Writing and Reading log – April 2017

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From my recent not existing posts, it seems that I’ve taken an expected month of holiday.

April flew by and, without realizing it, I was swallowed whole by the routine and the fatigue.

I want to assure you that I’m doing another attempt to organize my whole life and writing habit and space. If I’m lucky, I’m at least on the right path to get there.

I thought then, that my first and last post of the month would be an update regarding my reading and writing, mostly because there are some changes.

As for my WIP, the good news is that I keep going on writing every day. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but at least it stays as a habit.

The biggest change I was talking about happened exactly about writing. Thinking about on what could optimize my time and my writing, I asked myself what was the one thing I always have with me. The reply was pretty obvious: my phone. As usual, you never notice the little things next to you and you bang your head senseless trying to find the solution that had been there from the very beginning.

Following there is the phase in which you feel the biggest idiot on Earth and then you move on!

All these words to say that I’ve started to use google drive on my phone.

I shared with my work pc the files containing my WIP, my blog posts, and the project in Italian that now took a final direction: fairytales (they’re set in my fantasy world but they’re just, well, fairytales!). I shared as well a couple of other files that will help me with the writing; wherever I’ll go, my babies will be with me.

I just got two big problems:

One – I don’t know yet where to place my plotting and my researching. This means that the Hunter Journal’s project is on hold, although I’m taking notes of everything I notice in the streets.

Also, the plotting for both the WIP (final touches) and the urban fantasy are on hold.

Two – I’ll have to copy all the words that had been already written on the notebooks. Form a very free calculation there must be around 32K words in there.

Hopefully, I’ll manage to sort the both of them.

From now on then, I’ll try to simplify the writeometer, let’s call it this way, values along with the book pages.

This way will let me have a tidier post and a reference for me, in case I want to track my progresses.

Word written for the WIP: 18,522 words

Fairy tales written: 3

Blog post written this month: 0 on 4 …oh what a shame!

Researching: N/A

Plotting: N/A

As for the reading, I’m still concentrating to narrow down the number of the books I’ve started a while ago.

I’m still reading some of them together, of course. Also, I’ve started and finished a new one and started a further new one.

So just to summarize:

There is no news for Irish ghost stories,

Wizards first rule, Memorie del sottosuolo, The wisdom of the dead man, A Song of Ice and Fire, Enciclopedia. Tutta la seconda Guerra Mondiale-volume 1, Irish Ghost Stories and Madame Bovary.

However, there is bit of improvement for the other titles:

Delitto e castigo – I’m at page 222 on 677.

City of bones – It’s finally finished.

The book thief – I’m at page 354 on 554.

Outlander – I’m at page 408 on 684.

Hunger – I’m at page 246 on 684.

I’ve read and finished The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne and I’ve started the Diary of Anne Frank.

And that’s it for the moment.

As usual, I’ll be very grateful for any advice you might want to share with me.

I wish you a nice bank holiday on the 1st of May and I hope I’ll be back posting once a week as intended.

At least I can promise you I’ll do my best to manage.

Oisín the great! – Review of Mad Grandad series  

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As you know from my previous posts, one of my favorite writers ever is Oisín McGann.

I followed two of his writing workshops and I appreciate him not only as writer but also as teacher.

I loved his young adult books I’ve read and I’m looking forward to read the rest, although I’m a very slow kind of reader.

A part from those books, what I was aiming to find were the ones for kids.

Now that Maya is in Junior Infant I had the excuse to buy them. She still cannot read, but she’s old enough to follow stories more complex than a fairy tale.

My only problem was that it’s not very easy to find them in book stores.

The first two I found were Mad Grandad and the flying saucer and Mad Grandad and the robot garden.

Maya absolutely loved them. And to be brutally honest with you, I loved them too, I was bent in two for the laughter.

Oisín is an honest writer. In his books, there is everything he teaches about writing: while you turn the pages, it seems you’re hearing his advices.

We should write simple things, something easy to be identified with, of course adding a twist that makes them even more interesting.

Simple elements are easily recognized. Readers would emphasize better with the characters and the story.

Take for example these first books, what’s more normal than going to spend the day with your grandpa? Everybody can relate to that!

But then, if you make the cool grandad bring his grandson to buy a flying saucer or to assemble a gardener robot that has been in the cellar for ages folded into a box, you add a simple twist that is hilarious!

However, after I spent almost two months reading in loop these two volumes as Maya forgot completely the other hundreds she has at her disposal, I thought it was the time to buy the rest.  

I ordered then online Mad Grandad’s wicked pictures, Mad Grandad’s doppelganger, Mad Grandad and the mutant river, Mad Grandad and the Kleptoes.

Let me tell you, my dear readers, if I laughed my ass off with the first two books, I did even more with the rest.

These books aren’t just funny, they’re clever, creative, brilliant and enormously real story-wise. You have the sensation, and you really wish, that these adventures might happen to you one day.

Oisín is genius and these books don’t disappoint even the adult readers, who are used to Oisín’s other novels.

In these last books I bought, grandad and Lenny have to deal with some paint from the 70s that come to life, with a couple of doppelgangers who wants to find friends, with a mer-model fished in a river and with some weird beings living in grandad’s couch.

I have to be honest with you, I was so sorry when I finished them, I wanted more.

But I wasn’t the only one! This is the dialogue with Maya following the last page of the last book:

“Mummy are we buying more?”

“Maya, I’m sorry, but this was the last Mad Grandad adventure in the series… Oisín wrote a couple of other books for kids and…”

“It’s Ok mummy, we can ask Oisín to write more!”

“Yes…”

I don’t know if we can ask, but we hope he will!

Meanwhile I’ll order the other three books I spotted, I’m sure that Maya and me will love them too.

Well done Oisín, keep up the good work!

Happy Paddy’s day! 

Despite being here for 10 years, I’ve never been at the parade! However, Maya wanted really to go this year, so it was set!

We arrived a bit late and there was no space left to watch it properly, but I enjoyed and loved what I managed to see!

My thoughts and love to the few friends I left in the monster factory. They’re working their asses off these days for sure!

I miss them and my funny blog posts following the madness! But I don’t miss that job!

Mostly, respect to those geniuses who found the following hack to watch the parade properly!

I’ll do that for sure next year! 

What I mean to say with this post is Happy Patrick’s Day, everybdy! 

I’m satisfied when I watch action scenes.

 

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Samurai squirrel!

        

In a way connected with my second last post, I’ll publish this.

I’m sorry to bother you, my dear readers, but I’m living a period at the moment where the main feeling is the one of being powerless. Everything seems happening continuously leaving me with no choice.

I need at least to feel I’m in control and powerful and strong in my head! And writing on my blog helps a lot!

I think I am an eclectic type of person. It is very difficult to find something I dislike; actually, you can count the things I don’t like on the fingertips of the two hands.

Besides, with the time passing by, I realized that things I didn’t like before have become very interesting, like the second world war.

In these pages, little by little you’re discovering what I really love and I’m very passionate about.

With this post, you’ll discover something more!

I love martial arts and, as you gathered from my previous blog, I’d love to be stronger and cooler! I used to go to karate lessons during middle high school and, as far as I remember, I’ve never felt better and more self-confident in my life.

Although I haven’t done something like it for ages, I never stopped to be interested in the field and also, I’ve never said no to an action/ martial art film or TV shows.

To be brutally honest, the reason why I’m writing this post is trying to understand, through writing, why I feel so good and satisfied when I watch action scenes.

I think I’ve always been like it. I remember I used to watch Steven Segal’s films in loop when I was younger.

I guess everything was connected to the fact I did karate for three years when I was ten.

It was probably the most peaceful time ever, I felt good, I felt relaxed, understood, in my place, self-confident.

I was an entirely, totally different person or so I remember my old self as this. I wish I can recreate the same effect.

At the moment, as you know, I’m very stressed, and also, I have no spare time. Because of that I wouldn’t be able to look for a gym and start lessons of any martial art at all. Mostly, adding up to all that, you should consider that my back is very weak.

I guess that watching action scenes is a kind of palliative. They recall the sensation and makes me feel relaxed.

So sometimes when I feel a bit sad or restless or even angry I watch a film where the main themes are fights and action.

On this respect, I found out a couple of years ago that Chinese films are perfect for stress release.

They’re so packed with action and so poor of dialogue and, sometimes, of plot, that they’re like a full immersion for an emergency treatment.

How do you vent?

Watching what, exactly, makes you feel better?

Write to me in the comments below!

Writing and Reading log – February 2017

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I meant to write this post two days ago, my dear readers, but I didn’t really manage!

I have to say that, a part from a recent setback, I’m proceeding both with my reading and my writing, slowly but constantly.

As for my WIP, I keep going on with my writing 3 pages a day. I finished the first notebook and the second one is starting to get that shape of lived paper I love. I’m confident enough that I’ll be soon tackling the notebook number three.

On the back of my head I still have that angry voice telling me that I’ll regret this hand-writing thing when I’ll have to type my book into a Word file.

However, I manage to keep this voice at bay telling her that, at least, now my novel is going on steadily.

I’m optimistic today! If I keep going like this, I’ll manage to finish, not only this novel, but all the ones I’ve planned…sooner or later!

True that I’m behind of a few pages lately, but this might always happen.

I’m just happy that, otherwise, this has become a habit, this was my goal.

Next goal is to become able to post a blog every week.

I didn’t manage last week, for example, but I’ll try my best.

Maybe introducing one small goal per time I’ll manage. True is that my spare time is still the same, but It’s a good challenge and I’m on it!

 

As for the reading, I’m still trying to narrow down the number of the books I’ve started a while ago.

However, since old habits are hard to die, I’ve brought on three of them together and I’ve started again the audiobook Shadow magic, as I didn’t remember the beginning.

So just to summarize.

There is no news for Outlander, Hunger, Irish ghost stories,

Wizards first rule, Memorie del sottosuolo, The wisdom of the dead man, A Song of Ice and Fire, Enciclopedia. Tutta la seconda Guerra Mondiale-volume 1 and Madame Bovary.

However, there is big improvement for the said three titles:

Delitto e castigo – I’m at page 202 on 684.

City of bones – I’m at page 348 on 506.

 The book thief – I’m at page 120 on 554.

 And that’s it for the month of February.

I’m sorry because this month you’ll see two post on the same topic!

As mentioned, I’m trying to get more persistent on this and I’m confident that I’ll reach the point where I’ll blog constantly with no problem.

As usual the problem is I’m not very organized, but still open to advice.

So, in case you have any good one, please write to me in the comment.

Have a lovely day!

I’d love to be like her!

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Google search. Love One Piace small Robin!

Maybe one of the most interesting part of being a writer or at least an aspiring writer is getting the ability to live someone else’s life.

You can live through your writing the life of someone similar to you or someone totally different, or someone who you would like to be, it doesn’t really matter.

As for me the characters I love more and I enjoy more to write about are those whose lives I would like to live or the ones I’d never dare to live, like the villains.

It’s not a secret I’m a bit boring and I live a very anonymous life. However, giving a hint of my character to my fictional creations, I can write scenes where I live fully, I dare, I fight, I ride horses, I find a dragon, I use magic and so on…

Likewise, when I read a book or I watch a film or a TV show, when I see a character I like, I start to think how she’s so much better compared to me and how much I would like to be more like her.

True is that, if you take this awe and admiration as push to improve yourself, it might be useful as well.

Following I decided to make a list of fictional characters – it doesn’t matter if from books, films, TV shows, manga or anime – whom I’d love to be alike, at least for a piece of their behavior or attitude!

Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games: I’d love her strength, her practical expertise and her ability to land on her feet after a fall.

Hermione Granger from Harry Potter series: I love her knowledge, her ability to remember so many things after reading them only once.

Sara Lance from Arrow universe: I love her strength and commitment. She’s just cool.

Claire Randall Fraser from Outlander: I’d love to have her spirt of adaptation and her ability to heal won’t hurt either.

Lagertha from Vikings: She’s strong, she’s a warrior and only a greater good can convince her to come to a compromise.

Charlie from Supernatural: she’s smart and nerdy, bust she’s brave as well, sometimes pushing herself over her limits.

Mrs. Errol, mother of Little lord Fauntleroy: she’s a great mother and a great woman. I wish I could be like her.

Molly Weasley from Harry Potter series: she’s a great mother too. I might identify a couple of traits with her as she worries about everybody and caring for them; but at the same time, she’s strong and brave and daring. She can endure whatever pain and offence, but if you’re touching the family, you’re in deep trouble.

Robin from One Piece: she’s a pirate, the one kind I love most – which is the villain with a big heart – but she’s extremely cultured, brave and strong.

I think that’s it, there might be more, but I’m still on time for a later update!

Actually, writing down the names I realized I have a pattern.

I’d basically love to be braver, stronger, a better mother and have a wider culture.

What I can promise you is that I’ll try my best to be braver, stronger and a better mother. Not sure of what the result will be, but still I’ll do it!

How about you, my dear readers?

Is there anybody you’re admiring so much that you would like to be more like her or him?

Let me know in the comments below!

Thoughts about gratitude.

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Me and Maya! 

 

One of the things I hear more often lately and I come across on social media, is how important gratitude is. Even on health perspective, it seems that being grateful would make you feel physically better.

I have to admit, instead, that since the beginning of last year, I’ve become increasingly pessimist. I wasn’t like it when I was younger, but getting repeatedly hit by the reality and hate of surrounding people, left next to zero room for much more.

However,  in the past couple of months I also realized that being pessimist and keeping to regret everything and to moan and wine about what the hell have I done to deserve such a horrible future, put me in deeper and deeper crap!

Suddenly my brain underwent for an unexpected change in the way of thinking!

I don’t know exactly what made me change the way of seeing things or at least is pushing me in the right direction, but I can see this is the right way of doing it and hopefully managing it.

The truth is that our world is full of sadness and injustice. There are far too many violent people to my taste. Women are still treated like dirt in an unbelievable number of countries in this century.

Religion brainwash people and is excuse enough to kill, being violent, use strength when the basic commandment is to love each other. 

Greed has become the new god; people cheat, betray and kill for more money, more fame, for boredom. Are we seriously freaking kidding?

Where is the love, respect, trust, humanity? Are they still alive? It’s because of these thoughts and because of this disgust I feel that that I started to modify the way I’m thinking.

True, there are many people who have more, for whom things are easier. On the other hand, however, there are an infinity more sick, poor, in awful condition, victim of injustice or abuse. Who think to those?

My boiler is gone Ok, no drama, I have an emergency electric system. And luckily I have the money at least to afford heaters and the high bill that will follow.

We feel sick? It’s nothing, I always touch wood for the health but, as far as this time around was concerned I was lucky to afford the doctor and the medicines. 

And that’s it, that is how simple it becomes to concentrate on what you have and not what you’re missing compared to the others.

I’m so grateful I have a job, a roof on my head, a loving partner, a gorgeous daughter, a caring mum, a trustworthy brother, a sweet sister in law and a big dream.

I believe that until I’ll have the strength to dream everything will be sweeter and, to some extent, easier to face.

This is to begin with and, compared to several hundreds of people who struggle to find something to put on the table every day, this is more than enough.

I was given an advice: fill a jar with piece of paper, on each piece of paper write what made you happy that day or week or month. At the end of the year, I’m to open the jar and read what I’ve been happy for and this should change my point of view and perception on my life. It’s unbelievable the number of things we forgot we should be grateful for. I started my jar and I realized that even my attitude is different, because now not only I notice nice things happening to me, but I’ll try to see the nice perspective in order to fill the jar.

My advice is to try.

On some extent, it’s understandable being negative, it’s easier to complain about what we don’t have rather than analyze and be content with what we have already.

It’s not a nice way of behaving but it’s the common way of reacting. We’re used to have what we want and the most of the time we have it. Or at least a big chunk of population has.

We don’t realize that everything we have is a gift and it might be as just easy as losing everything suddenly and find ourselves in the street in a blink.

What do you think about it?

How do you stay positive?

Write to me in the comments below!