Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm on a Photo Shoot

I'm modeling jewelry!

It's been a crazy, packed week chasing down makeup artists and zipping myself into countless dresses.  The whole team didn't think we'd get it together in time, but as creative endeavors often do, everything came together in the end.

Last night I was on a rooftop overlooking downtown L.A.  Today I'm crouching against rocks at the beach in Orange County, hoping the tide doesn't sweep me away.

Here's a dress that didn't make the cut, but is fabulous:

In addition to this shoot, my a capella group is taking official photos tomorrow.  And I still have to work then pack for a weeklong trip - that begins Monday morning.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

He Bear, She Bear: How Competition Made Me Read

Welcome new followers from Goodreads and #FollowFriday! I'm overjoyed to be in the triple digits.

And welcome if you've surfed over from Lisa and K!

He Bear She Bear (Beginner Books)Today I'm guest blogging over at Baffled Books about pesky genius cousins, the dreaded "competition" that scares writers, and the Berenstain Bears.  All related.

For new readers: I grew up in New York and I live in Los Angeles.  I hate driving but I've gone too soft to withstand snow any longer.

Here's a handy guide to what I blog about:

Posts that people like are on the left sidebar.  Feel free to Twitter or Goodreads me.  It's been such a pleasure getting to know everyone!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: The Novice

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

The Novice (Black Magician Trilogy, #2)The scholar grinned. "You need a good memory to use the library. How else do you find a book again after you've read it?"
p. 100
The Novice by Trudi Canavan

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Playlist and Author Obsessions

I LOVE this week's questions!

Q. What is on your current playlist right now?

Bruno Mars "Grenade"
(hardcore stalkery love gets me every time)
Leona Lewis' latest album
(esp. "Happy")
Jessie J 
(this woman is a musical genius)

"If you find a book you love, do you hunt down other books by the same author?"

This is EXACTLY how I like to read.  I become a fan of an author, not of individual books.  Here are some authors that I will read ANYTHING by:

Maria V. Snyder
Alice Hoffman
Jessica Day George
Shannon Hale
Kristin Cashore

As you can see, the genre I author-stalk in is YA high fantasy, which is also what I love writing in as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

All My Women Boyfriends (and 7 Random Facts)

Thank you Angela Perry!

The rules for this award are

  • Thank and link to the person who nominated me.
  • Share seven random facts about myself.
  • Pass the award along to 15 new-found blogging buddies.
  • Contact those buddies to congratulate them.
7 Random Facts About Sophia
  1. I am certified in canine behavior from the ASPCA in NYC. I've worked with everybody from Rottweilers to Pomeranians. I've even taught a shelter dog to moonwalk on command.
  2. During the week I shared a makeup trailer with Katie Holmes (I sat in the next chair), I learned that her life was quite normal (she was with Chris Klein at the time.)
  3. I'm learning to beatbox (at a glacial pace) at the request of one of my a capella group members.
  4. My mom once met director Ang Lee and went on an on about me. She must have been memorably pushy because when I met Ang Lee a few months later, he said, "I remember your mom."
  5. I was Jackie Chan's interpreter when he came to Harvard as a guest and there's a photo of us in the Boston Globe laughing. I had to get up at 4 a.m. to go to the airport to meet his private jet (Zhang Zhiyi was on it, sleeping) and I got to ride around campus in his limo all day with his entourage.
  6. Number of times I've thrown my back out in a dance-off at a club/party: 2
  7. Number of times I've split my pants dancing at a club/party: 2
 (Number of parties/clubs I've danced at in the last 6 months: 0)

15 Gals I Swoon Over New Blogging Buddies
  1. Cindy Pon Even though she's published and famous, she's sooooo down to earth. Sometimes I pinch myself and ask, "Is the popular (mom) girl actually talking to ME?" Plus she likes Betsey Johnson.
  2. Jo Whittemore Another uber-published author that fangirls like me can talk to. Even when I gush like this about them. She likes Betsey too.
  3. Krispy My new boba/burger buddy
  4. Alz My new boyfriend (in my mind)
  5. Samantha Sotto This is one of the most supportive authors I've ever blog-met - Sam comments on blogs like a fiend. And is super cute. Just sayin'.
  6. Ali Cross Ali is the ninja of networking and another great commenter. Join the dojo.
  7. Lola Sharp Lola gives good virtual hug. What more can you ask for?
  8. Miranda Kennealy is not just an author but also a super smart D.C. politico who gets my Yale (sucks) jokes. SEXY.
  9. Ellen Oh is the Don - she just got a 3-book deal. Can we all sigh jealously now?
  10. Ani I'm STILL hoping to see this cool chick at a local SCBWI event soon :D
  11. **this blog friend is award-free** :(
  12. Summer Frey can probably found her own networking dojo :)
  13. Kristine Asselin another super supportive author (I was lucky enough to win a most excellent query critique from her)
  14. Joy Page Manuel kind of defines versatile (she has a Masters in Sociology)
  15. Sarah Skilton I was supposed to meet Sarah IN REAL LIFE this week but my stupid body barred me with a migraine and I am now hunting her down to meet IN REAL LIFE asap. Kind of because I can't believe how cute her blog photos are and I want to see this in person. I will report back (with photos if she lets me.) (And if this post hasn't freaked her out.)
As you can see, I crush very easily on fellow writers, women, and bloggers.  If you're a friendly woman writer/blogger, it's all over.  I will be your loyal boyfriend for life.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Teaser Tuesday: Picture Perfect

    Picture PerfectThere was, really, nothing you could use as a blueprint for your life, except your past.

    p. 395
    Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    It's Over, Marcus Mumford (Though I Still Love You)

    Boyfriend: Did you notice Marcus sings out of the side of his mouth sometimes?
    Me: Really? I was too busy noticing how the light makes his eyes twinkle.
    This week my boyfriend delivered the second half of his Valentine's gift: a trip to Vegas to see Mumford & Sons.

    the keyboardist showing that accordions rock
    I had this plan to dress super hawt so that Marcus Mumford would pick me out of the audience to marry him.

    Then I found out the concert was outside.  On top of a pool.  (With a cover on it.)

    Jeans and a scarf it is.

    We were one of the only 2 Asians and everyone was ginormously tall so I mostly watched them on the screen that broadcasts to the Strip.

    my future husband
    He played the accordion with his tongue and I nearly fainted.

    But THEN.

    He came back for the encore and he was SMOKING.

    It is so over, Marcus Mumford.  ::crying::


    It's my actual boyfriend's birthday - we'll be steaking out tonight!

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Audiobook Disasters: Incarceron in L.A. Traffic

    IncarceronThe biggest audiobook disaster, hands-down, is my experience with Incarceron.

    Narrator had an Eliza Dolittle accent.  But only during the dialogue.

    She would speak in her natural American voice during the narration, then out of nowhere emerged a combination of Cockney and, um, Pirates of the Caribbean.  The Disney ride, not the movie.

    A world built so complexly that listening to someone explain it - in a butchered Sweeney Todd accent - while focusing on bad SoCal drivers IN REAL LIFE leads to a completely lost listener (and sometimes driver - luckily I have a GPS).


    Everyone knows by now how extraordinarily spoiler-averse I am (I can't even finish reading jacket flaps). 

    It took me 3 tries to get past Incarceron's first chapter.  And that was only after I finally read every spoiler-laden review on Goodreads AND the first chapter in person at Barnes & Nobles.

    Befittingly, I was imprisoned in 2 hours of Los Angeles traffic one day after work and the only audiobook on hand was Incarceron.  In fact, all my music wasn't on my iPod for some reason.  So it was me, Eliza Doolittle with her rain-in-spain accent, and a parking lot called the 105 freeway.

    I now provide you with Sophia's version of Incarceron, as heard by a brain boiling in the microwave of a car:

    (I would warn you of spoilers, except my version departs wildly from the actual plot...)

    • A guy, possibly unhuman, wakes up tied to some road - no idea what time it is and it sounds like it's indoors, though I don't know why there's a highway underground.
    • It's a trick, he's actually not tied up, and this car full of humans comes by and then suddenly the road turns into a metal laundry chute.
    • Cut to the outside world, which for some reason is stuck in the 1800's.  The girl's dad, who owns the metal underground world, comes back with some fat prince for the girl to marry.  Fat prince's footguard and the dad step on a set of disappearing stairs and you can hear their disembodied voices as they explore the house.
    • Back in the prison, Finn (the guy) and his blood brother, some white guy named Kai, visit Jabba the Hut of the underworld who's got a Princess Leia tied to his chair, except it's a dog.  There are a bunch of goblin-dogs hanging around this cave.  
    • Some chick dies but they call her something weird.  Like prophet or something.
    • Cut to outside world - there's some evil queen.  And a legend about a lost prince.  Oh my gawd, it's Finn.
    • Back in the prison, Finn starts talking to a bunch of red eyes and then discovers the mouth of the prison, which is apparently a creature, and it looks like a bunch of scrap metal and shoes and discarded laundry.  I pictured the cover.
    • Somehow there's a key.  The chick Claudia steals a key from someone's office, and she has a gay butler.  I might have just imagined he was gay to make the book more interesting for myself.
    • For some reason white Kai has the key and he's chatting up Claudia who's being all prissy and wants to talk to Finn, even though I missed the part of her meeting him to begin with.  (I probably had to get on another freeway at that point.)
    • Claudia watches her dad walk across the garden, which she can see all the way from her window for some reason.  He opens a gate in the wall, like the Secret Garden, and that takes him to Incarceron.
    • Down in said Incarceron, the boys are escaping.  Suddenly a basket lowers over a river and inside is a moleman wearing steampunk goggles who says, "Get in!"

    By now I'm dehydrated, I have to pee, I'm brain-dead.  And luckily I'm home.

    (Note: I told Krispy and Alz this version and they've cleared me up. The actual plot doesn't sound any clearer.)

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Audiobook Disasters: Time to Stop Listening?

    Krispy: I think you need to stop listening to audiobooks.
    After I told her my version of Incarceron pieced together from a failed audiobook reading.

    Something has gone very, very wrong with audiobooks and me.  I've either hated or been bored to sleep (as passenger, not driver) by several highly lauded books.

    Now this could be because I, simply, just don't like the book.

    But I also suspect the format has much to do with my somnolent response.

    Bitten (Women of the Otherworld, #1)Take Bitten, for example, Kelly Armstrong's first book in her Women of the Otherworld series.  It's about a female werewolf.

    A CHICK werewolf.

    Awesome right?

    I thought it was meh.  (Except for the s-e-x scenes. Dang that lady can write.)

    I decided to give the series another shot, this time on Kindle just in time for my Taiwan trip.


    In the written form, Armstrong's writing was suddenly laugh-out-loud funny, her plots exciting, her men sexy.  I ended up downloading the third book midway through my trip; it's now one of my favorite series. (Just started book 5)

    The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1)Right now I'm listening to The Iron King.  I was never into fairies to begin with (save for the ones in the Sookie Stackhouse books), but it was a Goodreads book club pick plus I wanted to support an Asian sister.

    I've taken to only playing it when my boyfriend is driving the car...

    Sophia: (sits up suddenly, blinking) Wait.  He's standing?  I thought he was dead.
    Unicorn boyfriend: (smoothly) They were discussing what to do with him, then he got up, he's bleeding, and now he's holding a sword and wants to kill her.
    Sophia:...who is this now?
    At least one of us is following along.

    Looking for AlaskaSo here's my quandary: one of my Goodreads groups is now reading Looking for Alaska.  I know.  This one won the Prinz.

    We're about to take a roadtrip and I'm trying to decide whether to listen on audiobook (the Unicorn will be driving so he can catch whatever I miss), or if I should do this one right and stick with the hardcover library book I took out today.

    What do you think, readers???

    Stay tuned for my next post, when I outline the plot of Incarceron...what I heard, at least.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Teaser Tuesdays: Delirium

    "That's when you really lose people, you know. When the pain passes."
    from p. 259 of Delirium by Lauren Oliver

    "Tell me that poem again." My voice doesn't sound like my own; my words seem to come from a distance.
    "Which one?" Alex whispers.
    "The one you know by heart."
    from p. 299

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Ladies Do Dessert

    Krispy organized a little lady's night this weekend to celebrate (bemoan?) my moving away.  We dined on Taiwanese fare then moved to a popular Chinese dessert joint where we shared this deliciousness:

    Sweet Almond and Black Rice hot dessert soup

    And I discovered Krispy's sister's napkin stash:

    Alz joined us at Krispy's house.  Though she'll never show her face online, I captured her signature rings a few weeks ago at our Borders date. (I thought that date went well, but she still refuses to be my boyfriend.  I'm trying to get her to knit a hipster cap for me as a consolation prize.  I'll buy the yarn!)

    It's Twilight meets Austen

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Follow Friday: Judging a Book By its Cover

    Q. Do you judge a book by it's cover?

    Now that you mention it...

    A cluttered or yucky cover might even taint how well I perceive the book to be written. Only slightly, though.

    I prefer simple, bold designs like Delirium Delirium (Delirium, #1)

    or ChokerChoker. I remember a book better if I can visualize it.

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Anti-Acknowledgements or Why You Don't Want to Write In A Chinese Family

    I shudder when I read author acknowledgments - they show me what I don't have.

    After reading Elizabeth's post about support (or lack thereof) at Liz Writes Books, I was comforted by the fact that I wasn't the only one who didn't have a family or town of people rooting her on.

    When I read Trudi Canavan's acknowledgement page for The Magician's Guild, where she thanks her father for being her number one supporter, I laughed (in a bitter, so-I-don't-cry way).

    If I were to mention my dad it would go something like this:

    To my father, who has consistently put down every artistic pursuit I've ever undertaken and made me feel ashamed for not being a banker or owning a private jet.Thanks for making me wish I were anyone but myself. I'm sure you'll find a way to put down the number of books I fail to sell and point out that Stephenie Meyer is still much richer than I.

    (I feel the need to interject that luckily my Tiger Mother is exceedingly supportive of my artistic pursuits.)

    My boyfriend and I had a big laugh over my fake acknowledgment - it's a common one for our generation of Chinese-Americans. Though it's taken me decades, I've come to accept that my dad and his friends (because the Chinese are kind enough to lecture their friends' kids too) and even random people (that's how intimate the Chinese are) will never support my writing(/singing/dancing/acting/composing/etc.)  I will always be a lazy hippie to my dad and that's okay.

    I used to envy my white friends whose parents actually told them they would love them no matter what they did with their lives.

    What the heck is that?!?

    I can't even imagine a concept of unconditional love for the Chinese. It's laughable. And ridiculous.

    Even my boyfriend, who is 100% supportive of my chosen career, is not that husband authors thank profusely for being their first beta readers blah blah blah. My boyfriend's Cantonese. If you're Cantonese, I don't need to say any more.

    For the rest of you, I mean he's blunt and, in his own words, "wants to get sh** done." To this day he hasn't read a single complete manuscript of mine, short story or otherwise. The most I've dared show him is one sentence. You heard me.


    He managed to make me cry over that one sentence. (We're working on the "good feedback first" policy...)

    Sometimes You Have No Choice
    It sucks going it alone. I landed in Hollywood by myself with zero connections and pulled myself up. I booked the first national commercial I auditioned for (Hewlett Packard - I played a skater girl). It's not that common to make SAG (Screen Actors Guild) after just two months in L.A.

    That didn't impress Dad.

    My father spent the entire time sending me letters about why I was making the biggest mistake of my life.(One was accompanied by a highlighted article of a Harvard graduate who gave up acting to be a lawyer.) We had shouting arguments on the phone. I had a much older boyfriend who was jealous of my success. (Father issues much?) One rejection was so painful I curled up on the floor of my closet and cried in fetal position. Oh yeah, I've been there.

    Eventually I left the entertainment industry, too burnt out to fight anymore.

    I would never do it alone again. I'm grateful that the writing community is (mostly) founded upon support rather than competition. I was amazed at how instantly friendly my critique partners were though they'd never met me IN REAL LIFE (soon to change...) These are people whose names are engraved in my future acknowledgments page.

    But sometimes you have no choice. Whether it's writing, or dealing with horrible life crap (my involuntary specialty), sometimes you gotta do it alone.

    And that's okay.

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    In My Mailbox #2

    It's taken over 2 months for me to post a second IMM because I've been saving this meme for books that I've won as a way to thank the hosting websites and gifters.

    yes that's a Team Jacob T-shirt that I got during a Borders closing sale
    In My Mailbox was started by Story Siren

    1) The Trouble with Half a Moon (MG)
    by and from Danette Vigilante through First Page Panda

    2) Picture Perfect (Adult/Women's Fiction)
    by Jodi Picoult from Len Lambert (in the UK - the stamp had the Queen of England on it!) through Theresa Milstein

    3) Bloody Valentine (Blue Bloods) (YA)
    by Melissa De La Cruz from The Cajun Book Lady

    I am SOO excited about all 3 of these b/c

    1) I've rediscovered my love for MG AND I get to support fellow writers of color.
    2) I've been wanting to get into Jodi Picoult for probably 10 years now, since she was recommended to fans of Alice Hoffman
    3) I've followed this series since the beginning and I'm obsessed with the way the audiobook narrator does Mimi's voice.  Spot on New England lockjaw.

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    April Boobs Day

    Book Blogger Hop

    "Since today is April Fool's Day in the USA, what is the best prank you have ever played on someone OR that someone has played on you?"

    When I first moved back to NYC after a run through Hollywood, I got a new friend to spread a rumor that I had gotten implants. I figured New Yorkers would just think, "Of course she did, she lived in L.A."

    NYers are wily and skeptical folk, so it took some convincing and I think it was still dubious at best. (Stuffing was involved for a night.)

    (I never played pranks ON people; that's just mean.)


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