Writer Wednesday


Less productive week inbetween projects, I still tend to take a day off to check the previous work and prep for the second. Except I’m adding stuff in while I write the “companion”, so I’m waiting to re-read the whole draft until I’m done with both. Still having fun with those characters and even found models for the covers – one will be NeoStock, the rest will be DepositPhoto. So yeah, I’m also making mock covers, prepping for the summer, LOL!

Although the Silvery Earth covers are still illustrations (by the Awesome Federica Manfredi), but for sci-fi I’ll move to composites. Except the Post-Apocalypse Chronicles, whenever I get to writing book 2 (hopefully as soon as I wrap up these Star Minds novels) I’ll order the cover to the same artist who did Brainwaves. Gotta be consistent in the series, right? 😉

And we’ve got sales! Bundles sales! Spring Surprise is on sale until April 28. The Immortals and the Vampires of the World are on sale from 24 to 30 April. It is also the last week for Vampires of the World, it will be archived in May, so get it NOW! Only 3.99$ for 8 awsesome vampire novels!

And we got a batch of writerly links! 🙂 First, Chuck Wendig entered an Amazon Bookstore! Yes, you read it right, a brick-and-mortar Amazon bookstore! Can you believe it? Those shelves look great, by the way.

David Gaughran on giving a voice to Indies AND how to make killer promo graphics in Canva – the one above is still plain old Photoshop 7.0, but we’ll see! 😉 And if the demon of self-doubt bites you, Johanna Penn and writing and the fear of judgment. I obviously don’t fear judgment, but I do get self-doubt every now and then – with the umpteenth rejection, reading a much better writer, etc.

But then, scientists link depression and anxiety to high creativity, so… Even though I don’t say it out loud, I do have bouts of depression and anxiety. If it’s the price to pay for creativity, I’m okay with it! 🙂

Now back to writing and prepping the next bundle… Have a great week! 😀

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Happiness is…


Writer Wednesday


I must say I’ve had a productive writing week, with 19K words written. I also wrapped draft zero of one novel (a little over 50K), now I’m working on its “companion” – it’s, like, three novels intertwined but that can be read as standalone, like the vampires novels, but I’ll be publishing them more or less together, or at least closer to each other than the vampires novels (one a year).

It’s another sub-series of Star Minds, in case you’re wondering, and I hope to have the first out in July to add it to the Sci-fi July Redux bundle, and then we’ll see for the other two. They might come out shorter, so I may combine them. I’ll definitely do a box set when the miniseries is complete! 😉

Speaking of bundles, Spring Surprise is on sale until the 28th! And more to come, so stay tuned! 🙂 It’s a seasonal bundle, so May is the last month to get it. Also, Vampires of the World will vanish in May and there will be a last week sale. More on that next week.

Mighty Zon strikes back! An author’s nightmare with Amazon… and if you like sci-fi, grab this World Sci-fi bundle before it’s gone. I’m still trudging through the bundles I’ve been part of at Bundle Rabbit last year… my TBR pile will never go down, sigh! 😦

In case you’re just starting and are wondering what’s best for you, here’s a very good article on publishing in 2018 – the pros and cons of trad pub vs self pub. I am mostly indie, but I am trying to sell short stories to traditional markets (one sold last year, still not out – being patient…).

And my Kindle Scout novel (15 days left to nominate it) is my attempt at being hybrid on a single project that is an outlier of my usual production. I may also send a rejected novella to another publisher, and in case he likes it, I’ll let him publish it, since it’s not related to any of the current series (except for being loosely part of Future Earth).

So, yeah, we’ll see. Now I shall go back to my writing cave… have a great week! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


And another week has gone by! Time sure is flying, innit? (I know there must be an apostrophe somewhere, but my British English is quite rusty. Damn Yankees). Checking wordcount for the first quarter, I’m a little over 100k for the first three months, so still a little behind. But I will catch up now that I’m writing two things at the same time (while thinking about the next two, LOL!).

I had to order another proof, so for the paperback of Falls of the Southern Kingdoms you’ll have to be patient for a few more days. And please go nominate my historical novel on Kindle Scout. I can’t keep track of stats, but they tell me it’s not a problem and they’re aware of it (see below).

Dear Barb,
Thanks for your email.
I’m sorry for the trouble you had with the stats feature of our program. Our technical team is aware of this problem and is working hard to fix it as soon as possible.
Rest assured that this will not affect your book’s chances of getting reviewed by the Kindle Scout team and potentially selected for publication. If your book has been shortlisted, you’ll receive a personalized manuscript feedback report from us when your campaign has ended, and once the publishing decision has been made.
Thanks for your patience while we fix this problem.

So I’m being patient, it’s only another 20something days. And then we’ll see. I didn’t manage to build a self-publishing empire yet, but I don’t write romance. If you do, please check how Marie Force did it! 🙂 Lots of very good advice for writers too – and remember, writers write! 🙂

Now I’m going back to my writing cave… Have a great week! 🙂

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! Another writer no less! Can you believe it? Yes! Here we go, then! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Carol Weakland!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Mill Creek Park not far from a 19th century grist mill that is powered by a beautiful waterfall. The setting is idyllic, and it continuously fires my imagination.

Why do you write?

I live to write. Indeed, my life feels quite stale when I cannot apply this form of creative expression. I simply must lose myself in that storyline far so different from my own. It is there I connect with characters every bit as real as the individuals who inhabit my life, characters I know better than myself. There is a sacred quality to sharing a heartfully conceived bit of writing with someone you have never met. It is a divine dance that honors both reader and writer.

When did you start writing?

I started dramatic storytelling at the tender age of three. Apparently, I always had the knack for creating a good yarn. In the third grade I wrote a story about a horse and won first prize. I then began writing short plays, which I would perform with my friends. This is an appropriate beginning for someone who not only performs one woman plays based on famous literature, such as Jane Eyre, but also writes the adaptations. I have also written, “The Arthurian Trilogy,” a series of plays based on King Arthur, as well as the Morgen of Avalon series and Land of the Twilight Mist.

What genres do you write?

Morgen of Avalon falls into the romantic fantasy genre, which happens to be my favorite. Land of the Twilight Mist is a young adult fantasy and “The Arthurian Trilogy” plays are fantasy dramatizations.

What does your writing routine consist of?

Much of what I write comes through dreams, twilight dreaming or daydreams, so it is necessary for me to have paper and pencil ready to jot down images and dialogue as it appears. I am also one of those writers who is blessed to hear the dialogue and descriptions of a book play out in her head. That means I must sit down before the computer and relax so that the creative inspiration flows!

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer?

I feel I have a wonderful understanding of characters, especially the way they speak and think, due to my work as an actress. My stories evolve over time without pushing or rushing to meet a deadline. They feel very connected to the archetypal monomyth, mentioned by Joseph Campbell, that runs through the consciousness of all beings. I feel very adept in connecting to these timeless collections of ideas.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I actually give a speech on this topic called “Creative Inspiration!” As I mentioned, my ideas often come though twilight dreaming, but I also turn to nature when the well runs dry. A walk in the park can open whole new vistas of imagination. Watch a hawk dancing in the sky. Listen to the sound of the wind in the leaves. Quite often nature will speak to us when we venture outdoors. This is where writing magic happens. Sometimes we simply must experience life before we can write a certain aspect of a book. I could not write Morgen of Avalon until I became a Reiki healer. Morgen is what we call today an energy healer.

Do you put yourself in stories?

Yes! I can honestly say that every character in my novels is based on some aspect of me.

Outliner or improviser?

Both, actually… When I started writing “The Arthurian Trilogy” years ago – it was through intuition. I had no outline. The Trilogy, however, became my outline for the Morgen of Avalon series. This is not to say the book series follows the plays exactly, but they at times share the same dialogue and situations before they set out on individual paths. Land of the Twilight Mist was written strictly from intuition.

Fast or slow writer?

Slow and steady.

Tell us about your latest book/ audio book

Morgen of Avalon: Epiphany Book 3

Epiphany is the third and final book in my Morgen of Avalon series. Morgen is King Arthur’s healer, his love, the Faerie Queen who helped him create and maintain a peaceful Britannia. This is a magical re-imagining of Arthurian Legend which depicts Avalon not only as a faerie realm, but also the home of an ancient Mystery School. Morgen and the Sisterhood teach a host of students including – Guenevere, Galahad, Percival, Tristan, Isolde and Mordred the mysteries of Avalon and faerie magic. Although Arthur and Camelot stand at the pinnacle of success, a host of miscreants threaten insurgency. Will Morgen be strong enough to still the Saxon uprising that threatens Avalon, faeries and everything she holds dear? The answers are found in – Epiphany!

I have also just narrated the Morgen of Avalon: Dreamspell (book 1) audio book! This is a dream come true!

Indie Publishing or Traditional Publishing – Why?

I chose Indie Publishing for my novels and plays so I could maintain a higher level of control over their content.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes, I am currently working on a time travel romance called THE HIDDEN LEGACY and a book of meditations called SACRED AVALON: MYSTERY SCHOOL TEACHINGS AND MEDITATIONS FROM THE FAERIE TRADITION.

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

My goal as a writer is to inspire readers to open their hearts to nature in all its glory as well as the magic found in every living thing great and small. I find that speaking to people at book signings, as well as offering workshops and speaking at events all work toward achieving this goal.

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

Do not stress over the written word. You must simply allow it to flow. I have forgotten the exact words or even who said this, but I agree whole heartedly!

_________________________

Find Carol online:

Author Central

Writer Wednesday


cover art Cristina Fabris

And a “new” title is out, the collection of stories about the fall of the southern kingdoms of Silvery Earth. Please note that some of he older stories (previously included in Tales of the Southern Kingdoms) are adult-themed. I started writing clean fantasy later.

Which kinda leaves me in a conundrum with my two main series. Both Silvery Earth and Star Minds have adults-only books and “clean” books. No wonder I can’t find my readers, I guess. I displease both parties! 😉

Anyhow, the next sub-series will be clean, so you can wait for those to have a taste of those universes. Well, for Silvery Earth you can try the Quests books (Volume 1 and Volume 2 or as single ebooks). For Star Minds you’ll have to wait for the Lone Wolves (the first should come out this summer, with the second Heroines book – also a clean book of Silvery Earth).

Currently writing two Lone Wolves books at the same time and speedily. If all goes well, I’ll finish both by the end of the month and move on. March wordcount is 31500 (a couple of shorts, a shelved project + the current).

Writerly links: David Farland on the new world of publishing – what can be done now in 2018. Chuck Wendig on giving characters agency in narrative (caution – foul language as usual). On writing by Aaron Rosenberg and how to work with an editor by Joanna Penn.

I have my trusted proofreader and some betas that are more advisors on things I may not know enough about. I have given up on writers’ groups since I really can’t write by committee, but sometimes hearing a different opinion helps. Like someone pointing out that a certain story’s premise is totally absent and I clearly didn’t know what I was doing. Shelved project.

That’s all for today… have a great week! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


So I’m all set with New Netbook that has Office 365 installed… and suddenly I understand why in the past a beta-reader told me there were missing words/sentences in my manuscripts. Apparently Office 365 hates Open Office by Oracle and doesn’t show the last line of something written originally to be saved as ODT (I always save as Word.doc, but I guess there’s something underneath that I don’t see)!

Thus I need to be careful when I write something on Laptop, since Netbook won’t show me everything. But since it’s low on memory, I guess I can uninstall Office 365 and download Open Office instead – problem solved! 🙂 As soon as either Techie Bro or a Techie Friend helps me, I’ll get rid of the problem…

EDIT – SINCE THIS ONE WAS UNFINISHED, I’M PASTING THE SECOND ONE BELOW AND WILL DELETE IT…

So I had the creative weekend, and I managed to do 2 covers for upcoming projects, plus I got the cover for Fall of the Southern Kingdoms, so Easter Weekend I will put on the publisher’s hat again. I’m quite happy with one of the covers, but you’ll see it soon enough.

Plus I finished editing another project (the one I made the cover for) and sent out a short story I wrote in the middle of the current project (it was a prequel/backstory for a character in the series anyway), so I didn’t write as much as expected, but it’s fine.

Now I must finish the current project before April 22nd when I hope to get to London for a couple of days of research (so I won’t have time to meet my British friends – again. Sorry…) before coming back and hopefully doing some prep work for this summer’s publishing.

I’m thinking of doing another online workshop, but at the same time I feel I have too many projects this year and won’t be able to write them all – if I do, I’ll hit that wordcount, though! 😉 So maybe I’ll postpone more workshops to next year. Both the craft and business things.

What else? Well, if you crave vampire stories, both Nightly Bites are now available in paperback and ebook, so go get them! And if you want longer works, Vampires of the World is still out there.

I will also start putting together a new bundle on another topic next month, so stay tuned. Here’s the list of the currently available bundles I’m in – for all tastes, really, take your pick! Have a great week! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


Slow start with the new project, hopefully I’ll catch up in the weeks to come. But I also wrapped up Nightly Bites Volume 2 and it’s now available for pre-order (goes live on Friday) as e-book and available in paperback as well! I am very excited about this volume 2, I think it’s actually better than volume 1!

Well, at least my story is. The one I wrote on the fly, inspired by the chosen cover. So the guy on the cover is Alain, Bran’s latest fledgling, and you’ll see more of him probably in the next novel that will come out in November as usual. Not the first time that I write inspired by an artwork (photo/painting/drawing/sculpture) whether I did it or someone else did it.

The other stories are also awesome and you should check it right now! It’s been already presented on Library of Erana and I will post more on Facebook in the coming weeks, and eventually on this blog, so stay tuned! 🙂

Now let’s go back to the Anthology Workshop for a moment. You can read another post about it here, about what it can do for you as a writer. I’ll make a short summary of what it did for me – one year later! 🙂

So, six stories in six weeks. I wrote all six, even the ones in unfamiliar genres: win. I knew they sucked, but not all of them – and the reactions were not as expected (the ones I thought were perfect were not and viceversa, but I’m getting ahead of myself).

Expectations: learning and seeing what it meant to run a traditional magazine – and meeting a couple of people in the process (of course I ended up in a room with 40-50 writers, but since we were all writers, well… some were nice to meet again, some were new, some I talked to, some I didn’t, and that was perfectly fine!). Of course I hoped to sell something, but that wasn’t my main goal.

Results: no sales, but great learning experience. What happened to those six stories? Well, here you go, one year later:

Story #1 and #5 are still in the drawer, dunno where to send them, will probably publish them in a collection of unpublished shorts some time later this year or at the beginning of the next. Story #3 might end up in an anthology, although I’ll probably publish first another story in the same genre. Story #4 might end up in a contemporary novel, if I ever get down to writing it.

Because Story #2 sold in a redraft after the workshop (still not out, I’ll let you know when it does) and Story #6 just proved to me that I better study more before I try to write in that specific genre, hence the attempts I’ve done through the months will stay in the drawer until I find a solid premise.

Of the 6 stories, only 2 were SFF (#2 and 3), the rest were contemporary. And I’m not very good with the real world. So for now I’ll stick to Silvery Earth and Star Minds and Vampires Through the Centuries and Future Earth stories and leave those in the drawer. After all, I’ve taken out of the drawer the historical novel, so I better put aside something else, right? 😉

Have a great week!

 

Writer Wednesday


Aaand another bundle is out! Spring Surprise which includes Quests Volume 1 and other awesome books, curated by A.L. Butcher! 🙂 Go check it!

I’m formatting and preparing Nightly Bites Volume 2, so last week I wasn’t supposed to write with that and some traveling… except I wasn’t happy with the story I wrote for the anthology, so I wrote a new one! 🙂 A special thanks to Alex Butcher for checking the typo faeries on that one!

Hopefully I’ve caught all the typo faeries in this anthology, but if I didn’t… well, you know those pesky thingies, don’t you? Have mercy on a poor curator! 😉 Soon I’ll be able to share at least the ebook links, in the meantime you can see a preview on the anthology page

I also checked that historical novel… not as bad as I remember it, so we’ll see. Now I’m off into the new writing project, but since this year I’m experimenting also with publishing… you’ll probably see them all at the same time!

This summer I celebrate 40 years of writing, so it might be good timing to publish a few new titles all at the same time. We’ll see what I have ready then! Probably some Silvery Earth, some Star Minds and then we’ll see. I made some kind of writing schedule, but I also want to curate more bundles and anthologies, so it’s still not set in stone.

Writerly links! I told you about my week at the anthology workshop last year, right? Well, here’s an even deeper insight on what you do. I am not an editor (and probably won’t be, just a curator for those collaboration anthologies), but I was a writer with Ron and his daughter last year (and yes, they sold, I didn’t, LOL!), so I can confirm everything he says! 🙂

I’m facing some self-doubt these days, especially since I’m reading those bundles and find so many fine writers I sometimes wonder why I keep bothering (publishing, not writing, of course!), so here’s Joanna Penn’s advice for those days.

And that’s all for today! Have a great week! 🙂

 

 

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! That Diabolic Shrimp who reviewed my book! And he’s a writer too! I thought his latest cover was awesome, and I invited him over. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Joshua Grant!

Where do you live and write from?

I live and write in the United States in the beautiful mountainous state of Colorado.

Why do you write?

My writing has always stemmed from boredom. I love reading books, watching movies, and playing video games, but when I ran out of material I enjoyed, I just decided to write my own. I love making a story with worlds and characters that I personally love. But as I wrote, I found that writing gave me a deeper perspective or moral issues too. Thus, in addition to being entertaining, I love to have a complex moral issue at the heart of each of my books.

When did you start writing?

I started writing in 8th grade when my English teacher, Mrs. Munos, assigned a short story to us. I did some dorky horror story with people snowmobiling across another planet, but my teacher left a kind note on it that encouraged me to keep going. I then began my journey in earnest when I was bored after a test and began writing my first attempt at a book.

What genre(s) do you write?

I bounce around the genres, but mostly write Horror, Sci Fi, and Fantasy, most of which is geared toward Young Adult. I like to sprinkle a lot of humor throughout my writing as well.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I’m kind of a weird creature of habit. I take a nice long walk around the neighborhood where I let my thoughts wander. I then come home, sit at the kitchen table, sharpen two pencils, and just go to town. I never make a plan, but typically have the whole book plotted out in my head before I even begin. When I finish writing everything long hand, I type it up as my first level of revision. I then usually shelve it for six months before going back and revising it several times before publishing.

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

One of my biggest strengths as a writer is persistence. I never write anything that I wouldn’t love reading myself. My love of my own stories and characters, and the twists I love to throw in, give me the juice I need to finish a novel in the first place.

I’m a very visual person. This is a great benefit as it gives me an edge in my descriptions. I love describing stuff in my novels and feel like a do a pretty good job while maintaining a balance between description and story flow.

Another one of my strengths is through creating likeable characters. I’m a huge people person, am a sensitive guy, and love to laugh and joke with people. I try to translate a lot of these qualities into characters to try to make them both believable and enjoyable to read.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

Most of my inspiration comes from other books, or movies and video games. My horror book Pandora was influenced by the Resident Evil video game series. I wanted to create a book that captured the gritty feel of playing those games and trying to survive. I also wanted to create an imaginative and creepy environment filled with horrifying creatures.

On the reverse end, my YA fantasy novel The Fifth Ascendant was inspired by things like Final Fantasy or The Last Airbender. I wanted to capture the quirky humor of those series as well as the spiritual and deep emotional impact.

Of course, in all my series I write a lot of emotion with some kind of deeper meaning at the heart of things. I put myself in my stories in the sense that a lot of their emotions or struggles come from something in me, or something I’ve had to go through. Most of the characters have some part of me in them (but then there are some characters I just write for the fun of it and have nothing to do with me).

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I make a general outline in my mind for each book. Most chapters are already planned out in my head before I start writing. But as I write, stuff usually comes to me and then I improvise. Some of my best twists and plot points emerged as I was in the middle of writing something. It all just have to feel right. As far as writing speed, it varies. I generally write a chapter every two days. The longest thing I ever wrote, The Fifth Ascendant, was written in two months (the revising took much longer though).

Tell us about your latest book

My latest novel, The Fifth Ascendant, is by far my favorite thing I’ve ever written. The emotions, humor, and overall story are a huge part of my heart. I was very much inspired by the Final Fantasy series, as well as anime like Avatar: The Last Airbender when I wrote it, and tried to capture a lot of the fun characters and witty interactions those series offered. Check it out below if you’re interested!

The world of Drina is on the brink of destruction.

Twelve year old Kal’s dreams have grown dark. A missing Ascendant. The deaths of imperial soldiers at the hands of terrible monsters far below Skytown. It all must link back to the mysterious powers of his upcoming Ascendancy or perhaps his newfound visitor, a kid that only he can see—but none of it can prepare him for the adventure of self-discovery and world shattering consequences he’s about to be hurled down.

Nash, Ruka, and Jia are all on a top secret mission for the Heretic cause, a mission that could save their people and maybe the entire world—but one of them has a secret, a dark and tangled past that could doom them all.

Magic, humor, outrageous heists, horrific monsters, and yes, a fur bearing trout and a pickle are all along for the ride in this manic quest to keep the world of Drina from descending into darkness.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Once upon a time, I was dead set against ever self publishing. I wanted to go the traditional route and tried hard at it for several years. The climate and market of writing has changed vastly since then. In recent years, it has become a much better option to publish Indie, but only as long as you’re willing to play the long game and put a decent amount of time and effort into marketing. Now I’m an indie author and can’t ever imagine going back. The freedom and complete control of the entire process is liberating and challenges me to grow as a person. In many ways it pays better to you as an author as well. It fills me with a greater sense of pride when I actually sell something too, knowing that every part of that product was mine. I absolutely love it!

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I have a cagillion projects I’m working on at the moment. I’m working on three different series simultaneously, but I have a certain strategy for releasing them so they’re not all at once. I published The Fifth Ascendant this year and am currently writing its sequel, The Sixth Ascendant. I’ll be releasing the sequel to Pandora in the Fall, another horror book called Jericho where a man, his son, and a police officer they’ve never met all find themselves trapped in a desperate situation to survive the darkness that has befallen a small town. I will also be releasing a collection of short fantasy stories this year called Silly Tales from Albanon. Each humorous story follows a different character, from an adventurous gnome, to an Orc detective, to even a teddy bear assassin, all of which builds towards a surprise ending.

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

Each of my novels simply tries to capture certain emotions and examine a moral issue. When I feel like I’ve accomplished this, I publish it. I want to entertain people and make them feel something, but ultimately I create novels to satisfy something in myself.

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

Great writers write. It’s simple, but the message is powerful. You just got to believe in yourself and keep going. No great book was ever produced without a healthy amount of perseverance.

*****

Find Joshua online and join the shrimps of his tank (including yours truly) at Diabolic Shrimp

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