It’s Mystery Monday interview again with Ally Shield

Paranormal author Ally Shield continues my Mystery Monday interview momentum!

mystery monday interview, chase williams, stefania mattanaThe lovely Ally Shields, who writes mainly paranormal and urban fantasy books, has a soft spot for fellow writers. Her interviews are very interesting and varied. She likes to show readers what’s behind a book cover and a story. When she asked me about interviewing me, I said yes straight away!

The interview went published on a Monday – that’s the Mystery Monday interview theme. Best selling and awarded author Christoph Fischer has recently interviewed me on a Monday too – here’s the interview if you missed it.

This time with Ally I talked about my writing cave and what’s boiling there. In fact, I’ve just finished the first draft of a short story, and I announced it in exclusive on her blog :)

Here’s a sneak peek of the interview – you can read the ‘hot’ part in Ally’s blog here.

What is your editing and publishing process? From the time you complete your first draft to its appearance at booksellers, what happens to your book?

STEF:  The process is pretty much the same for both the fiction (in English and Italian) and non fiction (in Italian only) I’ve written so far.

I normally write a first draft, then leave it alone for a couple of weeks. After some rounds of revisions (usually 2 or 3), I send it to my alpha reader Chiara, who is also the Italian translator of my mystery books. After she leaves her notes, the last draft goes to my editor Steph for the English version (I write in English and she edits what is too Italian). The final writing is pushed then to my beta readers, who read and review it. At this point the book is ready to be officially published and launched

Enjoy the entire interview at Ally Shield’s blog!

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Mystery Monday interview

A nice reading whilst being on mobile – the Mystery Monday interview series featuring me.

mystery monday, interview, christoph fischer, interviews, stefania mattanaBest selling and awarded author Christoph Fischer (@CFFBooks in Twitter) has interviewed me on his blog in his new Mystery Monday interview series.
It’s not the first time that Christoph features me in his blog and, asks about my next projects and fun facts around Chase and his neighbourhood in Tursenia.

I found my interview being quite pleasant to read from a mobile device, whilst on the train or commuting, so if you have some spare time if when you’re out and about just go to Christoph’s blog and take a look at it!

Christoph’s Mystery Monday interview series features many other fellow authors, all diverse and with an interesting personal background. I reckon it’s kind of cool to know about other authors, and discover new books, new genres and new murder cases to (try to) crack.

Many thanks to Christoph for hosting me in his blog – Click here to read the interview!

If you;re just too curious and want to peep at it, here’s a quick preview of the interview:

What are you working on now?  

The first draft of the book No3 of the Chase Williams murder mystery stories is almost ready. I haven’t chosen a title yet, but get ready for ‘Murder of a suicidal’–or something like that. [continues here]

What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?

I asked the same question to my friends a while ago to filling up my About page. Turns out one of my strongest quality is the determination, whilst the oddest is… my size. In fact, I’m quite a tiny person and although I complain about that, I have to admit that sometimes it comes very useful!

You can find the rest of the chat here – Enjoy! 🗞📰

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Phenomenology of a coffee addiction

As Chase Williams always says: I can’t have a decaf, I’m a cop ☕️🍪 This is coffee addiction, people.

coffee addiction, caffeine problems, writers and coffee

SPOILER ALERT

This is not the usual post about writers falling in love with the IDEA of coffe.
This is a post about coffee addiction.
There’s something deep and sick between coffee and writers. Coffee helps writers to stay up late at nights to finish their stories. Coffee, like tea, is a confort drink that keeps company whilst writing. The gesture of sipping a warm coffee merges with the gesture of moving the fingers on the keyboard.

Yeah, I wish it was just that.
It becomes an habit, people say. It’s a bloody addiction, I say. And that goes beyond writing.

I’ve got a serious coffee addiction – and this is my true story


The first thing I do in the morning – the very first thing – is to switch the coffee machine on. Then I can go wee, have breakfast, salute my husband, etc.
I can’t do anything else before having my shot of caffeine in the morning. My brain just doesn’t respond to any input that is not hitting the button of the coffee machine.

When I move to the UK, I hated any kind of coffee but the beloved Italian espresso*. I just couldn’t have any of them, they weren’t real coffee to me. I figured out very soon it wasn’t about me being picky, it was a physiological matter. The espresso coffee contains a different amount of caffeine than other types of coffee (ie French pressed, instant etc.). The precise amount of caffeine my brain have been needing to function since I was 13, or 14.

Since there was no moka around to make an espresso, I had to have instant coffee only, which have a less amount of caffeine than an espresso. After a few days, my mood changed dramatically. I felt blue all the time, our efforts to build a life here in the UK looked nonsense and I felt hopeless and ready to sob at any time. Plus, a constant headache was killing me. And I mean it.
I didn’t think it would cause by the lack of caffeine.

I had my first British espresso 8 days after I landed in the London. After 30 minutes, I started seeing rainbows and lollipops again. The miracle of the caffeine struck back.

The power of coffee while writing

Forget the stereotype of the writer comfortably sat on a swing chair in the patio, in front of a silent lake, sipping a cup of coffee. That’s really cool for your Instagram stream.
Just picture me on my only day off of the week, crushed on my living room couch, a miserable cold weather outside, my pyjamas on, husband watching football on the other couch (and commenting aloud!) and the kid upstairs never stopping to run on my head the whole day.

  • I need to focus.
  • I need to not lose my train of thoughts and the complicated plots I’ve created for my new Chase Williams’ mystery story.
  • I need to pretend the kid upstairs is not running like a herd of gnus.
  • I need to perceive my husband’s voice like white noise
  • And yes, I’m wearing earphones with some music, but this music is too good that it’s distracting me, I have to change it
  • OK, this music is OK, but I can hear all the loud-making mentioned points above

In this context, the coffee is vital. It helps me stay focused and ignore the rest. I can leverage my coffee addiction to boost my grey cells. It’s like doping. Well, caffeine is kind of a doping substance. Guh.

So, forget the bucolic idea of the writer sipping a lovely mug of coffee in peace because there’s some writing in progress. Writers use coffee because they’ve got a coffee addiction, they can’t work without coffee. It’s more like a need than a pleasure. It’s a pleasure because we need it, and life’s more colourful when the caffeine flows in your veins.

You’re not alone – and you don’t want to give up your coffee addiction

This is my story about the relationship I have with coffee. The society wants us to know that coffee addiction is bad, but we know it’s not. It’s a blessing.
I’d like to meet people and writers with a coffee addiction like mine. So, if you dare, leave a comment below and share your story :)

Taken at London Bridge

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*I’d never thanked myself enough to have moved outside Italy also for the coffee thing. I luckily had an open mind to taste different types of coffee, and I found out that they’re all pretty tasty. Each of them have to be tasted and ‘used’ depending on my needs and situations, but I do love all the coffee in the world, even the cold brewed one (which, if you have a coffee addiction, you should totally try out if you haven’t yet)! ❤️

Chase’s Flash Fiction Vol.1 on sale everywhere on the web!

The Flash Fiction Vol.1 of the Cutting Right to the Chase detective short stories is on the market in every online ebook stores of the web.

After many months of tests and doubts, I rescinded my exclusivity deal with Amazon Kindle Store and decided to give the other online ebook stores a go.

Here are the main stores where you can buy Cutting Right to the Chase Vol.1 (and this is the detailed product page of the book):

chase williams, flash fiction, detective short stories, cutting right to the chase vol.1

Why the other ebook retailers?

My very first experience with Smashwords, Kobo and company hasn’t been too bad after all. In fact, when I published the Italian translation of the Cutting Right to the Chase saga, Dritto al Punto, Chase! I thought of not selling them on Amazon Kindle Store only, and instead opening the market to other resellers.

Since the Italian ebook market is quite different from the international one, as it’s less dominated by Amazon and with Kobo, Nook and Smashwords in a positive up trend, I wanted to walk every profitable paths.

I can’t complain about my choice: at the moment, the overall turnover on Amazon is still the double of the other stores combined, however some days the peaks of sales on certain non-Amazon stores (such as iBook) are quite remarkable and are worth investigating.

What about Kindle KU?

KU stands for Kindle Unlimited and it’s a very nice program any Amazon user can subscribe to. The subscribers can read up to ten ebooks at a time without buying them. Like a library, you can ‘borrow’ the titles from the KU books gallery by paying less than £10 per month. Cool, isn’t it?

As an avid reader myself, I reckon that KU is a brilliant way of saving money and discovering new authors and titles. In fact, the traditional publishers are getting into KU pretty gradually, therefore the KU catalogue is plenty of indie authors and self publishers – and most of them are quite good writers.

Economically speaking, from an authorship point of view, KU has got some turnaround when it’s about flash fiction.
The royalties payment of the titles listed on the KU catalogue are different from the ‘regular’ Amazon royalties. The KU system is designed to reward long length novels, whilst the flash fiction isn’t really paying off from a ROI point of view.
I talked about KU and flash fiction also in an interview for the Aussie Overland website.

That’s why I decided to keep my long length mystery stories – the cozy mystery novella Into the Killer Sphere and the murder mystery story Pull the Trigger – enrolled in the KU program. That grants me also an exclusivity deal with Amazon. For what concerns my short stories, I published the vol.1 of Chase’s flash fiction series also in other online ebook stores, as I’m announcing with this post :D

This way, if my data projection is correct, I will be having a slight improvement both in sales and book’s visibility. In fact, not the 100% of my detective short stories’ potential audience reads on Kindle devices. I see this new chapter of Cutting Right to the Chase vol.1 as a way of broadening my audience and spreading the word about the Chase Williams flash fiction series.
Let’s see how things are going to roll from now on :)

Have you got any experience as a reader or writer in other online ebook retailers a part from Amazon? Would you’d like to share it? I look forward to hear your thoughts and learn something more about that!

Instagram in palestra fa bene

Non c’è bisogno di essere un guru dei social media per avere successo nel tuo quartiere. Questa è la storia di come Instagram in palestra non è sempre distruttivo – a me mi ha resa famosa*

gym selfie, instagram selfie, instagram palestra

Hai presente quando passi un sacco di tempo a spremerti le meningi per creare una straordinaria campagna di marketing, e poi non hai idea di cosa hai fatto, ma ha funzionato?
Questo è quello che mi è successo un paio di giorni fa, quando ho postato una foto di me, su Instagram, in palestra. La didascalia diceva più o meno così:

Ieri ho iniziato un programma di allenamento di 21 giorni. L’ho modificato un po’ per farci entrare anche le lezioni di gruppo che seguo a @energie_forest_hill. Ho scattato qualche foto per controllare poi i possibili miglioramenti tra 21 giorni, @franzvitulli mi ha suggerito di prendere quelle dove non mi piaccio. Eccole qui. Vedremo cosa succederà!

Il mio obiettivo era solo informare la gente che mi segue che avevo iniziato un programma nuovo. Siccome sono sempre molto severa con me stessa, gli amici mi hanno suggerito di pubblicare qualche foto in più, che è terapeutico. Non sono ancora molto convinta ma vabbè, ci sto provando.
Insomma, avevo bisogno di qualche foto per monitorare i progressi dell’allenamento, così le ho pubblicate e ho menzionato sia la palestra che frequento che mio marito, per le ragioni scritte nella didascalia.

L’allenamento seguente

E poi è successa una cosa strana quando sono andata in palestra, quel pomeriggio. A dirla tutta, ho realizzato ciò che era successo solo sulla via di ritorno verso casa.
In pratica, la gente ha iniziato ad approcciarmi e a parlare con me in sala pesi, senza alcun motivo apparente. In genere non sono una persona molto loquace in palestra. Se mi sto allenando, mi sto allenando, non ho né tempo né voglia di chiacchiere. Se debbo conversare, lascio le ciance per la doccia.

E invece, la gente ha iniziato tipo:
“Come va?”
“Hei, tutto a posto?”
“Ti vedo bene, eh! Brava!”

😱

Ho pensato di avere un brufolo gigante in faccia, qualcosa tra i denti, un attacco allergico o la calzamaglia strappata sulle chiappe (true story). Debbo ammettere che ho controllato tutte queste possibilità e anche di più, ma era tutto OK. Siccome avevo anche una brutta tosse, ho pensato che avessi solo una brutta cera, stop.
La cosa non mi ha seccato particolarmente e alla fine ho lasciato perdere. Mi vogliono salutare? E io li saluto pure.

Il miracolo di Instagram in palestra, meglio di quello di Charles Dickens di Natale

Quando stavo tornando a casa, ho controllato Instagram. 11 follower, 67 like, 2 commenti e 1 menzione. 😯

instagram in palestra, esperimenti sui social media

Se ti fai selfie e poi li metti su Instagram, in palestra se ne accorgono subito.

La mia ultima foto (il collage di quelle per il controllo del nuovo programma) era stata ricondivisa su dall’account Instagram della palestra che frequento. Questo ha generato tutta quella marasma di notifiche, e infatti tutti i nuovi follower erano anche follower della palestra.

La cosa più interessante di tutto questo, per me? Accidentalmente, ho venduto diverse copie dei miei libri gialli.

Adesso, la mia situazione è che tutti mi conoscono in palestra e sanno chi sono. Se è una cosa buona? Non lo so. Non sono quel tipo di animale da palestra a cui piace controllarsi la definizione del tricipite allo specchio quando la sala pesi è piena di gente. Infatti, ho fatto queste foto con la porta dello studio chiusa da due kettlebell da 8kg. Che non si sa mai.

Che cosa ho imparato

I compagni della palestra non sono certamente il mio target per quanto riguarda il marketing dei miei libri, eppure questa specie di esperimento involontario mi ha insegnato a non sottovalutare la potenza delle piccole comunità locali. La palestra che frequento non è una di quelle palestre in franchise con trenta milioni di iscritti, ma è invece una palestra ‘rionale’, uno dei perni del quartiere e un centro di aggregazione sociale per le persone che vivono qui vicino. Si tratta di persone che si incontrano spesso anche fuori dalle mura della palestra, e che si aiutano quando serve.

Non c’è bisogno di essere un guru dei social media per costruire una strategia di personal branding e avere qualche follower. A volte basta essere se stessi.

Seguimi su Instagram! (e non è stato mai più appropriato di così!)

*Mamma, lo so che stai leggendo, e so che a me mi non si dice, ma lo scrivo lo stesso perché a me mi piace