East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Eat like in the days of old

A quick shout-out for a blog I just discovered, and that I really envy – this is the sort of blog I would love to write.


No matter if you are lovers of history, readers of the classics, adventure enthusiasts or just curious people that enjoy good food, please direct your browsers to Farrell Monaco’s blog, Tavola Mediterranea, a beautiful site full of recipes from the ancient shores of the Mediterranean.

Beautiful idea, wonderful execution.
Ah, envy!

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A yacht cruise in 1964

I like to read a good travel book once in a while, and in the summer is a good way to travel without moving.
My interest in travel literature started more or less when I was doing my the first year of university, and it goes well with my passion for fantasy and adventure stories: all these different narratives hinge on travel and exploration, one way or another, they all talk about other places, other times, other people.
Travel books – just like memoirs and biographies – are also a great way to do research, of course.
And what’s better than a travel memoir, then? Continue reading

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Visit the Mediterranean

mediterranean cruiseWhen I started writing The Corsair, the idea of setting the stories in the Mediterranean area was one of the main premises of the series.
I wanted the glamour, exoticism and variety of the Mediterranean coast, along which three continents meet.

As part of the research for the series, I collected a number of travel posters from the 1930s (the era in which I originally planned to set the series) and the 1950s.
The posters were useful both in determining the main tourist destinations in the area in those years, and in defining a certain atmosphere and style.
Here’s a very small selection.

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A way point, and new projects

aquariusThe first half of the first draft of my new novel is in the hands of my editor, while I hammer out the kinks in the second half.
The going is good.
I like the story, I like the characters, and I’m writing about good ideas in a way that I like.
Nice and smooth.

As it usually happens when I’m very busy doing a lot of things, nice ideas start popping up almost everywhere, and it feels really bad to put them on the backburner, or to bury them in my tiger-striped notebook, waiting for a moment to work on them.

So, while my science fiction novel is rounding the half-way buoy and my steampunk game is getting in shape, I’m setting aside two other ideas, not knowing when I’ll be able to work on them. Continue reading

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(Not a) Writing Prompt – a glass of adventure

The Middle Sea


This is not exactly a writing prompt.
Fact is, sometimes we chance upon a picture that sums up everything we’ve been searching for.

I’ve been collecting material for a new series now for over a year.
I want the mystery and the magic of the sea.
Castles on the coast, golden in the last hours of the waning day.
I want shipwrecks and underwater action.
I want the enclosed space of a small sea – the Mediterranean.
And the dream of a quiet, simple life.
And yesterday I found this picture, that has it all.
What a wonderful cover it would make!

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Research… and fun

reading-a-book-001I said it, I’ll repeat it – for me, one of the best bits of writing fiction is doing research.
After all, it means digging up strange facts and reading great books and have a good excuse for it.

I’m doing research for my next book

Sounds cool, too.
AND it’s a great way to decompress after a whole day spent writing.

Now, ok, working in scientific research should be the same – and it used to be just like that: you get paid to learn, experiment and discover new things.
Pity nobody’s paying researchers anymore, not in Italy, anyway.
On with my writing projects, then.

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