Wednesday Weekly Roundup

Last week I thought I was going slower because I had to check maps and stuff for my characters’ journey, but ended up with almost 14k and being almost done with this book. My way of coping with all this is obviously hiding in my worlds or our speculative future, trying to forget the current situation! πŸ™‚ The only thing I really can’t do right now is draw. I barely managed to finish inking the Star Minds Kids and Teens strip, but I still need to do a couple of “covers” and then color and letter it all… not to mention I haven’t done another pencil portrait since January! 😦

I have a post on why you should ignore all that Coronavirus-inspired productivity if you don’t feel like it. I’ve been in this state for longer than you were, so don’t get discouraged by the fact that I resumed writing. Italy has been in lockdown for the whole month of March, so I had time to adjust. But I had to put my new trilogy on the back burner because I don’t have the mind to write it now (although during the weekend I went back to my notes because a friend posted something related to it).

It doesn’t mean I’m already on the other side of this shift, mind you, but the depression of the first weeks is gone. I’m still waiting for the new normal to settle in, and we’re not there yet. Maybe after Easter things will slowly re-open on this side of the world, but I guess everybody’s plans are screwed for the rest of the year. I’m not one who goes on vacation during the summer, but my colleagues are all upset about being unable to go to their usual places.

I might be an indoor person myself, but on Saturday I gave up on going to the supermarket because of the long lines. Waiting standing is not good for my back, so I thought I’d try something else. I never go shopping on Sundays because I think supermarket employees deserve a day off too, but I was so desperate that this Sunday I did go and check if it was open.

It was, I had only five people ahead of me (on Saturday I saw the line in the parking lot before even turning the corner of the building…), so I got my stuff (I was running out of coffee for the moka machine I haven’t used in months, but being stuck at home for breakfast I had to resume using it) and went home happy.

So yeah, it’s a really big deal, emotionally tiring, and the spring weather on this side of the world probably doesn’t help. An Italian saying goes “April, sweet sleeping” (which rhymes in the original “Aprile, dolce dormire”) and I can already feel that spring drowsiness.

Last week my brother managed to get to Mom’s and show her how she can do WhatsApp video calls with her tablet – it might be our only way to spend Easter together. My sister finally has got a smartphone, so as soon as she downloads WhatsApp, we’ll add her to the family chat. I’m still quite dumb with the whole videocall thingy, but I’ll learn! πŸ˜‰

I put a new title out, and when formatting I realized I ended up not putting in flashbacks. And last night I remembered that yes, I did write them, but I totally forgot about them and didn’t send them to the proofreader. So don’t rush to get this title… I will update it as soon as possible. This shows I’m not at my normal efficient self, hope it makes you feel better! πŸ™‚ The last Star Minds Lone Wolves book will come out in two weeks, then we’re off to the Team’s adventures for another three titles.

And I got word from the curator that the Immortals bundle is on sale! Check it out! My “immortal” is Kaylyn, Rajveer’s sister-in-darkness, a 12th century Anglo-Norman lady… through the centuries!

In spite of many authors offering books with discounts or free (like the Smashwords sale – check out this friend of mine, everything 60% off of free – or this other friend of mine who has put her short stories at 99c), there’s still someone who wants to profit from this. Writer Beware on Copyright Violation Redux – The Internet Archives National Emergency Library.

I didn’t check if they have my books, but I suspect that my lack of sales is because of pirate sites – sometimes they pop up in my Google Alert. Sigh. When people will be willing to pay for their entertainment, it will be a nice new world where I’ll love to live in. Maybe when this is over.

Oh, and our fearless curator (of the above bundle) has put out a new title as well. Check out Here Be Brave New Worlds, that includes Brainwaves (Future Earth Chronicles Book 1) – to which I remind that the rest of the series is half-price in the Smashwords sale

To end on a brighter note, a friend on Facebook posted the usual stupid meme “Whatever song was #1 on your 12th birthday is the official theme for your quarantine” and I want to share my official theme with you. I was living in Geneva at the time, so it’s going to be a French song.

“L’oiseau et l’enfant” (“The Bird and the Child”) was the winning song in the Eurovision Song Contest 1977 performed in French by Marie Myriam, who represented France. I still own the 45 – yep, still plenty of vinyl records and audio tapes in this house! πŸ˜€

Here you have the video (karaoke version), I think it’s quite good for these times, and I wish you a wonderful week! πŸ™‚



Writer Wednesday

And October is gone too, can you believe it?Β  I wrote almost 24K words and all the stories planned for the month. Onward to the next task – two more shorter works to submit to anthologies, a redraft of a novel with sequel and two more stories that can be done in December as well. And I’ll be more or less done for the year, unless I get to work on another novel in December.

I’m slowing down production not because I’m depressed or anything, but because it takes me more time to add all the stuff I learned in the online workshops in the first draft. Sometimes I procrastinate starting because I can’t find an opening with depth. To which I end up saying, “To hell with depth, let’s get into the story, I can always add depth later, cycling back!”

Next year I’ll be celebrating 40 years of writing and it’s still fun and entertaining and everything. But I won’t lie to you. I am currently depressed by the state of publishing. I’m tired of trying to keep up with trends, marketing, retailers and social media who keep updating and upgrading while I’m slowly trying to catch up. Things are changing too fast, so I’ll slow down the publishing until things settle down a little.

Which means I may keep for myself some of the writing I’ll do next year, or maybe not. I do have quite a few projects lined up, maybe I’ll just write them all and then take a month off to publish them all! πŸ˜‰ We’ll see. There’s still a couple of months to go, right?

So, yeah, more changes a-coming. Necessary evil, I’m afraid. I’m depressed, but not while writing. If you are writing under the influence of depression, though, check this advice. I found no support in writers groups, but maybe the offline people were more a critique group than a support group – I was the only one prolific and indie and all that stuff.

A story of piracy to circulate between authors and readers alike. It’s not that I don’t want to give away free books, but like this author, I’d like to make a living. Now, I’m not as successful as this young lady here (I don’t write YA, which is probably the most pirated genre of publishin), but I hear her pain and bow to her initiative that proved her point.

Creations, even in the digital age, should earn some money to their creators or soon you won’t have any content to download anymore. I do receive alerts of pirate sites with my books, I don’t do anything about them, but that’s also part of my publishing depression. Why keep publishing if they don’t sell because of piracy or undiscoverability? I may as well keep writing for myself like I did for 33 years…

And in my publishing depression I try to decompress with funny stuff. I’m working on the paperback of Da Strip. I’m watching comedies on DVD. I try to read funny stuff (maybe it’s time to get back to those paper books on my desk… I believe I have one that is funny).

I’m not really writing funny stuff yet, since that’s not the point. Depression has not affected my writing or creativity, but is hitting hard on the publishing life. I don’t have Impostor Syndrome and I don’t feel a special snowflake, and I do know the rules or I wouldn’t know how to break them.

I guess I will have to ponder about the branding thing. I know I’m the brand but I still can’t see my name that big on the cover – I love my cover art too much (mostly because it’s paid commissions, not cheap photoshopping of stock images, LOL!).

Besides, rebranding the 70 or so Silvery Earth books is too daunting. And those are the ones with the smaller author name on the cover. Sigh. Last but not least, the November bundles! Mythic Tales is out today and Cats Cats Cats will come out on Friday. I am determined to change subject on Fridays for the month of November, so I’m telling you now! πŸ™‚ Have a great week! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday

After a few years of just Torino Comics, I finally managed to go back to the Turin Book Fair, albeit only for one day. Unfortunately I missed the European Manager for Kobo Writing Life (she was on a panel while I was on the train and Kobo didn’t have a specific boot, although Kobo e-readers were available in a couple of places), so I couldn’t ask her my questions. I guess I’ll have to write to KWL support and see if I can get an answer.

Anyhow, I managed to pay half price entrance ticket as a writer and now they have me on the list if I want to go back next year. I found the startups at Books of the Future quite interesting, but I missed the panel on sending ebooks to bookshops because it was already full. Maybe next year I’ll check the program in advance and stay for the whole 5 days or something! πŸ™‚ I also saw old friends (one I hadn’t seen in years and he commented on it – yeah, I had vanished from his radar, but with good reason! ;p) and was even asked to do a workshop on how to write fantasy. Uh, no thanks, I can’t teach, so I won’t have your money for something I can’t do.

Now I’ve prepared a schedule for the next two weeks, since I’m off DayJob and need to work on a few things, such as bundles and other experiments. And yes, writing, of course. I made a priority list also for the short stories I need to write this month. And I need to publish a novel in Italian, so today I’m re-reading that old file, then I will format it and publish it during the weekend. Busy indie life! πŸ™‚

Some links: Scott’s surefire formula for achieving artistic commercial success! Yes! Truly! You wouldn’t believe how simple it is! And in case you don’t think it’s true, check Dean’s post on killing the sacred cows of indie publishing. And then Joe Konrath’s tend your garden. Read that? Five to ten years. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. So now get off the internet and go back to writing.

Unless you feel you need to improve your craft. So check either Dean Wesley Smith’s online workshops or David Farland’s Story Doctor. I might take one of these soon too – although I prefer in-person teaching and intereacting with other writers. I’m already a hermit in my writing cave, online workshops don’t help my sociability! πŸ˜‰

David Gaughran on piracy (I have a Kindle, but I don’t buy from Amazon unless it’s one of those wretched KDP Select authors) and Mark Coker on Scribd’s improved copyright protection systems. And if you’re still worried about pirates, at the book fair I heard of these people who check the web for you – dunno if it’s a paying service or not but they put this up for indies, or so they say. They gave an example of monitoring one day of Stephen King’s Dr Sleep (Italian version): 26K+ illegal files and 700K+ total downloads from torrent and peer to peer sites… But that’s Stephen King! πŸ™‚

Now really stop worrying about sales and piracy and get back to writing. Even if you don’t have the time or inclination to follow any course, keep writing AND reading, and your craft will magically improve! Just don’t give up and you’ll be fine. Have a great week!

Random Friday

Total randomness today. Wednesday was a hot and damp morning at 8am already and when I got on the bus to work, my legs started itching – darn tiger mosquitoes that had spared me all summer had had a feast on my legs while I waited for the bus! 😦 When I got to the office I threw cold water on both my legs and the itching eased a little. I have learned by now not to touch those mosquito bites or they become biiiiig red patches – still yesterday morning I could count them as they started itching again:Β 8 on the right leg,Β 2 on the left leg (some of each were brand new…ARGH!). Sigh. Will have to ignore them, but that’s another reason to hate the summer! 😦

Before leaving for my vacation (I’ll be flying to NY tomorrow) I watched KANK again after a few years. That was my first Bollywood love, but busy discovering new titles, I hadn’t watched it in a while. But I remembered it being set in NY, so I decided it was worth another look. So, the rediscovery of KANK: oooh, at least 2 songs from other Karan Johar movies I hadn’t noticed when I first saw it (until I bought those movies, that is, LOL)! Oooh, Arjun Rampal – how could I NOT notice hottie him? OK, maybe I noticed him, but the appearance was too short to look up his name! πŸ˜‰ And John Abraham and Kajol as guests!Β  I’m not saying it was a different movie, but it was kinda fun rediscovering it! πŸ˜‰

Now, I know I said I’d put the artworks on DeviantART from now on, but as this latest Caran d’Ache took me 4 hours (the longest in ages), I thought I’d parade it here. I usually do these in a couple of hours, depending on the size. But in this case I spent over one hour on the shirt and it took me way longer than usual to do the rest as well – because of those two details that never come out right because I never really learned to draw them: ears and teeth. Meh.

Anyway, I thought I’d reach the 100 “deviations” before my b-day, so I added a few more drawings. I put the illustrations I did for BoI – Air (most of which ended up in the book trailer) and tried to find recent works that fit the bill. I mean, some of those portraits are 30 years old, some took me way more than 4 hours (this was my record, 13 hours in 1985), and I put them there only in the hope of selling the art book. But I’d rather upload more recent works (new millennium).

Now I might add a few more when I get back, but I thought it was a little early to start showing off my science fantasy characters. I was thinking of using a cover artist, but maybe the project is going another way, so those drawings might be needed as covers – useless to show them off too early, know what I mean? So I added portraits just to reach that nice number 100. More illustrations to come before the end of the year! πŸ™‚

One last bit – a post on piracy. OK, this refers to video games, but it applies to books and e-books as well. That’s why I don’t think piracy is a big problem. Whoever pirates everything would never pay for it and like Justin says, whoever does this is a thief, not a pirate.Β  Same for those who download free e-books, they’re not readers, they’re downloaders, hence the uselessness of too many free titles. They won’t bring you readers and attract the wrong kind of people…

I’m off for a couple of weeks, so replies to comments will be discontinued… don’t forget to check back on Sunday when I have a guest and a giveaway (I’ll try to moderate the comments while I’m away) and I hope next Friday to be able to do a post live from Chicon7! πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend! πŸ˜€

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