Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Leave a comment

Where the streets have no name

As I mentioned a few days back, I am working on my (first?) story for the Pro Se Productions “St Germain Project”, in which I will have to give new life to a character that was first and last published in 1938 – if she was actually published at all, because as it was explained to me, the publisher practically died as the first issues of its various magazines were en-route between the printing presses and the newsstands.

So I am working on notes based on what we know, and as it usually happens in these cases, there are a few things we know in high detail, and quite a lot that are necessarily vague.
And some were kept vague by choice – such as, the city in which the action takes place.

Continue reading


6 Comments

Enough of this

When this whole quarantine/lockdown started, I set out to write a mini-series of short stories, 4 stories in 8 days. It was fun, sort of a show of strength. I wrote and published the first three in less than a week, and then all of a sudden the body count started rising, and we were all locked up at home, and I decided the last of the series could wait.

Meanwhile, over my social networks, everybody tarted publishing post-apocalyptic stories about viruses, pandemics and assorted infections. And I sort of got tired of the game.

Continue reading


4 Comments

Murder in the countryside

It all started with a nice article on CrimeReads, about British cozy mystery TV series we could binge-watch during the lockdown. Because, really, what’s better than having a cup of tea and two biscuits, and watch some gruesome murder being investigated in Britain’s green and pleasant land.

Now I like mysteries and I like cozy mysteries when they don’t get too silly or saccharine – and I have tried, once or twice, to write one, but find the genre very hard to pull in a convincing manner. A pity, because from the look of the Amazon lists, cozy mystery is one of those genres that never get old, and always find readers. Currently they seem to be filled with witches and cats playing detective, but there you have it.

Continue reading


2 Comments

My new project – back from the dead after 82 years

I have just mailed a signed contract and then I’ll start working seriously on the outline of a 10.000-words story that promises to be fun to write, challenging, and might be the start of a series. Which is a nice way to try and dispel the lethargy this lockdown brought about.
What happened was this: Pro Se Productions, a publisher so reckless they even publish my stories (I mentioned Explorer Pulp a few days back, but there’s more), apparently went and licensed forty-two characters that were intended to form the stable of a little-known pulp magazine publisher based in St Louis, Missouri, a fly-by-night publishing company that was born and fizzed out in a matter of a few months, back in ’38. And I say “were intended” because the whole thing was over before it began, transitioning in the blink of an eye from the newsstands to the hazy memory of footnotes in pulp-collectors’ fanzines.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

The first 25.000

Today I delivered the first half of a book I was supposed to have finished and published in time for the Turin Book Fair in May. Niche-but-intriguing historical essay by an up-and-coming publisher, with my name smack on the cover, possibly with a live presentation, Q&A, signing session, the works.

But the Fair was cancelled – or postponed to a date yet to be established, and today I delivered the first 25.000 words.
I was supposed to deliver the whole shebang, but I decided to take the weekend off to try and recharge my batteries.

Continue reading


4 Comments

Two hundred five thousand and five hundred and thirty

The morning started nicely, with the news that a pitch I mailed 36 hours ago, for a 10.000-words story set on the Mongolian border has been accepted, and the editor would like to see a full treatment before they give the go ahead. This is a great opportunity to work on a very high-profile project, and also, it’s a fun story I am planning to write, so there.

As I was updating my files (I keep a spreadsheet record of all the stories and the pitches I mail out), I decided to make a quick check, and calculated how many words I mailed out in total in 2019.

205530

This is of course not counting the stories I published for my patrons, those I self-published under my name or other aliases, my contract work for the historical magazine Savej and other non-fiction sales, and my ghost-writing work. I do not have a precise count of all that, but a quick ballpark figure places my total output in 2019 into the 450.000 words total.

Not bad.
Not bad at all.


2 Comments

Making time

It’s been a pretty frustrating period – while on one hand I keep getting offers and there seems to be no shortage of work to be done, on the other hand a number of things that were supposed to be pretty straightforward suddenly got really complicated.

I am still trying to nail shut a job that’s been draining up my energies for two months now, and with no end in sight, it looks like in the end it will be really hard to get paid. Granted, it is all part of the learning process, but sometimes one would rather not go through the school of hard knocks.

Continue reading