Writer Wednesday


Last week I wrote only 5K but I was busy editing and formatting and uploading and all that other stuff soooo interesting! Not. My yearly total is still 392K, so I’m doing fine, right? 😉 I wrote one last Star Minds Lone Wolves story, an extra scene for Kristine and that’s more or less it.

Ahem, well, anyway, after a weekend of struggles with KDPprint, I think I mastered it and can now do a few more paperbacks with less hassle than the first. I also figured out the difference between proof copy and author copy. So I’m not giving the paperback links until I checked that the paperbacks are okay, LOL!

But, the e-book links are fine! In case you missed it, Star Minds Lone Wolves’ Thief is out! Please meet Mr. H, thief, chameleon and my favorite character although I couldn’t use the actual person I had in mind. I had to settle with this sexy vampire hunter by Ravven instead.

And if you want a sneak peek of the other two coves, go to the Star Minds page and scroll down… Cherry will come out at the end of the month and Elsa on Oct.15th or White Cane Safety Day.

Now I shall move away from the Star Minds universe to write the next Post-Apocalypse Chronicle… and get ready for the October Business Masterclass! 🙂

That’s all for today! Have a great week!

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Writer Wednesday


Last week I wrote only 7K but I spent most of Sunday afternoon in blind procrastination (I should take Bubble Witch Saga 3 off the writing netbookw, LOL!). Maybe I was tired and needed a break, but I couldn’t come up with the next Lone Wolves Team story. So by the end of the day, I decided to start on the next project.

Except Monday afternoon, when I went to actually do the translations, I ran into another bump. I wrote those stories 20 years ago and I didn’t remember much of them. I re-read some, and 5 out of 6 had either rape or a tragic ending. So I’m definitely not recycling them at this point.

One is already included in the appendix of the next Silvery Earth Heroine (a relatively clean one, with no rape and no tragic ending) but the others… I can’t even stomach to reread them, LOL!

Doesn’t help that I keep thinking about a reader’s comment of them being “not so good” (we’re talking of Italian readers of a photocopied fanzine of the late 1990s – loooong before the indie publishing revolution, but it still stings).

So yeah. Not so good. Forget them. Chapter closed. Still wrote 316K by the end of July, so still on track. I’m going to improvise this month, but then, everybody takes August off, right? Right? 😀

I’m doing a last pass on a couple of stories (that I wrote this or last year, not 20 years ago) to decide if I want to publish them or not, and then I’m moving on. I’ll probably go back to the Lone Wolves and start writing Elsa’s story, or maybe Cherry’s story. And when I have my 3-hours train ride I’ll go through Hariel’s story and all the Team’s stories I have so far.

And we got paperbacks! Thank you to all of you who bought the Sci-Fi Stories anthologies and hope you are enjoying them! 🙂 The success of the second two makes me want to work on the fifth right now, but I shall wait until September! 😉

When I’ll also do the paperbacks for my own books – the anthologies are via BundleRabbit – although it’s not clear for how much longer Createspace will be available. Maybe I should start moving everything to KDP Print. Sigh.

Have you read the Bad Romance article I posted last week? See Kris Rusch’s reaction to it and the comments she got. I know some writers who write to market, but I don’t see them having a long career. I know writers who write to market because they want to make fast bucks. I’m sure they don’t enjoy it. And the ghost writers who sell their manuscripts? If I could do it, I could quit DayJob right now, LOL! I’m prolific, but only writing what I want to read! 🙂

There’s also a free Reedsy course on how to hack Kobo – or how to take advantage of Kobo Writing Life’s promotion tools. If you don’t go direct to Kobo, think about it. I have submitted a few titles to upcoming promos, we’ll see if I get accepted! 😉

Oh, I almost forgot. Authors Earnings at 2018 SFWA Nebula Conference report. Unfortunately the post with slides is very visually-impaired un-friendly, but I’m sure there’s the recording of the whole talk somewhere… And if SFF doesn’t sell well in paper might be because we’re getting older and have trouble reading small print? 😉 I love my Kindle for fiction – had to re-buy the ebook of The Silver Metal Lover cause the paperback was written too small…

And welcome to August, hoping the heat goes away a little, because it’s frying my brain and I can’t even write, sigh. Have a great week! 🙂

 

Writer Wednesday


And the yearly wordcount is over 300K, but I’ll need to slow down in August to revise a couple of things. I should be able to catch up in September, though! 🙂

I found another publisher open to novella submissions, and I’m sharing it here in case you have a festive-themed novella. I might send them something for the advance notice novella series. And I’ll soon send something to Tor as well. Oh, and since I’m on a submission-call sharing spree, see if you have anything for Quoth the Raven celebrating the works of Edgar Allan Poe! 🙂

Now, if you’re just starting, you might have to confront the 8 fears that hold writers back from publishing their books. But when it comes to cover art, please follow the Indie Author’s guide to hiring a cover artist! 🙂 I’m a hobbyist artist, I’ll try to look for a typograpy and graphics workshop in my area to get even better.

Maybe one day I’ll make covers for other people as well! 😉 Learning with my own, though, since this year I started doing composite of stock photos (either from Depositphoto or Neostock)… and I’m currently having fun in spite of a Photoshop 7.0 and very limited skills, LOL!

If you want to do it too, please read the Indie Author’s guide to stock photography! 🙂

Our man David Gaughran is still on Amazon’s back. I haven’t managed to read Amazon Decoded yet, but here’s how to (ethically) hack Amazon categories. I’m not sure I tried to apply this to my historical novel, for example. Well, I did put the keywords but they don’t come out in the search, so… I guess next step should be writing to KDP support? Meh.

And in case you missed the cocky-gate, here’s a good summary. And there’s someone else trying to trademark Dragon Slayer as well… sigh. Glad there’s CockyBot to look after that mess! 🙂

OH, SALES SALES SALES! On DriveThruFiction and DriveThruComics everything from Unicorn Productions is 25% off! 😀

Aaaand… we have a paperback for Sci-fi Stories Space Opera Mashup. So if you’re up for a dead tree book, it’s available too. For all four anthologies! 🙂

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

Writer Wednesday


And the third “youngster” is out! This is Jes-syd, Iso-bel’s ex-boyfriend, and he’s a hacker in the truer sense of the word (not a security cracker)! 🙂 Star Minds Lone Wolves – Hacker is now available as ebook at the usual suspects… and no WiP of the cover, since he wasn’t on a cover before.

And he isn’t inspired from a drawing either. I debated between two models and ended up choosing the one that looked more like the description I gave of him in Iso-bel Aya Shermac. I had seen that guy first and wrote the story with him in mind, so this time no NeoStock model for our Sire hacker! 🙂

One young man, two passions: computers and Iso-bel Aya Shermac.

Jes-syd lost his home planet at twenty, and with it his beloved girlfriend who survived but vanished on him without explanations. Five years later he works at the Serenaide Labs and has a new girlfriend, another survivor like him, but things don’t go smoothly between them.

The Tech Fair and a visit from Ypsilanti bring the news that there are more survivors on the dead planet, hidden underground in what’s left of the Vaurabi Labs. Jes-syd’s mother made it with a few more and Jes-syd hopes to get back with Iso-bel again – whenever he manages to find her and give her the good news.

A young Sire survivor who loves computers and his first and only love, a lone wolf hacker who is trying to fight his own grief. A Star Minds universe standalone story of hackers, crackers and survivors.

Bonus story: Wonder Man or how Hariel earned his Codename

And last week I wrote 11K of Hariel, our Wonder Man and the eldest of the future team. I hope to finish his story this week, so I can write a couple more team stories to submit to trad markets before the end of the month. I’m at 292K, so pretty much on schedule to reach my goal of half pulp speed before the end of the year! 🙂

For those of you who arrived late and have no idea of what I’m talking about, here’s Dean’s post about pulp speed. I’ve been trying to reach 500K since 2015 and it seems that this year I’ll finally reach the goal. And I hope to sustain it for the coming years.

And for those of you who just joined, I shall remind you that some books are discounted at Smashwords only for the month of July, if you want a taste of how I write. Or you can subscribe to the bimonthly newsletter and get some free short stories as well as the news from this writer if you can’t be bothered to follow me on Social Media or this blog.

David Gaughran on Amazon Algorithm – whatever that means. I don’t bother with it anymore. Obsessing with sales just hurts my head, so I don’t care anymore. Although I’m happy when I see those spikes at some retailer! 😉 Also, I certainly want to be a long term writer! 😉

And being a writer who has dabbled in screenwriting, I can tell you this review of Save the Cat is spot on. I haven’t read the book itself, but if it’s for screenwriters, it’s NOT for fiction/prose writers. Trust me. I tried it. I have a cinematic prose, I thought I can easily turn it into a movie screenplay… not! So unless you’re trying to break into Hollywood, just ignore that book! 😉

Now I would like to take your time to read the last instalment of Adventures of a first-time editor about the Anthology Workshop. What, you don’t want to join the Writer Club? Bad writer, you! I hope to see you in 2020 at the Anthology workshop. Unfortunately I can’t afford those offline workshops more often than every three years, sigh.

Now I better go back to writing… have a great week! 🙂

 

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! More fantasy during the sci-fi month, yay! Epic fantasy no less! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sarah Ashwood!

Where do you live and write from?

I’m a genuine Okie from Muskogee (Muskogee, Oklahoma), in the USA.

Why do you write?

Writing allows me to tell the stories in my head and give life to the characters who live there.

When did you start writing?

I wrote a few short stories off and on throughout my childhood, but it wasn’t until I was about 18 and discovered the epic fantasy genre that I found my passion. My Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy was born from this.

What genre(s) do you write?

As already mentioned, I write epic fantasy, but its subcategories would be portal fantasy and fairytale fantasy. There are elements of both in my fantasy novels. I also write historical fiction.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I am a stay at home mom of three young boys. There is no writing routine for me. It’s write whenever and wherever I get the chance! However, I always, always drink coffee when I write, so I guess you could say that’s a routine.

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

My gift of description has been complimented by readers and fellow writers. I’m not sure how I developed that particular quality. I simply try to describe what I see in my head without it being too wordy, since there is such a thing as being too descriptive.

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

Inspiration comes from all over. The world around me, music, other people, my own life…
I would say the MC in my Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy, Hannah, is the closest I’ve ever come to putting myself in my writing. She reeks of my sense of humor. She’s also a caring person, but rather quick tempered. She definitely gets that from me.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I always start with a brief outline, but it usually gets trashed as I write. I tend to be an extreme pantser. You should see the jumble of notes I jot down to try and keep everything straight while the novel grows! As for the other question, I tend to set a daily goal of about 1,200 to 2,000 words a day, and I usually accomplish my daily goal. You can get through a novel fairly quickly at that rate, I find.

Tell us about your latest book
Aerisian Refrain is the first book in a brand new fantasy series called Beyond the Sunset Lands. It’s a follow up series to my current fantasy trilogy, the Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy, and has many of the same characters. However, Aerisian Refrain can be read as a standalone.
Aerisian Refrain tells the story of a world-famous performer, Annie Richards, who is haunted by troubling nightmares to the point that she’s given up her career and is on her way to her childhood home to convalesce, when creatures straight from her nightmares bring down her plane. Annie wakens in a parallel world, Aerisia, a world inhabited by fairies, giants, immortal warriors, dragons, and pirates. Not only must Annie stay alive, but she has to track down the truth behind why she’s there and who she is meant to be.
Currently, Aerisian Refrain is on a special pre-order sale of just $0.99! Find Aerisian Refrain on Amazon and Goodreads.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy was published by a small publishing company, but I’m publishing my Beyond the Sunset Lands series (a planned four book series) myself. I loved having a publisher for handling a lot of the leg work (and expense!) of getting my first books off the ground, but as an Indie I also love the control I have over every aspect of the process.
Currently, I also have three books with an agent. Been traditionally published by a major publisher has always been a dream of mine. I long for the day when I can walk into a bookstore and pull my book off the shelf! However, even if that happens, I will likely still remain a hybrid, and go Indie on certain series.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes! Watch for a fun Young Adult Fantasy/Fairytale called Knight’s Rebirth, coming in time for Christmas 2018! It’s the story of a famous knight, Sir Buckhunter Dornley, who is content to live alone until he meets the charming and outrageous Princess Mercy. When he discovers Mercy lives under a deadly curse, how far will he go to break it?

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

My ultimate goal as a writer is simply to tell my favorites of the stories I create, and share them with the world. When I get reviews or messages from readers telling me how much they’ve enjoyed my work, that inspires me to keep going!

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

Write. Just write. You can polish it later, but you can’t polish what isn’t written.

_____________

Author Bio:

Don’t believe all the hype. Sarah Ashwood isn’t really a gladiator, a Highlander, a fencer, a skilled horsewoman, an archer, a magic wielder, or a martial arts expert. That’s only in her mind. In real life, she’s a genuine Okie from Muskogee who grew up in the wooded hills outside the oldest town in Oklahoma and holds a B.A. in English from American Military University.
She now lives (mostly) quietly at home with her husband and three sons, where she tries to sneak in a daily run or workout to save her sanity and keep her mind fresh for her next story.

Sarah’s works include the Sunset Lands Beyond trilogy and the fantasy novella Amana.

To keep up to date with Sarah’s work and new releases, sign up for her newsletter. You can also visit her website, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Writer Wednesday


So last week I did my usual 10K to be on track with the writing. Still with the Lone Wolves since it’s sci-fi July and soon you’ll get another book in the mini-series/sub-series. I’ve started another novel but will throw in more “missions” of the team anytime I finish the current project ahead of time – which normally happens, LOL!

And I also had time to format the first paperback! So if you’re a fan of dead tree books (means you don’t have trouble with your eyes like us elderly people, I had a friend asking me for the ebook because he can’t read the paperback…), you can get Sci-Fi Stories – Starships in paperback now. I’ll do the other as soon as the other anthology goes live, since there’s no pre-order on Createspace! 😉

Thank you all who bought either the above anthology or the bundle Sci-fi July Redux. Remember this bundle won’t be out forever and it’s 10 novels of sci-fi space opera for your entertainment, so if you like space opera, make sure to grab it now.

I mean, look at those names! Kevin J. Anderson! Robert Jeschoneck! Kristine Kathryn Rusch! Dean Wesley Smith! Barbara G.Tarn! Er… scratch the last one, she’s a nobody! 😉

But well, if I make it big, you can say you started following me before I got famous! 🙂 Before I got published in some traditional mag (which at the moment is scheduled for January 2019 – unless I sell something else in the meantime)! 🙂

If you prefer short stories, there’s always the curated anthologies… and hopefully soon more short story collections (gotta write them first, though!)! 🙂

Next weekend I’ll prepare Jes-syd and the second anthology goes live… In the meantime I better go back to writing. Have a great week! 🙂

Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, call it what you want! Here’s a break from Sci-fi July with lovely advice from wonderful authors.

I pretty much considered myself a failure by everything I had been raised. A successful person would be working a “real” job, raising a family, saving for retirement. A successful person didn’t work as little as possible to give myself more time to type made-up-stuff on a typewriter.

The concept of being a fiction writer was so alien to how I was brought up that I didn’t even realize until I was almost thirty that real humans wrote all the novels I read.  Yet I loved the challenge of telling stories.

And I think I loved more than anything that making up stories wasn’t a “real job” that people would accept. My estranged mother, right up until the day she died, thought I had wasted my life.

Wasted my potential” as she used to say.

And by the time she died I was a major bestseller. Didn’t matter. To her way of thinking, the real job way of thinking, I didn’t really work.

I didn’t get a paycheck, cash it, try to make it stretch until the next paycheck. Therefore I was a failure. Period.

The very real fear of not having a real job if you were raised in that kind of thinking is almost impossible to break. To this day I honestly don’t know how I escaped it. And I haven’t escaped it completely.

Dean Wesley Smith

I’d like to offer for your approval the highly unfashionable idea that good storytelling trumps everything else. Writers whose characters are made of purest silly putty and who can’t parse a simple English sentence regularly end up on the bestseller list because they know how to tell a story and keep readers turning pages.

There seems to be a school of thought that lovely writing is all that literature is about. I love to bask in beautiful writing, but I much prefer writing to be in aid of something, which is to say a good story. Likewise, I fully appreciate well-drawn characters, but well-drawn characters with nothing to do but gaze at the wall and soliloquize to themselves are pretty darn dull.

– Walter Jon Williams

I’m also confused by the fact that such a large part of recently written science fiction is very pessimistic. It worries me particularly that in SF aimed at children and young adults, dystopias have become the popular and most frequently published subgenre. I myself am naive enough to believe that we would feel better if we could read about a future that is worth living in. I’m also naive enough to believe that we currently have all the information we need to create such a future. Why, then, do so few science fiction writers nowadays describe this kind of alternative? This remains a mystery to me but it would be nice if more writers were to even give it a try.

– John-Henri Holmberg.

Remember This: Human Beings Learn Best Through Storytelling

We live inside stories. We learn empathy from stories. We gain other points of view and other ways of thinking from stories.Stories open new worlds. Stories create community.

Stories have great value—not just as entertainment, but from one human being to another.

Your readers might love your characters, characters those readers would hate in real life, and those characters might make it easier for your readers to understand their corner of the world.

Finally: Value Your Art

Kris Rusch

Hope is your beacon of light during the darkest of times as the tiniest sliver of light shines brightest just before the dawn. The best advice I can give to you for the difficult days ahead is to find the things and people they give you hope. Follow them. Support them. Do what you can to ensure the things that give you hope can continue.

Do not go gently into that good night. Fight. Hold on to your hopes and dreams for the future. Art harder. Live bolder. Become the best and strongest version of yourself that you possibly can. Take care of yourself and your fellow humans.

Love with all of your might, but whatever you do, never give in, never lose hope.
Steven Spohn

Writer Wednesday


And since I was reading so much sci-fi, I decided to keep writing sci-fi – well, science fantasy, since that’s what Star Minds is. So I will write more stories of Star Minds Lone Wolves in July then we’ll see. Because I don’t have to do research for those and I even re-read some of the older books (which meant I had to make a last minute change to the latest title) while looking for a story.

And after Icy Aya, please welcome Shanell! 🙂 Our starship pilot, that you first met in Star Minds Third Generation Snippets or you can find in the upcoming anthology Sci-fi Stories – Starships, finally has her short novel! Here’s the birth of the cover with the evolution from Techie Bro’s version to the current one – a change of look and starship that was already hinted at in Adventurer.

David Farland answers the question Does Social Media Work? You know the answer, don’t you? Nope, nope and nope! Not anymore! Especially not Facebook! 😉 So let’s start thinking outside the box (and ignoring those Facebook “suggestions” that only want you to spend some money on Facebook ads). How? Dunno. Experiment.

I’m keeping this blog active and the publisher’s page updated. Does that help? Dunno. Too early to say. But if you want some predictions on where social media are going, check out this forecast. I look forward to less self-promotion and more effortless self-expression! 🙂

I will mention today is the day Sci-fi July Redux aaaand Sci-fi Stories – Starships go live! Go grab them! Fill your e-readers with some sci-fi for a thrilling summer! 🙂 Yes, even bundles don’t sell that much anymore. I guess we saturated the market… Not sure about the anthologies, since mine never sold much… but after spending a long weekend curating the next, I sure hope you’ll at least check them out! 🙂

Also, I enrolled some books in the Summer/Winter Sale at Smashwords… go check all the authors participating! 🙂 Useless to put my own profile, since it doesn’t show in the list which are discounted and which aren’t… I made a list on the publisher’s site! 🙂

Last but not least, What I Learned by Dean Wesley Smith… from him and Kris Rusch I learned what Harlan says: Money flows TO the writer! Not that I’m getting much yet… sigh! But it’s the year of writing and being halfway, I’m at 270K, so… I’ll just keep writing. And maybe publishing, LOL!

Have a great week! 🙂

 

Happiness is..


Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! And since we’re moving into the month of sci-fi, he’s a sci-fi writer! We met at a few Worldcons through the years as well as book fairs in Italy. He’s a great guy, great writer and great publisher! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Francesco Verso!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Rome (Italy) since most of my time.

Why do you write?

I believe in the power of Science Fiction to shed some light on the future of mankind. I am convinced that literature can help to better understand the psychological and socials mechanics of the world we live in and, in particular, now that technology is playing an ever important role in our lives and relationship we can’t avoid its impact on our reality. Thus, my stories imagine what would be the short and long term consequences of our symbiosis with different kind of technologies ranging from prosthetics, to artificial intelligences, from 3D printed replaceable organs to DNA modifications and nanotech developments. All these anatomical augmentations will have a deep reflection on our identity and thus on our ethics and morals, both on an individual and social scale.

I feel there’s an urgency to update our dramaturgy to the technically accelerated times we live in, something that the mainstream genre is also starting to acknowledge, thanks to the popularity of TV Series like “Black Mirror”, “Westworld”, “Humans”, “Mr. Robot”, “Electric Dreams”.

When did you start writing?

During my University years, I’ve studied one year in Amsterdam for an Erasmus project and there – along the canals – I’ve found a little second hand shop run by an American guy who had opened a bookstore there specialized in SF. Down in the cellar he kept hundreds of SF classics, like Frank Herbert’s “Dune”, Ian McDonal’s “Desolation Road”, William Gibson’s “Neuromancer”, Ursula Le Guin “The Left Hand of Darkness”. I started from there, with the crazy ambition of imitating the writers that I now consider my teachers and sources of inspiration.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write Science Fiction, which means I set my stories in the near future and mostly on Earth. I can’t really write about other worlds as I believe there’s enough “alien realities” and “otherness” here on our planet, just around the corner of wherever we live, to light up any sense of wonder and walk into an “uncanny valley”. Lately I am interested in exploring the solarpunk and human augmentation subgenres – say sustainable energies and posthuman issues driven by technologies like CRISPR-Cas9 – as tools to analyze the biopolitical scenarios we’re heading to in the next years.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I used to have a routine of writing very early in the morning (from 6 to 8am). I’ve managed to write 4 novels and 7 short stories in this way, over the course of 6 years. But since I’ve opened a small press called Future Fiction dedicated to scouting, translating and publishing the best SF authors from every corner of the world, I have changed my schedule. Now I try to concentrate the first draft of my writings during some weeks where I focus all day long and then edit the material whenever I can find some spare time during the year. I became a full time writer 10 years ago, so I have plenty of time, but I need to organize it in a very efficient way, since Future Fiction is taking a lot of my time in reading other people’s stories, going to Book Fairs and SF Cons around the world. Lately I’ve turned also into a public speaker so the time for writing is getting smaller and smaller but more intense.

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

Good question and not easy to answer. Let’s say I like to build an interesting plot. My stories are always driven by the actions and desires of the main characters because I think readers should always identify themselves with the themes at stake. Also I am a very curious researcher and careful editor, that means I work a lot on new, breakthrough ideas, or at least on innovative ways to retelling them as not to leave the feeling of “being there, done that”. For me, fiction is the best way to discover new realities through the eyes of someone who can make me believe he/she has been there.

Over the years, I’ve developed a great attention to “meaningful details” and to master the themes of the stories I write about. I need to know a lot more than what appears on paper (the famous “iceberg” approach) and not just in the first draft but also during the revision, which takes much more time and dedication than the first draft (approx. 3-4 times more). My latest novel – the Walkers – went through 9 different revisions and at least three editors looked at the story before I could consider it ready to be published.

So I’ve learned to wait, to have a discipline, not to rush to the end, and then to appreciate the process more than the finish. Maturity taught me that a writer’s biggest enemy is not sold book or selling charts but time; I write to win its favor.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I’m an outliner. I like to know where I am going and also where I am taking the readers. During the plotting, I sketch the course of actions and relationships between the main characters. Then of course I allow myself the freedom to wander around and take different directions if they are in line with the general path. I limit the improvisation to the writing phase, also because I believe in the value of content density, meaning that writing should embody the highest level of meaning in the shortest amount of words. To achieve this goal, I write brief summaries of every chapter as they – at least for me – should respect a sort of “opening-apex-hook” dramatic structure.

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

There isn’t a specific goal: writing is already a kind of reward for me and the feeling that I am contributing with novels and short stories to a wider discussion (the future of mankind, the ever changing relationship between man and machine, the development of biopolitics) is a stimulating challenge for my mind. I enjoy the moment when a new idea crosses my thoughts, the very moment when a piece of dramatic information has the potential of turning into a full story, the craft of an interesting scenario that comes alive in front of your own eyes. In a way, it’s like playing God with possible futures, exploring the good and bad of mankind behavior… and that’s not a small thing for me. And then, most of all, when I go to SF Cons and Book Fairs around the world and I can share all these experiences and discussions with other fellow writers and readers, that’s when I truly feel happy and satisfied. It’s a difficult job in terms of money (small payments, no insurance about the future, no idea if your next book will be good as a previous one) with lots of personal disappointments, emotional failings and hard time but it’s also the only job I wouldn’t change with anything else.

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

An editor once told me: “Furnish your plot, not your character’s thoughts,” meaning that actions should emerge from the character’s behaviour and not from his/her mumbling and concerns. Readers are best engaged by other people’s actions and reactions more than their thoughts and internal monologues. That doesn’t mean characters should be flat and simply driven by hectic actions like in a thriller movie, but that – on the contrary – all inside feelings and emotions should rise to the surface of behaviour during the course of events and physical actions. In other words, it simply means putting real life into fiction and not consider fiction as a literary world outside the real one. I’ve learned maybe a very simple thing: that fiction imitates life and life imitates fiction. That’s what makes Science Fiction plausible and move the readers mind in a wonderful direction: a story that keeps doing its job even when the book is over since a long time. The persistence of a book is the best measure of its quality.

I hear your novel “Nexhuman” has been translated from Italian into English and published by Apex books. Care to elaborate on that?

It took around 8 years to write the book, publish it on Delos Books in Italy, then have it translated in English and publish it in Australia with Xoum and then finally to arrive on the US market thanks to Jason Sizemore who liked it so much he decided to have a US edition of Nexhuman.

So I am very happy to see an Italian SF book published by an established and highly valued SF publishing house like Apex since a very long time. The US market is almost impossible to enter if you don’t write in English, which means the costs of translation are often on the shoulders of writers or the publishing house that decides to invest in it (except maybe for mainstream and literary books that have a slightly better treatment thanks to funds and grants). So paradoxically, in SF, where there should be more openness and desire to overcome boundaries and limitations than any other genre, we see a totally different picture: it’s been formally addressed as the “3% Problem”, meaning that only 3% of what is published in the US market comes from Non-English speaking countries and in that 3% are included all the languages of the World!

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’ve just published in Italian on Future Fiction the first book of my latest novel called “The Walkers” which is made of two stories: “The Pulldogs” and “No/Mad/Land”. The first book has been already translated in English by Jennifer Delare and I hope to find a publisher for it outside of Italy.

Then on the editing side, I’ve worked with Bill Campbell, editor of Rosarium Publishing to publish an anthology called “Future Fiction: New Dimensions in International SF”, where we’ve selected stories from the best SF authors from the world coming also from Non-English speaking countries. And the same thing I’ve done China with Guangzhou Blue Ocean Press selecting SF stories for high-schools and universities students.

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Find Francesco online:

Web Page: www.futurefiction.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/francesco.verso.31

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Francesco_Verso

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4817872.Francesco_Verso

Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Francesco-Verso/e/B005BOQNRY

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