Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The Corsair and the Stray Cats

A few months ago I set up something that was to be called Seven Lives – a collection of my unpublished stories, seven, all with a cat somewhere, to be treacherously handed to my supporters on Patreon (because it’s good to be my supporters on Patreon ) and then to be grouped in a single volume, to be sold to raise funds for two stray cat shelters.

Arrived at the sixth story, three things happened

  • I was told that cats have nine lives, not seven, silly!
  • my current job as a ghostwriter overflowed and drowned me
  • a global pandemic hit us all

And so my plan for one story a month went hiwire, but only a little – and so the seventh story, which was scheduled for March, came out only today.

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Guillotine Wind, a preview

In a few days, my patrons will receive their copy of Guillotine Wind, a novella that celebrates the second year of my Patron page and is also part of the Seven Lives project. The stories in the projects will reprise characters from some of my series – we’ve had a Buscafusco story already, then we’ll get a new Corsair story,a new Aculeo & Amunet story, and so on.

Guillotine Wind is something special, because it is part of a series (of two series, actually), but is also a first in its series. The debut story.
Straight historical adventure, ready to roll.

Yesterday my Patrons got a chance to see the first chapter of the new story – a rough, unedited draft.
I am now sharing this here with you because, who knows, you might get curious and decide to check out my Patreon and the story.
Enjoy!

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Pandora in Krasnojarsk

For my next story, that will be part of the Seven Lives Project, I have put together a handful of pieces, like cards in a solitaire, or pieces of a puzzle. I will start writing the story tomorrow, and work on it for the whole week, and once it’s ready (hoping it’s ready in a week) I will translate it in Italian, and post it to my patrons.
This, at least, is a plan.

But right now, these are all the pieces I have…

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Seven Lives

I mentioned at the end of august how I was trying to do something in support of a cathouse in Lanzarote – because I like cats and because as a long-time Harry Flashman fan, I love the idea of telling people that I pay to help the ladies working in a cathouse.
Yes, I know, it’s juvenile, so sue me.

Cats with no name, by Robert McGinnis

Anyway, in the intervening weeks I realized that with my finances in shambles there is very little I can do for the cats and the ladies.
What to do?
The only thing I can do, in fact, is write.
And so I started writing.

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Seven the hard way

I had it all planned. A new collection of my short stories, six of them, six different genres – a ghost story, a fantasy story, a science fiction story, a western, a mystery/caper story and a historical swashbuckler – and sharing a common theme.
My first new book for 2020, it should come out in both English and Italian.
Nice and smooth.

I only needed a title, and I needed it because it’s complicated pitching a book without a title.
Titles are complicated. You need something short, easy to remember, original, that hints at the contents but does not give away the twists and turns…

So I made a list of what would be in the book – themes, characters, setting, recurring tropes.
I checked the usual sources – Shakespeare’s Complete Works, the Bible, Oscar Wilde, John Donne, Lao Tsu, Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, Steely Dan…

But of course there was the common, underlying theme, and it was there from the start, part of the pitch itself for the project.
And it pointed straight at an obvious title.

And titles can be obvious – nothing wrong with that.
Obvious, simple and straightforward.
The collection will be called Seven Lives.

Which of course means that it can’t be a six-stories collection.
I’ll have to write another one.
And I’m thinking about what other genre I could add to the list.
Any ideas or suggestions?
Write in the comments.