Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Historical smoking and other unhealthy writing sins

I don’t smoke. I never did.
I consider it a foul habit and a waste of money. My parents did not smoke neither, my grandfathers both did (and it shortened their lives). As a kid, just walking by someone smoking usually caused me to break into a fit of cough. This was somewhat awkward during my teens and twenties, because it looked like everybody smoked then.
My girlfriend in high school smoked. Marlboros. Talk about awkward: it’s hard to be in love with someone and you start coughing like you’re about to spit a lung every time you get close to her.
But anyway…

I watched a lot of old movies, as I grew up.
I liked – and I still like today – old noirs.
Humphrey Bogart. High Sierra is one of my all-time favorites ever. The Big Sleep, too. But everything he did, really. He was a sort of role model, because like that guy said “We’re all Bogart at least once in our lives”. And Bogey always had his cigarette. The nails in my coffin, he called them.
And what about Robert Mitchum? What about all the other Marlowes of TV and Cinema?
Then there was Mike Hammer. Damn, the guy got routinely punched, stabbed and shot at, then he got home, took a shower, drank a shot of whiskey, lit a cigarette, and he was as fresh as a rose.
And don’t even get me started on James Bond.

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That time I became a fascist

This is one of those “fun and surreal” stories it was suggested to me I should share to build my author platform. The ridiculous things that sometimes happen to a writer, oh my, what a cartload of laughs. I should do a brief cartoon of this one. But I can’t draw so here we go, it went like this…

I wrote the first Aculeo & Amunet story as a very first submission to an American anthology. It was, if I remember correctly, 2012. The story bounced back – deservedly, I should add – and I let it sediment for a while and then revised and rewrote it for self-publishing. Without a word-count limit and with the freedom to push the story in directions I wanted to explore.

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Twelve hours to go

Tonight’s the night.
No, not a rather sucky and sinister Rod Stewart song.

patreon_iconAt 9 PM, local time, I will set up a hangout with my Italian Patrons, to have a chat after months the guys support me. I’m really excited about this, because I owe big time to these people, and it will be great to finally talk to them, and discover what they like, what they think.
It will also be a way out of this hole of a backwater country village in the Astigianistan hills.
I can’t wait.

Then, at the stroke of midnight (actually 11 PM UTC), I’ll fire up Google Docs, and I’ll do my first session of public writing.
One-Two-Three: One problem, Two characters, Three thousand words.

Gray Vintage Typewriter English Language Day Social Media Graphic

So here’s some preliminary notes on how I’m preparing myself for the event, in case you are interested. Continue reading


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News from Nennius Britannicus and the boys

I am happy to say that I have just signed a contract for the publication of the (first?) story featuring centurion Nennius Britannicus and his Contubernium.

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I am currently revising the proofs.
As soon as the story will be out I will post here (and everywhere else) the relevant links.
I am very happy (but I guess you guessed that).


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BUSCAFUSCO: Saints & Witches

santi e fattucchiere cover 2 smallI have just completed a story called BUSCAFUSCO: Saints & Witches, that was financed through a crowdfunding by my Italian readers.
Yes, it is in Italian.
It was a wild ride, and I’m pretty spent at the moment.
And yet, it would be fun to be able to translate and adapt it in time for Halloween. But I can’t really. Apart from the fact that it would be a rush job, the pact with the sponsors of my crowdfunding is that I will not publish the story until the 15th of September 2018.
So I might do it in English too for Halloween 2018.

Which leaves me with another problem: what could I do for Halloween this year?
Maybe an Aculeo & Amunet short, you say.
Or give it a try and finally launch that new series about a supernatural detective?

Ah, decisions, decisions!


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Aculeo & Amunet on the Road to Babylon

So I am currently writing a new Aculeo & Amunet story.
It’s good – I like the guys, and it’s like taking a vacation.
I’d love to have three or four stories for a new collection to publish for Christmas – I’ve one ready, and another I am writing right now… let’s say I’m sort of halfway there..295f12a6feb1e0d8e3cfbfe76f0e75f5

The story I’m working on right now is very loosely based on a 1976 song called The Road to Babylon, from an album called The Roaring Silence, by the Manfred Mann Earth Band.
As I said in the past, I use a lot of music for inspiration, background, soundtrack and assorted distractions when I write, and listening to this one really got me going. Continue reading