East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Odds and Ends #13

I have just posted the thirteenth Odds and Ends for my patrons, and the first one in which I answered a request from one of them. So we got a wide selection of free writing software, collaborative mind-mapping and Roleplaing Game campaign management. Plus two short movies, a melancholy, award-winning cartoon and a ferocious comedy.
Because it is good to be my Patrons.

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Visions of the Apocalypse

Usually, I joke about the fat that I have a double identity, just like Bruce Wayne but without the money, the cool car and the cloak. I am an environmental scientist and a writer of imaginative fiction. I have enjoyed ample opportunities to tap my academical background for inspiration in my literary pursuits, but the chances to do the opposite are pretty non-existent.

Visioni dell’apocalisse. L’immaginario cinematografico della fine del mondo

I am therefore extremely grateful to doctor Stella Marega of the University of Trieste, that involved me in a nice volume that is just out now: Visioni dell’Apocalisse (Visions of the Apocalypse). As the subtitle reads, this is a book about “the imagination of cinema and the end of the world.”
The essays within range from the urban landscape of future Los Angeles in science fiction movies to the plague of zombies.
And I contributed an essay called No Marigolds in the Promised Land: the Ecology of the Apocalypse, about books and movies that deal with ecological and environmental disasters, from H.G. Wells to Mad Max: Fury Road.

This work was a blast, and I am really sorry the book is only available in Italian. But I am also damn proud.

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Odds and Ends #12

The last issue of Odds and Ends for March just reached the Patrons in the Five Bucks Brigade (that get four issues per month instead of just two). This month: the history of the universe in thirty minutes, an inflammatory book about climate, free, a new social network worth exploring, a trip to Africa looking for Atlantis in the company of a shrunken head, Toto & Talbot Mundy, and a neat little roleplaying game.
Because it’s good to be my patrons.


Writing habits

Yesterday I missed my daily post here on Karavansara. There’s nothing wrong or strange or worrying. I was simply so busy writing, I looked up at the clock and it was past midnight and I had missed my daily appointment.

I try and post at least once per day as a form of discipline. A writing habit, as they call ’em. Being able to write 500/1000 not-too-boring words per day is a way for me to organize myself, and to keep the words coming. Shift gears, change topic, tone, style, and relax.

And I find it interesting that my writing distracted me from my writing habit.

While I was otherwise engaged, Amazon released Sons of the Crow, that you can now buy here for (relatively) cheap.

I was also able to submit another story for an anthology – we’ll see how it goes. We keep exploring.
March has been a lean month for story submissions – too much work to do on other projects, that I am eager to close. I only posted three stories, one of which bounced back, and one that was accepted pending editing and things. Not bad, all things considered.

And also, I reached the enviable record of 25 positive reviews on Goodreads for my first novel, The Ministry of Thunder, with a solid 4.32/5 average. Not bad. Adding these to the 15 5-star reviews on various Amazons (10 only on Amazon.com), it makes quite a nice number of satisfied customers. And I am quite happy with it.

So, I missed a post, but I did a lot of other stuff.
Now, back to writing. Have a nice weekend.


The tipping point

This week marks the moment my work on my new novel gets real. So far it’s been just playing, warming up, tossing ideas about. Now it gets serious.
I have no ETA, I have a poor excuse of an outline and a fair idea of the two main characters. And the general concept, of course, but that’s been there waiting for years. I don’t even have a date for the actual start of the writing. But now I know it’s about to begin.

I know it because today the postman delivered a book I needed for my research. It’s been a sort of hunt – I spotted the book while browsing Amazon and went “hmm, might be interesting to slip this bit, too, into the story…”

Continue reading



yesterday I pitched a story featuring a sort of revived (yet again) and slightly improved Valerie Trelawney – and should the pitch bounce back, I might try and write something anyway, because going back to my old character has been like meeting an old friend.
Or an old girlfriend.
Who knows what will come out of all this?

Myself, on Karavansara, February the 8th, 2019

Well, the pitch did not bounce back, and it was indeed accepted.
Hooray! So now I’ll have to re-acquaintance myself with Valerie, and then write the story.
And it’s going to be fun.
Just like meeting an old girlfriend.
I will tell you more in detail.
For the moment, here’s a good song…