East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Asteria is really back, and needs your help

asteria baseAsteria in the court of the Sun King is finished, and I am revising the text and deciding the final tweaks.
I am also uncertain, at this point, about the format of the publication: a single volume collecting the three novellas, or a new novella every week for this month of August?
Any suggestion is welcome.

And I mention one novella per week, throughout the month, because as I was closing Sun King, I fell back to the habit of closing the story with a hook for the next adventure. And it goes like this… Continue reading


The Return of Asteria

sun-kingDuring the coming weekend I will write a 12.000 words story, give or take 2000.
It will not be hard, at least the first draft – the story’s been outlined for two years, but I never got around to actually write it.
It’s called Asteria in the Court of the Sun King, and it’s the third in the series I started in 2014 about Asteria, a formerly dead amazon that is a pawn of forces beyond her comprehension.

It all started in 2014, with a discussion with a friend of mine, Italian indie author Alex Girola, about the old peplums, the sword & sandal movies that were the staple of Italian fantasy cinema in the 1950s and 1960s, and that gave us a lot of fun and even a few good movies.
What both Alex and I found fascinating – and promising from a writing point of view – was the mix of spurious Mythology, mismatched genre tropes and time periods the movies displayed. Continue reading

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No hangout tonight

Hangouts_IconI was planning a hangout session with my English-speaking patrons tonight, but I got no response.
My fault – too little advance time, and probably a time window that, by trying to satisfy everybody, it did actually satisfy no-one.
Oh, well, there will be more opportunities.

In the meantime, I am getting ready for a public writing session – this time in Italian, and hosted (so to speak) by an Italian ebook-enthusiast Facebook group.
To make things a little trickier, I asked the guys in the group to pitch in with story prompts.
The one that will get more votes is the one I will write, in Italian.

And as we are talking about writing in Italian…

transaltingIt’s been suggested to me that I do translate into English a few of my so far Italian-only stories.
And I thought, why not?
Now I have only to decide what to translate.
Eroi dei Due Mondi, my steampunk-ish series about assorted Italians on Mars?
Gli Orrori della Valle Belbo, my collection of horrors set here in the hills where I live?
Or maybe Asteria, my Sword & Sandal series inspired to old peplum movies?

I’d be REALLY partial to translating Asteria, but of course opinions and suggestions are more than welcome.

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Neo-mythology: Translating the peplums

The true problem, of course, is that I get mortally bored when I translate something I wrote. I think it is because I already know how the story is going, and so there’s no fun in translating it. But we’ll talk about this later. Maybe.

Because you see, considering that right now about 90% of my Amazon income comes from English-language sales, I’ve been thinking about translating some of the things I published in Italian, to see how they would work on the international market.
Right now I’d like to give it a try with my Asteria series of sword & sandal novelettes, but here I crash against two problems.
The first, as mentioned above, is the fact that I find translating myself mindbogglingly boring.
The second is the matter of the titles.
Which brings us to Maciste – or Samson,or The Son of Hercules, as it was sold in the US of A. Continue reading


Two voices

flag_ita_engOne thing I’ve mentioned already, I think, is how, writing in both Italian and English, my writing changes.
Clearly, the two languages syntaxes are different, but it’s also my way of building phrases, and the rhythm of the phrases.
The dialogues change, the interplay between characters.
It’s not like I’m two different writers but, well, almost.
It’s clearly two different voices I’m dealing with – voices that go deeper than the tone and language of the individual stories. Continue reading

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What do they take home at the end?

I’ve been thinking about what a reader takes home, so to speak, from a story.
Now, while I do not put much stock into message-laden stories, stories that push agendas and so on, I know that when I write I have a few things I’d like my readers to get: the attitude of my characters to certain issues.

Bride of the Swamp GodI was pretty surprised, for instance, when a review was posted, way back, of one of the Aculeo & Amunet stories, the reviewer commenting passingly, and enthusiastically, on the lead’s breasts1.
The review was very positive, and it was pretty obvious the reader had enjoyed my story very much.
And I’m very happy and proud of this.
And yet I was surprised because I did not think I had placed that much attention, writing the story, on certain details of the lead’s anatomy, nor I ever described Amunet’s … ehm, physical assets as particularly impressive2: Amunet’s striking in many ways, and she’s certainly fascinating and attractive, but, well, her chest is not… ok, you catch my drift. Continue reading

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Amazon Kindle pre-orders and peace of mind

asteria 1So, now Amazon lets me offer my ebooks for pre-order*.
Basically the idea is, I upload my files like I always did, and then I can set the publishing date as far as 90 days later.
You can buy straight away, but it will be delivered to your reader on the set date.
Nice and smooth.

I did a small experiment, in August, using a novelette I wrote, in a new series of sword & sandal stories for the Italian market – it’s called Asteria alla Corte di Minosse.
I talked about this story when I was writing it, as part of a bet with a friend and colleague.
The response was good, so much so that my ebook made the Amazon top 100 in the Fantasy category on the strength of the pre-orders alone.
Now that was heartening.

On the other hand, a lot of readers expressed some perplexity – what’s the purpose of pre-ordering an ebook?
After all, the good thing about ebooks is, I see something I like, I click and I’ve got it on my reader straight away.
No delivery times, no waiting, no hassle.
Why wait up to 90 days to get the file? Continue reading