Wednesday Weelky Roundup


Last week I wrote almost 9K, but then, I had only three days for writing – with jetlag and cover rebranding. I more or less wrapped up the Lone Wolves and this week I’ll work on a Silvery Earth novella while I check files from the editor and prepare for next weekend’s publication. I probably won’t write too much either, since I have a few manuscripts to go through.

About the main event of the past two weeks that took me away from Day Job and COVID-19, well, it was a blast, as expected. Unlike 2017, I did make one sale, which means I’m moving forward! And I got to spend one week with awesome people who helped me overcome my latest lows.

Also, get ready for a new awesome magazine, Fantasy Quarterly. All fantasy stories for your reading pleasure, and I’ve read a few of them, they’re awesome. Eventually I might make it in there too, but for now get ready for my workshop buddies’ stories and some famous names to keep them company! 🙂

It was wonderful to see old friends again – virtual hugs to all if you’re reading this – and meeting a few new people. Some of them were luckier than me and sold at their very first Anthology Workshop, so kudos to them! 🙂 And I mean “lucky” in the sense they hit the Awesome Editors’ tastes better than me, but I don’t give my best when I have a theme and a deadline.

Sometimes I let deadlines for anthologies pass to make sure I give the topic a better shot! Anyhow, three of the rejected stories will be incorporated in novels, and one is out there again on submission. Not sure what to do with the other two, yet, probably stick them into the virtual drawer until next year. For now I’m happy just being back to writing every day.

Travelwise, I flew in via New York, where they only asked me if I’d been to China in the past 14 days. I watched Gully Boy and Crazy Rich Asians, but by the second flight I was too tired (and of course couldn’t sleep) so I only caught a glimpse of Ocean’s 8. By the time I got to Vegas, I’d been up 24 hours – I jumped into the first taxi and went straight to bed.

Then, during the workshop, Mom sent me a message about COVID-19 in Northern Italy, and my colleague copy-pasted a work email on FB Messenger (it was also a text message on my cell phone, I found it when I came back). The first masks appeared at LAX on my flight to Rome, half empty (more room to sleep, yay! As if I could, sigh…) and even landed earlier so I was home by the time it was supposed to land.

And nobody wants Italians anywhere anymore. Glad I left last week and came back before it spread or they would have sent me back as soon as I set foot at JFK!

Cartoomics (Milan’s comicon) has been postponed to October, which actually works better for me. As for the other travels, I guess I’ll stay at home in April and work on paperbacks, while waiting out COVID-19…

While at the workshop, I got word from the editor of Excalibur 2020: they have just launched the Excalibur Books Patreon.

The first goal is to assist with the formatting and cover of “Warriors of Olympia”, our Science Fiction & Fantasy Olympics anthology, and to build awareness of the writers involved. After that’s published and being promoted, we aim to provide future releases from a wide range of authors.

So go check it, I gave them permission to post excerpts of my story, give it a go! 🙂 I’ll also share a couple more Kickstarters for writing projects soon – not mine yet, unfortunately, since I still have to deal with a damn Day Job that complicates things, but I’ll give you a couple of projects to back up in the coming months!

And last but not least, it’s Infinite Bard time again! Go check the latest story, and that’s all for today! Have a great week!

I wanted to remind authors that the value of their writing transcends monetary measures. If your book has the potential to bring a smile to a single reader, your book is important. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, your book has the potential to change lives and maybe even save lives. What can be more important than that?
Just because your sales suck doesn’t mean that you’re not worthy. Most writers’ sales suck, whether they’re traditionally published or self-published. Most writers will have good months and bad months, good years and bad years. If you only measure your success by money, you’ll probably burn out and quit, but if you develop other measures of success, like finding joy in the creative process or making your next book better than the last or finding joy in pressing the publish button when you’re finally ready to share your soul with the world, then you’re more likely to continue writing and publishing. Therefore, you’re more likely to eventually emerge from your obscurity to achieve the greatest commercial success.

Mark Coker

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


Travel musings… I’m an experienced traveler and was baffled or amused by some of the questions my fellow writers asked on the group page before heading for Scotland. I mean, I know I can’t take my house with me and I’m used to some kind of discomfort when traveling. I’m still prone to anxiety and panic attacks after all these years, but I never try to find a home-away-from-home abroad.

I know of Italians who hate traveling because they can’t live without pasta. I’m not a foodie, but I do miss Italian coffee abroad. Since it’s not permanent (yet), I just deal with it and make do with what’s available. When I visit a new country, I don’t research beyond the travel agent’s catalogue and a quick weather forecast.

I like to be surprised, like it happened with Iceland. If it’s a workshop or a conference, as long as I have a room to retire to after socializing (because, uh, introvert…), a converter to charge my phone and the right clothes for the local weather, I’m good. I know it won’t be my bed or my bathroom for a short time.

And if I forget something, I know I can buy it somewhere. Unless it’s life-saving meds, you can probably find everything wherever you go, with globalization. I mean, I found sanitary pads in India, where they probably keep them only for Western women! 😉

I hate the traveling itself because I rarely sleep on planes, even long flights, but when I reach the place, I usually settle and try to mingle. I guess I’m not your normal tourist… like the ones in this funny strip!

But I understand a young person or a non-traveler going abroad for the first time might have the strangest doubts and requests.

I had my share of anxiety on this trip, because when boarding l was told l’d be rerouted for a strike at Amsterdam airport. Never spent 6hours at the airport of my hometown, but considering the taxi cost me 50euro, l just stayed there.

Not ideal after a 4.30am wakeup call, but whatever… l eventually made it to Edinburgh, with a batch of awesome people, all with their problems, their joys, their hopes.

All writers willing to travel half across the world (for some) only to spend a week together. Some had adventurous travels to reach here, others made it smoothly, but all made it in spite of being introverts!

Here’s to us writing lots of new words before the actual conference starts tomorrow (since this edition is conference+writing retreat, that’s why I chose it)! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

Random Friday


So the first three weeks of vacation have been so filled with travels that I’m still recovering, haha! I’d post pics of Vegas, but you all know what Vegas looks like, right? I didn’t go in the casinos (although I went through them to reach places like buffets or the street), didn’t touch slot-machines (I prefer the old ones I saw in England back in 1981, where you threw in coins in that big glass case hoping to make the other coins fall and  win them, much funnier than that digital stuff where you push buttons), didn’t walk the Freemont Experience at night much (already saw it in 2009). And I didn’t go flying either.

Lucca was a mess with rain, so the first day it was almost impossible getting anywhere. Probably wasted ticket, since everywhere was so crowded they had to close them off. I saw the Japan Town and the Games area, but not the official publishers booths. And there was a web strip that had finally a printed version that I wanted, but I couldn’t get in. Meh.

I also went to the self-area to grab a few indies. I discovered the Sad Unicorn comic and visited with some of the comic artists who had booths either in the self-area or up on the walls of the town. I also checked the steampunk clothes available, but they’re kind of expensive for the kind of use I had in mind, so I ended up not buying anything.

I have been thinking I could go to Worldcon as Bel from Post-Apocalypse Chronicles, but I don’t know if and when I’ll have panels yet and if and when I can have a table to sell some books. There are plenty of other comicons before Worldcon, though, so I’ll have more time to find a “costume” (possibly recyclable for other things, lest it stays in the wardrobe like my medieval costumes, LOL!).

Cosplayers! Plenty of them. Including a bearded Ariel the Mermaid, some musicians (Michael Jackson, Slash, Freddie Mercury “I want to break free”) and some interesting characters. And steampunkers, of course. And lots of mini-cosplayers – mostly Marvel superheroes for boys and Star Wars ladies for girls. A very colorful crowd in spite of the rain.

But too crowded for my tastes, so I guess I’ll skip the next two or three and go back only when I recovered! What can I say, I hate crowds… they give me panic attacks! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

Random Friday


This is randomly late, but I’m jet-lagged and didn’t have the strenght to schedule it yesterday when I got home after an awful 9 hours flight and an almost missed connection in Heathrow with me breaking down at security and being sent to the manager because they held up my bag  (an boarding pass and passport and everything). I may understand security issues, but if Americans let me on a plane, why don’t the British trust me I didn’t get anything dangerous in the transfer between T3 and T5? Sigh.

Anyhow, wonderful week, meeting old and new friends, taking tonz of notes that will have to percolate for a few days before I make a priority list or action plan for the rest of the year… and back to my projects and paperbacks and all that stuff. Itching to getting back to writing too.

I didn’t watch any movies on any flight (the Dallas-Las Vegas one I had a broke video), didn’t sleep much either, hence 24hours-without-sleep bouts both going out and coming back – hence the grumpiness and near-panic attack on the way back. I’m too old to keep doing intercontinental flights on economy, LOL!

More next week… I need to go to the supermarked to fill the fridge and do some laundry and finish sorting stuff and do other things… have a great weekend! 🙂

Random Friday


Last weekend I took Dear Nephew to London with Techie Bro. It was his wish to see it, especially the Big Ben (invisible behind its restauration coat, but he got to see the Lego version and had a painting of it in his room) and the London Eye. The Big Ben is actually better at night these days, as you can see above! 😉

So we arrived on Friday around lunch time and dropped our bags at the hotel. They had a travelcard, I had my Oyster card so we felt confident we could wander around. I had in mind of showing him a couple of things, so we got off at Piccadilly Circus, but he was too taken by the Lego shop to notice much else. Besides, it started raining and he was tired and Waterstones didn’t have the books we were looking for and and and… we got back after about three hours and dined in their room (it was bigger).

The next day we had all day, so morning we went around the Tower of London, took the DLR and the Emirates cabins to the O2 where we had lunch. We took the Jubilee line back to Waterloo but when we got off it started raining, so… back to the hotel around 2pm (just like in Paris). We relaxed in my room, since theirs wasn’t done, then went out again. Techie Bro took him on the London Eye as per his wish, and when he came down he said it was one of the best days of his life.

Happy nephew, happy adults. We even had a group hug at some point! 😉 Sunday morning, we went at the Natural History Museum, then headed back for Victoria Station where we had lunch at McDonald and then headed back for Gatwick Airport. We were more or less on time, but the customs proved Italy is a third world country: EU and Italians with under 14 had only one policeman checking documents (and I think he was being slow on purpose) until the other one came back.

We ended up at 10pm eating pizza by my house, since of course we didn’t eat on EastyJet! Next time British Airways, I don’t care if it costs more! Or Alitalia. Or whatever. No more low-cost. Have a great weekend! 🙂

Happiness is…


although I’m tired of traveling and will put it on hold for a year or three. And wow, it’s been 8 years since I saw that natural marvel that is Bryce Canyon! 😉

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!

Random Friday


Roger Murtaugh: I’m too old for this shit!

Yes, I’m feeling like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon (actually, he says this line in all 4 movies, joined by Mel Gibson at least in the last one). When you’re single or don’t have kids and find yourself for six days between a 12-year-old and a 70something… it makes everything more complicated!

One tends to run forward (because he’s telling stories to himself and isn’t paying attentiong), the  other lags  behind. One makes a melodrama out of nothing and the other has clearly enough of his tantrums (I don’t see him as often as my mother, LOL!). I was always the mediator! 🙂

Add the heat and some rain… not always fun. We did the tourist stuff (i.e. lots of lines), and he wanted to be back at the hotel by 3pm, so on the last day I decided to go out and try to find some DVDs, since the FNAC nearby had a poor selection but I remembered the Champs Elysées shop was  much bigger…

I asked him if he wanted to come (I admit it, I hoped he’d say no and kept playing with his videogames, LOL!). So I ended up grabbing one DVD because it was near the games section and gave up looking for more! 😀 But I did manage to buy the BDs I can’t buy in Rome anymore because the only French bookshop closed, so I have completed my Thorgal collection.

And I got the Lapins Crétins (Rabbids for gamers) BDs for Dear Nephew who wanted them because he’d seen them in some videogame (and there isn’t much text anyway… he laughed out loud reading all 3 volumes out of 9 that I bought him). By the way, if anyone can be bothered to correct the Wikipedia entry above… there are 9 volumes of the comic + a couple of specials

Leaving you with some pics… have a great weekend! 🙂

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Happiness is…


And going to the Oregon Coast, from the background! 😉 That was my first trip there, repeated in 2014 and this year! 😀

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