East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


World Ocean’s Day 2018

Today is the World Ocean’s Day, and I will celebrate it by sitting here, at the bottom of the ancient Tethys Ocean, writing a chapter of a book about a sea monster.


Tethys was ocean that occupied an east-west corridor between Gondwana and Laurasia during the Mesozoic. In the following two-hundred and fifty million years the Tethys basin and its sediments were involved in the breaking up of continents, in the opening of the Atlantic and the Indian oceans, and in the Alpine event that caused the formation of the highest mountain chains in the Old World.
Snippets are preserved, folded inside of the moutains, or as sedimentary rocks.
Here where I sit, this used to be a shallow water lagoon (probably), in which sharks swam. Continue reading


The killer whales of the Peruvian desert

I’ve talked about books about ancient mysteries and how I used to read them when I was a kid, and how I sometimes still use them as sources of inspiration for stories and games.
Easter Island, lost continents, ancient astronauts, spirits of ancient Egypt… and of course the Nazca Lines.

nascawhaleI went back to the Nazca Lines because the first chapter of Livyatan, my new book currently in the very early stages of development, opens in somewhere between around 500 BC, when we first catch a glimpse of the monster.
I remembered the obsession of the Andine Cultures for the killer whale, that they portrayed in a number of statuettes, and that was probably a deity/nature spirit for them. And I also remembered there is a killer whale among the famous Nazca geoglyphs.
So, I wanted to use this as a hook for my story. Continue reading

1 Comment

Finding a giant monster

boy-throwing-baseball-c1930s-h-armstrong-robertsclassicstockI am about to pitch a new story to one of my long-suffering publishers.
I’m probably working on too many different projects at the same, but when a good idea and an opening appears, I like to jump at it. I can do without sleep for a few days, but not without a steady income – and as a freelance writer of genre fiction, this means writing a lot, and selling as much as possible.

And actually, I am currently working on three separate pitches, that will hit different publishers in the next few days…

  • One for a surreal fantasy story, put together upon request by a fine Italian publisher. I should call this an”urban fantasy”, because the setting is a city in the modern day, but my story does not share any of the basic elements today associated with Urban Fantasy – no teenage Goth girls in love with angels, no tattooed badass biker chicks hunting vampires, no witches bickering.
  • One for a collaboration, a very fun fantasy project we’ll pitch to both Italian and English-language publishers.
  • And one for a big monster novel.

And talking about big monsters… Continue reading