My life in writing is both long and eclectic. Here is a bird’s eye view of my published works by genre.
My debut novel is The Dancing Girl and the Turtle. It’s set in the time and place where my father grew up. His stories of 1930s Shanghai were the seed that grew into this novel though its darkness is all my own. Publication date: April 2017.
My aim is to combine The Dancing Girl and the Turtle into a set of four interlocking novels. I call it The Shanghai Quartet. Spanning two wars and a revolution, The Shanghai Quartet chronicles the fate of Anyi, the dancing girl, her brother Kang, his friend Max the American and Jin the cook.
Unlike novels in quartets or otherwise, short form fiction requires muscular writing and brilliant flashes of action. I like to compare short fiction to the pictograms from which written Chinese evolved: a whole story inside a single character. Here’s my short fiction published so far.
When you travel around the world, you see stuff. Like air raid shelters in the metro stations of Seoul, stocked with bottled water and thermal blankets.
“Spoons” marries my taste for the dark with my love of food. A weird combination?
I was drawn into the story by the luscious depictions of preparing nourishment during a time of danger and crisis. The author writes in her opening paragraph, “Yeonsoo likes her eggs to feel at home until she boils them to death.” This piece is beautifully ominous.Leanne Dunic, Fiction Editor at Tahoma Literary Review
You can read it here.
Or: you can listen for free to me reading “Spoons”. I’m no. 10 in the queue!
Publication date: 19 March 2022.
This character appears in my second novel-in-progress. I love her salty sense of humor and her general crankiness. She deserves a story all her own.
Australian powerhouse publisher Marshall Cavendish agrees. They published “Mrs. Yip” in the anthology A Tapestry of Colours: Stories from Asia and followed that up with a Study Guide. You can order your copy here. Publication date: 15 June 2021.
In September 2018, Canadian flash fiction journal NUNUM published Frogs, a story of two brothers long estranged. They combined my words with Binary 10, artwork produced by Catherine Skinner because NUNUM is a Canadian website in love with flash fiction and art blended together.
NEWS FLASH: Nunum nominates Frogs for 2019 Pushcart Prize! Read more here.
ANOTHER NEWS FLASH: Nunum selects Frogs for Anthology 1. Buy your copy here.
NEWS FLASH #3: NUNUM nominates Frogs for the VERA.
Hong Kong Cha: An Asian Literary Journal published Moon Cakes in June 2016. The story started as a character study for Wong Jin. She appears in The Dancing Girl and the Turtle and will soon take center stage in the second volume of my Shanghai Quartet.
Sometimes a character study has legs. It can get up and walk around the room. It can demand to become a story. In “Moon Cakes”, we learn how Jin became a cook.
Words Fly By
Words Fly By was my first short story ever published. It appeared in Jabberwock Review (Winter 2015). This story, too, has its roots in China though drawn from contemporary life. It’s the story of about losing the power of speech.
See also the lovely review of this short story published in NewPages.com (July 2015).
The circus tent of nonfiction houses many creatures, wild and wonderful. A webpage like this is one example. You’ve probably stumbled on this page by way of my blog or perhaps my newsletter. You might have seen a book review.
Creative nonfiction is a no man’s land to which I find myself increasingly drawn. True stories, well told. The application of a narrative voice, grounding details and poetic devices to fact-driven analyses.
My newest obsession is with the lyric essay, where poetry and nonfiction play. I love to read it, write it and teach it, too.
As you can see, the essay form seems to work for me. You can read more about this amazing win and my many published essays here.
By all rights, I shouldn’t include the genre. It’s been a long time. In college and through law school, I wrote poetry. Some of it got published.
“For Patience“ and “Chocolates“, new University (University of California Irvine campus newspaper), 11 March 1980 and republished in Gumbo: A Magazine of the Arts (1981).
“At the Convent“, new University (Fall 1980?)
“The Girl with the Patch” and “Grandmother,” a chapbook (1980?)
I wish I could show you my edition of Gumbo because Yusef Komunyaaka edited it. But I lost a box of beloved books during a move from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. So the image you see here is of the inaugural Gumbo issue. If you like, you can read the only draft I have left of The Girl with the Patch.
The future of publishing
What’s next? Your guess is as good as mine. As of October 2021, I’ve paused my blog to concentrate on my novel-in-progress and the many short story and essay manuscripts crowding my desk. Watch this space.
Last updated 23.04.2022