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We had an amazing launch party for my novel Dragon Chica co-sponsored by Books Inc. and the publisher GemmaMedia. San Francisco, live music by the Asian American band The Like Me’s, dim sum, a little talk by me about the book, and time to mingle with friends! I feel truly blessed.


photo by Jeni Fong/Grace Image Photography


For everyone who couldn’t be there in person, I’m putting up photos and videos from the event so you can check it out!

Here’s my photo album: Facebook Fan Page \”Dragon Chica Launch Album\”. (I’ll put up more photos periodically. This is all I had time to post right after the launch.)

We had a wonderful turnout. I will be posting the Q&A, but for now you can watch the videos for the Introductions, my discussion of how I came to write Dragon Chica including my involvement with Cambodian refugees in America since I was 15 years old, and the amazing acoustic version of The Like Me’s hit “Monkey, Dance Monkey.”


My dad took the videos! 🙂


I chose to read the excerpt from Dragon Chica that I thought would give everybody a strong sense of the personality of the protagonist, Nea.

It was great to see so many friends, including the writer Gwynn Gacosta and her husband Dustin Gordon, George Lew, writer Miki Garcia, Denise Kitt, Jeni Fong, Howard Wong, Madeline Tam (and her charming husband), Claudia Villalon, Dr. Herena Kim, Trish O’Hare, and many new friends!


Writer Gwynn Gacosta, me, Dustin Gordon



With Sandra Sengdara Siharath (founder of http://www.Seachampa.org)


It’s always great to see Sandra Sengdara Siharath, who founded the Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage and Musical Performing Arts Center of Oakland, California! You can check out her arts center, which offers classes in SE Asian dance, cooking, music and other cultural activities here: www.seachampa.org

And of course, we had an amazing live set of songs performed by the Bay Area’s own musical group The Like Me’s:

(I’ll be posting more of The Like Me’s songs in the coming weeks, so keep checking back!)


Laura Mam, lead singer of The Like Me's


You can follow Laura Mam and The Like Me’s online: www.thelikemes.com.

And last but not least, here is my amazing publisher, Trish O’Hare of GemmaMedia:

Trish O'Hare, publisher of GemmaMedia

Dragon Chica is now available in bookstores (you can ask your local independent bookstore to order a copy if they don’t have one in store), online,  and on Kindle.

And be on the lookout for upcoming readings at EastWind Books of Berkeley on November 13 at 3pm, the Tattered Cover in Denver, CO, on November 18 at 7:30 pm, and City Lights back in San Francisco in the spring!

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Today I received another question about my story “Saving Sourdi.” I thought the writer had some very good insights and thought it might be helpful to other students so am posting his letter and questions below. I will not put his name on this post unless he emails me with his permission to do so.


Ms. Chai:
My name is _______. I am a Peruvian citizen making a career in the United States. I am a sophomere student and I’m taking English composition II , and as my final essay I decided to write about your story ” Saving Sourdi”. Would you mind giving me some tips about it? …
I have a big brother that raised me like a son because my parents were always working, so I pretty much understand the relationship between brothers that grow up together and have a strong realtionship. When my brother grew up, I was still a 12-year-old kid and I felt betrayed when he did not play with me anymore. When I read the story, I remember my relationship with my brother and I felt a kind of sadness. My brother told me once that I have to remember with happiness because the memories would always be in my heart.

P.S. I really love your story, thanks for reviving my happy memories. It touched my heart…


I think that the story is about the bond between the two girls, and how Nea is jealous and selfish of her sister. I mean she loves her, but she doesn’t understand what is happening to Sourdi. The little sister feels betrayed by her sister, but in her inexperience she is worrying about her older sister.
My question is if I am in the right track? Or am I totally lost?
Please write me back.



Thanks for your question.

Actually, I think your analysis is very good. For me the core of the story is indeed the relationship between the two sisters, Nea and Sourdi. Nea loves Sourdi very much and, in my opinion, is genuinely concerned about her sister’s well-being. Because neither Ma nor Sourdi will discuss their true feelings with Nea, Nea has come to assume the worst about Sourdi’s relationship with her husband.

Whether this is out of a kind of selfishness and jealousy is for you to decide. I think Nea has many complex emotions and some of her emotions are based are unselfish reasons, some are based on her own personal need for her sister.

I deliberately wrote the story in such a way so that Sourdi’s situation is ambiguous. It is impossible to know if she is in danger or not when Nea receives her phone call.

I want the reader to have to think about the complex relationship between the two sisters. In this way, I wanted their individual personalities to be at the center of the plot.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for writing!
May-lee Chai

Join my Facebook fan page for updates! Click here–Facebook Fan Page for May-lee Chai

For updates on DRAGON CHICA–the novel about Nea,  Sourdi, and family–follow @Dragon_Chica on Twitter.

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