Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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New York and my father

I am putting the finishing touches on a new story, the deadline is two days away. I’m working on another author’s bible, and I’ve enjoyed the writing so far. I like the characters, the set-up, the concept.
As I usually do, I used the web to research a bit the canonical elements. In this case, I used Google Maps to reconnoiter the area in New York in which the main character lives.

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And I found to my surprise that the main character lives about a block away from my father’s place when he lived in New York.
It gave me a weird turn. Continue reading

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Done it!

The story is called Slam Dance (ant that will be its title if the publisher does not decide to change it) and yes, it’s the kill the stripper story I mentioned in the past.
15.000 words of it, and change.
And it’s now going through one last check and then it will be on its way to the editor – and with 12 hours until the deadline.
Whew!

And I am pretty pleased myself – not only for the fact that I made it well within the deadline, but most of all because this was for me a first: my first proper police procedural, without any noir or hard-boiled elements, no fantasy or supernatural or science-fictional elements.
Just straight cops and robbers.
And pulling it was a lot of hard work.

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As usual, the internet was a huge resource – I learned a lot about the most popular car and the best beer and the cheapest whiskey in a certain state of the Bible Belt. I explored local cooking and fishing practices.
I studied hunting lodges and brothels.stripper-shoes-double-as-tip-jar
And yes, strip joints, too.
All of this, of course, I did for my Art.
And through Google – which makes all the naughty bits not-so-naughty after all, and the food and beverages 100% calories and alcohol free.

But now it’s done, and I’ll take the night off.
The stripper’s dead, long live the stripper.


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20.000 in 6

Uh, WOW!
The big news is, a pitch was accepted for a story, and I have to deliver the first draft by September the 1st.
That’s 20.000 words tops, in six days.
Roughly 3500 good words per day.

I know I can make it – the pitch was accepted based on a pretty solid outline, so I know what’s going to happen, where, how, to whom.
It’s basically just a matter of sticking to schedule and do the mechanical work of pouring the story out of my somewhat overexcited brain, and onto Scrivener.

But I am happy as a child, because this is a HUGE opportunity, and it’s going to be lots of fun.
And hard work.

If you see my blog activity slack in the next days, you know the reason why.
But I’ll try and keep you posted.
Wish.
Me.
Luck.

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Three Devils in Faustus

I just delivered a new 5000-words story to the editor of a forthcoming anthology.
It’s supposed to be sword & sorcery, and indeed it features a sword, and some sorcery.
The Devil itself plays a part in it – quite literally.
It will be first published in Italian (if, that is, it turns out to be good enough), and then hopefully also in English.

11936-004-4F8FBD3DThe story is called “Three Devils in Faustus” – and yes, this is a wink at Leiber’s masterful “Four Ghosts in Hamlet”.
I’ll never be as good as Leiber, but my story strives to be somewhat Leiberian in tone, as there is little violence, much talk, some drunkenness and a striking woman in a green dress.
But there is also some bit of Anderson’s “A Midsummer Tempest” – that is, it looks like it takes place in our world, but actually it does not.

The story did take indeed some curious work of bricolage. Continue reading


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Clod & Dagger

One of the things I’m working on is a sword & sorcery story for a forthcoming anthology of Italian low fantasy, known as “Zappa & Spada”1.
The idea is to do a humorous – if possible – collection of grim stories about the lower classes in a fantasy setting.

My idea is moderately humorous but not overly grim2, and evolves around the lady of a small feudal holding that, while her husband and all the “able men” are away to fight for the emperor, has to patch together an army of peasants, poachers and women to hold back a marauding band of raiders.

Not an overly original idea I will admit – George MacDonald Fraser used something similar in his The Candlemass Road, and a great little book it was3.
But I’ll try and make something different of it. Continue reading


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Somewhere, I’m sure, the future is bright: big enough dreams

I stumbled on something that looks like it’s been made for me, the other day.
It’s called Sapiens Plurum:

Sapiens Plurum (Latin for “wisdom of many”) was named to reflect humankind’s evolving connected intelligence. Our mission is to inspire us — the first species that can intentionally impact its own evolution — to aspire beyond what was humanly possible. The rising generation, the Sapiens Plurum generation, will have the power of gods of ancient myth: to heal, to transform, to battle and to better the future of humankind, to overcome problems that have plagued civilization for millennia: thirst, hunger, disease, pollution, brutality, tyranny and environmental degradation.

Now it’s easy to act cynical and blasé, but I think these are worthy aspirations.
So where do I start pushing to help get this thing on the road?

It turns out they are having a contest. A literary contest, called 2017 Earth-Day Short-Fiction Contest.

Sapiens Plurum is seeking writers who can plot amazing outcomes. Our Earth Day Short Fiction Contest this year challenges authors to dream big enough dreams. Tell us of a future: In your imagination, can we evolve humanity to a better place? Or will we, like Icarus, end up too close to the Sun?

The idea is to submit a short piece, 1500 to 3000 words, a positivist, optimistic story about how the future will be better in a big way.
That I can do. Or try to.
I love optimistic SF, and 3000 words, while hard (actually harder than 4500, so sue me) can still be done in two evenings.

But as I took a walk to get my brain working, I hit a brick wall.
The bright future awaiting us… Continue reading