Chinglish 2016

Not much Chinglish to occupy my eye these days, but I do have a few to start off 2016 while it’s still January:

To be disdained! I shall never breaking the branches, #Chinglish

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Fine I won't depend on the door, #Chinglish

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Keep it secret keep it safe, #eggroll #chinglish?

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While I’m at it, here’s some more funny China stuff in the form of bootleg Star Wars toys! Followed by my own small Lego Star Wars collection, and you can guess which ones are fakes…

Gotta love these bootleg #Chinese #Lego #StarWars!

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Building quite the little collection #Lego #Starwars

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Would you like a sneak preview to read?

Dear readers (and writers),

The time has come for the announce that I am about ready to share something new. If you happen to be one to enjoy my humble writings, here it is.

At a mere 50,000 words, it’s more a novella and not too much commitment to read. Took me the greater part of 2015 and the working title is “Modern Love Story” and yes I know that needs work. Or possibly “This Modern Love” as in the Bloc Party song — see below. “Modern Love” as in the song by the late great David Bowie would be a nice reference as well but seems too similar to Aziz Ansari’s recent recommended book Modern Romance.

Similar in structure to that novel about the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac, this new story only focuses on four people: Two men and two women. Half are modern and the others more traditional, and the point is each pair would be perfect for each other but they keep getting distracted and miss their chance.

Also, it’s about the soul of America.

See, I was inspired after the last time I visited the United States, and after being away for so long I now feel I have the outsider’s perspective. Mostly it was from observing some friends using the Tinder app in order to hook up. I never got the chance to use it, but I thought about all that online dating stuff from a literary point-of-view, and thus..

 

Well, if you would like to read more about my take on how modern technology has skewed sexual relationships between men and women, then please email me via rayhecht@gmail.com

Any input at all would be appreciated, from catching typos to scathing critiques and expertise on technological language.

And as always, if you would like to share anything you are writing I’d be happy to help edit as well!

Keep reading and writing, everybody

 

Here’s that song ~

 

Book Review: South China Morning Blues

adventures abound

Almost two weeks later, I’ve finished Ray Hecht’s South China Morning Blues (2015). At 349 pages, this fiction novel definitely should not have taken me as long to finish. I probably could’ve dedicated one weekend to it, but this is nonetheless a pretty good pace for my 2016 reading goals.

Last night, while on the final section of the book—the book is divided into three main sections: Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong—I got ahead of myself and started preparing to write this review. As I Googled the author, I came across his blog and soon enough his WeChat ID. I added him.

What happened next is likely the coolest thing that’s happened so far this year. Not only did he add me back, but we also ended up agreeing on my interviewing him on the book.

“I am 100% interested,” he said. (!!)

Of course, the exact details remain TBD. It could be for GDTV…

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Why I Write

http://www.whyiwrite.net/2016/01/ray-hecht/

 

Ray Hecht

South China Morning Blues 

Ray Hecht is an American author based in Shenzhen, and blogs at rayhecht.com. Raised in the American Midwest, he studied film in Long Beach, California before moving to China in 2008 where he divides his time between fiction writing and freelance journalism. South China Morning Blues (Blacksmith Books, 2015), a story of depraved expats within the hypermodern southern Chinese sprawl, is his debut novel.

 

Why I write

That is the ultimate question, isn’t it? I don’t truly know the answer. Perhaps because I am a lonely person and I got into certain habits and now after years of this I am compelled. I want to express myself, I have enough ego to believe that others should read what I write, and it’s just a part of what I do and who I am. I have these things in my head and this compulsion to write it down and I hope beyond hope that people would like to read.

 

How do you go about writing?

I try to write every day. When a long-term project is going, I write about four days a week on a decent week. Good weeks more, bad weeks less. To me, it’s not about hours so much as word count. Five hundred works at least, or a thousand words on a very productive night. That may take hours or it may take 30 minutes.

I like to stay up late, because that’s the time when everyone leaves me alone. That magic time from midnight to about 2 a.m. I used to write later, but it’s getting harder and harder to keep up with a night owl lifestyle these days. That’s when all the original words come to me, and the next afternoon I tend to do rewrites.

 

Where do you write?

I like to lay down in my bed in my underwear with the laptop. I remember the old days when I had a big PC, it was much harder to motivate myself. The laptop is the most perfect invention ever…

 

Worst distraction?

…excepting, of course, that the Internet is the absolute worst distraction ever. If left to my own devices I tend to constantly check my email, Facebook, news sites etc. Porn isn’t even as bad as social media. Sometimes though you just have to unplug and force yourself to finish a deadline. Unless there’s research to be done.

 

Best inspiration?

I suppose I’m inspired by various things. A good song can inspire. A book, a show. A crazy life experience can especially inspire. Most of all, combing through my own memories of complex life issues and mix and match it into new combinations; somehow that give me ideas about what to write.

 

How often do you get writers’ block? Do you ever doubt your own ability?

I don’t really believe in writer’s block. However, I doubt my own ability all the time. When I compare myself to the major authors whom I respect, I am not in the same league at all. But I’ve chosen to write and even if it’s shit I have vowed to finish what I started.

The thing about writer’s block is that I always have more ideas than I have time to write them down. It should always be that way. Instead of being choked by the blank page, I suffer more from sheer laziness. Writing can be mentally exhaustive, and although endless ideas are swirling around in my mind, sometimes I don’t have enough energy to record and tinker with those ideas.

 

Contemporary writer you always read?

I always read new Haruki Murakami and Neal Stephenson. Murakami isn’t as good as he used to be, frankly, in my humble opinion. Stephenson is such an insanely prolific writer that it takes me longer to catch up with his latest thousand-plus tome then it does for him to write, yet I always do try to catch up.

 

Favorite book on China?

Speaking of which, Reamde by Neal Stephenson is a great book that takes place in China, full of hackers and gold-farming. He really gets it right.

 

Favorite Chinese author?

My favorite may be Su Tong, and especially his novel My Life as Emperor. Written very matter-of-factly and full of cruelty, it rather haunted me.

 

Favorite book?

There are several books that have supremely influenced me. I’m going to keep it in the realm of fiction: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is the ultimate irreverent yet smart novel, with so much energy. I know I’m not smart enough to write science fiction, and cyberpunk in particular, I am purely a fan with no desire to emulate.

I have to mention The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea which sent me on a lifelong journey to figure out what the hell is going on in the world.

As for literary inspiration, Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting and Bret Easton Ellis’ Glamorama are works that have directly influenced how I string words together…

 

Favourite writer?

As for other mediums, I would like to say that comic book writer Grant Morrison is one of my absolute favorites. Able to write mindfuck profound postmodern comics, as well as fun superheroes, and I am very envious of his abilities.

 

The book you should have read but haven’t?

I am currently trying to find the time to start Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. I have a feeling it’s going to be a tough one.

 

You look back at the first thing you had published and think…

Wow I was lucky!

 

How did you get started writing?

I scribbled on occasion when I was a kid, more interested in drawing than writing. When I was in school I decided to study film on a lark, and I didn’t really finish, but I decided I like prose more than screenplays because you can be alone. I decided to write novels when I was twenty-three years old, wrote several, and then almost 10 years later it worked out.

 

Does writing change anything?

I suppose it changes your social life, because friends and loved ones can’t understand why you are always avoiding the outside world. It’s worth it though, I hope.

 

What are you working on now and when is it out?

Well, I’m still working on promoting South China Morning Blues which is currently out in Hong Kong and beyond.

I have another novel in the works, a full draft is finished, and it’s not about China. It’s about how technology effects relationships and I got the idea from last time I visited America and observed as an outsider the whole Tinder dating thing. If I’m incredibly lucky it will be published in less than a year. A lot has to fall into place. I believe it will be published eventually. Wish me luck!

 

Continue reading

EBooks

amazon.com/author/rayhecht

 

Please do check out my Amazon author page this week…

It’s that time again. To celebrate the proper, Amazon-approved release of my novel South China Morning Blues (finally), I’d like to share several of my eBooks which are free for the Kindle & Kindle app this week.

 

There’s my old horror short story 411:

411

http://www.amazon.com/411-Ray-Hecht-ebook/dp/B00EUBZRL2

 

There is my first novel Loser Parade:

Loser Parade cover

http://www.amazon.com/Loser-Parade-Ray-Hecht-ebook/dp/B00ETYSS5W

 

Stay tuned, and soon the historical eNovella The Ghost of Lotus Mountain Brothel will be free as well (which serves as a sort of prequel to my current novel). Lastly, my slightly infamous memoiresque Pearl River Drama will be up for only 0.99 cents. Hope you take a look.

 

Again, wish you a great 2016. It’s proving to be a productive year already, and I can’t wait to share future projects with all you readers. Keep on reading and writing, everyone. And as always, feel free to share reviews! 

Happy 2016 as South China Morning Blues is live on Amazon

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Hello all, wish you a happy 2016!

As the new year comes, I would like to announce that my novel South China Morning Blues is *finally* distributing on Amazon in the States, and hence now available for readers to write reviews on the web page:

http://www.amazon.com/South-China-Morning-Blues-Hecht/dp/9881376459

 

Amazon isn’t perfect of course, but it is nice for me to get reviews on the ubiquitous bookselling website. I have been very humbled by the positive reviews on Goodreads.com, as well as by various articles and blogs I’ve linked to here before (check out ‘Reviews’ and ‘SCMB’ at the menu above), and am now looking forward to seeing some of those reviews and more on Amazon. Feel free to share what you think of my novel therein…

 

And while I’m at it, don’t forget to check my other eBooks from the past which are still as readable as ever 🙂

http://www.amazon.com/author/RayHecht

 

 

Happy well-read new year!

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.