Monday, February 8, 2016


CHASING FIREFLIES is back from the editor . . . so now you know what I'll be doing this week.

Editing, editing, editing.

However, the edits are not extensive and it won't take me terribly long to complete them. After I edit, I will complete a few final read-throughs of the book before sending it to the ebook formatter, so it does take time for me to declare: IT IS DONE.
Up to that critical moment, I know I can make changes. Once I send it off for formatting, I don't want to make any more changes.
At some point, I just have to say the book is finished and I can't tell you how hard that is sometimes!

My daughter is my editor. She worked for two years as a copy editor and now she teaches Freshman English. She's a grammar nazi and I love having her as my editor. She does a great job.

CHASING FIREFLIES takes place in China and it is based off of my daughter's experiences while she spent a semester there teaching English. Yes, the same daughter that is my editor.
Hence, as she read the book, she was also reading it for accuracy to make sure I got all my China facts correct.

There were a few things she suggested I add and, as usual, I found these little tidbits fascinating.

The book takes place during the Fall semester. During this time the Chinese celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival. They hang red lanterns everywhere.

Below is one of the pictures she took.

In Chinese culture, a huge full moon represents completeness. They associate the meaning of the full moon with reuniting family members together. It is one of the biggest holidays in China, even bigger than Christmas in America.

My daughter said the red lanterns hanging everywhere were beautiful.

Traditionally, Mid Autumn Festival is celebrated while eating moon cakes. 

In the middle is a hard boiled egg yolk.

They don't appeal to me, but my daughter said she LOVED them. The other teachers in her group didn't care for them, so when they were offered in the cafeteria they always gave them to her. She said she had a stock pile of them in her apartment.

Another little tidbit she told me I should work into the novel is that the Chinese consider wasting food to be very rude.

They were each given a tupperware container by their Chinese Native Coordinators, (the Chinese teachers assigned to help them throughout their stay,) to use whenever they ate at the cafeteria at the school she worked at. If they did not want to finish their food, they were told to put the leftovers in the tupperware container and take it back to their room. Once in their room, they were allowed to throw it away. They just had to do it in private where no one was watching. (She said she had Hello Kitty tupperware!)

Before they left for China, they went through training to help them prepare to live in another culture. They were told that they were absolutely not allowed to talk about or teach about Christian religion to the Chinese people. It is forbidden by the government.

There are actually "plants" who are assigned to walk up to them and say, "Hey, can you teach me about being a Christian?" To which they were told they must say, "I'm sorry, I can't talk about that." My daughter said they had a guy approach them in McDonald's. (Yes, they have McDonald's. But it ain't like an American McDonald's. Oh no! Read the book to learn more!!) You can tell if it's a plant because if a Chinese citizen really wanted to seriously ask about being a Christian, they would do so privately and secretly. Not loudly and in public.

At any rate, I could go on and on, but if I did, you would have no reason to read the book! I have loved incorporating all of her interesting stories into my novel.

In the end, the book is a love story. But the setting and the interesting little facts about Chinese culture made it fascinating to write. I could research all day and never learn about the things my daughter has told me. I'm so glad she let me share her experiences. I feel like she gave me the inside scoop and it lends an authentic and unique view of China as seen through an American's eyes.

More posts like this are on their way! I have so many fascinating things to share with you!

Okay, back to work for me. Time to give CHASING FIREFLIES its final polish!

Have a great Monday!


  1. So cool! I'm excited to see which of these find their way into the final version. I am so excited for your book to launch. It's one of my favorites ever!

    1. Awwwww, thank you, Charissa! I'm hoping to sneak each one of these into the book. Not in huge detail, just a little mention here and there. I was on the phone with my daughter for an hour last night as she told me all kinds of things that came to her as she read the book. I can't make that many changes without changing the book drastically. Besides, it's really about the love story and I don't want it to turn into a travelogue. But whatever I can sneak in here and there, I will!

  2. Thanks for the inside scoop. I'm looking forward to learning more! The first two books in the series (and the prequel novella) are fantastic! I'm glad there's lots more to read and I'm especially looking forward to reading your book!

    1. I've really enjoyed the other books out as well. This has really been a fun project.
      All of the little China tidbits my daughter has told me I find fascinating. I would STARVE there, because the food does NOT sound good to me. But my daughter really does make it sound like a magical place and I love seeing it through her eyes. Hopefully, I captured that in the novel. I would LOVE to have you read and review for me, Melanie! As always!

  3. It is so exciting that your daughter had this opportunity. It is so sad that the Chinese are tortured and killed if they profess faith in Christ. We are so fortunate in the USA and I hope we continue to have the privilege to share our faith freely!

    1. Yes, we are very blessed to have freedom of religion in this country. I can't imagine never having the opportunity to even learn about Christ. When my father visited he said they were still able to have discussions with people about how we should live our lives, without actually mentioning Christianity. They had to talk around it, but they did indeed have careful discussions, which I found interesting.
      I was petrified to let my daughter go to China, but it ended up being a really good experience for her.