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! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


And we’re back to the normal longer posts, yay! 😉 Although Laptop gave me a hard time for abandoning him for two weeks… but eventually it behaved! 😀

So, the workshop. Fascinating stuff, and wonderful time spent with other introverts… I mean, writers with whom we talked about everything from craft to business to personal life rolls or highs. So in spite of the slight panic at seeing the room full of PEOPLE, most of which I didn’t know, I survived and actually enjoyed myself!

Now I have a long ToDo list, but I’m slowly working through it. Typing those handwritten pages took some time, but eventually I can tell you I managed to write 11200words longhand while traveling. I’m a good way into Saif’s story and hope to finish it by next week so I can start working on the next vampire novella.

Then, as I wait for feedback on the vampires, I will redraft a couple of the stories I submitted to the workshop and leave the others alone. I will eventually publish them, but I’m still trying to figure out the when or how. Some were first attempts in genres I don’t normally tackle, but only one actually made me want to write the longer version, without wordcount constraints – which are one of the reasons I went indie, a story should be as long as it should be with no wordcount constraints! 😉

Now to some probably old writerly links! A very good list of vital writing advice – do not ignore! ROFL, especially #25 that sums it up perfectly. And if you’re wondering if you should get an English degree… I don’t, but I’m an ESL writer. I don’t even have the Italian equivalent, actually, but I’ve been writing stories since I was 13.

So up to you. Here’s more writing advice for you if you still feel not sure of what you really want. I had read the original post (not sure if I shared it here) and totally agreed too. I am always baffled at how everybody in Italy writes but nobody reads. I am not a strong reader myself, but when I started writing in English I also started reading more to expand my vocabulary.

I will write more about the rest of the trip in the next post… Have a great week! 🙂

Sunday Surprise


#MYFIRSTPOSTREVISITED

A tag started by a blogger/writer called Sarah Brentyn, asking us to revisit our first ever blog posts! ❤

My First Post Revisited!

Here we come to the rules:

Obvious rules:

  • No cheating. (It must be your first post. Not your second post, not one you love…first post only.)
  • Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).

Other rules:

  • Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine but NO editing.)
  • Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  • Tag…um…tentwotwelve five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
  • Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  • Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
  • Include “the rules” in your post.

I was tagged by Joleene Naylor and I won’t tag you unless you want to continue the game – just copy/paste the above on your blog and keep going.

Hello world!

With the years I’ve become quite fond of my first name (in my childhood I wanted to be called Isabella or Elisabetta, princesses’ names), so I’ll stick to it because it means…

I’ll leave you with this short poem I wrote in a recent writers workshop (Women On Tour Andalusia 31 August 2009):

Barbara

it means barbarian woman

it is the number 5

it is a mountain lake

it is daydreaming and drawing

it is the memory of Sara

the first true friend

my name is Barbara

it means stranger

in a strange land.

__________________________________

And that’s why I consider my blog started on October 1st and that’s the blogoversary date! 😉 But then, you wanted it, you got it…

Have a great Sunday! 🙂

Random Friday


This will be quite short too because l’m still doing it on my phone’s tiny keyboard…

I wanted to upload short videos, but this won’t support MP4… so photo gallery only… Oregon landscapes…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oh, and here’s my shopping cart… The pads go very well with the book! 🙂

Sunday Surprise


Words of wisdom, writers on writing, something to keep your minds busy while I’m away! 🙂 Have a great Sunday!

Like Delilah Dawson said in this very inspiring series of tweets – there’s no top of the mountain when it comes to writing/publishing. Even if I write the bestselling-est of bestsellers, I’ll probably write another book after that, no matter what. The writing, for me, is something I have to get out and process and create. It’s going to happen anyway. I need to write. Would it be great to get billions of people to read my books? Hell yes. But those are the possible perks, not the targets.

Alex Segura

Burnout is a kind of creative constipation. You get tired of doing it. The work feels only like work. Clarity seems impossible. The stress outweighs the joy.

You’ll hit it. You might hit it early in your career trying to get published. You might hit it in the middle of your career after all the business baggage has been slung over your shoulders. If you’re me, you might bump up against it again and again with the standard peaks and valleys of the authorial life. I periodically run parallel to burnout like someone running alongside the ocean — if I turn my head just so I can see the shark fins, I can see the rippling lines of a threatening undertow, I can see the SURLY OCTOPUSES OF ENNUI THREATENING TO ENROBE ME IN THEIR TENTACLES AND DROWN ME IN THE BUBBLING DEPTHS OF MY OWN LASSITUDE.

Question is, what do I do about the OCTOPUSES OF ENNUI?

As my nemesis Jaye points out, you’ve got options. Nab a new hobby. Take up yoga or meditation. I like photography, as you might see with my Macro Monday experiments. Take a walk. Take a vacation. Have an adventure. Vent frustrations with fellow writers (seriously, this can be a huge help). Punch a punching bag painted to look like the politician of your choice.

All of those are good at scraping some of the barnacles off.

Chuck Wendig

Authors as a group tend to have a “don’t rock the boat” attitude. And with good reason; rock the boat, and the captain kicks you out.

But if you say nothing, nothing changes.

In this business, as in life, no one is going to just hand you anything. Because none of us deserve anything. You have to work hard, and fight for whatever you can get. Fighting for something when the outcome is uncertain is a scary thing. That’s the definition of bravery.

Joe Konrath

So many writers come to class with one question dominant in their mind. “How do I make a living from this?”… it saddens me that it so often overshadows the more relevant questions of “Why am I writing” and “What am I saying” and “How do I keep it honest.”

– Celine Kiernan

I really want writers to start thinking like long-term professionals. Learn copyright and don’t sell all your rights to a traditional publisher.

And don’t only sell your book in one store.

And have more than one or two products to sell.

You will be stunned at how small, seemingly below-notice cash streams can add up into larger numbers over time.

So today was fun for me, as I said at the top, because two new cash streams started up just today. Two in one day.

In my world, that’s a fun day. (grin)

Dean Wesley Smith

Random Friday


Movies time. Caramel was on my to-watch list in 2007 when it came out, but eventually I decided to pass. Then I saw it at 3/5£ in London and saw it was from Nadine Labaki, so I bought it. Now, I personally don’t go to beauty salons or even wax myself (and certainly not with caramel, LOL!), but it was interesting to see the stories of those Lebanese women. I probably wouldn’t have liked it this much 10 years ago, but now it’s part of my World’s Movies collection.

I seem to favor female directors, although Nadine Labaki is the only one who also acts in her movies (at least in the two I’ve seen). I started in the 1990s with Mira Nair, then early 2000s with Nancy Meyers (whom I even saw at some screenwriting event and wanted to shake her hand for What Women Want, The Holiday and Something Gotta Give) and Gurinder Chadha (Bend it like Beckam, Bride and Prejudice), then 1970s daughters Zoya Akhtar (Luck by Chance, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Dhadakne Do) and Nadine Labaki.

In March I have another Gurinder Chadha and another Mira Nair in the to-watch pile, along with other world’s movies (but I haven’t checked the directors of those). In the meantime I rewatched Where do we go now and I shall leave you with the neat song from this Lebanese-but-Bollywood-inspired movie. Have a great weekend! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


So, it’s a reading month and I’m telling you that I look forward to going back to writing! 😉 I’m a slow reader and it tends to send me to sleep, so… I hope from next month to read a little less and write a lot more and maybe watch a movie or three, since my pile just went up again!

water-and-air-1563x2500_resizeTor rejected my novella (after almost 2 months) and I’m quite happy about it because I can order a cover to a wonderful artist () and add that second point of view I had in mind to turn it into a short novel… not to mention writing the sequel, so I already know what I’m writing in March! 😀

And a new title is out, Quests Volume 1 that contains the Path of Water and the Path of Air with cover by the awesome Shafali Anand. The paper version when I have more time to work on it, be patient, thank you! 🙂

61qsf9igudlI would also recommend to keep an eye on Mysterious Kemet – Book 1 by S.R. Anand (I wonder if they’re related? 😉 I’m sure we have the same cover artist!) which will go on my TBR pile as soon as I get home in March. I also hope to invite the author on this very blog then (I mean after I read the book)! 🙂

From a friend’s blog, a new series of how to… for indie authors! 🙂 So if you’re just starting up, you might check these – the posts will keep coming, I’m told! 🙂 How to claim your title on Amazon Author Central, how to add social media buttons on Goodreads, and so on…

Also, if you’re a bestseller, watch out, Amazon is making sure you are – not my case, but I’ve seeen plenty of “bestselling author” labels that made me wonder… I’m glad someone is checking that those labels are hard-earned and true! 😉

And a good article on how to seek help the right way. You might do like Indie Author 1 and ask the wrong question to the wrong person! 😉 I know Indie Author 2 and I heard his plea, which reminded me of my shelved historical – shelved because I don’t like the story anymore, not just because beta-readers didn’t think it fit the “historical novel” mold.

I also stopped looking for beta-readers unless I write something for the first time or something I’m unfamiliar with and want an “expert” to fact-check what I did. Or maybe I’ll ask the cover artist to read the whole thing. But for the Quests books, for example, I sent out to betas only book 2 and 3 (book 4 comes out next month and I sent it directly to the editor).

Why? Because in one case I had a young male’s POV and even if he isn’t really human, I still needed a male’s perspective. And about Book 3, I was afraid I had gone too fast in the second half, and thanks to faithful offline beta (*waves at B-Abby*) I managed to balance it.

A couple more writerly links: why persist as a writer in times of such heinous fuckery (by – you guessed it! – Chuck Wendig) and how to keep writing through times of great political upheaval (by Chuck’s guest Kameron Hurley). I’m not giving up, and look forward to get back to writing, but I’m tangled into reading this month! 😉

Have a great week… Happy writing! 🙂

Random Friday


Okay, I had time to watch a movie during the weekend, so I finally finished the box set my sister lent me in December. The last to watch was Elysium, which wasn’t bad, but again it sees a future with no middle class, while I still think we might be headed to a middle-class-only society. I know it doesn’t look like that but if you check that Quantum Run page, there is hope in the future! 😉

I’m going to quote a sci-fi author (from the Finnish Worldcon progress report):

I’m also confused by the fact that such a large part of recently written science fiction is very pessimistic. It worries me particularly that in SF aimed at children and young adults, dystopias have become the popular and most frequently published subgenre. I myself am naive enough to believe that we would feel better if we could read about a future that is worth living in. I’m also naive enough to believe that we currently have all the information we need to create such a future. Why, then, do so few science fiction writers nowadays describe this kind of alternative? This remains a mystery to me but it would be nice if more writers were to even give it a try.

– John-Henri Holmberg

I agree with him. Time to write more optimistic futures! Even if the present is so bleak. Last week I was asked which sci-fi worlds I like to escape to, and since I’m old, I gave original Star Wars trilogy, original Star Trek and original Battlestar Galactica… and then this week I learned that Richard Hatch is gone too.

So I’m posting his autographed photo from Torino Comics 2012 when I was very busy being Happy Fangirl Barb with Terry Moore, but also got to meet him.  In case you’re a newcomer, you can read all about that here. I hadn’t posted the photo back then, so here it is now.

tocomics2012Anyway, it is well-known that I don’t watch TV anymore. Apparently da Muse went to the Italian TV for his next movie (coming out today in the US, next week in the UK) but I didn’t see him either (but then, I didn’t even see him when he came to Rome to shoot some scenes last year, LOL!).

Hope this weekend to watch another movie, if not, well… March! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday


Been reading like crazy and not writing much, but I found an interesting site of futurists and how they see the world. So if for example you want to know about the future of work, you can see that the only way to have a job in the future it to be creative – until AIs become better than us at that too, of course.

I have a still unpublished short story about a bleak future for writers, but we’re not there yet. We’re not even close, actually. So it’s okay to be discouraged if writing is not your primary need, but otherwise please check this post on the importance of writing in difficult times. Because it escapism is not a dirty word.

I certainly will keep writing, especially on other worlds, but probably also on this godforesaken planet, even though things look pretty grim – unless you study that futuristic Quantum Run site, that is! Things are not so bleak if you check that! 🙂 And there’s the real value of hope

A project that looks cool for when I finish the current moleskine (I’m still using the ones that were gifted to me by friends around 2002…) is this INDITE notebook… I like the fact that I can write longhand again! 🙂

Other good indie news – both Smashwords and Draft2Digital have taken out the “minimum treshold” for Paypal payments (was 10$ on both sites), so money will trickle in more regularly from this year. I wonder if things changed at Paypal to allow both to drop the minimum treshold…

Have a great week! 🙂

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