Thursday, July 17

Excerpt from my Thesis

I graduated with an M.A. in Communication in 2005.  Here's an excerpt from Chapter Two of my thesis:

From the outside, the two-room, single-story house in Sunset, Utah, looks just like any ordinary American house belonging to a working-class family. The outdoor vinyl siding tinted a worn-out beige. The roof is the familiar dark amber color, with aluminum trim. The house has a porch, a 10-by-10-foot yard, and a 1999 black Honda Civic parked right along the street. But at a closer look, the house is surrounded by a chain link fence, which is extremely unusual for the neighborhood. However, the trait that singles out this particular house is not what’s outside, but what’s inside.

            The interior of Tou Lee Yang’s modest home is simple – even Spartan. The living room has a television set, a small couch, a coffee table and a shelf. The walls are bare except for three family portraits in plastic frames. Behind a partition is the kitchen equipped with just the basics: an oven, a cupboard, a small dining table, a stove and a fridge. The setting could be the kitchen of a Third World Asian country. Newspapers are used as liner for the dish rack, while the tiled floor spots pieces of crumbs from yesterday’s dinner. The corners are dark with grease and the walls spotted brown from heavy cooking.

            The back yard has a few coops, and chickens run freely within fenced areas. There are no fruit trees or vegetable gardens, just bushes and weeds. The garage has been renovated into a bedroom where Yang’s two younger sons sleep. The daughter has her own room and Yang and his wife occupy the master bedroom. All in all, the interior lacks d├ęcor except for a fish tank. And even that comes with just the basics: a few goldfish, some dirt-colored gravel and a filter. The house suggests poverty, but the environment is common among the Hmong. This is how they like it, and what their culture dictates: simplicity.


Tuesday, July 15

My Third and Last Book Cover

All right, this is the final choice for my book cover. It has a sense of mystery, and yet, it is still appropriately tied to my story. I really think the designer is a genius. Well, tough choices to make, but someone will have to make them. And I am glad it's not me. 

Monday, July 14

Second Book Cover

This is the editors' second choice for the book cover. What do you think? They usually make about three to choose. Well, frankly, I like all of them. We'll have to see what gets chosen in the end. 

Revised Book Cover

Here's the revised book cover for my novel. The designers were debating over the font colors, but I guess this is what they decided. I am also told that there will be a few more preliminary cover designs for my book, which I will post on this blog as soon as I have it.

The Creative Process

Late last night, after hanging out with my in-laws and a few of my friends, I was completely drained and exhausted, ready to hit the sack. Then my two-and-a-half-year-old son started to act up and demand that I read him a book. In time, one book turned to ten and more. So after flipping through pages after pages of colorful cartoons of dinosaurs and talking animals, I finally gave up and told Hayden to go to bed. Of course, this did not get settled without a commotion--picture this: I said, "Hayden, it's time to go to bed. It's almost midnight."

"No, Daddy," he countered.

"Well, it's late and Daddy is tired and you need to sleep too."

"No, I want read."

"No more reading." At this time, my eyes were struggling to open and my son was starting to shove books at my face. Annoyed, I snapped them close, slammed them into the toy box and said, "GO TO BED!" As you can now imagine, steam was shooting out from my ears.
But Hayden, in his sweet little inocent-as-an-imp face, looked at me and basically smiled, undeterred. "Daddy, I want read." Needless to say, I had to lift him up and dump him into his own bed, tucking him tightly under his sheets, and with a finger directed at him, I said, "Good night, no more negotiations, whining, and asking for more reading. We are done for the night. I love you."

I straightaway went to bed like I had not slept for ages. When I woke up, it was only barely three, my wife was snoring next to me and the house was as quiet as a sleeping baby. But I could not sleep. Something was stomping in my mind, trying to get out. Without wasting time, I went to my desk, pulled out a notebook and started to write down everything that was swimming upstairs, and when I was done, it was already four and my eyes were starting to droop again. When I finally snugged back into bed, cuddled warmly beside my wife, I realized that I had rewritten an entire chapter of my book in the dark.

The creative process is such that no one can comprehend or predict. Sometimes it comes when you anticipate it, however, at other times, it only shows up when least expected, when you are at the brink of fatigue and complete shut down. But no matter when it decides to show up, you'll have to take advantage of it, even if you have to write in the dark and utterly disfunctional. The result is highly rewarding.

My Book's New Cover and Tag Line

All right, here it is--my novel's new cover, though it is only tentative at the time being. At this moment, I am loving it. According to my knowledge, it will be printed on silver velum, so it's going to stand out. Well, it's all still a year away--publication and the whole nine yards--and I have lots to do. Currently, I am still revising, rewriting, and revamping the entire manuscript, polishing it until it shines and shines some more. For those who have no idea what my novel is about, here's the tag that got the editors hooked:

"When 72-year-old Eleanor Rose is convicted for murdering her employer's little daughter, journalist Vincent Lee discovers nothing is what it seems, unveiling a painful secret that would challenge the moral obligation and love of every mother, including his own." 

That's all I can say about my novel at the moment. The rest is still hush, hush. 

Friday, July 11

A Perfect Beginning

For the longest time, I have been digging deep into my mind, trying to think of a reason for me to blog or divulge something about myself that would entice people to read. Well, needless to say, I never found anything quite so interesting about me that would actually attract the hungry mass out there in the electronic world. However, after discussing my dilemma with my friends, I have finally decided to start blogging about my little journey toward the publication of my debut novel. Let's put it this way--this blog is really dedicated to promoting myself and my book. And I hope by doing so, I may be able to motivate new writers pursue their dreams. Having said that, welcome and happy reading!