To Download a Copy of the Maven Book Publishing Catalog
Feel free to download the 2016 Maven Book Publishing Catalog (pdf), which contains descriptions of all books under my authorship and published by Maven Publishing.
What is Maven Publishing?
I currently oversee the publication and distribution of my own line of books. I am Managing Director of Maven Publishing and am working to make my education books a global brand. Independent publishing requires an entrepreneurial approach backed by solid technical expertise. Three important topics that I have chosen to speak about to various publishing organizations include: (1) “The New Entrepreneurial Book Publishing Model – How Authors Can Publish More Profitably, Take Control of Marketing, Manage Their Digital Rights, and Achieve a Global Presence”; (2) “How to Make Your Self-Published Book Look and Feel Like a New York–Published Book – Best Practices in Cover Design, Interior Design, and Digital Layout”; and (3) “The Frankfurt Book Fair and the Foreign Rights Game – How Authors Can Find Foreign Publishing Partners and Negotiate Their Own Contract Terms.”
Can I know more about why you wrote the books you did?
My books are currently separated into three categories: education/reference books, test-prep books, and leisure books. The following provides a summary of the book titles that fall under within each category as well as a brief description of the contents of each book. Click on the cover of a given book to get more information about that title.
My education books, which can equally be referred to as reference books or self-help books, were created to summarize the basics of reasoning, writing, grammar, and math. The Little Blue Reasoning Book is currently the best selling and most translated book in this six-book series. Although these books are ideally suited for high school and college students, they will appeal to any individual who wants to improve his or her core essential learning skills. They remain especially popular among the home-schooling crowd. The materials in these books are highly distilled and brimming with many interesting problems, charts, and graphs that are not found in the traditional classroom.
Applying to business school? I developed these materials while working for Kaplan Educational Centers Hong Kong, the world’s largest and oldest test-preparation organization in the world. The Getting into Business School book has a heavy emphasis on writing admissions essays, which is arguably the most important aspect of the b-school application process. Ace the GMAT is a popular GMAT book and is based on the concept of “buckets of problems.” This is the idea that the key to mastering the GMAT exam is to understand what kinds of common problems are recurring and what are the principles behind these types of problems. Ace the GMAT Math and Ace the GMAT Verbal are “spin-off” books for the individual wanting to study solely the math or verbal sections of the GMAT. They are offered as ebooks only.
Dancing for Your Life is a biography chronicling the true story of Maria de la Torre. This book was reviewed in TIME Asia magazine upon its original release in Asia. The Map Maker and Paradise Island are fictional tales steeped in philosophy. Both are short works of literary fiction that might be aptly referred to as philosophy-in-fiction books. The Map Maker is a short story that presents a satire on human perspective (why we see the world the way we do). Paradise Island is a short novel that presents a satire on human nature (why we are the way we are and why we behave the way we do). While The Map Maker shows the folly in believing that we can see the world in an objective manner, Paradise Island shows the folly in believing that we can control our own human nature. These books cover two philosophical relationships that have most interested me. The first is the relationship between subjectivity and truth and the second is the relationship between human nature and happiness. The Map Maker was written to explore the first relationship while Paradise Island was penned to explore the second relationship.
What do you find enjoyable or rewarding about what you do?
What I find most enjoyable about writing is the feeling that I’m influencing a marketplace by creating a superior “mousetrap.” I like the idea of psychologically affecting people, and am motivated by the possibility that someone, somewhere is thinking, “Wow, this is good stuff.”
When did your interest in writing begin?
I became interested in writing while first introduced to poetry in junior high school. One of my poems written in the eighth grade was rated as the best of that year and reprinted in the school newspaper. Although I did not grow up in a family of avid readers, I’ve felt a natural affinity for books from an early age.
My interest in writing professionally began after completing fiction and scriptwriting courses at Harvard University in the summer of 1994. Since then I have authored twelve books and written across a diverse spectrum, penning fiction, non-fiction, short stories, essays, news articles, speeches, poetry, and personal quotations. Reviews of my books have appeared in Time Asia magazine, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal of America, Midwest Book Review, The Asian Review of Books, Asia Times Online, and About.com. To date, I have more than a dozen first-place finishes in book awards, but I am most proud to have won awards in a wide-range of categories. These include: Business, Education, Memoirs, Professional/Technical, Reference, Test Preparation, Young Adult Fiction, Young Adult Nonfiction, and eBooks.
What are examples of some of your personal quotations that you have authored and/or published?
It’s fun to create quotes when the mood strikes. Here is a list of my original quotations (pdf):
In addition to being a minter of quotes, I also remain a miner of quotes and here are four of my favorite for the time being:
“Things should be made a simple as possible, but not any simpler.” (Einstein)
“If you’re going to do a job, do a job. And if you’re not going to do a job, don’t do a job.” (Steve Ballmer’s father)
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross)
“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but who can count the apples in every seed.” (Robert Schuller)
Can I know more about your bio?
I was born in Calgary, in Western Canada, but spent my early childhood in Eastern Canada. Among my special memories of youth include summers cottaging at the Muskoka Lakes in Ontario. The dream was always the same — an hour before daybreak, a 12-foot Springbok aluminum boat with a 9.8 HP Mercury engine, and an artificial Rapala minnow. Trolling for Smallmouth Bass on unbroken lake water seemed endlessly fascinating. I think this experience nurtured my appreciation for the outdoors, and my sense of adventure and independence.
After graduating from high school in Calgary, Canada, I headed for warmer climes and graduated from San Diego State University. My undergraduate days were formative ones: at different times I was a member of the varsity tennis team, varsity debate team, and a member of a business fraternity and social fraternity.
After graduation I worked for a year in Southern California in the computer industry. My desire to study, work, and live internationally brought me next to Europe and then to China in May 1988 to attend language studies at Beijing University. Here I discovered a magical time, with China opening its doors to the world, Chinese students wanting to meet foreigners, and foreigners locked in camaraderie each with their own stories of adventure and misadventure. In the spring of 1989, I worked for CTV Beijing to cover the Gorbachev visit and, by default, the ensuing student demonstrations which led to that demarcation in modern Chinese history known as Tiananmen Square. My live broadcast on June 5, 1989 (Tthe Last Canadian at Beijing University”) was aired nationally in Canada by the CBC.
When I left Beijing, China, I joined the Ernst & Young accounting group in Hong Kong. As a joint-venture auditor in the China Division, I audited client companies including Coca-Cola, McCormick Seasoning and Foodstuffs Company, and the Hilton and Holiday Inn Hotels. Upon graduating from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business in 1995, I returned to Asia and began work in the education field.
My tenure in test preparation began when first serving as Director of Business Development (in Hong Kong) for US-based Kaplan Educational Centers – a Washington Post subsidiary and the oldest and largest test preparatory organization in the world. Through my subsequent work as a GMAT test-prep instructor and MBA admissions coach, I helped hundreds of applicants achieve acceptance at one or more of the world’s leading business programs. As one of Asia’s most well-known admissions specialists, I conducted numerous “Getting into Business School” seminars for the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, and contributed to various news and TV programs including the South China Morning Post newspaper, the Far Eastern Economic Review and Fortune (China) magazines, and CNBC’s Smart Money Program.
In 1998 I founded Royal Publications, and began publishing a series of education test-prep books and selling them through Hong Kong bookstores. My forays in publishing had begun. I also conducted corporate training work seminars for such well-known organizations as AT&T, ATKearney, Australian Society of CPAs, Bank of East Asia, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Hongkong International Terminals (Hutchison Whampoa Group), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, JP Morgan, Mast Industries, Merrill Lynch, and Pacific Century Insurance.
My current memberships and affiliations include: IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association, Manhattan Beach, CA, USA); FAPA (Florida Authors and Publishers Association); Beta Theta Pi General Fraternity; Delta Sigma Pi Professional Fraternity; The Glencoe Club (Calgary, Canada).
My past memberships and affiliations have included: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Canadian Chamber of Commerce; Contributing Editor, Hong Kong Culture magazine; Co-Vice Chair of the Young Professionals Committee, American Chamber of Commerce (Hong Kong); Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong; Gibralter’s International Who’s Who of Professionals; IPAC (Independent Publishers Association of Canada); MBA Alumni Chair, University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business (Hong Kong).
My alma maters include San Diego State University (Bachelor of Science in Accounting) and the University of Chicago (Master’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Operations Management). I also attended summer school at both Yale University (courses in Mandarin Chinese Language and Computer Science) and Harvard University (courses in Fiction Writing and Script Writing).
What sports did you play growing up?
My two favorite sports while growing up were ice hockey and tennis. I played hockey since the age of five (in Eastern Canada) and tennis since the age of thirteen (in Western Canada). I played in the Canadian National Junior Tennis Championships for three consecutive years as a junior.
What are a couple of your travel highlights?
Two of my favorite travel sojourns included taking the Trans-Siberian Train from Beijing to Moscow and driving Highway 1 on the North American West Coast all the way from San Diego to Vancouver. Coincidentally both these trips took exactly six days. In recent years, travel destinations have included the Maritimes (Canada), Victoria B.C., Oregon, Whitehorse (Yukon), Skagway (Alaska), Cuba, Goa (India), Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), Thailand (Chiang Mai), Laos (Luang Prabang) Cambodia (Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, and Hawaii (attended the 2013 Aloha Writer’s Conference in Maui).