book blurb feedback

My offline writers group must be… offline for the summer as nobody answered my plea for comments. So you, dear blog reader, will have to step in. I’m preparing the book blurb for the next BoI, Water, and I need some feedback. If there are glaring grammar mistakes or typos, please do say so, as I’m going to use this also for the book trailer. Tell me also if you feel compelled to know more, are confused or whatever crosses your mind. I really appreciate any comments you can give. Here goes:
Kahnee kissed a goddess. Now he is invulnerable to everything, including feelings.
Damir shipwrecked and found himself in an underwater world he didn’t know existed. Now he is in love, but his rival is a long lost childhood friend.

Kahnee left his island ten years ago to follow a foreign captain, with the protection of the Goddess’s kiss, and now has been sold as a slave to the Queendom of Maadre. His lover Morgan would do anything to get him back while his new owner, twenty-year-old Keira, would do anything to keep him.
Damir struggles to adjust to life in an underwater city and his fights with his rival, Conall, have him evicted from the submerged paradise.
Two years later Keira and Kahnee leave her home country to take him back home while Damir attacks the underwater city and manages to capture his rival.
Will Kahnee get his feelings back from the Goddess? Will Conall ever be free from Damir’s hatred?

To thank you for this feedback, here’s Kahnee and Morgan, as I won’t use this illustration anywhere, so here it is for you.

What? You think that’s my Muse? Well, of course he is! He started out as a secondary character and stole the spotlight… that’s what muses are for, I guess! πŸ˜‰

Speaking of him, I found his “quotes” on one of the Six Sentence gals’ blog, so I’ll leave you with his words of wisdom (and thanks Liz for posting it!)… he might even become a writer eventually, so I might be able to post his words on Saturdays! πŸ˜‰

What’s in a bag?

Last year some (female) bloggers showed the contents of their bags. Then Stephen mentioned his notebooks (BTW, Dear Wife’s gift is really gorgeous!), so I thought I’d share what’s in this writer’s bag. Here’s the evidence.

The moleskine is almost full, so I’ll start the new one (that I got as a gift that very same Xmas 2002, that year two of my friends had the same idea! ;-)). It’s filled with notes, sketches, short scenes written on the run, etc. Most of it has been copied elsewhere. The Notebook Friend was very used before I started blogging, to journal and reflect on things, and is a little neglected ever since. I still use it on vacations, but not much more often (unless I have free time when I can’t go online, so I just jot down whatever comes to mind).

Technology is limited (ops! Forgot to add the cellphone to the pic… anyway, it’s an old model like the one in this pic, the blue one to be exact) – the cellphone being just a phone with no apps, and some spare pens and a pencil with a paper organizer. But then I’m the writer who hand-writes her very first drafts. Sorry, my routine started so long ago, I can’t really give tips or suggestions on how to do it – all I can say is: it probably went against my social life! πŸ˜‰

So the untechnological writer here doesn’t have a laptop and doesn’t use cellphone apps to go online, which means that whenever I’m away from home I have to rely on untechnological stuff.

This weekend I had a relaxing writing weekend (and even found the time to fill the fridge with a trip to the supermarket, can you believe it! ;-)). I finished reading Chretien de Troyes’s Arthurian novels (but I’m not done with historical reading AT ALL, sigh! :-(), reached the climax of the crusade (studying how to write realistic injuries in the process) and took a couple of hours off just to relax. Although, when I do this kind of drawing (not the graphic novel, which requires a little more concentration in creating the page), my mind is free to wander on many other things, either life issues or other projects, so it’s not really totally writing unrelated. AND I can hear the music I listen to. So, with a Madonna soundtrack (Celebration double CD), here’s what came out of my two hours Saturday musings.

My other (former) Muse

This has been (tiled) on my desktop since 2000. The beginning of the obsession with the Muse, already mentioned Keanu Reeves. The other guy (yeah, he’s a guy. I LOVE long-haired guys! ;-)) is Mark Slaughter, frame taken from the Days gone by video I posted a few days ago. Slaughter were my favorite band in the first half of the 1990s and I loved Mark (he was unattached at the time, so why not dream some? ;-)). He’s in the Portraits art-book, but not with many drawings, as he’s more in the illustrations for the stories I wrote at the time (therefore you will see more of him in the next art-book which will include all the illustrations, both pencil and computer-colored).

Mark&Barb in Toledo, OH

Could have been a “love-story with” post, but I thought to put it here because, well, it’s not really a love-story. I mean, he has inspired lots of great stories, the birth of the Varian Empire, my first hero who died (in book 3 of the series) and actually stayed dead (I had this tendency to resurrect characters both in sci-fi, with the excuse of technology, and fantasy, with the excuse of magic) – Oliver (the character’s name) was actually taken to his death by a winged being looking like Keanu, haha. And they (the Muses) met, because Slaughter did a song for the soundtrack of Bill&Ted’s bogus journey, which I bought when I didn’t know who Keanu was.

Toledo, OH Nov.7, 1998

I’ve met Mark in 1998 (thanks to my dear friend Renee, hi-ya! She also took these pictures, of course…) in Toledo, OH… and gave him a present (see left picture). I wonder if he still has it –Β  I will never ever reissue that comic anyway, so, Mark, if you don’t have it anymore, sorry, my copy stays with me! πŸ˜‰

He was in my first fantasy novels, and in some of the graphic novels, namely the Mercenaries?!, a.k.a. Sweeties, which I started redrawing and coloring, but won’t go much further the few pages after chapter 5 of SKYBAND… so my few friends who are lucky enough to have their copies of Mercenaries?! better hold tight to them! πŸ˜‰

He’s now one of the members of SKYBAND (along with Keanu and other “models”), as Swan, the swordsman, minstrel and noble incognito with ONLY two tattoos (compared to Des and Killius who have 4 or 5…). I have tried to write a villanelle, but my poetry being worse than bad, I decided to rewrite the lyrics to some Slaughter song. Except I’m on my third attempt and I haven’t picked up the final one. I won’t need it until chapter 9 anyway (reminder: I’m working on chapter 5). I’m not sure he’ll appreciate my rewriting his wonderful lyrics, but I thought I’d let him know somehow (i.e. this post is going on his official Facebook Page, so I can be ashamed in front of all his fans!).

Mark&Barb as before

I could ramble about the other characters he had inspired for another page or two, but as I’m not sure when I’ll be able to rewrite/translate those stories (my career plan/priority list is quite full already… but the Chronicles of the Varian Empire are very special to me, and I know that eventually I’ll put them out there, so stay tuned!), I’ll just shut up. And I’m not going to start a series on my Muses either, but I think we all have ours, real or made up. Life goes on, but I keep drawing the same faces, now that I know how to do it! πŸ˜‰

In fact when I pick up a new “model”, s/he usually comes out totally different than the original… until I figure out how to make him/her look like the original while keeping my style! This goes also with the “virtual cast” of my novels, as I don’t do only graphic novels, hence almost no descriptions, or they’d look pretty much always the same! πŸ˜‰



Bollywood (Mollywood?) & Hollywood

(shouldn’t it be called “Mollywood” now that Mumbai is no longer Bombay? Ah, well, I don’t mind keeping the initial “b”! :-D)

Last week, courtesy of Cinema Nuovo Olimpia, I went to see “My name is Khan” (original version, subtitles in both English – for the Hindi parts – and Italian). Some sites say the movie is 165minutes (i.e. 2h45min.), but it lasted 2h8min, so I don’t know if it was cut for western audiences or what. I do recommend it to westerners who are wary of Bollywood songs, as it doesn’t have that many (at least in the version that I saw). And it’s a great story.

“My name is Khan, and I’m not a terrorist” is the best line of the whole movie, and mega-star Shah Rukh Khan proved he can be as good as Sean Penn (I am Sam), Leonardo DiCaprio (What’s eating Gilbert Grape) and Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man) – sorry haven’t seen Forrest Gump, to which it’s compared. So kudos to his acting, veryΒ  jarring for me used to his other selves, although I still have to see him dance (in KANK he was a limping character and let Bachchan Sr and Jr do all the moves, sigh). Seeing him on the “big” screen (bigger than my TV, but not really a huge screen, the Nuovo Olimpia is a small, indy theater…) was… interesting. I didn’t fall in love with him like it happened with a certain very famous sci-fi movie of 1999, which started my obsession for my Muse (had seen him only on TV/video before then), but I enjoyed the bigger view.

Shah Rukh Khan in Roma - photo scanned from Ciak/December issue

I’ve read on my fave Italian movie mag Ciak that Shah Rukh also came to Rome to present it at the Movie Festival – I was in Wales at the time. But then, I never go to the movie festival anyway because either I’m away or don’t bother to cross town as most events are at the Auditorium, which means during rush hour it would take less to get to Florence by fast train (which I have considered for this event, but didn’t do). So Bollywood has come to Italy as well, or at least its major star! πŸ˜‰

I don’t know if I’d have attended the festival knowing he’d be here. I’d go anywhere in town if I knew Keanu Reeves was coming (the press junket for Constantine was easily accessible near Termini station, thank god), but Shah Rukh… I do like him a lot, but maybe not enough, yet! πŸ˜‰

drawing by Barb - black pencil, white gouache on yellow paper

Anyway, it seems that any time a celeb I’m interested in is in town, I’m away. Not to mention what happens with my Muse (the aforementioned Keanu Reeves, for new readers of the blog), who is NEVER where I am: if I go to LA, he’s in NY, if I go to NY, he’s in Toronto, if I go to Toronto, he’s in LA and if HE comes to Rome, I’m away, or learn about it too late. I managed to spend one hour in his presence at the aforementioned press junket, but otherwise now way of being anywhere near him. Something tells me I must turn those screenplays I wrote for him into novels and send him a copy… another project for next year! πŸ˜‰


OK, I screwed up with the scheduling, so yesterday you had two posts and today none. I’ll just link the the second one which had no comments…

Any one has a solution to this shortage of memory? Is it age?? 😦

Sigh… back to work!

my Muse is staring at me for not being at work... (purr purr)

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