East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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More worldbuilding, and beyond

It’s now ten days that I’m working on my 30 Days of Worldbuilding Challenge on Patreon, and it looks like the world is conspiring to make me spend more money and more time on books and software.
Which is good. Sorta.
I mean, it’s almost a sign I finally managed to surf the flow of the Tao.
Or something.

First there was the Maps Bonanza bundle on Humble Bundle, and I ended up getting a ton of mapping software – and I formulated the new year’s proposition (in November, because I like to get ahead with the work) of learning to use the Campaign Cartographer 3+ software and start producing my own gaming and fiction maps.
Who knows, might even turn into a collateral source of income…

Then a second Humble Bundle came up, about game-design – and it is quite interesting, but as it is chiefly focused on video games, I spent only one buck, and got the minimum offer of three game-design books that look like all I will need for quite a while.

… and considering I had already splurged for a massive Numenera RPG bundle, and for a selection of Eastern philosophy ebooks by Shambhala, it seemed to me this month the Bundle had more than earned its keep.
And really, buying these bundles is a way for me to keep true to another of my new year’s propositions, from 2020 – if I find myself with enough money in my pockets, I will spend some for charities. And Humble Bundle is a good way for doing so while at the same time getting a load of books.

But this month, I decided, enough.

But then Bundle of Holding popped up in my mailbox with – you guessed it, a selection of stuff for worldbuilding, specifically aimed at games.
And the basic tier was about 8 bucks, and included a 15 bucks book I’ve had on my wishlist for two years. And so I went and got that too. So now I have more stuff to read.

The excuse I used with myself to gift me yet another bundle of books is that I’ve passed the 15.000 words mark on my current novel – while at the same time hitting 5000 words on the RPG campaign I have hereon my desk (I’m slacking on this one) and 15.000 words again on my Worldbuilding Challenge.
Not bad, considering I’ve wasted over a month because I was typing with one hand short of a pair.

And here’s the fun thing: the daily chapter of my 30 Days challenge is what helped me get back in gear with my serious work. Not only I am slowly recovering as much functionality as I can for my left hand, but I’ve also connected back with the fun of writing.
Which is good, because writing is what’s paying the bills.

And I have more things to come – I’d love to give the podcasting thing another spin, for instance, and create something different than Paura & Delirio, which I am co-hosting and is a great source of fun and learning.
I’d love to do something on writing, or fantasy, or both.
But there are a lot of things to take into account, most important of all I’d hate to do one of those “Who’s this Nyarlathotep chap anyway” things that seem to be popular with the nerdz these days.
I’d like to invent something unique, and different.
Right now I’ve a copybook, in which I am jotting down ideas.

So, things are rather good.
Now I’ve only to keep going.

(and incidentally, I’ve put links in this post to both Humble Bundle and Bundle of Holding. I’m not making a single cent out of this, but maybe some one of you guys is interested)

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Worldbuilding, planetary romance and a reading list

As you may know – or maybe not – I am devoting the month of November to a personal challenge: over on my Patreon page I am posting daily, both in English and Italian, my worldbuilding notes as over a period of 30 days I design a world from the bottom up. I have decided to build a planetary romance/sword & planet venue, and then use it, in the next months, as a setting for short stories and for a lightweight, quick & easy roleplaying game.

And after a very generic start, as the end of the first week approaches, we are starting to see the world of Sar-zeroth taking shape. And in my fast and unfiltered work of worldbuilding, I have of course been “inspired” by books, comics and movies I’ve seen. For this reason, I’ve decided to put together a list of the books I’ve read over the years and that somehow suggested some of the bits and pieces I’ve plugged into this setting. An annotated bibliography of sorts.
The list is evolving as I write the whole thing, and so, expect more.
But for the time being, I’d list…

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Suitable for seniors

I have always loved the radio. My earliest memories are not of television (that as something that existed only after 5 pm back in the day) but of listening to the radio, that my mother kept going all day long as she did her chores at home, and then listened to when she wanted to relax in the evening. Radio dramas (“original radiofonici” as they were called), and shows like the hit parade and “Alto Gradimento” (a radio comedy program that did for Italian radio what Monthy Python did for British TV).

Much later, when I was touring Italy, giving lectures in various universities, the radio kept me company during long drives, and a good way to stay awake. Also, as I had to spend my nights in dreary dorms and other cheerless places, I got myself a small, ultracheap multi-band radio from Lidl, that I carried with me on my travels, and that otherwise rested on my nightstand when I was at home.

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Good night, miss Nelson Douglas

I am saddened by the news of the death of American writer Carole Nelson Douglas. A prolific author of both mysteries and fantasy (both straight and urban), I discovered her work in 1992 when I bought in a London bookstore the first two novels of her Irene Adler series, Good Night, Mister Holmes, and Good Morning, Irene. The Irene Adler novels (there’s six more of them) are Sherlockian pastiches focusing on the adventures of The Woman, and are among the best Holmes-related fiction I ever read.

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Hands and feet

So it’s now a week since the doctors removed the Zimmer Bar that was holding my left pinky in position, and I am slowly trying to go back to normal.
Yesterday I went to the baker, to buy some bread, and discovered that as I can’t properly close my left fist, I can’t hold the change. The lady in the shop handed me the money, I tried to close my hand over it, and I dropped a shower of coins on the floor. This is how things stand now, and how they will stand for quite a while.

I can write, though, even if I find it extremely hard.
Which is not good, considering I have to deliver 50.000 words by Christmas, and roughly 75.000 words for the end of January. But this is not so much a physical thing as a mental thing. The forced idleness of the past month has slowed down my systems, and the various worries connected with my broken hand have weighed me down.
I’ll need to get back in the saddle.
There are contracts and deadlines to be respected.
In one week I went from no show to 1000 words per day.
I’ll need to keep increasing the output. There’s bills to pay.

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