Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Berlin wall: 30 years anniversary

This post comes a little later than usual, but I have a good reason for it. Friday and Saturday, I was in Germany with my work colleagues, and there hadn't been any chance for me to write my weekly post. Nevertheless, this trip gave me the perfect topic for this weekly post.
In 1989, I was a sixteen years old teenager, and couldn't travel to Germany when finally the Berlin wall, which divided the city of Berlin into two parts, fell. This started the process that brought the following year to the reunification of Germany.
Since 1949, Germany had become two separated countries; the Federal Republic of Germany, run by the allies (France, UK, and the USA) and the German Democratic Republic, run by the Soviet Union.
The city of Berlin was within the territory of East Germany. Yet, it was divided and shared between the allies and the Soviet Union.
In August 1961, the East German communists were given the go-ahead by Moscow to close the border and build a physical barrier: The Berlin wall.
It was constructed initially as a barbed-wire fence overnight, to contrast the immigration of young and educated citizens to the west.
Although it has passed three decades since the reunification of Germany, there are still significant cultural differences between the people living in West and East Germany.
Those differences in lifestyle, wealth, political beliefs, and other matters remain. It is still common to hear people talking about eastern and western Germany as if they ere still two different countries.
Here, Germany and Europe were divided until 10 December 1989 at 10:15 am
Nowadays, Berlin, despite the differences between the two sides of the city, is one of the most fascinating cities for its impressive architecture, the cultural heritage, the museums, and history.
Besides the must-see historical places, like the remnants of the wall, of the checkpoint Charlie, and the Brandenburg Tor...




 
it offers one of the most intriguing and eye-catching architectural design that make this city beautiful and unique.
A city that made of its internal diversity its strength and point of attraction, and where the past of classical architecture meets the audacity of the present days.
It's a city that certainly is able to impress for the ability of their architects to find interesting solutions that can use shapes and materials to create a harmony of forms and reflections.

As usual, I wished I had more time to explore the city and its beauties, but it was enough to have a taste of it and pinpoint a place where I will surely return one day.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

It's birthday week


It has been three years since the day when, for the first time in my life, I have pressed the 'publish' button on what it was back in the days CreateSpace of Amazon.
It was for my novel "A Tale of a Rough Diamond."
For this milestone and birthday, I have set up a deal, and from the rest of the month, my debut novel is going to be priced 0.99 $ ONLY ON KOBO!:
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-tale-of-a-rough-diamond

The reason why I hadn't put the sale on Amazon is that the book is not inserted in Kindle Unlimited, so I cannot set a limited time deal.

If you haven't had the chance to read it, I am going to explain the reason why you should not miss this deal.
About the story:
At first, it is a tale of a dysfunctional wealthy family. From the outside, everything seems as perfect as in a fairy tale, and even for the main character, Stephan, who finds himself dealing with a careless mother and a jealous brother, things seem to go almost fine, until all hell breaks loose, and due to his restless nature, he will find himself framed in a crime and going to jail .
Everything seems lost, and Stephan will have to fight not only for his own life but for the justice he deserves.
It is a tale of deception, and indeed not everything or anyone is the one it seems to be.
Every character has his/her own purpose, and whether from the outside, they might seem to act in a despicable way; for some of them, it is a mean to cope with unspeakable traumas.
It is a tale that gives the chance to look deeper into the soul of people before judging them.

If you want to know more, here are a couple of excerpts featuring the hero and the villain:

The Villain:
Roger looked at his hands. They were shaking – that nervous shake he’d learned to recognize and deal with a long time ago. His head felt as if it were going to explode, so strong was the pain he felt.
He reached for the cabinet, where he kept the first-aid kit and took a couple of analgesic pills. He knew they wouldn’t really help, but he took them anyway.
He was expecting two guests, both very important. The first one didn’t worry him at all, as he knew he could easily be dealt with.
The second one, however, was on a totally different level. The success or failure of all he had built so far was at stake – his firm, his career, his wealth, and his own life. That was the reason for the restless state of his mind, that made his hands shake and his head ache.
He looked anxiously at the clock. There was still time, but it seemed as his heart had a different perception of time, and it started to race in his chest. He took a couple of deep breaths and went to sit in the armchair behind his desk.

He made himself comfortable, sinking into the soft leather, and closed his eyes to regain some calm. He thought about what the deal of the game was, and how the success of both the meetings was to be achieved. Success was not an option.

The Hero:
Stephan waited in the darkness, feeling nervous and excited at the same time. Every time he was at that exact spot, waiting for the car of Reece stopping by or for Jonas to whistle him about his arrival, he felt the adrenaline rush, foretasting another adventure with his mates.
A couple of whistles, and he understood his friend arrived, just in time, before that restlessness on the background of his turmoil, would have overwhelmed the excitement and he would have ran away, scared like a child.
“It was about time, where is Reece?” asked Stephan.
“He is waiting in the car a couple of blocks away from here, there was a cop car parked there,” he said, pointing the entrance of a shop.
Jonas walked fast and barely exchanged a single word with him, like he generally used to do.
Stephan didn’t say anything either, but his behavior made him more nervous than he already was.
“Come on guys, we don’t have the whole night,” said Reece impatiently.
“What’s the matter with you tonight, it seems like we’re going to rob the Central Bank in the middle of the day,” said Stephan.
“Shut the fuck up, kid. We are not going to a party,” hissed Reece as he drove as fast as he could to their target.
Stephan could tell, when Reece had been drinking, and knew that he could become quite dangerous; therefore he sat down on the backseat of the car and remained silent as Reece ordered.
As they arrived in front of their target, Reece remained still for a moment, like he was hesitating and was almost ready to give up everything. “Fuck that!” he mumbled.
“Come on let’s go!” Reece added as he got out of the car.
“OK, kiddo, do your trick,” Jonas whispered.
It was a matter of a couple of minutes and the door opened, then a few seconds, and the alarm was put to sleep.
“Jeeha!!” Jonas exulted as they all got inside the house.

The small group of friends dispersed to the different rooms of the house, looking for something to rob that could give them some small wealth.

I hope you will give it a chance, and that you will give me your impressions/feedbacks about it.
If I grabbed your attention, and you want to know more about me and future deals, you might want to consider joining my Newsletter.
I do send news, fun facts, bonus material, and exclusive deals, to my subscribers once a month, and whenever something new happens, like when I am delivering ARCs, for example.
Here is the link to join:
http://eepurl.com/dny4RL

That will be all, and as usual, I wish you a great weekend.

Paula



Saturday, October 12, 2019

Fall has arrived, what does it mean?

Well, if we think about Fall in the general idea of the term, it just means the start of a very depressing season, which is winter.
Yet, there is more, and there are as many meanings as there are human beings on this planet. We all have different feelings towards it.
For some people, it means the starting of the spring with blooming colors, the green of the grass, and flowers.
For others, it means getting cozy in front of a fireplace, or wrapped into a warm blanket on the couch reading a book, or watching the snow falling.
What I mean with different meanings, is the memories we carry inside our souls, those that give a real feeling when we simply spell the word fall.
I have had the chance to live the Fall season in three different wonderful countries. Italy, Germany, and Finland. I have been visiting many places, but those meant for me the everyday life for a specified period. Italy for 28 years, Germany for 4 years and Finland for 15 years.
Each place gave me different feelings, and all of them, I am treasuring in my heart.
Italy has the taste of my childhood. Of the times before the Internet, mobile phones, computers. Most of them convey to one single place, or to be precise to one single item, the iron cast wood burning stove of my grandmother.
Every fall, we would have gathered the whole family to help my grandmother to store the wood she ordered to be delivered at home. The truck arrived and unloaded the pile of chopped wood in front of her house. There, we would have spent one whole day to bring them in the wood storage that was on the entrance of her home, a large room placed at the entrance divided from the rest of the house. Since she didn't have any other heating system in her house other than two iron cast stove and another wood burning heater.


That meant a huge amount of chopped wood to be stored for the winter.
Another tradition was roasting the chestnuts on that stove, and that was something that still brings me a broad smile on my face. Our family, when still my grandmother was alive, was almost always gathered in her house.
The years I have spent in Germany meant the starting for the preparation for the Christmas market. Some cities have their traditional Christmas market already in November. Therefore, October was a time when we started thinking about where to go for the Christmas Market.

At that time, I was studying at university. That meant that December I would have spent the time back at home in Italy, and we wouldn't have the time to visit them all, or at least not together.
In Europe, we do not celebrate Halloween. We do have the celebration for all saint's day. This means going to visit the graveyards, (although this is something we do regularly, for that day we bring special flowers and candle lights). Some people go to church in honor of the dead people, but that would be all the celebrations. Some fairs are organized last for the two-three weeks between October and November, but nothing spook-related.
Since I started to live in Finland, Fall means mostly the amazingly beautiful colors with which nature gives a good night, before being immersed in the long darkness of the winter. People get together in the cafeterias waiting for the snow, which gives the impression of more light to shine in our lives.

Finland, like most of the other Nordic countries, waits for winter, only for one reason, winter sports, which includes a lot of snow, hot chocolates, crowded cinemas, getting together with the family, and wait for the Spring.
One day, I hope I will be able to experience my everyday life in the southern hemisphere. There, I will get used to waiting for the Summer in October and for the Winter in June... How crazy that might sound!
I wish you a great weekend and a spooktacular Fall.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Something I have learned.


I know that this is not the end of the year, and we are a bit in advance for the New Year's resolution, let alone consideration about this year.
The fact is that October 2019 marks the anniversary of my career as an author.
In October 2016, just three years ago, at this precise moment, I was finalizing the preparations for publishing my debut novel.

I was quite excited about it, and I considered one of the biggest leaps in my life.
Indeed, there have been many leaps I had done. From the day I decided to leave my country to study abroad, to the time when I moved away to another country, following the promise of a job. Then, to the decision that it was perhaps about the time when I published my novel too.

Little I knew at that time about the things I needed to take into account, and it was not just the question of putting something on the internet. It was a question of building my brand, growing my name, and being part of a growing community of writers, whether seasoned or newbies like myself.

I have found an incredible and supportive community ready to give all sorts of advice to bring my novel to the eyes of the readers.

I had many doubts, and some I still have. Something was clear to me since the beginning, I wasn't interested in having a contract with any publishing company, not big nor small. I understood since the beginning that this meant two main things: sharing a cake that might be not big enough and have no words on the creative process. 

In some cases, this would have meant also restricting my say in what and how I wanted to write.
I am a rebel by nature, and I have never accepted people telling me what to do or how to do things unless it was me asking for advice.

I have read many comments of people bashing indie-authors. They claimed that since they are not represented by any publishing houses, they are not worth the attention of a readership. For what I saw, the quality and content can be equally missing in both indie and traditionally published. (I have in mind a few examples, but I am not going to list any of them here).

One big lesson was to build a community, and I have found out that by sharing more than "buy my books," I could grow my list of followers. Those might or might not buy my books, but the more they are, the more I get visibility.

Hence, social media is not really a place where I sell something, but it is a place where I build something, namely connections and brand.

The biggest lesson, anyway, arrived this year after a series of lectures about different kinds of ads. I have tried AMS and BookBub ads, and although I still have a lot to learn, I got results.

I started to study, really taking time to go through all the material I have accumulated and classified 'for later review.'

Well, I guess this is the time when I finally start to review the accumulated material. That is something else I have learned, which is trying not to procrastinate excessively. Nowadays, life is hectic, and we have thousands of things to think about and to do. Nevertheless, I want to try and find the time for my growth as an indie author.

It might take time, but determination can perform miracles.

Will I be able to honor my propositions?
We will see, and I will keep updated. I will also update any progress, whether this could help someone in the same situation.

For now, I just wish you all a great weekend, and stay tuned for next week's blog!

Back from the cave

I've been deserted social media recently to get deeper into the preparation for the next novel. People who aren't in the writing bus...