Random Friday


So, I managed to watch a couple of DVDs of competing universes! My reader’s loyalty goes mostly to Marvel, since I used to read Fantastic Four and Spiderman in the 1980s, and for that reason I don’t watch the movies based on those comics (okay, I did see the first Spiderman movie but hated it, so now you know why).

My movie-watcher loyalty is probably evenly split. I did see the first Superman (and the 3rd) in theaters back in the 1980s and possibly a couple of Batman (I think the George Clooney one because I had friends who liked him and the first Christian Bale because hey, Iceland!), but the rest was on DVD.

So, after most X-men movies, I got Deadpool out of curiosity… and yeah, it’s not politically correct, he talks to the audience, he’s an asshole, but… meh. I totally hated the fake Colossus (as much as I hated the fake Spiderman moving around) and I’m not sure I even liked the storyline. Yes, it changes us from the usual politically correct straight heroes, but… dunno.

On the other side of the fence, I mean, the other universe, I watched Suicide Squad. Villains turned heroes. That was actually a cool idea! Yeah, they’re batshit crazy, but they did save the world! And Will Smith in a bad-guy-turned-hero version was almost unrecognizable at first. And I did see Hancock.

So I probably won’t get Deadpool 2 (unless it’s in the discount bin), but I might enjoy a Suicide Squad 2, if there’s such a thing. As for the comics… I’m trying to empty my bookshelves and I read comics only on paper, so… I’ll just skip that! 🙂

Have a great weekend!

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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


Since I like watching movies un-dubbed, I almost stopped going to the cinema. Then somewhere in that country that almost looks like Italy but it’s not (they’re twins, both starting with I and ending with A, but for some things they are different) they are coming up with a new system I’d love to see everywhere – although I probably would never find enough people to have an original version screening, but you never know, there are plenty of foreigners in Rome…

So check this article on India’s movie-theater-on-demand model. It does feel like the future! Instead of streaming on smart-TVs or laptops, we could see movies on big screens like before tablets and the likes! Maybe I’ll be able to book a theater viewing with that app or a similar one eventually…

In the meantime, I’m sticking to DVDs. Because I don’t have a smart-TV and don’t want to watch movies on my laptop. So while looking for some “old” (1980s/1990s) Italian movies at the local Feltrinelli, I got myself 3 DVDs, since it was 3x15euro – nice deal! As soon as I watch them, I’ll let you know.

Since Holidays are approaching, here are a couple of gift ideas, for both writers and readers. First, you can pick your choice of Holidays Gifts from WMG Publishing – either the Gift Box for Writers or the Gift Box for Readers.

Or you can check this company that brings books to life on shirts and tote bags. The collection includes designs ranging from Jane Austen to Edgar Allan Poe and can be viewed here https://literarybookgifts.com. And guess what? I got a promo code for you! CREATIVEBARBWIRE20 is good for 20% off anything in the store, no minimum, and does not expire.

So there you go! You can start your Christmas shopping, for you and your loved ones! 😀 Have a great weekend! 😉

Writer Wednesday


Let’s proceed with some order! Writer Wednesday roundup! 🙂

1) Wordcount! Last week almost 17K, getting me close to my 500K/year goal, yay! In spite of life rolls, I’m almost done with book 3…

2) Da Series! It’s changing name. Used to be Post-Apocalypse Chronicles, will be Future Earth Chronicles. Or maybe Gaia Reborn. Because the post-apocalypse thingy makes readers think it’s a Mad Max-like world. It’s not. The planet is doing fine with less virus… ehm, humans tampering with her! 🙂 So, this weekend I’ll make up my mind and update the series page, make the new cover for Book 1, etc.

3) Plans! Finish Book 3 first draft by Friday so I can go through it during the weekend and then start on Book 4. Both will come out next year, but I’d rather get done with them before I take a break from this future! Did I mention I’m having a blast? Well, I am now! 🙂

4) New Release! The spy story is finally here. Only the final version for now. Maybe eventually I’ll publish the first version (short story) in a collection. So check Joint Operations if you’re not so much into SFF! 🙂

Joint operations work best in the War on Terror.

Ajay Roy, officer of the Research & Analysis Wing – Indian secret services – is about to apprehend a known terrorist.

Sarah Aiken, MI6 operative, has just discovered a biological father she didn’t know existed.

Ajay & Sarah have worked together in the past and should probably work together again.

Being a spy is not as glamorous as in movies, but it’s definitely an international job.

5) Sales! The bundle Thieves will be on sale from Thanksgiving to the following Monday, then it’s gone forever. So if you want to read some theft stories, grab it now before it’s gone!

Meet a bunch of past, present and future thieves, some not even human! Either protagonists or antagonists, thieves populate this box set in a great variety of stories.

Steampunk, urban fantasy, science fiction and contemporary stories where something is stolen and all hell breaks lose – will our hero recover the stolen goods? And if he or she is the thief, will they get off scot-free?

6) Writerly links! The Rewriting Metaphor courtesy of Dean Wesley Smith! I’ve been in Rewriting Hell back in 2008 and swore never again! 😀 Which was prompted by a question he got and his public answer. You might prefer David Farland’s advice on balancing productivity and art… the beauty of being all different, isn’t it? The most important thing is to be positive, pleasing and optimistic!

7) That’s it! But I like #7, so I thought I’d finish with it! Should I always do that? Nah, too neat! Have a great week! 😀

Random Friday


And since there was a new UK poll released on Friday about the greatest Bollywood dance number of all time, I thought I’d share my thoughts on it! 😉 I would have added a few more, but I agree with the ones included that I know (#1 from Devdas, #4 from KNPH, #6 from Dhoom 3 and #9 from Dil Se – the others I either don’t remember them or have never seen them). And of course Madhuri Dixit rules! 😀

But now I’m going to give you my list of greatest Bollywood dance numbers according to Barb, in no particular order because it was hard enough to find only ten! Sometimes I like the music or the song, sometimes I like the dance steps, in these case I love both and tend to rewatch them on YouTube whenever I’m too lazy to switch on the TV and change DVD for every few songs (it’s usually more than one per movie, but I picked my favorite of favorites).

So here we go – with links to YouTube without cluttering this blog post. Just click on the song title if you want to watch it (I’m not like those guys who didn’t put any link, only the title of songs in their article, grunt!).

Oh la la tu hai meri fantasy from The Dirty Picture (2011) Vidya Balan at her best!

Dastaan-E-Om Shanti Om from Om Shanti Om (2005) – Bollywood’s alternative to the masked ball seen in Labyrinth, with King Khan.

Mohenjo Daro title track, the only salvageable thing of that 2016 movie…

Dil Laga Na from Dhoom 2 (2006), the Greek God at his absolute best. Aryan is still my #1, 12 years later…

Tu Meri from Bang Bang (2014), the Greek God still rockin’…

Senorita from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) and here’s to hoping to seeing these three crazy guys together again. They want to, we want to, come on Zoya Akhtar, give us a sequel! 😀

Baawre from Luck By Chance (2009), pure Bollywood 100%!

Desi Girl from Dostana (2008) because hey! It’s Prianka Chopra! Her dance skills are almost as good as Madhuri! 😉

Make some noise for the Desi Boyz from Desi Boyz (2011) because they go well with the above. And it’s John Abraham and Akshay Kumar!

And an older title to close this list: another Karan Johar movie, Koi mil gaya from Kuck Kuch Hota Hai (1998), again with King Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukerjee.

Yes, there are recurrent faces. And no, I didn’t put all my favorites. You can look up Katrina Kaif in Chikni Chameli from Agneepath (2012) and other Greek God movies… Shahid Kapoor when he shaved his face… and even Arjun Rampal can shake his booty in Ek Ajnabee (but I already posted that one)! 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Random Friday


So the first three weeks of vacation have been so filled with travels that I’m still recovering, haha! I’d post pics of Vegas, but you all know what Vegas looks like, right? I didn’t go in the casinos (although I went through them to reach places like buffets or the street), didn’t touch slot-machines (I prefer the old ones I saw in England back in 1981, where you threw in coins in that big glass case hoping to make the other coins fall and  win them, much funnier than that digital stuff where you push buttons), didn’t walk the Freemont Experience at night much (already saw it in 2009). And I didn’t go flying either.

Lucca was a mess with rain, so the first day it was almost impossible getting anywhere. Probably wasted ticket, since everywhere was so crowded they had to close them off. I saw the Japan Town and the Games area, but not the official publishers booths. And there was a web strip that had finally a printed version that I wanted, but I couldn’t get in. Meh.

I also went to the self-area to grab a few indies. I discovered the Sad Unicorn comic and visited with some of the comic artists who had booths either in the self-area or up on the walls of the town. I also checked the steampunk clothes available, but they’re kind of expensive for the kind of use I had in mind, so I ended up not buying anything.

I have been thinking I could go to Worldcon as Bel from Post-Apocalypse Chronicles, but I don’t know if and when I’ll have panels yet and if and when I can have a table to sell some books. There are plenty of other comicons before Worldcon, though, so I’ll have more time to find a “costume” (possibly recyclable for other things, lest it stays in the wardrobe like my medieval costumes, LOL!).

Cosplayers! Plenty of them. Including a bearded Ariel the Mermaid, some musicians (Michael Jackson, Slash, Freddie Mercury “I want to break free”) and some interesting characters. And steampunkers, of course. And lots of mini-cosplayers – mostly Marvel superheroes for boys and Star Wars ladies for girls. A very colorful crowd in spite of the rain.

But too crowded for my tastes, so I guess I’ll skip the next two or three and go back only when I recovered! What can I say, I hate crowds… they give me panic attacks! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

Writer Wednesday


Jet-lag, it is a bitch. My sleep pattern is still screwed up too, luckily I’m not back to DayJob yet. So last week I had my minimum wordcount of the year, only 1600 words, to which I added another 2300 on Monday to finish fleshing out Wanderlust. I may start on the next book, but tomorrow I’m off to Lucca Comics and Games… so I guess that’s all for October. 430K total. Almost there! 😀

Since Kristine the Youngest goes live soon (in two days, yay!), I’ve lowered the price to the whole Vampires Through the Centuries series. Rajveer the Vampire is at 99c and the others are either 2.99$ (the shorter ones) or 4.99$ (including the last book). And looky look, the first book even has one Amazon review from someone I don’t know, yay! 🙂

There’s also a new anthology out, curated by Russ Crossley and with a story from yours truly: Rocketpack Adventures (ebook universal link and paperback) is out for grabs. I’m waiting for my author copy to read it (although I downloaded the Kindle version, but I have other things to read before that – including Wanderlust before sending it off to Mighty Editor) and soon I’ll post short interviews with other authors.

I’m also working on a few more paperbacks – the ones that I haven’t announced yet because even though they’re live, I haven’t checked the final version and the Star Minds Lone Wolves elders, so expect more announcements on that too. Possibly on the publisher page! 🙂

About the Business Masterclass… it was great meeting old friends and new ones, but I still need to sort my notes and make a priority list of what MUST be done, what SHOULD be done and what I probably won’t do right now. Lots of new ideas and great tips during those five days.

I got to meet Damon Courtney of Book Funnel (which I’ve used as a reader, mostly on BundleRabbit) who gave me some interesting ideas for my Patreon, since it has a Patreon integration, but I still have to figure out how to do it. If you’re selling direct (I’m not, yet), you do want to sign up for Book Funnel. If you want to do giveaways without uploading to Smashwords and setting it to free, do sign up – you’ll keep the emails of your readers (which you don’t see on Smashwords…)! 😉

Pricing! Especially if you’re a first-time author, it’s only 20$ a year. Me being more on the mid-list author tier, I’ll wait until next year to sign up – enough expenses this year! 😀 But hearing about certain features (like serials) made me wish I could jump onboard right now… Besides Damon is a very nice and funny guy to have around! 😀

Oh, and I got lunch with the Passive Guy! And Kevin J. Anderson (who forced me to have American pizza, LOL!)! I found a wonderful roomie and had booked the same return flight as the British resident, so we chilled out at the airport on the way home before our (delayed…) BA flight.

I shall leave you with a short slideshow of the Masterclass… have a great week! 🙂

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Random Friday


This is randomly late, but I’m jet-lagged and didn’t have the strenght to schedule it yesterday when I got home after an awful 9 hours flight and an almost missed connection in Heathrow with me breaking down at security and being sent to the manager because they held up my bag  (an boarding pass and passport and everything). I may understand security issues, but if Americans let me on a plane, why don’t the British trust me I didn’t get anything dangerous in the transfer between T3 and T5? Sigh.

Anyhow, wonderful week, meeting old and new friends, taking tonz of notes that will have to percolate for a few days before I make a priority list or action plan for the rest of the year… and back to my projects and paperbacks and all that stuff. Itching to getting back to writing too.

I didn’t watch any movies on any flight (the Dallas-Las Vegas one I had a broke video), didn’t sleep much either, hence 24hours-without-sleep bouts both going out and coming back – hence the grumpiness and near-panic attack on the way back. I’m too old to keep doing intercontinental flights on economy, LOL!

More next week… I need to go to the supermarked to fill the fridge and do some laundry and finish sorting stuff and do other things… have a great weekend! 🙂

Writer Wednesday


Since I’m still traveling, I’m postponing the actual Writer Wednesday with a summary of this Business Masterclass. But I’m not leaving you high and dry! Here are some writers on writing/words of wisdom/writers’ quotes to keep you company until I come back! Have a great week!

Right now you are best writer you can be at this point in time.

Believe that, keep practicing and sending your work out, keep learning everything you can learn.

Understand that the more you write, the more you learn, the better you will become.

But right now you are the best writer you can be.

And that will be better than the writer you were a year ago, if you are doing things right and writing and learning.

And it won’t be as good as you will be in a year if you keep learning and practicing.

Imagine how much more you will know and how much better a storyteller you will be in forty years…

Dean Wesley Smith

Should A Writer Get An English Degree, Yes Or No?

This is apparently a question, so I will attempt to address it.

I have no idea what you should or should not do. Every writer tends to carve their own writer-shaped door into the industry, and then they seal it shut behind them, Cask-of-Amontillado-style. (I can make that Poe joke because I was an English major. I have a license for such literary shenanigans; if you are caught making such a pun without the proper degree, you will be hunted.) There exists no One True Way to become a writer except, you know, go read stuff, live a life, and write things down.

Keep reading stuff, living your life, and writing things down until you get sorta okay at it, and then later until you maybe get sorta good at it, and hey, ta-da, you’re probably a writer. Maybe even a professional one of some level of success from MEAGER TRILOBYTE to MIDLIST INKSLINGER to GRAND CONQUERING PENMONKEY OF THE REALM.

There, the end, go do it.

Chuck Wendig

Now, all that said, it takes more than writing to market to get a book that makes money and has oodles of readers. It takes more than writing to a niche to get that smaller but fanatically loyal fan-base. You also may write that cannibal comedy so well that it gets attention from readers across the board and starts the next big trend. You can’t predict how your book will do once it’s published.

You have to start by writing a great book of whatever genre you pick. You then have to either put the work in to get an agent or publisher, or publish it yourself and be willing to do your own promotion and marketing. Your writing has to be what sets you apart, the rest are no more than paths your writing takes to get to your goal. It’s a smart writer that spends some time considering which path they want to take.

That doesn’t make you untrue to your art. It makes you an artist who has a goal for their art and makes a plan for how to get there. There is nothing wrong with art for art’s sake, but if you want people to buy your art, then you need to have a plan.

Julianne Johnson

Be yourself.  Write to your standards, your taste.  The road will be lonely, because you’re the only one on it.
Know that when you put a book out, there may be elements beyond your control that bring it down.  You can control the quality, but you can’t control much more.

David Farland

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.

Douglas Adams

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou(I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings)

What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.

J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)

Random Friday


And with my fall and everything else, I missed Da Blogoversary! Nine years of blogging and I didn’t even celebrate! How many bloggers are still out there? Not many from my original blogroll… Maybe they moved to social media (where I don’t go, except Facebook). Maybe they stopped writing. Who knows…

Me? Still here, of course. Still blogging until I have something to say. I’m thinking of moving the Newsletter to Patreon (it would be a free  post, the paid one would be of other things), so if you’re really interested, you’d still get an email with the publishing news and possibly a free short every now and then, and I’d dump all those imported subscribers who don’t even open the emails…

Still pondering about that. How to split the tiers, what to give away for that money. I’ll probably do like Joleene, only 2 cheap tiers, but I still need to think about it. I know, why follow me on Patreon when I post for free here? 😉 But I hope to be able to bring interesting tidbits for readers… the ones I don’t know by first name, I mean. *waves at Tori and Joleene*

I keep getting new followers here, but I have no idea why you like my ramblings. Are you readers? Writers? Passers-by? I’d put in the usual poll, but I know you won’t bother answering. So here’s to another 10 years of blogging and have a great weekend! 🙂

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