29 May 2009

The Brothers Bloom (2009)

Director Rian Johnson's got an eye for style, I'll give him that. I watched Brick waiting for something fantastic to happen but was left with some atmospheric visuals, an intriguing idea, and not much else. The Brothers Bloom was sort of like that. Of course, I've seen my share of terrible movies this year so this was actually pretty good in comparison.

I mean, the story moved along nicely, there were some genuinely funny moments, a Wes Anderson-lite setup, and a charming cast of actors and actresses. I think I love Rachel Weisz when she's in the right role. And there's something oddly appealing about Adrien Brody. Still, it was hard to leave the movie without feeling my life hadn't changed much for the better, or worse. Amusing and entertaining, that's about it.

25 May 2009

Walk it out, walk it out

Hey all, I'm on virtual book tour right now! I've been emailing back and forth with Yan for the past few weeks and she and her partner in crime, Carol, have prepared a few blog stops for Exclusively Chloe on their Traveling to Teens site.They've put a lot of work in and assembled a veritable army of bloggers. In talking with Yan and learning about her interests and projects, she's been incredibly creative with putting her voice into the young adult book community and I hope I can do the tour justice.

I'll be making ten stops between now and June 3rd and at each one, the blogger has been kind enough to ask me some questions. I've already been having a blast answering them so go to their sites to find out my answers to things like "Do you listen to music while you write?" and "I noticed in Exclusively Chloe that you are in tune with fashion. Are you up to date on the latest fashion trends? What are some of your favorite pieces to wear?"

Thanks to all the wonderful people who volunteered to host me! I'll link to the tour stops as I move along.
May 25- Yan (Books By Their Cover)
May 26- Aryanna (A Maze of Books)
May 27- Erika (Kiss My Book)
May 28- Alea (Pop Culture Junkie)
May 29- Carol (Bookluver)
May 30- Kelsey (Reading Keeps You Sane)
May 31- Steph (Steph Su Reads)
June 1- Sarah (Green Bean Teen Queen)
June 2- Claire (Bookworm Readers)
June 3- Kristi (The Story Siren)
And on top of all that, Traveling for Teens is running a contest for a free copy of Exclusively Chloe until June 10th. Check it out yeah?

24 May 2009

Bring It On

I'm definitely a little late to the Glee party but I've just watched the pilot episode twice through and I love it. High school cliques, lots of singing, good dialogue, fun characters, and more singing. Glee is about the dreams of one teacher to take his under funded, no respect, glee club to the top. There's so many things about Glee I like, but I'll let the reviews tell the story.

Right now, I've only got The Office and The Duel 2 on TV rotation so this will be nice. Since I'm also semi-over America's Best Dance Crew (the final results are starting to piss me off), there's nothing else I want to record, and it's about time for me to find a new show to obsess over. Glee looks like it'll be it!

The bad news is that new episodes don't come out until the fall and the pilot didn't get amazing ratings. Word of mouth throughout the summer could help drive it up though. Or maybe it'll be another semi-great show that has promise and potential but gets axed.

Check out the trailer, where from the get-go a geek is being thrown into a dumpster as he says, "Wait, this is from Marc Jacobs new collection!" And then cruise over to watch the entire thing on Hulu. For those of you with just a few minutes in your busy busy lives, just watch the last song, Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." It's fun right?

21 May 2009

Spunky Rooster

My friend Gene, more famously known as "Dave's Son," had this great song -- one of many -- and it was an ode to Sriracha hot sauce. Every Sunday afternoon, after a hard night of hanging out in the garage of our friend's house, we would cruise down the street for a relaxing bowl of pho. Gene would sit down, pour hot sauce onto a little side platter, and then dip individual uncooked string beans into it. Munch munch. It was like watching a kid eat french fries and ketchup.

I'm not much of a hot sauce guy but between Gene and Ameer, I sure am around it a lot. Ameer loves his Sriracha so much that a few years ago I got him a hot sauce holster, knowing full well he would absolutely use it.

Today the New York Times has an article about Sriracha hot sauce. Gene and Ameer made a song with the lyric: "Sriracha, I want'cha / Couldn't live another day without cha" years ago. They were so ahead of their time.
"The lure of Asian authenticity is part of the appeal. Some American consumers believe sriracha (properly pronounced SIR-rotch-ah) to be a Thai sauce. Others think it is Vietnamese. The truth is that sriracha, as manufactured by Huy Fong Foods, may be best understood as an American sauce, a polyglot purée with roots in different places and peoples."
-A Chili Sauce to Crow About-

19 May 2009

Angels & Demons (2009)

Well, it seems like Ron Howard and Co. learned a thing or two from The Da Vinci Code. First off, Tom Hank's hair is so much better. Thank god. And while I love Audrey Tautou, Ayelet Zurer was a better fit as Robert Langdon's yes-woman. The movie is still bogged down by lots of exposition but that's impossible to avoid in a book/movie this.

Was Angels & Demons a better book than Da Vinci Code? Probably not, since the art slant and the whole Mary as the Grail thing seemed to capture everyone's imagination better, however, the Angels & Demons movie is definitely an upgrade. The pacing was faster, stupid lines were generally avoided, and everyone's expectations had come down enough to realize that a movie adaptation could only take Dan Brown's words so far.

The real tragedy here is that I have the movie's anagrams tattooed on my back. Not because of any affiliation or extreme love for the book, but for entirely different reasons. So now people will be like "wait, isn't that from the movie?" Oh well, you live with it I guess.

17 May 2009

Back at One

Oh look, the Rough Guide to Blogging is still alive! Books with Eskimos and pink on the cover never die. Never.

I answered a few interview questions about how blogs can help you network and get a job and am quoted in a little blurb over at Men's Health UK. Cool right?
"Jon Yang, author of The Rough Guide to Blogging (Rough Guides) says, 'Don't worry about design as much as content. Try using pictures, audio, video or any number of widgets to give your site constant updates.' He advocates quality over quantity, 'Take the time out to read over and study other blogs. You can even send over an email introduction. You'll be surprised at how accessible people can be, even if they are very popular or influential.'"
-Go online to get a job-

15 May 2009

Into the Wild

The first picture I've gotten of EC in the wild was taken by my friend Steve -- he started reading immediately and already finished it!. I think he got it at Barnes & Noble, and he might have gone to a couple of them to round up additional copies. Isn't he great? Thanks Steve!

People have been telling me that various places either carry it or don't carry it, and I forgot to tell everyone to call ahead because sometimes bookstores either (a) don't carry it immediately, (b) don't carry it at all, or (c) you have to say the secret password for them to give you a copy. From what I know, it should be widely available at most booksellers, but check beforehand because I don't want you to go down there all excited and then it's not anywhere to be seen.

Also, if you do go in somewhere and they don't have it, the staff will usually ask you if you want to order a copy. Say "yes!" And um, even if you don't buy it later, it'll be on the shelf for someone else. At least I think that's how it works.

Anyhow, if you see Exclusively Chloe somewhere, send me a picture because it pretty much will make my day. I haven't personally seen it on a shelf yet but I've only hit up one bookstore so far. But this weekend, I'll be trolling the city trying to figure out which stores have my book and which ones don't. It'll be like a mini-scavenger hunt.

Oh, and how cool is it that I'm next to Lisa Yee's "Absolutely Maybe." Lisa's a big time author, also Asian American, and I read her blog all the time so it's thrilling to be next to her, even momentarily.

14 May 2009

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Today is finally here! (Well, obviously). What does a debut day feel like? Well, in my imagination, everywhere I walk there will be rainbows. And one giant rainbow will be emanating from my head, lighting up the cloudless sky with ROYGBIV goodness. Strangers on every corner will stare and then they'll shyly approach me at the bus stop to ask, "Wait, aren't you?..."

I'll nod. "Why yes I am." How good of you to notice.

Then I'll whip out a colored Sharpie -- one of many I'll be carrying -- and sign their arms. And their books if they want. Then maybe someone will faint, but I'll catch'em and bring them back to consciousness in one smooth motion. A flick of the wrist really. And then I'll ask everyone to come with me to get some refreshing Jamba Juice. My treat.

After my delicious White Gummi Bear, a modern day Lollipop Guild will serenade me before I set off on a rousing tour of all the bookstores in the land. Confetti will fly, banners will be made, and there will probably be a DJ spinning amazing dance music.

And then for all the people who have supported and championed my book for so long, I'd declare that Friday was a no work but still get paid day. For everyone in the world. And then we'll rejoice and head to a pool party. So don't forget to bring your trunks.

That's what a debut day will feel like.

And I'm not alone in feeling this way today because my fellow 2009 Debutante, Sarah Cross, is also debuting her book, Dull Boy! Swing over to Chloe-Grace's blog for all the details on their big date.

13 May 2009

U + Me = Us (Calculus)

There's a great conversation going on over at The Story Siren. Kristi asked: "I've been thinking a lot about this lately, honestly I've thought about it for a while, but I think my addictions to Twitter and Facebook that have brought it to my attention once again. All the reviewer/author interaction.... makes me wonder."

The main point of concern seems to be if authors and reviewers are getting too close, to the point where the integrity of the review might be compromised. Fifty plus comments in, a ton of people have weighed in with great points and opinions. The entire thread is worth a careful read.

YA book bloggers are a totally new thing to me. I just found out about the whole community maybe six weeks ago, and was astonished at how many blogs out there were anticipating, discussing, reviewing, and promoting books. What didn't strike me as odd was that the authors and fans (if I may call them that) seemed to often know each other on a personal basis, even if it was a "Have fun this weekend doing so-and-so!"

The whole culture of blogging is about tearing down barriers to communication. Being able to read a person's thoughts, their ideas, their processes, their daily lives, it creates an intimate space. It brings you closer and allows you to learn about someone rather quickly. Fans looking at authors' blogs, or authors looking at fans' blogs, it's only natural that friendships would develop, or at least more than "just business" relationships.

When two people are able to respond and interact about something they love, there's definitely a bond developed there. And that's something blogs are so great at, bridging the communication gap to allow people to get to know each other.

Ah, that's all fine and dandy but where does the line get drawn between "I want you to like me because I want a good review" and "I want you to like me because I'm about to review you." In the short time I've been zipping around in this particular corner of the blog world, I've seen nothing but great interactions between authors, fans, reviewers, aspiring authors, and really, anyone else who watches or participates.

That's pretty rare nowadays in a blogosphere full of mean spirited lurkers, spam-a-lots, and general chaos creators. Everyone I've interacted with has been friendly and professional, and it's been easy striking a balance between getting to know each other while still understanding that there's a line somewhere in there separating friendship and business.

Maybe I haven't seen an author get mad at a bad review from someone they've befriended yet, or maybe I've not exposed to some dark underbelly of the author/reviewer relationship but I'd like to think that it doesn't exist. At least not to the degree it matters. And it would be wonderful if it stayed that way.

On top of that, imagine growing up and being able to "talk" to your favorite authors. How cool would it have been to get an email or a comment from Beverly Cleary? Or tell Gary Paulsen that Hatchet was awesome. Or be able to ask S.E. Hinton how she wrote such authentic young males?

And on the flip side, authors get a total thrill having anyone read their books. And a book review, good or bad still means someone took the time out of their life to read your work. Maybe if two people are good friends, there should be a disclaimer somewhere, but either way, an opinion's an opinion. Everyone should try to make their own anyway and a few bad reviews never hurt anybody. It's all constructive criticism right?

To be honest though, I can see the current close friendship between authors and reviewers going in a different directly eventually. I mean, right now, a lot of these book blogs are labors of love and that's what makes it so personal and wonderful. But when, or if, certain blogs start to get much bigger, and have a very large influence base, I can see YA authors being put in some tricky positions. I mean, it could be difficult then to balance the "This review will totally blow my book up huge so I need to befriend them" with the "I shouldn't be a sycophant" dichotomy.

I mean, look at the (short) history of blogging. In the beginning, it was a total free for all. Everyone blogged for their own interest, there was no money to be made, you did it because you had the time and passion for the format. Eventually, bloggers started separating out into the A-List crowd and so on. That cemented blogging as a popularity hierarchy, and other bloggers realized that the quickest way to promote their blog/product/article/whatever was to get an A-Lister to notice them. Then you truly got high school going on.

So far, the YA blogosphere seems really idyllic and new to me, and I hope as it grows it remains personal, charming, and honest. And I think there's a good chance it will, because YA writers and readers seem to have the big picture in mind, which is making sure the genre stays exciting, awesome, and friendly.

12 May 2009

Video Star

So I have a friend, she's cute, she's fun, she's got personality and verve. So I sat her down in front of my camera and made her do a few impromptu promos for Exclusively Chloe. Okay, I made her do a lot of them. But here's the first one.

11 May 2009

Great Title

Reading an Anthology of Chinese Poems of the Sung Dynasty, I Pause To Admire the Length and Clarity of Their Titles

It seems these poets have nothing
up their ample sleeves
they turn over so many cards so early,
telling us before the first line
whether it is wet or dry,
night or day, the season the man is standing in,
even how much he has had to drink.

Maybe it is autumn and he is looking at a sparrow.
Maybe it is snowing on a town with a beautiful name.

"Viewing Peonies at the Temple of Good Fortune
on a Cloudy Afternoon" is one of Sun Tung Po's.
"Dipping Water from the River and Simmering Tea"
is another one, or just
"On a Boat, Awake at Night."

And Lu Yu takes the simple rice cake with
"In a Boat on a Summer Evening
I Heard the Cry of a Waterbird.
It Was Very Sad and Seemed To Be Saying
My Woman Is Cruel -- Moved, I Wrote This Poem."

10 May 2009

Geek Think

Listening to: A Fine Frenzy, "Almost Lover."

Last night, after watching Star Trek and going over the merits of the film along with a few of its flaws with Chris and Ameer, I looked over at George's face while we talked and she was bewildered. Black holes, red matter, time travel, "set phasers to stun," she was lost somewhere short of the final frontier.

I immediately assigned her a geek cred level of three, while saying that I'd probably qualify as a seven based on my geek-o-meter. I hadn't actually created a geek-o-meter as of yesterday but I've rectified that and created one now. It's hastily assembled but I think useful for general assessment of the geekery that surrounds you. It's out of ten and you get a point for each category you qualify for. Note, this is for general purpose geeks and not super geeks, which is an entirely different thing.

  • Blog/Tweet - Bonus points for knowing how to alter/build your page.
  • Computers - Not just using, but actually caring about what you use. PC, Mac, Linux, RAM, ROM, etc. If you don't know how to reset the router or use at least three keyboard shortcuts, you don't get a point.
  • Gadgets - This category includes anything from phones to cameras to thingamabobs that you buy for no reason other than it's cool and it'll probably be useless in three months. You lust for the latest and greatest in consumer devices, even if you can't afford it.
  • Video Games - Exempt are nearly all Wii-centric games, rhythm games (unless you're really good), and "Oh I like Super Mario and Tetris" people. Bonus consideration if you play games on the PC. Or first person shooters.
  • Board Games - We're not talking Candyland or Cranium here. Stratego, Risk, Axis & Allies, Settlers, or the ultimate, Diplomacy.
  • Star Wars / Star Trek - The true fans can separate the wheat from the chaff pretty quickly on these. Bonus if you answer to "Hey Trekkie!"
  • Comics - You collected, you drooled, you dreamed, and then you cried when your mom threw them all away. "Oh I didn't know you wanted to save those!" $#@!*
  • Science fiction / fantasy books - There's a big range here. Asimov, Tolkien, Herbert, Clarke, Anthony, Eddings, swords, sorcery, faeries, creatures, aliens, and unicorns.
  • RPGs - We'll throw anything else involving (pewter or plastic) figurines, collectible trading cards, or many sided dice.
  • Misc. - Add something you got made fun of for in middle school. Besides your clothes. Congrats, one point.
So then we got to talking about which of our friends had the lowest geek rating. A lot of my guy friends have no geek cred, like at all. I don't understand how they escaped childhood without being into some of these things but they probably had friends or a social life or something.

Actually, many of my guy friends were geeks by the official definition, meaning they were enthusiasts or experts in a particular field or activity. But when you're into cars, sports, or music, you're not really a geek. You're like cool. So the geekiness lies in the activity, not the intensity.

But now those lines are blurring because everything geek is being made cool. I have mixed feelings about this but I do love that I can sit around after the Wolverine movie and talk expansively about his comic book origins without being shunned or told to shut up. I like the way the twenty first century is going, don't you?

09 May 2009

Star Trek (2009)

Movie prognosticators are saying that Star Trek is this summer's Iron Man. Hugely anticipated, critically acclaimed, and destined to make a killing at the box office. It's hard to say I disagree. With Wolverine sure to falter after terrible word of mouth, Star Trek will be the king of summer even with so many blockbusters yet to launch. It is worthy?

The short answer is: I guess so. I'm not much of a Trekkie myself but I know enough about its universe to concede that the reboot did a really great job introducing the characters and giving them a fresh update as well as staying honest to the original. The special effects were spectacular, the acting was excellent all around, and while the plot was a bit lacking, everything pretty much worked. My main bone of contention was with the villain's plan (which makes absolutely no sense) and parts of the ending. But I say no more because I wouldn't want to spoil anything. Let's just say there's a cameo in there that makes no sense. None at all.

I want to give this movie an A but it's hard to do because given the choice, I'd rather watch Wolverine again. I know, this is totally my bias speaking but parts of Star Trek was shaky and I wasn't attached to the characters enough. So in the end, while Star Trek was definitely the better movie on paper, Wolverine was more fun. I doubt most of America will agree.

08 May 2009

Catch'em All

If you love books, you hope that one day you get to walk into a room and someone tells you to take what you want. Visions of Supermarket Sweep probably run through your head. Let's say you had only ten minutes to canvas your local bookstore with a shopping cart and whatever you get is free. What's the strategy here? Do you go to your favorite section and just start clearing the shelves? Run over to graphic novels and sweep entire series into your cart? Do you head to the hardcover section and get things you can resell at a higher price (to fund future purchases)? Or do you head straight to those big picture books and art books and grab all the amazing things you wish you could buy but never do because really, what are you going to do with a thousand page book on architecture anyway?

Map out your strategy because one day this might happen and you better know what your game plan is. I'd definitely run straight to the comic book section and take anything superhero related. It's hard to justify paying for comics when a book has so much more time vs price value but I'd love to have full sets of things for my house so that I can read, re-read, and just gloat and show off my collection to all the neighbors.

Actually, I'd love to just have a house. Or neighbors who talk to me.

Last summer, when I was in New York for a few weeks, I got a chance to swing into my publisher's offices and visit this amazing room they had filled top to bottom full of books. My editor and her assistant proceeded to pull books off the shelves at a furious pace. "You've got to read this, you'll like this, you should really take this one and this one and this one." A few minutes later, I had more books than I could carry and I felt like I had just walked out of a dream.

I've been told that attending BEA (Book Expo America) is kind of like that. You walk in with a pass and walk out with books that are coming out over the next year. I've heard stories of people filling up bags, getting in a taxi to drop the books off at their hotel, and then coming back for more. Rinse and repeat. I think I'd faint from the sheer excitement of getting so many books. Or definitely faint from the weight of carrying so many books. My arms can only take so much. I'd have to hire somebody to carry my bags. It would be totally worth it though.

One of the books I was given during that romp through Penguin's book room was "When It Happens," by Susane Colasanti [blog]. Huge understatement but it was great. I loved her writing, loved the total believability of her characters, and was just taken with the relationship between Sara and Tobey. Well, Susane's got a new book coming out called "Waiting for You," and it's definitely on my to-read list.

Right now she's on blog tour for her book and doing a Ten Myths of High School theme. The myths she's putting to rest are fantastic and include:
There's four more myths to be debunked, culminating in the release of her book next Thursday (the same day as my release!). So pick it up yeah?

06 May 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

This was my most anticipated movie of the year. This review it totally biased because virtually anything X-Men related would get a passable grade from me. Having said all that, I can't understand why this movie is getting killed in reviews. It's definitely not the best comic book movie ever. Yes, there are way too many shots of Wolverine screaming into the sky. Yes, there are some bad special effects and the story is slight, but it's not a horrific movie at all. I liked it and would re-watch it immediately. I do have to say that Gavin Hood was absolutely the wrong choice for a director.

I went in with the lowest of expectations after everyone's been killing because I didn't want to be disappointed. Sub-forty percent on Rotten Tomatoes (which I never trust anyway actually), terrible word of mouth, people saying it would bomb due to the work print link, etc. At the end of the day, Wolverine is no worse than any of the Spidermans. It's way better than the Hulks. It's probably at least on par with the Fantastic Fours. What's wrong with that?

It would have been hard to top Iron Man and Wolverine certainly didn't do that but Hugh Jackman by himself is so charismatic and appealing that he's worth watching. Plus, Liev Schreiber is excellent as Sabretooth. So there's some good action scenes, a few funny lines, and enough pace and motion to the film that anything cringe-worthy flies right by. Trust me, it's not horrible okay?

Lynn Collins
, who plays Silverfox, looks equally natural as a blonde, brunette, or redhead. It's weird. And many of my friends are calling Daniel Henney the hottest Asian guy ever. Which is hard to dispute actually.

05 May 2009

Un Baiser s'il vous plaît / Shall We Kiss? (2009)

For a movie that's pure discussion, centered on conversations about relationships, and features some very winning actresses, I feel like I should have loved every bit of it. Instead I spent much of the running time wondering when it would get "deeper." It felt a little too fluffy to me and no real great insights were had. The main debate here is whether or not two virtual strangers should kiss. The movie is centered around a woman's story about the dangers of "just a kiss," and while this framework sounds intriguing, it was a bit distracting to jump back and forth between stories.

To be fair, I fell asleep for probably the last ten minutes of the movie, missing some crucial scenes. With that in mind, I'd want to rewatch this before a final verdict but I can't give it much more than a "I think it's good, but it's definitely missing something" verdict.

04 May 2009

Forever Young

"Who's your unicorn?" my friend asked. I had no idea what he was talking about but I loved it already. I mean, "unicorn" is my stock answer for everything. Catchphrase answers, Win Lose or Draw guesses, chaotic basketball plays, trivia shots in the dark, anything. When in doubt, say "unicorn!" with emphasis. Works for me.

But what my friend was asking about was who my romantic unicorn was. Under his particular definition, your romantic unicorn is that guy/girl you idealize and chase but won't (ever) get. I mean, okay, maybe you get her, but most likely not. Recently we just had a pair of friends in town and they were each other's unicorns and now they're happily married. That's like just too rare an occurrence to even throw into the theory though. When two people have essentially loved each other since high school and waited for each other, that's not something you should lump into anything else except to call it by their own names.

Anyway, another way to rephrase the unicorn question is "Who's your Winnie Cooper?" That will immediately illuminate what you're driving at when you say it to someone from that era. Everyone knows who their Winnie Cooper is. The person within your sphere of life, one who you might even interact with regularly, but is always out of touch and unattainable. It's supposed to be painful a bit.

I think having someone be your unicorn implies that you hold them on a pedestal. And you need to feel inferior (at least initially) so that you think to yourself, "They're so awesome, why would they even like me?" And if you ever got that unicorn, if you had her in your life for just enough time, she would solve all your problems.

Also, I think there should only be one unicorn per person. I mean, that just makes sense. You can't have a lot of them, otherwise they're just big ass crushes or unrequited loves. Boring.

Here's the thing actually. In asking this question, people have interpreted it differently. I initially thought my friend was asking me who/what my ideal was. I mean, that was where my brain naturally took the idea of a unicorn. A mythological creature that may or may not exist, and only shows himself to the purest of the pure, equated in my mind with your ideal romantic partner.

But it was more interesting to talk about a unicorn as per my friend's definition. With the parameters being someone who actually exists, someone that you maybe had a way outside chance with, and someone that you'll always hold in your heart just a little bit. Or maybe it can also be seen as the one that got away. You saw the unicorn once in the forest and now you always keep an eye out for him but to no avail.

So, upon further review, I think it's important to let anyone set up the parameters for what their unicorn is, since it's kind of an individual thing right? Think about who your unicorn is and then tell me all about it.

Totally unrelated but look at this zebra-corn. I want one of these.

02 May 2009


"The best NBA first-round playoff series this side of ever finally came to a reluctant end Saturday evening as the Boston Celtics cut the Chicago Bulls into Game 7 sushi rolls. The C's won 109-99 and move to the Eastern Conference semis against Orlando. The B's return to Chicago, but with their heads in the raised position.

Anticlimactic? Sure, but only because there's almost no way this series could have sustained its historic pace. It would have been like running 2-minute miles for the entire Boston Marathon.

But it tried. Seven games, seven overtime periods. Just one blowout. There were stitches, bloody towels, painkilling injections, shoves, flagrants, technicals. More ice was used in this series than at a 3-for-1 Happy Hour."
-Celtics finish the Bulls-

01 May 2009

It's All Happening!

Dear Friends, Family, and Foe,

As many of you know, I've been working on book two for quite awhile now. I started the process two years ago and it's finally ready to hit shelves soon. As in two weeks soon. On Thursday, May 14th, 2009, my newest book, "Exclusively Chloe," will be released by Penguin/Puffin. This will mark my debut as a fiction author and I'm terribly excited for all this to be happening.

What's the book about? Well, remember all those times you've thought to yourself, "Omg, Jon's such a girl!" Well, it's true. And now she has a name: Chloe-Grace. Here's the book's synopsis:
"Chloe-Grace can't help it -- she's spectacular. How could she not be with celebrity parents who have been the queen and king of Hollywood for years? And Chloe is a celebrity all unto herself as well -- she's the first celebrity-adopted kid in Hollywood. But now Chloe's sixteen, and she is tired of every undesired moment of the world's attention. She wonders what it would be like to be a 'normal' kid in a regular school. To really understand it, though, she would need to go undercover. So after getting a make-under at the hands of her mother's fabulous stylist, she enters the 'real' world. But she soon finds out that there is just as much drama there as there is in Hollywood..."
The book is targeted toward the young adult market but makes a delightful summer read for anyone. Plus, I'm writing in the voice of a teen girl so you probably might want to see what that's all about. I read stuff like US Magazine and gossip blogs for research. It was grueling and I didn't enjoy a single minute of it. I heart celebrities who do things "just like us." Like ride bicycles and tie shoelaces.

I'm delighted to share all this news with you but am also looking for your love and support.

What can you do?
(1) Um, buy the book. It's available widely and costs an astonishing $7.99. Pre-orders are being taken now. Heck buy two and give one to a twelve year old near you. It's available online at a variety of websites and will also will be available at mainstream and indie bookstores near you. If they don't carry it, ask for a copy, or tell me and I'll tell them to carry it. PR Scripts are available for those who want to act out "Act I, Scene I: Where is the greatest book on Earth, Exclusively Chloe?" It's a two person five-minute play intended for an audience of bookstore staff. No previous acting experience required. You can also improvise your own dialogue without a script if you'd like.

(2) Just as important as getting a copy, it would be wonderful if you could leave reviews (on Amazon if nothing else). Research has shown that online reviews are extremely important for a book's success. My personal goal is to get at least twenty five reviews on Amazon in the first two weeks. FYI: Amazon doesn't take reviews until after the book has been released.

(3) Check out Chloe-Grace's website: www.exclusivelychloe.com
Join Exclusively Chloe's Facebook Fan Club, my her MySpace, twit her Twitter, and RSS the blog for news/updates in Chloe-Grace's voice. I'm generally blogging at www.jonyang.org so you can keep up with the further adventures of your favorite author in training [here]. All my personal social networking stuff is linked from [here] also.

As always, I'm available for television appearances, library talks, (bad) relationship advice, general counseling, and hanging out on your couch for days at a time. In addition, if you can think of any ways or connections to get the word out about EC, I would be more than grateful.

Random facts:
  • The book will be listed under "J.A. Yang," in the grand tradition of obscuring gender information (ala S.E. Hinton). Maybe for my protection.
  • Some of you may have inspired characters, descriptions, fashion items, sayings, situations, and all around general wonderfulness.
  • My mom is very happy.
  • George is also pretty excited.
  • I'm currently working on my next book, also a young adult novel for Penguin.
  • If you're in the Bay Area this summer, come hang out with me and I'll sign your book. Or your arm/credit card bill, whatever.
  • Shelley is my official fan club president. She's waited two long years for a fan base to begin and she's been generally slothing around in the meantime. Let's make her busy shall we?
  • All this would not have been possible without my amazing agents, Lilly and Stefanie of Full Circle Literary.

Thank you all!
(This was from an email sent to friends today)