Sunday Surprise


So, today I’m not going to the book fair (it’s Sunday, Dear Nephew is at Mom’s and we’re celebrating that it was St Barbara on Dec.4 and blah blah blah) and I thought I’d do a summary. I might go again either this afternoon or tomorrow to meet with a gal who has posted great “reportage” on Facebook – she’s an artist, and I’d love to hire her, I have some rebranding to do next year, LOL!

But in the meantime! Five minutes of teasing my friends who kept talking about PayPaul – I left, sick of listening to them butchering English, but today I asked “Who is Paul? The alien from the movie?” I always wonder where they find their pronunciation of English words – how “pal” became “Paul”.

Luckily there was also an important guy from the Ministery of Foreign Trade who translated everything into Italian (and I was about to say “Yes, you don’t say ‘selfie’ you say ‘autoscatto’!”, since so many people, especially those who call themselves great managers, throw in a lot of English when it’s not needed – and I won’t tell you how they pronounce it).

Anyhow, this guy told us that Italy is actually very sought after abroad – and not just for Food, Fashion&Furniture. But we’re locked in and are afraid of sending our stuff abroad. Apparently Italian is the fourth language taught in the world (not spoken as first language, but that means there are a lot of people who want to learn). So… doh. Opened my eyes and reminded me of a talk with my Canadian workshop buddies last October who said “But look how successful is every author who writes about Italy!”…

I always thought everything would just get lost in translation – many things did when I turned Technological Angel from an Italian novel to an English novel (and then back into Italian, the original beta-reader was very happy with the rewrites and continuation), and I had to leave some Italian in, since it was dialect and untranslatable – but maybe all those people are actually right.

So, for 2015, I’ve put on the list to publish something set in Italy, but written in English. If it’s a short story, I might do a bilingual edition – as an experiment. Or maybe I’ll translate one of the novels I already published in Italian. I don’t know, but stay tuned for a Barbara Sangiorgio title in English sometime next year! ๐Ÿ™‚

See why I need Writing World 2015 planner? Gotta schedule time for writing, time for editing, time for translating, time for formatting, time for uploading, and time to figure out how to do business in Italy! Gee, I’m tired already…

Just kidding. Being a Virgo, I only have to figure out times (like 1 hour of translation a day) and I’ll be just fine! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a great Sunday! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Random Friday


Other things I did in Turin: checking those startups, I found Bliubliu and asked them about Hindi. Since I need a basic knowledge, I bought myself the Assimil course (with French base that they never brought to Rome, but since they’re from near Turin, they had it at the book fair) so when I have those basics I can improve with Bliubliu.

The guy of Bliubliu told me they plan on adding some sort of interaction so that if, for example, Shafali wanted to learn Italian while I study Hindi, we could follow each other’s progress and help each other. I’ve started reading the Assimil pocket guide, and apart from the funny French spelling of Hindi words, it’s already much clearer than that useless offline course. But I haven’t seriously started on it yet, so don’t test me! ๐Ÿ™‚

On the train I had the time to read Out of Tune by Michelle D.Argyle – another must read. I’m amazed at her range, every time I think “Maybe this is not for me” but end up engrossed. Well done, Michelle.

The Templars exhibition was inside a Hospitallier commanderie, which was kind of fun. But they had no catalog available, and my mom was very disappointed. I did a lot of people-watching at the Genova harbor before finding the exhibition of Lupo Alberto.

And then our greatest disadventure: the return train had no room for us! We had reserved seats, but they had changed the kind of coach, so our seat numbers didn’t exist… We had to wait for the tickets guy to be able to relax – it was an InterCity that did a lot of stops, so we were on edge until La Spezia…

A friend shared this before&after by Karri – which reminded me of my own compositions, although I don’t master Photoshop like her! ๐Ÿ˜‰ See what I mean?

MTSKreferenceOh, and let’s not forget the 18 things highly creative people do differently – especially Daydreaming and Taking time for solitude and… well, really all of them! ๐Ÿ˜€

I was hoping to add a film review, but I’m too busy editing, formatting and writing… maybe next week… have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday


10spamYikes, the spambots were busy on Wednesday between 1 and 4pm – all on a Happiness is… post (the same for all)… I had cleaned the spam folder before leaving the office and when I went back to the dashboard to schedule this post I had this not so wonderful surprise! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Anyhow, spam-folder cleaned, hopping to another topic. If you are following me on Goodreads, you might have noticed the past week I was reading 3 non-fiction books in 3 different languages. Well, 2 have been there for at least a couple of years because I read them in my free time (the one in French is historical and not for immediate research purposes, the one in English is very useful but I also need to read it very slowly and figure out what applies to me and what doesn’t – and I’m sure there’s a revised edition by now, but I haven’t finished that one yet, so I’ll wait, LOL!). The third one is written by a journalist, my favorite as I enjoyed very much his Italian “lessons” – and this is English “lessons”. Of course it’s geared to Italians, but I enjoyed it very much (even if I’m fluent in English) because he also analizes the different ways of teaching languages.

I learned 2 as mother tongue (being Italian but living and going to school in France, so I spoke Italian at home and French outside of it) – still bemoaning how much I’m forgetting my French, sigh. I should be at the Salon du Livre instead of whining on the blog! – and one with a few mixed methods, as I started studying English at school (grammar lessons), then continued on my own through song lyrics and eventually DVD subtitled (English/English HOH), which is what I call the Empirical Method and is also mentioned by Mr Severgnini regarding someone who learned English through song lyrics. And that’s how I’m learning Hindi at the moment – as dear teacher doesn’t really have a method, even if he says he does. So I’m not learning from him, but from Bollywood movies&songs – just like before.

Another fun bit was imagining that English was written as it’s pronounced. I also like to say that in English pronounciation is arbitrary, but apparently there are people who advocate to write it as it’s pronounced, which would immensely help us non-native speakers! ๐Ÿ˜‰ This method implies that, for example, fish written as pronounced should be written gothi: f like “rou gh”,ย i like “w o men”, sh like “na ti on”… There, I even found a link to the article Mr Severgnini must have read before me! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Fun, innit?

BTW, there’s no trace of the very British “innit” in that book. I guess I’m even more proficient than him, LOL! Just kidding, his is not an English course, but it will help Italians who think English isย  so hard to learn, by showing them how many English words have already infiltrated Italian and by teaching them a few simple tricks. This won’t rid us of Italians traveling and demanding to be understood when they speak only Italian (and especially in France, nobody is going to bother to try to understand them, LOL), but if it helps at least a few, I’ll feel less dejected when I meet one in an airport – in those cases I always pretend I’m not Italian, and my looks help, but sometimes I really want to hide under a rock.

I also downloaded the sample of Mr.Severgnini’s book on Italy & Mr.B (can you tell I like the guy?), but I refuse to pay 12euro for an e-book – for that price, I’ll get the dead-trees-book instead! ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s traditional publishers’ policy all over the world, I guess… sigh. And I like Rizzoli/BUR as they used to publish my favorite Italian author (who was also a journalist, so I loved both her fiction and her non-fiction books), Brunella Gasperini. But I won’t let them have my money for a very expensive e-book because they need to sell the paper versions first.

To end the randomness with a little image, lovely Stacy gave me the Sunshine award. As it’s been a few years since I last received it (I think 2010 or 2011 was the Blog Award Year, with many recieved from more than one person, LOL), I guess I can follow the rules (sort of, as usual).

sunshine-awardHere are the rules to accept this award:

  • Include the awardโ€™s logo in a post or on your blog.
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself.
  • 10-12 other fabulous bloggers must be nominated.
  • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.
  • Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

Okay, here come the answers to the questions:

1 โ€“ Favorite color: Blue

2 โ€“ Favorite animal: unicorn

3 โ€“ Favorite number: 5

4 โ€“ Favorite non-alcoholic drink: tea

5 โ€“ Prefer Facebook or Twitter? Facebook, I don’tย Tweetย 

6 โ€“ My passion: Writing, Music, Drawing, Movies

7 โ€“ Prefer getting or giving presents: Can’t bother either if it’s at fixed dates. But if I find something very specific for someone – YAY!

8 โ€“ Favorite pattern: Pattern? Sorry, don’t understand the question (I use “patterns” in Photoshop, but I guess this is something else)

9 โ€“ Favorite day of the week: Saturday

10 โ€“ Favorite flower: as long as it doesn’t have a perfume (I’m allergic to all smells)

Nominees: any of you lovely new blog followers who would like to grab it and put it on your blog! When I last did this, I had more or less 40 followers and now too many to choose from. So, like last time, if you want it, grab it and pass it on!

Anyway, that’s all for today! Have a wonderful weekend!

Random Friday


I stumbled on this post because someone posted the wrong link, but never mind! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s about dubbed movies. I have already mentioned that I hate dubbed movies and think that’s the Italian plague – because 90% of Italians don’t speak any other language and 95% of Italians don’t read or whatever, they think we have the best dubbers in the world.

They’re so good that in the 1950s and 1960s, they dubbed even Italian actors (I don’t think Sophia Loren has her real voice in the movies, not even the ones shot in Italy. Giuliano Gemma was dubbed in movies until he did a TV series in the 1980s and I was very disappointed with his real voice, LOL). It’s really a profession here, but as there aren’t enough dubbers for each actor alive, we tend to see movies with always the same voices! Like the late Ferruccio Amendola used to dub Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman, so when Sleepers came out he had to give up one of the two who went to Giancarlo Giannini.

I don’t know if Mr Giannini (who is a real actor, not a dubber, in case you didn’t know) has inherited all of Ferruccio’s voice jobs because I haven’t watched dubbed movies in 10 years – my brother took me to watch Matrix Reloaded in Italian because his then girlfriend was sick and he had already bought the ticket, luckily I had already seen it in English so it wasn’t too bad, LOL!

I could rant about dubbing for a very long post (for my first movie love, Matt Dillon, I always wondered “which voice will he have this time?” as only major actors have a “steady” voice – and he wasn’t major yet in the 1980s…), so I’ll end it right now. Like I said, I don’t mind reading subtitles in a language that I understand, even if the spoken language is Korean or Japanese or – well, Hindi, of course.

Now, in case you’re wondering how the Hindi lessons are going… I’m going to disappoint you! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (well, mostly I’ll disappoint Vijay – I’m a bad student) No, I haven’t learned much, and I’m not really doing my homework, but then, who knows… maybe eventually I’ll learn to write and read and speak Hindi – in my next life! ๐Ÿ˜€ Just kidding. It’s a very slow process between all the writing and drawing – check the DeviantART page… – and translating.

This is really the language week with me lost in translation between Italian and English and having to fit Hindi into it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But then, I’ve done only 3 lessons, so I’m not despairing. This weekend I’ll try to do the homework instead of drawing, but I won’t guarantee it! ๐Ÿ˜€ Got movies to watch as well, LOL!

Anyhow, I don’t think I’ll do more translations… to many things get lost and all your precious words so carefully crafted will have to be completely rewritten to fit another language and another culture. And I stopped writing screenplays because I didn’t want to be hired to rewrite other people stories – which is what I’d be doing if I kept the translation “job” (it’s a barter, I wanted to test my skills… and I’m afraid I failed! ;)).

So I’ll complete this because I want to do it, but won’t accept any more. I’m beginning to appreciate the work of people who translate or adapt stuff (books or moving images) – quite often underpaid as well…

Speaking of translations and adaptations – I’ve been checking facts for the body switch and I believe the translation of Hijra as Eunuch is a little outdated. Eunuchs were in the Middle Ages, and I’ve been told to my great chagrin we’re not in the Middle Ages anymore! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think a modern translation could be “drag queen” – although I’m aware they’re not really the same thing.

Anyway, I’ll have a “kothi”ย  who is actually a drag queen as he lives in America and is married to an American (I guess he lives in a state that allows gay marriage, LOL). And I’ll keep bothering my Hindustani friends with my silly questions for a little longer! ๐Ÿ˜€

Signing off now… Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday


49TANTI AUGURI, FEDERICO!

Sorry, that was for my one and only beloved nephew who turns 8 today (can’t believe it, where did time go?!), hoping one of his parents shows him the message. I’m trying to teach him English, but now he’s too smart to tell him I forgot how to speak Italian and he must talk in English to me, LOL! So I’ll just let him play with PBS Kids whenever he visits me…

And because he’s going to get his own copy of the DVD from his grand mother (a.k.a. my mum), I got myself Ice Age 4, so I’ll have something to discuss with him when I see him – maybe tomorrow at the official b-day party, maybe who knows. I should start buying those movies abroad, so I have only the English voices and if he wants to watch them, he’ll have to watch them in English, LOL! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway, 4th instalment is as funny as the previous ones – I like the boot of Italy kicking away Sicily and screaming “Goal!” at the very beginning. And we all know it’s all Scrat’s fault if the continents drifted, right? Looks like there might be a #5… In the extras there was a summary of the first 3 – boy the first was from 2002! Ten years later we got 4… and that’s the only series with talking animals I can bear to watchย  because, hey, they’re extinct anyway, LOL!

In random order. The book I finished last week – Devil’s Lair by David Wiseheart. I liked it because it’s original historical fantasy. I didn’t really like it because I’m Italian and it gave me high school nightmares with all that Latin, Dante and poetry, LOL! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank God I’ve forgotten everything about that time period, so if there were inconsistencies, I’m not aware of them. Besides, it’s historical fantasy, so anything goes. I admit I skipped the Latin and poetry bits – but that’s just me. Also, the first half is much slower than the second half, the trip through Hell feels rushed compared to the set up.

The first Hindi lesson *waves at Giovanni and Vijay in case they’re visiting the blog* – interesting! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s the first page of my brand new notebook (I filled 3 while in the classroom – then I’ll have to do more before Tuesday):

HindiNow, you native speakers, please don’t comment, unless you plan to learn a brand new alphabet when you’re close to 50, okay? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Now I have more excercises to do, and maybe by the end of the year I’ll be able to write a short note of some kind, LOL. Maybe. I have a good ear for languages, but when it comes to writing… that’s another matter! But if I can do this, I can start Japanese afterward! ๐Ÿ˜€

This week read: Ashes of deceit by Joleene Naylor (a.k.a. book 4 of her Amaranthine series). Fellow Sadist Author did a great job on her poor characters, I’m not surprised sometimes they take over her blog and try to rebel – but they have no power over us, mwhahahahaha! ๐Ÿ˜€ Ahem, sorry. I can’t have spoilers here, but the author knows about my favorite scene. I also liked seeing Verchiel a little… different than his usual impossible self! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyway, here’s the GR/Amazon/Smashwords review:

Another instalment in my favorite vampire series – and I’m not a vampire fan, in case you’re wondering. My first and last vampires books were the first 3 Ann Rice’s books in the late 1990s and I was so NOT impressed that I quit after Queen of the Damned and thought I’d never read another vampire book after those 3. Then comes the new millennium, blogging and Joleene Naylor. Now I’ll have to wait for book 5, gah!
Anyway, I still love her humor, her perfect balance of adult themes and gore, and her crazy characters who often take over her blog, so you better follow that as well. Sometimes I feel sorry for Katelina and Jorick – will they ever be free? ๐Ÿ˜‰ And what is really going on in Verchiel’s head? Only the author will tell…

Okay, on Smashwords I might have posted it twice or not at all. I’ll check again today. If I posted it twice, sorry, but it didn’t show – anyway, I don’t think anyone will complain for a double 5-star review, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a great weekend, everyone!

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! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope I’m not destroying your language! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  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!

Languages & foreign movies


I’ve discovered that in India they say the musical notes like in Italy and France – I know because suddenly I heard familiar 2/3-letter words in a song of the Darr soundtrack (Likha Hai Yeh)! ๐Ÿ˜€

Yep, when I studied music in French schools, I learned to say Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si Do. I can still remember the “comptines” (children’s poems/songs) about them and a more recent TV show title that played with some notes (Do Mi Si La Do Re which reads “domicile adorรฉ” or “beloved home”). And in Italian you say them the same way (maybe with a slightly different accent… ;-)).

So yay, one more thing in common between India and Italy/France. Of course Italian&French have common (Latin) roots, but is it Greek instead? The Romans copied many things from the Greeks and Alexander the Great did reach India… Wonders never cease. Maybe I should study linguistics instead of history! ๐Ÿ˜€

While speaking of languages, I’ll end this post with a short commentary on the Bollywood movies I watched in the past weeks – I’ll order the next batch next year, so I won’t bother you with them anymore in 2011! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Great soundtrack or great stories, sometimes both. This time I had a majority of Hritik Roshan’s movies (it used to be mostly Shah Rukh Khan – blame it on Dhoom 2, LOL) including his latest – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara – thanks to Amazon because it wasn’t on the list but one can’t resist that movie poster and blurb so I had to have it and enjoyed it very much, story, songs, everything. I liked Koi Mil Gaya and its sequel Krrish, didn’t appreciate sports movie Chak de India (but it has great songs) – mostly because Shah Rukh was unshaven, LOL – and liked Kites‘s story but not the soundtrack.

So, there you have it, the latest batch from Bollywood NOT reviewed by yours truly, haha. And can someone tell me if Uday Chopra ever does dramatic/tragic roles? So far I’ve seen him only as the Funny Guy (in the Dhoom series but also Mohabbatein) – which he does very well, but I’m wondering…

One more foreign movie to watch, from Japan, then I’m off rediscovering old TV series on DVD… when I’m not busy writing or reading or drawing, that is! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Musings on punctuation


I’ve had an email conversation with one of my two editors about what a writer should accept or not from a pro editor – which was a topic she started on her blog. I commented I take 50% of it because I don’t want to lose my “voice” and then she wrote me in private to ask me more, which ended up in a discussion about style, more than voice. Which taught me that “style” is closer to “formatting guidelines” than “voice”, but you never stop learning, right?

OK, keep in mind that my original punctuation isn’t even in English as I’ve written in my mother tongue (Italian) for over 30 years. In Italian dashes are used for dialog, so I had to change to quotation marks for dialogs in English, and that was unsettling for me at first. That’s because I used them for thoughts, which I now write in italics (or as third person deep penetration) – while I used the italics only for telepathic conversations in Italian or to highlight words. In typewriters day I used all caps to highlight a word in a sentence, but thanks to computer I now use italics for either foreign words or to highlight words (like, I really mean it, damn it!)- right or not.

I learned the correct use of dashes for interrupting dialog when I was writing screenplays (when I had to switch from the British spelling I grew up with to American spelling and punctuation – so you see I’m fairly new to American spelling/punctuation, although it’s now 10 years, out of 46 I might add) and I hated it (along with Courier New, but that’s another story! ;-)). For me interruptions or lingering sentences are all done with ellipses, and that’s the only thing you’ll ever find in my dialog. It wasn’t fixed in Air, and I’m not going to change it now. I understand it might upset some editor or reader, but I guess it’s now part of my voice (but I might be wrong with that, of course).

After six years with an English speaking offline writers group (where the British members are harder to please than the American when it comes to style and punctuation and everything) I’ve learned to take critiques for what they’re worth and I’ve been refining my English voice at my best. Although I’m still learning and yes, comments and edits are useful anyway, even if I didn’t use all of them (like I said, a 50%) because I don’t want to sound different in newest releases from the rest.
I’m also going to rewrite a short story because I feel there’s too much input from the first beta-reader and it doesn’t sound like me (besides the character evolved in the meantime, so when I read the dialog I go “Yikes, this doesn’t sound like her at all!”). I’m currently writing a new story, and I’m keeping in mind all the comments and edits made on my writing as I write.

I’m afraid I’m stuck in the middle of both styles anyway – I had no idea of what a comma splice was until someone from the David Farland writer’s forum (and a Swedish friend) told me about it. Now I try to avoid it, but sometimes it just doesn’t always “read right” to me… And yeah, I still use lots of exclamation marks. I don’t find them distracting – but that probably comes from my years of reading comics! ๐Ÿ˜‰
And as I learned English by ear or something, I’m aware I do need someone to check my grammar as well! So, future beta-reader or critique partner or editor… now you know where I come from and where I stand! ๐Ÿ™‚

English pronounciation


I found this post on mispronounced words (the post is old, but it was linked in a more recent post by someone who didn’tย write it, so I thought I’d put the original link instead) and can proudly say I DON’T mispronounce any of those (especially the only italian world in that midst, “espresso” ;-)). BUT I’m not a native speaker, and English pronunciation always baffled me. In fact, I’m proficient in writing, but pronunciation sometimes escapes me.

Mostly the vowels, as in Italian they have different sounds (and always the same, there are no two ways of pronouncing a,e,i,o,u!! :-(), but sometimes I mispronounce full words. I also can’t understand when the pronunciationย changes the meaning of a word that is written exactly the same. Sigh. Studying languages is a tricky matter. I like to say pronunciation in English is a personal matter… thanks also to the different English spoken all over the world (US, UK, international)!

So, guess I’ll have to study some more… I’m glad I don’t like talking too much and most of my communication is in writing, though! ๐Ÿ˜€ I can proudly say that even if I have an accent when speaking, itself and my looks never give out where I was born. I sound foreign, but nobody ever thinks I’m Italian. Where do I apply for immigration in a more civilized country? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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