East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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In praise of Scrivener (in the face of catastrophe)

And so my much vexed, five years old PC finally kicked the bucked and went dead on me.
Utterly completely dead.
Dead dead dead.


Which is bad – considering I have a lot of things going right now, and all the work in progress is currently buried in my dead hard disk.
It’s still there, mind you, safe and warm.
Only, I need a new PC to get to it.

But not everything’s lost. Continue reading

book feature


More ghosts (and other supernatural things)

And talking about ghost stories, two big fat books landed on my desk this week.
Well, actually one on landed on my Kindle and the other on my desk.

dark_detectives_cover_largeThe great old Fedogan & Bremer collection Dark Detectives, edited by Stephen Jones, has been recently reissued, both as a paperback and as an ebook.
Alas, the new edition does not have the incredible Les Edwards cover, but the contents are all there, and they are simply great – including Kim Newman‘s complete Seven Stars cycle of stories1, and a wealth of other supernatural investigation adventures from an authors roster that includes the likes of Neil Gaiman, Brian Lumley and Clive Barker (among many others).

The introduction by Stephen Jones is a good introduction to the subject of supernatural investigation and occult detectives, and has the power to add a number of titles to an already crowded to-read list.

51bbW8wT5ZL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_And yesterday, I received as a gift the highly suggestive Voodoo Tales, a thick Wordsworth Classics paperback collecting the ghost stories and supernatural tales of Henry S. Whitehead, that were originally published by Arkham House, and are today pretty hard to get (and expensive as hell).
Whitehead was an author specializing in uncanny stories set in the West Indies, and worked from first-hand experiences – he had spent a lot of time in the Carribean, and had met and interviewed real practitioners of voodoo.
His stories appeared in Weird Tales magazine, and it is a nice addition to my collection.

Now, the nice bit is, the first of these books was a much anticipated purchase (I pre-ordered the ebook, saving some money), but the second was a gift – and an unexpected gift, too.
A sign?
A weird coincidence?
For sure, I better start putting my notes and outlines together…

  1. in turn inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle‘s Jewel of the Seven Stars, in itself another quite interesting read you can find in the Gutenberg Project. 
personal feature



time-cover-final-smallOne of the best bits of writing is getting a box full of copies of the book.

A rather disheveled courier just braved the rain and the wilds of Astigianistan to deliver the first batch of the print run of my essay on geological time, La Misura del Tempo Geologico.
The box was in very poor conditions, but the books were fine.

The paper version of La Misura del Tempo Geologico is a fine white and blue chapbook.
It looks like a copybook and it feels like a copybook, and it’s just great, because it was designed for schools, for teachers and students.

In less than one month I’ll be facing an audience, talking about the beginning and the end of time, pyramids and dinosaurs, and why evolution is real.

And there will be a pile of these nice chapbooks for sale.
It will be good.

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Writing to the sound of the coffee-grinder

Coffee grinder Alexanderwerk Type 4155

My CPU fan is busted for good – and as a consequence my PC makes a noise like a coffee grinder.
The emergency replacement two weeks back was just a way to buy time.
While I wait for the delivery boy to deliver the new fan, I’m struggling through the final chapters of my second novel – thank goodness for Portable Apps.

And in the meantime, while I also keep the GreyWorld Project going, I’m also planning future activities.

There’s a new Aculeo & Amunet story in the works – and once again I’d love to place it in a magazine instead of self-publishing it. Continue reading

writing feat

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7182aI do collect books about writing – and I say I collect them meaning that I have a cartload of those, and I normally find something interesting and useful in each and every one of them.

On the other hand, my definition of book about writing is becoming quite flexible1, and I have already mentioned in the past that Hugard & Braué’s The Royal Road to Card Magic is not just one of the best stage and card magic books out there, but it’s also a damn good writing book, if you can read it with the right attitude.

Consider the following: Continue reading

media feat

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Yesterday was Johann Sebastian Bach‘s birthday – and it’s always good to have some good music on a Sunday morning – so here’s SincroniCity doing their wonderful take on J.S. Bach’s Double Violin Concerto.



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