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#5 - Wednesday, March 7, 2018
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HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Happy 2018, friends!

It has been a busy, busy time. As you all know, I was traveling nonstop last fall for FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS and did not have time to work on Book 2, so from Thanksgiving up until now, I have been making up for it. I've gone through an additional three rounds of major edits with my editor, and now I am waiting to do copyedits, so KINGDOM OF THE BLAZING PHOENIX is almost done!

Everything you hear about the sophomore slump is true. It is not an easy thing to write a second book, not with the pressure of living up to your first book hanging over your head. All you can do is write the best book you can and know you can never make everyone happy. There's that saying: "You could be the sweetest peach in the world, and somewhere out there will be someone who hates peaches." But if you know you tried your hardest, then you've done what you could!

All this is to say: I have been so busy with revisions that I completely forgot I had a newsletter until this week. I was shocked to realize I hadn't sent one out since the giant 2017 round-up back in December! So here it is, my very first newsletter of 2018.

It is shaping up to be a busy and happy year so far! I'm not going to lie: I am relieved that the intensity and craziness of debut year is over, and now I plan to thoroughly enjoy everything coming my way. I hope to work hard, write more books, travel, share wonderful news with you all, and pass on my good fortune to new writers any way I can.

The word I chose for 2018 is RISE, and I'm going to live up to that word to the best of my ability!
A Few Quick Updates
BOOK 2 NEWS

Both the title and the release date for Book 2 have been announced!

The second half of the Rise of the Empress duology and companion novel to FOTL will be called: KINGDOM OF THE BLAZING PHOENIX and it will be coming out on October 23, 2018!

You can currently preorder the book on Barnes or Noble or Amazon. You can also add it on Goodreads, which has the full synopsis.

As you can tell from the description, it is going to be a very different book from FOTL. I think of it as a companion novel, not as a sequel, because you can read either story as a standalone, but reading both will give you a fuller experience of the scope of the duology. Even when this series was still just a twinkle in my eye, I saw it as two halves of a whole: good and "evil," Jade and Xifeng, balancing each other out.

The book will be published in Spanish by Roca Joven in 2019.

I hope we will be able to share the cover with you soon!

 
TRAVEL PLANS AND APPEARANCES

I will be traveling again starting in April:
  • April 2, 2018: To Be Announced (keep an eye on Twitter and Instagram! I'm excited!)
  • April 7, 2018: I will be in conversation at Wellesley Books at 7:00pm with Emily X. R. Pan, author of THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER (which debuts March 20!)
  • May 5, 2018: I am going to YALLWEST in Santa Monica, CA! The author lineup was announced this week and it is unbelievable. I can't wait!
  • May 18-20, 2018: I am teaching at the Highlights Foundation with Anna-Marie McLemore, brilliant author of gorgeous books including WILD BEAUTY. You can register for our workshop on fairy tale retellings here.
  • June 5, 2018: To Be Announced (I'll be in conversation with two fabulous authors; keep an eye out for the announcement!)

I've gotten lots of questions about whether I will be at Book Expo and Book Con again this year, but I don't have any information on that or on my fall schedule. I promise to share updates if/when they come!

 
BOOKS BLURBED

Before I became an author, I didn't even know what a blurb was. I knew I liked picking up a new book and seeing a quote of praise from another author on it, but I didn't know what it was called! Fast forward to 2017, when I got my first request to blurb a book. I was thrilled, because helping out other authors is my absolute favorite thing, but also: "Are you sure you want ME to blurb her?" The imposter syndrome . . . it never ends!

Anyway, these are the three wonderful books I have blurbed so far. Please check out my Books Blurbed page on my website for more information, or click on their covers below to be taken to buy links!


          


 
AND A RANDOM DOSE OF JOY...

And also, just because it makes me happy, here is a photo of something amazing that happened in January:
 

 
Never in a million years, while sending out queries, crying over rejections, and shelving manuscripts I loved, did I ever imagine that someone like the great Viola Davis - a creative pioneer and a staunch advocate for women of color - would one day read a work of mine, let alone know I exist. I have had so many monumental pinch-me moments over the past two years, and this was one of them!

If you are struggling right now, no matter what stage of the process you are at, I hope you know that amazing and unimaginable things await you. Don't give up. Keep writing, keep dreaming big. ❤️
Tips On Traveling As An Author!

 
The view of California as we flew to San Francisco!


Last fall was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I got to travel the country with two authors who have become dear friends and see cities that have only ever been on my bucket list. That being said, the schedule was quite rigorous! We were on a plane every single day, and one week I was on eleven different flights (yes, I counted).

I am lucky to be a hearty traveler and I don't get airsick, but flying so much takes a toll on your health and well-being. Here are a few tips I put together to hopefully help make traveling more fun and smooth, especially if you are going for book-related purposes:
 
  1. Pack lightly. It will make your life much easier if you bring pieces you can mix and match and wear multiple times. Bring a simple black dress you can wear with different jewelry or a pair of pants you can combine with 2-3 different tops. Cardigans and blazers also go a long way toward changing up outfits.
  2. Try not to check bags. It's nice to be able to grab your carry-on and go, rather than waiting at baggage claim for the procession of suitcases. You also know you have everything you need with you.
  3. But if you do check bags, prepare for the worst. Sometimes it makes sense to check a bag. If you do, pack emergency items in your carry-on: medication, toiletries, a full change of clothes, and pajamas. That way, if your checked luggage gets lost, you'll be okay for the next day or two.
  4. Print two itineraries. Make sure they have your travel dates and contact information. Keep one with you, and put the other in your suitcase or carry-on. If you and your stuff get separated, the airline will be able to see where you are and contact you promptly. This is helpful if you have a tour schedule that puts you in a different city every day.
  5. Sign up for TSA pre-check. It is $80 for five years, which is not cheap, but definitely worthwhile if you can afford it and are flying through huge, busy airports like LAX or O'Hare. You will be able to enter an expedited security line at the airport.
  6. Bring Dramamine or ginger candy. As I said, I don't often get sick while traveling, but I always take insurance Dramamine. I get the non-drowsy kind because I hate sleeping on airplanes! I also had some Korean ginger candy from H-Mart, which is so delicious and helps settle your stomach. I shared much of it with my tour buddies. It never hurts to be prepared!
  7. Buy an external charger. These are good to have anyway, but if you're spending the day at a place like the Javits Center for Book Expo or you're going directly to your event when your plane lands, you can keep your phone alive right in your pocket or bag. I have this one and I love it.
  8. Carry a Sharpie, a pen, and a notebook. The Sharpie is for whenever you need to sign, and the pen and notebook are just handy to have! I used mine to jot down the names of booksellers I met, because I'm big on sending thank-you notes. You can also use a notebook as a travel diary!
  9. Bring snacks with you. I was starving at the airport one day, and let me tell you, a $20 bag of trail mix doesn't taste better than a $2 one. Pack a chocolate bar, granola bar, nuts, etc. when you leave home, and try to find a convenience store or grocery store in the city you're staying in and stockpile for the next few days. It's so much cheaper. And carry an empty water bottle to fill once you've gotten through security.
  10. Sleep well! I am a picky sleeper: I need my room to be totally quiet, dark, cool, and comfortable. While you can control some elements, you can't do much about noise or crappy curtains. I always travel with foam earplugs and a sleep mask. I remember my hotel room in Tennessee overlooked a honky-tonk bar that played Dolly Parton loudly all night long - fun if you're sightseeing, but not so great if you have to get up early the next day for an event! And sleep is the #1 most important thing when you're subjecting your body to the stress of travel.
 
I hope these tips help you! And if you are an introvert like I am, I wrote a post on Pub(lishing) Crawl a while back about how to keep yourself calm at busy conferences and events.
 
Where To Buy My Books

FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS is available wherever books are sold, in person and online! You can purchase signed and/or personalized copies through Phoenix Books or order through the following retailers:
 

KINGDOM OF THE BLAZING PHOENIX is also up for preorder at the following retailers! I plan to include many more retailers once the book appears on their websites.
 


A quick reminder that if you live outside of the U.S., Book Depository will ship almost anywhere in the world for free!

And thank you, thank you, thank you as always if you choose to support my work. I am so very grateful for your generosity! ❤️
Copyright © 2018 Julie C. Dao, All rights reserved.


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