Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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A new short story for my Patrons

They say it’s good to be my Patrons, but really, it’s good to have my Patrons – and this is the reason why I give them exclusive contents: like a short story I just posted to them, both in Italian and English.

I also added a little piece about how I wrote it, why, and using what building blocks, one of which is the following photograph.

Yeah, it’s good to be my Patrons.


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A special (or two) for my birthday

My birthday is coming up in ten days, and I’ve decided I’ll do something special for my Patrons – because they are my special fans, and I felt like giving them something different.
Why not use my 53rd birthday as an excuse?

In the last few weeks I have started a podcast, in Italian, together with my friend Lucy – basically we sit in front of a microphone and talk about our favorite horror/fantasy/thriller movies. We started with pandemic, post-apocalypse British flick Doomsday, from 2008, and continued with the classic 1972 BBC production of Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape. We’re having a lot of fun, and when I asked her, my partner-in-crime accepted to do a special episode of our ‘cast, exclusively for my Patrons.

And why not let them choose the movie?, I said.

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And so I wrote my first club story

Club stories are considered out of fashion and boring today, but there was a time when they were a standard of literary and genre magazines. In case you missed them, club stories are defined as stories set in a club or circle or social gathering, usually with regular recurring characters. A story is told by one of the club members, usually with a twist ending.

Asimov’s Black Widowers are club stories, as are the Jorkens stories by Lord Dunsany, and two of my all-time favorites, Lyon Sprague De Camp & Fletcher Pratt’s Tales from Gavagan’s Bar, and Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales from the White Hart. And of course Maurice Richardson’s Exploits of Engelbrecht (that you shouold really check out if you never read them).
And today, working on the latest prompt from the #StoryADayMay challenge, I wrote what I think could by my first club story.
Not that I had planned for it, of course.

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The Corsair and the Stray Cats

A few months ago I set up something that was to be called Seven Lives – a collection of my unpublished stories, seven, all with a cat somewhere, to be treacherously handed to my supporters on Patreon (because it’s good to be my supporters on Patreon ) and then to be grouped in a single volume, to be sold to raise funds for two stray cat shelters.

Arrived at the sixth story, three things happened

  • I was told that cats have nine lives, not seven, silly!
  • my current job as a ghostwriter overflowed and drowned me
  • a global pandemic hit us all

And so my plan for one story a month went hiwire, but only a little – and so the seventh story, which was scheduled for March, came out only today.

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The Watcher in the West

I have just delivered to my Patrons in the Five Bucks Brigade a 4000-words story called The Watcher in the West, the sixth story in the Tales from the Frontier series – stories that are exclusive to my Patreon page, set in a fantasy borderland between not-exactly-Mughal-India and Tang-China-but-not-really.

This story is special, because it is a reworking of a story I wrote for an open call at the start of the year, and was in the end rejected – despite being praised by the editors.

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Three letters from the country

I am starting to suffer for the insomnia that in the last two weeks has wrecked my routine. It’s not just the fact of sleeping (badly) by day and staying up at night, but most of all it’s a matter of entangled schedules.
I have things to write, but my schedule is shattered.
And as it usually happens, when I have too much to writer and not enough time and energy to write it, I got an idea for a new story.
An idea that is good, solid, fun, and it has a potential market.
Damn.

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The Process

The idea for this series of posts came to me after viewing a video by an American jazz musician, music teacher and vlogger I follow (Adam Neely, you find his videos here), and from the reading of an article I found while following up on some of Adam’s contents. The article is Music Theory and the Epistemology of the Internet; or, Analyzing Music Under the New Thinkpiece Regime, by William O’Hara, published in 2018.

Both the video and the article made me think about how information on creative/artistic pursuits is represented online. I was in particularly striuck by Adam Neely’s description of his “working musician” videos as “heist movies” in style – videos in which, just like in, say, Ocean’s Eleven, the preparation of the “heist” (the performance) is as entertaining as the “heist” itself, and leads to a deeper understanding of the process that goes into the work.

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