Thursday, January 28, 2010

Expatriate Lifestyle -- January 2010

In case the print is too small or too faint. Listed in alphabetical order.

42. Robert Raymer (US)
As an academic, Robert teaches creative writing at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. As a writer, his stories have appeared in The Literary Review, London Magazine, Going Places and Reader's Digest. Lovers and Strangers Revisited (MPH 2008), his collection of 17 short stories set in Malaysia, won the 2009 Popular-The Star Readers Choice Awards. Tropical Affairs: Episodes from an Expat's Life in Malaysia (MPH 2009) is his latest book. His blog on writing can be accessed from his website

Matt Bellotti wrote in his Editor's Note, "Our first ambitious editorial project of 2010 sees us delve deeper into the expatriate community here in Malaysia than anyone has ever delved before.

Having asked our friends and contact network for nominations, and after doing our own research into 'Who's Who' when it comes to expatriates, we have complied am impressive list of individuals...These are people who are not just successful in their own fields, but they have come to a foreign country and achieved the remarkable. They do the extraordinary as well as the ordinary...

Many of our entries we'd never heard before this project. You will see for yourself what a remarkable group has been selected and hopefully appreciate just what a diverse and dynamic bunch of expatriates they are..."

He also stated that their 'working list' was nearly 150 strong.

This article led to one international interview (though it has yet to come out) and as a guest on the talk show Kuppa Kopi.  See "Getting Known Through the Media."

*Here's an update - it's official Lovers and Strangers Revisited is going French!

*Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, my collection of short stories set in Malaysia

**Update: Book orders for Trois autres Malaisie  E-book orders.  Or recommend it to your friends, especially those who would like to know more about Malaysia or have an interest in Southeast Asia.
Here's a link to the intro and excerpts, and to four reviews of Trois Autres Malaisie in,,, and Petit Futé mag.

***Here’s an update to the French blog about Trois autres Malaisie and my meeting the French translator Jerome Bouchaud in Kuching, and my involvement in a French documentary for Arte (June 2017) on The Sensual Malaysia of Somerset Maugham.

Here are links to some of my author-to-author interviews of first novelists:

Ivy Ngeow author of Cry of the Flying Rhino, winner of the 2016 Proverse Prize.

Golda Mowe author of Iban Dream and Iban Journey.

Preeta Samarasan author of Evening is the Whole Day

Chuah Guat Eng,  author of Echoes of Silence and Days of Change. 


Beheaded on Road to Nationhood: Sarawak Reclaimed—Part I 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Writer – Four Years to Publication!

Funny how these publishing things turn out. Nearly five years ago, 27 January 2006 according to my records I received the good news that The Writer has accepted by article “How to Overcome the Fear of Writing through Pre-Writing.” Originally they weren’t sure if they’ll be using the piece in their magazine or on their website. Then they decided in the magazine and even paid $350 for the article on 26 May 2006, bless their hearts.

I told my writing friends to look out for it, but it never came out. Maybe they decided to use it on their website, but I got caught up in more important things, like this massive move from Penang (Peninsular Malaysia) to Kuching (Borneo) in October, a new teaching job at Unimas in December, and a new baby in January 2007 and never checked, after cashing the check. If I wasn’t paid, I would have been checking it constantly!

Month after month, year after year, I did check each issue of The Writer. During that time they also changed editors, and I’ve experienced being lost in the shuffle before when a new editor takes over. It happens. Sometimes I’ve even benefited when a new editor takes over and they discover me! Eventually, I just gave up on it – after all, I did get paid!

Two days before Christmas I got an email from one of their editors informing me that they’ll be using my article in their May 2010 issue! Nearly four and a half years after they first accepted it! Of course I’m bowled over. Great news! The original article, adapted from my creative writing units, was about 2500 words, which I had cut down from about 4000 words) and then they’ll be cutting that down to 1695 words to make it fit on two pages, which is fine since it serves their needs.

Two days ago I got my first look at how they edited it, now titled, “How to Use Pre-Writing Techniques to Get Started”. I didn’t compare it the original because that's always a painful process. So I read it as it’ll appear in The Writer. Naturally I recognized my own writing (but had forgotten what I had written!). I know of at least one section that got lopped off at the end, an essay sample on how to overcome the fear of writing written within the article. I did recommend a couple of changes because of repetition, which may have been in the original version, and they suggested another change, too. Later I’ll get to see the galleys before it goes into print, glad for this second chance, glad to have another look at it.

In the brief bio at the need of the article they’ll be naming my two MPH books and my website, and no doubt I’ll attract something good out of that. Already I’ve mentioned three other articles that I’m planning to send them, two of which began in this blog and a third, from The Quill, linked here, too.

So now I’m telling my writing friends all over again to check out their May 2010 issue! I definitely will! It feels like a whole new article sale. What are the chances that they'll pay me again? Hey, you never know. It's a New Year!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

50 Expats You Should Know

What can I say? I feel ecstatic and humbled to be named as one of the “50 Expats You Should Know” in the January 2010 issue of Expatriate Lifestyle (Malaysia).  (I'm at no. 42, alphabetical order). What a great way to start the New Year! Happy New Year to all! I guess my low profile in Malaysia is starting to rise, so I’m putting extra pressure on myself to deliver a novel, one of the reasons I’ll be leaving Unimas on 1 April.

Don’t know which one will sell first, The Lonely Affair of Jonathan Brady, 21 drafts and counting, and “almost finalist” in the 2008 Faulkner-Wisdom novel contest, or A Season for Fools, which was a short-listed finalist for the 2009 Faulkner-Wisdom novel contest. A revised copy has been entered for the 2009 Bellwether Prize and it’s been revised again for two more contests in 2010. Both books are the first in a two-three book series.

Then there’s the Malaysian-set Tropical Moods, a semi-finalist in the 2009 Faulkner-Wisdom novel contest, and a fourth novel in the works, also set in Malaysia, Girl in the Bathtub, short-listed finalist in the 2009 Faulkner-Wisdom novel-in-progress category. Four novels, four decent pedigrees, but which one will finally break out from the pack and deliver a first novel deal with a major publisher in the US or UK?

It’s been a long wait, but after winning the 2009 Popular-The Star Reader’s Choice Awards in fiction for Lovers and Strangers Revisited, and now with a new book out, Tropical Affairs: Episodes from an Expat’s Life, anything can happen. It’s a New Year, a New Decade! Wish me luck. Happy reading and happy writing to all!

* Here's the link to the actual article, my part.

*Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited