Sunday, April 29, 2012

ON TOUR: Hello Seattle! Hello Elliott Bay Book Company!

It was so great to do a book gig at home in SEATTLE. I just had to say, "Hello SEATTLE! Are you ready to READ?!" Yoon and I do these book talks together. After all, he also has his own point of view of our story. People seem to like it. He starts each reading by playing a gong and doing a chant from his monk days and then I begin the reading. He adds his own commentary to whatever I read which makes for a very entertaining event! I've had such a good time at each one of these events, but this one was quite special.

My father flew in from Florida and my sister, brother-in-law, nephews, aunts, a cousin and an uncle were all there. Also, it was so nice to see so many of my co-workers from Edmonds Community College at the event as well as friends from high school, college and beyond. I also got to meet a friend who has been following this blog for several years. It's nice to meet blog followers/friends in 3D! I've been fortunate to meet quite a few!

There's something different about doing a gig in your hometown. All the events have been well attended and joyful so far. But this event, particularly, had a lot of love and positivity. Perhaps that's because most of the people who were there have been part of my life journey.

Regardless of the location, however, I do believe there is an opening that happens when we all come together and share in a joyful manner. The energy that was created with all of these people seemed to expand out beyond place and time. That's what I felt yesterday and have been feeling all along my book tour.

I've been so much a part of the internet with my blog, book, etc. While I do think it's amazing how we can connect these days and I am so grateful to all the people I've had an opportunity to connect with here, it's nothing like meeting live.

I am grateful to every single person who came out last night for the event at Elliott Bay Book Company. We are working on plans for an east coast tour. Not sure how it will all pan out, but I'll keep you posted. The dates we are looking at are for the end of June. We hope to visit NYC, DC, New Jersey and Baltimore. If we get to those places, I'd love to see you!

Monday, April 23, 2012

ON TOUR: The Most Beautiful Thing

Today I'm taking part in Fiona Robyn's The Most Beautiful Thing Blog Splash to celebrate her new novel The Most Beautiful Thing. Bloggers from around the world are participating and sharing their most beautiful thing today.

It's hard to pinpoint a most beautiful thing that is tangible for me. I see so much beauty these days. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with it.

I think how we feel and what we see as beautiful depends completely on our inner state. For me, right now, the most beautiful thing is to be alive and to share with others while I am here. I feel so happy when I am able to connect with people on some level with what I write and even happier when I discover that what I have written has helped people in some way. I guess this is what I have to offer here.

For two years straight, I wrote lessons here on every topic under the sun—fear, stress, love, patience, happiness, yoga, meditation, loving yourself, courage, procrastination, etc. I wrote those lessons not because I believe I'm an expert on any topic, but because they were words I needed to hear. What I realized, through my two years of writing lessons here, is that we all go through the same emotions, feelings, etc. and we are all connected to one another on that level.

Our circumstances and experiences may vary, but what makes us human is the same. Through that understanding, I found the courage to write not just this blog, but also my book by the same title about my 15-year journey with my husband, a former Korean Buddhist monk (Lessons from the Monk I Married, Seal Press 2012).

By opening up and sharing my journey in a deeply honest way, my hope was that others would also be able to reflect on their own journeys and own truths and not be afraid to share them and to live them. In January 2012, I hosted 31 writers on this blog who all shared life lessons of their own. I have met so many kindred souls through this blog and through my book. The sharing and connecting with others that has happened as a result of my blog and book have been the most beautiful thing for me and I am so grateful to every single one of you who have been a part of it!

Thank you Fiona for allowing me to reflect on the most beautiful thing. I wish you the greatest success with your new novel!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ON TOUR: From Powell's in Portland to Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA

We headed out on book tour last Thursday! It's been a whirlwind. I believe we were in three major cities in less than 48 hours: Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. Before taking off to Portland, my agent e-mailed me with great news! A foreign agent in London has agreed to take my book on, which means it will most likely be published in other countries and languages! (Who knows—maybe there will be a world tour later?! )

Anyway, after a very short flight to Portland, (35 minutes from Seattle) we picked up our rental car and checked into the hotel. Our first book gig was not until 7:30pm, so we relaxed in the pool/jacuzzi a bit at the hotel and then got ready for the evening festivities. We used the GPS on my new iPhone to get us to our first book event at Powell's Books on Hawthorne Street at 7:30pm. After a nice little dinner at Toney Bento, we headed to the event.

It was a great turn out. My husband brought along his gong to play before the reading started. The bookstore was much bigger than I expected. It was great seeing so many people at the event and some familiar faces. After the book reading/signing, we went out with two friends for Vietnamese food.

The next morning we woke up at 4:00AM because we had a flight to San Jose, CA at 6:10 in the morning. We don't quite remember how we dropped the rental car off and got to our gate, but we did and before we knew it, we were on our way to CA just as the sun was coming up!

My publicist picked us up in San Jose and drove us to Berkeley where Seal Press/Avalon Travel is located. She gave us a tour of the facility and then we went out to brunch.

She dropped us off at our hotel and we took a little rest and then we had to get ready for our next book gig at 7:00pm at Book Passage. We were so sleepy by this point and I said to my husband, "This is how bands feel when they go on tour." And we were only on our second gig! Well, third if you include the launch.

It was wonderful to run into a blog friend and several acquaintances and friends at Book Passage! It felt like a little reunion. You never know who will turn up at these events and often they are people you've been dying to meet, are meeting for the first time and/or friends you haven't seen in years!

We hung out the next day with friends in San Francisco and now we are in Santa Cruz at a good friend's house and are finally catching up on needed rest. Thanks to all of you who came out for events! It's always wonderful meeting people on tour! There will be more gigs coming up. Please check the sidebar for details! Our next big event will be at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle on April 28th and then we'll be at Village Books in Bellingham on May 18th. There may be a few more events tucked in here or there, so I'll be sure to keep you posted! Hope you are all enjoying the book! I love comments and always respond to them here. I'd love to know how you found out about the book and if you enjoyed it! Thanks and more soon from the tour!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

ON TOUR: Lessons from the Monk I Married hits #5 in Hot New Releases: best in Love and Romance on Amazon

At 3:30pm on Easter Sunday, my book hit #5 on Amazon in Hot New Releases: best in Love and Romance! It's also in the top 10 in Buddhism. It's been there for a while. In the Love and Romance category, it goes up and down...just as love and romances do.

Yesterday was my book launch party. East West Bookshop in Seattle came to the event at Yoon's Yoga Bliss, my husband's yoga studio, to sell books. About 75 people showed up and the bookshop completely SOLD OUT of books at the event. It was a great turn out.

My husband rang a huge gong 7 times for good luck and because it was April 7th and then he chanted some sutras from his days as a monk. I read from my book and Yoon, my husband, sat right next to me giving his own commentary and take on what I had written, since, as we all know, there are always two sides to a story. Everyone loved it, so we may continue this theme on book tour.

Later we had cake and the cake shop put the cover of my book on the cake! Nothing like an edible book.

It was so great to see so many people. There were yoga students, my colleagues from the college, a writer I met on the internet (I always love meeting my blog/Facebook friends LIVE..especially if we've been communicating for so long!), my best friend from elementary school and her family, people I don't know, friends from the meditation center, friends of friends, people wandering by the studio, curious people, writers, yogis, meditation practitioners, psychologists, grandmas, kids, neighbors.....a really GREAT mix of people! I'm so grateful to everyone who came. It felt like everyone one who was there was really meant to be there. The energy was so wonderful.

I've never had so many people ask for my autograph. This is a whole new world for me. I tried to write a nice message in every single person's book. I signed books for friends, mothers, mothers of friends, neighbors, best friends, etc. Many people planned on gifting the book to others. Today I have a bit of writer's cramp, but I'll take this beautiful pain! I'm enjoying every moment of this and I promise to share it here.

On Thursday, Yoon and I are taking off for about a week on a west coast book tour. I think we're going to pack the gong. It was a "hit" at the event! More soon! (See sidebar for events and locations and come meet up with us on tour!)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

ON TOUR: The Book Has Launched!

Yesterday (4/3/12) my book launched. Actually, it sort of launched a few weeks earlier, but it officially launched yesterday. I was in a daze most of the day. So much goes into the process of writing a book and getting it published. It's a very long journey to this point. I didn't do anything out of the ordinary yesterday. Perhaps I needed a bit of ordinariness to keep me grounded. I started a new quarter of teaching ESL at the community college and did all the things I normally do in a day. I did find it a bit serendipitous, if you will, that a Buddhist monk from Burma appeared in my English class. After all, how often do you have a monk show up in class? The last time that happened, I ended up marrying him. Well, if you are just showing up on this blog, you'll have to read back through my 500 or so posts or buy the book to learn more about that.

A friend did pop by my house out of the blue. I heard a loud knock on the door and thought, Who now? Is it someone trying to convert me? Sell me something I don't need? Do they want me to sign something? I don't answer my home phone anymore. It's all sales calls these days. I wait for it to go to the answering function and then pick it up if it's a friend. I don't even own a cell phone. But I decided, What the hay? Maybe I should just see who's there. I opened the door and my friend gave me a kiss, handed me a half dozen tulips and drove away. How often does that happen?

So even though the day was just like any other, there was definitely something in the air. I'm excited to see what's around the corner. I have a feeling it's going to be extra-ordinary. Stay tuned here as I'm taking you all with me on BOOK TOUR!