Cool updates (and not-so-cool updates)

First, I’ll start with the cool updates. We all need some good, fun news these days, right?!

In less than a week after its launch, The Paper Kingdom sold out in many bookstores and on Amazon – WOW. The book was performing beyond expectations, so Penguin Random House started additional print runs. Super exciting, right?! Well, not so fast — you’ll read about a strange turn of events halfway down…

Anyway, we had a wonderful launch event at Children’s Book World in Los Angeles. People came with interesting questions and lots of book love. Pascal and I had a great time chatting with the audience. It was a real treat for me because I met one of my lovely website subscribers in person for the first time, and I also saw one of my favorite librarians from the L.A. Public Library in the crowd.

Me & Pascal at our launch event at Children’s Book World L.A. This was when spirits were high and everything was going super well.

All smiles while signing a bunch of books. I will reflect back to this time with much fondness, especially given how things pivoted so sharply…

I also wrote a couple of articles that got some good buzz. My op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times came out in print and online – click here. I also wrote an article for, which was their headlining piece several weeks ago, as well as an Editor’s Pick — click here. With all these writing projects, I felt like a Writer, with a capital W.

I was also interviewed by some cool podcasts, which are listed under “Interviews” on this page.

And…drumroll…interviews with NPR and K-ABC will soon go live!!! I’ll update my website once they’re available.

I look really weird and greasy here, but this was taken in the recording booth at NPR. It’s pretty cool to see their logo on the screens + me & Pascal with our headsets. It was such a great interview – I can’t wait for you to hear it (even though I had a couple of embarrassing moments when I nearly broke down and cried). Things were still going really great at this point.

This photo is from my interview with K-ABC TV. They chose a scenic nice park near downtown L.A. for the interview.

John, the cameraman for K-ABC TV, took some footage of me walking through the park. I wish I’d worn high-heeled boots (rather than flat ones) to look a little more stylish (and taller!). I also wish I’d taken photos of the giant TV camera + reflector board + microphone + tripod AND of course, the lovely reporter Jessica — but I forgot.

And NOW…deep breath…here are the not-so-cool updates ☹

I had to cancel ALL of my upcoming NYC events due to the current situation in the world (Ugh, COVID-19, please go away!!) I was so excited about speaking at The Strand, Books of Wonder, and Books are Magic, but my publisher and I agreed that it’s prudent to cancel for now.

We’re still planning to move forward with my events in the S.F. Bay Area in May, but we’ll see. Right now, I’m not very optimistic. Updates will be posted here.

The other frustrating thing is that the book is out of stock at many retailers–for instance, Amazon sold out of the book within a week after launch. This is good and bad. Good because lots of people bought it! Bad because I have no idea when the inventory will be replenished. Here’s a link you can use to find copies of the book: your best bet right now is either Barnes & Noble, or my personal preference would be to support an independent bookstore (use the link for IndieBound to search in your local area).

Though my publisher placed new print orders a while ago, the copies have yet to arrive because most children’s book printing happens overseas – so you can imagine the delays given all the shutdowns, lockdowns, quarantines, etc. There are some people who ordered the book in February, but their copies still haven’t arrived! My local library still hasn’t received their copies, either, so I stopped by to donate the book.

Three years ago when my manuscript first sold, I couldn’t have imagined that a VIRUS (of all things!!!) would impact the book’s journey.

If I take a step back and inhale a deep breath, I’m grateful. Grateful because this book is finally out in the world, and it has found some very appreciative readers. I’m utterly grateful for readers like you!

I’ll have more updates very soon – and I hope they’re of the good variety!

Until then, stay safe and stay sane in these strange, unsettling times. Wash your hands, don’t crowd your home with toilet paper, and take a deep breath 😊

I’ll leave you with some fun images in order to end this post on an upbeat note!

I love the intense concentration on this young reader’s adorable face. Thank you, @dropandgivemenerdy, for this heartwarming photo!

My wonderful audience at St. Matthew’s Parish School in the Pacific Palisades. If you take a look at the second row, I love how the kids’ feet don’t touch the ground. I remember that time in my life when I could swing my legs back and forth on a chair because I was too small to rest my feet on the ground. Loved visiting this school — such a good audience.

I spoke at a weekend book fair at the Walden School in Pasadena. What a great place! The audience was full of energy and fabulous questions. (A good friend of mine advised me to learn to pose better in photos — I think I agree!)

This photo was taken about a month ago on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. My parents are standing in front of the building they used to clean, with a little kid at their side.

Here’s an old photo of little me with my parents — this was taken during the period covered in The Paper Kingdom. (It looks like I have a little bald spot on my forehead because my mother used to pull my hair back into the tightest ponytails known to humankind. Don’t worry — my hairline survived!) Whenever I look at childhood photos, it’s so clear I was a daddy’s girl. We were always clinging to each other, while my mother was somewhere on the side 🙂


4 Responses to “Cool updates (and not-so-cool updates)”

  1. Claude Vidal

    I find this photo of your parents in front of the building they used to clean at night while entertaining their adorable, albeit occasionally grumpy, little imp quite moving. They have accomplished something very special. The older shot shows how remarkably handsome they were (mais ce n’est pas étonnant. les chiens ne font pas des chats) and you look a lot like your father, as I had already noticed when I met your parents at your house.

    • Helena

      Merci, Claude! Oui, c’est vrai — I look very much like my father (same nose!). And oui, c’est vrai aussi que j’etais “a little imp”. I guess I still am 😉 Thank you always for your lovely messages!

  2. Bette

    I was so sorry to read this update. With all your hard work and glorious product, you deserve better. Hopefully, your publisher will re-release your book this summer as if it were brand new, and we can all buy copies and come to your public events.

    From a self-quarantined fan in DC!

    • Helena

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment. It warmed my heart. Stay healthy and safe, and I’m sending a (virtual) hug all the way to DC. xoxo!