Happiness is…

Random Friday

Sorta kinda Art Friday. Last weekend I did a 3hours+ pencil portrait, and it shows in the results. Usually it takes me 2hrs or 2 and a half, this is 3h15 (the longest it took me was 4hours, but the shirt was much more complicated). Here’s another 3hours drawing that is still pinned as my favorite on DA even though it’s 2 years old (and it’s on my wall, albeit a different wall from the latest).

And then while prepping for the novel challenge next month, I realized that the “novella” I planned to expand is actually almost a short novel already and since I’m not supposed to have more than 50% already written and I have no idea how long part 2 would be, I decided to postpone that project to later in the year and to pick something else.

So I’m going to write something based on a very loose outline+a screenplay that was another version of that published novella and make it an original novel. Plus I’ll write the novel of one of the S.K.Y.B.A.N.D. characters that was already on the to-write list and I realized that… oh-oh.

My graphic novel doesn’t have a printed version I can follow, since the balloons are digitally added to wordless comic book pages. So I’ll have to study a way to print it out beyond Omnibus 2 (I had printed copies of the first 2 Omnibus, made through DriveThruComics, but I have retired them since) – either just an Omnibus 3 for myself, maybe on Lulu and B&W, or I can start trying to do that Createspace edition in a different format.

working on SKYBAND during the Holidays

So next weekend I’ll be busy with PODs again. This weekend I only have to upload an ebook, since I have other commitments that will take me away from both the laptop and the drawing tray… For those of you who are new, I have a drawing tray (it’s supposedly a reading tray) and I draw on my bed – see this old pic.

I was even working on the graphic novel! Just picture color pencils like above on the table below, and it will be pretty accurate. You can see the borders of the tray even on the images above.

Oh, and that was before I became, blonde, of course, but then, I had been coloring my hair for a few years already anyway… started at 35, planned to stop at 50, haven’t really yet, but eventually…

Have a great weekend! 🙂

Random Friday

Let’s make it Reading Friday! 🙂 There’s the post on reading by Dean Wesley Smith and also another on Shannon A. Thompson’s blog. I’m not a huge reader, but I do read, in most genres – as long as there’s a plot. And while I go through my SFF bundles, I took a break to read my other reading love – comics and graphic novels.

Last year two classmates gave me an Amazon gift card. I finished using it this year, with the following purchase.

2016-02-24 13.34.18To the bookseller bemoaning Amazon – if I ever get to London, I’m not setting foot in your shop, since I doubt you’ll store graphic novels. And I don’t drink whiskey. If I buy PAPER books on Amazon it’s because local bookstores don’t stock them (and not only because they’re in English and I live in a non-English speaking country – we do have English bookshops).

Now, to my purchases! I am I known fan of Colleen Doran (see my sidebar, LOL) and I’ve wanted to check Gone to Amerikay since it came out. I wasn’t disappointed, the three intertwined story-lines (1870, 1960 and 2010) are beautifully rendered by Colleen with the nice colors of José Villarubia. The story is a nice mix of history and fantasy, with ghosts and historical events. I like mostly the splash pages that show New York in the three timelines – and how it changed throughout the years.

Drawing the Line was brought to my attention by a Goodreads friend who had read and reviewed it. Being a little leery of underground comics, I did a quick google check for more about the stories inside the book. I don’t like all the drawing styles, but most of them yes. With comics and graphic novels, if I don’t like the art, I don’t enjoy the story, so that’s why it’s critical that I see something in the drawings.

None of these ladies has an hyper-realistic style like Colleen Doran, but some were really neat. An Ideal Girl and The Poet, Sharmila reminded me of some French BDs, and the simplicity of Asha, now made me wish I could see it in colors. Lots of nice stories by very nice women – highly recommended for India lovers and not only! 🙂

Final thoughts on reading. You may have heard that Unberto Eco is dead. 60% of Italians read less than a book a year, but 98% are mourning his passing… will we get “distilled” Eco novels at newsagents now? 😉 I have never read him and I don’t know what to think of this. Definitely a leap year that’s taking away a lot of artists and writers and creators and actors and… but this year too shall pass!

Happy reading – I have a beta-reading weekend ahead, so… I won’t be idle!


Writer Wednesday

Aaand there’s a party on Facebook! It’s already started, you’ve missed half the fun! Now don’t miss tomorrow, when I’ll be there, answering questions and whatnot! Attend and win prizes! And cookies! And get to know a nice vampire writer and her fellow authors including yours truly!

Okay, enough sales copy already! Where was I? Ahem, yes. Writing. Finished both workshops and I now have 4 story openings that I shall write. Contemporary stories, so they’ll be bundled with others in the next contemporary title. Stay tuned.

But first I want to finish Beautiful (I love those guys so much that I’m adding two more chapters), and then I’m off to Japan, so I won’t be working on anything until November. Well, maybe I’ll write one of those shorts next week. But I also want to publish SKYBAND 15, so the lettering and formatting of that one come first! 😉

About my very own vampire, coming soon in ebook form, here’s my version again. From celebrity portrait to character portrait, Muse H becomes Rajveer, with special thanks to Photoshop! Lovely Saturday procrastination…

2015yellow&Rajveer_resizeThe writerly links! Do not submit to the new Star Trek Strange New Worlds. And some more Konrants. And a most interesting article on Lee Child and how the best selling author writes his mysteries. Which goes well with 5 observations on the evolution of author business models.

Now I’ll just run screaming back into my writing cave. Writing is fun. The rest is not! 😉 But I’ll keep writing and trying to keep up with this new world of publishing. Next year I will increase my productivity again after filling my head with neat tricks and techniques at those workshops (I took 3 online workshops this year – more next year, I already have a wishlist).

I know my writing is changing, and I’m very happy about it. I’ve started learning again after stagnating over my “backlist” for four years, so… yeah, ready for the new beginning. Which doesn’t mean I’ll take down the old titles, but I’ll keep publishing new ones. This month there’s still SKYBAND 15 and Firebird. Next month Rajveer the Vampire and Beautiful. December contemporary stories and maybe another Silvery Earth novella.

And the Italian titles that I don’t mention on this blog. And the PODs I’ll do in November. And… well, that’s work, but whatever. The business part is my least favorite, but I can’t do without, so… onward! Have a great week! 😀

Writer Wednesday

unnamedAnd the Ink Slinkers Anthology is out everywhere! Check it’s free everywhere as well… Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, i-Tunes, Smashwords and even Feltrinelli, in case you’re an expat living in Italy! 😉 Make Amazon price-match to 0 if they haven’t already! 😉

My story in the anthology is about Kaylyn, Rajveer’s sister-in-darkness, whose novel will come out next year. Hope you all checked Rajveer’s interview on Amaranthine and stay tuned for more. Currently writing about Daya and Chandaka, secondary characters of Rajveer’s story…

sixmonths_resizeI have finished coloring SKYBAND 15, so it’s up to lettering and then publishing… In the meantime I re-published as collection some B.G. Hope stories. Six Months and Other Love Stories gather all the contemporary romances I’ve written so far. New cover by the talented Marta Baroni.

Writerly links: promoting a pre-order. I might try that Book Launch page for Rajveer… although we’re getting probably too close to the release date. But I can try one and then next year I’ll already know what to do as soon as the pre-order goes live! 🙂 I do have a post on the publisher’s page with all the pre-order links, but…

Mark Coker on Oyster, Flipkart and… Amazon, of course. The elephant in the room. By the way, today I tried the button on Draft2Digital that automatically updates the “also by” section to all titles… I’m not dropping Smashwords completely, but that’s a wonderful thing! 🙂

I know, I know, I have too many books out… 😉 Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday

In case you missed the publisher’s post (since it has no followers at the moment) – new release (as hinted in last Thursday’s post):

SMIgalpol_resizeTwo “Star Minds Interregnum” stories


Yash runs away from his home planet to escape abuse. A short-lived rush through the Milky Way.


A Galaxy Police’s officer to psychometry tries to nail serial killers and find missing persons.

ebook available on Amazon US, Apple US, Barnes&Noble, Kobo US and Smashwords. Cover art by Shafali Anand.

And then I have a poll that I hope you won’t ignore. I really want a title for my series of vampires historicals, so here are a few suggestions to pick from, or you can suggest your own in the comments…

Now, for the rest of the writing! September I won’t be writing anything new except the assignments for the online workshops, but I’ll be busy formatting and publishing stuff. I need to finish a couple of translations and want to republish a few stories with the discarded pen-name. Not to mention a couple more science fantasy thingies, so you won’t even notice that I’m not writing much! 😉

I’m working on the POD versions of the Star Minds collections that have come out so far (and the one that will come out soon) along with others… so I guess I can call September the Createspace month, LOL!

And last Friday there was a thunderstorm that left me without phone or internet for 24 hours, which means I’ve finally started on the last chapter of S.K.Y.B.A.N.D. – so when I’m not formatting or translating, I’ll be drawing. Hence not much room left for writing this month. Sigh.

Writerly links! Be patient – dream big and work to make those dreams come true. Like I’m trying to do. There’s KU on Amazon India now, and I’m following a discussion about it. Some authors still swear by KDP Select, but I won’t try it yet. I do want to experiment with that, but so far I don’t have standalone novels or novellas that might work on KDP Select/KU.

Good stuff from Dean Wesley Smith (besides his online workshops):

Secondly, PayPal now has a nifty new thing. You can send money directly to someone without going through all the PayPal issues. It’s called Paypal.me

If you have a PayPal account and are getting money from anyone, this looks very promising. I would most certainly go claim your name with your PayPal account now.

I only receive payments from Smashwords and Draft2Digital on Paypal, but since I went there to pay an artist, I claimed mine. And if you’re an artist, editor, proofreader, etc, go claim yours now! 🙂

More Zombie Meme at Joe Konrath’s blog about the tsunami of crap… And a wonderful parallel between running and writing by Kris Rusch. I’m married to Mr Writing, so I guess I’m obsessed! 🙂

That’s all for now! Stay tuned and have a great week!

Writer Wednesday

The first proof had a cover a shade too red (and it doesn’t even come out when I take pictures, so you’ll have to take my word for it), so I ordered a new one. It should arrive today, but since even if I approve it, it won’t be on Amazon yet, I’ll give the links to the POD version next week.

A very special thanks to the reader who already bought a copy of Star Minds Next Generation on Amazon UK. If I were a spammer author, I’d contact that reviewer on Goodreads who said she’d like to read the story of the children of the Trilogy! 😉 But that’s not me, so I’ll just wait until readers find me.

So, first Wednesday of the month, I’m giving my wordcount for the month of January! Grand total was around 59000words, so a novel – except it wasn’t a novel, but three novellas and a few short stories, all set in the Star Minds universe. Most you’ll read them next month in Star Minds Next Generation Diaries, others much later in the year with Star Minds Interregnum.

Turns out that the shorts in the Diaries aren’t really standalone, so I’ll just put them all together in a collection like I did with Star Minds Snippets. I might do a single with Kay-low’s novella, but that’s it. The Interregnum shorts and novellas, though, I plan on submitting them to traditional markets, that’s why you’ll have to wait to read them! 🙂

February I’ll keep writing in this genre + I’m jotting down some strips (which actually add to the wordcount at the end of the day, so I’m counting them too). I know I should finish SKYBAND, but those last 22 pages seem too hard to do while I experiment with a new drawing stile. Maybe when I get the strip out of the way, I’ll be able to finish the graphic novel! 😀

I still don’t know how the new VAT laws affect my earnings (and won’t until March when they pay the January royalties on Amazon) also because so far I’ve published only a 99cent story – but it has brought in sales for the anthology it’s included in. Anyhow, I still don’t have ISBNs on most ebooks (except on Kobo where they assign their own), but of course Italy is behind four or five years compared to the US, so they still think that you need an ISBN to make it a book. Maybe I should translate Hugh Howey’s post on Author Earnings Report, where he wonders if we still need ISBNs. I’m sure they’ll go the way of the dodo, but not yet, not on this side of the world. Sigh.

In case you missed it, scroll down to read the interview of yours truly on Tricia Drammeh’s blog, that I reblogged soon after her own interview went live on my blog. It was a nice and timely swap, if there’s anyone else out there who would like to do this, just drop me a line! 🙂

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

Writer Wednesday

cap14covtxt_resizeLast title of the year is up! S.K.Y.B.A.N.D #14 is out on DriveThruComics. Now one more chapter to go, and then I can issue the whole story as a single, printed book, that will also be available somewhere else. But for its nature, this graphic novel doesn’t come out well as ebook, so you can download only a PDF above.

Yes, the HEA is coming, but it was so hard drawing this chapter (I felt I was drawing like a 10 year old again), that I won’t do another like this when this is over. I might continue with my other – non-realistic – style to do stupid vignettes (or happy vignettes, although I’m running the old ones again, no new happiness in sight – did I really cover them all?).

Or I might finish lettering Fleur de Lys (1 and 2 are out on DriveThruComics and Amazon, but 3, 4 and 5 are still on the To Letter list), or I might scan older works and publish them… or I might just write new stuff.

And I mean write, not draw and write. So I’ll probably stick to prose after I finish SKYBAND. Next week will be a summary of the writing year, so this is the last of the usual Writer Wednesdays. I don’t have writerly links – unless you sell ebooks from your site, in that case, you might want to check this post – and the last update on the WiP is… I’m writing it! 😉 Yes, I’m almost done with part 4 – Kay-low, but I doubt the beta-readers will be thrilled to have to read Star Minds Next Generation over the Holidays (especially Jo, who already read most of it). Anyhow, when I’m done, I’ll ask! 🙂

I have another link, but I’ll add to the Reading Year post next week… it will go on the wishlist for next year, since there is no way I’ll be able to get it and read it this year. And I’ve finished Strange Portals, hope to interview some fellow authors soon! If you haven’t grabbed your copy, go get it now! 🙂 Have a great week!


Writer Wednesday

Sooo… haven’t started on the new parts of Star Minds Next Generation, but will soon. Still mulling about them. Have translated/rewritten an old story and written the sequel (10 years later), but I haven’t re-read it or sent it out to betas yet (I might add a final scene, but I didn’t have time to sit and edit). Am working on the prose version of a story formerly translated as screenplay that I never submitted.

And waiting for a cover to publish the last short story of the year. Oh, and am coloring SKYBAND #14, so maybe that will be out too before the end of the year. I’m on page 10 (of 22), then I’ll need to add the balloons and lettering… no pencil portraits until I’m done, though! 😉 (that might be a good way to force myself to finish the damn thing, if I want to do Muse#1’s last drawing of the year, LOL!)

No writerly links this week – nothing worth sharing? I guess not, except the usual stuff. Oh, and change of theme because it’s December and it’s snowing on WordPress blogs as usual. Will be back to the usual layout in January. Just one thing I’d like to comment on, is KDP’s email on “How EU VAT changes affect your eBook pricing”.

“For example, if an author had previously provided a €6.00 VAT-exclusive list price for amazon.de, amazon.fr, amazon.es, and amazon.it Kindle stores, the list prices including VAT will be €7.14 (19% VAT), €6.33 (5.5% VAT), €7.26 (21% VAT), and €7.32 (22% VAT) respectively.”

Actually Italy is passing a law to bring down VAT on e-books at 4%. I checked the dedicated Italian site and they say it passed the first legislation step, it’s now being voted by the Senato. So hopefully by January VAT on ebooks in Italy will be 4%, not 22% as it says above (which is the current VAT). That ORG also hopes the rest of Europe will follow us. So before you go changing all those prices (I’ll let Amazon adjust, I have too many! ;p), wait to see what happens with that law…

In a couple of days there will be the Italian small&medium publishers fair, so hopefully next week I’ll be able to tell you more about all of this. I hope to attend a few workshops and find out more. Sorry if this week’s links are all in Italian… Have a great week! 🙂

Art Friday

Since I don’t have watermarked versions of my drawings, I’ll point you to DeviantART instead – okay, maybe I could download the watermarked version and repost it here, but I’ll let you do a little extra work if you wish to see Da Muses latest portraits. Keanu is here, and Hrithik is here. Yes, I had a busy weekend! 😉

I’m also half done with the pencils of SKYBAND – since apparently at Loncon I’ll be on a comics panel, I thought I might as well get back to my graphic novel. When I’ll have the final schedule, I’ll post it, but I’m still sort of negotiating. I want to be on the program, so if there’s nothing else, I’ll do that single panel they gave me! 😉

Speaking of artists, have a look at this Kickstarter project. And if you’re an indie author… you might find your next cover from an Award-winning illustrator at a cheaper price than her usual fee! Now, if I could come up with a nice project to kickstart… I guess I’ll keep supporting others until I decide what to do!

I have more comics (that came out as photocopied zines in the 90s), but I should scan them all, and it’s hundreds of pages… since I’m not really selling any (neither 15 years nor SKYBAND nor Fleur de Lys), I don’t see why I should do it. Besides some are really badly drawn! 😉 Not to mention the unfinished ones…

Now I’d love to do another story with both Muses, but I don’t think I will. It’s taking way too long to finish SKYBAND, and even doing the last pages of 15 years took me 3 months… so probably not. They’ll still be in my stories, but no more comics.

Unless I start drawing real chibis or try to use the motion book tool… But enough random ramblings… have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

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