#JeSuisCharlie

I have this bad habit of checking my email and taking a spin through Facebook (even Twitter sometimes, unless I really have to pee) when I wake up first thing in the morning, before I get out of bed. Waking up to the news of the vile tragedy in Paris… was not what I would call the ideal start to my day, and seeing vaguely Islamophobic comments like “most Muslims tacitly approve of such things” from people who ought to know better made me want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. (In fact, that is exactly what I did.) In general, I struggle with religion. Like many Americans, I was brought up in a church-going family, but we stopped around the time I started middle school. My parents, to their credit, decided Sunday drives would be more meaningful,...

Hong Kong: Aftermath of the Umbrella Revolution protests

So, the aftermath of the Umbrella Revolution protests (not the whole movement itself, just the beginning stages) is upon us. I didn’t comment earlier because I wanted to wait and see what was going to happen. Now it seems clear that there are indeed going to be repercussions, some of which could be ugly. There have already been a number of articles about surveillance: calls being intercepted and eavesdropped upon, people being followed, and so on. The received wisdom is that Beijing is snooping, gathering intel to use against key figures in the protests. This is worrisome, of course, especially in light of the Sony email hack (which despite the implications for free speech, I have to admit I’m enjoying — it’s rather fun to see a...

More newness.

I’ve been neglecting this blog since the switch from LiveJournal. To be honest, I like LJ’s interface better, even after all this time, but WordPress is better where website-building is concerned, so here we are. I’ve also been insanely busy for the last several months. There is news. 1. My new (co-edited) book, The Queen of Statue Square, is… what’s the correct way to say this? Let’s just put it this way: if you would like to buy a copy, the only way to do so that I know of after Dec. 22 (give or take a couple/few days) will be via the publisher’s website. The e-book distribution partnership between Typhoon Media Ltd and CCCP ends Dec. 31, and I am unsure what their plans are for their e-book program. On the odd chance...

Newness.

The biggest news isn’t about me: it’s Hong Kong. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last month, you will know that the situation here has gotten interesting — and volatile. I’ve been out in it a little, although nothing like the commitment the students (including many of mine) have shown. For me, there’s a boundary: I’m not even a permanent resident yet, so there’s kind of a limit to how much I am willing to sleep on the street. But I was out there the night the teargas was thrown (I missed it, mercifully), and I’ve made a couple of supply runs; in fact, I’ll be making another one later tonight, provided I don’t go down the Internet rabbit hole. Wherever you are, please lend support to...

The Queen of Statue Square: it’s out!

This has been a long, long time coming, and a lot has happened (as tends to be the case with my books) behind the scenes. There are things I’d love to comment on publicly but won’t. But that’s not why you’re reading this. The e-book version is currently available via the following: Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/The-Queen-Statue-Square-Fiction-ebook/dp/B00NJ4OOJW Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/475726 Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/book/239574574/The-Queen-of-Statue-Square-New-Short-Fiction-from-Hong-Kong These are your three current options. If you’re an iBooks user and want the ePub version for your device, go to Smashwords. If that won’t do, then you will need to wait a few more weeks until the book becomes...

Grumpy writing advice

There’s a lot of huggy-friendly writing advice out there. You can do it! Yay! You’re wonderful! Everything you have to say is valuable, and people can’t wait to read your work! A lot of this is circulated by people using social media in order to gain followers — and, they hope, attract (paying) readers in so doing. I have a slightly more jaundiced take on the subject. Some of these things have been said before elsewhere. Others, perhaps, haven’t. Without further ado: A. Early on, decide on a definition of success — preferably, a realistic one that doesn’t entail a huge advance, an all-expense-paid book tour, nonstop media appearances, and a villa in the South of France. There’s nothing wrong with dreams, but you should know the...