And after Felice Sabatini, Leo Martin
Chasing the Mermaid, the first of the Corsair stories, hit the shelves on the 25th of March 2016. It was the first time I worked on a series designed specifically to appeal to a certain kind of readership, and it seemed to be working – I was having fun writing the stories, and my publisher believed in Leo Martin’s potential as a new pulp hero.
Within three months, all was in shambles: first in May, following a long illness, my father died, leaving me and my brother in a disastrous situation. Then, almost exactly two months later, Michael Hudson, my friend and my publisher, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.
At the time of his death, Michael had been putting the finishing touches on the second adventure of Leo Martin. We had programmed three stories per year, and The Devil Under the Sea was planned for the summer, while I worked on two new stories.
Michael’s death, and my family problems, relegated Leo Martin to the limbo.
In the early months of 2017 I started making some discreet inquiries about the status of the works that had been caught in the sudden disappearance of Michael Hudson and Raven’s Head Publishing. I received a lot of suggestions, but very little factual information.
The finished draft of the second Corsair story was lost somewhere in Florida, with the rest of Michael’s things. It was true, I had not signed a contract for The Devil Under the Sea, so the story was still mine to do whatever I wanted.
But what should I do?
Should I try and bring the series to another publisher?
Or should I rather self-publish the second story and take it from there?
One thing was certain to me – Leo Martin was not going to disappear: my friend Michael had loved the stories, and had a lot of faith in the Corsair. It would be disrespectful to let the stories disappear.
In early July, exactly one year after Michael’s death, I dug my first draft out of the old hard disk where it was parked. I also found the email in which Raven’s Head editor proposed some changes and corrections, and set down to work on a new revision, a new second draft. The end result is a 22.000 words novella.
To help me with my copy-blindness, I enlisted the help of two fine beta readers, Marina Belli and Angelo Benuzzi. I still had a copy of the cover that Michael sent me for approval, one of his last communications.
All I need now is a good afterword, and I’ll be ready to roll.
So yes, the Corsair is afloat again.
I will self-publish the new stories both as ebooks and paperbacks, using the same format and pricing standards of Raven’s Head.
And yes, I said stories: I have also recovered the two outlines I had dropped over one years go – for two stories called The Mourning Magdalen and The Curse of the Pharaos.
The idea is to do one story every four months or so – more or less like I am doing with Buscafusco.
You’ll get news as soon as the betas get back to me.