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™‚

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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…

 

Random Friday


While finishing Astrid’s story – and being not very efficient in spring, since it’s cold in the morning and hot at lunch time and I don’t sleep well and blah blah blah – I’m currently re-reading Ann Rice’s Interview with the vampire, which I read 20 years ago (just before the movie came out and maybe once more after, to compare)… I’ve rewatched the movie quite often (I had the dubbed version on VHS and bought the DVD as soon as I could), so I remember it quite well (it is the movie that made me fall in love with Brad after all! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Pity for Mr Scientology, I’d have happily lived without him even 20 years ago).

The book was sort of forgotten in the meantime. So I thought I’d re-read it to start thinking vampires for my own upcoming story. So after Amaranthine book 7, I’m back to the roots (I haven’t read any other vampire literature between Ann Rice’s first 3 books and Joleene Naylor’s Amaranthine series) and will read also Bram Stoker’s Dracula (seen the F.F.Coppola movie, but not read the book yet). And probably rewatch the vampire movies I have – all 3 of them (I have Lost Boys to stand in for the movie version of Amaranthine, LOL!).

And then I’ll have to talk to my cover artist about the title, since mine will be a humorous tale, not a gothic horror story. I wouldn’t want it to be confused with an unusual, erotic, sci-fi, romantic vampire adult fiction story! I know there’s no copyright on titles, but I’d still prefer to avoid any confusion, so I’ll probably have to stick to the long version of the title, which means the characters will have to pop up on the graphics of the title itself or something. I’m sure between me and Shafali we can come up with something, LOL!

Next week I’ll be in London, probably writing the other B.G. Hope story (I know I need to do some research on the vampire story, so writing in a contemporary setting is probably easier while traveling) and then I’ll start an online workshop… craft, for the first time in years. I guess I’m not really business-minded this year. But as long as I have fun writing… there’s no hurry to publish! I have 99 books in the “my books” folder on my Kindle… and I know the 100th will be Kay-low’s story sometime next month!

Stay tuned and have a Happy Easter!

Writer Wednesday


Star Minds Next Generation is now available as print book on CreateSpace, Amazon, Barnes&Noble and probably some other retailer through the distribution channels! The Matchbook thingy means that on Amazon you get the ebook for free if you buy the printed book – although I have no idea where that comes out! ๐Ÿ˜‰

youngKing_resizeNew title out – The Young King – on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Apple, Kobo, Smashwords and DriveThruFiction. This short story was included in Male Lovers of Silvery Earth and More Tales of the Southern Kingdoms. This version is slightly different from the above after the cover artist commented on the story and the Italian version is currently my bestseller – in fact for the first time I published the Italian version first, since the changes were made after the cover artist commented on it and she doesn’t speak English. The awesome art is again by Cristina Fabris.

No writerly links for you this week except one – apparently Amazon will allow us to do giveaways! Will have to keep an eye on that, study it and eventually use it. Not that the Goodreads Giveaway brought in many readers, but then… Amazon bought Goodreads and now it allows Giveaways, so let’s try it at some point!

Since I have total randomness on Friday, I’ll add a reading suggestion here: Assassins in Love by Kris De Lake. Although some of the romance tropes make me cringe, if you love sci-fi romance, you’re gonna enjoy this! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I like the style and the two voices and the setting and whatever is not romance, LOL! And it’s a paper book, so it’s a signed copy, yay! ๐Ÿ˜€

Have a great week!

Random Friday


I know, I should have done this before Christmas… but well, at least you know what to ask for your birthday next year! ๐Ÿ˜€

And it’s the reading year! Again I read almost 50 books, including three anthologies (two of which I was a participating author and they’re still out there for free: Wyrd Worlds 2 and Strange Portals – go grab them if you haven’t yet).

The five stars go to (I’m giving the Goodreads links, so you can go looking for them on your preferred retailer):

Prince Charming Wanted; Dowry Seekers Kiss Off! Vidya Samson

Bras, Boys, and Blunders: Juliet & Romeo in Bahrain Vidya Samson

The ultimate inferior beingsย  Mark Roman

Out of tune Michelle D.Argyle

The Italian school of assassins Melissa Yin

Body Check Dave Hendrickson

Jinx and the Faery Dragons and other stories by Victoria Zigler (her Smashwords page)

Paris is a bitch (I wanted to try John Rain, and started with this short story – still have to get to the novels) Barry Eisler

The Tower Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Killer Advice Kris Rusch a.k.a Kris De Lake

The only non-fiction book is Ciao, America!: An Italian discovers the US (I read the Italian version, a loan by my father, so it’s a paper book). I love Severgnini (his Italian and English lessons are hilarious) and this one manages to tease two countries in one book – but in a nice way! Although both countries have changed since 1994-2000… There’s also the version more faithful to the original Italian title:ย  “An Italian in America” – that’s the first official translation from his Italian publisher.

And on my next year wishlist I have this erotic romance cause I’m curious! Unfortunately my TBR list is still quite high, so I don’t know when I’ll be able to fit it in… Happy reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday


So, I’m reading a book. Yeah, I know, duh. Except it’s a printed book. Small fonts. I’m thinking of requesting the e-book version to the author. And I look forward to get back to my Kindle.

It’s something I’ve seen with magazines as well. I still buy two monthly mags (one is a movie mag, the other has comics and other stuff) and especially the movie mag sometimes writes too small, or color on color and it becomes unreadable for me. I’m short-sighted, but obviously not only that. So probably I’ll stop buying paper reads soon.

Happened with a Lupo Alberto comic as well – it was printed in a pocket edition and felt often unreadable. So even comics… maybe when I’ll do the complete edition of SKYBAND, I’ll do it on A4 instead of A5 – for my own good, mostly! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Even the Loncon program. I printed out Thursday, just in case I don’t reach registration on time Wednesday night and have to get my badge and program Thursday morning, but boy, was it hard to read… Mostly I read the title of the panel! I’ll have to buy a magnifying glass sometime… sigh! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Anyhow – my failing eyes are a reason to stop drawing comics and graphic novels. I can still do the occasional illustration or portrait, but another saga… no. I’m paining enough with SKYBAND already. Still inking that chapter 14, in case you were wondering. And coloring with Photoshop will be even worse, I’m afraid.

So there – here’s to the Kindle. Maybe eventually I’ll start using its text-to-speech feature or will start buying audio books. At the moment I hate them – can’t concentrate on listening, so… why bother? I’d rather listen to music, you know? So we’ll see… And I will certainly skip my bookshop sprees – unless I’m looking for some non-fiction. Those books are better printed (as well as artbooks and comics – I have no more room on my shelves, ARGH!).

That’s all for today! Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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