Wednesday Weekly Roundup

Last week was mostly editing week and not much writing was done, although I did manage a short story I plan to send to an anthology that will open at the end of the month (under 5K/week). I’m probably staying in this urban fantasy setting until the end of the month, and then in September I’ll move on.

I went looking for a Canadian pen pal, since one of the stories I’m writing this week is set in Toronto and I hoped she could fact-check me, but a Google search informed me she passed away 10 years ago at age 42. I met her in 2004, getting away from the tour group (my mother and my sister went to Niagara Falls with the rest of the group while I met up with her) and she took me on the CN Tower. Then we lost touch and now it’s too late to rekindle the pen-palship. Sigh.

On Saturday (a.k.a. Bollywood night, usually) I rewatched Ashoka after maybe a decade? I realized that it will be 15 years (next April) since the start of my Bollywood mania on that British Airways flight to LA (to the Scriptwriter Showcase) that showed me KANK.

I bought Ashoka in London and haven’t watched it in years because it has the subtitles on the movie and often unreadable (white on white). But on Tiktok I saw this 6-year-old dancing to San Sanana and decided to watch it again – after studying a lot more of India history and weapons, LOL!

Besides Ashoka’s sword being a total fantasy and looking more like Conan the Barbarian’s than an actual sword, the anachronism I found was the whip-sword, which I believe was “invented” by the Maratha, like, a millennium later? It’s okay in Bajirao’s hands, but not really in Ashoka’s! πŸ™‚

Indian Swords @ Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

As you can see, it’s not even on this panel of Indian swords available @Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur… but besides that, there were plenty of talwars, a dagger I can’t really see in the panel above (a khanja? a bicchwa?) and at the end Kaurwaki uses a katar, wrapping it (badly) around her wrist.

And then my Hindi improved of one word, since I finally heard how to properly say “rakshasa”! πŸ™‚ There’s plenty of them both in my Vampires Through the Centuries and even one in the upcoming urban fantasy trilogy, LOL! One day I’ll get back to study Hindi and Devanagari, but now is not the time, I don’t have the brain for it.

But enough with past history! Here are a couple of articles about the future – for writers mostly! Consumers jumped across the digital divide! New opportunities opening up, yay! And a futuristic podcast (I didn’t read it all – I usually go for the transcript) about the Metaverse for authors and publishing.

You can’t bring the past back. Embrace the future and wait for what it brings (says the woman who still uses a Nokia c1 for call, but does have a smartphone that she uses as tablet)! πŸ™‚ Have a great week!


Wednesday Weekly Roundup

Last week I forgot to post the cover of the new title… so next week you’ll get two, LOL! Yes, another story is coming, that might end up in Male Lovers of Silvery Earth Volume 4 if I ever write more in that area. Both covers have the M/M couple designed by Ravven, although in completely different contexts! πŸ˜‰

I’m starting the Portals Collection Workshop, so I don’t know how much writing I’ll be doing in the coming nine weeks. There is still a story I hope to write this week, but then I don’t know. Meanwhile, last week I wrote 8600 words, which might be less than usual, again, but it’s short stories. I write more when I plunge into longer works! πŸ˜€

I might have slowed down and become unhappy with what I write because the critical voice has awakened. I didn’t have it before, but now that I followed a few workshops on craft, sometimes I stop and I hear the teacher’s voice “Some setting would be nice!” or “You need more depth!” which kicks me out of creative voice, LOL!

But then, I always wrote the bones first and then added the meat. So in the end my process hasn’t changed much in the first draft, it’s the one revision that brings out those voices. I’m still having fun writing and exploring new genres, though, so I’m not going to stop. Like I said many times, I might give up publishing, not writing! πŸ˜€

I definitely need more income streams, so I’ll be studying that too this year. Comics and strips don’t seem to sell, so I’ve given up the third strip even on Instagram. Translations – I need to do a search of what sells in the Italian market before starting them, but I hear much resistance for e-books from my Italian friends.

They still want to go to the bookshop and buy paperbooks (when there’s no lockdown, of course), and going to the bookshops in my area is still on my mind, but then Covid happened, and this was put on a shelf for better times. When? Dunno. Hopefully some time in the next couple of years.

I still have at least until 2023 with the day job, so plenty of time to organize whatever will come next. Possibly more anthologies in collaboration with other authors, possibly more bundles, we’ll see. And speaking of bundles, don’t forget to check the twenty fantasy books for a single low price. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Last week I rewatched all the series of Robin of Sherwood for inspiration for my stories – although that’s historical fantasy, so I also checked my historical novel, The Fern and The Cross, to make sure the history and details were correct! πŸ™‚

Which meant I skipped my Saturday Night Fever with some Bollywood movie, but whatever! Next weekend I’ll watch two, LOL! I will also try to get back to reading, I’m falling behind again – and I even received two paperbacks I had ordered some time ago.

I guess that’s all for today! Have a nice week! πŸ™‚

Wednesday Weekly Roundup

Last week I wrote 15K in five days, and spent the weekend setting up another bundle, uploading another title, and setting up my series pages on Amazon. So this week I can announce TWO new titles! πŸ™‚

The first is the “middle book” of the Vampires Through the Centuries meets Future Earth Chronicles “trilogy”. On the cover is Ishaq, although he’s described as looking like Oded Fehr in The Mummy, but unfortunately I couldn’t put that on the cover! πŸ˜€ But the guy has a beard and is not too bloody. Ishaq is a fledgling of Arianrhod, Bran’s sister-in-darkness.

Ishaq ibn Tariq is an 8th-century Berber warrior under the Umayyad Caliphate. After his latest pilgrimage around the Mediterranean, he meets an old mortal acquaintance who introduces him to Rainbow Towns, the perfect places for a vampire to spend the years of the mortals apocalypse. Hidden underground settlements with 21st century smart-homes can allow vampires to spend a decade or three in comfort. Until they become prisons.
Alain is a 20th-century hacker with Asperger syndrome. With his girlfriend, he goes through the end of the Technological Revolution of the 21st century by finding refuge in Rainbow Town, where time seems to stop. They can’t go out, unless Alain remembers his way to the Darknet.
Bonus story: One Who Cannot Be Destroyed. Achyutam tries to get his wife back through the centuries, if only the damn western bloodsuckers didn’t always ruin his plans.

Now, that bonus story is also included in Nightly Bites Volume 3, that you should definitely check out, because 1) it’s longer than the previous two and 2) it has flash fiction and novellas and short stories, so a much wider variety compared to the first two! πŸ™‚ So check it out and give some love to my fellow authors who wrote great stories!

I am also setting up a limited time bundle on BundleRabbit after a long time. I was spurred by another curator who took out my book from his bundle because “could not find an email on your website to communicate with you” (which prompted me to modify the Contact Me page) when he had already received my acceptance.

You see, there’s a forum on BundleRabbit, where curators can communicate with whoever is in their bundle or collaboration. I had to withdraw a request for my latest bundle (it’s the 4th, in case your wondering) because that author indeed had no way to contact him by email to prod him into accepting the request.

His contact page said to leave a public comment and had no link to send him a private email – which is what I did with another author who promptly wrote back with questions. That other curator? He could have made a post in his bundle’s section and asked we sent him an email for private communications off site. Sigh.

Anyhow, still working out a couple of things for that bundle, so I’m not announcing it yet. Do check the above books, though. November is definitely the vampires month! πŸ™‚ As for December, I’ll publish the Star Minds Universe box sets and that’s it for this year.

The new titles in the Future Earth Chronicles (or Before) will come out next year. Writing the last sequel right now, I should be done by the end of the month, so I can send it over to the editor in December.

Sunday was mostly housekeeping, setting up those series on Amazon and working on Da Strip with the umpteenth change that might push us older users out of social media for good, LOL!

The only good thing about the new Author Central is that they took off the unpublished books, so those ugly old covers finally vanished. I did compire the survey, though, since when you add another book, it shows up ten times, and not just when it’s a multi-authors title. Even Through the Centuries showed up 10 times. If enough people tell them how dumb it has become, maybe they’ll revert, won’t they?

Wishful thinking, I know. On Sunday I went to upload the strip and SURPRISE! Instagram changed stuff around too! To add a MARKETPLACE! Gee, I know everybody buys online with lockdown and coronavirus and everything, but damn it, if all social media become virtual stores, I’m out of here!

Also the fonts are so tiny to be unreadable (for my ageing eyes) on the phone, and you can’t post stuff from laptop. End rant of a Gen-Xers who is sick of those subtle changes for you youngsters who still have good eyes (but you’ll ruind them faster than I ever did if this trend continues)!

Sunday night I rewatched Kites because it was “movies where the protag dies at the end” weekend. I hadn’t watched for more than 2 years, since before the WMG workshops moved from Lincoln City to Vegas.

I have seen Las Vegas in 1994 (the Strip only) and 2009 (our guide took us to the Freemont Experience), but it was touristic one-night stays during group tours. So it was fun rewatching the movie while being familiar with Freemont Street – and I even spent one night at the Plaza last February! πŸ™‚

So it was lika a dΓ©jΓ  vu, like when I watch Ocean’s 11 (even though I never slept at the Bellagio), and so NOT like 1994! πŸ™‚ Speaking of which, a lovely penfriend (remember those?) whom I met quite often through the years, just sent me old pictures of Mark Slaughter (the reason for my expedition in Vegas back in 1994), which, along with rewatching their first home video from 1990 or 1991 makes for another wonderful throwback! πŸ™‚

Ending with this throwback picture of a former Muse and hoping we all get to travel again in the near future, I wish you a wonderful week! πŸ™‚


Wednesday Weekly Roundup

And it’s April already? Where did time go? Last week I wrote almost 12K but I also threw away 5K. By Thursday I realized I didn’t need to retell everything and decided to just skip to the almost new stuff. So 5K went in the trash bin, or in an “attempt” copy of the manuscript. Afterward I wrote another 6800words, though, and I’m back to 23K into the manuscript like before cutting out those 5K. Same but different is good, and these characters still have surprises, I’m happy they get the spotlight now! πŸ˜€

I should have waited until next year, but well… this is just too good. April 1, 2011 also marks the publishing of my first novel, Books of the Immortals – Air. It’s its 9th bookversary, LOL! Since it falls on a Wednesday this year, I doubt next year it will be as perfect, so… I’ll celebrate now, hehe!

paperbacks of Books of the Immortals - Air

An extra happiness is…

I remember I made press releases, sent out 50 eBook review copies (and it still has less than 10 actual reviews on Amazon, so you understand why I stopped doing that) and even did a Goodreads Giveaway with the paperbacks I had left – I ordered 25 copies from Lulu back then. Then I did a new edition with Createspace, now KDPprint.

I did all of that only for that first novel. The rest just came out, announcing it on the blog and on Facebook and on Goodreads and that’s it. Because all that marketing effort had been close to useless, I stopped doing it. I kept doing guest posts and character interviews for a little longer, though… I stopped that too. I don’t think anyone ever bought one of my books because they read a character interview somewhere.

I might do more, eventually. I might do more Backstage Passes on the publisher’s page, or post something in my Facebook group. At the moment it’s hard enough to just write something new, without bothering with marketing stuff. I even stopped drawing (I’m falling behind with the latest strip, so I’ll probably use next week off day job to catch up and finish it, and I’ll do the paperbacks in May, when I doubt I’ll be able to do that trip I hoped to do) because it gives me time to think…

I know I’ll bounce back – I always do. Meanwhile, if you’re thinking of writing That Book, Kristen Lamb is back and she’s going to help you doing it! πŸ™‚ Or you can take an online course or finally do That Thing you’ve always wanted to do, something creative you didn’t have time for so far… Or you can check the reprints from Kris Rusch’s Freelance Survival Guide! πŸ™‚

Sunday night I had enough of writing and beta-reading, so I re-watched Kaabil. Next week I hope to watch something else, but being off Day Job I’ll have to schedule the week differently. Maybe I’ll even manage to finish Book 6 by Easter and move on to Book 7 the following week! πŸ™‚

We’ll see. Meanwhile, stay home, stay safe and have a great week! πŸ™‚

Random Friday

The heat is already frying my brain, so I don’t have much to say. I go out in the morning, come back for lunch time and just write.

So I’m just going to post this short comic about me and Da Muse and his stupid hats.

To see the original that prompted this, go to his Facebook page (or Twitter, or Instagram, or whatever… I’m only on Facebook, so…). Still have no idea if and when you’ll be able to read Da Strip! πŸ™‚

Oh, and I watched ABCD, and recognized teacher Vishnu from ABCD2. Great choreographies, story okay. I haven’t seen the Hollywood equivalents such as Step Up, so I can’t compare…

Prepping for the weekend, lots of publishing stuff to do! Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Random Friday

Muse Randomness. Last weekend’s brainstorming:2016sevenRADOwipSmallThis week’s vignette – almost a Happiness is, right?35 hug_resize

And it’s because…

I booked the flights and the hotel, so London, I’m coming! πŸ™‚ And I might have time for a trip to Hastings – the battlefield, not the city as well… in less than two months, whoot! πŸ˜€

Have a great weekend!

Random Friday

Final batch of Bollywood movies, so you won’t hear anything else for a few months, LOL! πŸ˜‰ The list is still huge, but I don’t plan on buying anything until I go to London in August, so… I might review movies from other places for a change! πŸ˜€

Houseful 1 and Housefull 2 are both comedies, Bollywood-style. With a group of people, misunderstandings, some slapstick, and lots of songs. Both soundtracks are great. If you just want to have fun, try them.

Cocktail is a little more melodramatic – got a little tear out of me at the end. The two heroines are both wonderful (and beautiful), but Saif Ali Khan is not my type! πŸ˜‰ But Deepika is always very good…

Dil Bole Hadippa!… well, not really my kinda movie (dunno shit about cricket and don’t like sports movies in general), but Rani Mukerji is deliriously funny in the double part of Veer and Veera (not to mention that my first Bollywood movie was KANK, so I’m very fond of Rani and Preity Zinta for that reason, LOL). And I don’t care if Shahid Kapoor is not a megastar, he’s cute, and I like watching him! πŸ˜‰

BTW, avoid this last movie, unless you speak Hindi. The subtitles are either non-existent or unreadable… another production done with Google Translator, probably! πŸ˜‰ It even has Italian subtitles, but I don’t dare checking them (after seeing the mess they did on Umrao Jaan with Aishwarya Rai thatΒ I tried to show toΒ Cristina – who, by the way, had a taste of Krrish3, with instant traslation by yours truly, and really enjoyed it! :D).

Not bothered to go to IMDB to get the links, sorry. This will go live in less than an hour and I’m at DayJob, so… And I’ll spare you my rant on Bollywood beaus… Have a wonderful weekend! πŸ˜€

Random Friday

While waiting for my two DVDs, I thought I’d get on with that DVD pile that’s been sitting on my table since November. I’m kinda tired of not watching movies, so I’m doing a movie week marathon, or better, I’ll start watching movies after dinner every other day again. I also bought some Italian DVDs last Sunday, but since they don’t have English subtitles, I probably won’t “review” them.

Now, to the Bollywood pile! πŸ˜‰ WAQT… meh. Too many songs even for me. If I say “enough is enough”, there were probably one too many! BUT if you like melodrama or dramedy, check it out. Also if you like Priyanka, Akshay or Big B, of course. And if you’re a man – I was the wrong target for this movie, LOL! Now, if some female director shot the mother/daughter version… hear me Zoya Akhtar or Gauri Sindhe? πŸ˜‰

Then Zoya’s twin Fahran’s version of Don with King Khan. Highly recommended for lovers of action and heist movies – Bollywood style, of course. You never know who’s really who in this movie, and they need flashbacks to show you what actually happened. Nice. Some weird-looking transitions, but they weren’t too bad for an action movie! πŸ˜‰

Don 2 is a sequel, and not better than the first (like Dhoom 2 compared to the first – ahem, no, I’m not biased, it’s just that Aryan is too good looking, LOL), in spite of the special appearance. I don’t know why they decided to bring back a negative hero. The original Don with Big B. has no sequels. Anyhow, still action/heist, if that’s your favorite genre… But even the songs were less catchy! 😦

I tried to watch Ishkq in Paris, but it was a pirated DVD and there were no English subtitles, so I used the FF button a lot. Preity is always very pretty and Isabelle Adjani is perfect as her mother, but I don’t think I’ll end up buying a copy with subtitles (maybe I’ll learn Hindi first – NOT! πŸ˜‰ If I can find a cheap version with subtitles, I’ll get it, since there’s Paris… but it’s probably not my cup of tea!). So that’s all for this week… more next time!

My order is half here. I got one yesterday but want to watch it during the weekend. The second is on its way, we’ll see if it arrives today or I have to go to the post office tomorrow to claim it, LOL! Have a wonderful weekend!

Random Friday

Written in bits and pieces as soon as I have something to say. Halla Bol: can’t tell if it’s a good movie or not, because the so-called English subtitles were either very bad and ridden with typos or non-existent and un-synchronized to the dialog. So I have not a very clear idea of what they were saying at any time. I guess this movie wasn’t meant to be seen outside of India… Like others I’ve stumbled upon (I already mentioned missing or badly written English subtitles, didn’t I). Alas my Hindi is still non-existent, so maybe one day I’ll watch it again. Maybe.

Same DVD had also Welcome. Slapstick comedy, one of those where people don’t brake and keep going with their car after losing the wheel (an action scene in a supposed rom-com) and other silly visual tricks. Except there were probably lots of funny thinks said, but I could only guess them because – yes, once again, the English subtitles were clunky or non existent. I got the idea of what it’s about more than the prefious one, but I probably missed half the spoken jokes.

I guess Bollywood doesn’t care about actually exporting its movies, or they’d do a better job with English subtitles – they might be good for Hindustani readers, but not for everybody else in the world. Either this or those are “minor” productions not meant to go abroad. I mean, Jodhaa Akbar had perfect subtitles (even signed) and the first movies I saw on British Airways (KANK, Dostana) also had good subtitles…

Oh, gosh, just discovered how Dostana is called in Italian (IMDB gives me the Italian title when available only because I’m in Italy, I hate it, but I don’t know how to get rid of it. And I tried to watch Dostana on the Italian TV one Saturday night, but switched it off after 20 minutes – hated the dubbing): “Appointment (as in “date”, but I kept the word similar to the Italian one) for… 3″ – now, if they really wanted to keep the 3-thingy, is should have been “Apartment for… 3″, because that’s what the movie is about! 😦 I hate dubbing and I also hate re-titling of foreign movies in this country. More often than not they make no sense at all. They don’t do this with books that much, luckily…

Anyway. back to subtitles: the award for Worst English Subtitles goes to the first DVD. I thought it was because it was one of those “2 movies on one disk”, but then I tried a “3 movies on 1 disk” and Krrish (which I already own as single movie on DVD) had the same subtitles than my copy! πŸ˜‰ I might steal that one as my copy of Krrish is a little faulty and blocks itself at the beginning – but then, I mentioned that the first half of the movie isn’t as good as the second, so who cares! πŸ˜‰ Looking forward to the sequel… Come on, Hrithik, get done with it!! πŸ˜‰

Along with it there was Anthony Kaun Hai? which also had decent subtitles and is also a very decent story with Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi (seen in Kabul Express next to John Abraham). Sanjay Dutt is always overpowering and very good as a hitman although not as scary as he was in Agneepath. Songs were so-and-so for my tastes, but it’s a good story, so you should check it.

Also on that DVD was Gangster with Emraan Hashmi (seen in The Dirty Picture). But I’ll watch it during the weekend, as I started writing, therefore I’d rather not stop until I’m done with draft 0, LOL!I also want to rewatch a couple of movies and buy Magic Mike ASAP for inspiration on the body switch, so stay tuned… Have a wonderful weekend! πŸ™‚

Random Friday

Last weekend I decompressed with another pencil drawing and it’s Arjun Rampal. You can see him in my DeviantART gallery. This is Hritik’s week, though (I have 4 movies to watch…) so here are the 2 I’ve watched so far (Not every night – gotta read and write too, you know? ;)).

Mission Kashmir went on my list because on some DVD I saw this song.

I didn’t really read the pitch (well, I probably did when I put it on the list, but that was months ago, so I didn’t remember much of what the story is about – that’s how I like it), but when the movie started and I saw Sanjay Dutt and then saw him kill Hritik’s father I went “Uhm… Agneepath!” Not that I had seen the latest, but I know it’s about a guy trying to avenge his father’s death.

Anyway, this is more about religious struggles in Kashmir – again, Muslim vs Hindu – much like Dil Se with a less tragic end. And it has Preity Zinta as love interest instead of Priyanka Chopra (but that’s very Koi Mil Gaya, LOL! Especially the wet puppy look “please forgive me”!). Also, being set in Kashmir, the clothes are slightly different (you can tell from the above video, right?) – no sari, but I think they look wonderful anyway. I loved the soundtrack as well! Here’s to peace in Kashmir (my mom and sis went through it last June on their way to Ladakh, it’s still war zone – quit killing in the name of God!).

Only negative thing – the Hinglish subtitles. I really need to go and get some Hindi lessons and avoid those darn things altogether. Here’s what I can say at the moment (and I’m “making this up” after listening to so many movies): namaste, mere Hindustani doste! Jayne kyu I’m doing this – crazy kya re! Or kuch kuch hota hai so I must keep trying – and that’s my song-lyrics Hindi for you! πŸ™‚ I hope I’m not destroying your language! πŸ˜‰

Then I watched Agneepath (I put them in order of length, from the shortest to the longest). Haven’t seen the original with Big B and heard mixed reviews about this remake, but I picked it because I loved the dance videos. So, great soundtrack. The story… well, there’s a negative hero and a bad guy, so if that’s your thing… lots of guns and blood as well, so be warned. I liked it, but I didn’t fall in love with it – the stubble probably got in the way along with too many muscles (less gym and more dance, Hritik, please! ;)). And if Mr Wonder Man stopped dodging bullets to get killed by blades it would make a lot more sense as well! πŸ˜‰Β  Talk about unreaslitic injuries in movies, sigh.

Finally, I managed to slip a short read in the busy week (I’m also beta-reading, so no time for new long fiction – and I keep adding titles to my Smashwords library, sigh) – fellow Chicon panelist Thomas has one short story out in English (he’s Dutch and his novels aren’t translated yet…) and you can find it here. The boy who casts no shadow is a wonderful story, so give it a try. Then we can all write to Thomas and ask him to have more things translated, LOL!

%d bloggers like this: