Hard to believe it’s been over two months since I’ve posted. Trust me, my intentions have been to give some updates, but I seem to have forgotten how to write anything witty or interesting. Hang on…It’s coming back…I need brain yoga for creative flow!
There isn’t much on the book front, nothing really concrete that I’m ready to share, anyway. I’ll just be cagey and say I hope to have some good news soon…The Flower Bowl Spell got a really nice review from ForeWord Reviews online. Click here if you want to read it. Yes, I do write reviews for them too; however, we are all freelancers and I don’t personally know any of their other reviewers. Actually, this is what happened: I’d entered their Book of the Year Awards 2012 contest, but got disqualified since I write reviews (Should have figured that out, right?). They offered to do an online review instead. A total no brainer. I got some feedback from a few people who have read the review via Goodreads or on my blog, saying they would check out my book. Huzzah!
On the personal front, I went to my college reunion in May, and took my daughter with me. It was our first trip with just the two of us, and we had a lot of fun. We also visited friends and relatives on the East Coast so that was a bonus. In June, my family and I went to Hong Kong to visit more relatives and see the places my mother used to frequent in her formative years. Sweltering, muggy heat, but what are you gonna do?
A conversation started at the American Girl Bistro outside Boston
(my daughter’s response: “Why would I tell you that?”)
The Hong Kong skyline
The Star Ferry in Hong Kong
Summertime ushers my kids into camp and other fun activities. It also means some of my freelance gigs slow down, so I’ve spent more time getting some rough drafts into shape. Scrivener software has been more useful than I ever imagined. The tutorial was really helpful—I don’t think I could have just plunged in and started using it without going over that—but that’s just me.
I hope all of you are having a marvelous summer. And I promise not to let two months go by without any news. Pinky promise.
I’ve been writing reviews for ForeWord Reviews magazine for about 100 years, ever since they were kind enough to write a nice review of my first novel, Year of the Smoke Girl. I’ve since moved on to writing for their offshoot, Clarion, and have become a de facto poetry reviewer. I’ve always admired poetry, have lots of friends who are poets, but am myself not a master (or mistress) of the genre.
This week, the Executive Editor of ForeWord Reviews, Howard Lovy, featured me in his weekly newsletter. To see it click here.
Yay, fun! And Happy May.
Rafflecopter crunched the data and picked a winner for my giveaway, someone who happens to like author Charlaine Harris for her strong female characters. Congratulations to Slawka Grabowska, who gets a $25 Amazon gift card!
Thank you to everyone who entered. I’ll have another giveaway in May to celebrate The Flower Bowl Spell paperback anniversary.
A few days ago, I finished reading the twelfth, penultimate book in the entertaining confection that is the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series. It took me about a month to get through all twelve—not bad. If you don’t know, the books are the basis for the HBO series True Blood. And if you don’t know True Blood, then you are missing out on funny, sexy, gory goodness! Of course, it’s not for everyone. I can think of a few grandmothers who wouldn’t be pleased to watch it.
The 13th book is out May 7, 2013
The books are different although the voice of the heroine, Sookie, stays true in the TV show. While I was reading the series, it struck me how tiring it must be for author Charlaine Harris to have to repeat information in each and every book. How many times did I get introduced to Sookie’s telepathy or the fact that she’d killed a major nemesis in her kitchen with a shotgun or a description of her gorgeous yet scary vampire boyfriend’s long blond hair and blue eyes?
Since I’m working on a sequel to The Flower Bowl Spell, I think about how much old information I’ll need to relate. I kind of want to approach the new book as a stand-alone, but I think that can be tricky as well. To use an example from a totally different genre, Louise Erdrich recycles characters and settings all the time in her novels—they are like real people living their lives on a different plane of existence, and Erdrich drops in now and then to record for readers in her lyrical prose when something dramatic happens to them.
It’s a fine line a writer has to straddle in giving too much away or not offering enough information. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to stop over-thinking and just write.
By the way, there’s still time to enter my Amazon gift card giveaway! Click on the Giveaways link above or here. The drawing in this Sunday, February 10, 2013.
One year ago, I uploaded my novel The Flower Bowl Spell to Smashwords. It quietly “went live,” and I was the first person to download it. How thrilling to see it on my iPad amongst my other books! The next day, I put it on Amazon, and bought it a second time, this time for my Kindle. Wow! There it was amongst Little Women and The Passage. What a trip!
To celebrate, I’m hosting a Giveaway, powered by Rafflecopter. One lucky winner will get a $25 Amazon gift card. Answer one question to enter. Like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, tweet about the giveaway, and/or buy a copy of my book for more chances to win. The raffle closes on February 10, 2013, which happens to be Chinese New Year’s day. Click here now to enter for your chance to win.
By the way, this coming year is the Year of the Serpent. “Steady focus and attention to detail” will be the name of the game according to HanBan.com. Sounds like a plan.
In 2011, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (Penguin) published my dear friend Siobhan Fallon’s debut short story collection, You Know When the Men Are Gone. (If you didn’t know, Amy Einhorn is the editor who gave readers The Help by Kathryn Stockett.) Siobhan is a U.S. Army wife, and her stories delve into the lives of military families at Fort Hood in Texas over the course of a year while their soldiers are deployed to Iraq.
A poster in my neighborhood for the Z Space Word for Word stage production of YKWTMAG
And now, some of the stories from her collection, which are linked, have been adapted to the stage. If you happen to be in San Francisco from Jan. 1 through Feb. 24, 2013, get tickets to the Z Space Word for Word production. I saw an early version of it last year, and it was fantastic. Her stories are already powerful and moving—comparisons to Tim O’Brien and Raymond Carver have been made—and seeing them played out by this fine troupe of actors does nothing but enhance them.
For more information, check out the Word for Word webpage or blog.
Happy 2013! This post is a chain self-interview about my next book project. I’ve read the blog chain started on She Writes a few months ago. My author pal Dina Santorelli tapped me to take part, and I want to thank her for thinking of me. In return, I’ve asked my writer friends Siobhan Fallon and Roger Colby to post their own interviews next week, so be sure to check out their answers.
- What is your working title of your book (or story)?
I have a few irons in the fire including a short story collection, an upmarket women’s fiction novel, and a sequel to The Flower Bowl Spell. I’ll talk about that even though it’s in the crappy first draft stage. The working title is The Flower Bowl Ghost.
- Where did the idea come from for the book?
The idea comes from my first book about Memphis Zhang, The Flower Bowl Spell. She’s an intriguing character, and there were some unanswered questions in the first book. I think it’ll be fun to find out what happens next.
- What genre does your book fall under?
Good question! I guess it falls under urban fantasy, although I’m not really sure. It’s too plot-driven to be magic realism, I suppose.
- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
A fun thought. I think Memphis could be played by Olivia Munn. Bradley Cooper could be Cooper! (Kismet!) Harry Shum, Jr. would be fantastic as Tyson.
- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A young, powerful San Francisco witch discovers her dark side—and likes it.
- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Um, too long? But I was able to get it all out with the help of NaNoWriMo last November.
- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
A Discovery of Witches, the Sookie Stackhouse series.
- Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My fount of inspiration bubbled up from my Wiccan research. I wanted to get to know that culture beyond what I had seen in TV shows and books. Then I decided to write my own fictional account of a Wiccan. It seemed fun, and it was!
- What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I published The Flower Bowl Spell almost a year ago as an e-book and then later as a paperback. To celebrate the upcoming first anniversary, I’m planning a giveaway. Stay tuned!