East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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A work (as yet) without a title

Three weeks ago I started writing just for the fun of it. Writing has always been a relaxing thing for me, a good way to quiet the mind and just let the words go from the brain, through the fingers and the keyboard, to the page. I did it as a kid, when I was learning to type on my mother’s Olivetti Lettera 32, and for a long time it’s been a way to get away from it all for a moment.

So I started writing, and for starters there were just two things – a piece of diary-like writing about an out-of-work actress/dancer looking for a job, any job, and an old dark house. That, and the idea that this would be a ghost story.

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Jane Austen and the Wolfman

It was ten months ago that I mentioned The League of Extraordinary Ladies Writers, a crowdfunding project of the French publisher Les Moutons Electriques – a series of novellas pitching famous writers against classic monsters.
At the time I was too broke to support the crowdfunding, but even without me the project landed 195% of the target figure, and despite some delays due to the COVID-19 thing, now the books have finally hit the shelves.

And how could I resist?
After all, it’s for a good cause – to wit, the improvement of my shaky French skills.
So I went, and bought myself a copy of Jane Austen contre le Loup-garou

And boy do I need exercise!

But the good news is, when the story is intriguing, well-written and smart, we feel compelled to go on even if some words baffle us. Marianne Ciaudo, who wrote this 130-pages romp, is certainly a fine writer.

And so off I am, to 1800 Hampshire, in a story that, for its patently ridiculous premise, is turning out to be tight, suspenseful and scary, with more than a nod at the old Hammer movies.
And a great exercise.
Looks like I’ll have to get the whole series, in the end.
But Jane Austen comes first…