East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Still, I live!


Today was not a good day.
First, three of my recent submission were rejected – with very nice rejection mails, but there you are.
Then, the ghostwriting client I’ve been working for in the last few months candidly told me he will pay the last instalment of my due if and when his book will be published. This means waiting three to six months – in the best hypothesis. I pointed out that this way I’ll be unable to pay my mortgage this winter, and he shrugged.
That’s my problem, he said.
He’s not wrong.

I often compare this writing business to a roller-coaster ride. In this sense, today is like the moment the wagon gets stuck upside-down, and they have to come and take you to safety using a crane.
I’m currently waiting for the crane.

I will have to archive this experience as a net loss (I won’t get my money, or I’ll get them when it does not matter anymore – so it’s a loss), and then I will have to make it work for me.
Because that’s the only way to go on, and I need to go on.

Here I feel like writing down a small note about a dynamic I have observed in the last years: people will bully you when they know you need the money they owe you. I think it helps them feel “on top.”


As luck would have it, in the afternoon, while I was looking around for my options, I got a message from the publisher of my non-fiction book – they like the text a lot, and will start setting it for printing next week.
I will get the last instalment of my advance – that is not much, but right now is a lot – and I still have the pleasure of having done a good job with pleasant, good people.
With a little luck, the book will be out for Christmas.

And I heard the editor of a project I’ll start on Monday – the contract is signed, I’m waiting for my copy, and for the advance.
Another great project, lots of fun to research and write, and done with good human beings.
And I’ll post something about this project tomorrow, because it’s very much on topic with the themes of my blog.

And of course I am posting a serial on my Patreon, for the Five Bucks Brigade, called The Client from Hell.
Any similarity to actual people and events is purely coincidental.

And I’ve got stories to write, too…

So, the situation is dire, but not desperate – as I said to a friend that was scolding me for having been naive today, running is just a matter of never stop falling forward.

And I’m still running.
It will be a long cold winter, but we’ll get out of this too.

See there?
The crane is coming. It’s a very old crane, slow, a bit rusty, and the operator suffers from narcolepsy … but otherwise it would not be an adventure, right?

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.

8 thoughts on “Still, I live!

  1. ” I pointed out that this way I’ll be unable to pay my mortgage this winter, and he shrugged.
    That’s my problem, he said.
    He’s not wrong.”

    Still doesn’t make him any less of a s@#*bag.

    Just my personal opinion.


  2. Hang in there man, you’re on the Great Crusade as a freelance writer. Doing something many of us lack the bravery to pursue. I’m hoping for better fortunes soon for you.


  3. Davide,
    Completely off topic, you should check this website out:
    Free Stuff!


  4. You’re welcome. I found it doing a random internet search looking for a pdf copy of Henry Kuttner’s ‘Dr, Cyclops’ after seeing the 1940 movie on TV last night. The selection of writers and stories blew me away.


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