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!

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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!

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


Since I’m celebrating 40 years of writing and writing a post-apocalyptic series, I present you my very first post-apocalyptic story, written when I had no clue of world politics  and was barely aware of the cold war (but the nuclear scare was still very present)…

Earth, Year 2980

(written in February 1981)

The disk landed on Earth.

“Let’s see,” said an extraterrestrial looking outside. “Let’s see what they did during this thousand years.”

“They were well on their way,” a second added, coming out after the first. “Let’s see what civilization level they reached.

“I’m curious to find out!” said a very tall and very slim woman, excited, following the first two.

“We’re here t last!” the tallest man said, stretching his limbs.

“Enough, guys. We must accomplish our mission,” the fifth interrupted them, closing the march.

“Yes captain.”

The five extraterrestrials looked around. The Tall One looked over the trees, the Short One and the Slim one put their ear to the ground to listen, the Captain and the Humanoid stared at each other, puzzled.

“I don’t see anything!” the Tall One said, surprised.

“I don’t hear anything,” the Slim One added, unsure.

“Taziano, see what’s on the sensors,” the Captain ordered. The Tall One obeyed.

“No life forms,” he answered after a while.

“Let’s go to the closest town. Go ahead, Claudiano,” the Captain decided.

The Humanoid obeyed.

“The closest town is one erron away that way, boss,” the Slim One said.

“Thank you, Zita,” the Captain answered.

They started walking. Claudiano, the Humanoid, moved cautiously with his laser ready. Zita the Slim One, Fabiano the Captain and Taziano the Tall One followed him looking around, surprised. And Flaviano, the Short One, panted after them.

“Slow down, guys!” he pleaded.

The others didn’t hear him.

“Puff! How exhausting!” he sighed, taking courage and continuing to walk.

After a few hours they reached the town.

The Short One sat on the edge of a road, sighing in relief.

“Nobody is here!” Zita said.

“Not one life form on the whole planet,” Taziano the Tall One announced.

“What? But it’s impossible!” Fabiano the Captain exclaimed.

“It seems that, reached the tenth level of civilization, they self-destructed,” Claudiano said, consulting his sensors.

“Are you sure?” the Short One asked.

The Humanoid turned around and smiled.

“Sure! Wanna bet?”

The Captain pondered a moment then ordered, “Zita and Claudiano, go to town and look for anything that could tell us what happened.

The two extraterrestrials ran away.

“Still breathless?” the Captain asked the Short One.

“Yes!” Flaviano sighed. His round and stocky built got up from the sidewalk with some effort. “But I’m feeling better now,” he declared.

Some time passed, then the Tall One announced, “Here they are! They’re back.”

The Captain jumped to his feet and the Short One did the same, much slower.

Claudiano dumped a stack of newspapers at the feet of the Captain, then sat sighing in relief.

“That’s all we could find,” he said.

The Captain bent down, took a few papers, looked through them, reading the headlines aloud.

“America declares war to Russia, Europe is on its side, Cina and India with Russia. Third world war has arrived! All countries involved in the war! First American offensive on Moscow! New York bombardment. Tokyo destroyed. Italy in pieces. Africa burning… but… are they crazy?”

“See, boss? They self-destructed again with their bombs,” Claudiano said.

“That’s why we registered so much radiation!” the Tall One said.

“These Terrans.” The Short One sighed. “They’re totally incorrigible!”

“Boss, I got this,” Zita said, giving a notebook to the Captain.

Fabiano took it and read it here and there.

15 May, my birthday

Today I’m sixteen, but no birthday party. The boys are almost all away at war, there’s not enough food and life is impossible. Yesterday even Roberto, my boyfriend, left. He’s only seventeen, but was already called to war. It seems to be during World War I since there are many fronts. They sent him to the Russian front. It’s very dangerous! Last week they let us know of my brother’s death. He was on the Russian front too. Oh, Robby, I fear for you! Will you come back? I don’t know. I’m scared…

25 May

They destroyed the hospital! And yesterday they bombed the stations and some mountain villages. When will this ugly war end?

1 April

I got a letter from Robby. He’s still alive and things of me. Lidia has learned that her boyfriend is dead. And Carla that her cousin went missing.

15 April

They launched the first bomb SA! Radiations destroyed life in Japan! Those wicked Russians! Why is there a war, why?

20 April

Robby is dead! An atomic bomb destroyed the Russian front. Good-bye Robby! You will never come back to me!

30 April

There are very few survivors now! Most civilians were slaughtered. Soldiers even worse. It’s disgusting! Soon nobody will be alive anymore. The horrible SA bombs are destroying all human life from Ea…

“It’s the last page!” the Captain said.

“A girl had it in a semi-destroyed house,” Zita said.

“Well, they self-destroyed again. Let’s go back to the dist, guys, and start again for the fifth time,” the Captain said.

The disc flew over Earth shaken by big cataclysms similar to the ones of the birth of the planet.

After a few days, Earth started living again. Prehistory, Antiquity, Roman Empire, Middle Ages, Renaissance, modern times, first World War, Hitler, second World War, 1981…

The End

Random Friday


So, in the few days without writing (slowly going back to it coz I’m addicted, LOL!), I had nothing better to do and try to catch up on my TBR pile. Didn’t make that much progress, since I’m such a slow reader, but better than no reading! 🙂

First I read Jorick’s origin story (which is a Patreon exclusive, but you can get it for the lower tier), which was what I’d been waiting for since I started reading Amaranthine. Thanks again to Joleene Naylor for finally writing it! 🙂

I finished The World Without Us – a re-read – for Wanderlust research. I read the introduction to 21 Lessons for the 21st Century but didn’t go much further yet, although I’ll need to read that too to determine what exactly was the apocalypse, LOL!

I’ll probably write this batch back to back like I did for Star Minds Lone Wolves, since it’s 6 years after Brainwaves and for 3 or 4 books we follow the same two people. Then I’ll take a break, write another Silvery Earth Heroine, and then write the other books with other characters’ POVs.

See, I’m already planning for 2019, haha! Nothing’s gonna stop me, now that I have this very ingrained habit since the age of the typewriter (yeah, I’m old, and suddenly I feel lucky! Actually, I’m experienced, LOL!)

Anyway, back to reading. I’m almost done with Sci-fi July Redux and found some really nice gems, if I may say so. I know, I’m the curator, but I usually don’t read the whole books before bundling them. In fact I haven’t read the other books of last year’s vampire bundle (except Joleene’s) yet. And I gave priority to Sci-fi July even though I still have to read Thieves and Celebrating Male Lovers because I was writing sci-fi. Well, science fantasy, since that’s what Star Minds is…

Anyway, if you haven’t already, check it out since it won’t be out forever. It will be gone on January 4, six months after release. I know January looks far away, but it will come quickly, trust me! 🙂 Here you have the list of the bundles that are still available that I either curated or am part of.

And if you’re a writer, you might want to re-check BundleRabbit. It has a new feature for writing in series or shared worlds! 🙂 Have a great Sunday!

 

Random Friday


And inbetween struggling with KDPprint and writing I don’t have much time left to do stuff, so… last weekend there was a regency dance on the shores of the artificial lake in Eur. And I had a ballroom scene to write, which was cool.

Can’t upload MP4, so I shall leave you with my favorite masked balls – Hollywood and Bollywood version. Maybe I should start doing video-Friday, but someone might not be happy, LOL!

Anyhow, from all-time favorite Labirynth, with much missed David Bowie and a young Jennifer Connelly (I know, I already posted it, but I still love it) – As the world falls down.

And from Om Shanti Om, with King SRK a.k.a. Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone, guest star Arjun Rampal with bad aging makeup – Dastaan-E-Om Shanti Om (again, a favorite song that summarize forgettable part one of the movie)!

I know I already posted both, but they’re totally worth reposting! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

 

Random Friday


On a bout of total randomness, I shall go down memory lane! 😀 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! 😀

Writer Wednesday


Last week I didn’t write much both because I was traveling and because I was revising (I did mention August would be  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! 🙂 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! 🙂 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! 🙂 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! 🙂

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! 😉

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! 😦

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

Random Friday


Movie review! Sort of! 😉 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! 😉 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! 🙂 Have a great weekend!

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