Random Friday


So, in between short stories (submitted and rejected very quickly, but I keep sending them out) and readings, I managed to watch another DVD, Midnight’s Children. What can I say… I like the movie (narrated by the writer himself), but I probably wouldn’t like the book, even though the screenplay was written by the writer of the book. Not my kind of book, I’m afraid.

With the Italian holidays, I also finally opened an account on Vimeo, so I could post my video on Patreon. Soon all my book trailers will be uploaded again, yay! ๐Ÿ™‚ Not that they help selling books, but well… I have fun doing those things with Windows Movie Maker, so I might as well share them! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And I got the proofs of Quests Volume 1 and 2, so hopefully the paperbacks will soon be available. I had to redo the covers, but this means I have two books to sell at Worldcon – and if I don’t find anyone there, I’ll do a Goodreads giveaway. The spines weren’t correct as you can see.

I still use Createspace, although I might eventually experiment with KDP print. Maybe for thinner, cheaper books. But there’s still this little problem:

Amazon states more features will be added over time but currently, authors cannot order proofs of their books. Ouch. So the book goes on sale before an author can view the final product to ensure everythingโ€”fonts, cover graphics and colours, page numbers, headers and much moreโ€”are the way theyโ€™re supposed to be.

And everything else stated in this article about the two services. I don’t have that many Canadian readers, but I have a lot of Canadian author friends (including co-bundlers Karen Abrahamson and Marcelle Dubรฉ), so I feel their pain! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Next week I’ll let you know my wordcount for April… If I forget, remind me! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday


So, the Easter weekend I needed a break from the publishing and some inspiration for the writing… hence I started on the DVDs ToWatch pile. First I watched Monsoon Wedding. Mira Nair was Indian cinema for me before Gurinder Chadha and the discovery of Bollywood. I loved her movies, but stopped following her more or less when MW came out in 2001.

I found it at 3ยฃ in London last year, and I’m glad I saw if now… After visiting Delhi and so many more movies with Indian weddings and KNPH (which I would have totally missed back then – a movie called “kaho naa…” what?). I definitely liked it, and enjoyed the extra with the director talking about the Punjabi community of Delhi…

Then I watched Bhaji on the Beach, another 3ยฃ DVD from last summer, another Gurinder Chadha dramedy. Definitely the end of 20th century, with no cell phones and no internet to distract us! And I liked all the intertwined stories of the various women of various ages and their interactions with men – both British and Indian.

I also re-watched Target for inspiration, and then managed to finish the story! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Although Target is definitely an 80s movie. Some nostalgia hit – no cell phones, no internet, how did we survive that? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Well, we’re Generation X, I guess! Or, like my friend Fulvio says, we’re unique (he’s not totally a Millennial and I’m not totally a Baby Boomer, and we’re not Gen.X either… but then, we’re Jedi twins – 18 years apart! ๐Ÿ˜‰ LOL)…

Anyhow, have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ˜€

Random Friday


Movies time. Caramel was on my to-watch list in 2007 when it came out, but eventually I decided to pass. Then I saw it at 3/5ยฃ in London and saw it was from Nadine Labaki, so I bought it. Now, I personally don’t go to beauty salons or even wax myself (and certainly not with caramel, LOL!), but it was interesting to see the stories of those Lebanese women. I probably wouldn’t have liked it this much 10 years ago, but now it’s part of my World’s Movies collection.

I seem to favor female directors, although Nadine Labaki is the only one who also acts in her movies (at least in the two I’ve seen). I started in the 1990s with Mira Nair, then early 2000s with Nancy Meyers (whom I even saw at some screenwriting event and wanted to shake her hand for What Women Want, The Holiday and Something Gotta Give) and Gurinder Chadha (Bend it like Beckam, Bride and Prejudice), then 1970s daughters Zoya Akhtar (Luck by Chance, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Dhadakne Do) and Nadine Labaki.

In March I have another Gurinder Chadha and another Mira Nair in the to-watch pile, along with other world’s movies (but I haven’t checked the directors of those). In the meantime I rewatched Where do we go now and I shall leave you with the neat song from this Lebanese-but-Bollywood-inspired movie. Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday


Let’s call it movie Friday, although I’m going to include a couple of video clips. Like I may have mentioned, I spent New Year’s Eve watching memories of the 80s – of musicians who are no more. One had just died, George Michael, the other was long gone, Michael Jackson.

I just happened to find a couple of similarities between two of their songs that made me wonder how anyone was ever born in the 1980s, since men didn’t seem to want to take responsibility for babies! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Cases in point: Billie Jean and Everything She Wants… Listen to the songs and/or watch the videos at the links…

Then the new year started and we had another celebrity loss, Om Puri. So I spent a weekend watching East is East and West is West in memoriam. Not to mention the fact that I gave my offline beta-reader the Bollywood fever – we’ve been doing movie afternoon twice a month since November, we meet more often than the writers group, LOL!

The Bollywood movies that I showed my beta, started with Mohenjo Daro (which was a first for me too). She enjoyed Om Shanti Om and of the Dhoom franchise she preferred Dhoom 2… no, I swear I didn’t brainwash her! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m also lending her movies that are not strictly Bollywood (Kama Sutra a Tale of Love) or that she has missed, like Labyrinth. I will also pass her Oggi Sposi since it has English subtitles… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Between projects I also rewatched a few movies (not because the ToWatch pile went down but because I have sci-fi movies and historical movies to watch and I needed to stay in fantasy mood or present day) including: I don’t kiss (France 1991), Saturday Night Fever (USA 1977),ย  Chasing Amy (USA 1997), The Wedding Banquet (Ang Lee 1993), Touch of Pink (2004) and Muriel’s Wedding (Australia 1994).

I have a creative weekend coming… so hopefully Art Friday next week! Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Friday


Okay, total randomness. I couldn’t watch many movies because one day I had an aching eye (again!) and another day I had to prepare for Dear Nephew’s b-day – which is tomorrow. So here’s how I spent one afternoon (hence after dinner I went back to writing instead of watching a movie):

IMG_8778The movies I did watch are Singh is Kinng – courtesy of the shopkeeper in Southall who was obviously a Sikh, so I assume this comedy has the seal of approval of the Sikh. It’s not a religious movie and it’s very funny indeed (a tad too slapstick sometimes, but well… that’s why I don’t like when Jim Carrey does comedies! ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, Akshay, quit the goofing!).

On Saturday I watched Man of Tai Chi. Luke Skywalker, anyone? ๐Ÿ˜‰ That poor Tai Chi master looked very much like Yoda when he stared at his student… The angry young man had some realย anger issues! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not a fan of martial art movies, but I do watch them, and I think it was okay. I’m not an expert, though! I read a review that said that it’s on par with House of Flying Daggers – uhm, no, sorry, you can’t compare. But I like it as much as I liked than Danny The Dog (just to stick to a contemporary world story and clandestine fights), no, wait, I prefer it, since Keanu is such a great villain! ๐Ÿ™‚

Then I watched Lezioni di Cioccolato 2, but unlike the first, it doesn’t have English subtitles. Anyway, just another Italian comedy, although the romance is now between latin lover Mattia and Kamal’s daughter (a modern egyptian gal). I must say I like Luca Argentero, he’s become a fine actor in spite of coming out of a reality show! ๐Ÿ˜‰

It was total randomness even in movies, since so far I have 1 Bollywood, 1 Hollywood/China and 1 Italian… and last night I watched a non-Bollywood Indian movie – as usual suggested by Shafali – Paan Singh Tomar. An interesting movie – not sports, not war, but a little bit of all, dedicated to the unsung Indian sportsmen.ย  Nice, thanks for the suggestion, Shafali! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Artworks: next subject didn’t come out as well as the previous one, but here they are, both on my wall…

IMG_8777Took me only two hours and a half instead of three and a half, and it shows. Meh. Will have to find another picture and try again. I did this on Sunday – after watching the movie! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh, and please ignore the stuffed unicorns… it’s only the two small ones (of the five in the family of Lady Unicorn, here!)! ๐Ÿ˜‰

That’s all for today! Have a wonderful weekend!

Random Friday


…and since I haven’t received anything from Amazon yet (DVDs ordered at the beginning of the month, proof of POD last week, still waiting…), I’ll do an art Friday and some more Bollywood rambles – tell me to stop if you have enough! ๐Ÿ™‚

After watching Cristina work (the painting I pointed you in the previous post to is ink on white paper, so she did that background with digital painting – and it’s a WiP, it evolved after she left my apartment), I decided to try digital painting myself, but failed miserably. My attempt at drawing the Desi Vampire (based on guess who, although the Desi vampires community is growing daily, whenever I get to write that story I’ll have plenty, LOL) was awful. I’m not sure if it’s my inability of handling brushes, handling Photoshop levels or what. Anyway, I’m not posting it anywhere, and that’s for sure.

Shahid1_resizeSo, in the past two weeks I relaxed with pencil drawings as usual (since that’s a technique that I handle much better), and you can check my DeviantART gallery – not that I scanned them all, since I only put the best ones there. So maybe I should take down Arjun Rampal looking as John Abraham, haha! Anyway, please notice new model Shahid Kapoor, latest Bollywood flavor of the month also because it seems he’s really big in Italy at the moment or something, hehe! I prepared this drawing before discovering RAI 1 is doing a series of Bollywood movies on Sundays again (used to be Saturday nights, now it’s Sunday lunchtime) and for 3 weeks in a row they showed Shahid’s movies (wait, or is it 2 weeks in a row but I found a list of titles and found a third there? Hm. Can’t remember).

I found out on the 10th, so I missed the first of the series (my hairdresser fell in love with Saif Ali Khan in Race and was very disappointed that the next 2 were with Shahid Kapoor instead). I missed the 16th because I was busy – and they showed Vivah. Then last Sunday it wasย Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi! (I shall spare you the silly Italian titles, not much better than Hollywood’s Italian titles, trust me) and I thought I’d give it a try, even if I’m wary of dubbed movies.

Now, I have a TV, but I never watch the channels and use it only to watch DVDs. Since we switched (as a country) from analog to digital, I haven’t really kept track of anything even if I keep paying the TV tax, so I lost 15 minutes to try to figure out where on earth the channels were. Turned out I was on the analog channels (all gone) and when I pushed the DTV button they all appeared as if by magic. Then I had to scroll 100 channels to the “test” (still in test mode? How long have we been on digital-only?!) RAI 1 digital channel and the movie was already started – not that I missed much, I’m afraid.

So there’s this mix of Heaven can wait, Ghost, Bill&Ted Bogus Journey and slapstick comedy with silly special effects, but I love Sanjay Dutt as the oh-so-sensitive God of Death who can’t hold alcohol! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Since I’m not used to Shahid’s real voice yet, the dubbing wasn’t too bad to hear and since it’s such a silly comedy, I don’t think I’ll buy the original unless I find it at a DVD sale.

Anyhow, while fumbling with the TV,ย  I even discovered that my VCR is not broken after all (although since it’s tuned to analog TV, it doesn’t see the digital channels – but it still plays the many VHS I still own), so I used some nights to rewatch some Italian movies (mostly from the 90s) that never came out on DVD. Since I don’t have anything new yet, I guess I’ll keep re-watching those until I get my Amazon parcel – I missed them!

I wonder why Italian distributors let those movies vanish (okay, maybe they’re B or Z-movies, but the comedies are fun, sniff!) when you can find them on Amazon.com as instant videos (except I don’t have a Kindle Fire and my TV is flat but not smart and I hate watching movies on Laptop). Mysteries of movie distribution.

Anyway, that’s all for today! Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ˜€

Random Friday


So, got me some British movies while in London, LOL! The only one I hadn’t already seen is West is West, sequel to East is East (1999). I so loved the first one, I really wanted to see the sequel – although it did take me a couple of years to find it in DVD shops. West is West takes us to Pakistan in the 1970s and it’s as hilarious as the first one. And it was kinda funny to see the often mentioned (in the previous film) Mrs Khan #1 had the same face as Akbar’s foster mother… (OK, I watched Jodhaa Akbar once too many, LOL). Also one of George’s daughters looked familiar – and then I found out she was in Luck by Chance. And I felt my Hindi was better than Mrs Khan #2’s! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I loved the music as well – so reminding me of Bollywood! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also recovered a DVD I had wrongly sent to my British teacher’s address from Amazon UK – I believe the Bollywood Addict suggested it. Do Dooni Chaar is indeed very funny and I love the soundtrack (no dance numbers, but the songs are lovely), but it felt kinda weird seeing the Disney logo on a Bollywood movie! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Anyway, always a pleasure watching Rishi Kapoor – either Bollywood producer (Luck by Chance), Mumbai gangster (Agneepath) or teacher (here). I seem to understand he’s working with his real-life wife on this one – and she sort of looked familiar, although she didn’t seem to be in any movie for a long time… A funny family comedy for everybody (as long as you either speak Hindi or can read the subtitles, LOL)! ๐Ÿ™‚

I have also watched “Best of Madhuri Dixit” – 80 original video songs (sorry, can’t find it anywhere online, blame it on the lady of the Long Island Bollywood DVD shop for selling it to me! ;)) because I think she’s beautiful and a wonderful dancer. So far I had seen only Devdas and Dil To Pagal Hai (included in this compilation), but now I have more titles on my ToBuy list for next year, LOL (will it ever go down? :().

I must say that I’ve seen more about the 3 Khans my age (well, they’re all younger than me by a few months, LOL) and some things changed, some didn’t – SRK is still my favorite Khan, although he looked at his best between 1997 and 2007 (hehe). Aamir was cute in his 20s (Dil was already on my ToBuy list), but now he’s too brooding for my tastes & apparently is a few months older than me – but he’s married, right? And Salman… never liked him, never will, in spite of him being still single (suggested alternative by Shafali, but, like I told her, I really don’t like him)! ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, sorry Madhuri doesn’t act anymore (married life…), but if she wants to do a comeback, she can be Helen in Six Months too! ๐Ÿ™‚

On a totally different topic – I also got to read Jungle Heat by Bonnie Dee. What if Tarzan met Joe instead of Jane? A wonderful tale of a man raised by apes and taken to 19th century London – where they don’t know if the papers should talk about the Ape Gentleman or Jack the Ripper. Hot and riveting m/m love story – although James is sometimes a little irritating, glad Michael knows what he wants! ๐Ÿ™‚ And it’s Carina Press, so adults only! ๐Ÿ˜€

Wishing you a happy weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Random Sunday


OK, I postponed the randomness because I messed up dates for the latest interview. Meh. Fried brain in this heat. Glad I met Laxmi, though!ย  Sorry. So, for the randomness – some reading and a movie!

World cinema again! I had it on my ToBuy list and it was graciously offered in Italian newsagents courtesy of Ciak magazine this month, so I bought it. Et maintenant on va oรน? apparently started like Spurlock’s Where in the world… – the writer director on the verge of parenthood thought about the future of his/her unborn child. In this case, she was pregnant during religious struggles in Lebanon. So, it’s the eternal fight between Christians and Muslims (see My name is Khan), but this time the women step in. It’s a Lebanese movie, but it might as well be Bollywood – they call it a “musical”. Not really, although there are a couple of songs for the romantic subplot. And I absolutely love this song (the reason why I wanted to watch it in the first place, LOL! Sorry I couldn’t find it with English subtitles)!

The movie has humor, sadness and shows another place. World cinema recommended for everyone – stop silly religious struggles, no God EVER asked to kill whoever doesn’t follow the same precepts/rites that you do!

I read The Lair of the Jaguar God because it deals with were-jaguars. I’m not a fan of werevolves – but was curious to read about other kinds of therianthropy. Besides, this book is also hot M/M romance, so it was a fun ride. It didn’t gave me any ideas for my own were-animal (in sci-fi, so he’s called a mutant, LOL), but it was good nevertheless. Pity for the bad editing provided by the publisher. Oh, and I’m not saying for how many months it had been sitting on my Kindle! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Another Blog Hop win is Scarlet and the White Wolf – which is book one of a trilogy. Now, for those of you familiar with yaoi scene, this is really an uke/seme story, from the look of the characters (short, young, dark-haired uke, tall, older, fair-haired seme) to probably the execution – they meet, they hate each other, but they’re meant for each other, so we already know where they’re headed. It’s Jason Mink and Ricky in a fantasy setting. OK, Ai No Kusabi (the novels) is longer (and I’m still waiting for volume 7, that comes out in September. I might actually give up and just remember the much shorter OVA). I might read the other two books in this series when my TBR pile goes down a little. But I’m actually sick of Yaoi storylines and would rather read real gay literature instead! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Final Blog Hop win is Caged – #2 in a series. Not that it mattered that it’s book 2, mind you. Mixed feelings (and not because it’s erotica – so don’t read it if you’re not eighteen, LOL). I like the story, but at the same time it had a very slow beginning and the characters felt very stereotyped (especially the parents) – sometimes falling in the “too stupid to live” category that is normally used in fantasy. And it also felt like a sci-fi story unless the whole world turned gay while I was not looking – I know they usually stick to their peers, but there was no trace of straight relatives or friends in this story. AND being Italian, I had problems with the guy called after a town + at some point I was wondering where he was because he was looking at the “ocean” outside of his window and there’s no ocean in Tucson,AZ nor it Italy (the Mediterranean is a SEA, not an ocean. Not big enough to be called ocean. That’s why we use WINDsurfs – or used to in the 1980s. You can tell I don’t go to the beach much, huh?). So that’s why I hesitate to read the other books in the series, especially if they’re actually set it Italy (as apparently is #1). But I did like the story in spite of the “heavy” parts with rape and torture (I skipped more the sooo-romantic ones, actually, haha) so I’ll wait and see if I want to read more of this series. Maybe I should just stick to the author and ignore all books set in Italy or with (co-called) Italian characters! ๐Ÿ™‚

And because it’s so darn hot I’d rather procrastinate writing, I spent yesterday afternoon drawing. So here go the results…

Hritik – color pencils (Caran d’Ache)

Keanu – black pencils + gouache (black & white)

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