Writer Wednesday


Even though last week I wrote less than 10K (in between projects it’s normal), I have still accumulated enough to be on track to reach my 500K goal. Now working into turning an 8K story into a novella for Tor and having fun exploring a new fantasy world! 🙂

If you’re still wondering how to do it, here Dean explains what it means to cycle and create clean first drafts. My process is slightly different, but having spent one year in rewriting hell with Books of the Immortals – Air (about 10 years ago), I went back to being a one-draft writer since.

My critical voice never managed to grow. I’ve been writing mostly single drafts  for forty years now, and even the few stories I rewrote are redrafts with more experience on my shoulders – or because I switched languages. I still read like a reader, which might slow my learning process, but I’m a slow reader and I want to enjoy the experience, not study how others did it.

So I do a first clean draft and leave it alone before sending it off to the proofreader because I want to go back to it and experience it as a reader. I might tweak things here and there, usually plot stuff or adding forgotten setting descriptions, but it’s definitely NOT a rewrite.

That’s what works for me – even for The Fern and The Cross I only did minor tweaks (it had British spelling and was originally intended for a different pen name) before putting it on Kindle Scout and now on pre-order. If you were a scout, Amazon should have told you about it. It goes live on June 1st on all retailers.

What to write next? Chuck Wendig helps – sort of. Not a problem that I have, considering all the projects currently percolating in my head! But it’s good advice, so go check it.

Are ebooks dying or thriving? You decide. I love my Kindle for novels, but still read non-fiction and comics on paper. As for paying it forward, wait for more authors to be guests on this very blog! 🙂

I might also start newsletter swapping since the majority of my subscribers are okay with it. And I do trust my creative voice (like I said, my critical voice never fully developed – happens when you write in the age of the typewriter with no contacts with the outside world! ;)).

Now I only need to develop the 4 critical mindsets to make a living with writing! And there’s always time to start a writing career… cuz writing actually improves with age and life experience!

Oh, and if you couldn’t follow the live webinar on marketing by D2D and Reedsy, here’s the link! Have a great week! 😀

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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! 😉

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! 😀

Writerly links! David Gaughran is still everywhere, I wonder if he’ll show up at Dublin 2019 worldcon next year! 😉 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! 🙂

Oh, and… Happy Birthday, Smashwords! 😀 Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday


Might be because I’m off DayJob, but last week was quite productive. Over 15K written and another project wrapped. I started on the third in the series and because I didn’t remember something about a secondary character, I went to check Star Minds Third Generation Snippets… and had two rewrite the ending of #1 (minor changes on #2). Glad I haven’t published any yet, LOL! 🙂

Still off DayJob this week, so I hope to have a good headstart with #3, maybe even get close to the end, so I that I have time to squeeze #4 into May as well. It’s another generation, but he does meet all three protagonists of the other books, so I might end up with a 4-books box set at the end of the year.

It’s short novels, mind you. The first is 55K, the second 32K. The third will probably be around that lenght (30K). All together they’ll be like Star Minds the Trilogy in length – which works well for paperbacks (not-quite-a-doorstopper but still almost 500pages long).

Anyhow, we’ll see. I have ordered a few books I need to read for Post-Apocalypse Chronicles Book 2, and I’ll post an image as soon as the last one gets to me. But I also need to reed 3 paper books for the next vampire novel, so in June that’s what I’ll be doing. And then July POC2 and then I’ll get back to the Heroines, unless some shorter work decides to become a real short novel in the meantime…

And by the end of the year I’ll have reached my goal of writing 500k! 😀

Oh, by the way, I curated another bundle! With all that extra time off DayJob I put together the Thieves bundle with eleven novels (a couple short ones) at 8$! So the vampires are gone, you can now enjoy some thieves – all night creatures, ain’t they? Sometimes, LOL!

Writerly links! Joanna Penn reports from the London Book Fair. I went there once in 2007. Things have changed so much in publishing since, that I kinda look forward to going again. Here’s to hoping I can make it next year. Oh, and “comparisonitis“… ever heard of it? Lots of words of wisdom here too! 😉

Then we have David Gaughran’s presentation of his book Strangers to Superfans. If you want to hear a less biased view, my guest Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli did a long review of From Strangers to Superfans. Very well worth a reading (the review, I mean).

Considering that I still need to read both Let’s Get Digital and Let’s Get Visible (I have older versions and won’t get the new ones – don’t ask) aaand Mastering Amazon Ads… but at least I’ll know what to expect next year when I get back on the publishing wagon (although… guess what? Things may change in the next months, LOL! But I’ll get the revised version when I’m ready!).

And that’s all for today! Have a great week! 😀

Writer Wednesday


Less productive week inbetween projects, I still tend to take a day off to check the previous work and prep for the second. Except I’m adding stuff in while I write the “companion”, so I’m waiting to re-read the whole draft until I’m done with both. Still having fun with those characters and even found models for the covers – one will be NeoStock, the rest will be DepositPhoto. So yeah, I’m also making mock covers, prepping for the summer, LOL!

Although the Silvery Earth covers are still illustrations (by the Awesome Federica Manfredi), but for sci-fi I’ll move to composites. Except the Post-Apocalypse Chronicles, whenever I get to writing book 2 (hopefully as soon as I wrap up these Star Minds novels) I’ll order the cover to the same artist who did Brainwaves. Gotta be consistent in the series, right? 😉

And we’ve got sales! Bundles sales! Spring Surprise is on sale until April 28. The Immortals and the Vampires of the World are on sale from 24 to 30 April. It is also the last week for Vampires of the World, it will be archived in May, so get it NOW! Only 3.99$ for 8 awsesome vampire novels!

And we got a batch of writerly links! 🙂 First, Chuck Wendig entered an Amazon Bookstore! Yes, you read it right, a brick-and-mortar Amazon bookstore! Can you believe it? Those shelves look great, by the way.

David Gaughran on giving a voice to Indies AND how to make killer promo graphics in Canva – the one above is still plain old Photoshop 7.0, but we’ll see! 😉 And if the demon of self-doubt bites you, Johanna Penn and writing and the fear of judgment. I obviously don’t fear judgment, but I do get self-doubt every now and then – with the umpteenth rejection, reading a much better writer, etc.

But then, scientists link depression and anxiety to high creativity, so… Even though I don’t say it out loud, I do have bouts of depression and anxiety. If it’s the price to pay for creativity, I’m okay with it! 🙂

Now back to writing and prepping the next bundle… Have a great week! 😀

Writer Wednesday


And another week has gone by! Time sure is flying, innit? (I know there must be an apostrophe somewhere, but my British English is quite rusty. Damn Yankees). Checking wordcount for the first quarter, I’m a little over 100k for the first three months, so still a little behind. But I will catch up now that I’m writing two things at the same time (while thinking about the next two, LOL!).

I had to order another proof, so for the paperback of Falls of the Southern Kingdoms you’ll have to be patient for a few more days. And please go nominate my historical novel on Kindle Scout. I can’t keep track of stats, but they tell me it’s not a problem and they’re aware of it (see below).

Dear Barb,
Thanks for your email.
I’m sorry for the trouble you had with the stats feature of our program. Our technical team is aware of this problem and is working hard to fix it as soon as possible.
Rest assured that this will not affect your book’s chances of getting reviewed by the Kindle Scout team and potentially selected for publication. If your book has been shortlisted, you’ll receive a personalized manuscript feedback report from us when your campaign has ended, and once the publishing decision has been made.
Thanks for your patience while we fix this problem.

So I’m being patient, it’s only another 20something days. And then we’ll see. I didn’t manage to build a self-publishing empire yet, but I don’t write romance. If you do, please check how Marie Force did it! 🙂 Lots of very good advice for writers too – and remember, writers write! 🙂

Now I’m going back to my writing cave… Have a great week! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


Aaand another bundle is out! Spring Surprise which includes Quests Volume 1 and other awesome books, curated by A.L. Butcher! 🙂 Go check it!

I’m formatting and preparing Nightly Bites Volume 2, so last week I wasn’t supposed to write with that and some traveling… except I wasn’t happy with the story I wrote for the anthology, so I wrote a new one! 🙂 A special thanks to Alex Butcher for checking the typo faeries on that one!

Hopefully I’ve caught all the typo faeries in this anthology, but if I didn’t… well, you know those pesky thingies, don’t you? Have mercy on a poor curator! 😉 Soon I’ll be able to share at least the ebook links, in the meantime you can see a preview on the anthology page

I also checked that historical novel… not as bad as I remember it, so we’ll see. Now I’m off into the new writing project, but since this year I’m experimenting also with publishing… you’ll probably see them all at the same time!

This summer I celebrate 40 years of writing, so it might be good timing to publish a few new titles all at the same time. We’ll see what I have ready then! Probably some Silvery Earth, some Star Minds and then we’ll see. I made some kind of writing schedule, but I also want to curate more bundles and anthologies, so it’s still not set in stone.

Writerly links! I told you about my week at the anthology workshop last year, right? Well, here’s an even deeper insight on what you do. I am not an editor (and probably won’t be, just a curator for those collaboration anthologies), but I was a writer with Ron and his daughter last year (and yes, they sold, I didn’t, LOL!), so I can confirm everything he says! 🙂

I’m facing some self-doubt these days, especially since I’m reading those bundles and find so many fine writers I sometimes wonder why I keep bothering (publishing, not writing, of course!), so here’s Joanna Penn’s advice for those days.

And that’s all for today! Have a great week! 🙂

 

 

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! That Diabolic Shrimp who reviewed my book! And he’s a writer too! I thought his latest cover was awesome, and I invited him over. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Joshua Grant!

Where do you live and write from?

I live and write in the United States in the beautiful mountainous state of Colorado.

Why do you write?

My writing has always stemmed from boredom. I love reading books, watching movies, and playing video games, but when I ran out of material I enjoyed, I just decided to write my own. I love making a story with worlds and characters that I personally love. But as I wrote, I found that writing gave me a deeper perspective or moral issues too. Thus, in addition to being entertaining, I love to have a complex moral issue at the heart of each of my books.

When did you start writing?

I started writing in 8th grade when my English teacher, Mrs. Munos, assigned a short story to us. I did some dorky horror story with people snowmobiling across another planet, but my teacher left a kind note on it that encouraged me to keep going. I then began my journey in earnest when I was bored after a test and began writing my first attempt at a book.

What genre(s) do you write?

I bounce around the genres, but mostly write Horror, Sci Fi, and Fantasy, most of which is geared toward Young Adult. I like to sprinkle a lot of humor throughout my writing as well.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I’m kind of a weird creature of habit. I take a nice long walk around the neighborhood where I let my thoughts wander. I then come home, sit at the kitchen table, sharpen two pencils, and just go to town. I never make a plan, but typically have the whole book plotted out in my head before I even begin. When I finish writing everything long hand, I type it up as my first level of revision. I then usually shelve it for six months before going back and revising it several times before publishing.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

One of my biggest strengths as a writer is persistence. I never write anything that I wouldn’t love reading myself. My love of my own stories and characters, and the twists I love to throw in, give me the juice I need to finish a novel in the first place.

I’m a very visual person. This is a great benefit as it gives me an edge in my descriptions. I love describing stuff in my novels and feel like a do a pretty good job while maintaining a balance between description and story flow.

Another one of my strengths is through creating likeable characters. I’m a huge people person, am a sensitive guy, and love to laugh and joke with people. I try to translate a lot of these qualities into characters to try to make them both believable and enjoyable to read.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

Most of my inspiration comes from other books, or movies and video games. My horror book Pandora was influenced by the Resident Evil video game series. I wanted to create a book that captured the gritty feel of playing those games and trying to survive. I also wanted to create an imaginative and creepy environment filled with horrifying creatures.

On the reverse end, my YA fantasy novel The Fifth Ascendant was inspired by things like Final Fantasy or The Last Airbender. I wanted to capture the quirky humor of those series as well as the spiritual and deep emotional impact.

Of course, in all my series I write a lot of emotion with some kind of deeper meaning at the heart of things. I put myself in my stories in the sense that a lot of their emotions or struggles come from something in me, or something I’ve had to go through. Most of the characters have some part of me in them (but then there are some characters I just write for the fun of it and have nothing to do with me).

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I make a general outline in my mind for each book. Most chapters are already planned out in my head before I start writing. But as I write, stuff usually comes to me and then I improvise. Some of my best twists and plot points emerged as I was in the middle of writing something. It all just have to feel right. As far as writing speed, it varies. I generally write a chapter every two days. The longest thing I ever wrote, The Fifth Ascendant, was written in two months (the revising took much longer though).

Tell us about your latest book

My latest novel, The Fifth Ascendant, is by far my favorite thing I’ve ever written. The emotions, humor, and overall story are a huge part of my heart. I was very much inspired by the Final Fantasy series, as well as anime like Avatar: The Last Airbender when I wrote it, and tried to capture a lot of the fun characters and witty interactions those series offered. Check it out below if you’re interested!

The world of Drina is on the brink of destruction.

Twelve year old Kal’s dreams have grown dark. A missing Ascendant. The deaths of imperial soldiers at the hands of terrible monsters far below Skytown. It all must link back to the mysterious powers of his upcoming Ascendancy or perhaps his newfound visitor, a kid that only he can see—but none of it can prepare him for the adventure of self-discovery and world shattering consequences he’s about to be hurled down.

Nash, Ruka, and Jia are all on a top secret mission for the Heretic cause, a mission that could save their people and maybe the entire world—but one of them has a secret, a dark and tangled past that could doom them all.

Magic, humor, outrageous heists, horrific monsters, and yes, a fur bearing trout and a pickle are all along for the ride in this manic quest to keep the world of Drina from descending into darkness.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Once upon a time, I was dead set against ever self publishing. I wanted to go the traditional route and tried hard at it for several years. The climate and market of writing has changed vastly since then. In recent years, it has become a much better option to publish Indie, but only as long as you’re willing to play the long game and put a decent amount of time and effort into marketing. Now I’m an indie author and can’t ever imagine going back. The freedom and complete control of the entire process is liberating and challenges me to grow as a person. In many ways it pays better to you as an author as well. It fills me with a greater sense of pride when I actually sell something too, knowing that every part of that product was mine. I absolutely love it!

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I have a cagillion projects I’m working on at the moment. I’m working on three different series simultaneously, but I have a certain strategy for releasing them so they’re not all at once. I published The Fifth Ascendant this year and am currently writing its sequel, The Sixth Ascendant. I’ll be releasing the sequel to Pandora in the Fall, another horror book called Jericho where a man, his son, and a police officer they’ve never met all find themselves trapped in a desperate situation to survive the darkness that has befallen a small town. I will also be releasing a collection of short fantasy stories this year called Silly Tales from Albanon. Each humorous story follows a different character, from an adventurous gnome, to an Orc detective, to even a teddy bear assassin, all of which builds towards a surprise ending.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

Each of my novels simply tries to capture certain emotions and examine a moral issue. When I feel like I’ve accomplished this, I publish it. I want to entertain people and make them feel something, but ultimately I create novels to satisfy something in myself.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Great writers write. It’s simple, but the message is powerful. You just got to believe in yourself and keep going. No great book was ever produced without a healthy amount of perseverance.

*****

Find Joshua online and join the shrimps of his tank (including yours truly) at Diabolic Shrimp

Writer Wednesday


First of all a big thank you to my Goodreads friends Joshua and Xia Xia *waves madly* your purchase of the Young King on Amazon on two different days made two very nice spikes on an otherwise very flat graphic! 😉 And someone followed you – from the UK and Canada for Joshua and someone from Italy who bought 4 of my books on the same day as Xia Xia. Thank you! 😀 Hope you both enjoy the short story, will leave a review and maybe help spread the word! 🙂

Since we’re on the sales topic and I got the 1042s from D2D, I did a quick check on Amazon, Smashwords and D2D. 2014 was the best year on Amazon and D2D, the worst on Smashwords. Since then, Amazon earnings are going down, D2D and Smashwords slowly up. Not going KU anytime soon, no matter what others say. Might work for you, but obviously not for me! 🙂

But I’m not going to bother with sales (much) this year, more with wordcount. Draft zero of Heroines book 2 is around 46K, but I hope to make it 50K this week + the appendix. Then I’ll probably get back to the spy story and finally expand it enough to call it a novel and start working on Nightly Bites Volume 2.

Then it’s going to be March, and I haven’t decided the next project yet, LOL! I also should start sending out the short stories I wrote in January… been a little lazy… okay, got work to do this weekend! 😀

Sorry I didn’t have time to read other blogs, but I’m editing Heroines 2 which doesn’t leave me much time to read… if something was really unmissable, I’ll post it next week! 🙂 Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday


yay! Now I better add Dropbox and start using it…

Well, then, even though Brand New Writing Computer has just arrived, last week I wrote 16K. It pays to write longer works, doesn’t it? I’m probably halfway with this one and hopefully will wrap it up by next week. But, like I said, I won’t publish much for the first half of the year – although the second half might be quite crowded! 😉

And Celebrating Male Lovers is live! Happy Valentine! Sorry I never cared much for this holiday, but if you do, enjoy your day with your beloved, man or woman or whatnot. Soon another bundle will come out, so stay tuned…

If you’re a writer and want your books in a bookstore (and a physical one at that) or libraries, please support this Kickstarter. I saw the shop with the previous owner and look forward to seeing it again whenever I make it back to the Oregon Coast (hopefully in 2020). They even added something extra for writers! 🙂

So, indie authors, get ready for a bright future. Of course there are still a few things wrong with indie publishing (either listen to the podcast or read the post about What’s wrong with Indie Publishing), but if you can get productive (here’s a good strategy for you) and find a good cover designer (or even a place with stock photos for your genre) or help an artist by ordering her commissions, you’re one step ahead.

Me, I’m taking it easy this year. I keep hearing contrasting things about AMS and FB ads (someone even suggesting to stop blogging – which I might do, eventually, if I run out of things to say) and I certainly don’t want to spend weeks watching AMS dashboard and tweaking keywords, so not for me, not at this time.

Not audio either, since I don’t seem to be able to connect my D2D titles directly to Findaway Voices that seem to have problems on certain audio retailers anyway, so… I’ll stick to ebooks and paperbacks for now. And submitting short stories to traditional paying markets.

Back to writing! Have a great week! 😀

Random Friday


attempt, not the final one… It wouldn’t save the JPG, so I took a screenshot of this one!

And the publisher page has a new header! Took some working since I have an old version of Photoshop and Elements “doesn’t support layer groups and displays them in their collapsed state. You must simplify them to create an editable image” except the editable image had no layers, so I had to ask Mighty Silvano to please pull them out of the folder.

Now I should renew this blog’s header, but… maybe during the weekend, LOL!

About reading! I started a historical novel that has been on my table for almost ten years, but I’m afraid I won’t finish it. Printed books tend to have small fonts (i.e. hard to read, I stopped buying magazines for that reason) and I’d rather keep all the novels on my Kindle (which I didn’t have ten years ago or whenever I bought that book, LOL!).

Besides, it was written in the 1950s and head-hopping is really jarring (they don’t “ejaculate” anymore, but they “cried” a lot… maybe “he said, she said” isn’t so bad after all!). And I’d rather go back to the bundles I’ve been in and the ones still to come. My TBR pile will never go down… unless I do not finish the books that don’t catch me with the first chapters! 😀

On a different topic, last weekend I brainstormed while drawing – Da Muse, who else – and watched one of the DVDs I got from Amazon, with Da Other Muse (whom Americans might have admired during the Super Bowl, hopefully seeing the most dignified, manly tear, LOL!).

Anyhow, I enjoyed the Whole Truth and it’s final twist (ouch, just read the Italian titles of the latest movies. I wish IMDB didn’t read my server location). I’m not a big fan of courtroom drama, so I didn’t see hundreds of them. I could only compare it to Devil’s Advocate which was shot 20 years before that. So it was okay.

This weekend I hope to see the mess that changed title because the director refused to be part of it and is now called Exposed – we’ll see if it’s really a mess! 😉 And I got the short stories back from Mighty Editor, so I have some editing to do before starting the submission process. And if there’s time, I’ll work on the publisher’s page that still needs some tweaking (do a new header for this blog?)… Have a great weekend! 😀

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