Wednesday, December 30, 2009


It's almost 2010! Unfortunately, unlike last year, 10 is not a particularly lucky number in Chinese culture. However, it is not unlucky either (tremble for the year 2014!) so perhaps it's a good time to look over the last year and make realistic, attainable goals for the upcoming.

Hmm, so how did I do in 2009? Not too bad. I learned how to make a frosting flower and donated my hair. I even made dumplings, though not as many as I wanted to (I didn't do the Lin family recipe as planned). I tried to write my novel to the very best of my ability as well the promotion of it. Of course, in hindsight, I can always see where I could've done better, could've done more but I guess that is what 2010 is for!

So with that, I'll try to look forward. Here are my ten, hopefully attainable, goals for 2010:

1. Preserves. And I mean jam and marmalade! I want to learn how to make jam. Really! It is something I have always wanted to do since reading Anne of Green Gables. And you know how much I love that.

2. Be the change I want to see. This, of course, could be very lofty but since I want to keep things attainable, I've decided that to focus on smaller scale ideals. A while back, fellow blogging author Kimberly Baker asked the blogosphere "Where's the MG?" bemoaning the fact that while YA books generate a lot of online "buzz," younger novels are, on the whole, overlooked. After embracing promotion for the last year (see #8), I'm inclined to agree with her. So, I've decided that this next year I'm going to start featuring MG books that I like. They won't be reviews because there won't be any scientific rhyme or reason to it except that I like the book (and I have particular taste which is probably best described as old-fashioned). And, I think I will talk about old classics as well as new favorites. So look forward to Book Talk Tuesdays 2010!

3. Board Books. I love writing novels, illustrating picturebooks and in 2010 I'll be publishing an early reader too. I think the greatest moment in my career so far has been when a mother told me, "My kids grew up with your books." It was such a neat feeling, that by writing different genres, my books were keeping up with the kids' reading levels & interests. In 2010, my main focus will be on the genres I have already established (most particularly a new novel, hopefully) but I want to start thinking of new ideas for the other ages. How neat it would be for a baby to start with a board book by me and then slowly move up to the other books as he/she grows? What a lovely dream!

4. Progress. These past couple of years I've tried really hard to create the best book I could. And for my abilities at that time, I think I did okay. But as I said earlier, now looking back, I can always see where I could've done better. I want to take everything I've learned and create something even better.

5. Schedule. And to achieve #4, I want to create a better writing schedule for myself. I tend to write in the "binge & purge" method, which is not very practical. In 2010, I'm going to try to write everyday, even if it is only a paragraph.

6. Fondant. I learned the frosting flower, now I'd like to learn how to make beautiful fondant this:

7. Relax. As some of you may have suspected, I'm in a really happy relationship (with a Squatchie) but I've been very reluctant to mention it acquaintances and even friends. I guess I have been shy about people knowing about it because I'm scared of judgements, like it being "too soon" after Robert. But this year it will be three years since his death; and since I know Robert would be okay and happy about the new direction of my life, I'm going to start believing everyone else will be too.

8. Appreciate my readers. Not that I don't appreciate them now (THANK YOU!) but this past year has been a whirlwind of promotion for me, from the thrill of the Parents' Choice Award to the excitement of the Today Show. It's hard not to get caught up with ambitions, hopes and dreams of bigger and better prizes. But the truth is while accolades are flattering and promotion is necessary for a book's survival, I think true greatness is found elsewhere.

9. Balance Better I do quite a few school visits to pay the bills (little known truth--most mid-list authors such as myself support themselves through school visits, not books!), and while I truly do enjoy them--they also wipe me out. There is also usually a lot of traveling involved as well. It's really hard for me, someone whose natural state is introverted, to do large amounts of visits, be creative, and try to be healthy as well as be a normal person (I've regressed into a blob more times than I like to admit in 2009). In 2010, I want to balance all of it (especially the being healthy part) better.

10. Charity. Just like last year, I feel strongly about continuing the spirit of charity. While I am finished with the small graces project and am happy to pass the reins to other artists, I still want to contribute to the world in my own small way. How? Not exactly sure yet, but will let you know!

So that will be my 2010, at least I hope so. We shall see! In the meantime, may you all have a great New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On the road

I am traveling and will be back to posting next week. In the meantime here is Angelina from What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe?. This is about what my family's living room looked like after xmas (presents presents everywhere)... hope you all had a lovely holiday!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Flow again

When I AM enjoying writing, which I’m not always, what I love most about it is the feeling of total concentration. I’m alert, but completely relaxed, too; trying my hardest--but it feels effortless. Nothing else matters -- hours and hours can go by without my thinking about anything else at all, even going to the bathroom or eating are unwelcome interruptions (sometimes when I get to the kitchen I forget why I’m there and just go back to my desk).

Psychologists call this state flow. I have the same feeling when I’m riding well: everything is easy, effortless -- we canter on a long, loose rein, moving together; or jump with perfect timing and control, completely relaxed.

Lately, I haven’t been in flow when I write and I haven’t been riding at all, for the same reason, one that is all too common to those who try to make a living in the arts: money.

Now I’m making enough babysitting to pay my rent -- and my ONLY writing goals are to write every day (even if it’s only for 15 minutes!) and be in flow when I do it.

Doing it every day is simple, if difficult: the good old BIC (butt in chair, thank you Jane Yolen). But how to get into flow, concentrating completely on a task? 

 Csikszentmihalyi says you can concentrate on a task when:

*you have a clear goal

*you believe you have a chance of completing the task 

*you get immediate feedback

Chance of completing a novel, getting immediate feedback on it, having a clear goal? HAH! But if I structure things so that EACH DAY I DO have a clear goal, I will have a chance of completing it -- and, really, I always know in my heart of hearts when what I’ve written is good and when it’s just junk though sometimes I don’t want to admit it. 

So I CAN be in flow every day! Hmm, just written down, that doesn’t sound like a big deal at all, but to me it was and is. 

Usually (especially when worried about money) I sit down thinking I HAVE TO finish this fast, I have to finish this fast-- and when I think of finishing the whole book, get really overwhelmed -- don’t know if what I’m aiming for is even any good, feel SO far from my goal, blah blah blah. But this way, it’s possible to do what I set out to do, every day, because I’ll be setting a small, specific goal. And then I’ll get the other great benefits of flow:

* deep effortless involvement

* a sense of control

*the self disappears

*time changes


I did try this once before, and posted about it, too, but it’s worth trying and posting about again, too -- especially NOW, when I don’t have to babysit again until Monday, January 4 and thus have every day to write! I will report back and tell you what I accomplished.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Have Yourself a Merry Christmas Poetry Friday

For this Christmas Poetry Friday, I have a video of Judy Garland singing--and a special Elfin holiday greeting.

Judy Graland—Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

At Wild Rose Reader, I have several original Christmas poems and a Christmas video.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Book Aunt.

merry christmas!

I forgot to post today because I was too busy doing I have no idea what with the family. I did make macaroni and cheese while my mom made steak and salad. Of course plenty of desserts were made for tomorrow. I also did a bit of painting. I remember how excited I used to be about Christmas and waiting until the morning to open the presents. It was such an exciting time! I loved coming down in the morning and seeing all the gifts that wouldn't fit under the tree or were too big to be wrapped (such as a bike). Ah yes, those were good times. I wondered tonight--if I had a kid, would I tell him or her that Santa was real or not? I mean, essentially you're lying to your child but it's such a wonderful lie that I might go for it. The thing that I wonder about is how did my parents stomach me being most excited over the presents that Santa bought when really they bought them for me? --the new bicycle, for example.

Another thing I did this evening was watch Julie and Julia. Have any of you watched it? I was most fascinated by the blogging aspect. It's a cool idea to do such a large undertaking and to then blog about it. And, of course, the payoff was huge because there was a book and movie made about it. What made me sad though was that Julie never got to meet Julia Child and that Julia did not approve of her blog. Hmmm. I vow to start up the old website personal blog again. I've been meaning to do that for a while but I swear I'm doing to do it now!

Anyway, those are some Christmas Eve ramblings. Everyone else is in bed but I won't be tired for hours. The old me is back. The one who doesn't go to sleep until 4 am.

Happy holidays everyone!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snowflakes on parade

Lately I've felt the need to tackle the little things that always fall to the end of my to-do list. Maybe its because the year is drawing to a close or maybe its post-deadline mania, but I've been taking great pleasure organizing, mending, and rearranging our apartment... hemming pants that have been sitting in the corner of the bedroom for months, cleaning out the flat files, and purging everything I can stand to part with. It feels soooo goooood.

For the longest time I've been meaning to frame my Robert's Snowflakes properly. I was lucky enough to win hand painted snowflakes by Alissa Imre Geis and Giselle Potter a few years back, two of my most prized possessions. Since then I am embarrassed to say they have been sitting in sloppy frames that didn't fit. No more!

I found these two little 3D frames at Ikea and got out my snowflakes...

and of course my trusty YES Glue, that stuff glues everything.

Then I cut some little rectangles out of foam core, two for each snowflake.

And glued them down, one on top of another, to some archival acid-free mat board.

Then I very carefully put a little dab of glue on the stack of foam core and placed a snowflake on top. I was weary at first of putting glue anywhere near these little paintings, but in the end I think they will be better preserved this way (and there was not much on the back of them, unlike some snowflakes).

Once they were dry I put the mat board in the back of the frames and voila- floating snowflakes!

Now on to going through my fabric stores and organizing my paper drawer. I just looove an organized paper drawer.

It's snowing! It's snowing random links, that is.

I'm on vacation, at my parents' home in Southern California for the holidays. I made it out of New York on the last non-canceled flight to Los Angeles Saturday afternoon during the snow storm! Speaking of the storm, I was actually a teeny tiny bit sad to have escaped, because I really love snow, and there's something so special about the first big snow of the season. But I was happy to live vicariously (whil in 70 degree weather) via lots of photos and videos online. Here's my favorite:

This year really flew by. I'll try to do a proper wrap-up in the next few weeks, but today I'll direct you to agent Nathan Bransford's great "Year in Publishing" post.

And here's a recent article about a business practice in publishing that nobody talks about. In fact, I know very little about how this works and found the article fascinating myself.

I was a guest blogger over at the Debutante Ball last week, and posted about research--how I researched to find my dream publishing job, that is! Read it here.

Also, related to Meghan's post about eBooks, this is an interesting article about an experiment regarding the issue of DRM, or digital rights management.

And finally, in honor of the sad news that actress Brittany Murphy died over the weekend, and also the recent news of Kirkus's demise, I was reminded of my post from this past May about Bad Reviews, which referenced both subjects (albeit somewhat indirectly). And will add that despite my negative feelings towards some of the reviews in Kirkus, I was saddened by the news. It really is a loss to publishing. You can read more thoughts about this over at the Horn Book blog.

And to conclude this random post, let's get back to snow. Anyone who knows me well knows that my favorite snow book, which is also my favorite picture book of all time, is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Other snow books I love are Robert's Snow by Grace Lin, and Uri Shulevitz's Snow.

What are some of your favorite snow books?

Happy Holidays, everyone!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Do you want kids?

A few weeks ago I added two more full days of babysitting to my schedule, for a mother with two jobs, three children, and no husband. The kids include a hyperactive three year old boy -- the kind of kid who, left alone, will break something -- really quickly.

Now, I get why some mothers get that glazed exhausted look or hyper stream of chatter. Keeping up with the laundry alone is like grinding the coffee mill in THE LONG WINTER. The dirty clothes pile grows faster than anyone who doesn't have kids could imagine. Your priorities change: this mother -- once a fastidious stay-at-home mom -- described how the three year old had been sleeping in her big double bed and, in the middle of the night, wet it. In the old days, she said, the bed would have been stripped and sanitized, remade with clean sheets etc etc immediately. This time, she thought,
"I'll get it later. It's just pee," and went back to sleep.

When you have as much to do as these mothers (and, while I had this schedule, I!) do, something -- usually, lots of things -- that really need to get done DON'T. I always feel behind as I rush from appointment to appointment (I have 3 other families and freelance writing clients to not only write for but talk to). But guess what? I've learned to do things a lot faster and make each minute count.

I would have thought all this would make me really, really glad I never had children--but to my astonishment, I'm not so sure. Three year olds can be really companionable -- and sweet. You're washing the dishes or something and suddenly a small child is wrapping his arms around your legs, looking up at you with an adoring smile. Conversations with intelligent older children can be really interesting -- on Thursday night after dinner a nine year old, a seven year old (both boys) and I sat and talked over chamomile tea until their bedtime:
"Tea and conversation
are a great combination."
"Did you make that up?" (in a very impressed voice)
Ten year olds even HELP: Adam is going to help me pack my books when I move (for money, of course--he's always saving up for some game which his parents, to their credit, refuse to buy him).

He even had ideas for how we could do it more efficiently:
"We have plastic bins at my house. We'll pack 'em up, bring 'em over, and unpack 'em."
"But Adam, books are really heavy!"
"I'm much stronger now that I've taken my karate black belt test."

Of course, I go home at the end of it. I have days off -- and I've cut working for that family from two full days to one, and with the new schedule, can keep up with my freelance work (and, I hope after ten days devoted only to it, the novel). But even for the mothers, hard as working and taking care of their kids is, they think it's worth it.

I never felt that biological imperative to have children some women feel; but I never decided not to have them, either. If anyone who wants children wants my advice, it's -- think about it, and (if you really do want them), go ahead. Have them. You will find a way to get the other stuff done. You may never feel (or be!) financially ready -- but someday, it will be too late.

Friday, December 18, 2009

POETRY FRIDAY: Before Christmas by Landis Everson

So sorry I missed Poetry Friday last week. I have been battling a persistent respiratory infection all fall. I think I'm finally on the road to kicking the bug for good.
Here's a holiday poem for you this week
Before Christmas
by Landis Everson
the first reindeer
shipped North by boxcar from Lapland
but a toy model
got there first.

A dwarf invented reindeer on his own.
He was Santa’s favorite. He
hadn't known
they already existed.

This discouraged dwarf
was close to taking his life but
Santa showed up
encircled by snow.
He said, “I will use the real reindeer for my sled

You can read the rest of the poem here.

At Wild Rose Reader: Things to Do If You Are a Bell...and More Poetry for Christmas. (I have two originals holiday-themed poems and links to my previous reviews of books of Christmas poetry and Christmas picture books in verse.)
At Political Verses, I have Stand for Christmas: A Song Parody & a Poem.
Susan Taylor Brown is doing the Poetry Friday Roundup this week.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

electronic readers

Grace suggested buying a book for a holiday book (see below) and that got me thinking... There's Amazon's Kindle, the Sony Reader, and now BN's Nook. I don't know much about any of them but Sony's looks the prettiest. The Nook is the first one to have color on the bottom. But what about color pages? If that happens will kids' book find their way into the electronic readers? How scary! At least I think so. I don't have any desire to have one. I like holding a book, being able to flip its pages, and I like them on my bookshelves. I collect art books and I don't see them ever being replaced. If I read a lot of manuscripts then I wouldn't want to lug them around and I could then see a use for a electronic reader. But otherwise no. What would happen to picture books if people started reading them on those things? All the magic would be gone.

I want to know what you guys think. So speak up!


buying books

Give books for the holidays! Its no secret that the book industry is weak and struggling. As I said last year consider a gift that will truly leave a long lasting meaning to the people in your life. Yes, baby clothes are cute. Yes, video games are cool. But books enrich your life in a way that is timeless. They are important. And we need them to stick around.

Me, I've been doing my part. Thanks to the Books with Flair program I am participating in (fyi-last chance to get your orders in for an autographed book is FRIDAY, I'm going out of town after that) I go to the bookstore very often and buying lots' o books (I'll show you the list one Monday)!

However, for some people I was planning on giving a copy of my own book...which I am a little hesitant to give by itself. But thanks to the MotherReader: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon post I found inspiration.

I might actually give my book with some:

goldfish! but only to those local friends.

For those farther away (and wishing a less splashy present) I think I will send the book with this sweet necklace:

or these rabbit rice bowls:

Those match pretty well, don't you think? Of course if I really wanted to coordinate, I could always send stuff from my own store!

But I love the way MotherReader has thought of these creative ways to give books for the holidays. In fact, she has 105 ways to do it! So, you can do it too!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

small graces...the LAST painting

This proverb has always been a favorite of mine, but it took me quite a while for me to truly puzzle out the meaning. To me, I finally realized, this proverb means "remember, feeding your soul is just as important as feeding your body." It is a reminder to value your spirit.

Which I thought was apropos for the December painting, this very last painting I am doing for the small graces project. This project is has been very valuable to my spirit and I hope to yours too!

This painting goes on auction on NOW! So go and BID, BID, BID!

And don't forget you can also purchase small graces prints from Child At Heart! They are the perfect holiday gifts--I keep thinking the Sept. one would be lovely for a child's teacher--but timing for holiday shipping is waning so get your order in soon(like now)!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Risd Sale 09 recap

The sale on Saturday was a lot of fun as usual! Here is Grace and I at our table where we dutifully sold books and prints from morning til night.

Grace brought a sea of Lissy dolls that looked adorable all piled together.

For my part I had lots of bird prints, books, and the buttons you all so graciously helped me to design.

Throughout the day we couldn't help but ogle these amazing scarves by Jeung-Hwa Park directly across from our booth... so tempting to scoop them up!

Just look at the incredible colors.

I always love chatting with Dorothy Imagire, who generously traded with me a few years ago. I have two of her amazing waxed photos in my kitchen.

This year she had these really cool table settings with phrases painted and etched on the surface. The silverware said things like "vegan" and "gluten-free".

I love this plate (click to enlarge).

I also discovered the work of the very talented Deborah Foreman, who makes these beautiful circle paintings. I love the textures and color combinations.

All in all it was a fun day and a good sale. Its nice to go back and run into old friends and make new ones. After the sale we got together with Alvina and Libby for our annual dinner and resolution setting, I'll let Alvina post about that tomorrow!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Commenting on a ms. (an author's view)

I am a ghostwriter, and a few weeks ago got the best comments from my collaborator that I've ever received from someone who wasn't a professional editor. Either he's a great natural editor or the letter I sent telling him what kinds of comments would be most useful to me was pretty good...maybe both.

When I mentioned this to Alvina, she said she'd like to see that letter - so here it is. If anyone has anyone comments on IT, please tell me -- maybe this letter only worked well with him because he's so nice, and so good. I'd like to do more of this kind of work (ghostwriting for people with good ideas who aren't writers) - I really enjoy collaborating. When the two of us click, it's actually a lot more fun than writing something on my own -- and having a deadline and knowing someone is going to read every word with great interest makes me finish things faster, too. Anyway.....

"Dear __________________:
Here are the sample chapters of the ms. -- VERY ROUGH--and an equally rough chapter by chapter outline.

"Thank you for being so supportive and enthusiastic while I was writing .... and for telling me to take my time. It's only fair for you to get the same courtesy in reading it!

"When it comes to outlines, thinking things over usually helps.....and time spent doing a good job on the thinking saves a lot of writing time later. Also, as you will see, there is a lot of musical stuff for you to figure out/create. So please take as much time as you need to mull it over....and we can and should of course talk about it too.

"It will I think take less time to read and comment on the sample least, my experience has been that when it comes to reading a story or book, my FIRST reactions and responses are the truest and most helpful. So maybe it makes sense to talk about the sample chapters and the outline in two separate conversations?

"I think it may be really hard to read the sample AS A STORY, and not as a portrait of your people! One thing I do when I'm trying to get objectivity on something i've written is to print it out and makes notes by hand as I read -- that way, too, those first reactions don't get lost in later impressions.

"If you do that and tell me it would be enormously helpful in the rewriting. Specifically, I'd love to know:

*where you wanted MORE

*where you wanted less

*what's boring (just cross out anything that is boring, or if you're not sure what to cross out, mark where your attention started to wander)

*what was confusing

*what you liked: interested you, touched you, made you laugh, made you curious to see what would happen next

*what seemed unnecessary -- unrelated to the story

"THOSE are the kinds of comments that help a writer improve a piece! Or help me, anyway.

"What we will both I think have to be ruthless about (because I think we both have a tendency to enjoy making them up) are the descriptive details that are fun to think of and contemplate, but don't move the story along or develop character. Maybe our rule can be that we BOTH have to like them/think they add something or out they go.

"FOR EXAMPLE: the part about Nola's bright yellow bedroom and fluffy rug-- if it bored you, or you don't think it adds anything, we take it out.

"I hope the fun I had writing this translates into fun for the reader--but that you will tell me."


He DID tell me: we went over the draft for two and a half hours on the phone -- it was really fun, and not just because he loved and GOT what I'd written. His comments -- and, I have to admit, enthusiasm -- made it a lot better, which is after all the point.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I've been working on some graphic novel ideas. Here's a sample picture from a nonfiction graphic novel I want to do:

I've also been reading a lot of graphic novels - memoirs specifically. My favorite is called THE ALCOHOLIC. It's sad, funny, and just right. I think it's my favorite. I read a very pretentious graphic novel called FUN HOME. Even though the vocabulary was ridiculous (I swear you need a good dictionary and your brain power to get through it) I still enjoyed it. It's about a woman who comes to grip with her father's sexuality, and her own. I also just finished a rather large one called BLANKETS. It's about a first love. I really liked this one, though I found the ending a bit abrupt.

I'm thinking again about how I could make a graphic novel about my teen years. They were AWFUL. I know there's a lot of that out there but I think there's room for one more. We shall see.

If any of you know of a good graphic novel to read - adult or kids' - please let me know!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

vote for my book!

Hey look, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon has been nominated for a 2009 Goodreads Choice Award in the Children's category! Vote for me! (scroll down to poll #8, that should be lucky, right?

before, during, and after

So, Thursday night, the night before my Today Show appearance, I slept very badly. I had a bad dream that I was on my way to the TV studio when I tripped and fell into a muddy pond...and then had to go on air with half covered in mud. Also, Mo Willems was the guest before me (because really, it's every author's nightmare to have to speak after him). So, my anxiety dreams were not that subtle.

But, luckily, it was just a dream and before I knew it, I was there, it was live, and it was OVER! It went by so quickly!
According to the youtube clip, it was exactly 4 minutes and 58 seconds. I spent a good portion of that time thinking that I had to stop my legs from jiggling. But there were a few moments when my mind was calm, and during that time I was rather awed.

The truth is, I think I have always put limitations on the appeal of my books. I've always thought my books were "Asian-niched" or "for girls" but for the first time, I realized how close-minded I've been about the audience that I write for. As we waited on set, the kids' excitement and enjoyment of my book was honest and real. "This book should be made into a movie," one boy said. "This book and that other blue cover book were the best ones we've read!" another said, the others echoing their approval. And then live, during the show, when one boy HAD to say, "By the way, I liked your book," before asking his question something clicked.

None of these kids were obviously Asian (I think one might have been a mix) and the boys were just as, if not more, enthusiastic than the girls. They did not think of my book as a Chinese book or a girl book. Those things didn't matter or even occur to them. This was just a book they enjoyed. It was perhaps the most truly multicultural moment I have ever had in my writing path so far-- a moment where the race and gender melted away, a moment that was so multicultural that the label faded away.

Which was very, very neat.

Afterwards, it still took me some time to come down (I am still recuperating!). Strange how something that occupied so much of my mind for so long was just, well, finished. It was almost anti-climatic, but a celebration of:

SOUP DUMPLINGS at Joe Shanghai's (oh how, I love soup dumplings!)

followed by:
singing bad karaoke tempered the withdrawal! Well, ok, only my singing was bad (my song="Flashdance:What a Feeling"). The others (Melanie, Meghan, TS and Alvina) were pretty good.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Getting ready

This Saturday Grace and I are sharing a table at the RISD Holiday Alumni Sale down in Providence. We'll be selling books, prints, and other book related goodies! For me this means a trip to Ikea and framing late into the night...

I usually sell inkjet prints of illustrations (these bird prints are always a big seller). But this year, with the help of my photographer dad and his printing genius, I've upgraded to archival giclée prints. They look SO much better than what I was printing at home, almost exactly like the originals!

Come by and say hello if you're in the area, I will give you a free Abigail Spells button!

10am-5pm, Rhode Island Convention Center
One Sabin Street, Providence
admission: $7; children under 14 + current RISD students (with ID): free

For directions, click here.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Today Show pics and Two Tidbits

Here are a few pictures from Grace's appearance on The Today Show last Friday.

When I showed up at the studio, Grace was getting her makeup done in the green room. I took this short video by mistake before someone told me that photos weren't allowed in the area:

Grace met the book club kids beforehand--but they were under strict orders to not talk about the book (although signing books was allowed):
Lining up to go up to the taping:
I watched the show from the green room (there was a nice spread of food and coffee for all of us):Afterwards we took a group picture:

And here are Ames O'Neill (Grace's publicist at L,B), me, Grace, and her agent Rebecca Sherman:
Grace was great, wasn't she? I imagine she will have more to share on Wednesday.


Two more tidbits. I'd like to direct you to a thorough and insightful post by agent Michael Sterns over at the Upstart Crow Literary Agency blog. Food for thought for picture book authors.

And finally, this video kind of blew my mind. Will this be the future of magazines and books?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Grace Lin Appears on the Today Show

Grace talks about her fantasy novel Where the Mountain Meets the Moon with Al Roker.


POETRY FRIDAY: I Cannot Speak of War

I thought the following poem was appropriate for posting this week. I found it at Poets Against War.

I Cannot Speak of War
by Pat Harvey

I can only speak of soldiers: captured

in nearly a century of photographs.

Old eyes in young faces who wear

integrity as easily as their crisp

dress blues and browns.

I can speak of my grandfather: the doughboy

learning a bit of the old parlez-vous

with gay mademoiselles baring

frantic smiles and foxholed nights

when the chauchaut rifle was useless.

You can read the rest of the poem here.


At Wild Rose Reader, I have an original fairy tale poem titled The Giant’s Magic Harp Sings.

I’m doing the Poetry Friday Roundup at Wild Rose Reader today.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Chronicle Books sale

In case you haven't heard of this is a REALLY great deal from Chronicle Books, today is the last day to take advantage. Shop their web site before December 4th and get 35% off and free shipping. I love the design of their art books, stationary, crafty goodies, and of course children's books. Books make the best presents!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

good luck charm

So, in an effort to prepare myself for Friday's TODAY Show interview I have been focusing on the "important" things. You know--what clothes to wear, getting my bangs trimmed, cleaning my shoes...yes, the very, very important things.

And while I was getting the very important bang trim, I noticed my hairdresser had on a jade bracelet. It reminded me of my trip to China, one of the inspirations of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and the jade bracelets I saw there. And then, suddenly, I felt like I HAD to wear a jade bracelet with my outfit. It was quite irrational.

But what to do? There wasn't time for me to go down to Boston's Chinatown. I could, perhaps, get one when I was in NYC but the schedule looked packed. In fact, the only time I had to shop was right then. I'd just have to hope I could find one locally on the way home from the hairdresser.

And it didn't seem promising. Libby, who was visiting (we always seem to do hair escapades together), was with me and we walked from one store to the next--Tibetan shops to thrift stores. Finally, at the very last store before home, we found one!

It was like fate! I hope it will be my good luck charm for the interview--in fact, Libby bought it for me because she thought it would be luckier if it was a gift. I really hope so...

9:45 AM on Friday, Dec. 4th
The TODAY Show on NBC