East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

The Necronomicon stays in the picture or, new project for 2017

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And so I missed the deadline.
Well, I am actually. Sort of.


Now, the bad thing is, I spent two days writing and that work won’t be paid. And given the current situation, with my bank account echoing hollowly, that is bad.
But the good thing is, the work done did not dissolve at the strike of midnight – it’s still there, it’s still pretty good (if I do say so myself), and now I am free.
Free in terms of wordcount, free in terms of themes and tones, free to use my characters as I see fit.
And yes, I told you so, I’m thinking about a series. I always think in terms of series.

So here’s how I spent the morning of the first day of 2017…

Notes notes notes

I redefined the theme of my story to fit what I would like to do as a series.
First of all: ghosts.
I’ve been wanting to write ghost stories for ages, now, and so ghost stories these will be.
And yet… tentacles and syllable-soup Mythos critters may be gone, but the Necronomicon stays in the picture.
Because ghost stories in a Lovecraftian universe sounds pretty cool, don’t you think?
And exotic locales – because if my stories are going to be set in the ’30 (and they will be set in the ’30s), than that is the age of traveling in style, and what better occupation for a sophisticated couple than visiting strange places and facing the supernatural?
The French Riviera, Shanghai, the African savanna… Egypt!!


Dropping in historical characters too, Flashman-style? Maybe1.
I’m also keeping the screwball comedy angle, but with a lot of caveats – I don’t want to write a Beyond Belief fanfiction.
Which means I’ll have to work a lot on the characters.


Now that I have a series at hand (one story 9/10ths written, another outlined) and no word count limit, I can flesh out my characters properly.
As I usually do, to define my characters I need to see them, I need to play the stories in my mind like they were movies.
My earliest idea, while writing furiously my story, was based on an old Arrow Collar advertising by J. C. Leyendecker. This one.


My only problem is, I really don’t like Leyendecker’s guys – his women are fine, but his men look to me like dandy dudes. And I don’t want Steve Throckmorton to be a dude.
Classy, elegant, sophisticated, granted. But not a pretty-pretty kid.
Then I saw this.


And yes, it’s my story, and if I want to do sophistication and screwball, I think of Lombard, so sue me. But what I love about the picture is the dynamic that implies between the characters.
It’s romantic, sure, but it hints at a passion suffused with something else.
Irony? Wit? Mistery, too, certainly. There’s a certain aura of conspiracy.
For me, that’s the way to go.
And what could be better than writing comedy ghost stories set in a Lovecraftian universe and featuring globetrotting characters that look like Carole Lombard and Cary Grant?

So, what’s next?

I’ll have to write the stories, fitting them into a very busy schedule (because, you know, energy and telephone bills).
I will have to see if my long suffering editrix, the delectable Clara Giuliani, is willing to work her magic on my texts.
In the meantime, a friend of mine that’s a smashing artist (he did the new covers for Aculeo & Amunet), recklessly suggested he could do me a cover for free. He doesn’t know what he’s getting into.
And I’ll do more posts as work proceeds, because I like talking about myself. A lot.
And then I will self-publish the thing – through Amazon. To make as much as I would have made had I sold that first fateful story, I’ll have tot sell, say, 200 ebooks. Which is absolutely insane. But who knows, I’ll invent something 2. It’s a new beginning.


Please be patient.
And wish me luck.

  1. the problem with jotting down notes like this is that cool ideas just pile up. The trick is knowing when it’s time to pull the plug before the coolness overload makes it impossible to actually write the stories. 
  2. like, publishing in other languages, too? See what I was saying about cool ideas reaching critical mass? 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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