Tag Archives: ebooks

Two in the Afternoon (microfiction from Touching JB)

We were sitting on the chairs in front of the wood burning stove when they materialized. Their arms were like Japanese Easter eggs. Finally, the young man stopped with his thumbs and looked up from his phone. On top of his peppery skull was a filet of pink hair. Circular wire eyeglasses, yellow irises. He moved his head a little, then reached for the curry puffs. Started eating before he paid. The girl took hers without looking up.

The man behind the counter smiled sincerely, thanked them. Behind him, the wall was full of photos and newspaper clippings, most from when the man’s hair and beard weren’t white. Near the cash register: two playful photos of him and his wife at the Taj Mahal. Once, at the 123 Cafe, he'd told me that theirs was an arranged marriage. She passed away. Lung cancer. He didn’t say more.

The chairs we are in are comfortable. I am eating a piece of cream bread, she is chewing and studying her red bean puff. Saluddhin’s bakery has an authenticity that would usually capture my attention, but now I cannot help thinking about a game called Firewatch. It’s about a man living alone in the forests of Wyoming, a man whose wife may have early-onset dementia.

..............30.................

I am on target to finish a 50,000 word book by the end of April. The book is called Touching JB and is a mix of writing about travel, VR/AR, Johor Bahru, Singapore, Southeast Asia, food, history, gaming and memoir. I am excited about this and hope I can stay on schedule.

 

Touching JB: intro to the new book by Stephen Black

Touching JB: I am very very hugely, remarkably, extremely mega-excited about this project. Adrenaline, research, romance, Johor Bahru and assam laksa. Onward!

Are You In a Film or In Reality?

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 
sewage pipe in the middle of the road “This is surreal,” SIMON says. BIFF’s heart leaps. He hadn’t thought that the script he’d risked his health and sanity for would be considered “surreal”. But if SIMON MURRAY thought it was surreal, then his script was surreal, goshdarnit! Great! Actually, BIFF’s aim was to write a mashup; something like Waiting for Godot meets Mission Impossible. One draft had been titled Waiting for the Pink Panther. “Absolutely surreal” SIMON repeats. Eventually, BIFF understands, sadly. His script is not surreal; SIMON's mind is preoccupied with Something Else....The  Meaning of Life. The Undefinable Power Which Pervades Everything Yet Cannot Be Proved. Malaysia. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.The fact that Life is unscripted, yet filled with countless scenes containing countless varieties of brutality, no matter how much we think otherwise. SIMON lights another cigarette. We hear only the sound of diners in the cafe across the little street. BIFF becomes aware of  the aroma of herbal soup. ”OK… No bulldust”, SIMON says. “Your script. Some good ideas, but... don't do  two things at once. You can’t be both opera and MTV. Ballet or gangsta rap. You must decide. Hemingway or The Bard. Whattsap. Commitment. Your  Mr. Yellow character is unbelievable; I am unclear as to whether he has Parkinson's or just a silly walk. Your script should be a ticket away from reality. It's not." SIMON looks at the truck. "I had hopes..." Suddenly SIMON  starts barking like a big basset hound; the loudness he makes is the sound of being upset and surprised yet happy. The men packing the truck stop. SIMON is amongst them immediately. He shows them how to pack properly.

Year of the Rooster things to do

(image by David Severn) The Art/VR startup idea...the time is now! The  Tiong Bahru Mouth the book , the photos, the haikus,  the videos. The Tiong Bahru Market is closing for three months at the end of February. Seems like that would be a punctuation mark of some sort. The i ate tiong bahru audiobook is now being checked by Amazon. The iatb glasses were successfully crowdfunded. So was the design for the Tiong Bahru poster. I ate Tiong Bahru, the book itself, is due for a second printing...   priest painting the skyI Ate Tiong Bahru Audiobook Really...this could go live any day!ArtReview Asia review of IATBcover of Artreview AsiaVoicemaps I have Tiong Bahru mapped out... Bali Wave Ghost After three years+ of doing the starving artist thing,it's time to work on the net net and synergize so as to secure maximum ROI.(that was written last year also, on another blog post. Have not done marketing.. no sales action.)Bali Wave Ghost in a Periplus bookstoreSPOKEN I wrote the following last year, and it has received attention, should receive more... SPOKEN needs to increase its audience...it really is an incredible piece of work :a virtual gallery built by Eugene Soh and filled with contributions from an extremely diverse collection of artists and writers. two male avatars in a very red gallery And these two projects, carry overs from last year. Hopefully by midyear, they can be picked up again...INSEIN Last year, I  spent almost ten days in Yangon. I created images with a digital camera. I would like to exhibit them and create a book.The images use Yangon as a starting point...airline map sing to RangoonI Ate LaPhet Thoke Conceptual art meets culinary research. A booklet co-created with Sayuri Okayama.IMG_3604 la phet thoke in styrofoam w Joe 19th stBeach Road This 360VR movie will hopefully continue to attract viewers. 360 video still from Beach Road Towards a New Cinematography, the book, has been plodding along. I hope it will plod faster.AND I WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH MY MOM AND DAD AND BROTHER AND DAUGHTER!

everything

You are probably here because you received a piece of paper from me.   HELLO   I am writing this on Thursday, November 24....  a very full day. Probably on Sunday I can come back and fill this page full of descriptions and links about my projects. For now... SPOKEN at www.gallery.sg this was created with Eugene Soh and is full of art and writing. It requires a 10 meg download, which is free. Beach Road You'll need a VR viewing device to see this short film which was featured at the 2015 Brisbane Film Festival and nominated for Best Experimental Film at the 2016 Las Vegas VR Fest. Descriptions of my books including videos and reviews. Please consider taking a look at my crowdfunding projects for a Tiong Bahru poster AND a book on the way that technology has affected cinematography. And, scattered throughout this blog are posts about art, post full of photography, short stories and posts about all kinds of things.   THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!   Stephen Black    

Tiong Bahru Time by Stephen Black

  1. This will be a book of photographs, facts, history and stories about  the people, food and community of Tiong Bahru and the surrounding area.
  2. Please note that  Tiong Bahru Time is  a working title that may or may not be used. However, the idea of time is definitely the foundation of the book. Examples: breakfast time, lunch time, Hungry Ghost Month, the Monkey God's Birthday, the pre-war flats, the post-war flats, daytime, nighttime, the seasons, 24 hours in Tiong Bahru, childhood, adulthood, The Sixties,etc.
  3.  The photographs and text will be mainly by Stephen Black, whose previous book on Tiong Bahru, i ate tiong bahru, is a national bestseller. Stephen Black holds Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology and his works have been shown in galleries and museums worldwide. He has worked at various roles for companies such as CNN, Cartoon Network, Fuji TV, Fox and France 2. His 360 short film entitled Beach Road was featured at the 2015 Brisbane Film Festival and nominated for Best Experimental Film at the 2016 Las Vegas VR Fest. Elsewhere on this blog are posts about his involvement with music, CG-generated environments and other artists.
  4. At this time the total number of pages will likely be about 200 pages; size not yet determined.

THANKS! Crowdfunding success= free ebooks by Stephen Black and Cyril Wong

Parts of this post are  outdated, but the information about the books is current.Itwas first written to celebratee a crowdfunding success on Zingohub.... The i ate tiong bahru glassware  crowdfunding campaign went 30% over target in the first three days... and  ended at 175%- well over target! i ate tiong bahru  A national bestseller in Singapore, iatb is a collection of short stories about Tiong Bahru, a community living in an estate composed of uniquely styled Art Deco buildings. "Unlike anything else I've read.""Black's love letter is one of the best introductions to a country and a state  that you might read" Art Review Asia. More reviews here. I Ate Tiong Bahru book cover Free download from Amazon on November 13,2016.
If you are an art collector, an adventurous reader and a drinker of caffeinated beverages, YOUR DREAM HAS COME TRUE...(click to join the club)
Obama Search Words Stephen Black's first book; dynamic, it captures Barack Obama in a style like no other. Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016. osw-cover Obama Search Words was once enrolled in an Unglue campaign. Here is the video produced for that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo-4cmUQubA Furikake Japanese rice seasonings, love and a look at life in Clementi, a small town in Singapore. Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016
photography as part of book cover design

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

Bali Wave Ghost "a mad work of genius", Richard E. Lewis, author of the bestseller Bones of the Dark Moon, a novel set amidst the horrific killings in Bali during the Sixties. Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016
black and white book covers

Proposed cover for Bali Wave Ghost, the latest book by Stephen Black

Fires by Cyril Wong, who is a Singapore Literature Prize-winning poet, fictionist and critic.Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016
Red chairs, cyril wong and FIRES

George Parel's design is clean and eye-catching

Flame Magnet- Do not download this book unless you are adventurous. This isn't something you read, it's the start of a lifelong journey. Free download from Amazon on November 13, 2016
lance from Secret Donut World

Flame magnet is go!
Art by David Severn

Contact With Shadow....not free, but becoming unglued! Check out the video as well as a photo exhibition. CWS is an undiscovered classic, full of melancholic swirling laments about lost love. amidst exquisite descriptions of Singapore. Also includes plenty of references to history and little-known baked goods. Contact With Shadow bookmerahatgmaildotcom
Book Merah titles in a free ebook giveaway

Book Merah titles in a free ebook giveaway

..the end... here, however, is an email which I am sending, in various forms, to everyone on my email mailing list... HELLO
Just letting you know that I am starting a new book about Tiong Bahru, this one emphasizing photography. The working title is Tiong Bahru Time.... Here is a brief blog post about it.
And... the i ate tiong bahru glassware crowdfunding project is in the final countdown...less than 24 hours to go!
Finally, there will be another free giveaway of Book Merah ebooks....check here.
As you may know, I Ate Tiong Bahru has sold 2000 copies. It is a bestseller!
All the best and see you in Tiong Bahru!
Onward,
Stephen Black

An Open Letter to Facebook Groups with an interest in Tiong Bahru (part 1)

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! artreview-asia-review-of-iatb 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!iatb-glass 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... I am testing a "print-on-demand" method of getting the prints to collectors and those interested in the work. To learn more about this and other iatb projects, click here for part 2.   THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST! sb  

i ate tiong bahru book reviews + glasses + t-shirts

Reviews are now being collected and updated, but for now, there is only this link . i ate tiong bahru has sold almost 2000 copies, qualifying it as a national bestseller in Singapore. A second edition is now being planned. The follow up book is tiong bahru mouth. Printed copies of i ate tiong bahru are in all Singapore public libraries, as well as at Naiise, Booktique, Books Actually, Plain Vanilla, City Book Room, Kinokunya and excluniqueeee. Ebooks are available on Amazon.iatb-book-on-white-paper iatb-glass iatb-tshirt-and-porridge-vertical

Amazon Book Reviews: Different Presentations to Different Countries?

If you think that Amazon posts the same reviews, and the same number of reviews for each book, think again... OK, all of this first happened before I had coffee. Now, twelve hours later, I can tell you the following pieces of information are  worth writing about...
  • There are now only two reviews displayed on the Singapore Amazon page, which I think is the same as the UK Amazon page..
  • If you notice, on some of the pages it says, below the star rating chart, there is a sentence written in green: Published on Amazon.com... that seems obvious, so there must be something I' m missing. I mean, if I am on the Amazon page and I see the review, it is published on Amazon. com, correct? But then why does that green sentence NOT appear on the Singapore page? (Which only has two reviews?)
  • At one point this morning, the score was: Canada 3, USA 2, UK 2, Singapore 2... these "scores" were all tabulated at almost the same time... And not all of the reviews were the same. I think maybe six people have written reviews in total, but I have yet to see them all displayed on the same page.
  • 13548828_10157031666075125_1006338799_o 13524140_10157031694765125_1438300248_o 13555991_10157031666070125_619470784_o
  • Stralia! The Australian Amazon page shows no "star" reviews, but has two reviews, one for four and the other for five stars....And, from the screenshot below, it seems that an individual country, in this case Australia, does not use the yellow bars of the star system unless the review was posted on that country's Amazon.au site.... To put it another way, reviews  show up definitely on the Amazon page of the country from which the review was sent. But Amazon's algorithms may not share that post internationally and equally.
13392157_654679868020560_3445337553130063924_o So there ya gooo A big thank you to Stuart Rankin! Oh yeah! Bali Wave Ghost is here...and there are plenty of posts about it on this blog, as well as a link to a video interview. And if you would like to get a free ebook of Bali wave ghost, click here... Don't get me started on the way that this WordPress version presents lists...99% of WordPress is fantastic, but lists and numbering...