Wednesday, February 28, 2007

far travels

Did I tell you? I'm going to Hong Kong on Friday.

Yes, I am. The Hong Kong International School and the Man Festival invited me out there for the next 14 days, I think due to the attention that author Roseanne Thong (who lives in HK) has gotten there for the books we did together. Thanks, Roseanne!

But the trip is a little bittersweet. It's been in the works for a while; originally Robert was going to come with me and it was going to be a grand adventure. Unfortunately, his recent decline ruined those plans--but his current stable status does at least allow me to go (unlike the Feb. San Diego trip that had to be canceled completely--sorry San Diego! Hope you don't hate me!).

So, go I will. And I am determined to still make it an adventure, even though I admit to being a bit intimidated trying to explore Hong Kong by my lonesome. Luckily, the HKIS and SCBWI coordinators have graciously offered their guidance--which I am SO going to take them up on. Boy, are they going to regret that. I've declined to tell them about one of my most annoying traits--my love of vacation photography. I am the worst Asian sightseer off the tour bus, clicking away and always asking people to take a photo of me in front of some iconic monument. That's the one thing Robert said he's glad he's going to miss.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

time off

What's a girl do when her work is done? For me, I do what brings immense rejoicing to Robert's soul. I clean my studio! Yes, lo and behold I've organized(mostly), swept, and scrubbed the studio (otherwise known as the obstacle course).

You can see the floors! You can see that the tables are white! You can tell it's a pin-up board! I'm so proud, it had to be catalogued.

And perhaps a job well done is its own reward but while I was cleaning, inspiration struck me. As I was putting away my mounds of decorative paper, I found this Japanese print I bought a while ago. The little, glowing rabbits reminded me of the Chinese Moon Festival and I thought, hey, why don't I do a companion to my Chinese New Year picturebook and do a Moon Festival one too?

But maybe it's not a good idea. It might just be me doing the same thing over again, same type of books, same type of pictures and subject matter. Even though I'd enjoy it, I'm always afraid people think I rehash the same-o, same-o. So maybe I won't. I can't tell. I think the cleaning fumes are getting to me.

Friday, February 23, 2007


I can't believe it, but I am finally caught up on all my work. It is a surreal feeling. For the last couple years, I've been behind, late, and juggling. People would ask me what I was working on and I would be purposely vague--half because I was so scattered I wasn't quite sure and half because I was paranoid that one of my publishers would find out that I wasn't working on their book.

But it's over. I 've finally stuck my reward stickers on my schedule (covering up the many crossed out and revised due dates). And now I'm left with a strange feeling. I think it's relief.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

oink, oink

Hello, Year of the Pig! While Robert wasn't up to doing any of the traditional celebratory things, I still made sure we started off the year sweet by making piggie chocolates.

Though, since it is the year of the "golden pig" maybe I should have made them yellow, not pink.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

goodbye, year of the dog!

Ah, tommorrow is Chinese New Year and I officially have to stop signing my book, "Happy Year of the Dog!"

I like Chinese New Year, because I feel like it's my second chance. By this time, my new year resolutions have already been broken, so Chinese New Year allows me to, um, readjust, my previous goals.

Regardless of my personal shortcomings, the Year of the Dog has been a pretty good one for my book. It's been fortunate enough to garner several positive reviews and accolades. So a lucky little book, if I do say so myself. And, just because the Year of the Dog is gone, doesn't mean the book is, right? Right?(That was my transparent plea for you to buy my book. Good thing red is a lucky color for the holiday, hopefully my blushing gives me good fortune).

• 2006 Fall Publisher’s Pick
• Starred Booklist Review
• 2006 ALA Children's Notable
• 2006 National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) GOLD Winner
• 2006-2007 Texas Bluebonnet Award Masterlist
• 2007 Nene Awards Recommended List (Hawaii's Book Award Chosen by Children Grades 4-6)
• 2007 Cochecho Readers' Award List (sponsored by the Children's Librarians of Dover, New Hampshire)
• NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing 2006
• Kirkus Best Early Chapter Books 2006
•2006 Booklist Editors' Choice for Middle Readers

Thursday, February 15, 2007

heart redo

I accidentally erased my valentine's day post. here it is again for posterity.

We bought this heart for Valentine's Day from the multi-talented Polly Sonic.


I just received layouts for The Red Thread. This book was quite a challenge for me; and there were many times I regretted taking it on as I felt my style might not be the best match for it. However, now looking at the spreads, I'm pleasantly suprised how well it came together.

It's what I call an adoption fairytale, inspired by the Chinese belief that all people who are destined to be together are connected by an invisible red thread. In my story, a fictional king and queen are pulled by a red thread from their hearts over mountains and oceans to find a baby at the end. They adopt the baby and make her a princess of their kingdom. This is the end scene,

and detail.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

6 weird things, plus an extra

Gail, whom I've only made the acquaintance of over the internet, has "tagged" me. I'm suppose to post 6 weird things about myself with this rule:

Each person who gets tagged needs to write a blog post of their own 6 weird things as well as clearly state this rule. After you state your 6 weird things, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names.

I'm not very good at following instructions but here's my best:

1. I'm allergic to the telephone. I would rather write a letter with blood pricked from my finger than communicate verbally. Of course, internet pixels are more preferable than blood.

2. I own a cell phone that I never use, because of weirdness #1. However, I continue to pay the unnecessary expense because I keep thinking I might need it in an emergency. However, whenever an emergency happens, I usually have left the phone at home or it has run out of batteries; and I have to mooch someone else's phone.

3. When I do talk on the phone, I speak 10 miles a minute--so quickly that people think that I am in a rush to go somewhere and must leave RIGHT AWAY. In reality, I don't have to go anywhere, but I never clarify that to the other person because I don't want them to know how weird I am about talking on the phone.

4. I speak better Italian than I do Chinese/Taiwanese, to the chagrin of my mother but the delight to Robert's grandmother.

5. I speak better dim sum than I do Italian or Chinese/Taiwanese to the delight of my dim sum companions (and my stomach).

6. Working at home, I have been guilty of wearing pajamas all day. This has become so routine that I no longer even feel embarrassment getting packages from the UPS guy in such alluring attire (flannel bunnies)...and neither does he!

Strangely, I only know 6 people to tag and they are the blue rose girls. So, girls, if you are reading this, consider yourself tagged. Of course, you can just ignore it and pretend you didn't see this too.


*Hey I just remembered one more weird thing that is so weird that I have to add.

7. Two or three years ago I had a run-in with someone (about what is not important but she was really mean to me !). After she left I said, "What a witch! I hope she falls into a hole!" The next day she came in with her ankle all bandaged up and limping...she HAD fallen into a hole. Yeeks!

Saturday, February 10, 2007


When the extended family gathered for Christmas at my parents' house, the star of the show was my 3 year old niece, Lily. On one grey morning the sun suddenly shone out from the clouds and streamed through windows. Lily burst into smiles and laughed. "The sun!" she cried out and proceeded to run throughout the house, calling to everyone, "The sun! The sun!"

At the time, her delight at such a small thing filled me with wonder. However, Robert's return from his 5-day emergency hospital stay has taught me the charm of these simple things. Just hearing him whistle in the shower makes me smile and want to run around the room with joy; and I feel as if the sun is shining through the clouds.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

listen to my book!

I just discovered you can download an audio version of The Year of the Dog! You can even listen to a sample of it for free. It's so strange to hear someone else reading the book, I'm so used to my own voice reading it. Ki-Ki and Lissy are going to be upset that their names are pronounced wrong (Ki-Ki should be kie-kie--rhyming with pie, and Lissy should be lee-she)but it's not the reader's fault. My parents should have spelled their names more phonetically correct...or I guess I could've, now that I think of it. Oops.

The Amazing Chia Hat

I definitely need one of these:

TheChia Hat!


everything will be okay
if i cling to cliches
things will get better
i won't drown
because miracles happen
in this ocean of tears

Sunday, February 04, 2007

i want to branch out into homegoods

I saw this peppergrinder in a store window and bought it, even though it was a crazy price. I looked up the manufacturer Pylones, and have decided that my next mogul empire (after children's books and cupcakes) will be homegoods. Robert laughed and said that the peppergrinder looked like me without glasses; and we contemplated fixing that with a sharpie marker. But since the girl has to go through exorcist head spins to grind the pepper we decided to leave it be.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


The days have been hard and I watch the pieces of our lives sink. As they descend out of reach I read them like tea leaves at the bottom of a cup; I finally understand how those things were not meant for us. And as I come to terms with the life that we live, the life that we lost and the life that we want, I try to be grateful that it is life at all.