Sunday, March 28, 2010

Shopping in Korea Contest!

Not too long ago, I passed my 100 follower mark. WOW! I'm so thrilled to be a part of the blogging community. This calls for a celebration!

If you like to shop as much as I do, then this is the contest for you. There are so many contests out there, but I wanted something a little different that is uniquly ME. And since much of what I write on this blog is about Korea and my latest WIP is set in Korea, I thought I'd bring the Korean marketplace to you.

So I picked up a few cute, easy-to-mail things in Insadong that I hoped you'd love.  Because I love my fellow bloggers! Take a few minutes and 'look around'. Then fill out the form below.

Have fun shopping!
A cute notebook with pencil to jot down all your brillant ideas (got one of these for myself too!)

A set of chopsticks with Korean style holders.

Adorable Korean children wearing the traditional hanbok magnets.

A purse or case in traditional Korean colors.

Coasters with the sam-taegeuk symbol.

Bookmark with the traditional Korean doors with the kite (reminded me of the SCBWI kite)

Silk bag holding a handmade necklace.

Large silk bag.

Contest ends on April 10th, 1 pm Korea time. (midnight, Apr. 9th, US eastern standard time)

I wanted to post pictures for you of Insadong but I forgot my camera! But I'll be going back soon because Insadong is adorable, quaint and you must see it!

Happy Shopping!

A New Look

I'm trying out a new look here. What do you think? I'm having trouble getting rid of the search function due to my lack of HTML coding abilities. Any advice, I'm open to your thoughts!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Under Construction

Hey guys! Sorry, but I'm trying out some new templates. Hope I can get things in order soon.

Beth's Celebration Contest

Hurry! Because you have only until Apr. 3rd to enter Beth's celebration deal contest. You get to choose between a writer's pack or reader's pack. Love it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Making Connections

Yesterday I was out doing errands with my two boys in our dong (that’s Korean for neighborhood). Our first stop was the bakery and while I ordered bread, my boys’ cheeks were pinched and chocolates were handed out. Now this is the same bakery we’ve gone to for eight years, so these ladies have watched my boys grow up and received many scribbly drawings too!

Our next stop was the florist, but when I ordered, I had trouble communicating. Thankfully my six year old knows more Korean than I do and was able to help translate. Evidently the man wanted to know where I was from and when I told him the US, he was all excited because his son is also living in the States. And once we had made that connection, the whole interaction flowed easier.

Connections and relationships are very important to Koreans. It’s how their whole culture runs whether it’s through business or family relationships.

And doesn’t that relate to blogging, too? When I went to SCBWI LA a couple of years ago, I was able to connect with people that I had ‘met’ through the Blueboards. Through blogging, I’ve gained help in my own writing through critiques and insights into the writing industry. Here I am a half a world away from most of my writing friends and critique partners, and yet they have been there for me in the hard times and celebrated with me in the ‘yeah!’ times.

I’d love to know your thoughts on making connections in the writing world. How has blogging or message boards effected you?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

End of Publishing?

Times are changing and with it, so is the publishing business. For some people this is an exciting time. Others worry.

This discussion came up in our latest SCBWI meeting. We talked about how the music industry made the change, but really struggled and resisted it at first. It was I-Tunes who found a way and changed it all.

One of the guys in our group said the key for the book industry is similar. Publishing houses need to provide what I-Tunes does for the music and film industry, which he thought would be to charge less for an e-book than the real book. Get people to take the impulse buy. If it's affordable, people will buy them.

Interesting. Because the reality is, things are changing. The question is, how will it change and can we evolve to make the business even better. I really believe that those who take the plunge will be successful like Apple has been with I-Tunes.

Yet admist all that, DK has put together an awesome video. If you have 2 minutes, watch it! But don't stop halfway, you'll see why because it's a great twist midway through.

What do you think? What will make the publishing business more successful? What can we do as authors to be cutting edge?

Picture by: Kenneth Sponsler

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Unifying to Bring Healing to North Korea

The school I teach at, Seoul Foreign School, is in the midst of coming together to raise money to provide TB medicine to a care center in North Korea. If you are interested in finding out more about the Dongdaewon Care centre click here.

I'm not sure how much you know about North Korea, but it is a closed country. I actually live less than thirty miles from the DMZ (the border between North and South Korea), but no one is allowed to enter.

No one in. No one out.

There are exceptions, of course. One of our teachers, representative of our aid to bring medicine into the country, is one of the few foreigners allowed in each year.

This teacher is escorted from place to place and only allowed to take pictures of certain places and things. Sarah Carpenter was the teacher spearheading this Dongdaewon and she blogs about her experience here.

Internet isn't allowed and the roads that run through the cities are for pedestrians or bullock carts, because there just isn't enough money to pay for the fuel for cars.

There are few trees due to using them for fuel. She said that visiting North Korea was like stepping back in time 50 years ago.

Those that live in the captial city generally have connections with the government and are the lucky ones, but still aren't free to move or go where they wish.

Houses in the countryside have no heat or electricity. Some might have ondol heating, using coal in the floor to heat the house.

As far as the people, I'm going to quote Sarah, "In a word, the people are beautiful. They have such an amazing spirit. Life is full of hardship for them, and they endure. They work. They love. They laugh. They smile. They weep. They mourn. They even dare to hope. In many ways, I think that it is good they do not really know what life is like outside of the country, because I don't know how you could endure the hardships they do if you knew that it didn't have to be that way."

It's moments like these that make me realize how blessed I am and how much I have to give whether it's through money, my time or prayer. There is power in drawing together and making a difference in the places in the world that are so desperate for joy, for purpose, for love.

You might not have a hurting nation 30 miles from your doorstep, but don't let that stop you from traveling a little further.

All pictures taken by Sarah Carpenter

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dreams Come True for Beth Revis

I am totally freaking out with excitement for Beth, my very cool and smart critique buddy. Why? Read this:

In another major YA acquisition before the Bologna Book Fair, Ben Schrank at Razorbill pre-empted North American rights to the debut novel by high school teacher Beth Revis, Across the Universe. Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House brokered the deal, which is for three books, and Universe is scheduled for spring 2011. In the novel, set in the near future, a teenager is cryogenically frozen only to thaw too soon, before arriving at the new planet that's her destination. Set to wake 300 years in the future, She rouses 50 years too early, still on a spaceship in transit. Schrank said he thinks the book will do for popular sci-fi what The Hunger Games did for postapocalyptic fiction. Rights have been pre-empted in the U.K. (by Razorbill UK, which will do a joint publication with Penguin USA) and Germany, and sales have also closed in France and Greece.

(via Publisher's Weekly)

And there's also this:

High school teacher Beth Revis's debut ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, in the near-future, a reluctant teenage girl and her pioneer parents are cryogenically frozen for a 300-year trip to a new planet; she awakens 50 years early on a vast spaceship with a murderer on board, to Ben Schrank at Razorbill, in a major deal, in a pre-empt, in a three-book deal, for publication in spring 2011, by Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House (world English).
(via Publisher's Marketplace)

Congratulations Beth! And rumor has it she's having a rocking awesome contest soon on her blog, so check things out here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Presentations are Done!

This past Friday I presented three workshops at the KORCOS conference here in Seoul. Nearly a thousand international teachers from across Korea gathered together to learn and share ideas. I shared about writing- of course! One of them was on bookmaking, I was honored to co-host with Jenny Walters, our SCBWI Korea representative. She's so innovative and creative that it was a real joy to work with her.

Jenny and I also set up a booth for the SCBWI Korea chapter to promote who we are as well as try to network with schools to bring international authors to Korea. We are so excited because we have three authors coming already!

Last week was an insane week with getting ready for the conference. Plus I broke my toe in taekwondo class. So I've been hobbling around and frustrated at not being able to move faster. I've decided that since I can't go running in the morning until it heals, I'll just write during that time. That brightened my mood. And the fact that it snowed here again! In March!

I've been neglecting my blogging of late, but I did notice that A Romantic Enters the World is having a great contest. Definitely go check it out!

And it's too late to enter Nora's contest, but you need to check out here adorable blog at Lemons for Lemonade.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Today is a day to celebrate! When I celebrate, there is always lots of chocolate and Starbucks lattes.

I finished my first drafted of my next novel! WOW! I can't believe it. I really can't. I think every time I write something new, it seems to get easier. Although, my next novel I'd like to tackle, isn't going to be so easy. But I'm going to wait a while to write that one.

A special thank you to Amber Lough who gave me an award. Thank you Amber! Passing back the love your way!

I'm supposed to write 7 things about myself:
1. I love, Love, LOVE! chocolate (bet you hadn't guessed that one)
2. I make divine chocolate chip cheesecake
3. I danced for Disney once upon a time
4. Drawing simple objects like stick men is way out of my ability range
5. Jane Austen rocks
6. Friday night fun consists of a thick history book (okay, I won't pass up dancing and a movie)
7. I can't decide which movie I like better- Star Wars or Lord of the Rings

And to top my fun day, Wordswimmer has posted an interview with me and my brilliant critique partners from MiG Writers. Check it out!

Picture by Carolina K. Smith

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Naughty Muse!

Has your muse ever been on vacation? Mine was gone for a while. Check out this post I wrote on MiG Writers on what I did while she was gone.

What about you? What do you do while your inspiration is gone? (Other than eat chocolate of course.)

Picture illustrated by Debbie Oh

Monday, March 1, 2010

Samil Day- A Day to Celebrate Freedom

Today, Korean flags wave high along the streets across Seoul. Why? Because they can. And it's all in thanks to a day in 1919 that began the movement to free the Koreans from oppression.

Another name for Samil Day is The March 1st Movement and its literal translation is "Three-One Movement". This is the day when Koreans stood together on March 1, 1919 against the Japanese police. 7,000 Koreans were killed, but this was the beginning of the stand against the Japanese control.

A group of Korean nationalist gathered in a private spot, so as to not cause a riot, and crafted this letter and sent it to the Japanese Governor General:

"We herewith proclaim the independence of Korea and the liberty of the Korean people. We tell it to the world in witness of the equality of all nations and we pass it on to our posterity as their inherent right.

We make this proclamation, having back of us 5,000 year of history, and 20,000,000 of a united loyal people. We take this step to insure to our children for all time to come, personal liberty in accord with the awakening consciousness of this new era. This is the clear leading of God, the moving principle of the present age, the whole human race's just claim. It is something that cannot be stamped out, or stifled, or gagged, or suppressed by any means."

The results of this movement brought serious repercussions for the Koreans, including death and torture. But ultimately, many of the big issues that Koreans had with the Japanese rule were removed. A civilian force replaced the military police and some freedom of press was given.

True, it wasn't until after Japan withdrew their troops after World War II that Koreans regained total freedom from the Japanese rule, but it was a beginning.

Picture used from