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Tag: courage


Q&A on Writing and Travel

TS101. The explorations and adventures in most of your work are set in exotic places that are shrouded in mystery and rich in history and tradition, and it seems as though you have traveled just about everywhere. Do you happen to have any connection with a small and relatively mainstream place like Belgium?

When I was a child, I was sent to stay with friends at Ypres. I was eleven years old, and I remember the visit vividly. Of course I have returned to Belgium time and again since then, but it was that winter journey that is so burned in my memory. My sisters and I were taken to the Great War cemeteries there. I can see the headstones now – all lined up perfectly, glinting white in the flat winter sun. I remember reading the names and ages of those men. They were so young – their lives having hardly begun. A day doesn’t go by on which I don’t think of them. And it is for them that I remind my children daily: Carpe diem! Seize the day!

2. I recently heard you tell a student group that they could and should be explorers. As far as I know, there are no significant mysteries here in Belgium, though there is a great deal of history. What sorts of explorations do you think have yet to be pursued here? What do you think is the best way for parents to make explorers of their children?

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Upcoming Projects for 2013

I’ve been posting on my Facebook page about upcoming projects for the first half of 2013, without sharing too much detail. I’d like to include a quick overview of things to come:


I’ll have an article coming out in Newsweek (now online only), in the next couple of months. I’ll post on Facebook as soon as it’s online.

Backlist ebooks

I’ll be releasing ebooks from my backlist starting very soon. We’re still working on the cover art, but they’ll be coming out one by one in the next couple of months.


I’ll be speaking at the literary festival there, so if you’re based in or near Lithuania, I’d love to see you.

Scorpion Soup limited edition hardcover

This is now available for pre-order over at the Scorpion Soup website, and books will be shipping out in late March. There are purchase options for both the US and the UK, which is where the books will be warehoused. If you’re in another country and would like a copy, please contact me and I’ll let you know what the extra shipping fees are. I’m trying to keep the cost down on this book by offering it only on my website.

You can also enter one of two contests on Goodreads for a chance to win a copy of the limited edition hardcover. There is a contest for US readers and one for UK readers.

Scorpion Soup en español

We’re also working on a Spanish translation of my recent release, Scorpion Soup. It’s over half-way finished, and then will go into editing before its release. It should be out fairly soon, and I’ll be sure to post on my Facebook page when it’s available.

Casablanca Blues

This is one of my upcoming releases for 2013. I’ve completed the first draft, and it’s being edited now.

Blaine Williams is a thirty-something New Yorker with an mid-life crisis and an obsession of the movie Casablanca. His world collapsing around him, he flees to the one place he thinks he knows and understands. A fragment of security in his troubled imagination, Casablanca the genuine article reveals itself as a roller coaster ride of danger, intrigue, and true love — a realm where nothing is what it seems.

Eye Spy

This is another of my upcoming releases for 2013. I’m half-way through the first draft on this.

While in Central Asia saving the sight of a debauched dictator, Dr. Robert Kaine, the greatest eye surgeon of his generation, unwittingly tastes a pie filled with cooked human eyes. Rather than being revolted by the dish, he adores it, and finds that it has an astonishing and ameliorating effect on the psyche. As the craving sets in, he will stop at nothing to get more of the illicit food.

Against a backdrop of an epidemic eye disorder called Occulosis, that threatens making everyone alive blind, Kaine is the one man who can save human sight… while robbing anyone he can of their eyes.

June 13, 2008 Posted by tahir in Travel

Thank God it's...

It wouldn’t be far from the truth to say that I’m stressed. I’ve been stressed all day, juggling with a book proposal that’s taken months of thought, gallons of sweat and the occasional tear. When I started out with it, I thought I’d cracked it right away. I patted myself on the back, pampered myself for working so hard, and relaxed.

My agent asked me to rework the pages, inject some new ideas. To tell the truth I felt a little bit sick, as if I was a spent force. It was like returning to a half-eaten meal. Tasted all stale and cold. But I nudged away at it again… and again… and again. Each time, I was asked ever so politely to do a little more.
I’m on the seventh draft now. There have been times when I have cursed, shouted, waved my fists. On drab winter afternoons I would sometimes open the window in the dining room where I am working, and yell out. It sets the donkeys off in the shantytown of course, and then the dogs, and the geese. But I feel I have to vent. After all, a life without a little venting is no life at all.
So here I am, ploughing through draft number seven and — after six months of struggle — it looks as if it’s coming together. Yes while at first i was so smug, so proud, I now look at the work and see the faults in myself. It’s good, perhaps very good, but it’s just a thing… granted, a thing created from the confines of my imagination, but a thing nonetheless.
On some evenings, when I’m all hunched over the computer screen, I wonder about all the books that were almost written and never were. OK it’s a strange thought. But think of it. There must have been so many men and women of genius who were going to write, but who never quite managed to sit down long enough, or who hand to hold down a day job as well.
I think of those books… and recently I have thought of them a lot. Most of all because my proposal might be a book that is not quite ever written. I fear for it. At night I wake up worrying. What if something happens and I have to get a day job, a job in a sandwich bar, and the great book is never done — like the sculpture trapped in a block of stone?
Gulp. That would be terrible. I’d be racked with guilt my whole life. I’d feel like a failure. Or would I? Would it not be a release…? A release from this torment of themes and character arcs, wordage and symmetry. Oh yes… oh yes it would. It would be freedom.
But then, of course the writer’s secret ego — inside every writer whether they admit it or not (and most don’t) — would not be massaged. Without the book there’d be no arc of the ego.
And where would I be without that?