East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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No hangout tonight

Hangouts_IconI was planning a hangout session with my English-speaking patrons tonight, but I got no response.
My fault – too little advance time, and probably a time window that, by trying to satisfy everybody, it did actually satisfy no-one.
Oh, well, there will be more opportunities.

In the meantime, I am getting ready for a public writing session – this time in Italian, and hosted (so to speak) by an Italian ebook-enthusiast Facebook group.
To make things a little trickier, I asked the guys in the group to pitch in with story prompts.
The one that will get more votes is the one I will write, in Italian.

And as we are talking about writing in Italian…

transaltingIt’s been suggested to me that I do translate into English a few of my so far Italian-only stories.
And I thought, why not?
Now I have only to decide what to translate.
Eroi dei Due Mondi, my steampunk-ish series about assorted Italians on Mars?
Gli Orrori della Valle Belbo, my collection of horrors set here in the hills where I live?
Or maybe Asteria, my Sword & Sandal series inspired to old peplum movies?

I’d be REALLY partial to translating Asteria, but of course opinions and suggestions are more than welcome.


Translating the (Savage) Worlds

Some great news.
As of today, I’m one of the translators for the Italian Edition of the Savage Worlds roleplaying game system.
As a long-time fan and player of Savage Worlds, I’m proud and excited about the job ahead – and a bit scared, as times are tight, and the work to be done is huge.
But the fun of the project more than compensates the hardships to come.

And I will be translating the main rulesbook!


In the next thirty days, I will be eating, drinking and breathing this book.
But considering I already did it, as a game keeper, and for many years, it will not be such a hard thing to do.

And there’s some more exciting, Savage Worlds-related stuff coming.
It will be great.

My other projects will have to fall back on spare time and stolen moments.
Who needs to sleep anyway?


Phishers of Men 2 – The Return

phishing_hThe problem with GoogleTranslate of course is, it can’t handle complex texts.
But let’s proceed with order.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I was contacted by some phishers whose hook letter was so good in terms of content and form, and so riddled with grammar and spelling errors, I offered them my translator services.
Well, they got back at me.
Offering me a translation job.
The cheeky bastards!

And so I was contacted by a noted and well respected American author – whose work I translated in the past – offering me the urgent translation of a 12.000 word document.

And to tell you the truth, the first mail seemed legit.
OK, it came through a gmail.com account and sounded like a template job, but that’s ok – for all I knew, it was a preliminary thing sent to me and a dozen other colleagues…
So I replied, quoting a figure for the translation, proposing a standard contract, and asking for details.
I was sold.
After all, translating stuff is my job – currently, my main paying job:  it is what puts bread on my table and keeps the light on (and the web connection going!)
So, ok, I mailed back my proposal.

And I got a reply! Continue reading


Phishers of Men

phishing_hThis morning I got a message from a pretty generic “services firm” handling the security for my email provider.
Due to some unspecified troubles, I was asked to send them my account details.
All of my account details.
Including my date and place of birth.
Including my password and the answer to my secret recovery question.

Only, they called it my “secernere” question.
“Secernere”, in italian, means “to secrete” – like in glands and stuff like that.
It was the most glaring in a variety of spelling and gramar errors.

Now, some phishers are so naive they ar almost cute.
But these guys were quite professional – had it not been for the bad Italian, I might have thought about… phoning the customer service of my email provider.

So I thought, why not?
And I replied to that mail. Like this

your phishing attempt was one of the best I’ve seen so far, but your decision to use GoogleTranslate sank any hope you had of getting my personal data. The language is sluggish and wooden, and translating ‘secret’ with ‘secernere’ makes me wonder if your primary language is not, after all, French.
Just in case, should you need a professional translation, drop me a line – I’m sure we’ll be able to arrange some way for you to pay me.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get me a job as a freelance translator for the mob.


Translating myself – slowly

220px-Robert_E._Howard_in_1923Back in 2009 I planned, almost completed and partially published a cycle of three alternate history stories centered on the character of Robert E. Howard, with H.P. Lovecraft as a co-star.

In The Ballad of Bobbie Howard, I imagined a universe in which both the author of Conan and the Providence Recluse are women.

Then, in The Shape of Things to Come (yes, I know, not very original, as a title), I imagined a universe in which both Howard and Lovecraft surviving their early demises, and living a long and productive life – REH as a Hollywood screenwriter and HPL as the director of Weird Tales.

Finally, in Lone Star, I wrote about a balkanizad post-depression America, in which Texas rebels led by Howard face their final showdown against the troops of President Lovecraft, leader of the pretty fascistic Eastern Coalition. Continue reading


How I became a hack, part three

Yes, just like that...

Yes, just like that… sort of.

One day I’ll write a book called Mistress of Yamatai.
It will be a Burroughs-esque actioneer.
The story – a freak accident involving some ancient Japanese relics causes out hero (an anonymous orientalist) to slip back in time (and possibly sideways, too) to the ancient land of Wo, where he’ll have to face unspeakable lovecraftian horrors and shamanic magic, fight blood-thirsty barbarians and woo fiery-spirited, ample-breasted Himiko, the Mistress of Yamatai.
A classy thing, in other words.

I’ve got the story outlined, the characters sketched – the zip file including the lot resurfaced a few days back, after a slump caused a pile of old CDs to spill fan-like on my desk.

One day or another, I’ll write the book.
I made a promise.
In the meantime, here’s the story about Himiko, the Mistress of Yamatai, and about her Curse. Continue reading