Taste new indie voices on Bookfunnel!

In a sea of millions stories available on Amazon, the indie writer (despite her-his talent) is a single drop. Discoverability becomes a challenge.

To augment our visibility, instead of bickering, we help each other to make the stories more prominent.

Indie authors helping their discoverability

The main advantage of A Short and Awesome Promotion  is that the featured free stories are shorter than novels or trilogies. So,  between October 1-31, you get to taste various writers for free!

Time-limited joint promotions help readers discover new indie authors they might like. Besides my own work, you get to find many other voices. That’s discoverability.

My book “How to Think Inside the Box” has joined the Short and Awesome Promotion on Bookfunnel! If you like first contact stories featuring an alien POV, this one is for you! Dip into this chunky 7000-word SF story.

 

 

Books are like Ice cream

I always say that books are like ice cream, there are a lot of flavors besides vanilla. So among the 100+ authors participating, you might find some enjoyable stories by an unknown author.

Well, I found my wonderful friend SF author Douglas Smith offering “Spirit Dance”. Visit also Douglas’ website, a very comprehensive resource for writers in all stages of their career. Particularly of interest is his foreign-language markets list. His book, Playing the Short Game, is a must for the short-story writer wanting to get published in magazines.

Ignite by Emerald Dodge, is the brain behind this promotion. Her series of YA novels features Jillian Johnson, young superheroine called “Battlecry”.

See in particular the story “Beginnings” by Tikiri. The opening is grabbing and heart-wrenching. The author denounces in a firm voice the exploitation of women; her novel follows a trio of rebel women endeavouring to bring some justice in this harsh modern world. “Beginnings” reaches in the past on one of the “red-heeled rebels” heroines.

As for brand new voices in SF, the Clone Crisis prequel “Alexi” by first-time author Melissa Faye is a YA dystopian SF about, yes, a society made entirely of clones: how do you manage sound family relations?

“If the world is all clones, what happens to family units? Raising your own clone feels strange, like inbreeding” Melissa says aboutthe inspiration behind her series on her author’s website.

There are about one hundred short reads offered on the Bookfunnel page, enough to sate your thirst for reading. On Bookfunnel between october 1st to Halloween!

A parting word before you dive in this promo…

The most beautiful gift you can give the authors in exchange for their free book is to share your pleasure about it.

Leave a review on Goodreads.com or on any platform (Amazon, Kobo…) featuring the author’s books.

Reviews really go a long way to help a clueless reader (like me!) decides if the ebook is worth his-her time and money. Even simple “starred” evaluation do help readers in theri choices. Don’t leave a read book site silent!

Of course, after you have taken a taste, you can also visit the websites of your newly- discovered storytellers and buy their books!

header

Summary of the Short and Awesome Promotion:

WHAT: SF & fantasy short-stories and novellas

WHERE: On Bookfunnel.com

WHEN: between October 1st to 31st -Halloween eve!

HOW MUCH: Free!

WHO TO THANK: Emerald Dodge has organized this promo

HOW TO THANK an AUTHOR: Leave a ***** evaluation or a review on Goodreads.com (for a starters)!

 

 

Advertisements

Good Tidings for my Latest SF Novel

GroupePLusJuryLivres_IMG_0130

5 finalists : Maude Deschênes-Pradet, Marilyne Fortin, Karoline Georges, Michèle Laframboise, Mathieu Villeneuve. Behind, from the selection committee members: Billy Robinson, Guillaume Voisine, and Émilie Boulé-Roy. (Photo credits: Gilles Gagnon)

My science fiction novel La ruche (The hive), published by Les Six Brumes, is featured among the 5 finalists announced for the 2019 Horizons Imaginaires Award.

Marilyn_Cover250

(Yes, it contains a not-so-discreet homage to the iconic actress! A wonderful cover by Xin Ran Liu)

A selection committee composed of booksellers, publisher and a student has chosen the five books of science fiction/fantasy/horror. The full press release can be read on the website of the magazine Les Libraires.

The announcement was made in a nice bookshop (La librairie de Verdun) which offers a wide selection of books, and even some culinary items of high environmental quality. You can also sip a small coffee at the back.

During the school year, the five novels will be read by hordes of CEGEP students. Mathieu Lauzon-Dicso, who teaches literature at the Montréal Marianopolis College, explained how this prize was born in 2016, thanks to the passion of five students who wanted to further explore the field of Francophone imaginary litterature.

Unique in Quebec, the Prix des Horizons Imaginaire allows Cegep students to discover science fiction and fantasy written by French-speaking Canadian authors.

(Which includes Ontario, Whew!)

The winning work will be announced at the 40th Boreal Congress to be held in Sherbrooke. That gives the finalists nine beautiful months to brag!

The list of finalists and their publisher, plus the link to buy the books if you read French. Les Libraires are a network of independant bookstores.

Le Potager, de Marilyne Fortin (Québec Amérique)

Hivernages, de Maude Deschênes-Fortin (Éditions XYZ)

De synthèse, de Karoline Georges (Éditions Alto)

La Ruche, de Michèle Laframboise (Éditions Les Six Brumes)

Borealium tremens, de Mathieu Villeneuve (La Peuplade)

 

Writing Oneself in a Corner

The author writing herself in a corner

You know this famous joke about the guy who paint all the floor … to get caught in a corner, surrounded by a freshly applied layer of paint?

I do not know if you are like me, but there isn’t one story where I did not commit this blunder in writing… Even when I had a plan!

Last time, I was so hesitant that I missed a contest. It was a historical fantasy thing that worked perfectly … as long as I did not notice a 5-year gap in the dates!

A head-banging puzzle!

It was terrible conundrum, a head-banging puzzle: either I changed the date and the age of the main character, and the plot fell flat. Or I kept the factual error by arbitrarily changing the year, and it was a great story. (The story being in submission, I do not speak more about it).

I should have done more research. The mistake would have jumped in the face and it would have given another story.

I am happily preparing a series of historical mysteries following Domus Justice. (published in Fiction River 27, edited by the talented Kris Kathryn Rusch)  I realized that — I who adore the antique period – I took liberties with the plans of the Domus (house) in question. Moreover, it was not clear where were the toilets, hum!

So, in the subsequent stories, after serious re-study of the plans, I saw that I misplaced the altar of Lares, in a corner of the back garden. Heaven what to do? See this Wikipedia entry for a layout.

In this case, I decided not to change anything in my text about this site … and to pay more attention next time!

In establishing your historical setting, you have to “do your homework”! But be careful not to stretch this search time indefinitely …

 

Following the right tracks!

PointAuPointB600

I’m also wading into writing a crime novel (technically, a mystery). I found out that I sent my shy heroine twice to the same place. It allowed me to insert a beautiful sequence in the center of the novel … And to advance the investigation because she discovers a special clue.

But, what my heroine already knows when coming back to this place breaks some of the reveal progression, the tension. In addition, I have a bad tendency to multiply the oppositions when only one could do the trick. In short, have I put too much, diluting the danger?

Ah, la, la … I’m not out of the woods!

In a detective novel / polar / suspense where all the details must converge towards a strong resolution,  painting myself in a corner (whereas I made a plan, I recall it!) led to a catastrophe. I got embroiled in my tracks, adding motive over motive for my villain, to be certain that the assassin had a strong incentive to act!

I have not solved this problem yet, so I’m working on another creation while letting my creative subconscious search for a viable solution.

2018MichelePUSpogneeDansUnCoin

 

And you?

When was the last time you “wrote yourself in a corner”?

Music and Readings for the Afflicted

Photo prise hier soir par Mathieu Allard, ICI Ontario

When a dramatic event dripping with human stupidity happens, like the people killed in Toronto, the medias will take days to repeat the same words.

To help each other, here are some personal choices of readings and music to appease the sorrow mounting inside us and alleviate those moments when we doubt humanity.

IMG_0451 ClematysWeb

For those of you who stand near a empty room, my heart goes to you. May you live through this mourning knowing that you are not alone. May life bring to you hope and compassion.

*

My music and reading list to appease and heal those who are grieving :

Classical:

Albinoni Concerto, Adagio in G Minor (Albinoni) (Youtube here, still landscapes pictures)

The Foor Seasons by Vivaldi (Autumn)

Borodine – Prince Igor, polovtsian dances, (Youtube version with a female conductor, Sylwia Anna Janiak  Poland Symphony Orchestra of the Felix Nowowiejski Music School in Gdańsk, Poland; Note: very dynamic!

Glazunov, The Seasons, op. 67 – Autumn : Petit adagio played by the Philarmonie jeunesse de Montréal. (A little StarWars theme part near the end!)

Ave Maria by Schubert, interpreted by Andrea Bocelli and by Luciano Pavarotti (for the nostalgics, year not mentioned)

La Moldeau by Smetana (moody and beautiful, orchestra on Youtube, directed by Nejc Becan)

 

More modern:

Pierre Lapointe, Sais-tu qui tu es? Heard this morning (Video Youtube)

Enya (The Kelts) ballads

Soundtrack from the movie « Out of Africa », du grand déploiement – 14 minutes. Composé et dirigé par John Barry.

Any musical theme from a movies you liked.
(Wonderful movies Soundtracks – Youtube, still pictures, 1h23min)

Music of celtic inspiration (Youtube, images fixes, 2 heures!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzodaO2nwUw&t=3540s

A musical application, including a « safety plan » for people dealing with depression and sorrow. http://www.moodtools.org/   (I do not guarantee results, but it looks interesting!)

 

Readings

Reflexions and contemplation

Hubert Reeves/ La Plus Belle Histoire du Monde

Ursula K. LeGuin No time to Spare (réflexions)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33503495-no-time-to-spare

 

Inspirational novels

Flight Behavior, par Barbara Kingsolver.  The Great American Novel has been written. A story beginning with a butterfly… 464 pages.

Ronnie Roberts, her Poet, Oregon series: four short romance novels featuring endearing, modern characters.
The author doesn’t refrain from tackling social issues like homelessness in Fixer Upper, handicap and mental health in  Carolyn Explains, familial violence and cancer in Nailed it, which I am reading. Despite trials and disagreable opposants, her stories give back hope in the human gentleness.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27470552-the-fixer-upper
Page de Ronnie Roberts

 

Rebellious Mourning: Wait three month before reading this collection of hard accounts. This intimate, moving, and timely collection of essays points the way to a world in which the burden of grief is shared.  This collective sharing helps to walk towards a liberation.

Inspirational blogss

Maria Popova, Brain Pickings . This blogger collects reflexions from a variety of works. http://brainpickings.org

The blog of Ursula K. Leguin, still present. The annals of Pard, the domestic universe seen through a cat’s eyes.  http://ursulakleguin.com – go to « Blog »

Zen Pencils is an illustrated blog, featuring philosophical reflexions put in pictures.

 

At last, this fog bow (a white bow), a special encounter at dawn …

Extrait_EnCourant_ArcEnCiel

Just in Time for Groundhog Day!

2018 WhiteValentine_EbookCOVER_250

My latest opus, White Valentine, a foray into the sweet Romance realm, comes in time for Groundhog Day.

A big fantasy geek summons his courage for a blind date, only to be fooled by his GPS and locked out of his snowed in car. Being no elfin warrior, Nick plods on in the rapidly piling snow.

Delilah gazes at the snowstorm raging outside her window, not a princess either with the scar marring her face, her hopes wilting. Then she must leave her post to rescue her nice landlady from an ambitious nephew.

Will this snowfall doom their Valentine date?

A funny short-story dedicated to my author and mentor Kris Kathryn Rusch, who taught me how writing in various genres can be son fun! I met her at the recent Master Business Workshop in Oregon.

And yes, this is my first romance  short story, in the spirit of the eponymous romantic movie Groundhog Day, so close to Valentine Day!  But don’t take 12,395 days (Phil reliving Groundhog Day estimations according to movie buffs) to appreciate those who live near you! 

Order it in advance on the usual suspects (Kobo, Amazon, D2D…) or go directly to the universal link here!

Launch on… Groundhog Day.

 

 

Losing Ursula

LOST: a formidable, witty, science fiction and fantasy writer.

IF FOUND: please send her back to Portland, Oregon.

REWARD: millions of readers expecting her next stories!

UrsulaKLeGuin2007

A quick 2007 ink sketch I made in her presence, and that she approved and signed!

In person, I had the chance to met Ursula at the 30th Wiscon convention. We had approached her as a monument, a conception that her good humor shattered. I remember, after we had complained about the difficulty of getting published, that she told us “You know, it has always been difficult“.

Reading The Dispossessed, I felt like coming home. A sense of peace, rightness arose from the pages as I discovered how people lacking comfort and material possessions could live and achieve a reasonable happiness (with the small imperfections of life, because Ursula was a no non-sense writer).

Changing Planes is a beautiful collections of short-stories, a perfect introduction to paradoxal societies, like Those who walked away from Omela who turns on its head the maxim (the needs of the many prevail on the needs of an individual); here the happiness of a whole city hinges upon a price so horrible that some chose to walk away.

She transformed the landscape in SF by writing from a woman’s point of view; her heroes and heroines achieve their goals by more creative means than outright violence. And if they don’t achieve their goals, they discover that even an imperfect way of life can give them happiness as in The Dispossessed, The Lathe of Heaven, Four Ways to Forgiveness. I recommend the latter to show how a positive social evolution can come unexpectedly, getting there by side roads.

This citation, as she had to battle for her words in a mostly male literary environment.

“We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.”

Her writing had compassion and wits, lots of wits. I still have many books from her to discover, to get a better understanding of humanity (both halves of it, and more than the halves with the Left Hand of Darkness!)

Her blog gave visitors funny anecdotes about her cat Pard, reflections, poems and more. Some recent books available at the Bookview Café.

I leave the rest of this post to her voice. Here: a link to her extraordinary discourse at the national Book Award, where she denounces the expulsion of science fiction from the island of Literature.

The Guardian article reporting Ursula’s passing
The bookview café blog article, that she contributed to found. A group of authors that publish their ebooks independantly.

Margaret Atwood, an author who sometimes disagreed with UKL about science fiction, wrote this eulogy in the Guardian.

Catch some free minutes for you!

SurmenageHivernal2017coloriseFor my writing friends and artists, exhaustion and overworking are two companions of the indie worker. I’m no exception this year, starting my own company.

For this Christmas, I wish for you to catch a few of those flying minutes for yourself and for those you love. And if you can mute those minutes into hours and days, all the better!

 

What happens to your books after you die?

FinishedReadingPile1000My reading pile will stop growing! (Extract from the Sunday artist blog entry)

More seriously, your copyright will live on for 50 years after your death in Canada, 70 years after death in the USA. If you are a writer, learn how to protect your books after you pass away. Even if you don’t think they have any value!

Did you know that the singer Prince, did not leave a will when he died?  An ordeal  for the bereaved family.

Elvis Presley left a debt-ridden property to his daughter Lisa Mary (who was only 9 at the time). Priscilla Presley did step in to save Lisa Mary from ruin.

The latter exemple comes from a small and practical book by M.L. Buchmann, who writes military romantic suspenses (yes, it is a genre). I had the pleasure of meeting him in Oregon. There are stunning occurences of what can happen when personnalities die without a will (intestate) or when the heirs mismanaged the deceased writer’s IP, or leave the management into other (greedy) hands.

Here is the podcast of his interview at Kobo Writing Life with Mark Leslie. Matt is a hyper-organized writer: even if some rules only apply to the USA, most advices are valid for Canadians. To taste his brand of fiction, visit his author page.

A worldwide map of copyright term length, from Wikipedia: in some countries, that post-mortem life of copyright can last quite long…

 

A few useful references:

The Copyright Handbook – What Every Writer Needs to Know: Nolo Press (448 p.). The latest edition just came out (fal 2017) Quite expensive even for the e-bookbut they do have some sales like the Halloween sale on their website. Price in USD. I have the e-verson of the precedent edition (I knew there was a reason for the lower pricing…) That kind of book, you don’t want to read it in one sitting.

Helen Sedwick, Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook, Ten Gallon Press (<200 p.). Helen is a business lawyer with 30+ years of practicing. “Stay out of court and at your desk” is her motto. Her book’s last chapter list typical clauses in contracts, with the simpler plain English version besides. The new 2017 edition is out.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch- Business Musings: Prince, Estates, and The Future  and  Business Musings: Agents and Estates.  Those are two articles from her blog, but she has reunited some chronicles in books. Kris is a Science fiction and manygenres author about my age but with lots more published titles and experience. She has gotten real savvy on the business plan! I do recommand to follow her very rich blog.

Now, getting back to apply what I have learned…

October in Oregon

IMG_20171024_134238

Back from an intense Master Business workshop geared for independant SF&F and genre authors, in Lincoln City, Oregon. The class was held near the ocean, that was all except Pacific!

Michèle à la plage

None of us even thought about swimming on this smotth beach. The waves are 15-foot tall, and crashed in a loud BROOOOM! The area has to deplore one-two dead annually from the « sneaky waves ».

IMG_20171028_200037MerRochesHumans, to the scale of the waves…

A lot of subjects were discussed, but if I can find one advice now for my writer friends, it is to plan ahead for your intellectual patrimony (IP – intellectual property), not only to keep it in your hands, but to eventually transfer it to your heirs.

*

A few pictures taken on the beach and in Lincoln City, Oregon.

Les vagues dans toute leur puissanceThe waves in all their power. Photo taken from the 4th story.

Comment l'hôtel épouse la falaiseAt this hotel hugging the cliff, you enter on the 9th and go down to your room. The beach is all the way down. The high tide can reach over the concrete steps.

Pour une auteure de SF, quelle aubaine que ces algues emmêlées!For a SF writer, those big algeas are a nice find!

IMG_20171027_173037bois800Detail on the driftwood.

Fleurs de plage. non identifiées.Unidentified flowers, at the salted and moist sand near the Inn at Spanish Head. Try to find the name for the Sunday artist!

L'avenue principale = l'autoroute 101Running on the 101 sidewalk : Lincoln City.

CameraZOOM-20160303124318839
Don’t forget the tsunami possibilities.

Les trois "soeurs" de la baie.

Siletz Bay, where the water is calm. A natural park has been settled, because seals visit this beach. Didn’t see one in my morning runs, but some author friends did.

IMG_20171028_174700_biblio
My dream, a bookshelf with the RIGHT proportions for pocket-sized novels! North by Northwest bookstore.

IMG_20171026_113747_MicheleFiere

After a good run in my LC 2016 race shirt, at the Inn…

L'entrée de l'Anchor Historical Inn
The Anchor Historical Inn entrance. The sailor seated on the canoe on the left is a mannequin.

CitrouilleWestfalia1000

For the end : a pumpkin disguised in a Westfalia…
Happy Halloween!

September Surprise!

FRP7_WritersWithoutBorders_cover500

On the first of this month, I got a email from WMG Publishing. My first published SF story in Fiction River 21, (Tavern Tales, not so far back) Closing the Big Bang, has been re-published (hurray for the reprints!) in Fiction River presents: Writers without Borders.

Then I looked at the cover… Houla!

What a wonderful surprise to have such wonderful writers as Jane Yolen and Mark Leslie as cover neighbors!

Each contributor from outside the USA got their first published story in this special edition. To find more about the book and all the contributors, go here.  Kudos to the fine crew of WMG Publishing, especially Allyson, Dean and Kris!

Go grab the ebook on this universal link to all platforms!