East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


‘La Mesnée d’Hellequin’

I’m reading two books, as one does. One is a mystery set here in the place where I live, and I’ll talk about that another time. The other is Claude Lecouteux’ Phantom Armies of the Night: The Wild Hunt and the Ghostly Processions of the Undead, a very thorough coverage of the legends and folklore connected with the Wild Hunt, a medieval European legend with its roots in a much deeper past and with echoes that reach us today.

And apparently the Mesnée d’Hellequin, as it was called in Old French has acquired some recent popularity due to a bestselling series of fantasy novels and an equally popular video-game franchise – but I don’t care. I’m doing some research for a story (or five) and I want to go back as close as possible to the original sources.
So, what’s this Wild Hunt all about?

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Introducing the Nemo Dynasty

Domenico Attianese is a writer, journalist and screenwriter based in Italy, and a good friend. I am therefore quite happy to point you in the direction of Point Nemo, the first boon in the Nemo Dynasty series.
You can consider it, if you like, a pilot episode in a TV series.

The idea is simple – for generations the descendants of Captain Nemo have fought against the coming of the Great Old Ones, but now H.P. Lovecraft is about to unleash on our planet the scariest of these ancient horrors.
So, OK, maybe simple is not the right word…

Like the unholy child of Alan Moore and Jules Verne, with more than a hint of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Domenico’s story is fast, furious and fun, and mixes pulp action with ancient horrors and a nostalgic look at our childhood heroes.
And yes, it leaves you wanting for more.
But that’s the idea.
So here’s hoping a lot of people buy this baby, so that the author will be motivated to write the rest of the series…


Researching the Cimmerian

It is always good when a new job provides the opportunity to go back to a character we love. Right now, I am struggling with doctor John Watson’s voice as I try and finish my first Sherlock Holmes pastiche (the editor’s waiting), but in the meantime, I’ve had to dug out a few books about my old friend Conan the Cimmerian.

Of the various books, none is as thorough as GURPS Conan, but certainly none is as gorgeous as Roy Thomas’ huge Conan – The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Most Savage Barbarian (classy title, uh?), that has been sitting here on my shelf for ages, waiting for the right moment to be something more than a private pleasure, and turn into a research item.

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The dark side of the writer’s lifestyle

There’s a lot of people that wants the lifestyle and not the job of writing. Not the long hours at the keyboard, the rejection slips and the plots that ramble and get nowhere, but rather the interviews, the presentations and the signing sessions, the mingling with the beautiful people in exotic locales, the fast cars and the gourmet food.

Some of these would probably envy how I spent the night of last Saturday, sitting around a table in a pizza place with a bunch of writers, talking (among other things) about deranged Russian aristos, weird Portuguese exchange students and the cover art of romance novels.
These are great opportunities, for fun and education, and good food.
So, yes, envy me.
But there’s a downside.

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Coming soon: DreamForge #2

The second issue of DreamForge Magazine will be available on the first of July 2019.
The theme of the issue is Tales of Indomitable Spirit.
In the words of the editors…

We have 18 Amazing stories of Science Fiction and Fantasy, including contributing authors from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., South Africa, Italy, and Denmark. Art by Hugo Award Winner Elizabeth Leggett, Illustrator of the Future Winner Cassandre Bolan, renowned national book cover artist John Blumen, and master illustrator, writer, and educator Mark Zingarelli.
Featuring a reprint of David Weber’s exciting Legion of Space Adventure “A Certain Talent.”

The magazine includes a short story of mine, called Sapiens.
I hope you’ll like it should you check out the magazine (and you should!)

And here is a link for you to subscribe to DreamForge and get a lot of perks.

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Book Fair and New Projects

Yesterday I spent the morning playing tourist in Asti, and the afternoon at the Turin Book Fair, where I occupied a chair in the Acheron Books booth. With my brother we had decided to treat the day as a vacation, and it was like that. Granted, today I am voiceless and we had to take a quick jaunt to the triage unit of the local hospital, but that’s nothing serious, and we’ll survive and grow stronger.

The morning in Asti was fun and relaxing – it being market day the place was busy and yet relaxed. We got there at 8 am, and we enjoyed the center of town while most people was still sleeping.

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