East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Serendipity of sorts: the Thirty Years War

“See you in Prague,” Graham Nash used to say – and today marks the 400th anniversary of the Defenestration of Prague, a rather obscure to most but pretty violent episode of European History that traditionally marks the start of the Thirty Years War.


Now, I am quite fond of the Thirty Years War, and this despite the fact that Continue reading


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Arthur Conan Doyle’s Mummies

It is Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday!
The man that gave us Sherlock Holmes and Professor Challenger deserves a little celebration, and what better way to celebrate a storyteller than through his stories?
So here we go – a Ladybird Horror Classic, The Mummy, based on ACD’s own Lot n. 249.

And here you can get the original, as an illustrated PDF, as published by Harper’s Magazine.


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A few nights with the Ace of Wands

tyrantking1A few nights ago, for the usual reason that I was suffering from one of my bouts of insomnia, I went browsing on Youtube, looking for something interesting.
In particular, I was looking for episodes of a very old British TV series called The Tyrant King, that I saw as a kid and which is part of those many shows that influenced my growth (or lack thereof), it being a mystery/espionage story featuring a T. Rex.
I was able to find very little on Youtube, but through a succession of links and cross-references and spurious serendipity, I discovered Ace of Wands, which is something I am sure some old friend mentioned twenty-odd years ago, but here I am now, and the series had been keeping me company these last few night. Continue reading

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Where Ideas Come From: Blunderbuss

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, or if you follow my other blog, or are on my Patreon, you know that I usually have a lot of projects going at the same time.
Writing, translating, courses.
My timetable is in a constant state of flux, and projects get announced, started, sidetracked, shelved, rebooted, cancelled1, dropped, picked up, dropped again, etcetera.

The main reason for this is, bills keep coming, and with them the financial ghosts my late father left behind, that appear in the mailbox once every few months, unexpectedly, and set us back a few hundred euros for overdue taxes, unpaid fines or what.
So, paying projects are priority.
And projects that do not pay for their keep get shelved.
Which means of course that sometimes I have to leave behind ideas that I really like to do some thankless job that covers expenses like, right now.
This is not complaining, or whining or cursing Fate during a thunderstorm like Elric used to do. It is a simple assessment of the facts at the time of writing.


This said, ideas keep coming, and I like to post them on the blog because it’s a nice way to stake a claim, and also a way to pressure me into doing something with the stuff.
And who knows, maybe someone’s interested.
After all, How do you get your ideas is still the most frequent question we get asked.
So, consider, if you will, the following. Continue reading

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No hangout tonight

Hangouts_IconI was planning a hangout session with my English-speaking patrons tonight, but I got no response.
My fault – too little advance time, and probably a time window that, by trying to satisfy everybody, it did actually satisfy no-one.
Oh, well, there will be more opportunities.

In the meantime, I am getting ready for a public writing session – this time in Italian, and hosted (so to speak) by an Italian ebook-enthusiast Facebook group.
To make things a little trickier, I asked the guys in the group to pitch in with story prompts.
The one that will get more votes is the one I will write, in Italian.

And as we are talking about writing in Italian…

transaltingIt’s been suggested to me that I do translate into English a few of my so far Italian-only stories.
And I thought, why not?
Now I have only to decide what to translate.
Eroi dei Due Mondi, my steampunk-ish series about assorted Italians on Mars?
Gli Orrori della Valle Belbo, my collection of horrors set here in the hills where I live?
Or maybe Asteria, my Sword & Sandal series inspired to old peplum movies?

I’d be REALLY partial to translating Asteria, but of course opinions and suggestions are more than welcome.


On The Expanse

I guess you guys out there have heard about the big noise that started when SyFy announced it was dropping The Expanse, the series based on James A. Corey’s novels and now in its third season.
The fans really got militant on that one, and I feel rather bad because I am a big fan of both the novels and the series, and sitting here in this corner of the universe, I’m pretty cut off from a lot of the action.

Sure, I signed the petitions, and withstood the blank stares of my friends that basically don’t get it (more about that later on) when I told then You should watch it!.
But it’s a little too little.
This post will not make things different, but at least I’ll give me the opportunity to point out a few things that I love about the series not only as a viewer, but also as a storyteller.

This will ramble a bit.
You’ve been warned. Continue reading