Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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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.
Continue reading


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Firm-breasted lawyers

593x800_7883_Red_Sonja_2d_fantasy_oil_painting_warrior_female_red_hair_picture_image_digital_artOnce again about female characters in fantasy.

The painting here on the right is by the great Donato Giancola.
It’s my idea of a fantasy sword-woman done right.
She has character, she projects strength and toughness but she has class.
OK, so maybe there’s no reason in the ‘verse to handle a sword like that (or so they told me) but who cares – I can believe she’s a real woman.
No brass bikini, no empty, inflatable-doll-like curves to please an adolescent audience.

And the adolescent audience is what’s making me nervous.
And a quick survey of the fantasy and sword & sorcery field in my country* has been dis-heartening. Continue reading


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Choreographing violence in stories

I said I was going to take the day off, but in the end I spent a fair part of yesterday afternoon planning and choreographing a big complicated action scene in the next Aculeo & Amunet story.

The hardest part, for me, when writing A&A, is the part about the fights.
Maybe I already mentioned this.

Fact is, I don’t like violence that much, and I’m not very good at describing it in an entertaining way because… well, because I don’t find it entertaining, I guess.
With some exceptions.

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And yet, considering my Aculeo & Amunet stories are sword & sorcery, there are to be swords in there somewhere, and someone got to use’em.
And Aculeo, being a soldier, is supposed to be the one trained in the use of swords (Amunet takes care of sorcery – nice and smooth). Continue reading