It’s been a while since I posted to my blog. I thought this would be a great time to do that while reflecting back on 2015. I had an opportunity to experience a lot cool things this past year. I’d like to share a few of them with you.
I lived in Vietnam. For five months I called Ho Chi Minh home. While it was an awesome experience, I learned that living in Vietnam is nothing like visiting. A new language, a new way of doing things—I’ll admit, it was hard. But those weren’t the biggest hurdles I faced. Surprisingly, I missed the western conveniences that were on offer in Bangkok. Moving to Bangkok from San Francisco was actually an easy transition because it’s so westernized. I hadn’t realized that until I moved to Vietnam. Still, I think the move made me a better traveler, and that’s something I’m grateful for.
I created a new thriller series. This year I cranked out two books in my Sei Assassin Thriller series. The storyline is about a retired assassin who discovers two years later that her daughter didn’t die at childbirth. Someone had kidnapped her. Guess who’s back in the game? It’s different from my Abby Kane series, though I haven’t fallen out of love with her. Abby’s still just as fun to write now as she was in the first book.
I traveled to two new destinations. So every year I visit a place I haven’t been before. I choose Hong Kong and Bali. Both were fun and interesting but, if I had to give the edge to one, it would be HK. I like big cities and Hong Kong did not disappoint. Plus, the food was better than I ever thought it would be. I couldn’t get enough of it, and wished I had more time to spend sampling the local cuisine.
I discovered snails. And guess what? I love them. While in Vietnam I was able to try a bunch of varieties cooked in a number of different ways. I simply couldn’t get enough of these little delicacies. I completely understand why the Vietnamese can’t either.
I started taking Thai language classes. Sawadee krap. While living in Bangkok, it’s hard not to pick up at least a few phrases. It actually helps with the day-to-day living. But I thought why not try to learn something other than how to order food or direct the taxi driver to an address. Pronunciation is my Achilles heel, but I’ve got a patient teacher. Thank you, Dada. I can’t say for sure if I’ll become proficient in speaking Thai, but it’s worth a try.
Nothing beats eating crab and prawns except eating freshly caught crab and prawns. I’ve eaten a lot of seafood in Thailand but somehow eating fresh seafood, the type that swims around right before the cook butchers it, had escaped me until this past year. I’d forgotten how sweet the crabmeat could be when it’s that fresh. As a little boy growing up in Kailua, Hawaii, I would lay my crab nets in the canals and catch large Samoan crabs. I’d then bike home as fast as I could and boil them. I loved it then, and I love it now.
I published a second edition of Thrilling Thirteen. It was a huge undertaking the first time around—thirteen thrillers by various authors offered in an awesome boxed set. The second time was a bit easier as the learning curve wasn’t as huge. I’m extremely proud of this collaboration with my fellow authors, and I look forward to other future endeavors with them.
I visited America for the first time since leaving in 2013. I had been gone for a little over two years. For some reason I was nervous about how I would feel upon returning. Would I miss the United States? Would I view it differently? Would I never want to leave again? Well, I had no problem leaving, and I didn’t miss the US like I thought I would. I guess I can chalk it up to the fact that I spent most of my life living there. I’m now in a position to travel and live in other countries, and I’m not going to let that opportunity pass me by. America will always be my home, but man is it fun getting away. A cool thing I did get to experience on this trip home, beside seeing my family and relaxing by the pool, was being able to see my niece golf in a major tournament. In fact, it was the first time I got to see her do her stuff on a golf course. I tell you, she’s the next Michelle Wie.