Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Lantern Parade

The Lantern Festival was the other weekend and finally hubby and I got to go see the parade. It was actually the same night as our fun dinner out so we got two for one.

We knew it was somewhere downtown and we were trying to tell the taxi driver where to go when at a stoplight we realized the parade was right in front of us! We jumped out of the cab and ran over to take these pictures.

And what a lovely parade. All the lanterns are made out of hanji paper (traditional Koran rice paper).

These ladies are wearing hanboks, the traditional dress.

Now, this guy looks like one to not mess around with, doesn't he?

Check out the video I made of the parade!

YA Highway Contests

YA Highway is having a Anniversary Giveaway.

Day 1: Read!- win books!

Day 2: Write! - win critiques!

Day 3: Fun! - win chocolate (you can't say no to this one)

So go check it out!

Friday, May 28, 2010

19 Days of Goodbyes

The time has finally come for me and my family to leave Korea. I can hardly believe it as I'm writing this blog post. We'll be flying out in 19 days!

We've lived in Indonesia for 2 years and now here in Korea for 8 which makes it 10 years living away from home. That's a long time.

I sit here and think of the person I was before all this and I can hardly recognize myself. I've changed in so many ways. I've learned new languages and understood new cultures only in a way that you can living in a place rather than visiting it. I've become and mom, grown as a teacher and started writing. When I move back to the States, I really won't be the same professionally and individually.

But I was also thinking about the bizarre things that I learned how to do like:
1. Wash my clothes in a plunger washing machine (it's one step better than by hand--well, maybe!)
2. Go without electricity for days at a time
3. No Internet
4. No cable
5. No car
6. Got a tough stomach
7. Going without peppermint patties and Twizzlers (I think that was my biggest sacrifice)

Most of those were from my time in Indonesia, but the experiences I had along the way make every hardship worth it.

So lately I've been saying my goodbyes. To our little bamboo grove, to my running trail, to my favorite kalbi restaurant and my favorite mountain. The hardest will be the goodbyes to friends of course. But I can't think about that right now because I still have 19 more days.

19 days to be with those that have become like family.

19 days to capture in a memory.

19 days of Korea.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

He Bleeds Red, White, and Blue ... and Black (???)

So it's true. My husband is one of those closet writers that peeks his head out every once in a while. He's actually a very good writer (okay, so I'm kind of biased), which is actually quite annoying. He whips stuff up in moments and it's good! While I, on the other hand, slave away and THEN it's tolerable. I know. The hardships I go through.

Anyway, he's a soccer fanatic and his favorite soccer site was having a contest. He entered and his entry was chosen for the winner of the day and is a finalist for the grand prize. Yep, he's cool.

So if you're a soccer fan, have lived in Korea or overseas, gone to a World Cup game or are just terribly curious to read my hubby's story, click HERE.

But if you're like me and don't want to click, here's an excerpt:

I bleed red, white, and blue . . . and black.

"Wait," you say. "You’re American. You mean just red, white, and blue. You are an American, right?"

Of course! Dreams of Donovan, Dempsey, and Altidore dance through my head at night.

But there are other dreams too. Of Park Chu-Young. And Lee Chung-Yong. And Park Ji-Sung. Dreams of the Taeguk Warriors strutting their stuff to the world with the red, white, and black of the Taegeukgi, or the Korean flag flapping to the beat of seventy-thousand Red Devil fans chanting, "Dae Han Min-guk!"

So, I bleed the colors of both countries. Opposite sides of the world. Allies in history. Rivals on the pitch. Both teams dominant in their own respective FIFA conferences. Both teams not taken seriously by "real" soccer nations. And my own beating heart in the middle.

Monday, May 17, 2010

League of Extraordinary Writers

A group of dystopian novelists have come together to create the coolest blog: League of Extraordinary Writers.

The five writers include:
Beth Revis- Her sci fi, Across the Universe, is coming out in Spring 2011 from Razorbill.
Julia Karr- Her title is XVI, about a society that forces couple to get together on their "sex"-tenth birthday.
Angie Smibert- Her novel, Memento Nora, is about a world where people elect to erase bad memories.
Jeff Hirsch- His debut, The Long Walk Home, is set after the apocalypse.

Cool books huh?

And you know what's even cooler? They're having a rocking contest. Stolen from their blog:

This month, we're giving away a SIGNED copy of Rick Yancey's MONTRUMOLOGIST (did I mention it won the Printz Honor?) and a SIGNED copy of Carrie Ryan's THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH and signed bookmarks by PJ Hoover and Maria Snyder and a signed magnet by Stacey Jay! Monsters and magic and zombies, oh my!

So go check it out!

Picture by Chrisharvey

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Namsan Tower

Hubby and I went out on the town last night for a unforgettable dinner at the revolving restaurant, n-Grill, on top of Seoul Tower. We don't get out much with two little ones so this was definitely squeal worthy!

The Seoul Tower is located on top of Namsan Mountain so it has a fantastic view of the city spanning from the mountains to the Han River.

Here's a picture of the octopus. I'm not usually a fan of squishy food, but this was divine. Honest! Can you see the tentacles? 

For my main, I had sea bass. They wrapped it in a breading of some sort like a little present.

The chocolate raspberry cake was heavenly. Don't you love how they smeared the chocolate with a pansy? A trick I'm going to have to remember.

Another neat piece of history lies on top of the tower, the Beacon Lighthouse. The tops of appointed mountains were made into beacons all along the coasts of Korea.

Each night, the beacon master would light the beacon with fire to let the next mountain peak know that all was safe along the coasts.

The beacons would work their way all the way to Seoul and then alert the king. If the fire blazed bright on Namsan Mountain, all would know that the land was safe.

Linda Sue Park wrote an inspiring picture book based on this topic- The Firekeeper' Son.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Language of Your Dreams

It’s believed you can be considered fluent in a tongue once you dream in that language. That it becomes so much a part of you that it finds its way into your subconscious.

Trust me, I’m not fluent in either Indonesian or Korean. (Although sometimes I still mix my Korean for Indonesian, which is comical when I’m repeating an Indonesian word repeatedly to the Korean shopkeeper whose looking at me like I’m some crazy waygook)

You see, last night I dreamed ‘writing’ (as opposed to English). I’ve been so engrossed in my book these last few weeks that I dream I’m editing. I dream I’m character building. I dream I’m solving plot issues.

When I woke up this morning, I was murmuring portions of my story aloud and trying to figure out how to make them sound better. So apparently, I dream in writing. A little freaky.

Has this ever happened to you? Care to spill the language of your dreams?

Picture by Jana Kopilova

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Agent's Perspective on Trends

If you are confused, disheartened or downright frustrated over what to write or not write, check out Mandy Hubbard's post on chasing trends. She's got great advice, and I love how she breaks down the categories and shares her take on what editors are interested in. Look for her latest novel coming out in August, You Wish. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hanging Out With My Characters

For the last week I’ve been hanging out a lot with my characters. Eating chocolate and drinking lattes. You know, getting to know them better. Like really know them.

It’s hard. I’m tired.

Overcaffeinated. Dying for a good, hard run.

But right now I’m so into my character’s heads that I don’t want to leave them. Have you ever felt that connection? And then the fear that if you put them aside, you’ll lose that grasp of who they are and what makes them tick?

So I’ve been doing a lot of research on what makes characters tick. Come to life.

Here are some things that I’ve found in my hunt:

1. Larger-Than-Life Character Qualities- Donald Maass- Get your characters doing something memorable. Something that they would never do.

2. “Without good characters, it’s hard to care about the story”- Suzie Townsend

3. Great interview questions to ask your character- Suzette Saxton

4. Make your characters quirky- Elana Johnson

5. Use dialogue to enrich your characters- Margot Finke

6. Get to know your characters better by doing these exercises at StoryBug.

Aren’t these fabulous? Any suggestions you have to add?

Sunday, May 9, 2010


The winner for Escaping the Tiger is Angela! Please email me Angela at farley dot christinal at gmail dot com to receive your very own copy.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Children's Day!

Today, May 5th, is Children's Day in Korea. And because it's a national holiday, we didn't have school! Last year I blogged about the history of Children's Day here.

This year, we decided to go out for ice cream (it's a special treat here) and then headed to a grass park for the kids to run around on. Grass is hard to grow here because the soil is rocky and the climate isn't too good for it either. Plus we live in a city of 10 million, so concrete reigns!

The boys raced and watched the train run into the tunnel underneath us. Days like today make me feel like the world is full of promise and hope.

Oh, and check out Victoria's site for a really great event with Laura!

How about you? What makes you sit back and smile and know that all is right with the world?