December 6, 2009

Guest Post & Giveaway: Author Wendy Nelson Tokunaga



A Writer’s Inspirations
by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga

The Creative Writing 101 teacher stated that the course requirement was for each student to complete three short stories in a semester. They could be about anything—anything that inspired us.

I’d enrolled in this community college evening course inspired by my colleagues at a technical writing job I’d just landed in Silicon Valley. By day we wrote summaries of computer magazine articles and at night, many of my fellow employees wrote fiction. I’d always had a strong creative side and spent a lot of my twenties and thirties pursuing music and writing songs. But I’d never written fiction. It appealed to me and that’s how I found myself one September night with the daunting task of writing three short stories in about 16 weeks.

Could I do it? And, even more important, what would I write about? What would be my inspiration?

It surprised me when the stories that poured forth turned out to be about Japan and Japanese culture, though if I’d thought about it, it was a natural outcome.

I’d become a raging Japanophile starting in college when I stumbled upon a course called Japanese American Personality, which filled a general studies requirement. Taught by a dynamic Japanese-American professor, he fueled my interest in all things Japanese—the literature, the tea ceremony, the language, etc. It didn’t hurt that he was also good looking as I’d always been attracted to Asian men instead of big, blond football types. I also greatly admired the politeness, order and ritual of the Japanese language and culture, which is generally much more reserved and refined, as opposed to in-your-face. Being a Caucasian-American with no prominent heritage or religious identity, the idea of embracing a new culture was attractive to me.

Friends kept saying that I must have been Japanese in a past life because it was such a good fit. My passion for music dovetailed when my first trip to Japan was as a winner in a songwriting contest sponsored by a Japanese record company.

Eventually I lived in Tokyo for a year. I taught English, did recorded narration work for language tapes, and sang with some rock bands. When I returned home I participated in Japanese karaoke contests in San Francisco’s Japantown and won a number of prizes. And it was in San Francisco that I met and married my husband Manabu Tokunaga, an expatriate who had moved to the United States from Osaka when he was eighteen.

Japan and Japanese culture have not only influenced those first short stories and, eventually, my two novels, “Midori by Moonlight” and “Love in Translation,” but they have played a major role in my life.

I couldn’t help but be inspired.

Visit Wendy's website, Twitter and Facebook.



Bio:

Wendy Nelson Tokunaga is the author of the novels, MIDORI BY MOONLIGHT (St. Martin's, Available Now) and the forthcoming LOVE IN TRANSLATION (St. Martin's, November 2009). Japan and Japanese culture have been major influences on her life and this is reflected in much of her writing. Her novel, NO KIDDING, won the Literary/Mainstream Fiction category in Writer’s Digest’s Best Self-Published Book Awards in 2002. She is also the author of two children's non-fiction books, and has had short stories published in various literary journals. Wendy signed her two-book deal with St. Martin’s just as she was beginning the MFA in Writing program at the University of San Francisco in 2006. Along with her MFA, she also holds a BA in Psychology from San Francisco State University.



I received an extra copy of this book to use in a giveaway
Open to residents of the US and Canada

ENTRIES:

Leave all entries in one comment or separate comments:
+1 for commenting
+1 for following this blog
+1 for following me on twitter
+5 for sharing this contest -make sure you leave the link in your comments (on your blog, -sidebar counts, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) THIS CAN BE DONE ONCE A DAY
+5 for following my other blog freebies4meandu.
+5 for faving me on Technorati (right sidebar)
+1 for friending me on Myspace here.
+1 for friending me on Facebook here.
+1 for connecting with me via Networked Blogs (right sidebar)
+1 for friending me on GoodReads here.
+1 for friending me on Book Blogs here.
+1 for grabbing my button and placing it on your sidebar - leave link or your this entry does not count.
+2 for every meaningful comment you leave on any of my posts - excluding giveaway posts - make sure you come back and leave a comment on the giveaway post you would like to add your entries to
+10 for following my girl Krista's blog
+10 for clicking on my Social Vibe icon (left sidebar) and filling out the information These entries can be used in any of my giveaways (both blogs). Email me or leave a comment somewhere on my blog letting me know how you want to use your entries.
+10 for following Krista on Twitter
+10 for sending Krista a Facebook friend request
+100 Make a purchase using the icon below, email me the receipt at bjhopper(at)me(dot)com and receive 100 extra entries (per item) into the giveaway of your choice. This goes for both of my blogs.

+100 entries for each item purchased from my Amazon aStore (at the top of my blog). You can use those entries in any of my giveaways (both blogs). All you need to do is email me at bjhopper(at)me(dot)com your receipt and let me know how you want to use your entries.

*Current friends/followers receive the extra points as well - just make sure you remind me in the comments*

**Must leave an email address in comment or must be visible in blogger profile**

Winners will be chosen Dec. 18th and notified via email. The winners will have 48 hours to send me their mailing info or another winner will be chosen.


Bookmark and Share

32 comments:

Melissa Burmester said...

Please enter me in the contest

tweeted +5
http://twitter.com/Ginger_High/statuses/6404002248
+1 for following this blog
+1 for following me on twitter

+5 for following my other blog freebies4meandu.
+5 for faving me on Technorati
+1 for friending me on Facebook
+1 for friending me on GoodReads
+1 for friending me on Book Blogs
+1 for grabbing my button and placing it on your sidebar www.melissa-gingerhigh.blogspot.com
+10 for following my girl Krista's blog
+10 for following Krista on Twitter
+10 for sending Krista a Facebook friend request
melissa(at)gingerhigh(dot)com

Benita said...

+ 1 commenting-This book is on my must read list. I so hope I'm lucky.

+1 for following Readaholic.

+5 for following It's My Life.

+1 for friending you on goodreads.

+10 for following Krista's blog.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

brizmus said...

+1 I also am totally obsessed with Japan. I'm about to head over there for about a year, so this seems like totally the book for me. I hope I win!
+1 for following this blog
+1 for following you on twitter (@brizmus)
+5 in my sidebar under the contest list - http://brizmusblogsbooks.blogspot.com
+5 tweeted here - http://twitter.com/brizmus/statuses/6411641470
+5 for following my other blog freebies4meandu.
+1 for friending you on Myspace here. (Audrey Baker)
+1 for friending you on Facebook here. (Audrey Elaine Baker)
+1 for connecting with you via Networked Blogs
+1 for friending you on GoodReads here.
+1 for friending you on Book Blogs here.
+1 your button is rolling in my sidebar
+10 for following Krista's blog
+10 filled out the Social Vibe thing a while ago
+10 for following Krista on Twitter

yay!

zedster.tbb(at)gmail(DOT)com

dor said...

+1 Really want to read this..thanks

+1 Follow on google friend..dor

+5 for following my other blog freebies4meandu

+1 Facebook friendss..Doreen Rio

+1 Networked Blogs

+1 Goodreads friend..Doreen

+10 following Krista's blog

+10 for sending Krista a Facebook friend request

dorcontest at gmail dot com

Crazy-for-Books said...

Enter me, please! :)

js1997 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Crazy-for-Books said...

I follow you on Twitter

@crazybookblog

js1997 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Crazy-for-Books said...

I follow your blog on Google Reader

js1997 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

CallMeKayla said...

sounds good.

+1 commented
+1 facebook friend
+1 myspace friend
+1 twitter follower- bookluver09
+1 button on my blog- http://sexywomenread.blogspot.com
+10 facebook friends with Krista
+10 following Krista on twitter- bookluver09
+10 following Krista's blog
+5 following your other blog

kaylajohnson3969@sbcglobal.net

mindy said...

this looks wonderful thanks minsthins at optonline dot net

Beth (BBRB) said...

I'm a Facebook fan (Beth Book Review).

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

Beth (BBRB) said...

I'm a follower.

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

Beth (BBRB) said...

This looks great! Please enter me!

BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

Homemaker said...

This looks like a great Winter's night book...

sallylynnsara@hotmail.com

Homemaker said...

I am following you on Twitter

Homemaker said...

I am now a follower of your blog..

sallylynnsara@hotmail.com

Eric & Sarita said...

Pick me!
+1 for commenting
+1 for following this blog
+1 for following me on twitter
+1 for friending me on Facebook here.
+1 for connecting with me via Networked Blogs

Alicia said...

I'd love to read this.

Thanks for the giveaway >^..^<

bloggyig at gmail dot com

kakihara said...

Yes please, this would be perfect for my daughter!!
Thanks for the chance to win!
kakihararocks@gmail.com

Pam said...

I've read some great things about this book. It sounds like one I'd really enjoy!

+1 for following this blog
+1 networked blogs
+5 for following my other blog freebies4meandu.
+5 for faving me on Technorati
+1 for friending me on Facebook
+1 for friending me on GoodReads

melacan at hotmail dot com

Wanda said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks!

I am a follower of your blog.

wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

Miranda said...

Looks like a GREAT read

kathy55439 said...

Looks like a good read thank you for contest

Bethie said...

Please count me. Thanks for the chance.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

DarcyO said...

Sounds like a great read. Please include me.
+1 commenting
+1 follower
+1 twitter follower (darcy1956)
+1 Goodreads friend

LittleEagle said...

Please enter me. I'm sorry that I don't have a blog, facebook page nor do I twitter. sharonaquilino at hotmail dot com

Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a book I'd really enjoy reading. Please enter me. Thanks!

+1 Commenting
+1 Following blog
+5 I follow on freebies4meandu

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

FrankSandy said...

Please enter me. walkerd@primus.ca

FrankSandy said...

I follow you. walkerd@primus.ca

FrankSandy said...

Please enter me.

I follow you on Google.

walkerd@primus.ca

dsandyboy said...

Please enter me in this giveaway.

dsandyboy@gmail.com

dsandyboy said...

I am a follower.

dsandyboy@gmail.com

Sarah said...

Please enter me in this giveaway!

+1 for following this blog
+1 for following me on twitter
+5 for tweeting http://twitter.com/saemmerson/status/6788775231
+5 for following my other blog freebies4meandu.
+5 for faving me on Technorati
+1 for friending me on Facebook
+1 for connecting with me via Networked Blogs
+1 for friending me on GoodReads
+1 for friending me on Book Blogs
+10 for following my girl Krista's blog
+10 for clicking on my Social Vibe icon
+10 for following Krista on Twitter
+10 for sending Krista a Facebook friend request

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah Emmerson