Random Friday


So, last week I was off Day Job and after a few days at home to work on Nightly Bites Volume 2 (by the way, it’s up for pre-order, yay!) I hopped on a train to Milan with my friend and cover artist Cristina Fabris. We arrived around 3pm and spent the afternoon chilling out in our hotel room – she had work to finish and I had a novel to check, LOL!

Friday we met with her friend and fan Michel at the central train station and headed for Cartoomics, where I was supposed to meet two more of my cover artists, Lawrence Wendigo and Rossana Beretta, to give them proofs of the book with their covers…

I also had a list of comics I wanted to buy since I hadn’t gone to a comicon in a few years, so I ended up with a very heavy bag. And since I flew back from Linate (I had to use my Alitalia miles, LOL!), I decided to send some of that stuff back by mail.

Saturday morning I went to the post office and sent to my parents 4,1kg of comics. Then we went to the bookstores around Duomo, where I lost my hat (in the Mondadori flagship store – and they got rid of the Espresso Book Machine, IMHO…), then we met with Franco Giambalvo of an Italian SFF site.

We had lunch with him then spent an hour at Tempo di Libri, meeting Francesco Verso, then, being wrecked, we went back to the hotel. Sunday morning, we got home separated, since I flew and she took the train again…

And yesterday I retrieved the box of comics from my parents… destroyed, but the interior was fine, yay! Now battling a spring cold, but wishing you a wonderful weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Random Friday


And you can tell I’ve been shopping online AND ordering proofs! So, yeah, some new paperbacks, and the anthology is finally in my greedy hands along with a couple more things – research reading and a comic. Next week I should get some DVDs. And then I’ll do another order after I come back from London – whatever I can’t find at Waterstones or Southall will be ordered online next month! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Because some things are better read on paper (I’m all for reading fiction on my Kindle Keyboard, but non-fiction and artbooks are better on paper) but I don’t have many English bookstores in Rome (a couple who might hear from me sometime later in the year, LOL!), so… Amazon. Yeah, I know.

It’s not Mighty Zon that is killing bookstores. Check Kris Rusch’s excellent post on bookstores – I’ve been to North by Northwest during my 3 coast workshops and I look forward to going back with the new management. Especially if they indeed open to people like me on the other side of the world! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just kidding, it’s just required visit when one goes to Lincoln City, that’s all! ๐Ÿ˜€

Two more bundles are coming soon, show some love also to the bundles page (and the above anthology page). I’m not sure how many I will curate this year and if I’ll be invited to some, so follow those pages to stay updated. Unless you really really really like this very blog here, LOL!

Thank you again for following me on this journey. Little poll to get to meet you all. And if you’re a writer, feel free to contact me to request my writerly questions and be featured on here! ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a wonderful weekend! ๐Ÿ˜€

Random Friday


Random Friday isโ€ฆ A list of great books to add to your Xmas list.

I stole a great idea from my talented friend and fellow author, Douglas Smith, whose psychic vampireย  in Nightly Bites Volume 1 will suck you in. (And by the way, the anthology is also a very good title you could add to your Xmas gifts list).

I asked my author friends to give me the title of one of their books with title and genre, short blurb and buying link (the buy links were given by the authors, so they might not be universal). This is what I got and as you can see there’s something for everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚

ย 

Santa Claus: Private Detective (The Noel Kringle Chronicles) by Rebecca M. Senese

Genre: mystery/fantasy

When no one at the North Pole takes Noel Kringle seriously he relocates to Toronto to live his dream as a private detective. Mystery with a dash of fantasy, Noel Kringle mixes Christmas and sleuthing in a tale of magic and suspense.

https://www.amazon.com/Santa-Claus-Private-Detective-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B077Y2VXSD/

The Wolf at the End of the World by Douglas Smith

Genre: fantasy

The Heroka walk among us. Unseen, unknown. Shapeshifters. Human in appearance but with power over their animal totems.
A shapeshifter hero battles ancient spirits, a covert government agency, and his own dark past in a race to solve a murder that could mean the end of the world. http://www.smithwriter.com/the_wolf_at_the_end_of_the_world

Old Bones by Rita Schulz

Genre: cozy mystery

Inspired by a true story two friends try to solve the mystery of the Old Bones in this new mystery cozy.

http://www.53rdstreetpublishing.com/books/old-bones/

Tales from Space by Russ Crossley

Genre: science fiction

Robots locked in deadly civil war, explorers faced with impossible secrets, a continent-sized asteroid about to destroy the Earth…these are some of the stories in this volume of fantastic fiction. Welcome to the 21st century.

http://www.53rdstreetpublishing.com/books/tales-from-space/

The Bet by Vivienne Tuffnell

Genre: psychological literary fiction

Currently ยฃ1.99 for the remainder of advent. Jenny likes a challenge and Antony is the biggest challenge of her lifeโ€ฆ

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bet-Vivienne-Tuffnell-ebook/dp/B009ISHLYI/

Zeena Dragon Fae series by Victoria Zigler (Barb’s note: on my ToBuy list)

Genre: Fantasy

A four book series that tells the story of a faerie dragon named Zeena, and her quest to save the world from the evil Spirit fairy.
Smashwords series https://www.smashwords.com/books/byseries/20557

“Redemption” – a Christian suspense by Laura Ware

Genre: Christian suspense

When Mary Hollister Beamer was 16, she became pregnant. She is taken to an abortion clinic, where she is told her child was stillborn. Ten years later, Mary is married with a young daughter. One day she gets a note in the mail: “I know what you tried to do. Your son is alive.”

https://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Mrs-Laura-A-Ware/dp/0692298045

Shades of Gray (Amaranthine Book 1) by Joleene Naylor

Genre: paranormal

FREE! When Patrick is murdered, Katelina is left with questions. Jorick, one of his so-called friends, has answers of the darkest kind: Patrick was involved with โ€“ and betrayed โ€“ a coven of vampires; vampires that may now be after Katelina.

https://www.amazon.com/Shades-Gray-Amaranthine-Book-1-ebook/dp/B002RHP5D6

Offside by David Hendrickson

Genre: Young adult (but plenty of adults have loved it, too). This is the book that has been adopted by high schools for required reading.
“Rabbit” Labelle finally gets his chance to play the sport he loves the most, but he must also confront the dangers of “Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin.” Since it’s 1967 and cities are torn by racial turmoil, this includes his father’s greatest fear: “the Negroes.”

Rabbit, who’d been the most popular kid in Plainfield, Maine, struggles to make friends and wonders if he’ll even survive. Only football can save him.

https://www.amazon.com/Offside-David-H-Hendrickson-ebook/dp/B00QZ5Y3FC

Christmas comes to Oddleton (Oddleton Chronicles) by Dulcie Feenan

Genre: holidays humor

For the teacher Mrs Troyd, the pressure is on.

Who will stand in for the Angel Gabriel? Was it an unwise move for the Shepherd to have eaten three packets of Sour Squigglers and a Whistling Dayglo-pop before the play? And did donkeys wear sombreros in Ancient Palestine?

Whatever happens, this will be a Nativity the parishioners will remember for a very long time….

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-comes-Oddleton-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00AS0UW8W

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY READING Y’ALL! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday


I don’t know how I missed that I had won (ex equo) one of the categories of the fan fiction fling! Thanks for the badge, Jo! I shall ask you to beta-read again whenever I write something set in the US, since my proofreader is British… ๐Ÿ˜‰

On total randomness… I watched another movie, and it made me cry – much like Hardball. This one is French, though, and I had seen the posters, but I don’t go to theaters anymore because in this country everything is dubbed, so I waited for the DVD, haha. Demain tout commence (sorry, don’t know the English title, only the stupid Italian one) it’s about a man dealing with sudden paternity – just one, not three like in the more famous counterpart (the French original, never saw the American version, sorry).

It’s a dramedy, and I still think Omar Sy is gorgeous! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s also set in London, so you got some English inbetween the French. Again, I don’t think I’d have liked it dubbed (unfortunately all the extras were dubbed, but whatever)… but it was great in its original version. If you want to cry, that is! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And speaking of King Arthur again, I’m finally reading a book that was in a bundle that I bought almost two years ago from Storybundle, and it’s another version of the legend. Again characters are changed in unrecognizable ways, and we even have the evil albino trope. I would have happily lived without that one.

I know there’s a whole subgenre of Arthurian fantasy that revises those old legends, but it’s not for me. I enjoyed Jennifer Robertson’s version of Robin Hood, but I usually stay clear from those medieval legends revisited, because I’m quite familiar with the originals and often don’t like what authors have done to them. That’s just Reader me, of course! ๐Ÿ˜‰

You albino readers, avoid the Camelot Papers and wait for my own post-apocalyptic book that has an albino woman who is NOT the villain, quite the opposite, yay! And there will probably be more in the series, but I haven’t started thinking about the rest since I still need to touch up this one, LOL!

Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday


Last Friday I had a guest – and a cough, which made it hard to talk. Besides, she likes Bollywood movies (although she’d watch forever Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and wouldn’t try any other), so I suggested we watch a movie after dinner to spare my throat. And it was Joker time! I saw the trailer in theaters back in 2012 and was glad to finally see this demented comedy about aliens and crazies.

I like Akki when he does comedies. Of course my suspension of disbelief was slightly challenged when I saw the FBI sending troops in India (I thought that was an internal bureau… ;p), but I attributed it to the crazy screenplay and absurd story, so it was okay… lots of fun and lots of nice songs.

Staying in that country but moving to books, The Missus of the above, Twinkle Khanna (a.k.a. Da Muse’s neighbors) wrote a book of stories. Fiction, a collection. I bought the paperback because it was cheaper than the Kindle version (ahem, traditional publishers…) and got to reading it during the week.

I must say that the dialogs felt a lot like a Bollywood movie, which makes me wonder if some other Westerner who isn’t as obsessed as I am would appreciate it. Anyhow, it’s a cute little book, and since I read it immediately after another Indian author, I could see a pattern in their storytelling.

The other book was a Kindle version (hello, indie authors!), and it was set in Ancient Egypt, not India, but still the storytelling felt similar. Of course it’s two completely different collections with completely different topics (and you can now pre-order volume 2) and what I loved about this one was the little historical notes at the end of each story – a very nice touch for an ignorant of Ancient History like myself. It gave depth and meaning to the story I had just read.

Now I hope to have one of the two ladies over at this very blog soon, I shall let you guess which one will grace us…

Last night, since I was done with Saif’s story and was bored with checking the proofreader’s job on the Star Minds stories, I decided I’d rather watch a movie… it had been sitting on my ToWatch shelve for a couple of months, so it was high time! It was Star Trek: Beyond – last movie with Anton Yelchin and tribute to Leonard Nimoy.

A nice addition to the reboot, I particularly liked the warrior Jaylah and hope she’ll be back in the next movies. For the rest, it was the five-year mission stretched to movie length with 21st century special effects and Dubai instead of cardboard sets! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I don’t mind the reboot, even though some things of the original will never be repeated…

Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday


Rest of the trip! When the workshop was over, I got back to reading the novel I had to drop in January. Fortunately I had reached the end of Book 1 by then, so starting Book 2 was okay. Except one night I was thankfully kicked out of the book by a mistake that wasn’t caught by the author(s) or the editor(s)…

This is Ocean: The Ocean Cycle Omnibus and since it’s a bestselling author, I don’t think I’ll ruin his reputation if I comment on this (besides Goodreaders seemt to be quite divided about it all, haha!). So at one point there is a discussion about ancient sea divinities by a so-called expert (the character) who totally mixes up Greek and Roman names.

Here’s the complete list thanks to Encyclopedia Mythica. In the book, Poseidon and Aphrodite are the Roman names and Neptune and Venus the Greek ones… Gee… I’m glad I overdosed with both Greek and Roman myths in childhood (one more reason to hate what they did in Troy, I know enough of the Iliad and Odissey to know they completely f…ed up – beside using a gorgeous 40-year-old instead of a 20-year-old. Achilles died young, as was often the case back then! Me and my friend were the only one laughing in the movie theater, though. Sigh.)!

So, unless it was meant to be a joke, here’s a good way of throwing your reader out of your story… I got back into it, but the second book is getting weirder and weirder. I will finish it, but it’s not on my recommended list! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I might even quit at some point, since I bought books during the trip and the TBR pile is now enhanced with more dead trees…

Then there were the movies. Not during the trips, not until I got to Long Island, when I saw John Wick: Chapter 2 with my friend. Glad it was still in theaters. And glad to see it NOT dubbed (and wondering what a mess they might have done for this country’s distribution – probably missed all the bilingual dialogs!). I guess for a chapter 2 it’s almost as good as chapter 1. Maybe even better. Still have to think about that. And of course, it opens the way to chapter 3…

Anyhow, both me and my friend were happy because we recognized most of the places where it was shot (New York and Rome). I’m glad Riccardo Scamarcio dared to be the bad guy, although my Italian friend who likes him might not think so. But then, my favorite Hrithik’s role is still Aryan, the villain of Dhoom 2, so…

On the way back I watched Gayal Once Again on the Alitalia flight, but I must admit it took me some time to figure out the story. They all looked the same to me! Nobody was good-looking enough for my tastes and there was only one song – had it been cut? since I could not sleep I also re-watched Something’s Gotta Give – only certain scenes since I had broken my headphones during the flight and didn’t want to ask for a third one (the first I was given was faulty). You can guess which ones (Julian Mercer is Keanu at his best looking, LOL! Pity he’s only a secondary character)…

I enjoyed visiting Boston, although it was a rainy and gloomy day, so I’ll have to go back eventually. My friends were all were kind and I hope to do it again in the future. Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday


Welcome to random randomness. Sort of. I watched Pan, which might actually sound like a good prequel to Peter Pan, but makes me wonder. Does Hollywood really think that making sequels and prequels to classics is a good thing? No risk-takers there anymore. No original screenplays, please, just in case we can’t sell the movies. Sigh. So reminds me of traditional publishing…

I mean, the kid is great, Hugh Jackman unrecognizable, but… was it really needed? You know what it did to me? I went to finally read the actual book! I have downloaded it on K.K. ages ago, and now I finally got to reading it, LOL! And since the first two chapters reminded me of another movie, so…

I rewatched Peter Pan. Of course it’s slightly revised, but it’s so much moreย  faithful to the book (and original play, apparently, I haven’t read that one)! This Peter Pan might be slightly older than the previous one, but it’s certainly closer to JM Barrie’s spirit, IMHO.

Now prepping for art weekend. Cristina is coming over and I hope to do at least two more illustrations for Quests, although only 3 out of 5 will be used as covers. I guess I’ll post what I won’t use on DeviantART when I’m done… Gotta wrap up book 2 and send it off to editor as well…

Have a great weekend!

Random Friday


Let’s make it Reading Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s the post on reading by Dean Wesley Smith and also another on Shannon A. Thompson’s blog. I’m not a huge reader, but I do read, in most genres – as long as there’s a plot. And while I go through my SFF bundles, I took a break to read my other reading love – comics and graphic novels.

Last year two classmates gave me an Amazon gift card. I finished using it this year, with the following purchase.

2016-02-24 13.34.18To the bookseller bemoaning Amazon – if I ever get to London, I’m not setting foot in your shop, since I doubt you’ll store graphic novels. And I don’t drink whiskey. If I buy PAPER books on Amazon it’s because local bookstores don’t stock them (and not only because they’re in English and I live in a non-English speaking country – we do have English bookshops).

Now, to my purchases! I am I known fan of Colleen Doran (see my sidebar, LOL) and I’ve wanted to check Gone to Amerikay since it came out. I wasn’t disappointed, the three intertwined story-lines (1870, 1960 and 2010) are beautifully rendered by Colleen with the nice colors of Josรฉ Villarubia. The story is a nice mix of history and fantasy, with ghosts and historical events. I like mostly the splash pages that show New York in the three timelines – and how it changed throughout the years.

Drawing the Line was brought to my attention by a Goodreads friend who had read and reviewed it. Being a little leery of underground comics, I did a quick google check for more about the stories inside the book. I don’t like all the drawing styles, but most of them yes. With comics and graphic novels, if I don’t like the art, I don’t enjoy the story, so that’s why it’s critical that I see something in the drawings.

None of these ladies has an hyper-realistic style like Colleen Doran, but some were really neat. An Ideal Girl and The Poet, Sharmila reminded me of some French BDs, and the simplicity of Asha, now made me wish I could see it in colors. Lots of nice stories by very nice women – highly recommended for India lovers and not only! ๐Ÿ™‚

Final thoughts on reading. You may have heard that Unberto Eco is dead. 60% of Italians read less than a book a year, but 98% are mourning his passing… will we get “distilled” Eco novels at newsagents now? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have never read him and I don’t know what to think of this. Definitely a leap year that’s taking away a lot of artists and writers and creators and actors and… but this year too shall pass!

Happy reading – I have a beta-reading weekend ahead, so… I won’t be idle!

 

Sunday Surprise


Apparently the author of the month has forgotten she’s on, so no author interview… unless you’d like to be featured on this blog – you or your characters, I have also a batch of questions for fictional characters if you prefer – I guess I won’t have any guests this month.

2015-09-12 09.44.52Which is kinda fine, since it’s not really a writing month for me! ๐Ÿ™‚ So here’s what I’m doing this weekend:

Drawing S.K.Y.B.A.N.D (pencils done, theย  inking is the hard part – and then the colors… and the lettering… sigh!).

Working on PODs (two done, two more to go…).

Formatting and uploading new titles (or final drafts for pre-order).

Friday morning I was at the office inking the latest strip (I don’t know when I’ll publish those and if I ever will, so don’t ask – they’re becoming too personal to be published! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Maybe I’ll choose the most interesting eventually – when I’m done coloring them) and a woman came in saying “Oh, I wish I could draw like that!”

I mean, the strip. Chibi-style. I told her “I flunked illustration school because I didn’t come from an art school, but I kept drawing because I like it.”

It’s called… practice. You know, that thing musicians or other creative people do – except writers and, apparently, artists. Lots of wannabes there. “I want to write a book” but they never find the time. “I wish I could draw” but they never put pencil to paper.

I have no artistic talent. My portraits are traced from pictures. My comics are free hand and you can absolutely tell I know nothing of human anathomy – and I never draw animals (unless I can trace, so no mythical beasts, since I don’t want to steal another artist’s work) because I don’t have the will to practise.

I like drawing people, so I keep drawing people, trying different styles and never stopping. I’ll never be a professional comic artist, but I don’t care. I do it as a hobbyist because it helps me take a break from writing. But I did learn some tricks through the years.

Maybe you can’t tell, but I know when I resume drawing after a few years without doing it. I need to go back to the basis. I downloaded chibi and non-chibi human forms in different poses as reference for my comics and the strip and the vignettes…

And then I draw. And I write, but keep learning. Of course some of my older stories make me cringe, but they were the best I could produce at the time, and it’s fine. I won’t burn them just because they were crap… Nor will I throw away my old comics, although I won’t scan them and publish them either…

2015-09-12 09.45.27And with these philosophical Sunday thoughts, I shall go back to publishing and drawing… Createspace has approved the books, so I ordered the final proofs that should arrive shortly! ๐Ÿ™‚ (BTW that cover art on those two is by Mighty Marvelous Maurizio Manzieri, not me!) Have a great Sunday! ๐Ÿ˜€

Random Friday


Total randomness… Thanks to the two friends who voted in the poll. I think I’m going to do like in this case: Killer Advice (which was a recommended reading last year in case you missed it). So both names on the cover of Rajveer the Vampire. Not because B.G. Hope is published by another publisher, but because it’s easier for me.

I don’t have to change everything on ebook retailers – and she even has a printed book out. Body Switches is still selling its 1 or 2 copies a month, so I’d rather not touch it. So now I have a shorter title, but two author’s names, haha! I know, my cover artist will dump me now! And I’ll have to use my own mock cover and will end up on Lousy Book Covers again! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m reading more 19th century vampire stories. The Vampyre was very short (and quite dreadful). Now I’m deep into Varney the Vampire, but mine are definitely different. Hopefully I created my own mythology and even if I decide to write the screenplay and structure it like Interview with the Vampire, it won’t look at all like Ann Rice’s! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Speaking of reading, please go and take this survey. Even if you’re a writer, you should also be a reader, so just go and do it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s not just for romance readers, so go ahead and fill it…

I hope this weekend to do another pencil portrait along with more strips… I know, I know, I should finish S.K.Y.B.A.N.D. first, but mushy brain goes well with bad drawing hand, so I better screw Me & Da Muses than the final chapter of the graphic novel! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Also because the strips have NO BACKGROUND whatsoever, so they’re much easier to do than a full comic book page, LOL!)

Did I mention I have mushy brain? So, I wish you a wonderful weekend, hoping next week I’ll feel better…

 

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