East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


I’d kill to write a story about these two characters

Autumn is obviously approaching, as ideas are once again flooding what’s left of my brain, and the need to organize the days becomes essential if I want to have a chance of doing everything and maybe be able to pay the bills. So…

  • morning – my ghostwriting project
  • lunch – put some order in the affairs of the podcast
  • afternoon – close the edit of the historical essay
  • dinner – a movie?
  • after-dinner – personal writing projects

Nice and smooth.

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Five thousand words deep

Two nights ago something happened that has to do with the book I am writing and that I think I will inflict you.
You have been warned.

Basically, and this is no secret, I am writing a big sea-monster story. A bunch of researchers get on a boat and go looking for a monster. Many shenanigans ensue.

There are four “building blocks” to this story, four pieces I must get right for the story to work.

The first is the monster. Continue reading

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Strength is not just kicking ass (and vice-versa)

Something funny happened the other day – funny up to a point, as I will try and explain later.

One of the usual debates started, about reading and writing and what else, and the discussion turned to strong female characters, and we were given a brief lecture about how

a woman will never be stronger than a man – it’s a matter of muscular mass: the strongest woman warrior will always be at the same level of a mid-range male warrior, and she could never beat a stronger opponent


Now, this statement is – of course – mindboggingly asinine on two counts1
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Character Profile – Old Master Wei

So – we’ve met the leading lady and my favorite bad guy from The Ministry of Thunder.
Let’s meet another member of “Team Sabatini”.

bb11bfb723a231ace354dfc95409846cOld Wei has the dubious honor of appearing on stage even before the main character is introduced, and he slips in and out of the novel, suggesting herbal infusions and being terribly mysterious.

What’s the deal with the old man? Continue reading

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Supporting cast

It sometimes happens that I fall in love with my support characters.

Now, every series should have a handful of characters the hero can call upon when he gets in trouble – as heroes will.
Not properly a sidekick, more like a recurring character.
Think Marcus Brody and Sallah in the Indiana Jones movies.


Such characters provide support, continuity, and quite often an element of comedy that the hero can’t bring himself (being heroic AND funny is hard work indeed, for both hero and author).
More generally, they can voice the feelings and the thoughts the hero, for a number of reasons, can’t.
They can act as conscience, provide wise suggestions, or quite simply hand the hero the tool he needs, when he needs it.

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