Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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A Christmas Mystery

What is Christmas without a good mystery? Or even better, a ghost story… because what I have here right now does feel a lot like a ghost story, a haunting, in its own way.

I mentioned a while back how my periodic mail from Amazon with suggestions and offers had suddenly become filled with books (and DVDs!) about Mussolini and the Fascist Regime.
I am happy to report that the problem has no longer presented itself, and in the last weeks Amazon’s suggestions have been happily free of Fascist stuff, and limited to my own books (Amazon is always sure to let me know that I “might be interested” in something I actually friggin’ wrote) and books by Italian authors I detest.
But something new came up, and it is intriguing indeed.

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Immortality through art

My brother is an amateur criminologist with a thing for Jack the Ripper – maybe I have already mentioned in the past his blog, Red Jack – and yesterday he mentioned to me two interesting facts:

  • Fact the first: we live in the area of Italy with the highest suicide rate in the nation (a fact I already knew and I think I mentioned in one of the Buscafusco stories)
  • Fact the second: the Christmas season is the time in the year with the highest rate of suicides – the forced merriment increases the sense of solitude, just as the shopping frenzy can push people in financial difficulties towards dark thoughts.

And today a friend, a widely published British writer, mentioned on Facebook the fact that he once sought immortality through his art – or, if not sought, he sort of gave it a thought – but nowadays he’s sceptical. He observed, and I agree, that our books are not a reliable portrait, as they represent a snapshot of what we were in a certain moment in time.

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Blocked!

Well, this is a first. BUSCAFUSCO: Fun & Games has been blocked by the KDP Guardians, for reasons undisclosed. I asked around, and apparently this is the standard: they block your book, and they do not tell you why. Hell, they don’t even send you a mail. You have to check the KDP dashboard (something that, admittedly, you do every two hours when your book is overdue), and find out the book’s been blocked.

So now I’ve sent a mail asking Amazon for explanations. Based on what I’ve been told by friends that have been there already, I’ll probably get an automated response along the lines “your content violated our guidelines”, with a copy of the guidelines. As a friend said…

“They basically tell you to ask yourself a question and give yourself an answer.”

Now here I am, waiting, but in the meanwhile: if you are one of the hardy souls that got my ebook through Gumroad, and if you have been through it already, would you please let me know if you found something that justifies the block?
Thank you.

Also, if you want to check out the Book Amazon Doesn’t Want You To Read, please go to this link. You’ll get a 1 Euro discount on the cover price.


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Eighty

asteria khan engI have just uploaded on Amazon my 80th self-produced ebook – you might have heard about it, it’s called Asteria in the Court of the Great Khan and it is the second episode in the Adventures of Asteria, my sword & sandal series.
The story was originally published in Italian in the summer of 2016 – almost exactly two years ago – and was the last thing I wrote in Italian for years.

Now the series is coming back in English – you can get the first book, Asteria in the Court of Minos either on Amazon or on Gumroad.

asteria 1 engConsidering the times that Amazon usually has, I guess volume two will be out by the weekend – and I’ll upload a zip file with the mobi, epub and pdf versions on Gumroad too.
My Patrons will get a discount, but you knew that already.

Eighty ebooks is a lot of words.
And that’s not counting my traditionally-published work – those should be nine volumes, if I am not mistaken, not counting my participation at multiple-author anthologies and collections of essays.
A whole lot of words.

And there will be another dozen titles coming out before the end of the year.

A fair chunk of this work – 26 titles, to be exact – were published under an alias.
They are selling better than the remaining titles in my name.
I guess that should tell me something.

Indeed, my next big project – should the publisher accept it – will be published with another alias.
Diversify the offer, you know.

But in the meantime… eighty ebooks.
Not bad, all things considered.
But the best, of course, is yet to come.

And now, a little music…

 


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AMARNA on Amazon

Amarna preview smallMore oompa-loopa shenanigans: last night, Amazon informed me that the first episode of AMARNA is now live.
And what about the disappearance of my files and the long silence afterwards?
Nothing – this will remain a mystery forever.
And it’s somewhat fitting, don’t you think?

But let’s look at the bright side: AMARNA is available on Amazon, too.
More choice for my readers, hopefully more sales.
Everyone’s happy.
Possibly Jeff Bezos’ oompa-loompa’s too.


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Cynical and Gone

angelsFor the second time in a month, something happened to Cynical Little Angels.
First, in the last week of September, the ebook was blocked by Amazon/KDP because somebody had reported it as stolen – that was not my story, they said, I had copied it from somewhere.
A blog, they said.

Turned out the incriminated blog was Karavansara – where I had posted an excerpt of my book to, you know, try and sell more copies.

I had to write to Amazon and clear the issue.

But now Cynical Little Angels is gone, completely.
It does not show on searches, it does no longer appear on my author page, and even the link KDP gives me for the product page of the ebook leads nowhere.
I get a “page missing” notice and the photo of a fluffy dog.
Amazon wants me to buy a puppy.

I am waiting for a reply to my inquiries.
The whole situation is quite frankly, irritating.