Saturday, April 25, 2020

finding time... or inspiration

Things have been changing so much, and with them, we tweaked our habits to adjust to the new routine.

For those who, like me, live close to the woods, escaping people and having the chance to spend some time outdoors had been easy. 
I found out that moving closer to the woods was the best idea ever, and now that choice is paying off. Nevertheless, even in this blessed condition, some restrictions keep bugging my daily schedule.
The routine around which my days were turning around had been impacted. The first thing to be affected negatively was the level of inspiration to write my books. All of a sudden, my imaginary friends went on quarantine.

Having my family living in another country, where the epidemics have stricken badly, kept my mind busy, guessing whether they were alright. Communications technology helped greatly to be reassured of loved ones' health status.
Yet, no inspiration.
I used to write 3000 words a day, keeping the weekends for marketing and household chores. Now everything seems to be upside down. 
Until the last week, I wrote just 3000 words a week, which is bad, considering I planned to release the new book by June.
At this point, I'm not sure I will make it.

Working from home made everything difficult.
When, in the beginning, we all were saying that finally, we proved that people can work remotely from home. 
Now I can say that, although this is certainly possible for my job, it's nearly impossible for the organization of my time. 
It turned out that I am one of those people who needs a place far from home to take care of their job.
I don't know whether it's something I need to get used to, but I'm considering returning to my working place. 
There, I have my own room, and when the door is closed, and nobody is allowed in, it's like a second quarantine place.
I haven't yet returned there, but I will make a test to see whether this can be a viable option.
There is, though, a silver lining on this situation, and I can see the end of this long inspiration-less period. Yesterday I could reach my 3000 words written, hoping this means that my imaginary friends are back. Yet, there's still the problem of organizing my daily routine, which I hope I will be able to fix a bit in the following days. Meantime, let's keep ourselves and our neighbor safe, keep distancing, and try to remain sane in this nerve-wracking period.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The gang of Authors is back

We all know that there is strength in numbers, and this has been proved on many occasions also in history. This time, I am talking about the strength that comes when a few amazing authors out their strengths together willing to promote and help each other.
This is the meaning for the group that was born as a 'Gang of Authors helping each other.'
Today I am going to brag about each of those fabulous writers: 

   We write in many genres and we all have our distinct voice. There is a genre and a style for everyone. This is your one-stop-shop, for booklovers, and if you follow this video, you will understand what I mean:

This is the second video we've made to introduce ourselves, and I hope you will go and check us all out. After all, in this lockdown situation, who doesn't need a good read to escape the boredom and the reality, even if just for a while.


Erika M Szabo
“The writing bug bit me on a rainy afternoon when I couldn’t find any new book to read. My daughter had enough of my moping around and snapped at me, “Mom, stop whining! If you haven’t a book to read, then write one.” Her challenge shocked me, but I started playing with the idea and I’ve been writing stories, that I like to read, ever since.”
Erika loves to dance to her own tunes and follow her dreams, introduces her story writing skills and her books that are based on creative imagination with themes such as alternate history, urban fantasy, cozy mystery, sweet romance, and supernatural stories. Her children’s stories are informative, educational, and deliver moral values in a non-preachy way.
“I followed my dream to become a writer. As an artist, I paint pretty pictures with my brushes, and as a writer, I paint vivid pictures with my words.”


PJ Mann
My name is Paula and I write novels. I live with my husband and a rabbit. I work as an engineering geologist at a construction firm in Finland, and only in my spare time, I sit down at my desk writing stories. You can consider me a sort of wandering writer, and I try, as much as possible, to be on the move. My stories are strongly influenced by what I experience and see during my travels around the world. I am a multi-genre author, but the red wire of my novels is the suspense/drama.
I love to walk in nature with my camera; photography is another of my passions. I believe it’s very closely connected to writing novels as every image tells a story, for those who stop to listen.


Cindy J. Smith
I was taught if I couldn't say anything nice don't say anything. Since biting my tongue was painful and soap tasted bad, I developed voices arguing inside my head. When I found writing my thoughts brought me some silence, I took up the pen. It was not long before I realized poetry was much easier than full sentences and I could say exactly what was in my heart.
Strangely, I soon noticed I could put myself in other’s shoes and empathize with their viewpoint.
It was my daughter who encouraged me to share my poems.  She believed they would help others cope...letting them know they were not alone in their thoughts.
I write now about every aspect of life in hopes someone may be touched and be encouraged to keep trying.

Christina Weigand
​A writer, wife, and mother of four grown children. She is also Nana to five granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Pennsylvania after a short sabbatical in the lovely state of Washington. She has three published YA Christian Fantasy novels; Palace of the Twelve Pillars: Book One, Palace of the Three Crosses: Book Two and Sanctuary of Nine Dragons: Book Three. She also has a woman’s Bible study Women of the Bible: A Study published. Recently the first two books in an MG Fantasy series were published, Sir E. Robert Smythe and the School Bully and Sir E. Robert Smythe and the Lost Detective with the remaining four to be published the near future. Through her writing, she strives to share the Word of God and help people young and old to realize the love and mercy He has for everyone.

Darlene Deluca
“Books . . . chocolate . . . tea. These are a few of my favorite things. Combine them with a sunny summer day, and perhaps a beach or pool, and call me happy!”
Deluca writes women’s fiction, contemporary romance, and mainstream fiction with romantic elements. She likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart.  Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love, and self-discovery, and will leave you either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as you turn the final page.
And just so you know . . . she likes a happy, or at least a positive, ending.

Alan Zacher
Author of private investigator mysteries, humorous occult fiction, fantasy adventure fiction, and short stories. After many years of being a "struggling" actor in LA, Alan turned to write.
"My writing has always been for entertainment--to put a smile on someone's face who might be having a bad day. I write, mostly, light-horror and murder/mystery. I like these two genres because of the freedom they give me to explore man's inner emotions, feelings, and emotions--but it must always have humor! We must always laugh; mostly at ourselves. I have had MS for several years now; I know physical and mental pain; so I need much laughter to endure it. Hopefully, my novels do just that--give you much laughter."

Carol Ann Kauffman
Carol Ann’s books range from short stories to full-length novels. Her novels are classified as romantic action adventures with a sci-fi/ fantasy twist, and mysteries. They’re about life, love, loss, and lunacy. She is a retired teacher. She has worked as a printer, managed a department store office, worked as an insurance agent, and in the hardware and automotive industries. She was a Red Cross volunteer.
Carol loves to travel; her favorite places being Italy, Aruba, and the American Southwest, which tend to show up in her novels.
“I also love to stay at home. I get lost in my own little world, where I always have more than a few stories in progress. I grow orchids and African violets, and still like to play in the dirt!”


Suzi Albracht
I am the author of Supernatural Horror Crime Thrillers and Paranormal Romance/Ghost novels. My characters have full, normal lives that get twisted into something horrific or intensely strange. Whether they become a ghost and discover a new, undead world to roam or find themselves in pursuit of a dangerous madman with connections to the dark underworld, I want my readers to feel their pain, their joy, their fear... with every right or wrong turn they take along the way.
While I humbly submit that my main influences are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and William Faulkner, my style leans closer to that of early Stephen King. My twitter bio describes me to a T - Write, scare myself, turn all the lights on, write some more. Take a break, play pool, kick-butt/get butt kicked, go write more horror, double lock door.
You can find my books at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.


Randall Krzak
A U.S. Army veteran and retired senior civil servant, spending thirty years in Europe, Africa, Central America, and the Middle East. His residency abroad qualifies him to build rich worlds in his action-adventure novels and short stories. Familiar with customs, laws, and social norms, he promotes these to create authentic characters and scenery.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and two masters from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. Randall and his Scottish wife, Sylvia, currently reside in Dunfermline, Scotland. His hobbies include hiking, reading, candle making, pyrography, and sightseeing.
Why did Randall become a writer? Someone suggested he give it a try, so Randall blames his friend. Randall ventured into fiction writing later in life, with his first novel being released at age 62. In just over three years, he's published four novels. He enjoys reading and writing global thrillers and has three more underway.

Rebecca Tran
I am a mother, pharmacist, and author. I love all things fantasy and sci-fi. Romance is always a welcome bonus. I have two little girls and I love dogs, I have two of those as well, a Boston Terrier and a Pittie mix. So technically some would say I have four kids. I am currently working on my blog as well as my romance and fantasy series. I am the ultimate nerd who can’t choose between Star Wars and Star Trek and thinks that Dr. Who would figure out a way to beat all of them. I still read comic books and love watching anime. We can talk for hours if you know who Kirito, Naruto, or Goku are. If you'd like to read my blog or know more about me or my books, please check out my website.


A.L. Butcher
British-born A. L. Butcher is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer, a lover of science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her prose has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as ‘evocative’. She writes with a sure and sometimes erotic sensibility of things that might have been, never were, but could be.
Alex is the author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles and the Tales of Erana lyrical fantasy series. She also has several short stories in the fantasy, fantasy romance genres with occasional forays into gothic style horror, including the Legacy of the Mask series. With a background in politics, classical studies, ancient history, and myth, her affinities bring an eclectic and unique flavor in her work, mixing reality and dream in alchemical proportions that bring her characters and worlds to life.


L.L. Thomsen
Pick up one of L. L. Thomsen’s high fantasy books and you get treated to an explosion of immersive prose, complicated characters, mystery, and plots. Her main world, Dallancea, is home to nine realms and a wealth of races – some known, some entirely new. You do not have to be familiar with fantasy to enjoy the books, but those who are will recognize her zest to spin you an epic tale of complexity and to explore her characters to the core.
“I invented my first character when I was around five years old,” L. L. laughs, “they lived in my head and took me on adventures at bedtime after ‘lights out’. These days I allow them onto paper. There’s not enough space in my head anymore.”
L. L. currently lives with her family + two cats and a dog, in the back-of-beyond near the Sherwood Forrest, U.K.


R.M. Garino
How now, folks. I'm R.M. Garino, the author of the Chaos of Souls Series. Ever wish you could bring your D&D characters to life? Well, that’s exactly what we did. Although the overarching story of angels and demons is much older, our two main characters were fleshed out from a D&D game my wife and I played with friends ages ago. They're introduced, along with their misfit squads, in The Gates of Golorath, and their adventures continue throughout the series. We've also released a standalone series, the Chaos of Souls Novellas, which captures separate side stories that enrich the main series. Requiem's Reach is the first volume, and we continue from there. If you're looking for a thoughtful, somewhat irreverent fantasy that puts the stories and character first, then come on over and give us a read.

So, have a great weekend and choose your read!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

About my latest release - A sneak peek!

Hello, Shiny People in this world!
It's Saturday again and I wanted to bring you something new. As the title already says, it's going to be a sneak peek at my latest release.
Following the trend I have started with the previous release, I wanted to try something new and moved away from my comfort zone. The inspiration for this one came from my interest in voodoo rites, connected also with my African journeys.
This story is set in the Congolese rain forest on the stretches of the Virunga National Reserve.
For me, that place holds a lot of memories, I keep dearly in my heart, and that is the reason why I haven't set the story in a place like Togo, or Benin, where the voodoo is practiced. To tell the truth there isn't a direct connection with voodoo in particular, but with a general idea of the forces governing the underworld.
This time, I decided to bring you an excerpt from the novel, more precisely the introduction chapter:

The heat in the bar was almost unbearable; The fan on the roof creaked on its rusty rotor, lazily stirring the air in the bar, overheated by the constant humidity of the stretches along the border with the thick of the rain forest.
Jason slammed his empty glass on the scarred wooden table, scattering hardened food remnants from earlier patrons.
He glanced around and took a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe the sweat from his forehead. Omar, the bartender, watched with his dark eyes as he dried spotted glasses, fresh from the old dishwasher. From time to time, he flipped the dirty rag to shoo the flies and mosquitoes that had taken up residence.
Old programs ran on the television over the bar, the decades-old voices a drone behind the din of the patrons.
“Bring me another one, Omar, will you?” Jason shook the empty glass in the direction of the barkeeper.
Omar arched an eyebrow. “Your mistress won’t be pleased to have you drink so much. Besides, it won’t be good for your health.”
He placed the rag on the table, and as he grabbed the whiskey bottle, he walked to the table where Jason was seated.
“She is never pleased with me anyway, so why bother? Concerning my health, I am afraid death will not come soon enough,” he observed as he watched Omar reaching his table and pouring the whiskey in the glass.
“Leave the bottle here, it will make things easier for you,” Jason added.
“As you wish, boss. I am just giving a bit of friendly advice,” Omar replied, walking away on the squeaking wooden floor, creaking at every step, threatening to fail any minute then. “The only suggestion I can give is that when things are desperate, you should do all it takes to avoid turning them into something worse.”
“Ah, the old wisdom of the elders...” Jason mumbled, observing the color of the whiskey in his glass.
He never thought he would have been stuck in that God-forsaken spot in the heart of Africa. He never even considered it possible for a mzungu to be grounded there. Where am I, by the way? This place is not even mentioned on any map. It’s like being brought to another dimension or another nightmare.
“She told me soon another guy will arrive. I hope he will be wise enough not to disappoint Her in any way. I will warn him about the dangers, but in the end, it will be all up to him.”
Omar peered at him with a surprised expression, pausing from drying the glasses. “I really wish so too. One mzungu is enough to have in this bar.”
He laughed heartily, showing his white teeth.
“I agree with you, but it’s not because I wouldn’t like to have some company, rather because I would never wish for anyone to have my same fate,” Jason replied.
“Do you know already when he will come?”
“No, I have no idea, but she said he will soon be ready, and she is never wrong...”

I hope you enjoyed this small introduction to this novel, if you want to know more, you can check it out at:
Of course, if you have any question, you can drop me a message, even in the comments or through messenger:
Stay safe and stay at home!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

The road to success?

For some reason, recently in my feeds are coming up with a lot of questions about this topic. How to reach success?
To be honest, I am the least to give any advice. I also think that success has so many facets and is bound to just as many factors.
The reason, I suppose, those questions are rising up mostly now, is due to the uncertain times we're going through. The pandemic has taken away all the rational thinking, replacing with an irrational, yet understandable fear.
Many of us are facing unemployment, and particularly, for freelancers, this might mean bankruptcy, hence the need to reshape a career into something new.
This is also affecting writers, as they need people to buy their books. However, with this crisis going on, people are more careful with their expenses.
So, success, how to reach it in these times?
First of all, don't get overwhelmed by fear, although I understand it is not that easy.
The best piece of advice is to keep your mind free from the fog of panic. Once you think clearly, you will be able to focus on the solution to your problems.
This is the best time to try a different approach, which is building relationships. This is the time when you create engagement that will secure your future readership. About how to do this is, once again, up to you and the kind of readership you want to build. Creating groups is another great way, but it's very tricky if you are a multigenre author. One suggestion is creating a group inglobating the most recurrent theme in your novels. Another way is creating several groups for the main genres you are writing (but this requires a lot of energies and time).
If time is not an issue, then the latter is probably the best option. Otherwise, you can hire a virtual assistant to take care of running your groups. Yet, make sure that the virtual assistant can attract the right audience to your group.
The more creative you can get, the better you will do, and remember that success coming to those who persevere and never give up. This is especially true in difficult times.
All the best to you all, and wish you all success.

The long road of writing a book.

Publishing a book is a journey on a rocky path that involves several stages, from writing and pre-editing to editing, formatting, selecting ...