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? ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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?! ๐Ÿ˜€ ), 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 โ€“ be it fantasy or science fiction. I write mostly SFF these days, having exhausted any will to talk about current events and todayโ€™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 thereโ€™s my fantasy world of Silvery Earthโ€ฆ lots of titles, but also lots of collections and mostly standalone! Full list here.

I shall use this space for a huge promo โ€“ over 100 books at 99cents โ€“ 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

2016-08-18 19.13.57

Now, the books! They were all pocket books for 3.99ยฃ, 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 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, ย 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ˜€

Writer Wednesday


Aaand… the first quest is out! It’s not a real quest – like in a “Fantasy Quest” way – but it is a quest nevertheless. Might not fit all the parameters, but it’s still a quest. An inner quest, more like! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Stay tuned for the evolution of the cover art, and enjoy this first book, The Path of Water. The book page even has a map of the wanderings of the characters! ๐Ÿ˜‰

PathWaterEbookHere’s the blurb:

Hinrik survives the battle outside the walls of Moriana, battered and hurt. He drags himself to the River Ondan to put an end to his misery.

But itโ€™s just the beginning of a new life of discoveries about himself and the world, a quest for his true calling in life. He is a half-blood and must learn what it means with the help of Bellinda the healer and Keneith the magic user.

The warrior, the healer and the magic user are all outsiders or outcasts looking for a place to call home in a hostile world, away from the aggressively expanding Varian and Blackmore Kingdoms.

A story of the northern kingdoms of Silvery Earth with magic and pain, loss and rebirth.

The newsletter #3 has been sent. Next one in a couple of months – and I will send it only to the people who actually open it. This time the bonus was a free unpublished short story.

I’m done with more tales of the southern kingdoms, that will include also the story of a black princess from the newly born Black Empire (you might have heard of it if you read Books of the Immortals – Fire that is set two centuries later). If there’s any PoC out there who would like to give it a beta-read, drop me a line.

Writerly links! Let’s Get Digital is free! I still have to read it, but it must be a good guide for beginners. Whenever I make it to reading it, I’ll let you know…

And for those of you who still think about a traditional publisher, please read this post about the Midlist Rules!

And how to find happiness as a writer! Hints, write what you love and have fun… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now I better go back to writing… Norman Blood at last! Back to the vampires through the centuries for the rest of the month!

Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday


The second book of Vampires Through the Centuries is now available for pre-order via Smashwords. And as promised, here’s the cover of Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness by awesome Shafali Anand.

kaylyn-ref-webAnd here’s the blurb:

Ten years after the return of the crusader, his people know he’s evil and try to get rid of him and his wife. Kaylyn escapes the fire of Baldwin’s manor with Bran’s help and leaves Lincolnshire for good.

A long journey through 12th century Europe allows her to meet other fledglings of her mysterious maker, Bran the Raven. Then it’s Muslim Spain and up to Damascus, where everything started for Baldwin.

A travel journal through the centuries across Europe, North Africa, Asia on the Silk Road, to the court of Kublai Khan and then India for the making of her brother-in-darkness, Rajveer… And it’s only half of Kaylyn’s story.

History and fantasy mix in this standalone book of Vampires Through the Centuries that will appeal to both historical fiction readers and vampire lovers all over the world.

Bonus story: The Return of the Crusader, or the making of Kaylyn.

The book will come out November 2, one year after Rajveer the Vampire. Pre-order price is 4.99$ – it will go up to 6.99$ withing the first week of release, so get it now!ย  I even set up a Smashwords Series page! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now, for the other news. Currently writing more tales of the Southern Kingdoms to fill volume 2 so that after the summer I can re-issue both books as one volume (Tales of the Southern Kingdoms and More Tales of the Southern Kingdoms) with new covers and POD versions.

Last week I had 4 days when I didn’t write – in between projects – but then I wrote Amrendra part 4 in 3 days, 6600 words. As soon as I get it proofread, I’ll update the document and will announce it, so that whoever bought it on Smashwords can download the new version (I think Amazon automatically sends the new version if there’s significant changes – like 6600 more words?).

I have “trouble” only to start the next story. I usually procrastinate between projects until I finally set my mind on the new story. Once I start, I usually don’t stop until I reach the end – the beauty of writing into the dark, I guess! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyhow, I have reached midpoint of my yearly wordcount, so I don’t feel pressure if I don’t write for a few days. I know that in October, having three weeks off, my wordcount will drop again, so I better stash up before then! ๐Ÿ˜€

Now I’m going to keep walking on the Yellow Brick Road and stick the following on my wall for the time being…

So my advice to you is ignore what society tells you that you must do, ignore what friends tell you that you should do. Do what you want. So when you get to my age, you might be having as much fun as I am.

Ainโ€™t easy, but it is worth it.

Dean Wesley Smith

Have a great week!

Writer Wednesday


charioteer-of-buddha_resizeSo, Kaylyn is done and going out to betas… They should get back to me by June, so in July I have time to revise and in August I can go to the London public libraries if I need to fact-check something! I already booked the editor for September, when I’ll set up the pre-order button on Amazon with a temporary manuscript. The other pre-order button will be set up as soon as I have the cover.

As for Charioteer of Buddha, I’m giving it away for free with the next newsletter, so if you haven’t subscribed yet, do it now. I will put the coupon for a free download from Smashwords in the newsletter. The newsletter will go out May 2, so you’ll be immediately able to claim the e-book. If you’d like to support me instead, pre-order it now for 2.99$. The price will go up to 4.99$ by Friday 5.

I keep thinking the online workshop is going badly, and then it’s not. If you’d like another point of view on WMG Publishing workshopsย watch this testimonial. I bow to an author who is not camera-shy like me. And I may be biased with these workshops, since when I grow up I want to be like Dean and Kris! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (as if I were a youngster still, LOL!)

Anyhow, this workshop will be percolating in me for the next few months, like the others did. I shall work on this week assignment this afternoon, since until yesterday I was busy finishing a new Amazons story that sprang to mind when I thought about me and Da Muse – so there you have it, an Amazon painter and her muse, haha! Wait until next month and you’ll be able to read it!

TodayPeople_resizeAnd another title is out, a collection of all the contemporary stories I’ve written so far, both with the discarded pen name and the main one. Today People will come out in print as soon as I get the proof and check the interior (I already know I screwed the cover, LOL!) – which should happen today, thus I won’t start on a new story until tomorrow.

So making plans for the next month: back to Silvery Earth both to complete the Tales of the Northern Kingdom and to tell more stories of Amazons and Varian Emperors – which means a time gap in the history of about six centuries between Kingmakers and the fall of the Varian Empire. Sometimes it’s like writing historical novels, you have to check you’re not contraddicting yourself with something you wrote in another story! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Also, coming soon and unmissable sci-fi bundle. Subscribe now to be notified when it will go live – but I’ll make sure to remind you it is, since I’m in it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Limited time offer with nine other wonderful sci-fi authors… go grab it on May 1st! ๐Ÿ™‚

And that’s all for now… I think you’ll have an Art Friday, so stay tuned! ๐Ÿ˜€ Have a great week!

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