Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Two-months review

It’s been a busy two months, December 2017 and January 2018, two months during which I finally put to work the fast internet connection activated in October and I started my online courses. Two months during which the first phase of the AMARNA project started, and of course the first two months on Patreon.
With this post, I will try to give a brief overview of these two months, focusing on Patreon in particular. Continue reading

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Drachenstal: halfway report

I am terribly late – and the bout of flu did not help – but I’ve been working on the Hope & Glory: Drachensthal mini-supplement this last month.

p01hjgf6

The thing will be small but hopefully pack a nice punch:

  • a small gazetteer of the Grand-Duchy of Drachenstahl
  • a game Master’s section
  • a scenario
  • five quick adventure hooks

As all the Hope & Glory material, this corner of the world will also come with its own flavor – in this case, political intrigue and revolution. Continue reading


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Exploring the trash bin

waste-basket-2_21218052Confessions of a hack: I used to keep a copy of cut and deleted scenes from my stories, and I still do.
In the old times, I simply did a cut & paste into a TXT file I kept in the same folder of my main text, and nowadays I have an overflowing trash bin in my Scrivener file.
Turns out it’s a good practice if you have a Patreon page, because fans are sometimes interested in taking a tour of your dustbin in search of what does not get in the final edit, and maybe discover why that stuff was cut.
But the reason I always did it is, I recycle my trash – going through the cut scenes for good paragraphs of description or god snippets of dialogue that I can use somewhere else in the text. Continue reading


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The Curse of Fantomah

This is a strange story.
It connects a pulp bad guy from 1929, a Japanese superhero from 1931, an American superhero from 1940, and an Italian master criminal from 1964.
The lot, because of my idea of doing something new with Fantomah.

Fantomah (1)

Fantomah, as you’ll remember, was the jungle queen/daughter of the pharaohs created in 1940 by Fletcher Hanks,later variously re-imagined, and currently on the public domain. In her original incarnation she was a statuesque blonde that turned into a gray-blue skinned, skull-faced super-witch.
Now here’s my idea: in AMARNA1, one of the characters is a pulp magazine reader. He always carries a folded pulp mag in his back pocket. So, I thought I’ll make him read my stories about Fantomah, as published by Spicy Oriental Adventures (a title that, as far as I know, never existed). The idea, in other words, is to write and publish a serial-within-the serial. Short 3000-words episodes presenting my own take on Fantomah, as explained in a previous post.
It sounded easy, it sounded fun.
I would call this serial-within-a-serial The Curse of Fantomah.
Then, I started thinking about Fantaman, and my project started spiraling out of control. Continue reading


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The Chopping Squad on Patreon

The guy with the sandy hair and the Yankee accent ordered a second serving of pie and some more coffee.
“Thank you,” he glanced at her name tag, “Lucy. Best pie I had in a while.”
She smiled back at him, and walked back behind the counter. The bell on the door chimed and three kids walked in.
“What are you doing here, kids?” Lucy asked. “Skipped school today?”
Suzy Johnson was the older of the three, in a Shirley Temple get up, her knees dirty and her socks bundled around her ankles.
She ignored the waitress’ question. Her brother, Billy, was pointing at the man eating his pie.
“That’s him,” Billy said.
Her brother and the other boy in tow, Suzy walked to the stranger’s table.
Lucy crossed her arms and leaned on the counter.
Suzy stood by the table, staring seriously at the man.
“He says you a magician,” she said, in a confrontational tone.
The man turned and stared at her, then at the boys. He shrugged. “I used to be,” he said.
“Show me some trick, then.”
He put down his fork and closed his eyes.

A big first today: I’ve just sent a story to my Patreon supporters.
And I’m a bit nervous.
This being the Christmas season and all that, I chose a 6300-words horror/thriller set in 1930s New York and called The Chopping Squad.

Grand-Central-Terminal-NYC-1930s

The story was written for an anthology that never happened. Later, I expanded it to pitch it to another publisher, that liked it enough to ask me to try and expand it to short-novel length.
And I’m working on it.
In the meantime, I hope my Patrons will like it.
Now we are finally cooking with fire.


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Good news for the 1-Buck Brigade

unnamedFollowing the thousands of protests and complaints from both Creators and Patron, Patreon has announced they will NOT change their billing system as previously planned.

This is good news especially for all those patrons that are showing their support with 1$ or 2$ pledges – that may seem nothing to outside observers, but are actually significant and important for the creators, and that were on the receiving end of the harshest increase in fees. It was just unfair to have these patrons pay an extra to make a donation.

Jack Comte’s announcement is an excellent show of how damage control should be handled, and is a first step in restoring the public’s faith in Patreon.

This is certainly good news as far as I am concerned – and now back to work on this month’s Patreon contents.


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Crooks in history

I have just delivered a 33.000 unproofed manuscript to all those that last summer supported my crowdfunding for the fist Italian-language outing of BUSCAFUSCO.
The book is called La Storia Fatta coi Cialtroni (literally “History made with slobs”) and it is a first collection of eccentrics, adventurers, loose women and other assorted crooks and cranks across the last three centuries.

The proper book will come out (hopefully) for Christmas or (more likely) for Twelfth Night, and it was a hoot to put together and a cow to edit.
That’s why I sent off an unproofed version.

My Patreon supporters will probably get new excerpts of a second volume, and some English-language snippets of the first.

Because it’s fun.