dicembre 28, 2013

Here's to a busy 2014!

I can't believe I'm already here writing the 'end of 2013 post', when it feels like just yesterday I was writing the one for 2012! This year has really flown by. (Years speeding by faster and faster are one of the favourite topics of conversation when I hang out with my grandma. It feels like one moment it's July and we're sitting on the balcony enjoying the sun, and the next it's winter and Christmas is already gone and then before we know it we'll be on the balcony again... and let me tell you, I wait all year for those meager three months of sunshine! But I digress...)

So, 2013 was definitely packed. I started my Phd in February, went on my graduation trip to Japan in April, moved back to Italy, bounced back and forth from London a few times, saw Spain and Tangiers... did A LOT of research, translated a bunch of books, applied for dozens of jobs, took care of grandma when she was unwell over the summer. I also had to handle the most toxic familiar situation we had since my dad's death almost ten years ago (luckily, even though the issue is not solved yet, things are looking up now). I did really have my plate full. According to my logs, I even managed to write almost 200.000 words.

And yet, somehow - as always - I find myself feeling vaguely unsatisfied, like I haven't accomplished everything I was hoping to last year at this time. Of those 200k words, only around 30k ever made it into the publisher's hands (and, subsequently, the readers'!), and I'm not really sure what I did with all the others! Real life got in the way (and I have to say, being back in Italy really doesn't help, since at least when I'm abroad I can drop family drama and take care of my life and my work) and things got messy, and my best laid plans got thwarted.

So I'd like to write down a few bullet points for 2014, because I like having things pinned down and I hope it will help me structure my time and my work a little better!


★ ★ 2014 to-do list ★ ★


January
★ edit and submit bonus Benjamin Pepperwhistle scene
★ revise and submit Circus of the Damned novel
★ revise outline of PhD novel + write 1 chapter
★ finish translating 1 book
★ read at least 1 book for research
★ write 1 blog post
★ apply for more jobs (;__;)
(starting out with a packed month, eh? I'm kind of already freaking out)

February
★ finish and submit Bounty Hunter III
★ start writing Steampunk Inventor novel (or novella?)
★ read at least 2 books for research
★ write 1 chapter of PhD novel
★ write 1 blog post
(hopefully I will have a job by then so... doing that! :P)

March
★ finish Steampunk Inventor
★ (maybe) line edits for Circus of the Damned?
★ write 2 chapters of PhD novel
★ read at least 2 books for research
★ write 1 blog post

April
★ revise and submit Steampunk Inventor
★ line edits for Circus of the Damned
★ write 1 chapter of PhD novel
★ read at least 1 book for research
★ write 1 blog post

Things are a little more vague after that. I want to really try and blog at least once a month, since I suck at that; there will be line edits for Steampunk Inventor in May/June; I'd like to finish the PhD novel by September, even though I'm not so confident about that; I'd also like to write at least two more stories, but that will depend on whether I come up with any cool ideas in a timely fashion... ;)

Anyway, I'll update with the plans for the following months as they take shape, and I'll update every month letting you know whether I managed to get everything done (feel free to scold and whip me if I don't!). And now... now I'll be a good girl and go to sleep since it's almost half past 2 in the morning and tomorrow morning I gotta head to Genoa  to celebrate my mom's 50th birthday ♥!

Big hugs everyone, and good luck with your New Year's resolutions :)!

settembre 30, 2013

Devil at the Crossroads contest winners!

Hello, everyone!

DevilAtTheCrossroads_TourBanner

So, the blog tour for Devil at the Crossroads is over - thank you so much to everyone who hosted me on their blog, everyone who read and commented!

I'm glad to announce the winners of the Devil at the Crossroads contest, who will receive an ebook of their choice from my backlist.

 Congratulations to... Melanie and Joanna!

I'm immediately off to email the lucky winners!

Much love, Cornelia xx

settembre 24, 2013

First reviews for Devil at the Crossroads!

What a wonderful surprise! Devil at the Crossroads has been out for just one day and there's already two lovely 4 stars reviews for it - so excited! I gotta share a couple of snippets... :)




DevilAtTheCrossroads_TourBanner

Boys in Our Books:

 I feel like I must put a disclaimer that I LOVE Cornelia Grey’s stories. I think she is underrated and I would love to see her getting more popularity. So there might be biases when it comes to her stories. Having said that, I truly think this one is another winner. (...)

Cue some really SENSUALLY HOT and CAPTIVATING scenes of Logan and Farfarello; which drove me to the edge of excruciating need to fan myself. This was one of Ms. Grey’s strengths … she had a wonderful way in creating sensual scenes that were really hot without being too erotic. And I was simply in awe with that.
 
4stars

The Fictionators: 

Devil At The Crossroads was a great, fun read, and I enjoyed it much more than I expected to. Short stories are always hard; you’re often left with wanting more, but in this case, it was perfect. If you want something to read to pass a short bit of time, definitely give this one a go. The writing is sharp, the characters are compelling, and the chemistry is hot! You definitely won’t be wasting your time spending it with Logan and Farfarello. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself liking the Devil, he’s something else!...

settembre 23, 2013

Cup o' Porn guest post: Sympathy for the Devil

Hello, everyone :)!
Today I'm over at Cup o' Porn talking about devils in mythology and folklore, and how I re-interpreted the devil trope in my new novella, Devil at the Crossroads!  

In the literary tradition, devils are commonly portrayed as evil. Devils such as Mephistopheles, in the story of Doctor Faust, find great pleasure in destroying a man or, even better, driving a man to destroy himself with his own hands. It’s almost as if Mephistopheles perceives that Faust is already damned, or on his way to damnation at the very least, and all the devil has to do is give a little push to help him realise his potential. 

My perception was always slightly different: ‘my’ devils are more ridiculous than frightening. Like every Italian, I grew up with copies of Dante’s Divine Comedy at home and studied it at school, so my imagination is forever influenced by his descriptions and by Gustave Doré’s beautiful engravings. One of the things that tickled my imagination the most was Dante’s portrayals of the lesser devils, the bizarre, mischievous creatures that inhabit the different levels of Hell. I was always particularly fond of the Malebranche gang, the “evil claws” that inhabit the crevasses of the Malebolge, in the eight circle of Hell. 

 For instance, there is their leader Malacoda (evil tail); Barbariccia (curly beard) who famously farts like a trumpet; Cagnazzo (bad dog) with his animal snout; Rubicante, whose task is to cut up the souls of the damned; Alichino, who will eventually evolve into the much more famous Arlecchino (Harlequin)…

Read the rest of the post here!

Devil at the Crossroads Blog Tour

Hello, everyone! I have great news - my paranormal novella Devil at the Crossroads is officially out :) And today the blog tour officially begins!

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Join author Cornelia Grey for a tour filled with the paranormal, a sexy red-eyed devil, and the blues. Follow along all week for exclusive excerpts of her new title Devil at the Crossroads, plus interviews, guest posts, and, of course, a special giveaway!
 
Stops for this tour: 
 
September 23, 2013 - Cup O' Porn  
 September 24, 2013 - Babes in Boyland  
September 24, 2013 - The Fictionators - Spotlight Stop  
September 25, 2013 - Words of Wisdom From The Scarf Princess  
September 26, 2013 - Pants Off Reviews  
September 27, 2013 - Fiction Vixen  
September 27, 2013 - Sid Love

settembre 12, 2013

Author Interview: Top 2 Bottom Reviews

Hello, everyone!
I'm back from an impromptu vacation break at a friend's place, in Spain, and I can proudly say I now have a hint of tan and am no longer mozzarella white... :)! And I'd like to add here as well the link to an interview of mine at Top 2 Bottom reviews... ♥

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

I’m definitely a plot person. I didn’t always use to be, but now, I firmly believe that a solid, balanced structure is the backbone of a good story. I like to sketch down the plot diagram, with the tension growing and growing until it peaks in the climax, and then set out to put in place the key elements: the inciting incident, the turning points, the escalation of disaster, and the final explosive resolution. The first couple of days are devoted to working on the plot to make sure it’s airtight, that every step is logical and the escalation is as urgent as possible – I don’t want any lagging tension!

After that, I like to figure out what the scenes will be and in what order. If I can’t fit them all on a timeline, then I make little cards I can shuffle around as I please. I have rough summaries of what’s going to happen in each scene – this is also the stage where the rough character ideas get fleshed out and I get a clearer sense of who they are.

And that’s when I finally start writing, picking up from whatever scene strikes my fancy and usually working bouncing back and forth – very rarely in chronological order. In fact, usually the very opening scene is the last thing I write! It’s a lot of pressure having to get the hook right to instantly suck the reader into the story, and I don’t want to get stuck on that halfway through the work. :)


Read the rest of the interview HERE!

luglio 24, 2013

Pre-order: Devil at the Crossroads

Great news! Devil at the Crossroads, my paranormal first novella with Riptide Publishing is up for pre-order HERE!



The devil covets more than his soul...

Six years ago, Logan Hart sold his soul to the devil to become the greatest bluesman of all time—and now the devil has come to collect.

The irony is that Logan squandered his gift. High on fame, money, and drugs, he ignored his muse and neglected his music. And despite managing to escape showbiz in a moment of clarity, it’s too late to redeem himself. All that’s left is to try to go out with some dignity. Alas, the prospect of an eternity in Hell isn’t helping much with that goal.

But Farfarello, the devil who bought Logan’s soul, isn’t ready to drag him down to Hell quite yet. He’s just spent six years working his ass off to whip a bluesman into shape, and he refuses to let that—or the opportunity for more sinful pleasures with Logan—go to waste.

giugno 19, 2013

Queer for Books Interview

Hello, everyone! Today, the lovely Sami Gardner is having me at Queer for Books for a chat about my writing - especially my love for magical realism and the international writing scene!

 9. You were raised in Northern Italy and now live in London. How does your international background influence you as a writer?

I’m glad you asked, because I’ve actually been thinking about this quite a lot recently. For quite a long time, I thought it would hold me back. The first and major issue is that I had to learn to write in a second language that’s very different from my mother tongue, and it’s really not easy; it’s a constant challenge. I’ve only been writing in English for about four years and, while I think I’ve made significant progress – looking at my early attempts is quite embarrassing! – I still have a lot of work to do.

I also thought the cultural aspect of things would be an issue. After all, working in the American market, the vast majority of contemporary, mystery, noir, etc. novels are set in the US; and not knowing ‘American life’ well enough felt, for a long time, like an insurmountable obstacle. I think it’s part of what pushed me towards genre fiction and made-up worlds: it just always felt like stories set in my country, talking about the society and customs I experience everyday, would not have the same popularity as ‘American stories’. After all, even the most famous TV series or movies are always American; Italian literature and cinema tend to remain local, to remain a curiosity. I didn’t think an American audience would be interested.

But lately I’ve started to change perspective, thanks in no small part to some very enlightening conversations with fellow non-American authors. I realized that there aren’t many authors with my cultural background as well as a good knowledge of the English language and experience in the American publishing industry; therefore there aren’t many authors that can take the unique and largely unknown features of my culture and present them directly to an international audience. Now I believe this is a unique opportunity; there are unique stories in my culture that deserve to be told, and that I hope international readers will find interesting. I have decided that it’s not fair to push them aside and try to adapt to the ‘mainstream’ market. I want to go back to my cultural origins, and make them the heart of my writing. The process won’t be easy and won’t be quick, but this is the direction I want to take.


Read the rest of the interview HERE!

febbraio 22, 2013

A couple of reviews...

Hello, everyone!

Don't mind me - I just want to write down here a couple of lovely reviews I found today, so I can come back and re-read them whenever I want to feel all fuzzy inside... :)

Straysod's 5 star review of The Tea Demon:  

I hate short stories. I really do. They simply never feel quite finished, always rushed, never enough time spent developing characters. Or, at least, I hated short stories till I read some by Cornelia Grey. Obviously, I've just been reading the wrong things.

 This was the most brilliant bit of steam-punk, pirate and thief filled insanity that I've ever read. It's the third short story by Grey I've read, and I still haven't figured out how she does it. It's not long, but the characters are brilliantly developed, the setting is rich and vibrant, the action ridiculously awesome, the one sex scene hot as hell, and the story utterly engrossing! Aargh, I can't even write a coherent review. I just want to run around shouting random adjectives: Brilliant! Amazing! Hilarious! Gorgeous! Spectacular! Fantastic! Super Fantastic!! 

Ok, seriously though. This reminds me of the fantasy books I grew up on, with a lovely dash of very hot male on male action to spice it up. Just so much more substance than your standard m/m romance, and even when comparing it to full novels. 

I adore thieves, and Eric is ideal. Jonathan is the best kind of pirate: dashing, dangerous, cheerful and daring. (I hate to break up my lovely string of accidental alliteration, but he is not the dark brooding type of pirate, more cheerful rogue than dark soul. Still deliciously dangerous though!) And the crew of the Tea Demon, for all that we don't get to spend nearly enough time with them, are just awesome. 

And the humor! Omg, definitely laugh out loud. I'm not sure I could say whether it's more action, more romance, more steam-punk or more humor. It's just a bloody brilliant blend of all four. But the humor definitely is a defining characteristic, part of both the world and the characters. It toes the line of being slapstick goofy, but never crosses it, instead staying firmly in the realm of charming absurdity that none-the-less makes absolute sense within the world Grey's built. 

Everything moves quickly, not in the sense that it's rushed, but in the sense that there is nothing wasted, no scenes, sentences or even words that are not deliberately crafted, used to further the story. Gods, I've read 1000 pages novels with less skillful world building and less developed characters! 

It's very hard to remember than this is a short story! You don't even notice the passing of pages or time until you're at the end, out of breath and totally in love, when the story stops and all you want to do is shout, "No! I need more!" This is not to say that the story is incomplete in any way. I've never read an author that can make such short stories feel so whole. But when you fall this hard and fast for characters, you can't help but want more! I wish this was a series--the chance to follow Eric and Jonathan and crew through several novels would be a dream come true. 

 Gods, I'm babbling. Sorry. Ok, long story short (too late) I adored this story and would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes steam-punk, m/m romance, thieves, pirates, or charmingly funny short stories. This, combined with the totally different but equally amazing Apples and Regret and Wasted Time, has put Cornelia Grey firmly on my list of favorite authors.


And Straysod's 4 star review of The Ronin and the Fox:

 Gods, I love Cornelia Grey's writing. She has such an amazing talent. Her characters are always so real, complex and rounded, her worlds always have such beautiful detail. If you've liked other short stories by her, you will absolutely love this one too, and if you haven't read anything by her yet, this is an excellent place to start.

 A little longer than some of her stories, this one is immensely satisfying. Typical of her stories, Grey paints a vivid and beautiful world without wasting words. The characters are so awesome, and you connect almost instantly with them. The depth and realism of the emotion is something I really enjoy about her writing, particularly in this story. And the action in this one is definitely the best yet. The story doesn't rush along at breakneck speed, but neither does it meander aimlessly. Grey strikes the absolute perfect balance of action and rising tension, steamy sex scenes, and moments of quiet where you get to really know the characters. I love that her stories are never overly-complicated--no surprise endings, or red herrings, or twists--but the characters are complex and believable, and the story is none-the-less sweeping, with moments of breathlessness. 

Aargh. I suck at reviewing books I love. Suffice it to say, I have found Cornelia Grey to be a spectacular author, and this book is a shining example of her skill. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes m/m romance, fantasy, tricksters, honorable warriors, or MCs that seems like opposites, but fit together and compliment each other perfectly.

..*squishes reviews*

gennaio 08, 2013

New release: Benjamin Pepperwhistle and the Fantabulous Circus of Wonders

You all know by now that I'm... specialized in short stories. Well, here is my latest one - another gun!kink story, which you can find in Storm Moon Press' anthology Weight of a Gun II!



Cole Beauchamp is the greatest pistoleer of all time; he's also thoroughly unpleasant and has a habit of scaring away his assistants. But when he is sought out by a devotee with a love of guns that matches his own, Cole finds a new respect for Benjamin Pepperwhistle and the Fantabulous Circus of Wonders.

Excerpt:

The air inside the tent was hot, damp and heavy, and it seemed to grow thick like syrup, converging around that gun, as the dark-haired man took careful aim at the target. There was a moment of perfect quiet, when Benjamin found himself holding his breath, when even the dust motes hovering in the light seemed to still. There was only the tanned skin of the man's arm, the damp fabric of his shirt clinging to his back, and his strong hand, cupping the gun with such confidence that Benjamin felt consumed by a deep, wordless yearning.

When the man pulled the trigger, there was an explosion of smoke and sparks, the sulfuric smell of burnt black powder was blasted through the air, so intense and rough that it made Benjamin's eyes water.

That had to be the man he'd come looking for. There was no mistake.

The man swiped his hand over the hammer, reloading quickly. He shot again, and then again, and again—three rapid detonations, three bouts of smoke, three showers of sparks falling on the dry sand beneath the man's leather boots. When he stilled, a cloud of smoke lingered in the tent, seeping slowly from the crack left by the tent flap. Benjamin closed his eyes and inhaled it greedily, loving the sharp tang of it on his tongue. He opened them again, and saw— Saw that the man was staring at him, eyes black and gleaming, just like the gun now aimed at Benjamin's face.

"Don't make any sudden moves, or the last bullet will be for you."



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

gennaio 04, 2013

Guest post + Giveaway!

Hello, everyone, and happy new year! I hope you enjoyed your holidays and are now ready to tackle an awesome 2013 :)

To celebrate, I'd like to invite you to a great giveaway from Storm Moon Press. Commenting on my post at The Armchair Reader, you'll be entered in two drafts, with the chance of winning:

- one free ebook from my backlist
- one free ebook every month of 2013 from Storm Moon Press, for a total of twelve free ebooks!


Characters’ Goals: Climbing the Social Ladder?

(...) Of course, however, one can’t live as an adventurer forever; I understand that characters eventually need to settle down, because a life of adventure can only lead, eventually, to a violent death. But I don’t think I like this idea that climbing the social ladder must be the ultimate, most desirable goal for a character. I don’t like the idea that being a scruffy, down-to-earth character with dirty hands is undesirable, that a poor, modest life has to be negative.

Personally, I identify a lot more in character arcs pertaining, for example, to the Hobbits. After the adventure and the danger, they don’t evolve into posh-Hobbits: they don’t repudiate their simple life. They go back to it, a little wiser, a little wearier, and at the same time a lot stronger, and appreciate it even more after what they’ve been through, because they’ve seen how precious it is.

So, how does that reflect on my stories and my characters?

Read the rest of the post HERE!