Writer Wednesday

Slow start with the new project, hopefully I’ll catch up in the weeks to come. But I also wrapped up Nightly Bites Volume 2 and it’s now available for pre-order (goes live on Friday) as e-book and available in paperback as well! I am very excited about this volume 2, I think it’s actually better than volume 1!

Well, at least my story is. The one I wrote on the fly, inspired by the chosen cover. So the guy on the cover is Alain, Bran’s latest fledgling, and you’ll see more of him probably in the next novel that will come out in November as usual. Not the first time that I write inspired by an artwork (photo/painting/drawing/sculpture) whether I did it or someone else did it.

The other stories are also awesome and you should check it right now! It’s been already presented on Library of Erana and I will post more on Facebook in the coming weeks, and eventually on this blog, so stay tuned! 🙂

Now let’s go back to the Anthology Workshop for a moment. You can read another post about it here, about what it can do for you as a writer. I’ll make a short summary of what it did for me – one year later! 🙂

So, six stories in six weeks. I wrote all six, even the ones in unfamiliar genres: win. I knew they sucked, but not all of them – and the reactions were not as expected (the ones I thought were perfect were not and viceversa, but I’m getting ahead of myself).

Expectations: learning and seeing what it meant to run a traditional magazine – and meeting a couple of people in the process (of course I ended up in a room with 40-50 writers, but since we were all writers, well… some were nice to meet again, some were new, some I talked to, some I didn’t, and that was perfectly fine!). Of course I hoped to sell something, but that wasn’t my main goal.

Results: no sales, but great learning experience. What happened to those six stories? Well, here you go, one year later:

Story #1 and #5 are still in the drawer, dunno where to send them, will probably publish them in a collection of unpublished shorts some time later this year or at the beginning of the next. Story #3 might end up in an anthology, although I’ll probably publish first another story in the same genre. Story #4 might end up in a contemporary novel, if I ever get down to writing it.

Because Story #2 sold in a redraft after the workshop (still not out, I’ll let you know when it does) and Story #6 just proved to me that I better study more before I try to write in that specific genre, hence the attempts I’ve done through the months will stay in the drawer until I find a solid premise.

Of the 6 stories, only 2 were SFF (#2 and 3), the rest were contemporary. And I’m not very good with the real world. So for now I’ll stick to Silvery Earth and Star Minds and Vampires Through the Centuries and Future Earth stories and leave those in the drawer. After all, I’ve taken out of the drawer the historical novel, so I better put aside something else, right? 😉

Have a great week!



Sunday Surprise

(already posted on the Facebook page)

Six Questions for Nightly Bites – Author Lesley L. Smith

1. What is it about vampires that draws you to them?

Of course, vampires have been popular for over a hundred years and they have been used as metaphors for a variety of things including AIDS, homosexuality, class warfare and more. In my opinion, however, I think people like the idea of living forever. They like to imagine they’ll never have to age or die. Vampires let us experience this vicariously.

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

“A Study in Scarlet” is about a vampire living in the future, on a spaceship, when a murder occurs. Not surprisingly, a vampire is pretty handy to have around when blood is spilled (if he can keep control over himself)! Without giving too much away, the protagonist does use his special skill to good effect.

3. What inspired your story?

This story actually encompasses horror, science fiction, and mystery! Yes, I got a little carried away with genres. I started out wondering about the strange and horrible idea of globules of blood floating in zero gravity.
In addition to floating globules, my story was inspired by the wonderful Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novel of the same name, from 1887. It doesn’t get any better than Sherlock Holmes.

4. Do you always write about vampires? If not, what do you write about?

While I enjoy horror and mystery very much, I primarily write science fiction. I really enjoy the combination of science’s rationality with fiction’s imagination.

5. What should readers know about you?

In real life I’m a physicist and I’m a little obsessed with quantum mechanics right now. A lot of my fiction seems to have quantum mechanics in it. Since I’m also a woman and a lot of my fiction has female protagonists, the combo of physics and kick-ass women surprises some readers. But, I believe in following the muse, and my muse wants to show all kinds of people that science can be a fun adventure THEY can do.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I’m honored to be included in Nightly Bites! Thanks for the opportunity!

Six Questions for Nightly Bites – Author Barbara G.Tarn

1. What is it about vampires that draws you to them?

I had read the first three of Ann Rice’s books and enjoyed the movie “Interview with the vampire” (1994) but then I got bored with the whole topic – too horror/gory for my tastes. Some fifteen years later I went back to the bloodsucker stories through Joleene Naylor’s Amaranthine series, and even read Dracula (I didn’t enjoy the movie much, so I didn’t read the book until 20 years later).

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

It’s set in the 12th century, starting at the siege of Damascus during the second crusade, and ending in Lincolnshire, where Baldwin was born. He’s one of the shortest-lived fledglings of Bran the Raven, a millenarian bloodsucker of Celtic origins.

3. What inspired your story?

In all the “Vampires Through the Centuries” stories, I like to explore moments in history through vampires. The other very short story in the anthology shows an 18th century Maratha soldier turned into a bloodsucker after a battle and even more short-lived than Baldwin! The long-lived ones (Rajveer, Kaylyn and Shashank) allow me to explore centuries of history, which is very funny and entertaining.

4. Do you always write about vampires? If not, what do you write about?

I had only one “Bloody Story of Vampires” (that I may include in “Nightly Bites Volume 2”) before starting “Vampires Through the Centuries”, and that’s just one of my series. I write mostly fantasy – historical in the above example, secondary world fantasy (Silvery Earth), science fantasy (Star Minds), urban fantasy (body switches) – and some science fiction and every now and then a contemporary story (but the present doesn’t inspire me very often).

5. What should readers know about you?

I’m a professional writer and hobbyist artist! I did comics and some of my own covers covers, and I dream of an illustrated book for adults or ten. My influences come mostly from movies and comics, more than books, so my prose is quite dry and I don’t write long epics, hence I gave up traditional publishing that required 100K opuses in my preferred genre…

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

It was fun to put together this anthology and I look forward to working on Volume 2!

Six Questions for Nightly Bites – Author Joleene Naylor

1. What is it about vampires that draws you to them?

Vampires can be anything. They can be scary, romantic, thoughtful, sad, happy – a vampire author can do a period piece, a contemporary story, even a sci-fi, and use the same universe. In the Amaranthine universe, I’ve written stories that span from the 1600s to modern times, I’ve written shorts about losing loved ones, about playing poker, about revolts, wars, death, and even about a child vampire looking for a playmate. Writing vampires gives me so much freedom, and they’re immortal, so you can really dig into character development.

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

It’s the origin story of Verchiel, one of my most popular characters. Kateesha, his master, botched the turning and when he wakes in an inn, he has no idea who he is or who she is, and he doesn’t remember being human.

3. What inspired your story?

I’m working on a series of Executioner stories – the Executioners are the police in my vampire world. I already knew a little about Verchiel’s turning, so I thought it would be fun to find out the rest.

4. Do you always write about vampires? If not, what do you write about?

For the most part, yes, because my fans aren’t really interested in me as a person, but rather in the characters and the universe. However, I am working on a fantasy novel with my brother.

5. What should readers know about you?

I have a lot of free short stories available. A. Lot. Like more than fifty. Most of them can be read as stand alones, though of course they’re better if you’ve read the Amaranthine series. You can find the full list on my website at JoleeneNaylor.com.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

Okay, quirky fact: I love stuffed animals, and treat them like they are sentient beings part time. They all have their own personalities, and relationships with one another, etc. etc. Their society has been set up since I was a kid (my mom used to talk them for us), and I think that’s where a lot of my imagination and characterization abilities come from.

Six Questions for Nightly Bites – Author Russ Crossley

1. What is it about vampires that draws you to them?

The immortal nature of the undead vampire fascinates me. If the vampire isn’t destroyed how do they survive the centuries?

2. What is your story in the anthology about?

My story takes place in an alternate future where the Confederate States won the US Civil War. The story centers around a female vampire and her sister who are rebelling against the Confederacy and the vampire leader and the consequences of their rebellion. It is a story about love, family, and courage.

3. What inspired your story?

I often wonder how if vampires took over the world what it might look like with these undead immortals in charge.

4. Do you always write about vampires? If not, what do you write about?

No, not all the time. These days I’m writing mostly space opera set in the 42nd century.

5. What should readers know about you?

I’ve written stories in many different genres including romantic comedy, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and zombies to name a few and love to read in many genres of fiction and non-fiction. I read and write for characters than inspire me and they are always seeking some form of justice from their perspective. They love to right wrongs. For some reason I write many strong female characters though I am a male.

6. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I am married to a writer, painter, and musician and my youngest son is an actor, playwright, and producer who has worked extensively in Europe and Asia. We are a very arts forward family and truly love what we do.

Writer Wednesday

A warm welcome to the new blog followers and Facebook likers – hope you enjoy the ride! 🙂 I’m a prolific writer, but my blog posts are getting shorter each year, haha! Anyway, reader, fellow author, passer-by, welcome and happy scrolling.

So, Year of Writing Madly, Month of Short Stories report! 2 down, from the openings of the online fantasy workshop. For the second I discarded almost 2K and changed direction, but I’m very happy with it. It’s my first foray into steampunk – in a portal fantasy story.

Trying to write a sci-fi short before the end of the month, otherwise I’ll do another assignment of the fantasy workshop that I skipped at the time and write a story exploring a part of Silvery Earth I haven’t seen much yet, only in passing and probably only in Books of the Immortals, Air and Axelle, Wanderer. It will be the prequel to one of the longer novels I plan to write.

Then in February I’m going back to Silvery Earth, since the awesome cover artist Federica Manfredi is doing all the heroines… makes me want to write all the books at the same time, LOL!

But I need priorities. I do have an ongoing series of Vampires Through the Centuries with a novella coming out May 2nd and a novel on Nov. 2, so… March I’ll have to do that.

I’m not really battling creative exhaustion, more publishing exhaustion! 😉 Considering that January started with 3 sales during the Kobo Promo (we’re talking the first 5 days of the year) and nothing since… I’ll just stop checking those dashboards.

I published Soul Thieves because I wrote it (redrafted it) last year, but for the things I’m writing this year… you’ll have to ask for them, LOL! The short stories will go out to paying markets first, and if nobody buys them, I’ll gather them at the end of the year in a collection.

Oh, and the Valentine’s bundle is now available for pre-order! 10 awesome stories of m/m romance for a quiet Valentine’s Day (if you believe in such a thing, says the aromantic old spinster)! 😉

And I’m working on some paperbacks, I should have the final version soon… All Saturday the Createspace Cover Creator didn’t work, but on Sunday I managed to update the two covers and add the third, so that Monday I could order the proofs.

Maybe sometime I ought to do some new book trailers… mmm… *jots it down on the calendar*

Onward to the next story. Have a great week! 🙂


Writer Wednesday

So this year I wrote even less than last year… I’m under 400K. Hence next year, the year of Writing, I plan to hit that 500K goal and worry less about publishing. Which might mean that in 2019 I’ll publish the double, LOL! I will still put out something – anthologies, bundles and even new books – but not as obsessively as before.

And since I’ll be writing shorter stories as well and sending them out to markets, here’s some wonderful advice for you short-story-writers out there:

Which goes very well with Kris Rusch’s post on Quitting. I won’t quit writing and I certainly won’t take down what’s already out there, but, like I said, I’ll publish less and maybe tend the garden in 2019. I will probably have 200 titles out by the end of 2018 anyway, so… That’s what’s best for me at this time!

I will also postpone any marketing except a minimum to 2019. It will give me time to study the polarities of marketing and figure out what’s best for me. This year I did a lot of workshops on craft, so next year I want to just write and see if I can use what I learned, then I’ll put back the publisher’s hat on the following year.

But for 2018 I really only have a wordcount goal to hit. I’m currently working on the paperback of the anthology that is now live everywhere and will probably do more after the short stories I’ll write will be rejected everywhere (or hopefully accepted, so that I can have my second and third professional sale, LOL!). I have a couple of bundles with existing titles in mind as well but not for the first months of next year.

So this is more or less a summary of the year… For the latest sales, there’s the publisher’s page.

Last writerly link: myths and truths about Mighty Zon… I wish you all a wonderful pre-Christmas week! 🙂

Writer Wednesday

And we’re back to the normal longer posts, yay! 😉 Although Laptop gave me a hard time for abandoning him for two weeks… but eventually it behaved! 😀

So, the workshop. Fascinating stuff, and wonderful time spent with other introverts… I mean, writers with whom we talked about everything from craft to business to personal life rolls or highs. So in spite of the slight panic at seeing the room full of PEOPLE, most of which I didn’t know, I survived and actually enjoyed myself!

Now I have a long ToDo list, but I’m slowly working through it. Typing those handwritten pages took some time, but eventually I can tell you I managed to write 11200words longhand while traveling. I’m a good way into Saif’s story and hope to finish it by next week so I can start working on the next vampire novella.

Then, as I wait for feedback on the vampires, I will redraft a couple of the stories I submitted to the workshop and leave the others alone. I will eventually publish them, but I’m still trying to figure out the when or how. Some were first attempts in genres I don’t normally tackle, but only one actually made me want to write the longer version, without wordcount constraints – which are one of the reasons I went indie, a story should be as long as it should be with no wordcount constraints! 😉

Now to some probably old writerly links! A very good list of vital writing advice – do not ignore! ROFL, especially #25 that sums it up perfectly. And if you’re wondering if you should get an English degree… I don’t, but I’m an ESL writer. I don’t even have the Italian equivalent, actually, but I’ve been writing stories since I was 13.

So up to you. Here’s more writing advice for you if you still feel not sure of what you really want. I had read the original post (not sure if I shared it here) and totally agreed too. I am always baffled at how everybody in Italy writes but nobody reads. I am not a strong reader myself, but when I started writing in English I also started reading more to expand my vocabulary.

I will write more about the rest of the trip in the next post… Have a great week! 🙂

Writer Wednesday

As I trudge through more Amazons stories for the next anthology, there isn’t much going on. I’m considering giving away a free story to whoever subscribes to the New Releases newsletter (widget in the sidebar) – a PDF that will be attached to the first one. It won’t be sent out for Amazon Spring, though, since at the moment I have only one subscriber! 😉

I have updated the blurb for Amazon Spring:

A collection of stories set in the Queendom of Maadre a.k.a. Amazons Country. From the death of Queen Amazonia to shorter stories, meet the only country on Silvery Earth where women rule and men have no voice and no rights. Reprint of “The Death of Queen Amazonia”, “The Slave” (included in Tales of the Southern Kingdoms Volume 1) and Doreen (included in Books of the Immortal – Prequels). The dawn of the Queendom.

New story: The Public Man – or male prostitutes in the Queendom! Leone thinks he has the best job in the country – until he realizes not everybody likes Public Men…

It’s already available for pre-order on Kobo and soon will be on the other retailers as well. I uploaded it to D2D in the hope that next week it will be available at Apple along with the other retailers… I will upload to KDP and Smashwords on Sunday when I come back from Torino Comics.

Anyhow, a few links this week. David Farland on Luck, Work, Intelligence, Taste, Talent, Timing – which goes well with Dawn Copeman’s Quality or Quantity. I’m still prolific, but I’ve slowed down a bit, since I’m writing more new stories and less rewrites/translations. Still have a lot of titles out, and obviously I don’t write for traditional markets (yes, two more rejections this year) but I’ll keep submitting the short stories before publishing them.

In case you missed it, last week Kris Rusch had TWO business posts, a surprise Tuesday and the usual business Thursday. I guess being published in a magazine is a good discoverability stunt, although it would make me uneligible to participate to more Writers of the Future… But considering how long the contest keeps the story blocked, well, I’d rather submit to markets with quicker turnaround (Clarkesworld is unbeatable!), so I won’t send the contest another story this year.

If next year I’m still “unpublished”, we’ll see! I already know what I’m going to write for Crossed Genres, the July theme… based on the review of Saif’s Legacy by dear beta! *waves at Bookwatcher* Get ready for Kilig’s training!! 🙂

More links: Colleen Doran on Lies, Blacklists and other Handicaps. Might happen to writers as much as artists, so have a look. The only blacklist I know of is Hollywood’s Blacklist, and that doesn’t mean the screenplays that end there will never ever get made – although it might take years (any reference to Passengers is absolutely correct – blacklisted in 2007, it’s still in progress…).

David Gaughran on pricing e-books. I’ve long since made up my mind on pricing, and if I don’t ask more than 5bucks it’s because my books are short. In fact Star Minds the complete series is 9.99$ because it’s a much longer work that includes 3 books… So I agree with David that $4.99 is best for my full-length books – be they anthologies (that sometimes read like novels) or novels. As for “first in the series free” – I don’t have a real first in a series (unless I make Technological Angel permanently free), so I’ll keep doing some 99cents shorts to intruduce to Silvery Earth for those who don’t want to waste 5bucks on an untried author! 😉

Finally, Joe Konrath about Tracy Hickman and the man’s response. I remember reading the Dragonlance trilogy and the Twins trilogy Tracy wrote with Margaret Weiss, but I admit I lost track of him since. The Twins trilogy was the first book I read in English (at the end of last century), and I still think I should re-read it now that my English has improved – I remember I had to check the dictionary because I couldn’t figure out what a “gully dwarf” was, since I had read the Dragonlance trilogy in Italian! 😉 I had heard Tracy Hickman did a serial on his site, that’s why at first – reading Joe Konrath’s post – I thought “what’s going on?” Another internet meme or misquote…

Anyway, that’s all for today! Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday

Sci Fi Promo Event Share PictureDid you notice the new widget in the sidebar? I’m participating in this wonderful event! 🙂 So don’t miss the sale and check the other wonderful authors participating! Lots of lovely covers  – my TBR list will grow again, sigh! And apparently there will be some kind of contest as well, yay! A great applause to author Tim Flanagan for starting this! He’s doing more in other genres, so if you write paranormal romance, you might want to check him out!

Just for your information, the participating books for yours truly are Books of the Immortals – Air, Chronicles of the Varian Empire – The Left-handed Warrior and Technological Angel. I can fix the 99c/75p prices, but the other markets will vary (still be discounted for two days, though)… Feel free to spread the word – I have created a Goodreads event and a Facebook event… share, share, share, the more the merrier, thank you!

Besides, July is the sales month! This year Smashwords does the Summer/Winter sale again, so everything at Unicorn Productions is 50% off until the end of the month (the above 3 will still be more than 99c, so you might want to wait for that). Which means some books will be free. Which means I thank very much the kind person who bought 3 books mere hours before the start of the sale – hopefully that wonderful person will check them before the end of the month and get more with the discounted price! 🙂

Finishing Amazon Sisters, so I can re-read and send it off to betas and get back to Star Minds Snippets. By the way, I’ve found this interesting site, No Names, No Jackets, that allows you to sample books without being distracted by covers or blurbs or all that marketing stuff (that often gets on my nerves). I have uploaded a few excerpts of my books, but they’re not all live yet, so just play with the random search and see if you can recognize them! 🙂 I’ll eventually add them to the “Excerpts and Free Reads” page…

Some interesting links! Thank God someone finally expressed my opinion of the Her0’s Journey! 🙂 This so reminds me of those screenwriting gurus telling you how a screenplay should be structured having never written one in their entire life. Same thing here – someone studied the classics and decided that’s how a story should be told. And probably never actually wrote anything – like the “how to write” books written by editors. I doubt any writer would be very articulate in saying how he/she came up with the story.

Unless he’s David Farland (or a few others who can actually teach how to write). See Dave’s post on Grey Heroes. Another two are Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. I might take the lecture on pen names at some point, since I can’t make it to the Oregon Coast this year. But I enjoy the live workshops more, so here’s to next year’s travels (which will include Loncon, but hopefully also a workshop with Dean&Kris).

Then check David Gaughran’s talk with Alliance of Independent Authors’ Orna Ross. This looks like an interesting organization, since it includes the likes of Writers Beware Victoria Strauss and Passive Guy. Worth thinking about joining.

Kris Rusch on life changing events. I have donated for Dave’s son, will have to check about Peter David. Honestly I’m not thinking about the future yet – not that I want to live for ever, far from that, but I still have to figure out a couple of things in this very complicated country or find a way out of it and try to earn some other citizenship. Yes, we might have free healthcare, so I won’t apply for a Greencard, but I do want to emigrate to a less complicated country! 🙂

And if you’d like to make a living with short fiction, don’t forget to check the maths on Dean’s blog. I think that even the most busy person in the world can find 15 minutes to write every day, or even one hour, but then, I’ve heard plenty of “writers” who seem unable to find the time to write. They’re probably wannabe authors. Writers write. They don’t talk about writing, they just write. So if you’re a writer, just go back to writing.

Finally, to blog or not to blog. Up to you. I enjoy this, so I’ll keep doing it. Even if with less frequency than when I started, you’ll still get regular posts here. B.G Hope has a static web page because I can’t handle two blogs, LOL! Unless I start one for readers, with free fiction or whatnot. Mmm, no, I’d rather be off writing the next story, sorry! 🙂 Have a wonderful week and don’t forget to check the Smashwords sale – a reminder for the Kindle event next week! 🙂

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)! 😦 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! 🙂

In case you missed it, on Fictorian Era  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! 🙂

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! 🙂 Your next story will be better, I promise! 😉

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! 😦 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! 🙂

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! 🙂 And having dozens of different accounts… ouch! Can’t keep up! Even on Goodreads I joined only as Barbara G.Tarn! 😦 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! 😦


Hope your weekend was good. Last week I got Water back from The Editor, so I went through it with final edits, to be ready for an August release. Next weekend I’ll give it one last read while working on the book trailer (BTW thanks for the comments on the book blurb) and then I’ll let it go too. Phew!

I also wrote a couple of short stories for the Tales of the Southern Kingdoms collection, one recycled from the 1980s, the other original. I have two more to go (again, one recycled and one original) and then I can put the collection up on Smashwords and Kindle. I don’t think I’ll issue any more free reads, at least not on Smashwords because I’d rather be drawing SKYBAND than another short story cover! 😉 Oh, and I uploaded a new version of The Orphans (and took it out of Feedbooks) with a couple of added scenes. Also, while writing the last original story I re-read Tarun and… it needs a major rewrite. That’s not Keiko speaking. So I will soon take it off (even if I love that cover) and then it will come out again revised (and probably censored) in the collection.

I also got back my sci-fi romance novella from the beta-reader, so I’m waiting for the Other Editor who has it before putting it out there. Now I plan on getting back to add the fiction to the historical novel, as so far I managed to work only on the prologue, but I want that first draft done by the end of summer.

Also, I signed up for JC’s Birthday Bash Blogfest so you’ll have 2 posts on Saturday, the usual WoW and the extra a couple of hours later. And then there’s a guest post on Thursday and hopefully a review on Friday. Now I better go typing those short stories so I can get back to work on the historical novel… have a great week!

Musings and rants

24hours after upload, Tarun had 173 downloads. It was free (like everything under 10000words I will put on Smashwords), but it’s also labeled erotica, x-rated, etc. It’s a story of lust and sex without love. Starblazer, which is totally “normal” fantasy, is still a little over 120 after one week.

After 28 hours and 200 downloads I set the minimum price of 0.99$. The download stopped. Will I give it away for free again? Maybe. Not now. Why, you may ask? Because that’s not what I want to be associated with. I don’t normally write erotica, so it won’t really bring me new readers. I will most certainly include it in the collection of the Tales of the Southern Kingdoms when I’ll have written all the stories, but giving it away for free… I don’t think so.

And then I wonder. I know sex sells (in most markets, I know it’s off-limits in the Christian market). Do I want to write for the market? No. I write adult fantasy with some sex – only when necessary. Tarun fits the erotica genre because in the case of that particular short story sex was crucial to the plot, a source of power, etc. This doesn’t mean I’ll add sex scenes in novels just because.

I’ve had a taste of erotica writing with Six Sentence Sunday, and -as a reader- some of it I like, some I don’t. As a writer I still prefer leaving most of the things to the reader’s imagination, unless it’s important – like in Water where my poor beta was obviously upset by my sadist character who decided to rape his rival out of spite. OK, I can “censor” if necessary, but I’ve done that in the past (mostly because I didn’t feel confident about what I was talking about) and ended up putting back the “censored scene(s)” in later rewrites. Those “censored” scenes had either sex or violence. Or controversial characters (some people’s pet peeve might be M/M love – not sex, I mean relationships).

So I guess I’ll keep writing what I feel like writing. If the story needs to show sex or violence for some reason, I’ll show it (and I’m certainly not hiding my gay characters anymore, they’re not everywhere, but in many stories), otherwise I’ll just hint about it. I might or might not write the back-story of the abused Orphans (Keiko, Hayato and Kumar of Air) to include in the aforementioned collection: I have written bits and pieces and maybe eventually I’ll write it all, or maybe I will not, we’ll see (for betas: some of it was in Air, but I took it out in the final version).

I write what I want to read. And I’m not a fan of sex nor violence anyway. I write them only when they’re necessary to the story. And I will always put warnings for whoever might be offended, just in case…

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