East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


A good day for my stories

Yesterday was a good day for my stories, and for my writing in general, for a series of quite unusual reasons.

First I got an excellent review – really, really flattering – for my story The Smell of Empty Places, the cover story in the collection Dark Italy by Acheron Books.
This is particularly pleasant because, first, the praise comes from a well respected colleague, and it is always good to be praised by people in our own tribe; and second, the English version of the story is currently being considered for a reprint in a Canadian anthology – and receiving such a brilliant review makes me hope for the best. 

Next, I was mentioned in a list of Italian sword & sorcery authors, thanks to my Asteria Chronicles, and that led to a few sales for some pretty old titles. Let’s hope it fosters a return of interest in Asteria by the Italian readers, as two more stories are about to hit the Italian-language market. 
The fun bit is, the list originally did not include me (apparently I am not good enough), but it was reprinted by a blog, and the blogger decided to add my name and my work to the list (because apparently, I am good enough).
It was extremely kind on his part.
Incidentally, the fourth Asteria story went on the back-burner for a while, but I’ll make sure it gets published by Christmas, or by New Year’s Eve at the latest.

Then – and here things get pretty weird – someone sent a paperback copy of my collection of historical sketches, La Storia Fatta coi Cialtroni, to an unsuspecting recipient.
Yes, basically, this lady I do not know received a copy of a book of mine from an anonymous, and she posted about it on Facebook. The good news is, she is actually liking the book very much.
Now I can only hope the mysterious book-bomber keeps up the good work and keeps pushing my books on the unsuspecting public.
A little extreme, as a publicity stunt, but you’ll have to admit it’s pretty original. 

And finally, I got commissioned a few more articles by a high class magazine, and am now doing a bit of historical research. 

All in all, quite a good day.


Asteria in Prime Reading

Amazon Italy just informed me that – were I interested – the first story in the Asteria series, Italian edition, has been selected for the Prime Reading programme.

Prime Reading is basically a promotional tool that allows Amazon Prime subscriber to download my ebook for free – while Amazon pays me a fixed amount covering forfeit-fashion all the “sales” of the promotional period.

An excellent offer, that not only signals that my Asteria stories are a small success in Italy (enough to attract Amazon’s attention), but promises to help my series to reach a new audience.
Which is fine, because more readers for the first episode in the series also means – hopefully – more readers for the follow-up episodes.
So I was quite happy to accept the invitation.

And the fourth episode in the series, in English, is about to be released – bringing the first “season” of Asteria to a close, and possibly launching also a spin-off series.
And then… ah, who knows.
New stories, paperbound collections, gadgets, signing sessions, a movie… dreaming is free, as Blondie used to sing.
Alas, right now there is no Prime Reading programme for the English edition of the **Asteria** stories. But maybe, in the future.

So, things look fine for Asteria.
Never mind the fact that Amazon had to send me three times the link to sign the agreement, because the first two were broken.
I’m sure everything will be fine.

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Asteria and the spirit of peplum

asteria khan engAnd so…
The first story of Asteria was a straightforward peplum, but with a strong influence from Go Nagai and Mazinger Z in particular.
The second Asteria adventure was a Harold Lambesque story of Mongol warriors, with a supernatural horror twist.
The third Asteria novelette, that’s coming out in the weekend, is a lace & steel sort of swashbuckler, with a side of clockpunk shenanigans.
It is fitting, I think, that the fourth story, that I started writing yesterday, will be a tits & sand adventure with Arabian Nights and Marco Polo references. Continue reading

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Asteria in the Court of the Great Khan

asteria khan engMy Italian readers had to wait two years for the second adventure of Asteria: Minos was published in August 2014, Great Khan in July 2016.
The foreword to the English language edition explains a bit of the background on that hiatus.

And my English readers are getting the Second Asteria Adventure, Asteria in the Court of the Great Khan barely one week after the first, both on Gumroad (for those that do not like Amazon, or prefer a different file format) and on Amazon.
Nice and smooth1. Continue reading



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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Asteria in the Court of Minos

I know you guys are eager to learn what happened yesterday in Nizza, when I crossed typewriters with my friend Fabrizio Borgio for four hours of intense fiction writing.
And I’ll tell you, but not right now.

Right now, I am happy to announce that the first episode in the resurrected series The Adventures of Asteria is out and about, finally in English. You can buy it right now on Gumroad (epub, pdf, mobi) and it will be up on Amazon in a few days1.

asteria 1 eng

Asteria in the Court of Minos pits the gray-haired amazon against the king of Crete, and his sinister counselor, the scientist-magus Aischyuras.
The Serpent Cult.
Giant robots.

Inspired by the old peplums and sword & sandal movies that were Italy’s own brand of fantasy film-making in the ’50s and ’60s, the Asteria stories play with time and space and historical accuracy, and often end with a big explosion.
I hope you’ll enjoy them.

All of Asteria’s adventures are stand-alone, novelette-length stories, and can be read and enjoyed in any order.

Next week…

Asteria in the Cour of the Great Khan

ADDENDUM: Amazon was faster than ever, and in about six hours made the ebook available. You can get it HERE


  1. my patrons have already received their free copy or their discounted copy, depending on their level of pledge. It’s good to be my patrons (or so they say).