Saturday, July 27, 2019

Meanwhile in Finland...

As the rest of the northern hemisphere is suffering from heatwaves, here in Finland we had quite an unstable situation weatherwise.
With a gorgeous spring and summer that brought relatively pleasant temperatures of above 25 C, we had a mid-June and July where the short sleeves were a luxury allowed only indoors, as temperatures dropped dramatically from 25 to 10 C.
The situation started to change last week when finally the temperatures returned to the normal level of 25-30C.
Finnish people are not generally used to temperatures higher than 25C and for them is almost inconceivable to survive at 30C.

I come from Italy, my best memories of the Summer were the ones of my childhood, when we went to spend the Summer holidays to the house of my grandmother together with my cousins. My grandmother’s house had a beautiful and large terrace, which could accommodate two large families sleeping outside, but this was a choice only us kids took into consideration because it was definitely more comfortable to sleep in the bed, rather than in a mattress on the hard floor.

At those times, the nights could be quite hot, and as the days reached 35-40C, the nights didn’t go lower than 30C.
For this reason, we thought it would have been smart to place our pillows on the refrigerator during the day and sleep on a frozen pillow during the night.

Obviously, the temperature of the pillows rose quickly but slow enough to allow us to at least fall asleep on a cool pillow.

For me, temperatures of 35-40 C are something I am used to and, to be honest, I can also enjoy, so when the weather bulletin advise remaining home because outside it might reach even 30 C (which is not even a promise but an eventuality), and people start to be worried, allow me a giggle.
Today, since the temperatures might eventually reach 30, the weather forecast named this day a “sweat-inferno.”

*eye rolls*

And my mind goes back to my homeland…
Where temperatures of 42C are delighting the population… (allow me the sarcasm).
But this is how it goes, for those who are not used to hot weather a slight rise in the temperature might feel like something unbearable and the beauty of the world lies just on the differences of the earthlings.

Therefore, in this sunny, hot and lovely weather, I think I am going to wish you all a fantastic weekend.
I will enjoy the emptiness of the streets by going for a ride with my bicycle.
Stay hydrated and stay cool!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

A city and its Jazz festival: Pori - Finland

Finnish Summer is a short season, but full of interesting events all over the country that give the chance to rediscover places we’ve never been, or we’ve skipped during our journeys.

One of these is the city of Pori, located on the west coast of Finland, and founded in 1558 by a Swedish duke, who became king of Sweden in 1568 with the name of John III. In the beginning, the residents were only 300, and they were not voluntary residents, who were relocated from other places.

Nevertheless, they soon recognized the advantages of their new city and soon started profitable trades, which the most important was the building of ships.

During the years from its foundation to modern times, Pori has suffered a few conflicts; it has been destroyed and rebuilt, but generally, it has lived a fairly quiet existence.

Nowadays the city has a population of 84318 inhabitants, which makes it the 11th largest city of Finland with a density of population of 101 inhabitants per square kilometer.
The city itself is something recommended to be visited and seen, because of its beautiful parks, cozy urban area, and summer happenings.
One of these is quite famous and attracts tourists from all over Europe.
I am talking about the Pori Jazz festival, which was established in 1966 and is one of the major jazz festivals in Europe and one of the largest cultural events in Finland. It is a festival that lasts for nine days, and it is held in July, the warmest (we are stretching here a bit) month in Finland, together with the main holiday season.

Many international artists performed here such as B. B. King, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Kanye West, Santana and yesterday Christina Aguilera.

The festival is held all over the city but mainly in Kirjurinluoto Park, which arena can hold an audience of more than 30000 people.


Pori is about 220 km away from Helsinki, but regardless this, yesterday after work we took our car and left for the concerts that were scheduled for the day, and we spend the day in the beautiful atmosphere of the park.

Despite the fact that we returned home at 3:00 am when the sun started to rise (well it didn’t really set), I considered it a great way to start the weekend, and I am wondering how could I wake up after five hours of sleep without feeling tired at all. That must be the magic of the open-air concerts.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

There is a new release on the horizon!

It’s not me the one who is a quite a prolific writer, the fact is that my editor took quite a long time to edit my previous novel otherwise it would have been released on February, instead of May, and now I have a new release coming up the end of next month.
I have mentioned in another blog post that this would be a historical novel and that it is going to be set in the Imperial Rome during the last period of the emperor Hadrian, just after the third Jewish revolt.
The choice of the title has been quite challenging because I wanted to have an original name, something that can really distinguish my work. Now here are some of my biggest struggles. For the previous series, Deadly Deception, I had to come to the compromise and accept the fact that there were at least twenty books from twenty different author with the same title. This is not generally an issue, as there isn’t a copyright on titles, so I went on with that.
This time I did accurate researches and came out with a title that certainly is unique, do you want to know it?
Of course: “Aquila et Noctua.”

Or “The Eagle and the Owl.” The reason why I put the title in Latin has two reasons, one because the English version was already overused, and so were all the possible variants I could figure out for it. Therefore, as I was in Italy with my sister, it came to me the idea of translating in Latin. besides, that was the language used in Rome, so for these two reasons, I decided to go on with that idea.
I am sure you are wondering what the idea behind the title is. The eagle represents the Roman Empire and its army. Particularly because all starts with the final defeat of the Jews by the massive military campaign planned by emperor Hadrian.

The main character of the novel is a Jew boy, Saul, who is brought to Rome to be sold as a slave. Despite the young age he is gifted not just with grace and beauty, which would make a slave particularly appreciated by any potential buyer, but also with wisdom.
He will be the catalyst of the internal fracture inside the family he will go to serve, and his gifts will bring him into troubles any slave would like to avoid.

Once again the themes of jealousy, revenge, fractured families, will be punt in contrast with the themes of love, hope and forgiveness.
Because of the traits of the main character and his tight bond with the Roman Empire, I came out with the eagle and the owl.

In nature, the eagle and the owl are both mighty predators, but they hold different characteristics, at least in their symbology. Those two qualities were perfect to be highlighted in the title as they incorporate perfectly the main players in this tale.

I am still going to figure out the blurb, and…

What? You want to see the cover?

I guess you’ll need to wait for the cover reveal… a little suspense LOL.

But fear not, it won’t take long, and I will soon make an official cover reveal. I am now planning the marketing strategy, so I am delivering informations day by day.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Authors and Marketing... do or die (or?)

I have to be honest, I haven't had the time to make any sort of marketing during this... ok since a few months.
The problem starts with a vicious circle, follow me:

Question: what is a writer?
A writer is a person who can bring to life stories that are only in her mind. The creative power is his/her best ally, and sometimes he/she is blessed with an overflow of ideas that need to be bled literally on the paper (or on the screen, if you prefer).
Therefore the writer writes, and if he/she wants to survive, she also needs to produce something new with a certain frequency (I can't do more than three novels a year).

Now the problem I find myself stuck in is the time factor. In my everyday life my day starts at six am with a merciless alarm clock, within 30 minutes (on summer when I use my bicycle), or 50 minutes (on winter when I walk) I am at work in my office.
My day has not a steady routine, and things can go from the normal 7,5 hours a day to the part take-the-first-plane-and-reach-the-working-site. In that case, it means that all hell broke loose and I will have to stay away from home between one day or a week.

Let's say that my day is blessed and I get out at 15:00, maximum 16:00 I am home.
Take care of the evil bunny and the regular chores, write some more of the next novel and research for it, and we are at 18:30 when together with my husband I enjoy my dinner and evening until 21:00.

At that point, I write some more, plan the next cover and blurb, check what's going on on the social, prepare some new banner ideas posts for the following day, and it is already 22:30... time to go to sleep, if I want to wake up the morning after and be effective at work.

The only time I have to learn something about marketing is during the weekends when also my brain needs some recharging, and I am, threrefore, less effective.
My question is that you don’t learn to be a marketer in a couple of days or neither in a couple of years unless you are going to learn it full time. Full time is a luxury I don’t have, and if I have to start really to learn marketing, using the few minutes a day, it will take me other 20 years.

Do I have 20 years in my life to dedicate and learn marketing? Yes.
Is it worth it? Probably not because marketing is something that evolves with the time.

20 years of learning the basics and I will find myself with outdated knowledge I have no use for.
Moreover, I would like to sell something before 20 years.

So should find a marketer who has experience with new authors who are starting their journey, so they do not have an established readership. I need someone to take me from where I am to a steady and constant organic sale.

I believe that few of us, indie authors, are able to manage to learn marketing strategies and succeed to gain readers and sell a discreet amount of books. We are not all the same, and particularly I am the worst marketer in this world. It is just not my cup of tea, I can write, and that’s what I do, but at a certain point, I would also love to reach a wider audience.

The dilemma of an indie writer goes on….

What have I learned?

 Life is made of learning steps. Every day we learn something new, either about ourselves, someone else, the world around us, a new skill, o...