East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Birthday Book Haul

I am old.
I am dead tired.
I am stranded in the middle of nowhere.
But I have friends that gave me wonderful gifts for my 56th birthday.
And so, why not share the covers of the books that I will now pile by my desk (and on my Kindle reader) , and read in no particular order to keep melancholy, boredom and loneliness at bay?

Just the covers, in no particular order…

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The Island of the Screaming Statues

I am pleased to announce that my new novella, The Island of the Screaming Statues, has just hit the shelves on Lulu.com.
It goes for 4.99, but you can get a 15% discount, for a very limited time, by using the code GREEN15 on checkout.

The novella is set in the world of 4 Against Darkness, the solo roleplaying game by Andrea Sfiligoi, that provided a gaming appendix with creatures, characters and other wonders for those that, having read the story, wish to play it.
The story features a mysterious island, pirates (of course!) and a lady with a very bad hair day…

This is my second foray in this setting, after The Heart of the Lizard, that was published before the world went crazy.

The book is available in both pdf and paperback format.

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Kickstarting The Consultation of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes used to introduce himself as a “consulting detective” – one to which other detectives and police officers could go to for, yeah, a consultation, during their own investigations.
This side of Holmes’ business was not often presented in the Canon, and now Belanger Books, purveyors of fine Holmesian pastiches, has decided to tackle this issue by publishing a thick anthology, called The Consultations of Sherlock Holmes, that is currently being financed on Kickstarter.

The volume collects a selection of new apocryphal tales in which Holmes is merely the consultant, and other investigators take center stage, following cases until they get stumped, and need to compare notes with the gentleman living in Baker Street.

The Consultations of Sherlock Holmes includes my new story, The Consultation of the Edinburgh Smoker, in which Holmes will help a colleague working for an Edinburgh department store, investigating a baffling and apparently absurd crime – the theft of some gramophone needles.
I could add that the story was inspired by real events, but don’t you hate too when that label is bandied around?

So, here you go – if this sounds like your sort of thing, check the link provided.
The book will also be in shops as soon as the kickstarter is successfully closed, but by financing it through the Kickstarter platform, you get a load of extras, and help the authors make a little extra.

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#StoryADayMay 2023

This year too I’ll be taking part in StoryADay May,

A month-long short-story challenge in which writers write (finish) a short story every day In May.

Why, you ask.
Because it’s free.
Because I am “between jobs” and I am beginning to feel the existential dread of not being able to write/sell any more stories in the foresee4able future, and thus sink into poverty and madness*.
Because it is objectively a very good way to do some writing and replenish my portfolio of stories. Once I have written my May stories, I’ll have the rest of the year to submit them and try and sell them.
Because it is a great opportunity to try new and different genres, or test-drive new characters or settings.
Nice and smooth.

During the month of May I’ll be receiving daily prompts – that I may or may not choose to use.
The idea is to write a story a day – that is 31 short stories.

But because the rules of the game are flexible, I am setting down these personal rules for myself

a . “story” means both fiction and non-fiction. I may decide to write a few articles instead.

b . blog posts do not count as stories (but I may later on post some stuff I created during the challenge)

c . flash fiction is OK

d . I will write and finish at least 5 stories a week (basically, I’m keeping my weekends free). At least means I’ll strive to go for 31 stories anyway.

And this is it.

Less than 24 hours to go, then we begin.
Let’s see what happens.

(*) this, incidentally, is a real form of anxiety that comes with writing for a living – if you can’t write/sell your stories, you do not make a living. There are no guarantees. Every new sale, every paid bill, is at the intersection of hard word and sheer luck.

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Princesses in Pulp is out!

ProSe Press’ latest anthology is out, and it can be acquired in both paperback and ebook via Amazon.
It is called Princesses in Pulp, it features a killer cover by Antonino Lo Iacono, and it includes a story of mine, called Away with the Fairies.

The idea was to take a classic fairy tale and turn it into a pulp story – so I selected an old Italian folk tale from Giambattista Basile’s classic collection known as the Pentamerone, a nice Cinderella variation called The Three Fairies, and I redid it as a Black Mask-style noir crime story.
It was fun to write it – I hope it will be fun to read it too!

It is also the raciest story I ever published in my name.

If you feel like taking a look at Princesses in Pulp, right now the ebook is 99 cents.
But I’ll shell out a little more for the paperback, just for that cover…
I’ve placed links to Amazon above – I’m not getting any commission for this.

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The return of Valerie Trelawney

I created Valerie Trelawney in 1985, give or take a few months, typing two of her stories on my mother’s old Olivetti Lettera. They were not particularly good stories – derived in the worst possible way from Arthur Conan Doyle (with a nod at The Jewel of Seven Stars), from H.P. Lovecraft, and from an unresolved (ad still very much alive) fascination for Charles Dana Gibson’s illustrations.
My Edwardian medium/detective went nowhere back in the ’80s, but in much more recent years Valerie was resurrected to support none else but Sherlock Holmes in two stories, published in the anthologies of the series Sherlock Holmes and the Occult Detectives.

Now, Valerie Trelawney comes back for a third adventure, this time going solo and gracing the pages of issue #9 of Occult Detective Magazine, that is currently available through Amazon.
The new story is called The case of the ink-maker’s daughter.

I like writing about Valerie, and we go back a long time – she is in fact my oldest character. Right now I am working on two more stories featuring her occult adventures.
How, where and when these will be published – if at all – remains to be seen.
I will let you know as soon as I know myself.