Monday, April 30, 2012

Book feature: Diavolino by Steve Emmett

Title: Diavolino
ISBN: 9781936751211
Author: Steve Emmett
Publisher: Etopia Press

Author Bio
Steve Emmett is a British horror writer. He studied at the prestigious Architectural Association School of Architecture in London where he developed a love of Italy and all things Italian. For over twenty years he ran his own estate agency specializing in Italian country homes and, for almost ten years, lived by Lake Trasimeno in Umbria, the setting for Diavolino. Born at the end of the 1950s, Steve grew up on Dennis Wheatley novels and Hammer Horror films, and on many occasions started to put pen to paper. Completely dissatisfied and unfulfilled with his career, Steve decided in 2008 that he wanted to write professionally and began laying the foundations of Diavolino. At the moment he is completing a new horror novel – which is set largely in Rome - and a number of other horror projects including the sequel to Diavolino. He has reviewed for the New York Journal of Books and Suspense Magazine, and appeared in a couple of dark short films. He currently lives with his partner and some rather large spiders in the Yorkshire Wolds, close to the ancient City of York in the north of England, not too far as the bat flies from one of Dracula’s favourite haunts – Whitby.

Steve Emmett
Author Website


Paradise is just one step from Hell.

The chance to build a dream home on a private island on one of Italy's most beautiful lakes offers architect Tom Lupton the fresh start he's been yearning for. But when he arrives with his family on Diavolino, he finds the terrified locals dead set against them. The island, whose very existence has been shrouded in secrecy for half a millennium, has a dark history that no one cares to remember, and as the opposition to Tom and his family grows, so grows a brooding evil that will lead them to the very doors of hell...

What the reviewers have said
Lots of action, lots of surprises, great writing and vivid descriptions make DIAVOLINO a must-read for any horror aficionado. Sheri White. The Horror Fiction Review

Steve Emmett's debut novel Diavolino reawakens ancient terrors in the small Italian town of Poggio del Lago ... Emmett takes painstaking care with architectural and regional descriptions to bring this world to life with effortless ease. After all, it's true what they say; the Devil is in the details. And in the case of Diavolino, this takes on a quite literal meaning. Dreadful Tales

Steve Emmett writes with a clarity of purpose. You can feel truth in his words when his characters experience Italy; there's a passion that goes down deep, and you know he's been there before. His horror is textural and in your face: the boat ride to Diavolino after the lake receives Clavelli's special touch is something I'll never forget - if my experience was music, I could see it as a heavy metal nightmare from Pentagram, Rush, Judas Priest or Black Sabbath.
Clayton Clifford Bye, The Deepening

Diavolino has a raw grittiness to it that works well with the wonder and intrigue within the world that Steve Emmett has created. Double Shot Reviews


Instead of taking the direct route across the car park and up the steep flight of steps that led to the center of town, Annamaria followed the narrow footpath alongside the lake. It meandered between a pitiful woodland of umbrella pines, furnished with the occasional broken bench, and the shoreline. At one point the beach gave way to weathered cubes of rock on which had been constructed a perilous jetty, rotting bits of timber protruding out from the sides. She hauled herself onto the platform by means of a handrail that snagged her skin. She cursed the local council for not spending money where it was needed. Tourism. Fundamental to the area. God damn them!
From the edge of the jetty, she could see the sparse lights of Polvese winking at her from under their roof of leaves. The water lapping at the base of the pontoon churned up a stench of dying algae that marred the sweet scent of jasmine from the nearby bushes. She took the pack of Merit from her handbag and lit one, inhaling deeply. The match hurtled through the air like a comet, fizzing when it hit the water. She looked up into the night sky, perfectly clear, and without the interference of the big city lights, it was still possible to see the stars here. So many of them, glowing like a scattering of dandruff on a velvet gown. Life seemed so insignificant. All the struggling, the fighting, the sheer effort, and for what? In the end it was always the same old story of Good versus Evil—and these days it seemed that evil was on the winning side. Or was it simply that the Devil bought better advertising than God? She ground the cigarette butt under her heel and resumed her walk along the pathway. A trash can overflowed onto the track, and an unseen drinks can clattered as she caught it with her toe, what was left of its contents leaving a dark trail in the dusty surface. Vermin scuttled into the vegetation, their scavenging interrupted. The track finally swung inland to make way for the old waterworks, and as she joined the pavement along the main lakeside road, she suddenly had the feeling that she wasn’t alone. She looked behind her but could see nothing. She certainly hadn’t seen or heard anyone on the lakeside path. On the other side of the road there was no sign of life, just the sealed up tunnels that the locals said once connected Poggio with the monastery over on the island. She shook her head and continued.
It was there again. A footfall, just a split second after hers. She stopped. It stopped. When she walked faster, the following sound came faster. But each time she turned, there was no one and nothing.
Before she reached the flight of steps that would take her into town and home she spotted the seasonal bar, no more than a brightly painted kiosk, already open for business. It represented refuge from what she considered totally irrational neurosis and she entered. Her mouth was stale, as much from fear as from the tobacco, so she ordered a decaf and a large glass of water. Perched on a stool at the bar, she noticed the place was once again under new management. This barman wasn’t Italian, Moroccan possibly. Nevertheless, in the corner, over the door to the toilets on a small shelf, was the ubiquitous television set. It was tuned to RAI news. A story was just finishing about the latest political scandal. Annamaria had long ago lost interest in politics; none of them was worth voting for.
“Promises, promises,” she muttered under her breath. When a story about the Northern League started, she reached for her purse. “If they get their way we’ll need passports to visit Bologna.”
“I’ve seen what nationalism can do. Nationalism and religious fanaticism,” said the barman. “I came here to get away from it.”
Poor sod, she thought, leaving a generous tip and steeling herself for the seventy-three steps to the top.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Rome Celebrates its 2765th Anniversary

On 21st April The Eternal city celebrated its 2765th Anniversary. This is based on the legendary founding of Rome by Romulus in 753 BC.
The city has organised various events in order to give Rome the birthday party it deserves.

Despite its age, Buzz in Rome found the city to be still in reasonable condition:
"Yes, Rome is very old but still in pretty good shape, notwithstanding the damages done by its unruly citizens, politicians and visitors! On April 21 according to the legend/tradition, it turns 2765. But, of course, there is no scientific evidence that it was founded in 753BC, let alone on April 21. Anyway, before the Liberation Day (April 25)/Labour Day(May 1) very long weekend there is one more big occasion to celebrate and have fun in Rome. The City council has organized a lot of events. Let’s see those that might be more enjoyable for non-Italian speakers".

Friday, April 13, 2012

What's your favourite Roman landmark?

Cast your vote in the comments section

The Pantheon

The Spanish Steps

Trevi Fountain

The Colosseum
Castel Sant'Angelo

Friday, April 6, 2012

Reality TV: Has Italy had enough?

Over recent years reality TV programmes exploded across Italian TV ranging from 'fly on the wall' types like Grande Fratello (Big Brother) to talent show formats like Amici and X-Factor.

Grande Fratello 12 was won by Sabrina, who was in the house for 84 days and came through 10 nominations. She is the 4th woman to win the reality TV show and possibly the last winner of the program as the shows audience rating weren't that great this year and it looks like the show won't be back next year. I have to say I'm not surprised. Although I did watch the first few editions, I gave up watching Grande Fratello a few years ago. I think they basically did everything that was possible with the show and ran out of ideas. The people they put in the house began to just repeat the same stuff we'd seen before thinking it was a winning recipe and forgot to be natural. 

I can't say I'm going to miss the show but do wonder if its cancellation from next years schedule means that Italian have had enough of reality TV and if so what will they find to replace them?

Last night was the final of L'Isola dei famosi (the TV reality program based on Celebrity Survivor). I have to confess that the program is my favourite reality show and the only one I've watched this year outside of MTV's Jersey Shore.

Despite not so positive press at the beginning of this years show, L'Isola dei Famosi has proved to still be a winner and pulled in huge audience ratings. 

The show got a new look for this years edition with presenter Simona Ventura being replaced by Nicola Savino. Vladimir Luxuria joined participants in Honduras as this years daytime presenter.

This, the 9th edition of the show, was won by Antonella Elia.
Although the show used mainly past participants from previous editions it still managed to be fresh. I'm sure L'Isola dei Famosi will be back next year and I can't wait!

X-Factor moved from Rai to Sky and as such is no longer a "mainstream" program.

Amici is now in the final stages of this years show and has undergone some radical changes to the program format. More 'teams', separate winners for dance and singing, new teachers... They even have a battle going between ex-Amici singers.

The fact that some shows have clearly reached the end of their popularity and others are sticking around by evolving into new formats gives a clear indication that Italians views of Reality TV are changing.

Is this the end of an era?


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