Thursday, August 13, 2015

I know you've been busy, but what on earth have I been up to?

Are you into Morse Code?

Just asking.

It’s part of a new book I’m working on.

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____________ The picture above: yes, I’ll admit, weak photo skills. But hey.

On the left: cover of a booklet by the National Library Board. It’s part of their current Read@School programme, which is all about creating a reading culture among the young. Complete with Teen Reading Ambassadors.


Being featured in it is really inspiring us to work 10x harder.

Sherlock Hong Book 4 is on the way. It’s called THE LEGEND OF LADY YUE. Spent the last weekend (long National Day holiday) finishing this.

It’ll be available soon from Marshall Cavendish. Please pre-order on Book Depository, Amazon, etc, if you’d like worldwide delivery.

Will be sharing more details.

Meanwhile, read about how this indie series of ours evolved into one of Singapore’s most newsworthy publishing projects this year.

____________ I started Super Cool Books four years ago, around the time I realised that books are a very important resource for helping parents bond with children. Sharing a good book can lead to hours and hours of discussion and creative interaction.

Mamawearpapashirt is a local mummy blog by June Yong. She spends lots of time with her children and is also always thinking about ways to give them more meaningful growing up experiences.

We were honoured to do a special Lion City Adventures giveaway recently with Mamawearpapashirt’s Facebook community of like-minded parents. If you took part, thanks for sharing your suggestions. It’s a real thrill to feel the genuine enthusiasm from all the parents. Taking our children out and spending quality time together will always be a big thing.

There’s also an interview on the Mamawearpapashirt blog about how we put together this book, and why it’s so important to me.


What do you want young readers to take home from this book?
The realisation that we live in a fascinating place, and there’s so much to appreciate about our local history, geography and culture. I hope kids read about the Singapore River and imagine how it enchanted Sir Stamford Raffles so much that he wanted to create something great here. I hope kids learn about the early settlers and how people came up with ideas to make money. I hope kids are inspired by modern marvels like Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Discovery Centre. And I hope kids feel the urge to go out and explore Singapore with their family and friends.

You can read the whole interview: Link

Photo by Linn Shekinah

____________ If you want to write books for children, and especially if you’re into picture books, one good place to get started is Linn Shekinah’s blog.

Linn won the First-Time Writers & Illustrators Publishing Initiative Award with her picture book, The Watchtower Warrior. She’s also the creator of the English/Chinese Asian Spice Kids series, which was published with support from the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism.

Linn writes commentaries on her blog about the local kidlit publishing industry, and often runs interviews with local authors. Recently she shared a long essay tracing the evolution of locally produced picture books over the last 50 years. (Link)

Thanks to Linn for featuring Lion City Adventures on her blog last week, and taking the time to ask me lots of interesting questions for her Little Lit Author post. (Part 1 and Part 2)

Seriously, there are things here that nobody had ever wanted to know before.


3 Quirky things about Don that nobody knows

1. When I was young I had a really vivid vision that I would grow up and work on a spaceship.

2. Quite often I have to look up the difference between “each other” and “one another”. I seem to know which one to use if I don’t stop to think about it. But if I even hesitate for half a second, my brain goes blank.

3. When I’m in a car and I hear the turn signal indicator clicking, my brain automatically starts to compose punk rock guitar riffs to accompany it. For this reason I avoid having to drive.

And it’s all true. Go over to her blog for the full articles, and more:

Little Lit Author: Don Bosco [Part 1]
Little Lit Author: Don Bosco [Part 2]
Little Lit Book Review: Lion City Adventures
Lion City Adventures: A Trip Out

____________ Rosie Milne’s Asian Books Blog compiles updates and special reports about the publishing industry across Asia. There are not enough blogs around that do this, and I always find her posts informative and even inspiring.

I recently had a chance to introduce Super Cool Books on the blog, and put out the message that we’d really like to connect with more publishing startups in the region.

If you check out the post, you’ll see how I tried to explain our editorial direction, highlight our interest in transmedia, and invite potential collaborators to get in touch, all in one big breathless paragraph.

Thank you, Rosie!


____________ And in case you missed this earlier, Felicia Low-Jimenez also interviewed me for the Kitaab website. We talked about Lion City Adventures, how I got started with Super Cool Books, what I think about how children's books are published in Singapore, and I also said:

“But children eventually outgrow their younger selves. When they’re older and they look back, they’ll treasure the books that provided them with kind insights and sincere companionship. They’ll appreciate authors who explain the tricky bits of life in an honest and non-judgmental way — like what JK Rowling managed to do with her Harry Potter series. And that’s how certain titles become classics. They’re educational like that. Which is why when I work on my books, I remind myself that I’m not writing for children, I’m really writing for future adults.” 

Read the whole interview, and discover other great Kitaab content about Asian writers: Link

____________ I thought this was lost forever, but no. I found it again not long ago in my storeroom. It’s a story project I started fifteen years ago. Monkey’s Blood.

I’m hoping to work on it some more and develop it again through Super Cool Books. Perhaps next year, or maybe the year after. And not just as a novel. More like a transmedia project, or an alternate reality game for teens. To help inspire me back then, my friend Koh Hong Teng did the awesome illustration, based on the story. He’s now an acclaimed comic book artist. Do check out his books. (Link)

Those were really fun days. And it's great when your friends are talented and they try to help you!

____________ What else is coming up: watch out for more news about Lion City Adventures Book 2. And also the new Sherlock Hong edition by Marshall Cavendish, four books launching before Christmas. And also my other ebook series for teens, Eastern Zombie Society, which I am trying to find time to finish and launch.

Take care, read what you love.

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