Friday, November 24, 2017

With your help, Lily Lo and the Won Ton Maker will be published soon

Frances and Emmie

Dear Friends of Frances,

We hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving and have had a chance amidst the bustle to reflect on your blessings.

It was a year ago exactly that Frances was in the hospital after her unexpected aneurysm. I visited her for the second time there the Friday after Thanksgiving. None of us need reminding that she died that night, in the early hours of Saturday, November 26.

You all know well how upbeat, kind and funny she was. How modest! Did you know she won THREE Emmy Awards for her TV writing and producing? We also know how she unfailingly supported and encouraged us all. Annemarie O’Brien, Linden McNeilly, Helen Pyne, Christine Dowd, Sharry Wright, and I (Frances’s writing group, “Beyond the Margins”) decided very quickly that we wanted to honor Frances by getting her remarkable writing and diverse stories to young readers. She told us that she had never or rarely encountered books in her own childhood about Americans who looked like her or were like her and her family.

Frances’s dream of publication was never realized, despite her and her agent’s hard work. She came SO close repeatedly, including enthusiastic editors, acquisition committees, as well as a sale and a contract at a major international publisher for her wonderful story, LILY LO AND THE WONTON MAKER. As we all know, Egmont abruptly closed US operations, leaving Frances’s story as well as many others, stranded. These defeats took their toll on Frances but she never gave up.

With the help of her agent and friends such as Lynn Hazen and Ellen Yeomans, we explored the possibility of posthumous traditional publication of LILY LO, to no avail. We considered self-publishing until we learned of a hybrid publisher right here in the Bay Area: Inkshares. They publish books that attract enough pre-orders (750) to pay for editing, design, printing, and distribution of a book. Once that threshold is met, 35% of net proceeds go to the author, or in this case to Frances’s estate, and specifically her daughter Emmie’s education fund. 

We are officially starting the campaign today to earn 750 pre-orders. That’s a lot of orders.

We need your help.

Please consider pre-ordering at least one book or e-book. And spreading the word, along with the pre-order link. We've included promo copy, synopses, bio, etc.

If you have any photos or stories of Frances, it would be spectacular to share them, too. You’re also welcome to simply re-post our posts or re-tweet our tweets.

We promise it’s not hard to do this for such a book worth reading, and an author worth celebrating.

With love and gratitude,
Beyond the Margins

Beyond the Margins 2014 

Ann Jacobus Kordahl
Author of
Romancing the Dark in the City of Light (2015)
from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Griffin/Macmillan 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

New Author Website

Hi All,
Thanks for stopping by!

Please head over to my website for more information about my writing process and my upcoming book from Egmont USA, FRIED WONTON.

I'll be blogging there. In the coming months, I'll be adding content about Angel Island Immigration, Diverse Books, and Comfort Food. And please, while you'll at it, sign up for my newsletter.

Join me! 

See you soon!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


While visiting the Angel Island Immigration Station on its 100th anniversary commemoration, I ventured inside the newly restored 2-story barracks. The barracks, which once held detainees waiting news of their fate, now stands as a museum honoring this sad and difficult time in Chinese American history.

The many displays reflect what life was like behind the thin, drafty walls, and showcase the perseverance and courage of these immigrants, many of whom are our ancestors.

Friday, August 20, 2010


The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation posted
video clips of the cultural performances during the July 31st 100th anniversary commemoration.

From my reading of Chapter 3 from PAPER SON:

Filmed & edited by Jeffrey Gee Chin. Supplementary footage by Gary Lee.

Monday, August 09, 2010


Part 1

On July 31st, I had the pleasure of participating in the 100th Anniversary Commemoration of the Angel Island Immigration Station. As part of the festivities, I read excerpts from my novel manuscript, PAPER SON.

My special thanks goes to Eddie Wong and Grant Din of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) for organizing a wonderful day of speakers and cultural events to honor our ancestors who travelled through Angel Island to come to America.

As was the norm in San Francisco, the day started out grey with overcast skies, but that did not dampen the spirits of the people attending the event. According to AIISF, 1000 people boarded the ferry and hiked or took a tram to the Immigration Station. Once there, we were treated to passionate speeches, which included Assembly Member Mike Eng, author of ACR 76 declaring December 17 as “A Day of Inclusion,” and Eugenia Bailey, daughter of Russian immigrants.

My most favorite presentation was Masayuki Koga, who performed “Distant Cry of Deer,” a traditional Japanese shakuhachi piece. His melody was bittersweet, filled with grace, and set a perfect reverent tone. Listen to a short preview:

In PAPER SON, one of my secondary characters Wing played a Chinese flute, a xun, while detained on the island. While Koga played, I imagined Wing playing his flute to my main character Moon in one scene, when he believed all hope was lost.

My reading was scheduled for 2pm, and by that time, the fog had drifted away and the sun came out! Yay- warmth and brightness! I was so happy, especially since I was reading out doors in front of the barracks.

On my right, a lovely view of the bay stretched before me, the audience sat attentive in the middle, and the barracks towered to my left. I read a scene where Moon enters the barracks for the first time. Moon sees this covered staircase stick out of the barracks like a huge tongue, and there the staircase was- right in front of me! One older Chinese man simply smiled at me the whole time, as I read my story.

And my family and friends cheered me on.

Stay tuned for video of the New Interrogation Table Exhibit and the Words etched into the landscape.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Kindness of a Stranger

I’d been feeling rather frustrated with my job hunt and a tad stuck with my WIP, PORTRAIT. So, a nice walk at Mori Point, a serene coastal trail, always cheers me up. I see people walking their dogs, and we say hi to one another all the time. There’s the woman on her cell phone, whose two dogs remind me of siblings playing with each other. She dresses them in little matching sweaters when it’s especially cold. There’s an older Asian man, most likely in his 70s, who walks his black dog. Sorry, I don’t know dogs, so I can’t specify what breed. Maybe I’ll learn.

They walk their dogs. I walk myself. We don’t know each other's names; we just know each other’s walking schedules. We do share a love and respect for this beautiful coastal trail.

The other day, the Asian man stops me. He asks about my car and if I parked on the corner near the trail head. He noticed recent break-ins, and that my car could be vulnerable. He suggested I park closer to the houses because it’d be nearer to people, and less likely a target. When I got back to my car, I noticed broken glass a few feet away from my car. The glass was not from my car, but from a previous break-in.

The next day, I parked my car closer to the houses. And when I saw the Asian man walking his dog, I thanked him for the good advice. He told me he had been worried.

He reminded me of my dad.

A total stranger had been worried about me. A little hope peaked its way into my mind and body.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Excellent! Vermont College of Fine Arts in San Francisco, CA. Can't wait!

Come Celebrate Our Wondrous Writing in the City by the Bay

Vermont College of Fine Arts Alumni Retreat in San Francisco, CA


Saturday, April 24, 2010
Fort Mason Center
Building C, 3rd Floor, Room 370
9am – 5pm

Led by VCFA Faculty:
Julie Larios
David Gifaldi

Guest appearance by:
VCFA Chair Margaret Bechard

Join us as we reunite with fellow VCFA alumni and faculty members to discuss, explore, and re-ignite our passion for writing. With a tight and unpredictable children’s book marketplace, we alums must keep focused, keep our skills in shape, and most of all, keep writing. Let’s celebrate our sales and plow through our rejections. Unlike Montpelier, no snow boots needed… just a sweater or two in case the fog rolls in! Here’s what we’ll cover:

Julie Larios:

Lately, my fascination with maps has bumped up against my desire to lollygag and wander aimlessly. For a writer, are the two pleasures contradictory or complementary, and can they be applied in a practical way to that phenomena known dreamily as The Writer's Life? Let's have a conversation about two things: first, how the mindset of a flaneur helps us store up a treasure trove of converging images; second, how the practicality of mapmaking brings us back down to earth and insists we think about the true north, south, east and west of our stories.

David Gilfadi:

Your "baby" has been born. You did everything you could to make it a healthy delivery. You send it out. It comes back. And you're thrown into the writer's postpartum blues. It hurts…and it can keep you from doing what needs to be done. Let's talk about how to move on, how to rekindle passion for that next project. We'll do some "stop the bleeding" exercises and rediscover why we write in the first place.

Panel & Group Discussion with Julie, David and Margaret
Topic: TBA

Cost: $150
9am – 5pm Includes box lunch
Limited to 35 participants.

Fort Mason Center is located along the northern waterfront between Aquatic Park and the Golden Gate Bridge in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Parking $10; also accessible by public transportation

Optional Get-together:
Friday evening, April 23
No host cocktail social
Details & costs to be announced soon.

David Gifaldi is a Portland author and teacher. His books have been honored by American Booksellers' Pick of the Lists, ALA Books Recommended for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, the Mark Twain Award Master List, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Master List, and the Junior Library Guild. His latest middle grade novel, Listening for Crickets (2008), has been named a 2009 Notable Book for a Global Society and is on the Kansas State children's reading list for 2009.

Julie Larios is the author of four books for children: On the Stairs (1995), Have You Ever Done That? (named one of Smithsonian Magazine’s Outstanding Children’s Books 2001), Yellow Elephant (a Book Sense Pick and Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book, 2006) and Imaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious Creatures (shortlisted for the Cybil Award in Poetry, 2008). Recently, she was granted a fellowship by the Washington State Arts Commission/Artist Trust and had a poem sequence put to music and performed by the Five Words in a Line group in New York City.