Fresh Paint and Insomnia

There are advantages in sleeping less and less. Sanity slips away, but creativity gets a boost. My latest digital oil painting is inversely inspired by the grayest sky I’ve ever seen during summertime. Before I’ll lose my ability to articulate understandable thoughts, let it be known I like Fresh Paint quite a lot.

Summer Thoughts

Summer Thoughts

Fresh Paint and Insomnia

Fresh Paint and Long Flights

One of the worst things that can happen on a ten hours flight is when the little screen screwed on the seat in front of you doesn’t want to cooperate. It happens. A lot. That is why I fly organized for the worst. My plan is to go through batteries. Once the phone dies, I switch to the laptop, then to the zune—I’m one of the few people on planet Earth who actually bought not one but two zunes and still loves them—then to the kindle. Rinse and repeat for every single flight.

On the last flight coming back from Paris, I tried Fresh Paint on my Acer Aspire—one of the sexiest laptops ever produced.

Paesaggio Campestre

Paesaggio Campestre

Fresh Paint and Long Flights

Richard Phillips

"I promise you that Richard Phillips is going to be a popular and influential writer, period." Orson Scott CardRecently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading Richard Phillips’s Once Dead’s rough draft. Judging from it, the latest Jack Gregory adventure is shaping up to be one exciting read. Phillips is one of my favorite trad authors and his series, The Rho Agenda, introduced me to high tech/thriller  science fiction. With a bio that makes you wonder if he’s writing non-fiction, Phillips is one of the most influential science fiction authors and also one of the most popular authors today. The Rho Agenda series has more than two thousand 4 star reviews on Amazon and it is a must read if you like fast-paced action, alien technology, strong characters, international intrigue, domestic affairs gone wrong, and the hint of romance.


Mr. Phillips was gracious enough to answer my 8 questions.

1) When you were a kid you wanted to be…?

An astronaut or a cowboy, maybe a combination of both … something like Captain Malcolm Reynolds in Serenity.

What about a space opera novel in your future? As a fan of Firefly, I love the mention.

2) The first book you read was…?

Robert A. Heinlein’s ‘Have Spacesuit, Will Travel’.

3) You discovered you were quite good at writing when…?

I’m still working on that one.  I love to read and try to learn from other authors whose novels I enjoy.

What a humbling attitude. New authors should learn from you.

4) As a reader, your favorite genre is…?

I have two: Sci-Fi and Thrillers.

I must admit, as a classic science fiction/space opera aficionado, I never cared for science fiction/thrillers before I read The Second Ship.

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

Kindle(s) … I have a bunch of them.  It’s no secret.  One of my all-time favorites is Watchers by Dean Koontz.

I’ll give it a try.

6) You write…?

To entertain.  I write to provide my readers an opportunity to mentally put the real world out of their minds for a little while.  Some call my novels escapism, some call them beach reads.  Either is just fine with me.  I’ll let others with better skills than mine expound on the day to day problems we all face.

I read all your novels while walking around my neighborhood. So, you can add walker companion and exercise facilitator to the list of names. I walked miles and miles thanks to your stories.

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

Orson Scott Card saying: “I promise you that Richard Phillips is going to be a popular and influential writer, period.”  I was deeply honored by it.

Well, that’s a compliment!

8) What’s next…?

After the publication of Once Dead this fall, I’m signed up for two more Jack ‘The Ripper’ Gregory novels that occur prior to The Rho Agenda trilogy.  Then I plan on revisiting some of the surviving characters from The Rho Agenda and the changed world in which they find themselves.  After that … I’ll just have to see how many of the stories that are percolating in my head I can get around to telling.

Can’t wait to read Jack Gregory’s new stories. I’ve become a great fan of the Ripper and of Janet and can’t have enough of them. It would also be interesting to read what happens to the new world left after Wormhole.

Mr. Phillips, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. It was a real pleasure having you on my blog.

For the latest information regarding Richard Phillips’s work, please visit his Rho Agenda Blog.  

Richard Phillips

Friday Snippet #44

Finestra sull'Umbria SketchedGray outside. Gaia is in the hands of the editor once again. It took me a long time to implement his corrections and add my changes. Hopefully, this second time around it will go faster. Meanwhile, I’m working on Elios. A nightmare. I must rewrite the whole 90k words. The first 80 pages are mostly inner monologue. Although there’s a good reason for that—Elios is an Observer—the story can’t stand on its own the way it is written now. I don’t look forward to the task ahead.

From Gaia (still a working title):

It was Wednesday afternoon, and Sara was checking the weather to see if we could finally go for a hike somewhere nearby. I was trying to focus on something on TV while Pallino had decided to sleep on my lap.

“Spending a few days away from Seattle is going to help you reconnect with the rest of the world,” Sara said.

“Is that so?”

“Yes, it’s been proven that open air is beneficial for the health of the gray matter. In your case, there isn’t a lot left to save, but still.”

Suddenly, the doorbell rang, and I jumped, surprised because we weren’t expecting any of our friends. Pallino woke up, irritated by my lack of manners.

Sara went to see who it was when I felt it. I felt him.

I knew exactly who was behind that door before she reached the other room. I sat down on the first chair I found because I couldn’t stand up, couldn’t breathe. I just wanted to scream.

Elios had come back.

Friday Snippet #44

Friday Snippet #43

15 in Dystopian June 2013 single shotSlightly confused, probably still jetlagged, but mostly bereft. Family matters required some travelling, and it normally takes me a few days to get back to my routine. This time, it took me slightly more.

Last week, thanks to an ad on Kindle Books and Tips, The Priest, discounted for the occasion to 99 cents, reached #15 on the the dystopian category on Amazon, and #64 on the science fiction category. It maintained that position for a few days which has driven sales for Pax in the Land of Women, and a trickle for Prince at War as well, and even for Linda of the Night. Meanwhile, Pax—also temporarily discounted to 99 cents—was featured on Bookblast and although it reached only one tenth of the number of downloads of The Priest—as it was to be expected being a second in a series—it still managed to reach #71 in the paid dystopian category. Thanks to the surge in downloads, The Priest has also received two new reviews. The lesson here is that good advertising pays. Unfortunately, good advertising is difficult to get. Step by step.

Yesterday, I finished all my corrections and rewriting on Gaia—still I haven’t decided on the final title—and I sent it back to the editor. It feels so strange to have nothing to correct and rewrite. I’ve been in editing mode for so long, not sure I know what to do with my day. I’ll probably go for a walk.

Finally, here’s the snippet I hinted in the post’s title, which is actually a little piece of flash fiction I wrote one or two years ago for a contest  and slightly revisited for Father’s Day.


“Daddy, Daddy! Look up!” Lucille glides weightlessly, skirting rocks and grass.

“The night is bright,” Dad says, closely following her.

“Look at the round light!” Lucille happily somersaults. “It’s so yellow, and so big, and so shiny. Can you catch it for me?”

“For you, my sweet fry, the Moon and the Stars aren’t enough!”

Koi Delight

Friday Snippet #43