Writer Wednesday


And the reading month is over, phew! By the way, for the first time since I got it in 2011, Kindle Keyboard a.k.a. KK died on me in the middle of a story. Battery dead. I guess I intensively used it! 🙂 Now it’s all charged up again for the trip, when I hope to finish the novel I started in January and then move on to other things.

So this week I’m adding the second POV to the novella rejected by TOR. Hope to finish before I leave so I can take it with me and check the typos while I’m traveling. Also that the story flows, since I’m currently not really cycling. I’m simply adding scenes from notes that I took when I sent it out, so I’ll need to re-read it all in as few sittings as possible.

In March I’ll also make sure to fill the Worldcon 75 Programme Volunteer Form – as soon as I’m certain I can have that week off in August, that is. And maybe I’ll do some other online workshop, while writing the next book.

A couple of writerly links! Take the test to see if you have author potential! I don’t because I’m a writer, not an author, LOL! I think Authors are those One-Book-Wonder who are everywhere. But saving your docs outside the cloud and outside the PC is a good idea… I lost a novel to a floppy disk in the 1990s, so… always have more than one copy! 😉

And beware of the new scam of sensitivity readers (along with the other ones)! Me? If I write about something I don’t know, I ask an expert to check it. I certainly don’t pay anyone to tell me if it’s politically correct or not. There’s also the thing that this “censorship” goes mostly for YA and children, and I don’t write in those areas…

Fiction readers* often have to tell hard truths.

And we often piss people off.

And sometimes we miss getting something perfectly right.

And we get bad reviews because someone doesn’t agree with us.

Who cares????

If we write what we are passionate about, what we care about, what makes each of us happy, what other people think should never, ever matter.

Ever.

Period.

Write your own story. Get it out to readers and write the next story.

Keep learning, keep having fun, and keep writing new stories.

You do that and trust me, none of these scams will even tempt you in the slightest.

*I think he means “writers”, but you get it, don’t you? Don’t waste money on scammers. Happy writing! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


So, it’s a reading month and I’m telling you that I look forward to going back to writing! 😉 I’m a slow reader and it tends to send me to sleep, so… I hope from next month to read a little less and write a lot more and maybe watch a movie or three, since my pile just went up again!

water-and-air-1563x2500_resizeTor rejected my novella (after almost 2 months) and I’m quite happy about it because I can order a cover to a wonderful artist () and add that second point of view I had in mind to turn it into a short novel… not to mention writing the sequel, so I already know what I’m writing in March! 😀

And a new title is out, Quests Volume 1 that contains the Path of Water and the Path of Air with cover by the awesome Shafali Anand. The paper version when I have more time to work on it, be patient, thank you! 🙂

61qsf9igudlI would also recommend to keep an eye on Mysterious Kemet – Book 1 by S.R. Anand (I wonder if they’re related? 😉 I’m sure we have the same cover artist!) which will go on my TBR pile as soon as I get home in March. I also hope to invite the author on this very blog then (I mean after I read the book)! 🙂

From a friend’s blog, a new series of how to… for indie authors! 🙂 So if you’re just starting up, you might check these – the posts will keep coming, I’m told! 🙂 How to claim your title on Amazon Author Central, how to add social media buttons on Goodreads, and so on…

Also, if you’re a bestseller, watch out, Amazon is making sure you are – not my case, but I’ve seeen plenty of “bestselling author” labels that made me wonder… I’m glad someone is checking that those labels are hard-earned and true! 😉

And a good article on how to seek help the right way. You might do like Indie Author 1 and ask the wrong question to the wrong person! 😉 I know Indie Author 2 and I heard his plea, which reminded me of my shelved historical – shelved because I don’t like the story anymore, not just because beta-readers didn’t think it fit the “historical novel” mold.

I also stopped looking for beta-readers unless I write something for the first time or something I’m unfamiliar with and want an “expert” to fact-check what I did. Or maybe I’ll ask the cover artist to read the whole thing. But for the Quests books, for example, I sent out to betas only book 2 and 3 (book 4 comes out next month and I sent it directly to the editor).

Why? Because in one case I had a young male’s POV and even if he isn’t really human, I still needed a male’s perspective. And about Book 3, I was afraid I had gone too fast in the second half, and thanks to faithful offline beta (*waves at B-Abby*) I managed to balance it.

A couple more writerly links: why persist as a writer in times of such heinous fuckery (by – you guessed it! – Chuck Wendig) and how to keep writing through times of great political upheaval (by Chuck’s guest Kameron Hurley). I’m not giving up, and look forward to get back to writing, but I’m tangled into reading this month! 😉

Have a great week… Happy writing! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


Been reading like crazy and not writing much, but I found an interesting site of futurists and how they see the world. So if for example you want to know about the future of work, you can see that the only way to have a job in the future it to be creative – until AIs become better than us at that too, of course.

I have a still unpublished short story about a bleak future for writers, but we’re not there yet. We’re not even close, actually. So it’s okay to be discouraged if writing is not your primary need, but otherwise please check this post on the importance of writing in difficult times. Because it escapism is not a dirty word.

I certainly will keep writing, especially on other worlds, but probably also on this godforesaken planet, even though things look pretty grim – unless you study that futuristic Quantum Run site, that is! Things are not so bleak if you check that! 🙂 And there’s the real value of hope

A project that looks cool for when I finish the current moleskine (I’m still using the ones that were gifted to me by friends around 2002…) is this INDITE notebook… I like the fact that I can write longhand again! 🙂

Other good indie news – both Smashwords and Draft2Digital have taken out the “minimum treshold” for Paypal payments (was 10$ on both sites), so money will trickle in more regularly from this year. I wonder if things changed at Paypal to allow both to drop the minimum treshold…

Have a great week! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


So, wordcount for January was 40K, not bad considering that I’m only just now starting to take care of my health. I’m not aiming at 500K this year, unless the meds kick in and in the second half of the year I gain some momentum.

For now I’ll just do what I can and allow my thyroid to recover. I have a lot of compulsive reading to do this month, so I’m afraid I won’t have much time to write, but in March I hope to get back on track. I mean, I spent most of October and half of March NOT writing last year, and still had 470K words at the end of the year. So, not really worried here.

The publishing is also slowed down because I didn’t even have time (or energy) to translate something back in Italian (besides, Cinder Boy in Italian is still selling since December, so…)! 🙂 There will be a title out in February and maybe two in March – I’m also trying a new proofreader with stories I wrote last year and I’m currently expanding.

Some writerly links! The Data Divide! Which includes links to the Authors Earnings report and lots of other stuff. A great analysis of the world of publishing, as usual. And if you’re still afraid of something, keep an eye on Dean Wesley Smith’s blog.

—Do not make escaping your day job a goal for your writing.

I hear this all the time, but the pressure is too much on the writing because the day job, the “real job,” is what makes everything tick.

But don’t worry, if you keep the writing fun, keep your family supporting you, keep learning, eventually the money from the business side will overwhelm the day job money. And by then you will have gotten help to deal with it all mentally, right?

Just don’t make the writing so important, so special, that it threatens the “real job.” If it does, you will grind to a halt fairly quickly because how we were all raised doesn’t allow threats to what pays the bills.

Read that? I’ll have to paste it on my wall. This was on the post about the fear of a real paycheck. I’ll freely admit I’m scared to go freelance after having a steady job for almost thirty years. Unfortunately thirty years ago I wasn’t as strong as Dean was (and was too attached to my family still).

So I’m still considering alternatives (I’d consider publishing a job, not writing, but like he says somewhere else, I can’t just publish myself, I need to have other forms of revenue or it will take the fun out of writing, and I won’t let that happen ever again). Probably Patreon could help with a “steady” monthly income, if I figure out how to set it up well!

Sometime this year, when I recover some strength and feel less tired, though. Like I said, I’m taking it easy this year. I’m a fast writer anyway, and I bought in the rewriting myth once (I called it Rewriting Hell) and swore never again.

I was and will always be a one (maximum two) draft writer (sometimes I expand or rewrite the end because I wasn’t happy with it in the first place – I tend to want to wrap up too quickly and when I go back to it, I realize what’s missing), but then I don’t have an English teacher barking rules in my head, since I’m an ESL writer! 😉

kobo-promoBefore I forget! The Path of Water (Quests Book 1) should be at 99cents this weekend! And tomorrow is the last day for the Kobo UK promo – Norman Blood at 2£! Onward and have a great week! 😀

Writer Wednesday


So, Quests 4 wrapped. Other stories good to go. Italian title published. Character interviews almost all ready to go. Monthly wordcount not checked yet, but I’m sure I’m on the roll! Phew, this writing business is stressing! 😉 Maybe I should take a break and study some.

Oh, and I was interviewed at the awesome Coffee with Architects of Worlds Afar! A very funny and unusual interview… it was a pleasure to “talk” to Jessica! Now to some writerly links!

On Jeff Bezos’s birthday another non-fiction book came out! I read and enjoyed the first in the series and I’m really considering getting the rest of them… if I manage to take down my TBR pile a little bit! But I still have dozens of novels AND non-fiction books like this one to read on my Kindle, so… just adding it to the wishlist. Highly recommended author and series.

And more visions of the future by Kris Rusch, which actually gives me hope. If most people are falling off the grid because the gold rush is over, only the people who genuinely like to write and create stories will be left. Less competion, more chances for me! 😉

There’s still the discoverability problem in the English-speaking market. I sell 10-20 copies of new titles in Italian because there are so few indie authors in Italy. The English version usually sells 1 or 2 copies (and I’m on first-name-basis with those readers, haha!) because the market is cluttered.

But if the get-rich-quick writers go away, there will be more room for whoever has the stamina to stay. So it’s actually good news for me. Like I mentioned, I might write less, but I’ll keep writing and publishing. There are still plenty of stories that want to come out.

And there’s some that will remain in the drawer forever because either I don’t like them anymore or because I’m changing and I see all their flaws and I’m not excited enough about them to revive them with a redraft. I’ll keep them as background, worldbuilding, whatever, and keep going.

Next on the to-do list: check a few short stories I wrote last year and decide if they’re ready for the editor and the publisher or should just stay in the aforementioned drawer! 😉

Have a great week!

Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing to start the year well. Enjoy.

Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of defining your accomplishments by what other people did better. Someone climbed Mt Everest before you did, but by God, if you climb Mt Everest, you deserve a cookie. And “better” doesn’t mean “first”. “Better” may not even be what you think it is. Is it sales? Or critical acclaim? What? Go you and do what you need to do with your art because you need to do it.

Don’t get caught in the trap of believing you need to be first in line to be noticed. Who cares who drew the first comic on an iPad? Does anyone even remember? Of course not. Because that turns art into artifacts, and you’re not creating artifacts, you don’t need to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for Most Comic Book Pages Drawn While Hanging Upside Down Like a Bat.

You’re trying to connect with your readers by telling stories that have meaning to you and to them. Believe in what you are doing and the rest will follow…or not.

And if you never get that acclaim or those big sales, well, you did something real. And artificially trying to make yourself a Special Snowflake forever because you did it FIRST isn’t real.

Just tell your story…Climb Mt Everest. It doesn’t matter if someone else got there first. It’s your journey.

Colleen Doran

“Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. Anything at all… as long as you tell the truth… Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex, and work… What you know makes you unique in some other way. Be brave.”

Stephen King

Write books, authors. Write stories. Channel your emotions, your fears, your vulnerabilities into your work. Swallow the hurt and give voice to a song. In your books, which is what you are here for in the first place. Everywhere else? Post about cats and beards and the cupcake you had instead of dinner. Better to be banal than a bitch. Because readers will flock to the cats and the cupcakes and possibly bring you baked goods and collars with your cover art as collars to singings. But they’ll get a front row seat to watch the bitch go down.

Every. Single. Time.

Heidi Culliman

You can focus on social media and platform-building and brand-making, and it will yield you SOME return, sure. But… drum roll please…

It won’t yield you nearly as much as just concentrating on writing as many awesome books as you can for invested, functional publishers.

When a publisher asks you, “What’s your platform?” consider turning that question around and asking the publisher about THEIRS.

(…)

Be the best writer you can be. Online, be the best version of yourself. Have fun, be kind, work hard, have empathy, and hope for luck.

If you’re building a platform to sell books, don’t. If you’re altering yourself to fit a brand, dont. (Unless you’re an asshole, I guess.)

This is also not to say writers shouldn’t promote their own books! You shoul! I follow writers and *want* to hear about new releases!

(But I aldo don’t want those writers to pummel me in the crotch with ceaseless sales pitches, either.)

Anyway. Yeah. Platforms and brands are not magical solutions, so do not make them your focus, Okay? Okay.

NOW LET’S ALL GET DRUNK.

Chuck Wendig

In a recent yoga class, my teacher talked about the difference between having fun and enjoying yourself. Fun, she said, was an activity you do to escape your routines. However, enjoyment is the act of finding happiness in your routines and responsibilities. Therefore, another element of a good hobby is that it becomes a part of your daily or weekly habits, instead of something you use to run away from your writing (or life). This is why drinking, drugs, gambling and social media are so dangerous. They can provide fun via instant gratification, but long-run they don’t bring us joy. Better then to focus on habits and hobbies that help us be more plugged in to our lives–ones that allow us to enjoy ourselves.

Jaye Wells

Writer Wednesday


Mmm, still working on Quests 4 between assignments and other deadlines… but don’t worry, it will be sent out on time to Mighty Editor on the 23rd and will come out in March. In February I will publish Quests volume 1 which will include the Path of Water and the Path of Air and will also have the paperback version.

The newsletter went out with the free PDF that eventually will be available also on the publisher’s website. Still pondering about Patreon and rewards and all that stuff, but my brain is half-frozen, so I’m not very quick-thinking at the moment.

I realized I did the characters interview only for Quests 1, so I’ll soon publish Quests 2 and 3 character interviews! 😉 If you’re an author and would like to be interviewed or have your characters interviewed, drop me a line…

Only now did I find the time to look for the results of the Indie Author Survey I did last year… interesting as usual. Yes, Indie Publishing is a pot of gold for some (especially whoever writes romance, which I don’t, unfortunately) and a work in progress for most of the others – like me.

Also, Sunday is the last day to vote for the Golden Book Awards that include yours truly, so… go and vote if you haven’t already! 🙂

And another good news – both my web pages are mobile friendly! Check yours with this article

mobilefriendlyThat’s all for today! Have a great week! 😀

Happiness is…


97

Ah, that shelved historical novel… although I’m sure Kaylyn and Bran do the same with Robert when in London in the 1160 (so about 20 years before the historical novel)! 😉

Writer Wednesday


Happy New Year! Final wordcount for 2016 was almost 470K – still a little short from my goal of 500K, but never mind. Last year I wrote a little over 400K with the same goal – that I’m keeping on for this year – so I’m getting better!

If I reach it this year, I’ll pat myself on the back. That’s half pulp speed and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, please check this post by Dean Wesley Smith. And if you need help in setting your goals, here’s some help for your New Year perspectives.

Now I’ve made a sorta kinda priority list for this year, but I want to remain fluid. I know there are some stories that need to come out at certain dates (Vampires Through the Centuries…), but besides that, I feel free to write and publish when I feel like it.

And the first title of 2017 is out! The Path of Air (Quests Book 3) is now available as ebook. Oh, and I got neat banners showing up on DriveThruFiction… if you’re patient enough! 😉

dtfscreenshots2017Publishing news… bad start for authors who used All Romance Ebooks and Omnilit, but also for the sites’ readers. Here’s the first warning from Writer Beware and Kris Rusch’s take on it. I had procrastinated going to Omnilit (not another distributor, groan!) and apparently I was lucky. My heart goes to the many people involved in this mess.

Good news on the Smashwords front – from this year we get monthly payments if we meet the minimum treshold, much like Draft2Digital does, yay! Also, if you’re a romance writer (which I’m not), you might take advantage of their program with the Happy Ever After blog hosted by USA Today.

So, things don’t look too bad. I also sometimes think “What’s the point?” but I very quickly climb out of that deadly trap. My critical voice is very quiet since I don’t have an English teacher to blame for creative writing lessons, but still, sometimes the effort to be seen and read in the wide sea of publishing is overwhelming. Especially when I do sell some titles in the much smaller Italian market…

Anyhow, onward with the writing. Have a great week! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


Totally procrastinating writing this last week of the year! 😉 I’m not really blaming it on the Holidays (I’m actually more productive, usually, because everybody vanishes with family so I have plenty of time to write) but most certainly to a very distracting Muse and travel plans for the first two months of the new year.

So, going to London end of January and then to the US end of February and I still need to figure out what I must do with my passport expiring in July. Sigh. I hope to find less people tomorrow so I can at least ask info on what I’m supposed to do. I probably won’t request the new one until January, but I’d love to know if I must get a new one or if I can use the expiring one.

Quests 4 is slowly coming along in spite of the procrastination… and the writer has also made some plans for the new year. And a priority list, since it’s always hard to decide what to write first! And no, I’m not afraid of running out of ideas even if I don’t “recycle” old stuff anymore.

If you still have this problem, here’s Asimov’s suggestion – how to never run out of ideas again. I call it project block, more than writer’s block, and his solution is also mine. Like I said, I need to make priority lists or I’d keep bouncing from a project to another! 😉

I’m also starting to look at accomodation in Helsinki for the Worldcon… I’m sure August will creep up on me like the rest of the year. Now that it’s almost over, I can say it went by fast! I also hope to go to some medieval dinner or festival in Italy to cut on the traveling expenses… always useful for my historical fantasy series! 🙂

So next year I hope to publish one Silvery Earth story a month and another story of another series or a translation, so that’s two titles a month. I want to start on a new series (although I’ll need an online workshop first) and publish the stories I’ve written so far, plus a few that are still in embryo state.

Might help me to start a Patreon account. I will study other writers and come up with something. Next year. Stay tuned!

Have a great week! 🙂

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