Monday, March 28, 2011

Uh, oh! Randomities Won the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award!

That's the yummier blog award Randomities has been graced with. Don't you feel hungry just by looking at it? I know I do! 

Now, I don't know if I thank Angela Perry for the nice reminder, of if I go over there and kick her in the butt for trying to make me fat. Kidding! Thanks, Angela! I really appreciate (in many ways, I should add) your award. 

As for the award rules, I'm going to comply this time:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award. 
2. Share four guilty pleasures that you have.
3. Pass the award on to six blogs.

So, there I go sharing my pleasurable guilt with you:
  • This award's image got at me. Yes, I'm totally addicted to sugar, even though I'm aware that it's highly poisonous. I'm not talking only about our beloved chocolate, but also about good quality biscuits to go with coffee, cakes with tea, desserts, ice cream, pastries... Hmmm!
  • Wine. Oh, how I love good wine! Not in excess, of course, but in small amounts, with good food. Ahhhh! The taste of the wine itself is wonderful, and the combination with food is something different all together. Then you taste the food without the wine and it's yet another palative experience. And there's the dessert wine to go with all those wonderful sins I mentioned... Hmmm! (Gee, I'm hungry.)
  • There's no guilt in that, I love cooking for friends! I don't take as much pleasure in every day cooking, but even so it can be quite nice, depending on the day. Please don't misunderstand me, I'm no great cook! But I do manage. ;)
  • I love writing "bad people". The more wicked the greater the fun! Of course I take care to make them believable. (Hoping dearly that they are!) Talking about it, I'd like to direct you to a cool post on how to write good villains. It reflects my exact feelings about it. (Thanks Dani, for sharing it!)

And now to the fun part! I'm sending out some fattening love to these six irresistibly sweet bloggers:

--Danielle La Paglia, at Dani's Flash Fiction Blog

--Cecilia Dominic, at Cecilia's Random Writings

--Cathy Webster, at Life on the Muskoka River

--Kevin Mackey, at KjM on the web

--Sam Adamson, at Future Nostalgic

--Monica Marier, at Attack of the Muses

--Laura Eno, at A Shift in Dimensions

Finally, I'd suggest you got back to Angela's post and read her comment on SEO and love-spreading. She's got it all right! ;D

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cathy Webster's Week - On The River Side - #FridayFlash

Understand why the fuss, HERE.
Picture credits on this post.
In continuation to Cathy Webster's week, I present you a story featuring no one less than Cathy herself!

For a better enjoyment, I suggest you also read her interview here at Randomities, and her answers to the Bernard Pivot Blogfest.  


On The River Side

The chilly wind blew on Cathy’s hair, making it shine bright against the reflection of late winter’s snow. Where she stood, the river was quiet and inviting, its water gurgling softly in her ears. Further ahead it grew in speed and strength, the waterfalls composing another spectacle.

Picture credits
But she wanted the quiet now. A tiny bird flew past her and landed on a pine tree at her right. She smiled broadly, recognizing the Chickadee, and waited for it to settle down. It sang as if it had arrived specially for a private concert. She couldn’t feel merrier, except that now she missed someone to share this moment with. Strong arms embraced her from behind. She hadn’t heard Dave arriving, but she recognized him instantly by his touch, his scent, and his smile buried in her neck. She leaned back to increase the contact and they stood there, enjoying the moment.

All of the sudden, the bird stopped chipping and flew away. Both Cathy and Dave frowned and looked around, unable to identify the source of its agitation. As their breathing calmed down, they heard before seeing the loud group of teenagers on the other side of the river. They were about ten, she counted roughly, and they were chatting, shouting and listening to some music that sounded like garbage being dumped. Brats, she thought, releasing herself from Dave’s embrace.

They both went upriver to their one-day camp, being horrified at the view of the turbulent group right on the other margin. They were setting the tents under the supervision of one single adult. He was a robust man, she could tell, but from that distance there wasn’t much else to see. She thanked all gods for not having brought the kids, or they’d be crossing the freezing water to discuss the latest game or Lady Gaga’s concert. She snorted out loud, giving Dave a good chuckle.

An abrupt silence spread across the river bank. Everyone turned their back to them. She could feel them squinting to see between the ancient trees. There was a small commotion, which the adult in charge was trying to control. She saw him waving at the kids to pack their things up again as silently as possible. There were whines and restrained sobs but they managed to gather up with a certain order.

Cathy and Dave looked at each other. He went to their tent to pick up his binoculars, while she watched the group reach the irregular stone path they had used to cross the river in the morning. She sighed. The loud kids were coming their way.

Dave poked her in the shoulder. “Uh, I think I know why they gave up their camp.” To her inquiring look, he continued, “I’m not completely sure, but I think I saw movement between the trees. Something big.”

Not a bear, is it?” she asked, her voice pitching high with panic. “They should be hibernating; it’s still winter!”

Well, it seems that this one is an early waker.” She grabbed his arm with such force that Dave had to take a deep breath not to groan. “It’s okay honey, the bear was going in the opposite direction. They must be crossing the river just for precaution,” he finished nodding to the waving adult with thirty kids behind him.

Cathy froze in place as the man reached her view field. Dave watched worriedly her face lose all its color. “Are you ok?”

Yeah,” she babbled, staring at the smiling man who introduced himself as Carlos.

While Dave and Carlos chatted amicably, Cathy noticed that the group was heavily packed. “Are you planning a long stay?” asked David, while Cathy twitched her hands surreptitiously.

Only a few days,” said Carlos. The kids wanted some adventure, so I’m giving them.” He grinned.

After taking a deep breath, Cathy finally managed to muster some words, “Gee, I can’t imagine spending the night in this cold.” She shuddered under her thick sweater.

An hour later, Cathy and Dave had packed up to leave and Carlos approached to say goodbye. A boy that seemed very uncomfortable with his limbs’ length was close behind. 

If you’re crossing back the river, I’d suggest you leave all your food behind,” Carlos said at some point. “That bear must be very hungry and it can smell food from miles away. We were very lucky that it went away.”

What about you? We're going home, but the bear might turn back for your food,” asked Dave, concerned about the kids' safety.

I don't think it will turn around,” replied Carlos, “but if it does, I'm prepared to deal with it.” He finished patting his right side. Cathy didn't seem very happy about his intentions, and seeing her closed face he added, “The gun is my last resource, of course, but I won't hesitate to use it if it comes to that. The kids are my priority.”

His concern about her opinion made a new light shine in her eyes. Feeling her face heat up, she knelled down harshly to remove all her food from her backpack. Dave did the same, although grudgingly. When he put the chocolate bars and homemade sandwiches on the boy’s had, he let out a “nomnom”. Cathy showed him her cringed teeth, which prompted the boy to step back as if she were the bear itself.

They said their final goodbyes and headed separate ways. Cathy and Dave walked in silence for two good hours, afraid to make too much noise and call the bear’s attention. It was only when the spotted the parking lot Dave said, “Don’t you think Carlos looks just like Tony Soprano?”

Ah, you think so?” replied a flushed Cathy. She looked away to prevent her husband to notice, so she didn’t see his amused smile.

That fecking bear almost ruined our day,” she added to change subject. “If it weren’t for it, those obnoxious kids wouldn’t have seen us and come our way.”

Honey,” said Dave, cupping her cheek with his hand, “it’s hard not to notice you in this pink sweater.” 


Cathy Webster lives on the sunshiny banks of the Muskoka River near Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada. She shares her rustic, 131-year-old log cabin with her new husband, Dave, two good-looking sons, two cats, one smallish dog and some squirrels in the attic. When she's not blogging at Life on the Muskoka River or coveting her new Kindle, she's designing magazines, camping at one of Ontario's gorgeous provincial parks, or fishing on the riverbank. Some day she thinks she might try writing a novel. Some day ... but you're not holding your breath, are you?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cathy Webster's Week - Interview

Understand why the fuss, HERE.
Picture credits on this post.
It's time to collect the rewards! 

My first knight to shine at Randomities is the lovely Cathy Webster, whose blog Life on the Muskoka River features not only her wonderful stories but also funny and curious life anecdotes.

During Cathy's Week you'll read an interview with her (below) and a story featuring no one less than herself

Now, since this is the first knight interview, I think some explanation is in order. I've send a bunch of questions to all interviewees, the same to everyone. Since there were too many to post in a single interview, I chose the ones which answers I liked the best. This means that in future interviews you might find repeated questions or not. So each interview will be a surprise for you and the interviewee. *grin*

Additionally, the stories that I wrote based on the collected information are also a surprise to the subjects of my inspiration. *wicked grin* 

Now, I'll let Cathy speak. My throat is sour of too much babbling, and my face hurts. 

Silly questions:

1. What's your favorite color? 

Pink! Baby pink! 

2. What else is a favorite to you that you feel is relevant? 

James Durbin is my favourite contestant so far on American Idol. Dexter is the coolest show on TV but I miss Tony Soprano (I was in love with him - love, I tell you). I love my convertible and I love my laptop (MacBook Pro) and I love living "up north" on the river. I do not love dishes.

3.     What's your worst fear?

Someone breaking in the house when I'm here by myself. Something horrible happening to my husband or my children. Losing my mother. Being in a car accident. Being eaten by a bear while we're camping… there are so many. I am SUCH a chickenshit!

4.     What do you do for a living, besides writing? 

I've worked for newspapers all my adult life; for 20 years as a reporter/photographer and then editor; since then as a graphic artist.

The writer:

5.     Why did you start to write? 

Because I suck at math.

6.     Who the most influenced your writing?

Rolling Stone magazine. When I was in my early 20s I really took a shine to the honest, detailed, well-crafted writing being done by the mag's feature writers. Incredible stories. Their tone, their dedication to original, accurate writing clicked something in me that made me want to write like that.

7.   When/where do you write the best?

The thing I learned about being a reporter is there is no best time to write. I had to write several stories every day and I had to write them in between covering other events. It didn't matter if it was 8 o'clock at night or 6 a.m.; didn't matter if I was sick as a dog; I had to write every chance I got. The very best time to write was as soon as you returned from an interview. Write when the idea, the information, is fresh - that freshness will show in the writing. If the info is stale, your story will be boring and, um, stale.

8.   Which part of writing do you like the most?

I don't do drafts. I write it once, editing as I go. Then I read it out loud to my husband, to see how it sounds (I find a ton of mistakes that way), I do a spell check, and then I send it out. Yes, I know rewriting would make a more polished story… well, I think it would. But, again, newspapers don't allow you the luxury of rewrites. You write it. You send it. And then you're on to the next thing. I honestly think spending too long on one story will make it mediocre. It takes all the 'you' out of it. But you know what? I am certainly no expert. In competitive contests, my work rarely is chosen and I've never been published. Maybe if I did rewrites, that would change… however, I rarely submit anything, either. (Rejection is another big fear.)

9.   What's your favorite genre? Which other(s) genre(s) do you write in?

Slice of life. Anything that illuminates the human condition. 

10.   Which is the favorite character you've ever wrote? Why?

I like the old ladies in Why Mabel Stopped Going to ChurchMabel and Olive are the only characters I've written about in more than one story. I also really like Gretal Hoffenmeir  because she was just crazy and funny and well, crazy. And I really liked Stinky, I CAN'T CHOOSE! Those guys are all crazy...  but I also have a soft spot for a sad cook named Olezhka; Bella, a woman who loses her children (based on a true family story)And I liked Gordon Kilbride, too, a widower who returns to the ghost town that was once his home. Sorry, Mari! 

The story:

11.   If you were to be written as a character in a story, which genre would you like the story to be? 

Meh.. doesn't matter. Humour, I guess. Anything but science fiction. 

12.   Would you like to have any special trait, ability?

I'd like to have good hair.

13.   Is there anything, any kind of being, you'd like to see in a story featuring you, or the character of your choice?

A river. There has to be a river.


Cathy Webster lives on the sunshiny banks of the Muskoka River near Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada. She shares her rustic, 131-year-old log cabin with her new husband, Dave, two good-looking sons, two cats, one smallish dog and some squirrels in the attic. When she's not blogging at Life on the Muskoka River or coveting her new Kindle, she's designing magazines, camping at one of Ontario's gorgeous provincial parks, or fishing on the riverbank. Some day she thinks she might try writing a novel. Some day ... but you're not holding your breath, are you?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kights on the Spotlight - Wrap Up

Understand why the fuss, HERE.
Picture credits on this post.
As you've probably seen, the new computer has arrived! 

So it's time to stop blathering about it and start sending out those rewards to my knights in shiny armor. If you recall, the image at the left is the sign of a knight-post that will include three sets of rewards:

  1. A link list of people who helped by spreading the word. 
  2. A guest post, book review, or interview for who donated small amounts, blogged about it, or helped in other substantial way.
  3. A story written by yours truly, featuring the knight or one of their characters for those who contributed significantly and/or chipped in generously.
I've also recently mentioned that while I interviewed them and wrote some of the stories, I came up with an idea: they would have an entire week dedicated to them here at Randomities, instead of a single post. Yes, a whole week! 

Now, as the title says, this post is a wrap up of everything that's coming up for my lovely knights, so it'll be updated as we go. 

So far, I have the following programmed, in no particular order:

Knight-dedicated weeks

Individual posts:
  • Icy Sedgwickbook review
  • Anne Tyler Lordguest post
  • Yvonne DeBusschere: oh, she's in Laura's story ;P
  • Marisa Birns: guest post
  • Candance Carter: book review
  • Laurita Millerguest post
  • Gineveve Ching: book review
  • Monica Marierbook review
  • Tomara Armstrong: to be defined
  • Pamila Payne: to be defined
  • Angela Perry: to be defined

Wow, that makes eight knight-dedicated weeks and ten individual posts! See how lucky I am for having so many good friends? *grinz*

Stay tunned!  ;D 

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Have It!

Yessss. After a long wait the shiny new computer has arrived! YAY! :D 

Actually, *ahem*, I have to confess something. It has been a few days since it's arrived but it's been crazy these days! Sorry? *doggie face* 

Anyway, I think you can imagine my excitement when I saw that slim box up there. :D 

As you must have noticed, I've purchased a Samsung. It's a netbook with 1G of run memory and 250G of storage. If you're curious about the technicals, give it a google to "N150-JP02", which is the CP's model. ;)

Red, who has been extremely helpful and incredibly available throughout the buying process, suggested me better machines to buy as well. But I had a limited budget (not wanting to take advantage of my dear writing pals) and I had to buy here in Italy (thus paying in euros) because no seller would ship it here. (boo!) So I settled for a good computer, not an outstanding one. 

"Who's this Red you're talking about?" you ask. 

He's the tech-savvy friend John Wiswell introduced to me to give advice on the deal. He was fundamental! Thanks so much, Red!

Now, knight-Red, who's always drunk but drinks only water, has been playing at Devian Art for a while. I'd suggest you take a look at his work. His characters have loads of attitude!

And now, *drum roll*, I present you my shiny new computer! 

Sorry for the bad quality picture.
My cell phone wasn't made for such things. :P 

It's small, it's cute, and, *coughs*, it's YELLOW!

Look, it literally shines! :D

Yeah, I was hurting a bit when I had to go for a yellow computer, but when it arrived, I couldn't be happier. I looks much better in person that on picture. Believe me. ;)

Also, since I went for a cheaper option (although very satisfying, I cannot stress enough) I could get a few useful accessories as well, like the cool yellow mini-mouse that matches the computer's color perfectly, the bag for carrying it safely, and a white mini hub with four exits that I'm sure I'd regret not buying. 

Cute, eh? :)
Now, I'm as tired as you must be of reading "thank you" all over  Randomities, so I'll start acting instead of yakking about it. Which means that next week will be Cathy Webster's Week! Woot! 

Come back Tuesday for her interview, and read her story next Friday. See you then? :) 

Note: If you don't know what I'm talking about, read the last paragraphs of this post

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Not Yet!

Understand why the fuss, HERE.
Picture credits on this post

You're wondering if this is "the post" in which I show you my shiny new computer, which I bought with your generous help, right? 


All donations have arrived now, but before it happened I did something stupid. I asked Paypal to transfer all my donations to my credit card. I didn't know at the time which computer I was going to buy, and knowing that such withdrawal (as they call it) would take a few days, I thought I should anticipate myself. If I were to go to a physical store I'd have the money ready, and if I decided to  buy it online I could use my credit card all the same. Precautious girl, eh? 

But you see, what I wasn't counting is that Paypal withdrawals take from 3 (okay) to 14 freaking working days! Why a mere virtual transaction would take so long? I'm not sure, but my sister (from whose computer I'm writing now) suspects they take all withdrawals and put it on highly lucrative short term investments. How else would they be able to maintain that structure with the pitiful commissions they charge for their services?

Well, since I'm here and I'd hate to see you through a whiny-only post, I'm going to share some good news as well. ;) 

See the picture up there? It's the mark that you'll see on every reward-post I'm preparing for my lovely and generous knights. Here's what you'll see at Randomities as soon as evil Paypal releases my darned money:

Some of the major contributors will have a whole week dedicated to them at Randomities. Yes, a whole week! :D 

Say, Cathy Webster, who's been a fundamental help for me to reaching my funding goal: she'll have an interview posted on Tuesday, and a story featuring herself and someone close to her on Friday. 

Laura Eno, for instance, will have an additional book review, posted on Sunday. The differentiation here is only because Cathy hasn't written a novel yet. If she had, she'd have the same treatment as Laura. These two are the almost-ready stuff that are coming up soon. Of course I'm preparing other knight-dedicated weeks for the near future. ;D  

In the meantime, there will be people on the spotlight with single posts as well. So prepare yourself for amazing books to be reviewed here, guest posts, interviews and more! 

I'm almost as excited about the knight-weeks and posts as I am from having the new CP in my fidgeting hands. ;D

Update: I finally have it! If you're curious to see pictures, please visit this post. ;)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Picture credit

By instict a woman perceives the truth and anticipates it.

José Martí

Happy Women's Day! 

Here's to a year with better working conditions, less and less (and less!) genital mutilation, more equal treatment, less slavery, less envy of our life-creating potential, less fear of our power, more love.  

To a day in which every day will be a woman's day, as every day is a mankind day.

Friday, March 4, 2011


You know when you have a horrible nightmare and in the end things clear out and you wake up okay? I know this is rare, but it happens, and it happened to me.

I was saved from the dreadful isolation monster by no less than 46 knights in shiny armors.(!) Each one helped in their own way. 30 of my saviors joined the cause on Facebook, and 20 of them donated from $5 to $100 to this lady in distress. Almost all of them helped spreading the word, publicly or not. I cannot express how much I appreciate your concern, and your help. As a first celebrating act, I suggest a huge group hug. *HUGS* :)

In my help-please-post, I mentioned that I felt saying thank you wasn't enough. I will be thanking people for a long time now, and I would like to start with a list of people you should pay attention to. These are my knights, and they deserve to be on the spotlight.

First, I'd like to mention some people to whom I'd like to send out a special thanks. You'll understand why as you read. ;) If you don't have time to visit all my knights, please visit at least these ones.

-- Monica Marier: She's the one who was there to calm me down and put things under perspective. Without her friendship and care I might be sulking and never come back to the online writing community again. (Holy cow, without her, the trolls would have died precociously! O.o) Thank you so much, Mon.

Picture credits
-- Cathy Webster: She was the first to donate, and it was a generous donation indeed. Around the third day of shouting out for help, my cause hadn't achieved not even half of its goal, and it was because of Cathy's post on her blog that could close up the cause so quickly. (We've raised $500 in six days. Not bad, eh?) I've always known Cathy was a generous and loving person (besides a great writer), but I confess didn't expect so much dedication to my cause as she showed. Thank you so much, Cathy.

--Laura Eno: She as always been there for me. On my absence, she was hooting for my stories, when I was present, she'd always visit Randomities and leave great comments, and when I was in trouble she not only donated (generously) but also spread the word about the cause all around. Thank you so much, Laura. (I'm writing this post before Jezebel eats my fingers, by the way. Johnny couldn't hold her up for Mr. Fluffy's visit and now I can barely sleep because I'm afraid she'll try to eat me up (or my dogs) at night. O.o) 

--Adriano San Luca: He wishes to remain anonymous, so I'll respect it. But I cannot let you guys remain ignorant of what a wonderful friend Adriano is. Besides being always there for me, (way before the computer's death) and having sent out the highest donation, Adriano never judges, never criticizes. You're getting a story, you know? And I think you'll guess where and when it'll be set. ;P Thank you so much, Adriano.

--Angela Perry: She not only chipped in, but she was the first to think about which would be the best purchase for me. (As many of you) She never doubted that I'd achieve my goal, and she spent a good amount of time discussing options. We barely knew each other before the crash, and now I consider her a friend. (who's recently debuted on #fridayflash. Check her stories out! :) Thank you so much, Angela.

--John Wiswell: He's put me in touch with an IT savvy friend, who's helping me up with the new CP buying. (pics will come out as soon as it arrives) He's also donated even after the cause's goal had been achieved, skipping two lunch's for that. Thank you so much, John.

Here's a second spotlight to those who have donated. (in no particular order) You'll be hearing a lot about them here at Randomities in the next few months. There will be stories featuring some of them, book reviews, guest posts etc.. :) 

Picture credits
(many thank you's here!)
Cathy Webster                      David Shrock
Icy Sedgwick                        Adriano San Luca
Laura Eno                             Anne Tyler Lord
Angela Perry                         Tomara Armstrong  
Marisa Birns                         Yvonne DeBusschere
Laurita Miller                        Anonymnous
Emma Newman                    Pamila Payne
Kevin Mackey                       John Wiswell
Gineveve Ching                     Sam Adamson

Now, please take a look at the complete list of modern knights. These people helped in all way they could: they've joined the cause, recruited people, shared on facebook, twitted about it, wrote blog posts, donated and above all, they were generous in their own way, which I appreciate beyond words. Thank you so much to all of you!  
Picture credits

Monica Marier                                      Lexx Clarke
Cathy Webster                                      Angie Capozello 
Icy Sedgwick                                         David Shrock
Nick Gandolfi                                         Adriano San Luca
Darcy Peal                                             Phyl Good
Julio Ricardo Varella                            Litchat (Carolyn Burn Bass)
Tony Noland                                          Laura Eno
Marina Miniatt                                     Anne Tyler Lord
Darrelyn Saloom                                   Angela Perry
Cathryn Louis                                       DJ Young    
Bob Skrezyna                                        Mike WhiteMagick Morris
Sherree Worrell                                    Ian Collings
Tomara Armstrong                              Marisa Birns
Yvonne DeBusschere                          Laurita Miller    
Candance Carter                                  Emma Newman
Eric Krause                                           Miker Lazlo
Maria A Kelly                                       Pamila Payne
Kevin Mackey                                       John Wiswell 
Gineveve Ching                                   Sam Adamson
Fiona Teasdale                                     Arnold Newman
Almira L Bech                                       Tamara Fox
Rachel Blackbirdsong                          Catherine Russell
Barry Maltese                                      Peter H. Fogtdal

I tried to link people up to their websites when possible, but there are also links to twitter and facebook profiles. If you would prefer me to direct our dear visitors to another we addy, please let me know. 

On a final note, I know there are people who have tweeted about the cause, and since I wasn't always mentioned on the tweet I may not have caught you. If this is the case, please don't hesitate to give me a shout! I'd love to increase my shiny knight list. :D

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