29 March 2010


No one's got it yet, even using anagram generators. Sheesh. Okay, so if I were, say, James Patterson, I know there'd be thousands, maybe tens of thousands of entries to my little contest. But I'm not.

So, I'm upping the stakes. The new prize is not only a signed copy of any one of my books, but I will personally take the winner out to lunch at my favorite Shanghai xiao long bao dumpling place as well. (If you don't live in L.A., you'll have to get yourself to L.A. to accept that part of the prize.)

So there, maybe that will generate some more entries. Oh yeah, and here's another sort of hint: it could be an anagram of my entire name - Eric Laurence Stone - or it could be an anagram of any two of the component names of my entire name. And, even a further hint: it sounds like a plausible real name. So there.

27 March 2010


I was recently asked, by an agent I was speaking with, whether or not I'd be willing to use a pseudonym to sell future books. In particular, books that are not part of the Ray Sharp - now the Wen Lei Yue - series.

It's not that my books are box office poison. Well, not exactly. I, like several other authors I know, do fall into the dreaded category of "great reviews - mediocre to lousy sales." That's not exactly a category with much curb appeal for publishers.

Publishers want "great reviews - great sales." They're even happy with just plain "great sales" no matter what the reviews. They are, after all, in business to make money. Most publishers would rather take a chance on a new writer, than try to break out an established writer with a less than stellar sales record. Especially if it's in a new genre, or with a new series, or something like that.

I happen to like my name. I'm proud of what I write and want to be able to write it under my own name. But then, I'm not so proud that I'm willing to miss out on publishing opportunities.

Thus the pseudonym.

It won't do to simply open a phonebook at random, plunk down a fingertip and there you've got it. Among other things, I don't even have any phonebooks anymore. I've tossed them all out. I use my computer for that.

I want a pseudonym that rolls easily off the tongue. I want one without too many syllables. I want one that no one else is using and that isn't too close to some other author's name. (No Harry Melville or Marcy Twain for me.) And I want one that I can still get the domain name for, preferably a dot com.

So I've come up with one. I'm not going to tell you what it is. I'm going to let you guess.

The first person who guesses correctly wins their choice of a signed hardback copy of any of my books. I'll even give you a hint, a big hint: it's an anagram of my name. My whole legal name, by the way, is Eric Laurence Stone. It might be an anagram of all of that, or of any parts of that. That's for you to guess.

I like the pseudonym. But once one of you guesses what it is and wins this contest, there will be a new, standing offer. If anyone out there comes up with a pseudonym for me that I like better and that meets the criteria I stated earlier in this post - and I will be the sole, subjective judge of that - you will win a complete set of all five of my, so far, published books, in hardcover, signed by me.

Good luck.

21 March 2010


I don't know what got into me, but this afternoon I turned on C-Span and started watching some of the "debate" about the healthcare reform bill. It is not a debate, in spite of them calling it that. It's 435 assholes (every single one of whom, by the way, enjoys government provided healthcare) posturing for the people who fund their campaigns.

All of them have already made up their minds about how they plan to vote. There is not one of them who will have, or is open to having, their mind changed by this final "debate." All it is, is their last chance to get on the record before the bill is voted on, so that they can tell the other assholes who mostly finance their re-election campaigns that they tried to stop or tried to pass the bill.

I could only stomach so much of that.

Luckily, I remembered that it's getting late in the baseball spring training season and that on a Sunday, there might be a Dodger game being televised. There is. Suddenly I switched from the noxious panderings of our elected representatives, to the soothing, intelligent, witty, informative dulcet tones of Vin Scully. He is starting his 61st year broadcasting Dodger games. I've been listening to him for most of those years.

Vin Scully reminds me of all that's right with the world. He comforts me in times of sorrow and despair and frustration. I credit him with teaching me a great deal of the English I speak and write.

Oh Vinny, if only all those Congressional-fucktards would yield the floor to you, we'd all be better off for it.

My day was saved. I hope you find some way of salvaging yours, too.

Oh, and one last thing: the other day I saw a protest sign held up at a Tea Party Rally. It read: "Don't let the government take over Congress." Ya gotta love these people sometimes. Really, if Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert had come up with that, people would have criticized them for going too far and making up stuff that was unbelievably over the top stupid. I do so love it when people do the best job of satirizing themselves.

19 March 2010

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01 March 2010


In the winter, when my mom was a kid growing up in Los Angeles, sometimes she'd take the train up to the snow in the morning and go sledding. Then she'd head back into the city around lunch time, hopping off the train at one stop to pick some oranges from the trees along the tracks. She'd take the train out to the beach and there were days when she'd go swimming. Other days, it might be just a little too cold for that, but she'd sit, pushing her bare feet through the sand, watching the waves, eventually the sunset.

She'd do all that, well, just because she could.

You can't do that by train anymore, but you can still do it by car. Easily. There are some very good reasons why California was the primary destination of internal migration in the U.S. for more than a hundred years. And why it has been the primary destination for overseas immigrants, from all over the world, for the past 20 or so years.

People often ask me if I miss living in Asia. And I do. There is something about the perspective you get of the rest of the world, and of the U.S. from outside the U.S. that is very seductive. There are a whole host of other things about life as an expatriate that are also very seductive.

But for just plain variety, diversity, depth and breadth of culture and the arts and food and nearly everything else, I think I could make a pretty good case for the Greater Los Angeles Area being the greatest place on the planet.

Not to rub it in, but today is March 1, 2010. It is 70 degrees outside. There is plenty of snow on the mountains about an hour to 1-1/2 hours away. The sky is sunny and blue and if you're not reliant on government funding or a good job for what you do, well, the living is easy. (The State is essentially broke. Un- and under- employment is horrifying.)

And no matter what, I'm not going to starve. Here's what I picked from my backyard this afternoon:Standard, Key and Thai limes (and Thai lime leaves which are very useful), Mandarin and Naval oranges (there's a third type as well, but it looks like it needs another week or two to ripen), Standard and Meyer lemons, Chilies pequin, rosemary, mint and flat leaf parsley.

Okay, so there's no protein. For that I might have to shoot a raccoon or trap a squirrel or something. One of my neighbors has chickens, and turkeys for that matter. But Sunset Boulevard's only a ten minute walk down the hill and there's a great Cuban restaurant with garlicky roast pork.

Yep, it's the good life in Sunny Southern Cal, even when we're broke.