Monday, April 27, 2009

Fiction Assn Part 3

In this assignment we had portray a character using narrative, dialogue and action methods. So, here's a little more about Li.


She had four projects looming, three with deadlines in the next two weeks. And she was out of steam. Other graphic designers took walks to overcome blocs. The only thing that ever worked for Li was a tangible escape.

Her favorite solitary rendezvous was Soho, but the NYC district was becoming crowded with acquaintances. One acquaintance, in particular, was absolutely necessary to avoid.

Since she lived her life by the religion of signs, she interpreted the Wall Street Journal article on the Asian art exhibit as a personal calling and found herself flying to San Francisco.
Silversun Pickups played on her Ipod as she easily avoided conversation with other passengers. The refrain reverberated. A chord changed, and there he was. His image consumed her, making her heart stir and stomach flip. 
“No more,” she thought, defying her desire to wallow in her misery. She switched to her Classical playlist. But as the first few notes of Debussy’s Reverie  began, she wondered if all music was a self-defeating exercise.
She rested her head back and ran her fingers through her hair, still not used to the shorter length. For years, he urged her to try a new cut. She resisted, calling upon her mother’s wish to keep it long. But the very day she pledged never to see him again, she entered a salon and requested her locks to be shortened with layers. Never had she received so many compliments. Now, everyone focused on the perfect features of her face.


She had been staring for twenty minutes at an image of a goddess, the Green Tara, when the hushed chatter in the museum drowned out a Chakra melody playing in her head.
She turned to study the next piece of art, only to find him staring at her with that tenacious smile. She lost her breath, only for a moment, before posturing herself. She was thankful for defying her Vietnamese height genes, allowing her to look him squarely in the eye.
“Why are you here?” she asked, hoping to convey her contempt. 
“Li!  What do you think I’m doing here? The minute I read about this exhibit in the Wall Street Journal, I took the first flight out of New York.”
Her purse fell off her bare shoulder, diminishing her taut  stance. 
“My muse looks delicious as ever,” he continued in his alluring English accent. “Love the hair. Very bon ton. Your eyes. They seem darker.”
She folded her arms. “I’m not your muse. Not anymore.” She looked away, unable to face him when she added, “You’re despicable.”
She reminded him of a little girl, pouting with her lower lip extended. But she was not a little girl.

“You don’t mean that,” he walked to her, ensuring to invade her personal space, then gently kissed her smooth shoulder. He smiled when she shivered.

“Please, just go away,” she begged in defeat.

“You don’t mean that either, Love.”

She tried not to become hypnotized by his scent.


Li stepped out of the art museum, hoping he would not be outside waiting for her.  When she didn’t see him, only slight disappointment fell upon her. Instead of catching a taxi, she decided to walk back to the hotel.

Her journey to Market Street began with eyes pointed down, her gait slow and aimless. Desperately needing to clear her clouded mind, she whispered the Green Tara’s mantra. By the time she reached the commotion on Market Street, she was lucid.

“I walked away from him.” She stopped to absorb the energies surrounding her. Suddenly, with focused determination, she pushed through the crowded street and trotted nearly a mile to her hotel. 

She stormed into her room, kicking her shoes in the air and tossing her purse on the bed. The view from her window briefly captured her attention. 

“I walked away from him.”  She smiled.

Then she powered up her Mac, ready to tackle the projects that no longer puzzled her. Within an hour, she finished two particularly challenging designs.

Her stomach growled. When was the last time she ate? On her way out the door to catch a bite, her Blackberry vibrated. She didn’t care who it was, even if it was him. But it wasn’t a call. Anne Jenkins, her new client, sent her an email with information that might help Li with a logo design. For some reason, the message made her laugh.

On a whim, Li decided to call her new client back.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Anne and Li -- Fiction Assignment 2

In our 2nd assignment, we had to create character descriptions of two main characters in 250 words. So, here is a little more to read about Anne and Li, as you met in my first assignment.

Anne Jenkins intended to prove her worthiness as the bank’s new marketing director. Marketing was certainly beneath her intellectual ability, but it was her only job offer, compliments of mother’s political pull.

If her father had been alive, he would have called her with a word of encouragement today. Instead, she attempted to calm her nerves by playing her favorite Bach Partita on the piano for an exclusive audience. Her cat, Holly, had been the only one to hear Anne play in years. 

She focused on her posture as she entered the bank, then nodded politely, without expression, to loan officers and tellers already diligently performing their duties.

“Could they possibly be comparing me to Audrey Hepburn?” Anne joked with herself.  She had taken the time to swoop her hair up, accentuating her long neck and angular jawline. The classic black dress with the bolero jacket made her feel somewhat like the Hollywood starlet, fueling desperately-needed confidence. 

In actuality, no one compared her to any movie star. They noticed a mute, towering frame. For a second or two, at most.

“Good morning?” Anne knocked lightly on her manager’s open door. Throughout the interview process, she distinctly felt unwelcome, even despised. She hoped today would be different.

 Anne’s fists remained clenched as Mrs. Ashe lifted her gaze from the Wall Street Journal. 

“My, oh, my. Don’t we look sophisticated today,” Mrs. Ashe stated cooly as she folded her newspaper. 

Anne’s color drained from her face. So much for hope.


Li Vo watered the plethora of plants on her miniscule deck. Navigating through the container garden in her Christian Louboutin pumps was always challenging, but she managed not to trip. 

Then it was time for her to leave. The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco was having a fascinating dragon exhibit from the obscure country of Bhutan. She’d call her mother on the way to the airport.

“Only a week, Mom. ”

“I don’t understand though. You no longer curator. You graphics designer. Why all these trips?” Her mother worried. 

These trips were non-negotiable. No matter what, or who, was going on in her life, she’d slip out of the city she loved, but could no longer tolerate. Her mother would be the only one receiving the courtesy of a goodbye. Li’s many friends loved her, but they found her abrupt departures frustrating. There would be no emails or texts for at least a few weeks from her now.

“Lie?” The ticket checker verified Li’s ticket and driver’s license.

“It’s pronounced ‘Lee,’” Li responded with her crooked smile. Li Vo informally dropped the "e" in her Vietnamese name, but hadn’t taken the legal steps to have it removed.
He studied the Asian woman, noticeably longer than the other passengers. Surely, she was too beautiful to be kind-spirited as well. Perhaps he would try to engage her on the flight.

Li recognized the checker’s reaction. She looked down while taking back her documents. 

“Thank you,” she murmured before proceeding. 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Preview to Rubigunda Podcast

Take a sneak peek at my novel Rubigunda by listening to this podcast! I've discovered a new website -- For any of you interesting in podcasts, take a listen.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I thought it might be fun to post a few of my assignments from FIction Workshop Class. Here's the first one -- a 500 word scene description. It's actually the start of a new story I will eventually create.

Anne tried to study the menu, but her eyes kept wandering to the large window of the trendy eatery’s facade. The sound of the steady rain, along with the hush of the sparsely-populated restaurant, soothed her nerves. It wasn’t like the banker to be so bold and accept a lunch invitation from a graphics designer.  

Casually, she glanced at her watch as the place began to fill with professionals. 11:18.

“Miss? Are you ready to order?”

The aroma of the spicy Thai cuisine intensified at that very moment. Her stomach flipped.

“Not yet. I’m waiting for someone.”

Anne sighed in anticipation as more patrons entered the swanky cafe. Chatter began to muffle the sound of the rain as Anne felt her anxiety brew. 

Soon an Asian woman dashed by the window. The lime trench coat and polka-dot portfolio inescapably identified the graphics designer. She entered the restaurant, bustling through  the crowd waiting to be seated. Amiably, she spoke to the hostess who hurriedly pointed to Anne’s table. Anne stood, reminded herself to smile, and offered a handshake to her lunch date.


“Anne! So nice to meet you in person!” Li’s hands enclosed Anne’s stiffly extended fingers. Strangely, the exuberant welcome seemed to diminish Anne’s apprehension.

The waitress reappeared with a pitcher of water. “I’ll be back in a minute to take your orders.”

As Li slid out of her coat, Anne gasped, covering her mouth. Li abruptly looked to determine the source of the gasp. Both ladies adorned the same navy wrap dress, purchased from a Gap store. Only their accessories differed; Li wore a bright silk scarf, Anne wore a necklace with a pendant.

“I see you have good taste,” remarked Li with a smile.

Li powered up her Mac laptop and began her quest to impress Anne with award-winning logos and web designs.

“Did you hear that?” Li’s hand flew to her mid-section. “How embarrassing. My stomach is growling at me.” Her eyes floated toward a waiter carrying a Thai chicken lahvosh appetizer.

“Do you smell the cilantro?” Anne asked while admiring the logo on the computer. She glanced at the food. “That particular dish looks divine, but is probably too much for one person to eat.”

The waitress reappeared, pen and pad in hand. The commotion in the restaurant seemed to fade as the ladies focused on their new order of business – what to eat.

“Can I interest you in something to drink, other than water?” asked the waitress as she caught her breath.

Li addressed her potential client, “I rarely do this, but would you like a glass of wine? To go with our lahvosh?”

As Anne considered the offer, the sudden crash of dinner plates rang throughout the restaurant. Conversations paused for a few seconds, allowing Anne to direct her thoughts properly.

“I better not,” blushed the banker, not wanting to seem prudish to her chic date.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Part of my Playlist

Don't you love it when you find someone who shares the same taste in music as you? I’m sorry if this seems like a sorry excuse for a blog posting, but it occurred to me today, as I was exercising at 5:15 in the morning to my newly revised playlist, how I love seeing other people's playlists! So, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.

I must admit that my playlist is currently WAY TOO LONG, with 43 songs. (I know...I should create more than one big, long, honking playlist.)Doug’s playlist is much more manageable at 20+. He deletes songs when he’s tired of them. For some reason, I feel like I’m offending the artist by deleting them. As if they even know. Enough babble, now for the highlight of this posting…Here are the first few songs on "Stef's List", which BTW are great work-out songs.

What I’ve Done…Linkin Park
Holiday…Green Day
I Don’t Care…Fallout Boy
Lazy Eye…Silversun Pickups
Psycho…Puddle of Mud
She…Green Day
Someone Who You’re With…Nickelback
Bad Girlfriend…Theory of a Deadman

That's the first few. For the last two months, I’ve explicitly listened to either the entire Twilight soundtrack or Coldplay’s Viva La Vida. The Twilight soundtrack really kicks! And of course it reminds me of my favorite vampire.

There you go. In our house, it’s somewhat of a contest who has the better playlist, as if it’s not subjective. What’s on your playlists? Which artists get you going?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Does anyone remember the song, Wonder by Natalie Merchant? It came out either in 96 or 97? After Alex was born in June of 1997, the song became our theme as I cried and rocked the baby to sleep while Natalie sang how her baby was one of the wonders of the world. Eventually my raging pregnancy hormones eked back down to normal levels (arguably, anyway) and I could listen to the song without a tear dripping.

Anyway, I just had a wondrous day with my mother at the ICAN Women’s Conference in Omaha. Rubi J Organic Clothing made their first appearance and drew a wonderful crowd to our booth! We met many enthusiastic mothers, grandmothers, and aunties…one particular mother left on impression on me that I won’t soon forget. She asked if we had any onesies in the size of 2 or 3 T. Unfortunately, the largest onesie size we carry is 12-18 months. Then she explained why she wanted that size.

She wanted to hide a contraption that her son had to wear on his hip. “Dane,” has a rare brain disease. His brain has not grown larger than that of a two-year old. He doesn’t have the ability to hold his head up, nor does will he be able to walk or use his hands functionally. This beaming mother told us that her son wasn’t expected to live past six months after he was born. Miraculously, he is now over three years old. Dane’s mother only spoke of the blessing he has brought her and her husband.

So I devote this posting only to express the blessing I feel for my children tonight. No complaints on their behavior. No gimmicky topic. I just want the world to know that Doug and I love Alex and Cole more than anything in the world. The are truly the wonders in our lives.