East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Things to Come #3 – a new benefit for the 10$ Lounge

As I mentioned, starting with October and my third year on Patreon, I will be offering new perks and benefits to my patrons, both as a way for thanking them for being there, and to try and lure more innocent souls inside my lair. So here’s another peek at how it will be… in the future!

I’ve added the podcasts and the Open Outline to the 5 Bucks Brigade level, now it’s time to offer something new and special to the guys in the 10 Bucks Lounge, the brave souls that bet 10 dollars a month on my work.
Time to give something back to them.

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Breathing plastic fumes or going on strike

People are striking all over the planet to attract the attention of the governments on the current climate crisis.
In the beautiful hills of Astigianistan Autumn is coming, painting copper and brown the slopes and the valleys, and here I am, lucky bastard that I am, breathing the poisonous fumes escaping from the neighbor’s chimney, because when September comes, they start burning their waste – plastic included – in the home fireplace.

My mother called the environmental service because of this problem, back in, I think, 1989. The guy at the other end of the line asked her if the smoke she was seeing was white or black, because if it was not black they couldn’t do anything.
My mother, a long-time asthmatic, ripped the guy to shreds, along the lines of “what the f*ck do I know about the color, we are chocking here you a-hole!”
Nothing was done about it.
Thirty years on, they are still doing it.
At least it0’s a sign that dioxin won’t kill you that fast.
And then what do I know? I’m a bloody foreigner, I’ve been living in this place only ten years.
My mother was a bloody foreigner too, and a stuck-up meddler – she was told so by the neighbour, who somehow had learned about my mother’s complaint and report.
My mother would never come back to this place in the following years, much to my father’s irritation.

I can’t go on environmental strike here, because basically this is a ghost town peopled of dead people – only some of them have not realized yet.
What could I do, stand alone with a placard in front off the only shop in town?
But if you can, help the kids that are striking.
Because the smell of burned plastic shouldn’t be the smell that reminds you of your mother.



I’m taking a moment for a brief shout-out to my friend (and sometimes accomplice) Umberto Pignatelli’s latest game, Scheherazade, a roleplaying game that allows you to play into the Arabian Nights.
I’ll post a review here as soon as the game is released, but in the meantime, check out the gorgeous cover…


The Sistine Chapel with crayons

The moment they ask you to write a fantasy short, roughly 6000-words, taking inspiration from Italo Calvino, you sort of feel like you’re looking up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel while holding a pack of eight crayons.
And you go, oh, shucks!

But let’s make it a little more interesting – not just any story, inspired by Calvino, but a sword & sorcery number, with action, wit and swordplay.
Inside a shared world.
Do you feel lucky, punk?

I did, and then, I needed the money.
So I went and wrote The Queen of Spades.

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