The Benefits of Non-fiction for Fiction Writers

"When you paint a dragon, dot its eyes." -Chinese proverb I've learned to be precise over the last few weeks because I've ventured into the territory of guest blogging. My most recent non-fiction posts are: Five Things You Should Know about Taiwan andΒ  Five Reasons for Publishing with a Small Press. As a fiction writer, I've enjoyed switching to non-fiction for three reasons (I know, I'm breaking the number five trend that's been happening): Research: With non-fiction comes the … [Read more...]

All My Thanks

Choh Laahngbaandang: to have a cold reception (lit. to sit on a cool bench)Many emperors in different dynasties honored Confucius. His house was converted into a grand mansion, and his eldest descendants were installed as high officials. During the Ming dynasty, one of the female descendants married the emperor and became queen. At that time, the prime minister Yihm Sung committed a crime. He went to the Confucius mansion hoping to bribe the queen and have her speak well of him. Instead, he got … [Read more...]

Bidding Failure

Seui Waih Choih: using water to stand for money (lit. water is wealth)When someone travels everywhere to raise money, it's called "dashing out for water." The association of water with money comes from a common saying in Chinese geomancy: "A mountain can bring you descendants while water can bring you wealth." It makes sense that water is held dear in China since it's used for cultivation.I've spent the entire month of May waiting in anticipation for the results of the Brenda Novak auction. It's … [Read more...]

I Have a Book Contract!

Jengdau: excellent or genuineIn the past, stores were famous for their honesty. Jengdau meant to give the exact weight measured by a dau (dipper). The shopkeeper would use the measuring tool to obtain the precise amount desired. While jengdau originally referred to the exactness of quantity, it now also means the excellence of quality.Measuring out the right amount. I have a jengdau book contract! My Taiwanese generational novel has been picked up by Martin Sisters Publishing. After years of … [Read more...]

Wrestling with a Website

Jouhdou Jek Kehk Gam: to work very hard During the Spring and Autumn Annals, civil disorder erupted in the state of Chaih. A prince called Chuhng Yih was exiled, and his loyal servant named Gaai Ji Teui accompanied him. While traveling, they constantly suffered from hunger. Once, they asked a farmer for some food, but the farmer only laughed at them. The prince wanted to kill him, but Gaai Ji Teui stopped him. After awhile, the servant brought the prince a bowl of meat soup, which the prince … [Read more...]

Developmental Milestones: An Anniversary Post

Wonhng Mahkwa: relatives of the boss (lit. yellow jacket)In the Ching dynasty, Manchurians wore mahkwa jackets when horse riding. Typically, these clothes were blue or black, but the emperors would bestow a yellow jacket on imperial relatives or respected officials. I'm part of a group of imperial relatives (read: worthy writers), a tight-knit band led by the illustrious Robert Lee Brewer. Last April, I participated in his platform challenge. It's been a year of much growth, not unlike that of a … [Read more...]

I Heart NY

Sainaahm Yih Baakfu: an elder who spoils the youthIn the old days of apprenticeship, a man owned a shop which made different types of sauces. The owner was called Yih Baakfu, or "second elder uncle." He took students under his wing, but would never advise or scold them. I just returned from a trip to New York City where I was lovingly spoiled by my aunt and uncle :)It was a nice break for me to re-energize. I relaxed with family and met up with college friends. I also tossed in a couple of … [Read more...]

The Marshmallow Tree and Other April’s Fool Jokes

Jadai: to pretendDuring the last years of the Chin dynasty (around 211 B.C.), people suffered under a tyrannical government. A warrior named Hohng Yuh rose up and rebelled against the emperor. To get more followers to join him, he appointed a noble from the state of Cho as king. Hohng Yuh's army grew stronger and defeated the government. However, Hohng Yuh learned that he had made a poor choice in the noble he had selected. Hohng Yuh drowned him by sinking his ship while he was crossing a river. … [Read more...]

Topics for New Post

Yatyahn Dakdouh, Gai'hyun Gaai Sing: family and friends also benefit when one encounters good fortuneThere's a legend about Lauh Ngon, the Prince of Waaih Naahm during the early years of the Han dynasty. He was involved in Taoist cults because he wanted to become immortal. One day, eight old men visited him and taught Lauh Ngon how to refine cinnabar. He swallowed the cinnabar and flew into the sky, immortal. After eating the crumbs of the cinnabar left at the house, Lauh Ngon's hens and dogs … [Read more...]

Look Again: Reviewing the Submissions Process

Yat Batjouh, Yih Batyau: to do something by hook or by crook; to not stop halfwayYes, that's me hiking in Montserrat, Spain.I'm excited to announce the publication of my flash fiction piece, "Look Again," in the March issue of Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. Part of my enthusiasm comes from finally feeling validated as a writer. Here's a parallel example that explains my thinking: When I did math problems at school, I always double-checked my answers. If I ended up with the same solution twice, I … [Read more...]