East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai



And then there is this idea of pitching a few novels to a few publishers.
Because who needs to sleep anyway?

Right now I have a serial project that’s doing the tours of a pair of local publishers. Short, novella length regional-focused mysteries, sort of a cozy version of BUSCAFUSCO, written in team with a good friend that’s providing local color and a much-needed second brain.
This is really a project tailored on the public: let’s write a series that will appeal to both male and female readers, with a local interest but marketable all over the country and maybe even exported in Europe. Something fast, fun, unusual, intelligent and popular at the same time.
Our pitch-package is the fist three chapters (about 5000 words) of a proposed 30/40.000-words first episode, plus a complete detailed outline of the story and a full bible for the series.
We are waiting for an answer from a prospect publisher, and at the same time evaluating other possible targets.


While this is doing the rounds, I am getting ready to pitch two science fiction novels to two separate publishers. Smart, modern hard SF with current topics and events as a focus.
Maybe it’s translating Central Station, but I’d really love to go back to my genre with something I think is missing from what my Italian colleagues are doing. There is an unexplored niche, and it would be good to start exploring it.
The idea is to do an Earth-based story and a space-based one.
Both of these are long shots, but having the time, I’d like to put together a pitch-pack like the one described above, three chapters and a complete outline, and start to test prospect publishers.

These, of course, are projects for the summer.
If I’ll still have a home, by then.
Wish me luck.


Leave a comment

Getting away with murder

But in the end I did it – I was able to nail shut the box of my first Murder Party script, and the client was pleased enough to buy it.
I have opened a new market – and a paying one – and my first script sale will probably be represented in April.


Now, murder parties seem to be modeled on old episodes of Murder, She Wrote and I knew those long years spent watching reruns of the series during lunch break would one day pay.
There are some perks in being a fan of Angela Lansbury.


My first script takes place at a new-age convention held in a Colorado ski resort, during the off season. A collection of quirky characters (including a medium that channels an ancient Egyptian sorceress called Amunet) are bickering and confronting each other when suddenly one of them turns up dead.
Murder or accident?
And really, can you get away with murder in a place filled with mediums and mind-readers?

It was as hard as hell, but also lots of fun.
Can’t wait to do it again.

Leave a comment

News from the Mana Bros Skunkworks Shed

italia-doppelgangerSo, we were kicking around a few ideas for a roleplaying game or our own, or maybe four.
The real instigator was my friend Alex,that is having a nice success with his Italia Doppelganger RPG, based on the universe of a popular series of horror stories of his.
And I’ve been talking about an Aculeo & Amunet RPG for ages, now. And then there’s the idea of the RPG spin-off of AMARNA1.
And a lot of other stuff – some projects I pitched and fizzed, some things I said “one of these nights I’ll do it” and we’re still here and waiting.
But not anymore!
So, let’s get to work.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Killer job

The toughest writing job I’ve had in ages is writing a script for a Murder Party.


This is a sort of live roleplaying game: the guests become involved in a murder, and follow the development of the story, and in the end they have to guess the name of the killer, based on the clues and the behavior of the actors laying the suspects.
Quite fun to take place in, but… Continue reading

Leave a comment

Cheer Like an Egyptian

This post was shared with my Patrons, but it’s too good a story to keep for a chosen few. Also, this is the genre of anachronism thing that my friend Claire loves to hate, and I hope she passes hereabouts and enjoys the disaster.

Fact is, a friend forwarded me, three days ago, the preview of a book – I will not mention the author nor the title. The reason the pages were forwarded is simple, and three-fold:
. It’s a story set in Egypt, and therefore intersects my interests
. It’s a good example of bad worldbuilding (and I am currently teaching a course on the subject, so I need show-and-tell material)
. “See, you fool? You spend too much time doing research…”

Well, I do not.
I love doing research, and if it does not make my writing better, at least it helps with my Impostor’s Syndrome.


Anyway, the extract is rather amusing, sort of like putting a rabid cat in a box and then sitting over it, and it will certainly make for a great handout for my course.
The names are at best wrong, at worst ridiculous, the action is wooden and stilted, and then the Egyptians shout


Really? Continue reading


News from Nennius Britannicus and the boys

I am happy to say that I have just signed a contract for the publication of the (first?) story featuring centurion Nennius Britannicus and his Contubernium.


I am currently revising the proofs.
As soon as the story will be out I will post here (and everywhere else) the relevant links.
I am very happy (but I guess you guessed that).


Caveman names

Let’s talk about names.
And not just any name – primitive names.
Names for cavemen – and I don’t mean Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble.
My primitive fantasy story requires a hero, and a heroine, and what else… and if I have a way to play fast and loose with Atlanteans and Lemurians and assorted campers, the name of the hero is too important an element to improvise.


So, for “lost civilization” cultures, I’ll use a few Minoan names, shuffling a few consonants about.
And if Didikase and Kubaba are a silly name for bad guys, Kitanetos might work with a little adjustement.
And the female name Kitane is quite good.
But when it comes to the primitive Homo sapiens, that’s a territory that’s been explored in the past, and it’s hard to be original and effective. Continue reading