Thursday, November 28, 2013

Honored to Be On Same Shelf With Amy Tan

Among the many things I'm grateful for, I want to acknowledge you, my reader. I started out on this novel-writing path eighteen years ago, tentative, frightened, only imagining in my wildest dreams that my stories would be more than white computer pages read by my critique group and sympathetic friends and family. Part of my dream came true when Komenar Publishing and Redwood Publishing took a chance on an unknown author like me. But just because the stories came out in books doesn't mean that they’ll suddenly leap into everyone's reading pile. From published books to top of the reading pile is a giant step that involves you. So, thank you for opening the covers and saying, "Hmm. Let me see what these books are about."
You make my dreams come true. 
Recent Review on Amazon:
LOVED IT -5 STARS  I was well into an Amy Tan novel (my favorite author ever) when I started My Half of the Sky. I put the Tan novel aside to read Sky through to the end. The author drew my in to "village" life in China (in cities 10 times the size of mine), and the thoughts and feelings of a young woman in love in a world where family obligations are priority.(cvance)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Signing Dec 3rd at Los Gatos Public Library

Next Tuesday, Los Gatos Public Library is hosting its first annual Local Author Day. Eight of us will discuss fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. It will be a fun morning  (and a great chance to stock up on gifts for the holidays.) Come participate.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chinese in America Talk by Iris Chang

I belong to a Chinese Historical society. They just sent me this link to a talk Iris Chang gave in 2003 about Chinese in America. She said that the Chinese story is not one of rags to riches but of cycles. One day the Chinese are the heroes, the next they are the villains, depending on the mood of the day. Her talk is full of fascinating information.

Friday, November 15, 2013

One Child Policy Relaxed

The one-child policy started in 1979 in an effort to increase the wealth of China (as there would be less mouths to feed) has at long-last been deemed no longer effective. With an increasingly aging population, and not as many children coming up behind, the government decided that it's time to allow more youth. Those parents who are only children are now allowed two.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

USC US-China Institute Film and Event

Last night I took my daughter to a showing of the Independent film Girl Rising, about the importance of education for females, and how girls in nine different countries across the globe struggle for this sometimes unattainable goal. The only problem? The film didn't rise to the screen. We several hundred (mostly) females sat captivated as an Intel commercial ran again. And again. And again. After the tenth time, when all of us started chanting the lines together, the film was pronounced not working. Would we like to watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs instead? This seemed ironic. (Only in this instance we were the females not being given access to the education.)

Some events happening today and tomorrow (and archived) at the USC US-China Institute:

11/13 4-5:30: End of an Era. (movie)This is one episode in "Assignment China," a multi-part documentary film series on the history of American correspondents in China. The lead reporter is Mike Chinoy, a Senior Fellow at the US-China Institute, former CNN Beijing Bureau Chief and Senior Asia Correspondent. The film features interviews with journalists who covered China during those years.

11/14 4-5:30 Protecting the Vulnerable with speaker Guo Jianmei. Ms. Guo, one of China's preeminent public interest lawyers, has fought for women's rights in China for more than 17 years. Drawing on her many years of experience as both a lawyer and a pioneer of Chinese non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Ms. Guo will outline recent political developments within China. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Great Writing Advice from Man Booker Prize Winner Eleanor Catton

I went hiking with my neighbor today, a middle school science teacher. I asked what her plans were for the day.
"Grading a thousand blue books," she said a frown.
As we walked, she thought of all the other things she would rather be doing--including cleaning the fish tank.
I had to laugh. Sounded just like a writer in full procrastination mode.
Then I heard an interview with this year's Man Booker prize-winning author, Eleanor Catton.
She said, "If you don't have fun with your writing, how can you expect your readers to enjoy?"
Just that idea--that it's fun, that it should be fun--puts a whole new spin on the fearsome blinking cursor. Throws cleaning the fish tank back to the bottom of the list...where it should be.

This Thursday, Fridays, Saturday I'll be part of an authors' table at The Holiday Boutique.
Where: 5038 Hyland Ave, San Jose (St. Phillip's Church)
When: November 14th and 15th from 9-6, November 16th from 9-4.
There will be a variety of handcrafted items. Stop by and see us!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

New Book Giveaway

Yesterday was a wonderful time at Martin Luther King Jr Library. Hundreds of people gathered throughout the afternoon to talk books and listen to the various authors talk about books. Some great fun.
On another fun note, Goodreads is running a giveaway of My Half of the Sky. It's a great book for the holidays...






Friday, November 1, 2013

Dealing with Rejection the Zen Way

Some rejections are easier than others--but it never feels good. One anecdote that helps me is the story of two monks. These monks were walking by a river and spotted a woman on the other side, obviously trying to get across. She held her skirt up, was putting her feet in the water tentatively. She looked across the river with fear in her eyes. Wise Monk walked through the water, picked her up, and brought her across. She thanked him and went on her way.
At the end of the day, Young Monk  said, "I can't believe you touched that woman. That's against the tenets of our practice."
Wise Monk said, "I only held her in my arms for a few minutes to help her across the river. You've obviously been holding her in your heart ever since. Which is worse?"
So when those rejections come (and they will) remember to be like the Wise Monk. Just hold them in your hands for a few minutes and then let them go.

What People Are Saying About My Half of the Sky

My Half of the Sky was the BookSense Pick for August 2006 as well as a Forbes Book Club Pick.

"McBurney-Lin tells a wonderfully entertaining story with the traditional coming-of-age theme (which is experienced universally)...weaving in the cultural challenges of growing up in China's rapidly changing social system."
Mary Warpeha, co-President of the Minnesota Chapter of US-China Friendship Association
March 2010

"The novel ...includes many of the tales and the folk ways of the people living in the rural areas of South China, still followed provincially. The story takes place in current China, but could relate the dilemma of any young woman in rural China through the ages."
Kitty Trescott, National Board of the Midwest Region of US-China Friendship Association. March 2010

"A lot is expected of a young Chinese girl. My Half of the Sky by Jana McBurney-Lin is the story of Li Hui, a young girl who has just achieved marriageable age. She seeks to make the most of herself, but the expectations all around her make it difficult, as her parents seek to use her as pawn to their advantage, she is faced with what she believes to be true love. She must balance career, romance, and family, all to somehow make everyone happy, a tough endeavor indeed. An engaging and entertaining read from beginning to end, "My Half of the Sky" is a poignant tale of the modern Chinese woman, and recommended for community library collections.
--Midwest Book Review November, 2008

“It is a rare women’s novel that sensitively describes the life of a young educated woman in modern-day China in its full complexity, without resorting to unnecessary sentimentalism. Jana’s deep knowledge of the realities of life in China and Singapore makes the reading extra rewarding. In fact, with every new page the novel gets harder to put down and you find yourself gobbling it up before you know it. Finally, the author has given a voice to the Li Hui in all of us, as we struggle for the golden middle between tradition and the modern momentum of our world.”
Isabella Sluzek
Friends of the Museum Book Review 2008

You'll be rooting all the way for Li Hui as she struggles, ahead of the curve, to be her own woman in an emerging, modern China. Jana McBurney-Lin's My half of the Sky is a beautiful, witty, touching debut novel.
Thomas B. Sawyer
Head Writer TV Series "Murder, She Wrote,"
Author - The Sixteenth Man

A complex and mesmerizingly original tale of a young Chinese woman caught between the modern world and the pull of her ancient culture. McBurney-Lin’s intimate portrait of China sparks with insights and is peopled with characters so rich and alive, they seem to breathe on the page. Dazzling and unforgettable.
Caroline Leavitt,
Author - Girls in Trouble

McBurney-Lin's debut novel is a gift. Li Hui is a memorable heroine, a young woman torn between her heart and her culture.Her daunting journey is a trip into China's complicated soul, and a deeply moving exploration of love, honor, duty, and loss." Frank Baldwin, Author - Balling the Jack

My Half of the Sky is a wonderfully-crafted story that was obviously written with a piece of McBurney-Lin's heart. A masterpiece."
Lee Lofland, Author - Howdunit: Police Procedure and Investigation

My Half of the Sky heralds the arrival of a fantastic new storyteller. With artistry and precision, Jana McBurney-Lin's clear-eyed prose takes the reader on a new journey into a past world that speaks to a modern sensibility, a modern world, a modern woman. This is a book to be treasured.
Emily Rapp, Author - The Poster Child

Through vivid descriptions of sights and smells, Jana McBurney-Lin's My Half of the Sky is a haunting, emotional journey of what it means to be an honorable female in modern China. Jill Ferguson, Author - Sometimes Art Can't Save You