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92: The story behind this book

VIEWS: The story behind this book

Marco Polo, The TravelsWhy on earth did I choose to write a story set in 13th century China, during the Mongol Empire? I can't tell you how many times I've seen puzzlement in people's eyes when they ask me this question. Frankly, half my friends thought 'Marco Polo' was just a swimming pool game, till I started drowning them with stories about the real Marco Polo, the young man who traveled to China with his father.

For me, this book started when my husband said, "Why don't you write a book about Marco Polo?" At first, I didn't like the idea. After all, Marco became famous because he wrote his own book about his travels. People have been reading it for 700 years.

Then, I read Marco's book. He tells some fascinating tales and describes places then unknown in Europe. He liked China so much he stayed there, from the age of 21 to 38.  But he never mentioned a girlfriend. Seriously, do you think he didn't have one? Since he never told us about a woman he loved,

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Online reviews of Daughter of Xanadu

Heather of Michigan, prolific reader and blog reviewer, has become the first person to review Daughter of Xanadu. Here is the link to Heather's review. ("This book was fantastic.")

And the second-ever: Rebecca Herman's review.  ("a fascinating historical novel.")

And a third from Lydia on goodreads. ("flipping pages with excitement")

ARC cover

How did these readers get a chance to review Daughter of Xanadu before publication? It started with Holly.  She has a book-review blog called Good Golly Miss Holly Books, and she wrote to me and asked if she could start an ARC tour.  I admit, I had to learn what an ARC tour was.

ARC stands for Advance Reader's Copy; the publisher prints up a limited number of ARCs for each book, before publication, to send out to reviewers.  As the author, I was given only three ARCs of Daughter of Xanadu, and one I had to read and mark up as the final step in the editing process. Several online reviewers contacted me as soon as Random House put up the book description on its website; I was amazed and impressed at how eager and pro-active they were, but I was reluctant to let go of one of my three precious copies.

When Holly contacted me, though, she promised that, if I sent out one ARC, TEN online reviewers would read and review it.  The ARC would travel around the country, around the world, to eager online reviewers. So I sent one of my three copies off on an around-the-world ARC tour, with my hands shaking in the hope that the reviews would be positive!  So far, so good.

If you write online reviews and want to get on an ARC tour, let me know!

- October 5, 2010 -

Elliott Bay Books reading on Jan. 16

In Seattle, theElliott Bay iconre is no more prestigious place for an author to appear than Elliott Bay Books. I've attended many readings there and celebrated newly published books with other authors. I've been the envious one in the audience, listening to the author's voice and wishing - wishing so hard! - that I could be behind that lectern doing that some day.

So you can imagine how thrilled I am to announce: I will be speaking about Daughter of Xanadu at Elliott Bay Books on Sunday, January 16th, at 2 p.m.

I love getting lost among

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Khubilai Khan exhibit at the Met

Chabi 2

News: Khubilai Khan takes New York by a storm!

Well, in a way. A new exhibit just opened at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art called "The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty." And I thought I was the only one obsessed with the Mongols!

Now hundreds - maybe thousands - of people are visiting the Met to see this special art exhibition and attend a dizzying array of lectures, gallery talks, concerts, symposia, and film showings.

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99: Book launch party at Parkplace Books Jan. 15

NEWS: Book Launch Party, Saturday, January 15, 2011

Parkplace Books in Kirkland, WA, has generously offered to host a book launch party for Daughter of Xanadu on the first Saturday after publication, at 6:30 p.m. We'll serve wine and food, and everyone who is interested in the book is welcome! Fun is had by all, promises Mary Harris, bookseller extraordinaire and co-owner of ParkPlace Books.

I have a soft spot in my heart for independent bookstore owners, since my dad was one, back in Ohio.

I am planning a few other bookstore events in the Seattle area as well. Hope to get lots of friends and supporters at each one.

Parkplace Books is also hosting an evening event on Oct. 27th called "Inside Story." Sponsored by SCBWI Western Washington, it will feature 22 local authors, including me.  Each of us will have a few minutes to talk about our new books. It starts at 6:30 p.m. SCBWI is wonderful about supporting and encouraging local writers and illustrators. So is Mary Harris!

Parkplace Books, Kirkland's Community Bookstore, is not far from 405, at exit 18, 85th St. Here are the details:
348 Parkplace Center
Kirkland, WA 98033
Phone:  425-828-6546
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

- October 4, 2010 -

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