Friday, June 29, 2012

Fun with Amazon

Thank you to everyone who stuck around for the second round of my Olympics Beat blog tour. With less than a month to go until the London Olympics, I'll be popping up on a few more blogs and websites. Apart from that, I'll get back to my normal reviews, walking tours and bookspottings until the Games begin. If you missed any of the links, they're listed below and on the News page of my website.

Even if you personally are not into reading this sort of thing, you may be wondering what you can do to help. This is where "fun with Amazon" comes in.

A strong Amazon listing is a vital tool to help the right people discover the right books for them. So I have two requests for help, regardless of whether you yourself are interested in The Olympics Beat, and two calls to action for anyone who did buy the book.

Requests for Help (for everyone)

1) Go to the Amazon listing for The Olympics Beat and tag it with relevant key words. Some suggested tags: Olympics, Olympic Games, travel, memoir, travelogue, travel memoir, spectator, sports, China, Beijing. You can do this even if you don't care about the Olympics or China!

2) Go to the Amazon listing for The Olympics Beat and click the 'like' button just beneath the title. This has nothing to do with Facebook, but it could help boost my position in search results. 

Calls to Action (for Olympics Beat readers)

1) Write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, or your own blog. Every review helps, even if you didn't like the book!

2) Add your own images to the product page by clicking share your own customer images underneath the cover on the Amazon listing. This could be a picture of the book on your device, you with the book, or any other cool pictures you have that are related to China and/or the Olympics.

Thanks for all your support everyone!

Guest Posts
The Expat Writer's Connection on Adventures in Expat Land
Energy, Inspiration, Influence on Susan Blumberg-Kason
Olympic-size Optimism on Book Dilettante
Reading China on Reading the World

Questions about my family history in Asia from Susan Blumberg-Kason
Podcast interview with Stuart Beaton

Reviews of The Olympics Beat
"thoroughly enjoyed the physical, emotional and cultural journey of a lifetime this father-daughter duo makes. It's a great read, one that speaks to that special bond between a father and his daughter, made more so by sharing the Olympics experience together." - Adventures in Expat Land

"this book allows us a vicarious experience of the craziness and overwhelming hospitality that marked the Beijing Olympics beyond the Birds Nest." - Reading the World

"It's been more than 20 years since I visited Beijing, but I felt like I was back there with them, hearing the cheers of the stadium, the beats of the drums, the lights from the opening ceremony. Then there was the food." - Susan Blumberg-Kason, Book of the Week

Thursday, June 28, 2012

On Reading China

Today, I have a guest post over at the lovely Reading the World blog. I hope you have all added Sarah's "literary Grand Tour" to your regular reads by now. It's a great concept for a blog and I've enjoyed all her other posts so far. My article is on reading about China. Here's a taste...

The China of novels is a land of ancient traditions, elegant hills covered in mist, and communal courtyards betwixt peak-roofed houses. In the China of novels, at least all the novels I read before my first visit in 2008, women have bound feet and pale, lotus faces, and men toil in rice paddies with honor and duty on their shoulders. The history, the poetry, the very language is full of mystery and inscrutable beauty.

The China of newspapers is frightening. It owns our debt, our means of production, our competition. It’s a place of mystery too, dogged by a recent history of shattering need, death, and whispered oppression. The China of newspapers is a threat and a crutch.

Between the China of novels and the China of newspapers lies a third China. Read the rest...

Tomorrow, I'll wrap up this little blog tour for The Olympics Beat with a list of all the places I've hopped around the internet lately and a request for help.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Interview: The Hong Kong Connection

The next stop on my blog tour is over on my friend Susan Blumberg-Kason's blog. She asked some great questions, especially about my family connections to Hong Kong. Susan herself lived here for quite a few years. She has had many of the same experiences and we've connected over our mutual love for HK. Here are some of the questions to give a taste of what the interview is like:

1.      find it fascinating that your grandparents lived in Hong Kong in the 1950s and 1960s, your father was born there, and you ended up there not entirely by your own doing. Given your family’s background, had you ever thought about a future in Asia, or in Hong Kong to be specific?

2.      When you decided to move to Hong Kong, do you think your parents were more understanding than the average American mother and father because your father’s family had a long history in Asia? Did your mother and father have different reactions to your decision? 

1.      Who are your favorite authors? 

2.       What books are in your Kindle waiting to be read?

Go to Susan's blog to see my answers!

If you're just tuning in, this is the blog tour for my $0.99 e-book about the 2008 Olympics called The Olympics Beat: A Spectator's Memoir of Beijing. It's available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Olympics Beat Review

 It's Day Two of my little blog tour for The Olympics Beat and we're approaching one month until the London Games.

Today I have a review for you on a cool new blog called Reading the World (a literary Grand Tour). Sarah writes about travel, culture and books in a thorough, thoughtful style. I think her blog will appeal to many readers of A Kindle in Hong Kong. In her 4-star review of The Olympics Beat, she quotes extensively from the book and makes some spot-on critiques.

Don't forget that if you want to see more pictures from the Beijing Olympics, you can visit While you're over there don't forget to join my email list!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Bookspotting and Guest Posting

This was quite a successful bookspotting week. First I walked beside a boy reading what looked like a typical middle grade chapter book. I couldn't see the title, but I looked over his shoulder and saw that there's a character named Galen in the story. Does anyone know what book it was? A few days ago, I saw a young man sitting outside a restaurant reading a huge book (I'm talking Robert Jordan hardback size) and smoking a big cigar. A woman in a bookstore was sitting on a bench reading Now You See Me. I saw a guy walking with his girlfriend on one arm and small pile of books in the other, one of which was called What Money Can't Buy. I spotted four Chinese books this week and one guidebook. How about you?

We just have one month to go before the London Olympics begin! This week I'll be hopping around to some different blogs to promote my e-book The Olympics Beat: A Spectator's Memoir of Beijing. First up is a guest post about the inspiring nature of Hong Kong at Susan Blumberg-Kason's blog. Susan is a writer who reviews a new book on her blog each week, usually about China, and it's a great place to go for recommendations!

The blog tour continues tomorrow with a review on a great new literary/travel blog!

Friday, June 22, 2012

BACKPACKED by Catherine Ryan Howard


A girl who really doesn't like being uncomfortable decides to go backpacking.


In this fun travel memoir, Catherine Ryan Howard is a 20-something Irish girl who has just finished working for a fancy hotel in Disney World. She likes reading in cafes, sitting by the pool, and other activities that promote comfort and cleanliness. But when her US visa expires, she joins an adventurous friend for 10 weeks of backpacking in South America, not allowing the reality of what backpacking actually is to sink in until it's to late. Amidst dirty hostels, cold showers, and strange fellow travelers, she is out of her comfort zone pretty much 100% of the time.

This is a travel memoir for everyone who has ever thought, "Let's just stay in a hotel this time." It's about the backpacking experience without the dewy-eyed enthusiasm for roughing it shared by many young travelers. Howard is honest about the discomforts, and also the unexpected joys, of the traveling experience. She brings a fresh look to the places she visits by not idealizing the act of travel. She also manages to celebrate the beauty of the places she visits in spite of her own worries.

This is now the fourth book I've read by this author (I haven't reviewed Self-Printed yet). I'm a fan of her writing style, which is funny, snarky, and very down-to-earth. In this adventure, the portrayals of the characters are particularly strong. I haven't been on a serious backpacking adventure, but I recognize the types of some of these people. There was a pair of elderly women that could have come straight out of A Room With a View and a young man that I could have sworn I met in a youth hostel in Taiwan. This is an honest look at what it's like to travel in less than ideal circumstances and still manage to have a terrific time.


Catherine, Caffeinated
My reviews of MOUSETRAPPED, a travel memoir, and RESULTS NOT TYPICAL, a novel.


I downloaded this e-book for free during a special promotion, but it's $2.99.


What's your favorite type of travel? Have you ever been backpacking?

Don't forget that my e-book, a travel memoir about the Beijing Olympics, is available from Amazon and B&N for $0.99. It's called The Olympics Beat: A Spectator's Memoir of Beijing. Only 35 days until the London Games begin!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bookspotting and Rainbows

This week I spotted a girl on the MTR reading The Princess Diaries. Later, I saw a woman on the train with an iPad (a common sight), but rather than playing games or checking email, she was actually reading a book (just starting chapter 5). Two women sitting next to me in a coffee shop last night were discussing 50 Shades of Gray, and one of them seemed to have a sample on her iPad. On my way home, I passed a man at a bus stop reading a book whose title I couldn't see. I also spotted two Chinese books this week. What are people reading in your town?

In other news, I was lucky enough to spot this rainbow late yesterday afternoon. A typhoon just passed us and left it right outside my window.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Dad

My dad is the coolest guy. He was born right here in Hong Kong and spent his entire childhood living in various countries in Asia. He has taught me so much about how to travel and how to approach each new experience with abject enthusiasm.

He's also the only the person who is as excited about the Olympics as I am. He's the star character in The Olympics Beat if you want to get to know him.

My dad is a smart man, and he has inspired me to work hard and go for every opportunity. Even though he's far away in the USA right now, I'm thinking about him this Father's Day. Love you Dad!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Walking Tour: Shenzhen, China

This Saturday I spent the day in China. Shenzhen, a city bigger than Hong Kong, is just across the border, only an hour from Central. It's easy to forget how close we live to a Mainland metropolis, and I was eager to see what it's like before my current China visa expires.

It was raining heavily when we arrived... we spent much of our visit inside the big shopping center at Lo Wu, just a few steps away from the border.

The place is a maze of escalators... stalls, and shops.

Every level has hundreds of retailers.

Many sell knock-off designer shoes, bags, and watches, but there is so much more than that available. Local Chinese designers sell original items, and there are boutique-like shops as well as the factory outlets.

This atrium might give you some idea of the size of this place.

Even the atrium has a shopping center inside it.

We wandered between the different levels for hours...

...past hundreds of shops, shoppers, and touts calling for our business.

After several hours and several hundred RMB spent...

We emerged to find it had become a hot, sunny day.

This is the Lo Wu Shopping Center from the outside. I only took pictures here, but we went off into the center of the city for a massage. We went to a respectable, clean spa where the 90 minute massage (plus full use of the sauna, steam room, and awesome showers) cost around 20 USD.

Afterwards, we wandered around the city streets. Shenzhen seems low-key compared to Hong Kong. The streets were wider and we saw many families hanging around and enjoying the sunshine. In that location at least, it was less frantic than Hong Kong. I saw familiar wet markets, trendy shops, and busy restaurants, but without the English signs that are standard in HK. The prevalent aroma was that of stinky tofu. I also spotted a woman getting acupuncture right on the sidewalk! I've never seen that in HK.

This was my first visit to Shenzhen. I know several of my readers have spent quite a bit of time there. What do you think of it? What are some other differences that you notice between SZ and HK?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bookspotting: Week 71

This week was a little light on the bookspotting. I spotted two people with textbooks in two different MTR stations. One was a young man whose textbook was so large that he was carrying it on his shoulder like a sack of flour. I spent Saturday in Shenzhen, China, just an hour away from Central, HK. I spotted two people reading Chinese books on the train on the way there, but I didn't see any books in Shenzhen. I did see a lot of other stuff, and I'll be sharing more of my pictures from SZ in my next post.

In other news, it's just 45 days until the start of the London Olympics! If you'd like to read my account of the last Summer Games, check out my e-book The Olympics Beat: A Spectator's Memoir of Beijing on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Olympics flag entering the Beijing National Stadium. 8/8/2008.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Olympics Beat: 50 Days until London 2012

Beijing International Airport
There are just 50 days left until the London Olympics, and I can't wait. I'm a bit obsessed with the Olympics, enough to write an e-book about my experiences at the 2008 Beijing Games. The mounting excitement reminds me of the hype leading up to Beijing while the city was in the midst of making major infrastructure improvements. 

The Water Cube Aquatic Center
There were world-class sporting venues and new subway lines, but the most notable feature of Olympics Beijing was the absence of the city's legendary traffic.

Pearl Market sans traffic
I'm sure the streets look different today, but I'm having fun looking back on that singular moment. In the run-up to the London Games, I'll be sharing more of my Olympics pictures. You can check out my writing website,, for additional photos.

My mini travel memoir, The Olympics Beat: A Spectator's Memoir of Beijing, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble for $0.99.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

THREE QUESTIONS by Meagan Adele Lopez


An aspiring actress conducts an epistolary romance with an Englishman she met in Vegas while in the midst of a quarter-life crisis.


This is a fun love story about Adele and Guy, an American girl and a British guy, who meet in Las Vegas and decide to exchange letters to get to know each other from afar. They answer three questions about themselves in each letter, and we get to see the dreams, quirks, and frustrations of realistic characters as their relationship grows. This is also the story of Adele's quarter-life crisis. She's 25 and unsure whether it's time to give up her dreams of being a Hollywood actress. Through the narrative and letters, we see the confusion and joy of being in your 20s and realizing you have no idea what you actually want to do with your life.

As the veteran of a long distance relationship with a British guy (we lived in different countries for 3 1/2 years), it's easy for me to relate to this story. I recognized the uncertainty about whether you'll still get along after a long absence, the anticipation of each email, and the fear that the distance will keep you apart indefinitely. Adele's uncertainty over her future is also something I can relate to because the aforementioned relationship has led to my life taking a very different path than I expected. Adele's concerns are believable and she presents them with a mixture of humor, drama, and solemnity that seems typical of someone our age. For these reasons, I would recommend this book to my fellow 20-somethings (I know there are a lot of you who read this blog).

The details of this story match the author's life very closely. She clearly knows what it's like to be an aspiring actress, attend an arts school, live in Paris and LA, and be in a long distance relationship with a Brit she met in Vegas. She went so far as to name the main character (also a part-Cuban girl from Baltimore) after herself. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that the ending matched the honesty of the book, either in tone or content. It felt like a Nicholas Sparks ending tacked on for effect. I would have liked the story to end the way her own life has ended, the way a real person's story goes after a quarter-life crisis. In my opinion, the lessons Adele learns throughout the story would be more powerful without the twist, though it certainly isn't a reason not to read the book.


Meagan Adele Lopez's website


I paid $2.99 for the Kindle edition.


If you are a 20-something, do you feel you are experiencing a quarter-life crisis? If you're a bit older, how have things turned out differently for you than you expected?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Back to Bookspotting

Thanks again to everyone who helped make the launch of my e-book, The Olympics Beat, a success. It's still holding on to its position on the Amazon bestseller lists for China and Beijing travel. I'll be getting back to my regular blogging schedule for the next few weeks, but I'll add in an occasional peek at my pictures from the Beijing Games in the run-up to London 2012. If you want to see more of those, visit my writing website:

Now for the bookspotting... I saw a Chinese woman on the MTR reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven. A Western woman on another train was reading a paperback with a title that started with The Girl Who... The book looked old, so I don't think it was one of the Stieg Larsson books. I spotted a woman reading A Thousand Splendid Suns on yet another MTR train. On my way home this afternoon, I saw someone reading Call to the Center: Gospel's Invitation to Deeper Prayer. Across the train, another woman was reading something along the lines of Tuerre a Marrakech, though I'm pretty sure that isn't the exact spelling. Any idea what this book is about? I spotted two Hong Kong guidebooks this week, including one near a famous dai pai dong close to my home.

I spotted a man with a Kindle one afternoon, and I was tempted to recommend my new e-book to him :).

What are people reading in your town?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Writing Video: Launch Week Thank You!

You guys are the best.

If you'd like to see the photos pages illustrating each chapter of my e-book, visit

If you want to buy The Olympics Beat: A Spectator's Memoir of Beijing, it's available here:          Barnes & Noble    
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...