Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Nevèrÿon

Of course I knew it, when I picked it up. I knew it would be hard going, and it would mock all I know about the genre, and make me feel small and stupid and basically fire-bomb all I know about writing.
But after all that was the reason why I picked it up to start with.

I’ve decided to devote the Christmas nights to the reading of Samuel R. Delany’s Tales of Nevèrÿon, his 1978 collection of stories that is the first volume of the Return to Nevèrÿon series.

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Coming soon-ish: The Heart of the Lizard

There is one thing that can really make things look up even on a cold rainy day, when you are writing for a living, and that’s being asked by your publisher how many more stories in the same series can you write, per year, should the first one you just delivered be a success.

The obvious answer being “as many as you need,” of course – but in the meantime you feel real good because you know you’ve done a good job.

It happened to me a few hours ago, three days after delivering The Heart of the Lizard, my first (hopefully, of many) tie-in novella for Andrea Sfiligoi’s 4 Against Darkness fantasy solo roleplaying game, set in the gaming world of Norindaal.

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A new Sword & Sorcery story

After the weekend I’ll have to deliver to my publisher a 20.000-words swords & sorcery novella. It’s a game tie-in job, and it needs to conform to the standards of the so called Old School gaming.
You know, Dungeons & Dragons-style.
A simple party. A linear mission.
Explore the dungeon. Kill the monsters. Get the treasures. Come back alive.

Should the readers like it, it might become the first in a series – and I’d really like it, because it’s turning out to be a fun job.
I still don’t have a title, but it’s a fun job.

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Art requests and a new series

One of the best bits of this writing business is sending cover art requests to the publisher.
Oh, it’s a bother, because, well, I grew up with those incredible Whelan, Sanjulian, Frazetta, Maitz covers, and so my imagination tends to run amok when I have to describe my dream cover to the artist, but it’s also lots of fun.

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… and then we put a big sabretooth tiger skull in the right corner…

And it usually only takes two or three attempts.
But this time it took only one.

Which is a rather circular way to say that my sword & sorcery story, tentatively called Heart of the Lizard, is getting a cover, and is, therefore, “a thing” – or it will be soon-ish.

Hopefully this will be the first in a series of 20.000 words novellas, and it will feature a larger cast compared to my usual works.

Right now I am hard at work on the text to surprise my publisher and hand him the finished story one week earlier than promised. And I still hope to find time to write a few other things this weekend.
Who needs to sleep anyway?


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The Last House in the Valley

I’ve just finished translating The Last House in the Valley, the second story in my very loose and occasional Tales of the Frontier.

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The first tale, if you remember, was posted last summer, and was called The Demoness with White Hair.
In that case, it was the development of a short piece I had written as a test for a publisher (they never called back).
In this case, it was a story I wrote in a few hours and then handed to my friend Hell for an editing, the lot online and live.
The story some wanker deleted, and wrote Sickening.

Now you might wonder, is it truly sickening? Continue reading