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Thomas Schmid wrote “Introducing Bangkok’s seamy side: Christopher G. Moore” in the Macau Times on Sunday 3 August. He writes about the publishing background of the Calvino series and the film deal for the books. “His hero Vincent Calvino accomplishes a carefully choreographed balancing act between eastern and western values, which is testimony to Moore’s thorough understanding of cultural differences, an ability which he has nurtured during his many years as a Bangkok resident.” ...
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Posted: 8/4/2008 12:52:23 AM 

 

Most authors understand that without awareness of a book it is difficult to reach readers. Bloggers, some of whom are authors, offer suggestions as to how to break through the noise of the marketplace and attract the attention of readers. It is hardly a science and opinions differ on what works and what doesn’t. The reality is that most books pass an anonymous life to a quiet grave. That fear drives authors to try ways at marketing. I’ve tried as well with my books over the years. An interview here, a review there, and there is a bump in sales. But what all authors wish for is not a bump but a mountain. ...
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Posted: 8/1/2008 6:56:12 AM 

 

Regulars of the Texas Lonestar Bar in Washington Square gathered to attend funeral services for George Pipas who died in Bangkok last week. George was a fixture in Bangkok expat circles; part of the fabric. At age 84 years old he came to the bar every day for lunch and held court. George had been on Normandy Beach on D-Day; and he’d been to many other places afterwards. He was a genuine character, someone who looked after his friends, and had lived long enough to see major changes in the world. He knew back in December that he had a death sentence. He just got on with his life and never asked for sympathy. ...
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Posted: 7/28/2008 2:39:16 AM 

 

Grove PressThe Independent on 22 July ran Jonathan Gibbs list of 80 detectives from around the world (in no apparent order) by city. Cities included are: London, Oxford, Paris, Istanbul, Madrid, Rome, Athens, Berlin, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montreal, Havana, Mexico City, Beijing, and Tokyo. A crime fiction is writer was chosen for each of the cities. I was pleased to see for Bangkok:

Atlantic Monthly Press (December 21, 2007)"Christopher G Moore has long been a big name in crime for his Vincent Calvino books, based on the exploits of an American private eye in Thailand's seedy underbelly, but they're only now coming out in the UK."

Read 'The Risk of Infidelity Index' (Atlantic)

Full article ...
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Posted: 7/23/2008 12:08:37 AM 

 

PAYIING BACK JACK, the 10th in the Calvino series will be released in Thailand in December 2008 and in 2009 by Atlantic Monthly Press in New York. ASIA HAND will be released by Atlantic Monthly Press in New York in 2010. Meanwhile I am at the early stages of writing Calvino 11 and that explains for the infrequent updating of the blog. ...
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Posted: 7/21/2008 4:25:34 AM 

 

Glad to report that Zero Hour in Phnom Penh has been released in B-Format by Heaven Lake Press has been released. Third in the Vincent Calvino crime series, Zero Hour in Phnom Penh has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Thai and Spanish. Zero Hour in Phnom Penh also won the German Critics Award (2004), the Premier Special Director’s Award Semana Negra (Spain) (2007) ...
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Posted: 7/21/2008 4:25:12 AM 

 

The Evergreen Review’s Jim Feast reviewed Risk:

“For writers in the private eye genre, such as Christopher Moore, who take up the traditional form, as he does in The Risk of Infidelity Index, originality is not measured by examining the plot. This never varies. A client hires the gumshoe to investigate a matter, which turns out to be much more complex than it appeared. Neither does it appear in the creation of novel character types, since these, too, are largely invariable and include the heroic but flawed hero, a cop who hounds but also befriends the detective, a treacherous blonde, and so on. The true measure of originality lies in the invention of atmosphere. ...
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Posted: 7/21/2008 4:22:55 AM 

 

It has been a good month for the Calvino series. My Spanish publisher Ediciones Paidós has released Kicking Boxing en Nirvana. My author copies arrived today. Looking at the covers from various editions, each publisher and their art department have come up with different images.

No, this isn’t a new Calvino title. It is the Spanish edition of Spirit House. In England, Atlantic Books has released a paperback edition of Spirit House. ...
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Posted: 7/10/2008 12:53:57 AM 

 

In cognitive science there is the notion of status quo bias, meaning people like things they way they are and rarely welcome change. This bias is often written about in the context of political science and economics. But it is rarely discussed as such in the world of novels, publishing and literature. It is hardly a stretch to find that status quo bias applies to fictional worlds. Readers, critics, and editors may complain that a character has through actions or thought departed from what he or she did in previous books. We expect the character to remain the same, and knowledge of this collective bias can influence the decisions made by an author in the kind of future books he or she will write.<...
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Posted: 7/8/2008 5:08:11 AM 

 

Alcoholics write books, too.

Sometimes they write crime fiction. Sometimes they write literary works. No matter what form the novel takes, the real dark star is the bottle.

Think of Dr. Strangelove riding the bomb out of the bomb hatch and into oblivion. Substitute a bottle for a bomb and you find a metaphor that unites a number of books in this genre: The drunken hero/anti-hero. Drinking is not just a life style; it form, shapes, distorts the human condition. Like a moth to flame, we can’t take our eyes off the flutter of wings as they close in on the fire. What is not terribly surprising about these books is their semi-autographical nature. Where the drinking takes place the strip joints, bars, nightclubs, and back alleys also transports the reader into the environment where the drinking takes place. Not every writer who creates a drunk for a hero is an alcoholic. Though looking at the record, it would seem that such a writer is rare....
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Posted: 6/25/2008 1:38:17 AM 

 

The Timesonline has an interview/profile about Elizabeth George, an American, who has written a series of crime novels set in England. Her latest is Careless in Red .

“George is an Anglophile crime writer from California; Thomas Lynley, her detective hero, is an English aristocrat with posh friends and a titled wife whom the author killed off in the 13th book to cries of anguish and outrage from her readers. Her stories are all set in regionally distinctive bits of Britain such as Yorkshire or Cornwall…” ...
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Posted: 6/18/2008 6:34:54 AM 

 

Writers differ on their approach to creating fictional characters. In crime fiction, the background and relationship of the characters fuels motivation, colors narrative, and propels the story forward. In order to make the novel realistic, the characters must think, act, believe and circulate in ways that are credible to the culture where the story is set. Before I start a novel, I write a brief history for each characters, including age, education, marital status, family background, employment history, and his/her emotional range: what makes him/her feel fear, hatred, passion, anger, etc. All of this proves useful when it comes time for writing the novel. I feel that I have a reasonable understanding of what the characters are capable of doing, believing, plotting or planning. My characters range across nationalities: Americans, English, Spanish, Italian Thais, Chinese, Burmese, and Khmer. On the surface they often share many superficial attributes; but underneath, where the cultural wiring is laid down, they are often surprisingly different in expectation, values, and customs....
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Posted: 6/2/2008 1:34:30 AM 

 

Crime fiction, film and art connect both City of Angels.
At the hip.
And at areas above the hip.
In August, the crime thriller starring Nicholas Cage, Bangkok Dangerous will open worldwide.

Set designer Jim Newport (who did a brilliant job on Bangkok Dangerous) and has been nominated in the past for an Emmy, recently launched in Bangkok his novel “Chasing Jimi” and I attended the launch party, where Jim read from his book. ...
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Posted: 5/29/2008 11:51:25 PM 

 

The British edition of The Risk of Infidelity Index is now out in Great Britain. You can buy it at Amazon for £7.79.
Or better yet do go your bookstore and pay £12.99. Bookstore owners deserve to make a living like anyone else. And God knows that Amazon is rich enough.

I am pleased with the cover design. The designer captured the noir spirit I seek to create in the Calvino series. Great cover, compelling story, an internationally published crime fiction series, so what happens next should be easy, right? ...
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Posted: 5/27/2008 11:08:06 PM 

 

I have finished reading Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody. Here Comes Everybody and would like to my comments on the book.

Shirky examines the dynamic of social communities that have arisen as a result of the Internet and assesses the possible long-term consequences they represent to corporations and governments. The usual way of doing business or governing a country is about to change in significant ways. I’ll start with two examples used by the author: Wikipedia and Linxus. The conventional way of producing an encyclopedia or software is for a company to find the resources to fund the highly skilled employees who are assigned specific tasks. That means allocating capital to pay for the office space, equipment, salaries, benefits and other cost of doing business, on the basis the product or service sold by the corporation will return sufficient revenues to pay all of the overheads and still return a profit. ...
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Posted: 5/27/2008 6:18:53 AM 

 

W.H. Auden wrote in The Guilty Vicarage, Notes on the detective story by an Addict, which appeared Harper’s in May 1948: “Actually, whatever he may say, I think Mr. Chandler is interested in writing, not detective stories, but serious studies of a criminal milieu, the Great Wrong Place, and his powerful but extremely depressing hooks should be read and judged, not as escape literature, but as works of art.”

The murder, for Auden, should take place in the Great Good Place, and, his view, that meant the countryside. Preferably the English countryside. Should the author intend to write a detective story rather than aspire to something closer to art, and then his murder victim should ideally turn up in the local vicar’s garden.

I recently read Matt Beynon Rees’ The Collaborator of Bethlehem, an Omar Yussef Mystery, which, on Auden’s terms isn’t a detective story but a novel that seeks to break open a window into the realm of political and social reality of the modern West Bank. In recent years, it has become more common to find “detectives” working foreign landscapes. Rees’ novels are an addition to this growing trend. There two basic templates for this crime fiction penned by authors who are from different backgrounds that the one they’ve chosen to set their books. Rees is English and writes about the Middle East where he was former Jerusalem Bureau Chief for Time. Working on the ground as a journalist opens many worlds, especially for a foreigner who is less bound by the traditional protocols that restrain or otherwise limit access. ...
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Posted: 5/23/2008 6:45:08 AM 

 

Try and imagine the numbers involved in a mass death. What does 80,000 dead in Burma mean? Can anyone imagine the magnitude of the loss?

Here is Chris Carlson’s photograph taken at an Obama rally held in Portland, Oregon. There are about 75,000 people in that crowd and looking around the edges of the photo, others may have been cropped out.


Photo: Chris Carlson/Associated Press...
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Posted: 5/19/2008 10:41:53 PM 

 


Dali, Yunnan Province, May 2008

Dali and Lijiang have two things in common. They are in a physically beautiful part of China and both were destroyed by earthquakes in 1996 and subsequently rebuilt. Resident foreigners are less frequent than in Southeast Asia. Foreign tourists are also something of rarity in this part of China. English is not widely spoken, and communication can be a challenge. In Thailand, language can be an issue for non-Thai speakers, especially outside of Bangkok. Kunming is about the same size and I found very few people at hotels, restaurants, tourists destinations that could speak any English. ...
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Posted: 5/15/2008 10:35:20 PM 

 

The Spanish Edition of Spirit House is titled Kickboxing en Nirvana.

Kickboxing en Nirvana will be released on Thursday 15th May. This is edition is 368 pages and is sold for EURO 18. Why the title change for this edition? The Spanish publishers,EDICIONES PAIDOS IBERICA, S.A.were concerned that Spirit House was too close to Isabel Allende’s House of Spirits

The cover art for the Atlantic Books edition ISBN 9781843547914 (UK edition) of Spirit House is provocative and moody. The UK release date is 1st July 2008. This edition is also available in Australia from Penguin on 29 September 2008. ...
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Posted: 5/12/2008 11:48:35 PM 

 

Over the next few days I’ll blog about my trip to Kunming, Dali and Lijiang –all in Yunnan Province. At the Kunming Airport on 12th May, I felt the strange sensation of the seats in the waiting room moving. Having awoken at 5.45 a.m., I put it down to the lack of sleep and the usual disorientation that goes with long-distance traveling. Only after arriving back in Bangkok, did I find out there had been a major earthquake (7.8) in Southwest China leaving (according to recent press reports) 8,500 dead.

Earthquakes were a topic of conversation in Dali and Lijiang with locals and the expats. Both had experienced major, destructive earthquakes in the past. The mud bricks held together with a bit of straw all baked under the sun were quick to collapse in a major quake in 1996, which destroyed most of Lijiang and surrounding Naxis (ethnic minority group) villages. Most of the old town had been rebuilt. Lijiang draws millions of Chinese domestic tourist. Snow Mountain is in the distance. ...
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Posted: 5/12/2008 11:37:35 PM 

 

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