Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Ruth St. Denis

e1304c33db9a1336312a4b6d2f846ad0I am not a fan of ballet. I grew up on radio and 45s. I grew up with pop, rock and, a little later, with jazz. I can dig folk and country (of the non-truck-driver sort). My tastes in classical music are still considered “quirky” by those in the know, and I had a hard time coming to terms with opera.
Ballet–no, not yet.
Let’s say I’m working on it.

But I write, and so I do searches for reference images, and I was looking into old photos of Oriental costumes and so I stumbled on Ruth St. Denis. Continue reading

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A house in Venice

Have you ever spent a whole afternoon looking for the plan for a Renaissance Venetian house in order to use it as the setting for a few scenes in the story you have written already, but is missing that extra something?
Well, I did.
And thank goodness for domestic refurbishing companies, because otherwise all I had been able to find was a detailed plan for the Palazzo Ducale. A little too upscale for my purposes.

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But architecture studios today are quite proud to put up the plans of the buildings they have worked on. It took me the whole afternoon to find the plans, but now they are here on my desktop.
The following step was ditching three thousand words of my 10.000-words story, and go back to redesign the whole action scenes at the core of the story.
Because now I have reality to work with.
That is the reason I did my research in the first place. Continue reading


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Autumn & De Lint

I am longing for Autumn.
I’m a guy for half-seasons, Spring and Autumn are fine with me. Winter is too cold and dark here where I live, and summer is too damn hot and lonesome.
But in Spring and Autumn temperatures are acceptable, and it rains, and the countryside has wonderful colors. And I tend to prefer Autumn because it comes without an extra of hay fever and allergies.

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I was thinking about autumn last night as I was writing a scene in which two gypsy wagons cross a hilly country in late September. I knew what I was looking to achieve, but I failed to. Continue reading


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Eighty

asteria khan engI have just uploaded on Amazon my 80th self-produced ebook – you might have heard about it, it’s called Asteria in the Court of the Great Khan and it is the second episode in the Adventures of Asteria, my sword & sandal series.
The story was originally published in Italian in the summer of 2016 – almost exactly two years ago – and was the last thing I wrote in Italian for years.

Now the series is coming back in English – you can get the first book, Asteria in the Court of Minos either on Amazon or on Gumroad.

asteria 1 engConsidering the times that Amazon usually has, I guess volume two will be out by the weekend – and I’ll upload a zip file with the mobi, epub and pdf versions on Gumroad too.
My Patrons will get a discount, but you knew that already.

Eighty ebooks is a lot of words.
And that’s not counting my traditionally-published work – those should be nine volumes, if I am not mistaken, not counting my participation at multiple-author anthologies and collections of essays.
A whole lot of words.

And there will be another dozen titles coming out before the end of the year.

A fair chunk of this work – 26 titles, to be exact – were published under an alias.
They are selling better than the remaining titles in my name.
I guess that should tell me something.

Indeed, my next big project – should the publisher accept it – will be published with another alias.
Diversify the offer, you know.

But in the meantime… eighty ebooks.
Not bad, all things considered.
But the best, of course, is yet to come.

And now, a little music…

 


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The smith’s son

We were talking with some friends, the other night, while having a much welcome cup of ice cream, about how come that there’s always a guy called Kowalski that’s tough and military-trained in movies.
From Stargate to Gravity via Madagascar to end with Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, there’s always a guy called Kowalski.

Kitty_KowalskiAnd what about Kitty Kowalski in Superman Returns?
I don’t care about the movie, but Kitty Kowalski was played by Parker Posey, and that’s enough for me.

Now, Wikipedia tells me Kowalski is the second most popular family name in Poland (the first is Nowak), and it comes from the word kowal, meaning smith.
So Kowalski is basically “the smith’s son”.
The name was probably made popular with writers by A Streetcar Named Desire, even if this does not explain the military angle. Continue reading


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Plans and changes thereof

The old song Nothing Ever Goes as Planned by Styx should become my theme tune.
As I think I mentioned elsewhere, I have been writing like mad and I still am – lots of deadlines, lots of bills to pay.
Ugly.
And last night I finally decided that it’s thumbs down for Counterspinner, my hard-SF novella aimed at Tor.com.
The story is solid, and I like the way it’s shaping up, but quite simply I will not make it in time for the narrow submission window available.
Whichis a damn pity, but it is important to recognize one’s own limits.
I will still write it, but not now.

And on the other hand, renouncing an opportunity like an unagented submission for Tor.com is simply crazy.
But… Continue reading


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Asteria in the Court of Minos

I know you guys are eager to learn what happened yesterday in Nizza, when I crossed typewriters with my friend Fabrizio Borgio for four hours of intense fiction writing.
And I’ll tell you, but not right now.

Right now, I am happy to announce that the first episode in the resurrected series The Adventures of Asteria is out and about, finally in English. You can buy it right now on Gumroad (epub, pdf, mobi) and it will be up on Amazon in a few days1.

asteria 1 eng

Asteria in the Court of Minos pits the gray-haired amazon against the king of Crete, and his sinister counselor, the scientist-magus Aischyuras.
Danger.
Intrigue.
Violence.
Minotaurs.
The Serpent Cult.
Giant robots.

Inspired by the old peplums and sword & sandal movies that were Italy’s own brand of fantasy film-making in the ’50s and ’60s, the Asteria stories play with time and space and historical accuracy, and often end with a big explosion.
I hope you’ll enjoy them.

All of Asteria’s adventures are stand-alone, novelette-length stories, and can be read and enjoyed in any order.

Next week…

Asteria in the Cour of the Great Khan

ADDENDUM: Amazon was faster than ever, and in about six hours made the ebook available. You can get it HERE

 


  1. my patrons have already received their free copy or their discounted copy, depending on their level of pledge. It’s good to be my patrons (or so they say).