Tag Archives: books

The Grandmother Paradox

The second title in Wendy Nikel’s Place in Time series, The Grandmother Paradox. I’m super proud to be the editor for this series and that is because the stories are awesome.

Barnes & Noble
iTunes/Apple iBooks
World Weaver Press

When Dr. Wells, the head of the Place in Time Travel Agency, learns that someone’s trying to track down the ancestors of his star employee, there are few people he can turn to without revealing her secrets. But who better to jump down the timeline and rescue Elise from being snuffed out of existence generations before she’s born than the very person whose life she saved a hundred years in the future?

But Juliette Argent isn’t an easy woman to protect. The assistant to a traveling magician, she’s bold, fearless, and has a fascination with time travel, of all things. Can the former secret agent Chandler, with his knowledge of what’s to come, keep her safe from harm and keep his purpose there a secret? Or will his presence there only entangle the timeline more?

And though The Grandmother Paradox is a standalone title it does follow closely on the heels of the first book in the series, The Continuum. Which, it just so happens, is on sale for $0.99 right now!

Barnes & Noble
iTunes/Apple iBooks
World Weaver Press



5 Picture Books touching on Biracial Asian Identity You Should Read to your Children

My blog is going to be pretty Equus-centric for the next few weeks, but for today we’re going to press pause on that so I can share this guest post from K. Bird Lincoln. I met her when she submitted a manuscript to WWP that I just had to have. I’d have never even thought to put ‘Urban fantasy that uses mythology beyond the usual vampire/werewolf variety’ on an editorial wish list but Dream Eater was all the things I wanted from an urban fantasy.

This post isn’t about her book, but the main character of Dream Eater is biracial so the connection is there 😉

5 Picture Books touching on Biracial Asian Identity You Should Read to your Children—and Make Me Cry

by K. Bird Lincoln

Ariana Miyamoto was crowned Miss Universe Japan in 2015. She’s biracial. This was a big deal—since for many Japanese folks, being Japanese encompasses both race and culture. Take the Zainichi Koreans, they’re still treated as non-Japanese by many although through my U.S. eyes and ears there’s no way for me to tell them apart.

It’s hard for many Americans to understand this view of nationality without a bit of extra thinking. I mean, imagine if Irish Americans, despite living in the U.S. almost their whole lives, were treated as second class citizens…oh wait, yeah that actually happened.

Anyway, back to Ms. Miyamoto. According to a New York times report, she frequently gets asked ‘What part of you is most like a Japanese?’

What kind of a question is that? How do you even answer that graciously? (Apparently Ms. Miyamoto says “I am Japanese”)

I mean all the erroneous and bigoted assumptions underlying that question! I’ll tell you what kind of question that is…it’s the kind of question that I worried about my own children encountering if Tokyo Boy and I decided to live in Japan. For economic/job-related ones we didn’t end up in Japan, but as an outsider/geek/nerd myself, I think I was hyper-sensitive to the possibility my daughters might have to deal daily with outsider status.

They still have to deal with being biracial here in the U.S., especially after moving from diverse Portland, OR to more or less whitebread Minnesota Prairie. But hopefully, the issues here are a bit easier to work through.  I recommend Half and Half as book with a variety of perspectives/races addressing this issue through personal experience. Or, if you’re like me and prefer narrative-driven treatments of major issues, I recommend Jamie Ford’s Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet as a particularly telling tale about Asians and U.S. History.

When my first daughter was a baby (so live over a decade ago), I was teaching at an international university in Chiba Prefecture and taking an online course in multimedia. We had to design a website as part of our final for the class. I created a resource for multi-cultural U.S./Japanese families (somewhat outdated now) for baby’s bedtime.  Here are the children’s books that I found that touched on some of the experiences that I knew my daughter might encounter. But the books are great for children of any background or social class growing up in the states to have a wider appreciation for the world.

And great for grandparents for the same reason. And many of them I can’t read out loud because they will make me cry—both for the beauty of the tender diversity portrayed and for the sadness that there is a sense of otherness at all.

Two Mrs. Gibsons
Toyomi Igus and Daryl Wells
Children’s Book Press

This book portrays a Japanese mother living in the home of her African American mother-in-law. It compares cooking, clothes, and lifestyles from the perspective of the child. It never fails to make me cry when we get to the ending: “They were very different, but they had a lot in common. They both loved my father and they both loved me.”


How My Parents Learned to Eat
Ina R. Friedman and Allen Say
Houghton Mifflin

Okay, this book doesn’t have the most engaging illustrations. Also, it has a very simplistic view of some things (American sailor trying to eat sukiyaki with chopsticks without mention of the touchy cultural and political situation a relationship between an American G.I. and a Japanese woman would have had back then), but I like it because once again it’s a story told by a child who takes for granted that people are different and do things differently without making too big of a deal about it.


Bon Odori Dancer
Karen Kawamoto McCoy and Caroline Yao
Polychrome Publishing

The book has beautiful illustrations. The portrayal of a Japanese/American girl with a bunch of other ethnically varied (different colored hair abounds) girls learning a traditional Japanese Obon dance in the U.S. in a matter-of-fact way really appealed to me. It’s a story about a girl and her love of dance rather than a big deal about identity.


The Wakame Gatherers
Holly Thompson and Kazumi Wilds
Shen’s Books

I never fail to geta tight throat and wet eyes reading this booki. It’s the story of Nanami-chan, and the day she goes with her grandma and ba-chan to the beach to gather wakame. She has to translate, forgets to speak the right language to the right person sometimes, and also touches on feelings left over from World War II. Excellent, excellent book. This one is always especially meaningful to us because the father is Japanese!  (Check out author Holly Thompson’s excellent explorations of identity in her YA fiction as well like “The Language Inside”)


Rosemary Wells
Hyperion Books

Rosemary Wells is beloved for Max and Ruby, but what a pleasant surprise for me to find this tale of a little girl (well, cat) who is ridiculed by her schoolmates when she brings sushi for lunch. Ouch. A little close to the bone, there? How many conversations have I had with other bicultural moms about this very topic? Either too American lunches at Japanese school, or too Japanese lunches at American school. I like this book because the mom is clueless, and while the teacher wants to help by starting an “international day”, there is no real solution to Yoko’s problem. She does make a friend, though, when one of the other students is hungry enough to try the sushi, and so things turn out okay.

K. Bird Lincoln is an ESL professional and writer living on the windswept Minnesota Prairie with family and a huge addiction to frou-frou coffee. Also dark chocolate– without which, the world is a howling void. Originally from Cleveland, she has spent more years living on the edges of the Pacific Ocean than in the Midwest. Her speculative short stories are published in various online & paper publications such as Strange Horizons. Her first novel, Tiger Lily, a medieval Japanese fantasy, is available from Amazon. She also writes tasty speculative and YA fiction reviews under the name K. Bird at Goodreads.com and maintains an author page on Facebook.

Her novel, Dream Eater, is about a half-Japanese college student discovering her mythological parentage:

Find it Online:
World Weaver Press
Barnes and Noble
iTunes/Apple iBooks



Books About Writing

Jo was putting in an Amazon order the other day and asked if I needed anything. Which, I mean… I think we all know the answer to that right? But I thought about the huge pile of books sitting up on my ‘To Be Read’ shelf and the multitude of electronic titles I have waiting to be read and I decided to be responsible and say no. Then I had a flash of inspiration. “You know what I could use?” I said. “I could really use to replace my copy of On Writing.”

This is my copy of On Writing:

On Writing

It doesn’t look too bad, does it? Well, not until you look at it like this:

On Writing Pages

It’s water-stained and pretty beaten up.

For the record, I bought it second hand and it was like that when I bought it. It really was. But I wanted the book pretty badly so I paid actual, real money for it despite the condition it was in. And I’ve read it cover to cover at least three times since then, so, ya know, apparently the damage didn’t bother me all THAT much.

But now, thanks to Jo, I have this:

New On Writing

Which, as you’ll notice from my sexy paint chip bookmark, I’ve already started reading again.

And that got me thinking about ‘how to write’ books and how many I own. The answer to that question, in case you’re curious, is three:


And I recommend every one.

On Writing by Stephen King is an amazing combination of autobiography and master class on writing. Like I said, I’ve read it at least three times cover to cover and I’m on my way through it again. I find this book super inspiring. It never fails to get me fired up about writing again on days when I’m just not feeling it.

Steering the Craft by Ursula K. LeGuin is fantastic. I’m not done reading it — I’m working my way through it with my ‘Mutinous Crew’ and life has been getting in our ways a lot lately, but what I have read has been great, and the writing exercises are interesting (which is more than can be said for most writing exercises, amirite?). This book has also added several titles to my TBR list and the ones I’ve read have been whole lessons in themselves.

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass is phenomenal. I don’t know if you can see in this picture but I’ve got tons and tons of Post-it notes marking sections of this book. I feel like I’ve internalized a lot of the lessons but then every time I go back to skim through something or another I learn (or re-learn) new things.

For myself it’s important that I spend more time writing rather than learning about writing (because reading about writing is just another form of procrastination for me, and I am already the freaking queen of procrastination) so the ‘Books about Writing’ section in my library must remain small, but these three titles come with the highest of recommendations from me and I can’t imagine that I’ll ever part with them.

What about you? What does your ‘Books about Writing’ section look like?

ETA: Oh! I also have a copy of Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee on my e-reader, but I haven’t read it yet.

…and then THIS happened!

I was having a crappy day.

It’s hot here. Way too hot. I live in Edmonton where it’s a sport to both complain about the weather and brag about how horrible the weather is… and mostly people complain about the cold, but I deal with cold WAY better than I deal with hot. C’mon. When it’s cold outside I can mostly stay in the house, or add another layer of clothes, but when it’s hot? There are only so many layers you can take off before you’re risking arrest… or scarring someone for life. (And also, not only do we not have AC, our furnace doesn’t even have a summer fan. Seriously. What kind of furnace doesn’t have a summer fan?!)

…I’m getting off-topic.

So, it’s hot. And our chronically ill dog hasn’t been feeling well (and the chronic illnesses mean you get to play the ‘Is this a symptom of one of his diseases that means I should walk him to the vent [in the HOT] or, does he just have an upset tummy’ guessing game. Which is so much fun.*).

And Jo left today to go on a trip.

And I’m really kind of swamped with work right now and suffering from imposter syndrome coupled with ‘not enough writing time’.

And did I mention it’s hot?

So.. yeah. Having a less than awesome day.

Then the DHL dude knocked on my door and gave me this:

What Could It Be?

Hello there awesome box of mystery! What could you possibly contain? (Okay, so I had a good idea, but shh… just go with it for the sake of the story LoL)

Inside The Box

Oh. Someone was a clever little box packer, weren’t they? C’mon! What’s inside the box?!

Continue reading …and then THIS happened!