Thursday, July 2, 2015

HERE COMES THE SUN by Leza Lowitz

This week I'm participating in a joint blog tour with two other authors of new memoirs set in Asia. You can enter our giveaway here. We each read each other's books, and I'm pleased to share my thoughts on the second one today: Here Comes the Sun by Leza Lowitz.

THE GIST

An American woman finds love in Japan and embarks on a journey toward motherhood through adoption and yoga.

THE REVIEW

If you're a fan of How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit, the expat women in Asia anthology I edited for Signal 8 Press last year, you might recognize this title. Leza Lowitz contributed a moving excerpt of her then-unpublished memoir to the anthology, also called Here Comes the Sun. Now we get the full story! 

Leza's memoir follows her journey to motherhood through adoption, and to peace and self-understanding through yoga. Set primarily in Japan but also featuring Leza's roots in Berkeley, California, the memoir is a beautifully written reflection on life, motherhood, and finding a home.

Leza's background in poetry is evident in the language of this memoir. There's a moving simplicity to her words that draws you in as you follow her move to Japan, her romance with a handsome Japanese writer, and her search for the child she knows is calling out to her.

In addition to the story of her family finding each other, Leza's memoir features her heartfelt attention to yogic practice and philosophy. Leza writes about her decision to open a yoga studio in Japan and organizes her story around the eight chakras. Her spiritual journey is particularly interesting because she brings together her practice of yoga and the traditions of her Jewish upbringing. It's a story for modern, multicultural times if there ever was one.

THE LINKS


THE COST

The Kindle edition is $9.99. I received a free copy of the ebook for review. Disclosure: Leza also wrote a very nice blurb for my memoir, Year of Fire Dragons.

THE GIVEAWAY

If you'd like to win a copy of Here Comes the Sun, along with The Good Shufu and Year of Fire Dragons, you can enter our giveaway here!



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

THE GOOD SHUFU by Tracy Slater

This week I'm participating in a joint blog tour with two other authors of new memoirs set in Asia. You can enter our giveaway here. We each read each other's books, and I'm pleased to share my thoughts on the first one, The Good Shufu by Tracy Slater.

THE GIST

An American academic finds herself falling in love and moving to Japan with a Japanese salary man.

THE REVIEW

American Tracy Slater was not looking to move abroad. It came as quite a surprise when she fell in love with a Japanese businessman who also happened to be one of her English students. In this candid memoir, she shares the process of coming to terms with the new life she would share with the man she loved. Rather than permanently moving to Japan, Tracy spent years trying to split her time between her new life and marriage and her first love: the city of Boston. Eventually, the combination of her father-in-law's ailing health and her efforts to conceive throughout her early forties drew Tracy further into the arms of Japan.

This memoir is a candid look at a journey of love and compromise as a couple works to make a life together despite vastly different backgrounds and plans for their lives. The central relationship in the memoir is sweet in its earnestness, and you really root for Tracy and her husband throughout the book. The portrayal of Tracy's relationship with her father-in-law is especially moving as his health slowly fails. She examines what it is like to take on a highly traditional carer role as a woman who never quite expected her life would take this turn.


The memoir is deeply thought-provoking because of the way Tracy's expectations and affluent background war with her new life as a wife in a more conservative culture. Her journey to conceive after the age of 40 is heart-rending. I won't spoil the ending, but this is a book that will leave you thinking for days afterwards.

THE LINKS


THE COST

The Kindle edition is $10.99. I received a free copy of the ebook for review.

THE GIVEAWAY

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win the hardcover edition of The Good Shufu, along with copies of Here Comes the Sun and Year of Fire Dragons. Look for my review of Here Comes the Sun tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Giveaway! 3 Summer Memoirs by Women in Asia


This summer I'm participating in a joint blog tour with two other women who have also written memoirs about love, life, and finding home in Asia. Tracy Slater and Leza Lowitz have fascinating stories about their lives and loves in Japan, and I'm excited to offer Year of Fire Dragons alongside their books. We are holding a huge giveaway for all three titles (two paperbacks and one hardback). To enter, use the Rafflecopter below.

Each title offers a unique take on expat life, with common refrains that I think you'll enjoy. Here is a bit more about each book and where to find it.

Here Comes the Sun: A Journey to Adoption in 8 Chakras
By Leza Lowitz
At 30, Californian Leza Lowitz is single and traveling the world, which suits her just fine. Coming of age in Berkeley during the feminist revolution of the 1970s, she learned that marriage and family could wait. Or could they? When Leza moves to Japan and falls in love with a Japanese man, her heart opens in ways she never thought possible. But she’s still an outsider, and home is far away. Rather than struggle to fit in, she opens a yoga studio and makes a home for others. Then, at 44, Leza and her Japanese husband seek to adopt—in a country where bloodlines are paramount and family ties are almost feudal in their cultural importance. She travels to India to work on herself and back to California to deal with her past. Something is still not complete until she learns that when you give a little love to a child, you get the whole world in return. The author’s deep connection to yoga shows her that infertile does not mean inconceivable. By adapting and adopting, she transcends her struggles and embraces the joys of motherhood. “Here Comes the Sun proves that love is not bound by blood. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in that which connects us, holds us together, and makes us family.”—MC Yogi
Stonebridge Press, June 2015 


The Good Shufu: Finding Love, Self, & Home on the Far Side of the World
By Tracy Slater The Good Shufu is a true story of multicultural love, marriage, and mixups. When Tracy Slater, a highly independent American academic, falls head-over-heels in love with the least likely person in the world--a traditional Japanese salaryman who barely speaks English--she must choose between the existence she'd meticulously planned in the US and life as an illiterate housewife in Osaka. Rather than an ordinary travel memoir, this is a book about building a whole life in a language you don’t speak and a land you can barely navigate, and yet somehow finding a truer sense of home and meaning than ever before. A Summer ’15 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, The Good Shufu is a celebration of the life least expected:  messy, overwhelming, and deeply enriching in its complications.
Putnam/Penguin, June 30, 2015 

In 2010, bookish 22-year-old Shannon follows her Eurasian boyfriend to Hong Kong, eager to forge a new love story in his hometown. She thinks their long distance romance is over, but a month later his company sends him to London. Shannon embarks on a wide-eyed newcomer's journey through Hong Kong—alone. She teaches in a local school as the only foreigner, explores Asia with other young expats, and discovers a family history of her own in Hong Kong. The city enchants her, forcing her to question her plans. Soon, she must make a choice between her new life and the love that first brought her to Asia.
Susan Blumberg-Kason, author of Good Chinese Wife, has called Year of Fire Dragons "a riveting coming of age story" and "a testament to the distance people will travel for love."


This week I'll also be sharing my reviews of The Good Shufu and Here Comes the Sun. Stay tuned!

Enter the giveaway below. You can earn up to 4 entries by tweeting and commenting on this post. I'd love for you to comment with your favorite memoir by a female author or your favorite expat story!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Year of Fire Dragons is out on Kindle!

Year of Fire Dragons, the book I started writing around when I started this blog, is finally available on Kindle! Thank you for sticking with me on this publishing journey for so long. The gorgeous paperback has been in Hong Kong bookstores since November, but now you can read it no matter where you live!

If you already have the book, please consider leaving an honest review on your online retailer of choice some time this week. This will help give Year of Fire Dragons the best launch possible.

Here's a bit more about it!


In 2010, bookish 22-year-old Shannon follows her Eurasian boyfriend to Hong Kong, eager to forge a new love story in his hometown. But when work sends him to London a month later, Shannon embarks on a wide-eyed newcomer's journey through Hong Kong – alone.

She teaches in a local school as the only foreigner, explores Asia with other young expats and discovers family history in Hong Kong, all while trying to hold on to her thwarted romance. The city enchants her, forcing her to question her plans. Soon, she must make a choice between her new life and the love that first brought her to Asia.

Buy it in paperback or as an e-book!

You can read some sample chapters on my publisher's website. The publisher also offers free shipping on the paperback within Asia!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Notes from the London Book Fair

 
I'm back in Hong Kong after nearly three weeks in London. I had a great time wandering around, catching up with old friends, and doing a bit of writing.

The timing worked out so that I was able to attend the first day of the London Book Fair. I've never been to a big trade fair like this, and it was fascinating. Geared toward industry professionals rather than readers, it was a good chance to see what people are up to in the London book world. The real work of the fair takes place during pre-booked meetings, but on this trip I just wanted to soak it all in.

One of my writing friends from Hong Kong moved back to London last year and she accompanied me around the fair. We attended talks at Author HQ, explored the expansive halls full publishers and book-related exhibitions, and chatted with other authors. I got to meet Joanna Penn and Mark Dawson, who was featured in a Forbes article a few days later.

We listened to back-to-back talks on the traditional industry by an agent and editor and on Kindle Direct Publishing by four indie superstars. As a hybrid author, I've participated in both publishing paths and it was interesting to observe the differing moods between the two talks. The agent and editor emphasized how much a book has to stand out in order to be picked up for publication. The KDP authors talked about practical strategies for finding readers.

We attended another talk on publicity and marketing and I went to one near the end of the day on YA fantasy. I had to run to pick up my suitcase and get to the airport after this talk, but it was worth it. (I literally ran across most of Regent's Park to where we were staying because I couldn't find the bus that goes around it).

Now that I'm back in Hong Kong, I'm hard at work as always, though the jet lag has turned me back into a night owl. I'm currently in the final stages of publication for Seaswept, the second book in my post-apocalyptic series under my Jordan Rivet pen name.

I'm also gearing up for the June 7th worldwide and e-book launch of Year of Fire Dragons, my coming of age travel memoir about my first year in Hong Kong. It's already in Hong Kong bookstores, and you can read some sample chapters on my publisher's website. If you want to write a review of Year of Fire Dragons, please shoot me an email at snyoung88@gmail.com!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

London calling

Next week I'm flying to London for the first time in four years! As many of you know, I met my husband in London during a semester abroad over seven years ago. For a long time I thought we'd be moving there permanently. As we get even more settled in Hong Kong that looks unlikely, but I'm very excited to return for an extended visit. 

Our schedules have worked out so that I'll be able to attend the first day of the London Book Fair on April 14th. If any of you are planning to be there, please let me know!

In the meantime, I've been hard at work on a short project under the name Shannon Young and the soon-to-be-released sequel to Seabound under the name Jordan Rivet. I was also recently interviewed about my work under two names by gbtimes. Read the article here!

We're also getting closer to the wide release of Year of Fire Dragons, the travel memoir featuring my move to Hong Kong and my love story. It's available for pre-order now, and the e-book will launch in June. You can find the gorgeous paperback in Hong Kong bookstores already! To read some sample chapters, check out my publisher's website!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Adventures On the Air

This month I had a chance to appear on RTHK, the English radio station in Hong Kong. In the first program, State of the Art with Reenita Malhotra Hora, I talk about balancing writing for two different pen names and about my personal journey in Hong Kong. I also got to share three of my favorite songs!

Listen to State of the Art here

On the other program, Morning Brew with Phil Whelan, I talked about my Hong Kong travel memoir, Year of Fire Dragons, and had some very interesting conversations with Phil about writing, Hong Kong, and even homeschooling!

Listen to Morning Brew here

I just finished a new memoir piece about growing up in a homeschooling family. I'm having some people read it and give me some feedback and then I hope to tell you all about!
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