Are You Ready for Bai Treason?

Have you finished reading Take the Bai Road and wondered, What’s next for Bai after this? Well, I have good news! Bai Treason, the third and final book of the Bai Hsu trilogy has a release date! June 4, 2018, baby!

Bai Treason is very special to me. One, it’s my longest and most ambitious story to date.¬† It has a plot so twisty that so far no one’s been able to guess what’s going on until they’re almost to the end. To be honest, I wrote it way back in 2014 and, when I dusted it off for revisions in early 2017, even I couldn’t remember the twists. If that’s not the mark of a good story, I don’t know what is (pay no attention to the fact that I have the memory span of a goldfish).

Two, it’s the last Bai Hsu novel. I’ve been writing about my favorite Chinese-American CIA case officer for five years. Even though it’s time for me to move on to new projects, Bai will always be special to me because of his unique qualities. I’ve put him in some awful situations, but he’s always managed to extricate himself with good humor and self-deprecation. I feel pretty maudlin about saying goodbye to him.

Three, I had a chance to do some of the research for this novel in real life, which is pretty cool. Like all my books, this one moves from place to place, so you’ll have to read it to guess which setting I researched in person (hint: It’s the place in the picture. Can you guess where it is?). As a result of this IRL research, this story is personal to me. It’s my favorite book so far, and I can’t wait for all of you who have been reading Bai’s adventures to go with him one last time.

June 4, 2018. Mark your calendars. This one’s the big one.

Pale and Prolific

I just realized that I only blogged twice in August. Apparently that’s who I am, now. I’m just that lady who posts to her blog a few times a year. You know, back in my heyday I posted four times a week. I had A LOT more spare time back then. Seriously, I had, like, no kids and only one book in progress at a time. Simpler days.

Anyway, lest you think I’ve been sitting back on my laurels sunbathing and day drinking the last weeks of summer away, fret not. I’m pale and prolific over here.

I’m thiiiiiiiis close to being finished enough with Bai Treason to send it to my publisher, which is funny because my original goal at the beginning of July was to have it whipped into shape for beta readers by September. Instead, I started a new project and had Bai Treason in my beta readers’ hands at the beginning of August and now I’m just waiting for one last set of notes, having completed everyone else’s notes already.

Say it with me, kids:

As for that new project, I’m calling it Tranquility Land and it’s going REALLY well. Maybe a little too well. I’m 15,000+ words in already and the story is unfurling nicely. It’s actually two stories, staggered with one another, about a present-day daughter taking care of her paranoid elderly mother who suffers from dementia. The first story is told from the daughter’s perspective, the second story is set before the daughter was born and is told from the mother’s perspective.

That’s right. I have two, I say TWO heroines in this book. It’s Bechdel Test-tastic.

And always, the drum beat counting down the days of summer for me this year, is my looming surgery date on September 12. I’m feeling peaceful about it, because I worked my ass off this summer getting my writing projects in line. If all goes well, I have a real shot of finishing the first draft of Tranquility Land before crutches take over my life after surgery number two in October.

I may be a slacker of a blogger, but it’s because I’m RAZING AND CONQUERING MY TO DO LIST.

Onward, I Say!

Wow. I mean, right? Whoosh. Welcome to the other side of the book launch. It probably just looked like a lot (maybe too many) social media posts from your side, but over here it was like spinning ten plates with two hands. Except for yesterday. Everything leading up to yesterday was spinning plates. Yesterday? Actual launch day? That was something different.

As opposed to the frantic pace of promotion and marketing, yesterday was a nice, quiet retreat into Revisions Land on BAI TREASON.

What’s that? you cry. You cheated on TAKE THE BAI ROAD on its birthday?!

Not really. I’d just done everything I could do to spread the word about TAKE THE BAI ROAD, and the only thing left to do was let it happen (or not happen) and figure out what’s next. For me? What’s next is BAI TREASON, which is shaping up to be twisty and unexpected and fun in all the right ways.

I’m channeling Edna Mode from The Incredibles, darling, and there isn’t anything you can do about it.

I’ve always wondered if launching something is the same for movie stars as it is for authors. You work on this massive creative endeavor for months, then it’s out of your hands getting cleaned up and polished, and then, right when you’ve started working on something else, you’re supposed to get all excited to talk about this project you finished working on ages ago.

That’s not to say I’m not stoked about TAKE THE BAI ROAD. I totally am. It’s a fun book and I don’t even feel bad charging people money for it because it’s worth a few bucks and will definitely spice up your summer reading time (I recommend reading this one with a nice, cold beer under a shady tree when it’s really hot outside). I’m all for the Bai Road, so to speak, I’m just trying to make sure I don’t drown in promoting one project at the expense of doing what I love (writing a new project).

So here’s to TAKE THE BAI ROAD, which you can find here (among other places). May it find a happy place among the literal and digital bookshelves of the people who purchase, borrow, steal, and are gifted it.

Now onward, I say! To a mystery! To Ukraine! To BAI TREASON!

Empty Tubes and Tests for Days

Man, I tell you. Coming back from Santa Barbara was a great, big, freezing cold splash of reality. Wes had to leave on a series of business trips, which is normally the cue for both my kids to get all kinds of peeved about their father’s absence and take it out on me.

They did not disappoint.

Me in my giant scrubs, mere moments before yet another health professional jammed a needle into my poor knee.

Adding to the fun, I did another MRI with contrast to see why my knee continues to be a literal and figurative pain and lo and behold, it wasn’t all in my head (ha?). I have a flap of cartilage that’s collecting edema, and the microfractures I had done a couple years ago healed irregularly, which means things are all kinds of messed up in there.

Before I go in for (yet another) surgery, I’m going to get tested by a rheumatologist to see if it’s possible to determine why the cartilage in my knee is shredding like a nice mozzarella.

As if all that wasn’t enough, I’m currently undergoing testing from an endocrinologist to see whether he can figure out why I keep gaining weight despite healthy eating and exercise habits.

Just think blood tests. Blood tests for days. All the doctors are holding up empty tubes with my name on them.

It’s all stressful, and at times terrible, but I’m keeping my focus firmly on the things that are going right. Things like:

  • Wes is home from his business trips, and will be home for awhile.
  • I have friends and family who care about me and all my suddenly myriad health issues. My best friend, husband, and mother-in-law all collectively spent hours on the phone with me when I found out about my knee, just letting me feel sorry for myself and assuring me things would turn out ok. I’m inclined to believe them.
  • I’m free of deadlines for now and making progress on revisions for Bai Treason (book 3 of the Bai Hsu series). I love it as much now as I did when I wrote the first draft, which is always a good sign of a worthwhile story.
  • There’s a book blog tour of Bai Tide (book 1 of the Bai Hsu series) that’s happening now and the reviews are uniformly positive so far! Like this one, and this one. I’m always particularly gratified when people who don’t normally read my genre enjoy my books. It shows me I wrote a good story, not just a good spy story.
  • I might be getting LASIK soon because you know what? My knee may be FUBAR but damn it, there’s still hope for my eyes.

That just about brings you up to current. Rest assured, if I’m not blogging it’s probably because I’m hiding from my health woes by writing stories. Given all the feelings around here lately? Bai Treason¬†is going to end up being a goooooooood book. Trust me on that one.

Updates and Appearances and Anthologies, Oh My!

I just got back from a quick trip down to CA to visit family with my two children and these are the things I learned:

  • CA gets crazy flooding when there’s a monsoon-style downpour.
  • Dramamine makes my children almost catatonic.
  • In N Out is still delicious and the best thing ever.

I seem to have caught a cold while I was visiting, however, which is kind of a bummer because I’ve been invited back to do a guest lecture for the Writing for Publication class at Northwest University and I have this weird feeling like I’m going to need my voice for that. I’m getting really excited about it.

I had the chance to do this a couple years ago and it was a blast. There’s something invigorating and inspiring about discussing the craft of writing with other people who are as passionate about it as you are, and I fully expect to have a fantastic time (assuming, of course, that I have use of my voice and will not have to conduct the lecture via semaphore).

From one of my favorite Monty Python sketches, Wuthering Heights by Semaphore.

I’ve also recently applied to participate in the LitQuake Festival in San Francisco this fall, so fingers crossed for that, and I’m most likely doing a book singing on Bainbridge Island at the Eagle Harbor Book Company in late July as well. All told, 2017 is shaping up to be a very busy year, which is great because there’s almost nothing more frustrating than trying to get the promotional wheels spinning only to have nothing happen.

Oh! And I almost forgot the coolest thing that happened last week: I got invited by my writing buddy AC Fuller to participate in a thriller anthology that’s coming out in the fall! How cool is that?! Doing an anthology is on my writer bucket list, so I’m delighted the timing worked out for it.

I’m submitting a short story about what happens when Bai goes home to visit his parents after the events of Take the Bai Road. Hint: stuff happens. Lots of stuff.

I had a blast writing the story, and I think it’ll be a fun amuse bouche for those of you looking for something to read in between Take the Bai Road and book number three, which will be called Bai Treason. (Oh, man. Bai Treason is GOOD. I can’t wait to get started on revisions for that one after I finish Take the Bai Road and the anthology short story).

All in all, things are looking busy in a good way. Full steam ahead!