Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Salsa Birthday Party

It was my birthday recently. At salsa I was given the customary 'celebrant in the centre' treatment, which entailed dancing with as many ladies as possible, one after the other. These photos are a small selection. I still played the drums, of course, and I do believe I am getting better.

I am exactly the same age as my friend Tseng Lan Hui but she is 50 years old and I am 49 years old. I think this confused people at salsa who gave me a birthday card that said HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY.

I was, however, delighted by the gesture. The reason why Lan is a year older than me even though we are exactly the same age is because for Chinese people the custom is to count the time in the womb, which means they are one year old after a couple of months.

Lan is a couple of months older than me. This means she is exactly a year older than me despite the fact we were born in the same year and are both Fire Horses! In other words we are exactly the same and completely different at the same time!

There have been long nights on the beach watching the lunar eclipse (my first total lunar eclipse from start to finish) and stunning sunsets and 'conventional' but still beautiful moonrises. The moon last night was a tomato in the sky, then it was an orange, then a grapefruit, then a metaphor, then it was like a simile, then like some other comparison, then finally it was like itself, the moon.

Life is good. My writing has perhaps suffered in terms of output; but I am really pleased with what I am producing, and I have signed contracts for four new books. One of these I have just delivered, a collection of strange stories that may (or may not) be entitled Brutal Pantomimes when it comes out (if it does come out) next year.

I have also been working on adjusting the contents of my forthcoming collection of tribute stories to authors I admire, The Senile Pagodas. I thought the project was finished, but I have recently completed a tribute to Nathaniel Hawthorne (a 'Tanglewood Tale') and I am working on one to Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. I hope that both new stories will find their way into the finished volume.

Akutagawa is a writer who has had a big influence on me during my working life. And now I have discovered a Chinese equivalent: Xu Lun. Perhaps I will end up writing a tribute story to him too and adding it to this collection. I am beginning to feel sorry for my publisher!

Once again I want to plug the longest single author short-story collection ever...

I know I have plugged this many times already but it's equivalent to a dozen ordinary collections, so I feel I am allowed to do so. It is The Million Word Storybook, available in two editions. The so-called female edition can be obtained from Amazon here.

At some point I want to discuss religion. Perhaps Faith would be a better word. But not today.

Friday, September 18, 2015


What I Look Like

What I look like... It changes depending on whether I have a beard and am clean shaven, whether I am wearing a suit or dressed in more casual clothes, whether I have had a haircut or not. Even the weather has an effect. But this is how I am currently looking.

Therefore when I meet a friend off the train tomorrow morning, there will be no risk of my friend greeting the wrong person by mistake; because I am sending to my friend a link to this blog post.

Two days ago I cycled 50 KM, up to Ystradgynlais and back. This has nothing to do with anything really. I recently signed contracts for four new books and have delivered one of them. I am working on the others now.

Summer is coming to an end and that is rather sad but today was a nice day. I plan to make the most of what sunshine is left.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015



The longest single author short-story collection in publishing history is now available as an ebook!

In fact it is available as two ebooks, because it comes in two different editions, male and female, that differ in 10% of their contents. This is a trick that I picked up from Milorad Pavić, whose Dictionary of the Khazars also comes in male and female editions.

People keep asking me how I selected the variant stories for the two editions. The fact of the matter is that there is no rhyme or reason to the selection. I am not trying to make a point about differing male and female tastes in fiction. Quite the contrary! The differences are surely there but also insignificant.

As incredible as it sounds, there may actually be a print version next year. A publisher who has already issued a couple of my books is interested in bringing out a strictly limited multi-volume edition. It remains to be seen how practical this venture will turn out to be...

In the meantime here is the collection for the Kindle. THE MILLION WORD STORYBOOK features exactly 365 stories, one every day for an entire year. If you follow the link and click on 'Look Inside' you can read a sample for free. The book is so long that the sample, which is a certain percentage of the digital book, already contains 54 stories.

Links to purchase this ebook can be found below...

Amazon US -- Female Edition
Amazon US -- Male Edition

Amazon UK -- Female Edition
Amazon UK -- Male Edition

This collection contains approximately one third of my total fiction output over the past 25 years. The stories are presented in chronological order of their composition. The earliest dates from 1990 and the latest dates from this year 2015 and in fact is one of my most recently completed tales. As I plan to write 1000 stories in my working life, this collection will contain one quarter of my entire output ever!

I believe that this is a major literary event. Well, at the very least, it is a major personal event for myself and for the writer that I am and have been all my life...

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