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The Age of Dis-Consent

The Age of Dis-Consent

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One of the challenges in writing fiction is to create good characters. It is not uncommon to meet someone and think that would be an interesting character. What makes a character standout from the crowd? (Of course there are very good novels where the character is lost in the crowd, and that is a different kind of novel.) Usually there is a personal tic or quality in a character that draws my attention.

A friend recently suggested that he may have found the ultimate character for a novel. The novel is about the man who loves cats and is trying to kick a drug habit. One day, though, he’s in the midst of withdrawal and the straw comes out of nowhere and before it knows it, the cat doesn’t stand a chance.

...
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Posted: 5/4/2007 3:47:18 AM 

 

On Saturday 26th April I spoke before about 100 members of the Chiang Mai Expat Club. I talked about the history of how Vincent Calvino was created. This took me back to the mid-1980s when I lived in New York City and had the chance to ride with NYPD as a civilian observer. The late night shifts in Brookyln and Harlem laid the foundation for Calvino's world. Setting a private eye series in Southeast Asia with a New York lead character was another subject of conversation. I believed in 1990 when I started writing Spirit House, that the fundamental qualities of a private eye required a sharp eye for dealing with social injustice, abuse of power, corrupt politicians, and influential mafia figures. It is always the small guy without influence that is trapped in such a web and the reader turns the pages to find out how such a person fights overwhelmning odds. ...
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Posted: 5/1/2007 11:05:16 PM 

 

Again the distant drums are beating a coded message: "We are interested in your books."
At least that is the way I have decoded the message. It is possible what the real message is: "We are fishing in every pond and stumbled across your tiny puddle and are having a good laugh."

An outline for a film for Waiting for the Lady is in play. ...
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Posted: 5/1/2007 11:03:51 PM 

 

Slowly the basic elements are coming together for the 10th Calvino novel. The process is not unlike planet formation in the universe. There is a lot of dust to gather into a ball. The problem with creating planets is most of them are big balls of gas. The same applies to most ideas for a novel. Creating a planet or a novel that can be inhabited easily is a rare, random act. The main difference is that we would like a couple of million other planets exactly like our own. No one wants to keep reading the same novel over and over again. The reality is that none of the writing gets any easier from book to book. If anything, the process becomes more difficult. At this point, I am still working through some new ideas that will bring a new character and point of view to the 10th novel. ...
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Posted: 5/1/2007 11:01:41 PM 

 

Sometimes I hear disgruntled writers saying publishers in American won’t publish novels set in Thailand. That is rubbish. John Burdett’s Bangkok 8 and Bangkok Tattoo were published by Random House and received a great amount of media attention.

More recently, a novel titled Fieldwork: A Novel by Mischa Berlinski has been published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. That is one of the top literary publisher in New York. Stephen King has now lent his weight by endorsing the novel. Mischa Berlinski was born in New York in 1973 and studied classics at the University of California at Berkeley and at Columbia University. ...
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Posted: 4/10/2007 1:22:42 AM 

 

This month the Spanish Edition of Zero Hour in Phnom Penh will be released by Paidos as Hora Cero en Phnom Penh. The publisher is releasing three novels in an international fiction series which include mine and novels by Charles McCarry and Peter Temple. Paidos have a video clip on their website about the authors: http://www.paidos.com/alea.asp

In a previous post I wrote about the desirability of a writer entering the world, experiencing life in its full wonder, confusion, misery; strolling the back lanes, taking risks, exploring the over looked places and people, and observing the fine detail of what life offers. I am reading Charles McCarry's Old Boys. McCarry is ex-CIA and when it comes to describing tradecraft, the reader has the chill of discovery what happens on the ground. There is a scene with a bomb hidden in the cistern ready for the flush. The description of this scene is so convincing as to suggest it was one of those nuggets pulled out of the pocket of actual experience....
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Posted: 4/8/2007 10:29:35 PM 

 

I drop in to have a look at other author blogs from time to time. Mostly this is a huge waste of time. Here’s my take on the near hysterical rantings on many blogs. There is an obsession with marketing and promotion. Where someone ranks on Google or MySpace is not what writers should be worried about. What is getting lost in all the competition for attention is what readers want. They want someone who spends time not studying marketing techniques but a book that is a product of studying the human condition.

That means getting out among people of all kinds; and not sticking to close friends and family. Imagination must be fed by curiosity otherwise it dies. The life-blood of a good to great novel is one inspired by heartfelt experiences, ones that the author is able to articulate and weave into an overall story. The current preoccupation blogging authors have with marketing gimmicks is turning a generation of writers into junior sales reps who spend a great amount of time thinking of new ways to sell additional books. Of course an author needs to be concerned about selling enough books to keep his/her publisher wanting to publish the next one. ...
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Posted: 4/3/2007 11:44:20 PM 

 

The terrain of Bangkok nightlife often features in my novels and those of others who set their fiction in the City of Angels. Chris Coles has taken a different route to reach the same end. I find his extraordinary art provocative, disturbing, and insightful into the human condition. If you haven’t heard of Chris Coles or his painting, check out his website: http://www.chriscolesgallery.com I don’t know anyone else who is capturing the genuine feeling of the street life, the faces of the night, and the sheer colorful madness that outsiders experience the first time they walk into Nana Plaza, Soi Cowboy or Patpong.

Below is a recent painting of Soi Cowboy.

...
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Posted: 4/3/2007 12:44:50 AM 

 

In between writing novels falls a lot of rain, hail and sleet. And that is something given the temperature in Thailand rarely drops below 20C. I spent time with the crew of Do You Believe in Love, a documentary about – you guessed it – love, interviewing an expat couple (French) about the meaning of love in 2007. Tomorrow is another interview with a German woman who had been married to a Thai. I will be finding out what goes on when love comes to an end in Thailand.

Also I put the wraps on a draft of a non-fiction project. The first draft is done. I use the term “done” with extreme caution has a first draft is hardly a finished book. It is the start along the path of a finished books. The path includes three more drafts (and numerous mini-drafts within each major rewrite. Then come outside reader comments and copyeditors and proof readers. It is a miracle at a book is ever produced. ...
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Posted: 3/26/2007 4:01:59 AM 

 

Congrats to Stephen Leather whose novel Cold Kill has made the shortlist for this year’s Thriller Awards. The short list was announced yesterday during the first International Thriller Writers’ Brunch and Bullets luncheon.

The winners will be announced at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City during Thrillerfest, to be held there in mid-July.

Here are the nominees:

*Best Novel:
**•* **/False Impression /, by Jeffrey Archer (St. Martin’s Press)...
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Posted: 3/20/2007 4:45:08 AM 

 

On Sunday 18th March 2007, Mark Schreiber’s review of The Risk of Infidelity Index appeared in The Japan Times.

“The Risk of Infidelity Index [is] festooned with memorable characters and a solid plot. Moore probes the country's dark side to new depths. . . . ‘Infidelity’ stays focused on crime and detection, in a tightly written narrative . . . a satisfying read.” Mark Schreiber, The Japan Times

You can read the full review at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fb20070318a1.html

A review in a major international newspaper like The Japan Time needs to be put in perspective. With fewer newspapers around the world are running book reviews. Those with review pages are cutting back on the number of reviews. I understand that The Japan Times is also cutting down on the number and length of reviews. ...
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Posted: 3/18/2007 10:20:10 PM 

 

I’d like to recommend this illustrated memoir by Sam Sotha. On April 17, 1975 Sam Sotha and his wife Sony, along with thousands of others, were forced by the Khmer Rouge to leave Phnom Penh. Shot, tortured, starved was the fate of many Cambodians during the Khmer Rouge years. Millions died. Sam Sotha’s diary and drawings record their four-year journey through the killing fields.

This highly moving personal story describes Sam's and Sony's ordeal and how during the course of their struggle, they found strength in their Christian faith....
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Posted: 3/6/2007 5:44:36 AM 

 

Since the first novel was published, we can be certain there have been many incidents where a character or a story has changed the life of a reader or two. Fiction is a window on other worlds as well. My German translator (and friend) Peter Friedrich, has written to me: “Gambling on Magic inspired me to try online gambling (no games of pure chance, of course). And meanwhile I'm winning about 300 EUR per month by playing just for fun. Thank you!”

At this rate Peter may leave translation work and devote himself to full time gambling. I hope not. He’s one of translators working in Germany.

Take a card? Or hold? ...
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Posted: 2/27/2007 9:58:58 PM 

 

Ever so often I come across a price for my books that make me wonder if my publisher would be better off doing a print run of 500 and not send them to the bookstores. In fact, he should prohibit bookstore distribution of any book I write.

What gives? Why would any author want their publisher to horde books? Keep them in a secret stash and just put a couple of feelers out that something really valuable can be had for a mere eight hundred quid.

The laws of economics apply to books like they apply to most other things for which there are sellers and buyers. It seems that the more scarce a book is the higher the price it commands.

Take Spirit House the first Vincent Calvino novel, was published in 1992. You can now find reprints (not first editions mine you as those are kept in secure safety deposit boxes in the Jersey Islands) for sale on amazon.co.uk

Let’s ignore those cheap copies for £70.32 and go straight to the high end copies for real investors that with a price tag of £746.95 and £837.75.

Okay, let’s do the math. 500 x £837.75 = £418,875 so my royalty would come to £41,887.50.Where’s my cheque? Hmmm. Seems the publisher has a different accounting system. No surprise there. ...
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Posted: 2/26/2007 9:31:23 PM 

 

You’ve written a book and you want to know how to get a publisher. I receive weekly requests about information about how to get published. Everyone who writes book had the same problem. No one was born with a publishing contract in clutched in their fist.

First, you must be realistic about the obstacles and competition. There are 10 times more people writing books today from 20 years ago when I was first published in New York. And the number of publishers had shrunk to the point where it has collapsed into a black hole with 7 leading publishers. The number of people buying fiction is no greater (if not less readers) than before. Blame the Internet. Blame Reality TV. Blame Video games. The attention devoted to book reading diminishes every year. Understand what you are up against. ...
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Posted: 2/22/2007 5:39:05 AM 

 

I am back in Pattaya to give a talk before members of The Pattaya City Expats Club on Sunday 25th February 2007. The talk is held at 'HENRY J. BEANS' Restaurant & Grill, at the AMARI ORCHID RESORT, at the north end of Beach Road. A Buffet is available from 9:30 AM. The Meeting starts at 10:30 AM, and they try to finish by 12:00 noon. There is ample parking - the entrance to the parking area and to Henry J. Beans is on the left side just after the turn on Beach Rd., across from the beach.

I will be talking about The Risk of Infidelity Index and how I came to develop the character of Vincent Calvino.

If you are in Pattaya, please stop in and say hello. ...
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Posted: 2/21/2007 4:04:10 AM 

 

Finding a Publisher or an Agent: learn the probability of success by watching baby turtles.

Discovery Channel had a program about evolution. Featured in the high drama stakes of survival were baby turtles, freshly hatched, and making the run over open beach to the sea. On the charge to the sea, turtles were gorged on by birds. Others met their fate by being devoured by crabs. The crab grabbed hold and pulled a baby turtle, tiny legs flapping, down a hole in the sand. Those turtles fortunate enough to make it to the sea found little safety. Only a few out of the hundreds and hundreds that started the race survived. ...
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Posted: 2/19/2007 10:50:36 PM 

 

Over at Ben Hunt’s crime fiction website: Material Witness is a review of The Risk of Infidelity Index.

“Christopher G. Moore's fine novel, The Risk of Infidelity Index, the ninth in the Vincent Calvino series set in Bangkok, does not concern itself with September's bloodless coup, but it does conjure a dark and vivid picture of a society in which power resides with money and where that money can buy the status quo it needs to continue making money.” ...
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Posted: 2/13/2007 5:01:43 AM 

 

One of the risk of writing are reviews. After you finish the long process of writing, rewriting and editing your novel, it goes out to others who judge whether you’ve been wasting your time. When reviewers judge a book a success, it all seems worth the effort. When readers judge a book worth opening their wallet, then a writer feels it is worth keeping a series like the Calvino series alive.

On 9th February 2007, two reviews of Risk are in the local newspapers.

Legendary book reviewer and Night Owl reviewed Risk in the Bangkok Post, saying, “…this book shows that Chris Moore is at the top of his form.” You can’t ask for a better final judgment than that.

And over at the Pattaya Mail, Lang Reid, who has been penning book reviews for years, he says about Risk, “exciting, enthralling and entertaining writing.” ...
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Posted: 2/8/2007 11:58:41 PM 

 

The city woke up to find the Chief of Police had been transferred to an inactive position. This is the Police Chief for the entire country. For those living in the West that translates as a “soft” firing. Think of someone being shot out of the cannon but instead of smashing against a wall, he lands against a large foam mat where he stays until reaching 60 years old and then slides down with pension in hand into total oblivion.

Apparently Police Chief Kowit learned he was “out” of the job from the press. That is one way to deliver a pink slip in Thailand; it avoids the confrontation that Thais hate. Who wanted to be the guy who walks into the Chief’s office and says, “Hey you, clean out your desk. You’re outta here in five minutes.”

Apparently there was no volunteer. ...
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Posted: 2/5/2007 11:33:10 PM 

 

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