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! 😀

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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!

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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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Random Friday


So, Japan. If you travel to Japan, you don’t need to bring travel slippers or PJs, since the hotels will give you that – at least in Takayama and Kyoto they had PJs for guests. I sleep with a nightgown, so I didn’t try them.

Takayama hotel PJ on Muse H

Takayama hotel PJ on Muse H

If you’re a smoker, you better stay at home, since it’s forbidden to smoke except in selected areas (meaning no, you’re not allowed to smoke in the streets either).

Food – since I don’t like sushi, I was kind of wary and thought I’d eat only ramen for 9 days. Nope. I actually had ramen only once. I didn’t mind tempura, loved the crabs and I like shrimps. I even had meat and it was good. So the food is fine – I didn’t starve! 🙂

People – they’re all very nice, but their English is mostly non-existent, therefore it’s very frustrating sometimes. Oh, and I dared crossing a street with a red signal (it was green when I started, but I hadn’t noticed it was soon going to turn red) and I got honked and chided (in Japanese) – to which I could only apologize with a bow.

Places – the natural places are at their best with autumn-colored leaves. Those reds, oranges and yellows mixing with various shades of green are beautiful even outside of the Japanese gardens with their maxi-bonsai and carefully crafted fountains, lakes and whatnot.

Buildings – sometimes those pagodas were a little too colorful for my tastes! 😉 I was happy to visit different styles of houses at Shirakawago (rightfully listed as World Heritage site). Unfortunately it was raining and most pictures came out blurred. But it was a nice change of landscape from the castles and temples of Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto and Nara! 🙂

Public transport – I’ve managed to take the JP (subway) in Tokyo on my own, and it wasn’t too bad. Except the English writings last very shortly, even on trains, so you have to look for them! 🙂 Then I tried the Shinkansen (high-speed trains of Japan) and normal trains. And bus/coach and car with driver since for two nights there was only 3 of us – our lovely guide Aya, Andrea and me.

It was a good taste, but it was enough for me. I’m still sorting through the 1800+ pictures, so maybe I’ll leave that for another post – probably divided into slideshows (food, nature, temples, castles, etc). I guess my love story with Japan is over. I should have visited 10 or 20 years ago…

nextTrip_resize(for whomever is new to this blog, that’s Muse H and me. Follow link to see what he actually looks like – but then I don’t look like that either, LOL!)

Random Friday


So, here’s a summary of the past two weeks! 😉 First I went to Bologna, although I spared myself the 477stairs of the Torre degli Asinelli (kudos to Jen for doing them, LOL!). The day started badly with us missing the train, but the rest was fine, in spite of the rainy aftertoon.

Then off to Paris we went, and Sunday was baaad for the rain and everything closed – so we wandered aimlessly and lost some time, but well… Monday and Tuesday were better and we managed to see a few things, included some not really on Jen’s list like the Cluny museum. We also spent a lot of time waiting in line – to go up the towers of Notre Dame (again, only Jen, I waited downstairs), to go down the Paris catacombs or again up the Eiffel Tower (2nd floor only since the third was too crowded and it meant more waiting in line to get there).

Then the good French food was gone and I flew on the other side of the pond… Watching movies on the plane and in Long Island, and then off again to Portland and Lincoln City. I won’t elaborate much on that workshop, but my answers to that first question “What kind of writer do you want to be” might change slightly as soon as I elaborate on all the stuff I’ve learned during that week. I also managed to write the fourth part of Kilig&Hakeem, the new ending, some 10k started in Paris and finished in Lincoln City in approximately a week.

On the way back on that endless Delta flight (left one hour late from JFK and arrived one hour and a half late at the gate in FCO…) I didn’t manage to sleep much, so I watched two more Bollymovies, Dedh Ishqiya and Satyagraha. The first was action-comedy, the second drama, so not many dance items in either. But there is one dance scene of Madhouri Dixit in Deh Ishqiya – and I love her dancing almost more than Hrithik’s. I mean, since I’m a woman, I’d love to dance like her! 😉 Ah, well, maybe in my next life – no, wait, I’ll be a man in my next life! Damn! 😀

That’s all for now. Will be at Lucca Comics and Games today and tomorrow, and will resume normal programming on this blog next week… Have a wonderful weekend!

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