East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Hanging Out with Apep

Selection_913When in need of an evil Egyptian god for fiction, while Set certainly has a worse reputation, most authors go for Anubis. It makes sense: the Jackal God is popular, got a super-cool look, and I can find tons of visual references.
And then, hey, he’s the God of Death, right?
I can quote a lot of resources in that sense, from Roger Zelazny to Johnny Quest by way of Young Sherlock Holmes, Bram Stoker and Valerie Leon.
Fact is, it doesn’t work that way. Anubis, aka Anpu, aka Inpu, sometimes also known as Hermanubis, is the protector of the souls of the dead. He’s not the bad guy, he’s with the good guys! Let that sink in, and then tell me again why fanatics with daggers should serve him.
And really, apart from the philological elements, Anubis as the dark god of Egypt’s been done to death. Which is, I realize, somewhat ironic.

So, when outlining AMARNA, I looked up a few other Usual (Egyptian) Suspects.
And for my money, you want a bad guy in Egyptian myth? Go for Apophis. The Stargate SG1 guys got the snake right.
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Introducing Tenn Ford

The joys of planning a serial: you can just chance upon a bit of fluff that suddenly turns your story around.
The sort of serendipity my friend Claire loves so much.

It went like this: I was laughing with my friend Lucy a while back and this quote from Sir Alec Guinness came up:

bf9e9b7006b725a3791d2a2a9af0d3d8Can’t say I’m enjoying the film. … new rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper—and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable. I just think, thankfully, of the lovely bread, which will help me keep going until next April even if Yahoo collapses in a week. … I must off to studio and work with a dwarf (very sweet—and he has to wash in a bidet) and your fellow countrymen Mark Hamill and Tennyson (that can’t be right) Ford. Ellison (?—No!)—well, a rangy, languid young man who is probably intelligent and amusing. But Oh, God, God, they make me feel ninety—and treat me as if I was 106.—Oh, Harrison Ford—ever heard of him?

And I said, damn, I need to have a character called Tennyson Ford!
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Planning the Serial – part I

170px-Spaziergang_im_Garten_Amarna_BerlinBe warned, what follows is a post on writing, so you might find it boring, uninteresting or basically a waste of time.
Forewarned is forearmed or something like that.

As I mentioned, my next big work will be called AMARNA and it will be a serial.
Not a series – like all the rest of the stuff I wrote so far – but a serial.
What’s the difference? Continue reading

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The face of Nefertiti

Chief consort of Akenathen.
Hereditary Princess.
Nofretete_Neues_MuseumGreat of Praises.
Lady of Grace.
Sweet of Love.
Lady of The Two Lands.
Main King’s Wife, his beloved.
Lady of all Women.
Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt.
Queen of Amarna.

Briefly, this last one: after the death of Akenathen she moved from Amarna, by now a fallen city, back to Thebes, where she probably reigned as pharaoh.
And she had a weird taste in headgear. Continue reading



brush_PNG7389I have just contacted and contracted an excellent artist for the cover of my new project.
I have already mentioned I am going to do a serial, a number of self-contained episodes pushing forward an overarching plot, so that readers will be able to enjoy each episode but in the end will also have a full novel in their hands.
It’s the first time I try something like this seriously.
Writing a proper serial, I mean.
I did something that might have looked like a serial when I was in high school, to entertain my classmates and try to win the affection of a certain blonde. It was fun, and it did fit my extremely underdeveloped ability to carry a story for more than thirty pages. And in the end I won the affection of a brunette.
But in retrospect, it was not a very good story. Continue reading