Random Friday

On a bout of total randomness, I shall go down memory lane! ๐Ÿ˜€ My very first and totally private blog was on Yahoo 360. I probably put some of it here, at the dawn of this blog, when I was still talking about my attempted conquest of Hollywood. It had a nice little Yahoo Avatar that I have saved on some printed version of that blog, but not on my computer.

Since I’m stuck with the last Yahoo Avatar on my Yahoo account that doesn’t represent me anymore (like the older Happiness is… vignettes that show a brunette, haven’t been a brunette since 2013), I went online to check if and how I could change it. Nope… sigh. I should have changed my Yahoo Avatar when I changed my look!

Anyhow, I tried the suggested alternatives to online avatars (of course for the blog I already had chosen WordPress, and this blog is now almost nine year old, see that widget on the sidebar? Yeah, blogoversary coming soon!) and ended up doing a couple of attempts with Avatar Maker – although for the hair… sigh. I guess I’ll stick to Chibi Barb and Da Muses for the time being.

I shall leave you with my two “new” avatars and Da Muses avatars, just for fun! Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ˜€


Writer Wednesday

Last week I didn’t write much both because I was traveling and because I was revising (I did mention August would beย  revision month, right?) but this week I’m slowly getting back on track. I’m still ahead of my prospected wordcount and should be able to relax also in October when I’ll be traveling again.

I’m very happy that I’ll reach that milestone of 500K I’ve been aiming at for three years already! ๐Ÿ™‚ Like I said on a post, I don’t mind the writing, I’d happily do it for a living, but unfortunately I’m not selling enough to quit DayJob.

And even if I will quit it, I’ll probably keep other jobs on the side, because I noticed I need a break anyway between scenes/chapters/whatever, if only to brainstorm and imagine what comes next.

I’ll see what it’s like when I’ll have my 5 weeks off – if I can organize myself or fall apart! ๐Ÿ™‚ No new titles until mid-September coz I need to send them to the proofreader so in the meantime you can take advantage of this Kobo Promo. During the course of the sale customers will be able to use an author-supported 40% off promotional code to purchase my eBook.

And I have 2 titles that have been accepted for this promo, so if you’re a Kobo user, hop to Kobo right now! Well, tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚ And now you even know how many were declined and that there are 3 more still pending, LOL! That’s all the promotion and marketing I’m doing these days.

So again, if you want to gift me for my birthday, either take advantage of the Kobo sale or pick your book of choice on the publisher’s page or grab a bundle or a curated anthology. There. Don’t say I didn’t give you options! ๐Ÿ™‚

Hilarious post on how to pronounce GIF (wich for me reads jif because the i makes the g soft in Italian, haha!) and other acronyms. English pronounciation is really random for us poor non-natives! ๐Ÿ˜‰

As you should know by now, I’m a lot like Dean Wesley Smith – a one-draft, prolific writer who doesn’t believe in rewriting hell, er, myth. I might have started this adventure rewriting old stories, but now I started new (sub)series and I know I’ll never run out of “ideas” – maybe I’ll take a writing prompt or an adventure generator or whatever and just pop out a story. And I’ve quit my writers group since they weren’t helpful at all.

I’m not in the hamster wheel of doom since I write what I want to read but I dread the day I’ll have to work on moving my paperbacks from Createspace to KDPprint, hoping I don’t get any email requesting to prove copyright or permission from publisher (me). Probably before the Master Class. Sigh.

And I have new paperbacks to make in September. Double sigh. I still love writing and will keep doing it forever, but this publishing business is killing all the fun of putting the writing out! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

One last link – the branding masterclass for creatives by Dean Samed of NeoStock! And that’s all for today! Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday

Movie review! Sort of! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I decided to give Padmavaat a chance and ordered the DVD. I still don’t get the controversy, but then, I’m not a Rajput, am I?

I did study that time of history for a book, though, so I do know a couple of things about the first jauhar of Chittor. Even though I found out it’s a legend after I had written my own take on it. So, if you’d like to read my version of Alauddin’s invasion of the Kingdom of Mewar, go read Rajveer the Vampire.

Back to the movie – what actually struck me as plain wrong is… swords. You probably know by now that I’m obsessed with swords. I know a lot about medieval European swords and, after my trip to India, I know a lot about Indian swords too! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The Rajputs (who, before the Mughals, didn’t call themselves Rajputs, but Suryavanshi in the case of the Guhila of Mewar) had straight swords called khanda – now the symbol of the Sikh.

And Shahid Kapoor was given a talwar, which has a curved blade and is of obvious Arabic origins. Sigh. And they gave Alauddin/Ranveer Singh a sosan pattah, with is fine, but a talwar/tulwar to the king of Mewar… no. Just no.

Here’s the different kind of Indian swords (from Meherengarh Fort, Jodhpur):

And here’s a picture (again from Jodhpur) – the one in the middle is a khanda, what Rana Ratan would have held in his hand to protect Chittorgarh.

Alauddin did go back to Delhi after taking Rana Ratan prisoner, not before, and then came back to put the final siege. And I didn’t imagine the jauhar that way, especially after our lovely guide Anand showed us where it supposedly happened in Chittor (in a basement). But well, it’s a legend, and it can be retold in any way possible, right?

Now, I understand Chittor is a ruin (after Akbar’s artillery destroyed it, two centuries after Alauddin) and they couldn’t shoot there, but still… whatever. I liked the costumes, although I thought only Hindu women had the nose ring, not the Muslim (Alauddin’s wife is dressed like the queen of Mewar)… I’ll probably watch it again, pretending it tell some other part of history, LOL!

Anyway, it’s only a movie, not a documentary… The CGI was sometimes a little too obvious on TV, I guess in theaters it would be even worse, but well… it wasn’t half bad for a historical movie! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great weekend!

Random Friday

And in a bout of total randomness, I give you Da Muse Friday ๐Ÿ™‚ This week’s Google Alerts were particularly inspiring – although there are still a few inaccessible sites because of the darn GDPR (did l mention it sucks? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

So, he’s on vacation with his kids, busy climbing mountains and doing road trips… And coming to Rome! ๐Ÿ˜€

When in Rome… next time do call Barb! But avoid the summer, I know you don’t care about the heat, but l do!

Although I didn’t even go looking for Da Other Muse when he came to shoot John Wick Chapter 2 – and it was February!

So who am I kidding, not going Muse-hunting anytime soon! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then there’s this American Youtuber dancing Bollywood songs in Manhattan… Sorry, Q Park, you are no match for Mr. A! ๐Ÿ™‚

Not even Da Muse himself can do it like he did it in 2006 anymore, sigh! Anyhow, here’s some real Bollywood in all its glory only for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t have any new drawings to show, but you can always check the gallery… Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday

And in the midst of this space opera July, let’s get back to Earth for a moment. And to Social Media hell. You know those pretty Facebook backgrounds? Forget them if you have a visually impaired friend! Here’s from my good friend and fellow author Victoria Zigler:

I noticed recently that Facebook started having background options for posts.

This was fine at first, because my screen readers – both JAWS (my computer one) and Voice Over (my iPhone one) were happy to just tell me the background existed and which style had been chosen, and then read the text to me. Voice Over especially was good about this, since it likes Facebook better than JAWS does. Anyway, at that point I had no problems with them. Even used them a few times myself.

However, Facebook must have fiddled with the feature or something, because now it won’t tell me what the background is. Worse, it won’t tell me what the person’s post says. I just get a message saying, “Awesome text background,” and nothing else.

I’m letting people know so they’re aware that this can cause problems for blind people following their social media. If people who read this continue to use the backgrounds even with this knowledge, that’s fine. It’s your choice. Just be aware it means I won’t be reacting to – or potentially commenting on – the posts in question, since I’ll have to use the same rule I use for images: if I don’t know what it is, I don’t react or respond to it.

Got it? And it’s for this reason that from now on if I comment on the Happiness is vignette, I’m going to repeat what’s in the vignette. I know those must have been the most boring posts for her, but describing a vignette isn’t really a good idea. But at least if I comment it, now she’ll know what I’m talking about. Trying to make this blog a little more visually-impaired-friendly, okay?

Because I love Tori and I’ve met her and she’s sweet and the only one who regularly comments on my blog. Now, I’m not expecting her starting to comment on the Happiness is (it’s always the same 150 vignettes rotating since 2009), but I’ll try to remember there are people like her out there who might not enjoy those colorful Facebook backgrounds…

By the way, her books are also in the Smashwords sale, go check them! ๐Ÿ™‚ย This weekend I’ll be busy with the paperback of Sci-Fi Stories Starships… you enjoy your summer! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday

Even though I try to stay positive, there are days where I do feel down for various reasons. Including how the internet is changing too fast and I’m sick of trying to keep up. Maybe blogging and individual websites are going the way of the dodo, but I keep finding new followers for this blog, while my Facebook pages don’t attract anyone.

So I guess some people still look outside of Social Media for stuff – much like I do when I research something or someone. I’m also sick of fake news and trolls and all the hatred going around, but there isn’t much I can do about it, so I keep going… except it sort of reflect itself in my writing.

I mean, the reality is so sickly that when I write, I want to go somewhere else – not a perfect world, mind you – and tell stories that help me feel better. It’s not easy to write comedy, but I’m not into drama either at this time in my life. And definitely not into horror, so I’m afraid my last vampire novel won’t have much gore in it. But then, none of my vampires through the centuries are very bloody.

I also can’t write romance while watching many relationships end up in shit and #metoo and all that stuff. Can we please get along? Maybe the apocalypse is already happening, we’re just not aware of it. If we make it through the darkness, we’re headed for the age of abundance.

Anyhow, if you feel you need some input on how to be a writer in this fucked-ass age of rot and resistance there’s some good advice there. I’m feeling I’m starting again a second career, still indie, still writing what I want to read, and even if I haven’t found my 1000 True Fans yet, I’m grateful for the handful I have.

I’ve got word from Writers of the Future. Of course I still qualify for their contest, but I don’t know what to send them at this time. Maybe a novella that was rejected elsewhere. Maybe nothing. They’re offering a book of writing advice for free… with their Volume 34.

I still have too many books to read, both fiction and non-fiction. I shall pass. Wrapping up the vampires this weekend so I can check the novella I want to send Tor when they re-open in July. And write another short story before diving in the next story that already has a cover.

Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Writer Wednesday

And l lost an afternoon to a bee invasion, that gave me a panic attack and didn’t allow me to concentrate. I even went to sleep at my Mom’s, and lost a few hours. Add the first heat and my low blood pressure and ants in the house… Sigh. Life rolls.

Now back on track, l’m revising the novels to send to Mighty Editor and writing one last short story before leaving the Star Minds universe.

In June l’ll go back to lndia with my mind, starting in Mumbai in 2005, where Rajveer, Kaylyn and Shashank’s stories ended. Yes, this will be Kristine’s book and l’ll try to drop in Alain (from Nightly Bites vol.2) as well. The novel will come out November 2 as usual and it kind of wraps up the first three.

Our curator let us know that Spring Surprise is on sale to 1.99 from 27-31st May – before it vanishes. So get it NOW because tomorrow it’s gone forever.

The only link I have this week isย GDPR for writers. Honestly, this really sucks. I’ve been receiving emails from sites I haven’t accessed in years only because they have one of my emails on file (including the British Library that issued me a 2-weeks pass more than ten years ago and never wrote to me before).

I really want to move out of Europe. Can I apply to Canada? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I even had to “turn on” the notice on the contact page because I’m in the EU! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Please rest assured that I don’t keep your data, and if you contact me I won’t add you to my mailing list – you’d have to subscribe for that! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s more GDPR fuss – I know, it’s not stricktly writing, but it does affect my writing. What if I can’t access a site for research because it doesn’t comply with that damn thing? So far it affected only my Google Alerts (that are for entertaining purposes), but what if it starts affecting something else? GDPR Obsession indeed! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

That’s all for today… Have a great week!


Random Friday

Before starting my two-weeks vacation break, I decided to use my Paypal balance to get myself new hoodies for next year Worldcon. The old one I had made in 2012 is no longer white and shiny, it’s high time for new garbs.

So off to Zazzle I went! I found the hoodies with new colors and odered 2, one with the same writing as the old one (Silvery Earth Fan) and the other with “Star Minds Universe a Science Fantasy Saga”. They said in a couple of weeks I should get them, which was perfect. There were a couple of bank holidays, but they weer Italian holidays and Zazzle is American.

So I happily hit that Buy! button and waited. And waited. And waited some more. The parcel was shipped April 24, three days after I placed my order, which is perfectly on time – gotta give them time to prepare the hoodies, right?

Then from April 25 to May 5 it was stuck somewhere in the US. Reached Europe on the 5th, shipped to SDA Poste Italiane on the 10th. Spent 5 days in Milan, then finally reached me on the 16th. Talk about 6-8 business days! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 3 full weeks! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Anyhow, they’re here now, and since this May isn’t too warm yet, I’m using them already. They’re lighter than the old one and the logo is printed, not stitched. I plan to take them to 20Books Edinburgh (end of July 2019) and Worldcon Dublin (mid-August 2019) – if only the two events were closer, I’d spend the whole time in England and Ireland, but it would mean four weeks away from home and I can’t afford that.

The pink one is very flashy, so you’ll be able to see me from far away! Here’s a before-and-after pic – Chicon 2012 vs. future worldcons.

That’s all for today’s randomness… have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Happiness is…


Since I don’t have news, I’m going to randomly spam you with Buy My Books. Because this is a writer’s blog, so why aren’t you buying my books? I’ve got books for most tastes, adults only or clean, and I enjoyed writing them, so please become my first 1000 True Fans and help me spread the word.

Did I mention you could, nay, shouldย buy my books? Lots of e-books, some paperbacks and even bundles and box sets! And serieses (wow, big word! SERIESES! How serious is that?) Yes! More than one! Secondary world fantasy, science fantasy, historical fantasy and more!

Wait, I know I should mention something else to the Buy My Books Speech… I know! Just go buy my books! And spend the weekend reading them! Go now! Buy Links! Links a go-go! Whoot! Thank you!

Oh, and you can join my mailing list, of course… and follow this blog, which you already are, hello there! I shall conclude this random post with… you guessed it! Buy My Books!

P.S. This is a satirical post, in fact there are no buy links whatsoever. But if you’d like to support this writer, buy her books. There are links aplenty around here.

Thank you and have a nice weekend! ๐Ÿ˜€

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