I am trying to work on the edits for ‘Dawn of Empire’ but it’s obviously only with permission from the Feline Overlord.


May Newsletter

Apologies for the delay on this, I’m working on the edits for ‘Dawn’ (as you can see the attempt above) and I had to contact customer service in the US about the planned giveaway of the audiobook version of ‘White Tiger’.

The codes my publisher gave me weren’t working for me, so I contacted audiobooks.com about it. Dealing with someone in the US by email is an interesting experience: their day is my night, and they’re one day behind Australia. So I emailed them at noon Friday, and didn’t receive a reply until Tuesday morning. I tried out their suggested solution, and emailed them back during the day, and again didn’t hear back until the next morning.

And of course the problem was me: I use a VPN (virtual private network) to set my IP address to a US one, to fake that my computer is in the US, to work around regional restrictions.

In Australia, you will only see this audiobook version of ‘White Tiger’, read by Jennifer Vuletic:

In the United States (and hopefully the rest of the world), you’ll only see this version, read by Cindy Kay:

The book you see when you search audible.com, or Amazon, depends entirely on the IP address your computer shares with the online shop. A VPN allows you to change your address to one in a different country.

The giveaway is to subscribers to my newsletter, so go to the ‘Newsletter’ tab and subscribe there if you’d like to enter.

Corona Virus

This is so weird. I left Hong Kong just before SARS went through in 2002, and people are looking to me for advice about COVID. My ex was on the front lines in the Hospital Authority during SARS, so I had something of an inside look into how that virus worked. When the Wuhan thing blew up, I had a strong feeling of ‘here we go again’, and when the China borders weren’t closed, and China ignored the problem instead of locking down in those first few weeks, it turned to genuine concern.

I watched with amusement as Hong Kong people did a run on toilet paper, not thinking for a minute that it would happen here. I suppose it says something about my Hong Kong experience that I always have WAY too much toilet paper (and basic food items) in the house.

Locking down and going into quarantine is the right thing to do. It is really the only way to deal with something like this: corona viruses mutate quickly and vaccination can quickly drop behind the changes. If the population locks down and goes in quarantine, as Hong Kong did with SARS, the lack of transmission makes it, as one dumbass President says, ‘disappear’. (He was quoting from a briefing where I sincerely believe he didn’t understand most of it). If nobody is giving the virus to anyone else, the patients recover and it does really go away. SARS took six months to clear from Hong Kong (it wasn’t nearly as contagious as COVID which is why COVID has spread so quickly).

There are two major differences between SARS and COVID. SARS was a lot less contagious: this is why COVID has spread so quickly around the world. SARS was also a LOT more lethal. The death rate (from memory) was something like 15%, even with young and healthy patients. So COVID is more contagious and less dangerous than SARS was.

With sensible quarantine and lockdown, COVID should disappear like SARS did. That’s been the situation here in Australia, and in New Zealand, and most of Europe.

It isn’t happening in the US. I am genuinely fearful that it WILL mutate in the US into something with a SARS level of danger while remaining as badly contagious.

So: This is 100% my non-epidemiological take on this, purely speaking from experience of being close to health workers on the front line in a similar situation. Believe the scientists before you listen to me.

For me, personally, not much has changed.  As a writer, I work from home. All my workshops have been cancelled, and this is my main source of income (much more so than royalties from the books). Conventions are very iffy, and Oz Comic-Con has just changed ownership. JobKeeper has been a godsend to keep me going, and I’m using this time to be as creative as possible. The Simone spinoff (going up on the Patreon), a new cyberpunk thriller, and the story of Hien the dragon from Dark Heavens has been tapping on my brain while I potter around at home thinking about storylines.

I’ll keep everyone updated as things progress with the audiobooks, and I’m hoping to have the edits for ‘Dawn of Empire’ back to the publishers tomorrow. We have a release date of September, delayed by the virus, but I’m very happy with this one. It’s up for pre-order on all the usual places (Australia only, no US publishers are interested)  and I’ll provide links in the next newsletter.