East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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A piece of the action

I am very happy to announce that the new issue of Aurealis magazine, one of Australia’s premiere SF/Fantasy magazines, is out now, and in it you will find my science fiction story A piece of the action.

Aurealis #131 can be purchased via Smashwords, in a number of different formats to suit all your ebook reading preferences.

Check it out.

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Sherlock Holmes & the Occult Detectives

I am happy to report that the massive two-volume collection published by Belanger Books and presenting a wide selection of mysteries and adventures featuring Sherlock Holmes and the Occult Detectives is available both in paperback and ebook through Amazon.

In these stories, Holmes must work with some colleagues of his that are better versed in the ins and outs of the occult and the supernatural, while not relinquishing his powers of observation and deduction.

The first volume includes my story The Case of the Manchester Mummies, the first outing of the delectable miss Valerie Trelawney. More adventures of miss Trelawney will hopefully see the light in the future. But it all starts here.

I hope you’ll check out these books – they are absolutely fabulous.


Trouble during lockdown

In the early spring of 2020, Italy went in total lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the situation was dramatic in the cities, and the body-count skyrocketed, the countryside had it relatively light. It’s just a matter of waiting for the curve to flatten.

Holed up in his battered trailer in the old junkyard outside of Nizza Monferrato, Buscafusco is set to weather the pandemic with a big stash of old paperbacks, a selection of jazz records, and some prime provisions for his lonely dinners. Quiet and relax at last, at least for a while.
But trouble, just like rust, never sleeps.
And now everybody’s wearing a mask.

BUSCAFUSCO: Health & Safety

A global pandemic is not enough to keep a good man down.

April crawled into the hills of Astigianistan, bringing rainstorms and a preview of the summer’s heat and humidity, and everybody was suddenly feeling the desperate need to hug somebody, or go out for a drink with some hypothetical friends or, missing that, to call someone on the telephone and waste their time.
“What are you having for dinner?”
Matilde Ciambotti’s voice was tired, and raw. The voice of someone that’s done too much face time over the web.
“Bacon fraze,” I said.
I placed the bowl with the batter on the table by the phone, and looked around for the spatula.
“Sounds unhealthy,” she said.
“I don’t care for the sound, I’m here for the taste.”
“Very funny,” she said. She did not sound amused.
“What do you need?”
“A vacation,” she replied.
“Don’t we all…”

The fourth Buscafusco novella features two intertwined cases for the only man the hill tribes fear.

Coming soon-ish.

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One story per week

Today I have mailed off to the editors two more stories – a 1700-words piece and a 4600-words one – bringing the total count of this year’s submissions to 20. Which makes 4 stories per month. One story per week on average.
Of these, five have been sold so far – which is a nice 25% sales rate.
Good, but I can do better.
Now I have two 8/10.000-words stories to write – having been contracted to write them – in the coming month. If I want to keep my average of one story per week, I’ll have to mail away two more.
Thankfully, the opportunities abound, and there’s no shortage of ideas – but right now I am rather low on energy, and somewhat overworked. A job I should have closed in April is likely to drag for another six weeks at least.
But so far, as the guy said, so good.
And now I can start and plan dinner.

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The best thing to come out of this pandemic

The best thing to come out of this pandemic, for me, has been the opportunity to launch a podcast with my friend Lucy – we decided to do it because we were (and actually still are) in lockdown, with our respective jobs fizzing out, and too much time on our hands.
Why not try something new?

Just imagine, spending about two hours a week chatting with one of your best friends about your favorite – or least favorite – movies.
A lot of those are horror movies – but we have a very broad definition of “horror”.
Basically we do online what we’d normally do going out for a pizza, with one significant difference – I am sitting in the hills of Astigianistan, while my friend Lucy is in Rome, 600 kms away. Hooking up for a bite and a night of movie-talking would be complicated.

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Sleeping patterns and other stuff

You may have notice a sudden increase of video posts on this blog – and a few shorter posts. Fact is, while the lockdown’s been lifted in my country, I am still in my old house, in my old village, doing my old things. I used to say that the lockdown had not changed my daily routines… well, the lifting of the lockdown did not change them either.

The only thing that’s changed is my sleep patterns – after six weeks of solid insomnia, now I have developed the vitality and spark of a dormouse: I’d spend 16 hours a day sleeping.

This new scrambling on my daily rhythms is starting to get annoying.

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The Baltimore Gun Club

I am writing a story featuring the Baltimore Gun Club.
In case you missed them, these were the gentlemen that had the bright idea of building a cannon in Florida (near Tampa, to be precise) and shoot a bullet to the Moon, in Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and its sequel, Around the Moon.

While everybody knows Melies silent movie based on Verne’s novels (and a lot fewer people remember the 1950s movie featuring Joseph Cotten), the books themselves are probably less known than, say 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea or Around the World in 80 Days.

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