East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Folk horror and movies

As I nurse the worse cold in ages, there’s little I can do but write. I’ve a lot of things to write, but luckily all the urgent work was done before my ill-advised decision to go and attend Libri in Nizza. So I am taking a brief pause from my writing, and I’m catching up on my to-read list.

I’ve just started and finished in two days flat Gemma Files’ novel, Experimental Film, that I was given as a gift a few days back, and boy, was it a brilliant book!

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The Fear and the Void

In his book About Writing, British novelist Gareth L Powell devotes a chapter to THE FEAR, a ghost that haunts the life of many – if not all – writers, the Beastie on the back (to quote Jethro Tull) of those that do creative work.
Powell describes it thus…

We’ve all been there.
I was there, actually, no more than half an hour ago, as I reviewed the first part of Shadow of the Rat God, and concluded it’s the most worthless, useless pile of wasted words I ever put together.

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Never say Rat God

We have a mouse in our house. So far he’s ignored the traps we’ve set, and he’s raiding our pantry during the night, and in general making a lot of weird noises. But last night, feeling like he wanted something special, he bit through one of the LAN cables of our home network, cutting through it and isolating my brother’s PC from the web.

Now we’ll have to buy a new one, and the closest computer store in the area is 20 miles away, and we don’t have a car. So it’s an order via Amazon, which means – because we are in a very special place – waiting for a week.

And the fracking mouse is still at large, and tonight it will be showtime again – and let’s hope he has not developed a taste for LAN cables.

Next step – invite in one of the feral cats that have made our courtyard their favorite spot for sunbathing and having a bite. It would be of mutual utility – we grant the cat a warm place for the winter, he takes care of the damn mice.


In the Shadow of the Rat God

One thing that usually makes me laugh – or depresses me, depending on my mood – is when one of my esteemed Italian colleagues points out that I am too classy and complicated, in my stories, too off-putting and not ready enough to go down to the level of my readers. In a market that’s requiring increasingly simplistic and adolescent stories, being told by a colleague (or a publisher!) “you’re too classy” is the kiss of death, the professional equivalent of a 2-star review on Amazon.
Game over, man. Game. Over.

Right now I am writing a new Aculeo & Amunet story, and I have been looking for a title. To start on the right foot, I ran through the previous stories of the series…

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Idle for a while

At the end of last week I took part in the Nizza Monferrato book fair, Libri in Nizza, to meet a few old friends and talk about books and stuff. The event took place in the Foro Boario, a vast public hall that was created refurbishing the old cattle market. Due to causes independent of the organization’s decisions, the temperature inside was probably 35°, with a humidity fit to growing orchids. As a result, I am now here with a fever, and a sore throat I am treating with honey drops and hot tea.
My head is killing me, and I am wracked by cough.
Aren’t these cultural events a wonder?

But it was generally fun, and afterwards we had a pizza at Casablanca’s, and talked shop, and projects, and stuff.
Then I came home and woke up next morning without a voice, but with a fever.

Now I am taking a few days off, laying in bed and reading.
Thanks to a special promotion on Amazon.it, I finally got myself the first three books in the Foreigner series by C.J. Cherryh, and I am enjoying them a lot.

After more than forty years as a science fiction reader, Cherryh is still one of my favorite authors, and the first Foreigner book I am currently reading is everything I have come to expect from this superb writer.

It makes it worth while being down with a sore throat and a fever.


The Deadly Lady from Madagascar (and other dames)

I am experiencing some technical issues (and a bout of bad health), so I’m not doing much these days. I’m falling behind with my writing and with my post, and everything else. But I was browsing some old paperback art and I happened to spot this picture…

… and I thought, wow, that’s a story I’d like to write.
Turns out this is a Robert Maguire cover for a novel called The Deadly Lady of Madagascar, bt Frank G. Slaughter (nice name for someone writing about deadly ladies) that I will try and find somehow.
If I can’t write it, I can certainly read it.

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