East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Back on the ‘boards

Pinterest-LogoOne of the unexpected consequences of getting a new, fast web connection, is the fact that I can access again my Pinterest boards, that I had been unable to view for the last year.
Too bandwidth-consuming, Pinterest, for my old less-than-80k line.
But that was then, and this is now

This is particularly fortunate, because I tend(ed) to use Pinboards to collect material for my projects, and it wa sgreat to find a (secret) collection of images and links I had put together for a prospect fantasy novel that I was planning and then postponed after my father’s death. And this will now provide the basic structure and plot for the novel I’ll write, and try and pitch to Angry Robot.
So, a lot of research work’s been done already.
Nice and smooth.

But I also found all my other pinboards, of course and this includes my Worldbuilding pinboard

And this is again interesting, because I’m trying to turn my interest in worldbuilding into something else – I am planning a course on Worldbuilding, that I will offer through the web, again thanks to my new, fast connection.

So all’s well that ends well.
And now I’ll spend the rest of the night updating my Pinboards.

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Friday Prompts: We’ll always have Paris

My Paris when it sizzles Pinboard, which I set up as I was collecting period photos to document my story A Spider with Barbed-Wire Legs1, has grown to over 1000 black and white photos of Paris.

So here’s the sort of thing I’d love to do, and you might like to try yourself – why not pick 5 of these photos at random, and use them to build a story?

Might be fun.

  1. the story is featured in the collection Delta Green: Extraordinary Renditions, by Arc Dream Publishing. 

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I’m stupid, but it’s all right

Yesterday I decided I am stupid, and it’s all right like that.
You see, I was handed a book for review purposes; the thing’s printed by a major Italian publisher and touted as the Second Coming of adventure writing. So yes, I was curious.
Pity the research backing the action was probably limited to re-watching a pair of old movies to get the fake accents right – there’s mountains smack in the middle of the greatest floodplain on Earth, there’s a lot of made-up archeology and anthropology that do not even try to look plausible, there’s a main character so derivative even his name is second-hand. The book apparently is selling in cartloads.

All of this, and I’ve been spending the last week looking for the floorplans of the Cairo Museum in the ’50s, to get the opening scene of my new Corsair story just right.

Cairo and district, Egypt. The Egyptian Museum. Interior of m...

So yes, I felt stupid, but I decided it’s all right like that. Continue reading

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Cheat sheets

A different kind of media, today.
I chanced upon these Travel Cheat Sheets a few days back, and here’s the whole collection, as a handy Pinterest board, courtesy of Wandershare.

The information on each infographic seems useful enough – if not to travel the world, at least to bluff with friends at parties and to give a little color to stories.

I would take them with a grain of salt, anyway – I’m an Italian, and I have no idea why, in my country, you should not order a cappuccino in the afternoon (or anytime, really).
Go figure.

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Other People’s Pulps: Italian Speculative Classics

Genre fiction is often considered as a second-class form of literature, if literature at all.
This stigma was particularly strong in Italy, where a cultural tradition dating from the late 19th century – and probably influenced by catholic culture – considered science and technology, as well as imaginative fiction, as unworthy of serious consideration.
In this realist desert, few authors and publishers flourished.

Here’s a collection of classic covers and illustrations from that heroic age, courtesy of the Acheron Books Pinterest boards.


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5 Tools Everyone Writing Adventure Stories Should Be Using

toolboxIt was suggested to me I do a list of five about adventure writing and about the sort of tools that can be a real life (or time1) saver when you are writing adventure tales.

Yes, of course, Wikipedia and Google Translate, these are quite useful. And Google maps.
And a good reference library does help, too.
But is there something more, or something more suited to writing, and adventure writing in particular?
These are of course my fave tools, and I am sure many out there are using other software/websites/services.
If you’d like to add to the list of suggestions, please do so in the comments sections.
It’s always nice discovering something we don’t know, and that might get handy.

As for me, here goes my list of five. Continue reading