Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Pandora in Krasnojarsk

For my next story, that will be part of the Seven Lives Project, I have put together a handful of pieces, like cards in a solitaire, or pieces of a puzzle. I will start writing the story tomorrow, and work on it for the whole week, and once it’s ready (hoping it’s ready in a week) I will translate it in Italian, and post it to my patrons.
This, at least, is a plan.

But right now, these are all the pieces I have…

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Belle, Buck & Candle

There’s a thing that happens when you write, and it’s that story ideas keep coming at you, like hailstones, like bullets, like drops of rain during a monsoon. This is something non-writers often fail to see – they come to you and they tell you “You know? I’ve got a great idea for a story! Let me tell you, so you can write it and make lotsa money…”
And you think, “No, please, not again…”
Then they wink and mention their share of the profits.

Ideas are everywhere, you only need to keep your eyes and ears open.
And then you need to learn to filter them, and keep the good ones, and know which goes with what to build a story.
It takes some experience – you need to read and write a lot.

Then one day you are browsing Facebook, and you get the full package – a story that wants to be written, all there, all in one place.
Like this…

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One short story in one afternoon

Today I am writing a short story.
Big news, you say. Sue me.
A stand-alone one shot, that still has ties with stuff I did in the past. I’m improvising most of it, but I still have a general outline of sorts for the first half. It’s going to be in the 5000/6000 words range.
The plan is to hammer out a first draft, have dinner, and then clean it up. Then I’ll mail it off to the editor, and hope he likes it enough to buy it.
Otherwise, I’ll look for another market.

These days are particularly stressful for a number of motives, and focusing completely on a short story, to be started and finished in one afternoon, is a good way to keep my mind frpm getting caught up in useless worries. There’s problems, and big problems, but problems on which I do not have any control. So, all I can do is wait and see, and face the music.
And try to keep sane.

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Music and Old Ones

I have just had a pitch accepted by a pretty high profile anthology, for some modern day lovecraftian horror. “Pitch accepted” means “hmm, sounds cool, can you write it? We might buy it.”
It’s actually much better than it sounds. So I am doing some research for the story, because one thing I find it intriguing, when writing Lovecraftian stories, is to lean on the science fiction side.

The pitch was an off the cuff sort of thing.
I saw the call, I pitched a story, based… listen this because it’s weird… based on the idea I am going to explore next on my Patreon podcast, Ten Minutes Till the Savages Come.
Because nothing goes to waste hereabouts, and any idea that can be used twice is twice as good.

An idea, in this case, that sits at the intersection of music, psychology and philosophy, and that’s backed by a thick pile of articles – most of them available online – that I am reading.

In the course of my research – that now goes to feed TWO projects – I am also getting the chance to listen to some cool music.
Like this…

Really, this writing business is getting more fun by the hour.


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Burning down the Library of Alexandria

I have just finished the translation/revision/rewrite of my old story The Cursed Hieroglyph, hat I have half an idea of re-titling The Thing in the Library.
It’s been a lot of hard work, but I am quite satisfied with the results – Nennius Britannicus and his boys came out of it bruised and singed but certainly wiser, and the Great Library of Alexandria was burned down once again.
I mentioned this was, historically, quite a common occurrence.

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Another one for BUSCAFUSCO

I am happy to announce I am working on a new BUSCAFUSCO short story, that will hit my Patrons by the end of the month.
This is part of a special project I am working on (yeah, I know, I will tell you as soon as possible), and I am tapping the help of two friends for research. It will be a Halloween story, and it has to do with some pretty twisted real-life individuals and events.

Will the new story feature the Belbo Valley Crocodile?, you ask.
I’m afraid not.
But it might feature the Belbo Valley Panther – because, yes, here in the hills of Astigianistan, we have a lot of people with more money than sense, that buy illegal endangered wild animals, and then let them escape.

Maybe for this reason, the story is tentatively called “Ladies and Tigers”.


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Monkey & the Cat

Sometimes all the pieces fall in the right place at the right moment. And it feels good when it happens, because the world’s a complicated place, and it’s good to get some reassurance sometimes, that all shall be well – even if it’s a very small thing.

Yesterday night I was writing a new story (yeah, I know, life can be pretty monotonous hereabouts) – a short fantasy, steampunk-ish number featuring two strays, a girl and her cat.
I’m doing it with two different markets in mind – it all depends on how things will turn out. It’s going to be around 2000 words – I’m allowing myself six 350-words scenes (because YES!, I’ve got Scrivener running again!)
But anyway, I was checking my notes and trying to get the story off the ground, when for a number of circuitous reasons I ended up on YouTube and found this song…

Now I have the names of my two characters, and all of a sudden the story’s got legs, and is running. I plan to have it finished by tonight – I’m working on it only after dinner.
And no, the plot’s got nothing to do with the song, it’s just the name, and the way in which the characters coalesced as soon as I put names on them.
I think Monkey and her Cat will turn out to be fun characters to write.