East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Teaching foreign languages through adventure fiction

Languages-512A few days back a friend asked me to give her English lessons through the web – to improve her reading and writing skills first and foremost, and then to help her with her spoken English.
I was happy to comply – she’s a friend, and also, it’s a good way to start a new project and possibly a new source of income and help me pay my bills through the rest of the year.

I’ve taught English to Italians and Italian to English-speaking foreigners for a number of years, about fifteen years ago, and I had developed a few tactics to help my students

  1. Get familiar with the basic phrase structure – to learn, in other words, what goes where in an Italian or English phrase.
  2. Acquire as large a vocabulary as possible
  3. Keep going and practice while having fun

Continue reading


Explorer Pulp – out now!

So it’s officially out and apparently, somebody already had the opportunity to read it: Explorer Pulp, the latest collection of stories by Pro Se Press features four pulp stories of adventure and exploration… and one of them is mine.

You can get the book through Amazon, or the publisher’s own website, or through Smashwords.
It’s available both as an ebook and a paperback, and it features a great cover and three great stories by three excellent writers.
And then mine – Queen of the Dead Lizards.
Check it out, and let me know what you think of it!

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Young adult adventures

FB&S_Cover_EH_Award_smA story set in the ’30s, featuring airplanes, Japanese spies and no end of intrigue and adventure?
Of course I had to get me a copy.

I chanced upon Jamie Dodson’s Flying Boats & Spies while looking for something completely different – I found the author’s website while doing a web search on tramp freighters.
Looking for a ship, I discovered a wealth of air adventures.

As the world edges closer to war a mighty flying boat is readied for her first flight, and America’s enemies will do anything to see it fail. A plucky young pilot is given a mission that takes him to tropical islands and first love, and into the sights of murderous assassins; he, and America, will need courage to survive.

And no kidding… Continue reading


10 Quick Tips About Adventure Stories

20324770-adventure_193503011Ah, this is a fun topic – one of the five generated last week, as I was telling you.
Now “about adventure stories” is a bit vague – about reading or writing them?
And then, Adventure stories is a pretty wide field.

And who am I, anyway, to give anybody suggestions?

But ok, it’s part of the game, so here’s my ten point list of tips for adventure writers.
For what they are worth.

1 . Don’t be afraid
They will put you down, talk about escapism, implausibility, silliness, and generally try to put you in your place. Don’t be afraid to tell your story. Continue reading