Monday, December 31, 2012

Peace, Love, & Blessings Abundant

Howdy! What a year, right? My mom and I were wondering where 2012 went. But then I started reflecting on my entire year, and actually, my year's been pretty good!
1.) I graduated high school. YAY!!!
2.) I had my first dance solo in the recital, a privilege awarded to high school seniors and students who take private classes.
3.) I was baptized. Major highlight!
4.) There was one thing... what was it? Oh, yeah. I became a published author. :-) Sorry, just had to put that in.
5.) We're that much closer to finishing our kitchen renovation.
6.) My family and I have been able to talk to my brother recently. He's in the Air Force, at the moment stationed down south. But the real treat has been to see him happy again. He hasn't been truly happy since before he left for BOOT. So every time we Skype, he's smiling, laughing, like the way it was before he enlisted. That's what stands out to me the most this year, outshining even the publishing thing. And why shouldn't it? It's my brother we're talking about.

How many of you out there have resolutions for the coming year? Learn a language, lose some weight, make a change, date.... I'm not sure what my resolution is this year. I've never officially made one, and  still don't really see the point. But, whatever floats your boat.
Keep warm, celebrate, smile, but don't forget how the Lord has blessed you. The bad things tend to stand out in our minds, a trick which works all too frequently. So take thirty seconds, or like, a minute if you must (you must), and think about all the wonderful things God has done for you this year. A roof over your head? Food on the table? Good friends, great family, a book to read, a Bible to study...
Have a happy new year, everyone, and may the Lord's blessings on you be abundant.



Monday, December 24, 2012

Finishing Up

I've been taking a break from my Woman in Scarlet series, just trying to get out of that world, get a new perspective. Of course, my idea of getting a "new perspective" is moving on to a different story. So I've been focusing on this one set in Spain. I'm not saying what it is about, because I think I give far too many spoilers on this blog. But suffice to say it is not about genies. So now I have to get back to the Woman in Scarlet because she's a bit needy, but I sent my semi-plan to Trestle Press this morning about when things will be released (hopefully) and what my plan is for the rest of 2013. I gave myself a deadline, basically. The last three installments of the Woman in Scarlet will be released I believe one month apart, the next one being in January and so on. I'm excited about it, though. For one thing I can finally get some closure about the Scarlet Lady. For another, I can move on. Don't get me wrong, I love writing and this has been a particularly fulfilling and difficult challenge, but a couple of days ago I was just thinking, Man, I can't wait to finish this. The experience is long and involved, not that I'm complaining. I enjoy the work. Still. I want to give this woman some peace.
At any rate, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I look forward to writing to you again.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chocolate-Dipped Almond Biscotti

Fourth post. I'm on a roll! Here's a nice biscotti recipe for all you coffee and/or tea drinkers. :-)

1 cup blanched almonds          2 cups flour
3 eggs                                    3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract                 1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp almond extract             1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool, then chop coarsely. Reduce oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs and extracts together.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer) combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until blended (and if you're using a hand mixer... I suggest you hold your breath for this part). Gradually add the egg mixture and beat until dough forms, adding almonds about halfway through. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a log about 14" long and 3-4" wide. Transfer log to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or until firm to the touch. (Log will spread during baking.) Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack about 10 minutes.
Transfer log to a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, cut log into slices 1/2" thick on a diagonal. Arrange evenly on a baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake an additional 10 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container. (I think that last part is actually kind of pointless; it's biscotti. It's supposed to be stale. That's why you dip it in your coffee or tea.)
Makes about 28 biscotti.
Now for the fun part! You can use whatever chocolate you prefer. My family usually melts semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate wafers from JoAnn Fabrics or Pat Catans. Melt your chocolate either with a double boiler or in the microwave; just be sure to stir constantly when heating it so the chocolate doesn't bake. So once it's all melty and smooth, dip the top of each biscotti slice and refrigerate until the chocolate is firm.

1.) Can add 1 tbsp orange or lemon zest to eggs.
2.) Can substitute walnuts or hazelnuts for almonds.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"My Mother's Kitchen -Volume 4- Matthew's Courage"

Hello again! What is this, like my third post in a seven-day period? I need to get away from my computer, do some long-hand writing. Speaking of writing, I highly recommend reading author Karen Malena's series, "My Mother's Kitchen". In the first installment, "Pietro's Song," writer Kate and her mother sit in the kitchen drinking coffee when Kate's mother starts telling her about the first person in their family to come to America: Pietro. Kate's curiosity about her ancestor leads her on a journey in the early 1900s, riding the waves of the Albert Konig from Naples, Italy all the way to Ambridge, Pennsylvania. While reading this, I truly felt like I knew Pietro personally: a strong man, firm in his faith, humble, a family man.
The second installment, "Terry's Gift," is probably one of my favorites. It takes place during Halloween when Kate is just a child. I won't give any spoilers, but definitely check it out.
The third segment is called "Christmas Angel," and it is actually a flashback belonging to Kate's mother. Shall I just say... God works in mysterious ways.
And the fourth installment, which came out recently, is about Kate's younger brother, Matthew. What I like about this story, though, is that the big event which touched our nation in such a dramatic way... is not the center of the story. Matthew has a touching history before he is even conceived, and the bond between the two siblings is so true to life. It really reminds me of the relationship I share with my eldest brother.
Each installment is only $0.99, and personally, I think you're getting your money's worth.
I was going to wish you all a Merry Christmas, but I still have one more post to get up before the impending holiday. I will post a link to take you directly to "Matthew's Courage" on Amazon, though. Later!


Sunday, December 16, 2012


I really gotta check Amazon more often, but long story short, my third story was released (!!!) just a few days ago. "Checkmate" is the third installment in my "Woman in Scarlet" series. We're half-way through! I hope you all enjoy it and I would love to hear your feedback!
Happy reading. :-)


Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Checkmate" Cover Art

Hello peoples!

Trestle Press has just sent me the cover for my third story, "Checkmate." Check it out!

I know the picture's the same as the first one, and for all of them for that matter, but I wanted to post it anyway. I also found some pictures the other day from a couple of years ago, and the scenery is almost exactly what I imagined for a scene in another one of my stories. I will post them hopefully later today.


Thursday, December 6, 2012


I feel like a weight's been lifted off my chest. I finished rewriting my third story the day before yesterday, and it all just feels right now. The story flows so much better and I hope you get a better sense of the characters now.
I guess I haven't said much about this story, have I? Besides it needing some adjustments, of course. This story actually takes place around Halloween. It's ironic because it will probably be released a few weeks before Christmas. (I remember not too long ago I posted on Facebook how I hoped God wouldn't smite me for that.) Anyway, it centers on a boy named Joey who is dealing with the challenges of a new mother and a new baby sister. He's ten, so it's also an adjustment for him to go from being the center of attention for an entire decade to suddenly becoming an afterthought. That would be hard on anyone. But there are also challenges with his new mom, Amanda, because aside from caring for an infant, she also has trouble because Joey is so old. He's ten, but I consider that old if youu're becoming a step-son. Amanda struggles alot with maintaining a balance in the household. She understands Joey can never forget his real mother, but she still strains to make a relationship with him. Like I said, it is a balancing act. So with that whole backstory/subplot, what actually happens? Well, I wanted to delve into the precipice of Joey's anger, his annoyance of being the afterthought. Here is where the Woman in Scarlet comes into the story. But remember, it is the day before Halloween, so Joey is thinking she's just some person in a costume. Events definitely take a turn for the worse, though, and Joey now has to learn to be a real big brother... and more importantly, to know his enemy. I like the challenge of incorporating chess into the theme. I'm terrible at chess, but the person whom I modeled Joey after kicks my butt in about five moves. In that respect, I'm more like Joey at the beginning where he feels there is strength in numbers. But his dad is trying to teach him strategy, a feat which the one role-model exercises regularly. I can't wait for this story to come out and to hear what people think. I know it is much different than the other two, and I just hope it's not too cliche. But I did want to emphasize how dangerous wishes can be, and how even when you think you made the right decision, like in chess, it could end up costing you dearly.
That's all I've got right now. Maybe I will put up some pictures. Hah! Yeah, maybe.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Link to My Interview

Oh yeah! I forgot to post this sooner. My bad. :-) Melanie Dobson is before me. She talks about her stories, Amish Fiction. I haven't actually listened to it yet, but tell me what you think anyway. I love feedback, good or bad.



When it comes to decisions, especially in my writing, there's almost no one's opinion I value more than my dad's. He helps me see inconsistencies and offers ideas to make everything connect and come full-circle. But sometimes... it kind of sets me back a few steps. My dad read my third story, the third installment for my "Woman in Scarlet" series, but he said the protagonist needed more... filling out. Now, I have no problem with "filling out" characters; I relish the thought. In fact I probably spend more time developing each character's background than I do writing about them. But here's my dilemma: this kid, Joey, I guess he needs to be more rebellious is what I'm gathering from my dad. But it sounds more like Joey needs to appear more angry with his new mother. When I was writing this story, I didn't really imagine Joey as "angry," just annoyed. And in the first draft I tried to convey that with their first and practically only speaking-encounter in the story. However, I suppose Joey needs to have more premature teen angst than he does now. *Hmph* What a setback. I don't want it to sound like some other YA story with teen angst, though. He's not even that angry, just annoyed that his step-mom keeps asking him to do stuff while she tends to her new baby. So he's kind of bitter, I guess, but he does love his baby sibling. I actually tried to model him after both of my brothers, giving him this real bitter resentment towards 6 a.m. and a preference for chess to bejewelers or whatever that smartphone game is. Urgh. Whatever. Guess I'll just go immerse myself in teen angst.
Hmmm... This calls for hot chocolate. And music. Oooh the possibilities.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The G-Zone Blogtalk Radio Show

Hey. So I'm having my first interview about my writing today. I'm super stoked, or at least trying to be. It's hard to feel excited when you were up half the night sick. My face feels like a hotpad and I think it's pretty safe to say my stomach is empty. So I'll be rehydrating while we have this interview. I will try and post a link later on if anyone wants to listen.
Stay healthy.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Organic Aspirations

Hopefully this works. It's the button for one of my friends who blogs about eco-friendly craft ideas, recipes, as well as wonderful pictures. Check it out!

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If you can't access the blog from here, just Google "Organic Aspirations" and it should be the first one listed.
Enjoy your day of pumpkin pie for breakfast, shopping, turkey sandwiches and more turkey sandwiches!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Not My Ruler

So I was drawing armor for a character yesterday to get a sense of what she felt going into battle, intending to draw her after the battle as well. Well I drew in her face today, or meant to, but then I looked at it, and realized I had drawn a Chinese warrior instead of a ruthless Anglo-Irish ruler. Go figure. You know how long I've been trying to figure out how to draw an Asian person? It ain't as easy as it looks. You can't just make almond-shaped eyes and be done with it. At least for me, I have to be unconscious of the fact that this will become a Chinese person versus who I actually want to draw. Oh, subconscious. You clever fiend, you!
If I can get to my printer, maybe I'll put the picture on here. Maybe.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Montessori Method

I've just had an epiphany! I have sometimes wondered why I can hardly do anything without imagining how it can somehow fit into a story. I would be making up cookie dough and trying to get all the flour off the sides of the bowl and write some kind of scene in my head about an obsessive-compulsive girl with some kind of familial issues happening. Or I'll take a picture of a tree at the park because I like how crooked the branches appear now that there are no leaves to hide them. Things like that. Keeps my mind going, you know? Well, I was talking to my mom a few nights ago and she brought up the Montessori Method, which is something she used while raising me and my siblings. It is basically doing things with children which involve as many of the senses as possible, because it helps the kids to learn, and also reveals how they learn. Kinetically, visually, aurally, etc. Suddenly, BAM! I was like, "So that's why I note everything; sounds, smells, a touch, a word." Because that was how I was taught! (Of course I was thinking this and not actually saying it. My mom and I were in the car at the time, and if I'd suddenly gone off on this kind of rant, well, that would have been awkward.) So I will listen to music and the chord progression will remind me of a scene or a chapter in particular. Or I'll be on a walk and a gust of wind will kick up and you can just smell the seasons changing.
Okay. I just wanted to get that out of my system. Exciting stuff!


Monday, November 12, 2012

"Last Spring"

My second story came out today, a continuation of where the last one left off.... It's sort of surreal. At least, that's what it feels like to me. I know "Where Snow May Fall" has been up for about a month now, and that was pure ecstasy. It feels like so much time has gone by. I don't even know why. Maybe I have a new calendar to go by, month to month. October, "Where Snow May Fall"; November, "Last Spring"; December, "Third Story", whatever the actual title may be. Anyway, for those of you who buy "Last Spring," I hope you enjoy it immensely. And for those of you who don't, no worries. There's lots more to come.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It Only Took a Morning

YESSSSS!!!! HAH! Victory is mine! I finally have a blog button! :-) Man, that was... far more grueling than intended. I don't know why, but the first two times I tried to do it, the picture wouldn't show up, so I looked for another tutorial, and voila! *Huge sigh of relief* Thank you, Jesus!
.... So...
What did you do today? Sorry. I didn't mean for that to sound cynical. My bad.


Bitter(not)sweet Blog Button

Well, this kind of sucks. I've just spent that last, I don't know, hour and a half or so trying to figure out this "blog button" thing. I even made an image for my blog button and everything. I'm quite proud of it. But now I look and see that the only things which shows up above the code is a red X, which tells me basically that it couldn't load the image correctly or something stupid like that. Grrrr.... I really liked the image, too. It's small, but I'm posting it anyway so people can be like, "Oh, so THAT'S what it was supposed to look like!" Yeah. *Heaves a sigh* Inner peace... inner peace... INNER PEACE....
(Blog button image)

I even tried uploading it as a post, but apparently that doesn't work either. Whatever. I'll try again later.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Organic Aspirations: The Woman in Scarlet: Where Snow May Fall

A good friend of mine wrote a review on my first story, The Woman in Scarlet: Where Snow May Fall. I'm so honored! Thank you, Becki! Check out her blog, for great eco-friendly ideas, wonderful pictures, and other exciting things. :-)

organic aspirations: The Woman in Scarlet: Where Snow May Fall: Did something ever happen that made you feel old?   Today I saw a girl who I used to teach viola.  She was in fifth grade, but now she's all grown up and she's getting her own place next week! I was proud of her, but I did feel old. Well, another thing that makes me feel old is my good friend's kid sister. She's not a kid anymore, in fact I'm not sure if anything screams "Grown up!" quite as much as being a published author. Her name is Grace Yee and a bought her debut story, The Woman in Scarlet -Volume 1 -Where Snow May Fall last week. The genre is young adult, and I was excited for that since it's one of my favorite genres. I loved it.
It was about a young boy who comes across a mysterious lady offering to grant him three wishes. She warns him to be careful what he wishes for, but each wish brings more and more surprises. I love the rich imagery in this story. The Russian setting adds to the interest and mystery of the plot. Grace's first published work is a complete success, and I can't wait for the second volume in this series to be published.

Once again, thank you, Becki, for an awesome review!


Friday, November 2, 2012

"The Glow" by Shannon Saunders

I am falling in love with this song! My sister introduced it to me because my niece just adores Disney princess songs. Then again, what little girl doesn't?
I don't own anything.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Character Development

So I just got finished watching an episode of Once Upon a Time with my parents. We're a week behind, and tomorrow we are watching the most recent one. But, boy, how I just love all the character development in this show!
In case you've never watched this show, it is about a 28-year-old woman named Emma whose son, whom she gave up for adoption ten years prior, tracks her down and makes her take him back to his hometown, Storybrooke, Maine. But the twist (one of many) is that every person in this small, quaint little town is a characters from his book of "fairytales," appropriately named "Once Upon a Time." Obviously Emma thinks Henry, her son, just has a wild imagination, when in reality, the citizens of Storybrooke are under a curse which made them forget who they really are. So while Snow White is a saintly school teacher, Prince Charming is in a coma, and they don't know they are husband and wife. The basic theme of Storybrooke is that everyone has a past, and it appears no one gets a happy ending, one of the bonuses of the curse. Snow White's step-mother, Regina, is the Mayor of Storybrooke, and she is determined to keep the truth hidden, even if it means hurting her adopted son... Henry.
Whew! What a mouthful. Needless to say the plots are very intricate and the writers pull characters not only from Disney, but also from Grimm's Fairytales and even Sir Richard E. Burton's "Arabian Nights." So you have Mulan, Red Riding Hood, the genie; Aurora, Rumpelstiltskin, and the Mad Hatter. (All right, that last one was Lewis Carroll, but you get the idea: every children's fictional character comes to life.)
The show usually starts out in Storybrooke where Emma or one of the other characters face some sort of dilemma, and then it flashes back to their old lives, as Snow White instead of Mary Margaret, or Rumpelstiltskin instead of Mr. Gold. This episode I just watched was focused on Rumpelstiltskin and his phase between losing his son and meeting Belle. Oh, and I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but -SPOILER ALERT! Here, Rumpelstiltskin and Kilian Jones cross paths, and Kilian remarks how Rumpelstiltskin's skin resembles that of a crocodile. Not that that is very insightful on my part or anything, but I like how the writers tied it in.
The gist of this whole monologue is that there is so much characters development, and it is all so rich, that sometimes it can feel a bit... a bit like having a huge piece of cake and a plate that's too small. But I love how in-depth they go, the gory little details, a slight-of-hand trick or a notorious phrase. It makes me want to sit down and plan out some of my characters like that, with gory little details, heartbreak, betrayal, and hopes and wishes. Because everyone has felt that childlike happiness, where it feels like you're just bathing in light, like nothing in the world can touch you. I love finding those moments for my characters. It helps me figure out what makes them tick. But you know what's even more fun? Integrating it into the stories, and letting the audience get glimpses of the person's past. Maybe that will be a personal goal for me this month: to pick a character and uncover their history, how I would see it in Once Upon a Time. What are their flaws? What are their strongpoints? Why?
Well, I sincerely hope I haven't bored you with all this yammering, but if I didn't get it out now, I wouldn't have been able to concentrate on reading my Bible.
Anyway, goodnight, and stay safe from all this rain.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Bit About My Second Story

Some good friends of mine are reviewing my second story before I send it out to Trestle, but I have to admit, it differs from the first story in every way, shape, and form. However, I'm hoping that does not affect the quality of the story.
This story, which is for now called The Last Spring until I can think up a better title (which may be never), is about a little girl named Lily who lives with her grandma and mother. And it is basically a love story. But you throw the Woman in Scarlet into that mix, and who knows what will come of it? What I tried to achieve with this story, and even with my last story, was telling a tale through a child's eyes. In this second one, the focus is on the mother, but through her seven-year-old daughter's perspective. And I tried to incorporate a simple lesson in there, as well, without sounding preachy. Actually, I wonder if people will even pick out the lesson? Hm. Eh, just have to wait and see. I like this story, though. A few of the characters are based off real people. David, Grandma, Ishmael, even Freddie... sort of.
I can't wait for this next one to be released.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Winter in October

You know what's funny? The fact that my first story takes place in the winter, presumably around Christmas time, when right now we're in the middle of October. My second story, which hopefully will be released in about a month, takes place around spring/summer. Either way it is much warmer outside than when the first story took place. Now I'm working on my third story, which is taking place around Halloween, but it will probably come out in the middle of December. Yeah, try reading a book about ghosts two weeks before opening presents under the Christmas tree. I just think it's kind of funny how the stories don't at all match up with the seasons right now. Hmmm... Maybe I'll get things back on track come the fourth volume. Yeah, I'll make it around Valentine's Day. That should be fun.


Monday, October 15, 2012

On the Clock

Let the countdown begin! As of tomorrow, my very first short story, The Woman in Scarlet: Where Snow May Fall, will be available for purchase on! I can't believe it. It has been such a whirlwind since Trestle contacted me a few weeks ago. Ever since then it's as if my days were being fast-forwarded. I would get an e-mail from Trestle and eagerly type a reply, my knee bouncing in anticipation for what was to come next. Now the ball's rolling and I can't wait to see what is ahead!
Thank you, Lord, for giving me this opportunity, this gift, this passion. There is no doubt I wouldn't have made it this far if it weren't for you. You are marvelous!

You can check out my Twitter @graceyee_123 , Pinterest, and Goodreads (I think) for more updates and possibly random facts.


Friday, October 12, 2012


I had forgotten what it felt like to read into the night. But thanks to my sister's copy of Ella Enchanted, I remember.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First Look

Here's the first look at the cover for my series, The Woman in Scarlet. The flower is a red oleander, which means "Caution" or "Beware." Intrigued yet?

Friday, October 5, 2012


Observe a hummingbird. Notice how it darts to and fro, how it's wings are a blur as it tries to stay airborne. Sometimes it feels like my heart beats as fast as a hummingbird's wings. Like now, for instance. Now and the past week or two. There's this euphoria, this elation that I'm not used to. I've heard of the feeling of being able to fly, but I like experiencing it more. My God is so good! His blessings are abundant! I encourage you to think about what you truly want from life. Do you want a successful career or a strong family? Why not both? But how can those things be achieved, except by asking the Lord constantly for guidance, wisdom, strength and courage? I don't mean to sound preachy. It's been a long day and, as I said earlier, I've been in this kind of dreamy state ever since getting word back from Trestle. Still, I don't want anyone to think asking for something like wisdom is selfish. The real test is doing what we are called to do and gaining that wisdom. I truly hope I can be a blessing to others and to my Lord as well.
In the meantime, there are stories buzzing around that are just demanding to be written.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

From My Prayers to God's Ears All the Way to Trestle

I would like to take this moment to give a big round of applause to our Great God, who has finally answered my prayers! If you've been reading my blog posts, you know how much I want to be a published author. If you haven't... I really want to be a published author. Well, three days ago, two of my writer friends recommended me to Trestle Press, and that evening when I checked my e-mail, the man who works for both of them had sent me an e-mail inquiring about me and my writing and asked for my story via Word document. I was so thrilled I almost screamed! (Probably would have if it hadn't been for my brother trying to catch some Zs.) So I wrote him back, telling him a bit about my stories as well as attaching my first completed one to the e-mail. I'm guessing he read it because the next morning -quite early, I might add- he wrote me again, and from there we just exchanged e-mails throughout the day. Giovanni (of Trestle) was extremely helpful and very patient with me. He answered all my questions and was upfront with me about what their company requires of their writers. Basically I have to maintain and grow various social media accounts, like Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads.... The contract (yeah, that's right, I said contract!) was thorough and fair, and personally, I think Giovanni definitely knows what he's talking about. Thank God! No, seriously. Give God thanks. He works wonders and I know He'll give me the strength and wisdom -and sanity- to be a writer. For He never gives us things we can't handle.
Look for more posts from me. It is required, after all. :-)


PS: Follow me on Twitter @graceyee_123 and comment or... I don't know, whatever it is you do on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Network Legwork

Just got myself a freaking Twitter account. And Goodreads... and Amazon Central. Sheesh! I knew there was a lot of social networking involved with being an author, I just didn't fathom the energy it took. Hats off to all my fellow writers who go that extra mile, tweet that extra tweet, and devoutly update their Facebook page every other day.
It's truly a wonder how the book business has changed, even in the past twenty-some years. I'll bet Michael Crichton never had to worry about social networking when Jurassic Park hit the bookshelves. And do you think Shakespeare was keeping the Master of Revels up to date with all his plays? Actually that's a bad example. (See: Shakespeare in Love, 1998, starring Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow.) Hahaha! But it kind of makes you wonder about all the work that goes on behind the behind the scenes. Maybe you would think, "Eh, they wrote the book, surely someone handles all that social media stuff. Right?" Nah. The authors have a share in the legwork. It kind of gives me a sense of pride, though, knowing that I'm working the whole time, not just slaving over a keyboard and then handing the finished product off to someone I've never met face-to-face. Perhaps it sounds crazy, and Heaven forbid, old-fashioned, but I don't think I mind the extra work involved there. That sense of accomplishment, surfing the web and visiting different networks like they're coffee shops, it lets me know I'm doing something. And once I hit "Enter", the proof is out there for the world to see. Writers don't just write their stories; even when the product is for sale, the job ain't near done.
Bring. It. On.


PS: Follow me on Twitter @graceyee_123

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"The Drowsy Chaperone"

A huge shout-out to my teacher Mary Ann, who performed beautifully in the hilarious comedy-musical, The Drowsy Chaperone! Mary Ann has been teaching me since I was five years old, and she is truly one of the most gifted performers I have ever known. Her specialties range from dancing a chorus to portraying Velma Kelly in "I Can't Do It Alone"; from being the witty neighbor whose only known name is "Witty Neighbor" to the underdog who steals the show with her voice, her humor, and her passion. I can't convey how much this amazing woman has influenced my life, but I am forever grateful that we have singers, dancers, and actors like these who sing, dance, and act because it is there love, their duty to do so.
Great job, Mary Ann!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Homeschooling Debunked

I LOVE this video! It is completely true and so funny!

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  1. Messy Mondays: Seven Lies about Homeschoolers
    8 months ago1,275,242 views
    by blimeycow

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Scent of Bliss

It feels so strange not to write, like I can't focus, or catch my breath. And every time I try, it gets harder and harder to readjust to the mindset of being somewhere else, with events spawned purely by imagination.
Yes, not being able to write is hard, but I feel like it was all worth it, all for a single moment of bliss.
I spent the day cleaning my room after having a heart-stopping encounter with a larger brown spider last night around 12:30 or so. While searching for an available notebook for my log-endeavor (see my last posting) something large skittered across the top of my notebooks under my desk. Now normally I can handle spiders. I'm actually fascinated by them, to a degree. But if their bodies are collectively large than my thumb, then it starts to wig me out. So I'm carefully clearing notebooks out from under my desk, a small one handy to deliver the final blow, and a few sheets of toilet paper to dispose of him with. Well, Arachno-Bob beat me to the punch, no pun intended. He scurried out, paused (during which time I nearly jumped out of my skin) and then, wham! Down came my book-axe upon the fearsome foe. Creepy? I didn't even drift off to sleep until, like, 1a.m. It kind of motivated me to clean my room, as I didn't want any more eight-legged (more or less) visitors. I finished a couple hours ago, after which time I tuned in with my family to watch a couple episodes of Kings. But as I got up to leave, I entered our kitchen, and I swear... I smelled Fall!
That thrill of sheer joy was enough to bring me out of my funk, and more importantly, inspired me to write, and even to blog! I love the smell of Fall, and winter is my favorite season. But there's just something so intriguing about autumn. It has a bitter chill complemented by warm-colored leaves, but there's still a nip of warm, enough to bring heat to your cheeks. I don't know why, but the only thing I can think of is apple cider.


Monday, September 3, 2012

My (Actually Significant) To-Do List

All right, all right, I know I keep talking about how I'm gonna focus all my energy on writing and blah, blah, blah. You know, it kind of sucks not being able to live up to your own expectations. But I think I might have an answer.
A log.
No, not a log as in something you would sit on while taking a walk through the forest, covered in moss. A log as in a notebook where you number so many days and the jot down things you know you have to get done on that day, like a to-do list, but more significant. It's something my siblings and I did for school, since we were homeschooled. We needed some kind of written proof to show how many days we worked, what we did, etc. It also helped motivate us to get all our work done, and I thought I might try it again. You never know.
In the meantime, I'm reading an amazing book, The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore. It's AMAZING!!! Maybe I'll write a review about it. Later. Now where can I dig up a partially-used composition notebook? Oh, yeah. Under my desk!


Friday, August 31, 2012


Well I feel stupid. Since my last posting I've written all of, like, five sentences for my inn scene. How sad is that? But I guess I can't just dive into it, so I'm trying view the scene as if it were a movie (which is how I usually do it anyway; now I'm just seeing the IMAX version). It kind of makes me wonder, though: is the scene so significant that I have to take a few days to think it through? Hmm...


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

To Deepen the Heart and Commit A Crime

So I'm writing a scene between one of my favorite characters and another guy. Thus far, the guy asked to look at a wound on the girl's ankle while she held a hunting knife firmly in her hand. She had stolen the knife and had been keeping it tied around her ankle, but she didn't have the sheath, so when she would sleep or walk, the knife would cut into her skin. Anyway, so this guy says the wounds are too "scabbed-over" to treat effectively with any kind of homeopathic medicine, so they're just kind of sitting there, enduring the silence. Then he complements her on her hunting skills, and she relates how she learned most of it on her own, but her father taught her certain things, like archery. It's a very touching/revealing scene because the character (the girl) is extremely reclusive, so the fact that she is talking to this person so freely without feeling conflicted or saddened is a huge step for her.
So that's that scene. But now I want to write this other one for the same story, just between three different characters, all of whom are crucial to the story itself. The first two, twin sister and brother, live with an innkeeper and his wife (very Les Miserables, don't you agree?). The brother is trying not to anger the innkeeper as the latter has a short temper. The former is sent to wait on a customer, who upon seeing him finds him very mysterious indeed. (Think of the scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring where Frodo glances over to the corner and sees Aragorn, cloaked with his face hidden in darkness, the embers in his pipe illuminating his eyes briefly as he waits.) What I'm getting at is the sister is blamed for a crime she didn't commit and she and her brother flee with this Aragorn-like traveler. What I'm stumped on is the crime. What should it be? The story is set practically in the Dark Ages, so stealing is too hum-drum. Murder?... Eh, maybe. Heresy! Ooh, possibly. Maybe witchcraft, but probably not. Ooh, ooh, ooh! She should be blamed for causing a plague or blight in the village and the brother and traveler rescue her at the last minute, making them immediate fugitives!
Ah! I must go. I must write!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Visually Striking

YES!!! I finished the second installment of one of my books, thus proving that it can be a series! I'm so happy I feel like I can fly! Now on to the third installment. I'm thinking of setting it in El Salvador. There's a little girl there who I think would make a wonderful protagonist. She's very sweet, probably about seven or eight, but she suffered from some kind of seizure when she was about a year old, and it caused her to go blind. I think, because the quasi-antagonist is visually striking, it would give a different spin to the whole thing. But I'm still kicking around ideas. Maybe I'll set it in Ireland. Yeah, that'd be pretty sweet. :-)


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Did I Do Today?

I will finish my next story today. I will. Even if it keeps me up all night, this is going to happen.
Wish me luck!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Things to Ponder

I've just gotten over a nasty and annoyingly uncomfortable stomach sickness, one of those kinds where no matter how you twist or bend you can't quite get comfortable. Anyway, some friends of ours came over the other night to have dinner, but Karen, who is a published author, was wanting to talk to me about my writing. It was a very long night but filled with great conversation -and a few tears on my part- and I was able to learn a lot, even in those few hours. Yet still these thoughts haunt me. What if nobody like my writing? What if I can't support myself? It terrifies me to chew on these thoughts, though I know I can't ignore them. They're like the IRS.
One question Karen asked me, one I had kind of expected, was who my audience was. Who am I writing for? I told her, as I tell pretty much everyone, that I am my audience. I write for me, things I would want to read. But then she hinted to something interesting, that so many books which are deemed "great books" were usually meant for a specific person. And honestly I can't recall ever turning to the first page and seeing something like, "I dedicate this book to myself, without whom it would never have been written. Thank you, Self." So as I write, I try to think, who is this for? Is it for my parents, my best friend, my niece, my brother? I don't know.
Another thing Karen suggested, which has helped with her books, is using personal experiences. Here is where the tears started and I won't say why, but for some reason I feel uncomfortable using my experiences. It's like broadcasting a page in a diary to the entire world, too personal. I wonder if it's something I have to get over. I can't see many experiences worth writing about, but maybe it is because I am too familiar with them. I've danced at the same studio since I was five and there have definitely been some crazy times there, but they seem to be the things only people at the studio would understand. We clap and groan when this particular person goes down the floor because her poise is so evident that it's impossible for her to look bad doing something. And another person, we say she has "magic taps" because her tap shoes make a nice, clean, crisp sound, not the dragging metal against wood most everyone else is used to. But these are things I've grown up with, things I'm accustomed to, the sounds and the people. How can I incorporate that so others will understand or see the irony?
Most of my immediate family is in or has been in the medical field, and trust me, you would not believe some of the stories they'll bring home. Still, these stories seem only funny to us because of how they relate to some other event or movie or quote we all recognize. I guess it's just something I have to pray about. Lord, help me get passed this... funk. Please guide me.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Something to Bless You

The Youth Group at my church recently got back from a missions' trip to El Salvador. For those of you who don't know, El Salvador is a small country in Central America. I went there with a different group in February, but this.... This is a brief slideshow, just a taste of what the Youth Group did down there, and it is by far one of the most amazing presentations I've ever seen.
In case the link doesn't work, please go to Youtube and check it out. Type "El Salvador 2012 Calvary Full Gospel Youth Group Mission.wmv" into the search engine.

Here is the video of our mission trip to El Salvador in the beginning of July. To view presentation select full screen.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


So here are my top five reasons why summer is not my favorite season:
1. The bees.
2. Dance season has ended, creating large gaps in my day.
3. The bees. I truly detest them.
4. Though I make resolutions for myself (like to exercise more) I can never keep them and it kind of gets on my nerves.
5. Despite doing a bunch of laundry and some grocery shopping, I don't like feeling like the surmount of my day depends on how well dinner turns out. (At least I got to do some writing tonight. :-) )

Here are my top five reasons why I DO like summer, because it's always easier to complain then compliment, and I'm really working on that:
1. The warmth, a usually welcome change from the monotonous cold or shifty spring season.
2. Because there's nothing quite like taking a walk in a good neighborhood at ten a.m. with a toddler, well, toddling along by your side.
3. You won't find such vivid colors in the frosty beauty of December.
4. Swimming!
5. Summer is one of those seasons that gives you time to reflect. Spreading out a picnic blanket on a grassy hill, laying down with your arms folded contentedly behind your head, staring up at the sky and just letting your mind drift. I think that's my favorite part, the drifting. What can come of our drifting from thought to thought but utter release and pleasure in that the Lord has granted us a season of beauty where we can admire His work, His incredible imagination? Huh. Have you ever thought about that? God has a great imagination! How else could He come up with... well, everything!

I guess there's more good to say about summer than bad. How refreshing.


Book Series

Question: Why are book series so popular? Is it the suspense you get when you reach the last page, the last word, and know you simply have to read the next installment? My friend Karen Vogel, an excellent writer, writes Amish Fiction, which seems to be in vogue, and all her stories save two books thus far are in installments, about thirty pages each or so. Believe me, they are worth the purchase, for she fills each page and paragraph with truths, lessons, and wit which we can all relate to in one way or another. I've never read Beverly Lewis or Suzanne Woods Fisher, but Karen ties in all these wonderful concepts and parallels them with classic literature, like Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Garden, and Mansfield Park, to name a few.
But back to the thing about series.... I have nothing against them, I'm just curious to see what people say. Is it the writers? I wonder if it is easier to write in segments because then you can focus on certain things and hone your story's focus with each tidbit. Consequently, I think that tactic also makes the series longer if they're, say, condensed into a single volume, but I don't mind lengthy books. In fact I prefer them. Still haven't tackled either volume of Les Miserables but I'm gearing up to it. The musical is wonderful.
What do you think? Are you as a reader or writer attracted to series? Why or why not?


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Deflated. Uplifted.

Apparently no news is good news. Who came up with that anyway? What if you won $10,000? I would consider that pretty freaking good news.
This phrase somehow fits into my little story here. Bottom line: I'm not self-publishing with Trafford. It was kind of a blow to me personally, mostly because I had been so blinded by the aspect of getting published at all that I didn't even want to consider the angle of this company. Why, oh, why must we be satisfied with the shiny website and press releases? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I didn't invest a huge chunk of money into a company that would call me fifty times a week offering promotions but with no real results. Still. Patience is a virtue.
The good news is (Aha! Here is where that phrase fit in!) I'm not finished yet. Oh, no. Not even close. Where disappointment and heartbreak dwell, a light, though small at first, will wink out of the darkness and grow to a pulsing glow, light a heartbeat. I know God is with me, helping me, guiding me. All I pray for is His wisdom. May He lift me up when I am low, and feed me encouragements when it feels like the world is spiraling into an endless abyss.


Saturday, July 28, 2012


God has given me the opportunity to get my work out there! This is like one of those dreams where it's so vivid in your head, but when you wake up it vanishes entirely. The only difference is I'm waiting for this to vanish like a rainbow.
I was researching publishing companies in my local area, and this website came up claiming they find a publisher that conforms to the writer based on your answers to a few questions. So I fill out this little grid-in questionnaire, and it sent my information to Trafford Publishing, a name I had never heard before. As I browsed the site, though, I quickly discovered it was a self-publishing company. Not what I wanted at all. But it was too late, they had already gotten my information. But then I began to think, "Hey, this is a big step in a possibly-good direction." Maybe they would call me back in a few weeks.
A few hours later I get a voicemail (my phone's vibration setting is so soft I can't really hear it or feel it), and when I listen to it, a woman named Lou Fuentes from Trafford Publishing says she was very pleased to hear of my interest in Trafford and would like to talk more with me about my book. I was so shocked and excited I almost screamed! I'm getting published!!! was my only thought. I immediately called my dad and told him about it, greeting him with a casual "Omigoshomigoshomigoshomigoshomigosh!" After his own research of the company, he encouraged me to go forward with it.
Ms. Fuentes contacted me yesterday and I told her the gist of my short story (synopsis over the phone). She sounded very interested and we talked a lot about publishing on ebook. They are doing all the marketing, I am supplying a certain amount of money. And the nice thing about this company is that I am not bound to stay with them if some other publishing company sees my story and would like to sell it through them. I maintain complete control of all copyrights, and I will hopefully be working with a team of experts to help me with distribution, cover art, and a bunch of other things I can't seem to think of.
God is so good!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Movies. The Books.

Don't you just love watching those movies you grew up with? I just watched the 1953 version of Disney's Peter Pan with my niece, and it was funny how I recalled sitting in front of the TV in my nightgown, totally and completely engrossed in the movie. I'm glad my girl got to watch it. I thought it would maybe stimulate the imagination in her that hopefully never goes away. Because really, who didn't wish they could fly when they were a kid? I hope movies like these, the ones that shaped my childhood and made me dream in color, never go out of style.
Last night I watched The Phantom of the Opera with my mom and dad. Yeah, there's a reason it's one of the most fantastic musicals ever! When he hits that last note in Music of the Night, doesn't it just make you hold your breath? But I think if I had the chance to play any of the characters, it would be Carlotta. She's just hilarious and dramatic. Those always seem like the funniest characters to play.
Have you ever had someone ask if you've read the book of a recent movie adaption? Which do you prefer, reading the book before seeing the movie, or, well, the other way around? I know some parents want their kids to read the books first, books like The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It's a kind of strategy, I suppose, to get them off the computer, but it also seems like an opportunity to dive into a completely different world.... Like Kansas! Paradise, Ohio. Tucson, Smicksburg, Rosewood, San Diego. Middle-Earth, Palancar Valley, Persephone, Sharon (the latter is a place of my own creation ;-) ). Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, France.
That's one thing I want to do with my stories. I don't just want to take the reader on an adventure; I want to take them on a journey.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Notes from Today

I would like to recap a few things my Pastor touched on before his sermon. The first thing on my notes is "We can't stay where we are," and he meant that spiritually. If we're walking with God, we should strive to always be moving forward in our faith, to not be stuck in our routine like Moses. We can't stay where we are, as in don't be content to stay where you are, be ready to move with God, wherever He may lead you.
On that note, and I really loved this, was "Don't be satisfied with bearing fruit, but bear more fruit. Don't be satisfied with bearing more fruit, bear much fruit." How that stood out to me!
And finally, my pastor was talking about how he looks forward to coming into work everyday, and he looks forward and even prays, "Lord, I hope there's a challenge for me today!" He even gets excited and prays that there's some problem he needs to deal with (which there sometimes is) or some person who's mad at him (which is also the case at times). But the one thing he said was that "we are on a great adventure!" And you know... he's right. And we should be treating our lives as an adventure. But remember, what makes life exciting is not the positive things, but often the bad/negative things. Yay, you found a good deal at Walmart. Sweet, that person let you into their lane. But your car broke down? Oh my gosh! You can't find the thumb drive with your entire powerpoint presentation on it? Aaahhh!!!
See what I mean? I liked this part of his pre-message. One reference he made was to Indiana Jones. Once we finish one adventure, we should be thirsty for the next one.
I've been dying to write this all day, so I hope you all enjoyed it. :-)


Thursday, July 19, 2012


I'm having a thought here.... Just to pass these tedious days of summer, I'm thinking of starting an online fiction/fantasy miniseries. What would it be about? I have no idea. As I said, it was just a thought. One thing I am worried about, though, is someone stealing it, and I really don't wanna have to go through all those "copyright" formalities. Hmmm. This I will have to ponder, and if all goes well... I guess some formalities are necessary. Thoughts? What would make a good miniseries? Just give me a few names, words, or plotlines and I'll see what I can do.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

"The Amazing Spider-Man"

So does The Amazing Spider-Man live up to the hype? Yes, it most certainly does. I saw the movie with my parents, having no idea that my dad was an apparent Spider-Man-junkie. I loved this new story, with characters I had only heard about, like The Lizard. Mr. Andrew Garfield did a fantastic job in capturing the haunted nature of Peter Parker after the death of his uncle. (Crap! I didn't mean to spoil that!) He actually reminded me a lot of my one brother. Him and this Peter Parker shared a lot of similarities, both physical and otherwise. Brooding, hoodies, kind of a recluse. Honestly it was refreshing. Peter was a wonderfully fleshed-out character, and Emma Stone portrayed Gwen Stacy beautifully. The family dynamics were intriguing to watch, as well as the relationship between Peter and Gwen. I also loved all the effects. To my surprise, it didn't at all distract me from the plot, take center-stage, but in fact added to the fascinating, scientific world which Peter has thrown himself into. Though I hardly see a movie which I don't end up liking for one reason or another, I would most certainly suggest this one to fans of the series, as well as those who fell in love with the first three movies. That, and I simply refuse to reveal any spoilers or other such details, so get off your computer and head to the theater!


Thursday, July 5, 2012


My mom and I were able to take my dad to see the Disney/Pixar movie Brave the other day. It was my second time seeing it, and I must say I'm liking it more and more. Firstly, hats off to the entire animation team. They did a wonderful job making an animated movie seem very real. As I understand it, Merida's hair was no small task, and I've actually found myself wishing I had her wild red locks. Anyway, this movie was amazing for so many reasons, besides the aforementioned animation. But I particularly like how they made it not a love story (like in Tangled though I like that one, too) but focused on the mother/daughter relationship between the elegant queen and headstrong princess. I don't want to give too much away, but I would recommend this movie to anyone, especially those of Scottish ancestry. The music is phenomenal, the characters beautifully sketched, and the scenery and landscaping are beyond captivating.
So in short, go screen this movie and see where it takes you.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Jirka's Blog"

One of my favorite sites to visit when I'm looking for inspiration or just a new spin on things is "Jirka's Blog" at . (And by the by, it's pronounced Yirka, not Jerk-a.) He's an incredibly talented photographer who has done some amazing depictions of what Disney princesses would look like in real life. I have to say, they are very impressive! He has an amazing eye for light and effects and I hope to see more, particularly in the Disney department. I'm kind of a sucker for Disney. :-)


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

To the Late Nights

(Photo courtesy of "Greatist" )

If being a writer means putting in the hours, than I definitely want the night shift. For some curious reason, I am in my best creative mind at, like, ten p.m. Why is this? Don't ask me, but I do like working in the night time, yet cringe at the thought of taking night classes at the college. No disrespect to colleges or those with the stamina for that kind of thing after dinner, but I kind of prefer to get all of my schoolwork out of the way ASAP.
But I'm getting off topic again. Where was I? Ah, yes. I like the idea of writing at two in the morning. The whole concept sounds appealing to me, rebellious somehow. Take last night for example. I was out with my parents, sitting in on a martial arts class. I try to always have a notebook and pen with me, at the very least. Last night, however, was one of the rare exceptions where I got to bring a multitude of writing materials (three notebooks on three different stories, a drawing tutorial, erasers, two working pens). Honestly I didn't think I would be able to write anything because my mind had been pretty dry over the weekend. So I'm sitting at the table listening to Tai Chi music, when I bring out my notebook, close my eyes and think, "Okay, what scenes can I write at this very moment?" Remember the other day when I was talking about being frustrated with bringing out one of my villain's "evilness"? Well, I kind of built up to that, creating a scene in which my main character and her sister-in-law (yes, they are both women) are heading back home, when EvilChica recalls a rather tragic story of her best friend. I really like how it turned out, though I still have yet to put curser to digital paper. Hoping to do that tonight. In the meantime, I've created a document where I jot down all the witty quotes and character epiphanies. I'm having fun thumbing through my various notebooks rereading the snippets of dialogue and whatnot I wrote in teeny-tiny handwriting. Anyway, hopefully I'll stumble upon some glorious detail that will open the doors for some serious late-night writing.
Here's to that.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

One of My Stories

So I was just working on a scene for a story that I'm writing. It's coming along okay, but one of the things I could really do without is my so-called "writing process." I'll get an idea for a story, jot down some notes, think up a few names, and then start typing. Then after, like, one chapter, I get an idea for the sequel! I have one particular situation where I know what's gonna happen in the sequel to a story I haven't even written yet! Sound annoying? It is, but at least it keeps the juices flowing, you know?
Anyway, about this story, my protagonist has a pretty dark, tragic past (don't they all?), but I'm having a little trouble developing the enemy's exact character. I know I want them to be the enemy, I know they are despicable, cunning, and would make fellow-Thespians proud. But for this particular instance, I'm not sure how to show that evilness, the traitor beneath that delicate fa├žade. Grrr. I want this to work --it has to work. They are in a market and the enemy has just purchased something apparently innocent, but when confronted about it they give a very weak defense. That's the gist of the scene, now I need the details. The enemy must have some kind of tell, however small it may be. And the protagonist must see this cruel fabrication. She must!

Ideas anyone?


Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Journey Has Begun

To the wandering eye, my family and friends, and those who Google at 2 a.m., welcome. I invite you to join me as I sail away with dastardly pirates, reclaim the throne of an unknown country, or simply claim sanctuary beneath a shady tree, notebook and pen at the ready. My name is Grace, and what is to follow is the inspiration, information, and hopefully publication of tales which have long since captivated me from the chilled, dewy morning to the darkest hours of the night. I look forward to sharing with you. The journey has begun.