Random Friday

Well, then, the last two are definitely Reader Friday! πŸ™‚ Like every year, here’s the list of my reading for 2017. Of a grand total of 45, with only one manuscript this year, there were 7 non-fiction and 5 I did not finish. Here follows the list of the recommended reading from this writer who particularly enjoyed the following (in order of reading, not of favorite!):

Mysterious Kemet Book 1 by S.R. Anand

The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna

My Anti-Valentine by D.J. Jamison

The Mage’s Grave (Mages of Martir, #1) by Timothy L. CerepakaΒ 

Firehearted by Sabrina Chase

Al-Kabar by Lee French

Hugo nominee β€œTouring with the Alien” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2016)

Hugo winner Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

After Hours: Tales from Ur-Bar anthology edited by Joshua Palmatier

At Risk (Liz Carlisle #1) by Stella Rimington

Twice Against the Dragon by Stefon Mears

Death Takes a Diamond by Dean Wesley Smith

All links go to Goodreads where you can learn more about the books and then look them up at your favorite retailer.

And for you paperback lovers, Nightly Bites Volume 1 is now in paperback as well.

Happy reading and see you next year! πŸ™‚

Random Friday

This randomness shall start with thanking Kat Murty for explaining the difference between Cultural Appropriation and Cultural Exchange.

(oh, cool, I managed to embed a Facebook post on the blog!) Ahem! Where was I? Yes, cultural appropriation vs exchange. Now it’s really crystal clear, but this doesn’t mean I’ll wear that sari I bought in Jaipur or the one my mother brought me from Delhi (I think) a couple of years before.

In fact I don’t think I’ll ever wear a sari unless 1) it’s a bridal sari (although I doubt I’ll have a Hindu wedding in this life, maybe the next, LOL!) or 2) I’m invited at a Hindu wedding and they tell me I can wear a sari and whatnot. Both are very unlikely, so there you have it! πŸ˜€

Same goes with the bindi below. I got them in the 1990s at some booth in a Roman Summer fair and haven’t touched them since, but I like them, so I just keep them as they are! The one bindi they put on me when I tried the sari, stayed until night, then ended up on the India travel diary…

And since we’re talking of culture exchange, let me share this video of Cossak women doing the saber dance. Don’t you think they kick ass? Do you they’re giving me ideas for stories? Hell yeah! πŸ˜€ Maybe I’ll have a Cossack vampiress or maybe I’ll just use the technique for an alien humanoid fighter… πŸ˜‰

Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Random Friday

Been reading non-fiction for the next novel, hence I finally made it to the book that was given to me by the travel agent before my trip to India last year – the autobiography of Gayatri Devi. It helps me to get in the mood of closer times (early 20th century) and it’s also quite interesting, although I probably won’t use any of it in my novel (although they will be in Jaipur when she’s there)! πŸ˜‰

The postfaction in the book dates from the same year my brother got a magazine about India (1991) and inside I found a picture of the Maharana Arvind Singh Mewar that you can compare below with the more recent picture that’s included in the official guide to Udaipur’s city palace… Heck, not even on Wikipedia they have that younger pic of him, LOL!

Anyhow, I’m having fun with Sir George and Shashank hanging out in Patna and Kathmandu in the 19th century… then I’ll have to cover the 20th, but it will be complete long before the anniversary of India’s Independence Day! πŸ˜‰ By then I’ll be coming back from Worldcon and diving into a sci-fi novel – probably dystopian, definitely not science fantasy since it will be set on future Earth.

Didn’t have time to watch the French DVD, so I guess that’s all for now… I hope to have a first draft done for next weekend when I’ll have some train time to check the manuscript and add more meat. I might also write a short story about Sir George when I finish the novel, because even though he’s one of Menka’s wretched children, he might be interesting to write about… any suggestions for sites about British gentlemen of the early 1800s?

Have a great weekend! πŸ™‚

Random Friday

Totally random randomness: I forgot to mention that a new title is out, but since it’s a collection of previously published stories, I don’t feel like promoting it too much.

It’s Tales of the Queendom of Maadre where I put all the shorter Amazons stories. That collection + Amazons+Amazon Sisters+Books of the Immortals – Water gives the current puzzle of the Queendom of Silvery Earth.

Later this month I will publish the tales of the southern kingdoms in one-volume editions, ebook and paperback. No new stories will come out before 2017, since in December I’ll publish some Italian version. So, for the new stuff, next year!

Coincidentally, Tales of the Queendom of Maadre, Books of the Immortals – Water and the one-volume editions of the tales of the southern kingdoms all have covers by Cristina Fabris who is coming tomorrow for our creative weekend! πŸ˜‰

Things I forgot to mention in a previous post – my rules for traveling to India! Imagine them said in a Brad Pitt voice (see Fight Club):

The first rule of traveling to India is: you do not go out without a bottle of water.

The second rule is: you DO NOT go out without a bottle of water!

Third rule: stick to the group/guide/drivers at all times.

Fourth rule: don’t talk to strangers unless it’s kids or families asking “Can I selfie with you?”

I know, there wasn’t really a fourth rule in Fight Club, but whatever. πŸ˜€

Now I’m off finishing typing the travel journal and checking what needs to be done for Quests 3, so it will be ready to be sent out to Mighty Editor mid-December! I hope to watch a movie or two next week, so stay tuned…

Have a great weekend!

Random Friday

Sooo, the rest of the trip! What can I say, I loved the palaces and fortresses, but not the heat. I saw many nice sunsets – on lakes, sand dunes or roads – and played “catch Hrithik’s ads” in every city (didn’t always found him, but once I saw him twice, LOL).

47-india-1I wasn’t impressed by the Taj Mahal and thought the Baby Taj is actually much nicer – more elaborate and intimate. My camera broke down after Fatehpur Sikri (and 2500 pics), so for the Red Fort, Taj and Baby Taj I only had the smartphone (450 pics).

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Still sorting through them, so I guess I’ll leave you with the best of I posted on my personal page on Facebook… Will I go back? One day… probably. Hopefully when I can take December or January off, i.e. when I quit DayJob, haha! πŸ˜€


Sunday Surprise

Please WordPress, stop making silly useless changes to my dashboard, thank you.

Ahem – total randomness! Larry Elmore, one of my favorite fantasy illustrators (I own a pencil drawing by him, yay!) is having another kickstarter project: the sequel to his comic SnarfQuest. I’ve re-read the old one (B&W and very 1980s, especially in the girls’ hairdos! πŸ˜‰ And I have a signed copy that I bought at Lucca Comics in 2003!), but the broken English is too hard on me, so I’ll pass. If you like comics and fantasy, you might want to try this full color version – I don’t think you’ll miss the first part! To back this project go to Kickstarter! πŸ™‚ I’ll just keep waiting for the results of the previous project that I backed up last year – the books are shipping, but I assume I won’t see anything until January…

26 questions people from India are sick of answering. Someday I’ll have to come up with something similar for Italians, although, since I don’t look Italian, I don’t get many questions, haha (I hate the sun and the seaside, can’t sing “O Sole Mio” and have never seen a mandolin in my life – oh, and Rome is not like in Roman Holidays anymore, that was, like, half a century ago! We’re very behind, but not that much!). Anyway, I’ll never be able to do a post like that – with all those Bollywood stars “involved” (hello, Hrithik, hope you are back from your medical check up and everything is fine! ;)). I can’t name all the movies because there is a little too much of Kajol (not my favorite lady, LOL)! πŸ™‚ And don’t worry, my Indian friends, the sari my mom brought me from her trip to Ladakh and Kashmir stays in the wardrobe! πŸ˜€

Last day of the Fair of Medium and Small publishers here today, will tell you more about it all soon… And here’s a summary of yours truly (I don’t have anymore panels today anyway, and even the ones I saw in the past 3 days ended up being totally uninteresting) – you can probably add me with my sword looking for blood. I want to move out of this stupid country. Argh.

+libri+liberi2013_resizeBack to uploading titles… Kobo is slooooooooooooooooooooow in converting and Apple is already backlogged – that’s why you can’t find Star Minds Snippets on Apple yet – yes, they’re that backlogged. I uploaded it Nov.22, amd it’s still pending review. What will happen to the titles uploaded later? 10-15 weeks to review means you’ll see them after the Holidays… so you i-Something owners better get the e-pub from somewhere else and stop trusting your Mighty Mac so much! πŸ˜‰ And no, I’m not going direct to the i-bookstore, sorry! πŸ˜€ Have a great Sunday!

Random Friday

I might keep this short and sweet. Well, not so sweet, probably. Because I’m not really into sweets or cakes in the first place. And it’s so darn hot my energies keep going down the gutter. And I’m moody and a spinster – mostly. OK: sweet note first. A very special thanks to whoever yesterday bought the five Books of the Immortals on the Smashwords sale. Hope you enjoy! πŸ™‚ Now brace yourself for a rant…

I hate the summer. But mostly I hate AC and the abuse everybody does of it. I hated it during my many US trips (the first 2 or 3 I caught awful colds, now I’ve learned to travel with a jumper for inside and t-shirt for outside – but once a room in LA during a Screenwriting Expo panel was so cold I actually had to keep my ANORAK on. Turn down the damn stuff, you crazy people!!!!) and now I hate it in Rome. Because I normally don’t go on vacation during June-August (the hotter months), I’m forced to AC at the office. And I’m forced to hear people say “well, at least you have AC at the office” orΒ  “why don’t you put AC at home? Can’t you feel the heat?”.

Yes, I DO feel the heat, probably more than you do. I have low blood pressure, of course I hate the heat. But AC gives me migraines, belly aches and other nice things I’d rather be without. A fan – even if it moves warm air – is certainly better for my body and my mood. I hate waking up all sticky and sweaty, but I hate even more waking up with a headache from AC! So I drink a lot, sweat a lot – and swear a lot when I’m forced to spend hours in a place with AC. Might be quick if I go to McDonald (yesterday I ordered take away from the outside window, though) but the five working hours destroy me worse than the outside heat. Sigh.

I sure hope my roomie at Chicon7 will not insist on having AC on in the room… end of August should be cooler anyway! Anyway, end rant. (I could go on saying how I think this is technology abuse and if we survived all those centuries without it – albeit without the hole in the ozone – we should be able to do without it and besides it’s all our fault anyway, but I said end rant, so END RANT it is! ;-)).

To end on a sweeter note, I’ll ramble about reading. Like Michael Kingswood, I’m probably saying goodbye to print books very soon – I’ll finish the pile that has been waiting on my desk, but won’t buy anything new. I’m currently reading a paperback I bought in Lincoln City last October, and I look forward to get back to my Kindle. To fill it with books from my Smashwords library that won’t take any room on my bookshelves and can come with me wherever I want. I won’t re-buy e-books of books that I already own in print, but I will not buy new titles – unless they’re graphic novels, of course. Comics and graphic novels don’t look good on Kindle yet.

OK, one more thing. My mom&sis went to India (Ladakh and Kashmir – Himalayas and Buddist monasteries) and I got some souvenirs.

Yep, that’s a sari (and assorted souvenirs). I’m doing the close-up of the embroidery especially for Prue – made me think of her Adelina! (Which reminds me I still have to read her Lalita’s story… where’s my Kindle again? I had paper books of the first two Eirie books, but now it’s all e-books, LOL) πŸ™‚

And yes, if you happen to come to Roma, you can have a cup of real chai (without milk, as I normally don’t have it in my fridge, but if you call before you come, I might get it for you! ;-))! And I’ll be very grateful if you can even tell me how to wear the damn thing! I learn fast, I only need to be shown once! πŸ˜€

That’s all for today! Have a great weekend and see you next week! πŸ™‚

Random Friday

So, after the weekend spent re-reading/editing my novels and three afternoons spent struggling with formatting (if it was my first novel, I’d have given up in frustration, LOL! Glad it the 30th or something!), I took an evening off to go through the pile of DVDs to watch. Which means I watched one, of course.

Top of the pile was James Ivory’s The Householder, that I found for 3euros like others I’ve mentioned on this blog. It’s from the 1960s, black&white and hadn’t been dubbed, so I got the original version with Italian subtitles. It was all shot in Delhi, pity for the B&W (but after so many Bollywood movies, I could almost see the colors, LOL!). I liked the story – and in case you’re wondering, no, it’s not Bollywood, it’s James Ivory (or “Merchant Ivory Production”) shooting a movie in India, based on a novel.

I liked the extras, an interview with protagonist Shashi Kapoor remembering his casting and how he convinced the writer that he was the right guy for the part (reminds me of Mr.CruiseΒ  and Mrs Rice… I’d have happily lived without Mr.Cruise, but luckily Mr. Pitt stole the scene and I forgot the other guy. I digress, sorry). And there was the short “The creation of woman” with those wonderful dancers that left me gaping (especially the males, as I’m used to women after Kama Sutra, LOL). I guess even traditional dances from India fascinate me…

I still have to watch the other extra, “The road to Delhi” (50min.), but as I wasted those three afternoons (grrr) and fell behind with CVE3 (beta&editors, I’m almost done, you’ll get it during the weekend, I promise!), I just skipped it for now. Add to this that it’s spring and spending an afternoon reading a novel, albeit mine (and I’m my #1 fan, even if I don’t write reviews of my own books! ;-)), kept me falling asleep at the wrong times. So more “wasted” time, no original reading I can rant about and one DVD extra missing. For a 3euro/60s movie DVD that’s a lot of extras anyway! πŸ™‚

Oh, and Happy Fangirl Barb thanks Terry Moore for the mention! πŸ˜‰ As Wednesday I rambled on and on, this post I’ll keep short. Thanks to everyone who gave suggestions for the cover, either here or on Goodreads, and have a great weekend! Still have to decide if post something on Sunday or not… Any suggestions?

Love-story with… India

Considering that I now have a lot of Indian readers (5, that’s a lot, and my favorite number! ;-)), I thought I’d tell my love-story with India in this brand new Friday series, also because it’s a very old story, maybe older than my love-story with Writing Fiction.

"Idian Tales"

It all started during childhood, with the works of Emilio Salgari, a 19th century writer who never went outside of Italy but could paint vivid pictures of foreign countries, such as his Wild Frontier (western) trilogy, his Corsairs and the Pirates of the Malaysia, which had a spin-off set in (of course) India. I read the abridged version of The Mystery of The Black Jungle (illustrated version for children) and just loved those drawings (even if reading as an adult I found out the illustrations didn’t really follow Salgari’s descriptions, but never mind. I’ll look for the unabridged version some day, eventually). Along with it, we had a collection of fairy tales and stories and mythologies from all over the world which included what I called “The City of the Elephants” (from the first “chapter” title) and recently discovered was an abridged, illustrated version of nonetheless than the Mahabharat! Those illustrated books of gods and Thugs and giants and beautiful maidens in saris started a dream, fueled in the 1970s by a TV series called Maya that I saw both in French and Italian (and first in B&W because we didn’t have a color TV, then discovered it was in colors when we came back to Italy and bought a new TV in1978).Β  I just loved Terry Bowen (Jay North), but mostly Raji (Sajid Khan – BTW is he related to any of the most famous Bollywood Khans? I doubt it, but you can tell me…) and his elephant, Maya (one of the reasons why I loved Duran Duran’s Save a prayer video with the elephant – I know, that one was shot in Sri Lanka, but still…). The first (and still the only one, I’m afraid) word of Hindi, “NamastΓ¨”, I learned it from that TV series…

Then there was Kabir Bedi as Sandokan (from Salgari’s book Pirates of the Malaysia), again late 1070s. Then I discovered Mira Nair and Kama Sutra a tale of love (1996, with Naveen Andrews long before Lost or Bride and Prejudice – and looking much better, by the way).

"Indian Tales"

Fast forward to the new Millennium. Books of the Immortals – Air is set in a fictional world inspired by India and Persia, and the elephant character is called – uhm – Maya. A homage, not a rip-off, I swear. I still have to get close enough to an elephant to be like Raji (or my character Kumar), but there’s always time. I have added India to my “to visit” countries a few years ago, but haven’t managed to get there yet. I have met a couple of Indians at Day Job and lot more among you bloggers (hello, Jai, Hema, Shafali, Keshav, Ajay and the Karela Split guys, including my favorite ghost Gorakh Nath!), so curiosity is rising. And yes, I discovered Bollywood, but that’s another post (not for this series, even if it is another love-story. But I already told it).

So hopefully 2012 will see me set foot in India, unless in 2011, on my way Down Under, to break the long journey, I stop in New Delhi for a day or two… my friend says she “isn’t ready” to see India yet, so we’ll see. I welcome suggestions for places to see and also for the best time of the year for someone who has low blood pressure and can’t stand the heat. I’ve been told December and January are the best months, but you tell me now…

"Indian Tales" (Mahabharat) - illustrator unknown

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