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Writer Wednesday

Published 17/05/2017 by Barb

Star Minds Third Generation Snippets is out! Check the damn Amazon link so the people at Booklinker won’t bother me with useless emails! But it’s available also everywhere else *waves at the gal who already bought it on Smashwords – I know who you are, thank you*! Next weekend I shall work on the paperback version.

The cover is by Mighty Marvelous Maurizio Manzieri – which means I have the same cover as some traditional SFF magazines or books, yay! 🙂 It might be one of his stock illustrations (it ain’t free, babe), but again I wrote a story that fit it, like I did with S.E.T.H. (on the cover of Star Minds Next Generation Diaries).

Like I do with Techie Bro’s digital paintings. Who needs writing prompts with such great artists out there? 😉 I’m still commissioning custom covers, though. Next month you’ll see the awesome covers Rossana Beretta did for Talwar and Khanda and Saif’s  Story. And besides doing maybe a cover or two myself, I’ll have Cristina do another southern kingdoms illustration. Not to mention the official cover artist for Vampires Through the Centuries, Shafali Anand! 🙂

Tomorrow starts a Kobo-only promo – the Books of the Immortals Box Set will be 30%off for a few days. Just hop to the Kobo page and see what other box sets get discounted until the 29th! 🙂

Lots of writerly links today! David Farland on busting your editor’s chops. Kris Rusch on types of brands – I might not be the best at cover branding yet, but well… too many books, too little time! 😉 I’m still learning cover branding, but that’s only the surface. There’s a whole lot more about branding to study and learn.

And then two posts by David Gaughran about those darn Amazon bots… how we’ll end up asking “please don’t buy my books” and who’s pointing at you. I’ve been on Yasiv when I tried to set up that Amazon ad… some of my titles don’t even come up on Yasiv! 😦

I mean, even putting a series title like Star Minds not one book of the series shows up. Vampires Through the Centuries brings up only Vampire Diaries. Silvery Earth brings only the Fairy Tales Revisited… And “body switches”? Tons of non-fiction and conspiracy theories and mind-controlling texts!! 😮

I’ll have to find other ways to find tags for my next Amazon ads. Yasiv clearly doesn’t work for me! 😉 Also, did you hear about the KU advocate being kicked out of KU? Mighty Zon is a dangerous beast! 🙂

Off to the next story… have a great week! 😀

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Sunday Surprise

Published 17/04/2016 by Barb

I’m currently translating into Italian some of the character interviews or articles I’ve written on Star Minds when I published the English version and sending them to an Italian blogger as well as publishing them on my Italian blog. I’ve also published Yash & Ryo in Italian and it’s selling a lot more than its English counterpart, in spite of my total lack of marketing.

Why am I mentioning this? Author voice part 2 or 3 or whatnot. I sent a printed copy of Yash & Ryo to my Italian beta-reader (the Angela I dedicated Technological Angel to), and she said that my voice has changed. The story I sent her is the translation of a work originally written in English, and that may account for the change of style and voice she perceived.

In case you missed it, here’s the characters interview. What I wanted to explore in this story was male rape without putting it on the page like I did for Smeraldo and Kyrio. I also want to write more ACE-friendly stories from now on and not only because I hope to be picked up by Goodreads Ace Book Club. So you won’t get many more Adults Only buttons on the publisher’s site! 😉

I know I wanted to talk more about all this, but I’m tired, and ideas keep running away from me to leave room for more of Kaylyn‘s plotting. I’m not done yet, I hope to finish Chapter 11 tonight. Four more to go. If I manage one a day, I should be done by Friday, since Wednesday is Dear Nephew Day. So next weekend (longer than usual, since April 25 is national holiday in Italy) I hope to go through it and polish that first and probably only draft!

Have a great Sunday! 🙂

Sunday Surprise

Published 24/01/2016 by Barb

Cyber Bodyguard

by Barbara G.Tarn

C’ell’andy was confused. He remembered the explosion, and throwing Kol-ian to safety before being half-buried by a crumbling building. Now he felt a numbing pain and couldn’t tell if he was conscious or not. He still had a body and it was probably tied to a machine – he could feel the tube down his throat, but not much else.

He didn’t know where he was, if the darkness was inside or outside of him, or if he was alive or dead. His mind struggled to stay focused, to understand what was going on.

C’ell’andy, do you hear me?

The powerful mind of the Emperor echoed in the nothingness that engulfed him. This was getting scary – he didn’t know how to answer with his mouth full – then he remembered the Emperor was a telepath and he didn’t need to speak. The voice in his head was a mind projection anyway.

Your lower body is badly damaged, and we need to attach a prosthetic to keep you alive, the Emperor continued coldly. But we don’t have anything ready except a horse body. You might not live long enough to have a proper human prosthetic, but it’s still your choice. Do you want to live as a scary-looking cyborg, or would you rather die and be honored for saving my son’s life?

So he was alive, albeit maimed. He couldn’t die now. The Sire had the most advanced technology in the galaxy, so the prosthetic might actually enhance him. He was a bodyguard, sworn to protect the Emperor’s son. If the Emperor saw it fit to save him by attaching a weird-looking prosthetic to what was left of his body, he could only be grateful for the gift.

Let me live, Imperiestra.

You shall live.

C’ell’andy’s consciousness slowly faded away.

***

art by Silvano Beltramo

art by Silvano Beltramo

C’ell’andy put down the dumbbell with a sigh. Time for the last pull-ups. He didn’t have any abs anymore, and his upper torso muscles had atrophied during the past two months. He’d recovered their strength by now, though, in spite of the added weight of the prosthetic. His biceps swelled as he pulled up the miracle that kept him alive. It looked like a silvery horse body attached to what was left of his hips. In the daylight it gleamed white, which made a great contrast with his dark-chocolate skin.

“Bravo!” Tyro clapped his hands while C’ell’andy finished his exercise.

C’ell’andy’s naked upper torso and shaved head were covered in sweat, but the prosthetic didn’t produce any. He walked to his friend, relaxing as his new lower half moved under his command.

“You’ve recovered your full mass of muscles,” Tyro complimented him. “You look even more fierce than before.”

“I look weird, but I had no choice if I wanted to live.” C’ell’andy sighed. “I think the Emperor used me as guinea pig.”

“Well, you’d be dead anyway if your body rejected the implant,” Tyro said. “But I’m glad everything went well. You control everything now?”

“Yes.” C’ell’andy went through some gaits – walk, trot, canter, gallop – around the gym, then slowed again to a canter and then a walk. He stopped in front of the scientist who had created the artificial body. “How did I do?”

“Perfect. I knew you could do it. You’re ready to go back on duty.”

“I’ll stop to hug my wife and will be on my way.” C’ell’andy grinned and clasped Tyro’s arm. “Thank you, my friend.”

They exited the gym together, and as they walked through the Vaurabi Labs, C’ell’andy’s metallic hoofs clanged on the floor.

“Do you think you can add padded horseshoes so I don’t scare Kol-ian away?” the cyborg asked, frowning with worry.

“Sure!” The pale-skinned scientist was quick to fix the annoying noise.

C’ell’andy exited the Imperial palace and galloped back to his quarters, exhilarated. The housing looked very small with his new body, and his wife giggled as he bumped into furniture with his prosthetic.

“Sorry, I’ll have to figure out a way to sleep,” he grumbled. “So far I lay my head on a shelf with a pillow… let’s see if I can sit by the bed and use it the same way…”

He squeezed the implant between the bed and the wall and sat his horselike body down. Since it was mechanical, it had no problems in doing so. Rotating his torso felt uncomfortable, though, so he decided he’d have to find another solution.

He rose again to his four feet with a sigh and backed out of the narrow passage.

“We’ll work it out later.” L’ill’oretta slid a waistcoat on his shoulders. “I know you don’t have private parts to cover anymore, but you don’t want to be completely naked, especially in front of the Emperor – or his son,” she chided.

He adjusted the colorful sleeveless vest and turned to take her in his arms – his beautiful, pregnant wife who now barely reached his nipples. The implant made him even taller than what he already was.

“Thank you,” he whispered, before kissing her. He was grateful she had stood by him in spite of the maiming that had cost him his manhood. Well, the whole lower half of his body.

“You’re alive. Our child will have a father,” she replied tenderly.

He caressed her round belly, thanking the gods for keeping him alive. He might have a robotic body, but he still felt completely human. He was lucky the accident happened when L’ill’oretta was already expecting, or he might have lost his wife along with half of his body.

“Thanks to Tyro Megnaghy and his wonderful prosthetic,” he said.

“How does it feel?” she asked, curious.

“I’m getting used to it. Controlling four legs instead of two is tricky at first. Unfortunately it was the only implant ready and available when I was taken down.”

“You look gorgeous,” she assured. “Like our legendary man-horses!”

He chuckled and gently squeezed her in his powerful arms.

“I better go and see how Kol-ian is doing,” he said, then kissed her frizzy hair. He knew he hadn’t been replaced, and the little prince he’d protected from the explosion was locked in his room since the accident – two long months to attach the implant to his ruined body, make it work, and then for him to learn to control his new lower limbs through a neural interface inserted at the back of his neck.

“Sure.” She sighed. She was on maternity leave, which had allowed her to care for him before she got too big and needed care herself. “See you tonight.”

They kissed and C’ell’andy left their apartment to go back to the palace. He walked to the higher floors and the little prince’s room, mostly ignored in spite of the obvious prosthetic. He knocked before the door slid open and he entered the child’s apartment – an antechamber for playing and reading, and a bedroom.

ImperialPrincesTXTeng_resize“Prince Kol-ian?” he called, not seeing him on the couch as he expected. “Are you hiding?” he chided, stepping forward. He reached the bedroom and heard a ragged breath coming from behind the big bed.

“Why are you hiding, my prince?” he asked, stopping at the door.

A tuft of raven hair followed by a pair of big black eyes peered over the bed. The eyes widened and C’ell’andy heard a gasp. The head vanished again.

“Prince Kol-ian, may I come forward?” C’ell’andy asked. “Why are you afraid of me all of a sudden?”

“I’m not scared.” The childish voice was muffled. “I’m ashamed.”

Startled, C’ell’andy crossed the room and reached the corner where the prince was hiding. Kol-ian Vaurabi was six and his eyes were wide with pain, shame, guilt and who knew what else.

C’ell’andy’s impulse was to grab him and hold him to his chest. He followed through with it and picked Kol-ian off the floor. The child looked even smaller next to his mechanic body.

“Why are you ashamed?” C’ell’andy asked, puzzled, looking Kol-ian in the eyes and stroking his back with one hand as he held him with the other arm.

The child sniffed and lowered his eyes. “Because Granny is dead and you are maimed, and it’s all my fault,” he whispered.

“No, it’s not your fault,” C’ell’andy assured. “What makes you think you have anything to do with this?”

Barely a whisper. “They were trying to kill me. Because I’m the Emperor’s son.”

C’ell’andy sighed. “Well, that’s why I’ve been appointed your bodyguard. So nobody could hurt you. That’s why I’m protecting you. Unfortunately I couldn’t save your granny.”

Kol-ian sniffed again and glanced at his horse body. “You look funny.”

“Do you want to ride me?” C’ell’andy suggested with a smile.

Kol-ian nodded.

C’ell’andy moved Kol-ian to his metallic rump and wrapped the short arms around his waist. “Ready for a ride?”

“Yes!” Kol-ian said, finally loud. Soon he was all giggly, and his shame was forgotten while C’ell’andy caracoled between the two rooms making horse sounds.

The cyborg finally took the child off his back and threw him on his bed, where he landed with a soft thud and a final giggle.

“Thank you, C’ell’andy,” Kol-ian sighed, curling up. “Will you tell me the story of C’est’aran now?”

“Of course.”

C’ell’andy realized he couldn’t really sit on the boy’s bed like he used to. Drat, this prosthetic can be very impractical in some situations. He couldn’t lie to sleep, he couldn’t sit… but the happiness of the little prince riding his implant was priceless. Kol-ian was a gloomy prince – the second-born of the Emperor – who had found some affection only with his late grandmother.

The Imperial family was quite cold and used to hiding their feelings. Some said they didn’t have any, in spite of being Sire and telepaths and superior to other Humanoid races like C’ell’andy’s. But the cyborg knew Kol-ian had feelings, much like his mother used to.

It had been mostly his maternal grandmother who often made the child smile. Except the aging woman had been killed in the assassination attempt and Kol-ian was left with only his bodyguard, now a cyborg, who could still tell him stories of his home world, Ulba’wis.

Kol-ian listened wide-eyed for the umpteenth time to the story of C’est’aran, a hero from Ulba’wis. The Humanoids living there were warriors and had plenty of stories about wars and great adventures, while the Sire had lived in peace for centuries, until they’d become the dominating race among the Humanoids and had formed the Galactic Empire. For some reason, Kol-ian preferred Ulba’wissian stories to Sire stories.

“You will have your own child soon?” the boy asked when the story was over. He looked worried again.

“Yes, in a couple of months,” C’ell’andy answered, caressing the child’s black hair.

“So you will tell him or her your stories.” Kol-ian averted his eyes, disappointed.

“No, I will still tell them to you. It will take some time before my child will be able to listen to my stories,” C’ell’andy assured.

“Really?” Kol-ian brightened again. “Tell me another, then!”

____________________________________

Cyber Bodyguard is included in Star Minds Snippets. Pictures by the author and Silvano Beltramo.

Sunday Surprise

Published 20/09/2015 by Barb

Hi guys,

I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!

So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!

Today we have two handsome young men with futuristic looks… Hello you, the tall, shy one… Tell me a little about yourself!

by Barb

by Barb

My name is Yashvardan Samara, I was born on Ypsilanti, a matriarchal planet of the Star Nations, twenty-five years ago.

Star Nations! Where there was the evil Emperor Seti-luc Vaurabi, right? My twin Sonia absolutely loves his accursed son Kol-ian and his better half Ker-ris Shermac… but I’m digressing, sorry! Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

I’m an athlete, brown hair, grey-green eyes.

Well, I can see you’re an athlete! Look at that perfectly toned body of yours! Why are you blushing?

I know I’m handsome and I’m not interested in you.

Well, neither am I, honey. Only looking! Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

My family is my enemy. I ran away from my home planet because they locked me in the basement and my “girlfriend” forced herself on me. And if you think men can’t be raped, you better run a search on your own planet meganet – I’m sure there are plenty of cases of male rape.

Mmm, not on Silvery Earth, but on Earth most certainly. So, are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

No, I’m asexual, I’m not interested in a relationship. Especially after being raped.

O-okay, fine! What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Overcoming my trauma – and staying alive and free.

Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

I do not wish to talk about my powerful mother and her tame husband.

Fine! Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself, then!

I won medals as a gymnast and a runner. But it wasn’t enough for my mother, she wanted grandchildren, so she hooked me up with that abusive girlfriend.

I see… and you’re not willing to talk about that either! *sigh* Okay, let’s hope your companion is more talkative! For the earthlings out there, this one has almond-shaped eyes and looks Chinese or Japanese – except, of course, he’s an alien Humanoid.

Yash&RyoCol_resize

by Barb

So, tell me a little about yourself!

I’m Ryo Hanashima, mob boss son from Xi-kong, The Patriarchal Planet of the Star Nations (yes, all caps, thank you)! I’m a few months older than Yash, and he’s the most handsome guy I’ve ever met, don’t you think?

*chuckle* Definitely! Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Long black hair and mob tattoos.

What is your role in the story?

Mmm, good question. Yash and Birgit saved me from a “corrective rape”. And I’m smitten. Yash is gorgeous. If he weren’t so traumatized, I’d have already kissed him blind!

*LOL* He is indeed! What is your relationship with him, then?

*sigh* We’re friends… We left the Star Nations together… I didn’t want him arrested by the galaxy police…

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Staying alive and free. Hoping I’ll end up seducing Yash!

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I have a serpentine dragon coiling on my back and the tail of the dragon on my left arm reaches the side of my neck. And I’m good at races both with flying cars and motosonics…

_________________________________________________

Yash&Ryo_resizeBook(s) in which the characters appear: Star Minds Interregnum – Galaxy Police (cover art by Shafali Anand) or Star Minds Interregnum (cover art by Maurizio Manzieri) in the story Runaway. A brief mention to Yashvardan Samara is in King of Music – Zaphadin (included in Star Minds Chasing Stardom with cover by Maurizio Manzieri).

Ebook coming soon: Yash & Ryo Lost in the Milky Way with cover art by the talented RenRou.

Writer Wednesday

Published 08/04/2015 by Barb

As I’m trying to relax in London, reading and writing, I thought I’d give what I promised. I didn’t participate in the Read an ebook Week, but you can have now and until Sunday these discounted titles:

Star Minds coupon code CY27Q.

Star Minds Snippets coupon code HP87B.

Star Minds Next Generation  coupon code EH87B.

In the occasion of the release of Star Minds Next Generation Diaries, all are 50% off for the rest of the week with the above coupons.

And if you don’t know what the fuss is about, the first book of the whole saga will be free until April 12 with the following Technological Angel (Star Minds Book 1) coupon code TB88J. That’s the book that started it all.

More info on the series and stay tuned for Star Minds Chasing Stardom! 🙂

SMtrilogy_resizeWhen I come back, I’ll work on the POD version of SMNGDiaries (and thanks to whoever got a copy of SMNG). There will be more stories in this universe this year, but the rest in the second half of the year. I hope to submit the shorter ones to some traditional markets.

Now off to write as B.G. Hope for the rest of the month… still wondering if I should get rid of that pen name before I publish the next title… since I plan to rebrand most of the contemporary covers! 😉 Will hopefully make up my mind sometime this week, LOL!

To quit or not to quit – Moira Allen’s part 2 and the comments of the readers of the newsletter (including yours truly). I particularly like Moira’s idea of writers continuum… Have a great week! 🙂

Writer Wednesday

Published 01/04/2015 by Barb

SMNG Diaries ebook_resizeNEW TITLE OUT! 🙂

Star Minds Next Generation Diaries

The companion of the next generation novel with the story of how Shan-leo lost his arm, the diaries of Mayumi, Wim, Hiro and T’ymi’chel (or the novel seen from other points of view), and then Dadina five years later. Cover story: S.E.T.H. or Izzy-lee’s quest to recover her beloved.

Available on Amazon Kindle, Apple, Barnes&Noble, DriveThruFiction, Kobo and Smashwords.

Other news: sent off a story for a contest and finishing the next generation stories (yes, there will be more to come – you haven’t read about Kay-low and Astrid yet! Stay tuned) – and preparing for my week off, when I’ll probably mostly brood and write in London… just kidding, I do have people to meet and places to go. 😉

But April will be B.G. Hope’s month – and I’m taking an online workshop, so I don’t know how that will screw my writing routine. Nobody berated me for not giving my wordcount for February at the beginning of March, so now you get both months in one spot. Or better, the first quarter results: almost 140000 words in 3 months. Most of it was done in January, but I’m still pretty much on schedule. Should be 10000words a week and it’s been 13 weeks, so… I’m doing fine! 🙂

Some writerly links: Harlan Coben on writing. And marketing. And all that other stuff. And do not forget to be creative. Don’t let anyone control you. In the words of Kris Rusch:

Because being creative is about flying in the face of accepted wisdom. It’s about writing what you want to write, in the way that only you can write it. It’s about taking risks and facing down the critics. It’s about using forbidden words and writing about topics that, judging by your appearance, you should know nothing about. It’s about facing down the bigots who say you’ve only attracted readers because your last name implies a certain ethnicity.

And never stop learning. I might be huffing and panting to keep up with publishing changes, but this year I’m also going back to “school” with that online workshop – the first on craft I’m taking in years. So you’ll see less published titles, but my craft will probably improve… I’ll let the readers be the judges! 🙂

Which brings me also to this wonderful blog about the reader/author relationship. Some commenter pointed out it might be the Social Media Generation who treats books like products (and so do traditional publishers, they treat books like produce that spoils, check Dean Wesley Smith’s blog for that!). As for that “cleaning app”… I had read about it and went “pshaw!” *rolls eyes*.

Anyway. “Be excellent to each other” and especially online! 8 reasons why authors are assholes – I’m number 2 mostly, for the few conventions I attend. Have a great week! 🙂

Sunday Surprise

Published 29/03/2015 by Barb

My name is Brenda de Zorig and I’m a journalist for the Konigtown Gazette. I’ve been on the road for years as an actress in an itinerant company, but eventually decided to go back to my hometown to start living of the thing I like the most – writing. So while I write my Masterpiece, I took this job at the Gazette and they send me on various assignments… I thought I might as well starting interviewing random people. Since I intend to write fiction, but truth is always stranger than fiction, I’m eager to hear about people out there – on my world or beyond.

So… Tell me a little about yourself.

My name is Izzy-lee and I’m twenty-seven. I’m a full fledged S.E.T.H. – super enhanced trans humanoid. My Sire mind was uploaded into an artificial body ten years ago. I had an accident in a flying car with my ten boyfriend Shan-leo Shermac…

Wait, Shan-leo, the guy with the weird arm? So you’re one of them? *sigh* another alien… Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

A brunette with nice curves – none of it biological.

I wish I could say I understand what you’re saying… Would you kill for those you love? And would you die for them?

Even if I’m considered an icy bitch by many, no, I’m not a murderer. I survived my own death when I found myself in this body, and I’m now virtually immortal. But I did go to a lot of trouble while trying to get back my beloved.

Where do you live?

I lived on SETH World for five years, but now I don’t think I have a steady house. Wherever my beloved wants to go, I follow.

Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?

Yes. He’s from Gaia, or Earth, and when I first met him, he had an exoskeleton to help him walk. His body was paralyzed from the neck down, but his mind was so bright and he is such a solar person… Even if he comes from a low-tech planet, I fell in love with him.

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

Finding Alex and then restoring him to his own artificial body. He’s a SETH too, now.

Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

I have a sister, Krys-lyn. But I’m not that attached to my family anymore. Since I moved to SETH World, I pretty much cut the umbilical chord. I’m a SETH, they’re Humanoids. They have no idea of what I’ve gone through.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

When I was young and stupid, I thought I could marry Shan-leo and become empress. Except he never really wanted to sit in his grandfather’s place. So he dumped me. I didn’t know I had an artificial body at the time, so it took me a few years to redirect my hopes and dreams…

_______________________________________________

SMNG Diaries ebook_resizeIzzy-lee is the protagonist of the Cover Story in Star Minds Next Generation Diaries.

The companion of the next generation novel with the story of how Shan-leo lost his arm, the diaries of Mayumi, Wim, Hiro and T’ymi’chel (or the novel seen from other points of view), and then Dadina five years later. Cover story: S.E.T.H. or Izzy-lee’s quest to recover her beloved.

Coming soon in ebook and print!

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