Writer Wednesday


And the third “youngster” is out! This is Jes-syd, Iso-bel’s ex-boyfriend, and he’s a hacker in the truer sense of the word (not a security cracker)! πŸ™‚ Star Minds Lone Wolves – Hacker is now available as ebook at the usual suspects… and no WiP of the cover, since he wasn’t on a cover before.

And he isn’t inspired from a drawing either. I debated between two models and ended up choosing the one that looked more like the description I gave of him in Iso-bel Aya Shermac. I had seen that guy first and wrote the story with him in mind, so this time no NeoStock model for our Sire hacker! πŸ™‚

One young man, two passions: computers and Iso-bel Aya Shermac.

Jes-syd lost his home planet at twenty, and with it his beloved girlfriend who survived but vanished on him without explanations. Five years later he works at the Serenaide Labs and has a new girlfriend, another survivor like him, but things don’t go smoothly between them.

The Tech Fair and a visit from Ypsilanti bring the news that there are more survivors on the dead planet, hidden underground in what’s left of the Vaurabi Labs. Jes-syd’s mother made it with a few more and Jes-syd hopes to get back with Iso-bel again – whenever he manages to find her and give her the good news.

A young Sire survivor who loves computers and his first and only love, a lone wolf hacker who is trying to fight his own grief. A Star Minds universe standalone story of hackers, crackers and survivors.

Bonus story: Wonder Man or how Hariel earned his Codename

And last week I wrote 11K of Hariel, our Wonder Man and the eldest of the future team. I hope to finish his story this week, so I can write a couple more team stories to submit to trad markets before the end of the month. I’m at 292K, so pretty much on schedule to reach my goal of half pulp speed before the end of the year! πŸ™‚

For those of you who arrived late and have no idea of what I’m talking about, here’s Dean’s post about pulp speed. I’ve been trying to reach 500K since 2015 and it seems that this year I’ll finally reach the goal. And I hope to sustain it for the coming years.

And for those of you who just joined, I shall remind you that some books are discounted at Smashwords only for the month of July, if you want a taste of how I write. Or you can subscribe to the bimonthly newsletter and get some free short stories as well as the news from this writer if you can’t be bothered to follow me on Social Media or this blog.

David Gaughran on Amazon Algorithm – whatever that means. I don’t bother with it anymore. Obsessing with sales just hurts my head, so I don’t care anymore. Although I’m happy when I see those spikes at some retailer! πŸ˜‰ Also, I certainly want to be a long term writer! πŸ˜‰

And being a writer who has dabbled in screenwriting, I can tell you this review of Save the Cat is spot on. I haven’t read the book itself, but if it’s for screenwriters, it’s NOT for fiction/prose writers. Trust me. I tried it. I have a cinematic prose, I thought I can easily turn it into a movie screenplay… not! So unless you’re trying to break into Hollywood, just ignore that book! πŸ˜‰

Now I would like to take your time to read the last instalment of Adventures of a first-time editor about the Anthology Workshop. What, you don’t want to join the Writer Club? Bad writer, you! I hope to see you in 2020 at the Anthology workshop. Unfortunately I can’t afford those offline workshops more often than every three years, sigh.

Now I better go back to writing… have a great week! πŸ™‚

 

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Writer Wednesday


And since I was reading so much sci-fi, I decided to keep writing sci-fi – well, science fantasy, since that’s what Star Minds is. So I will write more stories of Star Minds Lone Wolves in July then we’ll see. Because I don’t have to do research for those and I even re-read some of the older books (which meant I had to make a last minute change to the latest title) while looking for a story.

And after Icy Aya, please welcome Shanell! πŸ™‚ Our starship pilot, that you first met in Star Minds Third Generation Snippets or you can find in the upcoming anthology Sci-fi Stories – Starships, finally has her short novel! Here’s the birth of the cover with the evolution from Techie Bro’s version to the current one – a change of look and starship that was already hinted at in Adventurer.

David Farland answers the question Does Social Media Work? You know the answer, don’t you? Nope, nope and nope! Not anymore! Especially not Facebook! πŸ˜‰ So let’s start thinking outside the box (and ignoring those Facebook “suggestions” that only want you to spend some money on Facebook ads). How? Dunno. Experiment.

I’m keeping this blog active and the publisher’s page updated. Does that help? Dunno. Too early to say. But if you want some predictions on where social media are going, check out this forecast. I look forward to less self-promotion and more effortless self-expression! πŸ™‚

I will mention today is the day Sci-fi July Redux aaaand Sci-fi Stories – Starships go live! Go grab them! Fill your e-readers with some sci-fi for a thrilling summer! πŸ™‚ Yes, even bundles don’t sell that much anymore. I guess we saturated the market… Not sure about the anthologies, since mine never sold much… but after spending a long weekend curating the next, I sure hope you’ll at least check them out! πŸ™‚

Also, I enrolled some books in the Summer/Winter Sale at Smashwords… go check all the authors participating! πŸ™‚ Useless to put my own profile, since it doesn’t show in the list which are discounted and which aren’t… I made a list on the publisher’s site! πŸ™‚

Last but not least, What I Learned by Dean Wesley Smith… from him and Kris Rusch I learned what Harlan says: Money flows TO the writer! Not that I’m getting much yet… sigh! But it’s the year of writing and being halfway, I’m at 270K, so… I’ll just keep writing. And maybe publishing, LOL!

Have a great week! πŸ™‚

 

Writer Wednesday


Productive weekend meaning I finished a first rough draft of the vampire novel, I uploaded the first Star Minds Lone Wolves book and put together the first sci-fi anthology. 13K written, 3 covers (including the one for the bundle Sci-fi July Redux) and formatting that had to be redone Monday morning because 1) I found typos and 2) I hadn’t set up the title right, so it had been rejected at Draft2Digital.

So, here’s the universal link for Adventurer (Star Minds Lone Wolves) and the pre-order universal link for Sci-fi Stories – Starships! πŸ™‚ The latter still has no cover on Amazon (sigh) but hopefully our man at BundleRabbit will solve the issue by the time this goes live.

The first cover – you heard about it on Sunday. The second cover is again by Techie Bro, one of his first, and newsletter subscribers already saw it on Starship Pilot which is also the story included in the anthology.

Now stay tuned, because you’ll soon hear more about Shanell. Her novel (and new look) will be revealed in July with the second sci-fi anthology.

The first three Star Minds Lone Wolves books will come out during the summer, but the next three probably next year. And I’ll have to do a few more composite covers of stock photos for my team in this sub-series of my science fantasy saga.

For the paperbacks be patient, you know I don’t like ordering them during the summer… πŸ˜‰

Now, some writerly links! 5 ways to spice up your Amazon book pages – if you have time. I might do it for the newest titles, but not right now, LOL!

And setting free the Sacred Cows of Writing Advice which can then take you (if you haven’t seen them already) to Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing and Indie Publishing. Chuck Wendig might have lacked the courage to slaughter the Sacred Cows of Writing Advice, but Dean Wesley Smith has no qualms whatsoever! πŸ™‚

My apologies to my Hindu friends. Know that in the latest vampire book, Kris and Kiran finish a poor sacred animal who has been hit by a car (black cow in a black night) and has been left to die on the side of the road. And I saw at least two of those when I did my tour of Rajasthan, so don’t say it doesn’t happen, okay? πŸ˜‰

And yes, it was also in my fan-fiction crossover Indian Moon – which, by the way, is now slightly outdated, but I might add it at the end of the book anyway as a curiosity… Along with The Raven, published in Nightly Bites Volume 2! πŸ™‚

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

Writer Wednesday


And 17K last week! πŸ™‚ Told ya. When I’m in the middle of a project, I go fast. I even had a non-writing day because, you know, life and stuff. And at some point I was procrastinating because I felt it was a boring chapter. Then it went smoothly, but boy was I making excuses! πŸ˜€

I probably need to write a side story to this one, because two of the protagonists of the previous novels have very little spotlight in this one, and since are one-POV novels, I can’t squeeze in their scenes or have them TELL the whole thing. So I just hinted at it, and then I will write something that goes with it, from their points of view – yes, two, since it’s a romance, LOL!

I’m also working on more anthologies and bundles, so stay tuned for a very busy publishing July! πŸ˜‰ I’ll also start formatting and preparing the next title next weekend. Stay tuned for the return of Iso-bel Aya Shermac!

Now some funny advice on the (in)famous Kill Your Darlings by Chuck Wendig! Do, but don’t. As usual, take any advice with a grain of salt… And then I found this CreateSpace vs. KDP Print. I’m sticking with CS for now and until they dismiss it completely. Then we’ll see.

Now back to writing. And checking the editor’s files. And formatting. And making covers. What a busy week! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday


And as usual when I’m in between projects, I wrote less than what I was supposed to write last week, but now I’m well into the novel and hopefully I should churn out those 40-50K quickly enough to write another short story before the end of the month. I still have one on submission, and before I start sending out the new ones, I want to see if that one sells.

Also, I’m done reading my friend’s stories (he did it! 30 stories in 30 days! Yay!), so I hope to have more time to read other stuff – besides the research reading, that is. I may try to catch up on those bundles, some of which are no longer available… by the way, during the creative weekend I had time to make a bundle trailer for Thieves, go check it! πŸ™‚

Translated from an Italian article: “Today we shouldn’t look at Amazon as just the biggest e-commerce in the world, but like a real search engine. Once upon a time it mattered to rank high on Google, today the aim for authors, entrepreneurs and businesses is to rank high on Amazon because with more that six hundred millions of registered users with a credit card, it’s theΒ  most powerful search engine of theΒ  world.”

And still, for authors, Amazon has a lot of problems. Book stuffing, clickfarms and all that stuff David Gaughran keeps warning us about. And speaking of warnings, only you can kill your writing.

And thank you for NOT liking my Friday post, either you’re NOT writers, you’re indies like me (good people) or you’re as deaf as the young author I tried to warn through private message on Facebook. Doesn’t matter to me, I’m not going the agent way, but if you get bitten, I’ll shake my head and say “Told you so.”

Anyhow, you have Dean’s opinion on the agents scandal and the many deaths of a fiction writer. I haven’t experienced any of those yet, but never say never! πŸ˜‰ That’s why I haven’t quit the darn day job yet and I don’t want Mr Writing to be the sole source of income in this household.

So while I celebrate our 40 years together, I’m still looking for alternatives. After I get rid of some stuff, either through eBay or Etsy, I need to find something else, be it translations or maybe book covers or book trailers. Although even for the latter I use Windows Movie Maker, and all the pros would say it sucks. Sorry, not moving to Mac either, I have enough trouble with the various Windows versions and some Linux.

The latest creative weekend brought back a friend who started commenting on my Trust tablet (the cheapest on the market, miles away from a Cintiq or any other kind of tablets for digital painting) and which Photoshop I use and if I can use masks (yes, he taught me, LOL!) – I do not need to upgrade those, since my digital painting abilities will always be limited and I’m sure I can do photomanipulation even with an old Photoshop 7.0 – opening the layered PSDs with Photoshop Elements 11 that is newer.

So yeah, lots of pondering to do besides writing. And I really don’t want to go through another burn out for rewriting hell, so I’ll just keep going. Now I better go back to writing! Have a great week! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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 draftsΒ  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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜€

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! πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ˜€

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? πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ˜‰ 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! πŸ™‚

Now back to writing and prepping the next bundle… Have a great week! πŸ˜€

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! πŸ™‚ Lots of very good advice for writers too – and remember, writers write! πŸ™‚

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

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