Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ideal Gifts for my Ideal Readers

Last week, Jocelyn Eikenburg of the Speaking of China blog posted a list of book recommendations that would make good gifts for people interested in China, Hong Kong, and life in Asia. The list includes Year of Fire Dragons and How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit. Thank you, Jocelyn!

It's a great idea, but as many of my China/HK/Asia book recommendations are already on Jocelyn's list, I wanted to do something a little different. I thought about four kinds of people who might have read my books and what else I'd like to get them for the holidays (in addition to more books, of course).

The Newbie Expat

They read: How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit? True Stories of Expat Women in Asia

I'd get them. . .

Home Leave by Brittani Sonnenberg (TCK novel, worth it for the beautiful hardcover alone)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (another take on displacement)
Foreign Babes in Beijing by Rachel DeWoskin (fast times in New China)

Other stuff:
Kindle or other e-reader (my very favorite thing)
Pimsleur language course (for conversation, not writing)
A nice scarf (you can never have too many scarves)

The English Teacher in Hong Kong

They read: Year of Fire Dragons: An American Woman's Story of Coming of Age in Hong Kong

I'd get them . . .

No City for Slow Men by Jason Y. Ng (the insider's perspective on our city)
Gweilo by Martin Booth (required background reading)
The Piano Teacher by Janice Y. K. Lee (beach read for Christmas in Thailand)

Other stuff:
Goods of Desire swag (especially those stacking mugs)
Octopus card key chain (got one from my MIL; best practical item ever)
Sote Gourmet Popcorn (newly opened on Robinson Road; they have candy cane popcorn!)

The Modern Romantic

They read: Year of Fire Dragons: An American Woman's Story of Coming of Age in Hong Kong

I'd get them . . .

Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche (love at sea)
Made for You and Me by Caitlin Shetterly (love and life in America)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (love and mortal peril and superpowers)

Other stuff:
ModCloth dresses (so many pretty choices)
The new Taylor Swift album (I love her)
Dinner and a movie (I recommend The Hundred-Foot Journey)

The Determined Millennial

They read: Pay Off: How One Millennial Eliminated Nearly $80,000 in Student Debt in Less Than Five Years

I'd get them . . .

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey (inspiration for creatives and self-employed entrepreneurs)
Quiet by Susan Cain (introverts unite!)
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (little things make a big difference)

Other stuff:
A blazer (makes you feel confident)
Amazon gift cards (use it for everything, but especially for books)
Spiral bound notebooks and erasable pens for checklists (checklists make everything better)

I wish I could go shopping for everyone who has read and enjoyed my books. Thanks for a great year, you guys! I've been holed up in the Starbucks on Queen's Road for most of the past two months working on the Seabound Chronicles. In the meantime, I've been spotting Year of Fire Dragons in more and more bookstores. You can also order it directly from the Blacksmith Books website. They offer free shipping within Asia!

I'm off to the US in a little over a week for my first Christmas at home in five years, the birth of my first nephew, and my little sister's wedding. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Bonus: Have a science fiction and fantasy fan in your life? I put a list of book recommendations on my Jordan Rivet blog that would all make awesome gifts!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Notes from the Hong Kong International Literary Festival

My spoils from events with X-Men writer Marjorie Liu, expat novelist Brittani Sonnenberg, and Unexploded writer Alison MacLeod.

For the first ten days in November, authors from all over the world descended on Hong Kong for the annual International Literary Festival. People like Junot Diaz, Alison MacLeod, and Tash Aw entertained and inspired with talk of their work at venues all over the city. The Hong Kong International Literary Festival has always been important to me. It's where I met my first writers' group and my first author-hero (Peter Hessler). This year, I got to be a festival author too.

My event was a panel featuring Hong Kong-based writers. In addition to myself, we got to hear from Marshall Moore (publisher of Signal 8 Press) and Maria Chaudhuri. Jason Y. Ng sadly couldn't make it due to a flight delay, but the event was well-attended and lots of fun. Each author read aloud from their new books and then we had a fascinating discussion with the audience on my three favorite topics: writing, publishing, and Hong Kong.

Best of all, we launched my long-awaited memoir Year of Fire Dragons. The book arrived from the printer just in time for the event. I saw it for the first time myself the night before!

As a festival author, I also got to do a brief radio interview on RTHK and speak about being a writer at a local secondary school. (It made me miss my old students a lot.) The festival was a great success and I'm so glad I got to participate.

Now, Year of Fire Dragons is making its way into Hong Kong book stores. If you spot it, please tweet a picture to @ShannonYoungHK! If you're overseas, you can pre-order from Amazon or order directly from the publisher, Blacksmith Books. The e-book will be out soon!

Just before going on RTHK with Noreen Mir.

Did you attend any HKILF events? Which one was your favorite?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Tale of Two Book Launches

Available for pre-order on Amazon
In a strange turn of events, I am in the process of launching two books this month. One is the Hong Kong travel memoir I have been talking about since this blog began, now titled Year of Fire Dragons: An American Woman's Story of Coming of Age in Hong Kong. Though I haven't yet held the book in my hands, it has been printed and will be appearing in Hong Kong bookstores any day now. I've written a bit more about this book's journey in my new column on The Displaced Nation.

If you are in Hong Kong, I would be honored if you would attend the launch event, which is part of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival. It will take place at 10 am this Sunday at the Duke of Windsor Building on Hennessy Road in Wan Chai. You can buy tickets here. The event will feature two other wonderful Hong Kong-based authors, Jason Y. Ng (No City for Slow Men) and Maria Chaudhuri (Beloved Strangers). I hope you can be there!

The other book I am launching this week is totally different. It's a post-apocalyptic adventure set at
$2.99 on Amazon
sea that began life as my NaNoWriMo project in 2012. It's available as an e-book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, and the paperback will be for sale by the end of the month. This book is so different from my other work that I am publishing under a pen name, Jordan Rivet, for which I maintain a separate blog. If you happen to enjoy dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, please check out Seabound. To celebrate this launch, I am digging into another NaNoWriMo project: writing Book 3 in the Seabound Chronicles by Jordan Rivet.

Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement. I'll have more to say about Year of Fire Dragons soon, but in the meantime I just wanted to let you know about this surreal moment in my publishing life. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Dragonfruit Launch Party

On Thursday we celebrated the launch of How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit? True Stories of Expat Women in Asia with a party at Bookazine in Hong Kong. Thank you to everyone who came out and made the event such a success! All photo credits go to Anshuman Das from Signal 8 Press.

A great crowd at Bookazine on 16 October 2014
Contributor India Harris came all the way from the Philippines for the party.
Contributor Coco Richter introducing her story.
Contributor Stephanie Han gave a beautiful reading of her Hong Kong story.
Contributor Susan Blumberg-Kason came all the way from Chicago for the event, and to launch... 
...her new memoir Good Chinese Wife.
Contributor Jennifer S. Deayton finished off the readings with an excerpt from 'Bread and Knives.'
After the readings all the contributors signed books for their friends and fans.
Here's Signal 8 publisher Marshall Moore with Dragonfruit inspiration and novelist Xu Xi.
Friend and writer Carol tells me she is already almost finished with the book!

We were happy that Asia Literary Agency founder Kelly Falconer could make it to the event.
Thank you to everyone who attended!
And here's me eating the microphone.

P.S. On the day of the Dragonfruit party I turned in my final edits for Year of Fire Dragons: An American Woman's Story of Coming of Age in Hong Kong. The book will be in stores very soon. Here's the Goodreads page if you'd like to add it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cover Reveal for Year of Fire Dragons: An American Woman's Story of Coming of Age in Hong Kong

Drumroll, please! I'm so excited to reveal the cover of my new travel memoir Year of Fire Dragons: An American Woman's Story of Coming of Age in Hong Kong. This is the first book I started writing, and it will be published by Blacksmith Books, an excellent Hong Kong-based publisher, at the end of October.

Cara the designer did a wonderful job of capturing the story, which is about my first year in Hong Kong. The main drama of the book follows my thwarted long distance romance, but it's also about my love affair with the city of Hong Kong and I think the cover captures that beautifully. The illustration reminds me of Love with a Chance of Drowning (UK edition), a book sharing similar themes of love, travel and self discovery.

The book should hit the shelves, virtual and literal, at the end of October, just in time for the Hong Kong International Literary Festival. This is probably a good time to announce that I'll be speaking at the festival this year! I'll visit a school as part of the Young Readers program and be a speaker at one of the big events. I'll share more details about that soon!

Monday, September 8, 2014

A Mid-Autumn Eve's Dream

I'm back in Hong Kong just in time for my favorite part of the year: Mid-Autumn Festival. This was the first holiday I experienced when I moved to Hong Kong four years ago, and I'm very happy to be marking the beginning of my fifth year here in Asia's World City.

As you know, I spent the month of August in Arizona writing with my mom and getting in plenty of quality family time. We enjoyed some nice afternoons working in local restaurants and coffee shops (including Liberty Market and Coffee Rush, where I used to spend a lot of time grading essays). We visited a local writers' group and attended a talk with Southwest novelist Jo-Ann Mapson. I even got to check out First Draft Book Bar with my sister, which is literally a bar inside a bookstore. 

The trip was reasonably productive, too. I wrapped up a draft of the sequel to my forthcoming post-apocalyptic novel, worked on a new group of articles for Modern Love Long Distance, and reread the entire Harry Potter series. My mom wrote 500 words a day and she's getting ready to launch a cool new blog that I'll tell you about as soon as she lets me!

Perhaps one of the best things that happened while I was out of town was that I got to see some cover designs for my memoir that is being published by Blacksmith Books later this fall. It's called Year of Fire Dragons: An American Woman's Story of Coming of Age in Hong Kong. The story begins and ends at the Mid-Autumn Fire Dragon Dance in Tai Hang (video above from 2011). It's hard to believe that my dream of having this book published will be coming true very soon. The cover we settled on is so beautiful and I can't wait to show you guys the final version!

For the first time, I'm not returning to school as the autumn begins. I'm giving my dream job a chance, and so far, I'm absolutely loving this writing life. Thank you all so much for your continuing support and enthusiasm. If you're in Hong Kong, I hope you have a safe and happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

On a Writing Holiday in Arizona

I hope you guys are all having a terrific summer! I wanted to post a quick update on what I've been doing this summer.

My husband and I went on a beautiful Alaska cruise to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. It also served as a research trip for my post-apocalyptic series, which takes place on a souped-up cruise ship. I disembarked with a phone full of inspirational photos and a notebook full of ideas (and new vocabulary) to use in my final revision of SEABOUND and in the later books in the series. Plus, Alaska was super pretty. Highlights included seeing humpback whales, cruising through Glacier Bay and taking a historic mining train into the mountains from Skagway.

Next, we drove from Seattle to Bandon, Oregon to spend a week at my grandparents' farm. Highlights included a post-crabbing BBQ, blueberry and blackberry picking and hanging out with a bunch of my relatives.

Now, I'm in my hometown: Gilbert, Arizona. I'll spend August with my family before heading back to Hong Kong. As I've shared before, I recently quit my day job to write full-time for six months. My mom is also concluding her day job in her own way this fall. Over the past 27 years, she has raised and homeschooled nine children. Next week, my youngest sister will start full-time school (7th grade). For the first time, my mom will be free for eight hours a day. And she wants to write! So for the month of August we'll be writing together and helping each other build good habits as full-time writers. I'm incredibly excited about this, and I'll keep you posted on how it's going.

If you happen to be in Arizona and want to meet up this month, please email me! We'll be checking out a few writing workshops and meet-ups, and investigating the local writing scene.

What are you up to this summer? Have you read any good books lately?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

GOOD CHINESE WIFE by Susan Blumberg-Kason


A young American woman meets and quickly marries a man from central China while living in Hong Kong. Soon, she discovers she doesn't know him as well as she thought.


If you occasionally read the comments of this blog, you'll probably recognize the name Susan Blumberg-Kason. She is a huge fan of books (both fiction and non-fiction) about China in general and Hong Kong in particular. Susan lived in Hong Kong as a young woman, right before the Handover. Now, I'm excited to participate in the blog tour for Susan's own memoir, Good Chinese Wife. It's the dramatic story of Susan's marriage to a dashing musician from central China named Cai who turns out to be a moody and tumultuous partner.

Good Chinese Wife explores the rapid breakdown of a marriage between two people from different cultures who don't quite manage to communicate. They can speak each other's languages, but Susan and Cai can't break through barriers of culture and insecurity to make their marriage work. Hints of infidelity and emotional abuse begin to emerge, but Susan is caught between her desire to be considerate of Cai's worldview and her need to protect herself. Their troubles are compounded when their son is born and they move to San Francisco, where Cai experiences depression and culture shock and Susan finds herself the sole breadwinner for not just her husband and young son, but also her in-laws and the occasional unwelcome houseguest.

A very important part of this story is that Susan acknowledges her own mistakes while describing an untenable situation. She recognizes that she was rash and naive in jumping into her marriage with Cai. She was starstruck by his good looks, charm, and the fact that she was in love with Chinese culture already. She's also frank about the way she was treated as she describes her journey through insecurity to the point where she would finally stand up for herself and her son. Although the account is painful at times, it's a revelatory look at what can happen when two people (regardless of culture) have very different expectations for their life together. This is an honest and vulnerable memoir that will appeal to people who are interested in cross-cultural relationships, especially those between Asian men and Western women.


Susan Blumberg-Kason's website features reviews of many Hong Kong and China-related books.
Susan also has a story in my anthology How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit? True Stories of Expat Women in Asia that serves as an epilogue to this memoir.
You can find links to the other blogs in this tour at Speaking of China. Many deal specifically with relationships between Asian men and Western women.


$9.99 for the Kindle edition


How do you think marriage expectations differ between Chinese and American culture? Do you think the troubles of this story are primarily due to cultural differences or due to the personalities of the couple involved?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bookspotting Backlog + A Week Without Internet

Thank you all for following along as I've been introducing the Dragonfruit anthology contributors and beginning this exciting new phase in my life. A few days ago I announced my brand new SFF pen name and my plan to write full-time for the next six months. Here's a post about how I chose my new name.

I'm about to head to the US for the summer holidays. Before I go, there's bookspotting to report!

I've lost track of when these spottings occurred, but recently I've seen people reading Matilda, a Jeffery Deaver novel, and a book called Poor Economics. I saw a man on the train reading with his lips moving. I thought his book was called Model Dancers, but I'm not sure that title actually exists. Other readers had copies of Dan Brown's Inferno, A Sister's Gift, and a Lord of the Rings book (I think it was Two Towers). I spotted two different copies of The Fault in Our Stars. A woman next to me on the train was reading God's Plan for Pregnancy. I've spotted Chinese books, textbooks, and Hong Kong guidebooks in abundance. Finally, there's a couple that reads side-by-side on matching Kindles at a restaurant near my home almost every weekend. I'm always happy to see them.

I'm reading the third book in the Breakers series by Edward W. Robertson. My Kindle is stocked for the next few weeks, and the book I'm most excited about is The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith ;).

My husband and I are flying to the US tonight, where we'll go on a one-week Alaska cruise, celebrate our first wedding anniversary, and then visit my family. We've decided not to purchase the internet package for the cruise, so we'll be completely off the grid. I'm actually really excited about the prospect!

I expect there will be bookspotting to report when I return. Meanwhile, if you'd like to see the secret cover reveal for my new post-apocalyptic novel tomorrow please kindly sign up for the email list.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

I just cut my hair and quit my day job to become a full-time writer!

Yesterday, I left my day job to become a full-time author. For now, at least, this is a six-month trial. I'll give it a go and then reassess around Chinese New Year. After paying off my student loans, I'm really excited to be able to take this risk. I decided to celebrate the change by cutting over 18 inches off of my hair and announcing my new pen name!

In addition to my work as Shannon Young, I will be writing post-apocalyptic adventure novels set at sea under the name Jordan Rivet. The Seabound Chronicles launches this fall. Please join my email list if you'd like to know when the first book is out!

I'll also be doing a cover reveal and an exclusive $0.99 early release sale for subscribers.

Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dragonfruit Round-up 5: Pamela Beere Briggs, Jennifer S. Deayton, Neha Mehta, Dorcas Cheng-Tozun and Shannon Dunlap

We have been introducing the contributors to the Dragonfruit anthology in reverse order for the past 26 days on our Facebook page. In case you missed any of them, here are the final 5:

Pamela Beere Briggs, author of The Truth about Crickets (Japan)

Born in Japan, Pamela Beere Briggs spent her first decade in Kobe. She moved "home" to Napa, California in 1968. Realizing years later that "Napa" is "Japan" spelled backwards without the J describes her memory of leaving: turned around with a missing piece.

She went on to become an award-winning documentary filmmaker and has written essays for a variety of publications. She is currently working on three World War II novels for middle-grade readers and blogs with her teen daughter at Two in the Middle.

You can also find Pamela on Facebook.

Jennifer S. Deayton, author of Bread and Knives (Hong Kong)

Jennifer S. Deayton is a writer and filmmaker who lives in Hong Kong. You can find her work on NatGeo, Discovery TLC and at the recent Los Angeles New Media Film Festival. She writes about music and motherhood at The Rock Mom, where she indulges her love for indie pop music and '70s & '80s R&B and has a laugh about the perils of parenting. She's recently completed her first novel.

You can follow Jennifer on Twitter @arockmom

Neha Mehta, author of Bangkok Through the Eyes of an Indian Girl (Thailand)

Neha Mehta is a freelance writer. She has a master's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism and has worked with several newspapers and magazines. She has written articles for several medical portals like MedGuru and MedIndia. While living in Bangkok, she worked as a lecturer at Assumption University of Bangkok and was associated with Bangkok-based magazine Masala, which caters to the Indian community in Thailand. She now lives in India.

Dorcas Cheng-Tozun, author of The Weight of Beauty (China)

Dorcas Cheng-Tozun is a writer, editor, and blogger whose essays and short stories have appeared in over a dozen publications in the US, UK, and Hong Kong. "The Weight of Beauty" is an excerpt from her full-length memoir about her experience as a Chinese American woman in modern industrial China, which turned her perspectives on her family, her culture of origin, and her own sense of identity upside down and inside out. She is a winner of The Well's recent Call for Stories writing competition. In between blogging about her adventures as a new mom, Dorcas is a regular contributor to Asian American Women on Leadership and managing editor of the blog Estuaries. She is represented by Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency.

Prior to becoming a writer, Dorcas worked as a nonprofit and social enterprise professional for over ten years. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and adorable hapa son.

Learn more or read her other works at her website.

Shannon Dunlap, author of Forwarding Addresses (Cambodia) 

Shannon Dunlap is a writer of fiction and creative nonfiction.

While living in Cambodia, she was a regular columnist for The Phnom Penh Post and created the blog Forwarding Addresses with Jason Leahey. They now edit the blog PitchKnives & Butter Forks, telling stories of food from the seed to the platter. In one recent post, Shannon tells the tale of her favorite Cambodian dish.

Shannon is a graduate of the MFA program at New York University. She currently lives in Brooklyn and is working on a novel for young adults.

You can find buy your very own copy of How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit? True Stories of Expat Women in Asia at the following links:

Monday, July 7, 2014

Dragonfruit Round-up 4: Stephanie Han, Suzanne Kamata, Sharon Brown, Jenna Lynn Cody and Kaitlin Solimine

We are introducing the contributors to the Dragonfruit anthology in daily features on the Facebook page. In case you missed reading about any of these cool women, here are the next 5: Stephanie Han, Suzanne Kamata, Sharon Brown, Jenna Lynn Cody and Kaitlin Solimine.

Stephanie Han, author of Happy Anniversary (Hong Kong)
Stephanie Han (MA, MFA) is City University of Hong Kong’s first PhD candidate in English literature (PhD conferred August 2014 "Writing Beyond the Nation: Globality and the Asian American Novel, 2000-2010). Her fiction and poetry have appeared in DisOrient, The Kyoto Journal, Louisville Review, The South China Morning Post (Fiction Award), Nimrod International Literary Journal (Katherine Ann Porter Prize), Santa Fe Writer’s Project (Fiction Award), Women’s Studies Quarterly, Cha Online Journal (HK), Ampersand Review and other publications. Her short fiction has been anthologized in the following: Strange Cargo: Emerging Voices (PEN-West; 2010), Cheers to Muses (Asian American Women Artists; 2007) and How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit (Signal 8 Press; 2014). Her critical work has appeared in Contemporary Women's Writing (2013) and The Explicator (2013) In 2014 her fiction will appear in the anthologies The Queen of Statue Square and The Tao of Parenthood. She is currently seeking a publisher for her recently completed poetry collection entitled "Expatriate".

For further information you can visit

Suzanne Kamata, author of Love and Polka Dots (Japan)

Suzanne Kamata is the author of the novels Losing Kei (Leapfrog Press, 2008) and Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (GemmaMedia, 2013), as well as the editor of three anthologies, including Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, 2011). She is currently working on a mother/daughter travel memoir, for which she was awarded a grant by the Sustainable Arts Foundation. She lives in Shikoku, Japan, with her family.

Suzanne's most recent release is a novel called Screaming Divas (Merit Press, 2014) about an all-girl rock band.

You can read more about Suzanne's work at her website and follow her on Twitter @shikokusue

Sharon Brown, author of Our Little Piece of Vietnam (Vietnam)

Sharon Brown is a freelance writer and editor. She published her first essay on life abroad in Forced to Fly II and is currently working on a book about expat life in Vietnam. Sharon has lived and traveled throughout Asia and Central America. She currently resides in the DC metro area in the US with her husband and two small children.

However, Sharon's latest news is that she will be moving to Myanmar in July.

Sharon blogs at A More Conscious Life

Visit the Dragonfruit Facebook page for more of
Jenna's amazing photos of the King Boat Festival
Jenna Lynn Cody, Author of Gods Rushing In (Taiwan)

Jenna Lynn Cody grew up in upstate New York, but has lived abroad for most of her adult life. After a semester in India and a year in China, sheattempted to settle down in the USA. Unable to sit still, however, she took off again for Taipei, Taiwan, where she has lived for the past seven years with her husband, Brendan. She works as a corporate trainer and blogs at Lao Ren Cha.
There's a review of Dragonfruit focusing on Jenna's essay by Taiwanxifu here and two albums featuring her photography on the Facebook page.

Kaitlin Solimine, author of Finding Yuanfen on a Chinese Bus (China)

Raised in New England, Kaitlin Solimine has considered China a second home since 1996. She's been a Harvard-Yenching scholar, Fulbright Fellow, and Donald E. Axinn Scholar in Fiction at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. She wrote and edited Let's Go: China (St. Martin's Press) and her first novel, Empire of Glass, won the 2012 Dzanc Books/Disquiet International Literary Program award. Her writing has appeared in Guernica Magazine, National Geographic, Kartika Review, China Daily, and more. She also had an essay in recent China expat anthology, Unsavory Elements.

Kaitlin is a co-founder of the curatorial website, Hippo Reads

Thank you all for your continued enthusiasm for the Dragonfruit anthology! To get your copy, visit one of the following retailers:

Amazon (paper and e-book)
Barnes & Noble (paper and e-book)
Smashwords (e-book)
Apple (e-book)

Book Depository (paper)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Dragonfruit Round-up 3: Catherine Rose Torres, Christine Tan, Michelle Borok, Barbara Craven and Eva Cohen

I'd like to introduce the next five contributors to the Dragonfruit anthology. If you haven't been following along, we are featuring one writer per day on the Dragonfruit Facebook page. There are some pretty cool women writing about Asia at the moment, so I hope you'll find lots of extra reading material here:

Catherine Rose Torres, author of How to Marry a Moonie (South Korea)

Catherine Rose Torres's prose has appeared in anthologies and periodicals in the Philippines, Singapore, and the United States, including The Philippines Graphic, TAYO Literary Magazine, Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction, and Motherhood Statements. Her work as a diplomat has taken her to postings in New Delhi and Singapore, together with her husband, Sohn Suk Joo, a Korean scholar and translator, and their son, Samuel. She is at work on her first collection of short stories.

Recently, Catherine's YA novel manuscript Sula's Voyage was chosen as the first runner-up in the Scholastic Asian Book Award 2014.

You can read her story, The Mariposa Gang, here and another one called Blown Glass here

Christine Tan, author of An Awkward Phone Call (China)

Christine Tan has lived in Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, and England. A graduate of the London School of Economics-Fudan University program inGlobal Media and Communications, she has written for CNN Travel, Matador Network, chinaSMACK, and the Atlantic. She recently permanently relocated to her hometown of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia after a decade abroad. She and her husband are now expecting their first child! Christine is also at work on a memoir, tentatively titled A Skeptic's Guide to Love and All That Stuff.

Formerly blogging at Shanghai Shiok!, you can find Christine online here.

And on Twitter @christinehtan and Facebook

Michelle Borok, author of Giving in to Mongolia (Mongolia)

Michelle Borok lives in Darkhan, Mongolia with her husband, daughter, Tibetan Mastiff and a huge family of Mongolian in-laws. She writes about her life in Mongolia on her blog, Wonton Cruelty.

She is an editor at Mongolia's first English language newspaper, the UB Post, and also writes for Asian-American arts and culture site, Giant Robot.

Her writing has also appeared in Roads & Kingdoms and They're All So Beautiful, a forum on race and dating.

Barbara Craven, author of Kampong House (Malaysia).

Barbara Craven lived for three years in Malaysia on a tourist visa. She has published over one hundred articles and short stories in the United States, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Her publishers include airline magazines, newspapers, lifestyle magazines, and literary journals. "Kampong House" is the true account on which the first chapter of her unpublished novel, One More Border to Cross, is based. She resides in Olympia, WA, United States.

Eva Cohen, author of Jewish in China (China)

Eva Cohen is a journalist, photographer, blogger and artist who currently lives in Los Angeles. She is originally from Canada, and spent three years inEast Asia in Nanjing, Beijing and Hong Kong.

Her China journey began as an English teacher at a college an hour outside of the Nanjing city centre where she was the only foreign female for miles around. Prior to moving to China, she had studied Chinese for three months once a week after work, but the amount covered in that time (pretty much just how to say "Hi, my name is," and "I am Canadian") is what a foreigner needs to learn within a day of landing in China.

Eva's goal in moving to China was to find a media-related job, so she traveled to Beijing over a weekend while teaching and got a position as a producer and host at China Radio International. The job and the cultural differences with party abiding Chinese citizens was very stressful, and the regimented way state media was run was not for her, so her next move was to Hong Kong to work for the Financial Times Group's Mergermarket (since sold to private equity).

In Hong Kong, Eva met her husband, an American-born Hong Konger, at a bicycle film festival - a film festival about bicycles. While they have recently relocated to Los Angeles, Eva's current job is as a multimedia reporter for the Hong Kong conglomerate Next Media Limited, and the division she works for, TomoNews, is based in Taiwan, which has given her the opportunity to travel there for work.

In Eva's story included in the anthology, "Jewish in China", she focuses on exactly that: what it was like to show up to Nanjing unsure of how Chinese people would react to a religious affiliation, and to realize it would hold so much more than she expected. The deep respect given by so many she met feels especially potent this year to her with the rise in global anti-Semitism; shootings at Jewish centers in the U.S. and Europe, among other tragedies.

Eva would like to thank everyone for reading this anthology, as she believes giving a voice to women is extremely important, and the stories she is included with relay such interesting stories by strong, smart and motivated ladies.

For more stories and photos from Eva's Asia adventures, check out her blog She can also be followed on Instagram and Twitter @VivaciousEC

You can find the Dragonfruit anthology at the following links:

Amazon (paper and e-book)
Barnes & Noble (paper and e-book)
Smashwords (e-book)
Apple (e-book)

And for a shameless plug, if you'd like to read my Hong Kong escalator love story, I'm running a Kindle Countdown Deal at the moment. The Art of Escalator Jumping is $0.99 until July 8th (which also happens to be my birthday). The normal price is $3.99.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dragonfruit Round-up 2: Edna Zhou, Nicola Chilton, Philippa Ramsden, Saffron Marchant, India Harris and Jocelyn Eikenburg

We are continuing to feature one Dragonfruit Anthology Contributor of the Day on the Facebook page. Here are the next six contributors!

Edna Zhou, author of Token (China)

Edna Zhou is an American sports journalist and serial expat who first moved abroad at 18, then just kept moving. She has lived and worked in China, Singapore, Paris, and Italy, and is always thinking about the next place to call home. For now, she lives in Shanghai.

Edna writes about her adventures at Expat Edna

You can follow her here, too: Expat Edna on Facebook

Nicola Chilton, author of Five Weeks On (Japan)

Originally from Yorkshire, Nicola Chilton studied Spanish and Latin American studies at University, and spent a year wandering the mountains and jungles of southern Mexico pretending to write a dissertation. After returning to England, and as the English autumn weather set in, distant shores called again and she set off to work in Japan for a year. That one year became eight, followed by another four in Hong Kong, and another four in Thailand where she is currently based. Born with itchy feet, if not travelling, Nicola is always thinking of travelling. A keen writer and photographer, she has notebooks filled with scribbles from Iceland to Pyongyang by way of Moscow and Mumbai, and has a collection of photographs on display at Samsara Cafe & Meal, a 100-year-old wooden house on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.

You can follow her travels on Instagram at @nicolachilton.

Philippa Ramsden, author of Moving to the Tropic of Cancer (Burma/Myanmar)

Philippa Ramsden is a Scottish humanitarian and development professional. She had been to Asia only once when she stepped off a plane in Kathmandu in 2000 to take up a new job, with no idea what to expect--and has been in Asia ever since. She has lived and worked in Nepal, Mongolia, India, Sri Lanka, and Burma/Myanmar. Currently, Philippa is working on a memoir of her life as an expat with cancer in a tropical country. She is also working on a collection of short stories, poetry, and other snippets about life in this part of the world.

Philippa blogs at Feisty Blue Gecko and tweets @feistybluegecko

You can read more about Philippa's writing journey in this blog post and find her on Facebook.

Saffron Marchant, author of Cross (Hong Kong). 

Saffron Marchant read English Literature and Language at Oxford in the early 1990s. In 2007 she began to study Creative Writing at Hong Kong University, and eventually graduated with distinction from its inaugural Master of Fine Arts. In the intervening years, she studied and practiced law in London, Paris, and New York, but now terms herself a "recovering solicitor." She lives in Hong Kong with her husband, son, and daughter.

India Harris, author of The Rainiest Season (Philippines) 

After seven years and two adventurous crossings of the Pacific Ocean on a ten-meter yacht, Canadian India Harris sailed into the Philippines in 2001, fell in love with the country, and became a landlubber. When not at her seaside home which she shares with a menagerie of pets, India can usually be found in some other exotic part of the world with her camera. She has also lived in Tokyo, Paris, and Hawaii.

Lately, India has been busy with photography. She'll be on safari in Botswana in September, a polar bear trip in Churchill, Manitoba in November, and in 2015 will be doing a Hawaiian volcano/nature trip plus mountain gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda.

You can follow India's photography and travels at indiaharrisdotcom and visit her Facebook page.

Jocelyn Eikenburg, author of Huangshan Honeymoon (China)

Jocelyn Eikenburg is the writer behind Speaking of China, a unique blog focused on love, family, and relationships in China which was inspired by her own marriage to a Chinese national. Her essay "Red Couplets" was published in the anthology Unsavory Elements and other true stories of foreigners on the loose in China. A Cleveland, Ohio native, Jocelyn discovered her passion for the written word while living and working in China, and has resided in the cities of Zhengzhou, Hangzhou, and Shanghai.

Jocelyn put together a photo essay to go with Huangshan Honeymoon.

And follow Jocelyn on Facebook and Twitter @jossailin.

You can find How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit? True Stories of Expat Women in Asia at the following links:

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