Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Lucky 13s Take Over, Week One: Ellen Oh - Swan vs Eagle

While I'm in the writing cave finishing my WIP, some of my fellow Lucky 13s are stepping in to guest blog for me. This week, I'm handing over to Ellen Oh.

So since Emma invited me to share something with her blog readers, I thought I’d share a story about my Mom and how she kept me sane during the time I was querying PROPHECY. I had just left my previous agent and was in that phase of wondering if I’d ever get representation again and I was a nervous wreck. I stressed about everything, I checked my email box hundreds of times, I stalked agents online, wondering whether or not they were reading my MS, I second guessed myself all the time.  I was not rational.  And it didn’t help that it seemed like all my writer friends were getting book deals while I still labored in the trenches. I couldn’t see clearly. Until my Mom gave me the smackdown.

My folks came down for a visit during the height of my submission craze. They'd known that I'd been under a lot of stress and were worried about me. The first thing my Mom said was to turn off the laptop. "All that computer does is give you stress. Turn it off and come sit down and talk."

I turned off the computer and sat down, heart sinking for the lecture that I knew was coming. It won't matter if I'm 60 years old, my parents will always lecture me. That's life.

"Ellen, why are you so stressed about this book?" my Mom asked. "Why don't you forget about it already."

"That's impossible, Mom. I just can't forget it."

"Not forget forever. Just for a little while," my Mom said. "Listen, don't be stuck on your book. Let it go and be happy. When you are happy, really happy, then go back to it. Nothing works when your brain is filled with stress." She rubbed at the crease between my eyebrows. "Your brain is all filled with worry and stress and miserableness. Why you want to put that in your book? You put that in your book - who will want to read it? Happiness makes you healthy. Healthy makes your brain happy. Then you write your book."

I nodded and sighed. "It's not that easy..."

"Of course it's not easy." My Mom shook her head at me. "You and your sister got your writing gene from your Dad. He's a great writer. Great newspaper columnist (my Dad had a column in the national Korean American paper for years). But then he writed 3 books and they don't do good. He's depressed and gives up writing. That's why he's worried about you girls. But I'm not worried. I know one day people will applaud me just for being your mother. You will be great one day. But don't rush it. You don't have to. I will live until I am 110! You have plenty of time. Don't rush."

I began to laugh. "Thanks Mom. Maybe one day then it'll all work out for me. It's just hard when I see all my friends succeed and I wonder when it will happen to me."

My Mom smiled and grabbed my hands. "What kind of writer will you be? Some writers will write 10 books that are all forgettable. You will be the writer that writes one book, but it will be unforgettable. I believe in you. Some people lay eggs that turn into chickens - others lay eggs that turn into eagles. You are no chicken. You are an Eagle. One day you will soar."

"Funny - I thought you were going to say swan, but I like the eagle analogy better," I said.

"Swan, BAH! Only look good on outside. Open its mouth and the ugliest sound come out. Eagle is better. Look strong, look powerful, be strong, be powerful."

"Thanks Mom, you're right."

"Of course. I'm almost always right."

Ellen Oh's debut novel, PROPHECY, will be released January 2nd, 2013 by HarperTeen. Visit her at, like her Prophecy Series Facebook Page or follow her on Twitter -


  1. Love your inspiring story! And you have a very wise mum :) Thank you for your post. It brightened my day!

  2. Wonderful story and mom's are almost always right. ;)

  3. Love the support here! Such great advice. May I borrow your mother for a time?

  4. I remember that time, Ellen, but I was always confident you'd make a big splash sooner or later. And now I want to hang out with your mom. Is it weird to want to hang out with your friend's mom? It is, isn't it?

  5. You can totally hang out with my Mom anytime! But don't expect any special treatment! she will yell at you just as much as she will at me! ;o)

  6. Your mom should meet my mom. They could be one and the same!