Wednesday, October 31, 2012

halloween treat

Happy Halloween!  Rain Dragon's all dressed for trick or treating!

Rain Dragon wasn't sure what her costume was supposed to be, but, luckily,  I had this book to explain it to her:

She's grown so much since the first time we read this book!
Rain Dragon thought the book was delicious than her, but they're both sweet treats to me:

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

pumpkin party

Last week, before the big storm (we weathered it fine, hope all did as well!) we had our pumpkin party. Yes, it was that time of year again! This year has been even busier than last year, but I felt like we had to squeeze in our traditional pumpkin carving! Since we will be moving, this is our last pumpkin carving in the apartment.

This time we were all tight for time and the carving began later then usual. There was also a lot of baby juggling:

So our pumpkins were not as elaborate as years past. But I think they still looked great!

There was Peep, a cat and Mike Tyson's tattoo:

And a rainbow:

didn't it come out well?
I couldn't finish mine until Rain Dragon went to sleep, which was apropos as it was an homage to her:

Yes, I did a dragon pumpkin!

As usual, it was great fun!

I hope next year we pumpkin carve in our new house with new and old friends.

Monday, October 29, 2012

on my desk monday

Not on my desk, but in my closet is Rain Dragon's Halloween costume. I was going to make her one but I saw this one at Old Navy and it was too perfect  not to pick up...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Chinese School

Welcome to Sunday Chinese School, where we learn a Chinese word (or phrase) a week with my mom!
Today's word is:
haunted house

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Pacy

This was actually sent to me last year, but I've been holding onto it until now. A librarian at a school in Wellesley had students create their favorite book characters with their Halloween pumpkins.  One girl chose Pacy from Year of the Dog!

She looks good as pumpkin, don't you think? Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2012

fortune cookie friday

"A hobbling cat is better than a fast horse when rats swarm the palace."
-Chinese Proverb

Thursday, October 25, 2012

pocket pacy in Japan

This past summer, a young reader took Pocket Pacy on a trip to Japan!

Do you think she liked the sushi as much as Pacy in Dumpling Days?

P.S. Don't forget, your can win your own Pocket Pacy by entering your photo!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

the second day

After a successful first day in CT, the Sasquatch and I were feeling confident about the next day's event. Rain Dragon, however, was a bit apprehensive.

"There's not really another event, is there?"

But, I was more excited then nervous because the event was at  RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison, CT. I had never been to this bookstore before, but many of my fellow author and illustrators had raved to me about what a great store it was:

And it was very nice. They offered me a free book for coming and I was like a kid in a candy store:

Rain Dragon was less excited. 
I coveted the gorgeous East of the Sun and West of the Moon book illustrated by Kay Nielson; it is a reprinting of the original book that I remember poring over at the library when I was a teenager (and consequently, one of the books that inspired me to write and illustrate Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky!) but it was more than double the price of a hardcover picturebook and I thought that seemed greedy.

So, instead, I chose this book  Apple by Nikki McClure:

I really loved the woodcuts, the design, and the use of black, white and red. But I have to admit, I chose it because the girl in it looks a little Asian...and kind of how I picture Rain Dragon will look when she get s a little older:

and it inspires me to do board books!
But enough shopping! I was there to do an event! There was a full house!

But I did my interactive reading and drawing again and it all went smoothly, well, at least for me.

I am really enjoying doing the interactive readings and think I'm going to start offering them as part of my school visit curriculum soon!

Because by the time I was finishing the signing, Rain Dragon had had enough and was making her  decision known.

"No more!"
Good thing it was time to go!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

mini tour with a mini person

So, the Sasquatch and I packed up Rain Dragon and the car (it's cliche but it's completely true--babies, at least their stuff, take up a lot of room!) and started driving. We were going on tour for Starry River of the Sky!

Okay, it was just a mini-teensy-tour. There was a warm-up event in Providence, RI at Books on the Square which went wonderfully (alas, I have no photos!), but the main bulk of the tour was the two day stint in CT. The first day was sponsored by the lovely Elm Street Books, who brought me into two schools as well as the New Canaan Library.

back to work!

It was the first time I had presented to a school since having Rain Dragon and they were kind enough to let me bring her along.
She is thinking, "How long is this going to take?"

For each presentation, I did the interactive read-aloud activity, where I had the audience help me act out one of the stories from Starry River of the Sky. Unfortunately, I didn't bring enough stickers with me and I can't remember if I told the teachers that they could easily order more (for free). But it was still great fun!

The archer is shooting down the six suns!

Well, great fun for me and the students. Rain Dragon was a bit bored.

"No, really, how long is this going to take?"
After the interactive reading,  I did a draw-along--where I taught the audience how to draw a tiger and the wang symbol, both important features in Starry River of the Sky!

drawing tigers!

I was so glad the presentations went really well and  I think everyone was excited to read the book. Except for Rain Dragon, of course. She didn't find any of it very interesting.

"Fine, if you're going to take that long..."
I think she's going to be my toughest audience.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Chinese School

Welcome to Sunday Chinese School, where we learn a Chinese word (or phrase) a week with my mom!
Today's word is:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

pocket pacy in NYC

Two of the bloggers from the kidlitcon also attended my Dumpling Days booklaunch... and they brought Pocket Pacy to NYC! Here's a sneak peak:

Pocket Pacy in Times Square!

Pocket Pacy at the NY Public Library
I think she might have had a better time than I did, she definitely saw more things! See all her travels in NYC HERE!

And don't forget, your can win your own Pocket Pacy by entering your photo! I'd love to see you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


We did the first stop of my mini-tour for Starry River of the Sky at Books on the Square in Providence, RI. There was a very nice crowd of people, Rain Dragon was surprisingly tolerant and a lovely time was had by all.

The only bummer was that we didn't take any photos! The Sasquatch was holding the baby, I was holding one to hold the camera and we forgot all about it. But I did get one photo--this photo was given to me by one of my readers:

ahh, my pre-Rain Dragon days feel like a lifetime ago!

It's a photo taken 2(?) years ago at another event, holding a photo of us at an even earlier event. She took another photo of me holding this photo, which would be a photo of me holding a photo, holding another photo. Did that makes sense? Sadly, I did not take a photo of me holding this photo to illustrate this surreal concept.

Regardless, it makes my head turn in more ways than one. I'm always so thrilled and touched when I realize I have readers who are growing up with my books. I love thinking that they have moved from my picture books to early readers and now to my novels! It's these readers, the ones who have really stuck with my books, that make me want to create books to the best of my ability.  I don't want to disappoint them!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


After NYC, the booklaunch and the online book party, there was still work to do! Wonderful readers from all over had ordered books from Porter Square Books, so Rain Dragon and I (with good friend Libby) returned to sign them. All 110 of them.

Needless to say, after the first 50, Rain Dragon got a little antsy in the stroller and I was soon signing with her in my lap. I was absolutely thrilled to be signing the books and so grateful to everyone who ordered, but it was a tricky juggling act.

I realize that this is symbolic of my life from now on. As I look ahead to the new house, new events and new books (hopefully), I can already see the complications. When I wrote Starry River of the Sky, it was a consuming process and it was purposefully so. I wanted to create a book to the best of my ability, dedicating all my time, focus and passion into it.

I don't know if I can do that now, yet, I worry that the quality of my work will suffer as a result. I've gotten used to focusing on one project at a time. But, I guess I will just have to learn to multitask.

And, of course, I wouldn't want it any other way...but would welcome any tips or suggestions on how!

Monday, October 15, 2012

on my desk monday

 I'm finally answering my reader mail! I haven't answered since Rain Dragon was born so it's been piling up..and the only way I've been able to get to it is bit by bit when she is asleep. Grateful for baby monitors!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Chinese School

Welcome to Sunday Chinese School, where we learn a Chinese word (or phrase) a week with my mom!
Today's word is:

Friday, October 12, 2012

fortune cookie friday

"One cannot manage too many affairs; like pumpkins in water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other."
-Chinese Proverb

Thursday, October 11, 2012

throwing my own party: why and is it worth it?

So, after my rather elaborate book parties--the Porter Square and the online one--last week, fellow authors tend to ask me two questions. Why do I do them? Is it worth it?

Well, a million years ago, I read online at the old Fuse#8 blog about an incredible book party that the publisher threw for the last Lemony Snicket book and there were two things I took away from it.

First, I was kind of jealous. Why didn't any of my publishers every throw me even a quarter of a party like that?

But it was about that time that I had begun to accept and find peace with Robert's illness. I began to realize that anger and resentment at not just  his illness, but most things was simply wasted time and energy (which,  consequently, is the theme of Starry River of the Sky).  I realized, if I really wanted a party for my books I should do something other than stew in jealousy.  So, then and there, I decided I'd stop whining and just throw my own fabulous book parties.

Second, in response to that post at the Fuse#8 blog, one of the commenters criticized the extravagance and "waste of money" of the party, to which I remember (but can't find) she or someone responded about how all parties  can be seen as  a waste of money. The point of a party was to celebrate. The point of a book party is to celebrate the book with perhaps some promotional benefits--not the other way around.

 So, I probably lose money at my book parties. The magnets and chopsticks I had made for my Ling and Ting booklaunch most likely cost more than my royalty per book. The time spent made a hundred pocket pacys for my Dumpling Days launch probably put me at below minimum wage. This time around my awesome publisher (thanks, Little, Brown!) sprung for the glow-in-the-dark stickers and posters, but if they hadn't I would've paid for it myself.  But it doesn't matter.

Because these parties are also my way of thanking readers as well as celebrating the book.  Booksales are like receiving presents at a birthday--I love them, but I wouldn't measure the success of the party by them. At my book party, I get to meet readers of my books, readers who want to read my next book! That is FUN. That is something to celebrate.

And it is definitely worth a party.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

And the book was launched!

There were bags:
purple goodie bags to match the cover!

There were cookies:
these were the cookies to serve at the event, not the ones in the bags.  The ones in the bags were moon cookies! These were stars, fish and rabbits, all motifs in the book!
And there was a baby:
who was not as excited about the book as I was!
And then the day was here! Book launch day!

People came! Lots' o people!

I told one of the stories in the book:
I tried something new this time, an interactive reading

And I had the audience help me:
those are the 6 suns
that a hero archer must shoot down (no suns were harmed in the reading of this story)
Then there was a signing:
those plates of cookies were empty at the end!
With new and old friends:
Ms. Tien Chen, a teacher, and some of her students who helped me at the launch (Tien helped write wang symbols on people and the students helped hand out the cookies and bags)
Surprisingly, some readers brought me gifts:

This talented baker made me a cookie bouquet!
isn't is amazing! I can't believe how perfect she go the colors of Dumpling Days 
There was a very, very long line:
but everyone was so patient and understanding, especially when I had to take a break for the baby! 
But the people at the end thought it was worth the wait:

after a rough patch in the middle of the event, Rain Dragon recovered her good spirits and might actually be interested in the book now. At least interested in eating it. 
Which means Starry River of the Sky is launched! Thanks so much to all who came and helped send it out in the world!