East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Selling the unknown

I have just mailed a four-page preliminary pitch to my Italian publisher, a proposal for a novel that might be fun to write, and might become the first in a series (one hopes) and might even have a chance on the international marketplace (ditto).

Now, a short pitch should include the working title, the general plot, and the major selling points of the book. The author, in other words, should tell the publisher why this book is the coolest book ever written, why it will sell in cartloads, and who is going to buy it (possibly multiple copies of it).

And here is the rub – one of the strong points of my story, I am sure, is that nothing like this was done before, at least in my country, at least within my genre of choice. I can point out TV series and movies, comics and books, that work on the same premises – or something really similar – but in Italian, as horror/thriller? No, never.

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Playing with the grown ups

I have just received the galley proofs of a book that will come out in the next weeks (I do not have an ETA) and that includes a story of mine.
Checking the galleys of an anthology is good, because while re-reading for the umpteenth time our own story is boring as hell, we get a peek at the other stories in the book too.
This is always exciting, because often we do not know who will be in the anthology, with whom we’ll be sharing these pages.

So I checked my story, and that my name was spelled correctly everywhere, and the link to this blog in my short bio was OK, and then checked my travel companions.
And among the names that I know I spotted an author I have respected and followed for years, both as a writer of fiction and non-fiction. I have his books here on my shelf, and I have tried to steal some of his tricks for years now.
And we will be in the same book.

And this is not the first time it happens – I’ve shared books with a few authors that were first of all my personal idols, my inspiration and a sort of far away myth.
“You’ll never be as good as these guys,” I said to myself.
And I still say it.
But I have proof in print that while I will never be as good as they are, at least I am good enough to be allowed in their same playing field.

I don’t know if this is “validation by association”, but it’s good for the soul.
It means I’m moving in the right direction.
Slowly, sometimes painfully, but I’m on my way.

I’ll let you know when the book is out.

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The new book has been outlined: now comes the fun part

This morning I put together the first proper outline of a book that will supposedly see the light in early 2020: a non fiction book for a small but classy Italian publisher dealing with one of the topics of this blog: travelers and explorers in exotic parts, between 1800 and 1940-something.

The trick will be weaving together the lives of at least twenty historical characters, so that the volume will be a homogeneous narrative and not a series of episodes.

So I spent quite some time trying to decide whether to use time or space to tie the story together.

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Crooks in history

I have just delivered a 33.000 unproofed manuscript to all those that last summer supported my crowdfunding for the fist Italian-language outing of BUSCAFUSCO.
The book is called La Storia Fatta coi Cialtroni (literally “History made with slobs”) and it is a first collection of eccentrics, adventurers, loose women and other assorted crooks and cranks across the last three centuries.

The proper book will come out (hopefully) for Christmas or (more likely) for Twelfth Night, and it was a hoot to put together and a cow to edit.
That’s why I sent off an unproofed version.

My Patreon supporters will probably get new excerpts of a second volume, and some English-language snippets of the first.

Because it’s fun.



brush_PNG7389I have just contacted and contracted an excellent artist for the cover of my new project.
I have already mentioned I am going to do a serial, a number of self-contained episodes pushing forward an overarching plot, so that readers will be able to enjoy each episode but in the end will also have a full novel in their hands.
It’s the first time I try something like this seriously.
Writing a proper serial, I mean.
I did something that might have looked like a serial when I was in high school, to entertain my classmates and try to win the affection of a certain blonde. It was fun, and it did fit my extremely underdeveloped ability to carry a story for more than thirty pages. And in the end I won the affection of a brunette.
But in retrospect, it was not a very good story. Continue reading