Wednesday Weekly Roundup

Hello and welcome to the new blog schedule! The Happiness is… vignette will continue until about halfway next year, but then I won’t restart the cycle like I’ve done so far since 2009. The only post will be on Wednesdays and, as the title says, it will be a roundup of everything writing and non-writing related. The Backstage Pass will continue on Sundays on the publisher’s page to keep that page moving while I’m not publishing regularly (besides Italian titles, I mean). Thank you for following me in this new step of my journey!

And to celebrate the 10 years Blogoversary, I’m going to do a Giveaway! ๐Ÿ™‚ Any eBook of mine in your preferred format (or audio if you’re in the US, CA or AU, although that’s valid only for Otherside, I still have a few of those codes). Just drop a comment with the title and your preferred format! ๐Ÿ™‚

Now Kobo might have added audiobooks to the KWL dashboard, but during the weekend the eBooks had vanished. I was trying to finish updating the Silvery Earth titles still out there, and on KWL I saw for a moment on Saturday morning all 120+ titles (and 60+ unpublished), then no more than 18 on Laptop, 21 on Netbook (but it did show the unpublished titles of the discarded pen name, grrr!).

And Techie Bro took Laptop for an update/upgrade, so I copied everything to Netbook to update DriveThru and KWL, but when Smashwords had “trouble” with a couple of documents, there wasn’t much I could do, since Netbook doesn’t have Adobe Reader to check ePub files. Maybe it has something to read ePubs, but I wasn’t in the mood for experimenting. So it was a hassle that dragged the whole weekend. Sigh.

As for writing, just a short story, a little more than 5K. I started dabbling in a contemporary story, but it might not be the right time to write it, so I’m contemplating other options. I’ve realized I’ve been reading too much non-fiction lately, too much necessary research, but it has taken the fun out of writing somehow. And took me off the reading market as well, since I’m a slow reader.

So I started reading all those bundles that came out on BundleRabbit and might have a look at StoryBundle (lookie look! Vampires! Maybe I should!) and other places. I am considering a new series with a no-longer-young heroine, but I’m not sure which genre it’s going to be. My characters grew up with me, I guess it’s time I talk about salt-and-pepper hair, although I have already done that with Bel. Hey, maybe I’ll write about her breakup with Raj because she became a grumpy old spinster, LOL!

The Infinite Bard story is up once again! There is now quite a collection of free reads there now, check it out! ๐Ÿ™‚ And the publisher’s site is all updated, so at least that is done, yay! Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚


Random Friday

Here we go with some innovation/tech ramblings! ๐Ÿ™‚ I heard about Google Nest Hub Max and, boy!, was I creeped out! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I don’t know about you, but this facial recognition thingy still makes me uneasy. Although I might go to Milan to check an exibition called Training Humans, I still don’t want to see it in my home – or that of my friends.

I read an Italian article about the simulation inside the C-TOC, the IBM fully-operational Security Operations Center being driven around on a semi truck to provide education and support to professionals and consumers. It has apparently reached Italy and they did a demonstration of how it works. It also gave me some ideas for the next story, although I wasn’t thinking about a cyberattack, but the simulated disruptions might happen even in my story, so it was good inspiration! ๐Ÿ™‚

Someone shared how driverless cars might increase sex – and just the title made me think of Shan-leo, who lost his arm because he was busy with his girlfriend! ๐Ÿ˜‰ This story is in Star Minds Next Generation Diaries and not even a mighty Sire like him will ever be whole again! ๐Ÿ™‚ Not to mention the consequences for Izzy-lee… better or worse depends on your thought on life, death and immortality through technology!

I’m not totally against new tech, mind you, especially if it helps disabled people. And I already explored brain implants and telepathy in Brainwaves. And my many terraformed exoplanets might have some base in what is actually out there, since water was found for the first time on a “potentially habitable” planet. Maybe eventually I’ll be able to write hard SF, haha!

Since we’re talking future and futuristic, you heard about Matrix 4, right? I’ll have to rewatch The Matrix to complete the translation of Brainwaves, since I now know the English original almost by heart, but I don’t remember what the dubbed version said. So I might watch most of the movie in English and switch to Italian for that one scene.

Which one? “Ignorance is bliss” – as mentioned in the English version. Can’t for the life of me remember what it sounded like in Italian. And I had the VHS. It was the first Keanu movie I saw in theaters. Then I bought the DVD, discovered the original versions and now I can’t stand dubbed movies anymore. Meh.

Anyhow, another busy weekend re-uploading stuff coming up… Hope you have a better and more relaxed weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Writer Wednesday

Last week I wrote one new short story (under 5K) and tinkered with another, so the grand total was still under 5K. Since I no longer worry about meeting a wordcount, I’m not panicking. Currently writing another and then one more (with approx.23 centuries inbetween, since one is set in ancient Greece, the other in the 21st century), then l’ll have to decide my next project!

I published a title in Italian last week and sold 6 copies… so maybe I should concentrate on that while I clean up the English production. I finished the translation of Brainwaves and might try to put out other stuff – my backlist in Italian is still quite long.

During the weekend I prepared new covers for the Quests books, updated Vampires Through the Centuries and Future Earth Chronicles, and opened a Pinterest account. So if you’re there, let me know, and I’ll follow you.

I have already set up a few boards, both of my books and of stuff that I like. The steampunk board is for inspiration for Future Earth Chronicles, and in fact I pinned a couple of pictures that I had already found and “used” in my virtual cast. I’d do boards of my virtual casts, but I’m not sure it’s fine, LOL!

Next weekend is Silvery Earth clean-up. I wil reformat especially the Chronicles of the Varian Empire to match them with the paperbacks that are currently unlinked because the e-books have a different content. And I’ll put up the four new covers for the Quests books.

One of the reasons why I’ll keep posting on Wednesday even with the new schedule is the Infinite Bard. Every other week a new free story is up. And this is the week, so go check the latest offering! ๐Ÿ™‚ There are now thirteen stories of awesome authors (I haven’t met them all, but I can vouch for a few of them), give them some love! ๐Ÿ™‚

I also have a Bookbub author page and there’s the Silvery Earth Kids on Instagram… And my Amazon Author page, of course. I have given up on Goodreads, so my blog goes there, but I don’t interact much anymore. I even re-activated my Bookcrossing profile – I used to access it with Goodreads, but it’s no longer possible, so I had to ask them to let me on the site again! ๐Ÿ™‚

So, even if I’ll post here less often soon, you’ll know where to find me. Although I’m mostly either here or on Facebook, unless I get addicted to finding pictures on Pinterest! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a great week!

Random Friday

And since I get those innovation emails again (they were off for August), here’s some random randomness, mostly about the brain. Neuroscience says this is the most powerful way to reward yourself. Yeah, the randomness itself is.

And as far as my moods that affect my decision-making, there are spontaneous brain fluctuations that influence risk-taking.

โ€œExperts have long struggled to explain why people are so erratic, making one decision one day and the opposite decision another day. We know that the brain is constantly active, even when we arenโ€™t doing anything, so we wondered if this background activity affects our decision-making,โ€ said the studyโ€™s co-lead author, Dr Tobias Hauser (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology).

So I’m not crazy if I keep changing my mind, yay! And here’s another good news:

โ€œOur brains may have evolved to have spontaneous fluctuations in a key brain area for decision making because it makes us more unpredictable and better able to cope with a changing world,โ€ explained senior author Dr Robb Rutledge (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology).

That totally makes sense! and I will take time when making important decisions, since I might change my mind so quickly. At least science kind of explains where I’m at. I only need to get used to the new normal! ๐Ÿ˜‰

This weekend I shall work on some Italian titles and on submitting stories to traditional magazines… I have quite a few in the drawers and made a list of places to submit. I expect another quick rejection from Clarkesworld, but hey, that’s life! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Happy weekend!

Random Friday

So busy writing that I didn’t have time to watch DVDs yet, and the weekend is busy with the last travels of the season. Sigh. I’m also busy musing and pondering because I feel the need to change – with my body aging not so gracefully – and find something else to do for the coming years (if my eyes and right hand don’t give up on me, that is!).

No, I’m not divorcing Mr. Writing, but lately I’m unhappy with everything I write, probably from the lack of response (the usual suspect needs not commenting on this, my #1 fan will always be in my heart and read my books even if I stop publishing them).

I started writing 40+ years ago because I was a lonely introvert uprooted at the wrong time. I kept writing the stories I wanted to read and couldn’t find in the legacy publishing. Granted, those stories don’t stand the test of time, but I kept my imagination active! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then comes the new millennium, and indie publishing, and switching language to a wider readership. Happy dance, gonna find my readers now!

Not. I didn’t find them when I was a pioneer, I will definitely not find them now that everybody jumped on the bandwagon and spends money on ads. So, tending and pruning the garden should give me a break, and the time to come up with reader magnets, newsletter, Patreon or whatnot.

Thing is, before I make writing a business, I need to change other things. I’m sick of Day Job and want to find an alternative, but I’m not sure where to look. I’m sick of Italy and want to move elsewhere, but I’m not sure where. I’d love to take a sabbatical, but I’m not sure how to spend it. I’m considering temporary alternatives to all this, but haven’t talked to the interested parties yet.

picture by NASA

The premise of the following is that if one wishes for something it gets in the cosmic memory and one gets it when it’s the right time – if one really needs it. We might wish for something we don’t actually need, therefore it doesn’t happen.

So, is it better to wait for things to happen and then act accordingly, or to try and make things happen? What if they don’t happen because it’s not the right time, and it leaves you frustrated and/or depressed?

This is where I’m at today. Either I’m burned out or I have a big mid-life crysis. Some big decisions in the months to come, but can’t make them while I’m tired, so for now I’ll just wait for the weather to cool down and allow me to think. Have a wonderful weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚


Random Friday

Currently in Dublin, so this was scheduled before I left. A few links of things I found while checking Day Job Innovation Center articles. These go under the trends umbrella or lots of innovation stuff coming soon – yes, it’s all for the near future.

First – very apt for my current situation, LOL – 30 signs you’re a loner. Many of those signs apply to me. Like, my phone rang while I was composing this post, and I immediately put the number on Google and it was a call center. I don’t answer unknown numbers, but they do make me jump.

Also, there’s a rise in solo living but even though I’ve been living on my own for way too long, I’m considering shared housing instead (probably because I’m getting older and it’s recommended for women and the elders). I hope to eventually find my community offline, but it’s probably not in Italy.

All the above also led to the JOMO movement (the Joy of Missing Out) even for younger people. But there’s still a gap in the education system, and I hope they will introduce the education for the wise cyborg of the future soon. I mean, Dear Nephew is 14, I hope they have something ready for him when he gets to college! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m trying to keep up with the changes in the world at large, but it’s not easy. A part of me misses the past, even though I know it’s gone. What can I say, I hope we all make it through this transition! ๐Ÿ™‚

Watch this video about the Green New Deal that is supposed to create new jobs. Here’s to clean energy and reversing the climate change. Also, developers say 5G and augmented reality will change the way we live… not sure I want to try AR, but a faster internet would be lovely! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And last but not least, Facial Recognition. I have seen young people who have it on their phone, but to me it’s still a little scary. I also hope you haven’t been playing with FaceApp, since it raises high security concerns and you might hav just given up your photos and personal data.

Wonders never cease… careful on social media and with new apps! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Use technology but don’t let it use you! Have a wonderful weekend!

Random Friday

Non-writerly things to do in Edinburgh if you’ve already been there as a tourist. After my adventurous journey that made me lose the start of the show and a full day of writing (but then, I didn’t write on Sunday either, haha!), I had planned to start slow and meet with my PENfriend Dawn on Friday morning.

When I saw her wandering through England (she’s from Australia), I asked her if we would manage to meet during her stay, and we did! Meeting in person after 25 years of snail mail and then the internet is still the most awesome thing that can happen. So we walked from Pollock Halls to the Royal Mile, but it was still quite warm and sunny, so I didn’t get much further. We stopped in a cafe and went back. It was only a couple of hours, but most awesome!

Then I got to my writing room with the fantasy crowd for the rest of the day, and the weekend was the conference itself. I skipped the ceilidh โ€“ well, I went there, took some pictures and ran away because, people! – but Sunday night I had the funniest Ghost Bus Tour with Eddie Volvo introducing us to the ghosts of Edinburgh and with a short walk through a cemetery. There was also a brief sรฉance and it was a funny experience. I guess it would have been even better at night, possibly in winter when the sun goes down earlier.

Monday after the writing was Axe-throwing Day. It poured when we left Pollock Halls, so nobody could have their picture on the throne of axes since it was drenched. But it was a funny experience, I even hit the targed once during the competition, which gave me a half point that didn’t put me in the last ones group. And of course I worked it into both The Path of Wood and The Path of Metal, yay!

Tuesday was sunny again, so with my roomie we opted for having lunch in town, since it was no longer included. We left around noon, took a day ticket and ate in a pub on the Royal Mile, then went hunting a convenience store since my smartphone chord stopped workin and I couldn’t recharge it! We found one in Grassmarket and kept walking all around the castle hill.

And there were two used bookstores on the way. Yeah. Bad roomie. She god nothing and I got four, see? All for research both to make Silvery Earth more believable and for the Vampires Through the Centuries series.

We took the bus back to the castle (we were writing in St.Leonard Monday to Wednesday) because we’d been told that there would be a bagpipe playing for us at 4.30, but apparently he didn’t show up. There was one, but he wasn’t for us, but for some other group. Oh, well…

I didn’t get to hike on Arthur’s Seat because that night I hit the bed with my toe and it’s now all blue and painful. I can still walk, mind you, and somehow happy to wear sandals, but well… maybe some other time, I guess…

Back in the Roman heat, sigh! Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Writer Wednesday

“Live” from Edinburgh meaning I’m scheduling this through the weekend so that I won’t have to think about it the coming week and put in the wordcount I didn’t do during the two-days conference. So this is all about 20BooksEdinburgh – the conference, not the writing retreat. I might elaborate on the writing next week. All I can say at this time is that I hit 10K even though Sunday I didn’t write, and I’ll have to finish at home because I need to print out stuff for a scene and I can’t do that here, but I’ll try to write the rest so I only have to put in that one scene when I get home.

Back to the event! ๐Ÿ™‚ I was familiar with Craig Martelle’s face, since I often saw him with Ramy Vance on the Facebook group livestreams, but I had no idea what the founder of 20BooksTo50K, Michael Anderle looked like. And the guy sitting next to him at registration had only “Michael” on his badge.

BUT, when the actual conference started, I realized who he wasโ€ฆ Ops. Shame on me! So. kick-off was by him and Craig, and them some best-selling authors from the group, including my “group leader” for the writing retreat, Dakota Krout (who is currently making a mess with other fantasy writers in the hall, since I’m typing outside of the conference room, but I don’t see quieter places with a plug and a comfy sitting right now, haha!).

When the Amazon Ads panel came up, I decided to opt out of it, and found myself in the hall with my new friend Madalina and Michael himself! I was trying to get in some wordcount (since there were no writing sessions during the weekend), but then we started talking, and he asked us what our mountain was, and checked my Amazon profile, and gave some advice andโ€ฆ what can I say, I’m overwhelmed. Now I can only hope he’ll accept my friendship request on Facebook, LOL!

I know I have a lot of work to do with my rebranding, and that’s why I won’t be publishing much in the three months after the summer. Better covers (or with better typography), better blurbs and maybe new year I can try some ads. Oh, and I’m the BundleRabbit cheerleader, since Michael and Craig talked about collaborations and why to do them. But you already knew that, since I already told you about the curated anthologies – hopefully more will come out after this workshop with all the new friends I’m making! ๐Ÿ™‚

I did skip a couple of panels and did an interview with non-fiction author Bradley Charbonneau, who also took lots of awesome author pics, including yours truly. And I’ll meet some of these people in Dublin for Worldcon as well, yay! ๐Ÿ™‚ I tried to suggest Erika we kidnap Craig for another European 20Books, but we decided to spare him. And in spite of many suggestions (20BooksDublin, 20BooksAmsterdam, 20BooksCroatia), he said no to all of them.

So next opportunity is 20BooksVegas in October, and apparently the 2020 edition will be huge. I’ll see if I have the money and/or inclination to get there next year! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Meanwhile, I got to talk French for a while and heard other non-native accents that were totally endearing and put some faces behind the names on the Facebook group. And of course I made a lot of new friends – we’re in this together even though we’re scattered all around the world…

Friday for the non-writerly Edinburgh experience (although I might start with my total wordcount, since it’s not over yet)! Have a great week! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Random Friday

Travel musings… I’m an experienced traveler and was baffled or amused by some of the questions my fellow writers asked on the group page before heading for Scotland. I mean, I know I can’t take my house with me and I’m used to some kind of discomfort when traveling. I’m still prone to anxiety and panic attacks after all these years, but I never try to find a home-away-from-home abroad.

I know of Italians who hate traveling because they can’t live without pasta. I’m not a foodie, but I do miss Italian coffee abroad. Since it’s not permanent (yet), I just deal with it and make do with what’s available. When I visit a new country, I don’t research beyond the travel agent’s catalogue and a quick weather forecast.

I like to be surprised, like it happened with Iceland. If it’s a workshop or a conference, as long as I have a room to retire to after socializing (because, uh, introvert…), a converter to charge my phone and the right clothes for the local weather, I’m good. I know it won’t be my bed or my bathroom for a short time.

And if I forget something, I know I can buy it somewhere. Unless it’s life-saving meds, you can probably find everything wherever you go, with globalization. I mean, I found sanitary pads in India, where they probably keep them only for Western women! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hate the traveling itself because I rarely sleep on planes, even long flights, but when I reach the place, I usually settle and try to mingle. I guess I’m not your normal tourist… like the ones in this funny strip!

But I understand a young person or a non-traveler going abroad for the first time might have the strangest doubts and requests.

I had my share of anxiety on this trip, because when boarding l was told l’d be rerouted for a strike at Amsterdam airport. Never spent 6hours at the airport of my hometown, but considering the taxi cost me 50euro, l just stayed there.

Not ideal after a 4.30am wakeup call, but whatever… l eventually made it to Edinburgh, with a batch of awesome people, all with their problems, their joys, their hopes.

All writers willing to travel half across the world (for some) only to spend a week together. Some had adventurous travels to reach here, others made it smoothly, but all made it in spite of being introverts!

Here’s to us writing lots of new words before the actual conference starts tomorrow (since this edition is conference+writing retreat, that’s why I chose it)! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great weekend!

Random Friday

Last Sunday Techie Bro called and asked if I wanted to go to a fantasy fair somewhere outside of Rome. We left at 2pm and went to Oriolo Romano, where there was this Pellicano Fantasy event. It was in the park of a villa, up in the hills, so it was much cooler than Rome!

If you stood in the sunshine it was hot, but under the trees it was almost perfect, with a cool breeze, and before the battery died (I still need to get used to a camera that needs recharging at home, not simply sliding in another AA battery or whatever) I managed to take nice shots of the woods that I may use for the background of The Path of Wood instead of a stock photo.

Yeah, I guess us creatives are always writing, LOL! By the way, check this post by a photographer, some things he says apply to writers as well (namely, stop trying to sell your books to other writers, you need to find your READERS!).

Anyhow, I also met a friend I hadn’t seen in ages, she used to do comics in the late 90s (when we had those photocopied zines), but not she does body painting.

She spent the whole afternoon painting images from the movie Legend on the body of a very young woman who wants to be a model while I wandered among the booths and stands. There were Vikings and medieval knights, cosplayers and steampunkers. There was a small horror section with a small house of terror (no, I didn’t go in, not a fan!).

There were the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Star Wars Italian fans, the Lord of the Rings gathering and even mermaids (and a merman) in the fountain. Oh, and Far West because of Bud Spencer and Terence Hill movies. We left at 7.30pm, definitely refreshed, and when I got home around 9pm I found it hotter than ever! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

So, here’s a short slideshow, a mix of pics taken with the camera (before it died) and the smartphone…

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Now don’t forget to grab a copy of An Interpretation of Moles, there’s even a paperback if you prefer dead-tree books! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s a lovely collection that includes some strips of Silvery Earth kids… and other awesome authors! Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

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