Wednesday Weekly Roundup


I’m going to change the order of things in these posts and be a little more random from now on, since the yearly wordcount is no longer the Most Important Thing in the world. I know I’m prolific and can meet my goal, so I will update you, but not necessarily as the first thing in the post! 😉

So I’m going to start with this week’s publishing news! Lisa’s Odyssey is free today only, and only on Kindle.

And we have the last book of Future Earth Chronicles out! Rainbow concludes the series for now. I have the prequels ready, and I might publish them next month if I get a reply from a submitted story.

I will have to think about how to handle the prequels on the Amazon series page, but there’s still time. Meanwhile, here’s the blurb for Rainbow.

“Shit happens. Beautiful things happen. Go with the flow as much as you can.”

Fifteen years after the New Treaty, Raj takes the teenage Ahyoka on a pilgrimage to her father’s tomb with his airship, the Rainbow.

Has the Wanderlust Bug bitten him again or can he find love and peace somewhere, as Ahyoka’s foster father or when she becomes independent from him? Or will he fly off into the sunset with airship Rainbow, alone?

I read this article Robots Turn 100 – and Still Entrance Us and considered re-reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, since it’s set in January 2021, but I’m a slow reader and no, I don’t have time for it. I’m not that fond of Dick! 😉 I might find the time to re-watch the movies set in 2021, but a book is another matter.

And again this week I wrote only a little over 8K, but I still consider myself between projects. I started two vampires stories, and didn’t finish them because they’re like the others I’ve written so far, and I mentioned I want to change and experiment more this year.

While I brainstormed ideas, I had the time to check my evolution as a writer, and I broke it down for you, so you can see I go through cycles and this time the shift is happening more or less in public. Here we go.

Teen years: mostly YA love stories although there was some SFF in the midst

1986-1991: science fantasy

1991-1995: medieval fantasy

1995-1998: m/m romance

1999-2001: no specific genre, a little bit of all of the above (except YA)

2001-2008: mostly screenplays (the Conquest of Hollywood that failed, mwhahahahaha!) and language switch (from Italian to English)

2009-2015: mostly fantasy (Silvery Earth is secondary world, mostly medieval fantasy and Star Minds Universe is science fantasy), all the books and series you’ve enjoyed so far. This blog started in 2009, the Indie Publishing Adventure in 2011. Most of those stories have wandering characters who are outcast, outsiders, outlaws, other for society and who are possibly trying to fit in or not.

What has been an experiment since 2015 is Future Earth Chronicles, the first series with numbered books. Still wandering characters, but on Earth, and their home is destroyed, so they cannot go back and must find another place to settle. And it’s now connected to Vampires Through the Centuries, but at this time I don’t feel like writing more of those. You’ll get Helios’s story as soon as I get it back from the proofreader because it’s done, but the rest is postponed.

Now, I was thinking I could do another series like FEC (numbered books et all), but I haven’t found a good idea yet. The shelved contemporary fantasy is probably a single book, not a trilogy, so we’ll see. I have a couple more ideas for Urban Fantasy worlds, but again, it might just be for short stories or novellas.

Meanwhile the Shared Worlds workshop resumed, so I might have to work on that one as well! And I’m waiting for my submitted stories to be either accepted or rejected, that too might be a way to steer me this way or that. If I sell a story, I might explore that world for more! 😉

That’s all for now… have a great week! 😀

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 11K, but didn’t wrap up the vampire book because on Sunday I was busy. On Monday I found a mistake in Rajveer the Vampire that nobody had noticed, so hopefully it wasn’t too bad, although it was repeated quite often – and I actually corrected the mistake when I wrote Kristine the Youngest, but I obviously didn’t reread the first book, LOL!

Anyhow, it’s corrected now (also on Shashank and Kaylyn, same mistake), and on November 2 – 5 years after the release of that first historical fantasy novel – you’ll be able to read the sequel, or what happened after the Battle of Chittor (in Kristine)! And then either for the holidays or in January, you’ll read the one I completed this week.

It’s done now, and I’m taking a break because I have a couple of stories I want to submit to anthos and the deadline is the end of the month, then I’ll get back to it and write the mortal’s version, or FEC 11. I won’t send any of them to the editor until December anyway, so I still have a month to write that book! 😉

And we got paperbacks! I’m still trying to declutter the house, so I might give away the extras. Brainwaves and Adventure Song I can send anywhere in the world, the first five with the concept covers, annotated, only in Europe. Are there any takers? If interested, leave a comment with which one you want/can get and I’ll contact you to get your snail mail addy.

these 5 can go anywhere in Europe only – sorry

these two can go anywhere in the world…

And there’s a promo/giveaway on Nightly Bites Volume 2! Check it out! I wanted to publish Nightly Bites Volume 3 this Halloween, but, like I said, I thought my American author friends would be more available after the election. So probably in January, or possibly March, like the above mentioned Volume 2! 🙂 Or I can do a rush job and have it out in December like Volume 1… we’ll see! 🙂

Good news, the anthology I was hinting at for the past months is now out! Here’s the UBL to Amazon, geotagged, for the ebook version. There’s also a paperback but they aren’t linked at the time of scheduling this post, although I requested Author Central to do so. Go check it and leave a review, because reviews are going to help this anthology immensely. Reviews will also be a sign of appreciation for our creativity and craftsmanship – me and the other authors will be immensely grateful!

This is the one where you can find Bran’s first fledgling, Helios of Sparta, and his good-bye to Greece and the Olympic Games where he had excelled as a mortal. I’m in very good company, so go check The Phantom Games NOW! 🙂

Another short story (unrelated to any series) was published in Breathe (which, incidentally is also its title). The PDF looks beautiful, but I didn’t have time to read any of the other stories (same for The Phantom Games, sigh). You can check it out below:

Order a print copy via Amazon (US)https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KSGX1FH
Order a print copy from Pothi (India)https://store.pothi.com/book/edited-jay-chakravarti-breathe/
Order a Print replica e-copy from Amazon (Worldwide)https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08L18MZYR
 
A wonderful analysis, framing the pandemic by Kris Rusch. I definitely don’t want to go back to 2019, but I don’t see much in the future yet, although I’m making tentative plans for at least my peace of mind – finding another job and another place to live. It’s probably going to be slower than expected, but we’re in a once-in-a-generation-world-changing event.

I have done my first short story translation, and I’m still pondering about the whole enterprise. I still don’t know how to handle freelance jobs in this country, sigh. That’s all for today! Have a great week! 🙂

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! I was on his blog a couple of weeks ago and now he’s here! People, welcome J. Scott Coatsworth! 🙂

Where do you live and write from?

My husband Mark and I live in Sacramento. We’ve been here for seventeen years – we lived in the Bay Area for a long time, but I grew up in Tucson. Literally, though, I write at my desk in our shared office with a view of an ivy-covered wall and my container vegetable garden.

Why do you write?

Because I have to. I’m a writer, and I have so many stories in my head just begging to be told. I’m happiest when I am writing regularly – it’s an itch that demands to be scratched.

When did you start writing?

I wrote my first short story in fifth grade for a University of Arizona elementary school writing contest. It was strongly inspired by the Jetsons (flying car and all) and illustrated by the author in crayon. It won the contest (I don’t remember if it took first place or was one of the winners) and was placed in the UofA library in Tucson. It might still be there. 😛

I started writing seriously in my last few years of high school, and submitted my first novel at 25. It was roundly rejected, and we will never speak of it again.

What genre(s) do you write?

Sci fi, fantasy, and magical realism, mostly. I’ve dabbled in mm (male-male) romance, but my heart was always in sci fi. My mom got me started on Lord of the Rings in third grade, and I read McCaffrey, Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, Piper, Brin, and many others by the time I reached junior high.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I get up around 5:30 every morning and try to do an hour to an hour-and-a-half each morning before starting work (with varying levels of success LOL). It’s important to have a regular schedule, and starting early means my mind is at its most sharp.

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

I’m great at writing epic tales and weaving together multiple plot and character threads. I see my writing as cinematic, playing out over a large canvass. I also excel at worldbuilding (if I don’t say so myself 😉 ) I build detailed, immersive worlds that you won’t want to leave.

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

LOL those are two very different questions. Inspiration comes from all kinds of places. Some opf my short stories are inspired by single words – Pareidolia, Eventide – and large parts of the Liminal Sky series were influenced by that word – liminal” – that I first heard from one pf our pastors at church. Still others come from short story fragments I started ages ago but never finished, or things that pop into my head (often in the middle of the night – I got the idea for Across the Transom after midnight and got up and wrote it whole.

And yeah, probably? I think there’s a little of me in each story I write. How could there not be? Each character draws on things I have seen or read or heard or done, so it’s inevitable that I leave a little “me” behind.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Again the trick double-question! 🙂

A bit of both. I used to be a total improviser/pantser, which explains the hordes of unfinished stories on my hard drive. Now I start out with a rough outline (plotter) and improvise along the way, allowing myself to change it as needed. It serves as a roadmap for where I want to go.

And I’m pretty fast, when I stick to it – I can complete a couple novels and a number of short stories in a year.

Tell us about your latest book

I’m in the midst of self publishing my two sci fi trilogies – The Ariadne Cycle and The Oberon Cycle. As of this writing, book one of Oberon – Skythane – has just been rereleased. The Oberon Cycle was inspired by the Giants series by James Hogan in that it’s like an onion, with new layers being peeled back in each new book. In the first one, we meet Xander and Jameson, two men thrown together by fate as the end of Oberon approaches. Oberon is a unique half-world – literally a half sphere, and much of the plot revolves around this central fact.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Oooh, tricksy. I started out on the traditional publishing side. In 2018 I self published my first book – “The River City Chronicles” – and was soon doing so regularly with novellas and short stories. Now I am republishing my old Dreamspinner books, and soon plan to publish more new works.

But I am also trying to land a big publisher through agent submissions, which I hope will eventually be fruitful. Cross your fingers!

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Oh yeah. There’s Dropnauts, my Liminal Sky spin-off that looks at what happened back on Earth. That’s out to agents currently.

I am working on a new trilogy set on Tharassas, the world of The Last Run.

And I have six other short stories in various states of submission on the spec fic magazine circuit.

I also have a number of other stories to rerelease this next year.

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

To reach as wide an audience as I can’ I am writing writing writing, and also trying to level up to a big NYC publisher. I’d love to see the books done as a TV series or film someday. 🙂 So I submit, submit, submit!

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

Don’t stop. We writers are almost all afflicted with imposter syndrome – that internal critic who tells you your writing sucks, you’re just not good enough, and you should pack it up and go home. I let mine stop me from writing for twenty years after that first stinging rejection. I wish I had kept going. You can’d sell what you don’t write!

_________________________

Find Scott online:

Website

Facebook: Author Page

Twitter: Author Page

Instagram: Author Page

Dreamspinner Press: Author Page

Goodreads: Author Page

QueeRomance Ink: Author Page

Amazon: Author Page

BookBub: Author Page

Buy Skythane

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I managed almost 17K, yay! Caught up with wordcount a little, although not completely. I also wrote another 7K between Monday and Tuesday.

And from today until next week I won’t be writing. so the total wordcount for February will be low. But I’m sure I’ll catch up in March. Besides, I’m in no hurry anymore, if I reach my goal, fine, if I don’t, I don’t care – I’ve done it, and I know I can do it again if I put my mind to it.

Same goes for publications. With what I have so far, the Star Minds Universe will cover March, April and May, so plenty of time to write more stuff for the summer months. I plan to redo the contemporary covers along with a new title as well, probably in June. I’m not sure about the paperbacks anymore, but I haven’t scheduled anything for the rest of the year yet.

When I come back from the Anthology Workshop next week, I’ll decide – publishing schedule and travel schedule. I plan on exploring more of Europe this year. I’ve never been to Eastern Europe or the Scandinavian countries (except Helsinki for Worldcon in 2017). I’ll try to fill that travel diary I started with my tour of Rajasthan in 2016 – or at least to add to it, since the previous travel journal is complete (Iceland 2005 and 2007, Scotland 2008, South Western USA 2009, Yellowstone and Glacier parks 2010 and Japan 2015) while the this one languishes, forgotten.

I might need the research for the next series – or even for the Vampires Through the Centuries. I’ll have to look for books in English about their history and folklore, if available… there wasn’t much in Helsinki’s bookshops, unfortunately. Ingolf is from 7th century Norway and since “Viking” is a term popularized in the 19th century along with “Vampire”, I call him Norseman or Norse. I’d love to see the place where his immortality adventure started. Or the Carpathian Mountains where Greek Kallisto spent most of her immortal life with Zalmoxis.

I guess I should also go to Greece at some point, since that’s where Helios and Kallisto (and the original ONE Solveig keeps looking for through the centuries) were born (either ancient Sparta BCE or Christian Greece 5th century CE), but it’s a warm Mediterranean country, so unless I find a winter tour, I’m not going there! 😉

I’m still reading the book on Medieval Africa (probably finish when I come back, though), and even if it’s more boring than the Spartans one, it’s still interesting, both for my vampires and for Silvery Earth, since at least two of the heroines are from Nera, inspired by Africa. But then, there’s still a lot to explore on that world, so more cultures to check out to make it believable! 🙂

While waiting for the new titles, here’s a list of the bundles that are still available, the anthologies I have stories in (either curated by me or by others), and the various books and series in case you feel like trying some of my fiction writing. Travel and publishing plans for March. Now off I go and you can head to the Infinite Bard to read another free story… Have a great week! 🙂

Thanks to Quiet by Susan Cain, many writers are happily claiming their introversion. I’m an introvert, which means I get my energy from being alone. I hate small talk and large groups. I’d rather think than speak, and write rather than talk. I rarely answer the phone. I’m INFJ on the Myers-Briggs scale, and many authors fit a similar model. This also means that conferences and events are tiring, so I can’t do too many of them a year. If you’re like me, then we’re super lucky these days, because online marketing suits introverts. We can attract an audience online and connect with readers, while still spending time alone.
Joanna Penn

Random Friday


Since the year is almost over and I probably won’t finish another book before then, I’m going to do my Yearly Recommended Reading post now! 😉 Also because it’s the time of the Small&Medium Publishers Book Fair here in Rome, but for the first time since its inception, I’m not going there every day (just today to say hello to a couple of friends).

This year I read 54 books – although 7 I did not finish – and 6 and a half were non-fiction (as are the last two). Usually the fiction is read on my Kindle (a.k.a. K.K.), while the non-fiction is on paper because it’s better for research. Unless the novel is signed, then it can be a paperback, LOL!

Anyhow, of the fiction books, here are the 5 stars I gave (in order of reading – with links to Goodreads even though I’m not putting them on my Goodreads profile. Long story, not going back there! 😉 ):

Burn Card: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery  by Dean Wesley Smith

The Last Giant  by Mario Milosevic

Dragons’ Choice (Sorcha’s Children #1) by Debbie Mumford

Against Time  by Dean Wesley Smith

Beyond Control, Interlude, Beyond Reach: Book 1 Bundle of the Beyond Saga  by Rebecca M. Senese

Fairchild  by Blaze Ward

Kings of the Wyld (The Band, #1)  by Nicholas Eames

Entanglement (Future Fiction Trends Vol. 4)  by Vandana Singh

Faring Soul (Interspace Origins #1)  by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Hollow Moon (Hollow Moon #1)  by Steph Bennion

Hydrogen Sleets: a Montague Portal novel  by Michael Warren Lucas

Sticks and Stones: A Trek Novel  by Robert T. Jeschonek

Coffee Cup Dreams  by J.A. Marlow

Mrs Funnybones  by Twinkle Khanna (not a novel, more a memoir/journal and it’s hilarious)

(you can grab the following 4 all together in Sci-fi July Redux)

Stealing from Pirates  by Stefon Mears

A Jack By Any Other Name (The Space Operetta Series Book 1)  by Lesley L. Smith

Raven Rising  by Sean Monaghan

Sector Justice  by Dean Wesley Smith

(I’d add Jorick’s origin story, but I’m not sure it’s available for public consumption yet, I got it from Patreon…)

Dancing with Tong Yi (Uncollected Anthology, #1)  by Leah R. Cutter

And the series Zeena Dragon Fae by Victoria Zigler (smashwords link cause it’s faster)!

And these are the books I’m finishing the year with – sorta/kinda research for Future Earth Chronicles.

Putting the science in fiction and 21 lessons for the 21st century (non-fiction)

Giving the list so early means you have time to request them for Christmas… so happy reading! 🙂 And have a great weekend!

Random Friday


Well, then, the last two are definitely Reader Friday! 🙂 Like every year, here’s the list of my reading for 2017. Of a grand total of 45, with only one manuscript this year, there were 7 non-fiction and 5 I did not finish. Here follows the list of the recommended reading from this writer who particularly enjoyed the following (in order of reading, not of favorite!):

Mysterious Kemet Book 1 by S.R. Anand

The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna

My Anti-Valentine by D.J. Jamison

The Mage’s Grave (Mages of Martir, #1) by Timothy L. Cerepaka 

Firehearted by Sabrina Chase

Al-Kabar by Lee French

Hugo nominee “Touring with the Alien” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2016)

Hugo winner Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

After Hours: Tales from Ur-Bar anthology edited by Joshua Palmatier

At Risk (Liz Carlisle #1) by Stella Rimington

Twice Against the Dragon by Stefon Mears

Death Takes a Diamond by Dean Wesley Smith

All links go to Goodreads where you can learn more about the books and then look them up at your favorite retailer.

And for you paperback lovers, Nightly Bites Volume 1 is now in paperback as well.

Happy reading and see you next year! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


So! Worldcon report! The ups and the downs – day by day! 🙂

Day 1 (Wednesday Aug.9)

We had booked a tour of Suomenlinna fortress on an island off Helsinki’s shore, so we reached Messukeskus around noon. We got our badges , our program participant schedules and all that stuff. Having already eaten on the island, we wandered looking for rooms, the Green Room, the Art Show, the Traders room and all that other necessary exploration when entering a new place.

My friends attended the opening ceremony, but I just sat outside panel rooms, writing and studying the program. Too peopley in there, LOL! I got myself a Worldcon T-shirt Ladies size that had only 3 left – and in fact the next day it was gone (but then, everything was gone on the last day).

First panel was at 9pm, so at 5pm we went back to the hotel with tram #9 to rest for about an hour. Back to the con, we found the food hall closed or closing down except for Hesburger, that fed us for the rest of the convention! 😉 We went to the Green Room to meet with Eva, then we met the other panelist, Zack, only in the panel room.

And there went my first panel – Writers and Artists – moderated by Mighty Marvelous Maurizio Manzieri! He had prepared a wonderful presentation, pity I had forgotten what images I had given them and what I was supposed to say about each, but at least I didn’t stammer and it was over pretty quickly.

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A group hug and then we looked for the exit, since by now Messukeskus was closed and we were too tired to go to the party in the Winter Garden of the Holiday Inn attached to the convention center. Someone kindly pointed us the exit and we got back on #9 and to the hotel.

Day 2 (Thursday Aug.10)

Since the food hall looked so expensive and we had found a supermarket near the hotel, this time we went shopping at Lidl before jumping on #9 a couple of stops before our hotel. I went to a panel on Asexuality in SF, then went back to the hotel around 2.30pm to rest.

I went back to Messukeskus around 4pm, and then spent most of the time in the Green Room, waiting for the other panelists. One bowed out and sent a replacement, the others soon joined me in the Green Room.

At 6pm it was European SF panel with Kristina Hard (Sweden), Ju Honisch (Germany), Francesco Verso (Italy) and a young Dutch writer standing in for Thomas Olde Heuvelt. Again, I’m afraid I wasn’t very clear and my have not answered a couple of questions, but I was the only one writing in English, the others didn’t felt confident enough and preferred relying on translators.

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What I mean to say is that I write in English because of the millions of people who know English, either as first or second language, NOT because I want to break into the American market – as was suggested by some douchebag in the audience. And even though I hadn’t planned on putting links here, since this is about international markets, I’ll link to Joanna Penn’s guest post on publishing outside your home country.

We had dinner at… yes, Hesburger again, and then the others went to the Irish party and I headed back to the hotel. Not too fond of beer, but I drank a lot of cider! 😉

Day 3 (Friday Aug.11)

So, this was supposed to be my day in the Creators Alley. I had already posted on Facebook and announced everywhere that I’d be at N4, but no, I was moved to K9, at the bottom of the hall, where nobody came. Nobody showed up and I barely recouped the cost of the table.

Thank God Judith joined me after lunch time, so the afternoon went  faster – and she gave away all the flyers to download Sci-fi July for free. By the way, if you have one of those, there’s still time. I made 50, but so far only 1 person has downloaded the bundle, so there are still 19 people who can get it for free.

I know, it’s valid only for BundleRabbit, but come on. You get 11 novels for free if you sign up for a site that has plenty of great bundles! 😉 Don’t be lazy and use your coupon now! 😀

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Since I didn’t want to bring any dead tree book back, I left them on the Bookcrossing shelves. They were gone the next morning, so I hope someone is enjoying them somewhere. One person said “There are so few books in English, you’ll sell them all” except nobody found me, so I sold 4 and gave away 11…

After dinner at the usual place, everybody went to the Hugo Awards ceremony, but I went back to the hotel, hoping to catch up on some sleep…

Day 4 (Saturday Aug.12)

Again shopping for food before heading for Messukeskus. Maurizio had a table in the Creators Alley – much better placed than I was – but I spent most of the time in the Fan Alley, writing. I’ve got a novel to finish, LOL! Now that I’ve typed everything in, I can tell you I jotted down 1100 words of revisions + 5500 words of new chapters, longhand, since I didn’t bring any laptop.

At 5pm I went to the Strange and Unusual Helsinki walking tour that ended in the Steampunk pub because the storm started before we could get to the Bollywood pub (that I assume was across the square, but well…) since “the worst storm in 10 years” scared everyone inside that pub.

I found my way to the metro and when I came out 2 stops and 30 minutes later, the storm that was supposed to last 2 hours was already over. Damn Finnish. We get that every year in Rome – it rains for 5 to 20 minutes, pouring cats and dogs, and then it stops.

Anyway, there were still clouds in the sky, so no meteor shower that night…

Day 5 (Sunday Aug.13)

Maurizio had another half day of table in the Creators Alley. I spent most of the time in the Fans lounge again, and then Fulvio saw George RR Martin sitting there, chilling out… so the cat caught the martin and I went to Maurizio, knowing he wanted to meet The George, and told him where his hero was.

The Trade hall closed at 3pm, then Maurizio had his last panel. Again I sat and wrote, watching his luggage. We went back to the hotel around five, before people started flooding out of Messukeskus after the closing ceremony.

Dinner was at the Viking restaurant Harald that I had seen the previous afternoon… With Maurizio Manzieri, Fulvio Gatti, Judith Herman, Mary A. Truzillo and her husband Geoffrey A. Landis… one of the few highlights of the Worldcon!

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Along with the fact that I collected 15 ribbons against the 2 of Chicon and only 1 of Loncon! 😀 Have a great week!

Sunday Surprise


And it’s another author of the Sci-fi July bundle! Yes, surprise! 🙂 I am honored to have an award-winning and bestselling author on this very humble blog. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Tracy Cooper-Posey!

Where do you live and write from?
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I haven’t always been here—I was born in Perth, Western Australia and grew up in the country, running wild and barefoot. I miss the ocean. The Canadian Rockies are nice compensation, though.

Why do you write?
The answer to this has changed over the years. Right now, I write because it’s my profession. This is a particularly satisfying answer to me. For years I struggled to pay bills, ditch the day job, and do what I really wanted to do. Now I’m doing all that. I was singularly unsuited to day job work—I wasn’t qualified for anything. Now, I’m a professional writer. I earned my degree the hard way and it took twenty years.

When did you start writing?
I started writing, as in mucking around with stories and characters, when I was 14. I wrote the unofficial sequel to Star Wars. They didn’t call it fanfic then. I didn’t even know people wrote fanfic. I thought it was just me, being weird and strange. My English teacher caught me at it, told me to write something original and he would submit it for publication. I did, and he did. It didn’t go anywhere, of course (I don’t have those nine exercise books anymore, but I cringe to think what the writing was like)—but the seed was planted.
Fifteen years later, I started writing for publication. It took another four years to get published, then I sold two books in one week

What genre(s) do you write?
Space opera science fiction
Science Fiction Romance
Paranormal Romance
Time Travel Romance
Historical Romance
Romantic Suspense
Urban Fantasy Romance
Epic Norse Urban Fantasy Romance
Plus several varieties of mash-ups and oddities that really don’t fit anywhere, except that I wrote them, so there you have it.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
To entertain readers for as long as my mental faculties hold together.
To pay the bills with my writing, which will let me entertain readers for as long as my mental faculties hold together.
What I’m doing to achieve it? I think I’m pretty much doing it already, by writing my knuckles off, every day I can. Reader reviews confirm I’m managing to entertain them, most of the time.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Perfect writing technique doesn’t exist and even if you get close, if your story sucks you’ve still failed. Story rules.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Oh, Outliner. To the max.
I’m considered kinda fast as a writer. I usuall do slightly more than one million words a year. Having said that, I know writers out there who have stockpiled 1.4M words for future publication. They make me feel very tortoise-like. It’s all subjective.

Tell us more about your book in the bundle
Faring Soul was my first attempt at juggling science fiction and romance in the 50/50 melding that the new science fiction romance sub-genre calls for. I think I pulled it off – the Galaxy Award it won seems to say I do. But it’s a tricky balancing act and not for the faint-of-heart.
Of course, now I love the stuff. I finished the series with three books, will probably start a spin off series in the near future, and have completed eight stories (so far) in another SFR series.

Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)
The very latest book, Soul of Sin, came out yesterday (as I write this). It’s historical romance and is getting some great reviews.
My latest SF or SFR to be released was the SFR novelette, Evangeliya, which came out a couple of weeks ago. It’s part of the eight books (so far) series I mentioned above – The Endurance series – and is set on a generational ship heading for a new home 1,000 years away from Earth.

Any other projects in the pipeline?
Do you have a few hours?😊
All my current series will have new books added by the end of the year, (here, for series information) and I’ll be adding a couple more series in 2018. Readers who would like to keep up should join my newsletter list. They can get a four-book starter library to sample my work and figure out if I do, indeed, entertain them.

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Tracy Cooper-Posey is a #1 Best Selling Author.  She writes science fiction and romance.  She has published over 90 books since 1999, been nominated for five CAPAs including Favorite Author, and won the Emma Darcy Award.

She turned to indie publishing in 2011. Her indie titles have been nominated four times for Book Of The Year and Byzantine Heartbreak was a 2012 winner.  Faring Soul won a SFR Galaxy Award in 2016 for “Most Intriguing Philosophical/Social Science Questions in Galaxybuilding”  She has been a national magazine editor and for a decade she taught writing at MacEwan University.

She is addicted to Irish Breakfast tea and chocolate, sometimes taken together. In her spare time she enjoys history, Sherlock Holmes, reading science fiction and ignoring her treadmill. An Australian Canadian, she lives in Edmonton, Canada with her husband, a former professional wrestler, where she moved in 1996 after meeting him on-line.

Writer Wednesday


While on the train to Milan I had plenty of time to think (and to read, but that’s a topic for another post) and tried to express how my way of writing changed in the 21st century. So here goes:

Before 2015: first drafts (or Draft Zero like I called them) were written longhand with almost no corrections by the seat of my pants. I did the research (ex. for historical novels) and then wrote. Then I typed everything in the computer, rewriting as needed so that I’d have a clean draft. I type with 10 fingers, so that wasn’t the hard part. There were no hard parts, since I’ve been a one-draft writer for the whole 20th century and started redrafting only after reading that I was supposed to do that. Wordcount was available only after publication at that point.

After 2015: I started typing Draft Zero and cycling through the first draft. I had a writing netbook with internet access and could stop and Google anything from a translation, a word check to anything else needed. Then I synched with Laptop through Dropbox. I was then able to figure out how much I wrote every year in real time. Like I said in previous posts, I wrote 450K in 2015 and 470K in 2016.

Now Netbook is dead, so the same applies to Laptop. Except it has considerably slowed me down, especially with contemporary or historical works, because I’d stop and fact-check for almost every scene. What might have been quick with SFF became a longer process, mostly because I can’t read on screen and need to print out and highlight manually.

I love ebooks, but not for non-fiction/research. So I might be less productive this year, but hopefully I’ve reached the upper lever of storytelling. Sometimes I wonder if that happened because I switched languages and stopped rewriting old stuff. And I don’t want to turn off the internet while I write because I use Google translator a lot – and all that research helped me expand my English vocabulary.

When I translate books into Italian, things I wrote even two years ago (when I abused of online generators… ahem…), I cringe. Hopefully when I start translating the latest works, I won’t cringe anymore. And I hope the change it’s not too obvious in series like Vampires Through the Centuries (even though all the books are standalone so far)!

What I mean is – you need to find what works for you, and it might change through the years. I have learned a lot since I joined the indie world and will keep learning. Whether it’s the new language or simply that I started learning again (I will freely admit that I was pretty static in Italian, but in English I had to find my voice, and it’s not exactly the same as it used to be – at least from one of my Italian first reader’s perspective).

I won’t take Dean’s challenge because I already have too many stories to write this year on my list – going “pick me! Pick me!” – and I don’t think they’re all short stories. I mean, I know I can write 30 stories in 30 or 60 days if I put my mind to it, but now is not the right time. I am already prolific, I don’t need this to write more! 😉

I’m leaving you with some writerly links – Chuck Wendig’s advice after 5 years and 20 books: 25 lessons (special mention #1 and #5, the latter being what I discussed above). David Farlands tips – One Impossibility (to keep in mind when writing SFF, haha!). 14 sites for book cover design @Digital Reader. And more business advice from Kris Rusch.

Oh, and I found a neat marketing blog for indie authors that has both podcasts and written posts! Studied the written parts (podcasts don’t hold my attention, unfortunately) and will try to apply some to that ugly beast called Marketing… Take this post on why FB needs to do something with those darn pages! Until a few years ago, FB gave the option of choosing if one wanted to be herself or the author.

This no longer applies. I was able to attend a FB party a couple of years ago *waves at Joleene* because I simply switched to the author ID. This year it was a nightmare and my private profile showed up a couple of times. Also, this year I’ve seen an option to create groups from the page. But the page still can’t join groups except the one she/it creates…

More coming bundles: Writers bundle @Storybundle and Faery Summer bundle coming soon @Bundle Rabbit. Now I’m heading back to my writing cave to ponder the next bundle and write the next story… Have a great week! 🙂

 

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