Writing quote

Sure, it's simple writing for kids...Just as simple as raising them.
— Ursula K. LeGuin

Monday, October 10, 2011


A good turn out at the Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA.
   The Dastardly Dames book launch in Corte Madera was finally here! I'd been practicing my spiel on Cixi for the last few days. Public speaking is not my thing, although I'm getting better at it.  Naturally I was nervous, but I was glad to have the other Dastardly Dame authors to share this with. 
   Our event began with a major glitch—it's Fleet Week in San Francisco, and Shirin Bridges (publisher of Goosebottom Books and author of Agrippina), and Janie Havemeyer (author of Catherine de'Medici) were stuck in heavy traffic south of the Golden Gate Bridge. The venue at the Book Passage in Corte Madera was nicely set up with signing tables for the Dames authors, and a table for coffee, juice, milk, and food. Unfortunately, the food was with Shirin in traffic. There were already people milling around, and Goosebottom Books' assistant, Ann Edwards, and the other authors were there, so we made the best of things, and kept in touch with Shirin by phone. 
   My first public speaking attempt was at 4:15 pm., 15 mins. after the event was to start, to announce to the crowd that we were off to a late start because two of our authors were not here yet. Janie finally made it through and arrived about 20 or 25 mins. after the event was about to begin, but we were still hoping that Shirin would get here for the start of the presentations. After speaking with the bookstore event coordinator, however, we decided we had to begin as they had another event afterwards, and we didn't want to make people wait too long. 

All the authors did a fantastic job on their presentations.  It was so much fun listening to their dames' stories, and to be a part of this fabulous team of authors.  Cixi, The Dragon Empress being the last woman in the chronological timeline was last, and Shirin did make it towards the end of my presentation to talk about 
From L. to R.: Goosebottom Books editorial assistant,
Ann Edwards; my friend, Richard Loo; my brother,
 Jason Yim and his girlfriend, Sylvia Rodriguez.
   Goosebottom Books and Agrippina. She was amazingly smooth and unruffled in spite of the stress of dealing with the traffic and being late to the Goosebottom Books event! 
At my book signing table
More book signings!
   We also had a terrific time signing books afterwards and chatting with our friends and family. My parents came with Shirin, but fortunately, they were able to listen to a bit of my presentation and see me on the podium. My brother, Jason, and his girlfriend, Sylvia, brought her parents all the way up from L.A. What a treat! And a few of my writing friends from the Green Gulch retreat also came.
   All in all, we had a great turnout, and the Book Passage people were happy because many of the book titles were sold out!
Speaking about Cixi, The Dragon Empress with Shirin Yim Bridges 
looking amazingly unruffled after her fight with Fleet Week traffic

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


   Woo Hoo!!!! My agent called me this morning with great news! And she worried she was calling too early. No, Karen [Grencik], you can call me at 2 am. with this kind of news!! Charlesbridge Publishing has decided to acquire Goldy Luck and the Three Chans!! What a long road it has been for this manuscript! Just a little recap: it was submitted to Tricycle Press in 2006. Three editors and three and a half years later, Tricycle offered me a contract, but Random House (which had fairly recently acquired Tricycle) decided to close down the imprint. The axe fell quickly. The sad news was released to editors and authors in November 2010, and the editors and staff were gone by the end of January. Out of 30 odd books that were under contract through 2012, Random House may have kept 2 or 3. Goldy Luck was not one of them.
   But onwards and forwards, as they say. So, I sent it to my former editor at Charlesbridge, Yolanda Scott, who reaffirmed that Charlesbridge does not publish a lot of fairy or folk tales, but she liked the multi-cultural theme. She passed the story along to editor Alyssa Pusey who contacted me in March 2011, and indicated she really liked the story. She wrote me a long editorial letter, and I made revisions based on her suggestions. However, after some deliberations at their acquisitions meeting, the Marketing Department was unsure whether Charlesbridge should take the leap into publishing a fractured fairy tale. But, they decided to not make a decision, and shelve it till the fall.
   In June, as luck would have it, Alyssa was going to be at the ALA convention, and we met up for lunch to review the manuscript once more. In the meantime, Karen submitted Goldy Luck to several publishers. Unfortunately, we had two rejections, and never heard back from any of the others.
   But I think Charlesbridge is meant to have this story. I really enjoyed working with them on Otto's Rainy Day, and they treat their authors very well, so I'm ecstatic! Alyssa will be getting the contract to Karen in a couple of weeks.
   This fairy tale may finally have it's Happily Ever After.

The moral? Don't give up. Perseverance is a writer's greatest tool.