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A new short story for my Patrons


They say it’s good to be my Patrons, but really, it’s good to have my Patrons – and this is the reason why I give them exclusive contents: like a short story I just posted to them, both in Italian and English. I also added a little piece about how I wrote it, why, and using what building blocks, one of which is the following photograph. Yeah, it’s good to be my Patrons. Original link
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You must be a f#cking moron or, how I liked the Sword of Shannara


In my long and somewhat undistinguished life so far, only three times I have been called “a f#cking moron” because of my tastes (or lack thereof) in matters of music and literature. And before you ask, yes, I have a very long memory for certain things. The first time was when I candidly admitted that I’d rather listen to J.S. Bach than to W.A. Mozart.The second time was when I expressed my preference for Jefferson Airplane over Pink Floyd.The third time was when I said I had actually liked The Sword of Shannara. And this being Karavansara, you will guess what I am going to talk about next. What I think should be clear from the start is, I read Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara about one ye...
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Return to Joiry


They say we need to turn our negative experiences into opportunities for good – and I have found that it’s an excellent advice.So, having just wasted eight minutes of my short life watching one of the most asinine “video essays” I ever saw, what can I take away from it and turn into an opportunity? Well, the tragically inadequate “nerd expert” that wasted eight minutes of my life explaining to me what sword & sorcery is, said sword & sorcery deals with rough, uncouth, muscular barbarian heroes wielding big swords And I thought of Jirel of Joiry.And thinking of Jirel and C.L. Moore is always a good thing. I think Jirel was the second sword & sorcery character I met, after Bob Howard’s Conan. ...
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A piece of the action


I am very happy to announce that the new issue of Aurealis magazine, one of Australia’s premiere SF/Fantasy magazines, is out now, and in it you will find my science fiction story A piece of the action. Aurealis #131 can be purchased via Smashwords, in a number of different formats to suit all your ebook reading preferences. Check it out. Original link
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Paris by Night


Sometimes we get the hint.Like, as a belated – but much appreciated and welcome – gift for my birthday, I just received a bundle of sourcebooks for All for One: Regine Diabolique, the roleplaying game of musketeers fighting the Gothic horrors that haunt a not-exactly-historical 1636 Paris.And yes, I got it. I mentioned the Ubiquity-powered All for One in a previous post (I am sure WordPress will put a link to it down below). I like the Ubiquity system, and I like the setting, with its swashbuckling heroes facing unspeakable horrors to defend the honor of the King. What I just got will allow me to set up a proper game, one of these nights, for the delight and amusement (hopefully) of my playe...
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Sherlock Holmes & the Occult Detectives


I am happy to report that the massive two-volume collection published by Belanger Books and presenting a wide selection of mysteries and adventures featuring Sherlock Holmes and the Occult Detectives is available both in paperback and ebook through Amazon. In these stories, Holmes must work with some colleagues of his that are better versed in the ins and outs of the occult and the supernatural, while not relinquishing his powers of observation and deduction. The first volume includes my story The Case of the Manchester Mummies, the first outing of the delectable miss Valerie Trelawney. More adventures of miss Trelawney will hopefully see the light in the future. But it all starts here. I ho...
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Trouble during lockdown


In the early spring of 2020, Italy went in total lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the situation was dramatic in the cities, and the body-count skyrocketed, the countryside had it relatively light. It’s just a matter of waiting for the curve to flatten. Holed up in his battered trailer in the old junkyard outside of Nizza Monferrato, Buscafusco is set to weather the pandemic with a big stash of old paperbacks, a selection of jazz records, and some prime provisions for his lonely dinners. Quiet and relax at last, at least for a while.But trouble, just like rust, never sleeps.And now everybody’s wearing a mask. BUSCAFUSCO: Health & Safety A global pandemic is not enough to keep a go...
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Fugue a deux

This morning I woke up and I wrote a story, in 35 minutes flat. Not a long story, of course – 1200 words. I spent about an hour straightening it afterwards – moving words around, and doing all the little checks and tweaks one does before submitting. Then I formatted the five pages in the Shunn format took a deep breath, and mailed the story to the editor.Now the wait begins. I submitted the story to a very quirky, high-profile anthology – and should it be accepted, it would mean being published together with authors I respect a lot.The story is called Fugue a deux, and it’s a short piece about make believe, the purpose of fantasy and love – or at least that’s how I described it in the cover ...
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One story per week

Today I have mailed off to the editors two more stories – a 1700-words piece and a 4600-words one – bringing the total count of this year’s submissions to 20. Which makes 4 stories per month. One story per week on average.Of these, five have been sold so far – which is a nice 25% sales rate.Good, but I can do better.Now I have two 8/10.000-words stories to write – having been contracted to write them – in the coming month. If I want to keep my average of one story per week, I’ll have to mail away two more. Thankfully, the opportunities abound, and there’s no shortage of ideas – but right now I am rather low on energy, and somewhat overworked. A job I should have closed in April is likely to ...
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Birthday book haul


And so the day of my 53rd birthday is coming to an end. I’ve celebrated with a quick jaunt to the last pizza place open in the area, and I’ve had dinner with my brother and a friend. The rest of the day, I spent reading – because it was my birthday, and I received a lot of books as gifts. And I might as well share, so, here’s a list of all the wonders my friends gave me. In no particular order… Justin Humprey’s The Dr Phibes Companion – a learned essay on the ins and outs of the fabled Vincent Price movies.Mark Norman’s Telling the Bees and other customs – a compendium of folklore, traditions and superstitions connected with classic rural activities. Great as a source of ideas for future sto...
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Better Than Literature


This morning I saw a snippet, posted online by a contact of mine, off a school anthology book. Now, school anthologies are often the first impact with literature for a lot of kids. They know fiction through movies, and comics, and cartoons, but especially these days, the written word, the textual storytelling, may come late in a kids life. And this snippet made it clear that (i quote from memory) one must distinguish between serious literature and the simple fiction whose only purpose is to amuse and entertain … and from there it went on to explain to the out-of-luck kid that might chance to read this sort of crap, that basically… if you like it because it’s fun then it’s gotta be rubbishif ...
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The best thing to come out of this pandemic


The best thing to come out of this pandemic, for me, has been the opportunity to launch a podcast with my friend Lucy – we decided to do it because we were (and actually still are) in lockdown, with our respective jobs fizzing out, and too much time on our hands.Why not try something new? Just imagine, spending about two hours a week chatting with one of your best friends about your favorite – or least favorite – movies.A lot of those are horror movies – but we have a very broad definition of “horror”.Basically we do online what we’d normally do going out for a pizza, with one significant difference – I am sitting in the hills of Astigianistan, while my friend Lucy is in Rome, 600 kms away. ...
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Project Gutenberg can’t be reached from Italy


The big news of the moment is, the Italian authorities have sealed all accesses to Project Gutenberg, the famous open library of classical texts – if you are in Italy, what you get when you hit gutenberg.org is a warning sign from the Guardia di Finanza, that the website you are trying to reach violated copyright laws. What’s up?, you might ask.Well, it turns out our authorities have cracked down on those websites where you can illegally download ebooks, and in particular those that allow the downloading of magazines and daily papers. Now, how to find these websites?Apparently the investigators made a list of all the URLs that were traded on certain Telegram channels.Project Gutenberg was me...
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The little sister for breakfast


This morning I woke up at 6 a.m., brew some tea, checked my email, and then went and watched the 1969 movie Marlowe, featuring James Garner in the title role. The movie is based on ray Chandler’s novel The Little Sister, and is a tight neat little neo-noir.Just what I needed to start my day. I grew up with The Rockford Files, still my go-to basic reference when hardboiled detective style is concerned – better people than myself have noted how hardboiled fiction is something one might need in their late teens, to try and make sense of what’s going down, and in this function, Jim Rockford on the TV served as a guide in my teens just as much as Philip Marlowe in books and movies.The 1969 movie ...
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The long and short of it


I write mostly short stories and novellas. The main reasons, I think, have to do with time – on one hand, I often write to pay my bills, and writing fast is OK, but shorter works can be mailed out to publishers faster. But there is also another element, and it’s got to do with my impatience – as I often write to see how the story will go and what will happen to the characters, by writing short I get my answers sooner. The same goes, I believe, with reading – as I grow old I find myself more attracted to short stories and novellas than to longer works, and I tend to prefer one shot novels to lengthy series. But there are exceptions. Two names come to mind immediately, and they are Neal Stephe...
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Sleeping patterns and other stuff


You may have notice a sudden increase of video posts on this blog – and a few shorter posts. Fact is, while the lockdown’s been lifted in my country, I am still in my old house, in my old village, doing my old things. I used to say that the lockdown had not changed my daily routines… well, the lifting of the lockdown did not change them either. The only thing that’s changed is my sleep patterns – after six weeks of solid insomnia, now I have developed the vitality and spark of a dormouse: I’d spend 16 hours a day sleeping. Bummer. This new scrambling on my daily rhythms is starting to get annoying. But, yesterday night we were finally able to order a take-away pizza, thus ending three full p...
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Adventure of the Dali Prince

A little Chinese music to start your weekend.Enjoy! Original link
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Five minutes in Ancient Egypt

… thanks to this beautiful animation.Enjoy! Original link
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The Baltimore Gun Club


I am writing a story featuring the Baltimore Gun Club.In case you missed them, these were the gentlemen that had the bright idea of building a cannon in Florida (near Tampa, to be precise) and shoot a bullet to the Moon, in Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and its sequel, Around the Moon. While everybody knows Melies silent movie based on Verne’s novels (and a lot fewer people remember the 1950s movie featuring Joseph Cotten), the books themselves are probably less known than, say 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea or Around the World in 80 Days. And yet, while less popular than captain Nemo or Phineas Fogg, the members of the Baltimore Gun Club are an interesting bunch. There’s the presid...
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A podcast for your consideration


I have just discovered a wonderful audio-drama podcast that offers beautifully produced horror and darkly grotesque stories written by a choice of fine authors.Their latest program, for instance, is a cruelly funny story by Kim Newman. The show is called Tales from Beyond the Pale, and it is highly recommended.Check it out. Original link
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