Detective Shaw’s London: Notting Hill

Located in north-western London and almost completely crossed by Portobello Road, Notting Hill is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating and famous districts of the British capital. It’s no coincidence that it is the location of numerous novels and films. Among the latter, the best known is undoubtedly the 1999 romantic comedy that bears the same name of the district (“Notting Hill”) starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts.
It is obviously a tourist destination, but very popular with Londoners too, thanks to the abundance of designer shops, particularly in Westbourne Grove, and the numerous pubs and restaurants.


Its most characteristic street is Portobello Road, which with its colourful facades hosts the famous antiques and fresh food market. Here are also some locations used during the Portobello Film Festival, an international independent film festival founded in 1996 where every year more than 700 films are screened for the first time. And moreover, George Orwell lived in this street.

Since 1966, every year in August the district has also been the scene of the Notting Hill Carnival, a real Caribbean costumed party that pours into the streets, attracting millions of people, and which represents one of the biggest street festivals in the world. The event passes through the central part of Westbourne Grove.

As you might guess from the name, Notting Hill stands on a little hill, which reaches its summit in the middle of Ladbroke Grove. However, it has no official boundaries. It is located within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, but is close to the boundary with the City of Westminster, so at a stone’s throw from Paddington train station and not far from many other central London attractions.
But if you don’t want to walk, you can reach one of the five Tube stations inside it: Kensal Green, Westbourne Park, Ladbroke Grove, Latimer Road, and Notting Hill Gate.

What is considered the key area of Notting Hill is North Kensington, characterised by a constant renewal of the population, largely made up of immigrants, which make it one of the most cosmopolitan areas in the world. This is where the most violent acts of the Notting Hill race riots of 1958 took place, but it is also where its carnival began and where most of the scenes in the film starring Grant and Roberts were filmed.

Up until a few years ago, among the numerous and well-known restaurants in Notting Hill there was one in particular: an Italian restaurant called Negozio Classica, even if the name in Italian doesn’t sound good at all, and it’s not clear what it means. It was wedged into a building at the corner of Portobello Road and Westbourne Grove and was characterised by a red facade with shop windows on both walls, from which it was possible to see the inside of the place and its patrons, but several tables were arranged outside, too. More precisely, it was a winery, where, however, you could also eat dishes from Tuscan cuisine.

The restaurant Negozio Classica makes an appearance in the second book of the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy, “Syndrome” (set in 2016), in a scene where Eric Shaw has lunch with his friend Catherine Foulger and discusses with her some serious facts (mysterious illnesses and an attempted murder) which took place in the St Nicholas Hospital (which in reality does not exist). The dishes mentioned in the scene were actually present on the menu of the restaurant, but the two characters have no way of enjoying them properly, since their conversation leads to an argument. The name of the restaurant is not actually shown in the scene, although its description and location details allow for easy identification. However, it is then mentioned later in the book.

The place used to open at 3.30 p.m., so in theory people didn’t go there precisely to have lunch. In fact, I took an artistic licence here, but the place looked so nice that I really wanted to set a scene there. We also know that Eric is always so absorbed in his work that he often finds himself eating at unconventional hours, when he remembers to do so, so he may have gone there shortly after its opening. Who knows?
I’ve never been to this place, but Eric thinks the food is good. It’s really a shame it doesn’t exist anymore!

Detective Shaw’s London: Italian Gardens and Hyde Park

The Royal Parks are among the most atmospheric places in London. Some of these are located in the centre of the British capital, yet if you walk inside them, you lose the perception of the swarm of people and cars that are just a few hundred metres away. Immersed in greenery, among flowers and watercourses, you cannot see or hear the nearby metropolitan chaos. The illusion of being in a wild territory is broken by the paths, the well-kept lawns and plants, the statues, and the wonderful fountains.

Particularly fine among the latter are those found in the Italian Gardens, situated at the point where the Kensington Gardens adjoin Hyde Park, north of the Long Water basin. You can get there through the entrance called Lancaster Gate, which is near the Tube station with the same name.

Built in 1861, they are said to have been a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria. The gardens consist of four Carrara marble basins, adorned with fountains, statues, and urns. North of the pools is the Pump House, which once contained the steam engine that powered the fountains. And the pillar sticking out of the roof is nothing more than a smokestack. The basins are home to beautiful swans, which allow themselves to be observed carelessly by Londoners and tourists who stroll beside them or sit on the benches located all around.

The Italian Gardens have also appeared in famous films such as “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason”.

Moving eastward, the immense Hyde Park begins, with a total area of 253 hectares, bisected by Serpentine Lake. Its dimensions are such that it is really easy to lose your sense of direction if you don’t follow the indications and maps distributed in numerous signs inside it.

It contains numerous places of tourist interest, starting with the two triumphal arches located to the southeast and northeast: Wellington Arch and Marble Arch. Near the latter is the Speakers’ Corner, where people, especially on weekends, still give speeches to express their opinions. To the south is the memorial to Lady Diana and to the southeast the one to the victims of the holocaust and the London bombings of 7 July 2005. Also, to the southeast, is the Rose Garden, which is especially beautiful to see in early summer.

The park is also the only one controlled by the Metropolitan Police, which has their own station inside it. There are also deck chairs and umbrellas, a sports centre dedicated to tennis, boat rental services, commercial premises, bars, other sports fields, and playgrounds. 

Furthermore, the park is often the scene of important rock and pop concerts, including artists like The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Madonna. In it, in particular, one of the most famous concerts of Queen was held in 1976 with 225,000 spectators.

Hyde Park was also one of the venues for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Italian Gardens and Hyde Park make their appearance in the second book of the Detective Eric Shaw trilogy, “Syndrome”. A young prostitute realises she is being followed by a man for whom she did a small illegal job and hides near the Pump House of the Italian Gardens, then runs away towards Hyde Park, heading to a playground, to ask for help, but she will soon find death. Later, we see Adele Pennington, Jane Hall and Miriam Leroux at the crime scene, where Adele spots someone who may be the suspect.

Detective Shaw’s London: Leicester Square

Any fan of the big screen visiting London can’t help but visit Leicester Square. This pedestrian area is in fact home to two major cinemas in the United Kingdom: the Odeon Leicester Square and the Empire Leicester Square (which includes 9 theatres, one of which has the largest screen in the country). The Odeon West End used to be there too, but now it’s closed, while nearby is the Prince Charles, which is a repertory cinema.

This peculiarity means that this square often sees important actors and directors parading in front of the public and media representatives on the occasion of the European or even world premieres of important films. I myself once, in the autumn of 2004, while passing by Leicester Square by chance, came across the UK Premiere ofGarden State” as part of the London Film Festival and saw Zach Braff and a freezing Natalie Portman on the red carpet.

Leicester Square is located in the West End (in the City of Westminster), right in the heart of London. Within walking distance it is surrounded by other places of tourist interest such as Trafalgar Square, which the National Gallery overlooks (entrance to the permanent exhibition is free), and Piccadilly Circus, with its famous statue of Eros. In the centre of the square is a small park, which was renovated in 2012 for the Olympics.

Many restaurants of the most varied nationalities dot the entire area, which is particularly busy at night during the weekend and in general in the summer. And then there are the West End theatres (about forty in all Theatreland), where famous musicals are staged for several years in a row. The last one I saw was “Chicago” in 2011 (yes, it’s been a while). Tickets can be a bit expensive, but if you buy them in advance on the web you can get away with a few tens of pounds.

Right near the square there is the Leicester Square Theatre, which, initially built as a church in 1955, became a location for live music concerts in the 1960s, changing its name several times. In 1976, when it was still called Notre Dame Hall, it hosted one of the first Sex Pistols concerts.

The casino Hippodrome and the headquarters of Global Radio, inside which there are eight radio stations, also overlook the square.
Leicester Square is also one of the places in London where events are organised on the occasion of the Chinese New Year.

The nearest Tube station is called Leicester Square, and in “The Mentor” (the first book in the Detective Shaw trilogy) DCI Eric Shaw and Adele Pennington actually arrived at it on a Saturday in June 2014, and then went to eat at a nearby restaurant. That impromptu date would mark the transition from a simple working relationship to the beginning of something else between the young forensic investigator and her boss.

After dinner, they would sit on a low wall, exactly in the same spot where I sat in August 2012, a few months before writing the first draft of the novel, and took the second photo you see in this article.

I really think that, the next time I go to London and stroll in Leicester Square, I’ll look around almost hoping to see them passing by.

Detective Shaw’s destiny is revealed in “Beyond the Limit”

It’s time to find out how it ends.
Beyond the Limit, the final book in the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy, is out today.

How far would you go to protect a secret?

Eleven months have passed after the events narrated in Syndrome.
In addition to involving the reader in the hunt for a heinous serial killer through some of the most famous glimpses of London, Beyond the Limit is also the final act of the evolution of Eric’s character. Once convinced that bending the rules to bring criminals to justice was still right, Eric sees that belief falter as he finds himself justifying the crimes of his pupil, who has only ever killed murderers. Now he too will be forced to deal with the darkest part of his soul.

You can download the ebook version or purchase one of the print editions (paperback and hardcover) directly from your favourite online store around the world.
A complete list of links is available on the website dedicated to the trilogy:

The price starts from £3.99/$4.99/€4.99 for the ebook edition.

Click or tap here to purchase the book!


You can also order it at your favourite Waterstones (UK) and Barnes & Noble (USA) bricks-and-mortar store.


Official description of Beyond the Limit.

The lifeless body of a woman wearing an evening dress is discovered in the party room of the wax museum. Everything would suggest suicide, but DCI Eric Shaw, team chief at the Forensic Services of Scotland Yard who’s investigating the scene with crime scene investigator Adele Pennington, immediately notices a few similarities with the case of a serial killer nicknamed Plastic Surgeon, closed three years ago with the arrest of Robert Graham.
Perhaps someone is emulating Graham, or he had an accomplice, but there is a third possibility that especially concerns Eric, who, being convinced of Graham’s guilt, tampered with the physical evidence to ensure his conviction.
What if he made a mistake and sent the wrong person to jail?
After eleven months, and despite her reluctance, he once again finds himself working with DI Miriam Leroux from the Murder Investigation Teams. Now they have to race against time to follow the trail of the elusive murderer.
This is possibly Shaw’s final major case before a promotion to superintendent. The other contender for advancement being DCI George Jankowski, a man who is not afraid to weed out the dirty secrets of others to get what he wants.
And Eric and his pupil hide an unspeakable secret.

The destiny of DCI Eric Shaw is about to be fulfilled.


Click or tap here to purchase the book!


I wish you happy reading and I hope you’re enjoying the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy!

Detective Shaw’s London: Buckingham Palace

In the centre of the British capital, in the heart of the City of Westminster, surrounded on three sides by Buckingham Palace Gardens, Green Park and St James’s Park, we find the official residence of the sovereign of the United Kingdom: Buckingham Palace, also simply called The Palace.

Despite being a relatively young building, its de facto name is used to refer to the British monarchy itself.

The palace fulfils this role since 1837 and is also the administrative office of the monarch, King Charles III. It covers an area of 77,000 m2 and includes something like 775 rooms.
Just in front of it stands the Victoria Memorial, a huge sculpture depicting Queen Victoria on one side and angels on the other three, all surmounted by a statue of winged victory surrounded by two seated figures. Beyond this monument starts the long street called The Mall which connects the building to the Admiralty Arch, beyond which is Trafalgar Square.

Buckingham Palace is undoubtedly an important tourist destination for those visiting London. During the summer the State Rooms, which are 19, are open to the public.
It is possible to obtain more information on the visit of the State Rooms, of the Royal Mews and the Queen’s Gallery on the website site of the Royal Collection, where you can also book tickets and find out about current exhibitions.

But a ceremony that particularly attracts tourists throughout the year is the changing of the guard, a real parade that takes place between the square in front of the palace and its internal courtyard.
The photo on the left was taken by me during one of these events in 2008, but you can see more in the official profile of the British Monarchy on Flickr, to realize how suggestive they can be.


The Palace, The Mall, Green Park and the Changing of the Guard also appear in “The Mentor”, in one of the posts on Mina’s blog, where our serial killer walks on the long street and finds herself in the crowd of tourists, while tailing Christopher Garnish. The sequence then continues and reaches its epilogue in Holloway.
Buckingham Palace is also very close to the former site of New Scotland Yard and St James’s Park Tube station, which, again in “The Mentor”, is the scene of a chase of Garnish himself by Eric Shaw and DI Miriam Leroux.

The whole area surrounding the palace includes other places of tourist interest, such as 10 Downing Street (home of the Prime Minister), the Houses of Parliament with its famous Big Ben, the Westminster Abbey and the Westminster Cathedral (the Catholic one; appearing in another book of mine, “The Isle of Gaia”, not available in English yet).

Contrary to what many believe, Buckingham Palace does not belong to the King, but it is a state asset, however the presence of the monarch is signalled by the waving of the royal standard (as in the photo that shows me in front of the palace in 2011 and in that of winged victory; it cannot be distinguished well because it is small, but I assure you that the flag that you see waving is actually the standard). In his absence, since 1997, this has been replaced by the flag of the United Kingdom, the Union Flag, which is flown at half-mast in the event of royal or national mourning.

In addition to every changing of the guard, which especially on Sundays attracts many people, the square in front of the palace was invaded by a much larger crowd during the Coronation of King Charles III on 6 May 2023, and previously during the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002 (50 years of reign), the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 (60 years of reign) and the Platinum Jubilee in 2022 (70 years of reign), celebrated a few months before her death.

Concerts were organized during these events, and some artists played on the roof of the building for the jubilees. Notably in 2002, Brian May, guitarist of Queen (the band, not Elizabeth!), played the UK national anthem from the rooftop God Save The Queen (lately changed into God Save The King), the song with which the British band usually concludes each of its concerts, accompanied by Roger Taylor and other musicians on stage in the square.

Detective Shaw’s London: Holloway

On the edge of the Borough of Islington lies the district of Holloway, which is one of the most densely populated in London and home to a multicultural population. It is crossed by Holloway Road, which is part of A1, Britain’s longest numbered road (actually outside the city it becomes a motorway).

The district, which is mostly residential, has no particular tourist attractions, with the exception of the stadium of the Arsenal football team, the Emirates Stadium (in the first photo, where you can also find me, and in detail in the photos below, both taken in March 2011), which with its 60,000 seats is the third largest in London, after Wembley (I went there the following year for the Olympics) and that of Twickenham (where, however, rugby is played).

The Emirates Stadium is located exactly in Ashburton Grove, the name by which it was called before taking that of the sponsor (Emirate Airlines), in the same area where a scene from “The Mentor” narrated in Mina’s blog takes place.
During the scene, our favourite serial killer follows Christopher Garnish to the house where he is hiding, where she risks being seen by PC Mills (who in “Syndrome” we find out he was promoted to the rank of sergeant), also on the trail of the suspect in the murders. The characters arrive in the area, however, from Arsenal Tube station, which is in the adjacent Highbury district.

The house where Garnish is really exists. If you read its description in the book, after following the route taken from the station, and glance at Ashburton Grove with the street view on Google Maps, perhaps you might be able to spot it.

Holloway also returns in “Syndrome”, this time to show a scene where DCI George Jankowski meets a police informant. The detective in charge of the forensics team dealing with crimes taking place in Islington (a colleague of Eric’s in the same rank, Detective Chief Inspector) is near Holloway Road Tube station and follows the informant with his car into a side street.

Two more interesting places are mentioned in the scene. The first is the North Campus of London Metropolitan University (in the third photo, by Alan Stanton, you can see the Orion Building which is part of it). The university is also called simply London Met and includes a second campus in the City.
The second is The Studios Islington (now called Studios Holloway) and it is a complex that includes offices, commercial premises, restaurants, and creative spaces.

In “Syndrome”, I also tell something more about the history of the Holloway district. In this regard, I mention the fact that it was the scene of a famous real crime at the beginning of the last century: the bloody murder of Cora Crippen by her husband, even if it is now questioned whether he was the murderer (later sentenced to death and executed). Unfortunately, the truth will never be known.
I reported it in the novel also because I had the pleasure of reading a book that narrates it in parallel with the biography of Guglielmo Marconi. I am referring to “Thunderstruck” by Erik Larson, a fictionalised essay that narrates how thanks to the radio-telegraph invented by Marconi the police managed to capture Hawley Harvey Crippen, who was fleeing to America with his lover. The captain of the ocean liner in which he was travelling warned Scotland Yard, and Crippen found the police waiting for him upon his arrival in Canada, one step away from being able to disappear forever.

Holloway was also the home of Douglas Adams, author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, and is still home to many artists, journalists, authors and other people who work in television and film industries, including actress Kaya Scodelario, star of the Maze Runner series and of the fifth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series (with Johnny Depp).
HMP Holloway Prison, which later became a women’s prison, is also infamous because Oscar Wilde served in it.

In the fiction of “Syndrome”, Holloway is also home to the Murphy family, who own a chain of pubs and a drug trafficking network. I hope the Irish don’t hate me for choosing surnames and names that bring Ireland to mind, even if this is never specified in the book. As I said, this is absolutely fictional. I don’t actually know if there are a lot of Irish (or descendants) in Holloway, but I made sure there is no pub named Murphy’s Den.

It is also a coincidence that, in both books, the bad guy has to do with Holloway. I swear I did not notice this until I finished writing the first draft of the second book!

Detective Eric Shaw returns in “Syndrome”

It’s time to find out what happens next.
Syndrome, the sequel to the international bestseller The Mentor and book 2 in the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy, is finally here for you to read it.


What is the difference between dedication and obsession?

Two years have passed, and new murders bring DCI Shaw and Mina together again.
In addition to proposing two intertwined investigative cases personally involving the main characters, Syndrome develops the dilemma with which The Mentor ended. It shows the protagonist’s inability to consider the crimes of his pupil totally wrong because, as a child, she had witnessed the massacre of her family.
This will lead him to closely observe the thin line separating good from evil, knowing full well that if he ever crosses it, he will never be able to go back.

You can download the ebook version or purchase one of the print editions (paperback and hardcover) directly from your favourite online store around the world.
A complete list of links is available on the website dedicated to the trilogy:

The price starts from £3.99/$4.99/€4.99 for the ebook edition.


Click or tap here to purchase the book!


You can also order it at your favourite Waterstones (UK) and Barnes & Noble (USA) bricks-and-mortar store.

Official description of Syndrome.


While investigating the murder of two known offenders with connections to a notorious, recently escaped London drug trafficker, the Scotland Yard forensic team headed by DCI Eric Shaw becomes involved in a child abuse case. A nurse had accused a mother of a series of violent, feverish attacks on her ten-year-old son, Jimmy. The woman would exasperate the condition of her child to draw the attention and compassion of health workers at the hospital.

Eric learned of this accusation by chance because he is dating Catherine Foulger, the paediatrician looking after the child. She is an old flame, and he is seeing her again in the hope of putting some order back in his life after discovering the identity of the serial killer nicknamed Black Death.

But this is a relationship his former partner Adele Pennington, still working as an investigator in Forensic Services, has not really accepted.


DCI Eric Shaw returns.


Click or tap here to purchase the book!


But there’s more to it.
The final book in the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy, Beyond the Limit, is now available for pre-order in most online stores, too!
It’ll be published on 31 May 2023.

Join “The Mentor” and “Syndrome” on tour!

Starting from today, The Mentor and Syndrome are on tour!
You can find them in many book blogs and bookstagrammers’ profiles around the web.

The two books will be featured with reviews, excerpts, and interviews.
Join us on tour for some fun and to learn more about the first two books in the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy.


The first week, 21-27 February, is dedicated to The Mentor.
Here are the tour stops.


The second week, 28 February-6 March, is dedicated to Syndrome.
Here are the tour stops.

Thank you so much, Zoolo’s Book Tours, for arranging this great double book tour.

And thanks to all bloggers and bookstagrammers who decided to hosting a tour stop for my books.
ere they are.


A Knight’s Reads

book_a_holic_17 (IG)


dreaming_of_selfcare (IG)        

Jazzy Book Reviews

leannebookstagram (IG)

pause_theframe (IG)

penfoldlayla (IG)

Portable Magic

prdg reads

Sharon Beyond The Books

Staceywh_17 (IG)

Sue loves to read

The Eclectic Review


See you on tour!

Detective Shaw’s London: Marylebone

Wedged between Regent’s Park to the north and the famous Oxford Street to the south, Marylebone is in central London, within the City of Westminster. It is mainly a residential area, although there are also some diplomatic buildings (consulates) located there. Over the years it has been home to various famous people, such as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, the author HG Wells (in the photo the plaque indicating his home), Jimi Hendrix, Madonna (at the time of her marriage to Guy Ritchie) and many others, but perhaps its most famous resident, if only in fiction, was and always will be Sherlock Holmes.

Indeed, in this district, there is the address 221B Baker Street, which Arthur Conan Doyle gave as the residence of the protagonist of his detective stories (though the statue in the photo is outside Baker Street Station).
Obviously, Holmes’s house never existed; in fact, Baker Street did not even reach that number at the time of the novels’ publication, but now the same street houses the Sherlock Holmes Museum. It is not exactly at number 221B (it is located between 237 and 241), but since 1990 after a long dispute, the museum has obtained it to become its official address, despite this altering the numbering of the street.

Willing somehow to pay homage to the character created by Arthur Conan Doyle, I put DCI Eric Shaw’s home (equally imaginary) in a side street of Baker Street called York Street.
Another reason for my choice is that I know Marylebone very well, as every time I go to London I stay in a hotel in Gloucester Place called Hotel 82.
In addition to being a nice hotel and not costing much, despite being a four-star hotel (and anyone who has been to the British capital at least once knows how important the category of a hotel is to avoid nasty surprises concerning cleanliness!), it has the peculiarity of being a five-minute walk from the stop of the EasyBus shuttle to Stansted airport and at the same time in an area, precisely Marylebone, from which, if you are not afraid to walk a bit, you can basically visit the whole of central London on foot.

In fact, moving south along Gloucester Place (which then continues into Portman Street) or the parallel Baker Street you arrive at the famous shopping street, Oxford Street, directly next to the department stores of Selfridges.
From there, moving west, you soon reach the edge of Marylebone, marked by Marble Arch, from which the enormous Hyde Park begins. If you go east instead, you reach Oxford Circus, then you can take Regent’s Street, and in no time at all you arrive at Piccadilly Circus

But let’s go back to the heart of Marylebone, where the home of another character from the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy is located, namely that of Adele Pennington, exactly in Dorset Street. This street is also a cross street of Gloucester Place and Baker Street, and for a stretch it runs parallel to York Street (with another street between the two). In short, the two characters really live a short distance from each other.

A coincidence? Those who read the books know the answer to this question.

I chose these two streets in particular because I happened to walk on them often and their names are impressed in my mind. And they seemed to me nice places for my characters to live.
It is actually a far from cheap residential area and, in fact, a fellow writer (and friend), Stefania Mattana, who lives near London, after reading “The Mentor” commented that Eric and Adele must be rich to live there!
Well, actually from the book it emerges that Adele is doing quite well and, reading that Eric, in addition to having that house, a nice car, a cottage in the country, also pays alimony for his son Brian (from his ex-wife Crystal), you can infer that he too must have some money aside.

But on the other hand, being fictional characters, why not let them live in a nice place?

Moreover, those same streets are the scene (in “The Mentor”) of the beginning of a car chase, which however ends outside the neighbourhood.

Finally, Marylebone hosts another important tourist attraction, which in my opinion anyone who goes to London should visit: the beautiful Madame Tussauds waxworks museum.
I’ve been there twice, more than twenty years apart from each other, and the second time I found it completely different from the first, but always very funny (in the photo I am with Sherlock Holmes played by Robert Downey Jr, well, of course it’s his waxwork copy).
Admission is unfortunately very expensive, but as for all places of tourist interest in London there is a way to visit it by spending much less, i.e. on the museum’s official website, where you can buy discounted tickets especially in certain times of the year. For example, last time I went there, I spent just £15 to enter during the last hour it was open on a specific day.

After all, an hour is absolutely enough to visit it, take some beautiful photos and not be tempted to buy too many souvenirs!

New year, new resolutions: 2023

This thing of reviewing the year that just passed is getting a little stressful. Could it be because the further we go on the more it seems that twelve months go by in a flash?
Okay, kidding!
It’s not that stressful. On the contrary, it’s actually useful for me to collect my ideas, realising that deep down (very deep down) I did something again this year and therefore giving myself a virtual pat on the back, thanks to which it’s easier for me to continue to carry on my many resolutions.
Then, thinking about it, this 2022 seemed a little longer than the previous ones. Just a wee bit, huh! Without exaggerating.

But let us leave these pseudo-philosophical (?) considerations aside and return to the facts. You may be wondering whether or not I managed to complete the resolutions I declared a year ago.

To tell the truth, I made this task quite simple, since I had only one resolution, that is to complete the preparation of the English version of the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy.

Well, the first book in the series, “TheMentor”, was released on 30 November. The editions of the second, “Syndrome”, are all ready and the book is already available for pre-order. It will be published on 28 February 2023. Some editions of the third, “Beyond the Limit”, are also ready and available for pre-order. I still have to finish preparing the print ones, but there is no particular hurry, since the publication date is 31 May 2023.
So I can say that, as regards the preparation of the books and their publication, I have respected my intentions. Yay!

On the promotion front, however, I’m a bit behind.
In an ideal world, I should have had all the editions ready and available for pre-order as early as August, so that I could use the following three months to arrange the promotion and arrive prepared for the release of the first book.

Of course, we don’t live in an ideal world.
In reality, I only received the manuscript of the last book from my English proof-reader in May. I worked hard to complete the corrections and finally, after the umpteenth re-reading (also of the previous books), I found myself with the final version of the text.
And then summer arrived, with so many things to do (like going in holidays) and at the same time a lot of translation work to do.

Moreover, I started updating all the e-book editions of my books, in order to have a single epub version, with all the latest information inside, including all the necessary links (some didn’t work anymore). It was a job I had been carrying out since the beginning of the year and in some cases I also had to update the print versions.

Then, in May, I started experimenting with the possibility of making hardcover editions, so that I was prepared for when I would have to use this format with the English trilogy.
The object of my experiment was “Affinità d’intenti” (Italian book), which, being my shortest novel, allowed me to create a version in this format at an acceptable printing and list price.
For the occasion, I made a brand new cover based on the concept of the old one, but this time using photos. In particular, I used two shots by a Dutch photographer who lives in Sicily. This new cover has also become the official one for the e-book.

By the way, for the occasion, I created my new logo, which for now you can only see in the site icon on your browser and in a few other real (including the aforementioned hardcover edition) or virtual (like my YouTube channel) places.

The next step was adapting the cover also to the English edition, “Kindred Intentions, both for the e-book and for the hardcover version. I also used it to create a second paperback edition, which is distributed via Ingram.
You can find out more about this edition and see some photos of the Italian one in the article you can find at this link.

The point is, in August I found myself with only the manuscripts of the trilogy in English in my hands and some ideas for adapting their covers (starting from their Italian version).
Since, in order to do things, you also need to know what you have to do, I sat down in front of a blank sheet (actually, a OneNote page) and drew up a detailed list of everything I should do to preparing books for publication and promoting them. Some entries then gave rise to new adjoining lists, until I finally got a real plan, which is still in progress.

At that point it was already September and I had to prepare my “Self-publishing laboratory” (a workshop) and a lecture for “Scienza & Fantascienza” (Science & Science Fiction), which I would then give in October.
At the beginning of October I finally returned to Varese to personally teach the workshop at the University of Insubria, after three years. How nice it was to be able to look students in the eye again!

(The first photo was taken in Varese, and you can see me together with Sara Simoni, a former student of my laboratory and now a fellow author.)

And two weeks later, I attended the conference, albeit remotely, since it was not possible to organise it during my short stay in Lombardy.
I have dedicated a separate article to the workshop and the conference that, if you wish, you can read at this link.

All this talk was to say that, basically, I turned around, and it was already November. And I was supposed to publish the first book within a month. Argh!
At that point, I really had to work hard.
Just think that the book has only one e-book version, but five different paper editions, each with a slightly different cover (two in the hardcover version and three in the paperback version). This is due to the fact that I have used multiple platforms to ensure that the book gets the widest possible distribution. It’s just that each platform has slightly different templates even for books in the same size.
In short, a long work!
But I’m glad I did it, because the covers came out really well. Check them out on the English trilogy mini website at this link.

However, all of this meant that I could only start promoting seriously after the release of “The Mentor”, so three months later, compared to the original plan.
Fortunately, self-produced books never expire.
So my main occupation at the moment is planning promotions and testing advertising platforms. I hope to see the first outcomes of all this work before the publication of the second book, in order to have a good domino effect on the third.
At the same time, I’m exploring other possibilities to exploit my rights, but I don’t want to go into details now. I’ll tell you more about it in the future if I see any opportunities materialise.

As you may have noticed, I didn’t mention any prequel to the trilogy (“La prova”, which in English would be “Evidence”). Well, as I feared, I didn’t have the time to deal with it at all. Not that I really wanted to write it, mind you, but even if I had fancied it a little, it wouldn’t have been of any use.
I have not completely ruled out the possibility of writing it in the near future, also because I always have the outline of the book ready in the drawer (it is literally in a handwritten sheet stored in a drawer), but if I just want to think of doing that, I must first complete the work started with the trilogy. We will see!

On the positive side, of the many entries on those lists that I mentioned earlier, at least half have been crossed out, which means I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I swear you I can hardly believe it!

It must also be said, however, that I didn’t spend twelve months always working in front of the PC. Apart from the fact that obviously in the summer, I spent a lot of time by the sea (and here the summer lasts from May to October), in July I went in holidays away from Sardinia (it was about time!) and, incredibly, I set foot abroad, even if only for a few hours.

I spent a wonderful week in South Tyrol, in particular in Puster Valley, from which I made a dutiful stop in Austria.

(The adjacent photo was taken on the cable car that connects Valdaora to the top of Plan de Corones, in the one below you can recognize the Three Peaks of Lavaredo taken from the observation point near Dobbiaco.)

The word wonderful, however, is absolutely reductive in describing how well I was during this holiday. You should know that I stayed there for a long time with my parents for the first time when I was still little more than a child (we are talking about more than three decades ago), in a small village called Villabassa (Niederdorf). I went there again in the mid-90s and then not anymore until last July. I was in South Tyrol again in the 2000s: once in 2001 for two days in Bressanone (to attend a concert) and then a few days in 2007 in Val Gardena, where Cagliari (the football team) was in retreat.

Well, when I set foot there again after a long time, I was delighted to discover that Villabassa hasn’t changed at all. After thoses decades, I remembered everything, I recognised every street (it’s not exactly a metropolis!) and I felt again that great feeling of peace that only the mountain can give you, combined in this case with pleasant reminiscences of a time of my life which was certainly much more carefree than the present.
We had been there for less than a day when my partner and I said to each other: we have to come back!
And I really think we will.

And if you’re curious to know how I spent the remaining time of 2022, in addition to the time spent dealing with my publishing business, translations, my beach life, and my holidays in the mountains, well, I spent it watching lots of tennis!
Eh, yes, it seems that this addiction of mine, which I already mentioned a year ago, continues. But on the other hand, if you have by chance kept an eye on my Facebook page or my Twitter profile or my Instagram stories, you were certainly already aware of it.
On the contrary, this December of abstinence (!) was quite hard. However, I consoled myself with figure skating (!!) and, obviously, with football, even if Cagliari has been making us suffer a bit in recent years.

Furthermore, there was no shortage of good films and especially good TV series to surround everything, with the addition of some good books, even if not many (lately I’ve been reading very little).

And finally, not content with the need to use English more and more, I decided to freshen up my German, now limping after years of little use, even in translations. I’ve been getting back to it little by little since last spring, without much haste. I’d like to bring it back at least to the level it was about ten years ago, to be able to exploit it more in my job as translator (and not only, as I did in July, to eavesdrop undisturbed the conversations between the hotel owner and German-speaking customers during my stay in South Tyrol).
Since I’m here, it wouldn’t hurt if I did the same with French, too.

Am I forgetting anything?
Ah yes, also this year I attended some MOOCs (massive open online courses) on FutureLearn: three in all. I find it more and more difficult to find something interesting that I haven’t already attended, but I don’t give up and keep looking.

Okay, let’s say that the report of the year that is about to end, albeit a bit chaotic, can be defined as complete. Now only the last part remains: setting resolutions for next year.

And this time too I intend to limit myself to the essentials.

1)      Finishing preparing and publishing the English edition of the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy. And being able to get as much as possible from the promotion, without however feeling too much disappointed if I can’t reach as many readers as I would like.
I admit that for me it is already a success to be able to publish it, after all the work done to translate it. Once it’s there for the English-speaking public, I’ll have something tangible to work with to make the most of its rights.

2)      Finishing updating all my sites to be mobile friendly and introducing new graphics, with my new logo. I had already started doing this in 2021. Then, during 2022, I created mini websites for the English editions of my books (including the trilogy and Red Desert). Now I have to convert the main one both in Italian ( and in English (Anakina.Eu) and the Italian one dedicated to the Aurora Saga (or maybe I’ll call it Aurora Chronicles).
I should also take a new official photo, since the one I use now is more than eight years old.

3)      Doing more physical activity. I really want to take this as a serious commitment.

If all goes as expected, I should complete the first two resolutions in less than a year, considering that they are both underway. This means that there will be time for more, but I absolutely don’t want to make plans about it.
In fact, one of my greatest wishes is completing everything, really everything, that I’m doing and finding myself one day with zero projects started. And at that point deciding, based on how I feel at that moment, which will be the next one to dedicate myself to.

Will it happen in 2023?
We’ll see and, hopefully, in a year’s time I’ll tell you all about it.

That’s all for this year, too.
As usual, I close by thanking all of you who follow me: family, friends, readers, colleagues, and collaborators.
Heartfelt thanks for the support you give me.

If you want, tell me in the comments of this article, or of the social networks where I’m sharing it, how your 2022 went and what you intend to do in 2023.
Have a good end and a good beginning!