Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The blues and the Etruscans

My day started with a mail informing me that a story of mine has been shortlisted for an international anthology. Now we’ll wait for the second round of selection. To quote the poet

Some will win
Some will lose
Some were born
To sing the blues

Journey

It was a good start: in two days two stories of mine have been accepted (well, almost, in one case) counterbalancing the two that bounced back a few days ago.

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Scrap paper

One of Bob Heinlein’s rules for writers is, you shall finish what you started. It’s useless to start a dozen stories and not finish even one of them. And I did, for ages – I had boxes full of started-and-never-finished short stories, back when I still used a typewriter. And later, diskettes – dozens of them.

Nowadays, what with the fact that writing is paying the bills and all that, I finish what I start – or try to be smart enough to drop it after 1000 words tops. If the story is not working for me after 1000 words (give or take 200), it means that it needs more thinking and planning. I drop it and move on to something more defined, that I can reasonably start and finish.

This is the case with the stories in the new series I had planned, and that are going nowhere. I have three – count’em, THREE! – stories outlined and defined, the characters are profiled and engaging (to me, at least) but the stories fail to start up. They are limp and undefined. They are broken. They are bad. So I dropped them.

I’m moving on to other things, while ideas sediment and I wait for the right angle to become clear. This means that my planned new project on a new platform will have to wait. But what the hell – there’s my name on the stories, they are better be good.


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Cold, idle and with a new skill

A very cold day after many weeks of early-Autumn-like warmth, a day spent – once the idea of going for a walk in the fields was cancelled with a deep shiver – mostly in bed, reading, and recharging my batteries.

But I have received news about a story of mine, that passed the first round of selection and now will go through a final pass – and we’ll learn if I have a sale or a story looking for a new home.
Fingers crossed, but not enough to stop me typing.

And in other news, I have started yet another career, adding a new unlikely skill to my already overloaded resume: I am now offering my services as a translator and subtitle-monger (I don’t know what’s the proper name of the job) for online videos.
You got a video, on Youtube or elsewhere, you’d like to have subtitled in Italian?
Or, indeed, in English?
Look no further, and as Blondie used to sing, call me.
I’m good, fast, and most of all, I’m cheap.

And now, I’ll go and fix myself a hot Indian dinner.
Later!


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Welcome to Funeral Point

mana bros base squareI am happy to announce that the first… hmm, the first thing branded with the Mana Bros logo is about to hit the shelves.
As I mentioned a few days back, I’m working on a number of project, one of which is the translation of Il Sonno della Ragione, the indie horror/adventure game by my friend Alex Girola. The setting is very fun, and it’s the sort of gaming universe that gives you ideas.

Last night I went through a bout of insomnia – as it sometimes happens to me – and I started writing to pass the time. The end result is Welcome to the Neighborhood, a short story set in the universe of the game, and the first episode in a series that will go under the name of Funeral Point. Continue reading


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The Wonderman

But at the same time I am writing a story featuring the Count of St. Germain. The guy that Voltaire nicknamed The Wonderman.
The story is fully outlined but – for some strange reason – every time I sit down to start writing it, I get interrupted, usually by some nuisance that not only interferes with my writing work, but actually leaves me irritated and annoyed.
Go figure.

CITTADINI-DELLE-TENEBRE-di-Peter-Kolosimo-Oscar-Mondadori-1978-179-pagine-311575338279-500x710Now, I jumped at the idea of writing a story about St. Germain because he is one of the first mysterious characters I met as a kid, when I was reading books about mysteries and weirdness. I actually found him in a book I already mentioned in the past, Peter Kolosimo’s Cittadini delle Tenebre, sort of a young man’s primer on the occult, and a really fun book. Continue reading


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Two good ideas at the same time

Don’t you hate it when it happens?
Here I am, with tons of stuff to do, and two huge ideas that push on my brain to get to my fingers and through my fingers and the keyboard on a page and then get printed, and published, and read.

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Two ideas.
Two whole worlds.
Two potential new series.
Heroes, or at least a decent substitute for heroes, already there, ready to have a go at whatever I will throw at them.
So now what? Continue reading