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(Almost) One Year of Patreon

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In two months it will be one year I am on Patreon, having launched my profile in November 2017. A celebration is in order, especially considering I was told it would not work, and instead it did. So, here’s a few items that are lined up for my Patrons. I’ll expand on each one in the next days and weeks, but for the time being… Loose Ends, part 1 – the caveman fantasy novella and the first Pelerine story will come in October and November, and they will be Patreon Exclusives. The stories went on the backburner for a number of reasons, but now they are being polished and set straight. Loose Ends, part 2 – the final Asteria novella and the final chapter of AMARNA, that will come in October and N...
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Wan ghosts of Baker Street

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The man living at 221B, Baker Street, keeps haunting my life. I was talking to a friend, a few nights ago, and found out he never read the Holmes stories, nor watched to movies. This was a hard blow for my conviction that Holmes is one of the most immediately recognizable characters on the planet. But two things soon emerged. My friend had indeed watched the Robert Downey Jr movies, and he knew of the character, in a very nebulous way (and I guess the Robert Downey Jr movies did not help). What caused my friend to steer clear of the Canon was his inability to get Holmes’ motivation. Why the heck is this guy solving crimes anyway? Now, an idle thought: back when I was a kid, and when my broth...
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Edgar

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Rather weird

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I have just finished a fun novel called Rotherweird, written by a gentleman called Andrew Caldecott. First in a trilogy, I got me the ebook in one of my recent sprees, while stacking up for the winter. I was curious, and I was lucky – the novel is a blast. The blurbs compare it to Harry Potter, which is obvious (it’s a story set in England but not in London, and it features magic and a school, so it obviously compares to HP) and absolutely misleading. Rotherweird is fun, fast and built on such a complex bundle of weirdness that poor Harry would get a terrible headache out of it. The premise: in the 16th century, in England, a bunch of gifted kids are born on the same day. Queen Mary would ha...
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Hope & Glory – Talk Like a Pirate!

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Ahoy, mateys! Today it’s Talk Like a Pirate Day, but I’d rather talk about pirates and other assorted ship-based scoundrels and adventurers. And because I am still promoting like hell my game Hope & Glory, why not give a look at piracy in the skies. After all, Hope & Glory is a game that features airships. And indeed, the scenario The Man that would be Quinn includes piracy in the sky lanes, the piracy in question being loosely based on South Cina Sea piracy. And Emilio Salgari. We’ve been there already, and you know the Tigers of Mompracem did have an influence on my game. But really, let’s talk about pirates and adventurers, and Hope & Glory. Somewhere, beyond the sea… In the Hope & Glory ...
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The Hound of ’77

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And as we were talking about the Hound, here’s the audio version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, featuring Kevin McCarthy, from the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, March the first 1977. Courtesy of the Internet Archive. Enjoy! Original link
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The Hound of ’59

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My friend Lucy published today a nice lengthy piece about the 1939 adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, featuring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. You can find the post here , and read it through the usual Google Translate thingy. It’s excellent, and it raises an interesting question, by noting that The Hound of the Baskervilles is treated as a proper Gothic story, an old dark house film. This got me thinking about the connection between the Canon and the Horror genre, and so while clouds gathered and the storm approached, heralded by thunder and lightning, I brew myself a cup of hot tea, and I took a look at the other Hound, the one that was unleashed on the moors, in the full shocki...
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Hope & Glory – the criminal mind

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Here is where a few topics we discussed in the last few weeks collide and then we download a free ebook. A reader of mine (thank you!!) just sent me a book – a wonderful copy of The Sherlock Holmes Handbook, by Ransom Riggs. The volume is a beautiful compact hardbound book, sturdy and very “Victorian looking”, and it covers the whole of the Holmesian lore concerning the Great Detective’s methods, tools and practices. I am reading it very slowly to make it last, but it’s a perfect complement for a Sherlockian shelf, and it’s also the sort of handy reference one might need to check when writing. Beautiful, and (hopefully) not too expensive. I’ll do a full review as soon as I’m finished, but ri...
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The Second Lauren Bacall Blogathon: Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

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This is The Second Lauren Bacall Blogathon, run by the In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood blog, and if I have to explain to you who Bacall was, you are reading the wrong blog. But please follow the link and check out the wealth of great posts from the blogs that are participating in the blogathon, and then come back here, because we have a train to catch, and we are running late. Murder on the Orient Express is one of Agatha Christie’s most famous novels, possibly second only to And then there were none. It was published in 1934, on the first of January. Hercule Poirot was by this time a well-established character, and the public was delighted by this new adventure of the little Belgi...
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French Naughtiness, General Pershing, and inspiration

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There is an image, here on my desktop, I’ve been hoping to use as an inspiration for a short story for quite a while. It’s called Les Surprises de la Vie de Chateau: La Revue Nocturne, that is Surprises of the Life in the Castle: The Night Review. It’s a host of ghostly dames, in gorgeous Medieval dresses, examining with curiosity and bafflement the lingerie of a flapper girl as she spends the night in a castle’s bedroom. It was drawn by Chery Herouard for a magazine called La Vie Parisienne, somewhere in the 1920s. La Vie Parisienne became quite popular with the American troops in Europe during the Great War, when General Pershing warned the servicemen of the bad consequences that reading t...
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Agatha Christie Day – Tommy & Tuppence

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My brother informs me that today is the Agatha Christie Day, this being her birthday. Christie would be 128 today. “You should do something about her on Karavansara,” he told me. “Christie is very popular.” The understatement of the century. Agatha Christie is the undisputed queen of mystery, with a catalog of 66 novels and enough short stories to fill fourteen volumes. She is also in the Guinness Book of Records, with reportedly two billion copies of her books being at large in the world. So OK, let’s do an Agatha Christie Day post. Our late aunt was an absolute Christie fan, and she gave me two fat collections of Christie novels one year for Christmas – I was in my early teens. Two big vol...
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Sherlock will never die

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The other day, on my post about the Japanese series, Miss Sherlock, Joe commented Sherlock will NEVER die! And I had to agree, of course. Sherlock Holmes is one of the great characters of popular culture, together with Dracula and Tarzan 1 , and through infinite version and editions and adaptations, it has reached every corner of the world and every social stratum. Sherlock Holmes is everywhere, and he is not going away. And I was reminded, reading Joe’s comment, of a thing I caught somewhere and I’ve been unable to trace, that is, Harlan Ellison suggesting the Canon as the basis of a reasonable education. Because Sherlock Holmes, according to Ellison, could teach you that by paying attentio...
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H.P. Lovecraft & Ronald Colman

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A bit of Old Time Radio for our Radio Karavansara feature, courtesy of the Internet Archive: Ronald Colman starring in a 1945 radio adapation of H.P. Lovecraft’s classic The Dunwich Horror. Enjoy! Original link
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Hope & Glory – Winston Churchill’s (minimal) contribution

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How does it feel to have your grandmother read your book, and tell you… It clearly shows your lack of experience with women … Awkward, uh? And it’s even worse, I guess, when your grandmother is Frances, Duchess of Marlborough, and you are a young army officer who wrote the book on your way to India, and your name is Winston S. Churchill. One of the many bits and pieces that went into Hope & Glory is the literary genre (or sub-genre) of Ruritanian Romance, those stories of passion and derring-do set in unlikely small European nations, like Anthony Hope’s Ruritania or George Barr McCutcheon’s Graustark. And right now I am working on a small sourcebook for Hope & Glory, set in one of these micr...
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Meet Miss Sherlock

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I am on a Sherlock Holmes roll – and it really looks like these next few months will be Sherlockian apocrypha and folk horror, considering the books that are piling up (virtually) on my ereader. Now, there was a time, before Facebook, when I was one of the Hounds of the Internet, and I was a lot more into Sherlock Holmes and related matters than I am now. I started out as a Sherlock Holmes fan in middle school, and read the stories and watched the movies etcetera. But like Steely Dan used to sing Those days are gone forever Over a long time ago. Or so I thought. You see, I basically missed out on the last big Sherlock-related fad of the last decade. I enjoyed the Robert Downey Jr. Movies, bu...
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Fatigue

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I’m facing a serious issue of tiredness. Not burnout – ideas keep coming and I don’t know where to start first – but physical and mental fatigue. Since May, I have published a story a week – shorts and novellas, gaming scenarios and articles, a whole roleplaying game and a short novel, and there’s more here waiting to be completed. I have published in Italian and English. Under my name and under aliases. Traditionally and as a self publisher. It should have been a bang. And it was, really – today a contact from Israel, currently in Cambodia, asked me when the English version of my latest short novel (that I self-published in Italian today) is coming out. It’s the sort of request that makes m...
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Europe at a crossroads

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Tomorrow the European Parliament will discuss the new copyright regulations, that include the filtering of uploaded contents and a linking tax. In my country, the press and the media have been extraordinarily silent on the subject, while a bunch of “patriots” fought like rabid weasels on social media about the sacrality of Italian espresso and the opportunity off shutting down supermarkets on Sundays. Original link
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Honobono and Dragon’s eggs

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Honobono (仄々) is a Japanese word that is usually translated as “heartwarming” or “feel good”. It’s the sort of feeling associated with Hayao Miyazaki’s movies – stories full of adventure and excitement, but filled with decent people and built on healthy, affectionate relationships. The good guys win and the bad guys lose, and maybe some of them turn out not to be so bad either. A few nights back, while in the whirlwind of the launch of Hope & Glory I discovered a Japanese roleplaying game called Ryuutama (literally, Dragonsegg), and I gave it a look and I was totally delighted. Because it’s a good solid game, because it’s light on rules and strong on roleplaying, because it’s refreshingly di...
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Twilight Echoes #1 in the post today

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The Karavansara Free Writing Course

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This is a writing course. It is free, and offered to all those that would like to learn how to write stories. Write stories, mind you, not be a writer. If you feel like this course is not a waste of time, you can buy me a coffee. But that’s for you to decide. This course was designed to be free, because you can’t sell a writing course that works, and this one does. The core of the course is based on a piece of wisdom I got yesterday from my friend Mauro, that is a fine writer and game designer in his own right. I added a little fluff here and there, and stole a line from Ray Bradbury and one from C.J. Cherryh. I might update this course in the future, and maybe even an Italian version, but f...
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