East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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One of the good things I managed to do this month has been delivering (finally) the translation of my friend Francesca’s book about witches in Lombardy. Now the translation is in her hands – she’ll have to check I got all the plant names and other technicalities right, and then the book will hit the Amazon shelves.
We hope to have it out by Halloween.

The book is quite interesting, as it is a mix of brief essays and short stories, providing insight on many of the stories and legends – but also historical facts – about witchcraft in Northern Italy and in particular in Lombardy and in the Lake Como area.

When the book becomes available, I’ll make sure to put a shout-out here on my blog – this has been one of the most fun, most pleasant jobs I’ve done in 2020, and helped keep desperation at bay.
It will be good to have the book out for public consumption – Francesca deserves all the success she’ll certainly have.


Any cold iron

An interesting discussion started last day with a friend of mine, a fine author, about what the Italian equivalent is of cold iron – as cold iron is well known as a tool against spirits, witches and demons.
The sort of thing that writers tend to notice, and file for later.
And it turns out there is no equivalent of cold iron because, basically, cold iron is plain old iron, but sharpened.


Francis Grose’s 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue defines cold iron as “A sword, or any other weapon for cutting or stabbing.”

… says Wikipedia.
And Kipling, of course, used the expression to mean “weapon”. Continue reading