Random Friday


Because I caught 3 on Facebook (the first, by Holland, and the last two mentioned here) and don’t know how to embed them in WordPress… I found a link to the first eight videos of European countries trolling the new US president. Add to these Finland and Slovakia and even Modor (which you LOTR fans can probably appreciate better than me) but you probably won’t find Italy. I don’t think they have enough sense of humor. But if you find it, please post it in the comments, thank you! πŸ˜‰

Of those countries, I’ve seen Amsterdam in 1998, most of Switzerland (lived there 1973-1978), some of Germany. The Scandinavian countriesΒ  are already on my “To visit” list, I’m not sure about Eastern Europe or Portugal. But I should really drag my ass to Belgium since it’s the other country of bandes dessinnΓ©es (Franco-Belgian)! πŸ˜‰

Now I really look forward to going to Finland for the Worldcon! πŸ˜‰ I better start looking for a hotel, and maybe book a couple of days in advance so I can have a look around. The other Worldcons had things to do before the actual convention, but they were in places I already knew.

And I think next year it’s in Dublin… no, wait, 2019 – Ireland, here I come! πŸ˜€ And I don’t even need to renew my passport… I think I’ll stick to this side of the pond until I’m back to full health. Besides, there are corners of Europe I haven’t visited yet… entire countries, actually… since I go always to the same! πŸ˜‰

I still hope to get to Iceland for the Northern Lights – hopefully at the end of this year. I might even manage a small group from Italy, besides Techie Bro. A number of friends seem interested to come with us, yay! πŸ˜€ But next trip is to the US for a couple of weeks.

Then I better stay put, recover and organize my summer trip to Worldcon… Aging sucks! 😦 I’ll do more intercontinental trips next year or later… Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday


So, it’s a reading month and I’m telling you that I look forward to going back to writing! πŸ˜‰ 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! πŸ˜€

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! πŸ™‚

61qsf9igudlI would also recommend to keep an eye on Mysterious Kemet – Book 1 by S.R. Anand (I wonder if they’re related? πŸ˜‰ 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)! πŸ™‚

From a friend’s blog, a new series of how to… for indie authors! πŸ™‚ So if you’re just starting up, you might check these – the posts will keep coming, I’m told! πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ˜‰

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! πŸ˜‰ 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! πŸ˜‰

Have a great week… Happy writing! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜‰

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.Β  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! πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend!

Random Friday


Weekend in London on the Chinese new year! Southall was disappointing (after 10am most shops were still closed, the “newsagent” that boasted magazines had none and even at the train station there were no magazines worth my time and the trip there, grrr), but I found some DVDs at FOPP (not to mention a wonderful security guy at the door who must have been half my age but still said “Enjoy, Miss” when I left – it’s been too long since someone called me “miss”, LOL!) and some magazines at a WHSmith for future reference.

London shopping

London shopping

I had lunch with a friend, then dropped that bag at the hotel and headed for the O2 to watch Kaabil – the reason why I went to London in the first place. Now if only they dubbed it in English, I’d ask Tori to watch it and tell me what she thinks! πŸ˜‰ But I doubt she’d go with Kelly reading the subtitles to her…

Barb's review

Barb’s review

It was wonderful seeing the O2 at night… so I’ll leave you with a slideshow of London by day (Chinatown) and by night! πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend! πŸ˜€

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Random Friday


kobo-promoOnly on Kobo UK and only from Jan 26 to Feb 2 – Norman Blood at 2Β£!

Sort of filler post because I’m traveling (to the UK, haha!) and didn’t have time to finish the portrait I started last weekend or to watch any more movies (well, I rewatched Spy Game, but that’s all). And I’m going to the cinema tomorrow in London, so I won’t have much to say until I come back.

Okay, I can tell you a conversation I had at work.

Me: “Tomorrow I leave early because I need to travel.”

Guy: “London?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Guy: “To watch a movie?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Guy: “It’s a joke, right?”

Me: “No, it’s serious. I go to London to see a movie that won’t come out in Italy.”

Guy: “And you go to London?”

Me: “If I want to see it on a cinema screen, I have only three options: London, America and India. Which is the closest?”

Guy: “You should go to India!”

Yeah, as if I could go to India for a weekend like I’m doing with London, LOL! Anyhow, he didn’t really understand why I’m doing this, but I don’t care. I’m crazy like that! πŸ˜‰

Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Random Friday


Let’s call it movie Friday, although I’m going to include a couple of video clips. Like I may have mentioned, I spent New Year’s Eve watching memories of the 80s – of musicians who are no more. One had just died, George Michael, the other was long gone, Michael Jackson.

I just happened to find a couple of similarities between two of their songs that made me wonder how anyone was ever born in the 1980s, since men didn’t seem to want to take responsibility for babies! πŸ˜‰ Cases in point: Billie Jean and Everything She Wants… Listen to the songs and/or watch the videos at the links…

Then the new year started and we had another celebrity loss, Om Puri. So I spent a weekend watching East is East and West is West in memoriam. Not to mention the fact that I gave my offline beta-reader the Bollywood fever – we’ve been doing movie afternoon twice a month since November, we meet more often than the writers group, LOL!

The Bollywood movies that I showed my beta, started with Mohenjo Daro (which was a first for me too). She enjoyed Om Shanti Om and of the Dhoom franchise she preferred Dhoom 2… no, I swear I didn’t brainwash her! πŸ˜‰ I’m also lending her movies that are not strictly Bollywood (Kama Sutra a Tale of Love) or that she has missed, like Labyrinth. I will also pass her Oggi Sposi since it has English subtitles… πŸ˜‰

Between projects I also rewatched a few movies (not because the ToWatch pile went down but because I have sci-fi movies and historical movies to watch and I needed to stay in fantasy mood or present day) including: I don’t kiss (France 1991), Saturday Night Fever (USA 1977),Β  Chasing Amy (USA 1997), The Wedding Banquet (Ang Lee 1993), Touch of Pink (2004) and Muriel’s Wedding (Australia 1994).

I have a creative weekend coming… so hopefully Art Friday next week! Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Writer Wednesday


So, um, ah, well, let’s see… how can I put this? It’s the last month of the year and I’m already thinking about what’s next, what to change in the format of the blog, etc.

I think I’ll keep the posts name, but slightly change the Wednesday format. I’ll be talking about writing and sharing writerly links when I have them, but I won’t discuss writing progress anymore.

I’ll talk about the stories after they’re out there. But if I stumble into some interesting research or something, I’ll mention it here.

The past two years have been a turning point in my writing, therefore I want to change the output on the blog too. I still have a lot of stories on my want-to-write list, but I’ll keep the priority list to myself and you’ll know only when I’m done with them.

With the online craft workshops I’m slowly changing my way of writing, so it seems fitting that I change the blog contents. I’ll try to make a blog post about what I learned as soon as I manage to gather my scattered ideas, but for now I won’t discuss my writing anymore.

I ain’t a young writer and I’m not looking for anyone’s approval. Yes, I’m still looking for faithful readers, but I hope to hook them with the upcoming new stories. I’m dropping that baggage of old stuff – what’s out stays out there, and onward to the next adventure.

For 2017 I have very fluid plans and it’s fine. I might be slower in completing the stories, but I don’t care. I’ll submit the short ones to traditional markets before publishing them, and probably cut down the number of published stories as well, but so far I could be prolific because I had hundreds of old stories in my files.

From now on new stuff only, so less but better, hopefully. And I’ll keep learning from writing, possibly even outside of my comfort zone. I look forward to exploring new (for me) genres as well as continuing my tapestries of Silvery Earth, Star Minds and Vampires Through the Centuries!

So, no more talks of WiPs or projects, only the done things. Starting now, the last month of 2016. I’ll have an update on the yearly wordcount in January because that was this (and last) year’s challenge, but then I won’t keep count anymore – not in public at least.

This week’s links! Chuck Wendig’s gifts for writers! I don’t agree on some of them, but then… I’m an unusual writer, LOL! But the customizable notebook… (as if I didn’t have enough notebooks already, including 2 bought at the Delhi airport, LOL!)

And Sales vs. People vs. Artistic Freedom which sort of confirms what I said above. I always wrote for myself, not a fantomatic reader. So I’ll keep writing to entertain myself, hoping to find a few people who enjoy what I write as much as I enjoy writing it! πŸ˜€

Have a great week! πŸ™‚

Random Friday


Movie Friday! I saw a cheap DVD of the Danish Girl and was intrigued enough by the blurb to buy it. The Italian blurb was slightly different than the IMDB one, but whatever! I enjoyed the story of the first transgender. I even cried a little, and s/he is quite beautiful and with a very sweet smile.

As for nude males – as discussed in the comments of this post – yeah, he showed his dick and also how to hide it to look female, and it was quite an interesting sight! πŸ˜‰ Like I said in the above, I’m not a fan of male full frontals, but in this case I wasn’t disturbed.

Might be adult themes, but I thought overall it was a very sweet love story although there’s no HEA. But I’d rather cry over a sad movie than in anger at DayJob. Crying over a movie or a book is catartic. Crying in anger and frustration is just exhausting. And I’m very close to that lately.

And then I watched Mohenjo Daro with a friend… by the way, it will also be at the Florence Film Festival this weekend. They used to show those movies also in Rome a week later, but this year apparently they prefer Milan… Can’t blame them! πŸ˜‰ (and anyway they invited Kabir Bedi and Ashutosh Gowariker, not Hrithik, so… ;p)

Let’s say that a TV screen was enough anyway. Not sure I’d have enjoyed it more on a big screen. It was okay. Later I thought I missed something, then, remembering the “censorship” of Bang Bang by Air India, I realized that maybe that much talked scene was actually something that I did see and it wasn’t as hot as described in the articles I read through my Google Alerts.

Either that, or the hot love scene was left on the cutting floor, haha! πŸ˜€ Not that I care to watch men romance much younger women on the big screen (do you hear me, SRK? Deepika could be your daughter!!)… πŸ˜‰ And no, it’s not because I’m not that young anymore, haha! πŸ˜€

Now my friend wants to see more Bollywood. I shall endeavor to pass her the Bollywood fever! πŸ˜€ Have a great weekend! πŸ˜‰

Random Friday


It’s not over yet and already I think that 2016 was one of the worst leap years of my life – for the world, more than myself. I have reached a sort of balance in spite of the changes around me, but for everybody else it’s been tough.

The downs started with celebrity deaths led by David Bowie and Alan Rickman back in January. Men and women who will be sorely missed. I could throw in an uncle of mine, while another is very close to departing, but I guess that I’ve reached an age where people I grew up with and always took for granted are leaving for a better place.

No wonder my hands (and waist) are covered by vitiligo like my grandfather when he came back from India! He was a prisoner in WW2 and he came back stressed and undernourished. I’m not undernourished (I actually have a high colesterol at this time, but guess what? That’s another consequence of stress) but I’m definitely under psychological stress.

Then we had the natural disasters – earthquakes in Italy and New Zealand – and the endless political discussions from Brexit to US presidential elections and now the upcoming referendum in Italy. I’m so sick of reading about politics on my Facebook newsfeed that I scroll so quickly that I may miss a good video, like the evolution of dance or this blind dancer and his angel.

The ups were the trip to India and Da Muses working so I have two movies to look forward to next year – Kaabil in January and John Wick 2 in February, so pretty close! And Mr Selfie even went live on Facebook and I caught it, by pure chance, but that’s one up for Facebook too! πŸ˜‰

Speaking of movies, I watched Zinda with Sanjay Dutt and John Abraham. The director is the same of Kaabil, and I can tell he’s experimenting. In Zinda (ten years ago) it wasΒ  the visuals – almost black&white – in Kaabil it will be sounds, apparently, since the progatonist is blind. Both seem to be revenge stories of the average Joe turned action hero (but I haven’t seen Kaabil, so I’m just assuming that the premise is similar).

At the time John Abraham seemed to play mostly the bad guy, glad he managed to graduate to hero status since! πŸ™‚ Sanjay Dutt – I’ve seen him in both roles (good/bad guy), a couple of times with Hrithik (Mission Kashmir and Agneepath), but it was the first action movie where he was the hero – negative, maybe, but still the hero. And no dance items, in case you were wondering.

So onward to the next DVD, the next month, the next year… have a great weekend!

Random Friday


Since between long flights and that neverending pile of DVDs to watch (to which I have just added 4 + a box set loaned by my sister with 2 movies I haven’t seen), I’ll make this movie Friday! πŸ˜‰ During Long Flight #1, since it was a red eye, I blissfully slept for most of it. I only watched a bit of Bang Bang from breakfast to landing or so (up to after the song Uff).

I resumed watching it on the way back during lunch, since I could be interrupted and everything, then I went exploring whatever else Air India offered and went back to it only a number of hours later to finish watching it. It was censored, by the way. I even rewinded to check – the kiss in Prague had been cut out of the movie. Meh.

Anyhow, I watched Kapoor & Sons – still don’t get that artificial aging that looks ugly whatever movie industry tries it, but I guess there aren’t that many 90-year-olds still alive and acting! πŸ˜‰ Yes, Rishi Kapoor was unrecognizable under the prosthetics, but still looked fake – and on a small screen on the plane, can’t imagine on a big screen.

It’s a nice movie, though, I shed some tears, so I’ll add it to the wishlist anyway. The two young men were quite promising, although they looked like younger versions of Arjun Rampal and Shahid Kapoor… Here’s to hoping that Sidhart Malotra shaves a little more often, like Shahid used to do! πŸ˜‰ And keep going, Fawad Khan, you can conquer Bollywood even if you’re Pakistani! πŸ˜‰

Then, since I couldn’t really get any sleep, but was too tired to concentrate on deep storytelling, I checked ABCD2, since it’s a dance movie and I love watching dance numbers (and that’s why Da Muse is where he is, he is the best Bollywood dancer, ha!). The choreography was great and I showed the last number to my nephew who is doing breakdance this year… I had to explain to him the story, but there isn’t much dialog, so maybe one day I’ll watch it with him! πŸ˜‰

Then I went home and before ordering the next batch on Amazon (was supposed to be just 1, but I watched some trailers on the next DVD… and I ordered 3!) I watched Bhagwaan Dada. Besides the very ruined film and the dubious honor of seeing Sridevi in her youth (I’m not ashamed to admit I discovered her with English Vinglish, so?), what can I say… the best actor was the kid! πŸ˜‰

The movie looked from the 50s or 60s, even though it’s from the 80s, and the transitions were quite choppy, so I didn’t love it, but I kinda liked it. Like watching Darr and other 20th century Bollywood. They definitely got better in the new millennium!

And the kid grew up to become the Greek God we all know and love… πŸ˜‰ Although he was definitely an ugly duckling back then, but he already loved to dance. Now looking forward to his next movie, Kaabil. I might do a weekend in London in January – alone, so I’ll make sure to go to a cinema on time, and if I’m early I’ll just stick around until it starts, not like I did last August with Mohenjo Daro! πŸ˜€

About Kaabil, I got myself an Italian movie because as you can see the posters are quite similar… so I’ve watched this one too! πŸ˜‰ It went ahead of the queue because I start from the shortest and of course it’s much shorter than Bajirao Mastani…

italia-indiaSoooo, it’s nice. Another Italian superhero (well, he’s strong and can’t be killed by bullets and eals faster than Wolverine, but whatever). And shot in Rome, although the dialects alternated between Roman and Napoletano (which I don’t understand very well – I understand better English than the dialect of Naples, haha!). So, loner who turns vigilante to avenge the crazy woman who fell for him…

Yes, I know, all the stories have already been written, it’s the execution that counts! πŸ˜‰ I’ll have to wait at least until January to tell you the similarities – if any, besides the posters! πŸ˜€ And that’s all for today… have a great weekend!

 

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