Saturday, December 13, 2014
As co-author of Blossoms and Bayonets—the story of the Japanese occupation of Korea during WWII—I spent several years researching this topic. These women don’t’ deserve to be raped yet again by having Yamamoto and the Abe Government revise history.
Yamamoto will hold a press conference. A protest will follow. If you are able please show up:
Saturday Dec 13, 2014
Press Conference 5:00 PM
Redwood City Community Center
1400 Roosevelt Ave. Redwood City, CA 94061
Sunday, November 23, 2014
I briefly heard an interview on NPR--so briefly that I didn't catch who was being interviewed. However, I did remember her words. When the interviewer asked, "Does censorship in your country make it difficult to speak your mind?" this author said, "There are two types of censorship. Those imposed by others and those that are self-imposed. I look at so many people today who, by their own choice, do not read books. Their worlds consist of Facebook notifications and Twitter posts. That self-censorship is just as bad."
I couldn't agree more.
So, this holiday season, don't censor your world. Read a book. And pass it on.
I'll be signing books at the Holiday Craft Faire up on Summit Road. It's a great time to pick up holiday gifts...and is right next to the Summit Christmas Tree Farm. Hope to see you there.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Oh my goodness. You know when a book brings you out of a reading rut? Wow. I was interested in the book when I heard about it but then I started it and man, I didn't want the story to end.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Says OBS Reviewer: I don’t normally read books about war or violence in general, I believe life is hard enough as it is, but I am always open to new experiences and this one was definitely new: I know close to nothing about Korea, unless you count my watching the TV series M.A.S.H. (which I loved, by the way). So, I was very excited about the prospect of reading this book and I came out of the experience extremely happy..
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The Japanese Occupation is a historic moment. I learnt about it when I was in primary school and my dad ocasionally talks about it during mealtimes.... It’s brutal and heartbreaking.
Monday, May 12, 2014
This was nothing short of an amazing story. Once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down... Reading this book was a truly humbling and eye opening experience. It was honest, angry, emotional, beautiful, tragic and encouraging all at once....
Check out today's tour courtesy of Miss Nose in a Book
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Monday, April 28, 2014
If you happen to be looking for something for that special day, stop by the Artisans Craft Fair. I'll be signing books from 9-4.
If you can't make it there, I'll be at the Village House of Books in Los Gatos signing from 4:30-6.
Hope to see you at some point.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
I followed relatives down the road to choose two hogs from the neighbor's farm. I took photos as the two fat things were coaxed into the back of a truck. They reminded me of my pet dog, eager to follow instructions yet not so excited about being confined in a cage. They sniffed at the back gate of the truck, as if, "I wonder where we're going now, Wilbur?"
After the hogs were brought home, I kind of forgot about them, as I was watching other aspects of the ceremony--the decorating of the bridal chamber with red paper and flowers. Then I heard a horrible squealing. I looked outside to see five men pinning the hog down on its back and--along with a string of lucky firecrackers--slicing its throat.
I've not eaten pork since....as I kept seeing those innocent little snouts following their butcher up the gangplank and sniffing at the air with hope. I've also steered clear of beef (pun kind of intended). My kids think I'm being a bit of a weirdo. But, thoughts of animal cruelty aside, I read an article recently about the amount of water it takes to produce a pound of beef (2,000 gallons) and pork (576 gallons). Since we're still being drought-conscience out here in the west, I have more than one reason to say, "Pass the salad, please."
Monday, April 21, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014
No great art is ever accomplished in your comfort zone. You have to get your fingers dirty.
A joke (story) is a precious commodity. When you pull it from the ground, it doesn't look like a diamond.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
"Not so," said Dr. Demorest in a recent interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Company.
Up until now doctors have been able to study and take licensing exams in Chinese. Now the argument is that since the official languages of the country are English/French, the tests should be taken in English. The downside is that there are some amazing practitioners who do not speak English well enough to pass a test. The upside is, well, is there really one? What do you think?
Monday, April 14, 2014
Monday, March 31, 2014
Saturday, March 29, 2014
"How many hours did it take you to write your book?" He asked. "To refine it over and over?"
I can't count that high.
The thought gave me a long depressing pause.
"Some days are long," another friend pointed out. "But this is what we signed up for."
Put that way, I'm inspired all over again.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
At the end of the evening, Lloyd Russell-- member and BookSage writer--suggested Blossoms and Bayonets represented a new genre--historical fiction that was basically all true. We got a chuckle out of that.
Librarian Melissa Maglio mentioned she has 10 copies available for book clubs. So, if you're in the Los Gatos area, get your club to read it. (If you send me a message, we will try to attend your gathering as well.) If you're not in the area, please ask your library to create a book kit.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Do your children help your writing? Does your writing help your ability to parent? (I loved this question as it indicated writing as a process...rather than just a one-shot activity. My children definitely inform my writing. And I think that writing helps me navigate the different phases of being a parent.)
Do you consider yourself a feminist? (Yes)
Is it important to read? (Yes, and preferably beyond a text message, facebook or blog post.)
How does someone start writing? (Just start...and join a writers group. In California the best one I know of is the California Writers Club.)
What do you want readers to get from your books? (Hopefully a better understanding of the world...and of themselves.)
How can we write characters which are not stereotypical caricatures?
(It's a matter of digging. As my children are quick to point out, stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. The trick is not to avoid mentioning that the old man drives down highway with his left blinker on or that the helicopter mom hovers at the edge of the soccer field with a juice box or the ghetto child walks down the street with a baseball hat on backwards and his pants sagging. The trick however is to dig deeper than the outer appearance. Who is that old man? Is he suffering dementia and his daughters have asked him many times not to drive? Is he in a rush to get to the hospital to meet his first grandson and thus not really paying attention to his driving? Who is this woman? Who is this kid? Dig deep into their personalities to make them not just stereotypes, but human beings who happen to display some stereotypical qualities.)
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
That message resonated with me. It's easy to become reactive--to the e-mails, the phone calls, even the full dishwasher. It's easy to respond to something concrete with a predictable outcome rather than to stumble around blindly in the dark hoping to find a path.
Yet the path is there.
We just have to have the courage to stumble.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Monday, February 10, 2014
This Saturday from 1-3, I'll be in this historic building located at
discussing my latest novel, Blossoms and Bayonets, as well as signing copies. Please come!
Friday, February 7, 2014
Gerry Low-Sabado is the great granddaughter of Quock Mui, the first documented Chinese girl born in the Monterey area, in 1859, as well as a well-known historian on the largest Chinese Fishing Village in the Monterey area from 1850-1906.
Gerry will be coming to our upcoming US-China Friendship People's Association meeting on March 23rd at St. Jude's Parish Hall in Cupertino (McClellan Ave) at 6:15 to talk about the history of Chinese in Monterey. She will provide colorful stories and show a short video about the Chinese Fishermen who immigrated here in 1850. They not only built the first successful commercial fishing operation in Monterey, but were instrumental in the development of our area.
If that date doesn't work, she will also be the guest speaker this Tuesday, February 11, at 7 PM at
Hacienda Carmel “Casa Fiesta Room” (Via Mallorca exit on Carmel Valley Road).
Don't miss a chance to hear her speak.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Thank you....and happy reading.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
President Jimmy Carter's welcome included these comments,
"Yesterday ...was the lunar New Year, the beginning of your Spring Festival, the traditionalMay the Year of the Horse be a time of warm reunions and grand new beginnings.
time of new beginnings for the Chinese people. On your New Year's Day, I am told, you open all doors and windows to give access to beneficent spirits. It's a time when family quarrels are forgotten, a time when visits are made, a time of reunion and reconciliation. As for our two nations, today is a time of reunion and new beginnings. It's a day of reconciliation, when windows too long closed have been reopened."
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Friday, January 24, 2014
According to this dateline special, China--which surpassed the U.S. in manufacturing last year-- builds ten new cities each year. One would think this is an inevitable response to an ever-burgeoning population.(Last count 1.36 billion.) But the reality is that the two are unrelated--at least for the moment.
Building is a way to meet a GDP target. The populace, with an average income of $6,000/year, cannot afford the price tag of these new condos which average $70-100,000. Thus there are 64 million empty apartments. It's hard to imagine even one empty building in China, much less 64 million. It's fascinating...and frightening.
It will be interesting to see what solutions arise.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
This past week I went to Fujian for my nephew's huge village wedding. One of the underlying themes that kept rearing its ugly head was not only that the bride should have a baby, but it should be a boy. When the groom went to pick up his bride and bring her home, only his friends/relatives who were married with sons were allowed to ride along. The groom was given boys to hold, as that was supposed to increase his chances of making one. And on the second day, there was an all-male poobah gathering--the bride went back home and invited her father and a male relative back for a meal.
As I sat next to a wine-drinking 14-year-old whose pockets bulged with cigarettes,it struck me that were I in the U.S. I'd get a call from Child-Protective Services or be arrested for serving a minor.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
33% of high school graduates will never read another book in their lives.
42% of college grads never pick up another book.
70% of adults have not been in a book store in the last five years.
80% of families did not buy or read a book last year.
It's astounding, but gels with an experience I had last year at one of the fairs where a friend and I sold our books. His first question to people approaching our table was, "Do you read books?" I thought it a stupid question as "Who doesn't read books?" By the end of the day, my whole perspective had changed: a majority of people didn't read. Not couldn't. Just didn't. I told my son, and he said, "That's normal, Mom. My friends at school don't read."
This year, for every holiday I can think of, I will ask only one thing of my kids: READ A BOOK.
I hope you'll read, too.
What People Are Saying About My Half of the Sky
"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
"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.”
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