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The Slovakian editions of my two picture books Prince Bear & Pauper Bear and The Tale of Rusty Horse have just been printed!

I am eagerly looking forward to collecting my advance copies from my publisher who will be in Singapore as a speaker at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2017 next week.

 

Petra's daughter

My publisher’s daughter holding the advance copies of my books

 

I met Petra Nagyová Džerengová at AFCC a few years back when she attended a panel session that I spoke on. She had come as an invited guest. When she told me that she was the Deputy Mayor of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, I asked if she thought my books would be suitable in Slovakia. She said yes.

I did not know then that Petra (on top of being Deputy Mayor, bestselling author and proud mum of 4 kids) is also Managing Director of leading Slovakian publisher Verbarium.

Thanks to Petra, my books now have a voice in Slovakia! This is the 4th language that my Toy Titles have been published in.

(My books are now also available online at Verbarium’s website.)

 

Caleb and I recently followed Ben on his 16-day work trip to Switzerland and USA.

It was an important family trip for us after 10 months of being in and out of doctors’ clinics and multiple scans following my surgery last June where I had one breast removed and reconstructive surgery following a breast cancer diagnosis. I thank God that I am well and was ready for my big trip.

As Ben’s work locations were in two rather un-touristy towns, I packed several small travel toys and activities for some afternoons where I might just want to veg out in the hotel room when Ben was at work.

I wrote out a travel checklist to remind myself of various things to pack into our luggage.

Caleb, who loves to be involved in everything, saw my list and decided to start his own travel checklist.

He followed me around the house, asking me how to spell words that he added to his list.

When he reached item #24 on his list, he told me, “Remember to bring Joy.”

“Bring what?” I asked as I busied with packing his clothes and toys.

“Being Joy…you know Joy? Joy in your heart,” he said.

I paused from my busy bee state and looked up. “Wow…,” I said. “Okay, we will bring Joy.”

Caleb travel list

“And don’t forget me,” Caleb said as he added his own name to his packing list. “We’ll also bring God and Jesus,” he said, adding two more names to his list.

And so we did.

We had a free and easy, chilled out vacation.

Caleb St Galen

Caleb and I spent a morning playing in a patch of residual snow outside our hotel.

An afternoon in the bookstore when it was too chilly to be outdoors.

Caleb snow.png

And other simple pleasures.

And we were filled with joy in our hearts.

Caleb&Em.png

When I wrote Prince Bear & Pauper Bear 10 years ago, I borrowed nieces, godchildren and friends’ kids to do book readings with me. I never imagined the day when I would be on stage with my own son doing a book reading together.

That day came yesterday when Caleb and I did a mother-son book reading together at the start of the ARISE! concert yesterday.

It was a special moment for me to see my 6-year-old read Prince Bear & Pauper Bear confidently, and then join the rest of the children’s choir in singing, shouting and praising God with songs and worship.

Book reading1

Photo credit: Ong Puay See

book reading2

Photo credit: Arlene Alegra-Wood

Caleb Elijah Elise.png

Caleb singing “Revelation” together with his cousins and Music Director/Composer Amy Tan

 Related link:

http://singapore.kidsarise.com/

This morning, I had the pleasure of catching Prince Bear & Pauper Bear‘s interactive storytelling show, which is running from now till next Thursday.  

I am thankful for valuable partnerships like The Learning Connection who has been supportive of my books and local writing.

Storybox theatre

Prince Bear & Pauper Bear is special because it is my first book and what started me on my writing path. Once upon a time, a local publisher told me that I would be lucky if I could even sell 1,000 copies of my picture book. This is unfortunately the reality of the market.

I thank God for His favour that today, Prince Bear & Pauper Bear has sold close to 15,000 copies and has been published in 4 languages. 

Writing is a solitary journey. The encouragement of readers is what helps me to plough on!

Related link:

Prince Bear & Pauper Bear take the stage with Storybox this April!

Yesterday, I ran my Writer-in-the-Gardens Workshop at Gardens By the Bay. It was also the last day of the month long Children’s Festival there so Gardens was thronging with crowds.

But in Canonball Room, a roomful of children were getting a short primer on writing and drawing magical and memorable characters.

MelanietalkGuest author Melanie Lee shared with the children about how she started on her journey of writing her Squirky the Alien series and introduced some of her books’ characters.

I led the children through a creative exercise of looking at selected plants and flowers through a story lens and write or sketch characters inspired by nature.

writingworksheet2

 

Illustrator Patrick Yee took the children through an accompanying craft where they went from words to illustration.

Patrick Yee workshop

I hope the children took away sparks of ideas and inspiration to create their own stories.

Patrick&Melanie

Related posts:

FREE Writer-in-the-Gardens-Workshop – Creating Memorable Characters

FREE Writer-in-the-Gardens Workshop is a Magical Walk in the Park

 

My 2nd (and last) Writer-in-the-Gardens Workshop is now open for registration!

This time, I will take a group of children (and parents) on a walk to selected spots in Gardens by the Bay where we will explore story settings and imagine magical characters. Award-winning illustrator Patrick Yee will also take children through an accompanying craft.

See details on registration for this free workshop – places are limited! Link for registration:  http://bit.ly/WriterintheGardens

EDM Workshop 2

Today is Thank God for Family, Friends and Favour Friday!

I disappeared from social media for the entire January and most of February since this year started. It was partly because my eyesight got blurry from staring at my phone too much the past few months….and I now own a pair of reading glasses ie. I’ve joined the Lau Hua Yan club.  And partly that I have resumed my routine of ferrying my 6-year old to Kindergarten and started writing too. 

I began the year with my writing residency at Gardens by the Bay, where I have taken several walks to plot my new manuscript. I’m also doing some writing and publishing work for 2 repeat clients.

In between all that, we celebrated Caleb’s 6th birthday, followed by Chinese New Year where I caught up with friends on top of the family visits.

But when someone emailed to ask if she needed to subscribe to my blog again to receive blogposts, I noted that I should update on where I am at.

I have ongoing 3-weekly antibodies injections (Herceptin and Pertuzameb) till July, which will be the end of this 1 year treatment. I am also on a 3-monthly Lucrin injection to take me to early menopause. And I am on daily Tamoxifen tablets.

I believe I am healed and well. So, to me, these are extra vitamins and supplements to strengthen my body.

It’s 3 months since my final chemotherapy cycle. I’ve grown from Sinead O Connor’s botak head to Annie Lennox’s super short cut. In another 3 months, I should get to Demi Moore’s Ghost hairstyle.

Annie Lennox phase.png

My Annie Lennox phase – having my antibodies infusion yesterday

Until then, I’ll switch my assemble of K-pop wig, surgeon scrub caps, newsboy caps or commando like when I went for my medical appointment yesterday.

I thank God for family, friends and His seeing me through a rough 2016 and for His continued favour in this new year!

Psalms 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.