Wednesday Weekly Roundup

Last week I wrote a little less than 12K. Productivity is obviously not my problem (and never was), but I’m more and more weary about everything publishing. I do enjoy making mock covers, but that’s it. I don’t have the energy for much else and even this blog is less filled with things than it used to be.

I had the WordPress Newsletter plugin installed on the publisher page, but haven’t started studying it. Then someone suggested other services in alternative to Patreon and that might work both as newsletter and with paid content. So I’ve been checking both Subscribestar and Substack. I heard good things about switching from Patreon to Substack (although I’m no longer on Patreon).

But at the moment I don’t have the energy to set anything up. Even though this blog following keeps growing organically, nothing else is, so I don’t see why I should open another venue. My reacers (except Tori) don’t seem to want to interact with me anyway, so why bother? 😉

Even my giveaways get no takers, except the usual suspects… there’s still two available, in case you want to try my writing at no charge. This won’t put you on any mailing list, since Smashwords won’t tell me who downloaded the ebooks, so it’s pretty safe! 😉 And a special thank to the kind person who reviewed one of the two (yes, it’s you, Shafali)!

Maybe next year I’ll find the strength to do more marketing. Maybe when I manage to quit my day job, I can “recycle” myself as cover artist and proofreader and possibly translator. Maybe in the meantime Kickstarter will grow a writer-friendly community and I’ll have a project worthy of it.

I’m still behind with paperbacks production, but I hope to catch up in September, since I probably won’t be going anywhere. I hope Cartoomics will be held so I can visit friends in Milan, but maybe I won’t be able to go anywhere for the rest of the year (I did manage to grab a train ticket to be away around my birthday, but that’s it).

A couple of suggested titles. The first is fiction, and I have published some short stories in my curated anthos (plus more I have read at the anthology workshops) from this awesome guy, so check it out.

Title: A Hero Named Pearl (Ultrahumans)
Genre: Superhero


Sixty-year veteran superhero Tamiko Miller—known worldwide for her elasticity—never thought she’d be suspended from hero work. All because of the recent militarized uniform policies.

On administrative leave, Tamiko treats it as a vacation. Relaxing with a strawberry margarita in Miami, a speeding, physics-defying van screeches plumes of smoke as it drifts onto Flagler Street. Heading her way.

Tamiko knows intervening in her old uniform will likely get her fired forfeiting her pension. Memos never explained why the new uniforms were so important and the true reason lies deeper than she dares snoop with her telepathy.

Preventing harm must be more important than outfits.
The van speeds toward her.
She must act.

When integrity becomes old-fashioned, only true heroes spring into action. Join Tamiko as she proves principles and values are needed in these dark times now more than ever.


Store links:
Amazon —
Others —
Patreon —
Direct —…/product/a-hero-named-pearl/

The second, from another friend of mine, is non-fiction, and if I ever make up my mind about the  newsletter thingy, I’ll probably check it out myself.

I wrote this book because I saw so many authors on 20Books, SPF, and other forums struggling to get started with newsletters.

I spent a lot of time on trial and error with MailerLite, until I understood the options sufficiently to make my onboarding process and newsletter more streamlined and easy to use.

So, if you love Newsletter Ninja (like I do) but don’t know how to implement the really cools stuff it describes (like I didn’t), this book is your HOW TO guide – a strategic shortcut to setting up newsletters.

Available in KU and to buy on Amazon
(and all other Amazon stores too!)

Now I shall go back to my crossover between Future Earth Chronicles and Vampires Through the Centuries. Stay tuned for Book 6 coming soon and have a great week! 🙂



Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! I did announce it, didn’t I? Here’s the first of the Holiday visitors to this blog! I met her in Edinburgh (where I unfortunately missed her tarot readings) and she was kind enough to answer my writerly questions… Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Marielle S. Smith!

Tarot for Creatives: 21 Tarot Spreads to (Re)Connect to Your Intuition and Ignite That Creative Spark (Creative Tarot Book 2) Kindle EditionWhere do you live and write from?

I grew up in the Netherlands, raised by a Scottish dad and Dutch mum, but I now live and write from Cyprus, a small island in the Mediterranean Sea.

Why do you write?

I don’t feel right when I don’t. Nothing aligns or makes sense, I’m all out of sorts, and become impatient with life and everything and everyone in it. It’s not pretty… I have stories and knowledge inside of me and I just need to let it out.

When did you start writing?

I was always making up stories and writing little poems and such. I don’t know when it started; it was always there. I don’t know myself any different. The only thing that has changed over the years is that I no longer keep it a secret.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write mostly nonfiction at the moment, which springs from my day job as a writing coach and editor. I also co-write LGBTQ+ romance under a pen name, and I’m working on a YA fantasy series.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I try to write first thing in the morning, but depending on how much other work I have on my plate, it might become the first thing I do after dinner. Aside a few exceptions (because life happens), I do something writing related every day, whether that means writing new words, editing old ones, working on a cover or blurb. To me, it all counts, and as long as I get an hour a day in at the least, I am very happy.

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

Seeing the bigger picture and then bringing it all together, which is one of the reasons most of my editing work consists of developmental editing. I do a lot of outline critiques and it’s so easy for me to see how similarly separate story aspects can be linked.

Honestly, I have no idea how I developed this specific quality. My brain has always seemed wired to connect the dots. I used to become impatient during meetings of whatever kind because it often took an hour for the entire group to reach the conclusion that I already envisioned about fifteen minutes into the meeting. The moment I have all the necessary pieces of a puzzle, I’m there. It’s the same reason I spent most of my school-going years bored. And why I tend to win at Rummikub, I guess.

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

My nonfiction inspiration I get through my coaching and editing work, and through journaling about my own writing practice. It’s all about listening intently and then providing what is needed (or trying to). That said, I have certain principles and beliefs about the world we live in, and a particular way of understanding our place within this world, and those are present in my work. The same goes for my fiction. I might not always explicitly comment on what’s going on in the world right now, but I will write the kind of world or society I would love to belong to.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I am a pantser turned plotter, but I’m not a rigid plotter: I always leave room for the story to surprise me. I’m either fast or slow, depending on the project. I’m fastest at nonfiction, and slowest at fantasy. And no, that doesn’t surprise me at all 😊

Tell us about your latest book

The 52 Weeks of Writing Author Journal and Planner is my latest project. In it, I’ve brought together everything I’ve learned over the past few years as a writer and writing coach. It’s the ideal tool for the writer who is tired of being in their own way and ready to start digging for some honest truths about their writing goals and practice. It’s designed to help you get clear about your writing through consistent reflection, planning, and tracking. It also provides a safe space where you can figure out how to set goals that honour both your dreams and the reality of your day-to-day life.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

For me, indie publishing is the way. The freedom is everything to me. It’s not for everybody and that’s OK, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can write whatever I want and publish whenever I want. What’s not to love about that?

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes! I’m working on a new book in my Creative Tarot seriesSet Yourself up for Successwhich will be published the first of January. I’m also working on a book on imposter syndrome with fellow editor and writing coach John Robin, and I am aiming to finally finish a project called Representation Matters in 2020, which will be a book aimed at writers who want to include more diverse characters in their work. I’ve taught university courses on representation for almost ten years before I left academia behind, and it’s about time I put all that knowledge into something useful for fellow writers.

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

To leave a legacy I’m proud of, by publishing only books that are aligned with me and what I have to say.

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

Claim the title. If you write, you’re a writer. If that title feels too much for now, claim the verb. Tell the world you’re writing. You don’t have to share your work with anyone yet, but do yourself the honour and let them know you write.


Find Marielle online:



Amazon Author Central

Book links to all Amazon shops can be found on this page

Random Friday

So, in the few days without writing (slowly going back to it coz I’m addicted, LOL!), I had nothing better to do and try to catch up on my TBR pile. Didn’t make that much progress, since I’m such a slow reader, but better than no reading! 🙂

First I read Jorick’s origin story (which is a Patreon exclusive, but you can get it for the lower tier), which was what I’d been waiting for since I started reading Amaranthine. Thanks again to Joleene Naylor for finally writing it! 🙂

I finished The World Without Us – a re-read – for Wanderlust research. I read the introduction to 21 Lessons for the 21st Century but didn’t go much further yet, although I’ll need to read that too to determine what exactly was the apocalypse, LOL!

I’ll probably write this batch back to back like I did for Star Minds Lone Wolves, since it’s 6 years after Brainwaves and for 3 or 4 books we follow the same two people. Then I’ll take a break, write another Silvery Earth Heroine, and then write the other books with other characters’ POVs.

See, I’m already planning for 2019, haha! Nothing’s gonna stop me, now that I have this very ingrained habit since the age of the typewriter (yeah, I’m old, and suddenly I feel lucky! Actually, I’m experienced, LOL!)

Anyway, back to reading. I’m almost done with Sci-fi July Redux and found some really nice gems, if I may say so. I know, I’m the curator, but I usually don’t read the whole books before bundling them. In fact I haven’t read the other books of last year’s vampire bundle (except Joleene’s) yet. And I gave priority to Sci-fi July even though I still have to read Thieves and Celebrating Male Lovers because I was writing sci-fi. Well, science fantasy, since that’s what Star Minds is…

Anyway, if you haven’t already, check it out since it won’t be out forever. It will be gone on January 4, six months after release. I know January looks far away, but it will come quickly, trust me! 🙂 Here you have the list of the bundles that are still available that I either curated or am part of.

And if you’re a writer, you might want to re-check BundleRabbit. It has a new feature for writing in series or shared worlds! 🙂 Have a great Sunday!


Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! She was one of my first editors and read all the Books of the Immortals, then we parted ways and lost track of each other, so I’m very proud to have her on my blog again after so many years! Because guess what? Yes, she has a new book out! And it’s not fiction for a change! 🙂 Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Shonell Bacon!

Where do you live and write from?

I’ve been in Lake Charles, LA, since 2001, but was born and raised in Baltimore. Where I write … well, pretty much anywhere. Usually, I am in my “home office,” a space I carved out of our bar room area. But with my phone and tablet and dictation, I “write” while in traffic, at the café, the park. If I have a digital device and my voice, I can write anywhere.

Why do you write?

Because of WORDS. I love them. I love the shapes of letters in words, how words sound in my mouth as they come out, how we can use them to create elaborate stories that touch readers in a myriad of ways.

When did you start writing?

I was about six. My mom had bought me a diary for a quarter at a flea market, and almost immediately, I began writing sports articles for my beloved Baltimore Orioles and for my favorite soap opera at the time, The Guiding Light.

What genre(s) do you write?

Mystery, rom-com, inspirational, non-fiction (on the writing craft)

What does your writing routine consist of?

Most writing routines for me consist of lots of COFFEE and usually some form of meditation, even if it’s a five-minute song to think on and listen to or an actual meditation session on one of my apps. Sometimes, I light a candle to fragrance my space, and then I say a prayer and reread previous writing to get me back in the writing headspace.

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

Don’t let fear stop you from writing.

Please do ramble about your latest project – what it’s about, how you came up with the idea, anything, really. We want to know about it!

Make Your Writing Bloom is my first project on writing. I always knew at some point I would venture into short books on writing. I’ve been writing articles on writing for over 15 years for various websites. As an educator, and especially someone who has the spiritual gift of “teaching,” helping others do something better is an integral part of who I am. I’ve been an editor for over 18 years, and the biggest joy of editing is seeing writers grow from one project to the next one. I continue that teaching into what I hope will be the first of many projects on the writing craft. Make Your Writing Bloom is the “love” project from me to writers who feel stuck in their writing and who want to get unstuck. From rediscovering their love of writing and favorite writing experiences to understanding why fear and busy lives can kill writing, readers will be taken on a journey that will, hopefully, get them back into their writing mojo.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Currently, I am working on the Make Your Writing Bloom online class; outlining my second project on the writing craft, 8 Questions for Writers; and playing around with the storylines for my next mystery, FOLLOW, the final book of my Double Inkwell Mysteries series. 

Please add your social media links

Web Page:




Random Friday

Future reading for research purposes blog post! I finally got everything from the various Amazon marketplaces (IT, FR and .com), so here’s the plan.

June reading for the next vampire novel that starts in 2005 Mumbai and goes from there – I include in this pic also the title for the sadist author, although vampires aren’t that easy to hurt, so that one goes actually for all the other books! 😉

July reading for POC Book 2 – Wanderlust. Survival in a post-apocalyptic but reborn world, since it’s been 3-4 centuries since the Event. The World Without Us is a re-read, probably just scanning for what I need, and the survival guides are also more for consultation than actual reading (although flipping through the pages I may come up with plot points, haha!).

These are all non-fiction books, and at the end of the year you’ll know which ones I recommend. As for fiction, I’m slowly trudging through bundles on my Kindle, but I have so many, I’ll never catch up, sigh. This month I’m reading a friend’s stories (he’s doing the 30-stories-in-30-days challenge) and some classic for research into steampunk – Mary Shelley and H.G. Wells.

Something randomly different: I haven’t seen Padmaavat yet – well, I’ve seen the trailer and wasn’t sure I wanted to watch it or not (the DVD isn’t out yet anyway), but then I got this review of the movie in my inbox (Google Alerts) and now I’m really considering it, since there are some people who are aware that those Rajput are quite delusional! 😉

I did study that time period for Rajveer the Vampire, although I found out later that Padmini or Padmavati might have not existed, but well… this lady did an excellent review and might have convinced me to give it a try – knowing the shortcomings beforehand might help, LOL! 🙂

So, that’s all for this week! Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂


Writer Wednesday

January wordcount was over 40K. I redrafted Colors (next title out, currently with proofreader) and turned an old graphic novel into a novella – both these stories are 27K. Now I’m turning another graphic novel into a novel that should come out probably next month.

I did a new cover for Colors during the weekend since I wasn’t completely happy with the one I did in December. So I got to draw a swallow for the first time in my life. I found a cute pic on the Wikipedia page and went from there. Not telling you which one I chose, you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks! 🙂 Probably less. And yes, the swallow is in the first scene of the story, so it’s a nice addition.

How to ESL ebookI also published that non-fiction book I wrote last year. I wasn’t sure it was any good, but a very precious beta who is also a cover artist and part-time writer said it’s good – short and to the point – so I’m putting it out there.

As soon as I finish the novel-redrafted-from-the-graphic-novel, I’ll go back to those contemporary stories that I kept on hold until the next offline writers group meeting (Feb.11), so next month expect another title of the discarded pen-name with new stories thrown in. I might then start working on the POD version! 🙂

And then I’ll be back to my vampires, since I need to finish Chandaka and Daya and then start on Kaylyn’s story. As for PODs, I’ll do the new edition with Createspace of the five Books of the Immortals… so I guess February is quite busy. And it’s a short month (although it has 29 days this year). And… I’ll leave the rest to Friday ramblings, LOL!

For some kind of serendipity, there was a lot of talk about contracts and publishers around the internet this week. Kris Rusch on indie contracts, Kameron Hurley on traditional contracts and Tricia Drammeh on choosing a publisher. And then get the guide on how to negotiate anything! 😉

Now I better go back to writing and drawing those covers (I don’t like the covers I have so far, but I need different reference for one and I’m not sure how to get it, sigh)… Have a great week!

Year in Reading

Since Friday was Christmas and I don’t have anything for Sunday anyway, I thought I’d do a spurious post about my reading year. I don’t think many people will wander on blogs on Christmas Day, and even today is risky, but well… wouldn’t let you 4 days without posts, LOL!

I have read 39 books (might be 40 if I manage one last title this last week of the year) including 7 manuscripts and 12 non-fiction books (which means I’m halfway through the non-fiction bundle I’ve bought in two separate bundles between end 2014 and beginning 2015).

I read also 2 anthologies/short story collections – When the lights go out and Fairy Tales Slashed. The latter I loved in spite of the bad formatting, typos and missing words everywhere, so it’s a recommended reading if you like that genre (m/m).

I had also bought 2 bundles of SFF with the non-fiction bundles, and I think I’m halfway through those too. I’m still trudging through a Campbell Anthology (I think from 2014), and I’m skipping all the novel excerpts! 😦

I did not finish a couple of books (one non-fiction and one fiction) – the first because I don’t have that problem so I’d rather read other stuff before getting to that topic and the second because it really didn’t drag me in.

Of those almost-40 books, only 5 were paper books… (and the manuscripts were printed, of course, I just can’t read on a computer screen). I prefer reading non-fiction for research purposes on paper, but if it’s books on writing, my Kindle is just fine! 😉

Now, the recommended FICTION reading list by Barb!

A walk across the Sun (contemporary story set all over the world – India, Europe, US…)

Ivory (science fiction)

Alien Influences (you can guess from the title – SF)

and the above Fairy Tales Slashed. For the NON-FICTION (all books on writing)

The pursuit of Perfection: and How it Harms Writers

Million $ Productivity

The Write Attitude

Now for next year I hope to read 50 books, if possible 30 fiction and 20 non-fiction (I still have some of those bundle books and I need to study business and publishing in Italy, I already have one book I bought last year, I really should start it, LOL!).

That might take down my TBR list a little, and then I can tackle the Smashwords wishlist or the Goodreads want-to-read list! 🙂 Happy reading!


Random Friday

I had time to read a couple of the non-fiction books from the two bundles I got probably last year (or one last year around NaNoWriMo and the other this year? Can’t remember).

30 days in the word mines by Chuck Wendig: if you’re just starting and need to set up a routine, this book is  for you, whether you’re doing NaNoWriMo or just want to see if you can actually write. It’s very slangy and funny, and full of F-bombs, so if that’s not your thing, skip this. It’s also short and sweet, so plenty of time to read some more when you’re done!

The pursuit of perfection and hot it harms writers by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: some of her blog posts put together in another short ebook with lots of info on the publishing world, creative writing courses and how it’s impossible to write the perfect book – special guest Workshop Bill (a.k.a. Shakespeare) in a sorta parody like Workshop Jane (Austen) had here.

This book on editing also sounds good, but I haven’t read it, so I trust David Farland’s comments. I might add it to my TBR pile one day…

I’ve also uploaded on DeviantART some discarded covers:

Firebird – a Silvery Earth novella that should come out this fall.

SMI – Galaxy Police (the final cover will be by Shafali Anand), that will come out at the end of the month.

And a detail of the sleeping beau of the story I’m still currently writing… that’s the first attempt, the final one will be much better! 🙂

I might go back to pencil portraits this weekend… or keep experimenting with digital painting! 😉 That’s just a… Sunday Surprise!

Have a great weekend! 😀

Writer Wednesday

Kilig&HakeemCoversNew title out! Kilig’s Heart, sequel to Saif’s Legacy, is now out on Kindle, Kobo, Apple, Barnes&Noble and Smashwords. I’m showing all the covers here, since #3 will be out soon anyway. As for #4, it will be included only in the full story of Kilig & Hakeem’s love. So, if you’re a sucker for HEA, don’t read beyond Hakeem’s Rival for this M/M romance! 😉

All the Assassins’ Guild stories will come out by December, along with an Amazons story that I wrote last year but haven’t published yet. I’m still working on Star Minds Next Generation, publication date delayed to January, since those characters keep talking to me like the previous generation and won’t leave me alone until I properly tell their story (I know I already said that, but the next generation is just like the previous one, obviously!). So even the beta-readers should get ready for another adventure of Shan-leo and Dadina and the new characters that appeared in what I’ve written so far (the final chapter will be completely rewritten and postponed, so Jo can have a lot more of the new hot guy! 😉 Stay tuned!).

Bundles galore! Twelve Shades of Midnight and two non-fiction bundles for writers – the NaNoWriMo Writing Tools (for you NaNoers out there, but also everybody else, in fact I got that one even if I’m not a NaNo writer – which, of course, didn’t help my TBR pile and made it even bigger, so who knows when I’ll get to read them, but well…) and the Indie Author Power Pack, both at very low prices for their worth.

And don’t forget to check the Two Important Publishing Facts Everyone Gets Wrong! 🙂 Almost back to the real world… three weeks off can really help! 😀 Have a great week!

%d bloggers like this: