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? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup, text that says 'EZEKIEL JAMES BOSTON'S ULTRAHUMANS AN ULTRAHUMAN NOVEL: BooK2 BOOK 2 A HERO NAMED PEARL WHEN INTEGRITY BECOMES OLD-FASHIONED'New novel out today!
Title: A Hero Named Pearl (Ultrahumans)
Genre: Superhero

—–

Sixty-year veteran superhero Tamiko Millerโ€”known worldwide for her elasticityโ€”never thought sheโ€™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 — https://amzn.to/2D9J47S
Others — https://books2read.com/u/3JjgyP
Patreon — https://www.patreon.com/posts/39991908
Direct — https://ezekieljamesboston.com/โ€ฆ/product/a-hero-named-pearl/

The second, from another friend of mine, is non-fiction, and if I ever make up my mind about theย  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
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F4G9WSP
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08F4G9WSP
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08F4G9WSP
https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B08F4G9WSP
(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! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Writer Wednesday


I’m going to start this with another “help me choose the cover” like I’ve done in the past. You met Samantha on Sunday. Even if she’s not the protagonist of the body switch, she’s the one who did it, as you have noticed from the excerpt, so I decided she could have the cover spotlight even if she’s not the main character. Hence two attempts:

Which one, left or right? How about I cut out the head altogether and leave the body and tarot deck (well Unicorn cards, actually, but she’s a witch and not from this planet, LOL)?

The book is now with The Editor and will come out as soon as she’s done and I revise it one last time. Sunday I worked on the final draft and discovered some formatting was screwed – the Spanish n of “senor” had become a square that ate also the “o” and all m-dashes and ellipses had disappeared! So I had to work them all back in.

After the novella (it’s less than 25k, I doubt it qualifies as a novel), I added one version of the original short story and in there not only the m-dashes/ellipses were gone, but also the space between the words (which made it easier to find them as the spellchecker underlined the united words)! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Mysteries of OpenOffice, I guess.

I also struggled with formatting the Italian novel coming out this week. The original document is from 2004, I think I still had Word instead of Open Office. I put it through the Nuclear Option suggested by Smashwords (save as TXT and reformat), but the HTML file for Kindle was all screwed anyway. Had to save it as PDF, put through Calibre, generate a mobi file and upload that to KDP. Not happy with how the file came out, I decided to try again today… I downloaded Mobicreator and will try it. And I haven’t tried the Smashwords meatgrinder yet. Yikes.

Anyway, I had to shuffle things to write around a little and interrupt the sci-fi piece to start writing CVE4 while editors and betas take a look at CVE3 – the sci-fi title won’t be out until December anyway, but it will be done by July, so if you’d like to volunteer… yeah, I’m always looking for betas! ๐Ÿ™‚

In case you missed it, on Fictorian Eraย  Dean Wesley Smith told the secret of his success… yeah, that’s what I’m doing, that’s why you don’t see me marketing my books. I’m too busy writing (or rewriting from my backlist, as some of those ideas only need some revamping to be put out there) to bother with marketing. He’s right, your best marketing tool is your next book. And I’m going to keep writing old and new stories, hoping to find my audience soon.

I won’t throw away those thousands and thousands of words. They were useful to learn the craft. And, like Dean, I’m still learning. Those I’m not too happy with them anymore because that’s not the kind of story I would write today? Polish and publish. Those that were only writing exercises? Keep the notebook and cherish it. Those that had something that deserves to be rewritten? Here we go!

CVE3 was originally written in 1993. I keep shuffling chapters around, taking out useless secondary characters or putting back in adventures that looked superfluous, but it’s still a good novel, so I’m rewriting it. OK, I’ve rewritten it, and will send it out to betas soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, I might sound like I’m in a hurry. I’m not. I’m prolific and I have dozens of stories that are almost ready for public consumption – they need to be translated, mostly. The Italian stories, I’m putting them out almost as they are (I keep finding typos, grrrr!!). But I’d like to remind you (or let know to the new blog subscribers who might not be aware of this *waves at them*) that I’ve been writing stories since 1978. So I’m not really a beginner story-teller…

Like a friend (much younger than me and who hasn’t managed to finish a longer work yet and is stuck to a handful of short stories) said, “Writing is a muscle”. Just keep writing, and you’ll get better. Don’t ever get stuck in rewriting hell. Don’t ever waste years on one novel. Pour the story out, let it rest, adjust, and query/publish it. You can’t please all your readers anyway, so… move on! ๐Ÿ™‚ Your next story will be better, I promise! ๐Ÿ˜‰

A couple of posts for you: Colleen Doran on struggling artists and bad contracts re: Before Watchmen. Valid for artists AND writers – especially beginners. Then go to J.A.Konrath’s blog and see how Harelquin screws its writers… Romance writers, forget a deal with them! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ And good advice from a “beginner” (Terry Compton – who seem to follow the same blogs I do, tee-hee! – guest at SPAL): write short stories and publish them on Smashwords, it will help you hone your crafts and create your backlist without spending years on a novel! ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally, because the original post has the comments closed, here’s on genre and pen-names from SPAL again. Personally, I have a publisher account at Smashwords – yeah, if you read the web address it’s “barbaragtarn”, but when you open the page it’s Unicorn Productions. My pen-names are not secret and the books come out correctly as different authors: Barbara G.Tarn, Barbara Sangiorgio and B.G.Hope, writing in different genres and different languages. I will update the links on Unicorn Productions whenever I set up a static web page for the imprint, but I’ll leave this blog for now.

Payments go to my Paypal account under my real name anyway. On Amazon I use my real name account to upload on KDP and have opened the 3 Author Central profiles with the 3 pen-names again with my real-name account. Mostly for payment reasons: checks should go to my real name, not any pen-name I might use because of language or genre.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I opened the account with Smashwords (to read, not to publish), I hadn’t considered putting up a small imprint to publish my pen-names! ๐Ÿ™‚ And having dozens of different accounts… ouch! Can’t keep up! Even on Goodreads I joined only as Barbara G.Tarn! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It works for my non-existent marketing skills, LOL!

Happy writing and have a great week!

UPDATE: cover second attempt following Rich’s suggestions… what do you think? Gee, can’t choose! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Saturday links


February is gone, the shortest month of the year… but I found many interesting posts this week, so let’s get down to business!

Dean Wesley Smith on the history of novel length and what is expected in the new world of publishing! Personally, I struggled to bring my novels to 90.000words, so I’m very happy I can now indie-publish and write as long (or as short) as I want! ๐Ÿ˜€ He also gives e-book pricing suggestions that absolutely match my idea (price according to length)…

Joe Konrath explain how to monetize on your properties, by doing multiple e-editions etc.

Agent Rachelle Gardner is very reassuring for those writers afraid to hit “send”. Don’t be afraid, believe in yourself, and you’ll be all right! ๐Ÿ™‚

Rights of Writers has an extensive post on Publishing Agreements – the good, the bad, the ugly, anything, really! May I say that legalese is one of the things that pushed me toward self-publishing, so I don’t have to sign any of those ever? ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I’ve added Keep Your Copyrights to the Useful Links For Writers, just in case…

Clarion has a guest post about… fan mail! Check it, it’s really also for unpublished authors! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I found the Wicked Writers, and suggest you check their week’s posts on motivation… Then switch off the internet and go back to writing! ๐Ÿ™‚

Michelle Davidson Argyle mentions the loneliness of self-publishing. That doesn’t scare me, I’m used to it. ๐Ÿ˜€

Literary Lab asks if your fiction has a comfort zone… and Cat Woods shows us how NOT to be passive – which I still will not apply to my passive co-protagonist in Water! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy writing and have a great weekend!

Six Sentence Sunday 2


I think I’ll use this Sunday short post to introduce all the POV characters of Air. It’s a character-oriented fantasy story set in my fictional world of Silvery Earth. It’s not really a romance, but it’s not epic fantasy either… I have 5 good main characters (although one is not that “good”) and 1 villain. Last week I introduced Sarita the sculptor. This week meet Winged Jesminder, a Sila (or Air people, winged beings with wings the color of their hair) and member of one of the four Magical races. I’m introducing them in order of appearance in the novel.

And don’t forget to check the other awesome Six Sentence Sunday!

Jesminder picked up the little statue with a thoughtful smile: another God of Winds according to Human traditions, one of the many offerings collected on the altar and niches of the small temple that was sometimes her shelter. The place was quiet again, but she was still tense from the crowded meeting and kept seeing the faces of the king and his son, hearing their words and thinking about Sarita, who had told her a secret: she was in love with the prince and heir to the throne, and considered him her muse.

A muse, what an interesting notion. Sarita was an artist, not a simple artisan. Her skill and creativity had attracted Jesminder more than anything else. Humans had no magic, but they had other quite unusual talents.

 

Six Sentence Sunday


I’ve been ranting about the Books of the Immortals all the past year, so here are the first six sentences of Air, the opening, so to speak (the final version, for you beta-readers! ;-)). So, what do you think? Want to keep reading or bored already? And don’t forget to check the other entries at Six Sentence Sunday!

Books of the Immortals: AIR

by Barbara G.Tarn

Sarita kept rolling and unrolling the same lock of her black hair around her index finger, almost pulling it out in the process. The air was hot and the caress of the sun on her cheek made her imagine someone’s hand touching her gently – even in public and with her eyes wide open she could imagine him and feel him by her side.

The grass felt fresh under her feet and a cool breeze made the sunshine less hot, but she felt as if she was sweating all over – the simple thought of him made her smell flowers in the jungle, just because she knew his palace was full of them.

She glanced at her naked arms and suppressed a second sigh: she was too dark for him and nobody must know she wanted him so badly. But today she would see him again, and the thought made her happily restless. She wished she could actually touch his silken clothes – and the warm skin underneath.

Fight, fight, fight!ย Blogfest


It’s my first blogfest, but I thought I’d give it a chance. Fight (or battle) scenes are not my strength, but here’s a duel from my novel “Air” (so if you’re a beta-reader, skip this post to avoid spoilers! ;-)). And no, it’s not India, although it’s inspired by India and Persia! ๐Ÿ™‚

The rest of the blogfest is at JC Martin’s blog – the code doesn’t work on WordPress, so just follow the link to her blog for more entries! Happy reading!


THE CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD

The stone bed was hard and the blade of the scimitar cold. Kumar drifted back to reality from an unusually peaceful sleep. In spite of the stone bed, he slept better in that little forgotten temple than in Rajendra Royal Palace. But it wasn’t comfortable enough to stay in bed all day either.

Elephant calls in the air, but not Maya’s. Kumar dressed quickly. Either the king of Lakeshi (or his arrogant son) was visiting, or someone more dangerous had just arrived.

The temple was empty, therefore whoever was waiting outside hadn’t come to pray. Kumar picked up the scimitar. He moved silently to the temple door to peer outside and cursed under his breath.

Rajendra’s guards. They had found him. It was really time to leave the southern kingdoms forever.

He took a deep breath and stepped into the light of day.

“Good morning,” Naveen was standing in front of the temple porch, his arms folded on his chest. “I will not violate a temple, but sooner or later you will have to come out, and I’ll catch you.”

“Don’t you have anything better to do at Argantael?” he retorted.

“Lots of things, actually, but I cannot go back without you.”

“Tell your king his wretched son-in-law is dead. I swear you’ll never hear my name again.”

“I considered this option when you escaped from Jevina,” Naveen admitted. “But I will not be your messenger. Besides, Princess Indira wants you back alive.”

“So what do you want, a duel to the death?” Kumar whirled the scimitar once, threateningly. “I don’t think Indira would appreciate it, though.”

“Why don’t you just come with me?” Naveen started to lose his patience. “You can settle the matter with your wife back in Rajendra.”

“I’m not going back!” Kumar hissed.

“Don’t make me do things we’ll both regret,” Naveen turned his attention to the other two guards, who were keeping Maya at weapon’s distance.

She was standing between two males, subjugated by the matriarch of the king’s herd, who had reminded her she was just a female without family.

“Why don’t you fight instead!” Kumar exclaimed, feeling the Fury mounting fast.

“I’m the captain of Rajendra’s Royal Guard, and you have become a member of that same Royal Family I have sworn to defend, even from your very own self,” Naveen replied.

Kumar had slipped his wedding ring onto a piece of string around his neck. He now ripped this off and threw it at Naveen.

“I’m not a prince anymore, now fight!” he challenged.

“Only my king can strip you of your rank.”

“I will not follow you, how will you force me?”

“We are three against one, if we have to, we’ll take you back tied up like a criminal, but we will not hurt you.”

“Son of a bitch!” Kumar lost his patience. He attacked the captain who unsheathed his blade to fend off the first blow. The duel was inevitable: both men were too angry to talk anymore.

Jesminder had run to call Takeshi and Sarita, and now the whole village poured into the clearing, forming a circle around the duelists. They had seen the tiger hunter, now they were introduced to a trained warrior who could fight a royal guard of the neighboring kingdom.

Blades clanked, filling the forest with metallic sounds. Kumar left his flank unprotected only to cut Naveen’s arm: the bone stopped the blow, but the captain lost his grip on his scimitar with a scream of pain; he tried to stop the blood as his knees failed him and he found himself kneeling on the grass.

“Captain!” Mohan exclaimed. Impulsively he charged Kumar before Anupam could stop him and hit the bloodied scimitar with a loud clang.

Kumar let it go. Unbelievably fast, he undid his noose and jumped behind Mohan who was still trying to stab him and wrapped the silk around his neck, pulling hard. Mohan collapsed with a death-rattle just as the knife appeared in Kumar’s hand, ready to be thrown. Kumar glared at Anupam, ready to kill again, slowly reaching for his scimitar.

Anupam raised his hands and didn’t move, as Naveen stared breathless at Mohan’s lifeless body. Kumar put away the knife and coldly took back his silken noose, then put the tip of his scimitar to Naveen’s throat.

“Now you go back to Argantael and leave me alone,” he hissed. “Or I’ll kill all of you, or die trying.”

Naveen nodded, and Kumar pulled back. Sarita and Suneethi rushed to look after the wounded captain while Kumar stared around angrily. He walked towards the village and the small crowd silently opened to let his bloodied weapon pass.

Books of the Immortals


Okay, here’s the self-promoting post! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve been rambling about it for a couple of months now, so I’m going to say something about my project for the five Books of the Immortals.

First of all, it’s an experiment – I mean for the first time I tried to put all the five senses in my writing. Except it’s mostly one book at the time. Thus Air is touch (two characters touch everything, two hate being touched, and one doesn’t give a damn), the related art being sculpture (one character is a sculptor); Fire is sight, thus many visual descriptions (a lot more than my average anyway), the related art being painting (one character is a painter); Water is taste, so I tried to put in food and other tastes, the related art is dance (but everybody dances and there isn’t a specific character who dances for a living); Ether is sound, thus music (one character plays the lute, but I still have to work on that book); Earth is smell, and the art is writing (as I said, one character is a writer).

Each book is set on Silvery Earth atย  different times, covering approximately 600 years of its history: Air before the birth of the biggest empire (lasts almost 300 years), with an Indian/Persian flavor; Fire, Water and Ether are the most closely related in terms of time and place (the aforementioned Varian Empire’s first century); Earth is a couple of hundred years after the fall of said empire. The one character that passes through all the books (apart from the Immortals themselves) is Starblazer, the female Fajrulo who has a 900-years lifespan…

%d bloggers like this: