Sunday Surprise


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 someone from the new Silvery Earth. And since I’m such an awesome witch, I shall ask them questions at two stages of their lives! Or at least at two stages for the human, since the other barely changed in twelve years…

Let’s get on with this. Meet Torik, woodcutter’s son at Bargsea Fortress, a small kingdom on the northern great bay of Varia – I wonder if it has a name, but I guess that lazy author forgot to give it any denomination… Tell me a little about yourself, Torik.

CHILD TORIK: Er… I’m Torik. I’m Human. I have no magic. I’m short-lived. I’m a barbarian to the Magical Races. I’m ignorant. I know nothing of gods and goddesses. I’m scared of dragons. I’m ten, but I already help my dad chopping wood.

ADULT TORIK: I’m twenty-two and moved to the castle a few years back. Wood-cutting duties fell to my younger brother Baldric and I became the prince’s companion. Lambert is king now, we’re the same age.

Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

CHILD TORIK: dirty-blond mop of hair and poop-colored eyes.

ADULT TORIK: Long dark-blond hair and brown eyes.

Do you have an enemy or nemesis? If so, who are they and how did they become an enemy?

CHILD TORIK: Hannibal! He’s a bully! Him and Klaus are the reason I left the village and found my magical friends!

ADULT TORIK: Myself, mostly. I feel like a failure and don’t understand why people would want to follow me.

Where do you live?

CHILD TORIK: in the village outside the castle of Bargsea Fortress.

ADULT TORIK: in the castle of Bargsea Fortress.

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

CHILD TORIK: Are you kidding? I’m just a child! Although I like gifting flowers to girls. Florina is quite nice among the Humans. And I like Kareena too, but she came and went too quickly, sigh.

ADULT TORIK: I’m a widower. I hope one day I’ll find Kareena and if she’s still free… Although I’ll probably never find her.

What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?

CHILD TORIK: Growing up?

ADULT TORIK: Finding a place to call home.

Do you have a family? Tell me about them.

CHILD TORIK: Yes! There’s seven of us – should have been twelve, but they died when they were really small. I have dirty-blond hair like mom, as does Mathilda, who is eight, Greta, who is two, and Baby Alric. Alexa, thirteen, Baldric, seven, and Elsa, five, have Dad’s brown hair. And then there’s Mom and Dad, of course.

ADULT TORIK: Greta, Alric and Mom passed away when I was still a child, which made me grow up faster. Alexa, Mathilda, Elsa and Baldric are all married and have children of their own now. Well, Elsa is expecting her first. My father is also gone, as is my wife and the children she gave me.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

CHILD TORIK: I have four awesome magical friends!

ADULT TORIK: I still have awesome magical friends, they all grew up like me, except Copperscales…

Which leads us to our other guest! You might see her as a girl with brown braids coiled around her ears or a teen with the same looks, but she’s not really like that. Hello, Copperscales. Tell me a little about yourself!

I’m a Fajrulo cub, barely over a century old. When Torik is adult, I can be considered a dragonette, since I’ve grown in size – from donkey to elephant – but I’m still a cub. I will live about nine centuries, so my life is still in its infancy, sigh.

Describe your appearance in ten words or less.

Dragon cub with copper-colored scales and bat-like wings.

What is your role in the story?

Torik’s bogey man, then Torik’s teammate, then, twelve years later, Torik’s travel companion…

What is your relationship with the protagonist?

Torik is sooo cute! I want to mate with him when I grow up! Except I’ve been bluntly reminded that when I’m old enough to lay eggs, he’ll be long dead of old age, sigh!

Where do you live?

My lair is in a cave up the mountain towering over Bargsea Fortress and its forest, and it can be reached only in flight.

Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.

I’m a member of the Magical Races along with Goldenberry (Genn), Erwan (Waiora) and Winged Ylenia (Sila). Fajrulo don’t like their peers – in fact, after my mother left me when I turned a hundred, I’m the only one in the area – but they love humans. I’m particularly fond of Torik, in case you didn’t notice…

____________________________
Book(s) in which the characters appear:

Silvery Earth Kids (strip)

Silvery Earth Kids and Related Short Stories

Magical Friends

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Wednesday Weekly Roundup


So, I’ve been kindly reminded (meaning it was a general reminder, not to me personally) that professionals never talk about what they are writing or wrote until it is published. Therefore I’ll keep updating you on my yearly wordcount, but not what I’m working on.

Last week I wrote a little less than 9K, but Friday before lunchtime I got back the manuscript from the proofreader, so I spent from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning catching typo faeries on those short stories I wrote in the past month. And mailed four of them on Sunday morning (the rest are not open yet, so I jotted down the date on the calendar, lest I forget to submit them).

And I published the prose version of Silvery Earth Kids with a couple of related short stories. You might want to check that while you wait for the release of Magical Friends, it’s a very nice introduction with not too many spoilers for the novel, but filling in the background! 😉

Or you can get the paperback of the strip… December is definitely going to be Torik and Copperscales’s month, as you can see from my Facebook page! Stay tuned on more on these two! Should I interview them like I did in the past? Would you like a character interview?

And you can tell me which version you prefer, I won’t be offended it you think Ravven’s depiction (slightly modified in its colors) is better than my doodles! 😉 I haven’t even downloaded DAZ Studio yet, can’t imagine doing art with it anytime soon! So I’ll keep my ancient way of doing things – pencil and marker on paper, then scan and digital colors.

What can I say, this Gen X gal who grew up in the age of the typewriter and used to handwrite her first drafts up to 2015 in spite of being a typist likes her old “tech” too much. New things and continuous upgrades actually get on my nerves (can you hear me, Facebook?).

But! There’s only ONWARD, therefore I shall stop looking back. Keep writing and doodling and publishing and all that stuff. Even if some of those stories will never get off my hard-drive (or my old notebooks… got still plenty of those from the 80s and 90s)… well, it’s called practice, isn’t it? 😉

And excellent article by Kristen Lamb for writers old and new. In a glutted market, how can authors stand apart? Go read it. Now. Don’t be like me! 😉 I’m sure eventually I’ll find my readers, it’s just taking longer than expected. At least I’m learning patience, LOL!

Also, if you want a preview of what Star Minds Kids and Teens strip will be like, go check I Like My Science…MAD (Blaze Ward Presents Book 2)!

How mad, you ask? Come with us on a twisted journey of science gone wrong and gods rising to threaten us all. Of private detectives on the moon and dieselpunk ladies saving the day. Academics making dark pacts and taking vengeance into their own hands.
Mad.

The second Blaze Ward Presents anthology asks writers and readers to envision mad science and entertain us all.

They succeeded. Come see.

I would like to thank Blaze Ward for kicking me into gear with that strip. I had been postponing it for too long! Go check the adventures of Child Kol-ian and read the other mad science stories in this awesome collection! 🙂

Here’s an open call for you cat-lovers out there! It should be well-known by now that yours truly has no pets and no affection for furry friends… but if you do, check this out:

It’s time to turn the “man and his dog wandering through a dystopian world” trope on its head, and tell the stories about cats and their women – their badass women – in appropriately dystopian settings. It’s time for CAT LADIES OF THE APOCALYPSE!
We’re looking for short stories feature a strong woman with at least one cat, in tales that bring hope in the darkest of times.
Length: 4000 – 8000 words
Deadline: January 15, 2020
Pay: Royalty-Share, via PayPal
More information: www.camdenparkpress.com/cats 🐈

And. last but not least, it’s Infinite Bard day again! Hop off to the site for a new free short story! 🙂 Have a great week!

Extra post for special announcement…


To celebrate that the Italian version of Silvery Earth Kids is finally live, I set up a calendar on Zazzle. If you’d like to add a 2020 calendar to your English paperback, you can find it here (simple version)! I ordered my copy, but haven’t received it yet, so no previews except the one I did with my printer in the picture below.

You should probably hurry, since there’s currently a sale on Zazzle and I don’t know when it ends, so check it right now (colorful version)! 😀 20% off with code FRIENDGIVING…

Also, the paperback links are all here. And the prose sequel will be out on Sunday, pre-order it now and help it climb the charts… thank you! 😀

EDITED TO ADD: I got my Zazzle calendar, it’s small and cute and look at it, ain’t it cool? Also, the “colorful” one can only be small (that’s the one pictured above), while the simple one can be small, medium or large! Have a great weekend! 🙂

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote almost 10K (9965 to be exact) so I’m definitely back on track. Kaori’s story is a 15K novella, and then I wrote another 5K story to help me start on the Assassin story that I hope to wrap up this week, since on Sunday I’ll have to start writing for the Anthology Workshop, yay!

I will probably manage to write all those Star Minds Lone Wolves stories before the end of the year since there’s the Holiday break, but you won’t see them until probably the end of February. I still have to book the editor for the new year. I also made a list of what’s left to write (4 more Quests on Silvery Earth, a Vampire Through the Centuries or three, a couple more books of the Future Earth Chronicles) so that I’ll know what to do in the first half of 2020.

And last week I also sent live Silvery Earth Kids! So, if you’d like to gift this paperback for Christmas, you have plenty of time to order it. The Italian version (in case you wanted to learn Italian through a strip) is unfortunately stuck in review with Amazon, but hopefully eventually they’ll approve it. I also anticipated the release of Magical Friends, it will now go live December 1st.

I started drawing the Star Minds Kids and Teens strip, but that’s another project that will come out next year. And this weekend I’ll be busy catching typo faeries, formatting and sending out the stories I wrote for the anthologies in the past couple of months. Most deadlines are Dec.31, a couple open in January, but I’m ready.

Oh, and I sold a short story, I shall publish the link when it goes live. It’s in the Star Minds Universe, like the story in Pulphouse #5, and it’s even kinda sorta the same thing – a battery-operated boyfriend in one, a sex robot in the other. The Star Minds Universe is becoming famous for the wrong reasons! 😀 Also, kind of clashes with the Star Minds Kids and Teens strip, LOL!

About innovation/tech news, I ran into this article on how blockchain tech can be used for the good of the music industry. If this blockchain thingy actually works, let’s hope they apply it to books as well.

From the time Naspter begun offering free music content in the 1990s, music piracy has been a chronic problem with most people taking it as the normal way of getting their music.

Unfortunately this applies to eBooks too, for different reasons. A lot of people are not willing to pay for the hard work of many writers or other creative people. So until the mindset changes, I don’t think anything will change.

And speaking of mindsets, I shall close with Dean’s video on the attitudes of fiction writers, a speech he gave for 20BooksVegas but I heard him say it often enough in person to confirm everything! 😉 Have a great week! 😀

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week, while jotting down a couple of ideas in my moleskine, I saw an idea that suddenly appealed to me, so I interrupted what I was doing to write that contemporary short story of about 7K. With whatever I had added to the other project, last week clocked at over 8K written. Now I’m back to that other project, still contemporary, hoping to nail it by the end of the week.

On Sept.28th I tried uploading the Quests Box Set to D2D, but somehow couldn’t make their meatgrinder (however they call it, I know that term is the Smashwords one, LOL!) “read” the file correctly, so I had written to support for help. On Monday they got back to me when I had completely forgotten about it… anyhow, I managed to upload the file and this time it came out fine, so there you have it, the Quests Box Set with the new covers! 🙂

During the weekend I was supposed to start lettering the strip of Silvery Earth Kids. But on Friday I went to Romics and talked to Bigio (whose comics and webstrips are only in Italian, unfortunately), showing him my Instagram account and he gave me some advice. So there you have it, new backgrounds on some strips (including Torik’s New Clothes, but I won’t show it yet, haha). And while preparing the squares for lettering, I found I had forgotten to color one. And that another had to be modified for the square size.

So in the end, no lettering, but hopefully I’ll manage next weekend! 🙂 Also, since DeviantART has this Cosmic Corsair contest and I’m supposed to do another strip for another anthology, I’m thinking of going back to the Star Minds Kids and do something with them for both projects.

And the NaNo bundle is out! So if you’re looking for great writing books, go grab it now. And I have a name for my burnout – the critical voice again!

That’s what the critical voice does. It makes writing hard, unpleasant, and something to be avoided, rather than embraced.

All of us who write face that. We just have different battles with our critical voices. Some writers battle the voice in the words on the page. Other writers battle the voice in the types of stories it’s okay to tell. And apparently, some, like me, battle the voice on expectation of production.

I got “I hate everything I write” (but kept writing anyway, LOL!). Now I’m going to kill that bastard off. It had never really raised its ugly head before, so I’m sure I’ll get rid of it soon. Now, granted, I might lack the talent to be a successful author, but I’ll keep writing and learning and publishing more slowly until death! 🙂

See how serendipity brings the right posts at the right time? Besides, I was trying to put together a document for my editor in November (after she does The Wanderers next week), and I kept finding short stories I wrote in the last three months (since I finished the novel) that I hadn’t put on my written list… so I did write quite a lot in spite of my critical voice.

And I even submitted some, and one passed the first step, now I’m waiting for the “second level” to decide if they buy it or not. If they don’t, I already know where to submit it next year (won’t open until February 2020). I had actually displaced a couple of anthos guidelines I had written stories for, so I had to go looking for them, and write the title of the story I plan to send them after Mighty Editor’s pass.

So, maybe I’m already climbing back up. It’s probably the start of my third writing phase (the second started around fifteen years ago, when I took the first craft workshops and learned about POV and other neat tricks), although I’ll have to read more fiction to better figure out readers’ expectations. I’m also considering collaborations, so this workshop on shared worlds is very timely! 🙂

And then, summer is over, autumn is here and I feel much better! 🙂 I don’t have big plans for the end of the year, just keep trudging (writing and publishing also in Italian), and then we’ll see. I have the Anthology Workshop in February and then I’ll think about other writing trips. Maybe another writing retreat. I got a couple of flyers at Worldcon in Dublin, so we’ll see.

I hadn’t realized people are boycotting Kickstarter… but then I spared myself a Kickstarter stress. Again, maybe next year! 😉 Have a great week! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


Last week was an all-time low for wordcount, but the yearly wordcount is 330K. I spent the first half of the week revising Torik’s story and the second half drawing those strips of his childhood, so no new words were written from Thursday to Sunday.

It gave me time to decide a couple of things (like adding strips to the strip, and then I’ll have to put them in the right order whenever I do the paperback, LOL!) and prepare for the next novel, with a timeline and traveling traced on the map like for Torik’s story.

I also opened an account for Silvery Earth Kids on Instagram, although currently there’s more stuff on DeviantART. But since I plan to release it at the end of the year, I will trickle posts on there while I work on the strip. I’ll post finished strips and WiP possibly every other day…

Hopefully when I release the paperback there will be a few new fans. For Pinterest, I’ll open the account after the summer when I’ll redo a few covers and clean up my back list (but I’ll need a lot more energy than what I have now!).

If you’ve been following Kris Rusch’s posts on licensing or how to rethink a writing business, you might have seen in the comments that there will be another licensing expo in London in October. Since I won’t be able to take that unpaid leave, I won’t go, but hopefully next year I can plan to go there (since I’m already going to Vegas in February/March and London is only slightly closer for me, haha!).

Now that I know those things exist, I will keep an eye on them. This year is already all booked, though, so let’s just look forward to the next! 😉 Now counting the days to 20BooksEdinburgh – and the non-writerly things I’ll do, like axe-throwing! Ghost tours! And mingle with other authors, since it’s also a writing retreat! 😉

One more week and I’ll be off… Now I better go back to writing so I can wrap that novel in Edinburgh! Have a great week! 🙂

Random Friday


Okay, I had to share this because I think it’s too cute. I’ll try to do also a 2020 Silvery Earth Kids Calendar, it will be available with the strip paperback. Meanwhile, here’s a preview with the (unedited) prose version for the visually impaired underneath.

Torik’s New Clothes

Torik got out of bed, washed his face, then grabbed his clothes. He put on his breeches and realized that not only the looked shorter than usual, but also he had trouble making them fit around his waist. Even his tunic looked kind of small for him.

“Mooom! My clothes have shrunk!” he complained.

“No, honey, you’ve grown up,” she replied patiently from the other side of the room. “You need new ones.”

“Oh.” Torik stared at his clothes, disappointed. He tried to squeeze in them anyway, and then checked his boots.

“My boots have shrunk too!” he whined.

“Wear sandals until we get you new ones,” his mother replied.

It was summer, after all. Although going to the forest with sandals wasn’t the best option.

Muttering under his breath, Torik laced on his sandals. They were kind of short too, but at least they didn’t squeeze his feet. The clothes were really uncomfortable, though.

“Can’t move, can’t breathe…” he grumbled.

“Here, take Dad’s old tunic for today,” his mother said, handing him the garment

Torik eagerly took off his own clothes and threw them on the bed. Dad’s tunic was so big, his hands vanished inside the long sleeves and it reached well below his knees. He could go out without breeches, though.

Feeling slightly ridiculous, Torik got ready for the day. Luckily he was spared wood-cutting and his mother took him to the tailor’s shop and then to the shoemaker.

Random Friday


While I try to figure out what to do with the web strip and before I finish cleaning, coloring and lettering the 70+ I already have, here’s a few more sneak peeks on the Silvery Earth Kids.

Since the Patreon page is closed, I uploaded the presentation strips to DeviantART along with the character sheets and the new characters I came up with last week – Adwin and Kareena, although I haven’t really written them into the strip yet.

But during the past two weeks I finished the first notebook and was busy with other things, so I didn’t continue it. I hope to do it in June when I’ll also work on the prose version.

There’s also a short, two-strip preview about the kids’ winter (strip # 50 and 51, I did a couple more since – still about 20 to go). The visually impaired version follows (please note that it’s unedited and unproofread at this stage).

Silvery Earth Kids in Winter Wonderland

Torik awoke with a shiver. His little brother had stolen all the blanket again. Seeing light coming in from the small window of the attic and hearing muffled sounds coming from outside, Torik sat on the bed, wide awake and kind of excited. It had snowed!

He quickly dressed – tunic, breeches, boots, hooded short cloak – grabbed his gloves and a scarf and ran out of the house. Yes! Snow covered everything! Adults were already cleaning the streets, so he ran out of the walls and towards the forest.

The fresh snow made a strange sound under his boots and he giggled. He reached the clearing where he usually met his magical friends and found them all there, already building a snowman. Copperscales sat on the side of the clearing, her scales gleaming in the timid winter sun, watching the other three work.

Goldenberry had a pale-blue hooded coat and suede boots. Her hood was up, hiding her golden mane and pointed ears, and she had pink gloves with white rabbit fur at the wrist.

Erwan, who usually wore a simple tunic of Waiora fabric and sandals, now had pants and boots and a long blue coat with a pale-blue scarf wrapped around his neck and fur-rimmed gloves of the same color.

Winged Ylenia had her usual tight-fitting body with elbow-length sleeves and her pink flat shoes, although her red feathered wings kept her away from the snowy ground. Her legs were naked as usual, but she wore gloves to touch the snow.

The snowman was almost done when Torik arrived, so he didn’t have much to do except help decorating it – giving him a face and arms made of sticks. He wondered where his friends had found a carot to use as nose, but didn’t dare ask.

Copperscales rose to join them as they gathered next to the snowman.

“Aren’t you cold, Winged Ylenia?” Torik asked, pulling down his scarf to free his mouth.

“I manipulate air, as long as I cover my hands to touch snow, I’m fine…” Winged Ylenia answered with a smile.

“I manipulate water, fancy a warm bath?” Erwan asked.

“Yes!” Goldenberry clapped her gloved hands.

A little incredulous, Torik followed them to a nearby pond that looked covered in ice. Erwan knelt to touch it and the ice melted, not only that, but the water started fuming, clearly much warmer than the air above!

Amazed and impressed, Torik quickly undressed and followed again his friends in the water. It was indeed warm, perfect to have a relaxing bath!

“Wow, this is so cool!” he said, excited.

“Snow all around us, and we’re warm!” Goldenberry added, emerging from a dive. Only she and Erwan seemed willing to put their heads underwater, though. Winged Ylenia also made sure her wings didn’t get too wet, while Copperscales lay on her back, playing dead on the surface of the pond.

When they all had enough of the warm bath, they went back to shore and dressed. A warm wind even dried Erwan and Goldenberry’s hair. Torik knew it was Winged Ylenia’s doing.

“Thank you for keeping the air warm around us while we dressed,” he told her before pulling up his hood and scarf as the air slowly cooled around them.

“You’re welcome…” Winged Ylenia bowed her head with a smile while Goldenberry rushed to hug Erwan.

“We have awesome friends!” she said as Copperscales watched them, crouched next to the snowman.

Torik agreed with her. He had wondrous, awesome, magical friends, no doubt about that! Winter would be very interesting with them around!

 

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