(how to buy) Personalized/Signed Copies of TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER

I’ve been getting a number of requests for signed and/or personalized, signed copies of TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER. I’m not going on book tour, but WANT to fulfill your wishes (without having to live at UPS or FedEx or the US Postal Service office).

So–here’s the deal: DIESEL, A Bookstore in Oakland will send out signed copies to you, when you purchase from their site. This is the direct link to Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember on their website.

In the “notes” section of your order as you check out, PLEASE INDICATE TO WHOM YOU WOULD LIKE THE BOOK SIGNED (otherwise you’ll get a generic signature-only copy), and they will work with me to make that happen and ship it out to you!

Hopefully, this makes it easier for you and for me, and everyone is happy, and a local bookstore wins! They’re the only place from which you can buy a signed copy.

Guys, Scott Simon of NPR Interviewed Me

I had the privilege of being interviewed by Scott Simon at NPR Headquarters in D.C. last week. Scott Simon was an incredibly handsome and poised gentleman. NPR Headquarters was amazing–there is a huge news board in the lobby and a newsroom in the building’s atrium and so many wonderful recording rooms. Also, it felt like one of the safest places in America, at least psychically speaking. So I felt comfortable and welcome and ready to share my stroke recovery experience, living with a 15 minute short term memory, and the writing of Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember

My interview aired on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday this past weekend. You can listen to it here. Also, there is a written transcription of some of the interview.

Where I’ll be at AWP 2017


Friday
February 11, 2017 // Washington, DC

Beyond the Hospital: The Memoirist on Writing About Health, Illness, and Injury
Monument, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
Friday, February 10, 2017
4:30pm-5:45pm


Friday
February 11, 2017 // Washington, DC

In Praise of Junot Díaz and Claudia Rankine: Furthering the MFA vs. POC and AWP 2016 Keynote Conversations
Room 207A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Friday, February 10, 2017
10:30am-11:45am

And at the hotel bar + book fair!

Christine’s Favorite Things: Instant Pot

THE INSTANT POT.

Guys. This thing. Get it.

And right now, for at least this week, it’s on sale at Amazon for $68.95. That’s about 50% off its usual price tag of $119.95. (And even at that full list price, it would be worth the purchase).

The instant pot is all these things:

  1. A pressure cooker
  2. Rice cooker
  3. Slow cooker
  4. Sauté/browning pot
  5. Yogurt maker
  6. Porridge maker
  7. Steamer

The pressure cooker function (followed by the sauté function) is what I use most. I am SCARED of conventional pressure cookers. HOT EXPLOSIONS: nope no thank you. But this thing makes pressure cooking what it is (fast, efficient) without the primordial fear of having to REMOVE THE TOP OFF OF SOMETHING FILLED WITH BEYOND BOILING CONTENTS. It’s the BEST.

I noticed the Instant Pot first when a friend kept mentioning her instant pot on Facebook. WHAT IS IT, I asked.

I hesitated–because you know: pressure cooker. SCARY. But then I started imagining EATING.

And while I love reading instruction manuals (really, I do)–the instructions for this thing fit on one page. Like, you hit “soup” for your soup contents. Or “stew” for your stew contents. You adjust for time. Then you wait for the thing to beep and it…just…starts. And it’s amazing.

So far, I have made the following things (in a span of 3 weeks):

  • Korean braised short rib stew (aka galbi jjim)
  • Braised oxtail stew
  • Chicken soup
  • Chicken jook
  • Beans
  • Bean soup
  • Korean sullungtang soup
  • Stock. Lots of stock.

All under an hour. I don’t know about you, but when I want to eat, I WANT TO EAT NOW. I also don’t want to mess up more than one pot. And while I love love love braised meat, I’m really not into waiting four hours while a meat braises.

It’s winter now–and so I appreciate warmth in the house–but in the summer, I like imagining using the instant pot and NOT having the house turn into a heat ball. Because all the heat is CONTAINED in this appliance. If I lived in the dorms or a small apartment with a tiny kitchen, this thing would be a core necessity–it relieves stress off the stove and makes it so you can make a great meal in one receptacle. Even though I’ve got a full kitchen, this thing has become such a core part of our household cooking.

For more recipes, I highly recommend nom nom paleo (scroll down to the pressure cooking /instant pot section).

Feel good.
Eat good well.

Christine’s Favorite Things: Poo-pourri

I was at the park with my friend C, telling her about how matches don’t quite cut it in the bathroom. I mean, I went into more details, but I don’t want to throw the members of my household under the bus here on the blog.

“Poo-pourri,” she said.

What?

“Poo-pourri.”

What?

It’s a clever spray product–you spray the product into the boil BEFORE you go. All the fragrances have a citrus oil base that coats the water in the bowl and then basically kills the smell of poop. Also, the packaging is cute and not at all industrial looking, even though it’s pretty industrial strength.

We’ve tried everything in our household to hold off the odor in the bathroom. We had a lavender air fragrance that would just mingle with the effluvium, such that I now no longer like the smell of my previously beloved smell of lavender. Same with roses. We’ve used matches galore, but the smell of sulfur drove my daughter nuts.

Poo-pourri is as effective as lighting a match, but WITHOUT the smell of sulfur dioxide. I think it’s even better than a match, because instead of poop, you smell lemons. It really works.

My friend C owns a housewares shop in Berkeley.

Do you carry it? I asked.

“No,” she said, “but I could.”

And she did. It’s now my go-to spot for restocking Poo-pourri (I like the original scent, but all of them are fabulous, with awesome names like “Ship Happens” and “Potty On.” Check out Ellington and French for poo-pourri products. They’re an official “Poo-tique.”

I can’t recommend this product enough. Poo-pourri is amazing.

Feel good.
Smell good.

How to Ask Authors for an Interview

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I used to be a technical recruiter. This meant that for over 15 years, I left voicemails and email messages with the intention of opening a dialogue, with the hope that I sounded both professional and engaging. And ultimately, with the hope of a reply.

Additionally, once people called, I interviewed people. My goal was to get to know each person’s motivations and assess skill set and gain insight into their character to determine fit for the companies at which I worked.

I often wondered how this career experience would at all dovetail with my dream of becoming a published writer.

But then when I became a fiction editor at Kartika Review, my past and present jobs began to converge. Part of my responsibilities included seeking out writers for interviews and then interviewing them in the most rewarding way I could muster. I felt like finally my past life was making sense in my present life!

Now that I’m officially an author (!!!)–wow, that sounds weird and amazing to write–I’m on the other end of all this business. I’m the one asked for interviews. And I’m experiencing an entire range of queries.

I can’t say yes to everything. My publicity team is curating requests for me. But I thought I’d take some time here to offer up what I’ve learned (on and off the job) to more effectively ask authors for interviews. It’s “how to get to yes” for author interviews…

In the query emails…

  • Introduce yourself. If you know the author or were referred to her/him or have a friend in common, now’s the time to make that known.
  • Disclose affiliation–are you interviewing him/her for your blog? For a journal? For a magazine? If your publication isn’t nationally recognized (i.e., the New York Times), then share a little about your publication. Provide a url to your publication. Perhaps an example of a past interview. Who’s your readership? Your audience?
  • Compliment. Flattery gets you everywhere–make sure it’s authentic. I am going to assume you’ve read their work. If not their recent book, please make sure you’ve read SOMETHING they’ve written. Then say something about how that work was meaningful to you. This will give the author/writer an indicator of how thoughtful the interview experience will be.
  • Mention the impact their interview might have on you or your publication. If you have a smaller audience, this is a crucial addition–because psychic income counts. Established authors will engage with you if they feel
    your passion or social messaging or whatnot. How would their participation help you or your readership?
  • Then–and this might be the hardest part, tell them in what ways participation would help the author out. Will s/he gain readers? Will this be good community service? How might you help sell her/his book or elevate her/his social presence? Or darn it, will it just be an awesome good old time? Having fun is also a part of the decision equation. Authors are people too. 🙂
  • Also–maybe a quick note on the format of your interview. Will it be via google docs? IM chat? Phone? Email? Or list possibilities and let the author choose (many of us have a preference–I myself prefer google docs or email).
  • If there is a reply…a followup email after your THANK YOU I’M SO EXCITED, be clear about timeline–by when would you like this interview done? And how long will they have to answer questions? How many rounds of questions? How many questions will there be? Make sure you give authors at least a month out of courtesy.
  • And follow up. You can end your first query email by suggesting you will followup in a few weeks if there is no reply. And then follow up. Follow up Follow up Follow up. This is for you. And do it kindly but firmly. I once asked a writer for 18 months for an interview–by checking in every 3 months (politely but consistently) until I got a yes. Now that Famous Author and I are friends.
  • If the author agrees to the interview–they’ve made time in their schedule for you. Make sure it HAPPENS. A disappointed author makes a cynical author makes an author less likely to say yes to future interviews.

I hope this helps!!!

Mailing List

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I am starting a mailing list in anticipation of the release of my memoir TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER (and of course, after that–my novel, THE GOLEM OF SEOUL).

I welcome you to sign up for monthly-ish updates from me.

The updates will have some personal content as it pertains to writing. I’ll also be sharing my writing process, my publishing experience, favorites, travel, etc. A little like this blog, but also different.

And hopefully more exclusive–for instance, when my book trailer is released, my mailing list readers will be the first to see it!

Additionally, I plan on holding giveaways to members of the mailing list–for example, signed books…and possibly tote bags or other schwag I might dream up.

Please sign up below. And thank you for becoming a part of my inner circle of readers.

Subscribe to my mailing list

* indicates required




The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

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(A picture of me in 2013)

In 2013, I lost everything I’d built my life upon. My marriage. My previous identity. Money. I was heartbroken and dealing with postpartum depression. I was struggling with motherhood, and the challenges of this new life.

But unbeknownst to me at the time, I found my identity and strength and friends and love and I began a relationship with my newborn daughter. Everything was gone but I had the opportunity to replenish my life with things and people most important to me as a newly untethered individual.

I remember telling O that I had one year to really make a change. That for a year I would be at home as a new mother and I would have no money and that that would be the year I would double down on dreams. Everything’s gone to shit, I told him. I have nothing else left to lose. I have to do only the things I love to do and see where they lead me.

I felt helpless and so I did the one thing that did not make me feel helpless. I doubled down on writing.

In 2013, I wrote the essay that was a turning point in my career, MINT and it was published in The Rumpus by Roxane Gay. It was not as widely read as some of my future work, but this was the publication that changed my life.

That essay led to an opportunity to write something for BuzzFeed in 2014. I wrote an essay about my stroke and recovery. The essay went viral and led to a 2-book deal with Ecco.

All I did in 2015 was write my memoir. I wrote and wrote and wrote.

Two months ago, I turned in my memoir manuscript. Yesterday, I finished copy edits.

In 2017, on February 14, TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER will be published and out in the world.

I did not do this alone.

Thank you.

2013 was an enormous fall. Here is a picture of me in 2013, sliding down the Codornices park concrete slide. On that day, I decided that as miserable as I felt, I would seek a minute of pure joy, somehow. My thinking was that I could hold on to those few seconds and say, “Today I felt good, even if for ten seconds.”

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(Also, falling can feel good–as evidenced by the slide).

That is how I clawed my way back. I would hold on to the small parts of good. Even if the good was just one percent of my day. I would make that one percent, larger, somehow. I would hold on to any part of happiness, even if fleeting.

I would focus on happiness. I would be aware of misery and I would try to deal with the bills and legal paperwork one by one. My worries were many–at one point I wondered how it was that I would pay for diapers. I would not ignore these concerns. But I would look at a sliver of happiness while dealing with the unpleasant.

And eventually, the happiness would dominate.

And yes, it has.

Book Gestation

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It takes a number of steps and people and coordination to bring a memoir into the world. (It also takes work).

The essay that sparked this whole process. Editors and agents. A book proposal to write. A book deal. Then, write write write write wriiiite.

After twelve months of writing…GOOOOOOAAAALL:  a completed and accepted final draft of TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER. I’ve never written at such a quick pace.

My novel, on the other hand, took twelve YEARS to write and I’m still not done rewriting it. And it’s due soon, to my editors! 

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So we’re now in the copyedits stage. Many eyes have scanned the pages. An intrepid and sharp-eyed copyeditor combed through my manuscript for necessary changes over the past month, and now it is in my hands again. My penchant for unnecessary commas is clear to me as I accept changes proofread the proofreader. (Shazam! I caught a couple of things he/she missed!). A legal team has read the manuscript to ensure all things are square on the litigious front.

Blurbs have been courted. Bound manuscript copies have been sent out for said blurbs.

I have cover art–it’s beautiful. I can’t wait to show it to you.

The advance reader copies (ARCs) will be out within a couple of months and the publishing sales team readied.

My editors asked that I make a short video for the sales team–I could have shot something simple with my iPhone (what’s the selfie version of an iPhone video?), but I’d already been pondering a book trailer for a few weeks . A good book trailer can be amazing, a bad one, ineffective (and a major expense).

The fact that a book trailer could achieve two needs at once got me off the fence.

So this week, we shot my book trailer.

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I get to have Oprah Lighting! Well. Sort of; I get to be lit up! I had to powder my face and everything.

The entire living room got lighting. Including my bookshelves, the backdrop to some of the book trailer.

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It’s hard to talk about my book and not make it sound cheezy. I’m astounded that people even want to hear about my story about having been sick and then getting better. But along the way, I learned lessons about wellness and resilience, and it was gratifying to write them down.

And I can’t wait until my book is out in the world–the official publication date is February 14, 2017.

 

It begins

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It begins.

Someone writes something. The words hurt. My sadness envelops me.

Like a warm sweater. On a warm day. And yet, I do not sweat. I become heat. And yet the heat does not burn the sweater off of me. It weighs me down.

I can usually shake off the sweater.

But at some particular moment, I am caught unaware. And then I take to bed, clouded by sweater wool and and over that, down and cotton.

I burrow deep in the hole.

It becomes unbearable.

I walk into the ocean. To put out the fire.

It is dark and scorched and wet and cold and hot and all the things. All the sensations.

And then I re-emerge. I’ve gone through the heat.

#ADayInBed

Also–(unrelated to this post, but where else do I put this)?: My memoir, TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER, has an official publication date! February 14, 2007.

I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day, so I’m EXCITED February 14 is now reclaimed for me, forever and ever.

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