East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Going Noir in Faeryland

42989848_10215692319757653_2014258310848446464_nLess than 12 hours after the paintings by Astor Alexander started making the rounds, a call hit the usual suspects, for an anthology of pulp retellings of faery tales.
The only rule: not the ninbe princesses portrayed in the original paintings.
Which is a pity, because I love Pocahontas – Private Eye.
Anyway, that’s what writing to a call means – you go with the publisher’s requests.
And so I did some research, dug out Giambattista Basile, and sent a pitch straight away (and this makes three submissions to three different publishers this week). Continue reading

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A Piece of the Action

In the end, the story I jotted down in first draft two nights back turned into a 3100-words short called A Piece of the Action, and it’s currently on its way towards the editor’s desk, hoping it will find a slot in the proposed anthology.

WriterAtWorkMy current process is more or less defined.

  1. I write the first draft in public, working in Google Docs online, in two or three hours, in the evening.
  2. I let the story rest for about 24 hours while I do something completely different.
  3. Still in Google Docs, I clean up the file, deleting my in-line live commentary and doing a first revision.
  4. Then I switch the Language Tools plugin and have a go at the text, catching typos, inconsistencies and wrong phrase construction.
  5. At this point, I copy and paste the text in a LibreOffice doc and I have a final revision, cutting what can be cut and adding what needs to be added.
  6. I format the text according to the guidelines, I save it in the requested format, and I send it along to the editor with a brief cover letter.

And that’s it.
Then the waiting begins, because there’s usually a few weeks lag between delivery and final verdict.
But that’s part of the game.
And now, on to the next story.
This thing is working like clockwork.
Tonight I might try and do another, depending on how my plans for dinner work out.

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Back to Mars, in a hurry

OK, so I am outlining a story I will try and sell to Tor.com.
This is a very long shot, and while the up side is they are looking for stories between 20.000 and 40.000 words long, which is nicely in my comfort zone, the down side is I have two months to write it, while at the same time doing a number of other jobs, and this is certainly the hardest market to crack out there.
But let’s admit it, not trying would be stupid.
kermit_typing As I mentioned yesterday, I am trying to ramp up my output – and indeed working on AMARNA1 was a great training.
And while it will still take some time for me to publish one novel-length work per month, I have high hopes for a serious increase in my output in the next weeks and months. Continue reading

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A new story, a true first

I just finished going through the edits of the story I mentioned a while back, the one I wrote for the hell of it, and to clean my systems after a long writing-on-demand stretch. My friend Marina went through it and caught a lot of rubbish I had left in the manuscript, and now the text is clean and ready for action.
432115Now I’ll concoct a cover, and then self-publish it, once again going for both Amazon and Gumroad.
And of course my top-tier Patrons will get a copy, whether they like it or not.

The story is called Listening Post, it’s a little above 6500 words, and it’s a first for me, being military SF.
Or maybe I should call it Paramilitary SF, considering the plot focuses on a privateer ship working as a contractor during an interstellar war. Continue reading


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.


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.

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.


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.