One of my short stories, “The Wish Doctor,” has been published in Journeys to Uncharted Lands, the sixth Los Angeles Nanowrimo Anthology. And my story is the first one! That means that if you click on the free preview, you get my story! Of course, if you do that and you like my story, you should then go on to pay $3.99 and buy the Kindle book and read everyone else’s stories, which are also really good. Elisabeth Ashlin was a pleasure to work with, and she and her team did an excellent job editing this anthology. The print version will be out soon. It’s very exciting to see my name in print!
I should also mention that I also had a story, “Collateral Damage,” published in the third Los Angeles Nano Anthology Meet the Systems, also available for purchase in print and paperback on Amazon.
With the recent release of the 2019 Nanowrimo Anthology, there’s a chance that someone besides my mother might visit this website. So after three years of near-silence, I thought I’d say hello.
It’s amazing how quickly the time went by since my last post, and how outdated this website has become. In my header I called myself a “new mother,” but my oldest just started transitional kindergarten, and I now have two kids. My political post right after the elections seems naive and over-optimistic, sadly. And my previous banner title, “Almost Published,” doesn’t fit because I’ve had a few stories and articles more-than-almost published, but I still haven’t found an agent for my finished novel. I suppose “Slightly Published” would be accurate, but since that sounds unimpressive, I replaced it with my name.
Time is in much shorter supply now that I have two young children, but I love being a mama. Motherhood hasn’t killed my desire to write nor stopped my flow of ideas, it just makes it much harder to sit down and put in the hours required to produce something good. That’s probably why I’ve done more short stories lately–I can finish and revise one in the valuable hours when the kids are sleeping and I’m not too exhausted to type. Plus, contests and submission deadlines are good motivators!
Even with my neglect, upon revisiting my site today I had one real comment waiting for me to approve and several people sign up for my email list that I hadn’t realized had done so. So if anyone is reading now, hello! Leave me a comment and I’ll try to check it before a year from now. And thanks for reading!
Note: This isn’t about writing, but given the recent election, I found it hard to focus on my novel for a couple of weeks, during which I wrote this article. I also posted it on Medium.
The results of the presidential election were shocking and scary—and Republicans should be as alarmed as Democrats. Donald Trump openly campaigned as a tyrant, suggesting we violate Constitution and international humanitarian laws, claiming he alone can solve complex problems, slandering entire groups of people, and threatening to jail his political opponents.
Now that he’s won with a narrow minority of the popular vote and has made an unusually nice acceptance speech, many on the left and right say we should give him a “chance to lead.” While his inauguration may be inevitable, we cannot wait to send a clear message about the limits of his power. The left and right don’t agree on much these days, but it’s imperative that people across the spectrum come together to protect five basic principles of our democracy: Continue reading
I just got a flash fiction piece published on the Akashic website as part of their Terrible Twosdays series. Check it out here!
The week before my baby’s due date, after I had finally wrapped up my work obligations, cleaned the soon-to-be nursery, and inflated my birth ball, I sat down and spent several hours attending to my other “baby,” my first novel. Though I was already experiencing what I now realize were early labor pains, I was determined to complete a hefty round of revisions before the baby was born. If this baby is two weeks late, I thought to myself, and I somehow write polished prose really really fast, then I might, possibly finish this draft…or at least half of this draft?
My first contraction interrupted my thoughts.
I love my little girl and wouldn’t give up being a mother for anything, not even a best-seller. Fortunately, I’ve discovered that having a baby doesn’t mean the end of my writing dreams. Though I had to stretch out my timeline, I managed to complete a fairly final draft of my novel during my baby’s first year.
What advice would I give other aspiring parent-novelists? The one sentence summary would be this: Your novel must be the “next thing” on your list.
A parent’s first three priorities are pretty much set: Continue reading
You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a new blog entry in over a year. Actually, you probably didn’t notice, because why would anyone check this blog if I don’t even care enough to update it? Despite what it may seem like from this website, I have actually been writing quite a bit over the past year, I just haven’t been blogging about it. My question is: Does that matter?
I established this author website almost two years ago, after speaking to some other not-yet-unpublished authors at a potluck hosted by the Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society. One of them told me that she had recently garnered the interest of an agent who wanted to represent her. What had the agent asked her? Not to see the first few chapters of her book, but rather how many people read her blog and how many followers she had on Twitter. When she answered several hundred each, the agent expressed interest. Other people sitting at the table around me began sharing their own stories of how they were promoting themselves through Twitter, Facebook, and their author websites. So I opened a Twitter account on my phone right there at the table, a Twitter account that I have posted to about one time. Later that year, I built this author website so I could start “building my platform.” It kind of makes sense—if publishers and agents already know I have a following, they will be more confident that people will buy my novel(s). On the other hand, if was really that brilliant at marketing myself, I would just go ahead and self-publish. Plus, I wasn’t really sure what to publish on my “author blog,” while I had plenty of ideas for my novels and short stories. Continue reading
Observations on Being a New Mom
It’s been a long time since I updated this blog, but I have a good excuse: I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on November 22! I feel very lucky to have had a smooth labor and a healthy baby.
My last post, in July, was about how I really wanted to finish my novel and have it agent-ready before my baby was born. I did end up hiring a professional editor and he had a lot more suggestions than I expected, which together amounted to another rewrite. The bad news is that, though I wrote a lot of the newest version before I have birth, I didn’t finish it. The good news is that my writing didn’t completely stop now that I have a baby. It has certainly slowed down, as it’s harder to find time to write, but I’ve been able to take advantage of some of her nap times and the times when my husband is home to get a little writing done.
Most of my life, however, has been taken up with baby concerns, which is why the rest of this blog is about being a new parent. No real advice here, just some observations: Continue reading
As my Web site title implies, “Almost Published” does not mean published. Unfortunately, it doesn’t even mean that my novel is finished, though I am at the point where I need outside editing and feedback to make it good enough so I would want it to be published, let alone good enough for someone else to want to publish. I’m considering paying for professional help (for the book, not for me), but the practical side of me hesitates at spending more than a small portion of my savings on an unpublished book that has no guarantee of making me money. The more imaginative side of me says that finishing my novel is part of my dream, and I am on a deadline.
Why am I on a deadline? Not because I have an agent, or a publisher, or even a somewhat arbitrary date set by the folks at Nanowrimo, but because I have a due date: November 28. If all goes as planned, my husband and I will have our first child sometime around the end of November or beginning of December. We are both very excited about this new stage in our lives, but I also predict that it will put my writing progress on hold for at least a few years.
Now that it’s been almost a month since I got back from Jamaica, it’s about time that I complete a blog post telling about the second part of my trip. After leaving the Calabash Festival, Matt and I spent some time in two parts of the island: Portland, IMHO the most beautiful parish, and Kingston, certainly not the most beautiful part but the place where I know the most people.
The organizer of the Calabash Festival was kind enough to give us a ride back to Kingston with a van full of authors and musicians, which provided for good conversation and relative comfort. For the 3 ½ hour ride from Kingston to Port Antonio (the capital of Portland parish), however, Matt (my husband) and I got to take the country bus. I thought it would be good for Matt to get a little taste of the Peace Corps experience, but Matt did not find the Peace Corps experience as charming and character-building as I did.
Though the details differ, many RPCVs share similar stories about public transportation in the developing world— the goal is to fit as many people as possible onto the vehicle with little regard for their comfort. Matt and I actually weren’t that bad off (despite what he might think) because we both got our own seats on the bus and our suitcases were stored in front of us instead of on our laps like I had feared. Plus, Jamaicans only put people on their buses, unlike some countries that transport chicken and livestock in the same vehicles as people. And Jamaican buses don’t put people on the roof. Still, it was both impressive and frightening to see how many people they fit on that bus. At one point, when I thought they had already fit the last person who could possibly fit onto the bus, it pulled over to pick up not one, but three school girls. They got the school girls crammed inside because the “conductor” of the bus (he hustles people onto the bus and collects the fares) left the door open and hung out of it while it wove around sharp curves on the windy mountain road. One guy we met at our hotel told us that he once was on a bus where they passed a kid in through the window because he couldn’t fit through the door. After about half an hour of the hot, crowded ride, Matt had experienced enough Peace Corps life for his liking. Too bad we still had three hours left . . .
When we finally got to our resort, though, it was worth it. We stayed at a place called Great Huts in Boston Beach, which combines African-style architecture with tourist-caliber amenities. We were in the Almond Tree House, which is really built around a tree. I met the owner and founder of the resort, a doctor from New York, at the synagogue in Kingston when I was the Peace Corps and he let me stay there twice during my Peace Corps term for free while it was still under construction, once when my parents visited. It’s much more built up now and has several new features, including a swimming pool on the side of the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Of course, it was no longer free, but they did give us a nice discount as returning guests.
I’m writing today from Treasure Beach, Jamaica, home of the Calabash Literary Festival. Calabash, the largest literary festival in the Caribbean, is very dear to my heart. When I served here in the Peace Corps, from 2002-2004, I had the privilege of being in the Calabash writer’s workshop under the instruction of Jamaica’s top-selling author, Colin Channer. This year was my first time at the festival since 2004, and it still has its magic.