me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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Shanghai and me, the official duties

As I said, I went to Shanghai for the Shanghai Literary Festival. Now in its ninth year,the Festival runs for three weeks, and I was there for week three. My first gig was a conversation over lunch with Colin Cotterill. We talked about why we do what we do and why we do this writing stuff at all, where our characters come from, what our settings mean to us, all that sort of thing. Colin's a good-looking guy and fun to talk to, but I get getting distracted by the expansive view over the Huangpu River, ships and barges passing each other, the sci-fi towers of Pudong gleaming in the sun. We also answered questions from the audience. My favorite was a fan of mine who asked whether "you deliberately put things in your book to piss your readers off, like Lydia knows Tae Kwon Do but she's never won a fight!" I didn't realize she'd never won a fight. Damn, girl. I asked his name, so in the next book she can win a fight against a guy named that.

My second gig was the Literary Death Match. I think I've blogged enough on that. It would unseemly to continue mentioning the fact that I WON.

Gig number three was the Asian Crime Gang panel. Colin Cotterill, Qiu Xiaolong, Nury Vittachi, Vikram Chandra, and yr humble narrator. (Notice I'm the only writer there of the female persuasion? Somehow that's often true in this biz. Crime panels -- The Last Male Bastion?) This panel ended MUCH too soon. Nury Vittachi and I were just getting into an argument about outlining (him) vs. not outlining (me). (Vikram Chandra was on my side.) There's talk of a Nury-SJ showdown for next year, maybe with boxing gloves.

My final gig was a class on Digging Out What's Inside You. This is a sort of anti-writer's block workshop I do, with the SJ Rozan explanation for where your stuff comes from and why you sometimes can't get at it, and exercises for sneaking around your block to where our own stuff is. (I mean, I've been around the block a few times.) It turned out to be the final event of the entire Festival and I had to do some quick rethinking because when I got there the people just kept coming: I had thirty-two students! Can't really do a workshop at that size but I re-organized fast and we had a great time.

Next, How I Spent My Time in Shanghai When I Was on the Loose.

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