Upcoming Novel: HEARTS AND ERRORS, Chapter 3

CHAPTER 3: A Matchmaker in Paris

“Hello?” she answers.
“Did I wake you?”
“I knew you’d call. I’m in the kitchen eating leftover pizza. Have you ever had cold pizza? It’s not bad,” she says.

“I’m going to Paris,” I blurt.

#heartsanderrorsanovel
RELEASING 1/19/19

More excerpts to come from my upcoming novel HEARTS AND ERRORS! Stay tuned!

Happy Friday!

Upcoming Novel: HEARTS AND ERRORS, Chapter 1

CHAPTER  1: Cursed

IT ALL BEGAN WITH A BLUE SHARPIE. 

A blue Sharpie and an “I’m sorry” card.

It will be three years in twelve days since it happened, and I still get knots in my stomach whenever the date approaches.

#heartsanderrorsanovel
RELEASING 1/19/19

As promised, here is the very first excerpt from my upcoming novel HEARTS AND ERRORS! More to come! Stay tuned.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

 

 

Don’t Wait to Get Picked, Pick Yourself

It’s been two years since I last blogged. But I haven’t stopped writing.

For the last few years, I have worked on my craft—grinding it out, finishing one new novel after another, editing each manuscript—toiling over every sentence until I was satisfied. Then I would send out queries and wait for literary agents to get back to me—hoping for one of them to believe in my stories as much as I, and my beta readers, believe in them. With every few rejections I would receive, there would be a spark of hope—agents asking for a partial or a full manuscript. And while I held my breath, I would fulfill each request with my fingers crossed. Soon, the replies would filter in, some automated and generic, some even complimenting my writing and my stories—yet all would end with different variations of saying no.

Despite all the hard work I had put into each manuscript, I was back to square one.

Feeling defeated once more, I would take a deep breath and accept the fact—as discouraging as it was, that this was all part of the process of finding an agent. At least based on my research, other people’s experiences, and the information I had gained from writing workshops and conferences. It wouldn’t take long until I would start working on a new story, while emotionally and mentally preparing myself for the next round of writing, editing, and querying.

A few weeks ago, while scanning thumbnails on YouTube, I noticed an interview from Behind the Brand with Brian Elliott called, Seth Godin: Don’t wait to get picked, pick yourself.

I was intrigued. So, I clicked on it. Minutes later, everything made sense.

Don’t wait to get picked, pick yourself. A line that lingered in my head for the rest of the day.

It was clear. By me following the same paradigm year after year, I was no longer pursuing my own goals. I was simply following someone else’s path—hoping and expecting for the same results.

Without me noticing—this way of thinking and pursuing had caused me to forget the one thing I had set out to do: Write my stories and share them with you.

While I stayed cooped up inside my writing box—with one click, people all over the world were sharing their craft, product, or idea through social media and other platforms—finding their audience, building their careers, joining communities, changing their lives and others, and never looking back. People who believe and trust in their dream or idea—enough to let it drive them forward, regardless if they would fail or not.

Seth Godin is right. Don’t wait to get picked, pick yourself.

Follow your own path. Because just as we are all unique, each of our dreams are, too. There is no wrong or right way to achieve your dream. If one path does not work, do not give up.

Instead, move on and create your own opportunities.

I would love to get a literary agent. But it might not be in the cards right now. It’s time I fold this hand so I could get dealt a new one.

In 2012, I self-published my first novel, HIGH (A Caffeinated Love Story). To my loyal readers who have asked me through the years when my next novel is coming out—thank you for patiently waiting. I finally have an answer for you.

HEARTS AND ERRORS will release on January 19, 2019!

Beginning this week, excerpts from my upcoming novel and updates will be posted here and on my other social media accounts.

After all, this is all I ever wanted to do. To write my stories and share them with you.

 

 

Self-Published Authors Night

I think it’s wonderful that there are bookstores out there who support self-published authors. Lauren, the owner of The Reading Bug, had her first Self-Published Authors Night last July 9. I was lucky enough to be part of it.

Three other authors and myself, got to present and read our books to the crowd. Click here to view more photos from the event.
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The Reading Bug is a bookstore mainly for children, so it was a delight to be able to showcase Sammy’s Books.

As authors, I believe it’s important to go out there and meet our readers—talk to them and engage with them. Participating in events like these really brings us closer to our audience. It’s also a good way to meet and support other authors.

 

 

5 Quotes About Rewriting

1. “You write your first draft with your heart, and you rewrite with your head.”
―James Ellison, Finding Forrester: A Novel

2. “You become a great writer by writing lots and lots of stories, not by rewriting the same story over and over again.”
―Scott William Carter

3. “Writing a first draft is like groping one’s way into a dark room, or overhearing a faint conversation, or telling a joke whose punchline you’ve forgotten. As someone said, one writes mainly to rewrite, for rewriting and revising are how one’s mind comes to inhabit the material fully.”
―Ted Solotaroff

4. “Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.”
—Joan Didion

5. “The process of rewriting is enjoyable, because you’re not in that existential panic when you don’t have a novel at all.
—Rose Tremain

Very

Last night I started reading “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway, a book I’ve read a long time ago but felt like reading again. On the first few pages, I noticed that the word “very” was used quite a few times—sometimes twice in one page. I immediately remembered the quote by Mark Twain:

Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.

Very interesting, isn’t it? I guess the lesson here is this: there are many rules when it comes to writing, but every writer can also break some of these rules and even make up their own rules. I think it is what makes each writer unique.

 

The Opening Line

Writing is an art. We begin with a blank canvas—a white sheet of paper on a notebook, or on a computer screen. Using our imagination, we paint with our words, describing people and things, evoking emotion, and creating dialogue. We compose sentences filled with words we’ve carefully picked to help tell our stories. But before our stories can be told, we must first write that one line…the opening line that starts it all.

The beginning.

The first sentence that we write has to be good. Actually, it has to be great. We rely on this sentence to grab and engage a reader—make them curious—make them keep going until soon, they’ve turned the page.

I picked five random opening lines from some of the books in my little bookshelf. I’m sure that many of you have read these books. I do believe these are great examples of what an opening line should be. They are all unique, powerful, and engaging.

1. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
1984, by George Orwell

2. It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.
The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

3. It was love at first sight.
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

4. When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.
The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka

5. It is always like this: The best parties are made by people in trouble.
Away, by Amy Bloom

Add to this list! Leave me a comment below and write down a couple of memorable opening lines from your favorite books.

Have a great weekend!

For the Little Kids

Last Thursday, I had my Children’s Books Launch Pajama Party at Folio Books in San Francisco. Children came dressed in their pajamas, including my five-year-old daughter, Sammy. My husband took pictures as I soaked in the experience.

At the beginning of the event, Martha, the store manager, introduced me to the lovely crowd. After greeting and thanking them for coming, I read three of my books, “Mr. Dinosaur is Hiding,” “Green Bird Loves to Count,” and “Goodnight World.” It was wonderful seeing the kids listening and participating.

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After the reading, I mingled with the crowd and gave away Sammy’s Books stickers. I also got to sign some books.

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About two years ago, I read a bedtime book to Sammy as part of our bedtime routine. As I was leaving her room that night, I suddenly got inspired to try and write a bedtime book for her. Without skipping a beat, I used my graphic design skills and my love for writing to make something I wasn’t sure I could even do. Soon, Sammy’s Books was born, and “Goodnight World” was published in December 2012.

I always knew I wanted to become a writer, but I never knew I would ever write, or even illustrate children’s books. But that’s how inspiration works. If you let it guide you and push you to explore a small or a big idea, or a small or a big dream, you allow yourself to discover something magical—you get to see what else you’re capable of.

So now, I don’t only love writing books for the “big kids”, but I also love writing books for the little kids too.

Thank you, Sammy, for always inspiring me.

All books are NOW AVAILABLE in ebook and paperback format on Amazon

For more pictures from the event, click here.

Happy Reading!

5 Quotes About Writing

1. “You can make anything by writing.” 
― C.S. Lewis

2. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” 
― Robert Frost

3. “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” 
― Louis L’Amour

4. “This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” 
― Neil Gaiman

5. “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” 
― Saul Bellow

It’s Been Six Months Since…

…I published my first novel, HIGH.

Whenever I flip through the pages of HIGH, I still can’t believe I wrote those words. I was the one who spent hours, days, weeks, months—even years toiling over each word and each paragraph. I created that plot and made up those characters using my imagination. I wrote that story. For a good while, that story was my little secret. A secret I was afraid to share with anyone. Now it’s out there for the world to see.

I feel that no matter how many books I write and publish from now on, HIGH will always be the most important one. This book and I went through a lot of ups and downs together. In the process of writing and editing it—life happened. I got engaged, got married, got pregnant, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, became a parent, became a stay-at-home-mom, was diagnosed with a rare nerve disorder, had brain surgery—and through it all, I never gave up. Whenever I could, I kept writing. I wanted to finish my book. I wanted to achieve my goal despite the challenges that came my way. And I did it. It wasn’t easy. But I did it.

HIGH will always remind me of what I’ve been through and how strong I’ve become. It will always remind me of how hard I worked to chase a dream—no matter what. Regardless of how successful or unsuccessful HIGH may turn out to be—I will always be proud of it.

HIGH is available in paperback and eBook format on amazon.com.