dicembre 23, 2010

December rolling by again... :)

My, my... over two months since the last update! Must work on my blogging skills. Let me apologise with this lovely screencap of Jared Leto as Hephaistion. [You may have noticed how I have a slight obsession with long-haired men. And Hephaistion... le sigh.]

This past year has been the most exhausting and most rewarding I've had in a long time. In January I submitted my first short story to Dreamspinner press, and since then I've had two published, another contracted and on the way and contracted and finished all editing on my first novella. In a few days I should also hear about the fate of another short story I submitted, and I'm working on a feature article I gotta hand in in January.

I know this isn't much compared to the amount of writing some of you wonderful people get done in a year, but I can't help but feel very satisfied. Until January I had never strung together more than 2000 words in English. I still feel way too bogged down by my lack of confidence in the language, but I think I've learnt a lot in the past months. I've now finished my second year of university in London, scoring a bunch of As, and although I'm exhausted I've absolutely loved it - I've had some amazing tutors, and they've taught me a lot. Next semester I'll start working on my final project [when I found out it's supposed to be only 10'000 words I almost popped a vein - one of the things I've discovered is that anything shorter than 20'000 is hell for me!] but I have agreed on an evil plan with the tutor I chose to work with. I'll try to use the final year to work on a novel, then hand in the first 10'000 words and a synopsys of the rest. I have never tackled such a lenght, and I am really skeptical about whether I know the language well enough to pull it off. I think having a tutor keeping an eye on the thing will help.

Anyway! I thought I'd be completely worn out by now, and instead I've had a pleasant surprise. November was madness, between all uni assignments, 15'000 words deadline and multiple rounds of revisions, and I spent the first weeks of december reading like crazy to catch up with all the material I'll need for my final essays. On thursday I flew home in Italy [just in time to avoid the snow mayhem!] and - since then, my brain has been literally fizzing with ideas. No less that three short stories, all sorts of subplots to flesh out my kitsune & samurai wip, a prequel to the novella which isn't even out yet, a sequel to the novella and a sequel to the sequel! In the past week I've jotted down pages and pages of notes - the plots are unfolding on their own, they write themselves in my head even as I doze. Now I just need to pick one [but which one?], avoid relatives and go to town on it. Man, that feels good :). I wish I had the same sort of state of grace for all the essays due in January... :)

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, and a full and satisfying new year :)!

ottobre 11, 2010

Hello, dear authors!

Today was a lovely sunny day in London, so I picked up my books and sprawled in the park to study. I'm a lizard: when I'm at home in Italy during the summer, no matter how hot it gets, I always enjoy standing in the sun and feeling it roast my arms and shoulders. (Too bad there's no way I get even the hint of a tan!) Cute detail of the day: a small brown squirrel racing through the grass and up an acorn while a miniature mouse of a dog ran after it. When the squirrel was safe on a branch, it looked down to where I was standing, and it had this pouty expression as if to say 'Did you see what that dog just did?'. And then a random passerby looked at me all perplexed because I offered words of sympathy to the squirrel.

Writingwise! I have been researching Urban Fiction, trying to get in the mood for a story I'd like to write, and I am rather disappointed. I came away from my research with the impression that UF consists of first-person narration by not very believable badass hot girls who single-handedly solve some cool case and have sex with the handsome vampire / werewolf. What I got out of it, essentially, is that I won't do that sort of research again. So I dug out a couple of Torquere Press UF m/m anthologies, and am currently cheering myself up!

Which leads me to the intended topic for this entry. When I start working on a story, it all usually starts with a flash of some sort - either I see a drawing of a character / place that sets me off, or I glimpse a scene between two characters, and I have no idea who they are and in what predicament they're in. So I frantically jot down whatever I'm thinking and whatever immediately flows after it, because I know I'll forget it if I don't, then sit down and start outlining a plot. I didn't use to be like this, but now I really struggle to begin to write if I don't already have a fairly good idea of what it's going to happen, who the characters are, what the surrounding scene looks like. If I can't hear their voices, I can't start. So I jot down ideas and try to understand what they want, where they are, what's gonna happen to them... then at a certain point something clicks and everything comes to life, and every event, every choice they make, seems inevitable.

It looks like in the last few years I've become more and more of a control freak, and I need to know a lot before I can actually sit down and write. I wonder if this is maybe a symptom of some sort of insecurity? I need to have some fixed points to 'guide' my writing, or at least to have as markers, even though I might end up ignoring them. What about you? How do you plan your work, if you do? Do you need to 'see' a whole story before you sit down to write, or can you just start typing and see what happens?

At the moment, I have characters, I know what sets stuff in motion, I kind of know what the big deal of the story is - although not the details yet! - and I have a very clear idea of what the big frantic action and ending are going to be like. I'm still missing, painfully, the romance part - I can't see them interact, which is like having a very yummy pastry to eat and then finding out there's no chocolate filling inside. It's not snapping yet, and so I haven't started writing. Maybe I should try to start and then see what happens - maybe I should try and get over my need to be a control freak, and trust that my boys will find their way all by themselves :).

ottobre 06, 2010

London Autumn

So... it seems I'm not that good at the whole blogging thing :).

On sunday I flew back to London. It's always hard to leave home: every time I deeply, truly don't want to. But my mother, my grandma and my boyfriend are wonderful and always supportive. They listen to me as I routinely panic about being so far away, about whether I'll find a job, whether I'll manage to write anything decent for uni; they remind me all my talents seem to kick in as soon as I'm here, that when I throw myself in deep waters I always magically remember how to swim. Most of all, they remind me of how proud they are of what I'm doing, and that they will be waiting for me when I come back.

It's especially difficult to leave my boyfriend behind. Every time I leave it's another goodbye, and it seems to get more painful every time. We manage to see each other at least every two months, and I spend the whole four months of summer holidays at home. He's always been incredibly supportive, even when I myself wasn't sure of whether I'd be able to carry on living abroad. I try not to think too much about the future. I don't know where I'll be living, where I'll find a job, I'm not even sure where I'd like to live and work. I like to think we'll make it through, and I try not to obsess about things too much. I'll see what happens :).
Anyway, the first days of uni were great. I always feel much more productive when I'm in London. I moved in the new flat, and I'm loving the housemates. I am left wondering, how exactly did I manage to accumulate so much stuff here in London? Of course, 0.50 £ books at charity shops are the kind of temptation I can't quite resist...

On the publishing front! I've been rather lazy this summer, as I tend to do when I'm at home. My short story Emet was accepted for a Sherlock Holmes anthology over at Circlet Press. I was so very thrilled when I found their call for submissions. M/m, Sherlock Holmes, and steampunk - three of my favourite subjects all packed in a story! I simply couldn't resist. I did struggle a bit with the word limit - I'm realizing that I'm not really cut for short stories. 12'000 words already seems a little short to me - 7000 was a miniature nightmare! For some reason, the novella lenght is the one in which my stories seem to naturally fall. What about you, dear authors? Do you have a story lenght you feel more comfortable with?

agosto 02, 2010

Making Contact release + story excerpt!

Hello, beloved readers and fellow authors,

I'm happy to announce that Dreamspinner Press' new M/M sci-fi anthology, Making Contact, has been released today! The anthology includes 10 stories, and they all seem so yummy I can't wait to read them. You can have a look at the stories' blurbs here: Making Contact anthology.

The anthology is officially available for purchase both as EBook and paperback on Dreamspinner Website and on Amazon.

My contribution to this collection is the story Ganymede's Honor. Federal Coloned Ardeth Connor has been rescued from death, but he’s not sure his new life is any better: he’s effectively trapped aboard a rebel ship that defies the Federation to collect ice meteors, stealing life-sustaining water for the poorest of planets and asteroids.

Biding his time until he can escape, Ardeth must juggle himself between the hostile (and very, very large!) Olle, the friendly Filmore and his clockwork parrot, and of course the witty and way too attractive Captain Gabriel. When things go abruptly to hell, however, Ardeth is the one who must make an irrevocable choice between his old life and... the life of everyone else.

You can read an excerpt of the story HERE!


giugno 13, 2010

reviews + upcoming publications ♥

Hello, dear friends! I hope you all are great. As for me, university's out for summer and I am now back in Italy, enjoying the sunshine and eating lots of cherries ♥.

I have some good news! My short story Ganymede's honor has been accepted by Dreamspinner Press for their sci-fi anthology Making contact, which will be out in August.

Also, my post apocalyptic - steampunk novella The Mercenary has been accepted by Samhain Press and will be released in 2011 - my first book, which is quite a thrill. More news to come soon! [on a random note, here's Squirrelmadness' brilliant explanation of the differences between the post apocalyptic and steampunk genres: link.]

A brush of wings anthology received positive reviews, which is very pleasing. Here's one from lovely Jenre, who also quotes a snippet from my story; and here one by Tam. You can find more info about the anthology on its page on Dreamspinner Press'website.

marzo 21, 2010

'The Angel Blues', short story, in 'A Brush of Wings' anthology.

Hello, beloved readers and fellow authors,

I warmly invite you to stop by the Dreamspinner Press Blog to take part in the virtual launch party for the A Brush of Wings anthology. I have published a short excerpt from my featured short story, The Angel Blues, as well as a brief commentary regarding my personal view of angelic beings, that you may find here: Dreamspinner Press Blog - The Angel Blues, by Cornelia Grey.

The anthology includes short stories by 15 authors; the theme is that of angelic creatures, celestial beings, and how they may influence the lives of men.

The anthology is officially available for purchase here; you may also find the blurbs of the individual stories, clicking on the 'read an excerpt' link.

The Angel Blues is a story whose characters have to come to terms with the disruption of their routine; a seasoned cop, struggling with the demands of his job and doubting of his sanity, an irriverent angel conflicted between the detachment required by his position and the emotions he can't seem to keep in check. All accompanied by the soft, humming background of an old blues tune...

You can find an excerpt of my short story here.

marzo 20, 2010

Welcome, everyone ♥.

Cornelia Grey: I'm a student, halfway through my creative writing degree (with a penchant for fine arts and the blues). Born and raised in the hills of Northern Italy, where I collected my share of poetry and narrative prizes, I'm now based in London - and I'm thoroughly enjoying the cultural melting pot that is the City.

When writing, I favour curious, surreal poems and short stories involving handsome young men seducing each other. This blog is dedicated to my male/male fiction; most of it includes erotic scenes. If we share this interest, I warmly invite you to have a look around - I hope you will find something you like.

My days are full and hectic: I read, go to flea markets, galleries, and the theater, and of course spend most of my time writing. When I'm at home, I like to curl up with a book and the classic cup of tea, and I leave hazelnuts in the garden for the squirrel that comes around from time to time.