Writer Wednesday


So, as you can see, we have nice paperbacks, except the last one (the new one) still has some problems. So I’ll fix those (in the interior) and then I’ll send it live, long before the ebook goes live. At least on November 2 both will be available for your reading pleasure! πŸ˜‰

I also uploaded another ebook, Axelle ap Kiaran, and I wasn’t very happy with it until Mighty Editor returned it, saying it was her favorite so far! You can never guess what actually is good or not – what you love, people may hate and what you hate, people may love. Writers are still the worst judges of their work! πŸ˜‰

I should do a paperback of that one too, but since pricing has changed in the past five years, I’m postponing to next year all POD changes and experiments. I have also updated (read: lowered) some ebook prices to match the new suggested prices – only 13 titles out of 160, thank God! πŸ˜€

I wish things didn’t change so fast and that they settled for a while! I have new projects, printed projects for next year, and I really don’t know what I’m supposed to price anything anymore! 😦 The sale went meh, I hope the bundle sales will go better. There’s one coming up for Sci-fi July, so stay tuned.

Speaking of bundles, it’s the bundles month. I’m in 4 new bundles (including the one I curated about Vampires of the World) and two more in November. New year, I will curate more, but I’d love to catch up on some reading before then! I’m still on my first curated bundle that came out last May and will go away Dec. 1st…

I’m still a little behind in writing the new stories, but I hope to catch up soon. I have another marketing weekend coming up, but I think that for November the bundle will be enough of a discount without looking for other titles to discount. And in December we’ll see. Since this marketing stuff takes so much of my energy, I don’t know for how long I’ll keep going! πŸ˜‰

If you’re interested, there’s another Storybundle offer of NaNoWriMo books. Considering that I still have a few to read from past bundles, I think I’ll pass, but I’ll order one of those in paper – or better, I’ve put it on my Christmas Wishlist, so they’d gift me something useful! πŸ˜‰

I prefer reading non-fiction on paper anyway, because it’s easier to refer to things that searching on my Kindle. I love KK, but only for fiction and bundles of fiction. Comics and non-fiction are still in paper for me.

Back to finishing the next story! And the Fantasy Online Workshop! I wish I could afford another offline workshop, but I’m aiming for 2020, when hopefully things have either calmed down or blown up completely! πŸ˜‰ Have a great week!

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Writer Wednesday


I need to finish Sir George’s Journal by Sunday, so I can send it to Mighty Editor on Monday and then add it to both the pre-order of the ebook and the POD version I started putting together. I guess I better just write the darn thing and then maybe add stuff whenever I read something interesting.

Although most of the research will go in another book with someone who interacts with mortals a lot more. And if I don’t stop reading those old books/journals/chronicles, I’ll never get to my TBR pile that is neverending! Add to that more bundles with my books coming out soon… bwaaah!

Okay, enough bawling. I will manage to read everything, eventually. So next bundle is coming out next week. My next curated bundle is stalling because authors are not responding, but I plan on locking it during the weekend. There are so many people and bundles at BundleRabbit right now, that there’s a queue like on Smashwords to publish them! πŸ™‚

I’m postponing trying their collaboration feature to October, when I’ll have a week off and plan on exploring a few things. Work on projects and stuff like that. The marketing weekend bore no results yet, meaning I wrote to a couple of people, filled a couple of online forms and no answer whatsoever. Sigh. I guess I’ll have to try the paid services sooner or later.

I will run a sale anyway because I want to try the other new feature at Smashwords, Special Deals. And I’ll do a weekend-long sale on a title as well on all retailers. Title for October is brand new Honorable Assassins – hopefully the paperback will be out too. I shall work on it the coming weekend.

In case you missed it, last week I was on Kobo Writing Life Blog! I know, I could have reblogged it, but now hopefully more people will head to the Kobo guys and check their blog! πŸ˜‰ And check also lesson learned from 6 years as an author entrepreneur – I can’t leave my day job yet, since I don’t have a husband to support me, but eventually I will too.

And I’ll figure out how to be an entrepreneur in this darn countrym or maybe move to Finland, since they have Universal Basic Income! Or Canada… πŸ˜‰ Although I doubt any of them would have me right now, but well. One day I’ll get away from this warm country to a more civilized and cold one! πŸ˜€

And if you’re still wondering if you should take the callenge or not, here’s the attitude of a challenge. I did it, and it was fun. Instead of wasting time with NaNoWriMo, do this. Definitely more productive, trust me! πŸ˜‰ Have a great week!

Random Friday


First I would like to say I have uploaded all the pre-orders for Shashank the Fledgling… and found a nifty widget available on Smashwords, but it wouldn’t paste properly on the blog. Meh. Go to the publisher’s site, where it worked perfectly! There’s just so much that I can do with HTML… The lower price on the pre-order will go up about a week after release, so get it before November 2! πŸ˜‰

Plus, in case you didn’t see it, Smashwords now allows global pricing control, hence I was able to put prices in Euro for the Italian titles and to add the INR prices to the Indian-themed Vampires Through the Centuries.

And since I can’t add a signature without a plug-in and can’t have a Donate button unless I get a Paypal Business account, if you’d like to support me, buy one of my books. I’ve put the links on the sidebar, under the Gravatar. Heck, I even changed that description a little, but it’s been… almost eight years! What an old blog I have!

But this is Random Friday, the blogoversary is still a couple of weeks away, so I’ll stop talking about writing right now! πŸ™‚

Besides my nickname is now Shanti, so I don’t want to fight with anyone. In case you don’t speak Hindi, it means Peace. The actual nickname chosen for me by Chiara Lubich in the 1970s was the Italian version, Pace. Sorry to see the Wikipedia article has multiple issues, but I was just a kid and I only have the letter of her secretary giving me the new name, so I have no idea if it’s correct or not. I was living in Geneva and I never actually met her! πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I guess I can say “peace” in more languages than the ones I’m fluent in. And since we need lots of that all over the world these days, here’s some peace for you. Pace, Paix, Peace, Shanti, Shalom – and feel free to add any other language you may know.

And while we’re at it, let’s add some Love, Amore, Amour and I know there’s more than one word in Hindi but I’m not going to try that one (Pyar? Mohabbat?). You add your own. Now I better go back to writing that other vampire story and reading 19th century journals.

By the way, did you know that someone in the 1700s wrote Memoirs of the Twentieth Century, supposedly set in 1997? Again, I have to rely on the Wikipedia entry for now, but I hope to get to read the real thing sometime. Just to have a laugh. He still imagined there was a king in France, but then, it was before the French Revolution… And in spite writing after Queen Elizabeth I he couldn’t see that there would be a Queen Victoria and then Elizabeth II…

And I’m also imagining what our lives will be like two centuries from now with twenty-first century technology, so I guess we’re even! πŸ˜‰ Speaking of inspiration and body switches, I watched Moglie e Marito, which gave me some ideas. But I’m beginning to think body switches work better on screen that in a book – and I sure hope the actors have fun doing them! πŸ˜‰

Couldn’t find the video of a song of Music and Lyrics I had in mind, so I guess I’ll end up here… Have a great weekend! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday


So, I got my feedback for the novel challenge and I’m going to rework only one of them because my dear offline beta pointed out other problems besides the ones of that specific first reader (Thanks again, Dean, for the opportunity!). I’m glad he got through Shashank even if it’s not his kind of story.

And by the way, the pre-order is live! And I’m writing story that goes with it – if it’s short, I might give it with the newsletter or submit it somewhere. Short fiction is the only thing I want to sell to traditional publishers/magazines. Free marketing! πŸ˜‰ And I got another rejection from Clarkesworld, but I’ll keep that story in the mail – or email!

Oh, and if you want to do the novel challenge too, there’s the second edition coming soon. 30 short stories in 60 days or 3 novel in three months! I am already doing an online workshop, so I won’t be able to take any of the challenges at this time. But I’m one of the Victorious Five of the summer novel challenge! πŸ˜‰

And for those of you who are still looking for a traditional deal for novels, I shall refer you to the people I wanna be when I grow up (sort of, they’re not that much older than me, hahaha!) – Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch who as usual are almost synched in their posts! (and thank you, Kris, for explaining the Rip Van Wrinkle story)

I unfollowed a blogger on Facebook (didn’t unfriend her, but stopped seeing her newsfeed) because she kept talking about Dream Agent and stuff like that. Don’t talk to me about that stuff. I don’t want to hear it. It makes me sad, like Dean. But if you want help to become indie, I’m here to help, like Kris suggests.

Take your head out of the sand and join us – we’re a bunch of very friendly folks! πŸ™‚ And you’re lucky to be writing in the 21st century, trust me, I grew up in the age of the typewriter and remained unpublished until the indie revolution happened! πŸ˜€

Now next weekend is the dreaded Marketing Weekend. Do I need to say why I hate self-promoting my books? Just go to Chuck Wendig’s list! πŸ˜‰ I will use those weekends only to try and program sales across various sites that I have found in the past months but didn’t have time to try. So stay tuned for short sales on single titles or even bundles at BundleRabbit.

Actually I have books in seven bundles coming out between September and January 2018, including my own vampire-themed bundle. Still looking for NOVELS with vampires, since a couple of authors are not responding on BundleRabbit. Otherwise it will be a smaller bundle! πŸ˜‰ Please contact me before the end of September, so our Mighty Jo can start working on the cover! πŸ™‚

Have a great week!

 

 

Random Friday


So, I’ve been reading a manuscript (I’m done, but I read on paper and need to put on the doc all my comments), a non-fiction book on bundles (yes, I’ve started working on my first bundle… I like to overwork myself from time to time, so I can complain I feel overwhelmed, LOL!) and checking my vampires stories while I try to finish the novella for May.

I also read a short ebook of m/m romance with an asexual character – we had a lot in common for many things, LOL! I will mention it in my end-of-the-year reading recommendations post, but for now that’s all. I hope to find time and relax with a drawing tomorrow, but Sunday I’m busy with non-writing stuff (will I survive? πŸ˜‰ of course I will!).

I have added free PDFs on the publisher’s site – if you don’t receive my newsletter, you might want to check them out. Or you can check them out and then subscribe to the newsletter anyway. Also, the first 10 patrons on Patreon get to read an extra story! So hurry, since I will take it down as soon as I reach that quota!

Having bought a Stephan Pastis album in Boston (what, you don’t read Pearls Before Swine?! πŸ˜€ ), I have some ideas on how to print Da Strip as well, but not until the second half of the year. I have other experiments to do before that. Not to mention that I need to do some PODs this month… and it’s almost Easter already… yikes!

Anyhow, that’s all for today! Have a great weekend!

Random Friday


Last November an excerpt was posted on Unusual Historicals. It was the start of a chapter of Kaylyn that promised an interview and a giveaway. Neither ever went live, so… here you have the interview that wasn’t posted on Unusual Historicals. And yes, the giveaway is still valid too… Leave a comment before Sunday 8 January 2017! πŸ™‚

Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born in the boot-shaped country dripping into the Mediterranean sea, but having lived abroad at a young age, I currently feel international, a woman with no country that sometimes is quite sick of the whole crazy planet. I love history, especially the Middle Ages (11th to 13th century), and making up stuff, although I learned the value of research even for the craziest idea – be it fantasy or science fiction. I write mostly SFF these days, having exhausted any will to talk about current events and today’s people.

What is your story about? How did you come up with the idea?

I have this new series of Vampires Through the Centuries that I started last year with Rajveer the Vampire. I’m publishing one novel a year plus shorter related stories, thus I have four titles by now.

The very first idea came noticing how a few actors had pointed canines and my obsession with Bollywood took me to think about a Desi vampire. Combining researches on vampire lore and history, I came up with the series.

This year I even traveled to India to gather more material and now I have a pile of non-fiction books to study for the next installments!

What prompted you to write this one?

Kaylyn is Rajveer’s sister-in-darkness, meaning they have the same maker, Bran the Raven. She was seen through Rajveer’s eyes in the first novel and I looked forward to telling her story. Some events overlap, but her book expands on the mythology of European vampires, while in Rajveer it was mostly him against the slightly different Asian vampires.

Next book will see Rajveer’s fledgling, Shashank, and cover the five centuries neither could actually see for different reasons… no spoilers, though!

How much research was involved?

For Kaylyn only for the non-European parts. She travels quite a lot and even if I had studied 12th century Europe and the crusades for a shelved historical novel, I had to research the other centuries and countries, reading about Marco Polo’s travels, the Black Death, the first European explorers to cross the Atlantic… and I’ve only touched the surface!

What was the most fascinating thing you learned from this experience?

Traveling through the centuries is fun and I look forward to doing it more in the next books. The final vampires war will be in the present, but there’s still a lot of history to explore and write about before I reach the 21st century setting!

What other books have you written?

Three more Vampires Through the Centuries (with more to come next year), a science fantasy series called Star Minds and then there’s my fantasy world of Silvery Earth… lots of titles, but also lots of collections and mostly standalone! Full list here.

I shall use this space for a huge promo – over 100 books at 99cents – for a weekend that includes Rajveer the Vampire. After the release of Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness, the first novel of the series will be on sale for a few days. On Monday Nov.7 both titles will go up at 6.99$…

Go get this book now and choose among the many more available at Patty Jensen’s promo! (note: there’s no book from yours truly in the promo at this time, but check them anyway)

And I will give either a coupon for a free download of your preferred format from Smashwords or your preferred ebook format of Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness to one lucky winner… The giveaway is international.

 

Hastings 1066 Fortnight


And since I’m away but the anniversary of the battle is in two days and I have three other authors who wrote stories about that, I’m going to paste us all over the blog for the next two weeks… I’m going first, answering the same questions I’ve sent them. My story goes live on October 14, like the others, I assume! πŸ™‚

Where do you live and write from?

A third world country starting with I, ending with A in our language… five letters… no, it’s not the place where I’m currently traveling (India) and it’s actually part of Europe, although I’m still wondering why…

Why do you write?

Because it’s fun, because it entertains me and because I’m addicted to it. What can I say… I love Mr. Writing! πŸ™‚

When did you start writing?

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Yeah, more or less when the first, very first, one and only Star Wars came out in cinemas. A century ago. Yeah, I’m that old.

What genre(s) do you write?

Mostly SFF. I have currently exhausted all my contemporary ideas. And I’ve started a series of historical fantasy that will keep me busy for a few years! πŸ˜‰

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

I would have said dialog, even though I don’t use dialects and weird spellings. I don’t know, I’m still working on my craft at 51, and I’m bad at teaching…

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

I would love to find my 1000 True Fans. I would love to live of my writing. I was hoping to make it in five years, but careers take time. So, aiming for 10 and we’ll see where I’m at in 2012! πŸ™‚

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

Follow Heinlein’s Rules. Put the stuff out there and don’t look back. Keep moving forward, there is no way back. Not even if you write time travel stories! πŸ˜‰

What is your story around the Battle of Hastings about? How did you come up with the idea?

Blurb: Nineteen-year-old Robert Malet followed William the Bastard to England to claim the English throne. The battle near the small town of Hastings is the beginning of the Norman conquest of England, but also of Robert’s second life.
A vampire in 12th century Europe traveling, fighting and meeting his siblings in darkness, changing names through the years when his mortal life is gone.
Follow Robert Malet, Brother Geoffrey, Robert Capuchon and Mercadier through the years. History and fantasy based on medieval chronicles for a Vampires Through the Centuries novella.

I have this new series of Vampires Through the Centuries and I thought it would be cool having one being turned at the battle. I ended up using two historical names of which we don’t know that much – 12th century chronicles are a little sketchy, but fun. Some things that might look like fiction (like raining blood) were actually taken from there (although the explanation is totally mine). As for the battle itself, I used one of the campaign books from Osprey Publishing and a comic book version from the 1970s, the history of France in comic book form.

The cover is, as usual, by the awesome Shafali Anand who did her best, and obviously succeeded, to render the ridiculous Norman haircut! πŸ˜‰

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’m back on Silvery Earth, writing more Quests… which should take me until the end of the year. Unless I come back from India with even more ideas and itch to write another vampires through the centuries story. I know I’ll have to try to see everything through her eyes…

Pre-order Norman Blood on Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

Writer Wednesday


Newsletter went out with a coupon for a free download of the latest publication! Now, if you’re a reader and want to be updated on sales and publishing news, you better start subscribing to the publisher blog. These posts will be more and more about writing, and less and less about publishing. So, just saying. The publisher doesn’t post as often as I do, so you won’t be spammed! πŸ˜‰

Now, summer wordcounts! July I wrote almost 40K, August a little more than 20K. That’s even less than March. That’s less of the translation I did of Ciaran & Harith (I hope to translate Pat & Babs this month, so I can publish the Italian version of Body Switches in October).

Do I feel like a failure? Um, no, actually, I don’t! Yearly wordcount is nearly 331K and even if in October I won’t have much time to write, I’m certain I can get at least to last year’s 400K if not my 500K goal. Writing is still fun. It’s the publishing that is getting tiresome.

And since I’m writing shorter stories at the moment, I can wait to publish them and submit them to traditional markets! By the way, now is a good time to support Fiction River’s Kickstarter drive. In that second campaign they are offering workshops starting in November or after for discounts and some writing books, as well as Fiction River subscriptions.

So if you’d like to take one of those workshops but don’t have the money, you can try to win one. Or if you’d like to learn how to write the other, there’s this upcoming Writing Deaf and Blind Characters Masterclass.

Now, as I finish the current Star Minds collection, I’ll probably change the title when it comes out next year. Instead of Star Minds Interregnum Volume 2 it will be Star Minds Third Generation Snippets, since there are either characters of the original trilogy (not necessarily the protagonists) or the third generation in every story. The events happen thirty years onward after the end of the Trilogy.

One more story to go, plus the Vampires Through the Centuries stories to format for pre-order, and then I’ll be back to Silvery Earth for a few more Quests, hopefully next week. That’s all for today! πŸ™‚ Have a great week!

Random Friday


So, London! It keeps changing under me. When I got to Greenwich, I got lost – and I used to know it fairly well, having attended the Eurocentre in Lee Green (now closed, I’m afraid) four times! 😦 Anyhow, had a look at the O2 (unfortunately I was 3 hours early for the movie, so I didn’t see it at all – will have to get the DVD) and enjoyed the rides and met with friends and bought meself stuff! πŸ™‚

2016-08-18 19.13.57

Now, the books! They were all pocket books for 3.99Β£, how could I leave them there? One I’ll need for Ingolf the traveling vampire, one for Bran and his millenarian siblings and one for next book, Shashank, since he’s the only one who actually gets to see the great Moghuls beyong Akbar. Add another non-fiction that I’ll use for whenever I wrap up the story, starting in Mumbai 2005… I’ve got some reading to do! πŸ™‚

And still speaking about vampires, here’s yours truly posing as the protagonist of Norman Blood at the tower of London. Of course you need to use your imagination and see a man with a helmet instead of the backpack and a sword instead of the hand in pocket. And the wall around the White Tower was built in the 13th century, so only William the Conqueror’s keep in the background…

2016-08-20 10.46.18

At the National History Museum they have this simulator that makes you live the 1995 Kobe earthquake… and then I came back and we had another big quake on the boot-shaped country! 😦 Here you have a sequence of the shaky-shakes – I felt only the 3.40am one. At noon of the 24th, 160 hits: 59 between 3.0 e 4.0, Β 5 between 4.0 e 5.0 and 1 more than 5.0, in Norcia (PG) 5.4 at 04:33. I was asleep again by then.

Villages such as Amatrice (home of the world-famous pasta sauce Amatriciana) is almost completely destroyed – and it was full of tourists… Norcia is the home of my fave salami… Already almost 40 dead at lunch time and it was as strong as the one in 2009 that destroyed L’Aquila at 3.30am.

There’s another report, with even higher dead toll. Definitely not a nice year – but then, I never liked leap years! Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday


So, Norman Blood is wrapped and out to betas/proofreader. Kaylyn is almost wrapped – second draft still in creative voice because I found more stuff to dump in and came up with a few more things and betas pointed out a couple more, so there. Second draft and almost 60K.

Then I’m taking a break from fantasy and history and heading back to the science fiction stories (well, science fantasy, since my science is really more fiction than real) with Star Minds Interregnum Volume 2 – a couple of stories inspired by the drawings of Techie Bro who is also a very good artist, but don’t tell him. Hopefully he’ll allow me to use his digital paintings as e-book covers, haha!

I’m done with Teams in Fiction and later in the year I’ll do the Science Fiction Classical workshop (for the brand new series I hope to start next year). And by the way, Essentials Workshop is now FREE on YouTube, so go and listen to it. I also recommend any of the other online workshops available, especially if you’re in a dry spot, dealing with writer’s block.

The new series? One of the SMI Vol.2 stories? Spawned from online workshop assignments. So they’re good for your muse, if you’re fighting with her. I’m not fighting with mine, but it was great having those ideas. Now I shall let everything sink in before I start applying it, LOL!

I’m still learning and honing my craft – I want to DO BETTER! Which doesn’t mean I’ll rewrite the old stories, but from now on I’ll be more careful in the physical descriptions of my characters. I never wanted my stories to be all-White, but since I discovered Writing with Color, I hope to improve my depictions of PoCs in my SFF and historical stories.

I apologize for past works. I won’t use food to describe darker skin ever again. I will learn to describe Asian eyes properly. I wasn’t aware I was insulting anyone. In my defense, English is not my first language, so I lacked the vocabulary for more diverse descriptions, so thank you for helping me expand my knowledge in that field! πŸ™‚

Oh, and… latest marketing tip: write the next book! More books out, more discoverability! See Author Earnings presentation at RWA if you don’t believe me… So go back to writing and remember Heinlein Rules!

Have a great week and happy writing! πŸ˜€

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