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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How Can We Invite Everyone Into Our World? Review of Final Bow For Yellowface

Recently, I had the pleasure of watching the Oakland Ballet Company (OBC) rehearse for their production of Dancing Moons Festival at the studio where I teach. Dancing Moons was Oakland Ballet’s response to the rise in anti-Asian bigotry and violence, celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) choreographers and musicians. To create this program, OBC Artistic …

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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 Mom Celebrated Lunar New Year in the 1930s in Guangdong Province, China

Lunar New Year is upon us! On February 1st, we enter Year of the Tiger. My mother, Yee King Ying, grew up in the village of Tai Ting Pong (Dajingbang in Mandarin), Guangdong Province, in the 1930s. This is how she recalls celebrating. Spring festival was a chance to clear away the old and outworn …

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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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Hiking the Donner Pass Train Tunnels, a Triumph and Tragedy of Immigrant Grit

Maybe you're seeking respite from the summer heat. Maybe you'd like to pretend you're in the Halls of Moria in the Lord of the Rings. Or maybe you want to hike through miles of graffiti art. Whatever your reason for coming, the Donner Pass Train Tunnels near Truckee, California, offer a fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking …

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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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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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