Saturday, September 10, 2022

Some news from the Wandering Writer


Yes, I can finally say that from this year on, my wandering can resume!

And isn't this just wonderful? I have been waiting for this moment for more than two years. First, the pandemic that closed all the borders, then the problems connected with the pandemic, which was a stagnation of the general economy. As if this wasn't enough, there had been health issues and (last but not least) the war in Ukraine.

Now it's time, and I'm ready to hit the road at any cost. If you have followed my previous travels, you can imagine I'm not going to head toward a typical tourist destination. Yet, it will be one of the most interesting for its history, political situation, and heritage.

I'm talking about Iraqi Kurdistan, and I'm going to visit the city of Erbil.

So, here is short info about the place I'm going to visit:

Kurdistan isn't a geographically or politically defined country. However, its population keeps fighting to be recognized as such and obtain the status of a political nation with defined boundaries and autonomous government.

It's mostly a geo-cultural territory stretching between southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq, northwest Iran, and northern Syria.

Iraqi Kurdistan, in particular, obtained autonomous status in 1970 with an agreement with the Iraqi government, which was also reconfirmed in 2005 as the Autonomous Kurdistan Region. 

As a population, the Kurds have an indo-iranian origin, and their own language derived from the Iranian is known as Kurdish. Their culture has been shaped by the combination of different ancient heritages, and like the language, it is closest to the Iranian.

Kurdish weaving is renowned worldwide, so I expect to return home with rugs to change the ones that have deteriorated with use and time.

For the rest, I expect to return home with a deeper knowledge of these proud and interesting people.

The departure time is set for the 15th of next month, so a little more than one month, and I am already super excited, as I know this will bring inspiration for my writings.

My only hope is that for the period I'll be visiting, I won't be trapped within the crossed fire of any terrorist organization.

So stay tuned because the wandering writer is back!

Take care!

Friday, January 7, 2022

A tale of a cursed novel

It all started in 2020 when I finally finished the first draft of my novel in September. My editor announced to be off work for some time due to family problems. For this reason, I searched for another editor to help me with the developmental part of the novel.

The job of a developmental editor isn't something you can improvise. It requires time, communication with the author, and qualifications. 

Driven by the good reviews, I chose one who seemed to be up for the challenge. I told them that I needed developmental editing because I felt that novel required something more than a simple copy- or line edit. I also warned them that English isn't my first language, so I also sent them a one-chapter sample to give them an idea about the work.

The contract was signed, and the novel was supposed to be ready by December, so I set up a pre-order, a blog tour, and worked on the cover art. On that occasion, I also engaged my Newsletter subscribers in a competition to win a paperback of my book. Five people won and got the communication of their winning.

The novel revolved around the stories of cursed gemstones and was set in multiple locations, New York, Moscow, Milan, related to my travel experiences.

One week before the release, the editor returned me a very angry letter full of insults about my novel, my characters, and (worse than ever) me personally. Saying that I was deeply hurt is a euphemism. Still, thanks to other fellow authors' support, I didn't let this episode discourage me.

I did cancel the pre-order, the blog tour and explained to my subscribers that they would receive their prize later due to 'technical issues.'

It was a hard bite to chew, but I decided to leave the novel on the back burner and focus on a series I had in mind for some time. 

I published two books of the series and had them translated into Italian together with one trilogy. This year, in August, I took the novel back into my hands. I read it once and twice, changing something here and there and searching for a REAL editor.

I was lucky enough to find an amazing person who helped me release the novel's full potential. Therefore, one year later, on 31.12.2021, I finally published the story, and now it's in the hands of my translator for the Italian version.

I will be forever grateful to Barbara Gerig and Elisabetta Emilia Mancini for their ability to see the hidden potential of that novel and believe in me. 

Now, I leave it up to you. If you're interested in reading a good international thriller, with shady characters and mysterious stones, you got to read Merchant of Pearls.

Here's what the readers say:

"An applause to the author who was able to give an even original cut than usual by giving a life to his characters where I immersed myself and I felt like I was with them. Lots of suspense and twists."

"A beautiful novel that fascinated me very much. full of suspense and twists. A very fluent reading that never gets boring I congratulate the author for the plot."


Find out more here:

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Kaamos-and night fell on Earth

 Kaamos is a Finnish word that describes the polar night. Literally, it would mean the time when the sun doesn't rise or set. Although the southern part of the country doesn't experience a complete lack of sunlight, it doesn't mean that we can happily call ourselves out of the depressing effects of the polar night. 

Trust me, having the sun rising at 9:30 am and setting at 2:30 pm isn't going to help the mood, especially if the sky is completely covered. Snow would undoubtedly help, but in recent years the first snow fell with a delay every year, and now it seems pretty common to have a black Christmas. 

After a short break of summer, when the first leaves start to turn yellow, the word Kaamos comes to fill your mouth with bitterness. Waking up in the morning becomes a mission impossible, a titanic battle between the clock telling it's morning and the biological clock that keeps yelling it's still night. The problem is that they are both right, so the battle won't have an easy solution.

This brings us to the reason why Finnish people are one of the heaviest coffee consumers in the world. It's a necessity, and this also brings to the fact that traditionally, Finnish coffee is pure poison. There's a reason for that too. If you enjoy your coffee, it won't be as effective to keep you awake.

However, in the last decade, we understood that bringing extra suffering to our lives, particularly during winter, won't help. Therefore we found the pleasures of good coffee, which brings in every season, from the rainy spring to the short summer, the windy fall, and the depressing winter, a reason to smile when we drink our second liter of daily coffee.

If you are lucky enough to live in a place where the length of the winter days is longer than seven hours, consider yourself lucky, and have a kind thought for us living in those places where five hours of daylight sound like a dream come true.

Have a great fall and winter,

...wherever you live on this planet.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

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, or anything else.

I took a pause that was, perhaps, too long from the social media world, but it was probably necessary. First of all, I could focus on my marketing strategy and create a good cooperation schedule with the translator who's in charge of translating my books in Italian. 

This pause also coincided with the second year of the pandemic that forced many of us to rethink the way we socialize, work, and do business, move around, and much more.

As for me, there has been one of the most important lessons, and that was to look closer to my life and understand what's important and what it isn't. We've lived our lives from one day to another without acknowledging how it was literally passing by, without having the time to enjoy it.

'Every cloud has a silver lining,' or at least this is what we've been taught since we were kids. If this is true, then there's something positive also in a tragedy like this pandemic, as it gave us the chance to look deeper into our lives and understand what really matters. 

I don't need to work my finger to the bones when this means that I miss the time with the people I love. There's always time for work, but we have a limited time to enjoy each other's company, and tomorrow might be too late.

Also, I had the chance to look closely around me to see the beauty just behind the corner. I also had the time to reconsider and reorganize my time, including more efforts on writing new material, researching, and find a new balance. Something had to be sacrificed, and that was my presence online on social media. 

My country never really went into a lockdown, except for the restrictions of traveling abroad and having restaurants, cinemas, and large gatherings restricted.

I have been lucky, and I hadn't been for a single day forced to work from home, although I'm not an essential worker. However, I experimented it for a month of my own will, and many people followed the same example just to test the possibility of working remotely. This remote-working offered a never hoped for flexibility, as people start to consider moving to other locations still keeping their job. Some plan to move closer to their families living away, other contemplate the possibility of moving abroad.

For a person like me, who is seeking for a milder climate, this chance is coming like a blessing. I wondered how I could have approached the discussion with my employer. My original idea was to move away and start living a simpler life in a place with a more favorable climate, but on the other hand, I was sorry to leave a job I really enjoy. Therefore this new opportunity is the one I can't let slip away.

Let's keep safe and positive... It can't rain forever.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Are we really happy?

This is a post about the myth behind the happiest country in the world: Finland.

Once again, Finland has been declared the happiest country in the world, based on the low corruption, working healthcare, the way our government dealt with COVID-19, welfare, and so on.

With 74,2% of the territory covered in forest, it's not difficult to understand that Finns are literally surrounded by nature, and the woods are the places where they find refuge. Finns are not social animals or not as much as people in other countries could be. It's a very individualistic society, which brings people to keep their distances from each other even without the risk posed by the pandemic

People in Finland do not enjoy being close to other people, particularly if they are not close family members. It wasn't any action taken by the government the reason behind the low contagion; it's because of the Finns' way of living. To be honest, our government received many criticisms for its clumsy way of dealing with the pandemic. Loneliness, darkness, long winters bring two problems every year, suicide and chronic depression. 715 people suicide yearly. In 2018, over 6000 people between the age of 16 -24  were declared unfit for work because of chronic depression (and this is not taking into account those who suffer from depression in older age). 

Their number is destined to grow.

Natality has also reached a screeching halt, people don't see life as something worth giving, and the uncertainties seem to bring people to that decision. It's not an economic problem to stop Finns from having children; it's the fear of having them dying by suicide or falling into the spiral of depression and alcoholism or drug abuse.

Now to the question, are we, the Finns, really happy? And why are we?

Happiness is a weird concept and changes meaning depending on who you ask. Finns are indeed happy because they can connect to nature around them. They know that after a long, dark winter comes the summer, and with the changes of seasons, the forest offers food for the body and the spirit, and Finns rely on that healing power, despite the statistics. They also have been taught since a young age not to complain and see the positive things in life. If you can't find them, then it's time to work harder to get them. They trust law enforcement and governmental institutions, and so far, their trust met very few disappointments. This is the reason why, when you ask a Finn: are you happy? Even if the world is collapsing, they will answer yes.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Spring time, time for...

 Generally, we would say that Spring time it's an excellent time for cleanings. The new season is a sort of second  New Year, when we go through the spaces of our homes, clean, and declutter from all those things we'd accumulated during the rest of the year.

I don't know whether for you it's the same, but every Spring, when I start decluttering, I am amazed by the number of things I've accumulated since that last clearing. Although I go twice a year through the storage, trying to free my house from what's useless or obsolete, during the Spring cleanings, I always find many things to bring either to the recycling or straight to the garbage.

My promises of not accumulating things fail every year miserably, and I think I can attribute this, mainly, to my own laziness, but also to the lack of time and the increasing stress caused by work schedules and writing commitments.

This year, Springtime seems to be a bit late on her schedule; therefore, the decluttering and cleaning season will start with a couple of weeks delay. 

Unless the weather takes a sharp turn to higher temperatures and the snow we are still (not)enjoying will finally melt away, I don't see this coming this weekend.

Spring also means switching to daylight saving time. Now, at least, here in Europe, this was supposed to be the last year we would have switched our clocks forward and backward, but with this Corona crisis, those issues had been placed on the backburner. As for me, I always hated changing my clock, especially in March.

Helsinki isn't blessed with more than four hours of sunlight a day during the winter, and as soon as I can appreciate the lengthening of the days, my mood reaches the stars. I wake up at six every morning to reach my office at half past six. Presently, I wake up with the daylight, then suddenly, from one day to another, I am brought back to waking up in the darkness for another week. If this isn't a good reason to despise the daylight saving system, I don't know what it could be.

According to the latest news, we should quit this madness next year and, believe me, I can't wait!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

A new light, a new release: a brand new world!

 After a long pondering and fighting all the possible hesitations, I did it. I have searched and found a translator for my books. The first market I wanted to try, is the one I am more familiar with, the Italian market.

This means that I am proud to announce that the first book of the trilogy has been translated into Italian and has been published yesterday, 25.2.2020.

My biggest hesitation, so far, was due to two factors: the fares and the alternative solutions to a royalty share.

Unlike the audiobooks, where the royalty share is controlled and limited to a certain period, the translation market is wilder and less regulated. In this case, I preferred to keep all the rights and search for a translator who could have taken the job and was flexible enough to accept various payment plans. 

I am not a widely successful author who can afford to have a substantial cut on the royalties. At the point where I am now, I prefer to pay upfront but to keep the ownership of the title, after all already Amazon is having a 30% on the sales, and cutting the profit further for a translation and then audiobook means not having a margin for living out of my craft (unless I'm as successful as Stephen King).

The task seemed to be almost impossible until I found the person I was looking for. The first book is doing fairly well, and I hope the Italian audience will like it the same way the anglophone audience did, so please join me in keeping the finger crossed for this trilogy in this new market I'm dipping the fingers into.

I was so satisfied with the first book that I decided to have all the other books of the series translated. I have received the first part of the second book, and I'm extremely satisfied with the quality. I know you will wonder why I didn't translate the books myself, saving money. 

The reason behind my decision to hire someone else to take care of this job is time. I really have no time to take care of marketing, day job, relaxing, writing new books, updating social media and website. One thing I can do is checking the translation received and confirm the great value I've received.

But here is the cover of the translated version:

And if you like to read in Italian, here's the link to Amazon:

With this great news and having found back my writing mojo, I'm going to wish you all a great weekend.

Some news from the Wandering Writer

  Yes, I can finally say that from this year on, my wandering can resume! And isn't this just wonderful? I have been waiting for this mo...