Friday, February 25, 2011

The Kimchi Chronicles

Talk about a documentary series that I'm already in love with! The Kimchi Chronicles is all about Korean cuisine and will air on PBS this summer. I'm really excited to show you guys this teaser. What I love about this promo is that the world famous 3 star Michelin chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, makes his own version of a kimchee, pork and seaweed stew that is essentially Korean peasant food. How awesome is that? But the real queen of making kimchi stew is actually...Me. Oh yes. It's true. I make the best kimchi stew (kimchi jigae) on the east coast. My Mom, who is the most amazing cook in the world and whom Da Man would have to grudgingly admit is a better cook than his own mom, has bowed down to my kimchi stew making mad skills.

But the series is more than kimchi. It's Korean cuisine shown through the eyes of a Korean American learning about her cultural roots. This is something I hope to do myself, possibly next year. That alone makes this a must see for the entire Oh household.

Oh and the wonderful Christy Farley has an interview and contest up at her blog. I have to link because it is a beautiful Korean purse so please check it out and enter!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

K-Pop Time and Youtube Racism

Haven't done a K-Pop post in awhile so I figured it was time! Here's a new video that I really like for several reasons. First, the singer is a cutie, the tune is upbeat and a little different than other K-pop songs, the video is Alice in Wonderlandesque and fun to watch, oh and the singer is a cutie.

But on a more serious note, I'm always shocked at how much racism can be seen in the comment trails of Youtube videos. And lately, there's been such an awful amount of Asian backlash. Comments like "Chinks are taking over Youtube!" "Stop watching Gay Gook Bands!" "Where's U R White Pride?" And this is the mild stuff. I can't possibly reiterate the awful stuff I've read. I wish to God I'd never read them in the first place. Why should I be shocked? I shouldn't be, right? And yet I am. The hatred is so ugly, so hateful, so appalling. And these people are anonymous. I don't know who they are! I feel like this bothers me even more.

Instead of becoming a more tolerant society, we've just become a society where it is becoming more and more unacceptable to be or act racist in public, so it drives the racists to the internet. It is in anonymity that the true racists can be their true selves. This scares me. Is my neighbor an anonymous racist? Is my doctor? Is my auto mechanic? Can you imagine working side by side with a colleague at the office - having a polite but distant work relationship. Never knowing that in the privacy of the internet he/she spews racial, sexual, religious, homophobic hatred.

While there's not a lot that can be done about these anonymous trolls, we can do something about their vitriolic comments. Instead of just spamming them, take a few extra minutes and report them to Youtube under their Help and Safety Tool page. Yes, it is a little more complicated than just clicking the spam button. But can you spare an extra few minutes to send a message that hate speech is not acceptable? We can't afford to ignore hate speech because if we ignore it, we essentially condone it.

And while I am a firm believer in freedom of speech, I do worry at times that the definition of "Hate Speech" can border on censorship. Spewing racist words is not necessarily hate speech, but when that same person incites others by asking "where their white pride is" and stating that all "gooks should be nuked" we've clearly crossed the line into "hate speech." And it's dangerous because this type of speech can galvanize the unhinged racist extremists. Ugly words of hate and violence that become a constant refrain can push extremists beyond speech and into real violence. We see and hear about this far too many times.

Sadly, racism is thriving on the internet. Whatever small steps we can take to combat this growing problem, I urge all of us to take.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Something about the winter time, it seems I've had many talks with people who are disheartened and don't know if they should continue pursuing their dreams. To them and anyone else who may need it, I dedicate these two poems by one of my favorite poets - Langston Hughes. I think it is fitting to read them together. 

Copyright by Garry available via Creative Commons License

Dream Deferred
 by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow. 

As long as you can dream, the dream has a chance to come true.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I have a cover!!

Woo hooooooooo!

Ok, not a real HarperCollins cover. That won't be for some time now. Especially because I just found out, and it is good news, that my book date is being pushed back to Winter 2013. (Interesting note - in publishing winter means Jan/Feb/March.) This is good because that means I have plenty of time to work book 2 and 3 into perfect shape, something I have to admit I was worried about. So now with the books coming out in 2013, 2014, 2015, I feel confident that I can do a great job on the sequels.

In the meantime, Youngest has asked if she could draw a cover for my book. I was thrilled to see what she came up with.

This is a fabulous rendition of a water dragon battling ninjas. Ok technically I don't have any ninjas in my book, but I think this is marvelous! I especially love how the dragon is crushing one ninja in its claws while spraying water all over another one. Such a nice eye for detail she has!

Then Oldest wanted in on the action and she created her version of my book's cover, this one with Kira, my main character riding the water dragon. I love how she painted it and gave Kira such a fierce expression.

I'm thinking the HarperCollins's art team is going to have a hard time equaling the awesomeness of these two covers. But I also can't wait to see what my book cover will look like. Until then, I'll be admiring these two works of art!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Winning Haikus!

Thanks to everyone who entered our Fury of the Phoenix/Silver Phoenix Contest. We had some amazing entries and I didn't envy Cindy her job. But she did come up with our two winning haikus, and here they are!

Grand Prize Winner:

Flame raging beneath,
Burying past emotions,
Waiting for fury. (dagger 16)

Second Prize, but no less grand, winner:

It swept across,
and Nature fell upon us.
Beautiful Fury. (by sarah)

Congratulations Dagger and Sarah! Please email me at with your contact information and let me know if you would prefer an Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card.

Also, Cindy would like to let ALL participants who submitted a haiku be eligible for some Fury swag if you are interested. Just email her at and put "Haiku Swag" in the subject line.

Thanks Cindy for your generosity! And thanks again to everyone who tweeted and blogged and facebooked and talked about it. All of you are wonderful!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Year of the Golden Rabbit!

Well technically it was yesterday, but I am wishing you all a Happy Lunar New Year and plenty of good fortune! So this is the year of the metal rabbit - and not just any metal but gold!

The rabbit - Cuddly, warm and affectionate are the attributes of the Rabbit. He is also one of the luckiest signs in the Chinese Astrology chart.

So this lunar new year, I want to wish you all a wonderful, joyful and peaceful year of great fortune.

And here are some sniffing rabbits to help you celebrate (courtesy of the Disgrasians). They are sniffing ... in a cup... they must be lucky!

Haiku contest ends tonight so get the last of your haikus in!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fury of the Phoenix Contest!!!!!

When you are friends with an author, there are a few things you have to worry about. First you worry that you won't like your friend's book. Then you worry that people will think you're just saying you like your friend's book because it's your friend's book. Then you worry about what other people will think of your friend's book.

These are the thoughts that went through my head when I got a copy of Fury of the Phoenix. I was anxious to read it and worried all at the same time. But I can't even tell you how ecstatic I was when I finished reading Fury. I've always known Cindy is a wonderful story teller and writer, but in Fury, Cindy has blown me away. It is an incredibly powerful, moving and exciting story. I absolutely loved it and I believe that anyone who reads it will see exactly what I'm talking about. She did something really hard to do, take an evil character and nuance him so that we actually come to care for him.

And while I think a reader could read Fury without having read the first book, I firmly believe you have to read Silver Phoenix to truly enjoy Fury. Silver Phoenix is an excellent read, but Fury, in my mind, is my favorite book - it's intense, emotional, deep, rich and utterly satisfying. I couldn't stop thinking about Fury for days after reading it. I was so proud of Cindy after reading Silver Phoenix, but I can't even begin to express how much I admire her now. So many writers suffer from the sophomore slump. Not Cindy. Her second book is an absolute triumph and I can't recommend it enough!

Not only is Fury coming out on March 29th, but today is the release of the paperback version of Silver Phoenix and with a beautiful brand new cover!

Yes I know there has been controversy over the cover. But I don't have a problem with this cover. Do you know why? Not as many bookstores carried Silver Phoenix in the first go around. But Cindy's publisher believes in her books so much that they were willing to do a cover redesign for the paperback to help give her books a second life. That makes me so happy because it means a new chance for more people to read Cindy's books. It's a beautiful cover and I love how the jade necklace gives it an Asian feel. After the cover controversy, I showed the girls the new covers of Silver Phoenix and Fury and asked them what they thought of the covers. They loved them and immediately said that the girl on both covers must be Asian. I asked why and they said because the necklace and the dagger look Asian. And that was good enough for me.

So in honor of the paperback release of Silver Phoenix, Cindy has been gracious enough to donate a copy of a highly prized Fury ARC and 2 copies of the new Silver Phoenix paperback! I'm adding to the fun by donating 2 gift cards to either Barnes and Nobles or Amazon (winners choice). That's right - 2 prizes to try for:

1. Grand prize includes Fury ARC, Silver Phoenix paperback and 1 $50 gift card.
2. Second prize includes Silver Phoenix paperback and 1 $25 gift card.

To win prize,
All you gotta do
Is Haiku.

That's right, a haiku contest. If you have a twitter account, and you want to win one of these fabulous prizes, just tweet your haiku to @elloecho and you will be included in the contest. You can do 3/5/3 or 5/7/5 - the haiku must contain the word Fury or Phoenix in it. And you also need to tweet a link to this post as follows - (Haiku contest for Fury of the Phoenix ARC, Silver Phoenix paperback and $50 gift card @elloecho How are you going to do this all on twitter? Just split it up into 2 back to back tweets and it will count as one entry, tweet the haiku first and then the contest info second (both to @elloecho). You may enter as many haikus as you want. Cindy will choose the winning haikus so dazzle us with your haiku powers! This contest is open to everyone and prizes will be sent wherever the US mail will deliver to, so spread the word and help Cindy's book find tons of new readers!

For those of you who don't have a twitter account, you may also post your entry here in the comments. Just link your blog or your facebook account to this post and you will be entered into the contest. The twitter contest will end at midnight EST but you can continue to enter entries on this blog post until this Friday at 9PM.

Oh and as an added bonus, Cindy will also include these beautiful post cards of the main characters, Silver Phoenix and Zhong Ye from Fury of the Phoenix in the winning packages. Aren't they lovely?

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