Random Friday


attempt, not the final one… It wouldn’t save the JPG, so I took a screenshot of this one!

And the publisher page has a new header! Took some working since I have an old version of Photoshop and Elements “doesn’t support layer groups and displays them in their collapsed state. You must simplify them to create an editable image” except the editable image had no layers, so I had to ask Mighty Silvano to please pull them out of the folder.

Now I should renew this blog’s header, but… maybe during the weekend, LOL!

About reading! I started a historical novel that has been on my table for almost ten years, but I’m afraid I won’t finish it. Printed books tend to have small fonts (i.e. hard to read, I stopped buying magazines for that reason) and I’d rather keep all the novels on my Kindle (which I didn’t have ten years ago or whenever I bought that book, LOL!).

Besides, it was written in the 1950s and head-hopping is really jarring (they don’t “ejaculate” anymore, but they “cried” a lot… maybe “he said, she said” isn’t so bad after all!). And I’d rather go back to the bundles I’ve been in and the ones still to come. My TBR pile will never go down… unless I do not finish the books that don’t catch me with the first chapters! 😀

On a different topic, last weekend I brainstormed while drawing – Da Muse, who else – and watched one of the DVDs I got from Amazon, with Da Other Muse (whom Americans might have admired during the Super Bowl, hopefully seeing the most dignified, manly tear, LOL!).

Anyhow, I enjoyed the Whole Truth and it’s final twist (ouch, just read the Italian titles of the latest movies. I wish IMDB didn’t read my server location). I’m not a big fan of courtroom drama, so I didn’t see hundreds of them. I could only compare it to Devil’s Advocate which was shot 20 years before that. So it was okay.

This weekend I hope to see the mess that changed title because the director refused to be part of it and is now called Exposed – we’ll see if it’s really a mess! 😉 And I got the short stories back from Mighty Editor, so I have some editing to do before starting the submission process. And if there’s time, I’ll work on the publisher’s page that still needs some tweaking (do a new header for this blog?)… Have a great weekend! 😀

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Random Friday


Random randomness: I’m finally reading my bundles co-authors and at the same time I’m exploring new subgenres. I’ve used the Wikipedia entry for my steampunk short, but do you have any favorite steampunk novel and what do you like about it? Please leave your suggestions in the comments, thank you! 🙂

Also, it’s the Year of Writing Madly, but at the same time I’m thinking of pulling out of the drawer my 12th century historical novel, edited a long time ago (before the craft online workshops) by Nikalee, and decide if I actually want to put it out there or not.

For the new people, it’s a project that had a screenplay version and that I turned into a novel at the beginning of this blog – an 8-year-old bloke, in case you were wondering. If you check the archives, you can probably read about it around 2012.

I guess that after my sci-fi sting, I’ll get back to it and make up my mind about it. Reading about 12th century Europe/Holy Land might help me getting back to Silvery Earth – although the next heroine lives at a time where magic is almost gone and she’s more a renaissance woman than a medieval lady (Angelica de Winter’s story is set AFTER BoI – Earth).

And then I’ll read a steampunk novel for the next book in one of my series. Don’t forget to leave your recommendations in the comments below! Have a great weekend! 😀

Random Friday


Well, then, the last two are definitely Reader Friday! 🙂 Like every year, here’s the list of my reading for 2017. Of a grand total of 45, with only one manuscript this year, there were 7 non-fiction and 5 I did not finish. Here follows the list of the recommended reading from this writer who particularly enjoyed the following (in order of reading, not of favorite!):

Mysterious Kemet Book 1 by S.R. Anand

The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna

My Anti-Valentine by D.J. Jamison

The Mage’s Grave (Mages of Martir, #1) by Timothy L. Cerepaka 

Firehearted by Sabrina Chase

Al-Kabar by Lee French

Hugo nominee “Touring with the Alien” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2016)

Hugo winner Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

After Hours: Tales from Ur-Bar anthology edited by Joshua Palmatier

At Risk (Liz Carlisle #1) by Stella Rimington

Twice Against the Dragon by Stefon Mears

Death Takes a Diamond by Dean Wesley Smith

All links go to Goodreads where you can learn more about the books and then look them up at your favorite retailer.

And for you paperback lovers, Nightly Bites Volume 1 is now in paperback as well.

Happy reading and see you next year! 🙂

Random Friday


Random Friday is… A list of great books to add to your Xmas list.

I stole a great idea from my talented friend and fellow author, Douglas Smith, whose psychic vampire  in Nightly Bites Volume 1 will suck you in. (And by the way, the anthology is also a very good title you could add to your Xmas gifts list).

I asked my author friends to give me the title of one of their books with title and genre, short blurb and buying link (the buy links were given by the authors, so they might not be universal). This is what I got and as you can see there’s something for everyone! 🙂

 

Santa Claus: Private Detective (The Noel Kringle Chronicles) by Rebecca M. Senese

Genre: mystery/fantasy

When no one at the North Pole takes Noel Kringle seriously he relocates to Toronto to live his dream as a private detective. Mystery with a dash of fantasy, Noel Kringle mixes Christmas and sleuthing in a tale of magic and suspense.

https://www.amazon.com/Santa-Claus-Private-Detective-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B077Y2VXSD/

The Wolf at the End of the World by Douglas Smith

Genre: fantasy

The Heroka walk among us. Unseen, unknown. Shapeshifters. Human in appearance but with power over their animal totems.
A shapeshifter hero battles ancient spirits, a covert government agency, and his own dark past in a race to solve a murder that could mean the end of the world. http://www.smithwriter.com/the_wolf_at_the_end_of_the_world

Old Bones by Rita Schulz

Genre: cozy mystery

Inspired by a true story two friends try to solve the mystery of the Old Bones in this new mystery cozy.

http://www.53rdstreetpublishing.com/books/old-bones/

Tales from Space by Russ Crossley

Genre: science fiction

Robots locked in deadly civil war, explorers faced with impossible secrets, a continent-sized asteroid about to destroy the Earth…these are some of the stories in this volume of fantastic fiction. Welcome to the 21st century.

http://www.53rdstreetpublishing.com/books/tales-from-space/

The Bet by Vivienne Tuffnell

Genre: psychological literary fiction

Currently £1.99 for the remainder of advent. Jenny likes a challenge and Antony is the biggest challenge of her life…

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bet-Vivienne-Tuffnell-ebook/dp/B009ISHLYI/

Zeena Dragon Fae series by Victoria Zigler (Barb’s note: on my ToBuy list)

Genre: Fantasy

A four book series that tells the story of a faerie dragon named Zeena, and her quest to save the world from the evil Spirit fairy.
Smashwords series https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/20557

“Redemption” – a Christian suspense by Laura Ware

Genre: Christian suspense

When Mary Hollister Beamer was 16, she became pregnant. She is taken to an abortion clinic, where she is told her child was stillborn. Ten years later, Mary is married with a young daughter. One day she gets a note in the mail: “I know what you tried to do. Your son is alive.”

https://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Mrs-Laura-A-Ware/dp/0692298045

Shades of Gray (Amaranthine Book 1) by Joleene Naylor

Genre: paranormal

FREE! When Patrick is murdered, Katelina is left with questions. Jorick, one of his so-called friends, has answers of the darkest kind: Patrick was involved with – and betrayed – a coven of vampires; vampires that may now be after Katelina.

https://www.amazon.com/Shades-Gray-Amaranthine-Book-1-ebook/dp/B002RHP5D6

Offside by David Hendrickson

Genre: Young adult (but plenty of adults have loved it, too). This is the book that has been adopted by high schools for required reading.
“Rabbit” Labelle finally gets his chance to play the sport he loves the most, but he must also confront the dangers of “Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin.” Since it’s 1967 and cities are torn by racial turmoil, this includes his father’s greatest fear: “the Negroes.”

Rabbit, who’d been the most popular kid in Plainfield, Maine, struggles to make friends and wonders if he’ll even survive. Only football can save him.

https://www.amazon.com/Offside-David-H-Hendrickson-ebook/dp/B00QZ5Y3FC

Christmas comes to Oddleton (Oddleton Chronicles) by Dulcie Feenan

Genre: holidays humor

For the teacher Mrs Troyd, the pressure is on.

Who will stand in for the Angel Gabriel? Was it an unwise move for the Shepherd to have eaten three packets of Sour Squigglers and a Whistling Dayglo-pop before the play? And did donkeys wear sombreros in Ancient Palestine?

Whatever happens, this will be a Nativity the parishioners will remember for a very long time….

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-comes-Oddleton-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00AS0UW8W

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY READING Y’ALL! 🙂

Random Friday


I’ve been reading Book 1 of Stella Rimington’s series because it’s the only one of the samples I downloaded that actually grabbed me. And it’s set in England, with MI5, which is what I need to finish that spy story. And she’s a former MI5, so she knows what she’s talking about! 🙂

And I think for the first time I was  a reader/writer. I mean, as a reader I reacted and then the writer said “Hey, that’s exactly what you’ve been taught in those online workshops!” And the thing is: you don’t hide things from the reader. You can hide them from the character, but the reader must know!

That’s why I like multiple point-of-views books and I hate first person. You get only one side of the story (and most of those other samples were “I stories”). I downloaded the sample of Dame Stella Rimington’s autobiography too, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to it. As much as I’d love to read the whole Liz Carlyle in one sitting, I know I can’t, I’m too slow  reader to binge read like that.

Besides, I still have plenty of bundles to read! Here’s a quick rundown of the bundles I’m currently in (and I’m still going through the first, so I’m afraid the others will be in next year’s end-of-the-year recommended reading post, sigh!).

First glimpse of secondary worlds (curated by me, will be gone next month)

Sci-fi July Fever Fun (curated by me, there will be more sales coming soon)

Love Magik’s Glow

More Than Human

Cyborg City

Dragon Tales

Sword Wielders

Vampires of the World (curated by me, sale coming soon)

Mythic Tales

Cats Cats Cats

Funny by Design

So, there you have it! Plenty to choose from… mostly SFF, but not all! 🙂 If you love cats or if you feel blue, the last two would be perfect! Happy reading and have a great weekend!

Random Friday


So, I’ve been reading the Hugo Nominees (too late to vote, of course, but I do try to read at least the shorter works. There’s no way I’m reading the novel finalists, but everything else I try to)… Short story, novella and novelette finalists. 3 Did Not Finish and only one in each of the three categories that I absolutely love (and after checking the Hugo Awards, one won the Hugo, deservedly so, yay!).

I loved:

“An Unimaginable Light”, by John C. Wright (God, Robot, Castalia House)

“Touring with the Alien”, by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2016)

Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com publishing) which has an asexual protagonist and is the one that won the Hugo! 🙂

I was beginning to feel bummed because I didn’t like any of the finalists and though I’d never fing my readers among Worldcon goers, but then I found some gems, so… I have a little chance too. In a couple of years. When I sell another story, hopefully. The one I sent out at the beginning of August already collected 2 rejections, but they were nice rejections – the ones that say “not for us, but send us your next” kind of rejections, so there’s still hope to sell it somewhere.

So maybe next year I’ll have 2 professionally published stories and can run for the Hugos in 2019. One can dream, right? 😉 I won’t be disappointed if I don’t get nominated, and will go to Dublin anyway! 😀 By the way, if you want that one to be your first worlcon, it’s definitely cheaper than for returning people! 😉

Now I hope to get back to reading the novels in the bundles I’m in… looking forward to read everybody else’s work! 🙂 It’s been a drawing/reading week, but weekend I’m back to writing, or better, check that feedback from the first reader and address a couple of things before sending off to proofreader.

Have a great weekend! 🙂

Random Friday


So, I’ve been reading a manuscript (I’m done, but I read on paper and need to put on the doc all my comments), a non-fiction book on bundles (yes, I’ve started working on my first bundle… I like to overwork myself from time to time, so I can complain I feel overwhelmed, LOL!) and checking my vampires stories while I try to finish the novella for May.

I also read a short ebook of m/m romance with an asexual character – we had a lot in common for many things, LOL! I will mention it in my end-of-the-year reading recommendations post, but for now that’s all. I hope to find time and relax with a drawing tomorrow, but Sunday I’m busy with non-writing stuff (will I survive? 😉 of course I will!).

I have added free PDFs on the publisher’s site – if you don’t receive my newsletter, you might want to check them out. Or you can check them out and then subscribe to the newsletter anyway. Also, the first 10 patrons on Patreon get to read an extra story! So hurry, since I will take it down as soon as I reach that quota!

Having bought a Stephan Pastis album in Boston (what, you don’t read Pearls Before Swine?! 😀 ), I have some ideas on how to print Da Strip as well, but not until the second half of the year. I have other experiments to do before that. Not to mention that I need to do some PODs this month… and it’s almost Easter already… yikes!

Anyhow, that’s all for today! Have a great weekend!

Random Friday


Last Friday I had a guest – and a cough, which made it hard to talk. Besides, she likes Bollywood movies (although she’d watch forever Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and wouldn’t try any other), so I suggested we watch a movie after dinner to spare my throat. And it was Joker time! I saw the trailer in theaters back in 2012 and was glad to finally see this demented comedy about aliens and crazies.

I like Akki when he does comedies. Of course my suspension of disbelief was slightly challenged when I saw the FBI sending troops in India (I thought that was an internal bureau… ;p), but I attributed it to the crazy screenplay and absurd story, so it was okay… lots of fun and lots of nice songs.

Staying in that country but moving to books, The Missus of the above, Twinkle Khanna (a.k.a. Da Muse’s neighbors) wrote a book of stories. Fiction, a collection. I bought the paperback because it was cheaper than the Kindle version (ahem, traditional publishers…) and got to reading it during the week.

I must say that the dialogs felt a lot like a Bollywood movie, which makes me wonder if some other Westerner who isn’t as obsessed as I am would appreciate it. Anyhow, it’s a cute little book, and since I read it immediately after another Indian author, I could see a pattern in their storytelling.

The other book was a Kindle version (hello, indie authors!), and it was set in Ancient Egypt, not India, but still the storytelling felt similar. Of course it’s two completely different collections with completely different topics (and you can now pre-order volume 2) and what I loved about this one was the little historical notes at the end of each story – a very nice touch for an ignorant of Ancient History like myself. It gave depth and meaning to the story I had just read.

Now I hope to have one of the two ladies over at this very blog soon, I shall let you guess which one will grace us…

Last night, since I was done with Saif’s story and was bored with checking the proofreader’s job on the Star Minds stories, I decided I’d rather watch a movie… it had been sitting on my ToWatch shelve for a couple of months, so it was high time! It was Star Trek: Beyond – last movie with Anton Yelchin and tribute to Leonard Nimoy.

A nice addition to the reboot, I particularly liked the warrior Jaylah and hope she’ll be back in the next movies. For the rest, it was the five-year mission stretched to movie length with 21st century special effects and Dubai instead of cardboard sets! 😉 I don’t mind the reboot, even though some things of the original will never be repeated…

Have a great weekend! 🙂

Random Friday


Rest of the trip! When the workshop was over, I got back to reading the novel I had to drop in January. Fortunately I had reached the end of Book 1 by then, so starting Book 2 was okay. Except one night I was thankfully kicked out of the book by a mistake that wasn’t caught by the author(s) or the editor(s)…

This is Ocean: The Ocean Cycle Omnibus and since it’s a bestselling author, I don’t think I’ll ruin his reputation if I comment on this (besides Goodreaders seemt to be quite divided about it all, haha!). So at one point there is a discussion about ancient sea divinities by a so-called expert (the character) who totally mixes up Greek and Roman names.

Here’s the complete list thanks to Encyclopedia Mythica. In the book, Poseidon and Aphrodite are the Roman names and Neptune and Venus the Greek ones… Gee… I’m glad I overdosed with both Greek and Roman myths in childhood (one more reason to hate what they did in Troy, I know enough of the Iliad and Odissey to know they completely f…ed up – beside using a gorgeous 40-year-old instead of a 20-year-old. Achilles died young, as was often the case back then! Me and my friend were the only one laughing in the movie theater, though. Sigh.)!

So, unless it was meant to be a joke, here’s a good way of throwing your reader out of your story… I got back into it, but the second book is getting weirder and weirder. I will finish it, but it’s not on my recommended list! 😉 I might even quit at some point, since I bought books during the trip and the TBR pile is now enhanced with more dead trees…

Then there were the movies. Not during the trips, not until I got to Long Island, when I saw John Wick: Chapter 2 with my friend. Glad it was still in theaters. And glad to see it NOT dubbed (and wondering what a mess they might have done for this country’s distribution – probably missed all the bilingual dialogs!). I guess for a chapter 2 it’s almost as good as chapter 1. Maybe even better. Still have to think about that. And of course, it opens the way to chapter 3…

Anyhow, both me and my friend were happy because we recognized most of the places where it was shot (New York and Rome). I’m glad Riccardo Scamarcio dared to be the bad guy, although my Italian friend who likes him might not think so. But then, my favorite Hrithik’s role is still Aryan, the villain of Dhoom 2, so…

On the way back I watched Gayal Once Again on the Alitalia flight, but I must admit it took me some time to figure out the story. They all looked the same to me! Nobody was good-looking enough for my tastes and there was only one song – had it been cut? since I could not sleep I also re-watched Something’s Gotta Give – only certain scenes since I had broken my headphones during the flight and didn’t want to ask for a third one (the first I was given was faulty). You can guess which ones (Julian Mercer is Keanu at his best looking, LOL! Pity he’s only a secondary character)…

I enjoyed visiting Boston, although it was a rainy and gloomy day, so I’ll have to go back eventually. My friends were all were kind and I hope to do it again in the future. Have a great weekend! 🙂

Random Friday


  • And it’s the reading year! 😉 goodreads2016

Ahem! In spite of the above, I have read 49 books, including 2 collections, a book bundle (the sci-fi mayday you can still find at the usual retailers) and two manuscripts. Only 5 were non-fiction (will have to catch up with the research next year for the vampires through the centuries…), and only 2 were paper books, both re-reading.

Actually one of the two is a trilogy that I hadn’t read in 25 years and that I’m currently finishing and makes me want to go back and re-read the other trilogy in the series, except I have it in Italian only, while this one I have in English. It was one of the first English books that I bought way back in the nineties… and since it’s still a 5stars, here it is:

Dragonlance Legends Trilogy by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman!

You’re better off reading the war of the lance first, but this is good too! 😉

As for the other 5 stars (in order of reading):

The Red Wraith

Veiled Alliances

The Silver Metal Lover (another re-reading – I got the Kindle edition because the paperback has become too hard to read, sigh… small print…)

Heaven Painted as a Cop Car

Blaster Squad #1 Terror on the Moon

Fangs and Fun

The Battles of Hastings

Dead Money

Now here’s to hoping I’ll read 50 books next year – 50 fiction books and 10 non-fiction (that’s about the number of books I have to read for the vampires research, haha!)!

So, if you still have some gifts to make, buy some books! There are stories for every reader above… fantasy, sci-fi, thriller, humor… take your pick! Happy reading! 🙂

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