Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Back to the Empty Places

A while back I wrote a one-shot horror short story called The Smell of Empty Places, that was translated in Italian by horror maestro Samuel Marolla, and became part of the anthology Dark Italy, by Acheron Books, thus making me an Italian writer that is published in translation in his own country.

While we wait for the English edition of Dark Italy to come out, I chanced upon an open call from an English-language publisher, that looked tailor made for my story, and has a ten-days deadline. But of course I can’t sell them my old story, because it belongs to Acheron Books.

But, I thought, what about revisiting the same universe, telling a different story in the same setting? 

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A new Sword & Sorcery story

After the weekend I’ll have to deliver to my publisher a 20.000-words swords & sorcery novella. It’s a game tie-in job, and it needs to conform to the standards of the so called Old School gaming.
You know, Dungeons & Dragons-style.
A simple party. A linear mission.
Explore the dungeon. Kill the monsters. Get the treasures. Come back alive.

Should the readers like it, it might become the first in a series – and I’d really like it, because it’s turning out to be a fun job.
I still don’t have a title, but it’s a fun job.

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Asteria in Prime Reading

Amazon Italy just informed me that – were I interested – the first story in the Asteria series, Italian edition, has been selected for the Prime Reading programme.

Prime Reading is basically a promotional tool that allows Amazon Prime subscriber to download my ebook for free – while Amazon pays me a fixed amount covering forfeit-fashion all the “sales” of the promotional period.

An excellent offer, that not only signals that my Asteria stories are a small success in Italy (enough to attract Amazon’s attention), but promises to help my series to reach a new audience.
Which is fine, because more readers for the first episode in the series also means – hopefully – more readers for the follow-up episodes.
So I was quite happy to accept the invitation.

And the fourth episode in the series, in English, is about to be released – bringing the first “season” of Asteria to a close, and possibly launching also a spin-off series.
And then… ah, who knows.
New stories, paperbound collections, gadgets, signing sessions, a movie… dreaming is free, as Blondie used to sing.
Alas, right now there is no Prime Reading programme for the English edition of the **Asteria** stories. But maybe, in the future.

So, things look fine for Asteria.
Never mind the fact that Amazon had to send me three times the link to sign the agreement, because the first two were broken.
I’m sure everything will be fine.


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A coin tossed from the bridge

I have mentioned in the past the movie Le Bossu (On Guard for the English-speaking markets), a fine French swashbuckler from twenty years ago that I like very much and used to watch every time it passed on TV hereabouts, and now have on DVD and watch at least once a year.
Great action, fine story, excellent cast.
Great movie, watch it!

Original Cinema Quad Poster – Movie Film Posters


In the movie, the main character, Lagardere, recalls the time when, as a Paris street urchin, he had developed a stunt that allowed him to make some money: he would ask the passers-by to toss a coin in the Seine, and he would dive behind it from a bridge, and retrieve it as it sank in the water of the river.
He even had a short rhyming song, to hook the punters.

Needless to say, Lagardere’s skill of diving from bridges and disappearing under the surface of the river will come handy later in the story.

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Writing Short Stories: the best advice I ever got

shortstory1OK, I was talking with my friend Claire, the other day, and she was telling me she wants to start writing more short stories.
Which is just swell, because, hey, I want to write more short stories too!
So – you know me – I tried to talk her into doing something together, because she’s a fantastic writer and a great person and I’d have a lot of fun working with her – and who knows, she might have fun working with me on some weird and sideways project.
She was kind and measured as ever at my advances, and, what can I say, we’ll see.

But in the meantime I looked here on my shelves for stuff about short stories – because if that’s going to be the mood of the next few months, why not write a few posts on the subject. So I checked out books and stuff, and I will do a few posts and things, but because one has to start somewhere, I think I’ll start from here: from the best piece of advice I ever got about short story writing, that appropriately enough is a suggestion about beginnings.
Isn’t that neat? Continue reading


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Art requests and a new series

One of the best bits of this writing business is sending cover art requests to the publisher.
Oh, it’s a bother, because, well, I grew up with those incredible Whelan, Sanjulian, Frazetta, Maitz covers, and so my imagination tends to run amok when I have to describe my dream cover to the artist, but it’s also lots of fun.

manuel-sanjulian-huntress

… and then we put a big sabretooth tiger skull in the right corner…

And it usually only takes two or three attempts.
But this time it took only one.

Which is a rather circular way to say that my sword & sorcery story, tentatively called Heart of the Lizard, is getting a cover, and is, therefore, “a thing” – or it will be soon-ish.

Hopefully this will be the first in a series of 20.000 words novellas, and it will feature a larger cast compared to my usual works.

Right now I am hard at work on the text to surprise my publisher and hand him the finished story one week earlier than promised. And I still hope to find time to write a few other things this weekend.
Who needs to sleep anyway?