Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


2 Comments

Accountants, Soldiers and Nurses

Accountants are dangerous. And no, I am not going to entertain you with my adventures in mortgage and banking. The fact is, while doing a bit of research both for The Ministry of Lightning and for a short article I am about to write, I chanced on something that will not go in the article – being only tangentially connected with the topic – and will certainly get into the novel. And it’s all about accountants.
One accountant in particular.
His name was Andrea Compatangelo, and he was an Italian, from Benevento.

Let’s bactrack a little – during the Great War, a number of Italians fought in the Austro-Hungarian forces, simply because the territories from which they came, while being ethnically Italy, were part of the Hapsburg Empire. Many of these men were taken prisoner on the Eastern Front, and deported to Russia.

After the war, an Italian military mission took care of extracting the “talianski” from the Russian working camps, and bring them back to Italy. This is the subject of the article I am writing.
But there were others. And here we go down a wholly different rabbit hole. This is a strange story…

Continue reading


8 Comments

Cynical and Gone

angelsFor the second time in a month, something happened to Cynical Little Angels.
First, in the last week of September, the ebook was blocked by Amazon/KDP because somebody had reported it as stolen – that was not my story, they said, I had copied it from somewhere.
A blog, they said.

Turned out the incriminated blog was Karavansara – where I had posted an excerpt of my book to, you know, try and sell more copies.

I had to write to Amazon and clear the issue.

But now Cynical Little Angels is gone, completely.
It does not show on searches, it does no longer appear on my author page, and even the link KDP gives me for the product page of the ebook leads nowhere.
I get a “page missing” notice and the photo of a fluffy dog.
Amazon wants me to buy a puppy.

I am waiting for a reply to my inquiries.
The whole situation is quite frankly, irritating.


16 Comments

A postcard from Hanzhong

acheron_the__ministry_of_thunderWhen I wrote my first novel, The Ministry of Thunder, it was originally called Beyul Express. It was the first in a hypothetical series, and I had written the first draft in eight days. The second draft took six months, and expanded from 48.000 words to 78.000.
The book got some great reviews, and was generally well-received.
Later, I wrote another story featuring Felice Sabatini.
A lot of people had asked to learn more about Helena Saratova, Sabatini’s old partner, and Cynical Little Angels, set about two years before the events in Ministry, described the first meeting between the Italian pilot and the blue-haired adventuress.

angelsTwo nights ago I was going through one of my usual bouts of insomnia. This has been a rough time for me – rougher than usual. Lots of thoughts and stuff. In the last ten days I’ve been unable to write anything good – and you may have noticed my posts on Karavansara became erratic and short.
So two nights ago, nursing a hell of a headache, at about 2am I fired up a txt file, and started writing.
Write to the block, write through your worries.
At 6am the neighbor’s dogs started barking their hearts out at the dawn, and I found myself with 3500 words of The Ministry of Lightning, the sequel to Thunder, taking place in Shanghai, about six months after the last page of the first novel.

As the story opens Felice Sabatini, having walked the 7000 miles back from the Taklamakan desert, rolls back in Shanghai in the sidecar of a stolen motorbike driven by a Korean expatriate. The city is getting ready for trouble – there are sand bags in the streets, and lots of soldiers carrying weapons.
The motorbike enters the Italian-style garden of a mansion on Bubbling Well Road.
“Are you sure this is the place?” the Korean asks, looking dubious.
“I’m sure,” Sabatini replies.
He knocks on the door. A girl in a sailor uniform opens the door, stares at him, starts screaming, and slams the door shut.
Sabatini gives a reassuring grin at the Korean guy, that looks even more dubious.
Then the door opens again, and it goes more or less like this… Continue reading


3 Comments

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