Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Unbreakable Ink 2 is out for preorder

The second volume of the anthology Unbreakable Ink, edited by Shebat Legion, will hit the shelves on the 15th of January 2022, but you can preorder it now. The volume includes a wide selection of fine fiction, and also one of my stories, called Out of the Closet – a spooky comedy featuring ghosts and monsters.
Check it out, if you feel like.

And here is the cover…


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The Red & the Black – a movie night

Two nights ago I was feeling like some light entertainment, and so I scanned the list of the available movie on my streaming platforms. Because when you live in the sticks, streaming platforms are a life-saver.

And of course I set my sights on Netflix’s feature film, Red Notice – an action comedy caper featuring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds? That’s just what the doctor ordered after a long day writing and trying to put some order in my affairs.
So I got me a full teapot and my cat (yes, babies, this is as middle-aged as the Magna Charta) and I started the film.

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Supernatural, Space, Gothic and more

You know that story about the guy that manages to kick a nasty (and expensive!) habit, only to relapse and fall even deeper into his old ways?
There have been books written on this story, and films made. Some very good, some pretty sucky.

For me, it all started with the Numenera 2 Bundle of Holding I mentioned a few weeks back. You know me – a great game, a ton of handbooks, and I help a charity… I can’t resist this sort of offer.

And Numenera is an excellent game, and with a system I liked a lot – even though I should not, because it’s very modern and freeform, and I am old and grew up with Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest and the Basic Roleplaying System.
But really, the Cypher System that is at the core of the Numenera RPG ticked all the right boxes with me. So much so that I thought… hey, there’s a generic, universal implementation of this game. Why don’t I give it a look?

Short sad story: the hardback Cypher System handbook, second edition, goes for about 100 bucks, if you can still find a copy. That’s brutal.

But then, Black Friday came…

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Kickstarting the Bad Guys

The Nefarious Villains of Sherlock Holmes is a two-volume anthology of new original stories featuring… well, the nefarious villains of Sherlock Holmes. The anthology is currently being launched on Kickstarter, and it features, among many fine stories, a piece by yours truly, featuring (not yet) Colonel Sebastian Moran, and with a notorious pulp psicopath as a guest star.
Check it out.


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Not just senior citizens – more adventures in radio

So I went and bought a small multiband radio to replace the one that Panthayra destroyed. After a little research (about which, more to come), I settled on the RETEKESS V115 – and the decision was due to my limited budget, the videos and websites I had checked out, and a hefty discount from Amazon. And here is a publicity shot of the radio in all its glory, complete with a senior citizen because we have learned that only people of a certain age need radios these days.

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Steampunk shenanigans: Arcane (2021)

I have never played League of Legends, and I have no idea what it’s all about. I have seen a lot of game artwork around, and I have been duly impressed by the look of the thing, but I am not that much of a gamer anymore – if I ever was. On the other hand, I am a sucker for good animation, and for steampunk, so when the trailer of Arcane, the new Netflix series, was posted, it got my attention.

Now the first three episodes are here – and clocking at 40 minutes each, they are just what the doctor ordered for a break and a cup of tea between writing sessions.
And I am duly impressed.

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More worldbuilding, and beyond

It’s now ten days that I’m working on my 30 Days of Worldbuilding Challenge on Patreon, and it looks like the world is conspiring to make me spend more money and more time on books and software.
Which is good. Sorta.
I mean, it’s almost a sign I finally managed to surf the flow of the Tao.
Or something.

First there was the Maps Bonanza bundle on Humble Bundle, and I ended up getting a ton of mapping software – and I formulated the new year’s proposition (in November, because I like to get ahead with the work) of learning to use the Campaign Cartographer 3+ software and start producing my own gaming and fiction maps.
Who knows, might even turn into a collateral source of income…

Then a second Humble Bundle came up, about game-design – and it is quite interesting, but as it is chiefly focused on video games, I spent only one buck, and got the minimum offer of three game-design books that look like all I will need for quite a while.

… and considering I had already splurged for a massive Numenera RPG bundle, and for a selection of Eastern philosophy ebooks by Shambhala, it seemed to me this month the Bundle had more than earned its keep.
And really, buying these bundles is a way for me to keep true to another of my new year’s propositions, from 2020 – if I find myself with enough money in my pockets, I will spend some for charities. And Humble Bundle is a good way for doing so while at the same time getting a load of books.

But this month, I decided, enough.

But then Bundle of Holding popped up in my mailbox with – you guessed it, a selection of stuff for worldbuilding, specifically aimed at games.
And the basic tier was about 8 bucks, and included a 15 bucks book I’ve had on my wishlist for two years. And so I went and got that too. So now I have more stuff to read.

The excuse I used with myself to gift me yet another bundle of books is that I’ve passed the 15.000 words mark on my current novel – while at the same time hitting 5000 words on the RPG campaign I have hereon my desk (I’m slacking on this one) and 15.000 words again on my Worldbuilding Challenge.
Not bad, considering I’ve wasted over a month because I was typing with one hand short of a pair.

And here’s the fun thing: the daily chapter of my 30 Days challenge is what helped me get back in gear with my serious work. Not only I am slowly recovering as much functionality as I can for my left hand, but I’ve also connected back with the fun of writing.
Which is good, because writing is what’s paying the bills.

And I have more things to come – I’d love to give the podcasting thing another spin, for instance, and create something different than Paura & Delirio, which I am co-hosting and is a great source of fun and learning.
I’d love to do something on writing, or fantasy, or both.
But there are a lot of things to take into account, most important of all I’d hate to do one of those “Who’s this Nyarlathotep chap anyway” things that seem to be popular with the nerdz these days.
I’d like to invent something unique, and different.
Right now I’ve a copybook, in which I am jotting down ideas.

So, things are rather good.
Now I’ve only to keep going.

(and incidentally, I’ve put links in this post to both Humble Bundle and Bundle of Holding. I’m not making a single cent out of this, but maybe some one of you guys is interested)