East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Odds and Ends #6

I’ve just posted the sixth selection of Odds and Ends for my Patrons in the Five Bucks Brigade. This week, dining like it was 4000 b.C., a way to prevent your cat from thrashing your books, a roleplaying game by Umberto Pignatelli, an Oscar-winning animation short, and the opportunity to defend the Frontier against Xur and the army of Ko-Dan.
Because it’s good to be my Patrons.


The guy you love to hate

Parabellum Serenade is at the halfway point, and there is a believable prototype of a cover, and the plot is thickening. What I like about this story – maybe I already mentioned this – is the way in which all the pieces are falling together in the right place without me having to do any major effort. I only have to type the story as it unfolds.

My modus operandi is as follows: I devote half an hour before falling asleep and about another half an hour after I wake up to stay under the covers and run through my head the scenes of the novel, like they were a movie. Usually the post-wake up session orders and cleans up, and adds detail to the pre-snooze ideas. Then I only have to sit down and write down the scenes I saw. Revising what I wrote yesterday, I do a first clean-up and some minor adjustments.
And the story grows.

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Like an old girlfriend

This is a complicated story. It starts at the turn of the last century, as a 20-years younger myself is trying to create a character for a series of stories. I had just read Bram Stoker’s The Jewel of Seven Stars, hot on the heels of Kim Newman’s Seven Stars, and I wanted to do something similar.
In case you missed it, Stoker’s story (that you can find here both in the 1903 and in the 1912 versions) has been filmed a number of times, and many fans fondly remember the very loose Hammer Films version, known as Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb (because Hammer knew how to sell movies), and featuring the delectable Valerie Leon.

There’s two things I found interesting in Stoker’s novel… (beware, here be SPOILERS!)

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Back to the Arabian Nights

I have often mentioned my passion for the Arabian Nights, or if you prefer the 1001 Nights, the collection of Oriental fantasies that fascinated me as a kid, and has been one of the fixed points in my interest for the fantastic. This blog, too, owes a little to my interest in the Nights.

Now, for a number of reasons, I am going back to the stories, and I am also reading or re-reading non fiction on the subject. Looks like, yet again, I am about to turn a hobby into something more defined and structured.

And I thought, why not share a few resources with you guys?

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The Last Ride

I have been experimenting with flash fiction, recently – that is, short-short stories, under 1000 words. They are reasonably fast to write, and there seems to be quite a market for the format out there, so, why not?

And as the man said, I’ve suffered for my art, now it’s your turn – and therefore I’ve just posted a 1000-words story called The Last Ride to my supporters, as a Patreon exclusive.

It’s a very small thriller set inside an elevator.

It’s good to be my patrons.


On the other hand…

Having explained (sort of) how I am going about my new story, mixing improvisation with a minimum of planning, I find myself in quite a different situation with a new project. And before you go, man, how many projects have you going? The answer is, as many as I can, because the bills keep on coming. But it’s more complicated than that.

Case in point – a publisher I respect has put up three calls for three different anthologies. Not much money in the thing, but as I said I respect the publisher, it is a new market, and it would look good on my CV.

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