Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Leave a comment

In the Shadow of the Rat God

One thing that usually makes me laugh – or depresses me, depending on my mood – is when one of my esteemed Italian colleagues points out that I am too classy and complicated, in my stories, too off-putting and not ready enough to go down to the level of my readers. In a market that’s requiring increasingly simplistic and adolescent stories, being told by a colleague (or a publisher!) “you’re too classy” is the kiss of death, the professional equivalent of a 2-star review on Amazon.
Game over, man. Game. Over.

Right now I am writing a new Aculeo & Amunet story, and I have been looking for a title. To start on the right foot, I ran through the previous stories of the series…

Continue reading


Leave a comment

The hit list

I’ve just completed a new BUSCAFUSCO story, that in a few days I’ll post to my Patrons in the Five Bucks Brigade – just the time needed to translate it in Italian – because my patrons get my stories both in Italian and English. It’s a bit of extra work, but I’m happy to do it for my patrons.
And as I’m at it, I thought I’ll post here a short list of what’s to come, in terms of short stories, for my Patrons in the next months.

First, as I said, in a few days, a 7000-words BUSCAFUSCO story set in Nizza Monferrato in the days before Halloween.
After that, and in no particular order (or, in other words, as the fancy strikes me)

  • a new Aculeo & Amunet sword & sorcery story
  • a new caper of The Corsair
  • a new Tale of the Frontier
  • a new Valerie Trelawney Edwardian ghost story (the character will make her debut in print some time in the next months)
  • the first Helena Saratova (if that’s really her name) solo historical adventure

And this keeps us covered (and me busy) until March 2020.
There will be more, of course, stuff that at the moment is so secret, I can’t tell you or then I’d have to kill you.
AND the Open Outline stuff my Patrons are helping (?) me put together.

And I have to admit, I am quite happy with how things are shaping up.
Going back to my old characters, for readers that I know appreciate them, is like taking a vacation.

And as I said, there’s more to come.
So watch this space for news and, if you feel like, join us on Patreon.
Because it’s good to be my patrons.


6 Comments

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.

Continue reading


2 Comments

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.

Continue reading


6 Comments

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


4 Comments

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.

section

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).