Random Friday

Last weekend I took Dear Nephew to London with Techie Bro. It was his wish to see it, especially the Big Ben (invisible behind its restauration coat, but he got to see the Lego version and had a painting of it in his room) and the London Eye. The Big Ben is actually better at night these days, as you can see above! 😉

So we arrived on Friday around lunch time and dropped our bags at the hotel. They had a travelcard, I had my Oyster card so we felt confident we could wander around. I had in mind of showing him a couple of things, so we got off at Piccadilly Circus, but he was too taken by the Lego shop to notice much else. Besides, it started raining and he was tired and Waterstones didn’t have the books we were looking for and and and… we got back after about three hours and dined in their room (it was bigger).

The next day we had all day, so morning we went around the Tower of London, took the DLR and the Emirates cabins to the O2 where we had lunch. We took the Jubilee line back to Waterloo but when we got off it started raining, so… back to the hotel around 2pm (just like in Paris). We relaxed in my room, since theirs wasn’t done, then went out again. Techie Bro took him on the London Eye as per his wish, and when he came down he said it was one of the best days of his life.

Happy nephew, happy adults. We even had a group hug at some point! 😉 Sunday morning, we went at the Natural History Museum, then headed back for Victoria Station where we had lunch at McDonald and then headed back for Gatwick Airport. We were more or less on time, but the customs proved Italy is a third world country: EU and Italians with under 14 had only one policeman checking documents (and I think he was being slow on purpose) until the other one came back.

We ended up at 10pm eating pizza by my house, since of course we didn’t eat on EastyJet! Next time British Airways, I don’t care if it costs more! Or Alitalia. Or whatever. No more low-cost. Have a great weekend! 🙂


Happiness is…

although I’m tired of traveling and will put it on hold for a year or three. And wow, it’s been 8 years since I saw that natural marvel that is Bryce Canyon! 😉

Writer Wednesday

So! Worldcon report! The ups and the downs – day by day! 🙂

Day 1 (Wednesday Aug.9)

We had booked a tour of Suomenlinna fortress on an island off Helsinki’s shore, so we reached Messukeskus around noon. We got our badges , our program participant schedules and all that stuff. Having already eaten on the island, we wandered looking for rooms, the Green Room, the Art Show, the Traders room and all that other necessary exploration when entering a new place.

My friends attended the opening ceremony, but I just sat outside panel rooms, writing and studying the program. Too peopley in there, LOL! I got myself a Worldcon T-shirt Ladies size that had only 3 left – and in fact the next day it was gone (but then, everything was gone on the last day).

First panel was at 9pm, so at 5pm we went back to the hotel with tram #9 to rest for about an hour. Back to the con, we found the food hall closed or closing down except for Hesburger, that fed us for the rest of the convention! 😉 We went to the Green Room to meet with Eva, then we met the other panelist, Zack, only in the panel room.

And there went my first panel – Writers and Artists – moderated by Mighty Marvelous Maurizio Manzieri! He had prepared a wonderful presentation, pity I had forgotten what images I had given them and what I was supposed to say about each, but at least I didn’t stammer and it was over pretty quickly.

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A group hug and then we looked for the exit, since by now Messukeskus was closed and we were too tired to go to the party in the Winter Garden of the Holiday Inn attached to the convention center. Someone kindly pointed us the exit and we got back on #9 and to the hotel.

Day 2 (Thursday Aug.10)

Since the food hall looked so expensive and we had found a supermarket near the hotel, this time we went shopping at Lidl before jumping on #9 a couple of stops before our hotel. I went to a panel on Asexuality in SF, then went back to the hotel around 2.30pm to rest.

I went back to Messukeskus around 4pm, and then spent most of the time in the Green Room, waiting for the other panelists. One bowed out and sent a replacement, the others soon joined me in the Green Room.

At 6pm it was European SF panel with Kristina Hard (Sweden), Ju Honisch (Germany), Francesco Verso (Italy) and a young Dutch writer standing in for Thomas Olde Heuvelt. Again, I’m afraid I wasn’t very clear and my have not answered a couple of questions, but I was the only one writing in English, the others didn’t felt confident enough and preferred relying on translators.

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What I mean to say is that I write in English because of the millions of people who know English, either as first or second language, NOT because I want to break into the American market – as was suggested by some douchebag in the audience. And even though I hadn’t planned on putting links here, since this is about international markets, I’ll link to Joanna Penn’s guest post on publishing outside your home country.

We had dinner at… yes, Hesburger again, and then the others went to the Irish party and I headed back to the hotel. Not too fond of beer, but I drank a lot of cider! 😉

Day 3 (Friday Aug.11)

So, this was supposed to be my day in the Creators Alley. I had already posted on Facebook and announced everywhere that I’d be at N4, but no, I was moved to K9, at the bottom of the hall, where nobody came. Nobody showed up and I barely recouped the cost of the table.

Thank God Judith joined me after lunch time, so the afternoon went  faster – and she gave away all the flyers to download Sci-fi July for free. By the way, if you have one of those, there’s still time. I made 50, but so far only 1 person has downloaded the bundle, so there are still 19 people who can get it for free.

I know, it’s valid only for BundleRabbit, but come on. You get 11 novels for free if you sign up for a site that has plenty of great bundles! 😉 Don’t be lazy and use your coupon now! 😀

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Since I didn’t want to bring any dead tree book back, I left them on the Bookcrossing shelves. They were gone the next morning, so I hope someone is enjoying them somewhere. One person said “There are so few books in English, you’ll sell them all” except nobody found me, so I sold 4 and gave away 11…

After dinner at the usual place, everybody went to the Hugo Awards ceremony, but I went back to the hotel, hoping to catch up on some sleep…

Day 4 (Saturday Aug.12)

Again shopping for food before heading for Messukeskus. Maurizio had a table in the Creators Alley – much better placed than I was – but I spent most of the time in the Fan Alley, writing. I’ve got a novel to finish, LOL! Now that I’ve typed everything in, I can tell you I jotted down 1100 words of revisions + 5500 words of new chapters, longhand, since I didn’t bring any laptop.

At 5pm I went to the Strange and Unusual Helsinki walking tour that ended in the Steampunk pub because the storm started before we could get to the Bollywood pub (that I assume was across the square, but well…) since “the worst storm in 10 years” scared everyone inside that pub.

I found my way to the metro and when I came out 2 stops and 30 minutes later, the storm that was supposed to last 2 hours was already over. Damn Finnish. We get that every year in Rome – it rains for 5 to 20 minutes, pouring cats and dogs, and then it stops.

Anyway, there were still clouds in the sky, so no meteor shower that night…

Day 5 (Sunday Aug.13)

Maurizio had another half day of table in the Creators Alley. I spent most of the time in the Fans lounge again, and then Fulvio saw George RR Martin sitting there, chilling out… so the cat caught the martin and I went to Maurizio, knowing he wanted to meet The George, and told him where his hero was.

The Trade hall closed at 3pm, then Maurizio had his last panel. Again I sat and wrote, watching his luggage. We went back to the hotel around five, before people started flooding out of Messukeskus after the closing ceremony.

Dinner was at the Viking restaurant Harald that I had seen the previous afternoon… With Maurizio Manzieri, Fulvio Gatti, Judith Herman, Mary A. Truzillo and her husband Geoffrey A. Landis… one of the few highlights of the Worldcon!

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Along with the fact that I collected 15 ribbons against the 2 of Chicon and only 1 of Loncon! 😀 Have a great week!

Random Friday

Roger Murtaugh: I’m too old for this shit!

Yes, I’m feeling like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon (actually, he says this line in all 4 movies, joined by Mel Gibson at least in the last one). When you’re single or don’t have kids and find yourself for six days between a 12-year-old and a 70something… it makes everything more complicated!

One tends to run forward (because he’s telling stories to himself and isn’t paying attentiong), the  other lags  behind. One makes a melodrama out of nothing and the other has clearly enough of his tantrums (I don’t see him as often as my mother, LOL!). I was always the mediator! 🙂

Add the heat and some rain… not always fun. We did the tourist stuff (i.e. lots of lines), and he wanted to be back at the hotel by 3pm, so on the last day I decided to go out and try to find some DVDs, since the FNAC nearby had a poor selection but I remembered the Champs Elysées shop was  much bigger…

I asked him if he wanted to come (I admit it, I hoped he’d say no and kept playing with his videogames, LOL!). So I ended up grabbing one DVD because it was near the games section and gave up looking for more! 😀 But I did manage to buy the BDs I can’t buy in Rome anymore because the only French bookshop closed, so I have completed my Thorgal collection.

And I got the Lapins Crétins (Rabbids for gamers) BDs for Dear Nephew who wanted them because he’d seen them in some videogame (and there isn’t much text anyway… he laughed out loud reading all 3 volumes out of 9 that I bought him). By the way, if anyone can be bothered to correct the Wikipedia entry above… there are 9 volumes of the comic + a couple of specials

Leaving you with some pics… have a great weekend! 🙂

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Happiness is…

And going to the Oregon Coast, from the background! 😉 That was my first trip there, repeated in 2014 and this year! 😀

Random Friday

This will be quite short too because l’m still doing it on my phone’s tiny keyboard…

I wanted to upload short videos, but this won’t support MP4… so photo gallery only… Oregon landscapes…

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Oh, and here’s my shopping cart… The pads go very well with the book! 🙂

Random Friday

Because I caught 3 on Facebook (the first, by Holland, and the last two mentioned here) and don’t know how to embed them in WordPress… I found a link to the first eight videos of European countries trolling the new US president. Add to these Finland and Slovakia and even Modor (which you LOTR fans can probably appreciate better than me) but you probably won’t find Italy. I don’t think they have enough sense of humor. But if you find it, please post it in the comments, thank you! 😉

Of those countries, I’ve seen Amsterdam in 1998, most of Switzerland (lived there 1973-1978), some of Germany. The Scandinavian countries  are already on my “To visit” list, I’m not sure about Eastern Europe or Portugal. But I should really drag my ass to Belgium since it’s the other country of bandes dessinnées (Franco-Belgian)! 😉

Now I really look forward to going to Finland for the Worldcon! 😉 I better start looking for a hotel, and maybe book a couple of days in advance so I can have a look around. The other Worldcons had things to do before the actual convention, but they were in places I already knew.

And I think next year it’s in Dublin… no, wait, 2019 – Ireland, here I come! 😀 And I don’t even need to renew my passport… I think I’ll stick to this side of the pond until I’m back to full health. Besides, there are corners of Europe I haven’t visited yet… entire countries, actually… since I go always to the same! 😉

I still hope to get to Iceland for the Northern Lights – hopefully at the end of this year. I might even manage a small group from Italy, besides Techie Bro. A number of friends seem interested to come with us, yay! 😀 But next trip is to the US for a couple of weeks.

Then I better stay put, recover and organize my summer trip to Worldcon… Aging sucks! 😦 I’ll do more intercontinental trips next year or later… 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! 😀


Writer Wednesday

And I’m back! Still have to catch up on reading blogs, but here’s a summary of the writerly travel news…

I got the nicest personalized rejection letter while I was away, and now I know why that particular story won only Honorable Mention and wasn’t a finalist! 😉 Which doesn’t mean I will rewrite it, but I’ll keep the comments in mind for other stories!

I got the diploma yesterday and I’m thinking of adding it to the next collection of Amazon stories. If you’d like to read it now, you only need to subscribe to the bimonthly newsletter and you can download the free PDF when you sign up!

As for travel inspiration… I got a couple of ideas for the Quests books, might add a sentence or two in a Star Minds story set on Earth but mostly it was Assassins Guild and Vampires through the centuries!


Qutub Minar – imagine this under a full moon with a winged Kol-ian perched on top…

Since I’ve been to the country of the Katar and even put my hand on one of those that open up as three blades (unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take pics in that room), I now almost feel like one of the guild, haha! Anyhow, I got a few ideas for the Assassins Guild novella I plan to write next.

And here are a few examples from another royal palace of the interesting weapons I found:

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As for the vampires, I took notes for Shashank, Solveig, Romeo, Yao Shu and even the vampire wars, that will be held in Chittor, of course! 😉 It’s time Rajveer goes back home and sees what happened to it… and of course Mighty Menka will be there, waiting for him.

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Except he’s not alone, but has a whole coven of Western vampires with him, so who knows the outcome of that battle… I shall write it after Shashank and Yao Shu’s books, so probably in 2020! 😉

I also bought a few books on the kingdom of Mewar and Chittor and other stuff to study in the next months… as if the ones I bought in London last August weren’t enough!

Norman Blood‘s price went up after a long weekend of Kobo promo. I also noticed Kobo is reaching new countries… including India! Amazon beware, LOL! Next is Kaylyn, that will go live Nov.2… and the following weekend, Rajveer will be at 99cents for a limited time promo! Stay tuned for more…

Random Friday

So I went back to Iceland with Techie Bro, in winter for a change (I saw it in July 2005 for the first time and fell in love with it. I went back July 2007 with Mom and Sis). We didn’t see the northern lights, but I guess he also fell in love with the place. When we get sick of our DayJobs, we’ll move there – although I’d have to live off my royalties by then, haha!

I had an idea for Cinder Boy for the only things of Iceland I couldn’t care less – the hot springs. I didn’t bathe in the Blue Lagoon (didn’t in 2005, didn’t this year), but I thought there could be such a hot spring in my story where the Cinder Boy gets rid of all the ashes he gathered by cleaning the hearth! 😉

I guess I’ll leave you with a best of – the sights of the land of ice and fire and ash… Out of 712 pics (half of which were blurry anyway, since I clicked them from the bus, LOL), here you go! The Batman Glacier and the other Game of Thrones “natural” sets – I’ll leave them to you. I’ve seen Batman Begins, but I haven’t watched Game of Thrones (still have the paper book on the table to read)! 😉

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