions. That other curator? He could have made a post in his bundle’s section and asked we sent him an email for private communications off site. Sigh.

Anyhow, still working out a couple of things for that bundle, so I’m not announcing it yet. Do check the above books, though. November is definitely the vampires month! ๐Ÿ™‚ As for December, I’ll publish the Star Minds Universe box sets and that’s it for this year.

The new titles in the Future Earth Chronicles (or Before) will come out next year. Writing the last sequel right now, I should be done by the end of the month, so I can send it over to the editor in December.

Sunday was mostly housekeeping, setting up those series on Amazon and working on Da Strip with the umpteenth change that might push us older users out of social media for good, LOL!

The only good thing about the new Author Central is that they took off the unpublished books, so those ugly old covers finally vanished. I did compire the survey, though, since when you add another book, it shows up ten times, and not just when it’s a multi-authors title. Even Through the Centuries showed up 10 times. If enough people tell them how dumb it has become, maybe they’ll revert, won’t they?

Wishful thinking, I know. On Sunday I went to upload the strip and SURPRISE! Instagram changed stuff around too! To add a MARKETPLACE! Gee, I know everybody buys online with lockdown and coronavirus and everything, but damn it, if all social media become virtual stores, I’m out of here!

Also the fonts are so tiny to be unreadable (for my ageing eyes) on the phone, and you can’t post stuff from laptop. End rant of a Gen-Xers who is sick of those subtle changes for you youngsters who still have good eyes (but you’ll ruind them faster than I ever did if this trend continues)!

Sunday night I rewatched Kites because it was “movies where the protag dies at the end” weekend. I hadn’t watched for more than 2 years, since before the WMG workshops moved from Lincoln City to Vegas.

I have seen Las Vegas in 1994 (the Strip only) and 2009 (our guide took us to the Freemont Experience), but it was touristic one-night stays during group tours. So it was fun rewatching the movie while being familiar with Freemont Street – and I even spent one night at the Plaza last February! ๐Ÿ™‚

So it was lika a dรฉjร  vu, like when I watch Ocean’s 11 (even though I never slept at the Bellagio), and so NOT like 1994! ๐Ÿ™‚ Speaking of which, a lovely penfriend (remember those?) whom I met quite often through the years, just sent me old pictures of Mark Slaughter (the reason for my expedition in Vegas back in 1994), which, along with rewatching their first home video from 1990 or 1991 makes for another wonderful throwback! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ending with this throwback picture of a former Muse and hoping we all get to travel again in the near future, I wish you a wonderful week! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote almost 14K, catching up on wordcount. Yearly has reached 485K, so very close to my goal. I should reach it in a couple of weeks if everything goes according to plans. These two weeks I’m off day job, but that doesn’t mean I have more time to write, since I have other stuff (including life) to do.

Again, I haven’t organized myself beforehand. This year has really screwed up with my schedules! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I’m sure I’ll be able to do everything. Yesterday I went to the town center to pay my car insurance before they lock us down again. Compared to previous years, it was empty – no tourists, and lots of closed shops. Even the bus was mostly empty.

The only gathering I saw was in front of the Vittoriano – it looked like the police band was ready to play something. I didn’t get off to ask, as I didn’t ask what the 3 RVs were doing in Piazza Cavour since there was already half a dozen policemen checking them (and I was waiting for the bus to go home – didn’t want to miss it, since the app is not always useful).

Meanwhile, I put out Mortals Apocalypse! ๐Ÿ˜€ Please meet Claire, fledgling of Aoric, a new point of view in the vampires series. Also a new face, since she wasn’t mentioned before, unlike Miyako, who appeared in Kristine the Youngest. Both of them also appear in Future Earth Chronicles.

But she’s not the only point of view of this short novel. The main one is obviously Rajveer, since it all started with him back in 2015! ๐Ÿ™‚

Rajveer the vampire survived being buried for four hundred years in a cave in the Kashmir mountains, then learned to live in the 21st century with Kaylyn, Kris and Shashank. After the Battle of Chittor, back in 2015, he moved to Europe, where he hopes to see Kaylynโ€™s home country soon.

Rajveer, Kris, Ingolf, Miyako and Claire watch the mortalsโ€™ civilization collapse throughout the 21st century. They have the stamina to overcome all the threats the silly mortals are calling down upon themselves.

They face pandemics, cyberwars and a horde of Romanian bloodsuckers trying to take control of the world, with the younger ones (Kris, Miyako and Claire) hiding in the mysterious Rainbow Towns with strange mortals they cannot read and who have their own secrets.

From 2020 Rome to the start of the 22nd century, vampires through the centuries and across continents survive the mortals apocalypse and loss of technology.

My good and multi-talented creative friend Shafali Anand has started a podcast, “The Spinning Top”, and published a four-minute trailer. Do check it out. If you like it, do follow – she’ll be podcasting Tuesday and Friday evenings (episodes of 8 to 10 minutes.)

Here’s the link on Anchor: https://anchor.fm/shafali-anand
If you use spotify, you can find it at: https://open.spotify.com/show/4MiZIIdOWkdDibVUERgYmr
My good friend Dirk Walwoord has put out a sci-fi novel, written in 2012, that reminds of the current situation in the US. It came out on election day, and you can now check it on Amazon. In his own words:
ARC is a story of a generational spaceship whose captain is an incompetent boob. It would be about Trump except the copyright is 2012. Who knew I could be so prescient?
And my award-winning friend David H. Hendrickson has his own Kickstarter! Check it out, especially if you’re in the US!

This campaign is to launch my next two short story collections, THE BOY IN THE BOXERS AND OTHER STORIES OF SWEET ROMANCE and HELL OF A BAND: TWELVE FANTASY STORIES. You can get both for just six dollars. There are also rewards with great discounts for my novels and other collections. There are even rewards for me speaking (in a post-COVID world) at your favorite school or other group. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Check it out for the discounted books or just the information or perhaps for no other reason than to ooh-and-ahh over the drop-dead-gorgeous covers. Then make fun of me talking on the video. ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ I won’t admit to how many takes it took.

He’s a wonderful guy, so show him some love! ๐Ÿ˜€ You can read one of his stories in Future Earth Tech and I’m working on Nightly Bites Volume 3, and he graciously allowed me to publish another one of his stories there, so stay tuned for more!

Yes, I decided it was time to put some horror in our lives… er, some fantasy. Apparently vampires are fantasy, even in a futuristic setting. So I labeled Mortals Apocalypse both fantasy and sci-fi, just in case, LOL! Nightly Bites Volume 3 will hopefully be out at the beginning of December.

Meanwhile Old Facebook vanished from Laptop, but I read on Colleen Doran’s page that there’s an addon for Firefox that brings back the old look. Except you can’t edit anything on your page, as I discovered when I tried to update the vampires album. I have also Chrome on Laptop, so I used the new layout on Chrome to make the changes – although they’re still quite clunky, like pressing “enter” three times before it actually updated the post. Sigh.

Netbook with Windows 10 and Edge is still on Old Facebook. Go figure. When that changes too, I’ll take out the Firefox addon. I’d happily leave Facebook, if I didn’t have so many friends all over the world on there! I doubt I can ask them to migrate to some other forum… meh!

WMG is doing the last sale of the year for their workshops. I might grab the “How to deal with Covid in your writing” if they end up doing it as single, although I have already dealt with in in both Mortals Apocalypse and Future Earth Chronicles prequels.

I can proudly boast two alternate futures for our planet already! The space opera version of the Star Minds Universe, where we joined the Star Nations in 2012, and the post-apocalyptic version of Future Earth Chronicles, LOL! In one there’s no Covid, in the other there is… although it’s not the main cause of the apocalypse! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I guess yes, this will date our stories, but it might work for alternate histories to ignore it… I don’t know, I’m still writing about Earth, finishing the parts in the past (late 20th century, so not that far, I was alive, LOL!) and going back to the parts in the future (second half of the 21st century) for the Future Earth Chronicles prequels, so… still not sure what I’ll tackle next!

Now I better go back to writing and finishing the damn strip that is falling behind again! This coming Sunday is the last time I can tag the #FIBDChallenge, so wish me luck. I’d love to go back to Angoulรจme, although I’m afraid 2021 probably won’t be possible. I’ll have to aim for 2022… fingers crossed! Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I reached 13K on my vampires sequel to Mortals Apocalypse and hope to finish it this week or the next, not because I’m sending it out to the editor with this batch, but because it leaves me time to write something for an anthology, another experiment, probably, but I’m improvising once again.

I still toy with making covers for stories I haven’t written yet (and might never write), but I guess I won’t be a bookcover designer when I leave the day job.

I still have hopes with fiction translations after another friend asked me to check the Italian on a sample translation. AI and machine-traslators can work fine on non-fiction, but fiction is another matter altogether. I think a good fiction translator needs to be a good fiction writer of their own.

Knowing the language doesn’t necessarily mean one knows how to write in that language or teach it (my Hindi teacher comes to mind – he didn’t know how to teach, and just because it’s your mother tongue doesn’t mean you can communicate it to somebody else).

Just because I understand what I’m reading in English or French doesn’t mean I’ll be any good at rendering it in Italian, and I’m human. I don’t think it’s easier for computers, in spite of their deep learning. Hopefully we’re not going to be supplanted by them just yet.

And the last book of Future Earth Chronicles is out! I’m still pondering about when to publish the prequel and sequels that are tied to the Vampires Through the Centuries books. Might be this year, might be the next, we’ll see. It’s been a weird publishing year for everybody, I guess.

Also, Star Minds Kids and Teens is over on Instagram. This Sunday, the new strip comes up. Check it out! ๐Ÿ™‚

Bad news, WordPress new editor for posts took me by surprise… I was already cursing under my breath the new layout, and then I managed to get back to “classic editor”, phew.

The new interface sucks, as with every unrequested change, and I’m in no mood of studying a new layout. So, if they take away the old version and force the new one on me, I might just give up this 11-year-old blog and keep only the publisher’s page, where the dashboard still has the old interface.

My relationship with technology was very well summed up in a meme I saw on Facebook: “I’m a Gen Xer so I adapt to new technology like a Millennial but get angry at it like a Boomer”! ๐Ÿ™‚ And that’s all from this side of the pond… have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

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