Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012!

Goodbye 2012! I don't even know where to start. It was one of the most amazing years of my life. So much happened. On April 3, 2012, my book Lessons from the Monk I Married launched into the world. You can see reviews of the book on this sidebar. That launch changed my life. Shortly after the book launched, I went on book tour with my husband to Washington, Oregon, California, New York, New Jersey and Baltimore!

I tried to keep up with weekly lessons on this blog, but I started writing monthly lessons instead and even that tapered off a bit. I wrote much about my tour and events on this blog in 2012.

In July, my husband and I started combining our talents and did a yoga/writing retreat on Whidbey Island, WA that was sold out! You can read about it here! We went on another Yoon's Yoga Bliss retreat to Sedona, AZ in October 2012. We recently got back from Las Vegas and Zion National Park over Christmas.

That trip inspired me to go back to the start. I started this blog in 2009 with the intention of sharing my thoughts in the form of lessons I have learned. On January 1, 2010, I announced publicly that I would be writing 365 Lessons on my blog. Writing every single day was such a challenge for me, but somehow I DID IT! That commitment and that resolution to write a blog post every single day helped me to complete my book, get an agent and a book deal. My entire journey from blog to book was written on this blog in 2010 in the form of lessons. That year of blogging is also going to become my next book called: 365 Lessons. The book is for ANYONE who has ever had a dream or goal in life and had the courage to start it and maybe even see it become a reality!

Writing a blog post EVERYDAY was so hard for me. I swore I'd never do it again. But here I am on December 31, 2012 with a new banner up on my blog. Oh boy, here we go! This year I vow to write EVERY SINGLE DAY for 365 days. But I don't want to only focus on my journey. I feel we are all so connected. The word "inspire" means to be "in spirit". When we really work hard at something, commit to something and complete our goal, we become "inspiring" to others. People are attracted to that energy of "the spirit that is in all of us." Inspiration is not something I own. It does not belong to ANYONE, everyone has this quality within them. This year I am going to commit myself to writing about the people, things, places and situations that inspire me. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I vow to write:

1. One daily, inspiring quote from someone who inspires me
2. A daily blog post about a person, thing, place or situation that inspires me
3. How I will apply that inspiration from others to my own life

By doing this, I hope to connect to the inspiration that is in and all around us. I hope to share it here so that you may read about it and also become inspired to do and share great things in your life. I hope that you will leave many comments and let me know about posts you like or inspiring people, places, things or situations you know about and would like share. Maybe you'd like to share about something inspiring that YOU are doing! Who knows? What you share here might also become one of my 365 posts! The biggest thing I hope to happen is that we might all be able to connect through the inspiration that will be HERE on this blog FOR ONE WHOLE YEAR! I think 2013 is going to be a GREAT YEAR friends!

The picture from this post is from my very last walk with my husband in 2012 around Greenlake in Seattle. The birds on the lake represent all the inspiring people, places, things and situations that I have yet to encounter. The sky and calmness of the water also inspired me today. So there it is friends! I hope you will join me on this journey!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Foreign Book Sales Offers: Croatia, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong....Oh My!

I never expected Croatia, the country of a thousand islands, to be the first to make an offer on the foreign rights for Lessons from the Monk I Married. As a friend said on Facebook, "Leave it to the Eastern Europeans to be the first pioneers to take on a book like LFTMIM." Shortly after that, my agent let me know that a Taiwanese Publisher made an offer for Complex Chinese Rights!

Not to turn "Fifty Shades of Gray" on you, but all I could say at the time was "Oh, My!"

My book is selling in foreign markets! I can't believe it. I can't believe it will be translated into CHINESE! I'm imagining people in Hong Kong and Taiwan sitting on a bus reading my book. Maybe I'll go on an overseas book tour and have the chance to be on CPR (Croatian Public Radio).

Of course my mind started reeling a thousand days into the future.

And then I thought of the past....

I still remember when my book was just an idea in my head and then a rough outline on a yellow legal pad. I had no idea on earth how to publish a book at that time. But the book was burning inside me and I knew it would get out. It had to be published. I felt it from my core.

Step by sometimes agonizing, painful, uncertain steps, I got to here. I never gave up my focus. There were people who cheered me on from the start and others who told me to "hang up the towel" when the idea first sprang from my lips. I chose to stick close by the former group of friends and ignore the later.

What I learned is that when you have an idea burning inside you that is begging to come out and be born, it WILL HAPPEN. It may not happen how you planned, but it will.

Patience is key. It's the biggest key. Without patience, you will hang up the towel too soon and step back into a comfortable life.

I received news about the foreign sales a while ago, but it still feels like yesterday. I'm working on keeping my mind in the present and not getting too far ahead or behind myself.

Tomorrow I head off for a silent meditation course. I will not speak for several days. I look forward to being in silence and focusing on the present. December is such a busy time and I welcome several days of silence to reflect on all that I'm grateful for. I am particularly grateful for this blog and all the wonderful people I have met here over the years.

If you haven't left a comment here before, please leave one. I love to hear from readers and I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Just a little announcement first: The monk I married and I have a yoga/writing retreat coming up on the Big Island of Hawaii March 20-26, 2013 and have spots for one or two more people! For more information you can check here.

Now on to The Next Big Thing....

Laura Munson, NYT Bestselling author of This Is Not the Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness, recently tagged me and invited me to participate in The Next Big Thing, a sort of blog hop that has been hitting blogs all over the place, so much so that it was difficult to find someone who has not yet heard of it or taken part in it! I had the great privilege to meet Laura while she was on  book tour for her debut memoir (above) about a time in her life when her marriage and everything around her appeared to unraveling and how she made a decision, in spite of it all, to be happy. I loved the book and read it in two sittings. Laura now leads writing workshops nationally and internationally. You can read more about Laura's retreats here. Laura also blogs here.

So Laura has handed me this "writer's torch" and I'm meant to pass it on, but first I must also answer a few questions about my Next Big Thing or, in other words, my next book! I have several books in the wings, but 365 Lessons will be my next one. So here it goes....

What is the working title of your book?

365 Lessons: How I Found my Voice, Got an Agent and a Book Deal While Blogging Every Single Day for One Year

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The entire book presented itself to me in the form of lessons I wrote on my blog from January 1, 2010-December 31, 2010. I had no idea, at the time, where this year of blogging would take me and how hard it would be to blog
I blogged through pain, fear, lethargy, rejection, boredom, hunger, insomnia and happiness, excitement and bliss too. I blogged when there was absolutely nothing to say, because I had committed myself to it.
I blogged about commitment and focus too.

I realized that lessons could be found everywhere. I found them in fortune cookies, in billboards on my way to work, in a cup of tea or something a stranger said to me. I had no idea that I would find my greatest teachers right in front of me.

I wrote my first book, Lessons from the Monk I Married, a book about my 15-year journey with my husband, while simultaneously writing these 365 Lessons. My entire journey from blog to book is in those 365 Lessons. (By the way, most of my original 365 Lessons have been removed from this blog as they will be available in book form in the not-so-distant future, but you can still get a sneak peek of some of those lessons here)

What genre does your book fall under?

Memoir/Blogging/Book Writing/Self Help/Inspiration

Which actors would you choose to play your character in your movie rendition?

I don't see 365 Lessons as a movie. However, Julie and Julia was a big success, so you never know! I do think my memoir, Lessons from the Monk I Married, a love story about my 15-year journey with my husband, a former Korean Buddhist monk would make a beautiful movie! Not sure who would play the characters? I'd have to think about that a little more.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

365 days of doing anything is a L-O-N-G time, with no guarantee of knowing what curve balls or stumbling blocks life might throw at you preventing you from making it to the end, but Katherine Jenkins did exactly that in 2010 when she wrote 365 Lessons on her blog, chronicling her journey to finding her voice, getting an agent and eventually landing a book deal for her first memoir, Lessons from the Monk I Married.

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?

I have great faith that my lovely agent will find a wonderful home for this book with an amazing publisher!

How long did it take you to write the first manuscript?

One year

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Julie and Julia or 365 Thank Yous

What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

This book is for anyone who has ever had a dream. It's an inspirational book about how small steps in the right direction can lead one to one's dream even without knowing what's beyond each step. It's about moving out of the comfort zone into the unknown. It's about keeping commitments and following through to the end despite all challenges and obstacles.

Now I must pass the torch on to fellow writers/bloggers. I'm very inspired by the three writers/bloggers below:

Becky Jain is a communications specialist with a passion for social media, currently working with the United Nations. After graduating from college, she spent many years living abroad. She is working on a memoir of these experiences in France, the UK and India dealing with gender, spirituality and a quest for belonging. She lives with her Indian husband of seven years in Astoria, New York where she's active in the local Queens writing community. She blogs at and tweets from @bexband.

Allison Ellis is a Seattle-based freelance writer, aspiring author, and mother of two. Her essays and articles have appeared in Redbook, Working Mother, Fodor's Travel Guides, NBC, MediaPost, Red Tricycle, Parent Map, This I Believe, and The Seattle Times. Read more of her work at Her new blog,, focuses on "wacky widow wisdom" when it comes to love, marriage, death, grief, and other all-around good times.

More links:

Dr. Jody Stanislaw is the author of a brand new captivating book called HUNGER, an Adventurous Journey of Finding Peace Within. Her book offers readers an exhilarating account of the amazing stories she encountered while working at a holistic health spa in Thailand. The many life lessons she shares throughout the book leave readers feeling empowered and inspired.

Dr. Jody is also a naturopathic doctor. She received her doctorate degree at one of the best holistic medical schools in the country located in Seattle and has helped hundreds of patients transform their health from flailing to fabulous. She is not only well trained professionally, but at the age of 7, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and as a result, has been a diligent student of health and well-being her entire life.