Happiness is…

Random Friday

Since the year is almost over and I probably won’t finish another book before then, I’m going to do my Yearly Recommended Reading post now! 😉 Also because it’s the time of the Small&Medium Publishers Book Fair here in Rome, but for the first time since its inception, I’m not going there every day (just today to say hello to a couple of friends).

This year I read 54 books – although 7 I did not finish – and 6 and a half were non-fiction (as are the last two). Usually the fiction is read on my Kindle (a.k.a. K.K.), while the non-fiction is on paper because it’s better for research. Unless the novel is signed, then it can be a paperback, LOL!

Anyhow, of the fiction books, here are the 5 stars I gave (in order of reading – with links to Goodreads even though I’m not putting them on my Goodreads profile. Long story, not going back there! 😉 ):

Burn Card: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery  by Dean Wesley Smith

The Last Giant  by Mario Milosevic

Dragons’ Choice (Sorcha’s Children #1) by Debbie Mumford

Against Time  by Dean Wesley Smith

Beyond Control, Interlude, Beyond Reach: Book 1 Bundle of the Beyond Saga  by Rebecca M. Senese

Fairchild  by Blaze Ward

Kings of the Wyld (The Band, #1)  by Nicholas Eames

Entanglement (Future Fiction Trends Vol. 4)  by Vandana Singh

Faring Soul (Interspace Origins #1)  by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Hollow Moon (Hollow Moon #1)  by Steph Bennion

Hydrogen Sleets: a Montague Portal novel  by Michael Warren Lucas

Sticks and Stones: A Trek Novel  by Robert T. Jeschonek

Coffee Cup Dreams  by J.A. Marlow

Mrs Funnybones  by Twinkle Khanna (not a novel, more a memoir/journal and it’s hilarious)

(you can grab the following 4 all together in Sci-fi July Redux)

Stealing from Pirates  by Stefon Mears

A Jack By Any Other Name (The Space Operetta Series Book 1)  by Lesley L. Smith

Raven Rising  by Sean Monaghan

Sector Justice  by Dean Wesley Smith

(I’d add Jorick’s origin story, but I’m not sure it’s available for public consumption yet, I got it from Patreon…)

Dancing with Tong Yi (Uncollected Anthology, #1)  by Leah R. Cutter

And the series Zeena Dragon Fae by Victoria Zigler (smashwords link cause it’s faster)!

And these are the books I’m finishing the year with – sorta/kinda research for Future Earth Chronicles.

Putting the science in fiction and 21 lessons for the 21st century (non-fiction)

Giving the list so early means you have time to request them for Christmas… so happy reading! 🙂 And have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday

So I did this writing challenge last summer… I wrote three novels in three months. The first came out in September (with a slight change of title and cover before the paperback came out, but the beta-reader hated the original title anyway, haha!), the second was the programmed vampire novel of the year, Shashank the Fledgling that went live Nov.2 and the third one…

here it is! Ladies and gentlemen, I present you Brainwaves (Post-Apocalypse Chronicles Book 1) the first title in the Future Earth series. Do not worry about the “book 1” thingy, it does end, but I already have in mind a sequel…

Bel lives in Rainbow Town, a multi-level underground settlement for survivors of the Apocalypse that wiped out 21st century civilization. She shouldn’t have a care in the world, pampered as she is by technology, but she still misses her ex boyfriend. And when she tries to contact him, he is nowhere to be found.

The Wanderlust Bug has bitten Raj who feels uncomfortable in Rainbow Town, and not only because his ex moved on. His memory losses leave him uneasy and he wishes to go out in the great unknown, even if it might mean certain death.

With the help of Shani, who has broken into the forbidden Darknet, Bel and Raj are truth seekers in a too perfect town that feels more and more like a golden prison.

A standalone post-apocalypse novel exploring the future of Earth.

The cover is by the awesome Leah Keeler who has made Bel even more beautiful than I had envisioned her, LOL! And the above pic shows how her cover fits my K.K. best… which is perfect, even though it loses its colors! 🙂 But I still love my K.K. and hope it never dies on me because the new Kindle are ugly like hell! 😉

Brainwaves is the last new title of the year, since the others won’t be ready on time. Draft2Digital suggests to upload everything before the 11th and I’m sending stuff to the editor on the 12th, so… next week I’ll prepare some box sets of sub-series of Silvery Earth in case you want to gift someone for Christmas…

And the new titles will come out in January. I have also a couple of cover artists lagging behind, so… next year for more new stuff! Well, a collection of the Fall of the Southern Kingdoms (so technically nothing new) and a couple of new titles so far. Not sure what I’ll be writing after I send out the current projects to Mighty Editor! 😉

Still making plans for the new year (I know, still one month to go, but one must be prepared, right?) and I’m wondering if anyone would be interested in a magazine of yours truly’s ramblings about the various series, with backstage and short stories and comics and stuff – all in print only, since images don’t come out very well in ebook format.

Of course the cost of paper is higher and I’d have to ask at least 4.99$ for a 150-160pp magazine… Unless I make a PDF-only version on DriveThruFiction. Thing is… will it be a failed attempt like Patreon? Should I give it a try with Issue #0 and see how it goes? Or should I just not bother and concentrate on the other projects?

Let me know in the comments. I might change the newsletter too and if I don’t do the mag, I could put more exclusive content in the bimonthly newsletter, that would then become longer… would that bother you? And if you haven’t subscribed yet, what are you waiting for? The next newsletter will go out in January anyway…

I’m full of questions today! Let’s move on! Writerly links… Mark Coker’s encouraging podcast notes (or you can listen to the podcast, if you prefer) and David Gaughran on the birth of the Kindle and its store. Still holding tight to my Kindle Keyboard, as you’ve seen above! 🙂

Last request, please share these #Instafreebie giveaways of Half-blood, Guisarme and the Painter, thank you! Now I better go back to writing… gotta wrap some projects before the end of next week. I’m afraid my wordcount isn’t very high this month either, maybe next year I’ll hit that half-pulp-speed of 500K words… that’s a goal! 🙂 Have a great week!

Happiness is…

Happiness is…

trying not to use up all the battery like it happened in February, LOL! Now back to reading! 😉

Happiness is…

119and especially this year – since I started selling when I translated my main pen name and not before! 😀

Happiness is…


Writer Wednesday

Spent the weekend drawing – my usual procrastination technique… – but now I have started the next Amazon story, based on an old story of my space Amazons that was so silly it can easily be turned into fantasy instead of sci-fi. Except it was based on dreams and we all know that dreams are wonderful… until you wake up and realize the plot is totally unbelievable. So I’ll be struggling to make this story a little more believable in a fantasy setting than what it was in the futuristic setting. Some adjustments will occur, but that’s world building, folks! 😉

I had approximately 10 “sales” (let’s say half were actually free-for-the-week e-books…) during the Smashwords e-book week and nothing on Amazon (unlike last July when during the Smashwords sale I kept selling Johnny&Marian full price on Kindle). Not that I check my Amazon rankings ever, but I do check the dashboard to see if and what I sold on KDP – just waiting for that first check to roll in! 😉

Anyhow, I’m certainly not faking my way to the top bestsellers on Amazon – I’m saying it’s my (well B.G.Hope’s) bestselling title, not that I’m trying to send it to the top. I’m not sure how other people could do it, I know I put some tags when I upload to KDP, but then sometimes the ebook shows up with other tags. Like, I have no idea who put some tags on BoI-Air (such as paranormal) – and then I realized there are no more tags on Amazon, only the category… Mystery of Mighty A. I’ve given up trying to figure it out, honestly. I better be off writing, trust me! 🙂

Kris Rusch makes another excellent post on the state of publishing and indie authors and binge reading. No, I’m not a bestseller yet, but I’m working on it, LOL! And I most certainly will stay away from Random House and it’s imprints, especially Hydra (as I do write SF/F, the other imprints I don’t care). See John Scalzi’s note to SF/F writers on Hydra. And if you write YA, you better stay away from Alibi as well.

I guess traditional publishers are losing it. Check also the interview with Harlan Coben and his advice to new writers. And John Scalzi on the power to negotiate your contract, if you really really really want to stick to traditional publishing. Although if a math-challenged like me is doing her own “business” without the help of traditional publishing, so can you.

Especially if you’re younger than me and supposedly more technological than me. Yes, there might be people who are better than you at certain things (like cover design, marketing strategy), but this doesn’t mean you should sign contracts like the aforementioned. You can always outsource some things – I do outsource covers sometimes, (this year I’ll have Cristina doing some covers for me again – she did the BoI covers in 2011, in case you’re new to this blog) and always use outside editors like Katy or Tricia or Cassie.

Of course if you don’t want to bother your pretty head with business decisions, it’s your choice. Try not to end up in court like Patricia Cornwell, though! 😉 Or see if you have the guts of Hugh Howey – read how he handled his deal with Simon&Shuster! Can you do it? Can you not sell your soul in the process? Kudos to Hugh for opening up a path for all of us – if we stick to what we really want! 🙂

One last link is to David Farland’s Daily Kick about mining for good advice. David Farland is a teacher, so he nows how to help new writers. The other person he mentions might be someone like me – a writer who writes, but is unable to tell how he does it. If you asked me the questions Hemingway got asked, you’d probably receive a shrug and a grumble in return. Teaching is a talent that I don’t have *shrug*. That’s why I’m referring you to great pros who can also teach such as David Farland, Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Katryn Rusch.

Not that anyone is asking my advice, but there were some discussions in my offline writers group about inviting an author to tell us how he wrote his one book – if he’s like me, he won’t be able to tell. 😉 Now I’m going back to writing fiction, as I’d rather be doing that. Can’t teach you much on how to do it, except just do it. Writers write. So get your butt in a chair and write. And stop whining. If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will. Happy writing! 🙂

Sunday Surprise

… and it’s a guest – albeit not the one scheduled who is postponed to next week! 🙂  Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Peter K. Lean (a.k.a. chronotraveler)!

Thanks, Barbara, for hosting on you blog my first two ‘e-book experiments’.

As you know, I am not an English native speaker writer, but I have recently felt the need to start writing in English, and … I discovered that I love it!

Moreover, I was not a writer of fiction at all; I have published only professional texts, and only in my native language, Italian. But, as they say, it is never too late to start, and during the last months of 2012, pushed by a sudden inspiration, I started to write short stories, which I am now going to include in a collection.

Thanks to the support and appreciation showed by many friends of mine (and a number of them are from UK and USA), I decided to continue writing, and I am now proud to have the first two short stories out on Kindle. They are both sci-fi stories, and one of them is an interesting exploration of the time-travel theme.

For the time being, I am publishing with a pen-name (by the way, suggested by you, Barbara), but I do not exclude, in the future, to use my real name.

And now, let’s go to the stories, that are available for free on Kindle during this weekend and the next one!

GunsThe first one is ‘The Guns of Napoleon’.

A professor of history, a mysterious scientific institute in the Russian countryside, a tablet computer. ‘The Guns of Napoleon’ is a short ‘time-travel’ story, which will lead you to an unexpected future.


GaeaThe second one – ‘Gaea’ – is, perhaps, a traditional science fiction story… but wait to read it before giving me your opinion.

The ‘Silver Belt’ is shining bright in the night sky of Earth in 3299 AD. A book is the only witness of the past times.

“Once upon a time, there was a planet called Mother Earth and she was covered with green forests under blue skies lit by the bright day sun, Sol. In those days, the seas of Earth were proud continents of water that moved in time to the heavens and the ground was so rich you could drop seeds behind you and the crops would spring up as you walked. In the evening, as Sol disappeared over the horizon, Luna, the night sun would rise to light the night sky; a hundred times larger and a thousand times brighter than any other star. For this was before the Fall; a time of wealth and plenty for everyone.”
What happened more than a millennium earlier on Gaea?

You’re wecome, Peter (says the multi-pseudonym writer), and good luck with your writing endehavor. I wish you all a wonderful Sunday… and happy reading!

Writer Wednesday

I’m writing. Draft Zero on laptop. Unbelievable. But because it’s set in the real world, I find it useful to google any doubt I might have, instead of keep writing and jotting down “check this or that” in the margins. And I’m bothering my friends with emails as well. As of Monday afternoon I had 8200words – I started last Wednesday afternoon, but after a not so clean handwritten draft of the first 2 or 3 scenes, I moved to laptop.

Monday night I was at 10600 (okay, I admit the Word wordcount feature is cool). Last night (and Tuesday is busy with the Hindi lessons, so not much time to write) I closed at 14000. That’s when I saved the last draft of this post, scheduled for this morning.

Usually my handwritten drafts are very “clean” – I just write. But in this case it was messy, so I just typed it all and kept going. And if something comes up, I just add it or correct it immediately. I also had time to re-read what I’ve done so far (yeah, busy Tuesday morning at DayJob – not!) and modified a couple of things before adding the new scenes. So now I know I can have a weekly wordcount of 14k! 😉

Ideas keep popping up to make it longer, so hopefully it will end up around 27k like the other body switch. I know, it’s not real novels, but I can’t stretch them too much. And comedies are usually shorter than dramas, and this his definitely another comedy – and a clash of cultures.

Then I’ve started the Emotion Thesaurus – but then decided it’s not worth reading it all. I read the introduction and then I keep it next to me, so I can check the emotions as soon as they happen, and adapt to each character whatever is going on. Like a dictionary. It was suggested by David Farland, by the way, and it’s a good tool for writers – maybe I can avoid some emotional cliché! 🙂

For fun, check this post about fonts. I use Times New Roman for prose and Comic Sans for graphic novels – I don’t care if people hate it, it is a comic, so it needs Comic Sans, LOL! And I’m so sick of Courier New after writing all those screenplays… and I come from manual or electric typewriters as well, so – really, enough already! I might download Celtx on laptop to write a screenplay version of the above story – if in the meantime I’ve got past my revulsion for Courier New! 😉

Now, if you want some tips from a “classic” author, here’s Hemingway. I don’t agree with everything he says, so I’ll keep doing what I want, LOL! I’ll stop when my hand aches (or my back/eyes, if I’m writing directly on Laptop), I’ll keep thinking about the story whenever I can (especially when I’m at DayJob, if I can) and I’ll barely read the last sentence written before continuing because I used to do what he did, and then got so bored with story beginnings, I ended up hating them all and knowing them by heart. Yikes. Those were the times of shorter stories, so I really started from the beginning every time I went back to writing and still it was a very clean handwrittend draft – lucky youthful naivety!

And I use pencils only for drawing, but I do use a pen for Draft Zero, normally. As for the emotions – that’s what the thesaurus is for! By the way, anyone knows how to turn off highlights on Kindle? It feels like reading a used book! 😦 Why on earth would I care what somebody else I don’t even know liked – in fiction, it’s totally useless, in non-fiction it’s even worse, because I might want to hightlight something completely different, but I’d still have a copy of the e-book with other people’s highlights. That’s why I hate buying my ebooks on Amazon… So, is there a way to turn the thing off or should I just ignore the highlights? 😦

I have also thought about “working with Neil Gaiman“, but considering the great artists already on DeviantART and being more a hobbyist artist myself, I decided to pass on this. I had found 3 stories I thought I could illustrate, but no, I don’t feel comfortable enough. I’ll collaborate with Neil Gaiman as a writer some day, sounds much better! 😉 Right, back to work. Have a wonderful week!

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