East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


The fun part of the impostor syndrome

So I am going to be “one of those guys that write Sherlock Holmes pastiches” – my adventure about the Manchester Mummies was accepted, and I am well pleased with this fact. It was a lot of hard work getting the story out, due to my deep antipathy for doctor John Watson.
But the editor liked the final result.

Now there’s one thing I found out I’m doing when my stories are accepted for publication – I never paid it any attention, but this morning I finally noticed: as soon as I got the acceptance mail and replied it, I went and re-read the story.
To see if it’s really any good, if those holes I remember thinking over I finally filled and stopped.
And of course I did, and the story is fine, or it would not have been accepted, and yet…
I need to see for myself.
That’s impostor syndrome at work, I guess – but at least it’s an innocuous expression of it. Might even learn something, re-reading the stories that actually sold…


Making changes (still writing -related)

After the bout of bad health I suffered through early this year, I decided to make a few changes. After all, my life has changed: I was a researcher working in a lab, a teacher moving between universities, now I am a writer spending most of his time sitting in the dark in a room full of books, typing.
So, different life, different problems, time to make some changes.

Continue reading


The night of Mars

OK, so the flesh is weak. I’ll be the first one to admit it.
I have this friend, we seldom see each other. We were supposed to go out for an ice cream and some talk, but when I got to her place things took a different course, and I ended up spending the night at her place.
In my defense I can say she’s a great person, she’s got air conditioning and she’s got Hulu.
So we spent the night binge-watching the fourth season of Veronica Mars.

I do not like binge watching. I belong to a generation that used to get its TV entertainment in weekly installment, and that’s fine with me.
But I’m ready to make an exception for Veronica Mars.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Stuff in the mail and an ice-cold chinotto

Hey, you might say, were you not supposed to take the day off and wonder the sun-baked streets of Nizza Monferrato?
Well, I am – just got home for a few minutes to drop the shopping bags and put some things in the refrigerator.

But it was a good thing that I took a moment to come back home, because I found my contributor copy of DreamForge Magazine #2 (the one that features my short story “Sapiens”) waiting for me in the mailbox…

… plus the galleys for an anthology that should come out in August and carries a story of mine…

… and the final editor’s rev of another story that should get out in a few weeks in another anthology.

Also, a letter by the editor that received my Sherlock Holmes pastiche, and that will give me his opinion in September.

So what can I say, it’s good to be home.
I’ll drink an ice-cold chinotto (a somewhat retro drink, if you will) to that, and then get back to Nizza, where my brother roams alone at the moment.

Leave a comment

Me, Steve Perry, Fritz Leiber and why I won’t write about kids on bikes in the 80s

This is a weird post (maybe the title could have forewarned you) and it is a part of something larger I’ve been trying to put into words these last few months. It has to do with marketing, platforms and brands, and writing for a living – indeed, it is the sort of post I usually write once or twice a month for my Patrons, under the header of Nuts & Bolts.
But I’m doing it open because… well, because.

We were discussing nostalgia and exploitation, yesterday, with some friends that have been binge-watching the third season of Stranger Things. The series has been called exploitative and manipulative by some. It ticks all the right boxes, and it settles in a general trend that builds commercial success on the nostalgia for the ’80s by people that are too young to actually remember them.

And as we were talking, a song started playing in my mind…

Continue reading


Forty in twenty-eight

I have just posted my 40th submission of 2019 – a 3000-words science fiction story. This being the 28th week of the year, it means I’ve been submitting 1.4285 stories per week. That’s a lot.
And yet I’d like to write more, and submit more.
My current bounce rate is pretty high – of the 40 stories I submitted, I sold 9 and have six still out waiting for an evaluation.
It’s not bad, but there is ample space for improvement.
I have no illusion of ever becoming a 100% sales writer, but it would be nice to sell more.
I’ll work on it.