Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote a little over 12K, and not because I had 2 extra mornings, since those extra mornings were not for writing, unfortunately. So I’ve dived into Future Earth Chronicles Book 6 and wrote whatever happened before the protagonist met the main characters of the first story arc. I did have some fun revisiting Rainbow Towns and a future North America mostly back in the hands of the First Nations – mostly.

ebook cover "Cop" (Star Minds Lone Wolves)I published another title even though nobody will buy it right now, probably. But then, it’s not as if I had dozens of rabid readers who look forward to my next book, LOL! So I’ll continue with my scheduled publishing every two weeks for the rest of the year, no matter how this goes.

I am now going to dive back into the Star Minds Universe and wrap up both the Lone Wolves and the rest of it. So now you have Star Minds Lone Wolves – Cop, in two weeks Assassin, two more weeks Spacer, then the rest of the Team‘s missions for another three ebooks, which will take us to the end of May. In June and July I’ll publish Star Minds Interregnum Volume 2 and some box sets, so stay tuned! 🙂

Also, I enrolled in the Authors Give Back sale on Smashwords. Almost thirty titles discounted 30% or 60%. Including Future Earth Chronicles, in case you wanted to try it – Book 1 is always at 99c, but now you can grab the other 4 at 1.20$each. Full list of my discounted titles on the publisher’s site. The sale goes on until April 20.

Considering the world-wide troubles, I won’t be doing any paperbacks just yet. I canceled the order for my new Kindle since they hadn’t sent it out yet, and I managed to get my parcels from the post office Monday morning before going to work. So, you better read e-books if you want. Or listen to audio. I still have 14 giveaway codes for Otherside from Findaway Voices, again only valid in US, CA and AU.

Research material

Please have a look at the Cave Creek Kickstarter if you haven’t already! I got my research books (see above), and will be writing for this… Help us reach the next streetch goal – and there are already 2 short stories for backers! 😀 Ebooks, so downloadable at any time (still saving mine to a special folder for when I’ll get a new Kindle) – this campaign closes really soon, probably hours from the time this goes live, so hurry! 😀

And if you’re on Facebook and want only readers’ news, you can now join my Street Team group, finally renamed after the poll I ran what? One month ago? Eh. Got busy, or better, distracted. I should probably add that link at the end of my books, for whoever is still on Facebook. Or you can subscribe to the publisher’s page, it’s not updated as regularly as this blog! 😉 Only for new releases or sales or other special events. So, suggested follow for readers is that one – if you’re not on Facebook or don’t follow me on Author Central, Goodreads or Bookbub, that is.

And while we wait for this to pass and for the new normal, let’s all play the Waiting Game. Here’s to hoping that this mess will bring earlier the Universal Basic Income… Have a great week! 🙂

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Image may contain: possible text that says '"And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and and exercised, and made art, and played and of listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met shadows. And the people began to think differently. "And the people healed. And, in the absence of people in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, heartless to when danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed images, and created new ways to live and heal earth fully, as they had been healed." O'Meara'

Sooo, it’s a pandemic. It won’t kill 2/3 of the world population like in my Future Earth Chronicles, but then, the unnamed pandemic of that series was only one aspect of the apocalypse. And if you’d like to read how life goes on after the apocalypse, check it out, book 1 is at 99c! 😉

What scares me is not so much the coronavirus flu but people’s behavior. As an introvert, I don’t mind staying at home, and this is probably the closest I’ll ever be to live the hermit’s life. But I miss being able to walk around. You need a permit to be out and about at this time in Italy, and until the lockdown is over.

I have a permit to go to work Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays (because Dayjob can’t shut down – yet), and another for when I need to go to the supermarket or the pharmacy or other urgent matters. I doubt going to the post office to get my parcels counts. I hope they’ll keep my Amazon purchases until this emergency is over.

Does this affect me as a writer? Kind of. The world finally stopped and everybody else’s feelings overwhelm me. I still wish I could move to a co-housing in a cold place, away from the current life and responsibility, except of course now it’s even harder than before. Writing helps, but…

Griffyndiggory wrote on Tumblr (it’s a photo, so he might have taken it from somewhere else): “My problem isn’t that my favorite characters aren’t real; it’s that I’m not fictional. I don’t want them to be real. What I desperately wish is that I could be fictional with them. It’s not that I want them here with me in this mundane and ordinary world; it’s that I want to join them in their extraordinary one.”

Yeah, coming out of those stories into the current world really sucks. But last week I managed to wrap up all the projects, and now seems a good time to go back to those Future Earth Chronicles. I still have five books to write, although they deal with secondary characters from the first five. That first arc is concluded. I wrote 11K+, bringing my yearly total so far to 95K. Might still be a little behind, but I will catch up, eventually.

me, ready to start writing FEC Book 6!

So, since you might end up locked at home like I am, no matter where you live, try to grab some books. And my British friends stay safe, since your leader believes in “natural selection” – we shall overcome! 🙂 You can get some advice from Chuck Wendig on working from home, or you can just chill with your family and watch Netflix.

Here’s how you can use your time in isolation to learn everything you wanted to. Museums and other public places now closed give virtual tours. Social distancing is not a bad thing, and yeah, it sucks to stay in in spring (northern emisphere), but again, it’s only for a few months, not the rest of your life.

I’m currently reading another bundle, the Might Have Been and trudging through Kristine Grayson’s trilogy. I managed to charge KK while I wait for the substitute, so hopefully it won’t die on me before I manage to get to the post office and grab the new one.

Oh, and the Cave Creek Kickstarter? There’s already a short story for backers, but I had to put it in a temporary folder, since I can’t put it on KK. I could read it with Kindle4PC, but I really prefer the e-ink of the normal Kindle (although the All-new Kindle – Now with a Built-in Front Light that I hope to never use, unless it’s different from what I’m thinking. I’ll know when I get mine).

Aaand there’s a new course on teachable, it’s free, so go check it. Kickstarter Best Practices for Writers is up and ongoing. I’m probably going to watch it while I pretend to study from home for DayJob… Not sure when I’ll be able to actually do it, but meanwhile I’ll start checking it!

Some writerly links: how Lawrence Block went indie because of traditional publishing stupidity. And a BBCArts article on book covers clichés – pity I don’t write in any of those genrse, but yeah, I should write my author name bigger! 😀

Author/journalist Damien Walter is running a brand new free daily open writing class. And if you want tips for writing marathons, check this article by my friend Leah Cutter!

Let’s not forget it’s Infinite Bard time again… go read the latest story and have a great week! 🙂

 

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I managed almost 17K, yay! Caught up with wordcount a little, although not completely. I also wrote another 7K between Monday and Tuesday.

And from today until next week I won’t be writing. so the total wordcount for February will be low. But I’m sure I’ll catch up in March. Besides, I’m in no hurry anymore, if I reach my goal, fine, if I don’t, I don’t care – I’ve done it, and I know I can do it again if I put my mind to it.

Same goes for publications. With what I have so far, the Star Minds Universe will cover March, April and May, so plenty of time to write more stuff for the summer months. I plan to redo the contemporary covers along with a new title as well, probably in June. I’m not sure about the paperbacks anymore, but I haven’t scheduled anything for the rest of the year yet.

When I come back from the Anthology Workshop next week, I’ll decide – publishing schedule and travel schedule. I plan on exploring more of Europe this year. I’ve never been to Eastern Europe or the Scandinavian countries (except Helsinki for Worldcon in 2017). I’ll try to fill that travel diary I started with my tour of Rajasthan in 2016 – or at least to add to it, since the previous travel journal is complete (Iceland 2005 and 2007, Scotland 2008, South Western USA 2009, Yellowstone and Glacier parks 2010 and Japan 2015) while the this one languishes, forgotten.

I might need the research for the next series – or even for the Vampires Through the Centuries. I’ll have to look for books in English about their history and folklore, if available… there wasn’t much in Helsinki’s bookshops, unfortunately. Ingolf is from 7th century Norway and since “Viking” is a term popularized in the 19th century along with “Vampire”, I call him Norseman or Norse. I’d love to see the place where his immortality adventure started. Or the Carpathian Mountains where Greek Kallisto spent most of her immortal life with Zalmoxis.

I guess I should also go to Greece at some point, since that’s where Helios and Kallisto (and the original ONE Solveig keeps looking for through the centuries) were born (either ancient Sparta BCE or Christian Greece 5th century CE), but it’s a warm Mediterranean country, so unless I find a winter tour, I’m not going there! 😉

I’m still reading the book on Medieval Africa (probably finish when I come back, though), and even if it’s more boring than the Spartans one, it’s still interesting, both for my vampires and for Silvery Earth, since at least two of the heroines are from Nera, inspired by Africa. But then, there’s still a lot to explore on that world, so more cultures to check out to make it believable! 🙂

While waiting for the new titles, here’s a list of the bundles that are still available, the anthologies I have stories in (either curated by me or by others), and the various books and series in case you feel like trying some of my fiction writing. Travel and publishing plans for March. Now off I go and you can head to the Infinite Bard to read another free story… Have a great week! 🙂

Thanks to Quiet by Susan Cain, many writers are happily claiming their introversion. I’m an introvert, which means I get my energy from being alone. I hate small talk and large groups. I’d rather think than speak, and write rather than talk. I rarely answer the phone. I’m INFJ on the Myers-Briggs scale, and many authors fit a similar model. This also means that conferences and events are tiring, so I can’t do too many of them a year. If you’re like me, then we’re super lucky these days, because online marketing suits introverts. We can attract an audience online and connect with readers, while still spending time alone.
Joanna Penn

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote almost 6K, but again, I was able to write only from Friday afternoon. Now I should be able to be back writing daily, since I finished reading for the workshop, yay! Back to the Star Minds Universe, although I might not wrap everything up before I leave – but you’ll have something coming out in March, don’t worry! 🙂

Since I’m done reading for the workshop, I started a non-fiction book I bought last summer in Edinburgh. I’ll need it for that story I have post-poned writing and I found out it’s actually perfect for Black History Month! Medieval Africa 1250 – 1800 is currently showing me that black slave trade was actually started by the Arabs long before Europeans managed to colonize Africa.

My wandering Norse vampire will probably go to the Mali Empire and sail with that emperor who vanished with his ships long before Columbus reached the New World. And he will definitely find his way back to this side of the world, since he even survived the apocalypse! 🙂

And I got another couple of rejections. It’s the third year in a row that I submit to those anthologies, and this time the reply included this note:

While we enjoyed reading the story, we have decided to pass on including it in the anthology where it was submitted.  Please keep in mind that we had over 1400 submissions and we accepted 22 stories total, so competition was tough.

Wow. Talk about competition! I guess that market will be tougher to crack from now on! One more waiting for results, as well as the coming up Anthology Workshop, then I better start sending out stuff again! 😉 I will try to be optimist and keed trying!

The publisher’s page is now safe! (or at least the home page is, doesn’t seem to work on the other pages) I asked my Awesome Webmaster to add the https to it. Eventually it will have a shop (not this year, not the next, but it’s in the future), so that’s always good. Especially with major retailers and publishers bailing on Amazon, so eventually I’ll do it too.

I should start working on the promised paperbacks, but will probably do when I come back and prepare the publishing schedule for the coming months. Stay tuned for more Lone Wolves and a makeover of the contemporary titles along with a new one. Then I’ll either go back to Silvery Earth or go with the new series. We’ll see.

And I would like to publicly thank Brit Marling for her awesome article about the strong female lead. There was always something that bugged me in the Hero’s Journey, and now I know what or why. That’s also why I don’t really write that kind of story, because I’m not interested in any of it.

So here’s to hope more women write stories for women that don’t have Lara Croft types of heroines! 🙂 Or, which might be fun, someone actually writes the Lady Hero’s Journey! 😉

Last couple of days for the Celebrating Male Lovers bundle… get it now! Leaving you with the usual writerly quote… have a great week!

We make something good, a blintz, a story, by having worked at blintzmaking or storywriting till we’ve learned how to do it.

With a blintz, the process is fairly routine. With stories, the process is never twice the same. Even a story written to the most prescriptive formula, like some westerns or romances, can be made poorly, or made well.

Making anything well involves a commitment to the work. And that requires courage: you have to trust yourself. It helps to remember that the goal is not to write a masterpiece or a best-seller. The goal is to be able to look at your story and say, Yes. That’s as good as I can make it.

Ursula K. Le Guin

 

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote 6K during the weekend only since I’m still reading madly during the week. Saturday morning was spent researching and brainstorming, but I couldn’t find the story, so I decided to write what I know and leave that story for some other time, when I can ponder it longer. Not sure I’ll send it to the anthology it’s meant for, but the deadline is March 31, so plenty of time to think about it.

Here you have an interesting article on science fiction and fantasy magazines. Although I do submit to them, I also look for specific anthologies or other venues, that usually have a Kickstarter or a Patreon to support them. I lost count of the rejections from Clarkesworld and I did try Asimov and Analog! 😉

During the weekend I wrote a couple more stories of my new series. Not sure yet if it’s going to be a novel that can be serialized or a batch of short stories that can become a novel. I’m still worldbuilding and adding stuff, so I have no idea. And if single shorts sell to trad mags, even less hurry in finishing it! 😉 I have submitted one and it was already rejected, still waiting on another two.

Now I’m back to reading, since I have two more anthos or more than 80 stories to read before I leave for the workshop. Hopefully I’ll finish in advance and I’ll have time to write some words and catch up on my wordcount… otherwise, I’ll have to do it in March! 😉

I’m also getting ideas for more collaboration anthologies, so hopefully in March I’ll prepare a couple… meanwhile, the Celebrating Male Lovers is having its final run at a discounted price. Grab it now before it’s gone. It’s the bundle that was out there for longer, since I usually took them down after six to eight months. This has been going for two years! 🙂

I don’t think I’ll do any more bundles, but more collaboration anthologies, definitely. And I might be picked up for more bundles on BundleRabbit, but I have only one pending request at the moment and I don’t know when the curator will work on it. And one day maybe I’ll get on StoryBundle, but we’ll see! 🙂

In case you’re on Facebook and you’re a reader, I’m trying to revive my author’s group. I had started it by adding a couple of friends (including Tori), but nobody actually gave a damn. Then two new people joined, and I thought, Why not? Someone mentioned she’s very active on Facebook with her readers, so I’m going to give it a try. Join the conversation, if interested. Unlike Patreon, it’s free! 😀

I also posted the Sunday strip on Saturday… damn Instagram that doesn’t allow scheduling! 😦 And since I’m kind of stuck with the second strip, I’m already considering the next… although maybe not. We’ll see. Not willing to redraw Me and Da Muses, LOL!

Still changing my mind every five minutes. I might have developed a hummingbird brain, haha! Those ideas are bouncing kitten screaming “Pick me! Pick me! Oh pick me!” like Donkey in Shrek. And it’s hard to make a priority list when nobody cares what I put out next, haha!

Glad I have my editor and proofreader booked and I need something to send her on the requested dates… I don’t mind toying with covers and formatting, it’s the launch and marketing that just flat depresses me. I’ll need to talk with my webmaster as well at some point, since there are way too many spambots on the publisher’s site, leaving unreadable comments.

Travel plans for when I come back from the workshop, though. Publishing plans as well. As well as starting to seriously decluttering the house (something I’ve pretended to do in the past months) and re-educate myself to do another job, because the DayJob is going to give me another nervous breakdown, like in 2012.

So I need to get rid of it, but can’t count on royalties to pay the bills, it would take the fun out of writing. Hence my studying other options as well as other places where I’d like to live. Another summer like the last one and I might not survive in the Roman heat! 😦

Sometimes I’m so sick of adulting that I consider convents and nunneries. Even less responsibilities than co-housing, haha! But my vocation died out years ago, so it’s probably not an option. Oh, well…

And it’s Infinite Bard time again! Hop there for the 24th free story! 😉 Leaving you with the weekly writer’s quote… have a great week!

It’s very bad advice because there exists this occasional movement toward severe austerity cuts inside fiction, as if every bit of prose should be cut down to the bone, and then the bone whittled to a spear that can be thrust cleanly through the reader’s heart. There’s nothing wrong with austerity in prose, if it’s what you seek and if it’s what the story demands. There’s also nothing wrong with adding fat to the prose in the form of descriptive language. One’s voice as an author and in terms of the book you’re writing is useful, even vital, to preserve; I often note that originality in fiction is utter bullshit, except in the area where it really matters, which is to say, YOU. You, the author, are the one original component that can be brought to a story. Your ideas. Your fears. Your preferred arrangement of elements. And, obviously, your voice.

Chuck Wendig

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote my 10K and I hope to be able to do the same this week and the coming ones, but I have a lot of reading to do. I doubt l’ll be writing much, but l’ll catch up in March.

I got my first three rejections, but also one acceptance, so the year has started well! Soon I’ll tell you everything about this upcoming anthology – as soon as I know more myself!

Did you see the Backstage Pass last Sunday? That’s my hobby, sort of! 😉 I often say that I’m a professional writer and a hobbyist artist, don’t I? And even if you are a writer (or anything else, for that matter), consider a new hobby (if you don’t already have one): it might help your career.

12 free graphic design tools for authors by David Gaughran. I was very impressed by the background removers, I didn’t even know they existed! I’ll keep using my old Photoshop 7.0, but I bookmarked Book Brush and 3D Cover Creator for future use. Or I’ll just keep using the Covervault templates, although my old Photoshop won’t read those files but I have also Photoshop Elements 10, so I can work with that. We’ll see.

Joanna Penn and Orna Ross predictions for the next decade! Listen to the podcast or read the transcript (like I do, LOL!). Looking forward to when AI voices will allow us to have multiple narrators (like, in an anthology, each author has his or her voice)! Not for this year, though! 🙂

Or you can check Smashwords 2019 Year in Review and 2020 Preview as well as Mark Coker’s predictions for 2020… lot of stuff going on, isn’t it? 😉 The future is here, let’s embrace it! 🙂

And it’s the Infinite Bard time again! Go check the new story! And here goes the weekly quote… Have a great week!

Our job is to kick all those stinky ghosts from our training all out of the office, then let our two-year-old who hasn’t been trained yet by all the critical nature of our world out to play on that white screen. The two-year-old lives in all of us.

I call it the creative voice.

And over the years that creative voice has learned story, has learned more writing skills than you can ever imagine consciously that you know. Why? Because that creative voice has been absorbing story almost from day one.

But our critical voice has one job and that is to make up stuff that could go wrong and control the creative voice, not let it use stuff that the critical voice doesn’t yet know. Because that might be dangerous.

So there is a constant battle for most writers starting out. And for early writers, the critical voice always wins.

For long-time professionals, the creative voice always wins.

See the battle there? The path you need to travel?

The creative voice is where all our art lives. And it likes to play. It doesn’t like rules. Have you ever been around a two-year-old child? They challenge everything. Parents’ job to be the critical voice, to train that child in the ways of society.

So one of the best paths to becoming a long-term fiction writer is learn to control the critical voice, shut it out of all writing decisions, and let the creative voice out to play.

Dean Wesley Smith

 

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! From the land of Alice in Wonderland’s cat… er, I mean Cheshire, England! 🙂 Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome V.L. McBeath!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Cheshire, a county in the north west of England, UK,

Why do you write? / When did you start writing?

It was never my intention to be an author. I only started writing about ten years ago as a result of researching my family history. During the process, I unearthed a number of revelations about the lives of my ancestors, which made me think they had quite a story to tell. I argued with myself for months as to whether I could write their lives as a family saga but eventually decided to give it a go. I told myself that if it was no good, I wouldn’t share it with anyone.

It took about five years before I realised I hadn’t done too bad a job and so decided to work towards publishing it. I put the first main book out in March 2017 and the final part of the series in July 2018. After spending so much time writing, I found I actually quite enjoyed it, and so decided to carry on.

What genre(s) do you write?

The first series (The Ambition & Destiny Series) is a historical family saga, set in Victorian-era England. I also have a series of historical murder mystery books (Eliza Thomson Investigates).

What does your writing routine consist of?

Most of my writing takes place in the evening. I spend most mornings at the gym, and once I get home I tend to work on the publishing and marketing side of the business. I also have a non-writing consultancy business that takes up varying amounts of time.

Of an evening, I usually give myself an hour to be sociable with my husband (LOL) and watch a bit of TV, before disappearing back to my office to spend 2-3 hours getting some writing done.

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

Obviously for the first series, all the inspiration came from my family history. The fictional elements that were worked into the story were based on my best guesses as to what might have happened between the real-life events.

For the murder mystery series, my amateur sleuth Eliza Thomson was inspired by two characters in The Ambition & Destiny Series. One was Harriet. She was a fabulous character to write about but as a woman who longed for an education and a place in what was obviously a man’s world, she had a very difficult life. In contrast, another character, Charlotte had a wealthy, dotting father and wanted for nothing that money could buy. Eliza was ‘born’ when I wondered what Harriet would be like if she’d had the same opportunities as Charlotte.

As for the murders, I suppose some of my inspiration comes from people who have annoyed me over the years!

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Definitely a planner, although with The Ambition & Destiny Series, not so much as I first thought. My original outline spread the story over nineteen chapters, and I expected to produce a short novella. In reality, the story ended up as a five-book series, with something like 400 chapters!

For the Eliza Thomson Investigates series, I have to plot everything quite meticulously to make sure I plant the right clues and red herrings as I go along and make sure Eliza can work out who the killer is at the end.

In terms of speed, that depends on the book. The historical fiction ones take longer as there is a lot more background research to do to ensure historical accuracy. Once the books of either series are plotted, however, I can now get the words written quite quickly.

Tell us about your latest book

I’ve been fortunate that The Ambition & Destiny Series has done a lot better than I initially expected, leading many readers to ask if there would be more books in the series.

As far as the main storyline is concerned, that ended in 1910 and won’t be extended. I have had a couple of ideas for spin off books though and I’m about to release a new book based on the lives of my great x4 grandparents.

Set in 1808, The Young Widow is a standalone story that can be read either before or after the rest of the series. It is currently available for preorder at a special introductory price and will be published on 27th January. In addition, as with the rest of the series, it will be available in Kindle Unlimited.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Indie!

As I was contemplating publishing my first series, I wrote a whole blog post on why I wasn’t even going to bother going down the traditional publishing route. Everything I’ve learned since hasn’t changed my mind.

In short, it’s about control. Being based on my family history, The Ambition & Destiny Series was special to me and I didn’t want to hand it over to anyone who might want to change it.

In addition, traditional publishers now do very little that authors aren’t expected do for themselves anyway. If I have to get my work edited before I submit, build up a marketing plan and have social media followers before a traditional publisher will consider me, I might as well do it myself and keep all the royalties.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes, I’m still working on the Eliza Thomson Investigates series and the fifth book in the series is also available for preorder, although it won’t be released until May 2020.

I also hope to start researching another spin off book in The Ambition & Destiny Series.

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

You can’t edit a blank page.

When you’re working on a first draft, just get the words down. It doesn’t matter if they’re not exactly right, if you repeat yourself, or if there are still gaps. That’s what editing is for and where the ‘magic’ happens. So my philosophy is to get the words down first and worry about them later.

I always do several rounds of self-editing before I send it to my professional editor and the difference between the final version and the first draft is incredible.

Follow me at:

Website: https://valmcbeath.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VLMcBeath

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/VL-McBeath/e/B01N2TJWEX/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/vl-mcbeath

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! 🙂

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