Wednesday Weekly Roundup

Last week by Saturday I had almost 17K (and another short story to throw in the last batch of Star Minds stories), so I took a break during the weekend, also to get on with the strip. By Week 23 I already reached 250K (of 500K for those who arrived later), so whenever I’ll be able to travel again and I’ll skip a week, I won’t have to worry about reaching my goal! πŸ˜‰

I also cleaned up this very blog, in case you didn’t notice. I had already changed the blog description to My Name – Writer, now I cleaned out all those very unprofessional pages at the top. Doesn’t it look better like this? No? Oh, well. The free anthos are still there, if you want to read them. And there’s a neat clean page of links to the other books (and if you’re a reader, you might want to follow the publisher’s page, it gets updated only with new releases or sales announcements).

And welcome new followers, for whatever reason you subscribed to this blog feed! πŸ™‚ Just be warned I will ramble a lot – but at least it’s only once a week, LOL! Almost like a weekly newsletter! πŸ˜€

I cleaned up also my DeviantART page before closing the account… I don’t know when yet. But I took down more than half of the art I had uploaded there. I cursed them a whole afternoon while doing it. Glad that WordPress’s updates are much more discreet and I’m not forced to use them (yet!)…

And I finished coloring the current strip! Below is a wordless strip, the rest is coming on Instagram, every Sunday as usual! Star Minds Kids and Teens will also have a prose version for the visually impaired, like Silvery Earth Kids.

Kol-ian and Toybot finish the homework and go to play in the park, climbing a tree

I got the new Kindle along with a couple of paperbacks, and I already hate it. It does have airplane mode, but otherwise it’s constantly on wi-fi. It’s a hassle to turn pages on lists and I turned off the front light (since I have a Kindle for the e-ink, not for the built-in front light. I’m not reading in the dark). I might have gotten used to touch screens since 2011, but I still prefer KK.

In fact, I downloaded a couple samples on KK, and eventually I’ll synch the New Kindle (that shall not have a name, sgrunt!). My own mobi files go on the New Kindle, along with the bundles and other books I got from elsewhere, since KK can still connect to the Amazon store, but the cable doesn’t connect it to the laptop anymore, so I can only download stuff from Amazon and not add other books like I used to. Sigh.

I still have quite a few books to read on KK anyway, so the New Kindle will stay offline until I’m done with that. Then I’ll synch it and start using it, possibly next year, giving how fast (read: slow!) I am at reading ebooks! πŸ˜€

As for the paperbacks, one is Snow Glass Apples by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran, a highly recommended graphic novel, a Snow White retelling with luscious artwork. I love all of Colleen’s works, and the pairing with Neil Gaiman is awesome. The other paperback is non-fiction and I haven’t started it yet…

I reworked the blurb and cover for The Fern and The Cross, go check it out! I hope I made it better, not worse, LOL! A special thanks to Anna Lowenstein for the consultations on the blurb (and correcting my mistakes) and Joleene Naylor for the consultations on the cover and introducing me to That Group.

I left the old cover on the book page (like I did for Brainwaves) because I think the old cover was more faithful to the history and the character, but if the new one sells… readers should get what they want! πŸ˜€

See how the right one has the heraldry of FougΓ¨res and the flat-topped helmet and that crusader look? But comments said it wasn’t clear what it was about, so I changed pictures (there was the color version of the first one) and decided to forego historical accuracy…

Now I’ll have to update the banners, both here and on the publisher’s page… but I’m waiting for the Future Earth Chronicles cover reveal and possibly other new covers! πŸ™‚

Now I better get back to writing and wrap Book 8 and 9… I still have Book 10 to start and finish in two weeks, yikes!

Some Kickstarters worth checking:

Ask Jericho: To Die For by Bonnie Elizabeth Koenig.

Despot: Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthology by Van Alrik. This is an anthology that is trying something new with the editing side of things. It is matching by computer stories to classic author’s styles and forms. Read it to understand what he is doing.

The Cold Poker Gang by Dean Wesley Smith. This is trying to get the series into hardback and to give readers and fans an early look at the new novel. It also has workshops and some good stretch goals. It has now funded and gone past two stretch goals and gaining on a third with about eight days left

One laat link this week, something that was shared in the Italian version by one of my FB friends. The Human Library. Now I’m pondering if I could be a book in this library or should try to read some titles before applying… Have a great week!


Writer Wednesday

I must say that writing 3 entwined books at the same time is a new and fun process for me. I should have done the same with the vampires novels, but well… too late for that! πŸ˜‰

The workshop on Writing Series was really helpful for this, so a big THANK YOU goes to Dean Wesley Smith! I used also the Teams (no longer available) and Writing Science Fiction workshops for this one.

I’m wrapping up these 3 books this week and then I’ll go back to shorter works for the rest of the month – I have promised one story to a charity anthology and I want to submit to Tor novella again (albeit in the July window).

Kindle Scout results! As expected, I wasn’t chosen, hence in June you will have the first new title of the year, my historical novel The Fern and The Cross. I shall set up the pre-order next weekend, since I’m afraid at the end of the month Kindle Scout might vanish completely.

Thank you to anyone who nominated me, you will be notified through KindleScout when the (e-book first) comes out. I’ll do the paperback after the summer. Or you can keep following this very blog, haha! πŸ˜€

Writerly links! David Gaughran is still everywhere, I wonder if he’ll show up at Dublin 2019 worldcon next year! πŸ˜‰ Guest on D2D blog, platform building and related terrors. And on Joanna Penn’s blog, someone talks about his book Strangers to Superfans.

Speaking of Dublin and Worldcon, I filled the form to be on the programme. Soon I’ll fill also the programme suggestions form… we’ll see where that takes us! πŸ™‚

Oh, and… Happy Birthday, Smashwords! πŸ˜€ Have a great week!

Random Friday

And among my experiments this year there’s Kindle Scout. Some of you who have been following this blog for longer may remember my historical novel set in 12th century Europe around the Third Crusade. Well, it’s now on Kindle Scout – it has been accepted for a campaign, probably one of the last, since they announced they no longer take submissions.

If you have an Amazon account (any country, use the same email and password on all marketplaces), please go and nominate The Fern and The Cross, read an excerpt, etc. If it gets picked up by Kindle Scout, you’ll get a free e-ARC (to redeem before May 31 as per latest news), if not, just let me know and I’ll give you a 50% off coupon this summer when I officially publish it.

The campaign for this book ends on May 4 and doesn’t imply any buying of the book. So go nominate the book and share this post with your historical fiction lovers friends, especially if they’re into medieval Europe! πŸ™‚

Thank you and have a great weekend! πŸ˜€

Summary of the past week(end)

So, I was off DayJob and somehow managed NOT to sign up for Six Sentence Sunday. I was sure I had done it when I prepared the post, but then on Sunday I didn’t see my name on the list. Sigh.

Before the Book Fair (started on the 7th) I’ve been working on the print version of the longer works that came out in the past three months. Thanks to Lulu&UPS, I should soon be able to check those books and make them available for sale – in case you want to buy a paper book as a Christmas present! πŸ˜‰

The Book Fair – boy, what a riot, at least for me! Interesting panels that gave me some ideas on the Italian market, but I still have to figure out some things. The Italian e-distributors are NOT author-friendly, so I’ll stick to Smashwords and Kindle for now, hoping to try XinXii soon. And I’ll stay away from the KDP Select program for now, I’m seeing too many discussions about it, and I don’t want to be stuck with legalese on Amazon, I know they’re not my friends, but the people who are looking into it are, so I’d rather trust them! πŸ˜‰

I left a copy of Air (the now out-of-print European edition, maybe I should have asked for money, haha) to an Italian publisher, if they’re interested I might translate it (back, but it changed a lot in the meantime) and let them publish the Italian version – if I like the contract, that is. They do mostly the paper versions – e-books aren’t loved over here – and I already have a buyer for that, my former beta-reader who can’t read English! πŸ˜‰

Sunday I was so tired I went back only because Saturday I forgot to buy from my friend – see these?

minor and major arts

And then I bought this with the Italian knights of the 14th and 15th century as my next historical novel might well be in those centuries which I had already considered when at the Paris book fair I found the reproductions of the two manuscripts on the right which are a first attempt at doing “comics” in the 14thand 15th century.

And besides I could throw in the TrΓ¨s Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, so we’ll see. More research to do, but I so love the clothes! πŸ™‚

(Boy, it took me one hour or more to be able to schedule this post – two attempts at starting it and two attempts at uploading the pics! I better prepare the next one during my morning as if I do it in the afternoon, WordPress becomes exceedingly slow! :-()

Daily prompts and an update… or two

OK, daily prompt digest.

Topic #225: if I could control the weather, considering that the heat I was spared in July is here now, I’d have “cool” weather now. Possibly snowy, mwhahahaha!!! πŸ˜€ OK, I’ll move to the North Pole, sometime! πŸ˜‰

Topic #222:Β  Do I prefer to lead or to follow? Mmm, good question. That’s probably why I could never find that “perfect team”… I don’t want to lead (in spite of being a Virgo, i.e. logical and well organized), but I don’t want to follow either. Like fashions or trends (in any field, not just clothes): either I discover it (book, movie, record, celeb, whatever) on my own or I don’t follow a trend just because everybody else does. If you wanna be a leader, check Ollin’s post on how to be one. Personally, I hate to be at the center of the attention, so I’m just going back to my hermitage… if you’ll excuse me… πŸ˜‰

Topic #220: I blog with my real first name, but never liked my family name, so I picked up “Tarn” way back in the 1990s when I was doing my photocopied zines. Then I put the “G.” back in (initial of my real family name) when I started writing in English 10 years ago. AndΒ I have a short list of other pen-names I might use in the future to write in other genres.

Which includes the historical novel with British spelling. For which I have an update. I have completed a first draft I’m not very happy with. It’s too short (around 70000words), but I have no idea of how to improve it at the moment.Β  I have masses of material and lots of things going on, but I probably skimmed through most. Except in my fear of info-dumping and boring myself and the readers, I have no idea of whereΒ I should go deeper or expand. I cover 15 years at the moment, but the climax of the mainΒ conflict is after less than 10, and I’m not sure if I should continue with the main characters like I intended to do – unless I find another conflict beyond the struggles with King John (my knight was faithful to Richard, so this is already a good conflict, as the two Plantagenet brothers kind of hated each other).

I still think it’s too much historical facts and not enough fiction… So instead of doing more research, I’ll do some more reading of historical novels, to see how other authors do it. I was fascinated by Elizabeth Chadwick’s Akashic Records, so I might check some of her titles (she writes in my time period anyway). And I just found a new online non-fictionΒ  resource for the Middle Ages (but there are all historical periods, I just bookmarked the one I’m interested the most!), so maybe I only need to take some distance from my story. As to how much fact/fiction… I still don’t know, but I’ve followed the thread on Goodreads just like Prue (that’s where I discovered Elizabeth Chadwick).

So, as I’m not having fun with it anymore, I’m going to shelve it until I find a volunteer who can help me tear down the walls that block me at the moment, and will go back to writing my fantasy stories that are so much more fun. I’m way late on my schedule in starting writing the books that should come out next year anyway! πŸ˜‰ And I’m coloring SKYBAND8, dear reader, just to keep you updated (you know who you are! ;-)).

As announced a few days ago, I’m wandering the blogosphere this week. Saturday Katelina interviewed Starblazer on Amarantyne nights. Today I should be the Writer WednesdayΒ  at JC Martin’s blog, so make sure to check both those amazing blogs. See you tomorrow for the birthday bash! πŸ˜€


Hope your weekend was good. Last week I got Water back from The Editor, so I went through it with final edits, to be ready for an August release. Next weekend I’ll give it one last read while working on the book trailer (BTW thanks for the comments on the book blurb) and then I’ll let it go too. Phew!

I also wrote a couple of short stories for the Tales of the Southern Kingdoms collection, one recycled from the 1980s, the other original. I have two more to go (again, one recycled and one original) and then I can put the collection up on Smashwords and Kindle. I don’t think I’ll issue any more free reads, at least not on Smashwords because I’d rather be drawing SKYBAND than another short story cover! πŸ˜‰ Oh, and I uploaded a new version of The Orphans (and took it out of Feedbooks) with a couple of added scenes. Also, while writing the last original story I re-read Tarun and… it needs a major rewrite. That’s not Keiko speaking. So I will soon take it off (even if I love that cover) and then it will come out again revised (and probably censored) in the collection.

I also got back my sci-fi romance novella from the beta-reader, so I’m waiting for the Other Editor who has it before putting it out there. Now I plan on getting back to add the fiction to the historical novel, as so far I managed to work only on the prologue, but I want that first draft done by the end of summer.

Also, I signed up for JC’s Birthday Bash Blogfest so you’ll have 2 posts on Saturday, the usual WoW and the extra a couple of hours later. And then there’s a guest post on Thursday and hopefully a review on Friday. Now I better go typing those short stories so I can get back to work on the historical novel… have a great week!


Hope your weekend was better than mine. Saturday morning i caught a virus/worm (in the form of a “malware detector” no less, how wicked is that?) that blocked my PC – my brother saved the day, BUT I still can’t reinstall the printer, the driver fails to install, so I can scan, I have a fax (that I don’t use) but no printer! 😦

The scanner works, though, so I scanned chapter 7 of SKYBAND, so I can start coloring and lettering. This week I’ll be working on chapter 8 at work and the above-mentioned at home. I also went through my notes and research for the end of the historical novel (I had stopped at the death of King Richard and needed to check again the facts under King John), so I hope to write The End on draft 1 this week. Then I must leave it aside for some time and go back to it around the end of the summer – although in this case it might be hard to edit after such a long time, as I’ll probably forget where I found the stuff I used in the book. Although I have a limited number of chronicles to look at… we’ll see.

Still have to hop around your blogs, be patient with me, but I can’t read on screen for very long, so I print out even blog posts and read them offline. I went through the Six Sentences yesterday because Sunday I couldn’t print anything! But don’t worry, you’ll have some links on Friday anyway. πŸ˜‰

Mailman was good so I got my printed copies of Fire. It is now available on Lulu, although only in the “US edition”. By the way, I took off the “European edition” of Air as well, makes more valuable the copies I have ordered! πŸ˜‰ I’ll feel less guilty asking for 20euros, as it’s a collector’s edition now! πŸ˜€

Fire, "European" Air, and Air!

Something I found this weekend:Β  things that happen when you choose your cover from stock photos –Β duplicate. Check these two books from two different authors… Sunlit Days moonlit nights and Safe with me… (I’m going to buy the second as soon as it’s complete, and I see there’s a new cover on the Volume1, good job, Shaina! ;-))

Not being able to “work” meant I watched a couple of DVDs from my pile… and I picked up Dhoom 1 & 2. I can see the influence of American movies such as Point Break, Speed and Ocean’s 11, but all is boiled down Indian style, with wonderful disco songs to dance to.

Did I mention in my last ramblings about Bollywood I might soon have another “movie crush”? Well, ladies, check out Hrithik Roshan in the opening titles of Dhoom 2 (gentlemen, you can watch him do the same number in the company of beautiful Aishwarya Rai in the end titles):

Arf! Pity he’s married and younger than me! πŸ˜‰

Anyway, both movies are fun to watch, with your “strange couple” of cops who will be back in action next year. Abishek is the tough guy, Uday Chopra the funny one, and if they pick up another bad guy had good looking as the first two (John Abraham and Hrithik Roshan), well, I’m not going to miss Dhoom 3 next year! πŸ˜‰

Have a gread week! πŸ˜€

writerly update

On Sunday I was on Kindle Author Blog, go check my interview, in case you haven’t already from Facebook! πŸ˜€ I’m still talking about Air, but also the other BoI… which means I’ll have to get back to work on Water soon! πŸ˜‰

In the meantime I’m inking SKYBAND chapter 7 in the morning and finishing the historical novel in the afternoons. I have two weeks like this, so hopefully next week I’ll be able to draw chapter 8 in the mornings and do the coloring and lettering (for which I need my home desktop computer) on chapter 7 – does that mean I’m inking on Day Job time? Yep… πŸ˜‰

I really hope to wrap up the first draft of the historical by the weekend. In the meantime I would like to thank the two bloggers, one friend and one member of my offline writers group who replied to my plead for help, allowing me to write a scene I had totally skipped in draft zero. It was easy to write as a movie scene, much less in a novel. All three gave different views and details, so you will be all named in the acknowledgments page when this is all done. Thanks again for the much appreciated help, hope I’ll be able to return the favor sometime.

After reading Shaina Richmond’s post on free e-books, I decided I will sign up at FeedBooks and upload some free read. I’m also considering leaving Jessamine for free on both Smashwords and Kindle – after all it was free when I posted it on Serial Central… So, it’s FREE on Smashwords already, and can anyone tell me how I make it free on Kindle? If I go to the page, it doesn’t allow me to change the price and un-check the royalty rate – should I re-upload it as free? Sigh.

Also I pulled out my first e-book (PDF printed version, as I still don’t have an e-reader) to read… and then I got a screenplay to review from a friend. Hopefully I’ll be done with that when this post goes live, so tonight I can start reading. And I’m almost sure it’s a page-turner, so Friday I might have a review for you.

If not, I’m also reading the writing mags I bought last month in London, so I’ll share stuff I found there with you in case I don’t have anything else. I hope to get to your blogs during the weekend, like I mentioned last week, so don’t worry, I’m not forgetting you, I’m just maximizing my time! πŸ™‚

Non-writerly update: I got the second (of 3) Amazon parcel, so my list of ToWatch DVDs is going up. And I didn’t watch any last weekend, so they’re all there. I’ve just added Dhoom 1 and 2, Darr, and Jodhaa Akbar. I’ll make it through the pile, eventually…

daily prompt, weekly digest

… but I’ve picked up last Friday’s so I’m not to late. Topic #134 was: if you got a tattoo, what would it be?

Especially since I started SKYBAND (where every major character has at least 2 tattoos) I’ve been thinking on what I’d like to try. I’m not too keen on permanent things, so maybe a henna (not permanent) tattoo would work better for me. Anyway, I can’t make up my mind of where I want it – although I’m sure that if I find a unicorn drawing I like, I can have a permanent tattoo, haha! – so today I’ll play with… SKYBAND.

I’m supposed to be Axelle (I wish I were that cute! ;-)), so if I got myself some henna tattoos, I’d like to try hers which are as follow:

This is the “censored” version of the drawing – it’s been done very quickly in pencil, I use it only for reference on the tattoos. Axelle (and Ylenia)’s lower back tattoo(s)? Found them on that book at the library in London, and as they didn’t have them so far, I had to change the story in a later chapter to explain why they had new ones (to copy Nadira, they liked hers and used their free day in the Tattoo Country in a tattoo parlor, just like Killius and Desiderio).

Did I mention SKYBAND is for mature reader with lots of naked people in it? Not too many because a) I’m not very good with anatomy and drawing naked people isn’t my best feature and b) drawings all those tattoos every time is waaay too time consuming! πŸ˜‰

But I love them, and I’m collecting all the tattoo magazines I’ve bought for research purposes (not to mention those I found online…). So you never know. One day I might actually get one! πŸ˜€

Writerly updates: I have uploaded The Sect along with The Slave on Smashwords as Arquon (2 Tales of the Southern Kingdoms) while I started the revision/rewrite of the historical novel in order to finish it (I haven’t written the ending). The latter if painfully longer than what I’m used (it took me one hour and a half to revise the first 4 scenes yesterday) because I have to continually stop and check facts, but I’m still having fun. So it might also take me longer than I expected to finish it, but it’s a new thing, so I’m not blaming myself for being slower! πŸ™‚ It will be my side project for at least half the year…

Back and still catching up

Last week I was in London to meet friends AND use libraries without having to buy books and doing some research “on the field” for the historical novel. I came back with a cold, thanks to the British weather, and Sunday afternoon/night my server (Telecom Italia) was so very slow that I had to quit reading the Six Sentence Sunday participants and continue on Monday. Considering the overwhelming number of participants and that barely a third of them actually tours all the entries, I think I’m going to do like the other two thirds from now on: sign up and just wait for the others to visit me… Lazy, I know, but time’s flying! 😦

But back to my short British vacation! I spent two mornings at Westminster Reference Library, Tuesday working on 12th century clothes (and tattoos, so I had to modify SKYBAND again, haha!), Thursday on Norman castles, Westminster Hall and other 12th century buildings in London and Lincolnshire.

Wednesday I took the DLR to the Tower of London – with SEVERE DELAYS of… 15 minutes! I’m Italian, for me a “severe delay” is one hour or two! πŸ˜‰ – and then walked to Westminster (that’s when I caught the cold, the wind was quite chilly along the Tames and I had to cover my ears with… my hair!) like my characters are supposed to do. I knew in the 12th century London and Westminster were two separate cities, but I couldn’t figure out how long it would take: one hour of fast walking. Therefore I believe my characters will go by boat! They can’t show up at Westminster Hall all sweaty and stinky, it’s a court! πŸ˜€ (And for those of you still wondering, YES, they DID BATHE in the Middle Ages, especially the nobles at this time of courtly love. There are plenty of mentions of baths and washing hands and changing clothes in the chansons de geste).

I didn’t pay to get inside the Tower of London nor Westminster Abbey because I’ve already been there in the past. The white tower (built by William the Conqueror) can be seen also from the outside, and Westminster Abbey was rebuilt after Richard’s coronation (the only one featured in my story, my characters aren’t too fond of John, therefore carefully avoid HIS coronation).

Tuesday I met a friend at the British Museum and had a look at the few medieval things they have there, while Thursday I met a friend at Charing Cross and we discussed my sci-fi novella.

Now I’m back, still catching up on blogs, finishing short stories and sending out guest posts and interviews, so you might see me somewhere out there in the future. AND I have to edit and finish the damn historical, or I won’t be able to move forward with the fantasy stories. But now I have a clearer idea, so I think I can do it and nail the first draft by the end of May.

By the way, if you enjoyed last week’s short story The Sect in spite of it being very dramatic, I can put more here, pre-editing, before I upload them on Smashwords and Kindle… I have a couple more almost ready (but one is a sequel to Air, and a spoiler for the novel, so don’t read it, haha!). I might start doing Story Sunday instead of Six Sentence Sunday! πŸ˜‰

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