If Only I Could …

If only I could charge $1 an autograph, I’d be rich.

Look what arrived from my publishers yesterday:

Signed book plates on left, unsigned book plates on right.

When you’re an author you have to sign sqillion book plates before you leave the country. Everyone thinks you’re running away and won’t come back.

Seriously, I have to finish signing all the plates before I leave on my research trip next Wednesday, or else! Today is Friday. This means there are 113 hours before my plane takes off — and I still have to …

1. Do my laundry.

2. Stop my mail.

3. Stop my newspaper.

4. Stop playing Scramble.

5. Pay my bills.

6. Write this post. What am I doing writing a bloogie post when I should be packing???!!!

7. Pack.

8. Finish making all my hotel reservations. It’s really hard!!!

9. Pick up my visa.

Chinese visa receipt.

That’s right. I haven’t picked it up yet.

I could should have picked it up on Wednesday when it was available, but I had a sqillion things to do, such as …

A. Buy a new suitcase:

My new PDK (Personal Disaster Kit).

Isn’t it a pretty color? When you’re an author, it’s important to buy a suitcase that you can instantly recognize as yours when it comes out in baggage claim and starts spinning around and around with all the other suitcases that are black and look like everyone else’s.

B. Start getting stuff for my PDK:

PDK stuff.

Don’t laugh. When you’re an author, you never know when you’re going to be hungry or catch cold. It could happen at any time. Especially when you’re 6877 miles or 11,065 km away from home.

And you’re all by yourself.

And everyone you meet is trying to sell you something.

Or take you for a ride.

Worse, your gung fu skills don’t work.

All the signs are in Chinese.

And your Chinese isn’t that good.

Actually, my Mandarin is horrible. A Chinese preschooler would have a bigger vocabulary. Worse, the last time I used my long-neglected college Mandarin, was the last time I was in China — 11 years ago. A lot can happen to an arm or leg that you don’t use in 11 years. It goes numb. It turns blue. Then gray. Then white. Then it falls off.

Well, maybe it was already missing.


I’m going to be in BIG trouble, I just know it.

Okay, I’m going to say it, I’m SOOOOO SCARED!!!

How did I ever come up with this cockamamie idea to send Alvin to China in the next book?

Am I crazy???

When you’re an author, sometimes you are. You come up with a brilliant idea to send your character on a daring adventure far away. It’ll be a tale of indomitable courage and dangerous expeditions. Alvin will get into scrapes. And narrow escapes. He’ll see things he’s never seen before. And things he’ll wish he’d never seen.

It’s brilliant, but you’re not. You have to go first, just to get it right.

Ooh, my stomach hurts.

My ears ring.

I don’t feel so well.

Why didn’t I think to send him to Chinese school instead???

Will Alvin survive? Will he make it back?

Will I survive? Will I make it back?

I know what my publishers think.


Poor me.

Only 111 hours left …

If only I could … get out of it!!!

3 thoughts on “If Only I Could …

  1. No, you have to go so we can have another wonderful Alvin Ho book! And you have to survive so you can actually write the book! Ok, you have to survive too because we’d miss you too 🙂 Have a fun time and post pics for us.


  2. I wonder if if both you and Alvin survive : Alvin in trying to not be busted; and you in speaking the right language. Hm………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Have a good trip! Your friend , Aidan


  3. Bring some sanitizing wipes! I was going to send you some, but didn’t know if it will arrive before you leave. And those disposable toilet seat covers? Almonds are a good fortifying snack! Love the suitcase! 🙂


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