Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Aculeo & Amunet serialized


English: Rud Khan Fort in The Northern Jungles...

A quick one.
As I said, things are moving fast for my Aculeo & Amunet stories.
I’m happy to report that the new A&A story, Severed-Heads Valley, will be published in six monthly installments in the Peripheries of the AncientWorld newsletter, starting this month.

Severed-Heads Valley is a 6000 words story taking place in late 277 AD, somewhere in the mountains of Northern Iran.
Hard-up for cash and stuck in a caravan town, Aculeo and Amunet accept to track-down the runaway wife of a horse merchant.
But they’ll get more than they bargained for.
Of course.

The Peripheries newsletter is a free resource for fans of my stories – you can subscribe here.
The newsletter will hit your mailbox once a month (ideally, on the last weekend of the month), and will include exclusive contents, behind-the-scenes, cover reveals, assorted sillyness and whatnot.
And no, we will not sell your data or your soul to anyone.
Check it out.

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writing feat


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Changing languages


I’m having a weird experience – I’m writing the first Italian-language story of Aculeo & Amunet, and it’s tough going.
Now the plot is fully outlined and the action pieces are set-up.
I’ve got the historical background and some of the imagery.
And of course the characters are my own, and I love to write about them.
It’s the way they speak.
The dialogue is stilted.
The rhythm of the exchanges between my characters is heavily connected with the language I write in.
In Italian, Aculeo and Amunet are still witty and fun, but they are… different.
Aculeo is tough but lacks class, and uses too many words, Amunet comes across as too soft and vaguely querulous.
This is not good.

The reason is, probably, that English is a much more concise and economic language – to me at least, maybe because it is my second language and I first experienced it through narrative and songs and not through everyday use.
I think Aculeo and Amunet in English.
I hear their speech in my head in English.

The general effect: scenes that are clear and “as well as written” in my mind slump on the page and read horribly.

All in all, this is a bad problem – writing this story in Italian is slower going than I imagined, and it cost me so far two full days: I should have closed my story on Friday night, and here I am still writing and rewriting, only 50% of the way in.
The editor waiting for my story is not going to be pleased, and this is subtracting time from other (paid!) projects.
Now, at around 3000 words, I’ll scrap the last 500 I wrote, and I’ll try and complete the story in English.
And then, I’ll translate it.
It will be easier, faster, and I’ll connect again with my characters.

But as I said, this is getting weird.

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armchair adventure feat


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Lost and found


hanson-roberts-04591A very short post – just to announce that while trying (uselessly) to bring some order to a bookshelf, I found my old Tarot deck .
Yes, the one I mentioned as lost/misplaced in a post a few days back.
It was hiding in a metal box, originally housing a bottle of Ferrari bubbly wine, and currently full of old postcards.
Clearly I stuffed a lot of odds and ends in the box while packing before I moved, and never looked inside in, ehm… five years .

It was quite a surprise.
Now if this is not a sign from destiny, I do not know what it is.

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armchair adventure feat


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Across the age divide


Sometimes we have the sheer luck of being witnesses to something wonderful – and I think when it happens we should share it with others.

Cover of "Necessary Evil (Savage Worlds; ...

Cover via Amazon

For the weekend I was in Modena, lovely city, at the local gaming fair, Play – I was helping the Savage Worlds Italia crew, giving game demonstrations.
Short Savage Worlds RPG sessions, two hours to help interested parties to get an idea of the system, the settings, etc.

It was my last game in the very intense two-day event.
I was tired, my voice was going, and I was mastering a game called Necessary Evil – a super-heroes game in which super-villains are all that stands between humanity and cruel alien invaders.
The game is fun, tongue-in-cheek, the sort of game in which to save some innocent civilians, the “heroes” burn down the city hall, blackmail the chief of police, start a huge brawl against alien shark-man warriors and on their way out, they rob a bank.

I had a good solid game ready – some investigation, some devastation, great opportunities for roleplaying.

Continue reading

book feature


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Brushing up my Egyptian Magic


Cover of "Egyptian Magic"

Cover of Egyptian Magic

The question might be phrased like this – do I read for fun anymore?
Some days it seems I do not any longer.

Back when I was a student – a BSc student, then a PhD student – I found myself reading an awful lot of geology-related books… not just for study, but for the fun of it.
Indeed, some of my teachers observed I was reading too much geology, and getting strange ideas, like this was the ’80s or the ’90s and not, as they seemed to believe, 1958.

And ever since I started working seriously on my writing, I also started reading a lot of stuff which is great fun indeed, but can still be filed under “research”.

Case in point – I’m reading Egyptian Magic, by the venerable E.A. Wallis-Budge.
Wallis-Budge was for a long time the leading authority on Egyptian magic and religion, and I’ve got a few books of his – including a wonderful thing that’s called The Mummy: A Handbook of Egyptian Funerary Archaeology.
As I said, this is actually fun reading… no, really!

Continue reading

A&A new logo 230


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Aculeo & Amunet – the official website


peripheriesToday’s post is to let the world know about the launch of the Official Aculeo & Amunet Website, a small thing that went live last night.

There’s a lot of good stuff going on with the series – which as you may know is also known as Peripheries of the Ancient World – and it was high time for Aculeo & Amunet to break free of Karavansara.

I’ll keep posting about my writing and my characters here, but the main action, for the series, will take place on the official website. Continue reading

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