And the Winner of The Griffin Cryer’s signed paperback is…

We needed someone attuned with the magic in The Griffin Cryer to select the winner of Julia Hughes’s giveaway. Who better than Nero?

What do you want me to do?


Are you sure? It’s a lot of responsibility!


Let me think about it…


Okay, I’m exhausted… Sean wins!


May I put the badge on now?


And the Winner of The Griffin Cryer’s signed paperback is…

Friday Snippet #37

Zen Moment

And here I am. Again. Sunny! All in all, another great week. Last Sunday, I posted my first video on YouTube. It was only possible thanks to my hubbie who patiently shot the video and then cut it and made it pretty. I’ll let you know that I look fat, but my accent is exactly right, and it was a surprise for a friend. In other news, I’m still exercising or walking every day, and I feel full of energy. Meanwhile, sales of my books have slowed down as expected, but I reached 51 paid downloads and that’s another new record. Plus, I’ve added a few drawings to my didlr page.

From All the Rainbow’s Colors:

By lunch time, I’m starving. I hide in the backyard, hoping nobody is going to find me, but there’s a couple sitting on my bench. From a distance, I can only see a pink cloud happily floating, but as I walk closer, some purple appears. Normally, I would leave them alone, but today I don’t feel magnanimous.

“Hi, Rachel. Hi, Matthew.” I sit on the bench, forcing them to scoop over.

“The backyard is big,” my sister points out.

“Hi, there, Ludmilla,” says Matthew, smiling his fake smile.

Everyone knows I hate being called by my name. Everybody. It’s moment like this, when I feel the urge of telling Rachel that Matthew doesn’t care for her. But, I would only be mean to her, and she wouldn’t believe me, anyway. Nobody would believe me.

“I normally seat here,” I answer my sister.

“Yes, but there is a bench over there.” Rachel is trying to be nice about it.

“I prefer this one, but thank you.” Maybe, just maybe, if Matthew hadn’t called me Ludmilla, I would’ve left.

“You are too… odd,” Rachel says, but she gets up and leaves, with boyfriend in tow.

“Thanks,” I answer to what she said, not to the fact that they are leaving.

It is true. I am odd. At the beginning, when everything started two years ago, I got scared. I was fourteen, and the colors used to give me horrible headaches. The army of doctors my parents contacted told me I don’t suffer from migraines. I’m not that sure, since I’m the one feeling the pain, not them. After countless hours of useless tests, the last specialist, a big-name professor who flew from another district, took a look at my brain, and said, “I have never seen anything like this.” And nothing else, just like that. No explanation whatsoever of why I see the colors.

Friday Snippet #37

The Cougar and the Cub

In the process of posting my Friday Snippet, I got sidetracked. Not that it takes me  great effort achieving distraction… it isn’t a coincidence my furry baby is a beagle. Anyway, looking for a pic to accompany my latest excerpt, I remembered just recently I asked my dear hubbie to shoot some pics of me and Nero. Applied some Paint.NET to the original and then I thought about an apt title. I think I nailed it.

Monica and Nero 2013

*Behind me, there’s part of Roberto’s and mine comic collection. Some of the magazines are still wrapped in their original bags. We collected double issues of the X-Men until we we got married, then we decided our relationship was serious enough to switch to one subscription. That’s love and commitment for you.

The Cougar and the Cub

Love is Love. Nothing Else Matters

A friend of mine, C.R.S., just posted a comment about my Ginecean Chronicles on Facebook and I must share.

Love is Love

“It’s day two of hearings in the Supreme Court regarding the equality of marriage for same sex couples and everyone is changing their profile picture to show support… A thought came to mind… how about if, in an alternate universe, it was it the other way around? What if in an alternate universe there were only same sex couples and heterosexual couples were “discriminated against by society and the Law”? Well…my friend Monica La Porta covers this topic in her “Ginecean Chronicles”…”

Love is Love. Nothing Else Matters

Friday Snippet #36

WP_20130322_017Another week, another snippet. It snowed during last night and part of this morning. Lunchtime now and this is the view from my desk. Considering going for a walk with Nero, but it’s quite chilly outside. Great news regarding Prince of War: Amy and I are working on its last chapters. I’m going through her corrections and positive we should reach the end soon. My rewriting of Her Book is almost done as well. I changed a few things at the very end because I’m tired of YA or NA (the new flavor of Young Adult, New Adult) following certain rules. Rant aside, the story makes more sense now.

I was a guest on Tweep Nation Podcast last Sunday and had lots of fun. Thanks to the promo for The Priest, and everybody who helped me on facebook and twitter, I sold forty-six copies of my titles. Forty-two of The Priest. Two of Pax in the Land of Women. Two of Linda of the Night. Again, it’s a big accomplishment for me.

For this week snippet, I’ve decided to post what follows directly after the last one. From the YA paranormal All the Rainbow’s Colors:

“Why don’t you wear something… sunnier?” Mom asks from the kitchen.

I make a pirouette while walking down the hallway, and I let my black multi-layered skirt fly all around me, along with the matching black, beaded scarf.

“And, what about that heavy dark makeup on your eyes?”

“Mom, it’s how I feel today,” I explain, already outside the door.

Rachel is laughing; I don’t care. She wouldn’t understand, anyway. She has been neon-pink for more than a month.

“Are you going out with Matthew, later?” I ask to make conversation before we transit.

I hate the transit. You are yellow when you open the door, and then you come out blue. Like this, in a second. Your molecules are broken down, and rebuilt back together, and you are a different person at the end of the transit. Dad says that it isn’t true, that I imagine things. They, Mom, Dad, Rachel, don’t see the colors trapped inside the black void of the transit.

“It’s our turn,” Rachel says,and points at the couple in line before us disappearing behind the door.

Friday Snippet #36

Julia Hughes

The Griffin Cryer web useToday, I have a special guest on my blog, author Julia Hughes. She just released a YA fantasy novel, The Griffin Cryer, which I recently read and highly recommend. One of the many five stars reviews this novel has already received says: Among the vast sea of titles labeled for young adult readers, The Griffin Cryer is a gem worth discovering. Julia Hughes’s novel is a fresh take on griffins’ folklore, and her fifteen years old heroine, redhead Frankie Shaunessy, is fierce and full of life. The story flawlessly intertwines the expected drama of a teenager in high school with the unexpected factor of parallel universes temporarily opening into ours. By calling her dog, Frankie accidentally summons a griffin and his Rider. What happens next is a ride full of action that will make you laugh and cry along the way. I couldn’t put the book down. For young adults and adults young at heart.”

Now, let’s read Julia’s answers to my eight questions.

When you were a kid you wanted to be…?

An Explorer! I wanted to find lost pyramids, discover the resting place of the Titanic, and be the first woman on the moon.

The first book you read was…?

I’m pretty certain my first ‘read alone’ was “One Rainy Night” written and illustrated by Pelagie Doane. It’s about a little girl who couldn’t resist the gentle patter of rain falling, and slipped out of her bedroom in her nightgown to explore the dark and rainy night.


You discovered you were quite good at writing when…?

My English teacher kept embarrassing me by reading out my work to the class. It wasn’t until recently that I had time to write a full blown novel, then I discovered just how much I still had to learn!

As a reader, your favorite genre is…?

In fiction: Thrillers – I’m also a proud beta reader for Stephen Spencer, an indie writer whose Paul Mallory Adventures are in my opinion amongst the best. Non fiction: I’m currently reading Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything.”

No, really, what’s that title you’re hiding in your kindle…?

LOL my last kindle read was “Linda of the Night” an excellent fairy tale, and I’m not hiding anything!


You write…?

With more passion than expertise – There are three Celtic Cousins’ Adventures – “A Raucous Time“; “A Ripple in Time” (check out the beautiful artwork on this one’s cover!) and “An Explosive Time“. “The Bridle Path” is my romance, I was enormously pleased when someone commented it read like an old fashioned Mills & Boon but with an edge!

Finally, “The Griffin Cryer” is my latest title, written for the YA audience, but suitable for anyone who’s ever dreamed of riding on the back of a griffin.

The praise about your writing you like the most is…?

Any! Seriously, I cherish each and every positive review – from the one liners “enjoyed this book!” to the most amazing readers who really make a connection and want to express more fully what they took from the story.

What’s next…?

“The Griffin Cryer” is to be published as a paperback, and should be available at all good bookshops, as well as your favourite online stores round about the 20th March. To celebrate, a free promotional run of “The Griffin Cryer” in ebook format is planned for 26th – 30th March. I hope your readers will grab a copy for their kindles – there’s also a free contest to win a signed paperback copy of “The Griffin Cryer” and entry couldn’t be simpler. Anyone leaving a comment on this post at your site will be entered automatically, or your readers can enter by ‘liking’ and leaving a comment on the Griffin Riders’ facebook page. Tweeters can follow and retweet Griffin Riders on Twitter for extra entries. In addition to the first prize, there’s also runners’ up prizes up for grabs – including all three “Celtic Cousins’ Adventures” in ebook format, and some very special prizes donated by the griffins of Ella-Earth.

Julia’s website: Julia Hughes

Tweet to @Tinksaid

The Griffin Cryer” is free from 26th March – 30th March – why not download a sample on your kindle now so you’re ready to roll with Frankie and friends!

Julia Hughes

Frittelle di San Giuseppe, deep fried stuff in Saint Joseph’s honor

Frittelle di San Giuseppe 2013

Today is March 19th, which in Italy is Saint Joseph’s Day, which is also Father’s Day. Since in my extended family there are three Giuseppe and several fathers, the day calls for a special treat. There’re several kind of sweets baked or deep fried on Saint Joseph’s Day, mine are based on a family recipe and they’re quite easy to make. But, first thing first: Auguri, Papa’, e Buon Onomastico!


1 cup and a half of Carnaroli Rice (nowadays, you can find Italian rice everywhere)

1 liter of milk (half of a half gallon of milk)

4 tablespoon of sugar (or more if you prefer the frittelle sweeter)

1 cup of raisins

zest from one lemon

1 large egg

2 tablespoon of self-rising flour

1 pinch of salt

canola oil for deep frying

powdered sugar

How to make the frittelle:

WP_20130319_001Mix in a pan rice, sugar, raisins, and milk. Let it cook at low temperature until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is done. If necessary, add milk and let it cook some more. When it’s done, cover the rice and let it rest for one hour. Then, add the lemon zest, the egg, and the flour. Mix thoroughly. Meanwhile, either use a deep fryer or fill a pan with enough canola oil to completely submerge the frittelle when frying them. Fry the frittelle in small batches and remove from oil when they are golden-brown. Let them cool on a rake. Finally, serve dusted with the powdered sugar.


Frittelle di San Giuseppe, deep fried stuff in Saint Joseph’s honor

Behind the fictitious world of Ginecea, the real Earth

Banner per post

Several decades ago, there was this girl who hoped she was a boy. Not because she didn’t like being a girl, but because she had been taught boys could do everything they wanted in life. It deeply angered her, but she didn’t think she could do anything about it. And so she grew, ugly duckling she was, with a black and white sense of right and wrong. She couldn’t stomach the injustices dealt on daily basis on the weaker links. She knew first hand.

The girl became a woman and had kids, a girl and a boy. She raised them to believe they could reach the moon and beyond if they wanted. Then, one day, she woke from a long, fuzzy dream and realized she could too travel to the end of the universe and back if she only dared. So she started writing. The first attempts were laudable, but lacked in fire. She needed to dig inside her soul to find the spark to ignite others’ minds. The answer was there, before her eyes. Kids were being bullied nowadays not because of belonging to the wrong, lesser gender, but because their affections were seen as sinful. Kids her children’s age lost the will to live in a society that wouldn’t accept them. Some of her dormant anger woke. She knew that society rules change and what is accepted now wasn’t a century ago.

What if, she thought, our world had evolved in a different way?

While listening to a woman standup comedian talking about the imminent demise of men due to the possibility of cloning oneself, several questions formed in her mind. What if our Earth was ruled by a matriarchal society? What if heterosexual love was considered a perversion? Who decides what’s right and wrong then? What happens to life as we know it?

Ginecea, the land of the women, was born that day. And with it the people inhabiting it with their hopes and dreams, strengths and flaws. Mauricio, the slave, and Rosie, the President’s daughter. Pax, the young, wealthy socialite, and Prince, a man who despite his name can’t decide of his own life. Couples who met by mistake and couldn’t help to fall in love. Men and women who have to fight to obtain the most basic right: the freedom to live their lives. But society is a behemoth whose power is gained and maintained by herding people, making them believe there is only one way to live. You are either in or out.

Thankfully, there’s always someone who thinks fighting for human rights is important. Or so the girl who turned to be a woman who went on writing believes. Even when the wrongs are made up.

Behind the fictitious world of Ginecea, the real Earth

Friday Snippet #35

Dandelion BluesSunny again in Seattle, which in a way matches my mood. This week was eventful, but productive. Monday, The Priest’s spotlight ad on Kboards was definitely a success and several bloggers were nice enough to play along. I moved 30 copies and it’s a record for me. I know the number won’t sound impressive, but it is for an obscure indie like me. The first book in The Ginecean Chronicles will be $0.99 until Monday, then it will be back to $2.99. The editing of Prince of War is slowly getting to the point where I can see the light and for that I’m happy too. Meanwhile, I’m still rewriting Her Book. Gaia’s story is a bit of a challenge, but the more I work on it the more I like it. For several reasons, I woke up every morning of the last seven days at unholy hours. First, it was Nero. Then, it was the security system’s battery setting off between 2:00 and 3:00am. Today, I had my first espresso at 3:15 am, apparently for no reason at all. It’s 5:00pm and I’m about to crash any minute now. But before posting my snippet, I’m happy to announce I’ll be on the Tweep Nation Podcast this coming Sunday the 17th at 6:00pm CDT. That is if I manage to sleep from now till then.

And now, for this Friday snippet, here are the opening lines of a project I started a year ago and abandoned. From the unfinished YA paranormal, All the Rainbow’s Colors:

It’s too cold to walk today. I look outside the window and there’s nothing I could be interested in. I should’ve my breakfast, but I can’t find anything I like. Today, I feel blue. Yesterday, I was orange.

The lady who lives in the complex in front of mine is already out. Normally, she comes out later. I lean out to have a better look at her. Yes, she’s definitely pastel pink. I’m tempted. I want to call her. Then, I remember I shouldn’t. I let her disappear behind the corner. I start to feel the first pangs of hunger. What can I do? I can go on until lunch, I’m sure. And then what? My nose is stuck on the window when I see it.

A color explosion. Melancholy Blue. Happiness Yellow. Rage Red. Tranquility Green. Falling in Love Pink. I can’t resist the call. I outreach my hand, and I splay my fingers.

“Milla! You are going to be late, again,” my sister, Rachel, calls from the hallway.

I close my hand in a tight fist.

“Milla! Hurry up. I’m done waiting for you,” Rachel adds.

“I’m coming,” I say, but I am still looking outside with longing.

Today, I don’t want to go to school. If it weren’t so cold, I’d walk. Walking charges me with positive energy, and when I finally step inside the classroom, I’m all yellow. When I’m yellow, school hours are bearable. Teachers aren’t boring. Students aren’t horrible. When I am yellow. But, today I woke up blue.

Friday Snippet #35