East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Outlines and Images

English: A line art drawing of a warrior woman...

I’m doing something I never did before – I’m going through the outline/index of my next book (a roleplaying game supplement) noting the number and kind of images that might be needed for each chapter/section.

This is a first for me, because I normally write fiction – and then there’s only the problem of the cover* – or academical papers – where all the images needed are part of my job: field shots, microscopic photographs, graphs and maps.

I can handle the illustration of my academical work, and I can handle covers (sometimes) – but trying to imagine what images will be needed to illustrate a roleplaying game book… ah, that’s something else altogether! Continue reading

media feat

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Celebrating the Gill Man

I’ve been working on a number of water-themed projects, recently, and I’ve had the opportunity of renewing my acquaintance with the Gill Man, also known as the Creature from the Black Lagoon.



And I told myself I’d really love to do something with a Gill man-like character.
While I wait for the ideas to click, here’s my Pinboard dedicated to the most underrated monster in the Universal classic catalog.


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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


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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