Writer Wednesday


Aaand… UPB has a new tagline, with special thanks to webmaster and illustrator Silvano Beltramo! Stay tuned for more changes on the publisher’s page

I might have to renew some of my own things soon, since the other day Open Office crashed without saving the few paragraphs of the new story… so I’m eyeing Netbooks, since they seem to be around again. When Techie Bro’s Netbook (a.k.a. the Writing Computer) broke, I was left without and after the other day I had gone back to write longhand for Draft Zero! I was so mad at the darn Laptop!

Still have to think if I want to move on to Windows 10 or get a Netbook with Ubuntu like Techie Bro’s. We’ll see. Might be an investment for next year. Just another thing to do on the To Do list, haha! But it’s not a “should” it’s a “want to” do thing, since it’s for the Writer.

Because yes, we need to have two hats. And I’m putting the publisher’s hat a little aside next year, because I want to write and find other income sources that don’t depend on me selling or not selling my writing. So, more submissions to traditional mags of short stories, and less of that darn publishing stuff.

Of course I’ll keep putting the works out, since it’s the only way to be discovered, but maybe at a less daunting pace (twice a month is a lot, even for a prolific writer like me). I’m going to try pre-orders in a different way from what I’ve done now, I’m going to try that branding thing with future titles and I’m going to keep experimenting and see what works for me.

And I must talk about bundles again because, guess what? SALES SALES SALES! 🙂

Da vampires bundle is discounted from tomorrow to Cyber Monday, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving. And First Glimpse of Secondary Worlds is discounted until the end of the month, when it will be gone forever. So last chances to have a taste of 12 different fantasy worlds from 11 awesome authors and yours truly.

And in case you missed it, on the KWL blog I explain how to be a curator at BundleRabbit. Now I’m going to spend the weekend with online workshops so I can move on with my learning and write the next story! 🙂 Have a great week!

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Random Friday


I’ve been reading Book 1 of Stella Rimington’s series because it’s the only one of the samples I downloaded that actually grabbed me. And it’s set in England, with MI5, which is what I need to finish that spy story. And she’s a former MI5, so she knows what she’s talking about! 🙂

And I think for the first time I was  a reader/writer. I mean, as a reader I reacted and then the writer said “Hey, that’s exactly what you’ve been taught in those online workshops!” And the thing is: you don’t hide things from the reader. You can hide them from the character, but the reader must know!

That’s why I like multiple point-of-views books and I hate first person. You get only one side of the story (and most of those other samples were “I stories”). I downloaded the sample of Dame Stella Rimington’s autobiography too, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to it. As much as I’d love to read the whole Liz Carlyle in one sitting, I know I can’t, I’m too slow  reader to binge read like that.

Besides, I still have plenty of bundles to read! Here’s a quick rundown of the bundles I’m currently in (and I’m still going through the first, so I’m afraid the others will be in next year’s end-of-the-year recommended reading post, sigh!).

First glimpse of secondary worlds (curated by me, will be gone next month)

Sci-fi July Fever Fun (curated by me, there will be more sales coming soon)

Love Magik’s Glow

More Than Human

Cyborg City

Dragon Tales

Sword Wielders

Vampires of the World (curated by me, sale coming soon)

Mythic Tales

Cats Cats Cats

Funny by Design

So, there you have it! Plenty to choose from… mostly SFF, but not all! 🙂 If you love cats or if you feel blue, the last two would be perfect! Happy reading and have a great weekend!

Random Friday


Besides bundles that I hope to read soon and some “housekeeping” (of the publisher page and other writerly things, not really the physical house, LOL!), I’ve been watching some DVDs. I started with 1453 that I bought in London last year about the birth of the Ottoman empire.

Besides the weird thing of a movie dubbed in English without subtitles, which made it at times hard to understand for a non-native speaker (I love my subtitles!), it was interesting and epic enough, although I felt the transitions were a little choppy. And they all looked the same to me – Turks, Greek Christians and Genoese – but well… it was kind of nice to see the Christians be the bad guys for once! 😉 The fall of the holy roman empire of orient or byzantine empire or whatever you want to call it didn’t look too bad. And I haven’t thoroughly studied that time period yet, so I don’t know if there are inaccuracies. Probably won’t watch it again, though, but it was a nice change of costumes and setting for a historical movie!

Then, since I was depressed, I rewatched some comedies – Bride and Prejudice and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’d have continued with Galaxy Quest et all, but I decided it was high time I watched the box sets of old TV series that had been on my shelves for years.

So I opened the two box sets of The Persuaders and watched 2 or 3 episodes per day. I absolutely loved Brett Sinclair and Danny Wilde when I saw their adventures on the Italian TV back in the early 80s, so much so that I don’t remember right now who was my favorite. Probably the English lord, though! 😉 Both Tony Curtis and Roger Moore looked great in their forties, pity they’re both gone now.

Anyhow, IMBD says 1971-1972, but the Roman numerals at the end of the episodes say 1970. Whatever the exact year, there’s definitely a 1970s feel. And I got to see London, Paris, Rome and even Geneva in those years (whatever the years, I lived in Paris from 1970 to 1973) and it’s really cool.

Unfortunately it’s the Italian box sets, so I have the Italian subtitles on the original English soundtrack. At the same time it shows how often the adaptation is completely different (like the episode in Italy/Rome, the subtitles mentioned Madrid…). I also like the mix of European languages used (the polygloth is the English lord, of course, can Americans speak anything else beside English? 😉 Although I don’t hear much difference in their accents) and yes, it’s a funny series, although I really don’t know what they’re actually doing. They’re not spies, not assassins, just adventurers getting themselves in trouble?

Two worlds collide when the titled Englishman, Lord Brett Sinclair, and the Bronx-raised, self-made American Danny Wilde, reluctantly join forces to right wrongs, and to protect the innocent.

So what are they? Vigilantes? Private Investigators? They don’t always work for Judge Fulton either…

A pair of Playboys with nothing in common but trouble!
The classic ’70s British cult adventure series!

Anyway, it’s been a fun blast to the past and certainly helped me smile again. Now I’ll be dreaming those two for some time I’m afraid… and the yellow Aston Martin and the red Ferrari with a Modena plate they’re driving! 😀

One last thing… I feel totally overwhelmed by the company of the cover artists below (l.to r. Silvano Beltramo, Shafali Anand, me and Federica Manfredi), but don’t worry, I’m not giving up drawing or digital painting, quite the opposite… 😉

Stay tuned… Have a great weekend!

 

Sunday Surprise


Happy Blogoversary!

Here’s to another eight years! I have definitely changed since those first posts back in 2009… and the world has changed with me, LOL!

Followers came and went and I salute you all who stuck with me. Thank you! Even if you just lurk and/or like the posts without commenting – at least I know I’m not writing to an audience of one (me)! Well, two, me and Tori, LOL!

A very special thanks to Shafali, Joleene and Tori who are the most active commenters to this day, especially Tori. Thank you for being there, especially Shafali and Joleene who seem to have been there forever (or at least from the beginning)! 🙂

And for those of you who are new and may have never tried any of my books, here’s the chance to win one. In the comments of this post and this post only leave your preferred ebook format, and if you have a title or a genre that you prefer, add that one too. The full list is here.

One lucky winner will get the ebook of their choice! 🙂 Feel free to share the post, but remember, only comments on this post (not on Facebook, not on Goodreads) will be entered…

Thank you and have a great Sunday! 🙂

 

Random Friday


Help a writer to avoid foreclosure. If you’re a reader, you might know her books better than I do – I’m sure I’ll read one sooner or later, maybe we’ll be together in a bundle or something. Anyhow, if you have $$ to spare, go help Adrian Phoenix! 🙂

I still haven’t (re)watched John Wick Chapter 2, but I got the DVD of Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword… mostly because it features two of the original Queer as Folk, Nathan and Stuart! 😉 But then it’s been almost 20 years and of course both have changed (or grown up in the case of the younger one)! 😀

I also watched the extras and I can tell Charlie Hunnam was an enthusiast for the movie. He said he grew up with Excalibur (which is about his age, but well… he’s British, so makes sense) which I happened to see in theaters because I’m slightly older than him (just a tad. What’s 15 years against eternity? ;)) – albeit dubbed in Italian.

But I saw the trailers in England (my first very first trip to England in the summer of 1981, before the Royal Wedding of last century) and looked forward to seeing it in Italy. Mostly because in the trailer Nigel Terry looked just like Oliver Tobias in my beloved Arthur of the Britons.

So, I’m more or less familiar with the legends even if I’m not British. My mom loved the chansons de gestes and studied them at university, and sort of passed on the love, even though my love for history and the Middle Ages is much much recent than Excalibur.

I saw most of the recent versions of the story, including Clive Owen‘s King Arthur and a Marvel comics graphic novel called Camelot 3000 (in the 1990s). And Guy Ritchie’s is the most fantasy of all. It has some nice British humor, but I’m afraid Mom will hate it even more than Excalibur when I show it to her! 😉

But if one watches it as a fantasy with very famous names like Vortigern, Bedivere (an African one? The horror! Although Djimon Honsou is gorgeous, of course! :D) and Percival, it’s fine. Of course there’s Excalibur in the rock and the round table, sort of. A friend of mine even hopes for a sequel… *rolls eyes*

Have a great weekend! 😀

 

 

Random Friday


Been reading samples for the next bundle, and I hope to find enough novels to fill it. Otherwise I’ll probably have to add shorter works and collections. In the meantime brainstorming the next book (and I’m not even done with the next one, LOL!) and getting started on at least one of the shorter works – which could eventually go into the bundle if I make it also of shorter works. Or maybe it will be a newsletter exclusive for a year or so. Or maybe I don’t know yet.

Been thinking about those projects – most are for next year, but you know… when the mind wanders… and the hand follows… I ended up doing a few chibis of myself that I may use in the future projects (at least one of them). So there you have Chibi Writer Barb!

This weekend I’ll make sure the document is ready and upload the pre-order also where I cannot do the assetless pre-order and next weekend will be the infamous marketing weekend cum POD formatting. Gah.

Draft2Digital added some e-book templates but I may try them on the next series. I did write a novel that isn’t part of any series yet this summer, after all! 😉 So I guess I will try their sci-fi templates sometime before the end of the year, yay!

Any app-developers willing to work on that “Take Care of an Author (TM)” app (see previous post comments if you missed them)? I can do the chibis of the authors, but I’m hopeless with making apps… 😉

Have a great weekend! 😀

Random Friday


This summer has been worse than ever for buses. And it’s made worse by the buss app that showed me this city has plenty of Ghost Buses? The app says “now” and no bus shows up – must be the Ghost Bus for Old Silvery Earth or another dimension only transdimensional travelers can see except for that glitch on the Moovit App.

It says “4 min” and then “12 min” – again, a bus vanished in a wormhole? – and sometimes the bus shows up when the app says nothing. Huh? Whatever the cause, it’s happening way too often. It takes me 1hour to go home (or get to work) when school is out – only 5km, 20/30 minutes (depending on the traffic) bus ride if the bus shows up.

I’ve had 50 minutes wait for a 20 minutes trip… and sometimes I try alternatives, like changing bus, but it doesn’t always help. Add the heat and you havea very unhappy person here! Looking forward to going north, if only for a week of cooler weather!

But it’s great microfiction and maybe one day it will be a short story (“The Ghost Bus To Nowhere”). By the way, Da Muse seems quite good with microfiction from a picture himself. Maybe he should pair with Da Other Muse who now publishes Artbooks. Since Da Muse uses words and images to tell his little stories – unless he wants to enter the hall of Twitterature, since he is a Twitterati! 😉

Ah, well, I do microfiction myself when I write Da Strip… that I still have no idea of how to publish, but I doubt anyone is actually looking forward to reading it, so… have a great weekend! 😀

Random Friday


Total random stuff. I watched the French DVD I got in Paris and it was as funny but sad as expected – a family dramedy with a happy ending. And I rewatched Any Body Can Dance 2, just for the dancing, since there’s no real story in that series, LOL! Which, considering has me mixing a European and an Asian movie and enjoying both for different reasons, takes me to the next random topic, cultural appropriation.

I read this wonderful article on whose culture is it anyway, and what about hybridity and thought the author made great points. I’m Italian, but I grew up in France and Switzerland, in an international town (Geneva) with people from all over the world, then came back to the Eternal City and hated it.

Still today, almost 40 years later, I get irritated when I’m pinned down as Italian and asked if I do this or that – I don’t. I feel international, I love a lot of stuff from a lot of countries and I don’t think it’s cultural appropriation. When I write, I try to be respectful of whatever culture I try to cover and to find people in that culture/religion who can help me fact-check. *waves at beloved cover artist*

But sometimes I’ve stumbled on such harsh cultural appropriation articles that condemt it completely, that I almost felt guilty to try to write a story of humanity as a whole and not as a single ethnicity/religion/race. I was even irked by the clearly European and tattooed young woman who visited the Taj Mahal with a sari (maybe I was envious, LOL!).

Thing is – I’m not trying to appropriate anything. I’m enjoying the diversity of this crazy world. And soon I’ll start on a projection of our future, it will be utopia (with a dark side) but I intend to put a society where skin color doesn’t matter and the borders are no more. You might call it globalization, but it’s still a post-apocalipse story, hehe! 😉

So I plan to have black people, Asians and white people all living together and not being bothered by race or religion. They’ll have other problems to face! 😉 And I’ll try to come up with a culture that is a fusion of all we have today (it’s set in the 22nd century, so plenty of time to develop that) plus possibly something original.

Mission impossible? Probably. We’ll know at the end of August. Have a great weekend! 😀

 

Random Friday


Dunno on your side of the world, but this year, besides the usual (and worsening) heat, we even have fires. I mean, we always have fires in the summer when it doesn’t rain much, but this year it has been particularly harsh on me. Here’s a summary in English – my story is from Sunday, but as you can see, it’s not over yet.

My 3h30 train ride back home became an 8h30 odissey where only Techie Bro’s intervention allowed for a happy ending at that time – otherwise it would have probably lasted much longer.

Ice-cream in Massa

I spent the weekend in Massa (my father’s hometown) with a friend. Both writers, we mostly stayed in and did our stuff. Sunday my dad took us to the train station. She stopped in Pisa, so she took the regional train (cheaper) that was 10 minutes late. My Intercity was also 10 minutes late for much affluence at previous stations.

But I saw the train coming from the south (i.e. where I was headed) was 174mintes late. I was afraid something had happened on the line and I was soon proved right. First stop in Grosseto where we gained another 20 minutes of lateness. They told us it was because of a fire near Capalbio and that firemen were at work.

At that point my mother called me from Massa, since the fire was on the TV news. A ViP camping had been evacuated but it was mostly over. So on we went… and stopped shortly afterward, at Montalto di Castro. Again they told us it was because of a fire between Ladispoli and Fregene (north of Rome). We were still in Tuscany.

One hour went by. One and a half and the AC of the train was giving me a headache. I saw a train going north, and hoped things were clear, but we still didn’t move.

Then they told us that if we were headed for Roma Termini, we could take the train on platform 1 that would take us to Ladispoli where a bus service would take us to Roma Termini. Whoever was headed further south (the train was bound for Salerno) should stay onboard.

So I moved train, found a seat, and the train didn’t leave for another 10-20 minutes. The following stations it filled itself. At Civitavecchia there was still smoke and smell of fire and the refugees of another fast train (the one I could have taken that passed through Massa one hour earlier) came onboard.

Talking to a Filippino lady who had had the bad idea of visiting Pisa, leaving her husband and son in Rome, that train had met both fires and was by now 4 hours late. And it was canceled and wouldn’t go anywhere else. We found out that we were on a regional train that supposedly did Roma-Genova, but did only Ladispoli-Grosseto (it was probably the same that I had seen go north and that had come back one hour later).

The packed train ended in Ladispoli, where they told us there would be a bus service. The outside of the station was already packed with people from other trains, and the platform was so busy with people stopping and not moving that for the first time in my life I crossed the tracks to get out of the crowd.

Then I used the underground passage to go to the front of the station, since I had come out in the back, with the Filippino lady on my heels. No bus in sight, and hundreds of people milling around. The police said the bus were coming, and it was 9pm by now. I called my brother and told him the bus would only take me to Maccarese where we could take another train to Termini, so he said he’d come to Maccarese to spare me the last leg of the trip.

By 9.30 still no bus and the station restrooms were locked. The Filippino lady had struck a conversation with two students who had decided to go for a beach day in Ladispoli and had been stuck there for hours – bus had come at 6pm but there weren’t enough of them. One was Hungarian, the other Danish, but both studied in Denmark and were in Rome for some summer course.

My brother reached Maccarese and since no bus in sight he decided to come over to Ladispoli. With the help of the Danish girl I managed to use Google Maps and send him our location (we walked away from the overcrowded train station). Around 10pm, five minutes after 3 bus showed up, headed for the station, he arrived and picked us up.

stranded in Ladispoli – bus and Techie Bro arrived from this street

We live south of Rome and the highway is the one that takes to Fiumicino airport. The 3 foreigners needed Gianicolo and Nomentana, so we left them at a taxi parking near Eur (with 2 lone taxis – and I saw them trying to call a Uber before heading there) and I was home by 11pm.

Could have been worse. Midnight or 1am if I had waited for the bus+train+taxi from the train station in the center since I don’t trust the metro at night… Gotta love one’s Techie Bro who is not afraid of driving in the dark, right? Now my parents and sister will take that same train on Sunday… here’s to wishing them a prompt and safe journey!

On a last note: I’ve had a maximum of 3hours late, but being stranded 50km from home – 40minutes by car – was a first… Have a great weekend! 😉

Random Friday


Roger Murtaugh: I’m too old for this shit!

Yes, I’m feeling like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon (actually, he says this line in all 4 movies, joined by Mel Gibson at least in the last one). When you’re single or don’t have kids and find yourself for six days between a 12-year-old and a 70something… it makes everything more complicated!

One tends to run forward (because he’s telling stories to himself and isn’t paying attentiong), the  other lags  behind. One makes a melodrama out of nothing and the other has clearly enough of his tantrums (I don’t see him as often as my mother, LOL!). I was always the mediator! 🙂

Add the heat and some rain… not always fun. We did the tourist stuff (i.e. lots of lines), and he wanted to be back at the hotel by 3pm, so on the last day I decided to go out and try to find some DVDs, since the FNAC nearby had a poor selection but I remembered the Champs Elysées shop was  much bigger…

I asked him if he wanted to come (I admit it, I hoped he’d say no and kept playing with his videogames, LOL!). So I ended up grabbing one DVD because it was near the games section and gave up looking for more! 😀 But I did manage to buy the BDs I can’t buy in Rome anymore because the only French bookshop closed, so I have completed my Thorgal collection.

And I got the Lapins Crétins (Rabbids for gamers) BDs for Dear Nephew who wanted them because he’d seen them in some videogame (and there isn’t much text anyway… he laughed out loud reading all 3 volumes out of 9 that I bought him). By the way, if anyone can be bothered to correct the Wikipedia entry above… there are 9 volumes of the comic + a couple of specials

Leaving you with some pics… have a great weekend! 🙂

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