Thursday, 27 November 2008

13 Things I'm Thankful For

Well, I came up short again, this week. However, the time of year provided me with a natural topic! So here is my Thanksgiving Thursday Thirteen:

13 Things I'm Thankful For

1) I'm glad that I've already seen a snowfall this year. Here in Reggio Emilia, we had snow on San Prospero day, which is the holiday for the patron saint of the city. It was wonderful to wake up to that, especially since I only had one lesson for the day, and then I was able to traipse off to Parma for a day of walking, book shopping, and nice leisurely lunch with my friend, Laura.

2) I'm thankful that my writing muse has deigned to continue speaking to me. What was planned to be a 15,000 word short story has blossomed into a (potentially) 20,000 word novella. While I will likely hack a lot out, it pleases me to know that this story - which I wasn't all that sure I wanted to write - has grown into something I want to work on and am becoming a little proud of.

3) I'm thankful that my husband and I still have jobs - even though mine is very small - in this crazy economy. Italy has been hit hard, too, in recent months, and everyone is struggling. I'm especially grateful that the hubby makes enough so I won't have to work, since if my hours drop any lower, I might as well not be working at all.

4) In that vein, I am also very thankful that I have a husband who is supportive of my writing habit even though it hasn't made any money, yet. (That "yet" is important, y'all!) He backs me in all my efforts, and cheers me on when I get depressed or frustrated. What more could I ask?

5) I'm thankful that my sister-in-law has gotten closer to my hubby since the birth of her baby. My hubby wanted this more than anything in the world, and I'm so glad to see it has happened.

6) I'm thankful that my mother has come to terms with the fact that she and my stepfather will have to move away from their current home. While it makes me very sad to lose a place with so many good memories, I know that they'll both be happier in their new location. 

7) I'm glad that I have such wonderful students. I'm going to miss the group I'm working with right now, when our course ends in December. It'll take a lot of luck to get them again next year, if their company will pay for another course. Fingers crossed!

8) I'm thankful for the new friends I've made here, and for the fact that they're willing to reach out to me since I'm not the type to reach out, first.

9) I'm glad that my workplace (the actual school, that is) is full of people that I like to see. They're all friendly and welcoming, and my immediate boss is truly an understanding gentleman. That means a lot to me.

10) On the subject of work and students, I'd like to add that I am grateful that I made the acquaintance of one student in particular. When he passed away suddenly two weeks ago, I really learned how much he'd meant to the group, and to me. We'll miss him.

11) I'm thankful that my terrible, horrible, no-good bad day (aka, Yesterday) came to a peaceful end. With chocolate.

12) I'm thankful that I had the chance to spend some time with my father over the last summer. I spend more time with my mother when I go to the States because I've been closer to her over the majority of my life. But I suppose I'll always be "Daddy's Girl", and it meant so, so much to me that we were able to be together, even though he was too sick to do much of anything besides watch TV.  I cooked him an "authentic" Italian spaghetti supper with a homemade ragu sauce, and he loved it. He bragged on me and asked for a second helping when he was barely eating much else. Can you see my smile? I'm still so proud.

13) I'm thankful that my brother, sister and I have had the opportunity to "get to know" my father again. There was a lot of baggage there that we didn't deal with really well, before, but now I think they're trying to get past that and reconnect, at last. Not a moment too soon, I might add.

And since this post has been a bit "heavy", I must find some way to lighten it up.

Always leave 'em laughing, they say.

Always leave 'em wanting more.

Ah.  This will do:


Thursday, 20 November 2008

13 Pieces of Rugby Eye Candy!

As many of you know, over the last year or so, I've developed a genuine fondness for a certain sport. While Cycling is still my favorite of all time, I have to confess that:

Naturally, my love for this sport started out as a lark, even though I do truly enjoy watching matches (which I used to be able to do for free, until my best friend moved away from her flat that overlooked the stadium. Traitor.)

Anyway, this week, I thought I'd share some delightful rugby-related eye candy, in celebration of the fact that I'm going to attend my first-ever professional rugby match at Stadio Giglio here in Reggio Emilia, this Saturday. Go, Italy! Forza Italia!

So, here, for the ladies - and for certain gents - are
13 Pieces of Rugby Eye Candy

(and the countries where they play).

If I've gotten anyone listed incorrectly, I beg the forgiveness of anyone reading this page. What can I say, though? I was distracted!

Enjoy. ;)

1) Thomas Combezou - France

2) Guillaume-Bousses - France

3) Frederic Cermeno - France

4) Sergio Parisse - Italy

5) Mathieu Nicolas - France

6) Jonathon Thurston - Australia

7) Miguel Avramovic - France

8) Sean Lamont - England

9) Vincent Clerc - France

10) David Skrela - France

11) Geoffroy Messina - France

12) Christophe Dominici - France

13) Brent Webb - New Zealand

See you next week!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Ooops, Again!

Yep, you guessed it!

I didn't manage a Thursday Thirteen this week - things have been too crazy at work and I've been writing, as well.

SOoooo... What to do?

A little eye candy should do the trick, eh?


Alessio Boni - Italian actor

And what the hey - let's make it a two-fer on the eye candy this week...

Ashley Harrison - Australian Rugby player (so I'm told...)

Ciao for now!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

13 Comments About My Short Story, "Connections"

13 Positive Things People Have Said About My Short Story, "Connections".

I have my story "Connections" posted on, in slim hopes of having it read by the editors of Harper Collins and possibly picked up for publication. Dare I to dream? Heck, yes! That's why I did it.

Anyway, I've gotten some very positive feedback from readers on that site, some of whom are published authors or critics in their own right. Imagine my delight, however, when I find comments of this nature awaiting me:

1) "I swear this story made my heart stop. And it made me cry, I'm not afraid to admit. I've just finished it. With my reader's heart, I loved it. Every single second of it. I want to read it over and over again."

2) "I have just come to this…and I am absolutely stunned. First, the concept is wonderful - simple, but wonderful. Exactly the same kind of storyline that would drive the plot of a Murakami novel - most of all though it reminded me of my absolute favourite film ever, Three Colours:Red."

3) "I love this on several levels.
Your prose is a thing of beauty. I love the structure, with the voice of Jacopo popping in during what would have been a long narrative stretch. It made Emily come alive as a character, let me inside her head, gave me some necessary back story about the relationship between them and her inner conflict, and felt like dialog."

4) "I also note that this is beautifully written and contains a word picture that I can easily build in my head. Lovely... quite perfect. I would buy this book."

5) "This man could seduce an iceberg! I'm half in love with him myself. I feel like saying, that's it, I'm off, Italy first stop...So poignant, so elegant, so captivating, so 'drowning in honey, stingless...'"

6) "I have read the first three chapters of your work and enjoyed it immensely. It is not my normal choice of read but I did enjoy it. It is beautifully written and flows well with Davide and Emily being believable characters."

7) "What a beautiful story. The writing is just gorgeous and you immediately take us into Emily's world in Italy. Davide sounds so dreamy - good looking, sophisticated, cultured, kind, and a professor of literature - what girl wouldn't fall for him? I liked the way you had Jacopo's thoughts playing through her head at pivotal moments to show the strain of that relationship on her current happiness. I loved her moment of liberty in the plaza and had a few tears in my eyes when she said, 'he won't be calling'. How are you planning to release this?"

8) "I …am absolutely bowled over by the lyrical beauty of your writing."

9) "This is a lovely, lovely book…Your turn of phrase occasionally is just a poignant delight: "Denied her hand..." (I wish I'd written that!) And throughout there is this achingly beautiful sense of place and of atmosphere. And Davide is lovely and one wants to spend time in his company. Well done."

10) "Kimberly, this is lovely. I'd be very happy to sit in my local cafe on a sunny day, with this book in hand and reading while sipping at a cappuccino. Except my coffee would probably grow cold. Because while this is not the sort of book that *grabs* the attention, it is engrossing, well-written with some exquisitely lyrical touches and, inevitably I suppose, a rich Italian flavour :) In some ways it's probably helped by that opening line too - the more you want something, the slower it is arriving. A sentiment that writers seeking publication should have no trouble connecting with ;)"

11) "This spoke to me on the visceral level that I live on, because it's about love, about passion, about loss, about every single beating emotion that makes our lives what they are. The way you write is amazing. You create an atmosphere for the reader to explore, to breathe, to be. We become a part of the story."

12) "Then there's the rhythm of your prose…this flows with the rhythm of liquid gold. The way you intercut thoughts and description is masterful, and when your dialogue gets underway in chapter two it is just so tightly constructed - the kind of effortless prose that's obviously been reworked and reworked until it's perfect."

13) "The dialog is crisp and real, including the snatches of Italian and less than perfect English. But it flows and picks up steam leading to the coffee shop. Written in third person, but with Emily’s first person thoughts interjected frequently kept me in the character’s head and POV solidly."

Yeah… That makes me feel pretty good…

And if any agents or publishers stumble across this…I'd be more than happy to have a little chat, you know?


This week, the eye candy is a bit different...

I thought I'd post one of the inspirations for Davide, the male lead in "Connections".

But he's not nude (Sorry!)

But, I think you'll agree...

He's a stunner, isn't he? :)