Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Seven Lives

I mentioned at the end of august how I was trying to do something in support of a cathouse in Lanzarote – because I like cats and because as a long-time Harry Flashman fan, I love the idea of telling people that I pay to help the ladies working in a cathouse.
Yes, I know, it’s juvenile, so sue me.

Cats with no name, by Robert McGinnis

Anyway, in the intervening weeks I realized that with my finances in shambles there is very little I can do for the cats and the ladies.
What to do?
The only thing I can do, in fact, is write.
And so I started writing.

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Letting someone else read Deathstalker for me

I have always appreciated the work of Simon R. Green – of the many, many books of his that I’ve read so far, there is only one that I found less than entertaining. I discovered him through his Hawk & Fisher books, that kept me company for a long, lonesome summer many years ago, and I took it from there. His Blue Moon novels, his Nightside stories, his Carnacki ghost stories…

I also like what transpires from his interviews and articles: his work ethic, his craft-oriented approach to writing. He’s an entertainer, an author of escapist fiction that does not need to make excuses for what he does admirably well. Probably nobody will have their lives radically turned around by reading Simon R. Green, but maybe we’re not looking for a life altering experience… we’re just looking for good, old-fashioned fun. And really, an author that cites among his major influences Leigh Bracket and Michael Moorcock, Robert E. Howard and Roger Zelazny, Norman Spinrad and Harlan Ellison… of course I want to read his books! It sounds like we went to the same school together!

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The Shanghai Pirate from Mars

My friend Bando Masako, the Japanese horror writer of Inugami and Shikoku fame, once told me that the best way to secure a sector of the market and have commercial success, would be to create your own niche, your own genre.
“Something like Post-Calvino Italian Literary Fantasy,” she said. “In this way, if someone wants to know what Post-Calvino Italian Literary Fantasy is, they’ll have to buy your books. And anyone doing something vaguely similar, will be someone you ‘influenced’.”

It’s sound advice, and I’ve seen it happen, in both the large international market and the smaller, oxygen-starved Italian market.
Things like Grimdark, of course, or New Pulp, have become wildly successful, and EcoPunk sound promising, while New Italian Epic… ehm, we don’t talk about that.
It’s marketing. Noting wrong with that. The oldest profession.
As Gene Wolfe said “I write the genre that the drugstore guy decides when he puts my books in the wireframe holder – sometimes they place me by Asimov, sometimes they place me elsewhere.”

It was of course a time when drugstores still carried paperbacks.

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The hit list

I’ve just completed a new BUSCAFUSCO story, that in a few days I’ll post to my Patrons in the Five Bucks Brigade – just the time needed to translate it in Italian – because my patrons get my stories both in Italian and English. It’s a bit of extra work, but I’m happy to do it for my patrons.
And as I’m at it, I thought I’ll post here a short list of what’s to come, in terms of short stories, for my Patrons in the next months.

First, as I said, in a few days, a 7000-words BUSCAFUSCO story set in Nizza Monferrato in the days before Halloween.
After that, and in no particular order (or, in other words, as the fancy strikes me)

  • a new Aculeo & Amunet sword & sorcery story
  • a new caper of The Corsair
  • a new Tale of the Frontier
  • a new Valerie Trelawney Edwardian ghost story (the character will make her debut in print some time in the next months)
  • the first Helena Saratova (if that’s really her name) solo historical adventure

And this keeps us covered (and me busy) until March 2020.
There will be more, of course, stuff that at the moment is so secret, I can’t tell you or then I’d have to kill you.
AND the Open Outline stuff my Patrons are helping (?) me put together.

And I have to admit, I am quite happy with how things are shaping up.
Going back to my old characters, for readers that I know appreciate them, is like taking a vacation.

And as I said, there’s more to come.
So watch this space for news and, if you feel like, join us on Patreon.
Because it’s good to be my patrons.


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Working for amateurs

One of the most unnerving things…
Oh, hello! You’re here!
This is one of those posts about the incredibly funny and surreal experiences of one that’s trying to make a living writing – a marketing guru guaranteed I’d get tons of likes and followers by telling you these stories… so!

One of the most unnerving things of working as a freelance is the clients that do not pay you in time, but then point out it’s extremely unprofessional on your part talking about it and pointing your finger at them.
What a horrid lack of class, mentioning money like that!

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Atlantis, Lemuria and Mu

Lost continents are a lot of fun, and have been used as the venue for sword & sorcery adventures since the the every beginning. Robert E. Howard’s Kull was an Atlantean barbarian, and Conan plied his trade after the sinking of Atlantis, and I really always had a soft spot for Henry Kuttner’s Elak of Atlantis, hero of a short series of stories I first read in the mid ’80s. And of course Lin Carter’s Thongor roamed Lemuria and environs, lands crowded with sorcerers, strange technology and dinosaurs.

In the recent evenings, I’ve had a lot of fun with Heroes of Atlantis & Lemuria, recently published by DMR Books.

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