Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The Occult Detectives are back

I am passing this along because it’s great news – the new issue of Occult Detective Magazine (formerly Occult Detective Quarterly) is currently available in print on Amazon. An ebook edition is forthcoming.
This is a big fat mag filled with supernatural thrills, and it’s just what the doctor ordered to have some fun for the end of the year.

And no, there is no work of mine on this one – but hopefully I’ll be able to sell some more stories to this fine magazine in 2020.


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Oh, well…

A story I submitted last month just bounced back… because the magazine I submitted it to went out of business. This is the second time this happens to me – in the first case, it was a story I had already sold – between the acceptance letter and the publishing, the publisher went belly up.
I could be cynical and say that’s the reason why you should always aim at paid-on-acceptance markets, but really it’s no laughing matter.

Every time a magazine or a publisher goes out of business, we, as writers and as readers, are a little poorer.

The only up side of this last sorry matter?
I had mistakenly mailed the same story to two prospect markets at the same time. Now tat problem’s solved.


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What, no RPGs for Christmas?

It’s been pointed out that my list of Christmas gifts for the masses was fearfully lacking in the Roleplaying Games department. To set that straight, I’ll post here three suggestions for the roleplayer that has everything.
Because what’s better than spending Christmas day reading a new RPG handbook?
Here goes…

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Gifts for writers, readers and other adventurers

Wool socks, scarves and other knitwear, that’s what Christmas is to a lot of us. Case in point: as a Christmas gift, my brother just bought me a wool cap to replace the one that got picked from my pocket a few days ago while we were in a crowd.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, wool cap thieves are a thing.
But what about a list of gifts for readers, writers and in general the sort of people that reads Karavansara?
My marketing guru assures me these posts have a huge impact during the festive season.
Let’s see if he’s right.
Oh, and yes, there’s affiliate links in this post – feel free to ignore them.

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M.R. James for Christmas

I have just spent one and a half of my hard-earned Euros for a digital copy of M.R. James’ Complete Ghost Stories. The ebook is published by Macmillan in its Collector’s Library, and comes with an afterword by David Stuart Davies.
This is not the only edition I have of the James stories – I have a paperback edition from Wordsworth Classics here somewhere, and you’ll find at least a James story in any self-respecting collection of classic ghost stories, of which I have a few.

But what happened is, I just wrote a lengthy post about ghosts and Christmas, for the Italian online mag Melange, and while I was preparing a to-read list, I was quite surprised by the fact that M.R. James’ stories are not so easily available in my language.

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A turn of the cards

I spent some time this afternoon discussing tarot decks with a friend – my collection never took off the ground (I have half a dozen decks, nothing to write home about), but I still keep an eye out for new designs and classic reprints, and so we talked, and traded suggestions.

I often say that my definitive Plan B, should everything else fail, would be to find a corner table in a pub and do tarot readings. Indeed, it’s two years now that I say I’ll go and sit at the local pub, down in Nizza, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, order a drink and a sandwich, and start playing with my tarot – I’m pretty sure it would attract some curious parties.
And I could tip the waitresses for them to send people my way.
I say this only half-jokingly – my rationale is, if there’s people that could not write their way out of a paper bag that hold courses about writing, then what the hell, I can read tarot.

After all, I read the handbooks, I followed a few online courses, and it’s been now over thirty years I’ve been reading the cards for fun (but not, alas, for profit).

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William Gibson's Alien 3

Ridley Scott’s Alien came out when I was a kid and I was not allowed to go and see in the cinema. I caught it a while later, in a drive in while I was by the seaside. As a kid who grew up reading science fiction, Alien was probably bigger, for me, than Star Wars (I had seen a lot of that sort of action in the pulp stories I had been reading – Hamilton and Williamson and Brackett…) and possibly than Blade Runner.

Forty years on (my, I am old), I still love the first movie – a great atmospheric horror – and the sequel, Jim Cameron’s Aliens – the template for military SF. And I have a weak spot for the fourth instalment of the franchise, that to me always was like a lost snippet of that other franchise, Firefly/Serenity.

The third movie, sorry, I hated it. I saw it on a late-night screening with two friends, and found it blah. Too much running around, and they killed off two characters I had loved in Aliens, Bishop and Hicks.

But what if they had not been killed off?

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