Saturday, 19 October 2013

To publish or not to publish?

There is beauty all around us...
I attended an interesting talk today, given at The IOW Literary Festival, attended by two well known authors, and two publishers and found the discussion on the future of publishing interesting.

It was not as dire as the one I saw last year at the Festival of Writing in York - they looked ready to throw in the towel then.

The outlook was optimistic, and I really believe ebooks are not seen as a threat to the industry anymore. They have concerns, obviously:

1) Will booksellers cut back on stores? And will this in turn lead to a further fall in readers?

2) Will authors lose out as mainstream agents and publishers squeeze their margins further?

3) Will quality books or little "gems" be harder to find?

Before I answer these questions, as they replied, let me make it clear that there was no representation on the forum for self-publishing. I would have loved to have been on the stage with them! Therefore, I do think the discussion was skewed firmly towards the issues with traditional publishing.

Personally, I imagine they are going with caution and not wanting to upset us authors that choose to go it alone... I think S-P authors are pioneers entering the new land to be honest. Willing to fight for a stake, work hard to improve, and fulfil our destiny - but hey, call me a dreamer...

Even though I acknowledge that an agent/ publisher would make my life easier on many fronts, I don't think that I would ever be as proud of what I have achieved (or understood the process) had I not walked this road on my own - might I add that they all seemed to indicate S-P is EASY - HA! I would love to see them do what a lot of authors do on their own! But, regardless, everyone need to earn a living so I do not hold any grudges. I would protect my job if it was under threat too.

Anyway, enough said...

1) This is a huge possibility and concerns were raised on how readers will be able to check on the best works, ask for advice, etc - they mentioned Waterstones a lot (for the UK).

On this front, I wanted to say that you can download a 10% sample online, you get recommendations based on your reading via booksellers online, and you can look at reviews to get a flavour for the story via places like Goodreads, blogs, etc. When I asked for advice via a "real" store I have been told on numerous occasions - I have not read that one, let me look it up online, read Fifty Shades - it's highly recommended! Sorry, I lost respect for the knowledgeable bookseller at that point!

2) Yes, they will. It'll be harder for authors to get an agent via the big boys, but on the flip side there has been an explosion of smaller independent publishers, and even agents, deciding to go it alone. So, all hope is not lost! :)

3) Possibly. They believe true gems of literary fiction might become harder to find.

My counter to that is (and I apologise here to anyone who disagrees) the average reader does not want to read a piece of literary fiction.

Anyway, as one of the authors said... "whatever happens, it's all about the story."


Hope you enjoyed reading my ramblings,

Vanessa :) xx

Monday, 7 October 2013

A year ago... walking on the IOW

The abyss...
A year ago I blogged about a family walk on the Isle of Wight with my family... SMUGGLERS WALK.
Well, I did the same walk on Saturday and it is clear that my level of fitness has, well (have to be honest here) DECREASED... I was huffing up the hill/ steps and thinking "please get to the top soon". Today (2 days later), my back and legs hurt and I feel drained... so time to get fit & healthy again, me thinks.

I have not blogged about this much since I did not really want to talk about it last year, but basically 2 years ago I decided to put my health first for a change again.

At the top... still smiling! :)
I have never been massive, but at 5'1" I easily pile on the pounds if I don't exercise and watch what I eat. When I was a teenager I used to swim competitively so with all the training, etc, I could eat what I wanted and was a size 8/10.

When I left home for university I found comfort in junk food and was amazed at how cheap a portion of chips & pizza slice was compared to healthier options. I also did not exercise as much and so over the course of the 3 years moved to a size 12.

When I started working I starting watching my diet again, walking more and doing aerobics... I went back to a size 10 easily enough.

It was when I started teaching that I drove to work, ate snacks, larger lunches, late meals, etc that I moved to a size 14... and when I got pregnant I reached a weight of 95kg (nearly 14 stones)! Yep, I was huge - & I only carried one baby!
I have to go down THERE?
 I remember looking at myself in the mirror after I had my son and thinking "what the hell have you done?" I was now a size 16... now this might not seem much to some of you, but for someone my size it's not healthy. I was obese.

I went on a proper diet and over the course of 7 months lost the weight and resumed my size 10. I then got pregnant again, but this time did not gain the weight (I did have a baby to help me keep active!)

However, as with my previous examples I slipped again and 2 years ago I was a size 14, and resigned to the fact. I was huffing and puffing again, and depressed since I hated food and found it easier to eat crisps, chocolates & cakes than a proper meal. So, I went to see a dietician and changed my diet to a healthier one. It worked and the weight fell off, this time leaving me a size 8 - as you see on the post last year!

Stormy times...
This year, again, I started to lose interest and the weight has started to creep up again - but I am determined to stay this size - shopping gets expensive! But, I find it hard to stay focused...

You see, I think I am addicted to sugar and every time I crave more, and get hungrier. The question is how to keep off it when its all around us? (I do love chocolate)

So, I will remind myself and you (if interested) of the basics...

- use more natural sugars (agave syrup is great)
- eat less bread & dairy products
- eat more fresh fruit & vegetables
- DRINK lots of water
- keep snacks to a minimum

Tell me what you do to keep the weight down, or have you always been the lucky type that can eat whatever they want?

And to finish off have a look at my latest author interview... it is so nice when a near enough stranger says nice things about me! (It's because he has not met me - ha ha ha)


Vanessa :) xx


A note from  MASSIMO...

MM-thumbI wrote fantastic stories and science fiction since I was a kid, short stories and novellas, but never had anyone read them. It was a personal thing: My father and my older brother received “Astounding Stories” and other Sci-Fi ‘zines, but I was too little to be allowed to read them, so I looked at the covers…and imagined things for myself.

Then, work and life took their toll and I stopped writing those tales. Slightly over two years ago, in 2011, for various reasons, I started again with some burning inside that needed to come out. On the first weekend I got over 15000 words, then subscribed to for peer review, lurked a year keeping on writing and getting feedback, and last September my debut novel, "Daimones", saw the light.

It received the 2012 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award in Science Fiction. A debut novel among so many established authors in the competition. This September, "Daimones" won the 2013 Hall of Fame – Best Science Fiction from Quality Reads UK Book Club in collaboration with OrangeBerry Book Tours, shortlisted among thousands of other great candidates.

I’m writing now Vol.3 of the Daimones Trilogy,  published the Vol.2 "Once Humans (Daimones Trilogy)", and a small collection of short horrid stories, "Stranded Love"

So, what about me now… I’m Italian, and because even in Italy that means everything and nothing at all, I should say, I am Sicilian. I was born in Palermo, and as it happened with countless Sicilians, I left it, back in 1986. I lived more years abroad than in my home country, and I have changed in many and different ways than my old friends there. It is always a pleasure to go back, but it is now 6 long years since my last visit. Saudade? Maybe, a little.

I lived in Switzerland, France, and the United States. I am a scientist as a background, and have spent over 17 years in fundamental research. Most of my writing are then academic stuff, and I always wonder at how much Google is able to find about everyone. I am sure one has to Google oneself so not to forget too much…I worked for many years at CERN—an international lab for particle physics research near Geneva, Switzerland—then in the US at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Fantastic moments and memories from those years. In 2005 I moved to the private sector, worked with Apple Inc., and then for the World Economic Forum.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The end is in sight...

The end is in sight... The finale for "The Evolution Trilogy" will be out November.

To celebrate, HYBRID is only 77p or $0.99 - so please take a look :)

Amazon UK
Amazon US

For more information please go to

Vanessa :) xx