Thursday, June 30, 2011

Writing Tip #29 Unlikeable Protagonists

Many writers, and I’ve done this myself, spend a great deal of energy making their protagonists jump through hoops in order to make them likeable. And admittedly, many readers demand that the protagonist be sweet and charming, or at least someone they can adore.

Yet, many of literature’s most interesting and often most beloved characters are despicable rogues. One of my favorites is Hannibal Lecter in the Silence of the Lambs series of films. He’s a coldblooded killer, with no remorse at all. Yet, he fascinated me. Without Lecter, those movies would have been unbelievably boring. His dark character brought them to life. He stole the show. Look at any movie directed by Quentin Tarantino. I’ve never seen a likeable character in any of his films.

So what makes us cheer for a contemptible character? As a fellow writer, Damon Suede, put it: “Unlikeable behavior is not what makes a character unappealing, but rather the context of that behavior. We often want these characters to behave awfully, and take pleasure in the wreckage they generate. So I don’t think it’s actually likeability that’s the issue.”

What readers need is a way to interface with a character. Hannibal Lecter, for example, was in fact a ruthless killer, yet he became very protective of Clarice Starling. That protectiveness was a thread the reader could relate to. He also was a competent artist and loved classical music, two more threads. When talking to Clarice, he had impeccable manners, another thread. He was not at all likeable, yet he had elements that most viewers could relate to. The writers gave him traits that viewers found accessible.

Another great example is Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind. Selfish, conniving, ruthless. But going from riches to rags and living through the devastation of the war, we understand her perfectly. We connected, and we even sympathized.

So go ahead and make your characters all assholes. Just be sure that within the context you place them, give them traits that will be accessible to the reader. Place them in mounting conflict that explains why they behave badly. And it always helps to make the villains more despicable than the protagonists. :-)

If you find that your characters have become annoying rather than enthralling, then revisit how the context, stakes and escalating conflict affect their values and behavior, rather than trying to make them more likable.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Trailer for my novel, Butterfly's Child

One of the sweetest guys in the world, Fausto Umanzor, has created video trailers for each of my first three novels. Today, he sent me a link to the trailer he just finished for Butterfly's Child. If you have a moment, please check it out at:


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why I Tweet

I read a post today on an online writer’s list I subscribe to. The topic was should a book author use Twitter to help promote their books. I use Twitter nearly every day and I have some opinions on that topic. Twitter is another tool in a writer’s toolbox to help promote themselves and their work. It can be a powerful tool if used correctly, and a waste of time if not used correctly. I’d like to list a few things I’ve learned over the last two years of using Twitter:

What Twitter is Great At:

1. Driving traffic to your website and blog. In my experience, nothing is better at driving traffic to my sites than Twitter. Over the last two years I have accumulated nearly 7,000 followers. When I post a review or article on my blog, I also tweet a message about that post on Twitter with a link back to my blog site. I find that I usually get a one percent response, that is, I get an additional 60 to 70 hits on that blog counter. Same for when I post a free story on my website.

2. Getting your message out to thousands of people. Everytime I post a message on twitter, a potential 7,000 people will read it. But if the message is rather interesting, other people will retweet that message to all of their followers. If three or four people retweet the message, that message could be viewed by ten or twenty thousand people. Where else can you get your name and blog link to twenty thousand readers?

3. Meeting new people. Over the years I’ve met dozens of people who have become friends, and fans of my books. People sign up on twitter for two reasons. The first is to sell something (like me). The second, is because they want to make new friends. It is easy to make friends because that’s what most of those people are trying to do.

What Twitter is NOT Great At:

1. Passing large amounts of information. You only get 140 characters. That’s why you want to hit them with a short teaser, and then include a link where they can get the rest of the info. FB is much better at posting pictures and larger amounts of info.

2. Direct selling. If you post a message like “Please buy my book” people will unfollow you in a heartbeat. You have to be more subtle. You post a link to a review of your book. You post a link where they can read the first few chapters of your book. You post a link to pictures of your latest book signing. Most of your posts should not be about your book, they should be about you. Sell yourself, not your books. If you can get followers to like you, they will buy your books.

A Few Tricks to Know

1. Whenever someone interesting follows me, I send them the following direct message: “Thanks for following, Insert Name Here. Looking forward to your tweets. You can find out more about me and my books at”

You would be surprised at how many people message back saying they have looked at my website and like what they saw.

2. I like to retweet interesting message. Often times I have nothing to post, so I look for interesting things others have posted and I repost them. The original posters are always grateful, and you get to know them better. Your followers are grateful too for getting the interesting post.

3. I try to always be upbeat and positive. Nothing turns people off on twitter like negative whining.

4. When I post something, I normally post it several times over the span of two or three days, and I post it at different times of the day. Most people will not see it if you only post something once. Posting it several times will ensure maximum exposure.

5. I target certain groups of people to follow: 1) writers and people in the publishing business, 2) gay men who are mature enough to read novels, 3)Women who might read M/M. I’ve noticed that many writers I follow only follow other writers. I think that is a big mistake. I mostly go after readers, not other writers. That is the great thing about twitter, it lets you target your audience.

People I Don’t Follow:

1. Anybody selling something.
2. Anybody who is only looking for sexual hookups. (of which there are many)
3. Porn sites. (of which there are very many)

Lastly, I’d like to state the obvious. Twitter is a great marketing tool. Any author will get out of it what they put into it, that is, the payoff will be determined by how much time and effort you put into it.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Review: The Last Deployment by Bronson Lemer

Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press (June 2011)
Pages: 221

How a Gay, Hammer-Swinging Twentysomething Survived a Year in Iraq

Bronson Lemer joined the National Guard during his senior year of high school as a way to help pay for his upcoming college expenses, but he also had a secret reason for joining. For years he had lived in the shadow of his more athletic brothers, and because Bronson was gay, he felt the need to do something dramatic to prove to his parents that he was his own man. He wanted to make the family proud of him. He chose the National Guard because he assumed he could do his one weekend a month and never be sent to war. He was wrong.

In 2003, after being trained as a carpenter and serving five and a half years in the North Dakota National Guard’s engineering unit, Bronson was deployed in Iraq for a year. He left behind college, his family, and a lost love. He found himself in a war zone that he and his fellow soldiers called ‘The Sand Box’ – living in tents, sand everywhere you looked, 120 degree temperatures, and constant apprehension about the impending dangers.

Bronson spent a year in and around Bagdad using his carpentry skills to help rebuild the city. He had a deep conviction to aid the Iraqi people, but the longer his deployment stretched out, the more he felt the US military was doing more harm than good. On a more personal level, he struggled because of a lack of support structure. He didn’t have the close family ties, a wife or long-time girlfriend that most other soldiers had. He felt a need to reveal his sexuality to his buddies, so that they would understand him. But, of course, he couldn’t do that. His only release was in the form of letters to his lost love.

The Last Deployment is a well-written, often provocative memoir of the author’s struggle to reconcile military brotherhood with self-acceptance. If you are looking for gun battles and roadside bombs ripping limbs from bodies, then you should keep looking. The author never came under fire. This is a tale of internal struggle and the absurd nuances of a soldier’s life in the ‘Sand Box’. It is more about loneliness, fear and fitting in than guns and battles.

The author spent very little time talking about the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. I recall only one place where he summed up his views about it as: The policy creates an environment where it is OK to ridicule someone because of their sexuality because gay men and women cannot stick up for themselves or others without fear of being ostracized and outcast, and that is the last thing a soldier wants during a deployment. The policy reinforces ignorance and stupidity by forcing the people who are gay—the ones who would speak up and support gay men and women when others were ridiculing them—to keep their mouths shut. It also stifles a community that cannot grow, trust, or support each other because some of the members aren’t allowed to speak up or express who they are.

Being a gay man who spend four years in the navy, I was also surprised that Lemer didn’t talk about falling in love/lust with any of his fellow soldiers. That was one of the hardest things for me to deal with while in the military: feeling love for my buddies but being unable to divulge it in any way. What Lemer does express repeatedly was a feeling of not fitting in, mainly because he had to hide so much of himself. Now that was something I related to perfectly.

Lemer's chronicles of a soldier’s daily life in the ‘Sand Box’ make for an interesting and poignant read. It is also a strong argument why the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy harms morale, rather than doing any good. Regardless of how you feel about the war, this memoir is well worth reading. I can highly recommend it to all readers.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Writing Tip #28 Too Much Dialog Can Spoil the Soup

I love dialog. It brings one close to the characters, lets the reader know how the character’s mind thinks, reacts, persuades and complains. Dialog is one of the most powerful tools in a writer’s toolbox. I am of the opinion, that when it is overused, it tends to lose all its power.

I’ve recently worked with two other authors, giving them suggestions on how to punch up their stories. In both cases, I felt they were doing too much with dialog.

The first author started his murder mystery at the crime scene, but within a few pages, his team of detectives gathered in a room at the police station where they proceeded to do nothing but talk to each other for twelve pages. All the backstory was told through dialog during those pages. I can’t explain how excruciatingly BORING those pages were to read. My advice to this writer was, if he must use dialog to bring out these facts, then do it at the crime scene while the detectives are looking for clues. That way, they are doing something. There is action going on while they are talking.

The second author did something similar, trying to tell the story mostly through dialog. I’m sorry, I told him, this simply doesn’t work. You’re not writing a play, you’re writing a novel. You need action to move the story forward.

Dialog should not be used to tell the story. It should be used to punctuate the action in a story. Think of dialog as TNT. You want small controlled detonations in your prose in order to highlight certain ideas or actions or character traits.

In short, try to tell the story in the narrator’s voice. Don’t make your characters tell the story.

The other thing I’d like to point out about dialog is the way most people speak. If you pay attention while people talk, you’ll find that most people use very short bursts of dialog, fewer than ten words, before someone else responds and takes up the conversation. So having your characters constantly making long-winded soliloquies may not be the best option. Again, in my humble opinion, short burst are more entertaining and more in tune with human nature, thus it’s more believable.

Friday, June 17, 2011

To Chat or Not to Chat

I’ve participated in several author chats. These chats are sponsored by different publishers or blog sites, and always seem to have a few dozen authors all swapping messages and posting excerpts from their impressive list of published books.

I enjoy conversing with other authors, but I must confess I’m convinced that these chats are a colossal waste of time. I say this because it seemed to me that:

1. Only authors seem to take part. What we are all searching for is new readers, and I’m not convinced that readers would bother to wade through several hundred messages reading the hundreds of excerpts simply to get suggestion of what to read next.

2. There are always dozens of authors all posting excerpts on all their books. There are literally hundreds of excerpts to choose from. I’m convinced that even if there are readers out there looking over all these messages, they must be so overwhelmed that the chance of them finding and liking my two or three entries are slim to none.

So even though I enjoy chatting with my fellow writers, I seldom participate in these chats. I feel my time is better spent on Twitter or FB or writing a blog article.

I would love to hear from other writers who have a different point of view. If these chats are indeed valuable, then I will make time for them. Help any one?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Interview: Timothy Wang, author of Slant

I recently reviewed Timothy Wang’s debut novel, Slant. I was so impressed I contacted Timothy and asked him to do an interview with me. The following is the result of that interview.

AC: When did you start writing, and, other than Slant, what else have you published?
TW: I never thought myself a writer before Slant was accepted for publication. In the past, I mostly wrote technical or research documents. The last official writing course I took is Technical Writing 101. After writing a draft of Slant, mostly for fun, a few friends enjoyed it, and said I should try to publish it, but it would need a lot of editing. And I mean a lot. That was when I did searches on how to edit, tips on fiction writing, and how to get published.

AC: Was there someone in your family, a teacher, or perhaps a favorite book, that inspired you to begin writing?
TW: It wasn’t a single person or a single book that inspired me to write. In fact, the lack of the books I was looking for had me thinking I should write something.

When I first came out, I was very interested in gay fiction, thirsting for things I could relate to, like many gay guys did before they became jaded.

I started to notice one thing: very few gay books have minority protagonists.

Being Asian myself, I searched for gay books with Asian protagonists. At the time, I found two: Crystal Boys and Confessions of a Mask. Crystal Boys is about gay boys in Taiwan in the 70’s. It made me laugh and made me cry; I loved it. Confessions of a Mask, by Mishima, made me cringe and bored me to tears. Both settings are so remote I can’t relate to the main characters, who, while having their own challenges, don’t deal with the issues faced by a gay Asian in modern day America.

Of course, I think people’ll be bored to death if I only write about racial issues in the gay world. I had a story in mind. Almost everyone at least for one point had wanted his ex back. So that’s the main plot. A fantasy of what-if’s.

AC: Who are the authors who most influence you today?
TW: The scope, the gentle humor and the emotional impact of Jeffery Eugenides’s Middlesex are an inspiration to me. Most recently, I love Jennifer Egan, whose tone is touchingly melancholy like Murakami’s and prose even prettier. I first read her short story Safari in the New Yorker and was amazed. Then, after buying a copy of A Visit from Goon Squad, I learned that Safari is one chapter of that book, and remains my favorite chapter. Also, I had tried to learn from the brisk pace and the sharp dialogues found in Amistad Maupin’s works.

AC: While reading Slant, I could help believing that much of it was autobiographical. How much of your own coming out experience was mirrored in the story?
TW: The events aren’t real, and each of the characters doesn’t represent any particular real person. But, as in almost all fiction, the authors draw some aspects from real life. Write what you know, I was told. I picked Boston because I knew the city. Many of the locations are real—I have been to many of the named venues—but used in fictitious ways. I noticed the same issues as James did, but we do not share the same views. My background indeed is similar to James’s.

As I said above, I wanted to write something that people with similar backgrounds can relate to, and there’re plenty of gay Asian guys who studied engineering or sciences in Boston or elsewhere.

At the same time, I think the story elements are common to a lot of people beyond the gays. Most people had their heart broken at least once, and imagined what they’d do to get their exes back. Almost everyone had awkward dates and embarrassing first-times. Though my mom isn’t a tiger mom, I have observed enough Asian parents. I even have a friend, a Korean American girl, who commented her parents are just like James’s.

AC: So, if you don’t mind sharing, would you tell us about your latest work in progress?
TW: A family saga. Several people have asked me how much of Slant is true, even though it is fiction. It has given me an idea to write something based on real life. This yet-to-be titled book will be based on my family, and not focused on gay issues. However, I realized, to create a tight plot with real life events has proven a challenge, because life doesn’t fall neatly into a three-act structure.

AC: Name a book or movie written by someone else that you wish you had written, and why that one?
TW: Ang Lee’s movie Wedding Banquet. As far as I know, that’s the first movie (perhaps even fiction) that addressed some of the issues faced by gay Asian Americans. In fact, it was the first gay movie I watched. Back then, Chinese movies were hard to come by in the US. So even though this was a gay themed film, it was still passed around amongst the Chinese community. (If one Chinese family bought a video tape, the rest in town borrowed it.)

Surprisingly, mom and dad didn’t object me watching it. We watched it together. Instead of entertaining me, the film scared me, for it reminded me of the strange thoughts I’d been suppressing. I held my breath through the entire movie, not making a peep.

During the movie, I remember clearly, mom asked, “Why is one of them wearing an earring?”
Dad said, “Oh, I think in those kind of relationships, one guy must be the woman.”
At the time, I had even less understanding of the gay world than my dad did, but the intimate story and the subtle emotions conveyed by Ang Lee impressed me, especially when I watched the film again years later.

AC: If you could offer one tidbit of advice for new writers, what would it be?
TW: Be confident in your writing. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. I’ll admit, confidence in writing is elusive, at least for me. It takes a lot of Stuart Smalley affirmations to bring my fingers to the keyboard.

AC: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
TW: I enjoy traveling. Even though there’s a list of places I like to go next, I’ll go anywhere I haven’t been to before and don’t run the risk of beheading. I enjoy photography, because it goes so well with traveling. My favorite sports are skiing and scuba diving, which involve traveling also.

AC: Had you not become an accomplished writer, what other occupation would you have most liked to tackle?
TW: I’m hardly an accomplished writer. After all, this is my first novel. I currently have a career in the software field.

AC: Do you enjoy writing, I mean, do you find it fun?
TW: I do enjoy writing, but it’s fun less than 50% of the time. Fun: people enjoying your work, writing dialogue that I’m too slow to dish out in real time (Remember the Seinfeld episode in which George came up with a comeback days after being insulted?) and creating situations that I wish I was in or I wish I’d never encounter. Not so fun: editing, editing, and cutting entire chapters—which I worked hard on—that don’t work.

AC: Where can interested reader learn more about you and your books?
TW: I can be found online:
Twitter: @tmwng
Facebook Page:

Thank you, Timothy, for taking the time to answer these questions.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Book Review: Traveling Light by Lloyd Meeker

Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: MLR Press
Pages: 281

Ian McCandless is a gay hospice nurse in training to become shaman. On orders from his mentor, Ian goes home for the holidays to make peace with his estranged family. Ian’s brother, Will, picks him up at the airport, and the old conflicts bubble to the surface before they can exit the parking lot. On the way home, Will interrupts a convenience store robbery and is shot, dying in Ian’s arms. Ian vows to use his shaman powers to reap vengeance.

In 13th century Anasazi, another shaman apprentice, Ta-Kuat, is given the task of journeying through the spirit world, through time and space, to retrieve the magical Door Stone which will free his village from famine and will allow them to live and prosper.

As Ian enters the spirit world on his hunt for revenge – which is forbidden to shamans – he meets up with Ta-Kuat. Ian’s pursuit not only puts himself in conflict with the spirit world, but it also endangers Ta-Kuat. The two apprentices forge an unholy alliance in the spirit plane that has dangerous ramifications in the physical world.

Lloyd Meeker’s debut novel, Traveling Light, is a winner. This is one of the most delightful and imaginative stories I’ve read in years. This paranormal tale weaves time travel with dabbling in the spirit world, unique spirits who guide or hinder, and wise old shamans who expound spiritual wisdom without making it into a sermon. In short, it is a unique and absorbing read.

This is the story of two seekers who span both the spiritual realms and the physical world in order to find what they think will make them whole. Ian seeks justice for his dead brother. He searches for his brother’s spirit, and plans to harm his brother’s killer. What he doesn’t realize, and what his mentor must show him, is that, for a shaman, there is no such thing as justice. Ta-Kuat, on the other hand, seeks to save his people by finding the Door Stone. He travels time and space searching for something that doesn’t exist, because it was conjured in the mind of an impure soothsayer.

The two meet on the spirit plane, and are drawn together by a need to help the other, but then both are pulled into a growing love that spans supernatural dimensions. And yes, they manage to make love in both the physical and spiritual planes. “He couldn’t bear his own ecstasy, yet knew it without effort, just as he knew Ta-Kuat’s. They formed one being, one matrix of power, one undulating wave on the vastness that lifted them, drowning them. “

It is a complex plot played out on several levels. Between bouts of lovemaking, the apprentices must help each other unravel riddles and mysteries. They must battle internal emotions gone mad, and evil shamans. By the end, they uncover universal truths that each of us, in the empty and lonely parts of our lives, must confront. I walked away from this book feeling a little wiser. I don’t see how anybody wouldn’t.

My one minor issue is that I wanted the author to spend more time developing the supporting characters who appeared in the physical world. I was particularly keen on having both shaman teachers, Ang and Chiyuskanek, take a larger role in the story and reveal more of themselves.

That one issue aside, I felt this was a delightful and mystical journey, both for the characters and the reader. Utterly enjoyable. I can highly recommend this book to all readers who like to tickle their imaginations.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Manic D Press presents DAPHNE GOTTLIEB

In honor of San Francisco's Pride Celebration, Manic D Press proudly presents

award-winning poet DAPHNE GOTTLIEB
"15 Ways to Stay Alive"
"Gottlieb has a knack for language so incendiary that the words on thepage seem potentially hot to the touch — she also has a sharp sense of humor."

renowned raconteur and zinester LARRY-BOB ROBERTS
"The International Homosexual Conspiracy"
"The Stephen Colbert of queer culture ..."

award-winning writer and punk icon LYNN BREEDLOVE
"Lynnee Breedlove's One Freak Show"
"... probably the only trans narrative I've ever read that's totally angst-free... Plus, it's f-ckin' funny."

counterculture exemplar and literary loyalist ALVIN ORLOFF
"Gutter Boys"
"Wonderfully whimsical yet astutely political . . . Strangely and defiantly cheerful without being trite or sentimental."

Thursday, June 23rd, 7 pm

Modern Times bookstore
new location
2919 24th St (bet. Harrison & Bryant)
San Francisco
beverages and snack will be served

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Different Light Closing

A few months ago I began hearing rumors that A Different Light Bookstore, the oldest gay/lesbian bookstore in the country, would close its doors for good. This bookstore has been a landmark of the San Francisco gay scene since long before I arrived in this great city in 1979. Therefore, I remained confident that someone would buy the store and put it on its feet once again. I was wrong.

On my last trip into San Francisco’s Castro district, I saw for myself that the bookstore had indeed closed. Locked tight. Down for the count. I was saddened for a number of reasons. The most important was simply that I loved to browse that store. Every time I went to the Castro I would stop in to see what was new. To me—as a person who loves literature—it was my church, a place of worship, a safe haven from the world. It was also the place I’ve done most of my book signings and readings. The folks at ADL were always willing to let me put on an event. Lastly, it was a place that owed me a considerable amount of money for the books I had there on consignment….

Over the last month I’ve read lots of online chatter about why the store closed. Almost everyone seems to have the opinion that the closing was inevitable given the impact online retailers have had on all brick-and-mortar booksellers. I’m sorry, I don’t buy it. Yes, online retailers are making it tough for bookstores. But there is more to this story. This, in my opinion, is a story about customer service.

Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, ADL was a hub for activism, book readings, art shows, and they attempted to stock every print book by, for and about queers. They stocked all the latest queer themed books, and also many recently published books on the NY Times Best Seller List. The staff was friendly and helpful. But sometime around 2003, ADL came under new management.

Over the past several years, the new ADL management chose to not stock the latest books. They seemed to concentrate on selling their stock of older books at discount prices. My feeling was that every time I walked in there, the same old books were front and center. There were seldom any new books to browse through. The decline in book selection was matched by a decline in service. The staff manning the counter were no longer friendly or helpful. The place stopped feeling like a safe haven.

As the service and selection nosedived at ADL, the other Castro bookstore, Books Inc., continued to offer a great selection and give excellent customer service. Books Inc. seems to be thriving despite pressure from online retailers. Which tells me that people do want to support brick-and-mortar bookstores. But they demand service, selection, and a friendly smile.

It is a shame that San Francisco has lost its landmark bookstore. But let’s be clear. The sky is not falling to the point where Amazon and Barnes & Noble will monopolize all book sales in this country. What bookstore owners need to realize is that they can survive by giving the customer something they can’t get online, and that is exceptional customer service. It’s a pity the management at ADL didn’t learn that lesson.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Book Review: Slant by Timothy Wang

Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: Tincture (an imprint of Lethe Press)
Pages: 211

James, an Asian college student, thought coming out of the closet would be his toughest task. What he couldn’t foresee, but experienced head on, was the discrimination inside Boston’s gay community. The road to love is never easy, especially for a geeky Asian inside a sea of white, round-eyed faces.

After months of failures, James catches the guy of his dreams, Stan, but can only hang on to him for a few precious months. Stan is a man who lives on the edge and goes through boyfriends as fast as he goes through clean socks. Once the relationship slides from lovers to friends, James begins dating a doctor who has it all – hot car, glamorous flat, money to burn – in order to make Stan jealous and lure him back. But as I said, the road to love is never easy, or what you expect.

A wonderful debut novel… I must confess that I’ve grown tired of coming out stories, but this is not your typical coming out story. It has true depth, grace, and vividly drawn characters that entice the reader into this beautifully crafted yarn. It delves into the racism that is rampant in the gay community, and also of one person’s struggle to assimilate. The emotions and concerns are genuine, and carry the reader along.

The first half of the story focused more on discrimination Asians experience within the gay community. For James, this leads to self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy, and then grows into self-hate. The second half deals more with relationships and the needs of partners with a relationship.

What struck me even more than the insightful observations was the superlative writing. Timothy Wang tells a simple yarn with an unrivaled voice. Wang writes with the refinement of a seasoned professional.

I did have two minor issues with this story. The first came when James, after complaining bitterly about the discrimination directed at him for being Asian, shows that he is equally prejudice against rice queens – older men dating young Asians. As a gentleman of some years, I found James’s age discrimination a bit distasteful and thoroughly hypocritical.

My second issue is that I felt the ending fizzled. Wang kept both the tension and my interest high until the last ten pages, and then I closed the book feeling slightly let down. I’m not sure I would have preferred a different ending, but perhaps a bit more thought into what was gained and what was lost would have made the ending more satisfying.

Those two minor issues aside, I can highly recommend Slant.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Las Vegas Native American Pow Wow

These are a few of the many pictures that Herman and I took at the Las Vegas Pow Wow last week. These costumes are fantastic, as is the dancing. Enjoy...