Writer Wednesday

And I’m back! Still have to catch up on reading blogs, but here’s a summary of the writerly travel news…

I got the nicest personalized rejection letter while I was away, and now I know why that particular story won only Honorable Mention and wasn’t a finalist! πŸ˜‰ Which doesn’t mean I will rewrite it, but I’ll keep the comments in mind for other stories!

I got the diploma yesterday and I’m thinking of adding it to the next collection of Amazon stories. If you’d like to read it now, you only need to subscribe to the bimonthly newsletter and you can download the free PDF when you sign up!

As for travel inspiration… I got a couple of ideas for the Quests books, might add a sentence or two in a Star Minds story set on Earth but mostly it was Assassins Guild and Vampires through the centuries!


Qutub Minar – imagine this under a full moon with a winged Kol-ian perched on top…

Since I’ve been to the country of the Katar and even put my hand on one of those that open up as three blades (unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take pics in that room), I now almost feel like one of the guild, haha! Anyhow, I got a few ideas for the Assassins Guild novella I plan to write next.

And here are a few examples from another royal palace of the interesting weapons I found:

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As for the vampires, I took notes for Shashank, Solveig, Romeo, Yao Shu and even the vampire wars, that will be held in Chittor, of course! πŸ˜‰ It’s time Rajveer goes back home and sees what happened to it… and of course Mighty Menka will be there, waiting for him.

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Except he’s not alone, but has a whole coven of Western vampires with him, so who knows the outcome of that battle… I shall write it after Shashank and Yao Shu’s books, so probably in 2020! πŸ˜‰

I also bought a few books on the kingdom of Mewar and Chittor and other stuff to study in the next months… as if the ones I bought in London last August weren’t enough!

Norman Blood‘s price went up after a long weekend of Kobo promo. I also noticed Kobo is reaching new countries… including India! Amazon beware, LOL! Next is Kaylyn, that will go live Nov.2… and the following weekend, Rajveer will be at 99cents for a limited time promo! Stay tuned for more…


Random Friday

I’m going to copy Shafali and mention a few random searches on this blog:

shahid kapoor pencil sketch yes, that you can find. I did only one because I don’t like his new look, haha! I might do another sometime in the future.

coloured pencil and pen sketching of salman khan nope, not even if you pay me… Sorry, I know how much you guys love him but I really can’t stand him. He’s Bollywood’s Tom Cruise for me and I’d rather avoid him at all costs.

You can find the other Khan, though, the King (vs the Emperor, mwhahahaha). I even re-watched Happy New Year on New Year’s Eve…

hindi actor pencil sketch drawingΒ mmm, yes, although a little one-sided and mostly of Muse H (a.k.a The Emperor or Greek God)… and there’s more on DeviantART anyway! πŸ˜‰

As for the spam comments, here’s the first of the new year:

spam6cut4blogon the wrong post anyway – with all the Rajveer-related posts, this person picked the wrong one! πŸ˜‰ Besides, methinks that vampire and human don’t go together. I mean, one is either one or the other, not both! πŸ˜€ What does my esteemed colleague Joleene Naylor think about this? πŸ˜‰

Ending with movies: Dear Offline Beta lent me Before Midnight, so I spent Christmas, Boxing Day and Sunday rewatching the whole trilogy. Nice closure! I also got myself the DVD of the Invisible Boy and watched it (and re-read the graphic novel that goes with it). Now I only need to read the related novel. And wait for a sequel, if there ever will be one (although it’s hinted in one of the graphic novel panels, not to mention the open ending…)! πŸ˜‰

Have a great weekend! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday

Sales… nobody took advantage of it (except Tori, thank you for the review), but it’s been on my author of the month thread all this time. You can have Rajveer the Vampire 50% off at Smashwords – Coupon Code: JH97Z – Expires: December 2, 2015. Not many days left, so get it now.

Also, to celebrate the new cover by Cristina Fabris, I’m putting Kilig & Hakeem at 50% off until the same day. Coupon Code: KQ83V – Expires: December 2, 2015. In December I will do a Smashwords-only sale with 50% off selected titles… stay tuned for the list! πŸ™‚ It will be mostly m/m titles, so if that’s what you come here for, come back next week.

By the way, I did the catalog for Unicorn Productions, you can download a free PDF on the homepage. I will soon go to the shop to have it printed on thicker paper to take to the English bookshop(s) here in Rome, and if I manage to get them books, I’ll try to send the printed catalog to the US bookstores, starting with the ones I know on the Oregon coast. Since I plan on doing more PODs in January, this might take some time and a few updates before I actually go with it! πŸ˜‰

A couple of posts on writing for the market – not! Just don’t. Hear it from two people who have been in the market since before you were born. Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Write what you love, what you want to read. Like Fairytales Revisited as m/m romance, if that’s your fancy right now! *stares into the mirror with a big grin*

When I’m done with those 3 I have in mind (well, Beautiful is out, currently writing the Snow White one, then I’ll have the Cinderella Man), I’ll move on to something else. Try to write that contemporary story that is meant to be written, finish the other longer contemporary story I have put in a drawer back in September, maybe write that Star Minds story with aliens on Earth, or maybe who knows. I haven’t decided what I’ll write next year yet (besides the two vampire historicals and finish the fairytales revisited, I mean)! πŸ™‚

And if you’re looking for places to promote yourself or your books, here’s a list. I’m currently going through it, looking for places where I or my characters could show up. And as you can see in the comments, you can also contact me – I welcome guest authors from all backgrounds and all fiction genres! πŸ™‚

That’s all for today! Have a great week! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday

Aaand there’s a party on Facebook! It’s already started, you’ve missed half the fun! Now don’t miss tomorrow, when I’ll be there, answering questions and whatnot! Attend and win prizes! And cookies! And get to know a nice vampire writer and her fellow authors including yours truly!

Okay, enough sales copy already! Where was I? Ahem, yes. Writing. Finished both workshops and I now have 4 story openings that I shall write. Contemporary stories, so they’ll be bundled with others in the next contemporary title. Stay tuned.

But first I want to finish Beautiful (I love those guys so much that I’m adding two more chapters), and then I’m off to Japan, so I won’t be working on anything until November. Well, maybe I’ll write one of those shorts next week. But I also want to publish SKYBAND 15, so the lettering and formatting of that one come first! πŸ˜‰

About my very own vampire, coming soon in ebook form, here’s my version again. From celebrity portrait to character portrait, Muse H becomes Rajveer, with special thanks to Photoshop! Lovely Saturday procrastination…

2015yellow&Rajveer_resizeThe writerly links! Do not submit to the new Star Trek Strange New Worlds. And some more Konrants. And a most interesting article on Lee Child and how the best selling author writes his mysteries. Which goes well with 5 observations on the evolution of author business models.

Now I’ll just run screaming back into my writing cave. Writing is fun. The rest is not! πŸ˜‰ But I’ll keep writing and trying to keep up with this new world of publishing. Next year I will increase my productivity again after filling my head with neat tricks and techniques at those workshops (I took 3 online workshops this year – more next year, I already have a wishlist).

I know my writing is changing, and I’m very happy about it. I’ve started learning again after stagnating over my “backlist” for four years, so… yeah, ready for the new beginning. Which doesn’t mean I’ll take down the old titles, but I’ll keep publishing new ones. This month there’s still SKYBAND 15 and Firebird. Next month Rajveer the Vampire and Beautiful. December contemporary stories and maybe another Silvery Earth novella.

And the Italian titles that I don’t mention on this blog. And the PODs I’ll do in November. And… well, that’s work, but whatever. The business part is my least favorite, but I can’t do without, so… onward! Have a great week! πŸ˜€

Writer Wednesday

Rajveer the Vampire – an historical fantasy novel by Barbara G.Tarn

In this new novel, Barbara G.Tarn combines her love for history (especially medieval) and fantasy. It’s the story of a vampire through the centuries that will appeal to both historical fiction readers and vampire lovers all over the world.

RajveerA β€œsun clan” warrior can never become a true child of darkness.
In 14th century India, Rajveer, a proud Rajput warrior of a Suryavanshi clan, is turned into a bloodsucker by an ancient Celtic vampire. Immortal, he loses his family to war and time and travels through northern India, seeing history unfold. Threatened by both human wars and evil vampires, can he remain true to his sworn vow not to take human lives?
A vampire’s journey through centuries.

Rajveer the Vampire by Barbara G.Tarn is now available for preorder on Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes&Noble and Apple for 4,99$.

Since it’s been two months since I set up this assetless pre-order, I thought I’d give a sample now. The final draft is currently being edited, so hopefully when I upload to Amazon, I can forget about it until release date! πŸ™‚ So, just to make you curious, here you have the (for now) unedited opening five – my fave number! – paragraphs of Rajveer the Vampire.



Chittorgarh crowned the flat narrow summit of its hill under the stars, towering above the surrounding valley with all its gates locked. The walls that stretched along the edge were the continuation of the steep slopes, the lower part made of rock as if they’d grown out of it. What looked so high from the valley was barely taller than the palaces and temples enclosed in the fortified walls of the capital city of the Kingdom of Mewar.

Rajveer stared worried at the full moon hovering over the battlement. His watch duty made him feel uneasy that night. It was all too quiet. Even owls were silent, waiting. He had been assigned to the wall-walk near the Suraj Pol, the uppermost gate of the eastern entrance, and couldn’t shake off his uneasiness.

He gripped the hilt of his faithful sword before looking down the steep slope over the solid parapet. No trace of life – animal or other – out there. The stone of the battlement felt dead cold under his touch.

He turned to the buildings within the precincts. It all looked quiet – as usual. The smell of jasmine came up from the royal palace’s wall. The moon reflected itself in the nearest pond, close to the western battlement, and the Kirti Stambh dominated everything like a dark presage of doom.


From September 1 it will be available for preorder also on Amazon at the same price of 4,99$ and samples of the first chapters will be available on all retailers.

The price might go up on the release date, November 1, 2015, so order it now.

Preorder on Apple US, Barnes&Noble,Β  Kobo and Smashwords.

Writer Wednesday

I don’t know on your side of the world, but here it’s veeeery hot. Hasn’t been this hot since 2003. So my brain is kinda mushy, but I managed to wrap up a few projects. Rajveer the Vampire and some Star Minds Interregnum stories.

And I wrote a short story, “recycled” from an old graphic novel, for prompt submission. And I’m waiting for another couple of submissions. So, I might not be publishing, but I’m submitting, therefore I’m waiting for more rejection letters to pile up in my folder! πŸ™‚

This week I want to write two more shorts of the vampires series, one for a publication and the other for the Ink Slinger’s Halloween anthology (which might or might not be the first chapter of book 2). I’m still not sure about the series title, but I guess Vampires Through Centuries will have to do – unless I come up with something better! πŸ™‚

Still working on the publisher’s site (and cleaning up this blog a little – I might make a new header too soon, or maybe not! πŸ˜‰ I changed the Italian blog because it’s the only actual newsfeed in Italian, but this is still independent from Unicorn Productions) where you might see a new title, but not really the announcement, since D2D support hasn’t come back to me yet.

Anyhow, Star Minds Chasing Stardom is almost out… with the marvelous cover of Mighty Maurizio Manzieri. The book page still misses some links, but well… like I mentioned, I’ll announce new release on UPB from now on – but I really wanted you guys to see this cover (since the blog has 500+ followers and the publisher site none yet).

By the way, nobody answered to my question/giveaway for Rajveer the Vampire… either you still haven’t found the blog post, or you’re too shy, or you think the answers are already given, or… I don’t know. Even if you’re not Indian, I think the answer is pretty obvious – from the book blurb itself, but well…

I’m still willing to give to the first 10 (TEN) people who guess why he has that symbol on his forehead the PDF of the first (UNEDITED) chapter one month and a half before everybody else. For a chance to this sneak-preview, send your answers to barb (at) unicornproductionsbooks (dot) com. Or use the contact form above…

No writerly links, although I have read some writerly wisdom around the blogosphere… Have a great week!


Writer Wednesday

I finished redrafting Rajveer the Vampire. Cut out 11 pages, added in almost 40. It’s a 50K novel now, and my dear betas who read the first draft might not recognize it – well, at least not the end. I’ve added as much meat as I could, and it’s still an historical (fantasy) story.

One might think it’s easier to write in the present, but when one starts on the historical path, even 10 years ago, things were different! Thank Google for the instant answer to my many questions (although it screws Google analytics and their attempted targeted advertising – which I ignore anyway, LOL) while writing the new ending – including the fact that in 2005 there were Blackberry phones more than Smartphones.

Technicalities, but some readers are… well, you know them. Although since I’ve put vampires in the story, they can’t real expect total accuracy. I try to be as accurate as I can in the historical bits, but it’s still fiction – much like Kris Rusch’s musings on Writing for the Ages and dated science in old sci-fi stories.

Funny also that I added a questionnaire at the end of Rajveer – not as extensive as this one, but still with specific questions on pacing and other things, which I normally don’t. I guess whoever will read the second and final draft will get some of those questions too…

I mostly need to be told where I went too fast, where I forgot setting and if there are glaring plot holes, and that’s why I’m not really into paid beta services, although apparently they provide deep feedback. I only want to know where you – as a reader – stopped. Or what kept you going. Or… well, you get the point.

Writerly links – Joe Konrath fisking John Scalzi on (you can guess) Amazon KDP Select/Unlimited new paying system… Even if most of last year’s revenue for me was from Amazon Italia, I’m not Amazon exclusive and sales sank anyway this year (maybe also because I haven’t uploaded anything in months, although I’ve started the next translation).

It’s a roller-coaster – and e-books are forever. I might not be able to quit DayJob yet, but eventually I will. Even if the vampire stories don’t take off, I’ll probably keep writing them – one a year, since it’s historical fantasy that needs research – because I’m having fun in creating a different kind of universe, set on Earth, based on Earth history, but with enough fantasy to be fun.

And I don’t think you need to answer all the 50 questions about your author platform. But yes, you do need to ask some questions. I still don’t have (and don’t want) a Twitter account and still struggle with keywords, but well… you never stop learning! It’s constantly a work-in-progress, like my publisher’s page! πŸ˜‰

I’m skipping the Smashwords sale, but I’m already on the Blanket Permissions List on DriveThru, therefore participating in the “X-mas in July” sale with all titles at 25%off – only on DriveThruComics and DriveThruFiction… Have a great weekend!

Random Friday

Total randomness… Thanks to the two friends who voted in the poll. I think I’m going to do like in this case: Killer Advice (which was a recommended reading last year in case you missed it). So both names on the cover of Rajveer the Vampire. Not because B.G. Hope is published by another publisher, but because it’s easier for me.

I don’t have to change everything on ebook retailers – and she even has a printed book out. Body Switches is still selling its 1 or 2 copies a month, so I’d rather not touch it. So now I have a shorter title, but two author’s names, haha! I know, my cover artist will dump me now! And I’ll have to use my own mock cover and will end up on Lousy Book Covers again! πŸ˜‰

I’m reading more 19th century vampire stories. The Vampyre was very short (and quite dreadful). Now I’m deep into Varney the Vampire, but mine are definitely different. Hopefully I created my own mythology and even if I decide to write the screenplay and structure it like Interview with the Vampire, it won’t look at all like Ann Rice’s! πŸ˜‰

Speaking of reading, please go and take this survey. Even if you’re a writer, you should also be a reader, so just go and do it! πŸ˜‰ It’s not just for romance readers, so go ahead and fill it…

I hope this weekend to do another pencil portrait along with more strips… I know, I know, I should finish S.K.Y.B.A.N.D. first, but mushy brain goes well with bad drawing hand, so I better screw Me & Da Muses than the final chapter of the graphic novel! πŸ˜‰ (Also because the strips have NO BACKGROUND whatsoever, so they’re much easier to do than a full comic book page, LOL!)

Did I mention I have mushy brain? So, I wish you a wonderful weekend, hoping next week I’ll feel better…


Random Friday

I finished reading Dracula at last. It was longer than I thought – or maybe it took me longer than expected because of the sometimes unreadable (for me) English (when Mr. Stoker tried to render the lower classes speech, I couldn’t really follow it and Van Helsing’s broken English was sometimes irritating)… It’s… interesting! Dated, but interesting.

I’ve read somewhere that Bram Stoker knew nothing of Vlad the Impaler, and in fact he doesn’t really mention the origin of Dracula. And Mina is faithful to her husband – unlike the movie version, which seemed to be a summary of the summary of the book.

I’m kinda baffled at how things were changed in the movie. I guess the screenwriter took advantage of the fact that the writer couldn’t sue him, since he was already dead (much like the guy who wrote Troy based on Homer’s work – I wonder if dead authors who get rewritten in Hollywood haunt those darn screenwriters! πŸ˜€ At least Shakespeare wrote plays that are easier to turn into movies… sort of…)! πŸ˜‰

Speaking of more vampires, let’s move to sort of Art Friday. Here’s a preview of half the strip about the Desi vampire… As you can see he doesn’t even have a name here (and even the one I’d found will need to be changed, so… Whatsisname is just fine for now! πŸ˜‰ Bad author, I know).

desiYes, I’m aware it’s a very silly joke – much like this one… Hopefully this weekend I’ll have time to go back to more serious drawing! πŸ˜‰ Unless I get to writing the above, that is. I’m thinking since I’m reading about vampires, I might as well get done with the vampire stories (I still need to finish Interview with the Vampire that I interrupted at the beginning of part 3 when I headed for London).

Speaking of artists, I’ve discovered this amazing digital painter who also has her own project – musical, not painted. May her music help heal other people from depression…

Also, if you’d like to support my cover artist and webmaster Silvano Beltramo on Patreon, here is his page. I know that eventually I’ll sign up myself, but I haven’t decided yet how to sign up (as author/which pen name or as publisher?)…

Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday

So, I’m back, and April is the month of sleep, so I’m not very bright yet! πŸ˜‰ But I did manage to get back to writing. I wrote barely 1000words in London, but this week I’ve started on Samantha the witch and the Desi vampire story, and wrote 1400words in one day, with more to come. So I might hit my 10000words goal this time.

And I might end up writing two stories – or maybe one divided into two parts. I’m not sure yet. I’m writing into the dark, but only partially, since I need to deal with historical facts. So in London I spent a lot of time at the library, researching – although last minute searches happen even during the writing.

Not to kill the creative voice, but because when I first pictured a certain scene, I thought about it in daylight, but when I wrote it, it obviously had to be at night, therefore animals available are different. A quick search on nocturnal animals turned a crow in to mice and a pair of foxes, but that’s something I can improvise when I’m writing!

I like writing into the dark – I have very loose outlines, and mostly if there’s history involved to remind myself of key/historical events I want to incorporate. I have no outline for the contemporary story I’ll write after the vampire story – although I started that one too last week, approx.500words, but then I didn’t continue it (will get back to it when I’m done with vampires and witches).

If you’re scared to do it or think it can’t be done, check Dean Wesley Smith’s series on Writing into the Dark – chapter 1 to 6 have come out so far. It will eventually become a book, but you can start reading it right now. The advice is as usual spot on and myth-destructive! πŸ™‚

Five self-publishing trends to know in 2015 – I might try serialization whenever I plan my next novel. At the moment I have only novellas and short stories that I hope to submit to traditional markets or want to write for… fun! Yes, I write what I want to read and for fun.

A few years ago I started a novel and thought I could serialize it and continue it through the readers’ comments, but never really got started with publishing it online (that was before the ebook revolution). I still have it somewhere, so maybe eventually I’ll try that – except at the moment I don’t know how to continue it, and I doubt it has a satisfying ending anyway…

The path to success by Joe Konrath – and don’t forget luck is involved, just in case he didn’t say it often enough. And he repeats the difference between dreams and goals. Have goals, not dreams. You can control goals, not dreams. Dream big, but set realistic goals! πŸ˜‰

And if you manage to quit your day job, be aware of the hard parts – the gold rush is over. Even when I’ll quit, I know I won’t have any mortgage to pay (it’s done), but there are still unexpected bills or sudden taxes or cover/editing expenses that might show up. I’ll probably stop traveling as well! πŸ˜‰

Some writers on DevianART answer writerly questions… maybe I should incorporate them in my own interviews (if I haven’t already)! πŸ™‚ Or answer those questions myself… should I do that? If you think so, say it in the comments and I’ll make another post with my answers!

Oh, and I obviously chose the wrong week to get to London… but this year I can be there virtually – for the London Book Fair. We all can! Join IndieReCon 2015 today and until Friday, the online version is free. Only whoever goes in person to the London Book Fair Indie Author Fringe Festival has to pay a ticket! πŸ˜‰

That’s all for today… back to writing! Have a great week! πŸ˜€

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