Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Madama Lucrezia: a very small case of synchronicity

I was writing this morning. I am currently juggling writing and translating, and today is a morning writing/afternoon translating sort of day.
So I was writing this scene for the next 4 Against Darkness novella, and the characters are starting to explore the strange place where I placed them.

I wrote

“It was the sculpture of a young woman, her simple dress flowing, her hair in a tall do. The weather had erased her features, making her face a blank. A few fingers of her outstretched hands were missing.”

Myself – WIP

Not a great description, not a sample of superb writing, but after all, it’s a first draft.

At the same moment, my friend Dal – who is a fine artist and lives in Rome – was taking a walk around the ancient city after breakfast, enjoying the quiet and the sights, and took this photo…

… and he posted it on Facebook.
This is called Madama Lucrezia, and is apparently a minor but well beloved landmark in Rome. I never knew about it, of course.

Now this is quite a coincidence – the passage above and the photo happened within a few minutes one from the other.
And I’ll take it as a sign my story is going in the right way.
(I’ll obviously revise the description to make my statue more similar to miss Lucrezia in the final draft)


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World Elephant Day

WED LOGOS CIRCLE_2015-1So, depending on your time zone, yesterday was the World Elephant Day, or today is the World Elephant Day for a few hours yet.

Elephants are majestic animals, creatures of wonder that have been with us throughout our history.
Transportation, heavy lifting, war machine, simple show of might and power, avataras of wise gods… humans have cast the elephants in a lot of roles.

And then there’s ivory, of course – a precious commodity, and the main reason why African elephants are an endangered species.

Now, when I think of elephants, there’s four things that come to my mind, as in a rush… Continue reading


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Talk like a Roman

A great vlog post by the esteemed Lindybeige about language in Ancient Rome – a post that has a very close connection with my Aculeo & Amunet stories1 – and also has a certain connection whit the Great Swape Debate.
Enjoy.


  1. yes, I still remember the guy that said a Roman centurion would never use the expression “cuckold“ 


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An Aculeo & Amunet Spin-off?

One never knows.

bobhoskinsI was putting the finishing touches on one of the Aculeo & Amunet stories that will be collected in the next A&A ebook (coming in september, barring accidents), and I noticed that a number of throwaway characters had proved to be tougher and much more fun to write about than expected.

Centurion Nennius Britannicus is a short, balding man that looks somewhat like Bob Hoskins in my mind’s eye – a second-tier officer with a tendency to get on his commander’s nerves.
When we meet him in The Hand of Isfet (the immediate sequel to Bride of the Swamp God), he’s on patrol duty in the streets of Alexandria.
He’s not exactly enjoying the ride. Continue reading


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Nero’s revolving room

Trust good old Suetonius

Its vestibule was large enough to contain a colossal statue of the emperor a hundred and twenty feet high; and it was so extensive that it had a triple colonnade a mile long. There was a pond too, like a sea, surrounded with buildings to represent cities, besides tracts of country, varied by tilled fields, vineyards, pastures and woods, with great numbers of wild and domestic animals. In the rest of the house all parts were overlaid with gold and adorned with gems and mother-of-pearl. There were dining-rooms with fretted ceils of ivory, whose panels could turn and shower down flowers and were fitted with pipes for sprinkling the guests with perfumes. The main banquet hall was circular and constantly revolved day and night, like the heavens. He had baths supplied with sea water and sulphur water. When the edifice was finished in this style and he dedicated it, he deigned to say nothing more in the way of approval than that he was at last beginning to be housed like a human being.

Now turns (…) out the story about the revolving room was true.

palantine-hill-rome

More details here.