Monday, June 29, 2009


It’s been almost a year since I’ve stepped inside an American bookstore. So we went to the mall the other day, I bolted (this is when jogging comes in handy) over there.

After I passed the mountain of Twilight books (can I just say WOW!?), I found the teen section.
Huge! It was probably twice the size as the previous year. I was surprised and intrigued. I heard bookstores were expanding their YA departments, but it was great to see it in person.

I bought a stack of books of course and I’m now happily reading. And speaking of reading, any good books you’d recommend I pick up while I’m here in the States?
Picture from Dreamstine

Friday, June 26, 2009

Oh How I Have Missed You

Back in the good old USA, I'm finding all the good things that I've missed.
1. Green, green grass.
2. Blue skies and clean air
3. Peppermint Patties
4. Burgers
5. Cars and driving
6. Grocery stores!!!! Can you believe there are more than two types of salad dressings? And have you seen the cereal aisle? Man.
7. Malls
8. TV
9. Cheap prices
10. Family

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Loved Hawaii

I have always thought Hawaii to be just another one of those touristy places and because of that, we've avoided visiting. But this year we decided to use it as a layover from Seoul. Most all of our friends have done it and said it helped with jet lag.

I was wrong. I loved Hawaii!
It's like all the convenience and ease of the US with the exotic location. We just went to Oahu but that alone was such a fun place to go.

We visited the zoo, Diamond Head Crater, Diamond Head Lighthouse, the North Shore and saw the turtles, the battleships, did a Luau, hung out at the beach, and ate lots and lots of food.
So I've changed my mind. Hawaii is totally rocking and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Off Traveling

I'm three hours and counting until we leave for the airport for Hawaii. So exciting! It will be all of our first time there and it should be a great way to use as a stopover and get over some of that awful jet lag.

We are packing up the last few items to have all boxed up for our move two floors down. I can't believe we might actually finish in time! I was worried for a while it wouldn't get done.

But I wanted to say that we'll be traveling for a while so I'll be in and out on the Internet. Hopefully I'll have some fun things to blog about. Looking forward to hearing all about your summers too.
Photo from Dreamstine

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Oh, I've decided I love doing contests. They are just so much fun. I need to do this more often.

I wrote all the names on a piece of paper (some people's name more than once according to the rules!) and stuck them in a bowl.

Picture courtesy of Alexander Fediachov

Then I had my husband pick a name. He said that you all can't get mad at him because he doesn't know any of you so he was very unbiased. I laughed.

When he handed me the name, I was so nervous! The winner is (music please): Carmella!

(Pretend you hear screaming and shouting from the audience). Carmella, email me your mailing address and I'll send along the Korean story and fan to keep off that summer heat.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


School is officially out for me. Yeah! It's been a crazy May and June, but now its over. My classroom is packed and now I just have to prepare for our move. We're moving two floors down but the move will happen while we are gone so we're really making sure everything is boxed and labeled properly.

4 more days until we head home! We'll be stopping in Hawaii and then onto Atlanta. Can't wait! I'm already making a list of all the things I'm going to do and eat. Fun!

Oh, and thanks to all who entered the contest. I will close the contest on my Sunday (Korea time) or Saturday, June 14th, midnight EST in the US.

So while I'm eating peppermint patties and fruit all summer long, what will you be doing?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Korean Illustrator Speaks and CONTEST!

I am thrilled to introduce to you a talented Korean illustrator, Min jae Shin. Her sister is a coworker of mine (who is also incredibly talented) and she kindly agreed to let me interview her and offer you one of her autographed books! (see how at the end of this interview)

So Min jae, how long have your been drawing?
About eight years for illustrating for books, I also worked in broadcasting system for 5 years as a C.G designer.

What other books have you illustrated?

Ga-ul's Cooking, The Key Which I Have First, Princess' Feet, Puppy's Love, and some others. You can find more books in Alladin.

Wow! You’ve been busy. And by the way, congratulations on your release, A Sty for Sale. (Safaribook, English version)! What was your inspiration for creating the illustrations for this book?

Thank you! I’m often inspired from rough drawings and letting my mind wander. I also use the memories of me as a child.

I love how you’ve brought the ancient culture of Korea into the pictures. What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

The sentiment in Korea at the time of 1960-1970 is similar to the one when I was young. Although I am keeping only the small part of things from that time, it is easy to find it at Insadong in Seoul. Also I have many photos from scenes during that time. It’s really interesting to draw a picture with my memories too.

What medium did you use to illustrate the pictures in A Sty for Sale? (i.e. watercolors, acrylics, chalk…)

I tried to utilize the vintage-style impression from 'collage' and a pastel crayon. I like to mix one of several materials, not limiting myself to only one specific medium.

What is it like to be an illustrator in Korea?

I think it’s very interesting and exciting work to do, but I also feel it's hard to communicate with children and readers here. And that is something we as illustrators need to work on. In Korea, there is a huge need for illustrators because Korean parents are really interested in their children's education.

You attended the Bologne Book Fair in Italy this year along with other Korean artists as the Guests of Honor. What was this experience like?

This was my first time. The publishing company asked me, and I agreed. It was okay, but what is really important to me is actually drawing.

What do you do when you're not writing or illustrating?

I am an opening title designer for a TV program, because I am a graphic designer. But it is clear that as I illustrate more, I will spend more time in this area because it’s really interesting and meaningful to me. I can say that this is very attractive job. It makes me think about who I am and what is important to me in this world.

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with us Min jae!

Now, I'm sure you are all dying to acquire one of Min jae's books and it so happens that I have an autograph copy of it to give away as a prize.

AND since this is my first contest (cheering please), I'm also offering a traditional Korean rice paper fan that will be the perfect addition to your keep-the-heat-away this summer. (See photo)

How To Enter:

  1. Leave a comment below to be entered to win.
  2. If you are a follower, you will get an extra entry (please remind me if you are!)
  3. Post it on your blog for an extra entry (leave me a note that you did)
Don't worry, I will ship to anywhere in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

2nd Draft Finished!

Yeah! Yeah! And more yeahs! I've finally finished a complete second draft. I typed in my last words of a new scene and looked over at my husband and said "Let's celebrate!" My husband is off right now on his scooter to buy that imported Baskin Robbins (expensive but yummy).

We as writers need to celebrate these small steps. Actually, they're huge steps. This second draft ended up being a humongous rewrite after taking my online writing class. So now I have a new beginning, a new middle and a new ending. Wow. It's almost like a new book! It's okay, you can laugh at me.

I'm excited about the book though. It's got some good stuff. Maybe after another 2-3 more drafts, it might be ready to see the agenting world. Crossing toes.

More big news for me, we're moving apartments so I'm busy packing too. We picked out wallpaper (it was either wacky wild or plain beige- I ended up with plain beige- bla).

I'm also taking on a new job too! So tomorrow I'm packing up all my personal stuff in my classroom.

So, how about you? How do you celebrate those little milestones in your life?

Picture taken by Daniel Wiedemann curtesy of Dreamstine

Monday, June 1, 2009

Doug the Potter

Doug, my husband, returned from his trip on Saturday night. Yeah! He had a great time and did so many really cool things.
I was a little jealous but then I did get my 2nd draft finished on my WIP and I had an excuse to drink lots of caffeine and eat too much chocolate.
While on his trip, he went to an art center and learned how to make traditional Korean pottery. As you can see, my husband isn't quite a master potter yet, but he's sure talented!
Korea is famous for their pottery, especially the Celadon, which has an ethereal jade quality to its surface.
For hundreds of years, the Chinese and Japanese have coveted the beautiful masterpieces crafted in Korea. The Japanese even went so far as to start a war and capture many Korean potters, including Yi SamPyong.
Doug's pot is supposed to be delivered to our home by the end of the summer. It will be a nice piece added to our collection.