East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Ten questions about reading

forward_a_chain_letter_tshirtMy friend Claire, over at the Scribblings blog, tagged me in a meme – and while I still can’t understand why these chain-letter sort of things are called memes, considering it’s a chain-letter sort of thing about reading, and reading is what I’ve been doing for most of my life, well, I thought, why not?

Here goes… Continue reading


Five Things I learned Writing “The Ministry of Thunder”

acheron_the__ministry_of_thunderMy first novel, The Ministry of Thunder, is six months old this week, and I thought it was high time I did some new post to bore you to death about it.
This will be a week of celebrations.

In case you missed it, The Ministry of Thunder is a pulp/fantasy novel set in 1936 China, in which a stranded Italian mechanic tries to recycle himself as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer.
Cue to mysterious artifacts, beautiful women, evil masterminds, Taoist magic, Chinese ghosts, lost cities, and the Ministry of Thunder and Storms.
And ninja.

So, I normally say that everything is part of the learning process – what did I learn (if I did), writing The Ministry of Thunder? Continue reading

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14 Common Misconceptions About Self-Publishing

I was in a lot of discussion, these last few days about self-publishing.
Now, I am actually what’s called a hybrid author – meaning that like the Gill man in Creature from the Black Lagoon, I live in two worlds: some of my stuff (such as The Ministry of Thunder, or all of my gaming-related writing) is traditionally published, while other stories (like the Aculeo & Amunet adventures) I publish myself.


Being a hybrid offers a number of perks…

I actually like this situation, and find it conductive to the right mix of creative freedom and professionalism.

So, we were talking about this topics, here in the Old C Block of the blogsphere, shaking our heads and sighing for the amount of prejudice and silliness that still gets attached to self-publishing. And I thought… why not make a list?
Lists are good, right? Continue reading


A new gaming project

I started working on a new roleplaying project – at the moment it is still very hush-hush, but it’s certainly the largest, most complicated RPG project I ever had to face: I’m designing a whole world, and I have to write about it in a way that will make it accessible to players.
The estimated word count comes close to 80.000/100.000 words.
That’s huge.


Writing for gaming is very different from writing fiction, it requires a much more delicate balance between invention and organization.
They don’t call it “game design” for nothing. Continue reading


It’s over (almost)

victoryAnd so it’s finished.
Clocking in at close to 68.000 words, my pulp/fantasy novel of high adventure set in Shanghai and parts east in the year 1936 is done.

Well, actually I’m doing the final revision – or the post-revision revision, if you will.

I did my writing in Scrivener, and it was a really pleasant experience.
But now I’m exporting it and I’m making a LibreOffice .odt file for my editors to be able to go through it at their leisure. Continue reading


Shanghai, Summer 1937

The Battle of Shanghai is the sort of big, fat chunk of history that somehow gets lost in the fury of the years just before the start of WW2. I learned about it doing research for my novel.
But for all its pulp trappings and Chinese fantasy elements, what I’m writing is still a historical fantasy.


To me, historical fantasy means that history as we know it stays in place, but fantasy happens in the dark corners and hollow places that history books don’t cover.
I can’t change the course of events and still call it historical fantasy – it can be pseudo-historical fantasy, it can become a form of uchronia*, but historical fantasy it can’t be anymore.
Continue reading

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Ten books meme – multiple reading edition

OK, there’s this meme going, about the Ten Books of Your Life.
Like there was only ten books that important in my life.
And I was talking about this with my friend Claire – and she’s doing two lists of ten books, because she knows.
And as we chatted about it I thought I can’t actually set down a list of ten books that are all-important – because I can’t decide what they are important for.

But I can do set down a list of ten books I re-read regularly.
Because sometimes I do re-read some of those books. Continue reading