Random Friday


Total randomness again. In case you missed it, I was on the KWL blog yesterday, talking about character-oriented stories with a batch of other authors. I shared it on Facebook, but I know not all of you are on Facebook! 😀

A study says brain training shown to restore sharpness in older adults.  Now, if only I could decide which adult education course or physical activity I want to start, LOL! I’ve been checking dance schools and university programmes, but haven’t decided yet.

The re-share of this Robin Williams tribute by a Facebook friend came at a serendipitous time to remind me that

Depression, anxiety and panic attacks are not signs of weakness.
They are signs of trying to remain strong for far too long.

Considering how sick of adulting I was this past summer, I guess this is totally right! 🙂

Last weekend I watched one of the DVDs I bought in Dublin and read a lot from one of the non-fiction books I bought in Edinburgh. Movie first! Keanu was a fun action romp, and since it was a comedy, it had a happy ending! 😉 Not a cat person, but the kitten was cute and it was very entertaining.

The Spartans by Paul Cartledge is good research for two short stories. One is already written, the other on the list to write. The book mentions a novel by Valerio Massimo Manfredi about Spartans, so I downloaded the Kindle sample.

I read it and oh, my! Haven’t read novels in Italian in years, and boy did his “epic literary” voice got on my nerves! The omniscient narrator of the 1980s, the tone… not for me. But l did pick a few tips for adding the five senses in my 2 stories set in ancient Sparta/Greece.

I will submit both to anthologies and if they get rejected, I’ll have the first two chapters of Helios’s story. Probably just a novella, since he doesn’t last long, but Bran’s first fledgling has now been mentioned in relation to Rajveer, at least in Kristine.

And speaking of the guy who inspired both, the Greek God of Bollywood, here’s his latest dance number of the upcoming action movie War. Apparently they closed Positano beach to shoot this video! 😉

Don’t forget to check the Backstage Pass post on Sunday… I actually changed topic and postponed the difficult one to next month! 😉 Have a great weekend! 🙂

 

Random Friday


Non-writerly things to do in Edinburgh if you’ve already been there as a tourist. After my adventurous journey that made me lose the start of the show and a full day of writing (but then, I didn’t write on Sunday either, haha!), I had planned to start slow and meet with my PENfriend Dawn on Friday morning.

When I saw her wandering through England (she’s from Australia), I asked her if we would manage to meet during her stay, and we did! Meeting in person after 25 years of snail mail and then the internet is still the most awesome thing that can happen. So we walked from Pollock Halls to the Royal Mile, but it was still quite warm and sunny, so I didn’t get much further. We stopped in a cafe and went back. It was only a couple of hours, but most awesome!

Then I got to my writing room with the fantasy crowd for the rest of the day, and the weekend was the conference itself. I skipped the ceilidh – well, I went there, took some pictures and ran away because, people! – but Sunday night I had the funniest Ghost Bus Tour with Eddie Volvo introducing us to the ghosts of Edinburgh and with a short walk through a cemetery. There was also a brief séance and it was a funny experience. I guess it would have been even better at night, possibly in winter when the sun goes down earlier.

Monday after the writing was Axe-throwing Day. It poured when we left Pollock Halls, so nobody could have their picture on the throne of axes since it was drenched. But it was a funny experience, I even hit the targed once during the competition, which gave me a half point that didn’t put me in the last ones group. And of course I worked it into both The Path of Wood and The Path of Metal, yay!

Tuesday was sunny again, so with my roomie we opted for having lunch in town, since it was no longer included. We left around noon, took a day ticket and ate in a pub on the Royal Mile, then went hunting a convenience store since my smartphone chord stopped workin and I couldn’t recharge it! We found one in Grassmarket and kept walking all around the castle hill.

And there were two used bookstores on the way. Yeah. Bad roomie. She god nothing and I got four, see? All for research both to make Silvery Earth more believable and for the Vampires Through the Centuries series.

We took the bus back to the castle (we were writing in St.Leonard Monday to Wednesday) because we’d been told that there would be a bagpipe playing for us at 4.30, but apparently he didn’t show up. There was one, but he wasn’t for us, but for some other group. Oh, well…

I didn’t get to hike on Arthur’s Seat because that night I hit the bed with my toe and it’s now all blue and painful. I can still walk, mind you, and somehow happy to wear sandals, but well… maybe some other time, I guess…

Back in the Roman heat, sigh! Have a great weekend! 🙂

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Random Friday


I’ve been reading the last paperback I got in London about the Celts. I bought it to understand better where Bran the Raven came from, but I’m using it also for Torik now.  And I started taking notes for the ancient fledglings of Bran the Raven, namely Helios of Sparta, Marco of the IX Legio Hispanica and Gallo-Roman Druidess Blandine who fleetingly showed up in the novels of Vampires Through the Centuries.

I’d bring those to Edinburgh, but maybe it’s better if I take those to Dublin instead. If I’m overwhelmed at Worldcon, I can always go to the Irish Library and study for Drustan and the state of Ireland in the first century CE (when Helios and Marco go there with Bran, and where Drustan is made).

So I’m trying to go through some antiquity history, which I haven’t studied since high school 35 years ago. Of course the first place to look is Wikipedia, but then I expand and look also elsewhere. I’m considering other Osprey books, but since Bran is no warrior, he’s probably going to stay away from wars anyway, so I don’t really need to study campaigns. He’s probably staying in Carthage when Hannibal conquers Rome! 😉

Anyhow, after Silvery Earth I might go back to those vampires. Write the stories of the ones who show up in Future Earth Chronicles and the older ones who don’t make it to the 21st century. And then we’ll see. I might try to write to market after Edinburgh, if I find a genre I like to read (and it won’t be urban fantasy, even though I’m a city woman).

My brain is too fried to make decisions now. I’ll finish studying the Celts and then we’ll see. Have a great weekend! 🙂

Random Friday


Reading suggestions and my take on this: I read The Paper Menagerie and didn’t particularly liked it when it was nominated for a Hugo. I checked the sample of Crazy Rich Asians, but either I get the paperback or the DVD of the movie, since the Chinese parts as footnotes on Kindle are not really nice. And I know it’s a trilogy, but I read mixed reviews on Goodreads.

Currently reading: The Kiss Quotient, even though it’s a 5.99euro ebook! And ops, just discovered it’s also a trilogy when looking it up on Goodreads. Oh, well. Maybe I should have looked for the box set… (although the Kindle box set for Crazy Rich Asians was crazy expensive…)

I guess I’ll try to catch up on some reading while I’m writing more slowly, LOL! Although none of the above were on my TBR pile, but well… still have a dozen bundles to go through both fiction and non-fiction – hence I’ll let Write Publish Profit 2.0 offer pass, but grab it if you feel like it.

And since I discovered Joe Konrath has resumed blogging, I’ll add this post on your book marketing plan and why it won’t work. I totally agree with him. I’m so bad at marketing precisely because so many things don’t work for me, so I’m not doing them even if everybody is screaming I should do them.

Because I’d rather be writing and it’s all a question of luck anyway. So while I wait for my lucky star, let me go back to Silvery Earth Kids and its sequel. I thought it would be only Torik and Copperscales, but Prince Lambert and Goldenberry seem to want in on the ride too… we shall see! 😀

And if you’re still new to this, here’s a post worth studying.

How To Shorten Your Amazon Links

Have a great weekend! 😉

 

Random Friday


I will try to condense this in a shorter review, but I wanted to talk about 21 lessons for the 21st century. I think everybody should read it, young or old. Especially teens and their teachers (or home-schooling parents) – and writers. Especially SF writers, but also all kinds of storytellers.

It does help to make sense of where were heading – or not heading if we don’t pay attention. I’ll stop screaming “It’s the apocalypse, waaah!” and start repeating “No, it’s not that. Truth is, l just don’t understand what’s going on in the world.” instead.

You will need an open mind, of course. He debunks myths and conspiracy theories alike. He cites The Matrix, Truman Show and even Huxley’s Brave New World.

He has a letter for a teenager of today. He explains myths and stories we tell each other and ourselves. l have been aware of the lies l tell myself that tend to become truths for at least 20 years now, so l can confirm his thesis.

He made me want to read his other books, but now I’ll take a break and read something lighter because it gave me a lot of food for thought.

He also gives good advice to sci-fi writers on how to imagine the future. Yes, I started reading it to help with my Future Earth Chronicles, but if found it fascinating in many other ways, giving me answers to questions I had.

Of course he doesn’t have all the answers, but he will make you think, and then you can come up with what works for YOU. Because, like for writing, what works for me or him, might not work for you or anyone else.

I don’t know if I understand myself and the world better now, but I feel better knowing I’m not the only one confused and scared by these quick changes. Yes, I know life is change, but things are going way too fast for my comfort – but I’m an old lady with half a century of stories on her shoulders, it will take time to take off some infrastructure!

If you’re young, you might find it easier. Or maybe not. Maybe you’re happy to be a slave of the algorithms for the time being. I still don’t know if I love or hate all this tech. I still can’t see a future. I’m probably still too deep in my Future Earth Chronicles after a non-nuclear apocalypse to fully recover hope.

But I still recommend this book to everyone! 🙂 Happy reading!

Random Friday


Since the year is almost over and I probably won’t finish another book before then, I’m going to do my Yearly Recommended Reading post now! 😉 Also because it’s the time of the Small&Medium Publishers Book Fair here in Rome, but for the first time since its inception, I’m not going there every day (just today to say hello to a couple of friends).

This year I read 54 books – although 7 I did not finish – and 6 and a half were non-fiction (as are the last two). Usually the fiction is read on my Kindle (a.k.a. K.K.), while the non-fiction is on paper because it’s better for research. Unless the novel is signed, then it can be a paperback, LOL!

Anyhow, of the fiction books, here are the 5 stars I gave (in order of reading – with links to Goodreads even though I’m not putting them on my Goodreads profile. Long story, not going back there! 😉 ):

Burn Card: A Cold Poker Gang Mystery  by Dean Wesley Smith

The Last Giant  by Mario Milosevic

Dragons’ Choice (Sorcha’s Children #1) by Debbie Mumford

Against Time  by Dean Wesley Smith

Beyond Control, Interlude, Beyond Reach: Book 1 Bundle of the Beyond Saga  by Rebecca M. Senese

Fairchild  by Blaze Ward

Kings of the Wyld (The Band, #1)  by Nicholas Eames

Entanglement (Future Fiction Trends Vol. 4)  by Vandana Singh

Faring Soul (Interspace Origins #1)  by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Hollow Moon (Hollow Moon #1)  by Steph Bennion

Hydrogen Sleets: a Montague Portal novel  by Michael Warren Lucas

Sticks and Stones: A Trek Novel  by Robert T. Jeschonek

Coffee Cup Dreams  by J.A. Marlow

Mrs Funnybones  by Twinkle Khanna (not a novel, more a memoir/journal and it’s hilarious)

(you can grab the following 4 all together in Sci-fi July Redux)

Stealing from Pirates  by Stefon Mears

A Jack By Any Other Name (The Space Operetta Series Book 1)  by Lesley L. Smith

Raven Rising  by Sean Monaghan

Sector Justice  by Dean Wesley Smith

(I’d add Jorick’s origin story, but I’m not sure it’s available for public consumption yet, I got it from Patreon…)

Dancing with Tong Yi (Uncollected Anthology, #1)  by Leah R. Cutter

And the series Zeena Dragon Fae by Victoria Zigler (smashwords link cause it’s faster)!

And these are the books I’m finishing the year with – sorta/kinda research for Future Earth Chronicles.

Putting the science in fiction and 21 lessons for the 21st century (non-fiction)

Giving the list so early means you have time to request them for Christmas… so happy reading! 🙂 And have a great weekend!

Random Friday


So, in the few days without writing (slowly going back to it coz I’m addicted, LOL!), I had nothing better to do and try to catch up on my TBR pile. Didn’t make that much progress, since I’m such a slow reader, but better than no reading! 🙂

First I read Jorick’s origin story (which is a Patreon exclusive, but you can get it for the lower tier), which was what I’d been waiting for since I started reading Amaranthine. Thanks again to Joleene Naylor for finally writing it! 🙂

I finished The World Without Us – a re-read – for Wanderlust research. I read the introduction to 21 Lessons for the 21st Century but didn’t go much further yet, although I’ll need to read that too to determine what exactly was the apocalypse, LOL!

I’ll probably write this batch back to back like I did for Star Minds Lone Wolves, since it’s 6 years after Brainwaves and for 3 or 4 books we follow the same two people. Then I’ll take a break, write another Silvery Earth Heroine, and then write the other books with other characters’ POVs.

See, I’m already planning for 2019, haha! Nothing’s gonna stop me, now that I have this very ingrained habit since the age of the typewriter (yeah, I’m old, and suddenly I feel lucky! Actually, I’m experienced, LOL!)

Anyway, back to reading. I’m almost done with Sci-fi July Redux and found some really nice gems, if I may say so. I know, I’m the curator, but I usually don’t read the whole books before bundling them. In fact I haven’t read the other books of last year’s vampire bundle (except Joleene’s) yet. And I gave priority to Sci-fi July even though I still have to read Thieves and Celebrating Male Lovers because I was writing sci-fi. Well, science fantasy, since that’s what Star Minds is…

Anyway, if you haven’t already, check it out since it won’t be out forever. It will be gone on January 4, six months after release. I know January looks far away, but it will come quickly, trust me! 🙂 Here you have the list of the bundles that are still available that I either curated or am part of.

And if you’re a writer, you might want to re-check BundleRabbit. It has a new feature for writing in series or shared worlds! 🙂 Have a great Sunday!

 

Random Friday


Since I don’t really recommend non-fiction books, especially if they’re not books on writing or publishing, I thought I’d talk about it here. It was part of my research for the vampire novel, since I’ve never been to Mumbai. Bollywood Boy by Justine Hardy was an entertaining experience on her year-long attempts to interview Da Muse the year of his debut. So we’re talking about 2000 and 2001 Bollywood “gossip” that read 18 years later is sometimes funny.

What amused me was that they wanted to pair him with Aishwarya Rai from the beginning – it took them until 2006 to actually get in a movie together and there was even a very famous liplock that, when interviewed at the beginning of 2001, he didn’t seem ready to deliver…

Dhoom 2 – best kiss award 2006 (according to Barb)

He was definitely a shy guy carried away by his own sudden success, with impostor syndrome regarding his dancing skills! He had a long way to go before becoming the Greek God, LOL! Anyhow, it was BEFORE – for me there’s “before Dhoom 2” and “after Dhoom 2” that came after a year hiatus and he’s the best villain that ever was – but I needed to read that book to get a feel of what it was like in the early 2000s in Mumbai.

It was a pleasant read, like reading Mrs Funnybones, but from a European point of view – and since my protag is European and living in India, I did need the different view, right? I might have chuckled slightly less, Twinkle Khanna is probably funnier, but it was entertaining and interesting anyway.

And then on Saturday I did a drawing – call it Da Muse or call it Rajveer the vampire in 2005… After 2 failed attempts I was very happy to finish a drawing! 😉 So this is Rajveer who will soon discover he has a very famous lookalike… in the coming book! 😀

That’s all for today… have a great weekend! (for me it’s a long one, since June 29th is a holiday only in Rome!) 🙂

Random Friday


I’m sure I already mentioned in this blog that I started writing because of Brunella Gasperini. I read her books in my teens and they are still my favorites. Whether it’s fiction or pseudo-memoir, I could reread them forever – although they’re now very dusty paperbacks that make me sneeze.

But they still make me laugh and cry and wish I could have met her before she passed away. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. I am happy to announce that I’ve found a substitute – sort of. Unfortunately she’s not as prolific, but then, she’s younger and she’s not a writer/journalist by trade! 😉

I read Twinkle Khanna’s Mrs. Funnybones to get back to India with my mind, and she has the same kind of humor than Brunella. I haven’t cried on her stories yet, but then, she only wrote two books. And I got both in paperbacks since they were cheaper than the e-books (besides her fiction title didn’t come out in e-book, but I had read the Kindle sample of Mrs. Funnybones).

I read The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad last year, but kept her column for when I needed to get a feel of Mumbai that I haven’t visited yet. And the paperback of Mrs. Funnybones, with its illustrations by Kruttika Susarla, reminds me a lot of Brunella’s pocket editions with sketches! 🙂

I had a good laugh (which was very nice after half an hour spent fighting with Laptop, LOL!) and enjoyed every word – including the mention to her unnamed neighbor fitness freak (a.k.a. Da Muse) who takes only a couple of pages out of 240. And I could exactly picture the Man of the House and hear his voice when he spoke, LOL!

By the way, Mrs Khanna, if you’d like to read a couple of sci-fi stories now that the baby has grown up a little and you may have a little more free time (the book is from 2015), drop me a line and I’ll send you a sneak preview of the Lone Wolves Team… 😉

Now I only have to read the two books on the aforementioned Bollywood Hero a.k.a. Da Muse, but they’re definitely not as entertaining as Mrs. Funnybones… Have a great weekend, everyone! 😀

 

Random Friday


Future reading for research purposes blog post! I finally got everything from the various Amazon marketplaces (IT, FR and .com), so here’s the plan.

June reading for the next vampire novel that starts in 2005 Mumbai and goes from there – I include in this pic also the title for the sadist author, although vampires aren’t that easy to hurt, so that one goes actually for all the other books! 😉

July reading for POC Book 2 – Wanderlust. Survival in a post-apocalyptic but reborn world, since it’s been 3-4 centuries since the Event. The World Without Us is a re-read, probably just scanning for what I need, and the survival guides are also more for consultation than actual reading (although flipping through the pages I may come up with plot points, haha!).

These are all non-fiction books, and at the end of the year you’ll know which ones I recommend. As for fiction, I’m slowly trudging through bundles on my Kindle, but I have so many, I’ll never catch up, sigh. This month I’m reading a friend’s stories (he’s doing the 30-stories-in-30-days challenge) and some classic for research into steampunk – Mary Shelley and H.G. Wells.

Something randomly different: I haven’t seen Padmaavat yet – well, I’ve seen the trailer and wasn’t sure I wanted to watch it or not (the DVD isn’t out yet anyway), but then I got this review of the movie in my inbox (Google Alerts) and now I’m really considering it, since there are some people who are aware that those Rajput are quite delusional! 😉

I did study that time period for Rajveer the Vampire, although I found out later that Padmini or Padmavati might have not existed, but well… this lady did an excellent review and might have convinced me to give it a try – knowing the shortcomings beforehand might help, LOL! 🙂

So, that’s all for this week! Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

 

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