Word on the Street 2023

Word on the Street, a virtual and in-person literary festival has just started in Toronto! People can sign up for free virtual workshops featuring different writers via the event schedule and I will be at two booths on May 27-28 representing the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop and Canadian Authors Association. Handy that the two booths are next to one another because we are short staffed at both tables!

To prepare, I have been gathering books for display, putting together book raffle bundles and of course, making an all important mini Lego WOTS bookstore. Because I always need an excuse to buy more Lego!

See you at these Writers’ Groups booths: Asian Canadian Writers Workshop 76B & Canadian Authors Association 78B. Here is the raffle schedule, remember to come by for free draw tickets!


Reminder: How COVID affected Librarians, Authors & Poets/Performance Artists

A reminder that on May 25, I will be hosting an event for Canadian Author Association’s Toronto branch to discuss how librarians, authors & poets/performance artists were affected by COVID. Academic librarians from The University of Toronto and Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) will discuss the disruptions they have faced and how libraries have responded to the pandemic. Author Dan K Woo and Poet/Performance Artist Johnny D Trinh will share how the pandemic has affected their writing life and what opportunities were missed or gained. These writers will also read from their works.

Registration for this zoom event is free and link is here: https://canadianauthors.org/toronto/events/

Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop is the sponsor for this event and there will be a draw for a $50 Indigo gift card. Dark Helix Press will also be giving away an eBook sampler. Links to these are on the event page.

Next time we are upset, remember people are people

Since starting social media accounts eons ago (remember My Space anyone? MIrc?) I have seen posts from people (who I don’t personally) bullying me. Have also received long emails about how I suck, etc. For a while I was angry, but anger is such a destructive force. I’ve learned to channel this energy into other things, such as writing and making books – basically creating stuff.

The other day I played Depeche Mode’s People are People in the car and this made me think about such past events of cyberbullying. In the end it’s not productive to hold onto the anger or to do revenge stuff. As much as I like watching The Glory or Revenge, let’s be honest, who has time to do this revenge stuff?

People are People selected lyrics:

I can’t understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

People are people, so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully
People are people, so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully

Although this song was released in 1984, the message still holds true! Have a listen next time you are upset to help let go of the negative emotions!

If I don’t post in the next little while it’s because of this…

Recently I volunteered to be the judge of a literary contest and all the entries of physical books were sent to me in multiple boxes! A few days ago I was wondering what to read and well, now I have my answer. My child was very excited to help me organize the titles and declared that any titles with the words “emotional,” “fire” and had a nice graphic should win because they judge by the cover! But I will read through most of them since experience had taught me the cover isn’t everything!

Looking through the books I see seasoned award winning authors and also a variety of self-published authors competing against each other. This is going to be tough to judge but I will do my best and keep an open mind!

As a person who also enters contests, one has to have thick skin. Judging, similar to editing is very subjective and depends on the person’s experiences. There are also other judges so we will come together at the end to compare our shortlists. This is an interesting experience to go through and we’ll see what happens! Meanwhile I will be reading a lot over the next little while!

Catherine Graham poetry event tonight!

Tonight Canadian Authors Association’s Toronto branch will be hosting an event to celebrate National Poetry month. Award winning author Catherine Graham will be sharing her poetry and my Co-President Lee Parpart will be hosting.

After Catherine’s session I will be hosting the open mic where six readers will be sharing their works of poetry. Looking forward to seeing everyone virtually on zoom and it’s been a while since I roped in my friend Vincent Ternida to read. I have never heard his poetry so I am looking forward to this! Other readers include David Epstein, Suzanne Craig-Whytock, Patrick Connors and Judith Shaw.

Event is on April 27, starting 7:30pm EST, free zoom registration: https://canadianauthors.org/toronto/events/

Finally writing my second vampire book

For April’s NaNoWrimo camp I am writing the second book of my vampire series, The International House of Vampires. I should be writing, but I always seem to find things to distract myself because I am an Olympian at procrastinating! One of the reasons I am taking so long with the second book is because initially I was going to switch main character to a minor character and did write a fair bit, but one of my mentors told me to stick with Tamara, the main character, so I scrapped that version of the second book. The minor character was Latino and while doing research I was told to not write a main character that is non-Asian. Then my dad died and in the second book, a father figure dies, so I had a hard time continuing writing. After my dad died, a lot of things stopped for me and I was feeling like I was recovering when my mom and grandma died. I had written a novel about yokai hunting in San Francisco just before mom died and entered a contest with it (it lost) and am now looking for a literary agent. No one wants it so far and I will keep trying to bug agents and publishers.

In the first vampire book, Tamara lost her husband and in the second book it’s about her trying to find him in the Underworld. The Underworld is described very differently by the Buddhist versus Roman Catholic religions I was raised in. I never thought it was odd to have two religions in the household, my parents were very different people so it made sense while growing up. Anyhow, the Underworld I am creating in this book is a mish mash as well and since it’s the second book, I will have to self-publish since the publishers/agents queried with the first book didn’t want a multicultural vampire book using Taoism concepts to explain magic. Vampires also don’t drink blood, they suck chi energy and they vaccinated themselves against silver. For such old creatures, there should be improvements over time!

Now I am busy looking up my past manuscripts and picking and choosing what I want to use in this book. Nothing is ever wasted even if it’s tossed out because it’s practice for the final version! After I finish this book my family members can stop making fun of me not having a second books!

My initial scope was five books for International House of Vampires (not to be confused with International House of Pancakes apparently), but we will see. I’ve been writing more short fiction since they are easier to sell and less heart breaking than working on a book for five years that no one wants. Back to writing! Tut tut!

Meeting in person to geek out on publishing!

This is the first in person event I will be doing post pandemic! If you happen to be downtown Toronto on Thursday, April 20, I will be at The New Common (around Wellesley/Bloor) speaking to the Toronto Writers Community.

We are going to talk about “Which publishing path is right for you?” which will detail options about publishing in today’s mad world. We’ll cover traditional (literary agents, publishing companies, online), self-publishing and vanity presses. After the talk, lots of time to chat about your projects and what you want to pursue!

Register for the event here: https://www.meetup.com/toronto-writers-community/events/292552466/

Words of Wonder free eBooks

Recently I became part of a group promotion called “Worlds of Wonder” featuring sci-fi and fantasy stories. There are over a dozen free eBooks available for download and I am sharing my East meets West vampire book, The Undead Sorceress. I was a bit surprised to see some fairytale fantasy books and plots involving Asian demons. I downloaded a few to read since it’s free anyways and to check out how other people create their newsletter!

The link to “Worlds of Wonder” is here and it’s live until May 3, 2023, happy reading! https://storyoriginapp.com/to/vfsdrKo

Talking to Lindsay Wong about success

What is success? Is it achieving a goal such as writing a best selling book or living a dream lifestyle?

Recently I interviewed Lindsay Wong about this and I was slightly surprised by what she said, since she hit success with her memoir, The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family. The book was nominated for book awards, won some awards and selected for the 2019 edition of Canada Reads.

For many people it seems after hitting one goal, it’s time to set up the next goal and keep going! Lindsay works very hard and I wish her luck in the future of being able to just wake up every morning to just write in pjs!

Link to my interview and her book reading here: Spotify, Youtube

Free Postcolonial horror writer talk with Tonya Liburd

On March 30, CAA-Toronto is hosting a free event featuring writer Tonya Liburd.

What is postcolonial horror, and how does it differ from conventional horror? Join us for what what promises to be a fascinating session with award-winning horror writer and editor TONYA LIBURD, whose stories and poems have garnered recognition in Toronto and beyond.

What you’ll hear:

  • How Tonya approaches her writing career
  • How her work as a magazine editor has shaped her writing and her thoughts about publishing
  • Her thoughts about code switching, Black horror, and postcolonial horror
  • Her novel-in-progress

Click this link to register on Zoom.