Tag Archives: creative writing

My terrible book promotional flyer made me happy

As you may know, I have not yet done any serious marketing--though I do have a bestseller. I believe that books sell because of word of mouth, not advertising. Of course, at some point I will do serious advertising, but that day has not yet come. For now, I am most interested in connecting with readers with a sense of adventure.

What follows is something I greatly enjoy.

Hi Stephen, I am one of the guys taking your leaflet when you were in HK for the book exhibition on the bridge.

One thing I want to mention is, sorry for the frankness.... Your leaflet is lousy😅

These are 2 other leaflets I have acquired while on the bridge, and they are objectively and subjective better.......

1. Your leaflet is in black and white.

2. The text and images are pressed together and too small for normal people to read.

3. And most importantly, I don't know what you want to promote in this leaflet..... There is no focus. Is it "book merah", "Obama search words", or Bali Wave Ghost? I was thinking along these lines when I read the leaflet: "What are these books? Why I would want to read them? And why is there some strange circles drawing overlapping with the images and text in the centre? 😵😵😵"

Hope u can improve on your presentation so more people can read your good book on different cultures and places 👍👍👍

"FANTASTIC," I say! The link to the books which are now on sale/free is here.

More about the HK Book Fair is here.

Publishing Magnates

Stephen Black , Book Merah CEO/author , with Stuart Rankin, Chairman of The Dundercats Multimedia Group.

Book Merah Giveaways and Discounts for the Hong Kong Book Fair

On Amazon:

i ate tiong bahru

Fires

Furikake

Bali Wave Ghost

Ipoh: 88 iPhone Photographs by Bubiko Foodtour

Obama Search Words

Alphabet Spikes

Flame Magnet

red dot SAD

Hello, and welcome to the world of Book Merah.

Here you will find our latest publications, as well as our classics. Although we have not yet started any organized publicity or marketing campaigns, we are very fortunate to be connecting with readers around the world.

Now, to celebrate the Hong Kong Book Fair, we are giving away, or discounting, all that is Book Merah, with two exceptions. Amazon does not allow us to discount the i ate tiong bahru audio book, and Contact With Shadow is supporting the mission of our friends at Unglue.

minimalist book cover

i ate tiong bahru

is a bestseller in Singapore.

The classic coffee mug reborn with a pop art, postmodern touch.

I ATE TIONG BAHRU IS IN A DISCOUNT CAMPAIGN ON AMAZON until JULY 29. The Sooner You Buy, the More You Save!

Fires is a collection of poems by Cyril Wong.

There is now a discount on Fires!

photography as part of book cover design

a photograph of a dancer on a farm, the title and the author's name

Furikake: a collectrion of short stories, all containing a reference to furikake, which is a Japanese rice seasoning. Some of the stories are spicy, some are tasteless, some are a fusion of East and West and Clementi, a community in Singapore.

Furikake... now on sale!

Publishing Magnates

Stephen Black, Book Merah CEO/author, with Stuart Rankin, Chairman of The Dundercats Multimedia Group.

black and white book covers

Bali Wave Ghost: reading it is like surfing through the mind of a character who is both guilt-ridden and hedonistic. A portrait of contemporary life in Bali; a meditation on the times we live in. Kinda romantic as well.

Bali Wave Ghost... Free download!

The basis for perhaps the world's first AR photo exhibition. These photos capture the spirit of Ipoh; especially its food culture.

Ipoh: 88 iPhone Photographs by Bubiko Foodtour, now a free download.

Fact-based fiction about the 44th President of the United States. Includes stories about his time in Jakarta, Hawaii, Chicago and New York City.

Obama Search Words now on sale.

ebook now available on Amazon

As of this moment, this book only has stories about AR in it. However i the next few days, there will be essays about VR, and some surprises. After you buy this, send me an email so as to get the updates, free of charge. Yes, this is an experiment; trying to see if I can use Amazon as a basis for a cross between subscriptions and crowdfunding. Ultimately this will be a compilation of my experiences and stories as a digital nomad.

Alphabet Spikes... FREE

lance from Secret Donut World

Flame Magnet is go!
Art by David Severn

Flame Magnet! Another experiment... short stories, and the start of a long adventure. Send me your email and you'll receive the new stories, free of charge, of course.

Flame Magnet is priceless 'til July 24!

minimal book covers

red dot SAD (Stories Art, Digitalia 2002-2017) book by Stephen Black

My own art experiences, as well as pieces that were written for magazines or fellow artists. Another project in which I will update this periodically; send me your email to get teh updated version. To give you an example of art in Singapore, take a look at this.

red dot SAD

THANKS FOR YOUR INTEREST IN BOOK MERAH!

Bubiko says hi!

Bubiko's food adventures.. Aroi mak Mak!

Alphabet Spikes Z-T (notes from June 2018, Hong Kong)

One of the books free/discounted, as part of the HK Book Fair.

Alphabet Spikes is a collection of stories, essays and experiments created from February 2017 until now--and in the future! The core of the book is here, on Amazon, but this ebook actually something like crowdfunding.

Once you buy the book, send me your email and you will get an updated ebook with new stories, as I add them. Right now, the version on Amazon includes stories about a game developer, Antigone Cloud and my brief encounter with Anthony Bourdain. Next will be journal entries from the Bubiko Orwell Tour, which voyaged through Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong. The purpose of the tour was to research food, to create a network of people interested in AR, and two work on two books.

Besides the tour journal, there are, and will be, short stories, interviews and essays about Southeast Asia and people, events and places connected to it.

Alphabet Spikes: Art and entrepreneurship go on a road trip in Southeast Asia. Lots of eating, a few meetings, and nonstop ups and downs.

In reverse alphabetical order, the following are some of my experiences in Hong Kong; these will become stories and essays. Questions? Leave in the comments section, as well as any info you'd like to share. Thanks!

Zorn. Click to hear the HK/Macau/CBGB story.

Yam cha and dim sum

Yam cha! The literal translation is "drink tea". However, yum cha usually means eating a meal of dim sum. Dim sum are the foods served in the round bamboo containers. Dim sum restaurants are everywhere in Hong Kong.

Xu Xi at the launch of Insignificance

“An audacious, inventive and original collection: these ‘Hong Kong’ stories are full of clever energy and lively strangeness.” - Gail Jones On Amazon.

Walsh, Joe. Performing with Shear, Jules and John, Doctor.

VR HMD ad on a tram.

Uniworks, the display of students' work, near the entrance of the Jockey Club Innovation Tower on the Hong Kong Polytechnic campus.

Inside the Dome

Tony Tan, Delta Blues Audio

Tai Kwun Art Complex, just down the road from where I used to live.

Alphabet Spikes: Q-S is here.

another book by Book Merah

Publishing as a Discourse Marker

From Wikipedia: In Practical English Usage, Michael Swan defines a discourse marker as "a word or expression which shows the connection between what is being said and the wider context". For him, a discourse marker is something that either connects a sentence to what comes before or after, or indicates a speaker's attitude to what he is saying. He gives three examples: on the other hand; frankly; as a matter of fact.[5] Ian McCormick's The Art of Connection[6] outlines nine classes of connectives based on their purpose:

to provide a sense of where something is in relation to something else;

to supply a sense of when something is happening;

to compare two ideas and express similarities;

to contrast ideas English provides many examples to signal the notion of difference;

to present additional or supplementary ideas;

to indicate that a point in a discussion has been conceded or already taken into account;

to demonstrate a sense of logical sequence;

to offer an illustration or an example;

to deliver a summary of the ideas discussed.

McCormick points out that "FANBOYS" is mnemonic to recall co-ordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

5.30 – 7.00pm

Publishing Independently

What is the potential of self-initiated publications as a form of artistic collaboration? What are the benefits and pitfalls of self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and how does it contribute to the cultural field? This panel will explore recent developments in self-publishing and what necessitates these forms of independent production.

Speakers:

Ringo Bunoan (Philippines), artist and co-Founder, Art Book Philippines

Savannah Gorton (Germany/Denmark), curator and co-Founder, Friends with Books

Beatrix Pang (Hong Kong), Founder, Small Tune Press

Stephen Black (Around China) artist, writer and Founder Book Merah

Moderated by Shubigi Rao (India/Singapore), artist

0-8 cycling circles of tiny tiny smooth cicadas

8-12 it is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering

12-14 cycling circles of tiny tiny smooth cicadas

14-18 it is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering

18 -20 k-k-kk-kk-kk-k

25 single frippertronic flotation device

27 flotation device again mahogany buffalo honey river slow burst the dam

32 x

1:37 it is impossible again

1:49 banshee at coat check

2:02 banshee leaves the pyramid dancefloor

2:03 you

2:04 blue eyed soul vulnerability

2:08 avenue C to hell kitchen

2:37 the aim suffering

2;47 no panic in the tinkly disco

3:31-3:38 bloody holiday exposure stylee lung rip glass

3:40 you

3:42 are

3:44 he

3:45 psycho killer calm ride home in her car

3:52 oh

3:53 flotation device

3:54-4:02 again ceiling staring between glass wails

4:03 x

4:04 p flotation flotation o disco stops

4:05 cycling circles of tiny tiny smooth cicadas

4:06 cannibalistic calm searching vanishing

Book Merah Ebook Giveaway June 2018 HONG KONG and BEYOND

It is now noon on Sunday. I will update this in about 12 hours. There are other book discounts and giveaways now available; please check on Amazon. And, actually Alphabet Spikes and Antigone.Cloud have not yet been cleared into the Amazon system. They will appear soon. Thanks for your patience and please check back later. Thank you! Steve More book info here!

The giveaway will coincide with my presentations at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on June 11 and 13.

Information on some of the books can be found here.

I am excited to present two book ideas. The book ideas are: Alphabet Spikes and Antigone.Cloud: Ghost of a Robot I use the word "book ideas" because these two projects will be "normal" books and ebooks someday. For now, they are both inexpensive subscriptions. What do I mean by that? Here is how it works:

1. You buy the book, or get it while it is a free giveaway.

2. You read it.

3. If you like it, send me your email, and I will send you the latest chapters.

4. If you don't like it, I hope you feel that the price was fair and the information and stories were valuable.

So, these two books are something like subscriptions or crowdfunding. Without further ado, the books are:

Alphabet Spikes

Art and entrepreneurship go on a road trip in Southeast Asia. Lots of eating, a few meetings, and nonstop ups and downs.

and

Antigone.Cloud: Ghost of a Robot

A ten year old girl made of software faces the difficulties of growing up.

.................

A national bestseller in Singapore

i ate tiong bahru is a bestseller in Singapore. Here's the link to iatb on Amazon. Here is a link to a blog post with reviews and more information.

photography as part of book cover design

a photograph of a dancer on a farm, the title and the author's name

Short stories that involve rice seasonings. A price discount. What more could you want? (And those blank pages are gone. And a story has been added! I should really update that Amazon description soon. Speaking of Amazon: the link.

The Ipoh photobook is free from June 9-13,2018. This is the book that inspired the world's first AR photo exhibition. On Amazon!

UNGLUE CONTACT WITH SHADOW IMMEDIATELY!

Contact With Shadow in quotes book cover

Printing history and romance collide in this novel by Stephen Black.

from the Internet Cafe in Chung King Mansions

An HK$ 8 paper cup of chai tea is in front of the monitor. Tea reminds me of coffee and I could certainly write at length about my six day crash course on HK coffee culture. Here, I am an unofficial spokesman for northern Thailand coffee and tea.

I could also write about how it feels to be back. I lived in Hong Kong for a few years during the Handover. Food is another obvious topic.

But what I will write about is a list of things I have to do and think about. Probably boring to most people, but here we go:

Hong Kong Polytechnic Workshop. Two workshops, each 3 hours. Two presentations. The workshops will be more conceptual than technical. It will be interesting to learn the AR awareness level of those participating. It is likely many will have much more hands on production experience than I do. The first presentation will be geared towards design students, but open to all. The second is titled AR, VR and Me, which uses my life experiences as a starting point to explain AR and VR. This talk is for the general public.

Kandao! This exciting camera manufacturer is just over the border in Shenzhen. We have agreed to meet, but when? My passport is full; I go to the consulate next Tuesday. I need to finish my movie proposal soon!

"All his life was an incessant research of a language that could conform with the modern man. Speed, words in freedom, war, and revolution are the words that best represent the life of Marinetti, who was called “caffeina d’Europa” (caffeine of Europe), because he was always ready to excite the Old Continent with some novelties."

Stuart Rankin/The Dundercats Now that I am on the home turf of the Dundercats, it's time to brainstorm and plan how their AR plans can be woven into the AR plans of Bubiko Foodtour, Secret Donut World and the Dobots.

Signal 8 Publishers. I had a great time at the launch of two books: Xu Xi's Insignificance and Marshall Moore's Inhospitable. The Sunday afternoon was anything but inhospitable, and it was very significant to me, on several levels; one being that Xu Xi will be leaving HK for New York. I should also note that her husband Bill was there, and he reminded me of an evening in Manhattan when I bumped into him in midtown. He was in a pack of karaoke singers, and for some reason I was invited. I went to where they were going. I ate a bowl of soup and left. Or so Bill says. I don't remember that happening, but a chance meeting on the streets of NYC, followed by a bowl of soup sounds about my speed.

Speaking of food: CONFUSION reigns!

Super Rare! Block chain. I need to have a conversation with them. The plot twist here is that I would like to use some of Toyo's images as the basis for simple digital artworks. As I Toyo and I were discussing things l;ike this before he passed away, I feel it is OK. However, I have tried to contact his family first, so as to get their thoughts.

Alphabet Spikes: the book I am writing about the Bubiko Orwell Tour. I am still filling notebooks, still frustrated that I do not have a laptop. Here is the blurb: Art and entrepreneurship go on a road trip in Southeast Asia. Lots of eating, a few meetings, and nonstop ups and downs.

The other book:

Antigone. Cloud: Ghost of a Robot A ten year old girl made of software faces the difficulties of growing up.

Back in HK, I instantly remembered Visage.

Back in HK, I instantly remembered the Star Ferry.

Back in HK, I instantly remembered the prices of housing and food. Ouch! We came here planning to do a month-long house sit.However, this fell through a couple of days before we got on the plane. SO... if anyone in HK has any leads on housesitting or inexpensive housing, please do get in touch asap. Chung King certainly has its charms, but...

Oh yes: since I am in HK: 3how! The Silent State

Chiang Rai, the Golden Triangle Palace: Art, Content, Portraiture

Regarding the retireinchiangrai performance.

What began at the Abby Hotel in Ipoh, Malaysia as a kind of durational art piece has become a form of portraiture for hotels. With the Abby Hotel piece, the goal was to create content for 72 continuous hours, mainly with Facebook Live. Next was a sixty hour project at Symphony Suites, also in Ipoh. Christmas, Penang, 24 hour documentation of food.Then in Bangkok, there was a near continuous three day marathon at La Rivetta.

My latest mix of photography, historical research and interviews/oral history is partially documented at this website: https://retireinchiangrai.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/chiang-rai-transportation/

The intention is to use photography for personal expression, rather than commercial documentation, as well as to create a vocabulary of procedures that allow for spontaneous internet experiences. Plus, the experiences will become a chapter in An Alphabet of Spikes, one of the two books I am currently writing.

In short, we did a lot of stuff and put it online to see what happens in both the art world and the world of people who want to retire in Thailand.

SE Asia Bookstore Energy!

Thailand is full of surprises, but one of the best was the discovery of so many healthy bookstores. Besides the work on my startup, I am now writing two books, both with connections to Thailand. Discovering bookstores has been an inspirational part of the Bubiko Orwell Tour.

Additionally... I recently had a pleasant conversation with Trasvin Jittidecharak, the publisher of Silkworm Press. We took no photos, though! We did discuss, however, this very interesting book.

And, before I entered Thailand, just after Christmas, I was lucky to have 30 minutes of quality time with Gareth Richards, in his office above the legendary Gerakbudya Bookshop in Penang, Malaysia. The team headquartered here recently won an award for their outstanding work on the Georgetown Literary Festival.

About a year ago, in Kuala Lumpur, I had a very brief exchange with Raman Krishnan, the proprietor of Silverfish Books, an English language, Malaysian-themed independent bookstore.

And... in Singapore: Kenny Leck and Books Actually. Plus:Booktique, run by Anthony Koh Waugh! But for now... Thailand.

papersmith bookshop

Dao, a woman who is soon opening a bookshop. Her deep respect and passion for books made a strong impression upon me. Thailand and Southeast Asia and the world of books. OnwARd!

Because of Facebook and the Mekong Review, I just discovered Bangkok's Open House Bookshop.

Oh yeah... you're here because you are enigmatic, intelligent and interested in w o r d s... I dare ya... ONE DOS San !

Two emails about Chiang Mai food from Any Way in a Way

The following emails are reprinted with permission. They contain information helpful to those visiting Chiang Mai. More than this, the professionalism and obvious joie de vivre of Olga's emails make them casual,little masterpieces of written communication.

Olga's stunning photographs of vanishing cultures can be seen at Any Way in a Way.

..................

Hi,

Enjoy Chiang Mai, I like this place. It’s touristy but special. The more I stayed, the more I liked.

We are now on Koh Phangan. It’s a beautiful island, rather quiet despite its reputation for Full Moon parties. It becomes very busy for 3 days for the party before becoming again a sleepy island. Sapphire-blue sea and white sandy beaches, exactly what I was looking for. The only downside is food – the food is almost twice expensive compared to the rest of Thailand, and local food stalls are not everywhere. We drive for 10 min to eat locally (but expensive compared to the prices we used to pay). But well, we have sea in return.

Sure, you can post my recommendations. I have a few more 🙂

Another specialty of Chiang Mai is Chiang Mai sausage. It’s unbelievably tasty, spicy, with a lot of ingredients inside such as lemon grass etc. One of the best is at Isan stall I recommended yesterday. The best sausages are in the places where are not many tourists. Otherwise, they don’t make it spicy as it should be.

· Hideya Ramen: surprisingly great Ramen. It’s a tiny place operated by one passionate man.

· Rosy Cheeks: tasty and very photogenic. A little Asian fusion restaurant.

· If you want to try Thai Chili Frog or other quite rare dishes - Loong Thai Khao Gaeng.

· Kanomjeen Khunnai Mae: very special rice noodle place.

· Rustic and Blue: delicious and beautifully presented western type dishes. All coming from their farm. But expensive.

But what I really miss is the quality coffee of Chiang Mai. There are many barista style coffee places, with the quality comparable to the coffee in Sydney, the best place for coffee in the world

My favourites are:

· Akha Ama: great coffee, and the prices are very reasonable. They have 2 locations. One is near the Old City.

· Ristr8 is absolutely the must. In Nimman.

· Ristr8to Lab: same owner as above but different in style. They are located close to each other. In Nimman.

· Cotton Tree: great coffee and great place to relax. Quiet compared to other busy places like Ristr8. Try their affogato – coffee with ice-cream, very special. In Nimman.

· Omnia: quality, great coffee with some unusual creations of the month. In a residential area of CM.

· Graph Cafe: stylish tiny place in the Old City with great coffee. Their speciality is Nitro and Cold Brew.

· Ponganes: long-established place in CM, great coffee. In the Old City.

· Pacamara: same as above, long-established place in CM, great coffee. In the Old City.

· Asama Cafe: outside Chiang Mai in a beautiful garden near the lake. Really great coffee in a peaceful setting.

There are also 2 places I find special:

· Begin Again: coffee is not the barista level coffee but the setting in amazing. If you feel like you are in the middle of a jungle. You can find photos on our website https://anywayinaway.com/coworking-spaces-cafes-chiang-mai/

Penguin Ghetto: nice place, quite special, odd I would say, and coffee is very good.

Enjoy!

Olga

.........................

Hi,

How do you find Chiang Mai? Have you been to Chiang Rai all this time? Was it good? We didn’t stay long time in Chiang Rai, just enough to explore the town and a couple of temples outside.

As for Chiang Mai, renting an apartment is much cheaper than staying in a guesthouse, however, they require at least 1 month stay.

If you want to stay in Old Town of Chiang Mai, we stayed in a few places. We like Nocky House, located very close to a local market with food and vegetables, in a very old traditional house, very charming.

Otherwise, just nearby, there is 9 Hostel – a very different style – very modern, cement walls etc. Quiet and clean. I liked, Errol found it impersonal.

There is also SK 1 – very good price for what they offer (swimming pool), near Somphat market.

If you like a modern area in Chiang Mai, it’s Nimman. We also stayed there but we rented an apartment on a few occasions.

For food:

· Chang Phuak Gate (North Gate) – local food market. You should try the “must” there – Cowboy Lady stall aselling Khao Kha Moo (pork legs that melt in you mouth). My mouth is watering just when I am typing…

· You should try a special chicken at SP Chicken.

· One of the best Khao Soi (specialty of Chiang Mai) is at Khao Soi Islam, Charoenprathet Road Soi 1. I tried – very good! People also recommend Khao Soi Lam Duan and Khao Soi Khun Yai.

· If you want a very creative vegetarian and organic - Pun Pun restaurant located at Suan Dok Temple.

South Gate Night Market: the most known market among farang. But the food is good, the prices are low, and the variety is unbeatable.

· Warorot Market: Chinatown of Chiang Mai. Interesting food that you won’t find everywhere.

· There is one local place called something Vegetable Organic. They have amazing food (non-vegetarian, their vegetables are supposed to be organic, hence, the name). The specialty of the house is different types of friend rice. I don’t like saying that but this is the best fried rice I have eaten. They are near Burmese Restaurant and Library (you can google to find). There is another restaurant a few step away – a small stall selling Isan food. Great food!

Olga

(SB: You can read about Olga and Errol here.)