Random Friday

So, last week I was off Day Job and after a few days at home to work on Nightly Bites Volume 2 (by the way, it’s up for pre-order, yay!) I hopped on a train to Milan with my friend and cover artist Cristina Fabris. We arrived around 3pm and spent the afternoon chilling out in our hotel room – she had work to finish and I had a novel to check, LOL!

Friday we met with her friend and fan Michel at the central train station and headed for Cartoomics, where I was supposed to meet two more of my cover artists, Lawrence Wendigo and Rossana Beretta, to give them proofs of the book with their covers…

I also had a list of comics I wanted to buy since I hadn’t gone to a comicon in a few years, so I ended up with a very heavy bag. And since I flew back from Linate (I had to use my Alitalia miles, LOL!), I decided to send some of that stuff back by mail.

Saturday morning I went to the post office and sent to my parents 4,1kg of comics. Then we went to the bookstores around Duomo, where I lost my hat (in the Mondadori flagship store – and they got rid of the Espresso Book Machine, IMHO…), then we met with Franco Giambalvo of an Italian SFF site.

We had lunch with him then spent an hour at Tempo di Libri, meeting Francesco Verso, then, being wrecked, we went back to the hotel. Sunday morning, we got home separated, since I flew and she took the train again…

And yesterday I retrieved the box of comics from my parents… destroyed, but the interior was fine, yay! Now battling a spring cold, but wishing you a wonderful weekend! 🙂

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Writer Wednesday

Aaand another bundle is out! Spring Surprise which includes Quests Volume 1 and other awesome books, curated by A.L. Butcher! 🙂 Go check it!

I’m formatting and preparing Nightly Bites Volume 2, so last week I wasn’t supposed to write with that and some traveling… except I wasn’t happy with the story I wrote for the anthology, so I wrote a new one! 🙂 A special thanks to Alex Butcher for checking the typo faeries on that one!

Hopefully I’ve caught all the typo faeries in this anthology, but if I didn’t… well, you know those pesky thingies, don’t you? Have mercy on a poor curator! 😉 Soon I’ll be able to share at least the ebook links, in the meantime you can see a preview on the anthology page

I also checked that historical novel… not as bad as I remember it, so we’ll see. Now I’m off into the new writing project, but since this year I’m experimenting also with publishing… you’ll probably see them all at the same time!

This summer I celebrate 40 years of writing, so it might be good timing to publish a few new titles all at the same time. We’ll see what I have ready then! Probably some Silvery Earth, some Star Minds and then we’ll see. I made some kind of writing schedule, but I also want to curate more bundles and anthologies, so it’s still not set in stone.

Writerly links! I told you about my week at the anthology workshop last year, right? Well, here’s an even deeper insight on what you do. I am not an editor (and probably won’t be, just a curator for those collaboration anthologies), but I was a writer with Ron and his daughter last year (and yes, they sold, I didn’t, LOL!), so I can confirm everything he says! 🙂

I’m facing some self-doubt these days, especially since I’m reading those bundles and find so many fine writers I sometimes wonder why I keep bothering (publishing, not writing, of course!), so here’s Joanna Penn’s advice for those days.

And that’s all for today! Have a great week! 🙂



Happiness is…

Sunday Surprise

And it’s a guest! That Diabolic Shrimp who reviewed my book! And he’s a writer too! I thought his latest cover was awesome, and I invited him over. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Joshua Grant!

Where do you live and write from?

I live and write in the United States in the beautiful mountainous state of Colorado.

Why do you write?

My writing has always stemmed from boredom. I love reading books, watching movies, and playing video games, but when I ran out of material I enjoyed, I just decided to write my own. I love making a story with worlds and characters that I personally love. But as I wrote, I found that writing gave me a deeper perspective or moral issues too. Thus, in addition to being entertaining, I love to have a complex moral issue at the heart of each of my books.

When did you start writing?

I started writing in 8th grade when my English teacher, Mrs. Munos, assigned a short story to us. I did some dorky horror story with people snowmobiling across another planet, but my teacher left a kind note on it that encouraged me to keep going. I then began my journey in earnest when I was bored after a test and began writing my first attempt at a book.

What genre(s) do you write?

I bounce around the genres, but mostly write Horror, Sci Fi, and Fantasy, most of which is geared toward Young Adult. I like to sprinkle a lot of humor throughout my writing as well.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I’m kind of a weird creature of habit. I take a nice long walk around the neighborhood where I let my thoughts wander. I then come home, sit at the kitchen table, sharpen two pencils, and just go to town. I never make a plan, but typically have the whole book plotted out in my head before I even begin. When I finish writing everything long hand, I type it up as my first level of revision. I then usually shelve it for six months before going back and revising it several times before publishing.

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

One of my biggest strengths as a writer is persistence. I never write anything that I wouldn’t love reading myself. My love of my own stories and characters, and the twists I love to throw in, give me the juice I need to finish a novel in the first place.

I’m a very visual person. This is a great benefit as it gives me an edge in my descriptions. I love describing stuff in my novels and feel like a do a pretty good job while maintaining a balance between description and story flow.

Another one of my strengths is through creating likeable characters. I’m a huge people person, am a sensitive guy, and love to laugh and joke with people. I try to translate a lot of these qualities into characters to try to make them both believable and enjoyable to read.

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

Most of my inspiration comes from other books, or movies and video games. My horror book Pandora was influenced by the Resident Evil video game series. I wanted to create a book that captured the gritty feel of playing those games and trying to survive. I also wanted to create an imaginative and creepy environment filled with horrifying creatures.

On the reverse end, my YA fantasy novel The Fifth Ascendant was inspired by things like Final Fantasy or The Last Airbender. I wanted to capture the quirky humor of those series as well as the spiritual and deep emotional impact.

Of course, in all my series I write a lot of emotion with some kind of deeper meaning at the heart of things. I put myself in my stories in the sense that a lot of their emotions or struggles come from something in me, or something I’ve had to go through. Most of the characters have some part of me in them (but then there are some characters I just write for the fun of it and have nothing to do with me).

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I make a general outline in my mind for each book. Most chapters are already planned out in my head before I start writing. But as I write, stuff usually comes to me and then I improvise. Some of my best twists and plot points emerged as I was in the middle of writing something. It all just have to feel right. As far as writing speed, it varies. I generally write a chapter every two days. The longest thing I ever wrote, The Fifth Ascendant, was written in two months (the revising took much longer though).

Tell us about your latest book

My latest novel, The Fifth Ascendant, is by far my favorite thing I’ve ever written. The emotions, humor, and overall story are a huge part of my heart. I was very much inspired by the Final Fantasy series, as well as anime like Avatar: The Last Airbender when I wrote it, and tried to capture a lot of the fun characters and witty interactions those series offered. Check it out below if you’re interested!

The world of Drina is on the brink of destruction.

Twelve year old Kal’s dreams have grown dark. A missing Ascendant. The deaths of imperial soldiers at the hands of terrible monsters far below Skytown. It all must link back to the mysterious powers of his upcoming Ascendancy or perhaps his newfound visitor, a kid that only he can see—but none of it can prepare him for the adventure of self-discovery and world shattering consequences he’s about to be hurled down.

Nash, Ruka, and Jia are all on a top secret mission for the Heretic cause, a mission that could save their people and maybe the entire world—but one of them has a secret, a dark and tangled past that could doom them all.

Magic, humor, outrageous heists, horrific monsters, and yes, a fur bearing trout and a pickle are all along for the ride in this manic quest to keep the world of Drina from descending into darkness.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Once upon a time, I was dead set against ever self publishing. I wanted to go the traditional route and tried hard at it for several years. The climate and market of writing has changed vastly since then. In recent years, it has become a much better option to publish Indie, but only as long as you’re willing to play the long game and put a decent amount of time and effort into marketing. Now I’m an indie author and can’t ever imagine going back. The freedom and complete control of the entire process is liberating and challenges me to grow as a person. In many ways it pays better to you as an author as well. It fills me with a greater sense of pride when I actually sell something too, knowing that every part of that product was mine. I absolutely love it!

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I have a cagillion projects I’m working on at the moment. I’m working on three different series simultaneously, but I have a certain strategy for releasing them so they’re not all at once. I published The Fifth Ascendant this year and am currently writing its sequel, The Sixth Ascendant. I’ll be releasing the sequel to Pandora in the Fall, another horror book called Jericho where a man, his son, and a police officer they’ve never met all find themselves trapped in a desperate situation to survive the darkness that has befallen a small town. I will also be releasing a collection of short fantasy stories this year called Silly Tales from Albanon. Each humorous story follows a different character, from an adventurous gnome, to an Orc detective, to even a teddy bear assassin, all of which builds towards a surprise ending.

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

Each of my novels simply tries to capture certain emotions and examine a moral issue. When I feel like I’ve accomplished this, I publish it. I want to entertain people and make them feel something, but ultimately I create novels to satisfy something in myself.

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

Great writers write. It’s simple, but the message is powerful. You just got to believe in yourself and keep going. No great book was ever produced without a healthy amount of perseverance.


Find Joshua online and join the shrimps of his tank (including yours truly) at Diabolic Shrimp

Random Friday

Social media rant – I’ll try to keep it short. But I probably suffer from Social Media Fatigue, and I’m only on Facebook. I keep it because it’s a good way to keep in touch with friends all over the world, but sometimes it’s really annoying.

Like when it does those stupid videos to celebrate a friendship – as if we didn’t have a life or friends before Facebook. Not to mention the fact that not all Facebook friends are equal and I refuse to categorize mine. I’m annoyed enough already when they do those stupid videos with “Your posts of the past month” or “Looky look, your friends liked/loved your posts XX times” or any other silliness like that. I mean, do you really enjoy those?

Oh, and the weather forecast warnings. Who do they think they are? Now they’ve become a news channel too – with the Italian elections. Besides telling me to “Tell your friends you voted!” (uh, no, why should I, it’s none of anyone’s business!) they tell me “results are coming in” – who cares? If I really wanted to know, I’d go to Repubblica or other newspapers webpages – or any Italian newspage, why should I care about international Facebook? Besides, I’m sure I’ll see comments about that from my friends, so…

No wonder I’m not on Twitter, Instagram and any other trinket that is or will become the next fad of social media. Maybe I’m just a grumpy old woman, but really, enough.

Goodreads won’t let me sign in from Firefox unless it’s an anonymous window, so I access it from Internet Explorer’s successor, Microsoft Edge, on Netbook (although there might be something wrong in my Firefox, since even for DepositPhoto I had to open an anonymous window to log in).

Maybe I should join an interest network, instead. Find topics that interest me and follow those discussions. I like finding answers and discussions on Quora or Reddit. Maybe I’m just on the wrong platforms!

Or maybe, like I said, I’m just a grumpy old woman overwhelmed by those technological novelties! 😉 Have a great weekend! 😀

Writer Wednesday

In case you didn’t notice, it’s Read an Ebook Week on Smashwords again! And for the first time in a few years, I have some books in the sale. So the new people can have a look and spend as little as one dollar to try my mighty prose.

Ahem! Just kidding. I don’t write enchanting (or purple) prose at all, so if that’s your thing, you’re on the wrong blog! 😀

Last week I wrapped two projects and this week I won’t be writing much. Busy putting together an anthology and traveling, so my wordcound is currently stopped. But if I manage to catch up and keep the 10K/week wordcount, I have 2 weeks to spare, LOL! Definitely not panicking yet – maybe in June or July if I’m still waaay behind…

Some promised writerly links: Nine years a Penmonkey and Five Things I Learned Writing which includes just write even if you don’t know the genre – or something. And if you can stand the F-word, the three truth about writing and how the writing gets done! 🙂 There is real wisdom in that post.

Now as someone who hates the sound of her own voice, I’m afraid that soon I won’t be able to do anything if it all gets voice-operated. What do you think about those voice apps? Should we start telling stories through them? Check this post at Joanna Penn’s blog.

For me, at this time, no thank you. I still feel like an innovator because I went the indie route. And I still don’t have anything in audio (I don’t seem to be able to go direct to Findaway Voices through D2D, but I’m not going to press the issue yet).

Last but not least, here’s an open invitation to interview your characters. I’m currently working for the first interview of a few I can think of, and I’ll keep you posted when my characters will go live! 🙂

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

Happiness is…

Random Friday

Erm… forgot to post the link to the trailer of Celebrating Male Lovers… but it’s been a weird week! We got snow! Again! Like in 2012! That’s a little too often for my tastes – in a city that isn’t equipped to deal with it, I mean. I love snow. I love crunching it under my feet. But Rome just can’t handle it.

Sunday night they decided to close schools… and since buses aren’t equipped to drive in the snow, most of the lines were canceled as well. And Rome is a hilly city – and not just the original seven hills but plenty more. In 2012 they had left the buses that didn’t go up and down hills, this time the stopped almost all of them.

So, Monday morning I wake up to a white day. Fine. I grab my Icelandic trekking shoes and go out. Everything is closed, so I walk 3km/35minutes to get to Laurentina station where I found an open coffee shop. I also had to stop to check the messages from colleagues and friends who couldn’t get out of the house or were wondering if there were buses.

I took the metro and went to work – 7 out of 15 were present. One line was supposed to be there, so I took the metro back to Laurentina and went to wait for it… its terminus is next to the bus that takes to Ciampino airport (one of the canceled lines) so I told the people waiting there with their luggage that they better find another way to get to the airport (if it was even open, I have no idea of what happened at the two international airports with snow!).

I ate half of my “focaccia” and since no bus was in sight I walked to another stop where there was a bench. I sat and ate some more, and still no bus coming, so I kept going on foot. That’s 6km in one day. I thought I’d be wrecked the next day, but actually I felt great. No back pains, no leg muscles pain, nothing. Good way to save on gym expenses, I guess!

Tuesday there was still some snow but buses were back. Same on Wednesday, when school reopened… to close down again this weekend for the elections. I’m sure Dear Nephew is very happy! 😉

Anyhow, hope next week temperatures go up a little, although I’m on vacation, so I don’t have to go to work. But it’s March, when the hell did we have snow in MARCH?! 1985/1986 it was January. 2012 (yes, how many years later?) it was February. Now only six year later we’re getting to March.

Who says there’s no climate change? 45°C during summer and snow in winter in Rome? That’s not what it used to be, trust me! Anyway, it was good to inspire me the last chapter (that I had skipped in Draft Zero) of Heroines 2! 😉 Have a great weekend! 😀


Writer Wednesday

First of all a big thank you to my Goodreads friends Joshua and Xia Xia *waves madly* your purchase of the Young King on Amazon on two different days made two very nice spikes on an otherwise very flat graphic! 😉 And someone followed you – from the UK and Canada for Joshua and someone from Italy who bought 4 of my books on the same day as Xia Xia. Thank you! 😀 Hope you both enjoy the short story, will leave a review and maybe help spread the word! 🙂

Since we’re on the sales topic and I got the 1042s from D2D, I did a quick check on Amazon, Smashwords and D2D. 2014 was the best year on Amazon and D2D, the worst on Smashwords. Since then, Amazon earnings are going down, D2D and Smashwords slowly up. Not going KU anytime soon, no matter what others say. Might work for you, but obviously not for me! 🙂

But I’m not going to bother with sales (much) this year, more with wordcount. Draft zero of Heroines book 2 is around 46K, but I hope to make it 50K this week + the appendix. Then I’ll probably get back to the spy story and finally expand it enough to call it a novel and start working on Nightly Bites Volume 2.

Then it’s going to be March, and I haven’t decided the next project yet, LOL! I also should start sending out the short stories I wrote in January… been a little lazy… okay, got work to do this weekend! 😀

Sorry I didn’t have time to read other blogs, but I’m editing Heroines 2 which doesn’t leave me much time to read… if something was really unmissable, I’ll post it next week! 🙂 Have a great week!

Happiness is…

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