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! πŸ˜€ 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! πŸ˜‰ 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! πŸ™‚ ) 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? πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ˜€ And I’m talking about my fiction, here, not this very blog who comes to you unsupervised by any editor or proofreader… πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ™‚

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


Writer Wednesday

Another non-writerly week with a little over 3K before I was off again. I knew it would be like that. Now I need to catch up. I do NaNoWriMo all year round, unless I know I have travels! πŸ˜‰ I added another scene to Wanderlust, now I’m off with the next book.

Still going through the Business Masterclass notes as well, trying to prioritize things. But I won’t do anything before the new year starts. I have enough expenses this year already! But next year I should have no cover expenses (I have ready covers for 6 books that I still have to write), so I might try an audio book or two. And I’ll probably join Book Funnel too, to integrate it with Patreon and other stuff.

Anyhow, it’s november, so here’s how you NaNoWriMo according to Chuck Wendig. Like I said, I do it all year round, so I’m already in the habit of writing daily. If you want to start the habit, though, go for it! πŸ™‚

And if you’re already an indie author, here’s an article on crisis management for authors, we’ve all been through those, right? Amazon requesting proof of copyright and threatening to close the account or stuff like that. I don’t particularly care about reviews, although apparently they sell books.

Personally, whenever I check them on Goodreads, I read both the 5 stars and the 1 stars to decide if I want to read that book. That’s Reader Barb. Writer Barb doesn’t read her reviews most of the time (and even if she does, she never ever comments on them or “rewrite” anything just because some reader somewhere hated it).

Now I shall get back to writing and typing my notes… I am a typist, so pretty fast, if I applied more butt-in-chair, I’d be as prolific as Dean who is a slow typist! πŸ™‚ But this 500K/year goal kinda made me write more this year… I’ll have to stick with it! πŸ˜€

Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday

Last week I got my 10K down… in the next couple of weeks I’ll only have three days to write as much, but it was all in the yearly planning! October is busy with non-writerly things, but surely between November and December I can make my goal of half pulp-speed (500K).

This week I did manage almost 6800words to the end of Draft Zero… And I added some meat to make it look more like a short novel! Hopefully taking this back on the road so I can give the final touches when I get back and send it off to the proofreader the first week of November, on schedule! πŸ™‚

Are you gearing up for NaNoWriMo? I never needed it (I started writing long before NaNoWriMo was even invented and now I’m addicted, LOL) but if you want some inspiration and a great collection of non-fiction to kickstart your writing career, don’t miss the NaNo Writing Tools bundle!

Looky look! Curated by Kevin J. Anderson! And look at those guests! My own writing guru, even more prolific than me, Dean Wesley Smith! Craig Martelle of 50BooksTo50K that I hope to meet in Edinburgh next year! Joanna Penn! Kris Rusch (my other writing guru)! Blaze Ward – I met him last year! πŸ™‚

And some day I’ll meet also Jamie Ferguson, I did a small contribution to her book on bundles! πŸ™‚ It’s a StoryBundle exclusive and you should grab it now along with the other books! πŸ™‚ Whooppee!

If you’re still on the fence about trad or indie, this post by D2D gives a pretty fair view on both. Of course it’s up to you and what you want to do with your writing career, but don’t forget your writing is IP. Might feel it has no value, but that’s not true. The sky might not be falling, but there are big earthquakes in traditional publishing.

Elsa’s story is now live and the pre-order for Kristine is up! πŸ™‚ Don’t miss the closing book of the Vampires Through the Centuries and the mighty battle of Chittor! πŸ™‚ Okay, it’s no longer historical fantasy, since it’s in the decade 2005-2015… tagged it contemporary fantasy, is that correct? Anyhow, meet Kristine Van der Aas, the Dutch girl who moved to Mumbai for love and became a vampire…

And while Da Muse is in Italy to shoot his latest movie, I shall head out of the country for a few days… Did I mention both Da Muses tend to come to Italy when I head out of the country? But then, even when they don’t (John Wick Chapter 2), I don’t go looking for them on the sets, so… I’m not a fan, they’re Da Muses, LOL!

Have a great week! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday

I am done with one of the southern kingdoms stories and hope to wrap the second by the weekend. Then I need to write another story by the end of the month so that I can send everything to the proofreader in November, when I’ll move to redrafting an old story and writing two more shorter works to submit to anthologies.Rithvik and Kerrien were interviewed at Library of Erana. I love those two still, almost two years after I published their adventures. I have to slap my hands so that I won’t write a sequel to that story, already enough projects lined up! πŸ˜€ Anyway, you can find them in the Mythic Tales bundle that comes out Nov.1st! πŸ™‚

Writerly links: Myths about writing you need to stop believing. And I was on KWL blog again, in case you missed it. Kind of ties with the myths of the previous link, so don’t take it for law! πŸ™‚

Some good advice and tips for Indie Authors. And how often they should publish – I’m definitely slowing down but I have other projects coming up.

More unconventional writing advice and #3 goes well with my guest post at Sue Vincent’s. #7 is also very important. You need to find your process and don’t panic if it changes through the years. Mine certainly did! πŸ˜‰

And finally, if you want to win NaNoWriMo, here’s an excellent post on what you can find in the NaNoWriMo bundle this year. Like I said, I shall pass because I still have old bundles to go through. Have a great week! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday

Still writing that Assassins’ Guild novella, still trying to figure out if using only one point of view or multiple. Doing the Points of View Workshop currently isn’t helping, because I know it’s a third person story and I know who it’s about, but I’m not sure if it should have multiple POVs or just onw. So I’m writing one POV now and then I’ll see how long it becomes before “expanding” it with more characters’ POV.

I translated Colors and found a couple of mistakes (castle names switched) that escaped both myself and Mighty Editor. So I corrected the ebook single, but not yet the two collections it’s in, since I’m translating those back into Italian – so if I find more mistakes, I won’t have to re-upload 4 files (2 ebook and 2 POD)! πŸ˜‰

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, here’s the article for you from an award-winner. I don’t really write every day, I’m more a binge writers, like the ones she mentions, but at the end of the week I have my wordcount down (when I’m not traveling, that is, LOL!). I’m not doing NaNo (I write all year round), but here’s my wordcount for the last couple of weeks (when I came back from my trip and started writing again after 3 loooong non-writerly weeks):

Mon.Oct.24 – no words

Tue.Oct.25 – 1096 w0rds

Wed.Oct.26 – 1422 words (and earthquake)

Thu.Oct.27 – 1802words

Fri.Oct.28 – 1273 words

Sat.Oct.29 – 1425 words

Sun.Oct.30 – 3653 words

Mon.Oct.31 – 857 words

Tue.Nov.1 – 3653 (holiday in Italy)

Wed. Nov.2 – 1282 words (and back to DayJob)

Thu. Nov.3 – no words

Fri. Nov. 4 – 1387 words

Sat. Nov.5 – 2750 words

Sun. Nov.6 – 1759 words

Grand total: 22539words, which is well over my goal of 10K a week, although I have to catch up the “dry spell” of the previous 3 weeks! πŸ˜‰ As for this week, well, Monday no words, Tuesday I used it to go through the novella I’ve written so far after watching the second week of the POV workshop…

I’m more than halfway through, but I need to check a few facts from old stories, so I used the “break” to check those facts and circle back to the beginning to adjust the point of view. I could have waited until the workshop is over, but since I had to stop writing new stuff, I thought I might as well check what I’ve already written while I was at it.

Today I’ll get back to new words and hopefully by Sunday I’ll have another 10K done and the novella finished! πŸ˜‰

And if you’ve been wondering about book bundles, here’s an excellent article on how it works. I’ve been only in one bundle so far, but I’m thinking of becoming a curator and do my own bundle with other authors, although it will probably be next year.

If you’d like to share a bundle with me, sign up with Bundle Rabbit and let’s find each other! πŸ™‚ In the meantime I might manage to get into Story Bundle as well… if I send them links to my books, that is! πŸ˜€

I could also bundle my own books like I do on DriveThruFiction, but bundling with other authors is a win-win situation for all… much like the shared promo of last weekend! I did sell 3 discounted copies of Rajveer the Vampire (2 on Amazon and 1 on Kobo), so I guess that worked! πŸ˜‰

Now both Rajveer and Kaylyn are back to 6,99$… until the next promo! πŸ˜‰ That’s all for today! Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday

Kilig&HakeemCoversAs promised, Kilig&Hakeem #3 is out now on Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Apple and Barnes&Noble. A special thanks to that anonymous who got it on Amazon DE, probably seeing it in the new titles listing. Hope you get the rest of the story as well – Saif’s Legacy and Kilig’s Heart. #4, Assassins’ Destiny, will not come out on its own (a special thanks to Lissa for helping me with a final title), but you will be able to read it both in Kilig&Hakeem – out in December – and the whole story Kilig the Sword, out in January also in POD. In a couple of weeks I’ll publish Saif&Kilig – just waiting for the cover artist to deliver. Kilig the Sword will include Saif&Kilig, Kilig&Hakeem and a bonus story, Fighting Monks School. Should make for a novel-sized printed book! πŸ™‚

I have now really finished Star Minds Next Generation (might be book one since it’s a short novel, but I’m taking the rest of the month off to work on other projects) and as soon as I manage to re-read it, I’ll send it back to betas. And after I’m done with revising the Amazons story and the historical novel, I’ll get back to the Star Minds universe and see if I can tell more about the next generation – focusing on Kol-ian’s son Kay-low instead of Shan-leo and Dadina (who get the honor of the cover anyway).

I’m also writing a new short for the anthology… so you’ll have one old story and one new! πŸ™‚ And I’ll be using both English pen names… So, even if I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, I’m not iddle, as you can see. Might not be 50K, but producing 30K a month every month is much better than a one-month-per-year writing spree… Still, if you don’t have a writing routine yet, go for it! πŸ™‚

No writerly links… Nothing I found worth sharing! πŸ˜‰ Just go back to writing and don’t waste time reading this – for your own good, I’ll keep the posts short all of November, so you have more time to write! πŸ˜€ Have a great week!

Linky Saturday

OK, a few links for your weekend.

David Gaughran on incorporating historical figures into a narrative with a very good example from his own book. He’s also a guest at Joe Konrath’s blog with his own experience.

Dean Wesley Smith links to Penguin’s decision to moving to POD and Joe Konrath acts as Writers Beware on the BookCountry/Penguin deal. Joe is right, no need to pay Penguin and let them grab 30% of your royalties when you can upload your stuff for free and keep earning. Really, how hard can it be to format for those e-retailers? Come on, if technophobe me can do it, so can you! πŸ˜‰ And I have Open Office, not Word, which means I had to adjust to the instructions in the Smashwords formatting guide… I guess the Bix 6 are panicking…

Clarion on promoting without selling – a guest post by Chris Evans. And a very detailed review of free press release sites.

Last but not least, Self-published Author’s Lounge Mari Miniatt on Google+ – you can have your brand page now. But I don’t think I’ll join yet. I have enough with Facebook, Goodreads and this blog! πŸ˜‰

A couple of contests: for you NaNoWriMoers, there’s a contest for your first chapter – and you must send it out now, unedited! Yep, they want it raw. Small cash prizes. Also, Lulu has launched a short story competition which might make you win a Nook or something. If you can write 600 words (I know I can’t! ;-)) go check the contest page.

Also, Creative Reviews is hosting the 1000members giveaway, so if you’re on Goodreads, join the group and enter the giveaway – and don’t worry, if you don’t like ebooks (Soul Stealers is one of the prizes), the other two prices are dead-tree books, signed! πŸ˜€

That’s all from me for this week! Back to writing – although I have a “busy” weekend (meaning I have to socialize, so not much writing can be done, sniff! The Hermit Writer), but hopefully on Monday I’ll be able to print out that first draft and start the revisions. Still have to give it to the alpha-reader at the end of the month, and I need time to do the revisions and re-read it…

Have a great weekend!

NaNoWriMo and other links

So, it’s November and it looks like a bunch of you out there is doing the NaNo. Here’s a list of people I know (and who might know each other, LOL) who participate this year:Β Joleene, Kenra, Leigh, Loralee, Lydia, Melissa, the Storytelling Nomad and even a guy, Terry! πŸ˜‰ Support each other and churn out those 50K… Rooting for ya all! πŸ˜€ Happy writing!

On to other writerly topics! C.S.Splitter onΒ  writing and trad vs.indie published books. I so love my ellipses and hate those dashes too… πŸ˜‰

Cat’s call on personal safety. But then all her Soap Box series is worth checking. Although I have no idea of where to start to do something about it. New Year resolution?

Loralie on online presence – whether agent or author, what are you like?

Lydia shares some tips she has learned at a Writers Conference, so make sure to check her blog often.

Michelle on book trailers. I don’t think they boost sales either, but sometimes they’re fun to make! πŸ™‚ And yes, writing more books sells books more than anything else.

Another charity anthology already out: Indie Chicks. Check this extraordinary adventure!

Shaina on not being lazy when you start indie publishing. I’m still waiting for my latest excerpt to go live on one of her blogs, but I’m not complaining.Β  I’m grateful for the opportunity she gives me to post an excerpt on an all-excerpts blog.

Blood Red Pencil on fearing fear – and possibly overcoming it. And a great post by Kris Rush to boost that belief in yourself. I think we all need to be reminded this from time to time.

Guest post on Bookends about what to answer when asked “How do you get your ideas?”.

Books&Such about why the Battle of the Titans matters to us and why it’s an exciting time for authors (and it’s an agents blog! :-)).

First guest post on Dean Wesley Smith’s post: hear K.W.Jeter’s opinion on this brand new world of publishing! Check also Dean’s observation on the same… but don’t miss Michael Stackpole’s post on house slaves either, or his take on Amazon as the Sauron of publishing (you LOTR fans will know what he means much better than I ever will! ;-)).

Passive Guy’s comments on David Gaughran’s article on the Future is Indie are worth checking too along with Steve Jobs’ 7 rules of success applied to writing by Ruth Ann Nordin.

A fun rant on e-book prices (I like most comments as well, and agree with many). And last but not least Self-publishing for beginners by Ruth Ann Nordin again.

Have a great weekend!

Some interesting links

Just realized this is my 400th post. Phew! πŸ˜€ But let’s get back to our topics…

First my usual suspects: Blood Red Pencil had a special week on e-books. Don’t forget to take their test. How did you score? I got 7 and 1/2 right (some are both true & false, so I scored 1/2 point).

On Writer Unboxed (which I haven’t checked in a long time, shame on me!) a guest says she gets by with a little help from her friends. I still have to check Writing GIAM, though, lazy me.

Also on Writer Unboxed they talk about NaNoWriMo: is it really what writers need? At least two of them say “No!“, and I quite agree with them. Don’t shoot me, please! πŸ˜‰

Kristan pointed me to an older post (did I mention I haven’t checked them in a long time?), still at Writer Unboxed. What kind of writer are you, the Butcher, the Baker or the Candlestick Maker? I’m a Candlestick Maker…

Write Anything has some tips if you want to enter competitions: complete (your draft) and compete!

Finally, I’ll fill the form from Write Anything (again) to remind me why I write:

writing is: fun

Fun is: getting lost in another world

being organised is: writing down priority lists and career plans, just in case

work is: easy when you know what you’re doing

a Writer is: a storyteller and world creator

An Author is: an artist

a famous writer is: an artist who has found his/her way to lots of people’s heart

A rich author is: probably happy

making money as a writer is: an excellent alternative to a boring day job, but not imperative

being famous is: daunting

being rich is: probably boring after some time

being publicly recognised as a writer would be: blissful

asking for help is: fine and human.

These last two links I found on Blog Jog Day. One is 10 ways to make your blog post popular and the other is a retreat for women next summer… if anyone would like to share a room… I’d love to spend 10 days in Glastonbury – and it’s not only for writers, but for all women artists, so check it! πŸ˜‰

How I used to write

I stole the title from Miss Rosemary and am actually replying to her post of the same name. Please check it, as it’s hilarious (and she’s a great writer, if you haven’t read Ensnared on Serial Central, what are you waiting for?). She mentions old PCs, but she could be my daughter, so here’s how I started to write.

I still have dozens of notebooks from the 1980s. Most of the things written in the 1990s have been typed and edited (but not all). I did a four-months secretary course back in 1987 where I learned to type with 10 fingers without looking at the keyboard (the Italian one, a.k.a. QWERTY. I’m always at loss when I’m in the US, especially for the lack of accented letters so useful in Italian, tee-hee!). So my first purchase was an electric typewriter, because my mum’s old manual typewriter was too hard to use.

my electric typewriter was very similar to this one

But as I didn’t watch the keyboard or sheet, I tended to go out of it. Hence the first PC in the early 1990s – Windows 3.0, Word 2.0, black&white screen (when it broke they asked me why I was still using a b&w screen, but at the time the PC was really only a word processor, what need did I have of fancy colors?).

previous PC (color screen, scanner, printer...)

Then the internet came (56k modem!), color screen came, and I even started using Photoshop and buying my first tablet and scanner to be able to draw and color properly on screen. Now I have ADSL, Open Office (still miss Word, though) and still use only 50% of my PC’s capacity, but well, I’m old fashioned, I guess.

actual PC (flat screen, printer/scanner, etc)

Why I’ll never do NaNoWriMo? Because in spite of all this technology, my very first draft is still by hand. You can’t count words when you write by hand. I’m a fast typist, but still I wouldn’t know if I reached my goal until a week or two after the end of the challenge. Besides, my first drafts always take me less than a month. It’s the rest that takes ages! πŸ˜‰
So happy NaNoWriMo to whoever is doing it. Please check Emily White’s tips on how to do it productively (I always do my first draft without stopping to think, my inner editor was born a lot later than my writing! ;-))… happy writing!

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