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Memory Manifesto

Memory Manifesto

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Jumpers

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The Age of Dis-Consent

The Age of Dis-Consent

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One question that comes up in publishing fiction is how to get someone in a bookstore to pickup and buy a book by an unknown author. We have all picked up a book where we didn’t know the author. What makes a reader take the chance on such a book? Part of the decision is connected with validation. If a friend or a member of our family has read a book and recommended it, that might be enough to tip the scales. And often it is. Or if we’ve read an appealing review of a book by a critic we trust, then we would often buy it.

Where there is no worth of mouth from friends or family, and no review, but you are attracted to the title, the subject and the cover, what can help you make up your mind? A recent article in the Denver Post says it is the blurb on the back of the novel you are holding. And bookstore employees are also readers, how do they view blurbs?...
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Posted: 9/19/2007 10:18:55 PM 

 

The best fiction is often the result of character development that creates an arc of intellect and emotion, finely tuned, elaborately structured, and with broad spectrum or range. Such characters bore deep into our own consciousness as if in the story telling, the author has found a way to channel our own thoughts.

The advances in psychology and cognition research continues to reveal more about the way our emotions and intellect are networked. A recent article in The Edge worth reading on the subject is by Jonathan Haidt and titled: MORAL PSYCHOLOGY AND THE MISUNDERSTANDING OF RELIGION

Here’s an excerpt:

“The basic idea is that we did not evolve language and reasoning because they helped us to find truth; we evolved these skills because they were useful to their bearers, and among their greatest benefits were reputation management and manipulation. ...
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Posted: 9/19/2007 4:25:25 AM 

 

Manchester based novelist Michael Walters has written two crime novels set in Mongolia. Walters is a management consultant by trade. I would expect he would have an interesting angle on business deals in Mongolia. The English editions are available on amazon.co.uk, and the American edition of the first book will be released by Berkly Books in 2008. Meanwhile English edition of The Shadow Walker released in May 2007 by Quercus is available on amazon.com.

The Shadow Walker, a British geologist turns up in a Mongolia minus his head. The hero is a police officer named Negrui. And the first two books have drawn praise for the description of Mongolia, the culture, the people, and the legal system. Negrui partners with an English police inspector and they track the bad guys through the Gobi desert. ...
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Posted: 9/18/2007 4:25:27 AM 

 

Yesterday a MD-82 twin-engine departing from Bangkok crashed as it attempted to land at Phuket airport. Reports here list 88 known dead about around 42 passengers survived the crash. Among the dead 50 were foreigners. The flight was on One Two Go flight OG 269. There had been heavy rain and gusting winds at the time of the crash.

Last night all the local stations along with CNN carried footage of the crash. The plane split in part on impact. Some passengers were thrown out of the crashed plane; most died for fire or suffocation inside. The plane caught fire after the impact. Apparently there wasn’t much time until the entire plane was consumed in flames. Reports indicate that many passengers had been knocked unconscious by the force of the impact and still had their seatbelts on when the flames incinerated the aircraft....
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Posted: 9/16/2007 11:13:23 PM 

 

Authors of crime fiction often draw from real events to interject the feel of reality into their novels. Sometimes, though, reality becomes stranger than fiction, and the author may using “facts” that spoil the fictional world. For example, take a long trial before a jury and the judge nods off. No doubt this has happened on more than one occasion. But what if the judge has a condition that predisposes him to suddenly slip into a coma like sleep?

There is a court decision on this precise point that deserves wider circulation. In this case a judge who presided (when he was a awake) over a criminal case where the defendants were accused of drug offense. The judge fell asleep during the trial. Not once, but many times. The two defendants were found guilty by a jury, and they appealed on the not wholly unreasonable argument that the judge should have been awake during their trial....
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Posted: 9/9/2007 11:44:41 PM 

 

Peter Temple has been on a hot streak. His last novel The Broken Shore won a CWA Duncan Lawrie Dagger.

In a recent interview by Bob Cornwell, he goes into the nuts and bolts of writing crime fiction. Here’s a taste from the pot of porridge he offers up: ...
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Posted: 8/29/2007 11:09:33 PM 

 

Thomas Fuller had a good article titled “Thais ask: What’s in a Nickname” where he reports on the trend for parents to resort to the use English words as a substitute for the traditional Thai nickname. Instead of Dam (Black), Fon (Rain) or Meaw (Cat), the new generation goes by names such as Money, Bank, Seven.

A school teacher told Fuller about the confusion when more than one kid is nicknamed Bank. He solved the problem in a creative way: “In one classroom there were three children nicknamed "Bank." To tell them apart, fellow pupils had renamed the children "Big Bank," "Medium Bank" and "Small Bank."” ...
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Posted: 8/26/2007 10:41:00 PM 

 

While a number of authors fly by the seat of their pants when setting their books in Southeast Asia, one writer who lives in Thailand and knows the region and gets the details right is Colin Cotterill.

His latest novel set in Laos is ANARCHY AND OLD DOGS and has received a rave review by Janet Maslin in The New York Times. ...
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Posted: 8/24/2007 6:08:03 AM 

 

In the beginning was the Word. Crime fiction, in its current trajectory, owes much to Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ross MacDonald to name the obvious trinity that many current crime fiction writers light a candle in homage. Of course the lineage is longer and deeper, including Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allen Poe.

The BBC has picked up on the popularity of crime fiction with the story: The Genre that just won’t die The cozy novels of Agatha Christie continue to sell. ...
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Posted: 8/24/2007 1:41:00 AM 

 

Ever so often a professional writer will open the blinds on the creative process and unveils what lies behind the writing of a book. Peter Straub’s wonderful new book Sides has several essays which uncloak the mystery of the writing process. Straub has won multiple awards for his fiction that includes horror, science fiction, fantasy, and mainstream fiction. ...
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Posted: 8/15/2007 4:46:12 AM 

 

Price of most things is related to their scarcity. As most of the English editions of my books have been published by Heaven Lake Press in Thailand and are not widely available outside of the Kingdom, it isn’t unexpected to find the relative scarcity reflected in price. When you buy a second hand edition, though, make certain you know what you are buying. Most of my novels have gone through many editions. For example, A Killing Smile has gone through 8 different print runs. Only the original White Lotus edition 1992 is a first edition. If you pay for a first edition and it is a later edition, you’ve overpaid. I have yet to see a special edition of A Killing Smile or Gambling on Magic on offer. The main point: if you are buying a second hand copy make certain you understand that price is correlated to whether the book is a first edition or a later printing....
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Posted: 8/9/2007 12:22:01 AM 

 

The Altantic Monthly hardback edition of The Risk of Infidelity Index is scheduled for release in the United States and England on 21 December 2007. You can pre-order your copy from amazon. If you are in England, you can pre-order from amazon.uk.

RISK will retail in bookstores for $22.00. The Amazon.com price is $14.96 -- a 32% discount, and less expensive than the trade paperback edition in Thailand. The UK price is £9.66. This is one of the many advantages of having a large print run by a major publisher.

What is important for any author is the support of his publisher. Grove/Atlantic have made The Risk of Infidelity Index their lead title in the Winter 2008 catalogue. No writer could ask for a better show of faith in a book. For an author to have the full backing from a major publisher means a huge amount of effort will go into the promotion and distribution of the book....
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Posted: 8/9/2007 12:06:35 AM 

 

The Thai version of Pattaya 24/7 is available in bookstores throughout Thailand. Though I suspect you will have to find it at a Thai language bookstore. I doubt whether the English language bookstores in Thailand will have it on sale.

The Thai edition of Pattaya 24/7 is on sale for Baht 200. Below is the cover art. Lots of bullet holes, lots of leg; all the elements required to catch the eye. The neon signs advertising entertainment establishments in Pattaya should also attract attention. ...
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Posted: 8/6/2007 3:52:40 AM 

 

Kevin Burton Smith’s “100 Eyes of the Mystery Scene Era” has been published in the 100th issue of Mystery Scene Magazine. Vincent Calvino is listed under #9.

“9 VINCENT CALVINO (Christopher G. Moore)
A transplanted New York shamus is our man in Bangkok,
doing the ex-pat shuffle. This is the world calling.”

Kevin observes that the list is in alphabetical order as “any other sort of order would surely led to madness.” ...
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Posted: 8/2/2007 12:15:17 AM 

 

This is the final posting about Semana Negra 2007. A few more photographs give an idea of the journey, the city of Gijon and some of the highpoints along the way.


On the “Black” train from Madrid to Gijon with publicist Marta Oliva 6 July 2007

Each day the organizers of Semana Negra 2007 produced a newspaper with stories, photos, and event calendar. Marta is holding up the first edition. Along the way the train passed through the heart of Spain. ...
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Posted: 7/25/2007 3:44:12 AM 

 

On 14th July 2007 I was scheduled for a presentation of the Spanish edition of Zero Hour in Phnom Penh. It was to be held in the main venue at 9.05 p.m. About twenty minutes before I was to go on, I notice that Marta, the publicist who had worked the entire festival arranging interviews, was smoking more than usual and pacing. About 10 minutes before show time, I slipped away to the restroom. I was back five minutes later and Marta was a nervous wreck. I was surprised to see about 250 people inside. No sooner had I stepped into the room a member of staff pulled Marta and I to chairs toward the front. A couple of minutes later Paco Taibo announced the Premier Book Award for Samana Negra 2007. ...
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Posted: 7/23/2007 5:46:03 AM 

 

There were many other authors from Spain, Mexico, Argentina, and Columbia. It was a good chance to meet authors and artists from around the world. Here are some names to watch for in the future as I expect that their books will find their way into English. I discovered Argentina author Ernesto Mallo (La Aguja En El Parjar), Columbian author Antonio Garcia Angel (Recursos Humanos), and Mexican author Miguel Cane (Todas Las Fiestas de manana).


Paco Ignacio Taibo II leading the guitar players in song.

The head of the festival is internationally acclaimed author Paco Ignacio Taibo II. I am currently reading The Shadow of the Shadow by Paco Taibo and can highly recommend it. This novel is set in the time shortly after the revolution in Mexico and Paco covers a group including a journalist, poet, lawyer and ethnic Chinese labour organizer (who can’t speak Chinese but nonetheless substitutes ‘l” for “r” in his speech. The book is not only funny but a hugely entertaining murder mystery....
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Posted: 7/23/2007 5:33:16 AM 

 


Entrance to Semana Negra 2007 Gijon, Spain

From 3rd to 21st July I was in Spain. I started off in Madrid for two days. Then boarded the “black train” along with other writers, artists, musicians, journalists, and TV broadcasters for Gijon. The train arrived on the afternoon of 6th July. We were greeted by a band, photographers, onlookers and local protestors who were seeking the release from prison of two men (who apparently had already been released), but never mind. The Semana Negra or Black week is held for 10 days every year and draws a crowd of over all million visitors. Writers give presentations about their books at venues set up at the Festival....
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Posted: 7/23/2007 1:36:28 AM 

 

My Spanish publisher has bought the Spanish rights to Spirit House . They plan to bring it out early in 2008. Ediciones Paidos Iberica has already published the Spanish edition of Zero Hour in Phnom Penh .

On 3rd July I am off to Madrid to assist in the promotion of the Spanish edition of Zero Hour in Phnom Penh . As previously mentioned on this blog, I have also been invited to attend the 20th anniversary of Semana Negra or Black week. On 6th July, I will board the ‘black train’ in Madrid along with other writers, publishers, journalists, and artists that will deliver us to Gijon on the Atlantic coast of Spain. There is a full program involving a lot of writers. The festival kicks off with the arrival of the black train from Madrid on 6th and ends on 15th July. After the festival, I will fly to Barcelona for media interviews. ...
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Posted: 6/27/2007 5:27:12 AM 

 

Many of us have that dream of riding the space shuttle above the earth and looking down at the blue planet. To see the world as a whole spinning through space, and to appreciate how small, fragile and beautiful it is. To find the language to convey those images would challenge anyone. To find the language to talk about the next best thing for a writer – the big publishing deal – is also difficult. I still have that same unreal experience thinking about Calvino being delivered to a much larger world.

The United States and Great Britain

The dream of every writer is to be published by one of the top publishers in New York. Anyone involved in publishing knows that the odds are long for such a publishing deal. There are many interconnected factors, including timing, the perceived market, the quality of the writing, the genre of the book, the track record of the author, and so on. Then one day it happens to you. Out of the blue a substantial offer comes from your literary agent. And if that isn’t a writer’s dream come true, it is time to roll over and stop dreaming....
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Posted: 6/19/2007 1:18:38 AM 

 

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