Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday's Special Is...Flight of the Hornbill!

Flight of the Hornbill by Eric Stone

From an American suburb incongruously set into a jungle clearing, to the sleazy bars and high-rise offices of Jakarta; from a teeming neighborhood floating on a river to the dense, steaming rainforest – Flight of the Hornbill is a thrill ride through an exotic Asian landscape peopled with unforgettable characters; some desperate to make a buck, some willfully ignoring their past, and most unforgettable of all, Ray Sharp, expatriate corporate investigator, struggling to find his place as an outsider in someone else’s world.


FLIGHT OF THE HORNBILL is loosely based on the facts of the real-life Bre-X gold fraud.


Buy from Amazon








Excerpt from FLIGHT OF THE HORNBILL



The rich odor of baby powder and mineral oil wraps around me like a favorite old blanket. A faint note of sharp, sweet incense tickles me as I glide down the corridor. A large, thick Korean woman firmly holds my hand and pulls me along. From the curtained cubicles we’re passing comes a thwop, thwop, thwop sound of gentle fists on flesh and the sweet music of grunts and groans.


I heard somewhere that everyone in Korea is named Kim, except for a few Parks. I hope Kim’ll be gentle. I’ve had enough pain.

She shows me to an empty cubicle with a narrow massage table and a chair, tells me to take off my clothes and indicates that she’ll be back. I don’t know how naked she wants me, so I leave my shorts on. The room is spare, dimly lit, decorated with last year’s, 1995 Mitsubishi Forestry Products calendar and a framed picture of some mountains in Korea. There’s a small cupboard on top of which are a bottle of mineral oil, a pink plastic container of talc, a jar of skin moisturizer and a gaudy floral print box of tissues. Country western music tinkles into the room from a small crackly speaker high up on the wall. Tammy Wynette warbles Stand By Your Man. An overhead fan churns the air making a light pfft, pfft, pfft.

Kim comes back with an armload of towels. She looks me up and down and smiles. She plucks at my shorts. "Take off." She motions for me to lie on a towel on the table. The towel gives off the scent of fresh warm oatmeal. It must be the laundry soap they use. I lie down and let my muscles go as slack as they can.

My face fits snug into the hole at the end of the table. It’s bigger than the holes usually are; my head is trapped deep into it. But it’s strangely comforting. I roll my eyes in their sockets and I can see the bottom of two table legs, a discarded tissue that looks like it might have been used to wipe off lipstick and the green-flecked linoleum floor. I can hear the muffled country western music, the thwop, thwop, thwop and the pfft, pfft, pfft and occasional crackles of Korean chatter from the other rooms. I’m lulled and dozy. Kim says, "Oil or powder?" I go for the oil.

It’s cold and I tense briefly when she squirts it on my back. As she begins rubbing it in, it warms, I relax and drift away.

After a while Kim climbs onto my upper thighs, squatting over me on the table and putting considerable weight into kneading my muscles. I’m thinking of telling her to ease up, but as the heat from the friction of her hands seeps into me, I settle into it and add my own voice to the soft chorus of content.

She works her body down my legs and her hands down my back, occasionally pausing to squirt a little more oil. She digs her fingers into my butt, grinding it in slow deep circles into the table.
Her strong fingers and palms mash down the back of my thighs, onto the back of my knees, calves and finally down to my feet where her knuckles on my soles connect directly to other parts of my body. She takes hold of my toes, one by one and cracks them, like you would crack your knuckles, with a swift motion.

Kim moves back up my body and squirts more oil on my legs and butt. Her fingers trail lightly up to the bottom of my ass. She brushes me there and gently snakes a greasy hand up underneath me.

She bends over, her lips headed for my right ear to ask in a whisper if I want anything else. I lift my face slightly from the hole in the table and catch a strong whiff of garlic and pickled cabbage on her breath. But with her hand on me I don't care. To anyone else watching, and probably to Kim, the moment must play like farce. But to me, in the state I’m growing into, it’s ripe with intimacy and anticipation.

Three loud, sharp explosions snap me out of it. There's a thud, like a hammer hitting a piece of meat. Kim gasps, and before I can move, falls with all her weight onto me, pressing my head uncomfortably deep into the small hole in the massage table.

My eyes open wide and bounce wildly around the limited field of vision. One of Kim's hands is dangling off the table to the left, it’s speckled with blood.

I try pushing my head back out of the hole and my body off the table, but my head is stuck. My hands can’t find leverage anywhere. Her dead weight holds me in place.

It sounds like a war’s breaking loose in the hallway. The machine guns don’t make a noise like “chatter” at all. They’re too loud, too harsh, more like the screaming of enraged pre-schoolers than the pitter-patter of conversation. There’s shouting but I can't make out any words. There’s the splatter of bare feet on linoleum running in all directions.

A boom erupts just outside my cubicle. It claps my ears and deafens me. A body falls into my vision, the shoulder and upper arm tangled into the curtain that closed off the doorway. Rolling my eyes up as far as they’ll go, I can just make out a gun, still grasped by an unmoving hand. Part of the arm is barely in reach of my right hand. I tug on the sleeve, trying to get the gun.
My hearing starts to come back. There’s still the soft country western music. Somehow the pfft, pfft, pfft of the fan has grown louder and blended with an engorged whomp, whomp, whomp of blood pulsing through my heart, swelling through my veins and arteries and breaking in waves against my temples. There’s a faint splishing from the left where Kim's blood drips to the floor. I can hear feeble groans that aren’t so very different from the ones I was hearing just a few moments ago. In the distance are sirens.

I hear footsteps and they’re coming my way, slow, cautious. The scrape of metal rings on metal bars moves toward me, down the hall as the curtains in front of the cubicles are flung open. Twice, just after that sound, I hear shots. Someone’s coming. They’re getting rid of survivors.
As the footsteps approach, I frantically yank at the arm, trying to pull the gun to me. The footsteps are getting closer as I wrest the gun from the rubbery, cooling hand that holds it. I wrap my palm around the grip, put a finger on the trigger and wait.

I don’t know who the hell I’m going to be able to shoot with it anyhow. If someone walks right up to the end of the massage table I’ll be able to see their shoes. What good does that do me? If it’s brown wing tips, shoot them in the foot?
*****************************************************

Answer the following question for a chance to win a free copy of FLIGHT OF THE HORNBILL, or pop in and chat with Eric! He may be a scary writer, but he's a nice guy!


What’s more dangerous: a Korean massage parlor in Indonesia or a Russian deli in New York?

155 comments:

Chris Eldin said...

Good morning everyone!!

Although Eric refused to unbutton like Antonio, we're still friends!

Let the games begin....
:-)

Eric said...

Good morning back. I might be unbuttoned for all I know. I haven't had my coffee yet. (It's 6am in L.A.) The espresso machine is cranking up and soon, so shall I be. A word of warning, however, I am about to disappear for about three minutes to make that espresso and to reboot my computer - something my antivirus software keeps insisting I do this morning. But then I shall return in fine fettle.

Eric said...

I have returned, my trusty Cabbages & Condoms espresso cup by my side, filled with highly caffeinated sludge. I even managed to turn off the warning from my "internet security suite" that I shouldn't access the internet until my parents have had the chance to set the proper controls. Do you suppose this would have passed muster with my parents? Mom? Is that you mom? Get out of here. You never know what you're going to see.

Eric said...

Oh my, is no one here yet other than my genial hostess? Is she even still here, having just checked in. And me, now full of espresso and incapable of simply slinking back to bed. I suppose I could open another window on this thing and start getting some writing done. What am I bid to kill you in my next book? (I'd best be careful about things like that, I might not kill anyone in my next book, I'm working on a YA.) So far there's a transsexual in Chapter Two. Does anyone know, is that okay in a YA?

Eric said...

Hmmm, where are all you east coasters? At work or something? Any moment I'm going to have to make another coffee and start surfing porn or something. Actually, it's a little early for porn surfing. Maybe I'll read the news, reassure myself that the world is still as screwed up as usual.

Eric said...

Okay Chris, having had my coffee I can now report that I was unbuttoned, but 39 minutes after I got here and where is everybody? I'm going to have to button up or something. Nah, I'll be around, what else have I got to do? There's a recession out there, even the local drug dealers are reeling.

Janet Reid said...

I'm here! I'm here!

Janet Reid said...

dear god, where is the coffee? This morning thing is vastly over rated

Eric said...

I've got coffee. I'm about to make another one. If you were here I'd happily make one for you and slip a shot of Macallan into it.

Janet Reid said...

No Macallan I'm VERY sorry to say. I have to go to the AAR panel on the google settlement today. Gotta be alert!

laughingwolf said...

welcome eric... what a great scene, got me hooked! :D

sorry... almost forgot about the roast :(

glad i did not, with what i read :D

as for the Q: the russkie deli in nyawk is scarier, to me, cuz it's more accessible, just down the coast a bit... and one never knows what lurks there :O lol

nazdarovja!

Eric said...

Oh yeah, I want my sixty bucks per book. If Google can charge per click for advertising, though, why isn't it 60 bucks as an advance against royalties of a certain amount per click after the advance is earned back - just like in the real world. What if a million people read my book on Google - I'm screwed.

In this day, it seems to me that selling copies of things is a dying business. Maybe it won't be dead for another 20 years or so, but it's on its way out.

Eric said...

The Russian deli is certainly worse for your cholesterol. That will kill you slow but sure. Probably is worse than a quick bullet to the head. Hmmmm.

Speaking of which, I haven't had breakfast yet.

laughingwolf said...

so right, eric... like you, i've only had coffee [no espresso machine :( ]

and i'm 4 hours ahead of you, atlantic time

will do up some bacon and eggs, fresh coffee, in a bit :)

Eric said...

Oh yeah, and thanks for the kind words about the excerpt. In the first draft it was a dream sequence, but then I decided, dream - schmeam, seems real enough to me.

Eric said...

Well, to give credit where credit is due, one of the things that made me rethink the scene was my wise agent Janet who said something along the lines of: "what the hell's the matter with you, I hate books that start with dream scenes." (Originally it was the opening scene in the book, but now I like it better where it is.)

laughingwolf said...

i agree with janet... and i lived that scene, can't wait to see what's next! :)

laughingwolf said...

coffee's brewing, bacon/eggs will have to wait...

Eric said...

Yeah, she can be smart that way. Every now and then I think she's nuts - and she is, but not so much about writing, one of the reasons she's a good agent - but it isn't all that often.

Eric said...

I've got a second espresso on the way but I just checked and we're all out of bacon and eggs. Toast, or something dull like that, is going to be it for me.

laughingwolf said...

i have her site linked from mine, and like what i read there :)

laughingwolf said...

toast? hope you have something to smear on it?

Eric said...

yep, she's full of sensible advice and dispenses it in a smart manner. I direct people to her site when they ask me questions about agents.

Eric said...

only butter, I fear, but that's enough for the morning.

Betty Gordon said...

Good morning, Eric. Wow, you got up early for this roast.

I enjoyed the excerpt, visual and exciting. Re the question, although a Russian deli could be dangerous in more ways than one, I still go with the massage parlor--who knows who lurks in the shadows.

My best,

Betty Gordon
www.bettygordon.com

Susan Adrian said...

Hi Eric! I'm a little disappointed that your shirt's buttoned up again, but that's what I get for being late.

Are you really writing a YA next? Maybe all Janet's clients can convert to YA, one client at a time. Sure, transsexuals are probably fine.

laughingwolf said...

butter works...

got my fresh brew, and to keep with the italian theme, added two oz. amaretto ;) lol

Eric said...

Hi Betty, well, hate to keep my adoring right coast fans waiting.

Hi Susan, attempting to. I'm still not sure I can do it, but it's progressing slowly but surely. My trannie will be happy to hear that.

Italian?

laughingwolf said...

uh... is not espresso italian any more?

Eric said...

Oh yeah, I think of it as Cuban. There's a great Cuban espresso place just down the hill from my house and I bullied them into showing me what beans they use. They use a canned coffed called La Llave. I've upset several coffee snob pals of mine by making them espressos with it and they liked it better than the fancy schmancy deluxe expensive fresh roast beans they normally get.

Susan Adrian said...

Eric: Very cool! If you need a beta-reader later, let me know. I live and breathe YAs.

Okay, I really breathe AIR, mostly.

Eric said...

Maybe I can get La Llave to sponsor my next book. I did just give them a pretty good plug. Janet?

laughingwolf said...

sounds good, eric... dunno if they're available here in halifax, though :(

Eric said...

Thanks Susan, I'll keep you in mind. I'm targetting 12-15 year old boys - there must be at least 37 of them who actually read. So far the only other offer I've had for reading is my nephew.

Eric said...

How is it in Halifax at the moment? Here in L.A. it's crystal clear blue sunny - the Santa Ana winds have blown all the smog out to sea where it awaits in a smog bank to roll back ashore when the winds die down, it's on its way to 80 some odd degrees, the sun is glistening off the Griffith Park Observatory and the Hollywood sign out my office window and I imagine it is all quite un-Halifax like.

Eric said...

Hey Susan, where are you in Montana? I'm in Bigfork about once a year since my father has a place there.

laughingwolf said...

sunny, about -6C...more snow on the way, overnite, on top of the 12-14 inches down now... then rain for tomorrow... unreal

Eric said...

Sounds like your weather is even more confused than mine. Lately L.A. has been living up to its Chamber of Commerce stereotypes. Sunday, my girlfriend got home from cross country skiing and I greeted her at the door with an orange freshly picked from the tree in our backyard. Then we went and had dinner with friends, sitting outdoors by the beach.

laughingwolf said...

wanna trade temps... for a month? :O lol

Susan Adrian said...

I'm in Butte. I love Flathead Lake...it's so pretty there! Let me know if you ever come through.

I just checked out our forecast, and saw a new one: "freezing drizzle" is predicted. I've seen freezing rain, but freezing DRIZZLE? Hmmm.

Eric said...

Freezing drizzle sounds like when I used to live in Portland, OR. It never actually rains there, just drizzles year round - the Chinese water torture. Drove me nuts.

L-wolf - my girlfriend would happily trade for a month, she's a great lover of snow. Me? I grew up here. I spent years in the hot and humid parts of Asia, just walking on snow is like fingernails on a blackboard to me. So, sorry, no trade.

laughingwolf said...

older daughter just called, have dinner date with her for sunday :D

laughingwolf said...

lol... you have the ocean to cool off in, so i don't blame you

Susan Adrian said...

Portland is on my brain, as I just finished Bill's CHASING SMOKE last night. Fabulous book. Stunningly good.

Eric said...

Bill Cameron is a great guy and a wonderful writer. We did a few book events together and had a lot of fun. I haven't yet read Chasing Smoke, it has worked its way to about third from the top on my pile - I've been trying to be good and read things in order.

Susan Adrian said...

Without knowing what's on your pile, I'd recommend letting CS make the leap up to the top. ASAP. :) It's that good.

Eric said...

If you had to recommend one YA - for 12 to 15 year olds - for me to read - I have pretty much never read any YA and am trying not to read much while writing one (I tend to read different sorts of books than whatever I'm working on at the time) - what would it be?

Susan Adrian said...

UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld. Girl protag, but appeals to both girls and boys. Excellent series.

laughingwolf said...

I So Don't Do Mysteries, Barrie Summy

a great read for both genders

Eric said...

Thanks. I'll add those to my short list. The other recommendation I got was for King Dork. I suppose I'll try and read those three, then get them out of my brain while I write my own.

Janet Reid said...

well, leave you guys alone for a second and all this effusive complimenting starts.

Back to reality.

Janet Reid said...

I do have to laugh though; I just wrote a big ol' rant about compliments in query letters on my blog.

Janet Reid said...

And Looking for Alaska is also a great YA novel. Also Courtney Summers' Cracked Up to Be.

Janet Reid said...

Now, I gotta get myself out the door and on the train.

I'm gone for the day I think.

Susan Adrian said...

Janet: Oh, WE can compliment you. That's allowed. You compliment us all the time. :)

Eric said...

I only compliment her when there's not a query at stake. I know enough to insult her with my queries, that gets her attention, fast.

That, and cocktails. And the occasional street taco.

Susan Adrian said...

*still jealous of the street tacos*

Eric said...

Come to L.A. I'll make sure your hunger is satisfied.

Susan Adrian said...

We almost did a couple weeks ago--we did our bi-annual trip to San Diego and planned to venture up to Disneyland. Underestimated the post-Christmas crowds, though!

Eric said...

Big crowds, it's true. No good street tacos near Disneyland, however. Some good Vietnamese food in that area, though.

Susan Adrian said...

Oh, now you're just CRUEL.

*stuck in Montana with no Vietnamese food, no Thai food, not even any good Chinese food*

Eric said...

I shall refrain from further cruelty. I won't even mention tonight's plans to go to Feng Mao Mutton Kebab - a restaurant run by people from a town in China near the North Korean border.

Susan Adrian said...

Right now I'm kinda hoping that the flames behind you are real, a reminder of my wrath.

Just kinda.

Eric said...

I am, if it's any consolation, intrigued by your freezing drizzle. I don't know if I'm envious, well, I'm pretty sure I'm not, but I am intrigued. And Butte's full of wonderful, weird history. I've been thinking of doing a photo project on old Chinese restaurants in smaller cities and towns and I'll be there are a few in Butte. Maybe the food's not so good, but I imagine they're atmospheric.

A.H. Ream said...

Photo project, huh? Sounds like an excuse for a patented Eric Stone road trip, fueled entirely on espresso and Corn Nuts.

LisaMarie said...

Hi! I enjoyed the excerpt -- want to read more now.

I know nothing of Korean massage parlors in Indonesia nor do I know anything about any Russian deli in New York.

However, I was given a head's up to your roast here.

"Ashley sent me."

That's what she told her readers to tell you. So there you have it.

Enjoy the weather today. I am in Central CA (San Luis Obispo County) and we are looking at temps in the 80s as well.

Eric said...

Hi Lisa Marie, thanks for showing up. Glad you liked the excerpt. In reality, Korean massage parlors in Indonesia are seldom as deadly as all that.

And AH - thanks for sending Lisa Marie my way. I could use a comely assistant on my road trip photo project. I'll even buy the corn nuts.

Chris Eldin said...

Wow! Once Eric gets some caffeine, he's really caffeinated!!

I had to drive the Things to school, then go to AAA to get international
license, then buy food for the Things. Probably too much info, sorry.

But glad to see you here!!
:-)

I'd like to welcome the lurkers to de-lurk!
:-)

Sarah Laurenson said...

What a lively bunch! Great roasting time. I'm warming my fingers over the grate now.

Eric said...

I drove with an international drivers license for the whole first year I lived back in the U.S. I only had that and my Hong Kong drivers license. I got a speeding ticket in upstate New York and considered trying to convince the cop that I only spoke Cantonese. Then I told him that had been my plan, but I'd given up on it. He laughed, but gave me the ticket anyhow. Where are you planning to drive, Chris?

Eric said...

Hi Sarah, welcome. Don't let your fingers get too burnt.

sylvia said...

Oh no, I missed the coffee. I must learn to stop by the Book Roast earlier in the day! It's embarrassing to be late when I'm six hours ahead of you.

Answer: Clearly a Russian deli in New York!

Brian Jay Jones said...

"What's more dangerous: a Korean massage parlor in Indonesia or a Russian deli in New York?

A Korean massage parlor in a Russian deli.

Chris Eldin said...

Hi Eric,
We're leaving for Dubai in a couple of days for our yearly family circus. We've been doing this for six years (go there for four to five months).
Want to be on my Dubai Chronicles list? Janet will tell you it's the best writing she's ever seen, including all her clients. That's why you have to be worthy enough to read them, which you are.
hehehehe
:-)

sylvia said...

So many comments and not one person has asked about the Cabbages and Condoms espresso cup. I can't begin to imagine what this might be.

Chris Eldin said...

I literally just laughed out loud at Brian's answer!
Too bad he writes non-fiction. Killer humor!
:-)

Chris Eldin said...

Sylvia,
I was personally too afraid.
Glad you had the gumption!
:-)

So, Eric, more detail about this cup....please.
:-)

Eric said...

Hi Sylvia, why clearly? I need a reason if you are to be in the running for a book. Where are you in Spain? I wouldn't mind being in Spain, myself, right about now. I'm beginning to get hungry. No more coffee for a little while, but I could use some ham.

Eric said...

Sure, Chris, put me on your list. I'd love to go to Dubai one of these days.

Oh yeah, the Cabbages & Condoms espresso cup. It comes from Bangkok. It's a splendid restaurant there - run by the Population Development Association - they do family planning, AIDS prevention. Their founder is a Scottish-Thai man named Mechai who popularized condom use in Thailand by dressing up as a giant condom and wandering around in the red light districts handing out free samples to working girls. Their espresso cups are the perfect size for my preferred quadruple or so espresso.

Eric said...

Hey Brian, maybe you'll give some guys around Brighton Beach a bright idea. I'd like a bowl of borscht with that happy ending, please.

sylvia said...

why clearly?

Because we know what happens in the Korean massage parlor but the Russian deli scene hasn't happened yet - unwritten scenes are always the most dangerous.

I live in Andalucia on the Costa del Sol. It's full of English people but the people are nice and if you squint a bit it looks like Southern California.

Except the ham is better.

Julie Weathers said...

Whoa! That was a great excerpt. Blast. I'm so sorry I slept in. I could have chatted with Eric all by myself.

I'll take Korean massage parlor for twenty, Eric.

Eric said...

I was in Andalucia many years ago - Franco was still alive - and liked it very much. Especially the ham.

Eric said...

Well, gosh, thanks so much Julie. But why? Why the Korean massage parlor for 20? That is the question. You don't get off so lightly with just a clever quip.

Susan Adrian said...

Eric:
You know, you're right--there is a horribly atmospheric Chinese restaurant in town. Not good for eating, but it would be photogenic, I'm sure.

sylvia said...

We were speaking to some new neighbours were given a leg of ham for Christmas. They had never had it before and cut big thick chunks off of it to try - which was of course much too salty. So they decided it wasn't edible and threw it away.

I could have cried.

Having said all that, I would kill for a decent burrito.

Eric said...

If only we could reasonably trade some ham for a burrito in time for lunch - well, late afternoon snack for you.

Eric said...

yeah Susan, especially old western towns tend to have very old, odd Chinese restaurants run by families. The food is almost always horrible, but the place are fascinating. I also want to spend time in Mexicali - which was founded by Chinese in the late 1800s and until about 10 years ago had the biggest Chinese population in Mexico.

sylvia said...

Now that would be great!

Thanks too for the Cabbages and Condoms explanation. Is the food actually good too or just the condoms? :)

I'm just starting to make dinner now.

Eric said...

The food is excellent. Not the best restaurant in Bangkok, but a very good restaurant. The atmosphere is very pleasant and the gift shop is hilarious.

Isn't it a little early for dinner in Spain? Maybe you're cooking something elaborate that you won't eat until the more typical 10 or 11pm.

sylvia said...

We have lunch at 3pm which is pretty traditional and then dinner at 8:30pm which is a little early but dammit, I'm hungry!

If I were working in a Spanish office until 7 or 8pm (having had a siesta break at lunch) it could be a bit of a rush to get home and a meal prepared but I work from home which makes it easy.

I guess you work from wherever you happen to be, as you travel so much?

Miss Susanna said...

Hi Eric - LOVE this line. Made me LOL.

I heard somewhere that everyone in Korea is named Kim, except for a few Parks. I hope Kim’ll be gentle. I’ve had enough pain.

Actually - not sure if you realize this, but really - everyone in Korea is actually named Snuffy. It's a little know fact of course so don't beat yourself up for missing that one. :-)

Enjoyed the excerpt very much. Talk about being in a compromised situation!

Thanks for sharing with us!!

Eric said...

Lately I've mostly been working at home, although when I travel I do take my computer with me and manage to work on the road. I am getting itchy feet though, and would like to hit the road again before too long, preferably somewhere out of the country for a change - it's been a few years - but I think budget and the constraints of publicizing books here are going to keep me within the U.S. for a while longer.

Eric said...

Thanks Miss Susanna. I'm fond of that line too. I hadn't realized the Snuffy thing. Perhaps I can make the correction when the book is reprinted.

There is a funny situation in Korea - something like 78 percent of the population has four family names, Kim accounting for about 34 percent of the population. (Park and Lee are the next most common.) It's illegal in Korea for anyone with the same family name to marry. So a very large wedding industry has sprung up in Japan, in the cities across the strait from Korean cities, to cater to Koreans with the same last name who want to marry. The marriages are recognized back in Korea, even though they aren't allowed to be performed in the country.

Stephen Parrish said...

Finally, someone with the good sense to button his shirt.

Hi Eric. I bought your first two novels and reviewed them on Amazon. That should give me an advantage over the riff raff.

The answer: the deli is more dangerous, for the obvious reason that something belonging to someone else goes into your mouth.

Eric said...

Hi Stephen, good to see you. Hmmmm, depends on your masseuse, I guess.

Chris Eldin said...

That should give me an advantage over the riff raff.


LOL! Well, since the troll has been eating all our riff raff lately, things have been kinda quiet.
:-)

I have to pick up the Things from school and take them to an entertainment source (my friend's house). Then I have to feed the Things (something other than riff raff), so I will bid you a temporary adeau and will see you in a few hours.

Have fun, all!!!
:-)

Eric said...

Bye for now Chris. Thanks for kicking this off. Good luck with The Things.

I suppose soon I might try and figure out what to eat for lunch. No riff raff in my refrigerator.

sylvia said...

Hmm, I think you scared everyone away.

I guess that proves that Korean massage parlors are more dangerous, after all.

Eric said...

Beats me. I'm not so scary, not really. Neither are Korean massage parlors or Russian delis - at least not in my, non-fictional, experience. Maybe it's just the mid-afternoon lull on the East Coast. Perhaps they're all napping. I've been using the lull to catch up on my correspondence and add a long overdue entry to my blog. Soon, maybe, I'll use it to make lunch.

Travis Erwin said...

I'm going with the deli since they probably serve lettuce and we all know that the green leafy stuff comes straight from the devil.

Besides, I could use a good massage.

Eric said...

Very logical, indeed. I was just contemplating some lettuce for lunch, and thought better of it.

Alison said...

Eric --

I hear you skulk with the best of them. Do you find that skulking skill lends itself to writing well?

Eric said...

Skulking is essential for research. Without it my books would lack that certain veracity.

freddie said...

Hmmm . . . well, as far as I can tell from Eastern Promises, the Russian mob uses restaurants that are never open as a front for illegal business. So if the deli is serving up food, you're probably okay as long as you stay away from whatever food is in the news that week for salmonella and the like.

Massages. Usually I don't associate murder with massages. Oh wait - in mob movies wise guys are always getting offed while having a massage.

I'm gonna go with the Indonesian massage parlors. If you're about to get whacked, you're really not in a position to duck, run, or fight back, are you?

But then, I'd have to read the rest of Flight of the Hornbill to find out.

Eric said...

Ah, see, that's what I love about excerpts. That's the idea. Now you'll have to read the rest of the book to find out. My nefarious plot is working.

Susan Adrian said...

All right, I've been writing. What'd I miss?

Eric said...

There was mostly a lull. I even had time to write my blog. Catch up on email. Eat lunch. Go out and discover that the mail hasn't arrived yet. Stuff like that. Oh yeah, and I've been IMing with my editor, trying to figure out who to hit up for blurbs for my upcoming book - Shanghaied.

Susan Adrian said...

Geez, actual work! I thought you were supposed to be tied to a stake or something for this.

Eric said...

I was sort of thinking it would be like one of those games at a fair where people throw things at a target and try to dunk the poor slob sitting in the chair. It has been far too civilized, really.

I am tied to a stake though. Just with a long chain. I'm hoping Chris will come back and unchain me in time to make it to my dinner engagement.

Eric said...

You (Susan) haven't, by the way, weighed in on the important topic at hand: what is more dangerous, a Korean massage parlor in Indonesia or a Russian deli in NY? How do you expect to win a freebie book that way? So far, someone's in the lead, but I'm not gonna say who.

Susan Adrian said...

That's right, I haven't! Got all caught up in roast--er, chatting civilly.

I'd say the Russian deli in NY. Because it's in NY, and my agent is there, and she might come get me for something. (If I was goofing off at a deli, for instance, and not working on next book.) I'm more afraid of Janet than an Indonesian assassin.*

*Kidding. Janet's not scary at all. Right, Eric?

Eric said...

Janet is exactly as scary as she wants to be. No more, no less.

But if she found you in a Russian deli she'd probably be looking around to see if there were any mobsters there who she could convince to write their memoirs for her to represent. While she was distracted, you could slip out.

Susan Adrian said...

Oooh, good point. I definitely need you at my back for these sorts of operations.

Eric said...

Us writers got to stick together, watch each other's backs. It's a world filled with predators and editors out there.

Stephen Parrish said...

So far, someone's in the lead, but I'm not gonna say who.

Thanks for respecting my privacy.

Eric said...

Hey Stephen, you know better than that. I'm a writer, and even worse, I used to be a journalst, we don't respect no one's stinkin' privacy.

Stephen Parrish said...

Oh well. I never win at these things. Ask Chris. If I won, something would happen to anti-matter, something bad, and the universe would go splooey. Let's put safety first.

Can I ask a question? Why does Bleak House publish hardcover and paperback at the same time?

Eric said...

Excellent question. If my editor Alison, who was here for one comment earlier, is still in the vicinity, she can probably answer that better than I can.

But - many UK publishers have been doing that for a while. What they've discovered is that the markets for hardcover and paperbacks are distinctive, with very little overlap except in the case of very big name, best selling authors. A lot of people who don't know my books, and even some who do, won't pay the premium to buy a hardcover, but will happily buy the book in paper. And then, collectors and libraries (and my family members and good pals) all want hardcovers. There may be the occasional sale of a paperback to someone who would otherwise buy a hardcover if the paper wasn't available, but the thinking is that there aren't as many instances of that, as there are additional sales by bringing out both.

Stephen Parrish said...

the thinking is that there aren't as many instances of that

I'm sure you're right, nevertheless I was one of them. I bought your first book (not the baseball book, the other first book) from What's-Its (Tor/Forge, right?) in hardcover, on the recommendation of a friend. I bought the second in paperback because it was cheaper. Had it been available only in hardcover, I would have bought the hardcover.

Isaac Asimov, in his autobio In Memory Yet Green, said some of his books were published in hardcover AFTER they debuted in paperback, with no apparent detrimental effect on sales. Interesting.

I hope Alison comes back. She can talk about photosynthesis for all I care, as long as she comes back.

Eric said...

Alison talks a mean photosynthesis. She is incredibly smart, funny, a great editor to work with. When I first found out that my editor was going to be some 27 year old woman, I was worried. I figured, how's she going to deal with a crusty old cynical fart like me. It took no time at all before I was bowled over by how impressive she is.

Stephen Parrish said...

It causes no pain to look at her, either.

Eric said...

Except for when she's recently finished a particularly brutal roller game. I have seen her with some mighty spectacular bruises on her legs. But, they are part of her charm in some way.

Gary Corby said...

I'm late arriving. It's all my fault!

My answer to the question: I would be seriously concerned about any Russian food I found in a Korean massage parlour in Indonesia.

Gary Corby said...

Great writing, btw Eric. Now I want to know what the fight's about!

Eric said...

Gary, I suppose you're right. I wouldn't eat a bowl of borscht in a Korean massage parlor in Indonesia, or in one anywhere else for that matter. There used to be a place in Taipei though - great dumplings and soup noodles in a Taiwanese massage parlor.

As for what the fight's about, only one way to find out.

Susan Adrian said...

Off to home...thanks Eric and Chris! That was fun.

Eric said...

Thanks Susan, likewise. Good to see you here and hope to see you in Montana sometime.

Dave F. said...

What’s more dangerous: a Korean massage parlor in Indonesia or a Russian deli in New York?

Interesting question... What's worse? A good case of social disease or a bad case of the turkey trots from a poisonous Reuben.

I won't answer that.

I like the excerpt. Very cinematic and nice action. It feels like true jeopardy. Someone's going to die shortly and for even less reason than is proper.

Eric said...

Thanks Dave. There isn't much proper in Korean massage parlors in Indonesia to begin with. Although, you can get a pretty good massage in some of them.

Gary Corby said...

Eric, Bre-X was pretty weird. Did you cover it as a reporter?

Eric said...

Only a little. I was in Indonesia working on other projects when the story broke. I was eating lunch with some guys from Freeport (which had a 10% stake in Bre-X) when word came down that Guzman had "fallen" out of the helicopter. It was possibly the only time in the history of Asian journalism that a reporter got stuck with the bill by a bunch of executives - we were in the lousy Mexican restaurant in the basement of the building they were in, in Jakarta - and when they got word they all ran out fast leaving me to pay for it all.

Dave F. said...

How does one end up in a lousy Mexican restaurant in Jakarta? There's so many things in the world of food in Jakarta that are so much better... I just had to ask.

I had a bad experience at ChiChi's once where I ordered the Chimichanga without pepper sauce and they served it with sauce, took it back to correct the mistake and just held the chimichanga under a spigot. I guess they told me what I could do with their Chimichanga!

Eric said...

Convenient, decent chips and salsa, good strong margaritas which the Freeport boys seemed to require with some degree of regularity. Overpriced by Jakarta standards, which since it was their suggestion and I thought they were footing the bill, was okay by me. I was trying to cadge a trip out to their mine site in Irian Jaya.

Eric said...

Okay anybody still lurking out there - just about one hour to go and then I'm off to meet friends for dinner at Feng Mao Mutton Kebab. YUM!

I shall announce the winner of the grand prize giveaway at 6:01pm Pacific Standard Time. You can then email me at eric @ ericstone.com (close the gaps) to let me know how to send you your prize.

In the meantime, here I am, still roastable.

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Definitely the deli, especially if the corned beef is over a month old. In the Korean massage parlour, at least you have a fighting chance.

Hi, gang -- I'm taking a quick break from my writing -- only 8 thousand words to go (by Thursday). Will she make it?

Great excerpt, Eric. I hope you're having lots of beer and sausage.

Eric said...

Sandra, thanks so much. Month old corned beef. I suppose if it was turning green they could pass it off as Irish.

A.H. Ream said...

Gee. It being a roast and all, maybe I should ask a serious question. Okay, how about this: You often use story lines and characters based on real situations and people. Has anyone ever objected? Are there lines you won't cross, people you won't use, stories you won't tell?

Chris Eldin said...

Hi Everyone,
Wow! Lots of good stuff being talked about.
Summary: Dave, stay away from Mexican food. Steve, don't even hope that you're gonna win this time. I didn't even see an answer. Though it is up to Eric....

The Things are showering so they're clean when they do their homework. I always give them extra. Keep 'em workin' is my motto. hehehh

Thanks for playing along with us Eric. This is a lot of fun!!
:-)

Gary Corby said...

Hmmm. I'd be interested to know your recommendation for worst restaurant in Asia. Your experience is vastly wider than mine, but I can think of one in Langkawi that was decidedly toxic.

Eric said...

Worst restaurant in Asia. Hmmm, that would be a tough one. My worst dining experiences were in the Philippines and Vietnam. There was a cafe in Hue that was as close to inedible as I've ever encountered when I was hungry. And there were several places in Manila where the mix of mayonnaise, vinegar, canned fruit and fried stuff was beyond vile. Deer penis wine in Taipei is pretty disgusting, and packs a very mean hangover. I've walked by several restaurants in China that specialized in cat, and that smells so awful - sour - cooking that I couldn't bring myself to try it. The worst meat I ever had was in Mali in West Africa. Camel is fatty, stringy, tough and sour all at the same time. I'm pretty fond of the fried, salted, chili and lime crickets and locusts that one finds for bar snacks in Thailand and Cambodia. Once you get over the legs, they're pretty much like any good salty bar snack, especially with a cold beer.

Barbara Martin said...

I liked the excerpt with great suspense. I'll pass on the question.

Eric said...

A.H. line crossing? Mostly, no. There are people I have more thoroughly disguised than others. There's one guy I knew who I haven't used yet because I'm not sure how to disguise him well enough to avoid having his wife realize what an uttery sleazeball he is on business trips. Various of the details that make him interesting, make him recognizable. So far no one has objected, although I haven't yet heard from the guy who the really offensive Brit finance editor in my first book - Living Room of the Dead - is based on. Although I have heard he's read the book. And I can't imagine he wouldn't recognize himself. Considering British libel laws, which are much more onerous than the ones here in the U.S., I'll be in trouble if the book is ever published in the UK.

Eric said...

Thanks Barbara. Glad you liked it. Sorry you're passing on the question.

Gary Corby said...

Wow, I think you need to write your autobiography. I'm sure Janet could sell it.

Thanks Eric!

Eric said...

I tend to prefer biography. It's more objective. You can't really expect me to expose all my own interesting flaws and perversions can you? And without them, it's just a fleshed out timeline.

Eric said...

The cocktail gong has rung here in sunny Southern Cal. I've poured myself a whisky and am waiting to be lambasted during these last 15 minutes.

Then again, you know where to find me after this if you feel the need. My website, www.ericstone.com, includes the usual contact me link.
Feel free to use it should the desire arise.

Chris Eldin said...

Hi Gary, I'd like him to write a cookbook! But I wonder what the Table of Contents would look like...

Everyone, Thank you so much for stopping by and reading the excerpt. Special kudos for braving past the question and waving hello!

Eric, Thank you also. It's been a lot of fun getting to know you and your travels!!! I do second Gary's suggestion about a biography. Sounds like you have more than enough exotic material...
:-)

We'll go ahead and close the contest, just a few minutes shy of 9:00pm, and Eric will drop by anytime and announce the winner. Though my mommy side says that you're all winners.

Thanks again!!!
:-)

Eric said...

Winners and not whiners. I'm impressed. Hey everybody, I had plenty big fun. Hope you did, too. Thanks to Chris for getting us all together and please do keep in touch. I shall announce the winner in three minutes - according to my computer.

Eric said...

We have a winner!

Though I liked all of your answers to the question, the one that gave me the most pause to think, was:

"Definitely the deli, especially if the corned beef is over a month old. In the Korean massage parlour, at least you have a fighting chance."
- Chumplet - Sandra Cormier

email me to claim your prize at
eric @ ericstone.com (get rid of the spaces)

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Get. Outta. Town. Really? Wow, this is great!

I told my husband my answer, and he came up with something even better. He said, "At least the meat in the Korean massage parlor is fresher."

Thanks, Eric! I'll email with the particulars right away.

Chris Eldin said...

Congratulations, Sandra!!
And thanks again, Eric!!!
:-)

darbyscloset said...

I say the Russian Deli is more dangerous!!! Have you seen the size of their knifes?!!!
Thanks for the fun post!
Darby
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Charles Gramlich said...

I feel relaxed just "reading" that description.

laughingwolf said...

grats sandra... and thank you, eric :D