Top 9 things I lived and learnt in 2016

While everyone is welcoming the upcoming 2017 and blaming the 2016 for all the people who have died during these last 12 months, I’ve made a sum up of the top 9 things that happened to me in 2016.

top 9 things 2016

That’s the Instagram’s Best Nine. Well, no pics about me? Guh!

So here are my top 9 things I chose as highlights of my 2016!

Many other great things have happened during this 2016. It’s been an amazing year for me, I can’t complain at all!

When reading my first post of the 2016 about avoiding proposition, there’s something I’d like to underline:

In the picture above there are the 9 most liked pictures on Instagram in 2015. They reflect well what my year has just been: travelling, working on myself, never giving up, coming back to running, eating, drinking tons of coffee and loving all things beautiful in the world.

That’s exactly what happened on this 2016 too. I hope my 2017 will enhance all of this, and will push even more out of my comfort zone. I want to learn new skills, visit new countries, get stronger, write more, spend more time with my loved ones, and enjoy life.

I wish you all a fantastic, happy and healthy 2017 full of all the things you’d like! Stay strong, live your life at full and don’t be discouraged by the bad times – good times are always around the corner!

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)! ❤️

Bristol, the mystery city!

bristol, mystery city, UK cities

If I have to choose a British mystery city where to set my Chase’s stories, Bristol will be the perfect one.

Husband and I went in Bristol! A dear friend of our just moved there so we thought it would be the perfect excuse for a weekend out of London.

I’ve never been in Bristol before and I found it very different from London. I don’t know why but I was expecting it to be a sort of little London. It turns out Bristol has its own particular identity, more ‘relaxed’ for some aspects but also more hipster than London. It was very weird for us, being Londoners since the first time we moved to the UK, to realise that we could walk from our Airbnb to the city centre by walk :D

Probably the dump cloudy weather played a big part in my general idea of Bristol as a mysterious city. To me, Bristol would be the perfect place to set a Chase Williams’ detective story. A part from Tursenia, Bristol is THE mystery city to me. I didn’t see many dodgy people around, but due to its narrow streets and decadent corners, along with an army of students and alternative people, my brain started plotting no stop. I could see my favourite detective chasing thugs on Bristol’s road, or even better getting involved in a complicated mastermind made by a potential serial killer. But I’m wandering.

Just like my mysterious Italian city Tursenia, Bristol looks like a quiet city populated by ‘regular’ people able to commit a crime. I don’t know why I think this, maybe it’s because of its vibe which is exactly like Tursenia’s!

So long Bristol, what a perfect mystery city you are! Had a great time here with ace company and can’t wait to come back soon 👍🏻🇬🇧

Taken at Bristol, United Kingdom

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Pull the Trigger among the 50 Indie Books Worth Reading 2015

Indie Author Land has chosen my crime novel Pull the Trigger as one of the 50 Indie books worth reading in 2015.

Pull the Trigger, murder mystery series, cozy mystery book, books worth reading
I’m very very happy to announce that the famous indie and self-publishing website Readfree.ly (formerly known as Indie Author Land) has a soft spot for my mystery and suspense stories! This year, Pull the Trigger, a Chase Williams Murder Mystery #2 has been chosen as one of the 50 self published books worth reading.

Last year my cozy mystery Into the Killer Sphere was included among the 50 indie books worth reading in 2014.

Have to say that comes partially unexpected. Whilst the readers of the website choose – amongst 1000+ books – their favourite that are going to compete for the final 50 spots, it’s up to the readers from all over the internet to cast their votes and express their appreciation towards one or more shortlisted books. I was so busy with my wedding and my everyday SEO job that I didn’t have one moment to ask my social media audience for a vote.

A BIG thanks to my mailing list crew

The people of my mailing list have massively voted for Pull the Trigger – as they did last year with Into the Killer Sphere. Writing a brief email to them was the only thing I did to get some votes for this competition. I feel so lucky to have such a solid fan base I can count on when it’s time to support me and Chase – I will never thank them enough for their love.

There’s something better than the TOP 10

Pull the Trigger ranks No40 in the top 50 of the overall chart and I’m so glad it didn’t reach the TOP 10.
You might think I’m crazy or jealous since I couldn’t climb higher than position 40? Nope. The reason why I’m happy to have reached the lowest position of the TOP 50 lies in the visibility opportunity of this chart.
Last year, Into the Killer Sphere almost made it, getting the No49 position out of 50. You can’t believe it, but that boosted my sales a lot.
Indie Author Land always shows the 50 indie books worth reading in the reverse sense, meaning that the lowest ranked books are the first ones visible by potential customers. As a matter of fact, Into the Killer Sphere was the second most seen book in the chart!
This year, Pull the Trigger is in the second page – let’s see how the visibility will impact my sales.

People love detective stories and mysteries set in Italy

Overall, I’m very glad to see that the Chase Williams murder mystery book series is having the success in terms of appreciation and sales I hope it would have some day. That pushes me even more to keep writing and add another book to the series as soon as possible.

[Guest post] 10 (+3) reasons to write mystery fiction/ 10 motivi per cui scrivere storie di mystery

Scrolla in basso per la versione in italiano

10 (plus 3) good reasons to write mystery fictionI love writing mystery fiction, and most of all I love reading it. I asked my friend Giulia Beyman, an Italian mystery besteller author, the same question. That made her twinkle and wrote a great blog in Italian about her ten reasons why she writes mystery fiction. Therefore, since my Jubilee is still in progress (CLICK HERE FOR THE UPDATED SCHEDULE) I obtained her permission to translate it in English.  Giulia agreed and asked me also to add my main reasons that push me to write mystery and detective stories. So here you are: Giulia guest blog and my reasons to follow.

***
I was dealing with  a window glass in one of my stories – just a simple window glass which was supposed to be unbreakable – when I realised that my main character had to break it if she wanted to save her own life. I deal with this kind of situations every day, while writing.

This time I asked myself: why I chose to write mysteries? You know, it’s not easy at all. You have to square things up and think of the plot at the big picture: there are so many threads to weave together! Anyhow, here are my reasons why, no matter what, I keep writing mystery fiction.

1) Do you know another way to kill a husband (yours or someone else’s) without ending up in jail?
2) In the eternal struggle between good and evil, the good always wins if you write a mystery. What a nice feeling! The world is full of bad news and uncertainties, but I can always have my happy ending.
3) I can put people I hate in my stories and drag them into awful situations. I feel better afterwards without hurting anyone.
4) I love questions. Writing mystery fiction opens me a whole world of questions.
5) Whatever happens in my stories I can always think that it’s all fiction.
6) I can find the murderer before everyone else.
7) When doing researches on some cool ways to kill someone (without leaving any trace) no one suspects about me. Never.
8) I can think “How cool would be if I kill him (or her)!” without feeling too guilty.
9) I don’t feel too weird when, while opening a newspaper, the first thing I check is the obituaries.
10) I write mysteries because I love reading them, and even more I love writing them.

What about you, Stefania? I know that you write mysteries too. And you’ve got such a cool detective… What are your good reasons to write mystery fiction?

Well, I can add at least three main reasons the lead me to the mystery/detective story road.

1) It challenges myself. A detective story cannot be predictable. And if it is so, there must be a very good reason. Mystery fiction keeps my brain switched on and pushes me to find better ways to amaze my readers.
2) I can distort reality. One day, my auntie was dusting her living room chandelier and loosened something in its attachment by accident. Few days after, the chandelier crushed down – no one was injured, luckily. But what if it was not an accident and my aunt wanted to kill someone? That’s the beginning of Into the Killer Sphere
3) It’s a relief valve. Whatever plot I create for my mysteries, whether it is inspired by true stories or not, it’s just fiction. It’s good to have a break from reality and get inside a world when dreadful things may happen, but you can control them. It helps me to stay balanced in my daily life.

What about you? Why do you (or would you) write mystery fiction?


Mi piace scrivere gialli, ma soprattutto mi piace leggerli. Ho chiesto alla mia amica Giulia Beyman, scrittrice bestseller di gialli e di mystery suspance, perché lei scriva storie di mistero e perché, per esempio, non scriva fantascienza.

A lei la domanda è piaciuta così tanto che ci ha scritto un post sul suo blog. Io, ovviamente, ho preso la palla al balzo per aggiungere anche il suo post alle celebrazioni per il mio trentesimo compleanno (CLICCA QUI PER IL PROGRAMMA AGGIORNATO), ma in versione solo inglese, per rispettare il suo lavoro.
Leggi qui i 10 motivi di Giulia Beyman per cui lei scrive gialli. Buona lettura!