East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


In the dark

This is probably one of those “funny and surreal” things that happen in the everyday life of a writer and that I was told I should share to further my platform and extend my reach or something. So, here goes.

In the last two months we have been exchanging a lot of very frustrating mails and calls with our power provider – a power bill we were expecting in January never materialized, lost who knows where, and we wanted to know how much was the amount we were supposed to pay.

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The blues and the Etruscans

My day started with a mail informing me that a story of mine has been shortlisted for an international anthology. Now we’ll wait for the second round of selection. To quote the poet

Some will win
Some will lose
Some were born
To sing the blues


It was a good start: in two days two stories of mine have been accepted (well, almost, in one case) counterbalancing the two that bounced back a few days ago.

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Rules are made to be broken

I’ve just broken one of my most strict rules: I’ve sent a story to a magazine that will not pay me for my work.
I just gave away a story for free.
This is something that should not be done – the writer must be paid, this is my firm conviction, the rule that has allowed me to keep afloat these last three years. It has not made me many friends, but it has paid my bills.
I am usually very bad with writers that give away their work for free.

So why did I do it?
Because it’s a project by a band of art students, that are trying to get their new magazine off the ground, and back when I was a student I did contribute to a number of fanzine and other fly-by-night projects, and I feel a great affection for anyone trying, in this place and in this moment, to launch something to promote culture, and reading, and the arts.

So there, I broke my rule.
Once a year it can be done.
And they might as well reject it, after all.


Real Writer’s Essentials

I have finally achieved one of the mainstays of the Real Writer’s curriculum: a fine collection of rejection slips. The gist is the same for all of them: the editor really enjoyed my story – great ideas, nice twist, quirky language – but they did not enjoy it enough to publish it.

In the last 24 hours two stories bounced back.
Flash fiction, little more than 1000 words between the two.
One was instantly revised and sent to another possible market, the second is still here, all 300 words of it, while I look for a suitable venue.

I’ve been writing a lot this last four weeks, work for hire mostly, and this has caused a lull in my submission process. I need to write more stories to submit, I need the time to write them.
Which is funny, because as a writer full-time, I now need to find short snippets of free time to write my own stuff.

Meanwhile, the bills pile up.
Isn’t this writing business a hoot?


Five books that got me started

Over at her place, my friend Jessica Bakkers posted a list of the six books that made her what she is, as a writer. Great idea. It’s fun, it’s easy to put together in the form of a post, and we are always ready to learn more about the writers we follow, and maybe find out a few new books to read.
So, why not steal Jessica’s idea?

Now, I actually already did something similar, a while back, listing the authors that had most influenced me. The ones I wish I was as good as. A shortened list, one that I could (and maybe will) expand.
But let’s look at this thing from another angle.

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Poetry Month

Turns out April is the Poetry Month. It must be the spring.
As a direct consequence of this, I received a list of 25 publishers that accept poetry this month, and I find myself thinking… hmmm, 50 bucks per page!
Yes, my poetic spirit sits very close to my wallet, these days.

But it’s not proper to be so cynic.
I never wrote poetry. This might be a good opportunity to try.
After all, wasn’t that the gist of the excellent guide to poetry by Stephen Fry I read a while back?
So, why not giving a try?

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Oh, frell!

Getting old is sometimes a cruel experience. I have just found out one of the TV series I liked the most when I was not-so-much-a-kid-anymore is today considered “obscure” and described as “one of the lesser known science fiction shows”.

It is really a weird sensation because I know that it’s been 17 years since the series was cancelled, but in this age of total recall it should not be a problem – you can get it in streaming, you can get the DVDs.
Is there really so much good new stuff that there is no time or interest for anything older than, say, five years?

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