Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

ODQ #4

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2018-05-18-103224

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New pitch and an old masterwork

I’m currently working on a new pitch – a very long shot, this one, about which the less said the better.
An alternate history crossed with a supernatural horror/dark fantasy.
The call has some very specific elements, and somehow it got me thinking of vampires and King Arthur.
Pendragon… Dracula… I’m using Son of the Dragon as a working title.

dragon-waiting-coverSo I’m jotting down ideas, but in the meantime I was reminded of the beautiful The Dragon Waiting, one of the best fantasy novels I ever read.
It was published in 1983, and written by John M. Ford, that always struck me as an author deserving of more success.
The novel, subtitled A Masque of Time won the World Fantasy Award for best novel, but never received the accolades it deserved.
Let’s just say that it’s a weird mix of alternate history and fantasy, set in the middle ages but with the long shadow of the Roman Empire hanging over the proceedings. And yes, an Arthurian myth.
And vampires.
I cannot recommend this book enough – it was reprinted in 2002 as part of the Fantasy Masterworks line, and that’s when I discovered it.
If you like sword & sorcery and supernatural fantasy, check it out.


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How to write without inspiration (sort of)

she who maulsMy friend Yuri hates me, or so he says.
The problem emerged after my public writing session last week. Basically I sat down for five hours typing, and two days later I had a story to sell1. Yuri mentioned on Facebook the fact that he’d been staring at a blank page for a while, and therefore he hates me.
My answer to that was that he’d spent too much time thinking. You’ve got to start typing, I said. If after five pages you still don’t know where your story is going, then you have a problem.
Another friend of mine, Paolo, butted in, saying that following my rule, he’d never have written one of his recent stories – a big hard sf tale.
A good starting point for a discussion, but Facebook is not a good place for discussions of writerly survival. So, let me see if I can put this thing in some order here, and try to explain what’s going on.

This might be the first of a series of posts, I don’t know. Continue reading


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Missed posts, books and hangouts

And so I missed a post, yesterday.
Boy I hate it when it happens – it broke a streak that had lasted more than two months.
Drat!

But I’ve been busy – I’ve spent most of the day editing and setting a new book that will be out soon, in Italian: a collection of eccentrics and their adventures.
Strictly non fiction, what I usually call pulp history – spies, adventurers, loose women.
This will be a 280-pages paperback, fully illustrated – and putting it together, and clearing the typos and everything else took all of the day. Now Amazon has it.

La storia fatta coi cialtroni smallThe book was overdue – I had announced it for Christmas, and never got around to finishing the design work. Then, Saturday night, during my hangout with my Patreon supporters, one of them mentioned the book, and how she had planned to give four copies as gifts for Christmas.
It’s very bad letting our readers and supporters down.
So I got to work, and finished what I had started – and while I was at it I added some 10.000 words of extras.
Should, as I hope, the book hit the shelves this week, it would be my fifth title published in five weeks. Not a bad track record.

And this leads me to my hangout with my supporters, and its immediate effects on my state of affairs.
Because it was absolutely great, and the sort of thing that I must absolutely do again.
Writing is a terribly lonely business, and solitude piles on solitude when you are living in a hole of a village in the back of beyond.
Feedback becomes a lifeline – a cure for depression, a sign that what we are doing has an effect out there.
And there is nothing better than a long friendly chat with intelligent people – and my patrons are all very intelligent.
So I’ll do it again – maybe next week already.
And this week I’ll open my hangout for English-speakers. This Saturday, 11 PM UTC.
What do you guys say? Anyone cares to join in?


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In Cairo with OSS 117

s-l300Strangely enough, secret agent 117 was born four years before secret agent 007.
It was 1949 and French writer Jean Bruce published Tu parles d’une ingénue, the first of the eighty-eight novels he’d write featuring agent OSS 117 before dying an untimely death in 1963.
At this point, his wife Josette took over, penning another 143 volumes in the series between 1963 and 1985. At that point, Josette’s daughter Martine took over, and wrote the remaining 23 books in the series, between 1987 and 1992.
Through a total of 254 novels, Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, an American of French descent, born in Louisiana, goes from working for the Office of Strategic Services to the CIA and finally the NSC, basically doing a hardboiled version of the James Bond thing but, as noted above, being actually the one that started first. Continue reading


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She Who Mauls

she who maulsThe story that started its life as The Boy’s Night Out is now available, after a quick editing and some revision, as She Who Mauls, via Gumroad.

The ebook will not be published on Amazon.

I decided to put it up as a Pay What You Want ebook – after all, it was born as a publicity stunt, I’ll keep using it as a publicity vehicle.

You can get the story for free, or set the price you think is right.

Check it out!