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! 🙂

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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! 🙂

Random Friday


Like I said, I’m back to the Star Minds universe and the first story is Aliens on Earth. By some internet serendipity, on Facebook I found this spoof of Trip Advisor.

Translation: Planet Earth (Solar System) “Terrifying” (one star) by Oinega87 Nice but polluted environment. Disorganization in all areas and staff not very good. Inhabitants that eliminate each other for no reason. Much better the old management with dinosaurs. I will not return.

Which, coincidentally, might be the review of my Reptilian visitor, except the Earth of 2046 of my story is not as badly off as we will be when we reach that year, haha!

Now, I’ve also been reading sci-fi to get back into the mood. I reread Rendezvous With Rama because I needed to see how someone else described an asteroid crashing on Earth (although in my case it’s not Earth that will be hit, don’t worry) and then I started on Callisto: Dead Colony.

That’s probably the kind of stories I will never write about hostile space environments and things like that, but I must say so far the two books are in the same vein, although the second (and newest) has more action. But then, the first is a classic, so kudos to the author for keeping the pace! 🙂

And you can get Callisto: Dead Colony in Sci-Fi the May Day Bundle along with Technological Angel (book 1 of Star Minds), so go grab it if you don’t have it already! Have a great weekend!

Random Friday


Welcome to random randomness. Sort of. I watched Pan, which might actually sound like a good prequel to Peter Pan, but makes me wonder. Does Hollywood really think that making sequels and prequels to classics is a good thing? No risk-takers there anymore. No original screenplays, please, just in case we can’t sell the movies. Sigh. So reminds me of traditional publishing…

I mean, the kid is great, Hugh Jackman unrecognizable, but… was it really needed? You know what it did to me? I went to finally read the actual book! I have downloaded it on K.K. ages ago, and now I finally got to reading it, LOL! And since the first two chapters reminded me of another movie, so…

I rewatched Peter Pan. Of course it’s slightly revised, but it’s so much more  faithful to the book (and original play, apparently, I haven’t read that one)! This Peter Pan might be slightly older than the previous one, but it’s certainly closer to JM Barrie’s spirit, IMHO.

Now prepping for art weekend. Cristina is coming over and I hope to do at least two more illustrations for Quests, although only 3 out of 5 will be used as covers. I guess I’ll post what I won’t use on DeviantART when I’m done… Gotta wrap up book 2 and send it off to editor as well…

Have a great weekend!

Random Friday


Warning, reader rant ahead.

So, I downloaded some samples of books from an article I read somewhere and then from the blog hop last week and in between longer readings I thought I’d give them a read, so I could decide if I wanted to buy the book or not.

I have limited reading time and a long TBR list, so reading samples before actually buying has become more of a habit lately. Except I was more than a little disappointed with certain small publishers who use up to 60% of the sample for their publisher shit.

Listen, I don’t care about all that boilerplate stuff publishers put at the front of printed books. I’m downloading an e-book sample, and you better let me read the story in that sample! Because 4 pages out of 10 (I’m simplifying, since I’m math-challenged) are not enough to hook me, and you’ve just lost a sale.

Now I almost feel sorry for  the author who trusted you enough to license her book to you. Almost.

Second thing: if of a 20% sample of the whole book (is that how much Amazon lets you sample, or is it set by the publisher?), 60% is boilerplate and only 40% is story, I’m also prone to thinking this might be a short story, therefore not worth my money. Again, I’m math-challenged, so this thinking of mine might be wrong.

And then there’s those small publishers who publish only on their site or certain retailers, where 1) you need to register 2) I’m not even sure they have mobi file available. Sorry, guys. I have a Kindle. I don’t mind coming to your site, but if you’d allowed me to read the sample on Amazon, it might make things easier for me.

I already have too many accounts – as an author. I don’t want many more to be a reader. So, a couple of missed sales for you. You might not care at all, but I thought I’d let you know.

And I’m not naming names, but if you do that (put all that boilerplate stuff at the front of the ebook or not publish on Amazon at all), this is for you. Think about it. If you don’t care about those missed sales, good for you.

And to those of you who do things right, know that three of your books – for which I downloaded a sample – are now on my TBR pile and I will download them as soon as what’s already stored on K.K. goes down a little.

Now I better go back to that TBR pile, bundles of fiction and non-fiction, not to mention the paper books on my desk… I wish there were more hours in the day, but then… reading sends me to sleep, so I’d rather keep it for the evening! 😉

Have a great weekend! 😀

Random Friday


For Author Voice I had to look up Stage 4 writers, which made me go to my physical bookshelves and plunge into the past – end of last century.

The first book I read in English in the late 1980s was Tanith Lee’s The Silver Metal Lover. I loved it – still do, still reread it from time to time. I bought another title by her and did not finish it. Same with Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy – did not finish.

Then I read the Belgariad and the first two books of the Chronicles of the Cheysuli in Italian, and during my next trips to England, I bought the originals. Now, that was love at first sight! I bought many series from David Eddings (I still have to get the last, co-authored with his wife, but I even have his early contemporary titles) and a couple from Jennifer Robertson (if I couldn’t find all the books in the bookshops, I didn’t even start the series).

So I was very happy to go digging through those old paperbacks, looking for author voice. I know I bought all those titles even if the storylines were repetitive (especially David Eddings, after reading his Rivan Codex, I started seeing his pattern – that’s an excellent book on world-building, by the way), so it must be because of the author’s voice.

I hope to reread all of them, along with the Dragonlance books, sometimes, since they’re the reason why I write fantasy! And I still have four titles from SFF bundles I bought Nov.2014 – Mar 2015… not to mention this order from Amazon (I prefer non-fiction in paper, especially if it’s illustrated like the ones below)…

2016-04-13 17.37.47My TBR pile never goes down, and even if it’s just on Kindle, I do have a list that covers both sides of a sheet of paper still (I delete the read titles, so that’s still a lot of stuff to read – not to mention the piled paperbacks on my desk).

When I’m not researching for Kaylyn, I’m going through the bundle of shorter works… so far, so good, will tell more when I’m done. Go grab it before it’s gone!

I better go back to making up stuff, although historical research and reading old chronicles is sometimes fascinating… and I still have a long batch of non-fiction books on writing on the Kindle, but well… I want to read for entertainment for some time! Off I go! Happy reading! 🙂

Random Friday


Since I gave up on the challenge that should have ended today (started April 1, end should have been April 8) and spring is killing me (cool mornings hot lunch times, gaaaaaah), I thought I’d just sort of pass. About Kaylyn update, I’m about 17K in and the plot keeps changing under me, so I don’t think I’ll manage to finish it by the weekend, but hopefully by next week yes.

Just an announcement for a reading Friday. Grab this bundle while you can, it’s shorter reads (between 10K and 35K I’m told) that can keep you company when you have a short trip. And now I’m leaving you with the words of others – words of wisdom, writers on writing, call them what you want. I’m already tired from typing this, so I better use my energies to take Kaylyn to her next destination. Have a great weekend!

***

Things change in this industry every day.  If you’re like me, you probably find it bewildering at times.  But take heart.  Some things never change.  The most important thing that will never change is that books are magical containers for delivering stories and knowledge.  You create magic.
The industry will change – players will go out of business and others will rise and fall and rise again – but books will always remain.  Authors will always remain.  You are the captain of your personal adventure in publishing, and the course you chart is rife with opportunity.
(…)
Luck plays a factor as well, but only for those who implement best practices first.  Best practices prepare you to capture lightning in a bottle when luck strikes.  Luck strikes all the time.  It’s word of mouth.  It’s a blog post or a tweet or a Facebook mention or a review that recommends your book.
The books you have in you are important. Your books are important to the future of book culture and humanity.  Don’t let anyone or anything discourage you from putting your book out into the world.

Mark Coker

But if you want a career as a writer, if you don’t want to have a day job, if you only want to write, then it seems to me the safest path to take is the indie path. You’ll have more opportunity. You can work hard and publish a lot and make money doing so.
Will every indie writer make six-figures per year? Hell, no. Nor will every traditionally published writer. But what this particular Author Earnings report shows is that if you want the chance of making six-figures or more per year with your writing, the best publishing path is indie.
(Provided you continue to learn your craft, are a damn fine storyteller, have excellent covers, do the right amount of marketing… and on and on and on.)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I made a comment at some point over the last few days that bothered a number of people. I said I could always tell if a person was going to make it. I did not mean in their storytelling skills. I meant in their drive and persistence.
Anyone can learn how to tell a good story. Persistence over years is impossible to teach.

Making choices to write is always a key indicator. How often do you make the choice to write when others are doing something that sounds like fun?
Dean Wesley Smith

(On getting to the typewriter)… “For me, a lot of times the real barrier to get to work – to get to the typewriter or the word processor – comes before I get there. I had one of those days today where I thought to myself: “I’m not sure if I can do this.” I have a lot of days like that. I think it’s kind of funny really, that people think: “Well, you’re Stephen King, that doesn’t happen to you,” as if I wasn’t really the same as everybody else.”

Stephen King

In the past year, I’ve had so many friends feel burned out. Tapped out. Done. Finished. Writing became this chore that they had to do to keep up with… what? Financial obligations. Reader expectations. Personal goals….

When I start to get burned out, it’s usually because I haven’t had enough creative time. It’s because I’m focusing on the publishing and selling aspects of this business and not on the writing parts. I NEED the writing. It’s still my most-fun-thing. My escape. My happy place.

Elizabeth Hunter

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