MEMBER LOGIN

DON'T HAVE AN ACCOUNT?

Register & Login HERE

Here at AUTHORSdB we've formed the only database of authors, including social media, book listings and much more, for today's mine-field of thousands of aspiring and established writers.

We are a dedicated website that helps authors for free.

Author Blogs

Syndicated blogs on AUTHORSdb

What, no RPGs for Christmas?


It’s been pointed out that my list of Christmas gifts for the masses was fearfully lacking in the Roleplaying Games department. To set that straight, I’ll post here three suggestions for the roleplayer that has everything.Because what’s better than spending Christmas day reading a new RPG handbook?Here goes…Scheherazade is a fantasy roleplaying game set in the world of the Arabian Nights. The setting is a nice mix of fantasy and historical accuracy, the system matches the mood of the game perfectly. Character creation is fast and fun, and the game offers endless opportunities for action, adventure and wonder. And the art is absolutely stunning.And yes, it was designed by my friend Umberto Pi...
Continue reading
0
  100 Hits

M.R. James for Christmas


I have just spent one and a half of my hard-earned Euros for a digital copy of M.R. James’ Complete Ghost Stories. The ebook is published by Macmillan in its Collector’s Library, and comes with an afterword by David Stuart Davies. This is not the only edition I have of the James stories – I have a paperback edition from Wordsworth Classics here somewhere, and you’ll find at least a James story in any self-respecting collection of classic ghost stories, of which I have a few.But what happened is, I just wrote a lengthy post about ghosts and Christmas, for the Italian online mag Melange, and while I was preparing a to-read list, I was quite surprised by the fact that M.R. James’ stories are no...
Continue reading
0
  284 Hits

A turn of the cards


I spent some time this afternoon discussing tarot decks with a friend – my collection never took off the ground (I have half a dozen decks, nothing to write home about), but I still keep an eye out for new designs and classic reprints, and so we talked, and traded suggestions.I often say that my definitive Plan B, should everything else fail, would be to find a corner table in a pub and do tarot readings. Indeed, it’s two years now that I say I’ll go and sit at the local pub, down in Nizza, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, order a drink and a sandwich, and start playing with my tarot – I’m pretty sure it would attract some curious parties.And I could tip the waitresses for them to send ...
Continue reading
0
  325 Hits

William Gibson's Alien 3


Ridley Scott’s Alien came out when I was a kid and I was not allowed to go and see in the cinema. I caught it a while later, in a drive in while I was by the seaside. As a kid who grew up reading science fiction, Alien was probably bigger, for me, than Star Wars (I had seen a lot of that sort of action in the pulp stories I had been reading – Hamilton and Williamson and Brackett…) and possibly than Blade Runner.Forty years on (my, I am old), I still love the first movie – a great atmospheric horror – and the sequel, Jim Cameron’s Aliens – the template for military SF. And I have a weak spot for the fourth instalment of the franchise, that to me always was like a lost snippet of that other fr...
Continue reading
0
  114 Hits

Insomnia movies: A night with Dr Anton Phibes, part 1


I first saw The Abominable Dr Phibes, the 1971 Robert Fuest movie, back in the ’80s, on a late-nite horror retrospective hosted by RAI 3, the “intellectual” and “left wing” channel in Italy’s state TV. I am pretty sure I saw it in black and white, which of course is a crime, because part of the wonder of this old horror movie is the colors and the looks.So I re-watched it last night, back to back with its sequel, as I was going through a bout of insomnia.The Abominable Dr Phibes is classified as a horror-comedy (or vice-versa), and still it is pretty gruesome and it does have a melancholic streak, and a certain tragic greatness.The plot in a nutshell: believed death in a car crash, Dr Phibes...
Continue reading
0
  298 Hits

Not so bad, but not so good: Royal Flash, 1974


Yesterday I wasted 100 minutes watching for the umpteenth time Richard Lester’s Royal Flash, the 1974 adaptation of the novel by the same title by George MacDonald-Fraser. A movie that on paper should have been HUGE: great director, excellent cast, based on a fun novel and adapted by the author himself… what could ever go wrong?For the uninitiated, Royal Flash sees our “hero” Harry Flashman (here portrayed by Malcolm McDowell) caught up the plan by Otto Bismark (Oliver Reed) to manipulate the local politics of a minor German state. The plot is basically The Prisoner of Zenda, with Flash Harry forced to take the place of a Danish prince to marry the German Duchess Irma (Britt Ekland). Lola Mo...
Continue reading
0
  219 Hits

Three for December (plus two)


Like every month, I have received a series of open calls from various magazines and publishers that are looking for submission, and so I am ready to start the game of writing on spec.Right now I have on my listA post-apocalyptic story, in the Mad Max tradition, but somewhat tongue-in-cheek.A vampire story (this would me my second vampire story ever… wow!)A folk horror story that will be hypothetically set here in Astigianistan.All these are in the 4000-8000 words range, and are therefore quite feasible. I plan on writing one per week this month.Then there is the opportunity for a new weird western – the first one sold nicely, now why not go back and explore the same setting again? Finally, t...
Continue reading
0
  95 Hits

Christmas, sooner than expected


Back in the heyday of my blogging, I did a review of a Kim Stanley Robinson story called The Lucky Strike – a classic what-if alternate history that imagined a different development of the bombing of Hiroshima.A good story, with a strong anti-war theme and message.Some comments on my Italian blog were scathing, to say the least: war is good, bombing Hiroshima was a great idea, thing could never have worked any other way, who’s this Kim Stanley Robinson chap anyway?It was very instructive.The story The Lucky Strike was published in a small volume with a dark red back, in a series called Outspoken Authors. The volume included not just the story, but also extra material, an interview with the a...
Continue reading
0
  327 Hits

Curse of the Golden Bat III – the First Superhero


After meeting a horrid human being like General Doihara, we need something to lift our spirits, and so this third instalment of the post series based on my research for Guillotine Wind and the strange case of the Golden Bat cigarettes.And we go in a whole new direction as we go back to 1931, and meet a character created as a tie-in with the cigarette brand.Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Ogon Bat…It was in 1931 when two young men, sixteen-year old Takeo Nagamatsu and twenty-five year old Suzuki Ichiro, decided to create a new character for the kamishibai market. A character somehow inspired to the Golden Bat cigarettes, probably to cash in on the publicity.Kamishibai (Paper Theater) is the ...
Continue reading
0
  344 Hits

Curse of the Golden Bat II – Lawrence of Manchuria


Second post in the “Golden Bat” trilogy of posts, a spin-off of my research for Guillotine Wind.We have seen how the Japanese created a Golen Bat Export brand of cigarettes with extra heroin, specifically for the Chinese market.This plan to get the Chinese smokers hooked on heroin was the brainchild of a man called Kenji Doihara, aka “Lawrence of Manchuria”.And boy was he a Grade A scumbag.Born in 1883, Doihara got out of military academy and covered a number of small-fry positions in the Japanese Army. Because he wanted a prestige position, he used his sister, that at the time was 15, selling her as a concubine for a high-ranking member of the Imperial elite. Thanks to that, he got a post i...
Continue reading
0
  358 Hits

Hamlet, James Bond and Rick Blaine


A new book in my ever-growing collection of volumes about writing, Hamlet’s Hit Points is somewhat different, because it is a book at least nominally aimed at game masters willing to improve the structure of their roleplaying scenarios, upping their game. But in laying down the foundations of a system to structurally map stories, Robin D. Laws manages to create a tool that works for games, for fiction and for movies/screenplays.The basic building block of the system is the concept of “beats”, which is derived by cinema: a beat is a portion of a scene in which something specific happens, bringing the action forward or laying the foundation for some forthcoming event.Once we see our story as a...
Continue reading
0
  351 Hits

Guillotine Wind, a preview


In a few days, my patrons will receive their copy of Guillotine Wind, a novella that celebrates the second year of my Patron page and is also part of the Seven Lives project. The stories in the projects will reprise characters from some of my series – we’ve had a Buscafusco story already, then we’ll get a new Corsair story,a new Aculeo & Amunet story, and so on.Guillotine Wind is something special, because it is part of a series (of two series, actually), but is also a first in its series. The debut story.Straight historical adventure, ready to roll.Yesterday my Patrons got a chance to see the first chapter of the new story – a rough, unedited draft.I am now sharing this here with you becaus...
Continue reading
0
  350 Hits

Curse of the Golden Bat


One thing I learned from Ian Fleming is branding my characters.Which sounds kinky – and quite fitting, given certain tastes exhibited by Fleming in his time – but what I mean is simply calling stuff by their brand name, as a shorthand to convey certain details to the reader.Bond shaves with a Gilette razor, lights his cigarettes with a Ronson lighter.Before it became the product placement we see in movies, it was a writing trick to give substance and weight, and definition to what were otherwise cursory descriptions. This works quite nicely with weapons – “he drew a gun” is different from “he drew a Remington .44” at least to some of the readers. And maybe those readers will be happy, and th...
Continue reading
0
  361 Hits

Dangerous with a gun


The ting writers are asked most often is “where do you get your ideas?”Harlan Ellison said he got them from the Idea of the Month Club in Schenectady, Neil Gaiman said you should not ask such questions because writers, being evil and scared of such questions, would mock you in a writerly manner.I usually say “everywhere”, and just to give you an example… well, here’s an example.I shared today on Facebook an article about Kinessa Johnson, an Afghanistan veteran that is currently hunting poachers in Africa.It’s pretty straightforward: they try and kill endangered species, they become an endangered species.A friend commented my post, wondering if she could do the same.To which I replied, basica...
Continue reading
0
  347 Hits

Enter the Women’s Black Hussars of Death


I am hard at work to finish the first Pandora story, and as I finally got to work on the last act, where the action heats up and things start to go bang! (because kids nowadays want explosions, you see) I have had the dubious pleasure of meeting the Women’s Black Hussars of Death – one of those things that will probably be flagged by critics because they are too pulpy and implausible, but actually were a real thing during the Great War and the Russian Civil War.Yes, say it aloud… The Women’s Black Hussars of Death.Why they never taught me this sort of stuff when I was in school?The Women’s Battalions of Death were all-female units formed in 1917 by volunteers serving on the side of the Russi...
Continue reading
0
  363 Hits

Hellebore


What was I saying about horror?Because, you see, the postman just delivered my copy of the first issue of Hellebore magazine, and I am revising today’s schedule because I want to dive in straight away. But while my tea is brewing, I may as well give you a quick overview of this new fine mag.Hellebore is a “limited-run magazine” devoted to the scholarly study of folk horror. For the uninitiated folk horror is that preeminently British sub-genre of horror fiction that uses folk traditions as its main source of inspiration: think about movies like The Wicker Man (the old one, not the one with Nick Cage) or Blood on Satan’s Claw. The genre had its heyday in the mid ’70s, but has been going throu...
Continue reading
0
  423 Hits

Ancient incarnations of death


Like that guy said, never say never.Or “not often.”I was talking with a friend, about four weeks ago – she does not like horror fiction, she’d rather read historical fiction, and I said that these days I don’t read or write that much horror anymore.And as a result, most of what I submitted in the last four weeks, and most of what I read, falls one way or another in the field of horror.The last two books I read, in fact, have been two excellent horrors, both dealing – in a very different way – with the urban manifestation of ancient spirits of death.They are both worth checking out, and as I have already mentioned Gemma Files’ Experimental Film, here’s my review of the other, Robert Levy’s An...
Continue reading
0
  394 Hits

Reading, writing, waiting

So we are now back to Orange Alert, and it seems that we will not be flooded after all. We spent the night and the best part of the morning in the danger zone, but the levees have held, and while the Belbo is very high, the worst is over. There’s been a few landslides, the road we followed in our microadventure a few weeks back is now completely flooded, but there’s been no serious damage to people or property.We had a few brownouts during the early morning hours, but now we’re fine.We spent most of the time taking turns in bed, and reading or writing.I’ve added about 2000 words to my new story – the one featuring Pandora Marchincowska, that is likely to turn into a novelette and that I need...
Continue reading
0
  232 Hits

A long night


So the emergency has been stepped up, and we are here sitting and waiting for developments – developments that might be of the “move the PCs upstairs and say goodbye to your books” kind should the Belbo decide to leave its levees and come to pay a visit.The critical time will be around 4 or 5 tomorrow morning (in 8 hours at the time of writing this) and so we’ll spend the night up, waiting.I said that something would happen to kick me out of my black mood.Here it comes.Original link
0
  419 Hits

The countryside is dreary (and not in a good way)

Like Supertramp used to sing, It’s raining again, and the whole territory is under red alert for floods and landslides.Yesterday night the take away pizza girl wrote down the wrong address – as a result, the pizza delivery guy drove under the pouring rain up to the door of our next door neighbour, and the moment he stood on their doorstep, the pizza boxed in his hand, the lady there started screaming, because who is this strange man bringing pizzas to her place in the middle of the night (as to say, a quarter past eight in the evening)?My brother had to run there and intercept the lost delivery boy, and secure our dinner.And I don’t know if this is a good starting point for the next Horror o...
Continue reading
0
  221 Hits