Story that Swept the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards

15 12 2012


Sharing this story, “Paper Menagerie,” by Ken Liu that won all three awards. It brought tears to my eyes, but it’s also getting some negative criticism. Interesting how different people reading the same story will have totally different reactions. What do you think?

(Warning: If you’re the sentimental type, don’t read it at work.)

Shiver me timbers…

19 09 2011

Aargghh! I can’t believe I almost missed Talk Like a Pirate Day. And me, with a pirate book that just came out a few months ago. Five books in five months will do that to you. All circuits are on overload as I head toward the final deadline for the fifth volume.

Hope the rest of you enjoyed the day. The one fact I learned is that Aarrgh! means something entirely different than Arrr!

Do you know the difference? I used Aarrgh! correctly above as I slapped my forehead. But Arrr! means yes.

One of my personal favorites in the pirate world is Dragon Lady.

So me hearties, if ye wish to learn more about pirates or sailing the seven seas, you’ve only to pick up Pirates Through the Ages.

Lots of great characters inside…

If I do say so meself.




Ship Ahoy!

21 06 2011

Hard to believe it’s been so long since I’ve blogged, but a five-book contract with deadlines a month apart has been grueling.

But I just received word that Pirates 
Through the Ages  is on the way. Yay!! Can’t wait to see how it looks. The editor said it turned out terrific, so I’m excited about holding it in my own two hands. Here’s a mock up of the cover.

Looking back, I wondered while I was immersed in it if I’d manage to get it done by the deadline, but I did. Now I’m wondering the same about my latest assignment. What is it about writers that they’ll put themselves under this much pressure and agree to practically impossible deadlines, then slog through long hours day after day to produce a book? What is it about this profession that’s so compelling? It’s obviously not the money. As most writers discover, this isn’t a lucrative profession. So what do we get besides the pleasure and excitement of holding a book in our hands?

Dragon Lady

26 07 2010

One of the fun things about being a writer is researching things that you find fascinating. Right now I’m lucky enough to be writing about pirates. And I’ve found a heroine who intrigues me. Chinese pirate, Ching Shih, who goes by many other names, took over a pirate fleet of about 200 junks and 50,000 sailors when her husband died in the early 1800s, and she turned it into one of the largest fleets in the world.

Ching Shih had some interesting rules about pirate conduct, including that captured women were not to be raped. Pirates could, however, buy any leftover women (those whose families or villages didn’t raise enough ransom money) for $40, but they had to marry them. Granted, not every woman was overjoyed at the prospect of marrying a pirate, and some jumped overboard.

She also insisted that her pirates pay for the rice or other supplies they got from the villagers along the South China coast. Rather unusual conduct for pirates, wouldn’t you say? But it also insured her crew had all the gunpowder and food they needed. People were eager to hand over necessities when the pirates came calling.

Of course, that wasn’t always voluntary. Ching Shih often demanded tribute from villages and, if they didn’t pay, she exacted revenge. Her crew burned the towns, slaughtered the people, and took captives. They were pirates after all.

Ching Shih has been characterized as shrewd, brave, and resourceful. When she decided to surrender in 1810, she negotiated a military position for her new husband (who was also her adopted son and her first husband’s lover). She even arranged for military honors for herself–a slightly illegal manuever, because widows weren’t granted these honors.

She moved on to a peaceful life as the owner of a gambling house, with possibly a little opium smuggling on the side. All in all, quite a remarkable woman.