Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Nefarious

I’ve just got my contributor copy of The Nefarious Villains of Sherlock Holmes, edited by David Marcum for Belanger Books. The volume includes my story “The Tiger and the Bear”, featuring Sebastian Moran.

As for the photo, I can quote the late Leonard Cohen and point out “I don’t usually look this good, or this bad (depending on your politics)”.


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A whale of a tale in Shanghai

I am happy to announce that the new Pro Se Press collection, The Further Adventures of Ned Land is now available for purchase in the bookshop of Mr Jeffrey Bezos, Esq.
The volume collects a series of stories that focus on Ned Land, the Canadian whaler that first appeared in Jules Verne’s 20.000 Leagues under the Seas.

The book, which features a simply stunning cover by Lo Iacono & Marzia Marina, includes a story of mine: in The Mother of Lightning, Ned will make a stop in Shanghai and will have to face the menace of the Soochow Creek Dragon.
Things will happen.

The ebook is out now for less than a buck, and the paperback volume is highly recommended, if just for that beautiful cover…


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Next summer, in Bloodwood

Today I took a day off from the web. I shovelled some snow off the courtyard and then went with my brother for a supply run. In the next weeks, we will hole up in our house and crawl under a stack of blankets.

And while I was away from my PC, the news dropped about the Summer of 2022 release schedule from Aconyte Books … and lo and behold, there is my name on the list!

I am therefore happy to announce that next year my novel The Raiders of Bloodwood will be released by Aconyte, as part of their line of novels supporting the Descent, Legends of the Dark tabletop game.

The novel is a sprawling high fantasy romp, featuring a mismatched band of common people that will find themselves in a tight spot, and will have to learn to be heroes. It is going to be fun.

I am very proud of being part of the Aconyte team, and I am very happy with the opportunity they gave me to write a big fat novel filled with monsters, escapes, battles, magic and strangeness.

And here is the cover, by the excellent Asur Misoa.

More news as stuff hapens.


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Unbreakable Ink 2 is out for preorder

The second volume of the anthology Unbreakable Ink, edited by Shebat Legion, will hit the shelves on the 15th of January 2022, but you can preorder it now. The volume includes a wide selection of fine fiction, and also one of my stories, called Out of the Closet – a spooky comedy featuring ghosts and monsters.
Check it out, if you feel like.

And here is the cover…


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Kickstarting the Bad Guys

The Nefarious Villains of Sherlock Holmes is a two-volume anthology of new original stories featuring… well, the nefarious villains of Sherlock Holmes. The anthology is currently being launched on Kickstarter, and it features, among many fine stories, a piece by yours truly, featuring (not yet) Colonel Sebastian Moran, and with a notorious pulp psicopath as a guest star.
Check it out.


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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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