My East Coast Book Tour

I recently came back from the trip of a lifetime. Never in my wildest imagination did I think I’d be going on a “book tour” and speaking to people about something I created—something I never thought would come into existence. I guess my imagination isn’t wild enough, because that’s exactly what I did on my vacation. I’m still pinching myself for the fact that the Boston Public Library has my book available for check out. It’s times like these I am in awe of the blessings and opportunities presenting themselves in my life.

I left for Boston on Monday night, October 1st, with one of my assistants, Jesse, in tow. He came along as my bodyguard, extra set of muscles, person to remind me of items needed for events, personal map, general entertainment…You know, all the things any fabulous assistant must be. We were missing one third of our triad, however: the lovely Jessica who arranged all the events. Thanks to her hard work, all our events went very smoothly and were more than I could have ever hoped for.

Tuesday morning, 5:35 am, Boston time, Jesse and I slumped off the plane like tired pilgrims from a long journey. Overnight flights will do that. After grabbing our luggage, Jesse bought us passes for the T—Boston’s subway system—and we set off to find our hotel. The hotel, supposedly on Shirley Lane, was not on the Shirley Lane we found. Turns out, there are two Shirley Lanes in opposing directions. But staying in high spirits, I suggested we eat breakfast before setting off on another adventure.

Hours later, we arrived at the correct Shirley and took a long nap after checking in. The afternoon greeted us with the doom and gloom of rain clouds, but no matter—we bought tickets for the famous Boston Duck Tour anyway and were true tourists, sightseeing in the city. It was great.

Wednesday was our only sleep-in day of which we took every advantage. The afternoon would bring a hotel change, equaling the hauling of heavy luggage on the T, and our first event at the Brookline Public Library in the evening.

Wen we reached Brookline, Megan, the college intern who had arranged this event, greeted us warmly and made us feel at ease. Then it was time to begin. I turned on my public speaking brain and spoke about my book, my life, my opinions…it seemed long and short at the same time. There was another author present, who also shared about her writing process, opinions, challenges…it was so interesting and inspiring to hear from someone who shared my passions in a different way.

A short reception followed where we mingled for a while. That night, my mom and her best friend flew into Boston and picked up Jesse and me from a nearby cafe. The evening ended with a light dinner, and thank goodness—a car ride rather than the subway—to take us to our hotel.

Thursday…I was exhausted. We woke up at 5:40am to prepare for a two-hour drive to Hanover, New Hampshire. The drive, though rainy, was breathtaking. We were in awe of the beautiful and majestic landscape. I have never seen fall colors like THAT. Even the pictures I have don’t do the real deal justice. Upon arrival in Hanover, we found a local cafe, The Dirt Cowboy, and became nicely caffeinated before heading to Hanover High School.

9:50am was our first class. The kids were a riot! I spoke for the entirety of the period and did a book giveaway. The remainder of the day was similar. A very different school system intrigued us, since we found out the kids did not have a lunch period. They were allowed to eat in most classes. They enjoyed an open campus forum, and had more of a collegiate atmosphere than the typical high school.

Jesse and I took a very short lunch break, in which parking was a pain in the arse, BUT we had success and found parking in a garage for—get this—twenty-five CENTS!!! Unreal. After school, our drive back was amazing. We stopped a few times, but the best stop was at this lake that was completely serene and unlike any like I have ever witnessed. I cannot properly describe its beauty, so it is pictured here:

Friday was the final event day. In the morning, I spoke to a freshman English class at Snowden International High School in Boston. It was very different than Hanover High. I enjoyed the kids, played a game with them, gave away lollipops and bookmarks, and two books.

My last event with the Boston Public Library was not until 3pm, so Jesse and I killed time by finding me a dress for the wedding I was to attend on Sunday, eating sushi outside (gorgeous day that day), and trying and failing to print more bookmarks at Kinko’s. Then we headed to the library. It turned out to be my favorite event.

The Teen Room was set up for my visit. Six girls came to hear me talk about my book and ask me questions. I wanted to know about them, too. We had a very intimate setting with snacks, a small table, and bright red chairs. Jesse, my mom, and our friend sat to my left. The librarians sat behind the girls, beaming at me.

We talked and exchanged opinions, stories, questions and answers, and reflections for almost ninety minutes. It was great. One girl left immediately after I spoke; the other five stayed a bit longer. Lucky for them: I had exactly five copies of my book and gave them each a signed book. What a fun afternoon. Finally, we headed to dinner at the oldest restaurant in the U.S.: The Union Oyster House.

After that, it was late and we headed back to the hotel so Jesse could get his bags before going to the airport at 2am. Around 12am, Jesse and I headed back into Boston’s Little Italy, where we drank espresso and laughed at the funny, crazy adventures we had on our trip. 1:40am, the cafe/bar began to shut down—our queue to leave. I dropped him off at the airport, wished him a safe journey home, then drove back to Andover in the eery silence of 2-something-AM, without traffic.

And that, my friends, was the majority of my journey. I hung out with friends in Salem on Saturday, went to a good friend’s wedding in Ipswich on Sunday, traveled to New York on Monday, and flew back to California on Tuesday. About eight days of travel, entertainment, new places and faces, good food, friends, and opportunities for which I will be forever grateful. I can only hope that this is the beginning of something great and cannot wait to see where these new connections may lead.

I have one more book/author event on October 20th, at the Santa Clara Public Library. After that, it’s time for an event hiatus in order to finish book two! I think I have the energy to write 60k+ words…maybe. In the meantime, I am planning a huge Halloween event for my work. Once that’s done, it’s NaNoWriMo time, baby!

Here’s to more writing, stress, and wonderful chaos. May I continually be humbled by the unique and incredible opportunities that seem to be flooding my life at the present moment. Below are some fun NYC photos… And, cheers to Boston!

Until next time…


Ermagherd…Erm Gering Ter Bersten! (OMG I’m Going to Boston!)

It’s been a while since I’ve written and I’m not going to put myself down for that. Settling into a new position at work has been a huge task–rewarding, but there’s quite a bit on my plate. However, I have some really exciting news! I will be going to Boston, next week, and will be at quite a few events for my debut novel, Feast Island! For a complete list of events, feel free to check out my website:

One of my first events will be with the Brookline Public Library. Check out the details here:

It’s still just sinking in that I’m going to these different events, speaking to people, and being asked questions about my writing process, and about my inspirations, and about my thoughts on literature. I mean, really? Am I that interesting? I sure hope so. I’m not “important” or an “anybody” in the literature world in any regard; I’m simply a girl who has followed her heart and made something uncommon happen: I wrote a novel and had it published. Either way, I am very excited about going to speak to teens especially, and encouraging them to take hold of one of my mantras: “Dream big.”

I will also be vacationing for the first time in over a year–which is much needed! One of my very good friends is getting married in Boston next Sunday and I can’t wait to see her in her beautiful dress, and have a great time with friends that I’ve known for years. After that, my mom, her best friend, and I will be making a short and sweet trip to NY and leave from there to go home. It’s going to be great.

One of my friends, whom I affectionately label as my Cabana Boy, will be traveling with me the first few days in Boston. He’s going to watch out for me and help me with all my events. Rock star material, right there! 🙂 I sure hope he can put up with me, ha! And my other lovely friend, who is not able to join us on the trip, is the one who coordinated these exciting events for me! I am so grateful and can’t wait to see where this all leads.

When I visited Boston about two and a half years ago, I fell in love with the city. If I ever had to relocate to somewhere in the States from the Silicon Valley, I’d shoot for Boston. It’s just such a cool place. I’m definitely looking forward to going back and showing my family and friends a city that I love. If any of you blog followers are on the East Coast and want to meet me, I’d love to see you at one of the events! Hopefully this blog will be a little more active next week–I’ll be posting pictures and sharing stories. Until the next post, I leave you with a beautiful shot of the Charles River, during sunset, I took in 2010. Cheers!

Memory Lane (Ode to My Nephew)

Today my nephew turned five. FIVE-YEARS-OLD! Where on earth has time gone? I remember his birth like it was yesterday, except it’s been five years. The little person Quentin, whom we all call “Q”, has won over many hearts with his charm, humor and beautiful face. Ironically, we had no idea he was a boy until he was born.

I can still feel the excitement of it all—I was going to be an auntie and was so elated. January 24th, 2007: My sister went to the hospital to have labor induced because the bundle-of-joy-to-be was past due (sounds like a library book—*smirk*). It was nice to know the actual day on which the little one would be born. The room at home was ready, the gifts had been put away, mountains of diapers were arranged cleverly, and the baby shower had taken place in November. Everything was set. But there remained an un-foretold dilemma: everything was pink or purple and was definitely for a little niece, not a nephew.

Yes, this really happened. Q was “supposed” to be a girl, according to the ultrasounds, etc. Comforting to know that modern technology still doesn’t provide all the answers. He was supposed to be Keira. Instead, to the surprise of all–especially the doctor, he was a boy. And a gorgeous one at that.

Me (during my blonde days) holding my brand new nephew in 2007.

I received news at work that it was time to be on my way to the hospital. Quentin was born while I was on the road. My mom called me to give me a very appropriate account of the whole scenario, rather than a play-by-play. Good thing my mom is very tactful. As soon as my nephew’s dad came out to the waiting room to share the news with my family, I heard my mom say, “It’s a…it’s a…a boy? I need to call you back.” Click.

My own mother hung up on me, leaving me hanging with all sorts of questions while I drove as quickly and safely as possible to the hospital. What did she mean I had a nephew instead of a niece?! How could the doctor get that one wrong? And most importantly, what were we going to do with all the frilly pink dresses?

  Well, everything turned out just fine. My sister was able to re-gift or give away many of the clothes. Everyone and their mom and their dogs and their second-cousins-twice-removed sent boy clothes and gifts. And we were just happy to see a healthy baby, no matter what the gender. I still laugh when I think about my mother’s shock at the news of her new grandson and how she hung up on me. And I laugh every day at the funny things the cutest nephew in the world says.

He is honestly one of the most easy-going, mellow, intelligent kids I’ve ever met. And that’s saying something—not because I’m his auntie (I actually go by “Titi”) but because I’m honest about kids, especially since I’ve been working with them for over fourteen years. If I can someday produce offspring as gorgeous and well-behaved as my Quentin, I’ll be forever content. Of course, props to my sis for being a great mom. However, she’s been truly blessed with such an even keel kiddo. So here’s to my nephew, one of the coolest kids to roam the earth and someone who I believe will someday impact the world just as much as he’s impacted mine. And for now, the would-be Keira, or at least the name itself, will be forever immortalized in the current series I’m writing: Spirit Lake. Perhaps that’s the world in which she really should belong.

Our trip to Disneyland last fall…