Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Cross posted from the Lucky 13s blog for maximum DUALED exposure!!!

Welcome to the book launch celebration of the fantastic Elsie Chapman’s debut novel DUALED with your hosts Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman! Yes, dance party time!!!

Ellen - Ok, it is a party for DUALED so we need to get a little serious now. I think the best way to promote this fabulous, action packed thriller is by an ALT Faceoff!! After all, the whole premise of the book is “You or your Alt!” And DUALED has an extremely strong female character who is just a serious kickass hero! West is awesome! She is so awesome that we need to pick some serious contenders here to see who could match up to her.

The first pairing is Matt Damon vs Jeremy Renner from the Bourne movie series. Technically, this is a perfect ALT pairing because they are playing the same person. So they really are movie Alts.

Elsie –Someone has not kept up with her Bourne movies, Ellen Oh.

Ellen -  *sneaks off to read movie summary on IMDB, sneaks back.* Clearly you misunderstood what I was saying. I was trying to say that they are playing the same type of person. You know ruthless killer assassin type persons, sheesh… Ahem, moving along, so as ASSASSINS, they make the perfect movie Alts…

Elsie—Seeing that there’s only so many identical twins who are celebrities, I think it’s okay for us to take some liberties for contenders. With the one caveat being there must be a Canadian connection (yay, Canada!), just so they make some kind of sense.

Ellen—Sounds good to me! But for those of our readers who don’t know anything about DUALED, can you explain a bit about how Alts come about?

Elsie—In DUALED, Alts share physical genes so they look alike. But their personalities are different, and environmental factors over the years can also alter their looks a bit. So let’s pretend that that’s the case with Matt Damon as Jason Bourne and Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross in our first Alt face off.

Ellen – Yes, of course! Matt Damon is Bourne and Renner is Cross, not the same person. I so knew that… Well, I’m gonna have to give the advantage to Matt Damon. He seems physically bigger and stronger and much more attractive. I think it’s the size of his big head.

 Elsie –Moving aside from the fact that I didn’t know you found big heads attractive, I’m going to argue for Renner. Cross is small, fast, he’s lived through the worst case of the flu, and becomes a genetically enhanced superspy (I think Bourne is, too, but since it’s not pointed out, it doesn’t count, hehe).

Ellen – Nah, I’m gonna have to go with Matt Damon on this one. He is so freaking badass he beats someone up with a towel, a newspaper, a pen, and even a book!! A BOOK!! That is so hot… Plus you know what they say about big heads, right? Big brains!

 Elsie – You got to pick first! Of course I think Damon could beat the living crap out of Renner. I mean, the damn pen!!! That was amazing!

Ellen – whispers – Matt Damon is also American… shhhhhh, don’t remind Elsie…

Ellen – Ok next pairing. I recognize Cato from the Hunger Games but who the heck is the emo looking red-eyed boy?

Elsie—You do know that Cato isn’t his real name, right?

Ellen—A Cato by any other name would still be a Cato to me.

Elsie—Okay, to be fair, I can’t remember, either. I just googled the movie name+Canadian+actor. But he plays a vampire named Alec from New Moon. I picked them because they’re both Canadian and they’re both in super successful movie franchises.

Ellen – So it’s vampires vs tributes…

Elsie – Yes! And my pick is Cato because, well, it’s The Hunger Games vs Twilight.

Ellen – Yeah I’m gonna have to agree with you on this one, Hunger Games trumps Twilight. Besides, Cato was actually quite intimidating in THG, I don’t think emo-boy could scare a bunch of kindergartners. I’m pretty sure my 9 yr old can take him.

Elsie—Before you can use the word “emo” again, I’m going to introduce the next celebrity Alt match—

Ellen – Oh no, you did not just put Justin Bieber in our ALT FACEOFF, did you?

Elsie –Hell, yes! Bieber, the quintessential Canadian superstar. You cannot deny his popularity, Ellen.


Elsie – Even Bieber would have an Alt. Though I don't think he could sing his way to Completion…he might actually have to fight… Hmm, now I’m wondering…

Ellen – I can’t even …

Elsie – Yeah, okay, fine. Carly Rae wins!!! And she’s a local BC girl, too. Love her just for that.

Ellen – I think I would have voted for pretty much anyone against Bieber but Carly Rae definitely for girl power and because she seriously rocks those bangs!

Ellen – So here we are at our last and final ALT Faceoff! Ryan vs. Ryan!

 Elsie_-I should probably mention here that both Ryans ARE Canadian. Because in no way would we pick two Alts based solely on looks. That has absolutely nothing to do with it at all.

Ellen – Well, it’s the Green Lantern vs the Hey Girl meme guy!

Elsie – I think Reynolds wears a lot of foundation.

Ellen – Ha! They are both very pretty and I’m fairly sure Gosling’s got better skin than me.

Elsie –See, normally I’d automatically call it for Reynolds because he played a super hero.  But Gosling with Emma Stone in Crazy, Stupid, Love? Manly man, indeed.

Ellen – You know if we are going solely by fashion sense, I am really digging Gosling’s suit…

Elsie – Screw the suit. 

And then there’s this:

And then THIS:

Elsie – And. That. Is. All.

Ellen – huh, what did you say? I was too busy drooling all over my keyboard…

Elsie – So that’s it, game over, Gosling wins by a—

Ellen – (slaps herself hard) WAIT JUST A MINUTE! You may have the sexy but Reynolds was not only the Green lantern, he was also Wade Wilson from X-Men - Wolverine and he was pretty badass there. Plus he was scary as that hybrid messed up character with no mouth at the end.

Ellen – I admit, hard to look at after the Gosling, but we are talking ALTs here!

Elsie – I think we can declare this Alt match up a true tie. So they both implode. And the world is a far, far, FAR, lesser place.

Ellen – Well quite frankly I don’t think any of our contenders today would hold a candle to West! I personally think West would take them all out and they’d never see her coming.

Elsie –I really kinda love that she’s a bit sneaky, too. Such as that stunt she pulls near the end, the one with Chord…you know what I mean.

Ellen – You are not allowed to spoil it!!! Although can I just say that I’m in love with Chord! He is my fictional boyfriend. That is he would be my fictional boyfriend if I weren’t so afraid of West…

Elsie – She’d kick your ass, but then she might feel a bit guilty. The girl doesn’t make it easy on herself.

Ellen - And that’s why I love West and I love DUALED!! Congratulations Elsie! I’m SO HAPPY that DUALED is out in the world now!!!


Saturday, February 23, 2013

More Reviews!

I've been really fortunate to get good reviews from the trade journals and I love being able to share them with you! Here's Publisher's Weekly and Booklist Reviews for PROPHECY.


Ellen Oh. HarperTeen, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-209109-3

Newcomer Oh launches the Dragon King Chronicles, a fantasy trilogy equally grounded in Korean folklore and the epic Western tradition of quest adventure. Seventeen-year-old Kira, daughter of the top general in Hansong, calls to mind Robin McKinley's Aerin Dragon-Killer—physically different from her kin, socially ostracized, psychologically insecure, yet stubborn. This heroine's gift is the ability to literally sniff out demons and slay them, making Kira invaluable as a bodyguard to her cousin, the crown prince, but unwelcome among sneering court ladies and traditional townsfolk. Kira's royal relatives are arranging a political marriage she does not want, monks are proclaiming an ancient prophecy about a hero, and treacherous assassins haunt her dreams. It's a fraught existence, full of combat and touches of human empathy. With its historical setting and focus on adventure, the story should have a broad appeal, including to even younger readers, though there are some scenes of moderately graphic violence. With solid pacing and dialogue, it's a promising start to this trilogy. Ages 13–up. Agent: Joe Monti, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 02/18/2013
Booklist Review:
Oh puts her knowledge of Korean history and her training in law to excellent use in crafting this high adventure featuring a female bodyguard who can see dimensions beyond our mortal realm. Kira has been an outcast in her medieval world, except to her father, a general; her loving mother and brother; and the royal family, whose young son she is assigned to guard. But she is an excellent, brave soldier and cannot be ignored when the king’s army is routed, and the prince must be taken to a safer place. Even as Kira pursues her certainty that there is a traitor in the king’s forces, she aches for her own mother and to be relieved of decision making that affects the lives of others. The supernatural elements here are more folkloric than fantasy-tinged. At the core of the story is the exploration of human traits, which leads to an exciting climax and an ending that clears the way for a sequel. Excellent for those who enjoy Lensey Namioka’s YA titles. — Francisca Goldsmith

Monday, February 18, 2013

Authors and Bloggers!

Like I said in my earlier post, I've been so behind in blogging about events! But one of the best parts of the events I've gone to is meeting with authors and bloggers! And I even have a few pictures to share!

I went to Charlottesville, VA for an event with Jodi Meadows and Victoria Schwab. And while I don't have a photo with Jodi (I think she was hiding from me) I do have one with Victoria (who is as awesome in person as she is online) and James of BookChic who is seriously the nicest guy! He drove out in the snow to support all three of us and it was awesome to chat with him. There were several other readers who stopped by to talk with us and buy some books. And even though the snowstorm had kept the event low key, it was still a lovely time. 

And then I had the great pleasure of going to Hooray for Books for an event with the fabulous Megan Shepherd, Meagan Spooner, Lenore Appelhans, and Jodi Meadows. Once again the elusive Jodi is not to be found in a photo! This time it is my fault as the one I have with her I cannot share because as lovely as Jodi looks, I apparently ruined the shot! Oh well, one day Jodi and I will take a good picture together!! But my good friend Caroline Richmond was kind enough to take some photos for me! Here's Megan and I holding our books! It was awesome to see her as we've been talking for what seems like forever on line and yet this was our first time actually meeting in person! And seriously, Megan is brilliant. I know because I beta for her and she is BRILLIANT!!!

Here I am with Lenore Appelhans who had the most gorgeous Level 2 necklace that I loved! Level 2 is a book I've been dying to read and Lenore is just awesome and hysterically funny, btw.

For some reason I did not get a picture of Meagan Spooner either but since she is local I will hunt her down another day! And the always awesome James of Bookchic was here at the event. He drove from Lynchburg to attend! He is so great! Although he must be tired of getting bear hugged by me all the time!!

And another favorite part of my night was meeting with Vi who is not only a YA blogger, but she is a pediatric resident and a Mom of 2 beautiful girls! Honestly, I kind of worship her! Brilliant doctor and YA reader and Mom? She's so smart, yet down to earth and a reader and fan of YA books? Yep, I absolutely adore and admire her!

So that's a short and sweet recap highlighting some of my favorite moments of these events.

Friday, February 15, 2013

School visit

I am so behind in blogging about all the things I have been up to, so I'm going to do a quick recap of one of my favorite events!

I had an amazing presentation at the wonderful Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac, MD. They have an amazing school library! It's really beautiful, warm and welcoming - just like their wonderful librarian Katy. Did I ever tell you guys how much I love children and youth librarians? They are really some of my favorite people in the world. Partly because growing up poor in Brooklyn, libraries were my safe haven in life. But also because I have never met a librarian who wouldn't go out of their way to help a kid find a good book. That's why I love and respect them so much.

My event at Holy Child was so much fun! These girls were super engaged, super excited! I seriously couldn't have asked for better crowds! I presented to both the middle school and high school girls in two separate sessions and both goups were just so awesome. They were lively and had lots of questions for me and were so interested in how Prophecy came to be. The funniest question from both groups was how they would ask me if I was famous. But even though the answer is no, they still wanted to take pictures with me! The cutest part is because they said it was for when I was famous! Yes, I adored these girls!  

And the best part? I've been invited back next year for when Warrior comes out! I can't wait to see these girls again and be back in one of the most beautiful school libraries I've ever seen.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Diversity Reading List

I'm crossposting this from EPIC READS because it is something I truly believe in. 

We’ve been featuring guest posts from Ellen Oh, author of Prophecy over on Pitch Dark and today we’re lucky to share her final post. View her other entries on Pitch Dark: Kdrama 101, a lesson on Korean mythology and Ellen’s favorite anime films.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge book nerd. I’m pretty proud of it. Reading is an essential part of my life—like breathing, sleeping, and eating. As a child, my books were my teachers and friends and to this day, they hold a very special place in my heart. There is only one thing that I could have wished for. I just wished there had been more books that featured someone like me.
This wish became a nagging thorn in my side when I became a mom. I have 3 beautiful young girls and it was important for me to nurture their love for books. But it was still hard to find what I was looking for.
I knew what I wanted. I didn’t want a ‘princess waiting to be saved by a handsome prince’ story. That’s not the message I wanted my girls to learn. I wanted an Asian female protagonist who was strong enough to save not only herself, but the whole world. But no matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t find anything like it.
So I wrote it myself.
I wrote it for my daughters and all the other girls out there looking for someone like Kira, my main character from PROPHECY. But mostly, I wrote it for the 11 year old me who once scoured every single book in the library looking for an Asian girl hero.
When I was asked to do a post talking about diversity for Epic Reads, I was going to focus on why it is important for minority kids growing up in this country to see themselves represented in literature. But I realized that this is only part of the problem. Diversity is not only for the under-represented—the truth is, diversity is important for everyone. All people need to be exposed to other races and other cultures in positive ways. All people need to learn tolerance and acceptance of differences. When we promote only a homogeneous view of society in our literature, and deem books about minorities as unsuccessful, it harms everyone. But worse, we fail in our duty to educate and inspire the minds of our children.
Diversity is important because racism still exists in the world. And racism comes from ignorance. We saw it in the racist responses from people who were upset that Rue was black in The Hunger Games. We also saw it in the racist comments made by our own media when Jeremy Lin and Linsanity became huge. I’m sad to say that I too have recently received emails that contained racist and sexist remarks aimed at both my book and my person. As an author, I don’t expect everyone to like my book and I must accept criticisms about my writing, plotting, characters, etc. But it was a shock to receive emails that were so discriminatory in nature, that they could only be categorized as hate mail. It made me realize how important this discussion is. Now more than ever, we need diversity.
Literature is one of the best ways to reach out to all children, to teach someone to care about and love a character regardless of their skin color or hair type or religious beliefs. It exposes young minds to a world outside of their own limited view and, with repeated exposure, will make such differences less exotic, less weird. It breeds acceptance and tolerance through opening their minds and hearts. We must remember that racism is not just a KKK or neo-nazi problem. Hate and ignorance transcends race. And I believe that we can combat it through education and shared experiences.
So I challenge all of you to look for more diverse books and to read and promote them! And if you don’t see enough diversity in your library or bookstore, then write the story you want to read yourself! We need new voices to represent our multi-cultural world. If you are already a writer, I challenge you to add more diversity to your own writing! Don’t be afraid to write about people of color. And when you do this, you make us a part of your experience instead of shutting us out. Help us make diversity the norm, and not the unusual. Two wonderful things will come out of this. It opens up a whole new world to all of our children and it tells minority kids that they are important too.
The following is a list of books that I believe provide wonderful multi-cultural reading experiences. This compilation is filled with books that have impacted my life in some way. They made me laugh, they made me cry, they made me hungry! I know this list isn’t complete and I would love to hear from all of you about any titles that I’ve missed. Please submit more titles in the comments below.
I hope we can keep adding to this list until the time comes when we no longer need to talk about diversity, because diversity will have become the new normal.

Diverse books that I think everyone should read:

Picture Books:

Amazing GraceMary Hoffman
Lissy’s FriendsGrace Lin
Big Red Lollipop – Rukhsana Khan
We Are America – Walter Dean Myers
Yoko – Rosemary Wells

Middle Grade:

Year of Impossible Goodbyes – Sook Nyul Choi
One Crazy Summer – Rita Williams-Garcia
Kira-Kira – Cynthia Kadohata
Inside Out and Back Again – Thannha Lai
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Grace Lin
A Step from Heaven – An Na
When My Name was Keoka – Linda Sue Park
The Trouble with Half a Moon – Danette Vigilante

Young Adult:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie
Subway Girl – Peter Jacob Converse
The First Part Last – Angela Johnson
Summer of the Mariposas – Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Monster and Lockdown – Walter Dean Myers
Silver Phoenix – Cindy Pon
Tankborn – Karen Sandler
Shooting Kabul – N. H. Senzai
The Last Summer of the Death Warriors – Francisco X. Stork
American Born Chinese – Gene Luen Yang
Huntress by Malinda Lo


The Plague of Doves – Louise Erdrich
Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
An Artist of the Floating World – Kazuo Ishiguro
The Namesake – Jumpa Lahiri
Beloved – Toni Morrison
Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
The Color Purple Alice Walker
Native Son – Richard Wright
What books would you add to this list?

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