Monday, October 29, 2012

Mindhut Interview and Other News...

So the awesome people over at Mindhut have interviewed me about writing. I think I sound smarter than I really am. My favorite question in that interview was when Allison (my wonderful interviewer!) asked me "If you could say one thing to every geektastic girl out there in the world, what would you say?" If you want to know my answer, go read the interview. Here's the link.

In other news, my story, "The Last Day", and Cindy Pon's "Blue Skies" got singled out in a Booklist review for Diverse Energies:

In an afterword, coeditor Monti writes about a heated 2009 discussion (dubbed “RaceFail 09”) regarding race in fantasy and science fiction, and how his reaction was to put together a collection showcasing “this wonderful, blended, messed-up world.” Hence this book, which feels different than the usual fare—characters, settings, and authors come from all across the global spectrum—and, maybe more to the point, proves to be not that different at all. It starts off with a fabulous one-two punch: Ellen Oh’s devastating “The Last Day,” about a future global war and the horrific Hiroshima-like aftermath; then “Freshee’s Frogurt,” a wild, violent, and funny excerpt from Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse (2011). In general, the subsequent stories fall on the more thoughtful, brainy side of the sf spectrum. Two standouts are Paolo Bacigalupi’s “A Pocket Full of Dharma,” about the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama on a portable storage drive; and Cindy Pon’s “Blue Skies,” a wistful have/have-not tale from a smog-filthed future Taipei. A solid introduction to a number of highly talented writers.—Daniel Kraus, Booklist
After cringing over some not so good reviews and medicating with chocolate donuts,  I was a bit bowled over to read this review. Which just goes to show how subjective the review process is. I fear I will gain quite a lot of weight when Prophecy reviews start coming out! ;o)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Casting the (pretend) Prophecy Movie and the first official Prophecy Teaser

I got asked what actor I'd pick to play my main male lead, Jaewon, in PROPHECY. This wasn't actually an easy answer. First of all because my book is set in Korea and secondly because I've never really thought of it. For real.

Such a funny question, really, as this is not something I would ever foresee. I could see Prophecy as a manga series but I can't see it as a movie. But this is all in good fun, right? So I thought about it and I ended up choosing my oldest daughter's favorite Korean actor/singer - Taecyeon.

In this picture, at least, he is almost the perfect Jaewon. He has that pretty boy face I envisioned for Jaewon, but what is missing is the hint of sadness. Jaewon's character is someone who has suffered so much in his young life. Even when he laughs and smiles, the sadness is ever present. I think that's why his character is so special to me.

And there you have it! The first official Prophecy teaser!

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

This cover is just absolutely beautiful! So stunning that when I first saw it I literally gasped in admiration! But more importantly, the story within the covers is lyrical and thrilling and chilling and just as beautiful as its cover. I'm so happy to share my friend April Tucholke's cover for BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA.  

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch.
 I love this book so very much! It's coming out on August 15, 2013 from Dial so please make a note and get ready to be blown away by this marvelous debut!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Diverse Energies is out!!!

I'm very proud to be part of this fabulous new anthology from Tu Books! Diverse Energies is edited by Tobias Buckell and my very own agent, Joe Monti! I have the pleasure of being the first story of the anthology. It's called The Last Day and it is an alternate history retelling set in Japan, about a world where World War II never ended.

The anthology is filled with amazing authors like Paolo Bacigalupi, Ursula K. Le Guin, Malinda Lo, and Cindy Pon, just to name a few.

Diverse Energies can be ordered from Tu Books or from Amazon and is also available to download as an eBook for Kindle or Nook.

So I really am excited to share this with all of you! I can't wait to hear what you think.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bullying and the Problem of Doing Nothing

I spent a lot of time thinking and brooding over the  Amanda Todd story. The young girl who killed herself after years of being victimized by a sexual predator and then bullied by her peers. Because I have 3 daughters myself, this story hit me hard. One small mistake at age 12 and a life is destroyed and a young girl is savagely bullied by kids no older than her. What is it about these years that allows teens to love and hate so powerfully and so destructively?

But I don't want to talk about the bullies. What I want to talk about is the onlookers. The ones who avert their eyes and walk away whether out of fear or indifference. Or they stand by and watch, titillated by the drama. Whatever their reason is, they do nothing. And to me, they are just as bad, if not worse, than the bullies themselves.

I'm going to have to apologize in advance for what is a long and painful post for me which was pretty hard to write. But I hope it has some impact.

When I was young, I was a very angry kid. The stereotypical child of immigrant parents that had to work every day and night in the family business. I was always getting in to fights - in school and out of school. The fighting had started in grade school. Racism has always been a hot button for me. I never took a racial slur quietly, I fought back both verbally and physically. I got beaten up regularly by some of the bigger bullies in school. My father would punish me for bad grades but he never punished me for fighting. He knew firsthand how bad the racism was. He said, "If someone hits you once, you hit them 10 times back!" In retrospect, this was not such good advice. It led to the beginning of my inability to control my temper. 

C was a really big and really heavy boy who liked to pick on the little kids. I had, and still have, a strong sense of fair play - and yes, there is a direct correlation to my sense of justice and the amount of racism I had to endure. In sixth grade there was a girl in my class, who I'll call A, who was really tiny and really sweet with big blue eyes, crooked teeth and freckles that covered every inch of visible skin. She was C's favorite target and he was relentless. Everyone was aware of the bullying but no one had done anything about it because no one wanted to become C's next victim. But then there was a table reassignment and A was placed next to me for the quarter. Now I could see how bad the torment was. Now I could see how desperately scared she looked. A few days later, I bore witness to C terrorizing A and then stealing her lunch and her money. Furious, I raised a huge ruckus and called him a thief and a bully and he hit me in front of all the teacher's aides who promptly dragged him to the principal's office. I'll never forget the look of gratitude on A's face. A few days later, C cornered me in the staircase and swore he was going to get even. He pinned me to the wall and kicked my right knee over and over again until I fell to the ground in agony, my knee swelling up like a bowling ball. I couldn't walk for days.

I reported C to the principal's office and he was expelled. I never regretted what I did. Even though I suffered horrendous pain and still have a scar on my knee, I would have done it all over again. Not because I was particular friends with A, but because it was the right thing to do. I only regretted not doing it earlier.

In middle school, I learned of an entirely different form of bullying. A subtle and ostracizing bullying delivered with saccharine sweetness that a clique of mean girls seem to excel in. When they taunted me for being poor, for wearing second-hand clothing, for having immigrant parents, for working in a restaurant and smelling constantly of grease, for eating school lunch, for only having 1 pair of shoes, for being underdeveloped, I gritted my teeth and took it. This was a small select honors class. So there were only 15 or so kids in the class. It was also a new school for me and I had come in during the middle of the semester, the worst time for anyone to change schools. For once I couldn't lash out at the bullies with my fists. I had never started a fight, I was a self-defense fighter. The idea of attacking someone for words alone was not something I could do, my actions were always to bait them back until they threw the first punch, then I could fight. But these group of girls didn't work that way. Nothing I could say or do fazed them. This was an entirely new brand of bullying that I didn't know how to handle. They made every single day of middle school hell. I remember feeling so very alone and so very isolated.

Verbal abuse is just as damaging, if not more so, than physical abuse. Bruises and broken bones eventually heal, but the scars from verbal abuse can fester forever. I didn't have anyone to tell these girls to stop. I didn't have a single friend in that class through the rest of 7th grade. Some of the girls would pretend to be my friend and then would gather the information they found about me and share it with the others so they could all mock me in class. These false friends were truly cruel. They would come to my house and be nice to my parents who would eagerly feed them and treat them well, only for these false friends to return to school and mock my parents and their accent and my house. The scary thing was how they could say the most hateful and hurtful things with such sweet tones in their voices. But for their words, you would think they were complimenting me. I hated that school. I hated those girls more than I had ever hated anyone else in my life.

Sometimes I would sit there stone faced, listening to them mock me and I would catch some small glance of compassion from M, one of the nicer girls. M was nice to me, only when the others weren't around. I knew that she felt bad for me, but not enough to friend me publicly. To her, losing her friends and her standing would be so much worse than being kicked in the knee twenty times by a bully. In some ways I despised M more than I ever did any of the girls that made my life a misery. Because she knew it was wrong and she did nothing. Because to assuage her guilt, she would only be friends with me in secret. But I didn't want that, what was the point?

When you do nothing, you essentially condone it. You become part of the problem. And this, in essence, is what happens to young people like Amanda Todd. Teenagers need to know that it is important to call out bad behavior. It's not OK to look away or worse, stand by and laugh. If even one person stands up for the victim, that victim doesn't feel like the world is against them. I can't tell you how important that is because when you are a teenager, being ostracized is the loneliest feeling ever. It does feel like your life sucks and that it will never get better.

Everyone who stands up to bullying makes a difference in someone's life. It may not stop the bully, but it can do something even more important - it can help the victim realize that they are not alone. If M had just once, in the midst of the worst of my harassment, said "leave her alone!" I can't tell you how happy it would have made me. How I would have realized that it wasn't my fault. That I had nothing to be ashamed of for being poor, Asian, and working in my family business. I didn't need her to be my friend, I just needed her to affirm that I had done nothing to warrant their bullying. That she recognized that they were in the wrong and I was not a bad person. I just needed someone to stand up to them and say "Stop it, she doesn't deserve this!"

I can't help but wonder if even one person had stood up for Amanda when she needed it most, if she might not have killed herself. We will never know.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Winners! Winners! Winners!

The winner of the absolutely fabulous GEEKS, GIRLS AND SECRET IDENTITIES is...


Congratulations Stacy! I'm excited to share this fantastic book with you!

And now, the winners of the PROPHECY SWAG are:

Haley G
Yahong Chi
Danielle D
Alyssa Susanna
Kat C
Megan K
Nikki Wang
Van Pham

Thank you all for being so interested in PROPHECY and for helping spread the word!

So too all the winners, please email me your information at - and if you are an international winner, please help me out by giving me your address with the correct line breaks. I'm always so confused when writing out international addresses so the easier you make it for me, the faster it will all get out to you!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Another PROPHECY SWAG Giveaway!

Ok guys, it's October and PROPHECY is out in 90 days! Can you believe it? I can't. The Goodreads giveaway for PROPHECY ARCs has now gone over 3100 entries! So what does this all mean?

It's time for another PROPHECY SWAG giveaway! This time I'm giving away 10 little Prophecy charms and signed bookmarks.

This giveaway is open to everyone! International folks are welcome! All you have to do is comment for a chance to win. For extra points, add Prophecy to your Goodreads shelves, or like the Prophecy FB page, or be a buddy on this blog (see sidebar), or follow me on twitter and/or tweet about the giveaway! And then just leave me a comment here to tell me what you did. If you tweet about the giveaway, don't forget to include @elloecho to your tweet! If you already do any of these things, then say so in your comment and you will get the full points! I'm not using Rafflecopter this time because it doesn't account for if you've already done any of these things so this is gonna be based on a matter of trust (and random border checks!). This contest will end Saturday!

And don't forget the giveaway for Mike Jung's awesome book Geeks, Girls and Secret Identities which is still going on until Friday! That contest is also open internationally!

Good luck everyone! And thanks for spreading the Prophecy love!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Geeks, Girls and Secret Identities!

I am so happy to announce the release of my Ninja buddy, Mike Jung's, spectacularly funny debut titled GEEKS, GIRLS AND SECRET IDENTITIES! This is a book I got to read in a draft form. It is a book that made me howl with laughter. It darn nearly made me have an accident! And let's face it, this is one of the coolest book covers ever! A giant robot? Yes please!!

Can knowing the most superhero trivia in the whole school be considered a superpower?

If so, Vincent Wu is invincible.

If not (and let’s face it, it’s “not”), then Vincent and his pals Max and George don’t get any props for being the leaders (and, well, sole members) of the (unofficial) Captain Stupendous Fan Club.

But what happens when the Captain is hurt in an incident involving BOTH Professor Mayhem and his giant indestructible robot AND (mortifyingly) Polly Winnicott-Lee, the girl Vincent totally has a crush on?

The entire city is in danger, Vincent’s parents and his friends aren’t safe, the art teacher has disappeared, and talking to Polly is REALLY, REALLY AWKWARD.

Only Vincent Wu has what it takes to save the Captain, overcome Professor Mayhem, rally his friends, and figure out what to say to Polly. But will anyone take him seriously? Seriously. Anyone??

Find out in this action-packed super comedy debut.
So yesterday my youngest had to miss school. We discovered at the beginning of soccer season that she had ongoing pain which was diagnosed as Sever's Disease, which is a bone disorder involving the growth plate in the heel. It is not dangerous and she will eventually grow out of it, but it means she is in a lot of pain when she overuses it. So the orthopedist put her in a boot today. Poor thing. She was pretty depressed about it so I took her to the bookstore to buy some books. I had told her to keep an eye out for Mike's book and sure enough, she was the first to spot it!

If she didn't have a boot on I think she might have climbed the shelves to reach it. As it is, she's on her tippytoes! She was really excited to finally get her hands on Mike's book! When we brought it home, the other girls all freaked out! They are the co-presidents of Mike's super secret fan club so they feel pretty proprietary about the book and think it should be on the NYT bestselling list like right now!

And so I have the great pleasure of having a giveaway of my friend's awesome book! All you have to do is leave me a comment or tweet me that you think Geeks and girls and secret identities is cool! Then you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of Mike's super cool book!

For more information about Mike, you can check out Mike's blog or follow him on twitter.  

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