East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


New covers for Aculeo & Amunet

One of the best features offered by ebooks is the option of updating the files.

In the last few days we’ve been hard at work on some new covers for my Aculeo & Amunet ebooks.
Reader feedback has been pretty consistent in the past months – the readers love the stories, but they don’t like the covers.

And we know it’s the covers that sell the stories.

So, in a few hours the ebooks will be up with new artwork1 – the work of Italian graphic master, Luca Morandi.
And the readers of Karavansara can take a glimpse at the first of the three new covers, right here and now.

Continue reading


Buy me a coffee?

Yes, there’s a Buy Me a Coffee button in my sidebar.
It’s been there a few days, and it looks like this…

Buy Me A Coffee at Ko-Fi.com

Should you click it, you’ll be offered the opportunity of… well, as you can guess, buying me a coffee – or more than one, should you feel like – through PayPal.
And since I don’t drink coffee, I might use those money to, say, buy a domain for Karavansara, or a better template; or I might employ that cash to promote online my ebooks, or buy cover art for my ebooks, or to buy gifts for my long-suffering editors… you get the idea.

Now, I was told so many times that putting donation buttons, Amazon product links and Amazon shops and other commercial links on a blog is in poor taste… 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 book is a book (sometimes)

With 2015, a new European Community regulation come into being, stating that VAT on digital contents will be calculated based on the country of purchase.
This is extremely stupid – as it hits small businesses, cottage companies and small publishers, forcing them to keep a separate accounting for VAT based on the countries in which their products are sold.
This, because European Community countries do have each a different VAT regime for digital contents – ranging fro 4% to 23%.

The new rule was apparently introduced to solve the problem of Amazon’s tax dodge (Amazon being VAT-registered in Luxembourg) but the effects are horrid – and do not hit Amazon, but readers and publishers.
In Italy – where I live – VAT for ebooks used to be a staggering 22%.
No matter where I purchased my ebooks, that would be the extra for me to pay. Continue reading


The gamification of piracy

Last week, Bride of the Swamp God, the first in the Aculeo & Amunet ebook series, was pirated on a forum.
A link, two servers, my ebook available for free.

It happened on one of those websites where the pirate – but they call them sharers – gets points for uploading items, points that can be spent for a number of services… including requesting a specific title, a book, a movie.

It was a first, for me, and while I did all that was in my power to have the links canceled, I had the opportunity of discussing the situation with a friend, and this led to a number of consideration that I’m trying to summarize in this post.
Mind you, I haven’t discovered nothing new, and I’m not offering any momentous solutions.
But let’s try and see where this gets us… Continue reading

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Story Bundle – Books on Writing (and more)

I mentioned it in the past – I love reading books about writing.
Handbooks, collections of essays, collections of interviews.
There’s always something useful – an insight, a suggestion, an idea.

Now, the StoryBundle guys have an offer up and running – six books about writing, freelancing and living the writing life, plus other six if you shell out enough cash.
The deal is pretty straight – you decide how much you pay, you decide how much goes to the authors, you decide if there’s a non-profit organization worthy of a 10% of your hard-earned money.

Considering that the full offer (six + six) included four titles that were already on my list, for me it was a no brainer.
Here’s the covers.
Think about it.

Screenshot from 2014-10-13 16:58:00