Random Friday

Since I like watching movies un-dubbed, I almost stopped going to the cinema. Then somewhere in that country that almost looks like Italy but it’s not (they’re twins, both starting with I and ending with A, but for some things they are different) they are coming up with a new system I’d love to see everywhere – although I probably would never find enough people to have an original version screening, but you never know, there are plenty of foreigners in Rome…

So check this article on India’s movie-theater-on-demand model. It does feel like the future! Instead of streaming on smart-TVs or laptops, we could see movies on big screens like before tablets and the likes! Maybe I’ll be able to book a theater viewing with that app or a similar one eventually…

In the meantime, I’m sticking to DVDs. Because I don’t have a smart-TV and don’t want to watch movies on my laptop. So while looking for some “old” (1980s/1990s) Italian movies at the local Feltrinelli, I got myself 3 DVDs, since it was 3x15euro – nice deal! As soon as I watch them, I’ll let you know.

Since Holidays are approaching, here are a couple of gift ideas, for both writers and readers. First, you can pick your choice of Holidays Gifts from WMG Publishing – either the Gift Box for Writers or the Gift Box for Readers.

Or you can check this company that brings books to life on shirts and tote bags. The collection includes designs ranging from Jane Austen to Edgar Allan Poe and can be viewed here https://literarybookgifts.com. And guess what? I got a promo code for you! CREATIVEBARBWIRE20 is good for 20% off anything in the store, no minimum, and does not expire.

So there you go! You can start your Christmas shopping, for you and your loved ones! 😀 Have a great weekend! 😉


Random Friday

With special thanks to a Goodreads friend *waves at Jessica* I was introduced to the Diabolic Shrimp. It’s an authors network, but it’s also for readers.

The very kind Josh said that if I happened to know readers or writers, I should invite them to join the fun too. His words:

I’m adding a FREE opportunity to advertise your book that will only take a moment of your time.  If you are willing to share Diabolic Shrimp in FIVE social media posts or TEN individual messages to other people (readers or authors), then I will post your book in the footer of Diabolic Shrimp for a whole month.  This will include the cover picture, a two sentence description, and a link to the book landing page (see my example on Diabolic Shrimp).  This appears on every page of the site including the homepage.  I only have three spots available so please contact me at this email or on the site if you’re interested.  (This option is currently booked up until January 2018! L  I’m researching ways to free up more advertising space.  Just wanted you to be aware of it for the future.)

For the second feature, I’m creating a new drawing called the Shrimp Tank.  I will draw a ticket from the Shrimp Tank every month and buy a book from whoever is drawn (this is in addition to my monthly buy and the book I buy to give away to readers).  When you get a ticket entered into the Shrimp Tank, it stays forever, so everything you do builds your chances to be drawn over time.  There are several ways to get tickets (one of them is FREE).  You may have noticed I highlight an author’s novel each month.  If you buy that author’s novel, I put FIVE tickets into the Shrimp Tank for you.  I will place THREE tickets in if you buy another author’s book that I’ve also bought (it has a picture of me with their book on Diabolic Shrimp).  If you buy one of my (Josh Grant’s) novels, I put THREE tickets into the Shrimp Tank.  And if you’re all for the free option, either sharing Diabolic Shrimp in one social media post or individually messaging three people will get you ONE ticket (you can do this multiple times if you like).  You don’t need to provide proof of any of these things (Diabolic Shrimp is all about integrity), just email me and tell me what you did and provide your name so I can add you to the Tank.

Now, since he’s also a writer, I hope to have him soon on this very blog for an interview. If you wish to know more, hop here. And if you want to join, here.

In the meantime, I wish you a great weekend! 🙂

Happiness is…

116and it will happen again next month! Happines and awe renewed! 😀

Random Friday

Total randomness today. First, here’s what my sister-in-law is working on at the moment. You can see her at the end of the slideshow. Yes, I’m sure we could take greater care of our monuments, but I’m not too fond of roman ruins! 😉 That’s just me, though…

I tried a sample of a book – I shall get back to it some day (when my TBR list goes down). But from the sample I can already recommend it: Managing Your Inner Artist / Writer: Strategies for Success. If you have writers’ block or other problems, go and check it. Again, the sample will be enough to tell you if it’s for you or not.

He should have been nominated for a Hugo, but well… maybe next year. It’s official, though: Maurizio Manzieri will be at Loncon. If you’re there, don’t forget to check him in the Artist Alley! 🙂 The program is still in flux, so I don’t know if and when I’ll have panels… but I’ll most certainly stop there at some point! 😉

Also, if you write SFF and would like to be featured on Duane’s blog like me, here’s the GR thread… He wants more, so go ahead! 🙂 And stay tuned for his interview… Also, I saw this a little too late to send in my pic, but since it’s still ongoing… for those of you who have Twitter, share it #weneeddiversebooks – I posted the link on my Facebook page yesterday…

If you’d like to support a bright, colorful italian graphic novel project, here’s the link to the crowdfunding request by Emanuele Tenderini and Linda Cavallini, authors of many titles previously published by names such as Sergio Bonelli, Delcourt, Ankama, Mondadori, Hachette, Les Humanoïdes associés, DeAgostini, Panini.

Lots of random randomness, I know. Sorry, but DayJob is killing me and I have the attention span of a chihuahua. Looking forward to my 2-weeks break from the 10th of May. Have a wonderful weekend!

Random Friday

Mighty Jo awarded me again. I’m copy-pasting what this is all about:

willowdot21 AKA Shaun has started a new award, and  here is what Shaun had to say.

“This is an award for everyone who is part of the “Word Press Family” I start this award on the basis that the WordPress family has taken me in, and showed me love and a caring side only WordPress can. The way people take a second to be nice, to answer a question and not make things a competition amazes me here. I know I have been given many awards, but I wanted to leave my own legacy on here by creating my own award, as many have done before. This represents “Family” we never meet, but are there for us as family. It is my honour to start this award”


  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family.
  4. Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them.
  5. That is it. Just please pick 10 people that have taken you as  a friend, and spread the love.

I really like this award, as I love WordPress! Yes, it really feels like a family, so let’s see if I can find 10 other WordPressers to pass this on…

Bollywood Addict

Shafali the caricaturist

Vivienne Tuffnell

Rohan Healy

Laxmi Hariharan

Tricia Kristufek

Miss Kitty Roads

Nora Weston

Madison Woods

Bluetrix Books.

I don’t know about your side of the world, but here the weather is crazy and my health is going up and down like a yo-yo (raise hands whoever knows what a yo-yo is – I guess my younger readers will have no idea, LOL!). I want to sleep but I sleep badly. Mood swings follow the weather – hot and then cold and then hot and then cold. And it’s probably not even an approaching menopause, but a crazy tyroid, which apparently affects 30% of women. Especially women who were alive in 1986, IMHO. Why? Chernobil. Did you really think the radiations would stop at Russia’s borders? No way. The whole of Europe got it. And it’s starting to show.

That’s the sci-fi writer speaking – well, that’s what Kol-ian tells Daniele and Chantal when they come back to Earth in 2002. Those lucky two left in 1982, so they’d probably die if they breathed the air we have now! 😉 Anyhow, I think there’s some truth to the above statement – even if I used it in my fiction. And then we had another nuclear disaster in 2011. So we’re all fucked up – and don’t seem to be able to stop. Like Agent Smith said during the last year of the 20th century, “Human beings are a disease.” And we haven’t learned anything since. I might have skipped Earth’s Day, but it’s because I don’t believe in those silly “days” – we should respect each other and our planet every single day, not only on specific dates. Sigh.

Spent yesterday (Italian holiday) trying that Kindle Comic Creator – interesting. It makes better mobi files, but with SKYBAND I should probably try the panel-by-panel reading, except it seems to put the page and then the single panels. And the parts in prose it can’t detect, so unless I put some kind of frame around them, they’d still be unreadable.

Anyway, I now have a decent mobi file of Fleur de Lys 1, so I might upload that to KDP during the weekend. When I’m not writing Shooting Star (brand new beginning, by the way, and it’s going ways I never expected. I even get to explore S’lyss’s private life as Governor of Gaia! ;)) or revising the body switch that will go out to editors on Monday, that is! 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend and more guests coming in May! 🙂

UPDATE: found this wonderful drawing on DA and thought it was perfect for today’s rambling!


Random Friday

So, it’s official, even WordPress says so: 200followersI won’t repost the poll for the late-comers, if you want, just scroll down and vote. Sunday I will reveal what you’ll get. And because it’s a Surprise, I’m not saying more at this time – I already spoiled half of it! 😉 But maybe you were wondering when I’d post something about that poll, so now you know, tune back on Sunday.

By the way, thanks to the old and new visitors, March had as many visits as January (February had slightly less, due to the shorter month). Thank you for stopping by. Or subscribing to this blog. For whatever reason brings you.

If you’re on Goodreads, you might be panicking right now, because of the Amazon/Goodreads deal. I know at least 3 of my GR groups are fretting about the changes this would bring to GR and whatnot. I think it’s early to panic. Like David Gaughran said, Amazon bought Shelfari and IMDB and didn’t really change them. Even Hugh Howey thinks it’s a good thing for both readers and writers.

Personally, I use Goodreads more as a reader (even if I’m a GR Author and Librarian), and sometimes I do reviews on GR and not anywhere else, because GR allows you to edit your review, while Smashwords (for example) doesn’t. So especially if it’s an indie author (again, if I can give him/her at least 3 stars, otherwise I won’t add it to my books) I might review it only on GR, so I can revise my review if the author uploads a new version of his e-book.

As for Amazon, it has 9 different sites that don’t seem to talk to each other, so unless I’m sure the author is American and would love a review on Amazon.com, I won’t bother. I try to review everything I buy on Smashwords because there’s that friendly reminder to leave a review – but again, if I feel I want to be able to change my review, I won’t do it and ignore the prompt.

And for whoever wonders what’s Apple doing while Amazon buys Goodreads… well, it’s teaming with DeviantART. First the musicians, now the artists… Apple is gobbling another kind of creative people. The Zon wants books, Apple gets everything else! We’ll see if that feature really works. At the moment I have uploaded Fleur de Lys 1, but only on DriveThruComics as usual, as I didn’t like the preview on KDP, so I gave up trying to put it on other sites. But I do want to expand my comics distribution, so I’ll keep an eye on DA/Madfire Motion Books (whatever that means).

Some fun with vintage social networking, which incidentally goes very well with Joe Konrath’s post about Obsolete Anonymous! 🙂 I must admit I still have lots of those vintage social networking and obsolete anonymous (namely, LPs, 45s, CDs and even VHS I can’t watch because the VCR is broken, LOL!)… but then, I’m a known technophobe and luddite for many things! 😀 Handwriting anyone? Why do schools still bother to teach children handwriting when they’ll move to keyboards and touch screens as soon as they can? 😉

Oh, and if you’re a lonely artist looking for your soul mate (I’m not, I like being lonely – but then, I’m mostly a writer and a lone wolf, haha), you can now join DeviantHeart… I wish they did a matching site for writers/artists, not soulmates. Although I’m tired to fight with artists who first say they want to work with me and then change their minds. I’m only a half-artist, so how can I understand them? Sigh…

Writer Wednesday

I was afraid this year we wouldn’t have snow on WP blogs (which is the only snow I’ll get to see in December in Roma, LOL), and finally Monday I saw the snowflakes – hence the change of theme for a month. The old one will be back in January, when it stops  snowing on my blog! 🙂 If you’re new to WP, it’s under Settings – General – tick the box for “snow until Jan 4th” and have fun! 😉

Of course I must start with an announcement – I’m particularly excited because it’s my first serial series (meaning I’ll have to make very clear that subsequent books are part of a series and probably don’t work well as standalone, LOL) and as it’s my latest baby, I’m very happy with it! 😉 Star Minds book 1 – Technological Angel is out NOW on Smashwords, Kindle, Kobo, DriveThruFiction and XinXii!

You’ve already met Kol-ian, so stay tuned to meet the other characters of this science fantasy saga. I spent the weekend working on book 2, expanding it (but it’s still half of book 1, LOL. Well 30K vs 50K). The print version will come out only when the series is complete – mostly because it’s short books, which doesn’t matter in e-book format, but in print… I already have thin printed books and I’d rather have a big one for a change. I have a wonderful cover by great artist Phoenixlu, but I’m keeping it for the complete series. For the single books, you’ll have to bear with my drawings, LOL!

There’s an ongoing discussion on Goodreads about free titles. I have already mentioned I don’t like those downloaders who want only free titles, hence I find useless KDP Select. Real readers are very happy to pay for a title, and they’re actually wary of free/cheap titles. So let’s hope all indie writers will get the message and stop underselling their work. We are professionals, we ought to get paid for our writing, right?

Like I said in that discussion, B.G. Hope doesn’t have a blog, or a Facebook page, or a Goodreads profile. Well, she sells more than Barbara G.Tarn. And she has NO free titles. And only one novella so far (my bestseller) as I’m still working on the second novella I hope to publish before Christmas. Again, people going for free reads are DOWNLOADERS, not readers. REAL READERS are wary of free and cheap titles. So put a price on your darn novels and get paid for your work! 🙂 Best sellers like John Locke and Amanda Hocking who sold at 99cents are exceptions, not the norm. Have a collection of shorts introducing to your world (like my BoI – Prequels) and put a price on your novel! 🙂

Even temporary discounts haven’t brought in new readers – because again it cathered mostly to Downloaders. So the only real marketing strategy is writing more books – eventually you will be discovered. And remember, e-books are forever. You can’t expect instant success. I had 0$ royalties last year, 100$ this year (all from Smashwords – the DriveThru royalties were enough to pay for the print versions of SKYBAND, though, so I’m very happy with that retailer too) and both my pen names are starting to sell now, months after I published the first title (B.G. Hope had only shorts until I published Johnny&Marian).

Now, if any reader would like to quip in about e-book pricing, feel free – as long as you remain civil, of course! 🙂 I’d love to hear your thoughts. I think both readers and writers have changed with the e-book revolution during this very year, and I’m very curious to hear about the situation in Italy. From tomorrow until Sunday it’s the Small&Medium Publishers Book Fair in Roma again (link in Italian only), and I sure hope it won’t depress me as much as it did last year! I’ll let you know next week what I figured out! 🙂

SPAL has an excellent post about Amazon & Facebook. If you’re a marketing freak, that is. If, like me, you hit that “publish” button and write the next book, you’re probably not really interested. But it’s now obvious that this is not a get-rich-quick venture. Sales take time. And the stars of indie publishing are not the norm, like I said above. Be realistic in your goals – remember, you can control what and how much you write and publish, not how much you sell. Unless you have a crystal ball or a tarot deck – in which case I’d love you to read the cards for me as well, thank you! 😉

See also Mark Coker’s post on Amazon KDP Select offer (with the comments from at least one KDP Select author, I didn’t read all the comments, LOL!). Of course Mark is biased, but I still think he has a point. Like SPAL says in the previous link, not everybody owns a Kindle. And you’re missing a lot of readers by staying with Amazon only. It’s a big wide world. You never know where your next reader might be. Yes, my bestseller sold 2 more copies on Kindle US this month and none nowhere else, but I don’t care. One day some i-pad owner might discover B.G. Hope. Or a Kobo owner. A Sony e-reader. A Nook owner – you get the point! 😉

You probably have heard that Simon&Shuster opened to self-publishers… not! Here’s David Gaughran’s excellent post on who’s actually “behind” this S&S venture. Writer beware indeed. I guess we can’t trust the Big 6 anymore, if they hire scam companies to run their self-publishing branches! 😦 Like Dean Wesley Smith says

Let me be clear here, folks. Money flows to the writer. Period.

And don’t forget to check his latest post on the New World of Publishing as well. It’s your career and your business choices, don’t fall into the hands of those scam artists still thriving out there! Dean again:

The truth is that the best way to sell books is write a lot, work on learning how to be a better storyteller constantly, get your work in front of editors or readers or both, and plan for the long haul.

So, what are you doing still reading my blog? Go back to writing, you lazy writer! 😀 Happy writing!

Saturday roundup

I couldn’t find anyone willing to do a guest post to fill the blanks between interviews, so I’m doing a little round up of authors who passed through this blog in the past week or years. Sort of Linky Friday but only about authors. An interview had to be rescheduled, so tomorrow no posts. I might schedule something duting my break between workshops, though… apparently wi-fi works and I’m getting used to my bro’s borrowed laptop! 😉

Authors blogs/web pages

Nikalee Livingston – go shake her blog! 😉

Shonell Bacon blog and webpage.

Holli Castillo’s blog.

Jonathan Gould blog – hey, he’s even on the Indie Authors ring (the frog on my sidebar)!

Book/series pages (recommended reading)

Prue Batten’s world of Eirie.

Joleene Naylor’s Amaranthyne Nights.

daily prompt and shortlisted

I’m shortlisted as a finalist at JC’s Birthday Bash Blogfest! Go and vote, you have time until tomorrow! (and no, I won’t hate you if you prefer somebody else’s entry – that’s what I did, after all! :-D) That was a fun challenge, writing exactly 100 words…

The daily prompts weren’t really inspiring except the interesting post on style. Which relates to Loralie’s post about buying a book by a blogger because you like their voice. Except I’m not sure the blogging voice is identical in the prose/fiction – the first post gives examples of different styles from the same author: I’ve done that too, trying to use different styles either for different stories or in a same story because it was either an exchange of letters or crossing journals and I wanted them to sound different according to the character writing them.

So I don’t know if a blogger’s voice is also the voice found in his/her fiction. I mean, I am very colloquial, informal and slangish on the blog, but as I write fantasy (or historical novels) I try to be more formal even if I keep a journalistic prose – that’s my voice, I don’t like literary prose.

When I bought other bloggers books, it was either to support another indie author or because I was interested in the story – and I can’t say the books were written with the exact same style of the blog. Maybe I picked authors/bloggers with a not so distinct voice? I don’t think so.

And what about me, do I sound different here or in my fiction?

Weekly photo challenge: colorful. London backyard autumn colours (note the British English, please).


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