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Posted on March 6, 2017
We’re on one of the few picturesque streets in the old quarter of Johor Bahru. We see three Malaysians loading a truck with furniture that they are carrying out of a big red colonial house. Now we see a man quickly walking; he is late: BIFF DANKLE, an American with long hair that may or may not be fashionable. He pulls at it constantly; BIFF’s nervousness is obvious. He's carrying a manila envelope. BIFF approaches SIMON MURRAY and smiles respectfully. SIMON crushes his cigarette and puts his hand out. He is in his early sixties, in excellent shape, and with movie star good looks. BIFF immediately gives SIMON the envelope and sits down. The two are on a black wrought iron bench in the shade of a frangipani tree in full bloom. The weather is unpleasantly hot and humid, the sky is blue and filled with big white clouds. Strings of round Chinese lanterns hang over the street like strands of red paper pearls. SIMON reads quickly. BIFF pretends not to study SIMON’s face. BIFF again recites to himself some of the films that SIMON worked on: The Last Emperor, Life of Brian, Titanic, Distant Voices Still Lives, La Vie de Boheme, Indiana Jones... He’d seen photos on SIMON’s website; his pals like Madonna, Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr.. SIMON is humble, but not afraid to mention those with whom he’d enjoyed himself, famous or not. One moment SIMON might mention Sir Laurence Olivier, the next moment, nearly in tears, he'd describe the cheerful, sweet innocent face of Jimmy Wu, the bespectacled little boy with Backlington Syndrome who had hobbled six miles through a minefield in the snow in the dead of night to gaze upon the glasses that SIMON had made for Harry Potter. One moment SIMON might explain the influence his mother had upon British postwar playground design; the next he'd be describing an Oscar party he’d attended with both Playboy’s Miss January 1983 and a former Miss Texas who had “worked with Elvis”. BIFF remembered wistfully how SIMON once had effortlessly segued from a naughty casting couch story set in a Viennese penthouse to a description of his father’s meeting with Gandhi, to tips on how to get building permits in Los Angeles. SIMON knows both the dark secrets surrounding the present location of the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper costumes and the simple joy of sharing
Posted on January 4, 2017
To: Laurie Gogh, traditionally published author of several books, including Kite Strings of the Southern Cross: A Woman's Travel OdysseyFm: Artist/VR producer Stephen Black, self-published author, including the bestseller i ate tiong bahru.(2000 paperback copies sold, with no media coverage nor advertising) Re: Your recent submission to the Huffington Post Dear Ms. Gogh, Thank you for your submission to the Huffington Post. We at the Huffington Post are aware of, and truly appreciate, the time and effort it takes to write an outstanding essay. We sincerely hope the following notes from one of our editors will assist you on your journey towards becoming an outstanding writer. All the best to you. Sincerely, Submissions Desk at the Huffington Post (JUST KIDDING.) Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word Laurie, Fantastic title! Clickbait yet literary!
As a published author, people often ask me why I don’t self-publish. “Surely you’d make more money if you got to keep most of the profits rather than the publisher,” they say. Laurie, wonderful opening paragraph. A few things: a. add sales figures. Can't go wrong with sales figures. b. your awards. Can you weave these in, in a punchy way? c. how about "Surely you'd make much more money or...much, much more money..."😉 And hey, just between you and me... haven't you considered self-publishing? What do you make per book? Forty, fifty cents? Do publishers still line up promotional tours these days?How's your backlist moving?
I’d rather share a cabin on a Disney cruise with Donald Trump than self-publish. Can I try to arrange that? Ha ha! Actually it is a great line. Can you open with it? However, you'd have to come up with a follow up paragraph that would outline why you cannot see yourself in the world of self-publishing.
To get a book published in the traditional way, and for people to
actually respect it and want to read it(Can we rethink this? must we associate the word "respect" with traditional publishing? +... want to read--or want to buy? 🙂 — you have to go through the gatekeepers of agents, publishers, editors, national and international reviewers. Laurie, let's make this really work for us: can you make it personal and mention your editors' names?..and OOPS! Your sentence begins with "to get a book published... you have to go through agents, blablabla national and international reviewers". Reviewers aren't necessary to to get a book published, are they? Don't reviewers add value AFTER a book is finished? Remember, Laurie, we have to be clear and exact...we're not self-publishers, are we? lol These gatekeepers are assess ing whether or not your work is any good. BLEH! Gatekeepers assure readers of quality. Something like that. Readers expect books to have passed through all the gates(repetitious), to be vetted by professionals. Just like Fifty Shades and Wool and all of those wonderful books by Joe Konrath, who has sold millions. This system doesn’t always work out perfectly, but it’s the best system we have. Laurie, let's rethink those last two lines. Readers don't expect those things, though the world would be a better place if more readers did. For now, we will feign ignorance of excellent services like Reedsy.
Good writers only become good because they’ve undertaken an apprenticeship. Yes! The craft of writing is a life’s work. Yes!It takes at least a decade to become a decent writer, tens of thousands of hours. Your favorite authors might have spent years writing works that were rejected. But if a writer is serious about her craft, she’ll keep working at it, year after year.Yes! At the end of her self-imposed(move this 'self-imposed' up so that it modifies the first 'apprenticeship') apprenticeship, she’ll be relieved that her first works were rejected because only now(rethink your use of tense here!) can she see how bad they were. Laurie, isn't it also possible for self-publishers to have their work rejected, in many ways? If an honest friend or a teacher who was a serious reader told you that your book was unreadable, would that be better or worse than an unsigned rejection form letter from the office of an agent or publisher?
Did you ever hear what Margaret Atwood said at a party to a brain surgeon? Rewrite, does not sound literary. At. all. When the brain surgeon found out what she did for a living, he said, “Oh, you’re a writer! When I retire I’m going to write a book.” Margaret Atwood
said coolly replied, “Great! When I retire I’m going to be a brain surgeon!”An anecdote Laurie, well done!
The irony is that now that brain surgeon really could dash off a “book” in a of couple months, click “publish” on
a Amazon, and he’s off signing books at the bookstore. Laurie, can we link to where Amazon provides this service? lol Just like Margaret Atwood, he’s a “published” author. Who cares if his book is something that his grade nine teacher might have wanted to crumple into the trash? It’s a “published” book. Laurie, perhaps we can give this a little rethink? I think I read that most self-published books sell much less than a 100 copies. I doubt a bookstore would automatically share their valuable resources with just anyone, self-published or traditional. So, it might seem that a popular author such as yourself is uninformed and writing with an ink made from sour grapes.
And, when something is badly written, do we toss/throw/dump it into the trash or do we crumple it and then throw it into the trash? And, what do we do if the amateurish writing is digital, like an ebook or an online article?
The problem with self-publishing is that it requires zero gatekeepers. From what I’ve seen of it, self-publishing is an insult to the written word, the craft of writing, and the tradition of literature. As an editor, I’ve tackled trying to edit the very worst writing that people plan on self-publishing just because they can. Wow... that last line may not technically be a run on...but it ain't no dancer! And Laurie, dear, are all traditionally published books worthy of the tradition of literature? Dangerous waters here! And,what percentage of self-published books have you read? Aren't there also gatekeepers in self-publishing; that is curators? Or even Goodreads! Only an idiot would pick up ANY book without doing any sort of checking, regardless of how it was published. And, historically, there have been some noteworthy self-published works. I certainly know what you mean about editing bad writing.
I’m a horrible singer. But I like singing so let’s say I decide to take some singing lessons. A month later I go to my neighbor’s basement because he has recording equipment. I screech into his microphone and he cuts me a CD. I hire a designer to make a stylish CD cover. Voilà. I have a CD and am now just like all the other musicians with CDs.
Except I’m not. Everyone knows I’m a tuneless clod but something about that CD validates me as a musician.(Does "something" about that object truly validate you? And, the example of you screeching/recording a CD feels like an unnecessary repetition of the doctor story above. Pick one.) It’s the same with writers who self-publish. Literally anyone can do it, including a seven-year-old I know who is a “published” author because her teacher got the entire class to write stories and publish them on Amazon. It’s cute, but when adults do it, maybe not so cute. With the firestorm of self-published books unleashed on the world, I fear that writing itself is becoming devalued. Gosh, Laurie, I agree with you. But so far, your piece isn't realizing its full potential and could come across as an unresearched rant. Can you spend some time going through some bestselling self-published books and then tear them apart? It'll be a breeze and make for a better, strong essay. Grrrr.. you go girl! Devalued writing is not for us!
I have nothing against people who want to self-publish, especially if they’re elderly. Thank you for that! Me too! Perhaps they want to write their life story and have no time to learn how to write well enough to be published traditionally. Laurie, just say that they are going to die soon! Death adds drama! Make this piece come alive! It makes a great gift for their grandchildren. But self-publishing needs to be labelled as such.Memo to self: get Amazon to create a category for people who quickly write and self-publish books before they die but do not have the time to become great writers like Laurie. The only similarity between published and self-published books is they each have words on pages inside a cover. Rewrite. Clunky. Maybe something like: Self-published and published books share one thing: words on pages between covers. Or something like that. Laurie, you're the wordsmith:) Oh... we should say "traditionally" published. The similarities end there. And every
single self-published book I’ve tried to read has shown me exactly(not approximately? lol) why the person had to resort to self-publishing. These people haven’t taken the decade , or, in many cases, even six months(I believe the correct amount of time should be six months 18 days. lol), to learn the very basics of writing, such as ‘show, don’t tell,’ or how to create a scene, or that clichés not only kill writing but bludgeon it with a sledgehammer.cliché in a sentence that is 40+ words long. Intentional, right? Sometimes they don’t even know grammar.
Author Brad Thor (what has he written?) agrees: “The important role that publishers fill is to separate the wheat from the chaff. If you’re a good writer and have a great book you should be able to get a publishing contract.” Laurie, can we give that quote a rethink? Not only is it bland and kinda wrong, but the cliché police are on their way...lol)
Author Sue Grafton ( she wrote...what?) said, “To me, it seems disrespectful...that a ‘wannabe’ assumes it’s all so easy and s/he can put out a ‘published novel’ without bothering to read, study, or do the research. ... Self-publishing is a short cut(Hey Laurie, FWIW, my books usually take close to three years to write and research, at least two months of that time winning and losing battles against the world champion editor Vikki Weston) and I don’t believe in short cuts when it comes to the arts. I compare self-publishing to a student managing to conquer Five Easy Pieces on the piano and then wondering if s/he’s ready to be booked into Carnegie Hall.” Laurie, if you want to criticize self-publishing, again I suggest a better strategy is for us to pick apart some of the self-published bestsellers that have sold, for whatever reason, tens or hundreds of thousands of copies, like your books have. These quotes you've chosen have nothing to do with your opening which is about economics and why you don't self-publish. And, please, do some research...with an open mind.
Writing is hard work, but the act of writing can also be thrilling, enriching your life beyond reason when you know you’re finally nailing a certain feeling with the perfect verb. 31words, all "beyond reason" and smooth as buttahhh lol It might take a long time to find that perfect verb.(it might never happen and you end up making a clumsy sentence that is a weird present/future continuous perfect tense) But that’s how art works. Writing is an art deserving our esteem. (Writing is an artform that deserves our respect. Writing is an art form that should be held in high esteem. Ya wanna wrestle? lol) It shouldn’t be something that you can take up as a hobby one afternoon and a month later, key in your credit card number to CreateSpace or Kindle Direct Publishing before sitting back waiting for a stack of books to arrive at your door...before being taken down to the bookstore for a signing and massive sales by sheep/buyers who do not recognize works of literary merit. lol. That sentence is 40 words long, clumsy and repetitious. Laurie, we get it, we get it: the doctor can self-publish, the seven year old can self-publish it, anyone with a credit card can self-publish....EDIT
Let’s all give the written word the respect it deserves. Laurie, not a bad closing, but I am still left hanging by the question posed in your opening: why don't you self publish? Surely you could afford an editor and no longer need to fear gatekeepers? Please rethink this entire piece and give it the work it requires. Get rid of the repetition and, remember, facts speak volumes. Your opener suggests that self-publishers make more money than traditionally published authors--and you never touch this important aspect again. I'm afraid I can't run this piece as it is; feels too much like an "intelligent" rant by a wine-fortified semipro blogger. Good luck!
Posted on October 12, 2016
The Dude's Facebook page Thank you for having the courage to buy Flame Magnet. Ultimately, you will receive at least 12 stories, all for free. Flame Magnet is an experiment, a new way of using Amazon and recognition of the fact that an electronic book can be a flowing, shifting thing. Flame Magnet also acknowledges the power of algorithms, gaming strategies and word of mouth sharing/advertising. You have paid 99 cents for an empty shell. A year from now, your shell will be full of at least twelve stories and Amazon will be selling Flame Magnet for $5.99 or $12.99 or $34.99. I will, as soon as possible, email you a version of Flame Magnet that contains five stories. The stories are: Lipstick and Snow, Lorong 16, Deepavali at Gallicier and Ronnie and the Burns. The other two stories will remain a mystery, but here a couple of hints: Motown and Bali. Lipstick and Snow was featured in the premiere issue of Staple magazine, Lorong 16 is a dystopian dark comedy set in the Geylang district of Singapore and Ronnie and the Burns is a documentary about Ronnie See, the leader of the first rock band in Singapore. Deepavali at Gallicier first appeared in the bestselling book i ate tiong bahru. The story documents one day at a traditional Peranakan bakery in Singapore and is one that I have received the most comments upon. Ultimately, there will be at least a dozen short stories in Flame Magnet. The stories will be about James Brown, Singapore National Day in Plain Vanilla, 3how, Verrie Larch, Deepavali at Gallicier Peranakan Pastry Shop, Mom's Farm in Bali, a little bar in Tokyo on a wintry morning, Singapore's First Rock Band, Secrets of You Tiaow and much more. In short, your 99 cents is an entry into a literary project that will grow with time. Your "investment" will increase, as every time I add a new story to the Flame Magnet ebook file, you will receive it, at no extra charge Let me repeat this another way. You have bought a subscription. As soon as I have your email, I will send you the latest version of Flame Magnet. You will get 3 or 4 files in the next six months. The last file sent to you will have at least twelve stories. Again, there is no extra charge, even though the completed ebook version of Flame Magnet will sell for almost twelve dollars! Thanks for being so bold and open-minded. Welcome to the Flame Magnet adventure! (Oh yes... I should say that I am extremely excited about the stories in Flame Magnet. They are very different from my Bali Wave Ghost novel and i ate tiong bahru, which became a national bestseller in Singapore. Oh yes again...as I write this, there are about 20 days left in my crowdfunding campaign. I have already exceeded my goal, but there are still a number of rewards left.
Posted on September 23, 2016
Hello... My name is Stephen Black and I wrote a book called i ate tiong bahru. Regarding Facebook groups that have some type of connection with Tiong Bahru, I have been cautiously respectful. Too many posts about the book may look spammy; if I don't post at all, those genuinely interested in the topics in iatb may not discover it.This post will likely be the last one on this FB page for a while...until the launch party for tiong bahru mouth! A lot of exciting things are happening with iatb, as well as tiong bahru mouth,its soon-to-be-released follow up. BOTTOM LINE (almost): if you are interested in i ate tiong bahru, special offers and discounts, photographs, iatb T-shirts and/or glasses,and tiong bahru mouth please like the Stephen Black AUTHOR Facebook page. or follow this blog. or drop me an email. bookmerah16 AT marq gmail.com THANK YOU... OK... for those who are interested in the ongoing, and often surprising, iatb experience. The most memorable "review" was from a woman who came up to me and wanted two more copies. As nice as that was, she nearly made me cry when she said,"I read it to my children".... Asian Art Review wrote the following, three years after iatb was published! iatb has sold almost 2000 copies, qualifying it to be called "a Singaporean national bestseller". The follow up book, tiong bahru mouth, is very nearly done. iatb glassified information! Following the trailblazing path of the Thumb Kway artworks, the iatb kopi glass confuses and delights with its simple functionality, its cultural ambiguity and its postmodern yet nostalgic pop art sensibility. There will soon be a crowdfunding project to fund the production of a limited edition of these glasses, as well as an unlimited edition. However, I now have a number of the glasses, so do let me know if you are interested in getting one. I have already received orders from stores, so things will be interesting. new topic: STORIES..from you! From your relatives or friends! from Tiong Bahru residents who only speak Chinese or Malay or any other language... I would love to listen to you! In case of languages other than English, I will find a translator. PHOTOGRAPHS Besides writing, I'm also an artist/videomaker/gamemaker and photographer. I have a degree in Photographic Illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology and my works have been exhibited and collected in places like Tokyo, New York, Paris and Hong Kong. I have been creating images from the second floor entrance of the market... click here for part 2. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST! sb
Posted on June 18, 2016
- Tourism, travelling, dislocation, diaspora, nothing is stationary from the universal point of view, invisible connections
- Portrait of time spent in Jakarta, portrait of Jakarta, documentation of travelling through Jakarta, documentation of interaction with the people of Jakarta.
- "All art is self-portraiture." Yasumasa Morimura
- This is unBeat. I intensely dislike On the Road yet admire the marketing campaign that converted that lengthy piece of terrible typing into a touchstone for a generation.
- Working seriously with, for the first time, a mobile phone, an "old" Samsung. Also utilizing every Facebook feature I possibly can.
- Though it is an impossibility, megaJakarta is created with a total disregard for the audience and the industries of Art, Photography Video and Literature. Those who suffer through this four day ordeal may see a reversal of this approach.
- Portrait of Jakarta, Documentation of time spent in Jakarta, Capturing moments in Jakarta, Documentations of Jakarta created in less than one second, Ignoring photography while using a camera in Jakarta, self-portraiture using Jakarta as a substitute for the self.
- Ignoring marketing principles, especially those connected to social media, to create an art and text based commodity.
Posted on April 20, 2016
Who: Stephen Black, Asia-based artist, writer and producer. What: Stephen Black will do readings, present his thumb kways and debut a new food artwork entitled Miso Furikake Riceballs, a collaboration with Mom NatuRa. When: Saturday, April 23, 2016 9:30-4:30 Where: Magical Kampung GUI 91 Lorong Chencharu, Yishun
Free admission. There are many events going on at the Kampung GUI, as it is their eighth anniversary.
Stephen Black will be reading selections from his books, which will be available. The titles include Furikake, Contact With Shadow, Obama Search Words and I Ate Tiong Bahru. More information about the books can be found here.
Information about the thumb kway artworks.
Miso Furikake Riceballs, a tasty and nutritious autobiographical piece of social art, will debut at the the event. The artwork features organic tekka miso furikake, co-created with Bali-based Mom from Mom Natura Farm.
There will be a few surprises as well!
Posted on April 7, 2016
Click here if you would like to know more about Book Merah's history. At the bottom of this post is a video in which I talk about books and other things. "a mad work of genius" -Richard E. Lewis, Bali resident and author of Bones of the Dark Moon, a novel set in the war-torn Bali of the Sixties. "a tropical storm; exquisite yet threatening..." -Lee A. Meiser " a dizzying dive into a hidden heritage filled with the scent of frangipani and pure pleasure." Julie O'Yang, author of Butterfly Video interview with Stephen Black about Bali Wave Ghost and other books. Bali Wave Ghost on Amazon Fact-based fiction about Barack Obama's life before he became President of the United States. Obama Search Words on AmazonFurikake is a book inspired by a mixture of spices, a dry Japanese condiment meant to be sprinkled on top of rice. Nine tales set in the Far East, mainly Singapore, linked by a different declination of furikake, like a recipe book full of savoury ingredients. Furikake on Amazon Fires is a book of poems by Singaporean poet Cyril Wong. Fires on Amazon A classic. "Unlike anything else I've read". "Black's love letter is one of the best introductions to a country and a state of mind that you might read." Nirmala Deview, Art Review Asia "reads like a travelogue, a personal story and a history book...a pleasure to read." www.breviewer.com Tiong Bahru is an area and a community in Singapore. iatb is available in Singapore at Naiise, Scene Shang, Plain Vanilla, Books Actually, & Booktique, I Ate Tiong Bahru on Amazon ........................ More! BEACH ROAD, STEPHEN BLACK'S VR MOVIE (free download) SPOKEN an exhibition curated by Stephen Black, in a virtual gallery created by Eugene Soh. SPOKEN features unknown and known artists and writers such as Stelarc, Sjon, Kembra Pfahler, Vincent Leow, Xu Xi and Yasumasa Morimoto. (free download) Thank you very, very much for your interest in Book Merah. If you have any comments or ideas, please let me know in the comments section. If you think any of your friends would like these books, feel free to share. If the response is strong enough I may extend this offer past the 13th. Finally, it would be much appreciated if you could review anything you read, especially on Amazon, Goodreads, your blog or Facebook. Thanks again! Onward, Stephen Black MORE! Contact with Shadow- Stephen Black's novel set in contemporary Singapore, yet full of Singaporean history from before the days of Raffle, up to 1911. This book is not yet free, but is becoming unglued, which is an exciting revolution in ebook distribution. Video interview and reviews here. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wC2nvskLDHI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
"... a multifaceted portrait, one in which a serious analysis of race is counterbalanced by thought-provoking original research, never-before-seen imagery and a writing style that is lively, intimate and enjoyable."
- Carl Adams, author of NANCE: The True Story of the First Slave Freed by Abraham Lincoln
... touches upon lesser known aspects of Obama's pre-Presidential life, but I was especially interested in the book's unusual--and effective-- chapters that brought the Civil Rights Movement to life.
- O'Brien Browne, author of My Back Pages
Posted on February 17, 2015
Book Merah was established by Stephen Black in 2007. Book Merah publishes ebooks, books and art portfolios. Authors include Stephen Black and Cyril Wong. Project discussions are now underway with Sylvie Chandra Nalini Paluselli, who is working on a book about indigenous spiritual practices in Bali and Bernard Harrison, part of the team that created the stunning Singapore Zoo. Finally, Book Merah will be working on a historical novel with novelist/chef Ezio Barbero. Other Book Merah projects include: Soon to be an audio book voiced by Mirai Booth-Ong, the paperback version of I Ate Tiong Bahru has become as Singaporean cult classic, one soon to become an official best-seller. More info on IATB here. USA Today bestselling author Michael Bunker and Stephen Black join forces! Scooby Doo meets Asian film noir with a dash of Herman Hesse. A slapstick detective story set in the underworld of Singapore, featuring dozens of donuts, questionable personal hygiene and almost no full frontal nudity...what more do you want? Michael Bunker is a reasonable man who lives off the grid. He created the genre known as Amish science fiction. Michael also wrote a remarkable book called Hugh Howie Must Die in thirty hours. If you want to know more about one of the most interesting writers around, click here. "For three years, this book has been the center of my professional life. It is about Bali, love, crime and how the morning light makes a bowl of rice look magical... I have attempted to create an experience, not just tell a story."-Stephen Black There are several posts related to Bali Wave Ghost on this blog, including samples like this. SPOKEN is a phenomenon of virtual reality, creative writing and art. The eclectic group of creative people involved include Stelarc, Xu Xi, Sjon, Yasumasa Morimura, Carla Bonollo and The Lagos 2060 group. To visit the gallery, click here. (There is a small download.) This blog has many posts related to SPOKEN Samples from Furikake can be found here. Five star Amazon review: "Tourists don't know where they've been, travellers don't know where they're going." Paul Theroux Furikake is a book inspired by a mixture of spices, a dry Japanese condiment meant to be sprinkled on top of rice. Nine tales set in the Far East, mainly Singapore, linked by a different declination of furikake, like a recipe book full of savoury ingredients. ... this is a truly enjoyable reading, between a memoir and a travel diary in which one can easily recognize fragments of oneself. There's a recurring theme, the literary device of a story within a story; excerpts in form of well-thumbed photocopies of Paul Theroux's The Happy Isles of Oceania offer a refreshing, creative view on the narrator's fictional life. Perspective and lack of perspective become key elements, the past is constantly reinterpreted in order to form an ever changing frame. The tales compose a very intense narrative, sometimes humorous (Writing Furikake, Furikake on Facebook), others nostalgic (Puccini liked it on ham, Who will bite my head) or euphoric (Variety is the spice of life); in any case a human comedy that won't leave you indifferent.Much work has been done on the sequel to I Ate Tiong Bahru. Considering a crowdfunding campaign... A sample of the writing is here.
With documentary-style short stories and interviews, Obama Search Words captures the spirit of one of the most exciting campaigns in American political history, as well as scenes from Barack Obama's life.The book also touches upon the work of civil rights leaders such as Philip Randolph and Dr. Martin Luther King. With charts, original and historic photographs, Obama Search Words vividly captures the life and times of one of the most dynamic politicians of our times. On Amazon.
Posted on January 4, 2015
A Facebook event page has been created. If you would like to see SB at the 2015 Singapore Writers Festival, check out this page. THANKS The Singapore literary scene is very small but dynamic. The National Book Development Council, the Arts Council,the National Heritage Board, the Economic Development Board, the Singapore Memory Project and other agencies have funded numerous books, projects and events. Publishers like Epigram, Ethos and Monsoon are "punching above their weight" and creating international interest in Singapore as they also succeed within the country itself. As an artist/writer based on the island since 2002, I have been fortunate to interact with all of these companies and organizations, as well as individuals involved with the art and business of writing. I write now to raise the possibility of me, Stephen Black, appearing at the 2015 Singapore Writers Festival.I cannot deny that I will benefit but equally important, if not more so, is the fact that my inclusion will, within Singapore and beyond, recognize and further validate self-publishing. With each passing day there are more examples of self-published books successfully connecting with people, like this. Has the SWF recognized any self-published authors? "Self-publishing is the future" is not true: ask Jane Austen. Or Proust. I humbly propose the following notes for the Singapore Writers Festival's consideration. 1. Relevancy to the SWF's stated theme; to "have a strong focus on Singapore authors and themes". Nearly all of my books are related to Singapore and its history, especially I Ate Tiong Bahru. Three years in the making, I Ate Tiong Bahru was completely self-funded. Full of first-hand observations about life in Tiong Bahru, as well as original research and interviews, IATB is likely to become a Singapore bestseller (2000 print copies sold) in 2015. This despite a nearly anonymous cover with no blurbs or eye-catching illustration. "... the anecdotal tales you have recorded jump back at me through time. It is a rare occasion when I get the opportunity to meet someone who is so dedicated to writing up the heritage of the area with stories from the street." Donald Wyatt, resident of Tiong Bahru since 1942 Stephen Black's musings of Singapore's most famous neighborhood are at once whimsical,nostalgic and humorous. From stories about local delicacies to "Soymilk Blues" (sung to Johnny Cash's famous song), I Ate Tiong Bahru is a must-read for gourmets, architects, historians and just about anyone who wishes to learn more about this evolving neighborhood. -5 star review on Amazon 2. The projects of Book Merah (the name of my book "incubator") represent an important aspect of the zeitgeist of the publishing world. Obama Search Words, written and produced in Clement,i was very likely the first ebook produced in Singapore to be sold on Amazon. Contact With Shadow, a novel packed with historical information about the Armenian Street/Fort Canning area was probably the first Singapore-based project on Kickstarter. Contact With Shadow is now featured on Unglue-it, a revolutionary site devoted to the creation of free ebooks. Furikake, which has the "ugliest cover on Amazon" was written in 2007, and is set in the area near West Coast Park.The sequel to I Ate Tiong Bahru is near completion. The book, called To Eat Tiong Bahru, may be crowd-funded. Fires, by Singapore Literature Prize Winner Cyril Wong was most likely the first book by a Singaporean poet to appear on Kindle. 3. As far as being Singaporean, I have held a newborn baby in Mount Elizabeth Hospital and twice watched the sad machinery at Mandai. I've lived on Emerald Hill Road,in Hougang, in Clementi, Boon Lay and the Mitre Hotel. I have had a company, an employment pass and a huge variety of uniquely Singaporean life experiences. I probably had SARS. I survived a Singaporean Chinese wedding. 4. FWIW 1: Singapore Biennale text with Michael Lee, as well as other contributions to Michael Lee's text projects. Contributing writer to Singapore Architect magazine, producing articles on a wide range of topics including the Red Dot Museum, the works of Amanda Heng, Art Stage Singapore and more. 5. FWIW 2 I have been invited to speak at Hubud on January 8. I've presented at various gatherings and conferences, including TEDx Youth in Singapore. Acted in Boo Jun Feng's Changi Murals. Have held a newborn baby at Mount Elizabeth, suffered through weddings and twice watched the sad machinery out in Mandai. 6. SPOKEN, created with Singaporean Eugene Soh, not only features a variety of international artists including Stelarc and Yasumasa Morimura, but Singaporeans Vincent Leow and Godwin Koay. Writers include Sjon (SWF 203), Xu Xi (Man Booker Prize nominee and other talented writers from a wide range of countries, from China to Nigeria, from Turkey to London. 7. Being in the SWF would give me another opportunity to thank BooksActually, Booktique and my very supportive production team members. 8. It would be an honor and a privilege to meet some of the people who have bought I Ate Tiong Bahru and/or received the free ebook version. Thank you all in advance for your time and consideration.This may seem like self-promotion. It is, but part of the reality of being independent is understanding the fact that if you don't do it, no one will.
Posted on December 24, 2014
Hubud/Presentation/Being Indie - How to Start an Art Project(January 8,2015) Bali Advertiser/Artist-Writer Stephen Black (December 24, 2014) InBali/Bali's Most Unique Christmas Gift (December 16, 2014) Stephen Black Art Event at Le Mayeur Museum (May 3,4,5 2014) La Bruschetta in the Rainy Season (December 29,2013) Sanur (January 1, 2013)