Writer Wednesday

My story this week is as follow: I discovered Destined on Goodreads because I so loved the cover. Now, a review of the book will be done on Friday, but I had to find out more about the cover artist.

Enter DeviantArt – a site I have checked many times and never joined because I thought it was only for artists. And my failing eyes who didn’t notice on the artist’s page she had given her e-mail in plain English (her website is in Chinese…). So I thought to contact her I could send her a note, but I had to open an account…

There you have it, now I have a DeviantArt account! I started uploading drawings and book covers (so from now on, everything art-related will go there, unless I need help to choose a book cover) and found out you can also upload text! Short story or sample chapters, but if you’re looking for a place to showcase your talent with a loss-leader, DeviantArt works also for writers. So you can scout for your next cover artist and publicize your own work! 🙂

Here’s my experiment – Starblazer on DeviantArt! It’s also free on this blog and on Smashwords. So I discovered another “social network” although I haven’t joined any group yet. By the way, Goodreads has reached Ten Million users – since 2007! 🙂 You gotta love these guys! 😉 Although I don’t like very big groups – I get lost in the interaction – I like making friends on Goodreads. But please NO RECOMMENDATIONS, my TBR pile and wishlist are long enough already! 😉

I’ve been handwriting this week(end), so no new drawings. Today is a holiday in Italy, so I’m home, reading and writing and trying not to spend too much time watching movies for the umpteenth time! 😉 I might have a couple of reviews for Friday. And I still have to catch up on blogs – why am I always behind? Well, because I’m reading more fiction, LOL! 😀

Right, back to writing now. Have a great week!


Writer Wednesday and a blog award

I will start this post by thanking the wonderful Aussie author Georgina Anne Taylor for awarding me the Liebster Blog Award. Georgina is a fellow Creative Reviewer, and I’m keeping an eye on her: as soon as she releases a novel, she goes on my TBR list! If you like shorts, though, you can already check her writing on Smashwords.

The Liebster Blog Award originated in Germany. Liebster means dearest or beloved, and Liebe is love.

In accepting the Liebster Blog Award, the recipient agrees to:
*Thank the person who gave them the award and link back to that person’s blog
*Copy and paste the award to their blog
*Reveal the 5 blogs they have chosen to award, commenting on their blog to break the news!
*Hope those people in turn pay it forward by accepting and awarding “The Liebster Blog Award” to bloggers they would like to honor.

My blog winners are:

Sarah R. Yoffa

Bill Talcott


Chrystalla Thoma

J.C. Martin

All are fellow authors, some you’ve met on this blog, some not yet, but you will, eventually.


Now, to the real Writer Wednesday! 🙂 I’m going to use a few quotes today. I’ve found some that mirror exactly how I feel, both as a writer and as a person.

The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt – Sylvia Plath

I’ve been struggling with self doubt most of my life and not only referring to my creative endeavors. Sometime it comes from inside me, sometimes from outside – my spiritual teacher says we hear from others what we don’t want to hear from ourselves, so if someone tells me “Why are you doing this, it’s useless”, it’s my own self-doubt that called for it. So, this human yo-yo goes from creative euphoria to depression caused by self doubt. What if I’m not good enough? What if nobody likes it? What if…? I really should stop thinking as much and having all those expectations!

Last week on an impulse I uploaded a short by BG Hope. I posted the cover in the “e-book covers” photo album on Facebook, but that’s it. 48 hours later I had the Smashwords purchase notification. For a story that didn’t receive any comments from any reader and was uploaded after a final pass for typos an other mistakes, from a pen-name that has to site, no blog, no marketing, no nothing. Maybe I’m writing in the wrong genre. I know, I’ll soon be jealous of the pen-name that sells more if it’s not the one I cherish more! 😉

But then, here we go to quote #2

My books aren’t trying to fathom the mysteries of human existence, I’m an entertainer – Bernard Cornwall

Which goes well with #3

Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity – G.K. Chesterton

Both ring very true to me. I like to tell stories. I’m not a wordsmith, though, I’m a storyteller. Again, I write what I like to read, therefore I don’t indulge in long descriptions because, as a reader, they bore me AND cloud my vision. I have a vivid imagination, I don’t need many words to form an image. I’m sure I’m not the only reader like this, so hopefully my target audience will find me, eventually.

The more a man writes, the more he can write – William Hazlitt

That’s another great quote. I’ll keep writing, and get better with time. I’ll expand my vocabulary, but will keep my voice, and there’s no stopping me. I plan on uploading 30 titles this year – does that mean 30 new stories? Yes and no, because the few Italian ones only need to be formatted and many of the English ones are shorts. And even the novels (shorter than the ones that came out last year) are already written, albeit in Italian, except the last CVE, which I never got down to write when I wrote the others. But I do have an outline, and it shouldn’t be too hard to spit out a first draft in a month or less. At least not for someone married to Writing! 😉

I’m also exploring other outlets, so I might add some links in the Find my stuff page soon. I even found a very useful booklet on how to format comic books for Kindle and Nook. I don’t have direct access to PubIt, but it was still interesting, also for the other resources it lists at the end for “artists” like me. So, if you have an image-heavy book or comic book or graphic novel and are struggling with the meatgrinder and other formatting, go check this little guide. Now I better go finish that SKYBAND chapter, shouldn’t I?

Amazon and Goodreads are not getting along very well anymore, so I’ll have to find other ways to get there. GR already broke up with B&N (it was there when I signed up, now I only get to import titles from Amazon – until Jan 30, that is!), maybe they should strike a deal with Smashwords or Lulu! 🙂 I already “rescued” some books by friends I have reviewed in the past – but if you’re an author and only have books only on Amazon/KDP, you’ll soon be kicked out of Goodreads. I sure hope you’re not keeping all your eggs in one basket, though. Amazon is huge, but they’re not the only ones.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s my nephew and godchild’s seventh birthday, I gotta party! 😀

Creative Reviews news

OK, I have only one active group left on Goodreads, because I found so many new friends that I can’t quit now. So that’s where you can find me mostly (even if I belong to a couple more).

So, fellow Creative Reviewers keep exchanging tips in the open (no secret groups, thank you), and someone pointed at a site that links bloggers with businesses and said it was a good exposure. I’ll give you the link to this new site, but I haven’t tried it and I haven’t figured out how it works for authors either, but you can email this guy and ask him: Jesse Cohen at jcohen7523 (at) me (dot) com.

Plus Splitter interviewed Amy Eye about the Christmas Anthology. Go and check it – and see all those authors? OK, I’m not in it, but I’m not a Christmas person. Still I think I’ll have to try the anthology when it comes out because I like the cover and I’m curious to read the stories of my new friends! 🙂 And yes, I’ll pay for my copy like everybody else! 😉

I’m not a horror reader, but I’ll show my support to fellow Creative Reviewer Brett… go vote for his book “That which should not be”! 🙂 While I was at it I checked the other categories, but I haven’t read any of those titles (who chose them anyway?!) so that’s almost the only vote I gave.

As for me, yesterday I skipped after-dinner movie because Sunday I saved the wrong file on my PC, meaning I had to retype one chapter and a half… Something that hadn’t happened in years, but well… I got confused by the fact I was  saving also on a portable memory (to use at work – ahem, don’t tell my boss, haha!) which meant yesterday morning I opened the file and it was still the version I had saved on Friday (i.e. the first 2 chapters). I found some of it on my back-up hard drive (I did a back-up on Sunday because my “old” PC sometimes goes on strike, it didn’t turn itself on on Sunday morning, so as soon as it started in the afternoon I did a full back-up – but didn’t repeat it before switching it off, meh 😦 ), but still had to retype some of it.

But then, I watched 4 movies on Sunday, so I can skip one after-dinner movie to just write, right? OK, of the 4, two were old, and two were new and I still have that pile of new to watch, but still… I better complete that manuscript by the end of the month, as our next writers group meeting is on the 30th and I need to drop it into my alpha-reader’s lap (no, I’m not NaNoWriMoing, but I need to get it to her so she can give it back in December). Phew. Hard life of a technophobe writer (who lost a novel to a floppy disk in the 90s)…

no more daily prompts

They don’t actually inspire me to write posts, so I unsubscribed from the whole blog. Sorry WP guys, not helping me! 😉 I’m going to ramble on my own as usual.

So Nov.1st, National Holiday, spent preparing my own private calendars and coloring the next Happiness is… vignettes – and writing, of course. I’m adding a secondary plot that wasn’t in the original, so it’s like writing a new story. I considered writing the short story of what happens off-stage, but maybe I’ll just put it in the novel as the characters themselves figure out what actually happened.

The Calendar has mostly “recycled” drawings from past years, as this year I did only 3. Next year I hope to do at least 2 for the next calendar, but I’m not using pencils much anymore. Maybe when I finish SKYBAND and before starting the next project I’ll do a couple more – if I can find pictures that inspire me, that is! 😉 Ah, well, maybe eventually I’ll change subject, who knows…

I’m still catching up on what happened in the blogosphere while I was gone, but I’d like to link to a great post by Kris Rush on respect in publishing with a cool list of pros and cons of both sides of publishing. It was awesome meeting the people who said those wonderful things, BTW, I wonder if I should relocate to Oregon! 😉

Also Creative Reviewer Cambria posted an interview to her publisher, a small one, but it’s another very interesting POV on the matter. Please check Otherworld Publications interview, as it has some interesting answers. Oh, and Creative Reviews is also on Facebook, come and “like” us! 🙂

By the way I added my Facebook Widget and too off the old badge… I wonder if it will update faster – at the moment the blog shows 151 likes, the page 150. Wonders never cease… and do you like that Twitter-like new Facebook? I hate it, but there isn’t much I can do about it… sigh!

Ah, well enough rambling for today! 😉

End of hiatus

So, next week we should be back to normal scheduling… at least until the end of the year! 😉

Did I have time to read in the past two weeks? Not so much, although I did read a whole manuscript during the workshop. We had homework, but being the fast writer that I am, I never really spend much time on it, so I managed to finish that on Saturday. Then Sunday and before hopping on the plane on Monday I read Jonathan Gould’s Doodling, a quick and delicious read:

this fast and funny satire reminded me of the Little Prince (although I read it many many years ago, but the traveling through planets or asteroids is similar) AND the Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy. A very enjoyable read.

And then I found this Listopia on Goodreads about Must Buy Smashwords Books and managed to vote for three fellow Creative Reviewers, Sarah, Jonathan and Splitter (whose manuscript I had been reading). Please go and take your pick too – and you can add books or vote for more than one, but I picked 3 who were already in the top 100, the rest has mostly one vote…

I also read Black Market Romance:  Hot and sexy… albeit very unusual! My favorite is the first story. I had trouble reading da sista, but it’s just me… Read only if you don’t have problems with sex… with aliens. And they’re really alien, as shown on the cover! 😉

Now I’m reading the last fiction ebook on my Kindle before going back to those last three PDFs I have printed out… not to mention that I had dead tree books in Oregon, so my pile is still going up, gaaah! I’ll have to decide how to buy some Kindle titles (move my Kindle to France or UK for a month or two?) and leave them there for some time, as I need to attack those dead tree books that are piling on my desk – glad I don’t really use it! 😉

Have a great weekend!

Guest post – Amy Eye

I’ve been rambling about Creative Reviews for some time now… did I mention it’s the best GoodReads group ever? 😉 AND it has the best founder… please, ladies and gents, welcome the only non-writer of the week, Amy Eye!

Hiya Everyone!! It’s time for a random guest blog from me, Amy!! Barbara has kindly asked me to come over and share a few things with all of you awesome followers of her blog!

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Amy Eye, and I started a group called Creative Reviews in this wonderful, mystical land called GoodReads. This exclusive group in the magical land is what I am here to tell you all about.

For all of you reading-types out there, GoodReads is a wonderful place where people from all over the world gather together and talk about their favorite books, their not-so-favorite books, and to meet some great people. In Creative Reviews we take all of that one step further. We are a community of people here to help authors get honest reviews on their books, and we also help indie authors network, share new ideas, and have access to all sorts of resources.

But there are millions of groups on GoodReads…right? YUP!! There most certainly are BUT Creative Reviews is different – so different, in fact, that I am going to tell you guys all about it! What makes this group special are the people involved. Never before have I been a part of a group so active, so helpful, and so enthusiastic. About a month ago, I put up a small little post about wanting to try to do something special for Christmas. I didn’t dare dream what happened since I put up that post.

We had a suggestion from one of the members to have a Christmas anthology put together by the members of Creative Reviews. And guess what? We are not only doing that, but we are also donating every penny to charity. Authors and book reviewers from all over the globe are coming together for what I am pretty sure is the first charity book put out by a group on GoodReads. Christmas Lites will available for purchase starting November 25th (at least that is the tentative date at this point). So help out two wonderful organizations: http://www.ncadv.org/ and operation e-book drop.

I couldn’t be happier or more proud of the group of people who have come together for his project. This is one of many reasons why I think Creative Reviews is such a special place. There are close to 1000 members now, many of them are indie authors. The family-like environment of the group is astounding. Instead of the authors being cut-throat in this very difficult market, everyone is looking out for one another: sharing tips, following blogs, celebrating successes, supporting through the failures.

Who or what are indie authors? Let me tell you who these amazing people are. They are people just like you and me. They are writers out there, pouring out their heart and soul into stories to share with the world. They are part-time workers, full-time executives, stay-at-home parents, and any other combination you can imagine – but one thing runs common through all of their veins: they all have a passion for writing, they all have a dream, and they won’t let anyone tell them they can’t follow that dream.

This is why I love helping indie authors. They are a bunch of dedicated, strong-willed, creative, artistic, and passionate people who want to bring their world into your home and share their creations with you. And I love them for it.

WOW – I must really care about all of this – I don’t think I have strung together so many sentences without a joke, sarcastic remark, or some random tangent in there in a very long time. Who knew I could be so serious!!

I guess I can say I’ll be doing the book trailer for the anthology… and of course you’ll hear more about it as soon as I know more! So, thank you, Amy, for showing up and giving us a different point of view on this brand new world of publishing!

more writerly stuff

no daily prompt inspired me, so I’m continuing from yesterday. I did my first upload on FeedBooks (Vive la France!), hope to add more during the week(end). It will be all free reads, because at the moment it’s the only thing you can upload there (along with public domain stuff). So there goes – they even picked up the Gravatar from WordPress, without me uploading it like I had to do everywhere else! 😀

I’ve joined another group on Goodreads and was pointed to this post about worst mistakes authors make. Please read also the comments, as the discussion is very interesting. Not that I’m going to spam anyone (I felt so guilty when I announced Air to all my friends, that I didn’t repeat it for Fire…), and I’m probably going to lurk before I say anything (although I uploaded my “review” for the book they plan on reading next month, as it’s already on my “not to try again” list… ;-)), but as they say in the comments, that’s a real school for writers, check what readers want. And of course we must be readers before being writers. But the “forum” form is kinda daunting for me, so I don’t know when I’ll be actually active on any forum! 😉

Also, maybe because I’m prolific, I don’t spend to much time on my latest baby, because I’m already thinking about the next one! 😀 But I know lots of writers who spend years on one single novel and can never let it go… don’t rewrite eternally, and please do check again Dean Wesley Smith’s Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing – he’s editing them and I look forward to see the book complete to buy it and save it on my PC even if I already read it for free! Because his advice is just awesome! 😀 Also subscribe to David Farland’s newsletter, if you haven’t already, it’s another gold mine of advice from a pro…

OK, I better go back to my writing, drawing and reading… I’ve just met a long-haired guy (did I mention I love long-haired guys? YES, I did! :-D) whom I know is a vampire… maybe Louis de Pointe du Lac has finally found a rival? Hope to let you know in a couple of days…

I leave you with this hilarious article that circulated in my offline writers group: 30 harshest author-on-author insults in history. Do you still wonder why authors keep doing it? 😉

The Aftermath

Sooo… Indie Publishing week ended yesterday night with map-making, uploading trailer and working on cover. And no web page. I decided that this blog will be enough for now. I already post daily, a web-page would be a duplicate. So I readjusted the blog (in case you didn’t notice) with all the details to be found:  book covers, book trailer, and maps – a link for the e-book that don’t really support JPG.If I google my (pen) name, my Facebook page comes first, then GoodReads, then blog posts (random), but the link to this blog is on both Facebook and GoodReads anyway, so I shouldn’t be too hard to find.

Lulu has sent the print copy (with temporary cover and map, but it will be only for me) and I’m waiting to see it, but April 1st I’ll upload Air on Smashwords – and as it’s a Friday, another Love-story with… post will be postponed (for a good reason). I’ll probably upload it also on Kindle, I’ve done it with Jessamine and it’s here, although very expensive! I put the same list price as Smashwords, so I don’t know why they charge more. So if you have a Kindle, buy it on Smashwords anyway! 😉 I did the double upload, as since January from Smashwords it hadn’t made it into Amazon, so I thought I’d accelerate the process…

I also asked my friend the map-maker for help in having the title coming out a little better, so here’s the new cover:

And the brand new map – rivers in black mean they’re borders, the others are not… And I cut the sea monster because he used a sheet too big for my scanner! 😉

Aaaand… the book trailer!

Now I better go check the guidelines, as I’ve been welcome among the GoodReads authors… It’s not over yet… 😀

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