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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 

 

There have been a number of authors whose travels through Southeast Asia have enriched their fiction and non-fiction. From the previous generation of English writers such as Conrad, Maugham, Orwell and Burgess to the current generation of Paul Theroux and Pico Iver, these writers have been mobile. These writers were not the kind to stay at home worrying about how best to promote their books, experiencing anxiety attacks over their writing career, obsessed at their Amazon rankings or who received what award. None of that truly matters and at the end of the day only gets in the way of writing. The heart of fiction is connected, at least in part for these writers, with their wide-ranging travel experiences gathered along the back streets of the big cities and dusty roads of rural Asia.

Writers often talk and write about the writing or publishing experience. But there is far less about the experiences that a writer draws upon to fuel his or her imagination. Like fossil fuel experiences can run out. New, fresh experiences are the basis for feeding the imagination. Or one can recycle from information in newspapers, TV, the Internet on the basis that the writer can bring a new angle to old information. Sometimes that works. Travel is proactive. You’re not reading about someone else having an adventure. It is happening to you; it is in your face, not on screen. You must deal with it. ...
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Posted: 4/28/2008 2:04:10 AM 

 

I recently gave an interview to Radio Singapore International. I talk about the original idea of a private eye series set in Southeast Asia, along with my research into the culture and history of the settings.

They introduce the interview with a quote from one of the Vincent Calvino novels, "I have no attachments. Next life I will make a perfect Buddhist. But in this life I am paying off the karma of a last life. I am an ex-lawyer from New York City. No one gets himself born in New York City without having made some major mistake in the last life. Whatever that mistake was it was bad enough to cause me to abandon New York City for Bangkok. Flipped from the wok straight into the fire. For the past dozen years, I've been solving crimes in Southeast Asia, keeping and trying not to get burnt."

You can listen to podcast of the interview on mp3. ...
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Posted: 4/23/2008 12:49:49 AM 

 

There was never any golden era in publishing. It’s always been tough. Let’s get that straight. But once upon a time long ago there were a few publishers who looked beyond the bottom line, who fought for authors, struggled to bring books to light when the authorities would have put the publisher in jail. Barney Rosset,* perhaps more than any other living person, represents the very best of this kind of publisher in America. He is a legend and in any other country would be given the designation of Living Artistic Treasure. But truly literary people are rarely so honored in America in 2008.

We live in an era of the bottom line and MBAs with sharp pencils whose vision is the next quarterly earning report. Barney wasn’t that kind of publisher. He sought quality and settled for nothing less. If the book sold fine, if it didn’t that was fine, too....
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Posted: 4/22/2008 12:39:06 AM 

 

The Times Food Critic Giles Coren had an interesting piece on how the British kill themselves by eating an English breakfast. Have a look at the amusing attack on Coren following the article. All very British.

“I'll tell you what's holding us back from finally getting rid of the fried English breakfast for ever: lack of education. You never see a person with a degree eating a fry-up, do you? Certainly not someone with a 2:1 or better in a humanities subject from a university founded before the invention of the iPod. That's because they are smart enough to know better.” ...
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Posted: 4/21/2008 1:14:30 AM 

 

Copyright law is complex. That is a sentence that few would wish to contradict. The current lawsuit involving Harry Potter author and a fan writing an lexicon of Harry Potter terms is a good example of the struggle between those wishing to expand copyright protection against those who wish to see limits placed on authors’ rights.

As a general rule, a copyright extends for the length of the author’s life and expires 70 years after his or her death. The difficulty arises because each country has its own copyright laws and they are not always consistent. Further, the length of copyright duration has been increasing over time. The time expansion is no surprise in the United States where large vested corporate industry (e.g., Disney) have successfully lobbied to extend the length of copyright to the current 70-year period. ...
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Posted: 4/17/2008 6:58:36 AM 

 

The Nation’s Daily Xpress section ran a profile under the title: Hollywood beckons Moore today (Wednesday 9 April 2008). Jim Pollard’s article focuses on the film option deal for the Calvino series and background on the series set in Thailand. ...
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Posted: 4/8/2008 10:07:39 PM 

 

I delivered the 10th novel in the Vincent Calvino series to my agent and publisher on Sunday 6th April 2008. PAYING BACK JACK, which is set in Bangkok (with some scenes in Pattaya) is scheduled for publication at the end of 2008. ...
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Posted: 4/8/2008 10:07:03 PM 

 

This is a thought-provoking article that should be read by all writers, published and unpublished. He starts with a word of caution:

“Today I want to pass along some advice for unpublished writers that I think is very important. I'll warn you up-front that this is not advice that a lot of people want to hear. But I'm going to share it anyway.

Everyone who contemplates writing a novel dreams of publication. That's why we do it in the first place. Nobody wants to write something just to stick it in a drawer. So when the first glimmer of success comes along, we jump at the bait like the hungriest fish in the pond.” ...
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Posted: 3/27/2008 11:23:57 PM 

 

Expatriate Authors in Asia: Writing for a Niche Market or a Wider World?


Christopher G. Moore in opening remarks

Last night (Wednesday 26th March) there was a standing room only house for Dean Barrett, Stephen Leather, Colin Cotterill, and myself. We spoke about publishing fiction in Asia and the nature of publishing in Thailand specifically and more generally about publishing in New York and London. After our individual presentation we had many people queuing up to ask questions. Colin asked the audience how many had written a novel. I’d guess about 18 hands shot up, and then asked how many of the writers had been published. There were two hands left remaining. One person asked if we were all “rich” and left the clear impression that he was in writing for the money. Stephen, at one moment, acknowledged that he was the richest person on the panel. No one disputed him. In my opening remarks I dealt with the probabilities of striking it rich. Less than 1% of authors actually can make a living writing full time. Even with lottery like odds, there are those who feel “lucky” and that writing is their ticket to life style of the rich and famous. ...
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Posted: 3/27/2008 1:32:39 AM 

 

Expatriate Authors in Asia:

Writing for a Niche Market or a Wider World?


a round-table discussion with Dean Barrett,
Christopher Moore,
Stephen Leather, and Colin Cotterill


Wednesday, March 26 at 8:00 pm

Cover charge for non-members: 300 Baht


Hope to see you at the FCCT. Here are the address, phone and email details for the FCCT: ...
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Posted: 3/25/2008 10:46:02 PM 

 

FINANCIAL EXPLOSION

In the current American financial meltdown no one is able to come to grips with the extent or seriousness of the damage from the subprime mortgage crisis. It is as if someone had been shot but no one is quite certain what part of the body was hit, if vital organs are involved, whether the patient is in ICU or still in emergency triage. The subprime mortgage problem is the entry wound but so far no one has found the exist wound. Meanwhile the dollar continues to bleed.

SEX IN CRIME FICTION

Crime fiction is infused with booze, sex, murder, betrayal, and mystery. Everyone seems to approve of mystery. There is a faction that would censor, restrict, hack out or dismember parts or all of the other elements (except for murder which I will get to in a minute). ...
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Posted: 3/21/2008 4:33:21 AM 

 

On Wednesday 26th March 2008, at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand (FCCT), I will be on a panel with Dean Barrett, Stephen Leather, and Colin Cotterill. The talk is “Writing for a Niche Market or a Wider World?” The panel will discuss the present sate and future state of expatriate fiction in this part of the world. The talk starts at 8.00 p.m.

If you are in Bangkok, please come along. I’ve employed a forensic expert to assist in finding the person at the FCCT who can tell me whether my books can be sold at the event. He says this is a difficult assignment. Hopefully before the event, an answer will be forthcoming. ...
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Posted: 3/19/2008 3:44:00 AM 

 

The second book in the Vincent Calvino series is Asia Hand. It was first published by White Lotus in 1993 and reprinted by Heaven Lake Press in 2000. A number of fans believe it is among the best in the series. 

Grove/Atlantic had decided to publish Asia Hand in the United States and Great Britain. This is a good news for a couple of reasons. It means the back listed books in the series will be published in sequence. Spirit House is due to be released in July 2008. You can expect the trade paperback edition of Asia Hand to be published in July 2009.

To refresh your memory, here’s a summary of Asia Hand. ...
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Posted: 3/17/2008 11:16:23 PM 

 

I have received the Atlantic Books (my UK publisher) July-December 2008 catalogue. Two of the Calvino novels are listed. The trade paperback edition of Spirit House is scheduled for July 2008, ISBN 978184354. The cover won’t win any points from the anti-smoking lobby but personally I like it. The moody noir feeling of the book is set by the image.

...
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Posted: 3/17/2008 3:18:29 AM 

 

Paul Theroux has been writing novels and travel books since 1967 when he was 25 years old. His 1973 novel Saint Jack, set in Singapore, is classic expat literature. The Consul’s File is set in Malaysia, is a collection of brilliant short stories, which hold up well years after publication. His novel Kowloon Tong chronicled one families disintegration after the British handover to mainland China 1997. Along with The Elephanta Suite (three novellas, 2007) is set in India. In other words, Theroux’s fiction has a long and distinguished association with Asia and his fiction has inspired a generation of expat authors. I can personally recommend the titles mentioned above. For anyone living in Asia, they provide a 35-year perspective on cultural and social transformation of expat life. A good place to start is with Saint Jack. ...
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Posted: 3/3/2008 9:43:42 PM 

 

At the end of January I gave the closing dinner talk at the East West Center Media Conference in Bangkok. The Centre has put up a summary of the talk “For Better facts, take a tour through fiction” on their website. This was a great group of journalists, academics, NGOs from around the world. ...
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Posted: 3/2/2008 11:23:43 PM 

 

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