Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Seven Lives

I mentioned at the end of august how I was trying to do something in support of a cathouse in Lanzarote – because I like cats and because as a long-time Harry Flashman fan, I love the idea of telling people that I pay to help the ladies working in a cathouse.
Yes, I know, it’s juvenile, so sue me.

Cats with no name, by Robert McGinnis

Anyway, in the intervening weeks I realized that with my finances in shambles there is very little I can do for the cats and the ladies.
What to do?
The only thing I can do, in fact, is write.
And so I started writing.

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The hit list

I’ve just completed a new BUSCAFUSCO story, that in a few days I’ll post to my Patrons in the Five Bucks Brigade – just the time needed to translate it in Italian – because my patrons get my stories both in Italian and English. It’s a bit of extra work, but I’m happy to do it for my patrons.
And as I’m at it, I thought I’ll post here a short list of what’s to come, in terms of short stories, for my Patrons in the next months.

First, as I said, in a few days, a 7000-words BUSCAFUSCO story set in Nizza Monferrato in the days before Halloween.
After that, and in no particular order (or, in other words, as the fancy strikes me)

  • a new Aculeo & Amunet sword & sorcery story
  • a new caper of The Corsair
  • a new Tale of the Frontier
  • a new Valerie Trelawney Edwardian ghost story (the character will make her debut in print some time in the next months)
  • the first Helena Saratova (if that’s really her name) solo historical adventure

And this keeps us covered (and me busy) until March 2020.
There will be more, of course, stuff that at the moment is so secret, I can’t tell you or then I’d have to kill you.
AND the Open Outline stuff my Patrons are helping (?) me put together.

And I have to admit, I am quite happy with how things are shaping up.
Going back to my old characters, for readers that I know appreciate them, is like taking a vacation.

And as I said, there’s more to come.
So watch this space for news and, if you feel like, join us on Patreon.
Because it’s good to be my patrons.


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Another one for BUSCAFUSCO

I am happy to announce I am working on a new BUSCAFUSCO short story, that will hit my Patrons by the end of the month.
This is part of a special project I am working on (yeah, I know, I will tell you as soon as possible), and I am tapping the help of two friends for research. It will be a Halloween story, and it has to do with some pretty twisted real-life individuals and events.

Will the new story feature the Belbo Valley Crocodile?, you ask.
I’m afraid not.
But it might feature the Belbo Valley Panther – because, yes, here in the hills of Astigianistan, we have a lot of people with more money than sense, that buy illegal endangered wild animals, and then let them escape.

Maybe for this reason, the story is tentatively called “Ladies and Tigers”.


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The Open Outline experiment

I’ve started a new thing on my Patreon, and I’m calling it Open Outline – part of my push to grow my page and my fan-base, but also a way to play with writing. Also, my patrons are a great crowd, and it looked like a good idea to try and harness their smarts to my advantage.

The Open Outline works like this: on the first of the month, I post the start of a story, roughly the first page or so.
During the following week, my patrons are invited to play with it – ask questions, sure, but also offer hypotheses about what’s going on, about where the story is going. They can suggest details about the characters or the setting.
At the end of the week, the best suggestions go into the story outline, and I add a brief treatment, explaining what I’m going to do with the story, and then we start round two – given what we’ve decided is going to happen… then, what next?
And then again.

By the end of the month, I’ll have a set of story notes I’ll be able to use to write a short story, that I’ll then post to my Patrons, giving all the participants a nice round of applause.
And then we’ll move to the next story.

Many of those that follow me on Patreon have some sort of interest in writing and storytelling, and I hope they’ll like the idea of playing with me. The others can just enjoy the show, and then read the story.
And to me this is a great exercise – because it means working with ideas that are new, different and fresh, and without a set target or destination.
As I said in a comment here somewhere, it’s good to keep busy – it keeps the blues away.


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Things to Come, #5

As I’ve already mentioned, I’ll devote the next three months to try and grow my Patron page. I want to offer more benefits to my patrons, and possibly lure more Patrons.
In all fairness, I’d love should I be able to pay my mortgage with Patreon – and that means work harder, offer more quality and more perks to the brave souls that feel like gambling a few bucks every month on my ability to deliver.

For this reason I’ve decided to add a new tier to my Patreon page, a higher pledge level, well above the already heady heights of the 10 Bucks Lounge – something that I will cal the Writers’ Workshop, because this new tier will be writer-oriented.

The Writers’ Workshop hits you for 25 bucks per month, for a minimum of two months. That’s a lot of money – so what do you get?

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The savages are coming

And so, just in time for the International Podcast Day, the 10 Minutes Till the Savages Come podcasts have been recorded, edited and uploaded, and in a few minutes will be available for my Patrons,and hopefully they will like what they get.
As a test run, yesterday’s work was quite instructive.

I still feel much more at ease with a keyboard – the process of writing is faster, and I find the medium of the written word much more flexible.
But I wanted to try a feature of the Patreon pages, and my Patrons looked interested, so, why not.

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10 Minutes Till the Savages Come

So today is the day I’m recording my first podcast for my Patrons.
To celebrate, my neighbors are having a bbq party with loud Balkanian music.
But it’s all right: I’ve been wasting time looking for a title and a theme and an idea for the first recording, and suddenly I hit on all three within ten minutes – and I could bore you to death with my ideas and beliefs about inspiration, ideas and how they sort of come to us, but, really, I think I’ll spare you.

The blog will be called 10 Minutes Till the Savages Come, that is the title of a song recorded by Manhattan Transfer in 1991, in the record The Offbeat of Avenues.
My podcasts will be ten minutes long – because, reasons – and the title, now that I’ve decided, feels like a no-brainer.

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