Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote 14K+ which means I’m past the previous years’ wordcount by now. I might actually make it to 600K this year, LOL! After all, there’s still almost a month, definitely three weeks, if I keep going like this, I might! 😉 I will have to wrap FEC 11 tonight so I can print it out tomorrow and have a last pass before sending it out to Mighty Editor.

And the Series Pages on Amazon are now live, albeit only on Amazon.com! Aren’t they neat? You can even purchase the series in bulk (I presume under 40 books, since the option is not there for Silvery Earth). I think it’s a nice accomplishment for my ten years of indie publishing, what say you? 😉

And the last book of this short trilogy about the vampires going into the future is out! Vampire War shows the Future Earth Chronicles from the vampires’ point of view. On the cover, Lihua, the “Chinese Menka” who showed up in Future Earth Chronicles already. Note that she’s not a point of view character, though, since it’s still Rajveer’s story. And Miyako and Claire.

Rajveer has been around the Mediterranean with Kaylyn for four hundred years, trying to find a way inside the Rainbow Town where Kris, Alain, Shashank and Juhi vanished during the invasion of the Romanian horde. Until their maker shows up in Istanbul with Kris and Alain to update them.

Miyako feels the Asian vampires on the move and thinks she owes it to her maker to keep an eye on them. After two covens converge on Beijing, she and Ingolf take it upon themselves to figure out what the Asian vampires are up to.

Claire was safe in Rainbow Town until she found out the truth behind the underground settlements. Her symbiosis would bring a new treaty and an army of robots to confront the united Asian vampires, ready to attempt what the Romanians couldn’t way back when.

I’m also rambling on Joleene’s blog, about this whole trilogy and other stuff… check out my interview, she does ask some very neat questions! 🙂

It was definitely a release week, because you can now purchase also Blaze Ward Presents Issue #4: Cloak and Dagger!

Cloak And Dagger. These words were the inspiration, the dare I put to the writers out there. Create for me art on that theme. They responded with music, words, and excitement. Science fiction, urban fantasy, or sword and sorcery fantasy. Come explore the many places that twenty-odd visionaries went when they heard those words and enjoy all the bright and dark places you might go. Part of the Blaze Ward Presents anthology series, be sure to get them all wherever you get your books: An Interpretation of Moles, I Like My Science…MAD!, and Nuns With Guns.

My story in this anthology is a short sequel to Joint Operations, my one and only spy story. I didn’t have time to check the other stories yet, but I know many of those writers and they’re all awesome, so go check it out and grab it, in ebook or paperback! 🙂

And now I’m going to tout a couple of friends’ horns! 🙂 The book I beta-read and loved is now out! Check out Drinking Heavy Water by Michael W. Lucas, a great sci-fi romp on a weird planet. I wish I was a faster reader to be able to check all the other Montague Portal novels!

And this is from the awesome editor of Halloween Harvest, Mark Leslie Lefebvre:

This is a tough post to share.
It’s about a book that was tough for me to read.
Especially from the privilege of the warmth, comfort, and security of a home…
…where I’m surrounded by books, surrounded by so many of those objects we take comfort in because they can perhaps, allow us to momentarily forget our mortality.
Allow us to forget there’s not that much separating us from our having, and not having. From having warmth, security and comfort, to having nothing but the clothes on our backs.
This was also a tough book for me to publish. But I wanted to do something. I wanted to share the story of my friend Peter.
It’s not easy to read about something like this happening to someone I love.
It’s a story that the charities don’t want you to read.
It’s about a fate that can strike any of us, at any time, that we don’t want to think about.
I met Peter C. Mitchell in the mid 1990s when we were both working as booksellers at the Chapters in Ancaster, Ontario.
He was one of the most well-read, intellectual, and witty book nerds I’ve ever had the honor of working alongside.
Though he kicked my butt at chess and book trivia board games, I loved hanging out with him, because he challenged me. He made me think. He made me laugh.
We worked together over the years, he was a trusted friend who babysat my only son, he was also a first reader and wonderful editor for plenty of my fiction and non-fiction stories.
It has been several years since I’ve seen him in person.
He returned to London in 2017 to complete his research on a book entitled “A Knight in the Slums” a self-confessed vanity project about his great, great grandfather, Sir John Kirk, and the man’s dedication to bettering the lives of the disabled and the working poor in Victoria-era London.
A perfect storm of calamities ironically left Peter penniless and sleeping rough, falling victim to the very same ailments John Kirk fought.
That nightmare inadvertently gave Peter an inside look at the very systems put in place over a century earlier by his great, great grandfather and those who, like him, were trying to help.
That experience frightened him more than the horrors of homelessness itself.
And that is the story of Rude Awakenings from Sleeping Rough.
This is a book being published independently by my own Stark Publishing imprint in a stealth manner and on a shoestring budget and is being used to help earn Peter his way out of his situation.
Unlike most traditional publishing deals, the author is earning 80% of the net profits on sales of the book. (It’s typical for a first-time author to earn 8% – and, if they’re well established, as much as 20%)
Because I’m not publishing this book to make money. I’m using it to help drive funds towards a friend who does not want charity. He wants to earn his way out of the hole he is in. And he wants his story to be shared.
Below is a link to the book at the various retailers where it is available.
It can, of course, be special ordered in paperback or hardcover via any local bookshop, as it is distributed via Ingram. (And I encourage folks to consider ordering books via local bookstores whenever and wherever they can. Local businesses serve the local community and culture and allow the revenue to stay local).
If you know someone in the media or a book reviewer who might be interested in a review copy of the book, please have them contact me – mark@markleslie.ca
A new online platform has created a centralized online shopping platform for independent bookstores around the country. And when I clicked on the link, it told me it’s coming to the UK as well, so it’s not just for the US. In case you’re Amazon-averse, you can get your books from an independent bookstore through Bookshop.
Yesterday I sent out the last batch of short stories on submission after receiving the umpteenth rejection. So I sent out 25 stories, sold one that will come out next year, but saw two published that I submitted last year. We’ll see what happens with the last five still out there! 😉 And that’s all for today! Have a great week!

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote 15K in five days, and spent the weekend setting up another bundle, uploading another title, and setting up my series pages on Amazon. So this week I can announce TWO new titles! 🙂

The first is the “middle book” of the Vampires Through the Centuries meets Future Earth Chronicles “trilogy”. On the cover is Ishaq, although he’s described as looking like Oded Fehr in The Mummy, but unfortunately I couldn’t put that on the cover! 😀 But the guy has a beard and is not too bloody. Ishaq is a fledgling of Arianrhod, Bran’s sister-in-darkness.

Ishaq ibn Tariq is an 8th-century Berber warrior under the Umayyad Caliphate. After his latest pilgrimage around the Mediterranean, he meets an old mortal acquaintance who introduces him to Rainbow Towns, the perfect places for a vampire to spend the years of the mortals apocalypse. Hidden underground settlements with 21st century smart-homes can allow vampires to spend a decade or three in comfort. Until they become prisons.
Alain is a 20th-century hacker with Asperger syndrome. With his girlfriend, he goes through the end of the Technological Revolution of the 21st century by finding refuge in Rainbow Town, where time seems to stop. They can’t go out, unless Alain remembers his way to the Darknet.
Bonus story: One Who Cannot Be Destroyed. Achyutam tries to get his wife back through the centuries, if only the damn western bloodsuckers didn’t always ruin his plans.

Now, that bonus story is also included in Nightly Bites Volume 3, that you should definitely check out, because 1) it’s longer than the previous two and 2) it has flash fiction and novellas and short stories, so a much wider variety compared to the first two! 🙂 So check it out and give some love to my fellow authors who wrote great stories!

I am also setting up a limited time bundle on BundleRabbit after a long time. I was spurred by another curator who took out my book from his bundle because “could not find an email on your website to communicate with you” (which prompted me to modify the Contact Me page) when he had already received my acceptance.

You see, there’s a forum on BundleRabbit, where curators can communicate with whoever is in their bundle or collaboration. I had to withdraw a request for my latest bundle (it’s the 4th, in case your wondering) because that author indeed had no way to contact him by email to prod him into accepting the request.

His contact page said to leave a public comment and had no link to send him a private email – which is what I did with another author who promptly wrote back with questions. That other curator? He could have made a post in his bundle’s section and asked we sent him an email for private communications off site. Sigh.

Anyhow, still working out a couple of things for that bundle, so I’m not announcing it yet. Do check the above books, though. November is definitely the vampires month! 🙂 As for December, I’ll publish the Star Minds Universe box sets and that’s it for this year.

The new titles in the Future Earth Chronicles (or Before) will come out next year. Writing the last sequel right now, I should be done by the end of the month, so I can send it over to the editor in December.

Sunday was mostly housekeeping, setting up those series on Amazon and working on Da Strip with the umpteenth change that might push us older users out of social media for good, LOL!

The only good thing about the new Author Central is that they took off the unpublished books, so those ugly old covers finally vanished. I did compire the survey, though, since when you add another book, it shows up ten times, and not just when it’s a multi-authors title. Even Through the Centuries showed up 10 times. If enough people tell them how dumb it has become, maybe they’ll revert, won’t they?

Wishful thinking, I know. On Sunday I went to upload the strip and SURPRISE! Instagram changed stuff around too! To add a MARKETPLACE! Gee, I know everybody buys online with lockdown and coronavirus and everything, but damn it, if all social media become virtual stores, I’m out of here!

Also the fonts are so tiny to be unreadable (for my ageing eyes) on the phone, and you can’t post stuff from laptop. End rant of a Gen-Xers who is sick of those subtle changes for you youngsters who still have good eyes (but you’ll ruind them faster than I ever did if this trend continues)!

Sunday night I rewatched Kites because it was “movies where the protag dies at the end” weekend. I hadn’t watched for more than 2 years, since before the WMG workshops moved from Lincoln City to Vegas.

I have seen Las Vegas in 1994 (the Strip only) and 2009 (our guide took us to the Freemont Experience), but it was touristic one-night stays during group tours. So it was fun rewatching the movie while being familiar with Freemont Street – and I even spent one night at the Plaza last February! 🙂

So it was lika a déjà vu, like when I watch Ocean’s 11 (even though I never slept at the Bellagio), and so NOT like 1994! 🙂 Speaking of which, a lovely penfriend (remember those?) whom I met quite often through the years, just sent me old pictures of Mark Slaughter (the reason for my expedition in Vegas back in 1994), which, along with rewatching their first home video from 1990 or 1991 makes for another wonderful throwback! 🙂

Ending with this throwback picture of a former Muse and hoping we all get to travel again in the near future, I wish you a wonderful week! 🙂

 

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote less than 9K again, but I had trouble with one story (I gave it up) and went very slowly with the rest. I’m trying to wrap up the Star Minds Universe, but some stories are not meant to be written at this time. I have finished writing the strip “Star Minds Kids and Teens”, though, but I still need to draw some strips. And do the prose version as well.

And we now have new covers on the contemporary titles, aaaand! A brand new title! Yes, some of the stories were already in Relationships, but there’s a new short story and the novella of the title, for which I thank Barbara “Abby” Palmer and Victoria “Tori” Zigler, without whom it would have never left my hard drive! 🙂

I did mention more Kickstarters and things to support, right? Well, check out this Cave Creek Kickstarter. I might be in those anthologies, if things go well, if not, it’s still a cool new world to discover. And it’s funded, so lots of goodies coming our way… I hear there are free stories along with the other free stuff! The first stretch goal is reached, let’s aim for the second! 😀

There’s also this friend of mine who launched a Kickstarter to fund his audiobooks. That”s something I might do too in the future, so I urge you to check it out! 🙂

And hey, psst… there’s an excerpt of my story, Olympia Nights, on Patreon… I know, you must be a patron to see it, but well… I thought I’d mention it anyway! You can see how it begins! 😉 I’ll also be interviewed on there, so stay tuned…

Disruption by Kris Rusch on how to deal with what’s going on this year. And more disruption with the sale of Simon&Schuster. Yeah, I know, shaky ground. But we’ll survive. And since we’re all more or less grounded, we should catch up on some reading or watching stuff.

As you might know by now, Italy is on lock down. I had to print out a declaration on where I work, in case they stop me and ask me wny I’m out and about. Snort.

Buses are empty and I won’t go to the supermarket until Saturday, but apparently people are panicking and stockpiling on toilet paper…

I can’t go to the cinema, because they’re off-limits, but I have a few codes for RakutenTV, so I might watch a couple of things on my computer soon.

I have finished the book on Medieval Africa, but I’ve been busy checking old Star Minds Universe novels to complete the series… and I’ve put a new Kindle in my Amazon shopping cart, although I’ll probably manage to finish reading the bundles I have on KK before it completely dies on me. I mean, it does charge, I just don’t have access to it anymore.

So, since I had to buy a couple of books for research purpose, I thought I might as well get a new Kindle. I could have stolen Mom’s unused Kobo eReader, but I never really understood how it worked, and could never see the books on it even if I attached it to my laptop with a USB cable. That’s what I can no longer do with KK, cause it’s invisible to laptop. Sigh.

So for the new title, I checked it looked all right on my Kindle 4PC app only. Just like I check ePubs on Adobe Digital Editions. Worse for my eyes, but still works.

The stuff will arrive at the end of the month – maybe, since COVID-19 is slowing down evev Amazon.

It almost feels like the Holidays, when everybody is busy with family business, to me. And of course I’m happy there aren’t many people around, since I’m so crowd-averse! 😀

I keep going to work by bus and I’m not particularly worried. This too shall pass.

Meanwhile, happy reading, writing, watching entertainment and have a great week! 🙂

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! I’ll still have those if someone is willing to be interviewed! This lovely young lady I met in person and when I saw her excited about her upcoming new release, I had to offer her a spot! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kate Grove!

Where do you live and write from?

Hello and nice to meet you all. I live in Budapest, Hungary.

Why do you write?

I write because I’d like to share stories with the world. I want to invite my readers to journey to a faraway land so they can experience fun adventures there!

When did you start writing?

Well, I was probably around 7 or 8 when I’ve written the first story that I remember. However, if you were to ask me when I decided to be a novelist, then it was at 13 years old.

What genre(s) do you write?

I mainly write romantic fantasy, with humour and adventure.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I like to use sprints. I write for 20-25 minutes, then take a 5 to 10-minute break. In an ideal world, that is. Sometimes I forget the time and just write until something breaks me out of the trance. The same might happen when I’m having a break, so I need to pay attention. I usually schedule 1 day off every week.

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

Probably plotting and world building. How did I develop them? Not sure, but I suspect it has something to do with me being a single child and coming up with ideas to entertain myself whenever my friends were unavailable to play.

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

Inspiration is everywhere. It just strikes you at unexpected moments. It could be because of a snippet of a conversation, lyrics, a cool music video, an article, or just taking a walk in a park. Really, anything can be used as inspiration.

You won’t find me as I am in my stories, however, when my characters are formed, I think every one of them takes a little something from me. There’s a connection between me and all my characters. I think that might be the same for most writers 🙂

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

The middle ground. I like to outline – and it looks so detailed! But when we’re talking about a 95K novel, you realise there’s a lot of room to wiggle. I like to see what comes next and how will we get to the end before I start writing. But I always leave room for random events and developments, because sometimes, when you write fast enough, the most exciting scenes appear!

Am I a fast or a slow writer? I type very fast. I can probably write a 95K novel in 2 or 3 months at most. That’s slow for some people. Other people would find it a breakneck speed. It’s all relative!

Tell us about your latest book (

My latest book is the first one in a series, called Sword and Mirror. It’s being published on 30th September (tomorrow), here is the link.

It’s about a woman who is thrown back in time, to 16th century Japan and she strikes a deal with a samurai lord in order to survive this war-torn period. It’s a very exciting time in Japanese history and I had fun researching! Anyway, she agrees to pretend to be the samurai lord’s fake fiancée for a month in exchange for his help, but she realises the dangers of it a little late. After all, a samurai lord has many enemies, and in this case, not all of them are humans.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

It took me long to decide on indie publishing. When I started writing, the only route to go seemed traditional publishing, but when I felt ready enough for finally publishing, the book market had already changed. Indie publishing underwent a revolution and better and better books came out, nurtured by indies. And when I weighed the pros and cons…

In the end, being indie allows me more freedom in the creative and business processes and better royalty rates. And I basically would have to do the same amount of work as in trad pub, so why not? The only disadvantage would be that it’s probably harder to see my book in bookshops, but if they can get on the bookshelves of my readers, I don’t mind 🙂

With POD services and the e-book platforms, it’s easier to share my stories with more people than ever. And it’s especially important that I can reach out to them, since my readers are English speakers and I wouldn’t have any other way to connect to them.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m working on the next book in the series, which is called Smoke and Jewel (it comes out on Leap Day!), and it’s already on pre-order. Meanwhile, I plan to release side stories related to the series, whenever I have the opportunity.

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

I want to entertain people with my stories. If it helps them even a little bit to get away from the usual day-to-day events, then I’d be very happy.

And I’d love to stay a full-time writer. I have a limited time to try it out, so we’ll see how that goes.

What do I do to achieve these goals? Write more and be active on Patreon! Learn online marketing and see where I can improve my craft and business practices.

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

You can’t edit a blank page.

Thank you for having me over today, Barb!

Find Me On:

http://amazon.com/author/kategrove

http://facebook.com/kategrovewriter

http://bookbub.com/profile/kate-grove

http://twitter.com/kategrovewriter

http://goodreads.com/kategrove

Writer Wednesday


Last week I didn’t do much writing, but I consider myself inbetween projects. This week will probably have no writing at all, and it will resume next week when I come back from Worldcon. Not worried at all, since I’m already at 375K anyway (for those coming in late, my target is 500K a year). The next Paths novel should take me to 400K and then I have a few more to write before the end of the year.

The Mission #30 was written, sent and rejected in less than a week, but since it comes after the epilogue of the Team‘s missions, it shall be the first of volume 2, coming out next year whenever I write another 20something missions. This team is still growing on me, and they’re keeping the name anyway, even though they’re no longer lone wolves! 🙂

And Rogue is out too, so the Star Minds Lone Wolves books are complete for this year. I updated the series page, redid the lettering on the single books covers and adjusted the backend matter. Now I’ll have to do it for the other Star Minds books, but I will do it in September. I did do a new trailer for the series, though! 🙂

I also added the Lone Wolves to Drive Thru, as you can see from the “sidebar”, since I sold a SKYBAND Omnibus in their Comics shop, but every now and then I get a sale even in the Fiction shop. We’ll see if a banner or two will make the Star Minds Universe soar over there too! 🙂

I also started unpublishing things. I made a list and will take down 25 Silvery Earth titles, 12 Star Minds Universe and 5 others. It will clean up my retailers dashboard and allow me to update the rest with less junk.

I’m mostly taking down shorter titles or single stories that are included in collections. I’ve been told that short titles sink faster in Amazon charts, so I might as well get rid of them since they don’t sell anyway.

So here’s the cleaned up Star Minds Universe and Silvery Earth on Smashwords. I have unpublished also from Kobo, Amazon and D2D. It’s been a long hot weekend, sigh. Let me know what you think of the new presentation of Silvery Earth on the series page, though!

An interesting post on how science fiction is dying again – the Hopepunk Edition. Considering the bleak present, I should probably write something about my apocalypse… and my vampires live through it, so they might be the right ones to tell that story! 😉

Currently flying to Dublin for Worldcon, so will update next week when I get back… If you’re there too, and see me wandering around, come and say hello. I have no panels, so I’ll be in and out of the buildings. And the curated anthologies will be available at Hodges Figgis booth in the dealer’s room (it’s a local bookstore for non-Dubliners). Have a great week! 🙂

 

Sunday Surprise


New release! Touting my own horn! Only 2.99$! Check it out! 😀 (the above is the DTF announcement but it’s available at the usual suspects – although a couple may be lagging behind. Go to the publisher’s book page for more! 🙂 ) Happy Sunday!

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