Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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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


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New S & S series in the works

One should never brag about projects as they are still in the development phase, but this one is good and looks solid, so I’ll write a bit about it here.
I am discussing a series of stand-alone novellas, basically fantasy/sword & sorcery, to tie in with a popular small press roleplaying game.
I am currently drawing up a full pitch/proposal, with a general concept, sketches of the four recurring heroes, and a detailed outline of the first four episodes.
I am pretty excited about this, because this is the sort of fun project that’s ideal to take my mind off more complicated matters.

And what I find really exciting about this is, the publisher asked me to make the series friendly to younger readers, but also to subvert cliches and expectations and make this a sword & sorcery fit for the twenty-first century.

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I think I’ll have a lot of fun with my characters.
And I get to create my own monsters. How cool is that?

So, right now it’s a new Scrivener file opened, basic publisher requests noted, and it’s time to apply my own wisdom – after all, I sell a course on pitches and proposals, it’s time to put my money where my mouth has been.

I will keep you posted on the developments, and in the meantime… wish me luck.


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Fantasy movie done right: Dragonslayer (1981)

As I probably already mentioned I am currently on a sword & sorcery roll, so last night I took some time off to watch again Dragonslayer, a Disney movie (no, really!) released in 1981.
The film was written and directed by Matthew Robins, whose writing credits include the original story that became George Lucas’ THX1138, as well as both story and screenplay for Sugarland Express. He was also uncredited among the contributors to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and recently wrote Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak.
On Dragonslayer, Robins worked with his often co-author Hal Barwood, whose credits include Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, one of the greatest Indiana Jones stories ever written (and yes, it’s a videogame).

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And it is really a pity Dragonslayer is not more popular, because this is to me one of the best fantasy movies ever made.
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