East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

The Watcher in the West

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I have just delivered to my Patrons in the Five Bucks Brigade a 4000-words story called The Watcher in the West, the sixth story in the Tales from the Frontier series – stories that are exclusive to my Patreon page, set in a fantasy borderland between not-exactly-Mughal-India and Tang-China-but-not-really.

This story is special, because it is a reworking of a story I wrote for an open call at the start of the year, and was in the end rejected – despite being praised by the editors.

I wrote The Watcher in the West chiefly because it was a challenge – I had been asked to write a genre I had never tried before: romance.
Granted, the request was for a romance story with action, swashbuckling and fantasy elements, but the romance was to be at the forefront.
Also, the story was to feature two queer female leading characters.
And I said to myself – what the heck, let’s try it!

As I was in a hurry, the deadline being close, I pinched a few bits and pieces from my previous Tales from the Frontier – some elements of the setting, a character or two, even the central events, so much so that this story was, de facto, the direct sequel of the one I had posted last to my Patrons: there we saw the start of a revolt – here we saw the aftermath.
It was only natural, therefore, roll back the story and make it into a proper Tale from the Frontier.

Now the story is in my Patron’s hands – because they say it’s good to be my patrons.
They also say I suffered for my art, now it’s their turn.
But the experience was not unpleasant at all, and while I was never the kind that writes about throbbing hearts (or throbbing anything, really), and I felt a little silly at times, it’s good to know that, in a pinch, I could do a decent romance.
Brings me back to that weird idea of writing a series of Gothic Romances under the pen name of Vulnavia De Winter… might help pay my bills. The romance market seems to know no crisis.
It could really work.

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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