20/05/2016

4 TIPS ON MAKING A SHORT MOVIE


(by guest blogger John Montana) Making a short film, or any film for that matter can be a lot of amazing fun. But most of the time, making a movie is very stressful and filled with problems. I recently made my most recent short film called HUNGRY…a wicked, humorous, little piece on the greed that is rampant at Christmas. I was able to shoot it in early February 2015. And I have to say… even tho I had prepared for everything, or thought I had, the shoot was very rough. Here are the major issues that came up and what I learned from it for my next shoot.

1.         Location

Location needs to be your first consideration when shooting your film. My film took place in a used clothing store, and I wanted the store to give the impression it had been there for many, many decades. So I set out to find the perfect shop. It took me about a week of driving around L.A. and looking at close to 15 shops. There were 2 that I thought “might do”…but nothing that reached pout and grabbed me. Until I happened upon the shop I ultimately shot in. It is an amazing location, one that I knew immediately was “The One”! So take your time and really look for the location that you want. Don’t settle for less, unless you absolutely have to. 

15/05/2016

CAN'T DECIDE BETWEEN MR ROCHESTER AND MR DARCY? MR RUSHWOOD, THEN! SPOTLIGHT ON ...LORD BACHELOR BY TAMMY L. BAILEY + GREAT GIVEAWAY

“Damn. His perfect posture and arrogant smile had her so flustered, she’d forgotten why she was there. She knew after meeting him she’d imagine him as either Mr. Rochester— or worse, Mr. Darcy— while reading her English Lit assignment.” –Abby Forester, Lord Bachelor

Edmund Rushwood was born July 21, 1990 at Danwick Manor to Lord and Lady Rushwood, a privileged family outside of London, England. As an only child, Edmund spent most of his time “watering” his mother’s flower garden and torturing Danwick’s butler, Timmons.
Edmund also spent many days trying to obtain his father’s attention. Unfortunately, before his death, Lord Rushwood had little time for his son, except to read to him, on rare occasions, from Danwick’s vast library. This began Edmund’s love of books, and as he grew older, he gravitated towards the classics from Austen and Bronte. With them, he found some solace and a few romantic passages that he used to charm the opposite sex.

Well known by all, Edmund possessed Hollywood good looks and selfish tendencies. He obtained what he wanted without exerting much energy or caring about the opinions of others. It wasn’t until he was faced with an ultimatum that he was forced to care about someone besides himself.   

“It is in your father’s will, Edmund, that you must marry both wealthy and well, or, at least provide the name of the affluent bride before your twenty-sixth birthday, or everything you are determined to squander on women will be lost.”

06/05/2016

CHOOSE THE BEST CAREER FOR YOUR GOALS AND PERSONALITY


Did you know that work can make you happy? At least, it’s one of the major factors in determining overall happiness, and a large part of how happy work makes you is determined by the career you choose. Here are some things to consider when you’re deciding on a career.

1) How do you enjoy interacting with people?


If you’re very much a “people person”, you may enjoy a career that allows you to constantly meet new people and, in many cases, solve their problems. This can be anything from standing on stage as a public speaker to helping people with research as a librarian.

If you prefer to have somewhat limited contact with other people, look for a career where you’ll be able to work as part of a small team instead. You may never need to deal with more than a few individuals, but you will be able to form steady, ongoing relationships with the people you know.

Humans are inherently social beings, and it can be hard to be happy when we’re totally isolated. That’s why your career should include a way to interact with others in a way that’s comfortable for you.

29/04/2016

THE WINEMAKERS BLOG TOUR - AUTHOR GUEST POST, FAVORITE WINE GADGETS BY JAN MORAN & GIVEAWAY



Every wine aficionado has favorite cache of tools, so I thought I’d share mine on this stop on The Winemakers 
novel tour, though none of the high-tech gadgets were available in the 1920s or 1950s when the story takes place. I’ve had my share of frustrating moments wrangling corks and fishing floaters from fine wine, or stashing and rotating white wine in the freezer for a quick chill. With these implements, those trials are a thing of the past.



So, what are my favorite wine-related gadgets and accoutrements? Here’s a list of items I can’t live without: 

1. The Vertical Rabbit wine bottle opener, fast and easy, and lovely in red 
2. Soft-sided wine botas for the beach, such as GSI Outdoors Soft Sided Wine Carafe 
3. Vinnebago or Corkcicle chilled wine holders, great for poolside 
4. Wine gems or wine pearls to freeze for pretty, ice-free instant chilled whites 
5. Erasable wine pens, such as Schmancy pens, to label guest wine glasses  
6. Coravin for those who like to savor one fine glass with dinner, and that’s all 

22/04/2016

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD: 7 REASONS TO LOVE GRANTCHESTER - SERIES 2 DVD IS OUT!

James Norton as Sidney Chambers in Grantchester 

Canon Sidney Chambers

I don't know what it is with Mr Chambers (James Norton) when it comes to women (aside: including me). It's a mystery  (aside: no, it isn't, if you take a proper look at the pictures above and below) . They all fall for him, while he barely notices them or their interest in him. Canon Sidney Chambers is so distant from the archetype of vicars we've had on TV so far: he is lovely, clever, good-looking. His strength is his compassion, his distinctive sign is that he is a good man in a bad world.  He isn't flawless, he has a temper, drinks a lot of whisky, loves jazz and a game of cricket,  is haunted by his war memories and tormented by an impossible love. To cut it short, we have a romantic hero wearing a clerical collar, instead of a funny caricature with false teeth and a silly voice. (aside: I have a crush on James Norton's voice and accent).  


"We're talking about wine, and crime, and love. Sometimes I think there is nothing we cannot say to each other."

21/04/2016

JULIAN FELLOWES' BELGRAVIA PROGRESSIVE BLOG TOUR - RECAP & REVIEW OF EPISODE 3: FAMILY TIES + GIVEAWAY!


Released in 11 weekly installments, each episode of Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia will conclude with twists, turns and cliff-hanger endings popularized by the novels of Dickens, Gaskell and Conan Doyle in the nineteenth century. Delivered directly to your cell phone, tablet or desktop via a brand new app, you can read the text or listen to the audio recording narrated by acclaimed British actress Juliet Stevenson, or jump between the two. In addition, you will have access to the exclusive bonus features available only through the app including: history, fashion, food & drink, culture and more that will frame the story while immersing you into the character’s sphere.

Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia is  the story of a secret. A secret that unravels behind the porticoed doors of London's grandest postcode. Set in the 1840s when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche, Belgravia is people by a rich cast of characters. But the story begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. At the Duchess of Richmond's new legendary ball, one family's life will change forever.

I’m really honoured to be part of this progressive tour promoting Fellowes’ Belgravia project. I loved Downton Abbey and have been missing all the beautiful characters in it since it ended with the last Christmas special on 26th December 2015. Reading Belgravia is something  new and different , of course, but it is a way to experience similar emotions.  Join us in this awesome tour, discover more about the story and the characters in Belgravia, leave your comments to enter the grand giveaway contest.

19/04/2016

BOOK REVIEW - CALL TO JUNO, A TALE OF ANCIENT ROME BY ELISABETH STORRS

Book Blurb
Four unforgettable characters are tested during a war between Rome and Etruscan Veii.
Caecilia has long been torn between her birthplace of Rome and her adopted city of Veii. Yet faced with mounting danger to her husband, children, and Etruscan freedoms, will her call to destroy Rome succeed?
Pinna has clawed her way from prostitute to the concubine of the Roman general Camillus. Deeply in love, can she exert her own power to survive the threat of exposure by those who know her sordid past?
Semni, a servant, seeks forgiveness for a past betrayal. Will she redeem herself so she can marry the man she loves?
Marcus, a Roman tribune, is tormented by unrequited love for another soldier. Can he find strength to choose between his cousin Caecilia and his fidelity to Rome?
Who will overcome the treachery of mortals and gods?
Call to Juno is the third book in the series A Tale of Ancient Rome, which includes The Wedding Shroud and The Golden Dice.

"Remember how you once told me Rome and Veii are like two unrequited lovers? Only twelve miles apart across the Tiber. They are but a god's footstep away. Both desires to possess the other - only Rome wishes to be the husband and make Veii submit as the wife." 
Book review

Tales of Ancient Rome is a historical fiction series set in the early Roman Republic and the little known civilization of Etruria. The saga follows the lives and loves of three women; Caecilia, Pinna and Semni, who must survive a ten year siege between two bitter enemies with courage, wit and wiles.

13/04/2016

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD - WELCOME BACK, OUTLANDER, THOUGH ... THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY


One more review

I know we are all a bit dizzy having moved from droughtlander to this flood of new inebriating images, events, stories from the Outlander world, but let me add my own musings to the general euphoria,  will you? I promise I’ll be brief.  As brief as a talkative English teacher + enthusiastic  fan of the series can reasonably be. The following ramblings will make sense only if you’ve seen episode one of series 2. So... spoilers ahead, I’m afraid.

11/04/2016

MY KIDS GROW UP AND THEY ARE PRETTY SPECIAL: VERONICA & THE BEST CONSEQUENCE OF STUDYING

Veronica and her Erasmus mates in Innsbruck
To grow up and find your own place in the world is never easy, especially because that is something you start doing when you are a teenager, which is a very complicated moment in everybody’s life. Well, complicated as well as exciting.  This series of posts dedicated to my former students and their after-school experiences has the aim to help my present students to become more aware of what expects them out there once they leave the safe environment of high school and to give them suggestions and advice on how to brace themselves.

Today it is Veronica’s turn. She’s had quite a brilliant academic career so far. She can be a model,  an inspiring example with her will strength and unsatiable curiosity. Recently, she was even awarded a very special prize by the President of the Italian Republic,  Sergio Mattarella. 


Hi! I’m Veronica and Mrs Spila was my English teacher, though only during my last year at grammar school. I spent a nice period there and I was really satisfied. My school career was quite brilliant and I got my degree with the highest grade… but not because I love studying… just thanks to my willpower.
In my life I’ve often changed my mind about what I wanted to do in the future. When I was in  middle school, my dream was to become an archaeologist. This is why I chose grammar school. But I loved also literature, reading good books and writing, too. So I thought “why not a journalist?”. Yes, good idea. But I loved cinema, as well. So I decided I might have been a film critic.
 Actually,  I’ve always loved lots of things,  but none was my “true love” and, in short, after leaving high school, I decided to study Economy at University.
You maybe wonder why. At that moment it was a very simple decision actually, because I knew exactly what I wanted in my life: I wanted to be a manager. Not an easy goal, but that  was my ambition.

10/04/2016

BOOKS, BOOKS & MORE BOOKS - 2016 ROMANTIC TIMES (RT) CONVENTION & INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR VICKI LEIGH


A giant book fair is a dream come true for book lovers. Books, books and more books! Authors, events, chats, gadgets, meetings: it's going to be amazing. RT Book Lovers Convention and Fair 2016 will be held at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas from April 12  to 17. There will be a special Teen Day on Saturday 16th when teenagers and young readers will have the chance to meet their favourite YA authors, play games and if under-18 win a bag staffed of awesome gadgets. 


Vicki Leigh, YA and NA author, will be one of the hundreds awesome writers participating in the events and ready to meet their fans. She accepted to answer five quick questions about her latest release and her expectations for the upcoming RT event. 

1. What inspired Catch Me When I Fall?

 When I first began to brainstorm this book, I pulled on my own experiences with nightmares. There had already been so many fantastic books written about angels, so instead I asked what-if questions: What if those who guarded us weren't angels but people who'd sacrificed themselves to save others? And what if nightmares weren't in our heads but actual creatures that fed off our fears? From those two questions—and research the Native American lore on dreamcatchers—my story was born!

2. Even though Catch me When I Fall is paranormal fantasy do you find you bring personal experiences into your writing at all?

08/04/2016

ALL THEIR MINDS IN TANDEM - INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR DAVID SANGER


Hello David and welcome to FLY HIGH! I’ve got so many questions for you but, don’t worry, I know I must cut my interview short. What about 10 questions? The first one is: how do you feel at being promoting your debut novel? Have you always wanted to be a writer? 

Hello and thanks for having me! I feel a mixture of excitement and strangeness. I worked in publishing for just over six years so it’s odd to be on the other side of things right now and promoting my book instead. I gave my parents headaches with the amount of different careers I wanted – animator, journalist and actor to name a few. Then I wrote something whilst at university and in one way or another it seemed to embody the other career choices. It took a few more years before I started writing full time but when I did I realised it was something I couldn’t do without.


I’m fond of historical fiction, period movies and costume drama series. But, what about you? How does it come that you started with a novel set in the past? 

I too love historical fiction and movies. I think there’s something extraordinary to stepping into a world that could easily be science fiction – far flung politics, clothes, food, attitudes, etc. – yet it’s something we have a faint purchase on; it’s in our collective past. If someone asked me to write a contemporary novel about 30-somethings today, even though I am one, I would struggle. I find a comfort in the past and the interest the research provokes is its own motivation.

07/04/2016

BOOK UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT: PHAEDRA PATRICK, 'THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER' + GIVEAWAY



Out today! A delightful and poignant debut that is poised to be a global sensation with foreign rights sold in 15 countries and 13 languages.

Perfect for fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared.

A Joyous celebration of life's infinite possibilities.




If you followed  Harold Fry on his unlikely pilgrimage or you shed a tear at the opening scene of the film Up, get ready to join Arthur Pepper on a search to know his wife and a journey to find himself. 

Sixty-nine year old Yorkshireman Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets up at 7.30 am, just as he did when his wife of 40 years, Miriam, was alive. He eats his breakfast, waters his plant, Frederica, and doesn’t speak to anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. But on the first anniversary of Miriam's death, something changes.

When he finally makes himself sort through Miriam's wardrobe Arthur finds an unfamiliar gold charm bracelet. Upon closer examination, he finds a telephone number on the underside of a gold elephant charm and on a whim, he picks up the phone. 

05/04/2016

SPOTLIGHT ON ... A FRIENDLY ENGAGEMENT BY CHRISTINE WARNER + GIVEAWAY


About the Book


A Friendly Engagement (Friends First - Book 1)
by Christine Warner
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Length: 298 Pages

What's a little engagement between friends?

Omar Esterly is married to his job. But when Omar sets his sights on a potential, family-oriented client, his confirmed bachelorhood becomes a problem. Fortunately, his friend and employee, Devi Boss, has the perfect plan...

Okay, so it wasn't exactly Devi's plan to become her friend's fake fiancée. Lies aren't her style. However, Omar offers her a big, beautiful raise - enough to track down the missing father she's never known - and Devi reluctantly agrees to the whole engagement hoax...

This was supposed to be a no-strings-attached win-win for both Devi and Omar, but when they cross the line between friendship and...well, something more, Devi realizes she's made a huge mistake that just might cost her both job and friend - falling for her fiancé.

04/04/2016

UNEVEN EXCHANGE BLOG TOUR - 7 QUESTIONS FOR AUTHOR S.K. DERBAN + GREAT GIVEAWAY

About the book

Like fire and ice, Alexandra Callet's life runs hot and cold. At the age of thirty-three, Alexandra owns a stunning home and a successful interior design company. But she is in love with her business partner, Jake Taylor, and he doesn't even seem to realize she's a woman. She should be on top of the world, but instead she feels dragged down by the void in her heart. Hoping for answers, she decides a trip to Mexico might soothe her soul.

Jake Taylor only pretends to be a confirmed bachelor. Jake has been entranced by Alexandra's determination and exotic beauty since the moment they met, but she has no idea how he feels. He considers confessing his love, but fears jeopardizing their friendship and business. He's caught in a web of pretending he doesn't care, and doesn't see a way out of it. Alexandra is recruited for a dangerous mission. Following her trip to Mexico, her resemblance to a member of an assassin's family leads Alexandra to be recruited by the DEA. Her training leaves her distracted, and her business begins to suffer. Jake notices her sudden change, and feels her slipping both personally and professionally beyond his reach.

Should he finally take the chance...before it's too late? After all, he has nothing to lose. However, when Alexandra returns to Mexico for her mission, things go terribly wrong. Will she be able to find the strength to fight and escape the peaceful haven that has now become her prison?

Or will Jake lose Alexandra forever...

02/04/2016

ALWAYS BE WRITING

(by guest blogger John Montana) 

 Many times I hear writers say they are stuck or are in a writers slump, because no ideas are coming or they don’t know what to write. They want an original idea for a film that nobody has ever seen before. They want the next great original idea that rocks the film world. Some of them will wait for years for that inspiration for the next great film. Now…you might get angry with me for saying this, or you will probably vehemently disagree, but I don’t think this should be your goal. Of course it can be a dream that this happens, but most likely the story in some form has already been told before. Don’t sweat it!!! Really, don’t let it prevent you from writing. Just write… let the words just flow out of you. Edit it all later. Write gobble-dee-gook, write crap, write anything. Just! Write! You can worry about judging it after you are finished. 

When you are done you can go in and create a story that will inspire you to film. Think of it this way… A sculptor starts with a huge block of stone. This is your “gobble-dee-gook”. Then begin to slowly carve away the stuff that you don’t need. Carefully reveal the story you want to tell. In the end you will have something that you will be excited about putting on film. So don’t be obsessed with telling an original story or have an idea that nobody has thought of before. Because ninety nine times out of one hundred… its been done before. 

29/03/2016

PERIOD & MORE PERIOD - DOCTOR THORNE, TROLLOPE & FELLOWES ARE A WINNING PAIR



“Conduct! Is conduct everything? One may conduct oneself excellently, and yet break one's heart.”

I've been watching quite a bit of present-day drama series lately,  but not completely neglecting my search for good period drama. I haven't seen anything in a 19th century costume since War & Peace, actually, but being quite taken by my unmissable Wednesday nights' dates with Rev. Sidney Chambers.  I love Grantchester series 2 even more than the series 1 and, mind you, I was deeply fond of that. I have had to convert, ehm, surrender to the charms of the ginger after Outlander and Grantchester. 

We've had plenty of good series to watch, especially on Sunday nights, so you may have missed this lovely adaptation of Anthony Trollope's Doctor Thorne (book 3 in the Barsetshire Chronicles, 1858). Book 1 and 2 were adapted by BBC as The Barchester Chronicles in 1982 with a stellar cast including the late Alan Rickman.

If you were distracted by the Hiddleston/Colman vs Laurie/Hollander battle of talents in BBC One adaptation of John Le Carrè's The Night Manager and you lost Tom Hollander as the lead in Julian Fellowes's adaptation of Doctor Thorne, don't worry, you can catch up thanks to ITV online player or add the DVD to your costume drama collection

25/03/2016

BACK FROM HELL - ROOM & THIRTEEN


I happened to watch the film Room and start watching the BBC 3 drama series Thirteen on the same day and the similarity of the topic they dealt with inevitably struck me. Both stories tell of young women coming back from hell. The hell of being abducted and taken captives  by manipulating, devious bastards. 
In both stories the focus is on the psychological aspect of being back to an ordinary life, the stress and the distress of being unable to fit or cope any longer. In both cases viewers delve into the protagonists' traumatic homecoming learning how difficult it is to victims to go back to normality. Very little or nothing is actually revealed of the horrors of their respective periods of captivity as victims of sexual abuse so, don't expect a claustrophobic, haunting experience while watching, if you decide to. It could be much more an occasion to see our ordinary lives in a boundless world and in total control with different eyes. 

22/03/2016

BOOK REVIEW - A RIP IN THE VEIL BY ANNA BELFRAGE (THE GRAHAM SAGA, BOOK 1)


Hooked from page one. There’s so much I love in this book that once I got started, I couldn’t stop and read it in a few days:  Scotland in the 17th century, at the time of the Civil War, romance and time travel, fantasy and magic, adventure and irony.  A Rip in the Veil is book one in Anna Belfrage’s “The Graham Saga” and is a thrilling ride between two different time lines, through the adventurous lives of Alexandra Lind, a 21st century computer engineer still coping with a trauma from her past, and Matthew Graham,  a runaway 17th century convict on his way home to Scotland.

The heroine & the hero: Alex & Matthew

Here are heroine and hero as presented by the author herself in the section bonus material at her website:

Alexandra Lind

Date of Birth: August 24, 1976

Astrological sign: Virgo (“Virgo? How boring is that,” she says with a laugh)

Education: Degrees in Computer Engineering and Programming. Most useful in her new environment she says sarcastically. A karate practitioner since childhood, she holds a black belt 4th dan and has also dabbled in jujitsu. Never got beyond “Smoke on the water” on guitar, but knows the lyrics to all her favourite rock songs – although she’s not quite sure this qualifies as education. Is a proficient user of the staple gun – has used it for everything from upholstery to fixing Halloween disguises. Sadly, staple guns do not exist in the seventeenth century. Good at drawing, crap at sewing and knitting. Used to consider herself a good chess player – until she met Matthew.

14/03/2016

BOOK REVIEW - SPIRIT OF THE HIGHWAY BY DEBORAH SWIFT


Book Blurb

1651 - England has been engaged in a bitter Civil War for nearly ten years. Ralph Chaplin, a farmer’s son, has fallen for beautiful copper-haired Kate. There is only one problem – he is a Roundhead soldier and she is a Royalist lady. 


Tired of bloodshed, Ralph volunteers to fight, sensing that the Battle at Worcester will be a chance to finish the fighting for good. He longs for peace, so he can forge a secure future and find a different, more equal way of life for himself and Kate. 

But War is not what he imagined, and soon he has made a deadly enemy; one who will pursue Ralph and those he loves, and wreak vengeance. What’s more, Ralph finds he has as many enemies at home, as on the battlefield. 


Told by Ralph’s ghost, Spirit of the Highway is the stand-alone second part of the Highway Trilogy based on the real life and legend of Lady Katherine Fanshawe, Highwaywoman. 


****************************************************************

I really liked reading Spirit of the Highway and I am grateful to the author, Deborah Swift, for granting me a review copy and letting  me make the acquaintance of her  intriguing characters. They classify this novel as YA historical fiction, but  nothing sounds teenish in it. I'd rather say it can be read both by YA and adults who love an engaging story set in the past. I'd recommend to any histfic fan because it is well written and historically accurate. I especially appreciated the thourough notes  the author added at the end of the book. Those are very precious materials for any reader who is not familiar with British history. 


"The living fear to die , but the dead fear to be forgotten"

08/03/2016

BLOG TOUR - SPOTLIGHT ON ... IF WE WERE A MOVIE BY KELLY ORAM + GIVEAWAY

if we were a movie If We Were a Movie by Kelly Oram (Power of the Matchmaker #3)

 Music meets Movies in this sweet college romance from the bestselling author of Cinder & Ella. NYU freshman Nate Anderson is a triplet who is desperate to escape his wild and crazy brothers. After they screw things up for him one too many times, Nate flees his housing situation and takes the first available room for rent as far from his brothers as he can get. Enter his new roommate Jordan--a quirky LA girl who believes that everything in life has already been done in the movies. In this heartfelt tale of love, friendship and family, Nate learns how to deal with his new adult life using Hollywood films as a guide.



amazonkobobarnes and noble


What readers just like you are saying about If We Were a Movie:

"WOW! This book is great! The concept is so inventive, and the writing is brilliant."
"I thought Cinder & Ella jerked with my emotions too much but this one might have it beat."
"I finished reading If We Were a Movie yesterday. I loved it! I fell hard for Nate. Jordan was amazing! And Pearl's timing was perfect! "
"Amazing concept with movies as chapters, and fantastic storyline." "I loved this story and was humming along to the songs from the book whilst reading. I can see this book becoming the movie it was written to be." "If We Were a Movie made me want to binge watch movies, listen to old playlists and re-read it all at once."

07/03/2016

I'M A GUEST AT VULPES LIBRIS - FIERAMENTE IL LIBRO, A LITERARY EVENT IN MY HOMETOWN

I'm guestposting at a wonderful book blog today, Vulpes Libris, for a project near and dear to my heart, Fieramente il Libro.  Join me there and  help me make this dream come true... 
Books and writers have always fascinated me since I was a child, as soon as I could read
and write. My love for books found its expression both in my profession and in my free time activities, as I am an English teacher in Italy and a blogger, enthusiastically ready to spread my love for reading and books.
Fieramente il libro is a literary festival in its fourth year in my home town, Subiaco, 72 km from Rome. This is the place where St Benedict began to found monasteries after a period of hermitage and where the first book was printed in Italy. The setting for the festival is the Borgias’ fortress, where some historians believe that Cardinal Rodrigo’s children, Cesare and Lucrezia, were born.
(go on reading at Vulpes Libris)

01/03/2016

AND THE WINNER IS ... JOHN MONTANA WATCHED AND COMMENTED THE OSCAR CEREMONY FOR US


So the 88th Annual Academy Awards were on last night. And as usual, they were filled with controversy because many black actors/actresses felt they were victims of racism because no black actors were nominated this year. And certainly many people have jumped onto this bandwagon, because that has become the most popular thing…find a cause of injustice and jump on it and rife it till it ends and then you jump to the next one. 

Is there racism in Hollywood? Probably. Racism exists everywhere, why wouldn’t it show its ugly head here? Was there racism here? I don’t know. Or I can’t say. Because racism is an individual belief that manifests in ugly behavior, whether alone or in a lynch mob. I think what most likely happened is this: With the advent of digital cameras and less money needed to make a feature film, there were literally hundreds of films to watch and consider. 

27/02/2016

WAITING FOR THE OSCARS, I'VE SEEN A FEW: BROOKLYN

Waiting to discover this year’s winners in a few hours, here's my third Oscar- nominated -movie review. I’ve been recently seeing a few of the nominees. Have you read my post about The Danish Girl? And what about the one about Labyrinth of Lies? Have I seen Leo in The Revenant, you ask? Not yet but ... fingers crossed for him! Promise,  I'll watch it soon.  


BROOKLYN tells the moving story of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother’s home for the shores of New York City. The initial shackles of homesickness quickly diminish as a fresh romance sweeps Eilis into the intoxicating charm of love. But soon, her new vivacity is disrupted by her past, and she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within (from Youtube)

Can I just start saying this film is poignantly beautiful? To have a visual idea of how beautiful it is in every sense,  have a look at any of the close-ups you can find in the web of Saoirse Ronan as Eilis, its protagonist. She is the embodiment of all the beauty in this movie. Pale, sweet features, big blue eyes staring at an unkown, vast, scary world.

26/02/2016

WAITING FOR THE OSCARS, I'VE SEEN A FEW: LABYRINTH OF LIES


Waiting to discover this year’s winners in a few days, I’ve been watching a few of the nominated films. What about discussing one of them each ay till the Oscars Show on Saturday Night?  Have you read my post about The Danish Girl? Here's the second one.

Labyrinth of Lies 


The year is 1958. The war has been over for thirteen years and the Federal Republic of Germany is not only recovering but even booming. But where are the Nazis? Who has ever heard of the death camps? It looks as if everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds in this land of milk and honey... At least, until the day journalist Thomas Gnielka recognizes in the person of a teacher the former commander of the Auschwitz concentration camp... At least, until Johann Radmann, a young prosecutor, decides to investigate the case... Nobody knows it yet but this is the dawn of a new era. Even if the road to awareness will be long and rocky... (from imdb)

25/02/2016

WAITING FOR THE OSCARS, I'VE SEEN A FEW: THE DANISH GIRL

Waiting to discover this year’s winners in a few days, I’ve been watching a few of the nominated films. What about discussing one of them a day till the Oscars Show on Saturday Night? Here's the first one. 


The Danish Girl


Synopsis

Copenhagen, 1926. Danish artist, Gerda Wegener, painted her own husband, Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne), as a lady in her painting. When the painting gained popularity, Einar started to change his appearance into a female appearance and named himself Lili Elbe. With his feminism passion and Gerda's support, Einar - or Elbe - attempted one of the first male-to-female sex reassignment surgery, a decision that turned into a massive change for their marriage, that Gerda realized her own husband is no longer a man or the person she married before. A childhood friend of Einar, art-dealer Hans Axgil (Matthias Schoenaerts), shows up and starts a complex love triangle with the couple (from imdb)

18/02/2016

BLOG TOUR - THE STYLIST BY ROSIE NIXON

My review

Rosie Nixon's debut novel is out!


Enjoyable, glittering, glamorous.

Can being in the wrong place at the wrong time make your life unexpectedly wonderful? Wonder is what Amber Green feels when she is mistakenly offered a job and she’s asked to work with infamous jet-setting stylist to the stars, Mona Armstrong. She finds herself in the high-heeled shoes of a stylist   without the right competence but with surprising improvised talent  - or unbelievable luck? Amber hits the ground running, helping to style some of Hollywood’s hottest stars during the award season: the Golden Globes, the Oscars … a world she had only seen on TV or in magazines.  

"In less than five minutes I'd gone from shop girl to "window dresser extraordinaire" to temporary employee of Mona Armstrong: Stylist to the Staaars!"

From London’s fashion boutiques to Hollywood’s boulevards crowded with fashionable, trendy people Amber’s journey brings her to know more of herself and of her qualities,  which she has never realized she has till that moment. Being trusted makes her believe she can mak it. Isn't  she cheating, you wonder? Mmm… probably she’s just doing her best in what she does best: helping and understanding people in a ... creative way.

17/02/2016

SPOTLIGHT ON ... PIMPERNEL BY SHERALYN PRATT + GIVEAWAY

Pimpernel Pimpernel by Sheralyn Pratt

 They seek him here; they seek him there. For centuries, the elite of the world have sought the Pimpernel everywhere. Some want to kill him, others want to hire him, but Jack Cavanaugh knows that the love/hate relationship comes with the job title. At present, Jack is trying to dismantle an investment scheme centered in Las Vegas, but "trying" is the operative word. It's been a month since he put the face of the scheme behind bars, yet the scam is still going strong. As Jack tries to uncover who has stepped in as the new head, what miniscule evidence there is all seems to point him back to Claire Ramsey, an introverted PhD student studying at UNLV. If ever there as an unlikely head of a investment scheme, Claire's it. She has a genius IQ, but from all Jack has seen, Claire’s intelligence is as much a blessing as a curse when paired up with her acute OCD. Claire can barely make conversation with the cute guy down the hall, which makes it hard to believe she could be the charismatic salesperson who is getting international businessmen to invest $5—50 million a pop. So what is Jack missing? What is the real story behind Claire Ramsey? And once Jack learns it, will he be able to walk away?

  amazon get it  

16/02/2016

COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY - PROPOSALS & POISON BY RACHELLE J. CHRISTENSEN

Proposals and Poison

Proposals and Poison, Wedding Planner Mysteries book #3 Rachelle J. Christensen

“Cozy mystery meets romantic comedy in this fabulous, fast-paced story.” Cami Checketts author of The Resilient One, A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance Love can be a very dangerous thing. At least it seems that way to Adri Pyper, the premier wedding planner in Sun Valley, Idaho. When one of her clients dies mysteriously, Adri takes the advice of the local detective and swears she will stay out of the investigation . . . this time. Luke Stetson's involvement in the case, along with the possibility of a kiss between the two, should be enough incentive to keep Adri out of trouble. But when a dog-themed wedding is almost ruined by a suspect, Adri and her assistant, Lorea, are thrust into private eye mode. When poison enters the picture, even a reluctant sleuth can’t steer clear of danger.

14/02/2016

BAD GRAMMAR = FOREVER ALONE? TIPS FOR LOVE AT FIRST TYPE



Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Is grammar important in our love life? Can bad grammar affects our love relationships? Apparently the answer is: Yes, it is! 





I know you're thinking "here's the usual boring teacher!", but it is not just me, you know. There is evidence . Truth is, Grammarly, the team behind the popular writing app, partnered with the online dating website eHarmony to determine whether the writing skills displayed in people’s online dating profiles affect their chances of finding romance. Grammarly summarized the results, along with other online dating statistics, in an infographic.

13/02/2016

ANNA BELFRAGE, EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN FROM SWEDEN TO ROME: ST BIRGITTA & QUEEN KRISTINA + DOUBLE GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate our recent acquaintance through this wonderful media which is the internet, author Anna Belfrage (check out her wonderful historical fiction novels HERE) wrote this very interesting piece especially for my FLY HIGH! blog. Help me to make her welcome here and enjoy her guest post about two really extraordinary women from the past who travelled from her country, Sweden, to my country, Italy. 


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First of all, mille grazie Maria Grazia for inviting me to do some guesting on your blog. And isn’t it a somewhat magical world where an Italian lady who loves English literature meets up with a Swedish author who writes in English – all because of that marvellous invention, the Internet?

I thought it apt to somehow tie together Sweden, Rome and history in my post. Not the most immediate connection that springs to mind, seeing as Sweden has for most of its existence been a backwater no one really wanted to visit, while Rome has for millennia been right at the middle of things, a must-see place since well before the birth of Christ.

But there are connections: specifically, there are two Swedish women, one from the 14th century and the other from the 17th century, who had an intense relationship with Rome. (It is somewhat coincidental that my books are either set in the 17th century or the 14th century, even if I have as yet not published anything set in Sweden) So today I thought I’d introduce you to St Birgitta of Sweden and Queen Kristina of Sweden, two women who could never be called meek and retiring. Never.