Blogging from a smart phone

Is not fun, so I’ll ask you what are you’re most frustrating writing or blogging moments?

China Artistry in the News


In a recent NPR Morning Edition article by Sandy Totten, Americans found that China wants to use the western movie making infrastructure to promote China and its long history. “The Chinese government-owned company recently invested $30 million in hopes of making a movie that would both celebrate Chinese culture and turn a tidy profit.”


America has had a healthy artistic relationship with Japan for decades now and it seems we’re building the same with China. I see so much more interest in China, it’s history, art, language than even a few years ago. There are more books published by American authors that are set in China or peopled with Chinese characters, there’s the vast popularity of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms video games, numerous comics, and of course, the burgeoning number of movies with Western sensibilities and Chinese settings titillates.

What about you? Are you excited by upcoming titles or publishing opportunities?


Chapter One – Again

Okay, I’ve pleaded for help from tons of Beta Readers and it just dawned on me, at least some of my followers haven’t seen the opening pages of this book and might be willing to humor me with their opinions on this rewrite. I need to know, are you confused by this?

MOURN THEIR COURAGE

By

VICTORIA DIXON

Xing Dynasty: In the Tenth Year of Rebuilt Tranquility

Chapter One

Liu Jie reached the garden beyond the orchard, breathing the rotting peaches’ cloying sweetness as he slid to his knees. The moon’s bony face illuminated the leafless trees, but shadows and fears haunted his thoughts.

We traveled to meet the emperor and stop a civil war. Not fight in one. I cannot kill my countrymen – my brothers. But I must. The Imperial summons he’d just read commanded “the aid of all men as sons might come to their father.” He trembled with revulsion.

After his family and guards had stopped at the Peach Orchard Inn this afternoon, his son had discovered a starving child here in the garden. Jie had taken the Orchard Boy inside and his wife cared for him now. Could the act of saving a life atone for taking thousands? He looked at his hands. Though they’d touched the rich soil, they appeared unblemished in the moon’s cold light.

How bloody would they be before the coming civil war ended?

Chapter Two

The next morning, the wood panels of Jie’s small room groaned. Jie shut the door behind the man who had agreed to feed and help train his army. Jie shook his head, smiling. It was as if Tong Zhang’s mere presence pushed against the walls.

“Zhang, this is my wife, Mei.” They bowed to one another, but Mei held a bowl of warm water in her hands, and turned to the bed and her patient. She pulled aside the bed’s curtain and the Orchard Boy woke, squinting through half-shut lids.

Jie heaved a sigh of relief. We did it. We saved one person.

Zhang towered over the boy.

“Are you the Demon King?” The boy’s voice rattled and wheezed as he shrank away under his blanket.

Zhang laughed, and the Orchard Boy tried to sit.

Mei placed a steaming cloth on the boy’s forehead and eased him down. “Careful, young one.”

“I’m so cold.” The boy’s eyes opened wide and he sat up, looking around the room. “Chen? Where’s Chen?”

The floor creaked underneath Zhang. “He’s delirious, Jie. Fetch a priest!”

“No priests,” the boy muttered. “He might do anythin. . .” He collapsed, but turned as if to listen when Jie knelt beside the bed.

“What is your name, child?” Jie said. “Can you hear me?”

“I don’t think he can, husband.”

“The fever took his mind, Jie.”

“I’m Hong Aiyu. Thirteen. Not child,” the boy protested, though his voice slurred from exhaustion. “You want ‘prentice? I bring luck.”

Zhang’s laughter vibrated the rafters. “Luck? Sure! Bad luck!”

“He’ll live, Zhang,” Jie said. “And if his name is any indication, the gods have given us their blessing.” Jie never took his eyes off Aiyu. “We will talk later, War Dragon, but yes. I will take you into my family’s service. Eat and rest, for now.”

They poured tangy chicken broth into Aiyu and bathed him in warm water until he slept again.

Rewrite Anguish

Okay, so I’ve rewritten this book so many times I’ve lost track of draft numbers. The opening alone has been through more work than anything else I’ve written and I’m now on yet another rewrite.

In fact, the new opening is why I recently had asked yet another Beta Reader to look at it. She’s someone whose book is under consideration by a publishing house and she told that one of my book’s favorite characters is introduced wrong. Just so we’re clear, this is one of EVERYONE ELSE’s favorite characters. (I don’t know if I have a favorite.) This Beta reader has told me that not having his goal stated up front leaves the reader confused and unable to settle into the fictive dream. This is the first time anyone’s complained about this character’s lack of goal, which is his character flaw. It is purposeful. This character is someone who submits to everyone else’s will until he realizes he’s in a no-win scenario because of his lack of direction. It’s not that I disagree with what she’s saying, because I’ve read books whose characters would have benefited from this treatment. The problem is, I don’t think I can make this change without changing the character, which would in turn change the book and lessen its impact, so I’m not going to do it. At least not without editorial input!
However, I wanted to ask you, is this something you have to have in the introduction of characters? Do you need to know where they’re headed from the beginning?

New Market with Tu/Lee & Lowe

Tu Books is launching this fall! And we’re still looking for
submissions. (See
http://blog. leeandlow. com/2011/ 03/17/coming- soon-tu-books/ for
a sneak preview of our fall books.)

Call for submissions

TU BOOKS, an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, publishes speculative fiction for
children and young adults featuring diverse characters and settings. Our
focus is on well-told, exciting, adventurous fantasy, science fiction, and
mystery novels featuring people of color set in worlds inspired by
non-Western folklore or culture. We welcome Western settings if the main
character is a person of color.

We are looking specifically for stories for both middle grade (ages 8-12)
and young adult (ages 12-18) readers. (We are not looking for picture books,
chapter books, or short stories. Please do not send submissions in these
formats.)

For more information on how to submit, please see our submission guidelines
at http://www.leeandlo w.com/p/tu_ submissions. mhtml. We are not accepting
unagented email submissions at this time.

What I’m particularly interested in seeing lately: Asian steampunk, any
African culture, Latino/a stories, First Nations/Native American/Aboriginal
fantasy or science fiction written by tribal members, original
postapocalyptic worlds, historical fantasy or mystery set in a non-Western
setting.

Stacy Whitman
Editorial Director
Tu Books