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...

Updates

1. Pub date for The Queen of Statue Square: September 23.  If I were the publisher, the pub date would have been announced about a year ago, but I’m not, so it wasn’t.  Launch events in Hong Kong to be announced within the next few weeks. 2. We have a tentative cover treatment, but the publisher is still tweaking it.  That should be finalized within a matter of days. 3. After much deliberation, I’ve decided to postpone publication of both Murder in the Cabaret Sauvignon and A Garden Fed by Lightning by a year or so each.  What it boils down to is editing time.  Although I could release Garden more or less any time, I’m not going to rush to churn books out.  I may not have huge sales or be widely known, but I want my work to be good when it...

Omit needless words.

But feel free to keep reading if you’re bored. 1. The new novel slash dissertation. As before, I would like to be farther along, but The Job That Ate My Life has been in the way. Ditto the paper and presentation I mentioned. I’m in okay shape — it’s not completely stalled — so no worries: I’ll get it done. But this is definitely not going to be like An Ideal for Living, which I wrote in a white heat in the space of like nine months. 2. Without getting into specifics and thereby jinxing myself, there might be another short story in the near future. Watch this space. 3. The Job That Ate My Life is soon to be nothing but a bad memory. Next week, I’m done. I’ve accepted a position at Lingnan University and will be...

What’s new: academic stuff, short stories

Most of my writing news is actually of the academic variety: I’ll be presenting a paper at Aberystwyth University’s Postgraduate Conference in early May.  The title of the paper is “Fear Travels Well: The Foreign Setting in Contemporary Horror Fiction,” and the basic idea is that authors of horror stories set in foreign (to the characters and/or to the authors themselves) settings use those locales — consciously or not — to render their characters even more helpless than would be the case closer to home.  In the case of authors choosing foreign settings, this is usually done for a reason: because the location theoretically must serve the story in some manner, and in horror fiction the point would be to frighten the characters....