Thursday, March 19, 2015

London calling

Next week I'm flying to London for the first time in four years! As many of you know, I met my husband in London during a semester abroad over seven years ago. For a long time I thought we'd be moving there permanently. As we get even more settled in Hong Kong that looks unlikely, but I'm very excited to return for an extended visit. 

Our schedules have worked out so that I'll be able to attend the first day of the London Book Fair on April 14th. If any of you are planning to be there, please let me know!

In the meantime, I've been hard at work on a short project under the name Shannon Young and the soon-to-be-released sequel to Seabound under the name Jordan Rivet. I was also recently interviewed about my work under two names by gbtimes. Read the article here!

We're also getting closer to the wide release of Year of Fire Dragons, the travel memoir featuring my move to Hong Kong and my love story. It's available for pre-order now, and the e-book will launch in June. You can find the gorgeous paperback in Hong Kong bookstores already! To read some sample chapters, check out my publisher's website!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Adventures On the Air

This month I had a chance to appear on RTHK, the English radio station in Hong Kong. In the first program, State of the Art with Reenita Malhotra Hora, I talk about balancing writing for two different pen names and about my personal journey in Hong Kong. I also got to share three of my favorite songs!

Listen to State of the Art here

On the other program, Morning Brew with Phil Whelan, I talked about my Hong Kong travel memoir, Year of Fire Dragons, and had some very interesting conversations with Phil about writing, Hong Kong, and even homeschooling!

Listen to Morning Brew here

I just finished a new memoir piece about growing up in a homeschooling family. I'm having some people read it and give me some feedback and then I hope to tell you all about!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My first six months as a full-time writer

I recently posted a video update on my first six months working as a full-time writer here in Hong Kong. Some of the milestones I mention in the video were four years in the making, but it has still been an amazing ride over the past few months!



If you missed the video when I announced my decision to quit my day job, here it is. This is by far my most-viewed video, by the way.



I recently appeared on RTHK's State of the Art program. As soon as I get the links sorted out I'll post those too. Did anyone in HK hear it live?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Paperback Book List

My unread books shelf

One of my goals for the year is to read all the paper books I've acquired and not yet read since moving to Hong Kong. I still get most of my books on my Kindle, but sometimes I buy paper books at events and I actually really love getting them as gifts. The problem is that I get through these books much more slowly. My Kindle is always with me, but the paper books tend to sit on my shelves looking pretty. This year I am going to catch up. It helps that I no longer have a long commute. I'm much more likely to read a paperback at home than out and about. My Kindle has also been behaving fitfully lately, so I may need to order a new one soon if I can't get it sorted out.

Here are the paper books on my list for the year:

The Dreamer by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Paper Tigress by Rachel Cartland (from my publisher!)
Kisses for Katie by Katie Davis
Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
Blind by Rachel DeWoskin
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Salem's Lot by Stephen King
About a Boy by Nick Hornby
Unexploded by Alison Macleod
Owen's Daughter by Jo-Ann Mapson
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Accident by Chris Pavone
The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
Rough Justice by Lisa Scottoline
Home Leave by Brittani Sonnenberg
Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson (I borrowed this from someone, so it's the #1 priority!)
Petals from the Sky by Mingmei Yip

What's on your reading list for the year? Do you sometimes feel like you have a lot of catching up to do?!


P.S. Last week I recorded an interview for RTHK's State of the Art program. I'll let you know in advance when it's going to air! I was also on RTHK during the literary festival. Here's the link for the 10-minute segment.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fused Society's Diversity Magazine

Hi everyone! I'm back in Hong Kong after a nice long visit with my family in Arizona. Jet lag has been getting me up before the sun every day this week, which is great for my productivity!

I wanted to take a moment to spread the word about a new project from Eva Cohen, one of the contributors to How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit. Fused Society is an arts publication and website celebrating non-homogeneous culture.

The magazine will include essays and artwork exploring mixed and fused heritages. If you have a complicated answer to the question "Where are you from?" you might be particularly interested in submitting your work! The submission guidelines for the second issue (on interracial relationships of all kinds) can be found here.

Here is a video explaining a bit more about the project:



The magazine will also feature the work of several Dragonfruit contributors! You can find out more at their website: Fused Society.

Fused Society is currently running a fundraiser on GoFundMe in case you're interested in supporting this endeavor.




P.S. There is still time to win a free copy of the new Pay Off audiobook. Check out this post for the details!


Saturday, January 10, 2015

PAY OFF, my student debt Kindle Single, is now an audiobook! (+ a giveaway)

I'm in Arizona preparing for my little sister's wedding tomorrow, but I wanted to make a quick announcement: Pay Off is now an audiobook! It has been so exciting to work with the lovely people at Audible and a very talented narrator.

This is my first audiobook, so I wasn't sure what to expect. After signing the deal, I was asked to listen to a bunch of samples on Audible.com and let the production team know if there were any narrators I particularly liked. Sandy Rustin was my first choice--and she was available!

Sandy Rustin has performed audiobooks for the likes of Meg Cabot, Barbara Freethy, and Cameron Diaz, but the sample that made me certain she would be the best narrator for Pay Off was for Jenna Miscavige Hill's Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape. She has just the right balance of youth, humility, and earnestness in her voice for this book for Millennials struggling with student debt.

You can listen to the free sample of Sandy's rendition of Pay Off here.

Giveaway!

I also have the opportunity to give away a free copy of the audiobook, which goes for $6.95. (If you are already an Audible member you can listen for free anyway.) You can enter the drawing one of two ways:

1) Join my email list. I only use it to announce new releases, so you don't need to worry about spam from me.

2) Comment below with the three words you think of when you hear the words "student loans." Use this option if you're already on my email list, don't want to join, or want a second entry :).

The giveaway will run until Sunday, January 25th.

P.S. If you are an audiobook reviewer and would like a complimentary copy of Pay Off: How One Millennial Eliminated Nearly $80,000 in Student Debt in Less Than Five Years please email me at snyoung88 @ gmail.com!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

29 Things

At the beginning of last year I wrote a post with 13 things I did in 2013 and 14 plans for 2014. I prefer lists and planning to making resolutions. 2014 was kind of a banner year, so I figured I should start this year with a similar post. First, here are the 14 things I planned to do in 2014, and their results:

1. Launch the expat women in Asia anthology (with the help of the amazing contributors). Done! Here is How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit? 
2. Finish polishing Seabound, book 1 in my post-apocalyptic adventure series. Done!
3. Write and revise the second draft of Seaswept (book 2). Done!
4. Write the rough draft of book 3 in the Seabound series. Done! (This was my 2014 NaNoWriMo project)
5. Write the second draft of the Seabound prequel, Burnt Sea. Nope. I ended up doing draft 3 of Seaswept instead. Burnt Sea is on my to-do list for January.
6. Polish and submit essay/e-book about paying off student debt. Done! Published as a Kindle Single called Pay Off: How One Millennial Eliminated Nearly $80,000 in Student Debt in Less Than Five Years
7. Publish third secret pen name e-book. Nope. The secret pen name shorts fell by the wayside. I wrote the beginning, but haven't been back to it in a while.
8. Write and publish fourth secret pen name e-book and publish a 4-book compilation. Nope. See above.
9. Submit my Hong Kong travel memoir to traditional publishers. Done! Now published by Blacksmith Books as Year of Fire Dragons: An American Woman's Story of Coming of Age in Hong Kong. It's available in Hong Kong bookstores and online. The e-book is coming soon!
10. Choose a new pen name to use for Seabound and distinguish my SFF writing from my creative non-fiction/Hong Kong/expat-related work as Shannon Young. Done! Meet my alter ego Jordan Rivet here.
12. Build up savings now that I am debt free. Done! I quit my job to write full-time starting in August. I should make it another six months before I'll need an income again.
13. Learn to ski (in Canada at Chinese New Year). Done, but it was completely terrifying. I need a lot more practice.
14. Decide how to proceed with A Kindle in Hong Kong. Sort of. I've been posting a lot less, and I've decided not to accept books for review anymore. I like being able to read without as much pressure to review. I'm also bookspotting less often since I no longer commute to work. I'll continue to post whenever I have something to say. I also now have a column called Diary of an Expat Writer on The Displaced Nation where I post monthly updates.

I didn't carry out my secret pen name plans and I ended up working on a different Seabound Chronicles draft than the one I planned to do in #5. Overall, though, I'd say 2014 was a pretty successful year. I also spoke at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival and got an audiobook deal for Pay Off, so I'd say that makes up for #7 and #8.

Now it's time to make plans for 2015! Here are 15 things I plan to do this year. My primary goal is to complete and publish the remaining three books in the Seabound Chronicles by the end of the year. Let's break that down a bit.

1. Rewrite Burnt Sea (the Seabound prequel).
2. Finish revising Seaswept (Seabound Chronicles 2).
3. Publish Seaswept in e-book and paperback.
4. Rewrite Seabound Chronicles 3.
5. Finish revising Burnt Sea.
6. Publish Burnt Sea in e-book and paperback.
7. Finish revising Seabound Chronicles 3.
8. Publish Seabound Chronicles 3 in e-book and paperback.
9. Write a memoir about growing up in a homeschooling family of nine kids, possibly of Kindle Single length, under the Shannon Young name.
10. Promote Year of Fire Dragons in Hong Kong and during the US/e-book launch.
11. Write a brand-new novel for NaNoWriMo, probably under the Jordan Rivet name.
12. Begin production of a Seabound audiobook.
13. Write one more secret pen name short, just for fun.
14. Read Infinite Jest (which has been on my Kindle for a long time) and all the paperbacks I have purchased or been given this year.
15. Make enough money from writing to avoid returning to my day job.

Thank you for all your support this year. I'm looking forward to a great (and busy!) 2015.

What are your plans or goals for the year?

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