East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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The long and short of it

I write mostly short stories and novellas. The main reasons, I think, have to do with time – on one hand, I often write to pay my bills, and writing fast is OK, but shorter works can be mailed out to publishers faster. But there is also another element, and it’s got to do with my impatience – as I often write to see how the story will go and what will happen to the characters, by writing short I get my answers sooner.

The same goes, I believe, with reading – as I grow old I find myself more attracted to short stories and novellas than to longer works, and I tend to prefer one shot novels to lengthy series.

But there are exceptions.

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Quarantine reads: Cherryh and Hodgell, and Block

I decided I will devote some time in this quarantine period to read three series that have been on my radar for ages, now, and I have always kept for later – one of them, indeed, comes from one of my emergency boxes, the stashes of paperbacks I sometimes buy (especially when I find a good special offer) and save for the hard times.
Well, the hard times are here, so here we go.

I normally don’t like series anymore – as I grow old, I found out I prefer standalone novels, novellas, or series of short stories. But these cases are different. These are three series of which I have already read the first volume, and they are the work of three authors I greatly admire – so, no risk there, right?

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Books for August – a list of five

My brand consultant (yeah, I’m just like the pros, see?) tells me I should do what everybody else does, and post a list of suggested books for my readers to pack as they go on vacation.
Make it a five points list, he said. People love five points lists.
And who am I to ignore my brand consultant on such matters?
So, here we go… a few books you might like to pick up for your summer reading, provided with handy Amazon link and all.
Many of these I have already mentioned, because I don’t like suggesting stuff I have not read myself.

Let’s see…

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P.C. Hodgell on writing

God-Stalk-P.-C.-HodgellI am having a wonderful time reading the God Stalker books by P.C. Hodgell1, and it was ages since I had enjoyed a fantasy series so much. Sprawling is a word that comes to mind, but in a good way.
P.C. Hodgell therefore went straight into my short list of authors whose technique I admire, and whose skills I’d love to emulate.

So, fueled by my fanboy-ish enthusiasm, I did a little search on YouTube, and found these two snippets of interview, that I think I am going to share.
Always interesting, listening to writers talking about their work.
I hope you’ll like ‘em, and maybe check out her books.

  1. in case you are interested, you can get the first four in the series as two hefty paperbacks by Baen books. The covers are nothing to write home about, but you are not buying books for their covers, right? 

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God Stalk and the Fantasy Interregnum

A woman with retractable claws like a cat, fleeing from a territory where an obscure power changes everything that lives, and where everything that dies rises again, hostile and unstoppable. A vast city, in which men and gods live side by side, and once a year the dead gods roam the streets in search of revenge on humanity that has abandoned them. A shadow that stretches slow and inexorable over the world, no longer opposed by those who were charged with preserving the order.

God Stalk, by P.C. Hodgell has been called one of the best fantasy of the last thirty years. Surely it was the best fantasy I happened to read in 2015 – quite the latecomer, considering God Stalk was released in 1982 for Berkley Fantasy.


It was God Stalk that got me thinking about what I call The Interregnum, that has been a side interest of mine these last three years.
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Women’s Day and book suggestions

maudfealyHere we go.
It’s the International Woman’s Day, and I thought… why not do a post about women authors I love?
A post about those authors whose books have influenced my writing, setting a very high standard and making me go

“That’s what I want to write! That’s the way I want to write it!”

I did a post, a long time ago, about non-fiction women writers whose influence I felt and still feel.
This time, let’s go for fantasy and science fiction – a limited list, only five names, the ones that are at the top of my list, and without my disrespect for all the fine writers I’ll leave out.
Here’s my top five, in no particular order… Continue reading