Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Monkey & the Cat

Sometimes all the pieces fall in the right place at the right moment. And it feels good when it happens, because the world’s a complicated place, and it’s good to get some reassurance sometimes, that all shall be well – even if it’s a very small thing.

Yesterday night I was writing a new story (yeah, I know, life can be pretty monotonous hereabouts) – a short fantasy, steampunk-ish number featuring two strays, a girl and her cat.
I’m doing it with two different markets in mind – it all depends on how things will turn out. It’s going to be around 2000 words – I’m allowing myself six 350-words scenes (because YES!, I’ve got Scrivener running again!)
But anyway, I was checking my notes and trying to get the story off the ground, when for a number of circuitous reasons I ended up on YouTube and found this song…

Now I have the names of my two characters, and all of a sudden the story’s got legs, and is running. I plan to have it finished by tonight – I’m working on it only after dinner.
And no, the plot’s got nothing to do with the song, it’s just the name, and the way in which the characters coalesced as soon as I put names on them.
I think Monkey and her Cat will turn out to be fun characters to write.


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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…

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