Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Leave a comment

Flash from the Past: Hawk & Fisher

I discovered Hawk & Fisher in the early ’90s, when I bought in bulk the six slim Headline paperbacks that make up the series. It was a very strange hybrid: sword & sorcery, detective story and humor.
But I liked the general concept, the six paperbacks were cheap, and it was a fun way to spend a summer.

Hawk & Fisher is one of the first series developed by Simon R. Green, a British writer that has fully metabolized the pulp ethos of yore: he writes serial characters, usually in pretty classic genres (fantasy, horror, space opera), adding a twist that makes even the most trite concepts look fresher.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Tea-time with Frankie Drake

I’m sticking to my idea of dropping out of Facebook between 5 and 6.30 PM, and my levels of stress are dropping fast. Just give a wide berth to the socials as people get out of work and pour their frustration online, that’s the trick.

During these 90 minutes of freedom, I’m checking my mail, listening to some music, and maybe watching some TV show. I went through YouTube’s Origin in a week, and right now I’ve found another thing that keeps me happy while I detox from the socials: it’s called Frankie Drake Mysteries, and it’s just my cup of tea.

Which is quite fitting, considering I’m watching it at tea-time, or thereabouts.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Shopping suggestions mystery

What would be our life without a little mystery.
Here’s my little mystery from the last two weeks or thereabouts.

I get mails from Amazon.it.
My favorite pusher of books and assorted stuff sends me a mail once in a while suggesting stuff I might like.
fadfae60-1061-4d45-b1ab-b2f7e14d41cdBecause evidently Amazon.it likes to play it safe, these lists of stuff I might like usually include ten items, eight of which are taken from my Amazon wishlist and/or from my recent browsing history, including stuff I have actually bought, with two other titles thrown in for good measure.
Now I find it markedly stupid on Amazon’s part to suggest to me I buy something I already wish to buy, but who knows, maybe it’s one of those psychology things.

Anyway, I got three such mails in the last ten/fifteen days, and something weird happened. Continue reading


2 Comments

Pitches

And then there is this idea of pitching a few novels to a few publishers.
Because who needs to sleep anyway?

Right now I have a serial project that’s doing the tours of a pair of local publishers. Short, novella length regional-focused mysteries, sort of a cozy version of BUSCAFUSCO, written in team with a good friend that’s providing local color and a much-needed second brain.
This is really a project tailored on the public: let’s write a series that will appeal to both male and female readers, with a local interest but marketable all over the country and maybe even exported in Europe. Something fast, fun, unusual, intelligent and popular at the same time.
Our pitch-package is the fist three chapters (about 5000 words) of a proposed 30/40.000-words first episode, plus a complete detailed outline of the story and a full bible for the series.
We are waiting for an answer from a prospect publisher, and at the same time evaluating other possible targets.

far_future1

While this is doing the rounds, I am getting ready to pitch two science fiction novels to two separate publishers. Smart, modern hard SF with current topics and events as a focus.
Maybe it’s translating Central Station, but I’d really love to go back to my genre with something I think is missing from what my Italian colleagues are doing. There is an unexplored niche, and it would be good to start exploring it.
The idea is to do an Earth-based story and a space-based one.
Both of these are long shots, but having the time, I’d like to put together a pitch-pack like the one described above, three chapters and a complete outline, and start to test prospect publishers.

These, of course, are projects for the summer.
If I’ll still have a home, by then.
Wish me luck.


1 Comment

A Waiting Game – the wait is over

And so it’s out, my friend Shanmei’s A Waiting Game, which I translated in the past weeks.
If you like mysteries and the east and the early 20th century, this might be your cup of tea.
The story is very loosely based on a real character, but the story is entirely fictional – a small mystery, with a touch of espionage.
Hopefully, more is to come, with Shanmei already working on a new story, and plotting a full-blown novel.

51-oHkmcpDL

In the meantime, A Waiting Game goes for one buck and a half, and it reads like a breeze.
Check it out.


3 Comments

A little hype: Shanmei’s “The Waiting Game”

I just delivered the translation of my friend Shanmei’s short story The Waiting Game, and I guess the ebook will be available as soon as the cover is ready.

Meanwhile, why not start with a little publicity?
Here is the blurb…

Peking, 1902

In the cosmopolitan China of the early 20th century, following the violence and horror of the Boxer Rebellion, lieutenant Luigi Bianchi, serving in Huang Tsun, is involved in the investigation of the death of a wealthy French merchant, poisoned while dining at the Golden Phoenix restaurant.
A Chinese waiter has been arrested for the murder, but is he really the killer?
And why the Japanese embassy seems to hide some details?

A short colonial mystery, with a dash of spy story, the first in a series set between 1900 and 1905, featuring an Italian soldier with a knack for investigations.

Would you buy it?
(I would, but being the translator, I get my copy for free)


Leave a comment

The Murdoch Mysteries

While it is absolutely certain that we are living in a very exciting time for TV series, I’m not particularly fond of the recent explosion of superhero shows.
I watched Arrow out of loyalty for a character I had loved in the comics, but apart from a savage crush for Felicity Smoak, I did not enjoy the show that much.
Granted, YMMV, but… I don’t know – I still prefer superheroes in comic books.

Green_Arrow_The_Longbow_Hunters001

What I get into, a lot, these days, are mystery shows.
And having already waxed lyrical about that absolute gem, the Australian Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, I thought I might as well do a few posts on a few other shows I enjoy a lot. Starting with Canada’s own Murdoch Mysteries (which, I just found out, is called The Artful Detective in some quarters).

Murdoch Mysteries Series 4

Continue reading