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Shanghai Noir

The Dancing Girl and the Turtle: publication date 01.04.2017

There's a blood moon coming to town. From Friday night until Saturday morning, most of the world will be treated to a lunar eclipse. Unless you happen to be in North America or Greenland, in which case you're out of luck.

You can think instead that this big orange ball is ... the sun beating down on your head. We're experiencing unheard of temperatures in Amsterdam these days. It's 31° Celsius as I write this newsletter and we haven't even hit the high of the day yet. The grass is burning, the trees are shedding leaves, my sunflowers want water three times a day. Does climate change seem like a Chinese hoax right now?

Oops, that was me being political again. Did I mention that I'm still trying to get US expats to vote in the midterm elections? In addition to my weekly Voter Assistance Office Hours, I'll be signing folks up this Saturday during the PrideWalk in Amsterdam.

By then, I should be fully settled back into my regular rhythm. I was surprised to learn that, even without jet lag, it takes me about a week to get my nose to the grindstone. But then again, I had an ideal excuse. Last Sunday, I got to give a master class for the International Writers' Collective. The crowd was lively and the questions excellent. We talked about the difference between mood and tone, choosing which characters to give a voice and the long lonely road toward publication.

Did you miss that event? No worries. This week's blog post is about two of the big topics discussed. How to use violence in fiction in an authentic and respectful fashion. And how to avoid spending all your time researching your novel rather than writing the damn thing. Here it is: Violent Femmes.

For those of you who've been following me for a while, you might be surprised to see this newsletter on multiple platforms. I'm taking the plunge to post this to Twitter. Hopefully, the blowback won't be too harsh (or the silence deafening).

Keep cool, all you folks in hot places.

Reading with Your Ears
Finding Nemo (aka the Perfect Critique Group)
Angel Island
Bonsai
Mindfulness

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