i’m signed up for the scbwi conference
in los angeles this august. since amber
will be there to be my roomie, i’m even
more excited about it!

amber and i have made
a pact to bring historicals back into YA
as a trend. she’s written a wonderful

book based on the moriori tribe off the coast
of new zealand titled rohana. it even
garnered her an award and prize money
at the scbwi conference last summer.
you can imagine how many entries there
were and how talented she is to have

i’ve been busy working on getting my
business cards printed as well as my
official website. i’d like both to be launched
in the summer in time for the conference.
i am in full self-promotion mode. i realize
i haven’t sold my novel yet, but one can
never start too early, right? =)

in the meantime, i’m also reading these
books for research :

i’ve always been fascinated by
women in positions of power–or in
this case, perhaps the opposite. imagine
being so beautiful that you are plucked
from the masses to be an imperial concubine,
among hundreds if not thousands of others.
your only hope to status is to bear a son
to the emperor–and even then, attention can
garner jealousy and death.

if i could choose to go back in any period
to spy among the people, it’d either be
during anne boleyn’s time or among the
chinese emperor’s harems.

i’ve got an idea of how i want novel 2
(the sequel) to be set up. it’s…different
in a way. but it’s what my mind is telling
me to do. and apparently, a YA asian historical
fantasy is different now as well. you can’t
do anything but go with your writerly instincts.

i cannot believe it’s already may, and i’m
very excited about what the rest of the year
may bring. xoxo

addendum : there’s an interesting dialogue
going on over at the book book in regards
to lisa see’s snow flower and the secret fan.
did you read it? what are your thoughts?

i picked this book up on a lark as
part of a buy two get one free deal
at the local barnes and noble. i had
certainly heard of the book before, but
only the title rung a bell with me.
it was published here here in 1998
while i was in grad school.
i never read for pleasure while in uni–
it was one thing i missed a lot despite
the fact that i love being a student.

santiago decides not to follow what
his family wishes for him, to become a
priest, but instead follow his desire
to travel and see more of the world by
becoming a sheepherder. a recurrent dream
of treasures at the egyptian pyramids
prompts the boy to abandon his sheep
to pursue his Personal Legend.

the Personal Legend, as the boy is
told by various wise men he encounters,
is what every person is born to achieve.
it is his destiny in this life which will
make him truly happy. but as humans
full of foibles as we are, we learn
to suppress our Personal Legend as
we grow older. We let fear of failure, fear
of success even, and the small details of
surviving life get in the way.

coelho’s prose is straightforward,
clean and simple. prose that i always
admire in a writer. it is the reason i love
ursula le guin’s fantasy books so much–
for her simple prose and storytelling.
coelho tells a uncomplicated tale which
every person reading can understand and
relate to–the relinquishing of our dreams–
what would truly make us happy. and the
courage it takes to never give up.

my issue with the story is that it seemed
to get didactic at times. yes, it is indeed
a fable, but in certain points in the story,
the message got heavy-handed for me.
it certainly is a fine line. but overall, i did
enjoy the book. i didn’t like it as much as
i wanted to. i was really drawn in at the
beginning, taken by the hand. it reminded me
of many fantasy stories i loved.

it was toward the middle, when i felt
the author’s message a little too strongly,
but he led me back again with good
storytelling. i can see why so many people
would have loved this book. it’s an inspiring,
thought-provoking tale written in beautiful
prose by coelho.

*see this review and others over at
the book book!

currently reading :

girl with a pearl earring
by tracy chevalier

i’m trying to slowly upload my brushpaintings
on this blog. this piece, titled broken bamboo,
is probably one of my best bamboos. it won
an honorable mention ribbon at the county fair
and also got purchased! not by my mom, either. =p

so the idea is that i’ll be passing out business
cards at the conference in august. i thought i’d
choose a painting for the card, and include my
website and email. i don’t carry a cell phone and
i don’t particularly enjoy talking on one (i think
i used up all my phone talking joys as a teen),
so that’s it.

but then, i also wanted a sort of tag or label
for myself and the website. i thought maybe
paint and prose (as it will showcase some
of my art as well as talk about my writing
endeavors). i’m a sucker for alliteration, i hate
to say it. what do you think?

i thought of saying “writer and artist”
but that sounds so pretentious. nevermind
author and artist. on my card? i don’t know
if i can do that. am i an author? what’s an
author? just someone who’s written a book?
you know we’re obsessed with labeling, right?

and if anyone labels herself as
artist and author, don’t think that i’d
think you were pretentious. i’d only
think that i am being pretentious if
i did so. i know it doesn’t make sense–
maybe a part of me thinks i’m faking it?
and i’ll get found out.

feel free to share any thoughts or
suggestions. that’s my rambling for
the day. the bubs are home with me and
i am totally stir crazy!!! brush class tonight
tho. yay!

addendum : and my brush society didn’t do
nearly as bad as i thought in sales this round!
only three hundred dollars less. not bad at all.

monday marked the closing of another
show for me and fellow chinese brush
painters. it ran for ten days and we didn’t
do nearly as well as we did back in august.

i think the fact that it wasn’t tourist season,
the rising cost of living and taxes made
less willing to buy art. boo.
it’s not easy making
money in any type of
artistic endeavor. much less a living.

i’m standing by three of my framed pieces.
the pine tree (upper left) the peach blossoms
(upper right) and my orchid (lower right).
i also showed my bamboo and the strawberry
chick below.

despite the lack of sales, i personally did
really well. i sold this strawberry chick (framed)

and the matted chickees with bamboo below,
earning $150. yay me! that almost covers the
costs of framing. 8) the strawberry chick had
been hanging in sweet pea’s bedroom since

she was born. because i didn’t have enough
paintings, i stole it from her. =X she hasn’t
noticed yet–and she’s usually very observant.
i’ll have to replace her stolen painting with another.

this one i had titled curious chicks. 8)
that’s meant to be a lady bug in the middle.
the same woman purchased both paintings.

i wonder if they’re for herself or presents?
it’s always
such a compliment (and very surreal)
to know
strangers have my paintings hanging
on their

it’s time for me to hit the gym.
it’s gray and drizzly and i’m sore from
monday’s work out with hardy, but i’ll
be good…
zai jian, peng you!!

bernita’s recent post on heroine’s made me
think of my aversion to crying. it’s strange how
your viewpoints and feelings about everything
bleeds into your own writing. i’m not much of
a crier, tho i’ve grown soft since having the bubs.

my heroine cries quite a few times in my novel.
tho she has reason to, as i basically torture her
for most of the book. at least i feed her as well. 8)
her reaction is appropriate, i believe, in those
scenes. at the same time, it sort of always makes
me worry that she may come across as too weak.
because that is what i associate with crying.
it’s ridiculous, but there it is.

don’t even get me started on making my
hero cry. i’ve posted threads about it on forums
and have had to have men tell me that it’s
fine for the hero to show some emotion. esp
given the circumstances. again tho, i was worried
he’d come across as sniveling and weak-willed.
which my hero certainly is not!

i’ve been stalking my heroine some online.
the actress’ name is liu yi fei. she’s twenty-one
years old.

i’m slowly adding to my links list.
please comment if you can and i’ll link you!
tho i’m sure i’ll get my whole reading list
up sooner or later. 8)

currently reading :

the alchemist
by paulo coelho