East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Another idea

People that do not write have a hard time understanding that ideas are everywhere. They’ll come to you and say “I’ve got this great idea for a novel, I’ll tell you so you’ll write it and we can share the money.”
They get it wrong on three counts – first, because they think there really is any serious money in writing (ah!), and second, they believe their idea is unique (it’s not).
Third, and final, you can’t write a book based on a single idea. You need at least two good ideas to rub together for a long work to have a hope in hell.

Ideas are everywhere, and a good writer – well, a decent writer… let’s say a serviceable hack – is the one that can recognize them as they pour around him.
A general rule of thumb is, when you are overworked, stretched thin and at the lowest point of a low period, you’ll start getting all these brilliant ideas.
It’s like an Egyptian curse.

Let me give you an example.

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Ancient incarnations of death

Like that guy said, never say never.
Or “not often.”
I was talking with a friend, about four weeks ago – she does not like horror fiction, she’d rather read historical fiction, and I said that these days I don’t read or write that much horror anymore.
And as a result, most of what I submitted in the last four weeks, and most of what I read, falls one way or another in the field of horror.

The last two books I read, in fact, have been two excellent horrors, both dealing – in a very different way – with the urban manifestation of ancient spirits of death.
They are both worth checking out, and as I have already mentioned Gemma Files’ Experimental Film, here’s my review of the other, Robert Levy’s Anais Nin and the Grand Guignol.

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Folk horror and movies

As I nurse the worse cold in ages, there’s little I can do but write. I’ve a lot of things to write, but luckily all the urgent work was done before my ill-advised decision to go and attend Libri in Nizza. So I am taking a brief pause from my writing, and I’m catching up on my to-read list.

I’ve just started and finished in two days flat Gemma Files’ novel, Experimental Film, that I was given as a gift a few days back, and boy, was it a brilliant book!

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Yesterday it was Friday the 13th and there was a full moon, so I met a friend who’s a fine horror writer and we went for a bite and a long night talking.
Of course we would have done it even had it been Monday the 19th and a quarter moon, but the whole day/moon thing was a nice touch.
We were assigned table 13 in the diner where we stopped, and that did not escape our notice.

As it usually happens in these situations, we ended up talking shop, and the discussion turned to our professional designation. Writer, that is.

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From Hell they came…

There was a time, more or less when I was in high-school, when horror was big. And I mean BIG. I have this clear memory of the girls in my high-school class swapping big fat books: Stephen King, Peter Straub, Dean Koontz and V.C. Andrews most of all. There was this sort of underground book club going, and there were always new titles coming, mostly from a paperback publisher called Sperling & Kupfer.
Boys did not read, or if they did they went for science fiction or comic books, and fantasy was small and read by both boys and girls, but at least in my biased memory, it was the female of the species that really loved horror novels.

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Heatwave at the Keep

Heatwave is the title of a song by a band called the Blue Nile that I discovered in the version by Dave Stewart (not that one, the other) and Barbara Gaskin.
Not that you care, I guess.
An heatwave is also what’s hitting Europe in this moment – we are at 38°C here in Astigianistan, with a staggering 58% of humidity (that goes up to ‘70% in the evening). It will get hotter in the next days.
People will die, like it already happened in 2003.

All we can do is stay indoors, use the fan in moderation, and try to go through these days. I’ve work to do, and I’ll do it in the night.
In the meantime, I pass my time listening to old records and reading a chiller – because, well, one can try and get chilled at least ideally, right?

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