Wednesday Weekly Roundup


And we have a new ebook out – a vampire called Sun! ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’ve read The Phantom Games or are familiar with Vampires Through the Centuries, Helios of Sparta is not new to you. And now you can finally read his story! ๐Ÿ™‚ For those who don’t know him at all, here’s the blurb:

A vampire called Sun in Ancient Sparta and beyond.
After meeting a mysterious barbarian who can turn into a wolf, Helios marches on Megalopolis with the rest of the Spartan army, only to be part of the defeat of 331BC at the hand of the Macedonians.
Worse than the defeat is the death of Helios’ beloved, Kyros, and when the blond barbarian shows up while he’s mourning, he lets Bran mesmerize him into accepting his gift.
Thus starts the life under the moon of Helios of Sparta, no longer a Hoplite and former Olympic champion, but a vampire through the centuries and around the Mediterranean to meet his destiny in Bran’s home island of Britannia.

And after spending about half an hour on BookBrush Friday night, I went back to the Covervault templates. For someone like me who has some Photoshop skills, BookBrush is clunky and useless. But if you have no experience, it can be a nice way of preparing your marketing cards.

I joined because I hoped to get some 3D box sets covers, but they’re behind a paywall, so I might as well grab the Covervault templates for box sets, which is a single expense and not a monthly or yearly fee for never using the site. I might eventually use the 15 free downloads on BookBrush, but not yet.

Can you sell more books when you’re terrified of selling? Kristen Lamb gives some very good advice here. I’m trying to make both this blog and the Newsletter (redux) more interactive, but besides my dear friend Tori, it doesn’t look like I’m achieving much! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hey, I’m only human and cannot produce billions of words a day like OpenAI’s GPT-3 algorithm! That’s why you have only a weekly post here and the occasional post on the publisher’s site and bi-monthly newsletter. And I’m a prolific writer… although last week I wrote less than 6k.

Life rolls, that’s what some people call them. Day Job is getting crazier and I started phisiotherapy for a shoulder that hurts, so less time to write. Also, sort of inbetween projects, so again, not writing as much as when I’m in the middle of a short novel! ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you dream of selling your book to Hollywood, read this cautionary tale. For the new people who joined, I started writing in English by writing screenplays, because the prose is easier – present tense, no need for descriptions or thoughts – and my writing style back then was pretty much a movie.

After my attempts at breaking into Hollywood, I decided to go back to prose because I’m a control freak. Movies and TV series are team works (and especially in movies, the writer is cut out of the equation pretty early), books are all their author’s creation. And I like to be the creative goddess of my stories, LOL!

Coming up – some heroic fantasy news! First of all, next week the International Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors (IASFA) will announce a fantasy book bundle that will delight even the most discerning dragons. And yours truly is among them, so stay tuned.

Sword of Cho Nisi Trilogy by Dianne Gardner is a very complex campaign that has lots of moving parts and a lot of different levels for supporters to jump in at. Check it out.

Ending on a positive note – I tested negative for Covid. Now waiting for a vaccine, so I can travel again. Have a great week! ๐Ÿ˜€

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 couldnโ€™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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

And now I’m going to tout a couple of friends’ horns! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 donโ€™t want you to read.
It’s about a fate that can strike any of us, at any time, that we donโ€™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 Iโ€™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 Iโ€™ve seen him in person.
He returned to London in 2017 to complete his research on a book entitled โ€œA Knight in the Slumsโ€ a self-confessed vanity project about his great, great grandfather, Sir John Kirk, and the manโ€™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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And that’s all for today! Have a great week!

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote 15K in five days, and spent the weekend setting up another bundle, uploading another title, and setting up my series pages on Amazon. So this week I can announce TWO new titles! ๐Ÿ™‚

The first is the “middle book” of the Vampires Through the Centuries meets Future Earth Chronicles “trilogy”. On the cover is Ishaq, although he’s described as looking like Oded Fehr in The Mummy, but unfortunately I couldn’t put that on the cover! ๐Ÿ˜€ But the guy has a beard and is not too bloody. Ishaq is a fledgling of Arianrhod, Bran’s sister-in-darkness.

Ishaq ibn Tariq is an 8th-century Berber warrior under the Umayyad Caliphate. After his latest pilgrimage around the Mediterranean, he meets an old mortal acquaintance who introduces him to Rainbow Towns, the perfect places for a vampire to spend the years of the mortals apocalypse. Hidden underground settlements with 21st century smart-homes can allow vampires to spend a decade or three in comfort. Until they become prisons.
Alain is a 20th-century hacker with Asperger syndrome. With his girlfriend, he goes through the end of the Technological Revolution of the 21st century by finding refuge in Rainbow Town, where time seems to stop. They can’t go out, unless Alain remembers his way to the Darknet.
Bonus story: One Who Cannot Be Destroyed. Achyutam tries to get his wife back through the centuries, if only the damn western bloodsuckers didn’t always ruin his plans.

Now, that bonus story is also included in Nightly Bites Volume 3, that you should definitely check out, because 1) it’s longer than the previous two and 2) it has flash fiction and novellas and short stories, so a much wider variety compared to the first two! ๐Ÿ™‚ So check it out and give some love to my fellow authors who wrote great stories!

I am also setting up a limited time bundle on BundleRabbit after a long time. I was spurred by another curator who took out my book from his bundle because “could not find an email on your website to communicate with you” (which prompted me to modify the Contact Me page) when he had already received my acceptance.

You see, there’s a forum on BundleRabbit, where curators can communicate with whoever is in their bundle or collaboration. I had to withdraw a request for my latest bundle (it’s the 4th, in case your wondering) because that author indeed had no way to contact him by email to prod him into accepting the request.

His contact page said to leave a public comment and had no link to send him a private email – which is what I did with another author who promptly wrote back with questions. That other curator? He could have made a post in his bundle’s section and asked we sent him an email for private communications off site. Sigh.

Anyhow, still working out a couple of things for that bundle, so I’m not announcing it yet. Do check the above books, though. November is definitely the vampires month! ๐Ÿ™‚ As for December, I’ll publish the Star Minds Universe box sets and that’s it for this year.

The new titles in the Future Earth Chronicles (or Before) will come out next year. Writing the last sequel right now, I should be done by the end of the month, so I can send it over to the editor in December.

Sunday was mostly housekeeping, setting up those series on Amazon and working on Da Strip with the umpteenth change that might push us older users out of social media for good, LOL!

The only good thing about the new Author Central is that they took off the unpublished books, so those ugly old covers finally vanished. I did compire the survey, though, since when you add another book, it shows up ten times, and not just when it’s a multi-authors title. Even Through the Centuries showed up 10 times. If enough people tell them how dumb it has become, maybe they’ll revert, won’t they?

Wishful thinking, I know. On Sunday I went to upload the strip and SURPRISE! Instagram changed stuff around too! To add a MARKETPLACE! Gee, I know everybody buys online with lockdown and coronavirus and everything, but damn it, if all social media become virtual stores, I’m out of here!

Also the fonts are so tiny to be unreadable (for my ageing eyes) on the phone, and you can’t post stuff from laptop. End rant of a Gen-Xers who is sick of those subtle changes for you youngsters who still have good eyes (but you’ll ruind them faster than I ever did if this trend continues)!

Sunday night I rewatched Kites because it was “movies where the protag dies at the end” weekend. I hadn’t watched for more than 2 years, since before the WMG workshops moved from Lincoln City to Vegas.

I have seen Las Vegas in 1994 (the Strip only) and 2009 (our guide took us to the Freemont Experience), but it was touristic one-night stays during group tours. So it was fun rewatching the movie while being familiar with Freemont Street – and I even spent one night at the Plaza last February! ๐Ÿ™‚

So it was lika a dรฉjร  vu, like when I watch Ocean’s 11 (even though I never slept at the Bellagio), and so NOT like 1994! ๐Ÿ™‚ Speaking of which, a lovely penfriend (remember those?) whom I met quite often through the years, just sent me old pictures of Mark Slaughter (the reason for my expedition in Vegas back in 1994), which, along with rewatching their first home video from 1990 or 1991 makes for another wonderful throwback! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ending with this throwback picture of a former Muse and hoping we all get to travel again in the near future, I wish you a wonderful week! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote 14K and by Saturday I reached my goal of 500K/year with 8 weeks to spare, which was good, since Sunday I was busy and could not write! ๐Ÿ™‚ So now you know why I don’t need NaNoWriMo and never did it, LOL! But if you need motivation, please go for it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

This week I’m still writing random shorts. Next week I’ll be back at the office and print out Vampires War and go through it, then I can start writing FEC11 (same story from the humans point of view). I keep coming up with tidbits that go with the FEC prequels (now officially Before Future Earth Chronicles, they should come out in February to give me time to send out at least one of the shorter stories), but also with funny ideas that I want to explore.

Those might be the ones that generate the next Big Project, LOL! Haven’t thought much about it yet because I’m still tangled with vampires and future Earth, but well… 2021 is still quite foggy in my current vision. I’m sure I’ll come up with something, though!

This is the last full week at home this year… I feel lucky I managed to attend the Anthology Workshop before everything shut down. A couple of friends had to postpone their weddings – one made it at the end of August, the other, scheduled for November, will have to wait until March 2021.

My travel plans of exploring more of Europe, looking for a place to move to, have also been postponed. Oh, well, hopefully next year I’ll manage to visit at least my British and French friends! ๐Ÿ™‚ Might be good to practise my foreign languages! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Speaking of foreign languages, I found this on Facebook (although it probably comes from Twitter, where I’m not):

A whatchamacallit in different languages: 7. Thingamajig (English) 6. Chingadera (Spanish) 5. Himstergims (Danish) 4. Naninani (Japanese) 3. Zamazingo (Turkish) 2. Dignsbums (German) 1. Huppeldepup (Dutch)

The Italian is probably much simpler unless the character is really unsure and might go “Il coso, lร , quell’affare, lรฌ, insomma, quello!” – otherwise it’s just “Coso” (thing, masculine form, the feminine being “Cosa”). There can be dialect variations of course, but I won’t dwell on that!

I got the New Facebook look all over (although they kindly tell me that I can shift back to the Old look if I want to manage my page or my page’s group, pity that Old Facebook doesn’t allow edits), and I don’t hate it yet. It will need some adjustments, as usual… and I’m probably going to use it less and less!

I saw there’s a new “series” button in the KDP dashboard that I didn’t have time to set up yet, and when I went to Author Central to add the latest title, I discovered that layout changed too – it looks just like Facebook, sigh! But I was able to add my bio in Italian, and I guess I can do all languages through one single dashboard, which is much better.

I only wish they stopped changing stuff around, sigh! I guess that’s all for this week… Stay safe, and if you’re a writer, keep writing. See you next week with a new title… or possibly two! ๐Ÿ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote almost 14K, catching up on wordcount. Yearly has reached 485K, so very close to my goal. I should reach it in a couple of weeks if everything goes according to plans. These two weeks I’m off day job, but that doesn’t mean I have more time to write, since I have other stuff (including life) to do.

Again, I haven’t organized myself beforehand. This year has really screwed up with my schedules! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I’m sure I’ll be able to do everything. Yesterday I went to the town center to pay my car insurance before they lock us down again. Compared to previous years, it was empty – no tourists, and lots of closed shops. Even the bus was mostly empty.

The only gathering I saw was in front of the Vittoriano – it looked like the police band was ready to play something. I didn’t get off to ask, as I didn’t ask what the 3 RVs were doing in Piazza Cavour since there was already half a dozen policemen checking them (and I was waiting for the bus to go home – didn’t want to miss it, since the app is not always useful).

Meanwhile, I put out Mortals Apocalypse! ๐Ÿ˜€ Please meet Claire, fledgling of Aoric, a new point of view in the vampires series. Also a new face, since she wasn’t mentioned before, unlike Miyako, who appeared in Kristine the Youngest. Both of them also appear in Future Earth Chronicles.

But she’s not the only point of view of this short novel. The main one is obviously Rajveer, since it all started with him back in 2015! ๐Ÿ™‚

Rajveer the vampire survived being buried for four hundred years in a cave in the Kashmir mountains, then learned to live in the 21st century with Kaylyn, Kris and Shashank. After the Battle of Chittor, back in 2015, he moved to Europe, where he hopes to see Kaylynโ€™s home country soon.

Rajveer, Kris, Ingolf, Miyako and Claire watch the mortalsโ€™ civilization collapse throughout the 21st century. They have the stamina to overcome all the threats the silly mortals are calling down upon themselves.

They face pandemics, cyberwars and a horde of Romanian bloodsuckers trying to take control of the world, with the younger ones (Kris, Miyako and Claire) hiding in the mysterious Rainbow Towns with strange mortals they cannot read and who have their own secrets.

From 2020 Rome to the start of the 22nd century, vampires through the centuries and across continents survive the mortals apocalypse and loss of technology.

My good and multi-talented creative friend Shafali Anand has started a podcast, “The Spinning Top”, and published a four-minute trailer. Do check it out. If you like it, do follow – she’ll be podcasting Tuesday and Friday evenings (episodes of 8 to 10 minutes.)

Here’s the link on Anchor: https://anchor.fm/shafali-anand
If you use spotify, you can find it at: https://open.spotify.com/show/4MiZIIdOWkdDibVUERgYmr
My good friend Dirk Walwoord has put out a sci-fi novel, written in 2012, that reminds of the current situation in the US. It came out on election day, and you can now check it on Amazon. In his own words:
ARC is a story of a generational spaceship whose captain is an incompetent boob. It would be about Trump except the copyright is 2012. Who knew I could be so prescient?
And my award-winning friend David H. Hendrickson has his own Kickstarter! Check it out, especially if you’re in the US!

This campaign is to launch my next two short story collections, THE BOY IN THE BOXERS AND OTHER STORIES OF SWEET ROMANCE and HELL OF A BAND: TWELVE FANTASY STORIES. You can get both for just six dollars. There are also rewards with great discounts for my novels and other collections. There are even rewards for me speaking (in a post-COVID world) at your favorite school or other group. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Check it out for the discounted books or just the information or perhaps for no other reason than to ooh-and-ahh over the drop-dead-gorgeous covers. Then make fun of me talking on the video. ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ I won’t admit to how many takes it took.

He’s a wonderful guy, so show him some love! ๐Ÿ˜€ You can read one of his stories in Future Earth Tech and I’m working on Nightly Bites Volume 3, and he graciously allowed me to publish another one of his stories there, so stay tuned for more!

Yes, I decided it was time to put some horror in our lives… er, some fantasy. Apparently vampires are fantasy, even in a futuristic setting. So I labeled Mortals Apocalypse both fantasy and sci-fi, just in case, LOL! Nightly Bites Volume 3 will hopefully be out at the beginning of December.

Meanwhile Old Facebook vanished from Laptop, but I read on Colleen Doran’s page that there’s an addon for Firefox that brings back the old look. Except you can’t edit anything on your page, as I discovered when I tried to update the vampires album. I have also Chrome on Laptop, so I used the new layout on Chrome to make the changes – although they’re still quite clunky, like pressing “enter” three times before it actually updated the post. Sigh.

Netbook with Windows 10 and Edge is still on Old Facebook. Go figure. When that changes too, I’ll take out the Firefox addon. I’d happily leave Facebook, if I didn’t have so many friends all over the world on there! I doubt I can ask them to migrate to some other forum… meh!

WMG is doing the last sale of the year for their workshops. I might grab the “How to deal with Covid in your writing” if they end up doing it as single, although I have already dealt with in in both Mortals Apocalypse and Future Earth Chronicles prequels.

I can proudly boast two alternate futures for our planet already! The space opera version of the Star Minds Universe, where we joined the Star Nations in 2012, and the post-apocalyptic version of Future Earth Chronicles, LOL! In one there’s no Covid, in the other there is… although it’s not the main cause of the apocalypse! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I guess yes, this will date our stories, but it might work for alternate histories to ignore it… I don’t know, I’m still writing about Earth, finishing the parts in the past (late 20th century, so not that far, I was alive, LOL!) and going back to the parts in the future (second half of the 21st century) for the Future Earth Chronicles prequels, so… still not sure what I’ll tackle next!

Now I better go back to writing and finishing the damn strip that is falling behind again! This coming Sunday is the last time I can tag the #FIBDChallenge, so wish me luck. I’d love to go back to Angoulรจme, although I’m afraid 2021 probably won’t be possible. I’ll have to aim for 2022… fingers crossed! Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I theoretically participated in a writing marathon. I didn’t do the Zoom meetings (they were at 9pm in my time zone, not a time when I want to see and talk to people), but I did check in every day. I wrote four short stories for submissions, and two are already out there. Almost 10k in total, and I’m getting closer to my yearly wordcount.

The second two are with beta-readers, but they have a December 31 deadline, while the other 2 have a Halloween deadline. Speaking of Halloween, remember me mentioning selling a story at the Anthology Workshop last February, right before the Covid mess? It’s included in this Kickstarter! I’ll be part of the Halloween Harvest!

Go check the project and give it some more love! It’s funded, and you’ll get lots of stories right in your inbox! ๐Ÿ™‚ Or you can give them as gifts to friends and family, if you feel so inclined… just sayin’! ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, and my book Magical Friends was reviewed by the Critiquing Chemist… please note that I didn’t read the review, so I have no idea of what it says. I saw the Google Alert and I think I’m out of the SPFBO I entered back in June. Oh, well. Maybe I’ll try again next year! ๐Ÿ˜‰

A huge thank you to the Indian Kindle owner who got themselves the Vampires Through the Centuries ebooks! Next weekend you’ll be able to read more about all of them with Mortals Apocalypse! ๐Ÿ™‚ Check out Helios’s story in The Phantom Games and stay tuned for the other vampire that will appear in the above anthology…

And in case you missed it on the publisher’s page, this is the last week to grab Future Earth Chronicles Shorts for free on Smashwords! Also, I have added a page on this very blog with all the other publications! In chronological order, more or less… hopefully more to come! ๐Ÿ™‚

I am touched and awed to have an illustration next to my story in Breathe… I’m currently reading it, and I reread also my own story, that I wrote back in 2015. It was rejected 3 or 4 times before landing in the antho, and this reading felt new, as if someone else wrote it. Quite a weird feeling, to be honest.

And while researching last century for a story, I stumbled on a couple of things:

For the first time in history, chain bookstores outsell independent stores, signaling what many fear to be the death of smaller booksellers at the hands of superstores.

Sounds familiar? This is from 1994… an interesting year, as you can see:

White House launches Web page. Initial commerce sites are established and mass marketing campaigns are launched via email, introducing the term “spamming” to the Internet vocabulary.

Check also this other article on the dawn of commercial internet! I guess that’s all for today… have a great week! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ™‚ Or I can do a rush job and have it out in December like Volume 1… we’ll see! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 aย print copyย via Amazonย (US):ย https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KSGX1FH
Order aย print copyย from Pothiย (India):ย https://store.pothi.com/book/edited-jay-chakravarti-breathe/
Order a Print replicaย e-copyย from Amazonย (Worldwide):ย https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08L18MZYR
Order anย e-copy (PDF)ย from Pothi.com:ย https://store.pothi.com/book/ebook-edited-jay-chakravarti-breathe/
ย 
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! ๐Ÿ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I reached 13K on my vampires sequel to Mortals Apocalypse and hope to finish it this week or the next, not because I’m sending it out to the editor with this batch, but because it leaves me time to write something for an anthology, another experiment, probably, but I’m improvising once again.

I still toy with making covers for stories I haven’t written yet (and might never write), but I guess I won’t be a bookcover designer when I leave the day job.

I still have hopes with fiction translations after another friend asked me to check the Italian on a sample translation. AI and machine-traslators can work fine on non-fiction, but fiction is another matter altogether. I think a good fiction translator needs to be a good fiction writer of their own.

Knowing the language doesn’t necessarily mean one knows how to write in that language or teach it (my Hindi teacher comes to mind – he didn’t know how to teach, and just because it’s your mother tongue doesn’t mean you can communicate it to somebody else).

Just because I understand what I’m reading in English or French doesn’t mean I’ll be any good at rendering it in Italian, and I’m human. I don’t think it’s easier for computers, in spite of their deep learning. Hopefully we’re not going to be supplanted by them just yet.

And the last book of Future Earth Chronicles is out! I’m still pondering about when to publish the prequel and sequels that are tied to the Vampires Through the Centuries books. Might be this year, might be the next, we’ll see. It’s been a weird publishing year for everybody, I guess.

Also, Star Minds Kids and Teens is over on Instagram. This Sunday, the new strip comes up. Check it out! ๐Ÿ™‚

Bad news, WordPress new editor for posts took me by surprise… I was already cursing under my breath the new layout, and then I managed to get back to “classic editor”, phew.

The new interface sucks, as with every unrequested change, and I’m in no mood of studying a new layout. So, if they take away the old version and force the new one on me, I might just give up this 11-year-old blog and keep only the publisher’s page, where the dashboard still has the old interface.

My relationship with technology was very well summed up in a meme I saw on Facebook: “I’m a Gen Xer so I adapt to new technology like a Millennial but get angry at it like a Boomer”! ๐Ÿ™‚ And that’s all from this side of the pond… have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote 16K+, and after adding and subtracting and editing what I already had, I started on what I thought would be a short story and turned out to be a novella of vampires into the future, so it will probably have its own e-book. I was at 11K by Sunday night and wasn’t done yet.

I finished on Monday and will probably have to write another couple of books (again, both sides of the story, the humans’ and the vampires’), so I screwed up the schedule again. The good news is, this might take me to the end of the year. The bad news is, there will be a break anyway because I will send a first batch to Mighty Editor on October 19th, so I won’t have anything ready until the following weekend.

But FEC 10 comes out this weekend. Then I’ll have to skip to the 24th, when I’ll probably publish that novella (still working on a title I like), and the following weekend I’ll release Mortals Apocalypse, or the vampires’ view of the apocalypse, on Nov.1, like the four novels of Vampires Through the Centuries. Two weeks later, FEC0 or the origins of Rainbow Towns lockdowns.

December will probably box set time, but I haven’t decided yet. Might be those two sequels… As for the new curated anthology, it’s probably for the new year, unless I manage to put it together after the American elections, which might mean for the Holidays. Maybe. Don’t count on it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Re: those typo faeries, here’s why it’s so hard to catch your own typos. Because my eyes don’t like staring at a screen for too long, I usually print out stuff, both for beta-reading and editing. That’s how I caught many typo faeries, when going through the paperbacks of the first five Future Earth Chronicles books! Now I hope to have the time to check also the second five, but first I’ll have to receive my author copies, LOL! They’re scheduled for delivery next week, so we’ll see…

And I was a guest, rambling on J. Scott Coatsworth’s blog about Future Earth Chronicles (a.k.a. FEC), Azur and other stuff… go check it out! ๐Ÿ™‚ Another guest post I did was never posted (the author is very busy), so I’m going to put it here before it’s too late. Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Image may contain: text that says 'DOSSIER Di cosa ammaleremo L.5000 POCUS 52 febbralo 1997 INSERT L'Almana della Selenza1996 Scoprire e capire il mondo Anno 2020 vivremo cosรฌ Casa lavoro gli oggetti arrivo quelli che spariranno Le nuove mediche I mestieri piรน richiesti SCIENZA fisica al circo IN PIU' faraoni dal dietologo Serpenti mostri mare'The world is falling apart โ€“ what do you do?

I have kept an article from February 1997 of Focus that predicted how we’d live in 2020, because I knew we’d get there! Remember 1997? The dawn of internet, the first cell phones, and two years before The Matrix? Yeah, that world. The journalists played sci-fi writers for that issue.

What did they predict? A little less than 8 billion people on the planet. A global market, with factories in space (where are they, though?). Health-wise, we should worry only about non-transmittable sicknesses like cancer, but they also mentioning the possibility of mutated viruses that could start epidemics like it happened with AIDS (hello, Covid-19! Full blown pandemic was not in their predictions, though).

According to their predictions, someone born in 1997 had the following possibilities of careers: technology economist, online creator, bioengineer, virtual director and problem solver. Except for online creators (influencers, artists, writers, musicians and YouTubers), I don’t see any of those yet.

What would vanish: land lines (almost gone), moka pot (even here in Italy, most people have other coffee machines, I’m the only one still using the moka pot), cash and old light bulbs (almost gone as well). They predicted a “travel screen” (although it looks quite different from smartphones and tablets, but it’s close enough), a watch that can become a videophone (again, smartphones), micro-cameras, a graphic tablet to draw upon (most artists no longer use pencil and paper these days, they’ve all gone digital), and some “scanner-reader” that is basically a text-to-speech thing (or other software for the visually impaired).

The smart homes would have cameras and monitors and speakers everywhere (hello, Alexa and its peers), computers will be invisible (not yet, I don’t see many virtual keyboards or screens anywhere) and e-ink (hello, ebooks!).

Welcome to 2020! Some of those predictions came true, other are still sci-fi, but well, here we are. How do you deal with living in the future? Well, you stay in the present as much as you can, I guess. It’s not always easy, especially in such trying times.

How do you stay sane in a world gone crazy? Personally, I’m glad it’s breaking down, because I was sick of our poisonous way of life. I hope we’ll come out of this better, after re-prioritizing and re-focusing ourselves. I certainly don’t want to go back to 1997, or even 2007 for that matter.

I might have lost quite a few dreams in the meantime, and can’t see myself anywhere in three or five years, but eventually I’ll find my focus. It’s been a long hot summer and the only relief was writing my Future Earth Chronicles, because it reminded me there’s life after the apocalypse. Especially in the 25th century, LOL!

Now I’m trying to write the prequel about the apocalypse itself (a few decades in the second half of this century), and I manage it because, again, I know these people will be all right โ€“ or at least the vampires who live through the centuries will get to see the future narrated in the series.

It might be a good topic for me at this time, because I’m also changing. Age does that to a person, and even though I love the double five on my birthday cake, I’m also aware of how my body and mind are changing. But then, that’s what life is all about, change.

Going through the change is painful, but things can only get better. Soon I’ll be able to resume traveling and looking for a place I want to move to. I’ll be able to focus on what I want to do for a living if I manage to get an early retirement from a Day Job that is killing my soul.

I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but I know it’s there and I keep going. I’m still blogging after ten years and next year I’ll celebrate ten years of indie publishing. I might take a break from publishing next year, or slow down the writing โ€“ I haven’t decided yet.

Wednesday Weekly Roundup


Last week I wrote a little over 10K and wrapped the Future Earth Chronicles Prequel. Then I added a short story to complete it, although I finished it on Monday. I didn’t write much during the weekend because it was a creative weekend with my friend Cristina, so I concentrated on other things – namely the next strip, since Star Minds Kids and Teens ends in September.

And it was also time for another title up, my first with an F2M protagonist. When Azur revealed in Himalayas he’d been born Anna, it shocked even me, and I had to tell his story! So go check it out! ๐Ÿ™‚

I also started preparing the new paperbacks – new covers and corrected interiors for the first five books, then this week I’m formatting the new ones, including the one that will come out in October, so it will be ready and come out at the same time as the ebook, haha!

While prepping the new paperback covers, I noticed Book 4 had a missing graphic and a white dot where there shouldn’t have been one, so I also had to update the ebook cover and all the banners on Facebook and the publisher’s page. Sigh. It used to go so smoothly, but this year I keep messing up! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

So I’ll probably postpone the Curated Antho I had in mind to next year, since most of the authors are Americans and they have enough trouble at the moment. After the elections maybe they’ll listen to me, and I can even send out a reprint – again I don’t think now is the right time.

But there will be my vampire story in that anthology coming out October 10, so you won’t be completely abandoned after FEC 10 comes out! And November 1st, as is tradition, another vampire novel, about the apocalypse and beyond. The story starts five years after the end of Kristine the Youngest, which means… 2020!

Unlike the previous novels, this is a multiple points-of-view story, seen through the eyes of Rajveer, Kris, Ingolf, Miyako and Claire, whom you’ll meet in FEC 10… but she gets the cover on this one! ๐Ÿ˜‰

This week I’m off Day Job, so I’m working on those paperbacks and beta-reading for an author I love (as soon as he publishes this series, I’ll let you all know, it’s wonderful). Which is good after abandoning a couple of novels found in bundles – one because it didn’t grab me, the other because oh boy! It badly needed an editor/copyeditor/proofreader whatever it’s called.

Even in the reviews they mention it badly needs editing (or possibly just someone going through it before the author hit that publish button!), so I won’t name it, but I’m considering more and more to offer beta-reading/proofreading services to fellow authors. Spellcheck won’t see the right words in the wrong place, the missing words, the extraneous words and all that stuff that makes the prose unreadable.

I mean, we all deal with those darn typo faeries, but in some cases it really looks as if the author hit “publish” a little too fast. If you have a spouse or significant other or best friend who loves to read, please give them your manuscript. Or pay someone like I do because I’m ESL writer and I don’t have friends who read English in a timely manner, therefore I pay Mighty Editor Zoe to go through my manuscripts.

Does that make them perfect? Hell no! When I go through them, especially printed out, I still find mistakes. And even if it’s a hassle to re-upload the manuscript to all retailers, I try to do it as often as possible (I think I re-uploaded the first 5 FEC books 6 or 7 times already…).

It might definitely take me longer to update the paperbacks, but since they don’t sell that much… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now I better go back to working on those new paperbacks and writing a few more stories before the end of the month. Gotta submit something while I wait for the replies on the current submissions… Have a great week!

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