Thursday, April 23, 2015

Notes from the London Book Fair

I'm back in Hong Kong after nearly three weeks in London. I had a great time wandering around, catching up with old friends, and doing a bit of writing.

The timing worked out so that I was able to attend the first day of the London Book Fair. I've never been to a big trade fair like this, and it was fascinating. Geared toward industry professionals rather than readers, it was a good chance to see what people are up to in the London book world. The real work of the fair takes place during pre-booked meetings, but on this trip I just wanted to soak it all in.

One of my writing friends from Hong Kong moved back to London last year and she accompanied me around the fair. We attended talks at Author HQ, explored the expansive halls full publishers and book-related exhibitions, and chatted with other authors. I got to meet Joanna Penn and Mark Dawson, who was featured in a Forbes article a few days later.

We listened to back-to-back talks on the traditional industry by an agent and editor and on Kindle Direct Publishing by four indie superstars. As a hybrid author, I've participated in both publishing paths and it was interesting to observe the differing moods between the two talks. The agent and editor emphasized how much a book has to stand out in order to be picked up for publication. The KDP authors talked about practical strategies for finding readers.

We attended another talk on publicity and marketing and I went to one near the end of the day on YA fantasy. I had to run to pick up my suitcase and get to the airport after this talk, but it was worth it. (I literally ran across most of Regent's Park to where we were staying because I couldn't find the bus that goes around it).

Now that I'm back in Hong Kong, I'm hard at work as always, though the jet lag has turned me back into a night owl. I'm currently in the final stages of publication for Seaswept, the second book in my post-apocalyptic series under my Jordan Rivet pen name.

I'm also gearing up for the June 7th worldwide and e-book launch of Year of Fire Dragons, my coming of age travel memoir about my first year in Hong Kong. It's already in Hong Kong bookstores, and you can read some sample chapters on my publisher's website. If you want to write a review of Year of Fire Dragons, please shoot me an email at!

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 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.


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 @!
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