East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Taking the afternoon off

What a week.
I’ve been bedridden with a fever, I was attacked in the night by a backstabbing Persian carpet, a client vanished with a job and a fistful of bucks that would have been good for my finances, and right now I’m stuck in my house because a car race is passing through my village, and I am going through one of my usual bouts of insomnia.
I wrote less than I planned, but I have racked up an arm-long list of calls I will try and cover in the next days.
But right now, 7000 words into a 10.000 words story, I think I’ll call it a day, and retreat for a while with a good book. After all, it’s Sunday all over the world.
Have a nice day, ladies and gentlemen.

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My mum and Francis Galton

For each white man (independently of duration of journey)
Clothes; macintosh mg; ditto sheet; blanket-bag; spare blanket
Share of plates, knives, forks, spoons, pannikins, or bowls
Share of cooking-things, iron pots, co£fee-mill, kettles, Ace
Spare knife, flints, steel, tinder-box, tinder, four pipes
Bags, 6
Provisions for emergency—
Five days of Jerked meat, at 3 lbs. a day (on an average)
Two quarts of water (on an average), 4 lbs.; share of kegs
Total lb each white man: 66

Francis Galton, The art of travel, or, Shifts and contrivances available in wild countries, 4th ed., 1872

159048052XMy mother of course never read Francis Galton’s essential travelling handbook, that some have called “the original rough guide”.
In case you are interested, Galton’s own web-page, Galton.org (old Francis was ahead of his times, you see) holds a pdf version of the second edition, dated 1856 – perfect for use as reference for Hope & Glory, incidentally. Or maybe you’d like to check out the Long Riders Guild’s fine paper reprint.
And what better book as a supplement and resource for a game in which travel and exploration play such a big part? Galton’s book has it all, and it’s a great read if you want to capture a certain Victorian mindset. Continue reading


An expensive hobby for rich chumps

Joe Lansdale, a writer I enjoy very much and one of the men that are working harder and with most success to keep high the banner of popular fiction (popular in the sense that people like it, not in the sense that it is cheap), posted the following on the first of September…

wvCpHwOA_400x400Write from the heart.
Avoid self-publishing until there is no other choice, is my suggestion. And if you think I’m telling you that you have to do as I suggest, I’m not. But like it or not, mainstream publishers generally sells more books. I’ve done a bit of it all, mainstream, small press, and even a bit of self-publishing of established books. I would love to see the rise of more small publishers that pay and do quality work, like SUBTERRANEAN for one example. But the thing is, anyone can self-publish, and there’s no vetting.
If you must, do it, but it’s always nice to have someone else validate its worth. Start with paying markets. I truly believe a large number of people who self-publish have never tried the traditional route and don’t want to deal with possible rejection. Rejection makes you stronger, or it did me. I became more determined. The mainstream publishers don’t necessarily know more than others, but they pay, and they pay because they believe the work is valid. Can it be valid and self-published? You bet. But I’ve gotten a lot more exposure to my work, which is certainly not typically mainstream, with mainstream publishers than with anyone else.

Today, an Italian translation of this text has been doing the rounds of Italian writing groups and Italian writers’ walls on Facebook.
See, you suckers? Joe Lansdale sez you shan’t self-publish! Continue reading


Targets, improvements and two questions

It’s September the 30th, and Karavansara has just topped 6000 views this month.
This is the highest number of views since we started, six years ago. It’s actually six times the number of views we had on our first month.
So, first of all, thank you for being my readers.

The average number of views per months has grown from 33 to over 200 over six years. This means that Karavansara is growing, but it is still a small blog, and that’s fine. But even keeping it small scale, there is room for improvements.


In the next months I’ll work to keep the numbers growing, of course, but without sacrificing the quality, if any, of my contents. I’d like of course Karavansara to be faster, better, stronger, and I’ll work on it – just as I’ll work to increase the number of my Patrons on Patreon, by improving the contents I’ll offer as rewards.
It’s going to be a busy autumn.

And I have a question for you, or two. Continue reading


Banned Books Week

And I just found out that today is the start of the Banned Books Week (BBW).
From the initiative’s web page:

BBW-logo-1024x754Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

And I thought, why not? Continue reading