The Strength of Water: Adventures in Book Cover Design and Interior Layout

I am enjoying working with Balestier Press on my book's interior layout and with their contract artist, Andre D’Rozario, on the cover. The Strength of Water is starting to feel real! Here I share a bit about the process. The book is the story of my mother's Chinese American odyssey, so for the cover, I …

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Honoring the Stories of our Loved Ones on Qingming or Tomb Sweeping Day

Today’s literary adventure is a symbolic one in honor of Qingming Festival, called Tomb Sweeping Day in English. In China, this is a three-day holiday to honor one’s ancestors dating back 2500 years to the Zhou Dynasty. Families visit the tombs and graves of their ancestors to sweep them clean, pay respects, and honor memories. …

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How I Survived My Debut Book Publishing Journey at 55 Years Old

Forty-two – it’s the answer to life, the universe, and everything[i]. It’s also my new lucky number -- the number of queries I wrote before signing a book publishing contract. Most Hero's Journeys start with a starry-eyed protagonist like Frodo Baggins, Harry Potter, or Luke Skywalker, but mine starts as a 55-year-old dance instructor with …

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How the Autumn Moon Festival Offers an Ancient Tradition, Delicious Dessert, and a Touch of Magic

What if you could learn about an ancient tradition, enjoy a delicious dessert, and turn an ordinary evening into a fairytale? You can with the Autumn Moon Festival, a holiday born of legend. It traditionally falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month or mid-September to early October on the Gregorian calendar. In …

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One Writer’s Journey through the Dauntless Dunes

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh In February 2021, I had the great pleasure of signing a contract to publish my narrative non-fiction debut, My Name Is King Ying, with a small press publisher. I had two offers, and …

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Bittersweet School Year and Finding a Way to Dream Again

My eldest graduated high school in May. It was a touch bittersweet -- the first time we had been back to campus in over a year except for two curbside pick-ups of textbooks. The year began frantically with virtual college tours, SAT preparation, and the crafting of essays for university applications. At the same time, …

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Don’t Let Anyone Sow Division Between the Races

These days, headlines are filled with stories of anti-Asian violence and harassment. One video that particularly affected me was of an attack on a 65-year-old Filipino Woman near Times Square, where security guards standing within feet of her failed to intervene while a man kicked and stomped on her, yelling, “You don’t belong here.”Subsequently, Andrew …

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Happy Childhood Memories of Chinatown and Hoping For Its Survival

As I kid, I visited my grandparents in San Francisco Chinatown weekly with my parents. They lived in the top unit of their triplex on Leavenworth Street while renting out the other apartments to immigrant families, helping newcomers get a foothold in the U.S. as others had helped them when they were new to the …

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Re-Sparking An Old Dream By Committing to My Book Publishing Quest

When quarantine began, I joined a writing group. I wanted to regain focus, connect socially, and revisit an old dream. In university, literature classes felt like sacred space. Words flowed through my mind, painting pictures, sparking ideas, injecting oxygen. By sophomore year, I thought I would major in English Literature. But when I expressed my …

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Why I’ll Celebrate Lunar New Year by Helping Chinatown

The pandemic has devastated the San Francisco and Oakland Chinatowns, leaving them with much less tourism and foot traffic. That’s why this year, I am dedicating the lunar new year season to doing what I can to give back to these communities that formed such a memorable backdrop to my childhood. Memories of Chinatown As …

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