Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote 10K+, mostly because I had a false start on the Anthology Workshop assignment. I wrote a full story before finding out it was too long and not “right”. So I rewrote it shorter and snappier, and sent it out with not much room to improvise more. This week is the last assignment, so afterward I can go back to other projects, on hold since the Holidays.

After closing the year with Silvery Earth Kids, I started the new year with a Sunday Strip on Instagram. This is set in the Star Minds Universe, during Kol-ian childhood (and Ker-ris’s teens), and comes out every Sunday. I will soon do a Backstage Pass special entry for this particular strip. And you can already read the first 10 in I like my science mad, an awesome collection of stories that I already recommended reading.

Star Minds Kids and Teens strip by creativebarbwire

And if you see an “intruder” on Instagram, it’s because Da Muse is on Instagram but not on DeviantART. Besides, I accidentally switched on Eclipse on DA and totally hated it. I was so happy to find the way back to the old site, but by then I had already posted my “good-bye, DA”.

The strips go on Instagram, and I don’t do many pencil drawings anymore (there are, of course, exceptions like the above), so I go to DA only for the llamas by now, LOL! But hey, I got 500+, I’m a Ninja Llama! 😀 So Barb the Artist is more on Instagram than DeviantART these days, just so you know…

And now, to more news:

We should all get back to blogging.

– Chuck Wendig

I totally agree with Mr. Wendig, even though this poor blog here is only ten years old, but then, this side of the world is behind the US! 😉 As you probably know by now, I’m not on Twitter, and I use this blog as a newsletter after Mail Chimp changed its ToS. It still finds new followers (hello, there!) even though I don’t advertize it and only share it on Facebook and the Goodreads and Amazon feeds.

So yeah, even those of you who have never done it, try it. It’s fun. You don’t need to post daily, but be consistent. I’m still on WordPress, but eventually I’ll move to the publisher’s site. Maybe. If it’s not to complicated, that is. I’ll have to consult with my webmaster, LOL!

Another interesting article about no sales or lackluster sales. Yes, it might be the book. You might either need to write more, or maybe you only need to let your book baby grow, like in last week’s post.

And of course you should let go of your fear of publishing. I haven’t taken up that challenge, because for me too it would be slowing down. When I’m ready, I can publish a book every two weeks, like I’ve done in the past years.

New followers of this blog might not know, but I never did NaNoWriMo. I write all year long. It’s good to get in the habit of writing regularly, but it’s not something I ever needed. I was already a prolific writer, long before the internet.

I grew up in the age of the typewriter. I still have notebooks full of handwritten stories (that suck and will probably stay were there are for the time being, but you get the point! 🙂 ) and I did my first draft longhand until 2014 because otherwise it didn’t feel “mine”…

And when I took that step out of the way, I wrote even more, of course. Clean first drafts that get sent in batches to my faithful editor who tries to catch those pesky typo faeries, but sometimes they escape both our pairs of eyes. Tricky buggers, aren’t they? 😉

That’s an expense I’ll never get rid of, though. I know I need a proofreader and possibly first reader who catches plot holes and inconsistencies. Heck, I should probably use one in Italian as well! 😀 And I’m talking about my fiction, here, not this very blog who comes to you unsupervised by any editor or proofreader… 😉

During the past years I started posting those writers’ quotes, five at the time. This is how it started:

Both “writers on writing” and “words of wisdom” can be shortened with the same word. Thus, welcome to WoW Saturdays, June to September 2010. Enjoy this collection of writers quotes throughout the summer.

Then it became kind of monthly whenever I didn’t have anything better (or as a Sunday Surprise). Now, ten years later, having reduced the number of posts again, I thought I’d make it a steady feature and add one single random writer’s quote at the end of these weekly posts, starting today.

One last link… Australian Comic Creators Unite to Raise Funds to Support Fire Victims! Sign up to get news about this!

Back to writing now. And publishing when I’m done with these submissions. Stay tuned and have a great week! 🙂

The key really isn’t avoiding burnout. The key to surviving as a writer is learning how to sustain a career.

And that’s true not just for indie writers, but traditionally published writers as well. Some of the demands traditional publishers put on their bestselling writers make the actual writing impossible.

Writers in traditional settings have to learn how to say no.

Writers in an indie setting have to figure out their priorities.

Kris Rusch

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


And as I enter my tenth year of publishing, I shall do some kind of recap, right? Besides it’s time for those new year’s resolutions for writers… So: wordcount, submissions, publications in that order.

Last week I wrote the story for the anthology workshop (3100 words) and then I was busy with other tasks. I used the long weekend (Jan.6 is a reinstated National Holiday in Italy) to clean up the 45 Italian titles, giving new covers to some of the contemporary stories and adding titles to KU since it seems to work without advertizing.

These are my numbers since I started counting them in 2015 when I bought a new writing computer and stopped doing the first draft longhand:

2015: 400K

2016: 468K

2017: 350K (meh! 17 is bad luck in Italy… 😉 )

2018: 535K

2019: 533K

I still plan to write another 500K this year, it seems to be sustainable and it would be the third year in a row. Go me! 🙂 I also hope to write more short stories to submit, which brings us to point #2!

Submissions have increased in spite of a couple of markets folding and one sub ending in the spam folder. Again, here go numbers: 3 in 2013, 6 in 2014, 10 in 2015, 14 in 2016, 15 (+ 6 anthology workshop) in 2017, 19 in 2018 aaaand 29 in 2019!

Two sales in 2019, and 4 submissions are still pending reply (and one was resent in January). And I already submitted 3 stories this year (+ already 6 for the anthology workshop, will probably be 8 in total). So I hope to get to 50 submissions, but it also depends on how much I spend on shorts and how much on longer works! 😉 (and how many shorts turn into longer works! 😀 ) I have accumulated 74 rejection emails, some personalized, some general, but well… I’ll celebrate when I get the 100th because it means I keep trying, LOL!

Publishing: I want to redo most contemporary stories covers in view of a new collection coming out later this year, with a novella and a few unsold shorts. I did my end-of-the-year accounting and even though I spent Zero for covers this year (thanks to those Deposit Photo credits that should last for this year as well), having paid for 3 workships (2 offline and 1 online) and 3 audio books, my expenses are still much higher than my earnings. But looking at that ledger, there are more “in” than “out” and my royalties are rising (although I included also the 2 sales that bumped up the earnings).

So, 2020 goals: write another 500K or more. Write more short stories to be submitted to traditional magazines. Continue writing in the current series (Silvery Earth, Star Minds Universe, Future Earth Chronicles and Vampires Through the Centuries) plus a new one growing out of a batch of shorts. Publish at least 12 books from March. Do the paperbacks I haven’t done last year (erm… still have quite a few, though, don’t I?).

above English titles, below Italian titles and other formats

And then in 2021 I can celebrate the book birth day for Books of the Immortals – Air that will turn 10 years old! It’s not my bestseller (that would be Body Switches that continues to sell a few copies per year since 2014), but it’s my first Book Baby, so I shall celebrate it – next year! 🙂

But the majority of book-babies grow slowly, just like human babies do. Their audience slowly expands, from family and friends and those in the know, to people their parents never met, to people they couldn’t have known as young book-babies, to people they’ve never met, to people they will never meet, to people who will outlive them.

Kris Rusch

Mine are particularly slow-growing, but I’m sure they’ll come of age. I might do book launches for final books in a single-story arc series (Future Earth Chronicles? The first arc is already concluded, though…) or just let them grow naturally like I’ve done until now. It’s an evolving world, like Kristen Lamb explains so well here

Are you all set with your 2020 goals? 😉 Here are some tips to be successful… Now hop off to the Infinite Bard for another free story and have a great week! 😀

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Aaand… HAPPY NEW YEAR! 🙂

Last week I wrote over 14K and a couple of new shorts I will probably send out soon (at least one of them). So to wrap it all up – in 2019 I wrote 530K words, and published 29 titles (not all in English, mind you, but still…).

I start the new year with 170 titles out after the cleaning of the past 4 months, 45 of which are in Italian with a couple enrolled in KU, which seems to work for that language. Doesn’t work for me in English, but well… I might experiment some more this year.

And in the above I’m not counting the curated anthologies or other anthologies I’m in, or even the bundles, just what came out under the Unicorn Productions banner. And I still have to prepare a few paperbacks of the titles that came out in 2019. I know, I fell behind, sorry… with catch up! 🙂

If you’re just starting in the world of Indie Publishing, challenge yourself and publish a book a month for a year. I have done it (25 titles per year since 2011), and sending the paperback to the US is an expense I’d rather not have. But I’ll definitely publish at least 12 titles in 2020. Possibly nothing in the first two months (my editor is busy and I won’t have anything proofread until the end of February) but then I’ll catch up after the Anthology Workshop. Promise.

And here we have a neat podcast (with transcript, which is what I prefer): 2009-2019: Reflections on a decade of self-publishing. I started in 2011, lived through the KU disruption remaining wide and still don’t want to pay for advertising, so that’s probably why my books sink into blackholes of forgetfulness.

I did two new things last year, though. Audio books and going to Overdrive – via D2D, which is just as well, since Kobo is selling Overdrive to someone else, so if I had gone through the KWL dashboard, I would have to do it again. As for Audio books, listen to Joanna Penn!

So a big tip everyone, first of all, go and request your favorite indie books into your library, local libraries, but also tell your readers to request their favorite books in libraries. So I think the more we can get the word out, the more that’s going to help.

And if you’re in one of the countries supported by Findaway Codes (US, CA, AU) – I still have some to giveaway for Otherside. The other audio books you can ask your libraries are the following Silvery Earth novellas: Firebird and The Hooded Man. The latter received a Honorable Mention at Writers of the Future back in 2014… Go check them, they’re also on Audible and everywhere else they sell audio! 🙂

I might explore other audio options this year – checked Descript.com but haven’t tried it yet – and might try some translations, although literary translations aren’t the easiest to do. I know, I tried them and spent two weeks on a short story. My favorite Italian writer, Brunella Gasperini, translated Stephen King’s Carrie, but she was also a writer and a journalist, so I’m pretty sure she did an excellent job! 😉

If you’re up for a little poll, go vote here. Novels, short stories, authors, artists, publishers, anything. You have a few more days to vote. The end of the year also saw the implosion of the RWA… glad I don’t write romance, but then, I’m not American either, LOL!

And now onward to the next decade… have a great week! 🙂

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote a little over 9K which brings the yearly total to 488K. Another 12K and I’ll have reached my wordcount goal. I might reach it this week, or next week at the latest, wrapping up a project after I’m done with the Anthology Workshop assignment.

I guess Magical Friends was my last pre-order for the time being. Just when Smashwords introduces some pre-order goodies, or so they say, LOL! But this kind of thing doesn’t work for me (my one and only fan does get things in advance every now and then).

It was the 15th pre-order and like the previous 14 it hasn’t gathered any sales. So I’ll spare myself the hassle of pre-orders and getting Amazon reminders and all that jazz. I guess I’m not famous enough to have rabid fans eagerly waiting for my releases, therefore it’s one thing I can tick off the publishing list. Phew! 🙂

Anyhow, it’s live now, so go grab it. The awesome mockup above was done with a Covervault template. I hope you enjoyed the characters’ interview and, in case you missed it, the backstage pass was all about those two – well, those stories, from childhood to adulthood. And the maps included on the book page will be in the paperback next year.

If you missed Cockygate and the Dragon Slayer trademark controversy, fear not! You have a summary here because yes! Some writer did it again! Trying to trademark a word! When will this madness end? Like someone says in the comments, here’s to hoping the judge fines the stupid author… and not in an alternate reality! 😉

I’ve been reading some fiction, catching up on my TBR pile – made mostly of bundles – but I shall make my recommended reading post closer to the end of the year. Some of those bundles have short stories as well as novellas and novels, so I’m writing down the ones I like for future curated anthologies (next year at the earliest, not going to bother fellow writers during the Holidays!).

And since it’s the Holidays, I’ll have a bunch of guests over on Sundays, so stay tuned for the upcoming writers interviews! 🙂

And if you wondered about the difference between WMG Business Masterclass and 20BooksTo50K, Kris Rusch explains the difference in the latest business post, along with how to raise the bar in your own way – which is on my to-do list of New Year’s Resolutions, by the way. Try new genres, try other things, still a little hazy, but hopefully it will soon be clear.

Finishing with another inspirational video: Kris Rusch on Perfection at 20Books! 🙂 Have a great week!

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


So, I’ve been kindly reminded (meaning it was a general reminder, not to me personally) that professionals never talk about what they are writing or wrote until it is published. Therefore I’ll keep updating you on my yearly wordcount, but not what I’m working on.

Last week I wrote a little less than 9K, but Friday before lunchtime I got back the manuscript from the proofreader, so I spent from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning catching typo faeries on those short stories I wrote in the past month. And mailed four of them on Sunday morning (the rest are not open yet, so I jotted down the date on the calendar, lest I forget to submit them).

And I published the prose version of Silvery Earth Kids with a couple of related short stories. You might want to check that while you wait for the release of Magical Friends, it’s a very nice introduction with not too many spoilers for the novel, but filling in the background! 😉

Or you can get the paperback of the strip… December is definitely going to be Torik and Copperscales’s month, as you can see from my Facebook page! Stay tuned on more on these two! Should I interview them like I did in the past? Would you like a character interview?

And you can tell me which version you prefer, I won’t be offended it you think Ravven’s depiction (slightly modified in its colors) is better than my doodles! 😉 I haven’t even downloaded DAZ Studio yet, can’t imagine doing art with it anytime soon! So I’ll keep my ancient way of doing things – pencil and marker on paper, then scan and digital colors.

What can I say, this Gen X gal who grew up in the age of the typewriter and used to handwrite her first drafts up to 2015 in spite of being a typist likes her old “tech” too much. New things and continuous upgrades actually get on my nerves (can you hear me, Facebook?).

But! There’s only ONWARD, therefore I shall stop looking back. Keep writing and doodling and publishing and all that stuff. Even if some of those stories will never get off my hard-drive (or my old notebooks… got still plenty of those from the 80s and 90s)… well, it’s called practice, isn’t it? 😉

And excellent article by Kristen Lamb for writers old and new. In a glutted market, how can authors stand apart? Go read it. Now. Don’t be like me! 😉 I’m sure eventually I’ll find my readers, it’s just taking longer than expected. At least I’m learning patience, LOL!

Also, if you want a preview of what Star Minds Kids and Teens strip will be like, go check I Like My Science…MAD (Blaze Ward Presents Book 2)!

How mad, you ask? Come with us on a twisted journey of science gone wrong and gods rising to threaten us all. Of private detectives on the moon and dieselpunk ladies saving the day. Academics making dark pacts and taking vengeance into their own hands.
Mad.

The second Blaze Ward Presents anthology asks writers and readers to envision mad science and entertain us all.

They succeeded. Come see.

I would like to thank Blaze Ward for kicking me into gear with that strip. I had been postponing it for too long! Go check the adventures of Child Kol-ian and read the other mad science stories in this awesome collection! 🙂

Here’s an open call for you cat-lovers out there! It should be well-known by now that yours truly has no pets and no affection for furry friends… but if you do, check this out:

It’s time to turn the “man and his dog wandering through a dystopian world” trope on its head, and tell the stories about cats and their women – their badass women – in appropriately dystopian settings. It’s time for CAT LADIES OF THE APOCALYPSE!
We’re looking for short stories feature a strong woman with at least one cat, in tales that bring hope in the darkest of times.
Length: 4000 – 8000 words
Deadline: January 15, 2020
Pay: Royalty-Share, via PayPal
More information: www.camdenparkpress.com/cats 🐈

And. last but not least, it’s Infinite Bard day again! Hop off to the site for a new free short story! 🙂 Have a great week!

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


And for the third week in a row I was under 5K, but the yearly total is almost 450K. This week I hope to plunge back into writing, although I have a couple of books to edit/format/upload, but since I’m off DayJob, I should be able to up my wordcount and go back to my usual standards.

Last week I went to Lucca Comics and Games, so I was out of town from Wednesday to Sunday lunchtime. I started the new short story Sunday afternoon and should be almost done by now. I also thought what else to write in the next two weeks – things that will be published next year anyway.

For the rest of the year, unless writing for the Anthology Workshop, I’ll either go back to the Star Minds Lone Wolves (a couple more titles and the new team started with Mission #30 that is still unpublished) or Silvery Earth (I had ideas for a 5th Quests book, now I have another 3, so I could start working on another Quests book – or a Silvery Earth Heroine).

By the end of the week I’ll send off to Mighty Editor everything I wrote besides The Beast, or Torik’s story, like we call it between me and Mighty Editor, since at 95K it’s the longest Silvery Earth novel to date (beaten only by Star Minds the Trilogy). And “the rest” is over 50K, a batch of short stories and novellas to either submit to magazines or that will be published next year.

At the comicon, besides showing Silvery Earth Kids proof around (with no success, so I’ll be busy lettering the Italian version this week), I also went to a couple of workshops with a tax expert (yes, I found one, yay!). Unfortunately it seems laws in this country are even worse than I thought and they keep changing (our man mentioned the law changed 4 times in the past 7 years), so now I’m looking for someone living in a country with fixed laws to do business who is willing to adopt this grumpy old spinster! 😉

Just kidding, but I see my independence (or the top of my mountain, like Michael Anderle calls it) going back a little more. I shall start working on some kind of plan soon, I doubt luck will come into play before the end of the year. Next year is next year and we’ll see!

I’ll do more experiments, probably sign up with Book Funnel and try group giveaways, or maybe trying to get a Bookbub or something. I don’t know, there’s still two months and some accounting to do before I make up my mind. It might not have been a bad year all in all, but still not a runaway success. Oh, well.

Besides taking pictures of cosplayers and steampunkers, I bought some indie comics and made some new connections. The weather was dreadful, it rained 2 days out of the 3 I spent in Lucca (Wednesday and Sunday were for travels), but it was a nice trip with my siblings (with Mom worried she’d lose us all on the way back, LOL! Moms…).

Among my booty, there was this English comic, Boylord: Genesis. I might have missed the Kickstarter, but I found it at the comicon and even have a drawing of awesome artist Manuela Soriani in my copy! 😉 Like that reviewer says on Amazon, it’s a nice blend of fantasy and sci-fi.

Now back home, busy working on the non-existend business and creating more things while trying to clean up my house and throw away or resell stuff because I accumulated too many things and I want to move to a smaller place. I feel doing this physical cleaning of stuff kind of helps also cleaning my mind/spirit/soul and prepare me for what’s to come. I might be wrong – I’ve been wrong before and will be again – but at the moment it feels like the right thing to do.

Back to writing or formatting and wishing you a wonderful week! 🙂 And if you’re NaNoWriMoing, happy writing! 🙂

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week the first half was definitely NOT for writing! I met with Anna at the British Library (that I hadn’t seen since 2008) on Monday morning and then with Tori in St.Leonard in the afternoon. Pity the weather was grey and drizzly, especially on the coast… but I shall be back, Tori, I promise! 🙂

Tuesday I met with Les in Grove Park and had lunch in Bromley, then I wanted to head for a 5pm showing of War in Harrow, so I told Josie I’d have to leave by 4pm. A pet accident canceled our meeting, so I headed for Wembley – for the 4pm show I missed on Sunday. It was the first time I headed for the arena, and thought of all the concerts happening there in the past – that I missed! 😀

About the movie: I could tell some themes are very close to the director’s heart, but I still prefer Bang Bang‘s Rajveer to War‘s Kabir, even though they’re the same kind of guy! 😉 And there were only 2 songs in this one, I guess they were too busy shooting those action scenes (eyeroll). Anyhow, it was entertaining enough and I will probably get the DVD if and when it comes out.

Seems DVDs are vanishing from everywhere because of streaming services and even newsagents are present only in stations and airports. So Wednesday morning I took the train to Southall and didn’t even leave the station, since the newsagent didn’t have any Indian mags (unlike in 2013). I guess I can avoid going back there in the future.

I was home late on Wednesday, so all the writing and other stuff had to be done from Thursday on. I changed the Instagram account to a more generic Barb’s Strips, since when Silvery Earth Kids will be out there, I will start putting up Star Minds Kids and then who know what other series of kids (can’t have “vampire kids” because none of them is a child, LOL! Although I did draw Rajveer with that style in the alternate ending…). But I could have Rainbow Town Kids some time in the future. We’ll see.

Thursday I had some errands to run, but managed to throw in some words in my contemporary story. I also got 2 rejections while I was in London, one personalized, so I sent them another story, the other way overdue, generic and with a plead to support the mag on Patreon. I don’t think I’ll ever submit anything to them ever again.

Friday I went to Cristina’s to have that PDF of Silvery Earth Kids done, wrote some more and went through the printing I did at the local shop of the strip. Found a few typos and some panels had to be redone, because on screen they looked fine, printed they became muddled. So Friday night and Saturday morning were spent on the strip – and publishing another Italian title.

Saturday afternoon more writing and more publishing stuff as well as Sunday. Adult Torik’s story had come back from the editor, so I went through it on Monday this week and chose the final title as well as doing the cover. I will publish Silvery Earth Kids by Thanksgiving, so you’ll have plenty of time to order it for Christmas (the strip will be paperback only) and I set up the pre-order for the prose sequel.

Silvery Earth Kids print on A4 and font attempts for the other cover

Starting on the Shared Worlds workshop as well as wrapping that contemporary novella before I head for Lucca Comics and Games. Also, besides these 3 kinds of writers there’s people like me, who published regularly for eight years, but hasn’t found their readers yet, so slowed down the publishing while tending the garden.

Productivity is never a problem for me, but just throwing things out there hoping they stick doesn’t work either for my bruised ego! 😉 Which doesn’t mean I stopped writing or hate my computer, but I’m definitely burned out from trying to keep up with the publishing changes and everything around it! 😀

The rest of my week is probably non-writerly again, since I’ll be at Lucca Comics & Games, but I might bring something to edit while I’m not at the comicon. Don’t forget to check the Infinite Bard for the newest story! Wishing you a wonderful week and see you in November! 🙂

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


This is done well in advance since today I’m traveling and can’t really do much on a damn smartphone, but I didn’t want to miss the weekly post! 😉 I’m almost done with the updates, I even cleaned up my Bookbub profile, asking to remove the books that are no longer available – if only I could do that with Amazon Author Central and Goodreads as well, sigh.

Last week I wrote very little, busy drawing that new strip (here you have the character sheet), finishing Silvery Earth Kids so I can do a proof and take it to Lucca Comics and Games (end of the month) and do the necessary corrections before publication. I had to redo a couple of panels and then couldn’t make the paperback PDF because with 300dpi JPGs, it ended up crashing Open Office (and with only 40 pages it was already a 127M file).

So I’m going to take all the neatly prepared single pages JPGs (all 120 of them) to Cristina’s and let her make the PDF for the paperback. Then I’ll order the proof on Amazon, since on Lulu it wouldn’t arrive on time. A couple of afternoons were lost trying to set that paperback up (and don’t tell me I need InDesign or Vellum or whatnot, I don’t do enough “complicated”-all-JPGs paperbacks to be worth it).

I also had to go through an Italian novel that needed tech updates. With these very adult sci-fi novels, I’m experimenting with KU, since the fantasy one I published in September sold only on Amazon and for some reason Mondadori is very slow in getting Kobo’s files (they get to Feltrinelli first). So I put this Italian title in KU last week – 152KENP on the first 3 days and then it stopped. Nyeah. I’ll just leave it there.

I might share links next week since for now I didn’t really have time to go blog surfing. Except for this article on clothes and accessories that trick facial recognition software that I saw on Facebook – glad someone is already thinking how to confuse those algorithms! 🙂 Also good inspiration for the next futuristic story.

This week started being busy catching up with English friends and tomorrow I’ll have to check The Wanderers back from Mighty Editor, make the cover and set up the pre-order. Then I can go back to my contemporary story and wrap it up so that in November I can write a few more short stories for traditional markets before I start writing for the Anthology Workshop. I did write a few of it on Saturday, but will finish it this week.

I forgot to mention I finished watching the DVDs I got in Dublin – and then bought a couple more in Porta Portese, but that’s for another time. The last one was Destination Wedding, that I felt could help with the contemporary story. Not really, but whatever! 😉 Although I did consider putting a destination wedding in the story, but it wouldn’t work, so I gave up the thought.

And thanks for the hope offered to grumpy old women like me, although I’m not really looking for a romantic love. More a team to dream with. A place where creatives live and gather and do what they do best. I’m sure this utopia has a dark side, but in my current situation I don’t see it, haha! 😀

And I made the weekend Da Muse’s weekend. I got the DVD of John Wick 3 Parabellum and on Sunday I wanted to see War in theaters but courtesy of Easy Jet, Gatwick Airport and disruptions in the District Line, I didn’t make it to the 4pm show. As for John Wick 3, yeah, whatever. Sometimes action movies get  really boring without an item song to break them! 😀

Leaving you with an 80s goodie… Have a great week! 🙂

Sunday Surprise


And in spite of the new blog schedule, I won’t give up on sharing words of wisdom, writers on writing or whatever you want to call this. I’ll try not to post them when there’s the Backstage Pass on the other site, so while I fly to London to watch a Bollywood movie and meet friends, I leave you with the usual collection of quotes. Have a great Sunday!

The work, once you’ve released it into the world, no longer has anything to do with us. We create the work, and then send it on its journey, but we do not control the journey—or the reaction to the work.

Our stories cease to be ours the moment someone else reads them.

Our job is to write and release, to create the best stories we possibly can, and to continue to create the best stories we can.
Since we need to eat, we must manage our businesses and our copyrights, so that we get paid for our work. We can control where it goes and who sees it.

But we cannot control how people will react to it. And if they decide they love our work—whether we love that particular story or not—we need to honor that. And if they hate it, we need to make sure we do not let that hatred influence our future work.
The easiest way to do that is to realize that once the work is in the wild, it is no longer ours. It belongs to everyone who reads it, everyone who reacts to it.

Kris Rusch

In this industry, it is true that readers and critics will often look at your work and compare it (negatively) with the best there has ever been. They’ll say, “Yeah, that David Farland is good, but he’s no Tolkien.” If you’re really fortunate, they might even think that (according to their own tastes) you are the best.

But I think that comparing yourself to others can be unhealthy. The truth is, as a writer, I don’t want to be the next Tolkien or Rowling or Shakespeare. I want to be unique—me. Ultimately, that’s all that I ever can be, and so I try to gather as much wisdom as I can from other writers as I struggle to become the best version of me ever.

David Farland

I finally came to the realization that despite the wisdom and good intentions of these publishers, at the end of the day, they can only make an educated guess. The dirty little secret in publishing is that publishers are just throwing spaghetti against the wall. Publishers don’t know what readers want to read. Only readers know that and often, readers don’t even know what they want to read until it comes out of nowhere and smacks them upside the head. I imagine the hundreds of thousands of authors who came before us just like us who stared into this abyss of failure, whose dreams of publication were crushed by publishers. I imagine the millions of books that would die with those authors, unpublished and unread. I imagined the literary masterpieces hidden in those books that would forever be lost to humanity, undiscovered like buried treasure because these writers were never given a chance.

Mark Coker

So right from the start with fiction writing, we are in a battle with the world around us and ourselves. I could spend an entire chapter listing all the crap we all were trained about fiction writing. I did some of it in books called Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing. All of us took in most of that crap in in one form or another.

You know. From things like: “You can’t make a living writing fiction.”

And then there is the big one: “You must rewrite everything.”

(I bet that hit a few belief systems right there. Taught belief systems.)

We all learned chapters full of silly stuff that actually has nothing to do with the creative process in fiction writing.

Dean Wesley Smith

Wouldn’t it be nice? But alas, there are no recipes. We have no Julia Child. Successful professional writers are not withholding mysterious secrets from eager beginners. The only way anybody ever learns to write well is by trying to write well. This usually begins by reading good writing by other people, and writing very badly by yourself, for a long time.

There are “secrets” to making a story work — but they apply only to that particular writer and that particular story. You find out how to make the thing work by working at it — coming back to it, testing it, seeing where it sticks or wobbles or cheats, and figuring out how to make it go where it has to go.

Ursula K. Le Guin

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Errata corrige: the previous week I actually wrote 11K. Last week only 6K, but I have reached a 440K yearly total and still have plenty of stuff to write in the next two months and a half. The less words are also because I started a new strip, and those have less words but more work on the drawings, LOL!

So this is one of the protagonists of the new strip – Star Minds Kids – and here you have a work-in-progress showing the birth of that particular strip. It’s similar to the ones I’ve done for Silvery Earth Kids. It was an upcoming anthology that spurred my imagination – very close to the deadline, even though I had been told about it months ago.

Nothing like a deadline to spur your muses into action, right? Next I’ll do something with the Cosmic Corsairs I already told you about and then develop that strip in the coming months. Again, it’s probably for next year. I guess that’s my way of procrastinating on the prose at this time, LOL!

I’m still trudging through my contemporary story and have jotted down notes for another short story that might take precedence when I’m done lettering the Silvery Earth Kids. I need to finish a proof of the English version before Friday, so I can order it on Lulu and receive it next week.

I plan on checking the paperback for changes and stuff, and then I want to take it to Lucca Comics and see if some publisher wants the Italian version before I go indie. So I might do little writing this week, but some projects need wrapping up! 🙂

Some links: 6 effective ways to treat depression – still have to sign up for a dance class or some other kind of moving with music, but there’s so much going on right now, that I’m not sure I want to start something yet. Maybe in November, maybe in January. We’ll see.

For the indie writers out there – the (in)famous 7 Kindle Keywords: use all 50 characters or not? I’m probably totally misusing those keyword spaces, but I really have trouble finding sentences for my books. Even when I went through the various books to update the manuscripts, I didn’t really add anything to those fields… I should have, I know. Sigh.

I know that my WHY has nothing to do with publishing and all that stuff. The beating heart that keeps my muse alive definitely doesn’t care about algorithms and ads and all that publishing stuff! 🙂 In fact I think I mentioned I have publishing fatigue, more than writing.

6 ways to stay productive in a creative slump – I think I’ve done some of these things even before reading the article, but it’s a good summary/reminder. I think I mentioned spending too much time doing research and not enough writing. Reading for research and not for entertainment.

Well, after discarding a few samples, I started reading a novel for entertainment. It’s traditionally published, but has plenty of mistakes. So I guess we can really live without traditional publishers. And the eBook was cheap, but is not very well formatted IMHO… but I shall tell more about it in my end of the year recommended list (or on Bookbub, since now my book recommendations are there and not on Goodreads)! 🙂

And a new story is up on Infinite Bard! 😉 Have a great week! 😀

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