Thursday, January 31, 2013

DUALED Trailer!!!

I seriously couldn't be more excited about this trailer!! It is my close friend Elsie Chapman's trailer for her debut novel DUALED which is the most badass action packed book to come out this year, I guarantee! And it reads like a freaking movie!! So be prepared! It is coming out February 26, 2013!

Get More: MTV Shows

Tuesday, January 29, 2013



 So come talk to me about PROPHECY, writing, Korea, K-drama, K-pop, etc tonight at


January BOOKMOBILE Book of the Month

HAPPY NEW YEAR! We hope you rang in 2013 with style, and to help keep the excitement of a new year alive, we're thrilled to announce our first Bookmobile selection of 2013.

This month's Bookmobile read is the debut release from author Ellen Oh. The official release date is January 2nd, but it's been spotted on the shelves already. To participate, buy a copy or borrow a copy from the library/a friend/etc, then return on January 29th at 6pm PST/9pm EST for a live chat with Ellen Oh, here on YA Highway. Happy Reading!

Friday, January 25, 2013

SLJ Review!

Here's the review I was waiting for! And I LOVE IT!!! Thank you SLJ!!!

Gr 9 Up–Hansong is one of seven ancient kingdoms undergoing infiltration by imps and demons. Kira is a demon slayer, gifted with special abilities since birth. She’s sworn to protect her cousin, the crown prince of Hansong. Kira’s dreams, along with an ancient prophecy, point toward an all-out war, with only one chance for the survival of the human race. So when their kingdom is overtaken by a traitorous lord, Kira and a small gang of loyal friends begin a quest to discover the foretold savior and revenge their families, while saving the world they know. Since the townspeople have no knowledge of the demon threat, Kira is perceived as an assassin instead of a protector.  Being feared and hated has been a part of her life since she was a baby. The author’s exploration of Kira’s realistically complex identity is compelling, and the themes of self-acceptance and self-worth are strong. While clearly a coming-of-age story, at its heart, this is a true adventure novel. The characters are well drawn, the plot is both well conceived and fast moving, and the ending is just satisfying enough, while still leaving readers ready for a sequel.–Sunnie Sette, New Haven Public Library, CT

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Why I Love Barnes & Nobles

I love all bookstores. My favorite store will always be a bookstore. I love the smell of paper. I love the feel of books. I love small indie bookstores and large chain ones. Anywhere there are books, I'm in heaven. But I have to admit that a piece of my heart will always belong to what was my childhood bookstore - Barnes & Nobles.

Ever since I was a little girl, one of my special treats was when my parents would take me to Barnes and Nobles on 5th Avenue and 18th Street in Manhattan. It was my favorite store in the whole world. My parents were smart enough to never take me to the toy store, but Barnes and Nobles we went to almost every month. There were neighborhood bookstores that were closer, but taking the train ride into Manhattan and walking into that big beautiful store was extra special to me. I looked forward to it every month.

We didn’t always buy books, but my parents would let me save up my allowance for the fairy tale books that I adored. I have vivid memories of saving up every coin I could find in readiness for our monthly family outing. I remember my first purchase when I was 7 years old – a beautiful fairy tale collection with pictures so bright and vivid that I would stare at them for hours. It had taken me several months to save up for it. I remember how proudly I took it up the cashier and how devastated I was to realize I hadn’t factored in for taxes. And I remember the cashier taking my money and passing me my book with a smile, telling me to enjoy it. Booksellers tend to be the best people in the world.

As I grew up, Barnes and Nobles has always remained dear to my heart. Wherever I go, I can find a B&N nearby. The Oh family even owns 4 nooks. I have a Nook HD and my 3 girls all own Nook tablet or Nook colors. We love our nooks even though we still all prefer reading from real books. I've been a B&N member for so long that when I take out my old ratty membership card booksellers are impressed. When I started writing, my writers group would have writing nights at a local Barnes & Nobles. We would rotate locations, moving from Bethesda, MD to Rockville,MD or the Tyson’s Corner, VA location. It was just the natural place to go. Even now, on writing nights with my writing partner, Caroline Richmond, we still try to go once a week to the Bethesda store. It's routine. Library during the day, and nights at Barnes & Nobles.

So when PROPHECY came out and I started getting photos sent to me from all over the country of my book on tabletops and endcaps in Barnes and Nobles, there was a certain serendipity to it all. The bookstore I spent so much of my time writing PROPHECY in is promoting it! 

I am euphoric. I am elated. I am humbled and touched and so very grateful. 

 When I went to see the books myself, I don’t think I can really explain how I truly felt. It was like I was small again, browsing through the store back at the 5th Ave location, looking in anticipation for that certain book which will catch my eye. Excitement growing as I search the tabletops and covers until I see it. The bright blue cover with the glowing red ruby. My name in gold lettering. This is me. This is my book. And suddenly I’m that little girl again, reaching for my book, treasuring the feel and smell of it. I am that little girl again saving up my pennies to buy a book that I simply must have. But this time, it's my own book and a dream that had seemed completely unattainable as a child has come true.

As luck would have it, I will be at a signing at Barnes & Nobles in Charlottesville, VA this Friday, January 25th at 6:00pm. Charlottesville, Barracks Road Shopping Center, 1035 Emmet St Suite A, Charlottesville, VA 22903, 434-984-0461. If you are in the area, please consider stopping by!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hooray for Books!

Thanks to the fabulous Hooray for Books for hosting a Feisty Females panel with Jessica Spotswood, Alex Lidell, and myself! It was a terrific event and I had such a great time first at lunch with Jess and Alex and then at the bookstore where it was fantastic to meet the wonderful owners, Ellen and Trish, and see all who came out for the event!

I think I have fallen in love with this bookstore! It is so cute and so filled with marvelous books and goodies! Not only did I buy books, but I couldn't resist buying the cutest little fingerpuppets for my girls! And the owners are so wonderful! They made me feel so welcome and had a huge pile of Prophecy books on prominent display with Jess and Alex's!!

And the owners are so delightful and have agreed to make signed copies of Prophecy available to anyone who calls in and orders! They can mail it anywhere! In fact, I signed a book heading to Australia yesterday - Thanks Angelica!!! So if you would like a signed copy (with goodies!) just contact the fabulous people over at Hooray for Books. You will be in great hands!

Hooray for Books!
1555 King St., Ste. 101,
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone (703) 548-4092
Fax (703) 548-4094

Friday, January 11, 2013


Before I talk about the book launch, I just want to mention that I will be at Hooray for Books in Alexandria, VA tomorrow, January 12, at 3:30pm. I'm on a Feisty Females panel with Jessica  Spotswood and Alex Lidell. Please come by if you are in the area as I would love to meet more of my readers!

I can't believe it's already been a week since my book has gone out into the world! People keep asking me how I feel and the best way to describe it is this:

But the one thing I didn't realize about a book launch is how busy it makes you. How many little things you never think of that you need to do and keep on top of. How many people you need to thank! It's just endless and wonderful and also:

A little overwhelming...

Which is why I'm so late with my book launch post, but here it is!

This past Sunday, January 6th, 2013, was the book launch party date for PROPHECY. I had the incredibly great pleasure of working with the wonderful and most generous and amazing YA librarian, Kathie Weinberg. Not only is Kathie just about the nicest person I've ever met, she is the best librarian and handles all of the great and amazing YA events that happen at the Bethesda library. Kathie was also responsible for helping make this book launch better than I could have ever hoped for!

Having the launch at the Bethesda library held a lot of meaning for me because I wrote half of Prophecy at this library. Every Friday for three years, I would be at the library, sitting in a back study room with a writing buddy, writing and revising my book. 

This past Sunday, I was able to celebrate the release of that book at the library where it was partially created. It was perfect. The launch opened with Kathie introducing me and Prophecy.  Listening to Kathie tell the large crowd that I had written Prophecy at the library and so the library would like to lay some claim to its creation made me so happy. It made me so proud.

My oldest daughter's acapella group started things off by singin Don't Stop Believing and Titanium. It was so awesome and I was so proud of all of them!

Here's the beautiful and delicious Prophecy cake my wonderful sister and brother-in-law bought for me! Every single piece was eaten, btw! And I was told my book tastes really good! ;o)

 At the start of my presentation! 

I never realized how much I used my hands to speak until I saw the playback.  I'm not sure how long the entire presentation went, I think I talked quite a bit! But I also included a powerpoint presentation which clocked in at 11 minutes. I thought I would include a clip from the presentation where I answer the question "What is it like to be a writer" in a series of funny gifs. (I blame my best bud Elsie Chapman for my gif addiction!)

Sorry for the shaky quality of the video, my sister was taping and having to deal with my adorable little nephew trying to climb on to her at the same time. I know the audio isn't great so a quick recap of what the gifs are. They are 1. Trying to write a book, 2. How I brainstorm new ideas, 3. Writing the First Draft, 4. Reading the First Draft, 5. Furiously revising the terrible First Draft, 6. When I finish my Final Draft, 7. Waiting to hear from my Editor, 8. Revising Again, 9. When my book is finally ready to go to print, 10. Seeing my ARCs for the first time, 11. My first good review, 12. My first bad review, 13. And then another, 14. How I respond to bad reviews, 15. And then this happens, 16. I have a book out in the world and I couldn't be happier.

 I have no concept about how the signing line went. It was like I had blinders on. I was focused only on the person who came before me and the books they placed in front of me. I don't even remember having a chance to see how long the line was. All I know is that it was long. Very very long. And filled with wonderful, enthusiastic, excited supporters who made me feel like an Oscar winning movie star. I really love the above picture because you can see Kathie my wonderful librarian facing the camera to the right and in the foreground are my author friends Robin Talley and Sarah Brand who came out to support me. In the very back, the tall man in the center is the fabulous Alan More, a wonderful fellow professor from my department at George Mason U. In front of him are my lovely next door neighbors and the person on the far left is my best friend Sylvia who surprised me by driving down from NYC with her awesome husband Stu,  to help me survive the  launch. 

This is my dear friend Joy, one of my very first and longest writing buddies. She has been a super supportive friend from day one. She always believed in me! She used to write with me at the library and at Barnes and Nobles along with our other friend Lisa, who couldn't be at the event. Half of Prophecy was written at the Bethesda library, the other half at the Bethesda Barnes & Nobles, two places that will always be very dear to my heart.

I signed over 80 books. The reason I know this is my youngest was standing next to me with a silver bag filled with the Korean cell phone charms that I had as a thank you present for everyone who stood in line and bought a book. She was in charge of handing out charms and she did a great job, although I had to nudge her to give more than one out when someone bought multiple books. I had brought over 100 charms and by the end of the night I only had 20 left. And there were still people who came over to tell me that they couldn't buy a book because the library had run out. I'm still amazed and so very grateful for that!

There were so many kids that came and that made me so happy! I want to include some of their pictures but need to get their parents permission first. But when they came over and gave me hugs and took pictures with me and were so excited about Prophecy, I felt like I had achieved my ultimate success. This was all I had ever hoped for. I set out a goal to write a book for my girls and then hoped that it would be one that would resonate with other kids. To hear from these young fans was the highlight of my career to date. It made my heart happy.

It was a wonderful event! I had food and cookies and cake and there was not a crumb of anything edible left! It was due to Sylvia, Stu, Kathie, my sister Janet, my brother-in-law Laurent, my parents, my kids, my husband Sonny, and all my friends who came out to support me, that my launch was so successful. I feel very blessed and so very fortunate to be surrounded by so many wonderful and caring people in my life. And it was a really special moment for me when my parents told me that they were so very proud of me! I don't think I've ever seen my Dad so happy! And there's not enough words to express my love and gratitude to my husband Sonny who did everything in his power to help me out so I wouldn't be stressed out. He also sat there beaming with pride and I could feel just how much this all meant to him as well. It's been a long and difficult journey and he has been by my side every step of the way.

My only one regret was that my fabulous editor Phoebe and my agent Joe wasn't there to celebrate with me. It's because of them that I am on this fantastic publishing journey and I thank my lucky stars that they are in my life. 

Thank you Phoebe, thank you Joe, for taking a chance on me and making my dreams come true!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Another beautiful Kira!

The best kind of correspondence any author can get is an excited one from a young fan! I was elated to get this picture because this beautiful young girl is called Kira, just like my Kira from Prophecy. And just like my Kira, she is strong and smart and loyal and all around wonderful! Little Kira loved the illustration of my Kira by Natalie Whipple so much that she printed it out and made a beautiful frame for it. I hear it is going up on her wall next to her very well loved illustration of Cindy Pon's Ai Ling! This makes me so happy!

I saw this after a wonderful book launch (working on the post!) so it feels like I'm bursting with so many things to be happy about!

Thank you again to little Kira and her mother Monica who shared this photo with me! You guys have made this author extremely happy!

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Facts Behind the Fantasy: PROPHECY

The wonderful folks behind HarperTeen's PitchDark website asked me to talk about the historical facts behind Prophecy. So, I did!

The Facts Behind the Fantasy: PROPHECY


Happy New Year Pitch Dark readers! Getting us started in 2013, we’re debuting a new blog post series about the facts behind some of our fantasy novels.
This all started when a few weeks ago we invited Ellen Oh to tell us more about the historical references and significance in her debut novel, PROPHECY.
We love this blog post so much (and love history so much) that we’ve decided to make this a regular series. Tell us which fantasy novels you’d like the historical facts on in the comments below!

To read the rest of the post please click here! 

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I'm crossposting this blog post from the Thirteener's blog. It was up yesterday and I get to share what the marvelously talented Natalie Whipple, author of the seriously fantastic TRANSPARENT, made for me:

Today Is PROPHECY Day! Huzzah!

Guys! It's me, Natalie, and I'm so very beyond excited to have the privilege of being the Thirteener who gets to talk about PROPHECY by our very own Ellen Oh.

Because I freaking love this book. Like, you have no idea. I know I love a book when it makes me want to draw—that's pretty much my brain saying, "I wish these characters were mine and I need to make them belong to me somehow!"

Not every book incites the need to draw in me, but from page one of PROPHECY I could feel my left hand itching to sketch Kira's yellow eyes, the palace where she lived and defended her kingdom from demons, the haetae her father gave her, the monks and cute warrior or two she met along her grand journey...

Can the animators of Avatar: The Last Airbender just adapt this for me, please? Because, c'mon.

PROPHECY is the story of a girl who is scorned for her gifts instead of revered. The story of a kingdom on the brink of destruction by demons, the war that ensues, and a fresh addition to The Hero's Quest tradition. And at the heart of it all, PROPHECY is a story about family.

So if you're looking for a book packed with adventure and non-stop action, look no further! It's the perfect book for the teen who prefers battles, legends, and non-western fantasy.

And because I love Ellen and PROPHECY so much, I want to end this debut post with some art I drew especially for the occasion.

These are two of my favorite characters from PROPHECY—Jaewon and Seung. They make such a great duo. And, hello, Jaewon. Mmm.

And this is my girl, Kira. Man, I love her and her "tiger eyes" and her kick butt warrior skills and her love of her family. She is everything I'd want my daughter to be.

Happy debut day, Ellen! I hope you enjoy every minute of it, and I can't wait to run out to my local bookstore and get a copy for me AND my little sister. You guys should buy it too, just sayin'.

Thank you Natalie! I'm so in love with her art and humbled not only by  her incredible talent, but that she was inspired by Prophecy! I couldn't be happier or prouder!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Release Day! And Prophecy Chat with Elsie Chapman

Cross posted from the Lucky 13 blog - A little chat between 2 author friends. Elsie Chapman, author of the fabulous YA novel, DUALED, talks to me about Prophecy and K-dramas!

Elsie: When Ellen and I got together to discuss what we could do for this Luckies post, we both agreed on a couple of things. One, we wanted to do something a little different than a typical author interview. Today is, after all, a HUGE day for Ellen--release day for her Korean-inspired YA fantasy PROPHECY! Even as I'm typing up these words, I still can't quite believe it's here. All of the Luckies couldn't be happier and more excited for you, Ellen! Look for this awesome cover in bookstores, you guys!

Ellen: Wow, it was a long road to publication, but I finally made it! I feel like I should have an applause app on my iphone so that everytime I say my book is out I can press it and cue wild applause!

Elsie: Hah! And two, while we wanted to celebrate PROPHECY, we also wanted to incorporate gifs as well as eye candy...somehow.

Ellen: I blame Elsie for my addiction to Gifs.

Elsie: I'm proud of my gifs, so yay! Well, I admit to not being up in my kdrama knowledge, Ellen. *hangs head in shame* Which is why this post is perfect! And in some weird, six-degrees-of-separation-way, this is pretty much the meta-PROPHECY post. You've got your love of Korea in here, as well as your eye-candy and gif fixes!

Ellen: So we know if Hollywood were making this into a movie, it would be completely white-washed, so this is my chance to produce my imaginary film starring some popular K-drama and K-pop stars.  But I had a really hard time trying to figure out what female actor could play Kira, my main character. I think this is because I have such a very specific look in mind and she can’t be super skinny. Most K-drama actresses are extremely thin, with absolutely no muscle tone whatsoever. That wouldn’t work for Kira. She’s all lean muscle and solid. And tough. She’d be the type of person whose unsmiling face would be intimidating. So having this really specific idea, I couldn’t come up with anyone on my own. But Jaewon, on the other hand, was a lot easier.

If PROPHECY was a movie right now, I have a few ideas of who I would want to play the role of Jaewon.

Taecyeon – singer/rapper/actor

He is the singer/rapper for the popular K-pop band 2PM and also has starred in several K-dramas. His most famous role is probably as Jin Gook in Dream High, a show about a bunch of singers trying to make it in a music high school. He plays the strong, stoic type with a sweet side to him.

Elsie: Ellen, you made this gif yourself? Nice that you slowed down the speed so we can truly appreciate his face. Plus Jaewon really is both strong and stoic, so I love how you picked out those two traits.

Ellen: Yes, I think I got this Gif making thing down now, having learned from the best (Ms. Elsie Gifman, ha ha). Ok so this next guy is actually really young – like 17. So actually the perfect age for Jaewon. Plus he is my oldest daughter’s pick as he is the lead singer of her new favorite K-pop band C-Clown.

Kangjun is the lead singer of a new K-pop band and I can only go by his looks, but he has the pretty boy look.

Elsie: Pretty "boy" is right. Hah! Wait, I'm not implying you're old or anything. And, well, Jaewon is that age, so it only makes sense. Though I can't even begin to imagine him in a kpop band, can you?

Ellen: I’m definitely old because when I look at this kid, I feel like a dirty old man. And no, Jaewon can’t sing at all. It’s such a shame. When he sings, he attracts herds of moose looking to mate. Look, he’s got the strong, handsome, with a tragic past thing going on here – absolutely no singing allowed. So to that end, we have our last contender, who also doesn’t sing. 

Yoo Ah In – actor

To see why I think he would be great, you have to see him in his role as Geol-oh in Sungyukwan Scandal. He’s tough on the outside but a real softie on the inside. But mixed up in all of that is real pain from the loss of his brother. So from an acting perspective, I think Yoo Ah-In would be perfect for the role.

Copyright fuckyeahhooahin

Elsie: Ellen, I love how you selected Yoo ah in based on his ability to show the different aspects of Jaewon's background, which is huge in shaping character.

Ellen: Jaewon is a great character. He’s a genuinely nice guy with a tragic past that haunts him to the point where he believes he doesn’t deserve any happiness in life. He’s been estranged from his own clan for a long time and also does not tend to associate with other people, other than to gamble, which is his chief way of making a living. Except for his best friend/servant, Seung, he is a loner. So when he meets Kira, his lonely soul can see hers and that is their connection.

Elsie: So the question is, who would YOU pick as Jaewon? Leave some comments for us, guys! And Ellen, just saying again how proud I am of you. This is a huge, momentous day, and I'm so happy that PROPHECY is out in the world. Congrats, girl!

Ellen: Thanks, Elsie!

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