Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The hit list

I’ve just completed a new BUSCAFUSCO story, that in a few days I’ll post to my Patrons in the Five Bucks Brigade – just the time needed to translate it in Italian – because my patrons get my stories both in Italian and English. It’s a bit of extra work, but I’m happy to do it for my patrons.
And as I’m at it, I thought I’ll post here a short list of what’s to come, in terms of short stories, for my Patrons in the next months.

First, as I said, in a few days, a 7000-words BUSCAFUSCO story set in Nizza Monferrato in the days before Halloween.
After that, and in no particular order (or, in other words, as the fancy strikes me)

  • a new Aculeo & Amunet sword & sorcery story
  • a new caper of The Corsair
  • a new Tale of the Frontier
  • a new Valerie Trelawney Edwardian ghost story (the character will make her debut in print some time in the next months)
  • the first Helena Saratova (if that’s really her name) solo historical adventure

And this keeps us covered (and me busy) until March 2020.
There will be more, of course, stuff that at the moment is so secret, I can’t tell you or then I’d have to kill you.
AND the Open Outline stuff my Patrons are helping (?) me put together.

And I have to admit, I am quite happy with how things are shaping up.
Going back to my old characters, for readers that I know appreciate them, is like taking a vacation.

And as I said, there’s more to come.
So watch this space for news and, if you feel like, join us on Patreon.
Because it’s good to be my patrons.


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Another one for BUSCAFUSCO

I am happy to announce I am working on a new BUSCAFUSCO short story, that will hit my Patrons by the end of the month.
This is part of a special project I am working on (yeah, I know, I will tell you as soon as possible), and I am tapping the help of two friends for research. It will be a Halloween story, and it has to do with some pretty twisted real-life individuals and events.

Will the new story feature the Belbo Valley Crocodile?, you ask.
I’m afraid not.
But it might feature the Belbo Valley Panther – because, yes, here in the hills of Astigianistan, we have a lot of people with more money than sense, that buy illegal endangered wild animals, and then let them escape.

Maybe for this reason, the story is tentatively called “Ladies and Tigers”.


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Historical smoking and other unhealthy writing sins

I don’t smoke. I never did.
I consider it a foul habit and a waste of money. My parents did not smoke neither, my grandfathers both did (and it shortened their lives). As a kid, just walking by someone smoking usually caused me to break into a fit of cough. This was somewhat awkward during my teens and twenties, because it looked like everybody smoked then.
My girlfriend in high school smoked. Marlboros. Talk about awkward: it’s hard to be in love with someone and you start coughing like you’re about to spit a lung every time you get close to her.
But anyway…

I watched a lot of old movies, as I grew up.
I liked – and I still like today – old noirs.
Humphrey Bogart. High Sierra is one of my all-time favorites ever. The Big Sleep, too. But everything he did, really. He was a sort of role model, because like that guy said “We’re all Bogart at least once in our lives”. And Bogey always had his cigarette. The nails in my coffin, he called them.
And what about Robert Mitchum? What about all the other Marlowes of TV and Cinema?
Then there was Mike Hammer. Damn, the guy got routinely punched, stabbed and shot at, then he got home, took a shower, drank a shot of whiskey, lit a cigarette, and he was as fresh as a rose.
And don’t even get me started on James Bond.

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Hotel rooms and airports

There’s this story I heard a few days ago, that goes like this:

Q: How do you know that a stand-up comedian is being too successful?
A: All of their new jokes suddenly are about hotel rooms, airports and comedy venues.

The risk of success is, you start working on your successful routine and you lose touch with everything else. Staying in touch with what’s out there, with everyday life, with people and events and ideas is absolutely indispensable to keep having fresh ideas.

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BUSCAFUSCO is Alive!

BUSCAFUSCO: Fun & Games is finally available on Amazon!

In the end it was a problem of file coding, or so the kindly gnomes at Amazn KDP told me. So I reloaded the file – this time as a rough RTF, and in about 36 hours the ebook has gone live.

So, if you are curious about the ebook that Amazon did not want you to read… well, now you can read it.

ADDENDUM:  with the release of the ebook on Amazon, the special promotion on Gumroad has ended. Thank you to all of those that used it.


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The Content Guidelines

I’ve been asked to post the contents guidelines from Amazon so that you get an idea and maybe will be able to tell me what’s wrong in BUSCAFUSCO: Fun & Games.
This is indeed an interesting read, I guess, because after all it has to do with my writing life. 

The actual document is pretty large, but what’s pertinent is – I think – the following, that goes under the Offensive & Controversial category:

Violence, Intolerance, and Hate

  • Products that contain violent or offensive material that has no historical significance. Amazon reserves the right to make a determination on the historical value of the item.
  • Products that promote, incite, or glorify hate or violence towards any person or group. This includes products that contain violent or offensive material that has no historical significance. Amazon reserves the right to make a determination on the historical value of the item.
  • Products that promote or glorify suicide
  • Products related to terrorist organizations
  • Products that promote or glorify people that have been found guilty of violent or sexual crimes.

Intolerance

  • Products that promote intolerance based on race, religion, and sexual orientation.
  • Products that contain racially derogatory language

Human Tragedies and Disasters

  • Products related to human tragedies and natural disasters

Child Abuse and Exploitation

  • Products that depict child abuse/exploitation
  • Products intended for use by children that contains adult content, profanity and/or sexual references
  • Products depicting children or characters resembling children in a sexually suggestive manner
  • Products marketed to or targeted at kids or teenagers that are age-inappropriate

And really, I can’t say there’s anything like that in my Buscafusco stories. Granted, this new story marks the first appearance of the Chinese Triads, but there is no racist content I can think of. I purposefully avoided derogatory terms, despite the fact that one of the characters is the sort that would use them. Because only a fool chooses to risk and offend his readers on a matter of authenticity.

Anyway, we are still here waiting.
The plot thickens.


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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.