As I think I mentioned a while back, one of those “memories” that Facebook serves us daily to make us feel miserable (that’s my explanation of this “feature”) made me aware of the fact that in 2019, by the 15th of August, I had submitted 55 short stories and articles to various magazines and anthologies. By August the 15th 2020 I had only submitted 33. That scared me as hell.
It was a sign of the HUGE amount of time I had wasted (so to speak) to follow the ghostwriting job from Hell that, as I mentioned a few days back, ended this September, with me not being paid. I was also scared because a drop of 40% submissions could be a sign I was losing my ability to write a lot, and write fast – and by doing so, manage to pay the bills.
In the early spring of 2020, Italy went in total lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the situation was dramatic in the cities, and the body-count skyrocketed, the countryside had it relatively light. It’s just a matter of waiting for the curve to flatten.
Holed up in his battered trailer in the old junkyard outside of Nizza Monferrato, Buscafusco is set to weather the pandemic with a big stash of old paperbacks, a selection of jazz records, and some prime provisions for his lonely dinners. Quiet and relax at last, at least for a while. But trouble, just like rust, never sleeps. And now everybody’s wearing a mask.
BUSCAFUSCO: Health & Safety
A global pandemic is not enough to keep a good man down.
April crawled into the hills of Astigianistan, bringing rainstorms and a preview of the summer’s heat and humidity, and everybody was suddenly feeling the desperate need to hug somebody, or go out for a drink with some hypothetical friends or, missing that, to call someone on the telephone and waste their time. “What are you having for dinner?” Matilde Ciambotti’s voice was tired, and raw. The voice of someone that’s done too much face time over the web. “Bacon fraze,” I said. I placed the bowl with the batter on the table by the phone, and looked around for the spatula. “Sounds unhealthy,” she said. “I don’t care for the sound, I’m here for the taste.” “Very funny,” she said. She did not sound amused. “What do you need?” “A vacation,” she replied. “Don’t we all…”
The fourth Buscafusco novella features two intertwined cases for the only man the hill tribes fear.
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.
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”.
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.
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.