Friday, December 31, 2010

2010--Tiger On the Loose--2011


I am consumed with another book idea. This year, 2010, Year of the Tiger has been prosperous and exciting. The launch of Guam Books and Beads with my partner in literary goals, Alison has been a dream realized. But, with all successes, comes maintenance. There have been things I’ve neglected and things I’ve forgotten. A balance needs to be achieved, but right now I’m raging with scenes and ideas for another novel idea. My first novel, which some close friends have read, needs fixing. My characters, Thomas and Phoenix will someday see the light of day. I have an agent waiting for my revised draft. It’s been a year and I have had my focus elsewhere. But, this new idea which I have only shared with my husband is consuming me, this last day of 2010.

So, in a mad rush to get my ideas and these characters fleshed out, I will type like a beast today, especially since my darling children are napping. Starting out 2011 with a bang! I will probably be at my computer typing out scenes, the scenes of this new novel that can’t be contained as the New Year is rolling in.

I wish my family and friends love and success and happiness in 2011. Si Yu’os Ma’ase for your support with my current publications and send me good vibes with my never ending dream to become published, traditionally. One day, my novel will be on bookshelves for general consumption. One day, that novel will be adapted into a movie. And, one day you’ll see me walking the red carpet with the A-list actors portraying my beloved characters. Be kind to me, for you may be given a part as an extra in my movie.

A Chamorro/Korean chick can dream, right? GUAM rules!

Esta later!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blog You...the Good, the Bad, the Hypercritical


Critics hold a mirror to you because they’re too weak to look into their own reflection (or they’re vampires).

I believe this quote, a la moi, and feel it. I have much to be happy about and criticisms of my books, my life, the mode in which I display my pride in my Chamorro heritage—anything I do from those on the outside will remain outside. Before you step into my house, take off your shoes. Then, I might lend an ear to your words.

Flinging opinions to the wind, in hopes that the target will somehow receive it is a cowardly way to give yourself a voice. Face to face, intellect to intellect…let’s do this. If not, then hold your tongue or find a way to do it yourself. By the way, just because I don’t speak Chamorro, it doesn’t minimize my Chamorro-ness…I had enough of that growing up and I won’t be bullied now.

I’m a concrete house, I’m mighty, mighty….

I had a wonderful, academic and cultural-filled weekend. The UCLA visit was awesome and the support from the Pacific Islander community was uplifting. Keith Camacho, Liz DeLoughrey, Craig Santos Perez and our guides, Alfred and Pua made our visit to UCLA and our panel discussion memorable. So, Si Yu’os Ma’ase! Twelve hours in high heels was worth the experience.

The Jacobs Market Creek Plaza’s 5th Annual Arts and Cultural Fest was our first vendor experience and we learned much and made great contacts. We were pleased by each and every visitor and proud to be a part of our community’s effort to celebrate each culture’s beauty.

Family and friends, Ninja Nari and Kamille (aka Kim Kardashian), Lee, Hank, Z and B, my kidlets, Barb, GW Geckos '92--Penny and Amy, helped make Guam Books and Beads’ first appearance a successful one.

Thank you for your support, until our next event! Read a book why don’t you!
Esta Later!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Attitude 13


Book Details

Attitude 13: A Daughter of Guam's Collection of Short Stories, now available from Authorhouse.com $13.00

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I'm a Dandy Lion, hear me ROAR!



"Reading makes a full (man), conference a ready (man), and writing an exact (man)." --Sir Francis Bacon


I’m listless when I’m not writing.

My son asks the same question before walking to his class--after we do our ritual of high-fives and I love you’s and blown kisses. “What are you going to do at home when I’m at school?”

My standard response is “cook, clean and WRITE!”

With the first in my Guam legend series tackled and my short story collection completed, I’m grabbing at words, jotting down phrases that inspire me. A brief meeting with a stranger can spark a storyline in my head. Remembering an old friend in high school, gets me thinking of their point-of-view.

My next legend collaboration with my artist brother is Fu’una and Puntan. Maybe blasting this in cyberspace will add to the urgency. “Git ‘er done!” As Mater would say. So, February 2011 people. That’s my self-imposed deadline.

With no real looming deadline and focus on the promotion of my books and the Guam Books and Beads mission, I’m like a floating dandelion spore.

I let loose a few weeks ago with a night of dancing with the husband at a military ball. Blisters the next day didn’t take away from the fun of that night. I also went to a rock concert, alone. My way of feeling alive--the stylings of Muse roaring in my ear. Ringing ears and aching heels from standing in my rocker chick leather boots for two hours didn’t take away from the joy of that night. Stone Temple Pilots rolls into town in a few weeks, maybe I’ll need another session. Free tickets from the military for a Padres vs. Chicago Cubs game wasn't so bad as a de-stresser either.

I keep several journals handy when I have to wait in the car for my son, my daughter napping. I’ve parked at his school almost an hour early, for prime parking. I’m not the only parent crazy enough to do this by the way. So, that’s my writing time. Poetry lately. Focusing on a few new projects, with deadlines closer to Thanksgiving.

I’m due for a blog session since September zinged by. So, with laptop open or journal and pen in hand…I’ll be writing. Juggling many hats keeps my engine primed. So, if you ever see me in my swagger wagon, jotting away or bobbing my head to some Muse, Kings of Leon or Beastie Boys, I’m working. My office is anywhere I can put my lines to paper. Like the beautiful, wistful dandelion spores, I hope I can land some prime lines, some inspiring phrases, and unique takes on life.

Happy birthday to my dad. He would have been 59 on October 21st.

www.GuamBooksAndBeads.com ROCKS!

ESTA LATER!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I ♥ Alison Rae!


Fasten your seatbelts, this literary train is chugging along with or without you.

The ball is rolling and now I just need to keep up with the momentum. I’ve always worked better with looming deadlines and pressure. I’m feeling it again now with the promotion of my children’s book and short story collection. This book writing project has a life of its own and Alison and I are super passionate about perfecting and maintaining what we’ve started. I feel as giddy as I did when I was planning my wedding. We even created a brand logo--making it all the more real. Details, creativity, commitment—just like a marriage.

This past week we decided (after much research) on a web hosting company. We sat together making the deal and pounding the guy on the phone with questions. When the representative verified that GuamBooksAndBeads.com was indeed available, we shrieked like crazed teenagers. You would have thought Robert Pattinson entered the room (shameless cougar plug). We had to apologize to the very quiet man on the phone. He must be used to people being excited or we stunned him paralyzed with our banshee-like shrieks. So, for the past week we have been building our website. It should launch early September with awesome details. It definitely makes me feel more validated as a writer. I actually introduced myself as a mom / writer today at a NEA Grant workshop. It felt great.

We are looking forward to bringing more literary products to the masses with emphasis on our Chamorro heritage. I am excited to be carrying out my late father’s desire to share the beauty of our culture and having my kid brother and his talents along for the ride is quite comforting.

I feel my father’s presence in these last few months and the synergy of what I decided is carrying me on a wave from the Guam newspaper phone interview (thanks, Lenika), to the purchase of supplies for our festival appearances, to family and friends asking me to autograph their books and being invited to UCLA to speak on a panel. It’s all raining down gloriously and I’m jumping in puddles and acting the fool.

My family keeps me elevated like the great latte stones. My professional and personal relationship with my mali’ and business partner, Alison gives me purpose. Who would have thought that meeting this stranger for the first time at her wedding in 2008 would lead to all this. So, to Alison…you are awesome. Thanks for being a friend. ZINGA!

Esta later!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

No P.O. Boxes?--Who wants to see my Brother on a....


So, with the excitement of the release of my new book, Sirena: A Mermaid Legend From Guam, I'm not going to let a little speed bump stop my fervor. I love my former students from Guam (after 8 years of teaching at about 140 a year, that's over a thousand former students from John F. Kennedy High School), who wanted to order my book, but couldn't get their copy sent to Guam because they have, WAIT FOR IT...P.O. Boxes! Now, at first I was upset that my publisher didn't ship at all to Guam, but they do. They even ship to Guatemala, but that's neither here nor Guam. Now, the best way for awesome patrons to get my book now is to have a physical address. Guam folk know that the vast majority of islanders have P.O. Boxes because it's just cost effective. When I say that, I mean it's too expensive to have a typhoon roll over the island and have mailboxes destroyed over and over. It would be a spectacle to have farm house mailboxes and other cutesy boxes flying around, but I digress. So, for anyone interested in ordering my book FROM GUAM, I feel your pain. This is what I found out from authorhouse.com. You will need to call a BECKY or ERICA at 1-888-519-5121 ext 5023 to get the book mailed, MEDIA mail, which basically means there is no insurance that you'll get it. Or pester that one auntie you know that doesn't need to drive to the Hagatna post office because her mail gets delivered to her door and use her address. Then there's the need for a "media hub" which means you'll need to ask DHL or FEDEX for their address and to have your book sent there. I envision Becky having her phone ring off the hook with calls from Guam. Let's give her our Island hospitality, the good stuff, huh? Otherwise, in the next few months I hope you can find my book at Bestseller, Faith (is that still there?) and shops in the Chamorro Village. I'm open to your ideas. Maybe my brother, the illustrator can borrow my uncle's carabao and sell books on the road, so HONK if you see him on Marine Corp. highway. Hmmmm....The lovely graphic added here is for Guam Books & Beads. My wonderfully awesome cousin, Alison Taimanglo Cuasay and I are joining forces to promote our books, her jewelry and any other Chamorro stuff we whip up--just like the Wonder Twins. So, you can "like" us on Facebook. Next step would be a real website. Si Yu'os Ma'ase!
Esta, later!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Missing Link to a Mermaid

My brother, Sonny K. Chargualaf (illustrator) and I thank everyone for their support. My children enjoyed the first story-telling from mom when we received the official copy this morning! Sirena: A Mermaid Legend from Guam is ready to order at the following link. We are looking to market the book on Guam at Bestseller, but the best price is directly with AUTHORHOUSE.com for $10.00 each. ISBN: 9781452057262.
Link won't do its magic, so please cut and paste or visit authorhouse.com.
http://www.authorhouse.com/Bookstore/ItemDetail.aspx?bookid=73543

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It Has Begun! Book One Hitting the Presses!



Sirena: A Mermaid Legend from Guam is hitting the presses! I just approved the final proof and cover for my first self-published book. I will be retelling Guam legends with the artistic genius of my little brother, Sonny Chargualaf. On a side note, the first proof was ready on the death anniversary of Bruce Lee….cue eerie music now. B.L. fan in the bloghouse.

We have dedicated this first book to our late father, Tedy Gamboa Chargualaf. I can only hope that he is looking down from heaven, happy and proud that his children are continuing his legacy to perpetuate the Chamorro culture.

Your support is appreciated. Authorhouse.com is the self-publishing company I chose. Being a writer within the niche of Chamorro culture, it was the most reasonable way of getting this particular book published. The children’s book will be ready to purchase by October 2010, which is a fitting way to remember our dad for what would have been his 59th birthday. Ordering directly from authorhouse.com will get you the book for $10.00. If you go through Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com, you can expect to pay a higher price of $12.99. So, the obvious choice is to get it directly from the publisher.

With the help and support of Sonny, my mom, my mali’ Alison (who also has a children’s book coming out) and family and friends privy to our endeavor, this first notch in my literary dreams has come true. My short story compilation, Attitude 13, will also be ready by October and will include pieces for a more mature audience--with a lot of Chamorro culture infused in the storylines.

When the actual book becomes ready for purchase, I will include a link here. For now, enjoy the cover art that I approved today. Biba Chamorro!

Esta Later!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bruce Lee, Tattoos, Doubt, Lily Pads and Jillian Michaels—Seemingly Random


There’s an image in my head taunting me. It’s me, but as my more realized, perfected self. She’s strong, smart and sexy. She’s lean in every sense of the word and in balance with the world.

I’ve had this goddess version of myself in my head for awhile, but I feel sluggish in the attainment of that goal. I know my vices, my weaknesses, yet I continue to fall into the traps that delay my progress. Self sabotage is my specialty. How long can my fear that no one will recognize me if I lose weight hold true? Who cares if they don’t? Right?

There was a time I was obsessed with BRUCE LEE. My Chinese college professor asked us to write a paper on a “hero.” So, being 21 and totally into my Korean heritage and all things Asian, I wrote about Bruce Lee. I received an A, but the professor laughed as he passed me the paper saying, “How can you, a girl from Guam, love Bruce Lee so much?”

I think that DOUBT is squatting in my soul…planted by my parents (unknowingly), reaffirmed by professors, teachers, sabuhmnims and anyone I looked up to. My Tae Kwon Do Master once held my waist and said, “Too big! I judge Miss Guam Pageant, and you too big. You lose weight and you be faster!” Yeah, like wax on, ass off. I want to take a samurai sword to that doubt. I’ve lived 36 years in its shadow and don’t want to live the rest of my life with my head down. It’s more urgent to me being my year, Year of the Tiger. Yes, I’m into that stuff.

One way my strength is manifesting itself is in the desire, once again to get a TATTOO. My parents hate tattoos. My husband and I have none. I have followed many a girlfriend into tat parlors only to be non-committal. I’m going to sit on this idea for awhile. It’s been eighteen years since I first thought of getting one. Yin Yang…wanted one so bad, just didn’t know where I would put it on my body. Yes, there’s that whole thing about growing old and wondering what it would look like. Too bad they don’t have ink that fades once you hit, let’s say 45-years-old or so. Then, I’d totally get one, but even with that it would have to be somewhere hidden from my old-fashioned Korean mother. Two options of the tiger tattoo I’ve been thinking about, get it on my right flank, from the rib area to my back (yes, it would be large) or on my foot—the slimmest and sexiest part of my body to date. That just means I wear sneakers when I’m around mom.

LILY PADS--represent different goals. I did college, had a teaching career—hopped to love, sat on it long enough that I submerged in the water, then I hopped to the next pad--marriage, barely on there when the motherhood lily pad came floating and now feeling pretty drenched in my homemaker roles, I’m now hopping to a writing career. My point, don’t stay stagnant or you’ll drown. Shameless plug for my upcoming books: Sirena: A Mermaid Legend from Guam (children’s book) and Attitude 13: A Collection of Chamorro Short Stories debut October 2010 (Authorhouse.com).

Currently, I’m fascinated by Jillian Michaels. Soaking what knowledge she has to apply to my life. Wish me lean!
Esta later!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

SAY IT, WRITE IT, LIVE IT


“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” ~William Wordsworth

I remember when I was 15 and on a Confirmation Retreat (a whole five miles from my house—Guam is small) that there were several LIFE LESSONS I learned.

First, I realized that my teenage drama didn’t compare to other kids’. My dad wasn’t in prison, my mom wasn’t abusive and I wasn’t as economically challenged as others. Yes, I didn’t have a boyfriend and that was huge in my mind then, but I did have budding feminine wiles. “Budding” being the operative word—arrested development really, but I digress, thank goodness I’m married, but I digress yet again. I cried when it was my turn in the sharing circle and upped the dramatics so the cute guy next to me could comfort me with a shoulder to cry on. Silly girl, but I have a nice memory of his muscular arm.

But, the TRUEST TEARS shed that weekend were when we were given letters from our parents. In my dad’s beautiful script were loving words our family didn’t easily throw around. I still have that letter and it is proof that I was loved. It was only when I was married that “I love you’s” flowed freely because of distance and mainly because my husband was not stingy with declaring his love. My parents followed suit. Now that my father is gone, I only have the many greeting cards he picked out for me and the letter from confirmation class. Sure, I have the memories of how we SHOWED our love, but I’m a writing freak…I love words, words on paper.

In my constant quest for order in the house (fancy way to say I’m cleaning), I found the beautiful leather journals I bought for my son and daughter. I finally wrote another entry to each of them after a nine month hiatus. I fill it with my feelings for them, the smart and funny things they do or say and some mundane, but important daily occurrences. I envision it full and gifted to them when they finish college or get married or have their first child. I tell my children that I love them more than once a day and I catch myself watching them with wonder all the time. The perfection of their little faces reminds me that there is a GOD.
Esta later!

Friday, June 4, 2010

I Wanna ROCK!


Happy June.

Life is swell, but I still feel like I’m living under the surface of things. My days are blurring into each other. In November 2009, a soccer mom/friend asked me to participate in the Rock and Roll Marathon Team Relay. I agreed and so started the frustrating (for me) training. Almost seven months later, I had grand ideas that I would be the image of health and running the last leg with a 10-minute or better mile. The day is on the horizon and shape wise, I’m still a sexy pear. Fitness level and muscle tone are better, but my limpy left foot is an issue. My task is under 6 miles, about two 5 K’s is what I tell myself. I haven’t blasted comments about it on Facebook because simmering under my calm is nervousness. I know I can make it to the end without passing out, but I want to perform well for my team-4 Crazy Legs and for myself.

I explored the San Diego Convention Center for the very first time (I’ve lived in SoCal for 6 “ears”) for check in at the Health Expo. I was tingling with the knowledge that my muse-R.P. walked these halls, but I digress. Power bars, massages, Gu and running shoes peppered the showroom. All those free samples won’t make me run faster, I thought.

Full marathoners were given blue shirts and we relayers were given black shirts. I found some confidence in the fact that it was just not fitness buffs with 1% body fat running this weekend. I saw moms, grandmothers, and soldiers with bionic limbs (amongst others) with the blue shirts in their goodie bags. It gave me comfort that I wasn’t the odd woman out.

So, I will take this Sunday in stride, knowing that I will be doing something new and exciting. I will be setting an example for my children. I will be adding to my fitness level. Maybe before I’m forty I can take the next step and do a half marathon, then the whole 26.2 miles.

If you need me Monday, I’ll be sleeping in with an ice pack on my left foot, wearing my R and R shirt proudly—hopefully dreaming of running with a pasty vampire with golden eyes while werewolves vie for my attention.
Esta Later!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BLOOD is RELATIVE


“Friends are the family you choose for yourself.”—Edna Buchanan

I’ve learned from my experiences that sometimes your family--blood relatives--can be the most disappointing people in your life. If you’re reading my blog, it’s probably not YOU.

My late father kept some of his family in check when he married my mother. He made sure that we were respected. Why did he need to do this? My mother is Korean, and my father is Chamorro. My mother felt slighted when Chamorro was spoken in spite of her presence, but instead of griping, she did her best to learn the language. My mother, new to Guam, felt hurt when family got together in the next house and overlooked inviting her and her young children, but my pitbull father unleashed his wrath on them when he returned from a long day at work.

Love bloomed from my dad’s advocacy for fairness and for thirty years I truly believed I was loved by my father’s family. When he died, several members displayed their true colors. The ugliness in their hearts was there all along. My bitterness could not change it and my acceptance that I was fine without them in my life was LIBERATING.

My mother has returned to Guam, her true home. I remind her to love those who reciprocate love and not worry about the small mindedness of a few. When she left California to the island where she left her heart, only two families came to bid her farewell, the neighbors—the friends who respected and enjoyed her company for the past three years (not family). When she returned to Guam, there was no fanfare, but she had the genuine love of two sons to celebrate her return.

My husband’s family is in town now and I am loving every minute of it, even if my waistline has increased. Rice, rice, rice—Chamorro folk will understand. Saying no to an invitation to the table from an elder is like telling them that you don’t love them. My aunt and uncle don’t see me for being half-Chamorro, they see me for being a dutiful niece. They love my children like their own and they treat me with respect and courtesy.

In an effort to find acceptance and a sense of validity in my own family, I’m at a level of maturity where I know that that does not matter. I find acceptance in the eyes of my children, my husband, my friends and the family members who look beyond my skin color. I find worth in my daily work and I celebrate my life with those who love me, despite our DNA.
ESTA, Later!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Military Duty is on Spin Cycle


First off, I find it cool and very narcissistic that I could follow my own blog.

I am up late, passed midnight as my family rests. This is my only time to write, to think, to enjoy a recorded show or Pattinson flick. And, more importantly, test my will power and not raid the refrigerator or pantry--even if it's been five hours since dinner. So far, so good. I'll just imagine my cold glass of hanom ("water" in the Chamorro language) is an iced frappucino.

As a wife of a service member, washing his uniform into the next day is an honor. I get to sit and blog while he recharges for another day serving the country. As his uniform spins in the dryer, I am just THANKFUL that he's in port. I'm thankful that his hard work affords me the chance to be a STAY-AT-HOME Goddess.

To my hard-working husband...I salute you.

Esta later!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And so it begins....YATAA!

That’s me. Each day is a struggle, another chance to do right. I’ve been happily married for the last six years and I have enjoyed motherhood. Still, there is something missing. I’ve been feeling out of balance. I’m very into yin and yang and if you know me, I’m at times more yang than anything else. One thing is certain, I am a writer. Writing is my soul. When my fingers tap along, the words come out and help me make sense of my world.

At 36 (I’ve never been ashamed of my age), I still feel like I live in a cocoon. I have certain life accomplishments checked off my list, but I want more. Is it wrong to want more? I feel like I should be wailing the lyrics to Radiohead’s song, Creep—“I want a perfect body, I want a perfect soul.”

What is the role of my blog? How much of my private life do I want to expose? Just enough.

I would be happy if no one read my blog, because I am first and foremost doing this for ME. My thoughts and realizations and confusions need an outlet. My writing, my quips, my poetry, my short stories, my novels---heck, even my Facebook posts are outlets.

So, for today, after watching Oprah and her show with Geneen Roth, WOMEN FOOD and GOD, I bought the book. Something I don’t usually do. I’m cheap (let’s call me frugal)—I check eBay and Craigslist first. Of course, happy to find that it was 30% off…I just read the prologue and I want to continue. I need to figure out why I beat myself up with food. Why I blame hormones, why when my energy wanes I get grumpy. I don’t want to be this way. I want to understand why I sometimes clutch onto my defeatist, victim attitude. I have even been “training” for an upcoming marathon team relay (which equates to about 6 miles—not the entire 26.2) for the last six months and have ended up gaining weight. Things that make you go, hmmmm?

So, like the blog title conveys. I am a GODDESS in training. I want to achieve that magic aura or enlightenment, like in the movie, The Last Dragon (by the way, Taimak still looks good for his age). I want ZEN. In the meantime, I am writing like crazy (as much as possible with two awesome children under the age of 4) and keeping in touch with my Chamorro side, with my connection with CHE’LU, Inc., (shameless self-promotion here).

I am working on self-publishing a compilation of 13 short stories (Attitude 13) by October and a children’s book based on a retelling of a Guam legend.

This is the Year of the Tiger, (that’s me and birthday boy) and I am feeling powerful and productive again. By the way, Happy 24th birthday to Robert Pattinson, the muse of my novel and the man my husband allows in my cougar fantasies. Esta later!