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Jamie Jo Hoang - Author & World Traveler

Travel Iceland


Iceland is a paradise unlike anywhere else. An island in the Arctic Circle, it’s a haven of colorful architecture, kind-hearted locals, and otherworldly landscapes.

Make your way to Reykjavik and get your walking shoes on. Your first stop for the afternoon must be Baejarins Beztu Pylsur: The famous hot dog stand.

A simple hot dog, it’s covered with mustard and a gravy sauce. The best part though is the crispy onion beneath the hot dog. Come hungry and order two with all the fixings. 

Continue on your walk and you’ll discover colorful buildings, ornate churches, snow-white swans, souvenir shops, wool clothing stores and cafes galore.

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Traveling Finland & Estonia


It’s been a while since I’ve posted about travel. Life–as it happens–got in the way. But I finally got my wings back and I feel enriched in a way that I haven’t in some time. In my twenties, I launched into travel after heartbreak and in my thirties, it would appear that it’s been revived by love. Go ahead barf away (I won’t lie, typing that made me gag a little.) But it’s true nonetheless. Anyway on to the good stuff. 

Finland. We landed in Helsinki in the dead of the night, grabbed a shuttle to a nearby hotel to crash and then picked up our rental car and headed up north. I was hellbent on seeing the Northern Lights and if that meant driving 12 hours to the Lapland then that’s what we were going to do. Finland in September is lush with...

An Author’s Voice


For the first time in a while, I found myself so enraptured in a book that I stayed up until 4 in the morning trying to finish. The book TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS surprised me. I found the book, I hate to admit, because I was the runner up for a book award, which Sejal Hadani won. After reading a slew of really terrible indie books, I decided to read one that beat me out in a contest. To be honest I can’t remember which one it was; in any case I’m glad I did.

I am generally not a fan of books that have multiple main characters, I find that the author’s tend to rush the story lines and the book ends up being unsatisfying. Not the case here. TRAIL OF BROKEN WINGS is about a family who suffered from an abusive...

Twitter for Authors


As a self-published author I turned to Twitter as a way of promoting my book BLUE SUN, YELLOW SKY, but over the past year, it sort of shifted into something more.

Twitter is a great tool for authors. Not only do we get to practice marketing 140 characters at a time, it’s a great way for us to send out 140 character snippets throughout the day. I look at it as short bursts of creativity.

However, if you’re expecting Twitter to sell your book, I hate to break it to you, but it’s probably not going to work. A year and a half, and 48,000 followers later here’s what I learned about using Twitter as an author.

Treat Twitter like a giant networking tool. I began by following as many writer’s as I could find every day. At first only a few of them followed...

High Marks from the 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards


Writer's Digest Award Logo

I just received my scores from the judges and BLUE SUN, YELLOW SKY received a honorable mention with 5/5 in all 5 categories of the 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Honestly, I am so blown away and humbled by the support of my fellow writer’s and writing community. This entire journey with my little book has been enlightening as well as educational. I spent the last decade reading articles on Writer’s Digest and admiring other writer’s who had the courage to write a book and then release it to the world and I’m so happy to be able to call them my colleagues now!

I wrote my first article for Writer’s Digest this past year thanks to the wonderful Chuck Sambuchino who...

Why KDP is Really the Only Platform for Indie Authors


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I have been promoting my book BLUE SUN, YELLOW SKY for a little over a year now and I’ve tried everything under the moon to boost sales and get the word out about my book. The thing is, it’s really hard to compete with the hundreds of traditionally published books with millions of advertising dollars behind them. I’m not complaining, this is the just the nature of the game at the moment.

Yes, there are anomalies that have emerged and multi-million dollar books have come out of kindle sales, but you see it’s just that. 100% of successful self-published books rose out of the indie slush pile through the kindle.

As an indie author, I really wanted to try and spread my book as far...

The Book Every American Needs to Read – IT’S WHAT I DO


Photo taken from the It's What I do website. All rights are the owners.

Photo taken from the It’s What I do website. All rights are the owners.

This post was meant to be a book review of sorts. But as I’m listening to the last 30 minutes of this incredible book, IT’S WHAT I DO, this post is slowly turning into a pleading message to every American: Please, please, please, read this book. 

Lindsay Addario, a photo journalist for the New York Times, recounts experiences living at the edge and capturing images in the midst of war. As a spectator reading articles in the newspaper, I don’t think I ever truly considered the risk a photographer takes when capturing bullet-ridden moments with nothing but a...

An Open Invitation to all Indie Authors


I am one of the millions of indie authors out there fighting for shelf space in an already incredibly saturated market. It is controlled by book publishers who have the financial ability to spread their advertisements far and wide and push my book to the back.

I’m not saying I have a Pulitzer on my hands (not that I would ever know since surprise, surprise, I can’t submit my book without the backing of a publisher!), but even getting a book on notable lists like the New York Times, Pop Sugar, and The Guardian is nearly impossible without paying gobs of money to a publicity firm, which in the end may or may not even be able to get you a spot anyway. My book, BLUE SUN, YELLOW SKY (shameless plug) has won three major Indie Awards, got a starred Kirkus Review, and...

South Park, James Cameron, and Writing


Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the last 5 years you’ve probably seen this video South Park made of James Cameron. They’re clearly making fun of the fact that he has to actually “do” the things he makes movies about and that he, in fact, does everything. Cameron has a thirst for adventure like no one else and the end result of that curiosity are his incredible movies.

My dad rarely ever goes to see a movie. Mostly because his grasp of the English language isn’t good enough for him to understand or catch all of the subtext or innuendo’s. But when I took him to see Avatar, he totally got it. Moreover, he really enjoyed the visuals. I think for someone who has known poverty, and lived through a war, he was blown away by the...

A Visit to Pablo Naruda’s House in Santiago, Chile


 

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La Chascona–Pablo Narudas house in Santiago, Chile. Fun fact: There are two identical doors at this house, one for him and one for his mistress.

 

A few months ago I went to a beautiful wedding in Uruguay (a story that still needs to be written). From Los Angeles I had a daunting 24-hour flight, which included two layovers before reaching my final destination. The first stop was a quick drop down in Lima, Peru where 70% of the passengers disembarked and new people took their place. Pretty uneventful. Next stop, Santiago. I had an 8-hour layover so I decided to go exploring. There was a bit of a rush in knowing I only had a few...

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