Matera, here I come!

Beautiful Matera

Tomorrow morning I head to the place that always helps me recharge my creative batteries: Matera, Italy. Yes, it’s that time again–time for the Women’s Fiction Festival. I know I only came home from the US a few weeks ago, but I need my biannual dose of Matera and the Matera Brainstormers. They’ve been lifesavers for me

The last time I was in Matera was in March, following my father’s death. I still felt very raw, and my writing was suffering because of it. Going to Matera and having a week to focus on my writing and reconnect with everyone in the group helped me get back on track. Now, work has knocked me off track again, so this sojourn to Matera is an absolute necessity.

For those of you who are novices to my Matera mentions, Matera is where the Women’s Fiction Festival is held every year. It’s a beautiful town with a historical centre that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Every year, writers, agents and editors from around the world gather at Le Monacelle Hotel for seminars, panel discussions master classes and pitch sessions. Unlike many writer’s conferences, the Women’s Fiction Festival has a very intimate feel, making it easier to get to know the other participants–and of course it helps that Matera is a true foodie city. Which reminds me, I must remember to pick up a bottle of Padre Pepe (a walnut liqueur typical for Basilicata and Puglia) for Tord.

I’ll admit it: I am a creature of habit.I always stay at the Albergo del Sedile when I am in Matera. I love the location and the view of the Piazza del Sedile. The staff there are very friendly, helpful and always make me feel welcome. I’ve always go to Bar Sedile for my first cup of Italian. In the afternoon and early evening, I usually end up at Caffé Vittorio Veneto for snacks and a glass or two of wine while I watch the Materans take their evening stroll. I always end up at IT Style to buy makeup in great colors that suit my skin tone. And I inevitably end up buying a lot of goodies at the various delicatessens so that I can keep my Matera buzz going for as long as possible.

When I return from Matera, I’ll post my Autumn-Winter 2012 reading list and a review of a cozy mystery series I’ve become addicted to.

Happy reading (and writing)!

Planning for September in Matera

Franco, the ever charming barman at the Bar Sedile in Matera.

Even though it’s only May, it’s time for me to plan for my September trip to Matera when I attend the Women’s Fiction Festival. This year’s focus is on how publishing is changing and the options we writers now have. I am looking forward to attending the lectures and master classes.

I’m also looking forward to going to Bar Sedile and hanging out with Franco, the owner of Bar Sedile in Piazza Sedile. He doesn’t speak English, I don’t speak Italian (at least, not enough to have a conversation) yet we get along like a house on fire. 🙂 It will also be nice to enjoy a glass of wine at my favorite wine bar at Piazza Vittorio Veneto. Antonio, one of the barmen there, always takes good care of us WFF ladies when we swing by. It’s a great place for people-watching and schmoozing.

So as I write this post, I’m searching online for airline tickets + sending an email to my favorite hotel in Matera, the Albergo del Sedile in hopes they’ll have a room for me. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Now, here is my plan: by September I would like to publish at least three more ebooks. Possibly, one more volume of short stories and two novels. After the festival, I will then focus of getting myself ready for Nanowrimo 2012. One of the novels I want to publish takes place in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I want to have that one available by late September so I can use Twitter and Facebook to promote the book.

So stay tuned…I’ll keep you posted on my progress!