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Fear of finishing, part 2


And let’s admit it, it is fitting that a post about the endless reworking / rewriting / tweaking / revising we do to our work in order to push the finish line as far as possible should have a second part.I mean, the first was not quite finished, right?Well, here is where I talk about academia, roleplaying games, and “the funny incidents that happen when you try and make your living as a writer” (remember? this was the topic of the comic book I was told to start posting instead of these useless words I am putting on my blog and nobody reads anyway).But on to the fear of finishing.The most tragic case of this sort of endless procrastination I ever saw was from a colleague back in university, t...
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Fear of finishing


I’ve got another bunch of revisions from my current client, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the gentleman is a victim to something we (meaning, we that write regularly, to a market, for a living) should know quite well: it’s the fear of finishing.I’ve seen people crash and burn because of that.I do not know what the psychological mechanism actually is, but there is this increasing sense of anxiety bordering on panic that sometimes settles in when you approach the end of a story you are writing. You suddenly feel the need to re-read, revise, re-write, start it all over. What up to yesterday was quite fine, now is not that good anymore.Because you are so close to sending it off to the edi...
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A forced vacation


Somebody said once that writers never take time off – you’re in the queue at the supermarket, and you’re mentally working on something… ruminating a plot point, stealing a snippet of eavesdropped conversation for recycling in your work in progress, considering what chances are for your next submission.A vacation – that in my case might mean, sitting in the shade in my courtyard, with a bowl of ice cream and a good book – is not different – that good book I’d be reading? It’s still part of the learning process, still a source of ideas, or a sample of someone’s writing I admire, and I’d like to be able to emulate.When you make a living writing, your brain never lets up.And yet…Yesterday my cur...
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Holmes & Friends are in


Just a quick one to let you know I’ve just got my author copies of the two-volume set of Sherlock Holmes & the Occult Detectives, the massive anthology edited by John Linwood Grant, and they are beautiful books.In other news: I need a new webcam (this one sucks).Original link
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Lunch break at the Outpost


Today was another good day – I mailed a translation and a chunk of gaming-related material, and then I did some improvisational cooking to put together some lunch. As I was eating, I checked out the first two episodes of a series I did not know, called The Outpost.Let’s pilfer the summary from Wikipedia:The Outpost follows Talon (Jessica Green), the lone survivor of a race called ‘Blackbloods’. Years after her entire village is destroyed by a gang of brutal mercenaries, Talon travels to a lawless fortress on the edge of the civilized world, as she tracks the killers of her family. On her journey to this outpost, Talon discovers she possesses a mysterious supernatural power that she must lear...
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And talking about covers…


… I do not have much time to write a post because I am busy reading, and last night the Amazon Oompa-Loompas delivered on my reader a pristine copy of Jessica Bakkers’ Guns of Perdition.And if you will take a look at the cover, you will realize that you need to read it like, now.Now you’ve seen it – go and buy it!Original link
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Covers (that sell the books)


Today it was a good day, and it started good yesterday night, when over an excellent (and crazy expensive!) pizza with a friend and a colleague writer, we outlined a shared universe and decided we’ll have a go at it in the next few months.Then today I did a lot of writing and translating, got a fer bills settled, and got good news for a few projects.Capital.So I decided I deserved a small award, and went browsing on Amazon for something to read. Not that I lack books to read at the moment, but what the heck, ebooks do not have an expiration date, right?And because I feel like reading science fiction (like a do, normally, in the summer) and because I am, after all, one of those guys that choo...
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Fear & Loathing


And so in the end I went and did a podcast, and it’s going fine – but it’s in Italian, and I’m afraid most of you couldn’t care less. But I’ll explain why it’s in Italian, while it’s been so successful, and all that.Because I’ve got ideas, you see…The podcast is called Paura & Delirio, and that’s how Fear & Loathing was translated in Italian when the movie based on Hunter S. Thompson’s book came out.It’s basically two people – my friend Lucy and I – talking about old horror movies. No script, no planning, no nothing. We just pick a movie, or ask our listeners to pick one, we re-watch it, and then talk about it, while I drink some tea and Lucy smokes a fag.We sometimes get carried away – last...
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Radio Karavansara #2: Shanghai


The first transmission from Radio Karavansara got some positive feedback, so why not try again? What about a broadcast about one of my favorite obsessions?Shanghai, the Paris of the East – a city that has fascinated me for ages, sneaking into my stories when least I expected it… and here’s a selection of tunes about shanghai, or from Shanghai, or somehow related to Old Shanghai.Enjoy!I’ve given myself four episodes to try and see if this thing catches on.Up next… ah, maybe something about Central Asia and the Transiberian railroad?Please leave your comments below…Original link
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Imperfect Interview


So I was interviewed online, using Facebook, daring the horror of the nested comments and Mr Zuckerberg less than perfect notification system. It was fun, I was dutifully grilled by the attendees, and I hope we will do it again.And now, for your entertainment, here’s a quick-and-dirty translation of what was asked, and what was answered.Enjoy!Welcome Davide to the Liberi group and thank you for accepting this strange and bizarre interview. I have no idea where it will take us, but in previous meetings this formula of interviewing the authors (with both my and the readers’ questions) has proved successful, I only warn you that the hour will fly in a flash. So as a first question I would ask y...
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I should be writing


Today it was a strange day.It started early this morning, as I delivered the first draft of a 100.000-words novel I wrote as a ghostwriter.Then I was contacted by a perspective client for a translation – “everybody tells me your translations are terrible, but depending on your price I might give you the job.”And goodness knows I need the money – summer is always a hard time, and coming just after the lockdown, it is twice so – but there is a limit; my dignity will not pay the mortgage, but neither will accepting this sort of blackmail.Then I submitted two flash fictions to two different magazines – which brings the total number of submission this year to 27. Not bad. I do not have many hopes...
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I feel like writing a pirate story


I’ve just seen this…… and said to myself I’d really really like to write an off-beat pirate story.But first I’ve got other things to finish.Original link
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Dumarest #1: The Winds of Gath


Now, was this fast or what?I started reading E.C. Tubb’s The Winds of Gath around lunchtime, and by tea time it was over. The novel is pretty slim – 240 pages, in fact, and it’s pretty fast reading, but all in all I’m well pleased, and I’ll go on reading the series as long as it manages to be this fun.So, what’s this all about?We are in the future, humanity has spread through the galaxy, and while many individuals have found their place in society, there is a part of the population that lives a nomadic life, travelling from planet to planet, working for passage.Earl Dumarest is one of these, and as the first novel opens, he has a problem – the ship he was travelling on has been chartered to ...
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The summer of Dumarest


Back when I was starting as a science fiction reader – as to say, in the late ’70s – I chanced upon an article in a magazine that basically quartered and killed E.C. Tubb and his Dumarest series. Cheap, repetitive, boring, bad bad bad. Oh, well, I took note and moved on – it’s not like there wasnt other stuff to read, right?Fast forward to 2017 and the announcement that a TV series was in the works based on the Dumarest novels. Back then, a friend dropped on me the whole 33-books series, telling me it was a good opportunity for me to brush up on the plot before the series hit our screens.The series never happened, I never read the books.Then, this morning, two things happened.First, I found ...
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Get in, do it and get out


Let’s talk about crime, shall we? As those that have chanced to read my BUSCAFUSCO novellas probably know, I’m not that much into homicide. It was Agatha Christie, I believe, that said that a proper whodunnit should feature a homicide, but, really… c’mon, Agatha, there are so many crimes that are a lot more interesting!And mind you, I like a good murder mystery just like the next guy, but having the possibility, I do prefer softer but trickier crimes.Pickpockets need skill and discipline, and a certain reckless courage. You are very close to the “client”, and you need to be light on your feet and precise. Con-men need people skills, the gift of gab, the ability – to steal a line from a great...
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Going through the Second Barrage


A lot of online reviewers were less than kind with Black Lagoon‘s second season – called The Second Barrage. Most lamented the absence of Dutch and Benny from many episodes, the excessive focus on Rock and Revy’s “relationship”, and the less frantic action. So I was rather curious to see what it would look like.And to me it looks… quite interesting.To recap, Black Lagoon is an early 2000s anime/manga series set in the ’90s, and focusing on the day-to-day lives of a team of mercenaries, the Black Lagoon Trading Co., operating in the South China Sea. The first season follows four successive narrative arcs, throwing in a lot of firepower and an ample cast of supporting characters – including an...
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As easy as one-two-three


Today it was a good day.I finished the first draft of the Job from Hell.I finished the second draft of my historical non-fiction book.I mailed off the first of three historical articles I plan to write and sell this month.Of the three, the Job from Hell is the only one that is problematic – ghostwriting for a client that basically believes he knows better than me what this writing business is all about has meant wasted time, humiliations and a somewhat shell-shocked feeling on my part. Now I’ll tell the client the first draft is done, and he’ll tell me it’s not, and ask for changes that could easily be done during second draft…See what it’s doing to me? It’s very hard to live with this sort ...
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My life as an explorer


Curiously enough, My life as an explorer is the title of two books, that were published in 1926 and in 1927. The 1926 one was by Sven Hedin, a man whose adventures in Central Asia are the stuff of legend, and the 1927 book was by Roald Amundsen, one of the greatest Arctic explorers.And I’ve read them both.The thing that strikes me is that both explorers had to be two of the most self-centered and egotistical individuals ever to walk the earth – and I find it quite funny that the books of these two world-explorers and adventurers end up being mostly about them and only tangentially about the places they visited and the people they knew.Fascinating reads, mind you, but somewhat spoiled by the ...
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Into the Black Lagoon


It was a very stressful day, the prelude to a week that promises – you guessed it – even more stressful. But not everything was bad, and as a recipe of my own devising was broiling in the slow cooker, I was finally able to get to the bottom of the first season of Black Lagoon.That’s a good way to wash away some stress.I found out about Black Lagoon a few years back, as I was doing a research on the classic Universal monster, the Gill Man, aka The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Google searches being what they are, I stumbled on this thing called Black Lagoon… Japanese anime. Does it feature a Creature? No, it looks like straight action.Straight action anime, references to a movie I like… let...
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Radio Karavansara – why not?


I’ve been listening a lot to Martin Newell’s ODDCASTE, an irregular podcast in which the British musician and poet plays DJ, offering a selection of obscure and often fascinating pop tunes. I often thought that’s the sort of thing I’d love to do… but of course the ODDCASTE already exists, and there’s no need for more of the same.On the other hand, I am having a lot of fun with the current work on Paura & Delirio, the podcast on horror and fantastic movies I host with my friend Lucy. Wouldn’t it be good to do something else, podcast-wise?Of course it would!Then last night the thought struck me.Time to bring back Radio Karavansara.Last night I was outlining my next long project, a hard boiled ...
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