Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Two new experiments

It must be the spring, or maybe the insomnia – sleep deprivation does have a lot of weird side-effects, after all…
Anyway, I get lots of ideas, these nights. So I’ve decided to try two experiments. One of them will involve only my Patrons, while the other will be open to the public.
Both are unashamedly self-promotional.
Both will probably be quite fun. Continue reading

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Cheer Like an Egyptian

This post was shared with my Patrons, but it’s too good a story to keep for a chosen few. Also, this is the genre of anachronism thing that my friend Claire loves to hate, and I hope she passes hereabouts and enjoys the disaster.

Fact is, a friend forwarded me, three days ago, the preview of a book – I will not mention the author nor the title. The reason the pages were forwarded is simple, and three-fold:
. It’s a story set in Egypt, and therefore intersects my interests
. It’s a good example of bad worldbuilding (and I am currently teaching a course on the subject, so I need show-and-tell material)
. “See, you fool? You spend too much time doing research…”

Well, I do not.
I love doing research, and if it does not make my writing better, at least it helps with my Impostor’s Syndrome.

Ruling-ancient-egypt-dbf7890

Anyway, the extract is rather amusing, sort of like putting a rabid cat in a box and then sitting over it, and it will certainly make for a great handout for my course.
The names are at best wrong, at worst ridiculous, the action is wooden and stilted, and then the Egyptians shout

Hooray!

Really? Continue reading


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Two-months review

It’s been a busy two months, December 2017 and January 2018, two months during which I finally put to work the fast internet connection activated in October and I started my online courses. Two months during which the first phase of the AMARNA project started, and of course the first two months on Patreon.
With this post, I will try to give a brief overview of these two months, focusing on Patreon in particular. Continue reading


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The Chopping Squad on Patreon

The guy with the sandy hair and the Yankee accent ordered a second serving of pie and some more coffee.
“Thank you,” he glanced at her name tag, “Lucy. Best pie I had in a while.”
She smiled back at him, and walked back behind the counter. The bell on the door chimed and three kids walked in.
“What are you doing here, kids?” Lucy asked. “Skipped school today?”
Suzy Johnson was the older of the three, in a Shirley Temple get up, her knees dirty and her socks bundled around her ankles.
She ignored the waitress’ question. Her brother, Billy, was pointing at the man eating his pie.
“That’s him,” Billy said.
Her brother and the other boy in tow, Suzy walked to the stranger’s table.
Lucy crossed her arms and leaned on the counter.
Suzy stood by the table, staring seriously at the man.
“He says you a magician,” she said, in a confrontational tone.
The man turned and stared at her, then at the boys. He shrugged. “I used to be,” he said.
“Show me some trick, then.”
He put down his fork and closed his eyes.

A big first today: I’ve just sent a story to my Patreon supporters.
And I’m a bit nervous.
This being the Christmas season and all that, I chose a 6300-words horror/thriller set in 1930s New York and called The Chopping Squad.

Grand-Central-Terminal-NYC-1930s

The story was written for an anthology that never happened. Later, I expanded it to pitch it to another publisher, that liked it enough to ask me to try and expand it to short-novel length.
And I’m working on it.
In the meantime, I hope my Patrons will like it.
Now we are finally cooking with fire.


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Good news for the 1-Buck Brigade

unnamedFollowing the thousands of protests and complaints from both Creators and Patron, Patreon has announced they will NOT change their billing system as previously planned.

This is good news especially for all those patrons that are showing their support with 1$ or 2$ pledges – that may seem nothing to outside observers, but are actually significant and important for the creators, and that were on the receiving end of the harshest increase in fees. It was just unfair to have these patrons pay an extra to make a donation.

Jack Comte’s announcement is an excellent show of how damage control should be handled, and is a first step in restoring the public’s faith in Patreon.

This is certainly good news as far as I am concerned – and now back to work on this month’s Patreon contents.


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Smile for the camera

unnamedPart of this Sunday morning was spent trying to understand how to shot the presentation video for my Patreon page.
Basically I should do a 2/3 minutes shot, with my face and my voice, explaining my prospect patrons why they should feel like joining my Patreon thing.

I am no videomaker.
I had a hard time enough setting up my podcast (that is bound to return in 2018), imagine me playing with video, codecs, compression formats and the like.
Right now, I have two alternatives – using my webcam and my PC, or using my smartphone. Continue reading


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The price of peace of mind

OK, so I went and did it.
I’ve been on Patreon as a lurker for a while now, but last night I went and did what needed to be done, and I am about to launch my Patreon page on the 1st of December.

For the uninitiated, here’s a quick video overview.

Patreon allows fans to put down some money (as little as 1 buck per month) in order to pay their favorite writers, musicians, artists etc.
And I’ll give it a try. Let me explain why… Continue reading