Tag Archive for free

Not So Random Musings

Paper Birds

I’m overdue for an update. Usually, I have ideas and themes all worked out (and ebook giveaways all set), but this time it’s different. I still have books to give out, but the main theme of this “sharing” eludes me. So I’m going to write about a few issues that I found interesting in my last month of reading, editing, and watching the news. Reading Last year, I finally bit the bullet and started reading Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” series. I’m on book 11 now… Robert Jordan (this is a pen name of James Oliver Rigney Jr.) began writing the first book in these series, “The Eye of The World” in 1984 and only published it 1990. Considering just how popular and influential these series were/are, it gives hope for writers like me… I love the world created in these books. It’s very complex and deep (and wide). But I kept finding similarities to other fantasy series I’ve read. Of course, there’s the homage to Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series. But I expected that — those were really the founding high fantasy series that gave birth to all the rest. But there was also more than a…

Finding Inspiration

Experiment Z by Daywish

Books are not just a collection of words on a page. It takes time to birth a story. When I write, I do a lot of research. In addition to reading, annotating, and creating bibliographies on the science in my science fiction novels, I also collect images. For years, I had folders and folders of mood boards for each of my stories. I took photographs of the actual locations mentioned in my books. I made scrapbooks… I love my books illustrated, so I’ve even illustrated some of my books. But for those of you interested in seeing some of my photo research or just simply inspirational images from various artist that matched closely to what I saw in my head as I wrote the stories, I’ve created book boards on Pinterest. I’m not going to give summaries of each story I wrote here, but instead, I will say something of why the images you will see if you follow the links below speak to me and my stories. Enjoy! Suddenly, Paris Suddenly, Paris was my first science fiction book. It was first published in 2009 and then again (after a serious re-edit) in 2015. It deals with several locations that…

Of Food, Fun, Family, and Fiction

Becoming Animals Cards

I’ve stopped eating three times in my life… well, there might have been many other times — food intake is the easiest thing to control when life feels in turmoil — but those three times had very well defined triggers and so are easy to examine, evaluate, judge even. The first, let’s just call it the first for ease of telling, was when I was about ten. There were several schools in Leningrad that served its talented children and required admission process to get in. I’ve gone to a few of those: The Conservatory of Music — I’ve attended that one as a four or five year old, studying piano mostly; The Hermitage School of the Arts — I’ve started that at the same time as the Conservatory of Music; Leningrad School of Music — did time there as well until I rebelled by the end of third grade, if I remember correctly (piano, musical composition, chorus); A small art school not too far from the Hermitage on Fantanka street — for four years, I’ve spent three nights a week there studying drawing, art history, ceramics, watercolors; and it was my favorite even if very far away from home; And…

Searching for the story…

Stain Glass Window

I’m in the middle of two books now — one finished and ready for the fifth round of editing; and one that requires me to finally write an ending. Endings are hard… even when you know how things are going to end. But here’s a few insights from the book I’m finishing right now: God of Small Affairs. (No it’s not the first title I came up with… not even the tenth. Names are hard.) The Beginning I’ve started this particular story thinking it was just a short story, 5000 words max. By the time I got to about 17,000, I knew it was a book. But that was a surprise. This is not a first time a book surprised me into making me write it. The FATOFF Conspiracy was originally a short story too… and Twin Time. Short stories are very different from novel-length works. From the structure point of view, there are fewer characters, no subplots, and a lot less description of the setting and the characters populating the story. A short story simply doesn’t have room for world building… obviously. You grab the story with the first few words and don’t let go or digress for a…

Fall into eBooks

spilling stories

Let me start with a bit of my own personal good news. “Becoming Animals” just won the bronze medal from the Readers Favorite! It’s my third book that won something. So I guess I can now write “award-winning author” next to my name… Woo-hoo? To get this award, I will have to go to Florida and to one of the largest international book fairs. I’ve never been to a book fair before (I’ve been asked several times to go to the Frankfurt Fair, but always turned them down), so I guess this is as good time as any. If any of you are from around there, please come find me! I will need all the support I can get! 2018 Miami Book Fair November 16-18 — these are the dates I will be there! (Making a plunge here…) …and one more thing… look for my short story, “The Soil of my Ancestors,” in the Kyanite Press, a Journal of Speculative Fiction: Winter Digest 2018 – Fables and Fairy Tales, available on December 1st, 2018. This too is my little good news for the day. Thank you everyone! These last few years — the 2016 presidential election season and the Trump’s presidency — have been torturous when…

LEGION: Women of Sci-Fi

Legion Women Authors of SciFi

This month on Instafreebie, a group of women writers organized an ebook giveaway. There are amazing stories in this collection (and even two of mine). I hope you take a look and download a bunch… …and as you do, consider the design of a science fiction book cover! One of the interesting side benefits of these giveaways is the ability to view a bunch of covers all together. What do you see? Which books jump out at you? Can you spot problems with book design? I can — a lot of the typography doesn’t work in this size — too small or too convoluted in font selection, making either the name of the book or the name of the author unreadable. Another problem is color — some covers are too muted and lack contrast to stand out in a group. Others have too much detail and are hard to take in at a glance. First impressions matter — readers (as all humans) take in visual information quickly and make judgments based on emotion first (and then come up with reasoned justifications for those feelings). The job of a book cover designer is to make a good first impression, to allow…