At The Many Witches Auberge

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I am pleased to inform you that my book The Many Witches Auberge is available. The cover page was designed by the very talented Belgian illustrator Alain Poncelet!

The plot: The book contains 12 short stories about the so called Robusto family.

The Robusto family owns a restaurant with a farm somewhere in a middle of an enchanted forest in Bavaria /Germany. They have just moved there in order to start a B&B business.
In the first chapter: The restaurant owners are about celebrating Midsummer’s night and since the male owner is originated from the famous viking tribe, the Sigurd, for him Midsummer is as big as Christmas. For that reason they invited many performers from all over the world. Everything goes well until midnight. But when Robusto put a bonfire in the middle of the agriculture field with his wife (Graciella Fragile) trolls, witches, elves, owls, swan princesses, nymphs, weather wane witches appear from the bushes in order to give their bless for a good harvest. The magic has begun but they can enjoy the moment until a Turkish magician flies there on a drone and enchants the audience with his flying water pipe! However who sips from the pipe and inhale the liquid their bodies remain human but their head change into an animal head (donkey, wolf, the Indian magician Ganesh transforms itself an elephant, the Mexican Luis becomes a wolf). Everyone’s head except the owners, Graciella, Robusto and their two daughters Bijou and Zizou, and Bijou’s daughter, Ella-Luna, (a 5 years old cutie). The owners just figure out that they have some special power to make themselves invisible for a while, thanks to a magic seed of a flower.
Zizou and Graciella try to follow Ganesh, the Indian magician, who heads to a shrine in the hope that with a pray he can regain his handsome face. Following him to the shrine they find a huge Buddha statue who whispers to Zizou that she must climb up to a gingko tree to fetch the antidote. She finds a potion in a middle of the gingko fruit, let Ganesh to drink it and he will be himself again…(there are of course more events and happenings in the novel).

In the 2d story: it’s July when Graciella (who is a caterer and chef of the Many Witches Auberge) in the company of her female relatives and her best friend, Beltane, who is a professional witch (she can swallow fire, she can walk with wooden legs). First they visit a cloister school-both are ruled by the Flower fairies- in order to fetch some special ingredients for an upcoming wedding. In the cloister there is a Brewery where the cook is a certain Mathew who is actually an incarnation of a Hungarian king. (Mathew whose heraldic animal was a raven, carrying a golden ring in its beck)…

In the 3d story: August has set in, and the family goes to a wedding to give catering service. It is held in Belgium, in the Red Abbey. The ceremony and everything go smoothly with some funny interruptions. For instance from the nearby cave a bat flies into the hall and lands on the top of the wedding cake. The Robusto family not only provide the food but also help in a special theater performance.

In the 4th story: it is already September, when the Robusto family enters the Empire of the Red Owls. They ask help of the Red Owls detectives, because one morning when Robusto wanted to go to the city market by car he found out that his car wouldn’t start. Later on he figures out that a wire of the engine is eaten up by a marten so he decides to ask the Red Owls private eyes to hunt them and punish them because they caused a lot of damages and troubles in many cars in the adjacent villages as well. The whole family decides to join to pay a visit by bike during the night. The Bubo detective promises to solve the problem as soon as it can.

The 5th story: we are in October. This is the most lyrical story among the 12 novels. In the middle of the night Ella is waken up by the Moon. She got hungry and she goes to fetch some food from the fridge. But on the kitchen’s wall there is a clock and in the place of each number there are photos of some family members. Among one of them there is Graciella’s late uncle who can get rid of his „picture prison” when it is Full Moon. What a coincidence that that very day is his 115th birthday and he wants to celebrate with Ella, who doesn’t know yet but she has a magic gloria/crown and if she puts on her head then she is able to fly! They find the crown in a huge Xmas music box in the attic, Ella puts it on her head and she can fly like a stork, and the uncle like a crane. They fly to Rome where they meet Luna, the goddess of the Moon and they celebrate the uncle’s birthday together with centaurs, fauns, nymphs. The Goddess loves very much Ella therefore she wants to take her to the Moon but the uncle rescues her just in time with spreading poppy seeds into the eyes of Luna! At the end of the story they fly back to the „Many Witches Auberge”. Ella puts her crown back to the music box and falls asleep. The uncle shedding back into a photo!

The 6th story begins in November when Graciella gets a letter from the marten who chewed the wire of Robusto’s car and it reveals in its letter that it/she was captured by a trapper/woodsman who has a salt mine in a certain Green island which is located near the Adriatic sea. So the family decides to rescue her/it. They travel to the Green island where a woman, whose name is Absintintrigue, rules with her hubby Calamare, who is actually the brother of Graciella! For their luck the Witch Society provides of a guide, that is a blue vulture bird! The Green woman who has many spies on the island discovers them and cagily she invites the family for a dinner. But she is a very mean person and she puts them asleep with some drugs and when they wake up they find themselves in the salt mine as prisoners. Luckily the vulture arrives to help them. It chews through the ropes in what they are tied up, and rescues them as well as the failing marten with the help of its vulture army.

The 7th story we are in December. The story begins with All Saints day when the women family members go the the Market of the Senses, but Robusto goes hunting with his hunting ferret! He has 4 bosom friends who make fun of him in the forest and they hide some legendary creatures in bushes or in the field which is known by the name Wolpertingers (Swiss-Aleman magic creatures). Later on he founds out that it was a joke (he was ripped of) and as a birthday present he sails with the four fellows to the Italian taxidermist, Ferruccio, who creates and sells those animals.

The 8th story is about the Mud Elves, who according to the local legend live under the root of the 1000 years old trees. They are the forest guards, they give golden leaves for the nice tourists but they punish the bad ones with a whiplash. They come out from the roots of the trees exactly 12 days before Christmas and move to the houses of the nice people and give warmness with their lamps, and lanternas.

The 9th story. January 6th is the day of Befana (the day of Epiphania) when the legendary, Italian witch rewards good kids with chocolate and the bad ones with garlic and a piece of coal. Ella and her mum are invited for Befana’s famous Chocolate Cave and they accept that and go to make Ginger bread house and the House of Hans and Greta. Ella enters with a special key to the Chocolate Empire, she plays on the chocolate slide, because in the cave everything is made of chocolate. There is a chocolate Zoo and the guide is the French Chocolate maker: Roger.

The 10th story. In February, Ella Luna has to perform in the carnival of the Sloe Fairy School and she needs to make two butterfly wings for her role in a theatre piece. Her mum and grandma Graciella confer magical power so she can fly with the wings. It’s very funny when she pokes at fun of her daddy, Simon, who goes to work by bike but Ella flies over his head much faster with her wings and poke out her tongue on him. Her performance at the Midsummer Night’s Dream screenplay will be magical!

Chapter 11. It’s already at the end of April and 1st of May and the Many Witches Auberge has to participate on the yearly celebration of Walpurgis night. It’s held in a peaky mountain, where the Robusto family travel by caravans. They pitch their tents and watch the grandious muster, parade of witches, devils, swamp hags, who arrive by broom or drone. The Mountain Spirit opens the festival with his lover, the allegorical figures of the Hungarian Fata Morgana. Goats, rabbits, witches dance like crazy…

Chapter 12. We are in June again, back to the school of the Flower fairies. The school year ends with a fancy fair and with a Great Contest called Total Genious. It takes place in the arena of the school and two girls, who are the best could win the competition. The Juror is Carradora, the Romain Goddess and two fairies. At the end of the competition the roof of the arena opens and color patrons fall out the audience. The school year is over.


Filovir-Ebola web page by Luca Zinzula

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An Italian colleauge of my microbiologist husband asked me to promote his web page about the extremely dangerous virus the ebola. I know that it’s very unusual to promote a research of a lethal virus such as ebola on a food and entertainment page but unfortunatelly it is very topical, so welcome to, on the website that dedicated to people interested in filovirus research that provides up to date scientific information about filoviruses – Ebola, Marburg and others belonging to the family Filoviridae

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Among the most virulent pathogens ever known, filoviruses – Ebola and Marburg viruses – cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and non humans primates. Confined to remote tropical areas of Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia, where they hide into elusive natural reservoir species of the rain forest, filoviruses occasionally emerge in isolated but deadly human outbreaks with mortality rates up to 90%. There are not licensed vaccines neither antivirals to counter filoviruses, and also they have a proven potential for misuse as biological weapons or bioterrorism agents.

So far, no other pathogens like filoviruses have been so fascinating for the general public. In fact, since their discovery, which occurred around 40 years ago, Ebola and Marburg viruses have embodied the ancestral myth of the incoming plague and fueled the collective imagination with fears for a doomsday infectious disease which eventually “liquefies” its victims.

The creation of this website originated from the author’s will and personal need to collect the rigorous and scientific data that were widely dispersed in the world wide web, separating them from the exaggeration and mystification of pseudoscientific popular literature, and gathering them into the unique place that this web site aims to be.

Basically, FILOVIR is conceived as a mono-thematic environment focused on filovirus research. It mainly consists of public third-party information made available with the use of the iframe in its pages. The final result is a virtual place where all people interested in this topic can find scientifically rigorous and updated information all-together at their own fingertips.

Few words about him

He is a biologist with a background in biochemistry and virology. He took his graduation in Biological Sciences at the University of Cagliari in Sardinia, Italy, and a PhD in “Medical Microbiology and Immunology” at the Graduate School of Medicine of the University of Rome, Tor Vergata.

His research interest mainly lies in the biology of filoviruses (Ebolaviruses and Marburgviruses) and highly pathogenic influenza viruses, with an emphasis on the biochemistry and structural biology of those viral proteins that, in the life cycle of these pathogens, are involved in the replication, transcription and innate immune evasion processes.

The list of publications describing what has been his career path until now can be found here, while a personal webpage of his is available at this address on LinkedIn. You can also find his personal details at the page “contacts” of this website.

“I hope you will appreciate my efforts in creating and maintaining FILOVIR as a source of accurate and updated scientific information about filoviruses, and I really wish you enjoy navigation on these pages. Any suggestion, comment or question is welcome and, please, fell free to contact me for it”.

best regards

Luca Zinzula

FILOVIR  – Scientific Resources for Research on Filoviruses

University of Cagliari, Department of Life and Environmental Sciences

Laboratory of Molecular Virology

SS554, 09042 Monserrato (CA), Sardinia, Italy

tel. +39(0)70-6754533; fax. +39(0)70-6754536

send an email