novembre 10, 2012

The Joy of Short Stories @ Lou Sylvre's :)

Hello, dear friends!

I'm taking a break from frantically working on my Phd proposal (-20 days to deadline, just had words I need to radically re-structure the entire thing: yargh!). Lou Sylvre was so kind to interview me on her blog. We talked about settings, names, titles, hot characters, sharing hot excerpts... and my special fondness for short stories :)!

Here's an excerpt from the post:

Q: In what locale is your most recent book set? How compelling was it to set a story there? Do you choose location the same way every time? How?

A: The one thing that most of my settings have in common is – they aren’t real. But they usually aren’t 100% fantasy either. Let’s just say I like – tweaking reality, adding stuff to it, bending its rules. It’s probably got something to do with my love for magical realism. I always find it especially intriguing: there’s a base of reality, so you come into it with all sorts of logical expectations, and yet at every turn there might just be something unusual, absurd, magical popping up and turning all your certainties upside down. I find it exciting, that added layer of possibilities to a world that already offers so many; I love the added degree of freedom it allows, and the fun that comes with playing with the expected and unexpected, the unreal juxtaposed on the real.

In fact, most of my stories are set in a world that’s never grounded – no dates, no exact locations, no names, no definite reality. I like that, and I think it works for me because I mostly write short stories, and they have different rules than full-length novels. I love the idea of tuning in to whatever’s happening, wherever’s happening, and simpy watching it unfold for a while before departing again. Not every question is answered; this isn’t a full meal, it’s a bite, a savoury morsel. The story I’m currently editing follows this rule, too. It’s set in a circus – an old-fashioned circus, in a setting that has some historical features, but remains open to other possibilities. The atmosphere is steampunk-ish, even though there are no actual steampunk elements. I’d been wanting to play with a circus setting for a long time, and while I hope to use it in a longer piece soon, this was a very enjoyable start!

I guess I could sum up this ramble by saying that I really enjoy speculative fiction, and I similarly enjoy speculative settings – the ones that always leave you guessing!

Q: Are readers involved in making your fiction—do they suggest stories or say what they’d like to read?

A: A little, yes! Mostly, I get many requests for sequels to my short stories. Often I’m tempted too; as I was mentioning, my short stories are often but a bite of something much bigger and more complex. I get to describe glimpses of fantastic worlds, introduce strange characters, hint at legends and mysterious pasts… and I’m left wanting more too; I want to keep exploring that world, to know more about those characters, to learn everything there is to know.

But unfortunately, I am also very easily distracted: when I get a new shiny toy (= a brand new sparkling idea) all I want to do is dive into that next world that I still know nothing about and explore that. Since I have more ideas than I can write – I currently have 12 full plots competing for my attention, and clamoring when they get bumped back yet again in favour of the latest idea! – I end up never having the time to go dust off a world and characters I’ve already played with to see what else they might have to say. I’m terrible, I know! But I keep them neatly lined up on their shelf anyway, and dust them every now and then. They are always ready for action. So, dear readers, please don’t give up hope – hopefully I’ll get around to writing one of those sequels someday :)


Read the rest of the post HERE!

ottobre 25, 2012

Stuff to do before 2013...

So! There are a few things I'd like to accomplish before the end of the year. Some are deadlines, some are projects I started as far back as February and that I'd like to complete before the year is up. Some tasks have absolute priority - such as the Phd proposal - and I have to take into account that, once I go back to Italy on December 8th, I won't have a lot of free time to work. Between greeting relatives and friends, the emotional crisis I foresee when I'll have to come to terms with a cat-less house, Christmas stuff, and minor surgery on my shoulder and under my arm... ugh, I have no idea if I'll manage to do everything I'd like to!
Anyway, I decided to write the list here, so hopefully peer pressure will at least help me avoid the procrastination trap. There isn't much I can do about the other circumstances, but at least that one... :)

To do List - November & December 2012

Mandatory
• Phd Proposal (deadline December 1st)
• edits of Benjamin Pepperwhistle and the Fantabulous Circus of Wonder for Weight of a Gun II anthology
• proofreader edits of Cut & Run translation
• final round of corrections on 18& Gray translation

Optional
• write short story about deal with the devil
• finish short story Bounty Hunter II (the sequel), currently at 6000 words (started in June)
• revise first draft of novel The Traitor (sequel to The Mercenary (started in January, complete and abandoned since February)

Phew... I foresee an increased consumption of coffee in my immediate future :)!

ottobre 19, 2012

And the winner is...

Dear friends,

thank you all for taking part in the poll! It was a hard battle. It was a close finish between the three top stories, while the other two only got one vote each! So, without further ado, I give you the winner...

First Place: The one with Two Princes!


Second Place: tie between The one in Post-Apocalyptic Florence and The one in Steampunk London

Third Place: tie between The one with the Sulphur and The one with the Lightning Flower

Thank you all for participating! The story of our two princes, dealing with deceitful kings, evil advisors, and a friendly democratic dragon, will be the first one I will write in 2013. Considering it's been languishing in my notebook for two or three years, I'd say it's about time! It came to me one afternoon, as I was walking home in my tiny Italian town, listening to music on shuffle, and the song 'Two Princes' by Spin Doctors came up. And I thought, "Hmmm... two princes! What could I do with that?" And the rest, as they say, is history ;)



I leave you with this beautiful drawing by Takmaj, posted with permission of the author. Do check out her DA gallery!

ottobre 15, 2012

Pick the first book Cornelia will write in 2013!

Hello, dear friends!

2012 was a memorable, super-busy year for me. (I know technically it's not over yet - but, for me, it's already fully booked ;) ). There were some great things going on. I handed in my thesis for university; graduated; had internships in all sorts of great places; moved in with my boyfriend (when I'm in Italy, at least!); had my whole family come visit me in the UK for the wonderful graduation ceremony. There were also very sad things. And these last two months will be intense too: I have to hand in a Phd proposal which will pretty much determine the next 4 years of my life!

So, this year, I had to put writing on the backburner. But I kept accumulating ideas nonetheless - and now I have a pile of plots, and I just need to pick which one I'll start with. So, dear friends, I thought I'd ask for your input with this poll. Which of the stories listed below would you like to read first?

Pop to my livejournal for the blurbs of the five possible stories and the poll!

Blurb and Poll: this way!

giugno 15, 2012

New release: Bounty Hunter

Hello, everyone! So, summer's finally here and I'm back in Italy, enjoying the sunshine and eating like a piglet. What can I say, my grandma's cooking is super-tempting after months of pasta and frozen food in London :)! I also have great news... my short story Bounty Hunter, previously released in Storm Moon Press' gun kink anthology, is now out on its own! I've just started writing a sequel for it - I wasn't quite ready to let go of James and William yet. Just a hint - the sequel's set in a stifling hot prison on the Mexican border... that's all I'm saying!



It wasn't so very long ago that James Campbell and William Hunt were lovers. They met at the horse ranch where they both worked, training and transporting stallions and mares all across the state and sometimes farther. But then, James discovered his employer's secrets and the truth behind the job he loved so much. The knowledge was too much, and James had to do something about it.

Now, James Campbell is a wanted man. Every bounty hunter in the area is hot on his trail, eager to be the one who finally brings him in. William, though, is determined to get there first. But when he finally catches up to James, he's torn between finding revenge for James' betrayal and helping him escape. Because his feelings for James are as strong as ever, and because he's not convinced that James was entirely wrong...


You can grab a copy on Dreamspinner Press' website!

Excerpt:

The man walked in the saloon, the wooden doors swinging heavily behind him. Gravel crackled under his boots as he was welcomed by the reek of cheap alcohol and gin sweat. The handful of drunken men barely spared him a glance. Someone was singing a crooked, out of tune, love song. Worn out cards slapped on wooden tabletops, the tired clinking of glass against glass as someone poured a drink.

William Hunt didn't pay attention to any of it.

He had the best part of a whiskey flask in him, a gun heavy at his side, the stubble of four days on his face, and a sure lead. A lead he might have dragged out of a whimpering man, pressing the barrel of his gun hard into his cheek and wondering out loud whether at this particular angle the man's eye would explode as the bullet tore through it before it blew up his brain. The man couldn't speak fast enough to tell William what he wanted to know.

William hadn't shot the man, of course. He hadn't even intended to. He was just good at knowing what it would take to make a man talk; it came with the job after all. This one you could scare into spilling, that one you had to beat up, that one would crack after you broke a couple of fingers.

Whatever it took to get information.

 

(Read more!)

maggio 29, 2012

Guest post @ Pants Off Reviews!

Hello, everybody :)! How are you all? I hope everything's great! I know I've been terrible lately at updating - I'm now about to complete a second internship, this time at a literary agency. It's very interesting, to see all the 'behind the scenes' - chasing after late royalty payments, trying to get publishers to pick up books, wading through submissions... I'm reorganizing the archives at the moment, and guys - I have never seen so much paper all at the same time! I've been neck deep in paper sheets for weeks now :) Also, the weather in London has been oddly, wonderfully warm and sunny this past week - so I've tried to make the best of every moment I wasn't in the office. Time for some well-deserved shopping, walks in the park, and drinks and endless chats with friends ♥! I realize I didn't even share the good news - the illustrated version of my novella, The Ronin and the Fox, is now out with Storm Moon Press :)! It contains six gorgeous illustrations by Italian artist Alice Girlanda. I'm absolutely in love with them, and I'm having a mini-blog tour to celebrate... see a snippet of the first post, at Darien Moya's Pants Off Reviews, after this gorgeous character sketch of Katsura the fox...
Excerpt: However, while I haven’t drawn seriously in years, I haven’t stopped loving art. I spend way too much time hanging around museums, my computer is constantly exploding with tons of images from all over the internet, and my sources of inspiration--as well as the way in which I elaborate my stories--are predominantly visual. Sometimes, I even suspect that many of my ideas, exactly in virtue of the highly visual component, would be better suited for a comic rather than a written piece (which is why many of them remain languishing in my notebook!). But, while I have a very detailed vision of what they should look like, I absolutely don’t have the skill to actually draw them. Which is why I was so ecstatic and jumped at the chance of seeing The Ronin and the Fox illustrated – it’s something that I have been dancing around for years.. Read the rest of the post HERE!

aprile 09, 2012

The Tea Demon Italian translation - Il Demone del Tè



Hello, everyone :)! How are you doing?
I'm great - I'm back home in Italy for the Easter holidays, and I've been basically eating for a week. As a matter of fact, I've just come back from the customary barbecue at a friend's house, and I'm just sprawled in bed trying to digest everything I gobbled... ah, I'm going to miss this kind of food when I get back to London!

Being home is always great - I love finally getting to spend some time with my mother, my grandma, my baby brother and my boyfriend, not to mention catching up with all my friends. This is why I've barely been online lately - I still have to write that post on Yayoi Kusama, I've got a pile of emails that should have been written and sent off two weeks ago... I'm a disaster, I know :)!

I'm popping back online to - finally! - update this blog about the release of the Italian translation of my steampunk - fantasy - humor short story The Tea Demon. I'm really happy about it - seeing one of my stories translated in my language is incredibly rewarding! (I was the translator, too :). I'm posting the Italian and English versions of the blurb below...


Il Demone del Tè:

Il ladro Eric Devon vuole una sola cosa: che la gente lo lasci in pace. E forse dell’altro whisky. Finchè un misterioso sconosciuto gli offre un lavoro così pericoloso che nessuno l’ha mai accettato ed è sopravvissuto per raccontarlo: recuperare un preziosissimo oggetto dall’inespugnabile palazzo dei Mercanti Tartaruga. Intrigato dall’uomo e dalla sfida, Eric accetta—ma lo sconosciuto altri non è che il leggendario capitano di navi volanti conosciuto come il Demone del Tè, terrore del Mare di Nuvole. Eric deve escogitare il piano migliore della storia se vuole completare il lavoro… e riuscire a sopravvivere.


The Tea Demon:

Thief Eric Devon wishes one thing: for people to leave him bloody well alone. And maybe for more whiskey. Until a mysterious stranger offers him a job so dangerous that no one has ever attempted it and survived to tell the tale: recover a priceless object from the Turtle Merchants’ impregnable palace. Intrigued by the man and the challenge, Eric accepts—but the stranger is none other than the legendary airship captain known as the Tea Demon, terror of the Sea of Clouds. Eric must come up with the best plan in history if he wants to complete his job... and survive it too.

You can grab a copy on Dreamspinner Press' website!

marzo 16, 2012

The kitsune as a succubus

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about kitsune, fox spirits, and their role as tricksters (The Kitsune as a Trickster). I thought it would be interesting to have a companion piece exploring the darker, lesser known side of fox spirits.

Kitsune are very versatile spirits. While they are mostly known as tricksters, the actual mythology connected with these creatures is a lot more varied and complex. Depending on the myth considered, they can take on very different roles. Here, I’ve tried to sum up the ones I’ve identified during my research while writing The Ronin and the Fox, but there might be more I haven’t come across yet!



- The Servant of the Gods

The myobu, or celestial kitsune, serve Inari, shinto god of rice and fertility (and, incidentally foxes). They are Inari’s messengers, they guard his shrines; they are well-behaved spirits, far from earthly temptations. One of their duties is to, occasionally, defend people from the all other kitsune, the ones who don’t serve Inari (called nogitsune, or wild foxes) when they become troublesome. They are also always depicted as white foxes.

- The Kitsune as an Animal

This is the interpretation that puts kitsune closer to actual, everyday foxes (the word ‘kitsune’, after all, doesn’t mean ‘fox spirit’, but simply ‘fox’: because every fox in nature could potentially become a spirit). These foxes live in abandoned houses, often sitting on the roof rafters, and steal food from nearby homes to survive. In fact, foxes are often expert thieves and take particular pleasure in stealing family treasures.

Sometimes, these foxes become almost domesticated. If someone treats them with kindness, they will strive to return the favour: they’ll bring food stolen from the neighbours, for example, and bringing good fortune to the house. In fact, when a Japanese family was especially blessed by fate, someone jealous might spread the rumor that it was because they owned foxes. Such a rumor could completely ruin a family’s reputation; no one would want to marry the daughter of a family carrying this stigma and, on a few occasions, local daimyos ordered the executions of families accused of fox-owning.

- The Kitsune as a Succubus/Vampire

This is the darkest side of fox spirits. Sometimes, they take the form of a hauntingly beautiful woman and appear at night to seduce unsuspecting men. There is a warning, often repeated in the mythology—and that I used in the story, too—that every beautiful woman met after dark could be a fox, and men should be wary. This is not a trick, a prank: kitsune have a very specific reason to do this. They absorb the life energy of humans, and they do this mainly through sex, although a few sources also mention bloodsucking.

Kitsune are so seductive that it’s impossible for men to resist their charms, and the myths say that sex with a kitsune is often too pleasurable for men to bear. Many times, men are consumed by their passion for the kitsune and end up dead, completely drained. Sometimes, though, kitsune don’t kill their victim, but build a relationship instead. One legend even tells of a kitsune who married her human lover and bore his children. However, when the true nature of a fox is revealed—even in human form they have fox traits, like a fox-shaped shadow or a tail hidden under the kimono—the spirit runs away, never to return. This is expected, after all: kitsune are light, transitory creatures, and it is useless to chase after them once they disappear.

Humans are not the only source that foxes use to feed themselves. They eat normal food and are especially fond of rice, adzuki beans, and fried tofu. They also feed on various forms of energy like knowledge, words, and music. Their vampiric nature also drains the territory where they happen to be. A fox spirit is an alteration of the natural order of things and drought, blight, and crops dying out for no reason are all signs that a kitsune is living nearby.

So, how did I decide to handle all these different aspects in my story? Honestly, the original myth is so rich with variations that it was like standing in front of an overloaded buffet and trying to select a reasonable amount of food. The temptation to just cram in as much as possible was nearly overwhelming, but I knew that it would make me sick and clog the story! So, I decided to keep the trickster aspect, because it’s the most recognizable kitsune attribute and offers interesting comic relief possibilites, but I focused the story on the succubus/vampiric aspect. It fascinates me because it’s much darker and less known, not to mention the very erotic possibilities that a succubus-like character offers.

I did, obviously, tweak quite a few things in order for the various aspects to fit together seamlessly, like puzzle pieces. Succubi-kitsune are always female in the mythology, while male foxes are often friendly drinking buddies for other men. I thought I’d take the succubus attribute and apply it to a man, making him into an incubus of sort (an incubus is the male counterpart of a succubus). Also, I decided to take a slightly different approach on the issue of energy. Kitsune own a white round jewel, similar to a pearl, glowing with kitsune-bi, fox fire (called a star ball). They carry this jewel in their mouth or between their tails, and it represents the fox’s soul: should the kitsune be separated from this jewel for too long, it would die. I decided to make this jewel into the catalyst of the kitsune’s energy and use it as the keystone of the story. There is no ‘official’ correlation between the jewel, the kitsune’s vampirism, and the number of tails the fox possesses: these matters are all addressed separately in the mythology. I decided to connect them together, building a chain of cause-effect domino reactions that would drive the story forward.

I didn’t include the thieving aspect, even though it’s very interesting. While I didn’t have the chance to explore it in this story, I believe that Katsura used to be a skilled thief and was quite infamous for it a couple of centuries before the events of the novella. But something happened that caused him to quit, so he’s a little rusty now, but who’s to say we won’t get the chance to see him in action in a sequel? ;)

marzo 04, 2012

Guest post: kitsune as tricksters




Hello, everyone :)!
How are you doing? Today is a grey, rainy day in London, so I'm lazying in bed - the advantages of working from home! This is my first post-university month, and it will be a full one. In 12 days I should be done with the novel translation I'm currently working on, and in a week or so I should finish my current WIP. You know, I've never published anything longer than 35k words so far, and this is going to be my first novel-length manuscript. Exciting - and let's consider that when I plotted it out, it was intended to be a novella... :)

In other news, I was over at JoyfullyJay's blog, writing about kitsune, the Japanese fox spirits, and their role as tricksters. One of the protagonists of my latest release, The Ronin and the Fox, is a kitsune - I've always found them very fascinating, and it was great to have the opportunity to talk about them :)!


Here's an excerpt from the post:

Some kitsune are tied to the god Inari and messengers or guardians of his shrines: these are celestial foxes, called myobu. Those who don’t serve Inari and live independently are called nogitsune, wild foxes. Kitsune are pranksters, rather than malicious; they are thieves and often live in abandoned homes. They respond kindly to favours, and can bring prosperity to a man who is generous with them. Sometimes, rich, isolated families were accused of owning foxes, which were the reason of the family’s prosperity. This accusation was often enough to ruin families, and there are cases in which a daimyo ordered the removal or relocation of a family accused of fox-owning.

They can also be very sensual spirits – often they take the shape of beautiful women and seduce men. Sex with a kitsune is more pleasurable than most mortals can handle, and often a man ensnared in loving a kitsure is consumed by his passion and wastes away. It was commonly said that ‘every beautiful woman met after dark could be a fox,’and men should be wary.

So, what kind of trickster is Katsura, the fox protagonist of my novella, The Ronin and the Fox?...


You can read the rest of the post HERE.

You can grab a copy on Storm Moon Press' website!

febbraio 25, 2012

Guest post: editing and writing in a second language

Hello, everybody :)! Yesterday, a post of mine went up on Storm Moon Press' blog - about my relationship with editing, and the challenge of writing in a second language. Here's an excerpt from the post:

Writing in a second language

The editing stage – for many writers, it feels harder than actually writing the bloody book. While I am no exception, I find essential for one specific reason: I’m not a native English speaker.

As some of you might already know, I’m Italian, and I moved to London about four years ago to attend university. That’s when I started writing in English, and I have to admit my first attempts were rather disastrous. It wasn’t so much because of mistakes, but rather because of how my Italian language infiltrated my use of English. (...)

This problem translates to fiction writing, too. My sentences are forever lengthy; while they might not be grammatically wrong, they have unconventional structures, which sound odd to native English speakers. Also, I tend to use lots of latin-derived words, because they’re very similar to common Italian words: it was only after annoying many a reader that I realized that they sound like pompous purple prose in English. For example, concupiscence = concupiscienza; perspicacious = perspicace; malediction = maledizione. The almost synonyms lust, smart, and curse don’t come naturally to me, and before someone pointed it out, I never even suspected that my choice of words might be unusual.

These Italianisms aren’t my only challenge. I harbour a burning hatred towards prepositions, that I never seem to get right; I tend to mix up idiomatic expressions, or to try and translate Italian ones and end up with stuff that doesn’t really make sense. But most of all, I have issues with the little details that are conventions rather than actual rules – the ones that aren’t technically wrong, but sound wrong anyway. And the thing is, I can’t see these mistakes: I need someone to point them out for me. I can’t tell if I sound Italian, or if I’m making someone sound like they’re from Dublin rather than from Manchester or Alabama. These are all nuances of the language that can only be picked up living immersed in it. I know them perfectly in Italian: but while I’ve been living abroad for a few years, I’m definitely still struggling with them in English.

Read the rest of the post HERE.

febbraio 24, 2012

New release: The Ronin and the Fox

Hello, everyone :)!
I have great news - my second novella, The Ronin and the Fox is out today with Storm Moon Press! This story took a long, tortuous path before being born. I started planning it in summer 2010, for an anthology centered on fantastical creatures. I immediately knew that I wanted to deal with a kitsune, the trickster fox spirits from Japanese mythology. However, it soon became evident that there was no way that I would fit everything in a short story, so I abandoned the project for a while, busy chasing after a billion deadlines, both for publishers and for uni. Before I had the time to notice it, a year had passed, and I stumbled across the WIP and thought to myself - now it's your turn, buddy... :)




In feudal Japan, Kaede Hajime lives as a vagabond ronin, a samurai without a lord. As he spends the night at a village's inn, the innkeeper begs him to help stop a mischevious kitsune, a fox spirit, plaguing their village. But when he captures the spirit—in the form of a hauntingly beautiful man—Hajime learns that the kitsune has troubles of his own. The pearl that contains the fox's soul has been stolen, leaving him a slave to the new owner, who is forcing him to attack the village.

Hajime agrees to help the fox retrieve the jewel, but living with a fox spirit isn't easy, and the budding trust between them is constantly tested. Kitsune are tricksters above all, and Hajime must decide how much of the story the fox tells him is truth. What's worse, an old comrade of Hajime's is in town, bringing with him the sour memories of Hajime's time as a samurai. Hajime must find a way to locate the thief and steal back the jewel before the thief turns the kitsune's considerable power against him.


You can grab a copy on Storm Moon Press' website!


Here's an excerpt from the story ;)!

Excerpt:

Hajime flexed his fingers, trying to warm them up, before resting them on his katana. The night air was cool. Gravel crunched too loudly under his boots as he walked across the village's alleys.

He'd been patrolling the town for three nights, and still nothing. During the daytime, he'd explored the bamboo forest surrounding the village, setting a number of traps between the tall bamboo stalks where the ground appeared recently trampled. He'd spoken to several villagers, alerting them of his intentions and giving them instructions on how to behave at night. He was sure they would obey. No one would dare disobey the orders of a samurai, and even though he wasn't exactly... any longer... Damn. They would listen to him, and that was enough.

Hajime had never before met a fox spirit. The trickster spirits haunted houses and villages, stealing food and whatever tickled their fancies from the inhabitants. They could shift shape as they pleased, possess people, and ensnare a man's mind with their charms and illusions. Hajime had heard that they could change a field into a kingdom or a cave into a sumptuous palace. They could create pockets in reality and trap a man there for years if they so chose. Hajime fingered the deep red silk ribbon securely fastened around his right wrist. He'd received it from Tanaka-san. The man claimed a priest had blessed it years before, and that it would grant Hajime protection against the fox's enchantments. Hajime hoped he was right. He was not keen on losing his mind and spending the next decade frolicking in a cave at the mercy of some horrific spirit.

The sharp sound of a bell broke the quiet.
On to the chase - read the rest of the excerpt!

febbraio 14, 2012

Guest post on mythology :)

Hello, everyone :)! So, even though it feels like the year began just yesterday, we're already halfway through February. I've completed my degree, and I'm waiting for the results of the final exams to come out - I'm kind of still trying to wrap my mind around that! I'm working as a traslator, working on two novellas and researching before preparing a novel proposal. I should also be looking for an internship, and I'll need to figure out how to cram more work in my days - is there anywhere I can buy extra hours?

In other news, I'm over at Top 2 Bottom Reviews talking about my love for mythology, and how I like to incorporate that in my writing - in particular, how the Japanese mythological creature kitsune features in my upcoming novella, The Ronin and the Fox :).





Here's an excerpt of the post:

Every time I tell someone that I’ve just completed a degree in Creative Writing, they ask if that means I’m a journalist, and the answer is, not even remotely. Journalists deal with the real world, every second. Creative Writing students usually suck at journalism, for a simple reason: we don’t do reality.

Personally, apart from full-on fantasy, I love writing about alternative versions of reality. I love steampunk, post-apocalyptic, and I have a soft spot for magical realism. I love taking the real world and adding a layer of magical dust on top, little surprising things hiding in unexpected corners, eyes peering from under a mushroom, a talking pigeon with a pocket watch… I think that’s why I’m so fond of mythology: it’s the result of men adding that layer of magic and mystery, fear and excitement, to the world they lived in...


Read the rest of the post HERE.

gennaio 27, 2012

Birthday, end of university, and guest post, oh my!

What a full day today has been :)! (Here in London it's the 28th already, but since I'm still awake, I'm counting it as an extended 27 :).

I'd like to thank everyone for the lovely birthday wishes ♥! I turned 24 today, and spend a lovely day around Camden with my roommate, then Skyped with all my relatives scattered around Italy and my boyfriend, and ended with a lovely glass of wine and some chatting with my one of my best friends. The Wild Party of Doom is scheduled for tomorrow night - ready to bring down the house with some good ole' rock n' roll!

There's more than one thing to celebrate, actually - yesterday I handed in my very last assignment, and now I'm officially done with university! These three years have passed by so fast. And now, my brain hamsters are enjoying some well deserved peace & quiet, chillin' on a Caribbean beach somewhere in my head, much in this fashion:



In other news, today I was over at Clare London's blog, blogging about writing and music. Here's an excerpt from the post:

...But when it comes to stories, I use music to set the mood. Metallica’s Whiskey in the Jar for an epic pirate romp; Piers Faccini’s A Storm is Going to Come for windswept cliffs, words that get caught in throats, hard choices; When the Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin for dry, dusty, gritty settings; 30 Seconds to Mars’ cover of Bad Romance for slow sensual scenes, and low simmering atmospheres… This connection between music and mood helps me keep my author’s voice constant.

Every author has to break the work in bits, a little every day, maybe with some days of pause in between – and every time we sit down to write we’re in a different mood, our minds whirring at a different pace. It’s all too easy to have a prose that reflects that, going from slow and descriptive to snappy and quick, suddenly shifting the mood of the scene. I, for one, always found it hard to slip back into the headspace I needed to carry on with the story. Putting on the same song on a loop helps me slip right back into it, bringing me back to the feelings and tone and pace I was using – it helps me create a pocket-world apart just for writing, and that helps me keep the narrative voice consistent.


Read the rest of the post HERE ♥.