The Emperor's Pendant
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The self-publishing journal for my second children's mystery novel

Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Final entry:

Did an interview with the National Post this morning and the books arrive from the printer this afternoon. Can't beat that for a successful closing to this saga.

As soon as I save this I'm going to start the "Sing Song Girls" blog...

posted by Steve Whan 12:42 PM
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Friday, August 30, 2002
Yippee! The printing on the back cover is a little close to the edge, but that's a lesson for the next book. I've contacted Hignell and given them approval to print 1000 copies of the book. September 20th is still the deadline I've given them so I have books for the Word on the Street festival.

I guess there will be one final entry in this blog once I've received the books and then I'll start a new blog for book #3: "Sing Song Girls".

<sigh>of relief</sigh>

posted by Steve Whan 8:18 AM
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Thursday, August 29, 2002
The proofs are here, the proofs are here... well, at home anyway. Arrived by Fedex this morning... can hardly wait to get home!


posted by Steve Whan 3:09 PM
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Wednesday, August 21, 2002
Called Hignell this morning to see where we're at. Brian called back to say the text and cover have been printed. He just needs to schedule for a cut and bind. Should be out by the end of the week and I get the proof samples early next week.

posted by Steve Whan 9:35 AM
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Thursday, August 15, 2002
Received a Fax yesterday from Hignell to approve the four changes I requested. Fax'd back a hearty yes! All that's left now is to print the proof copies and send them to us -- which should be by tomorrow or early next week!

Lot's of interest already in the second book. Should be a fun few months as it gets launched...


posted by Steve Whan 7:41 AM
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Thursday, August 08, 2002
Back from vacation in the Maskoka region of Ontario. Got a good stab at book #3 while we were away (but hey, that will be another blog...)

On Tuesday we received a Fedex envelope from Hignell with the proof of the cover and blue line of the manuscript. Both look fabulous! Met with Trevor yesterday to review the cover and finished reading through the manuscript at lunch time. One small change for the cover and three minor ones for the book -- not too bad.

Xpresspost'd the proofs back to Hignell yesterday afternoon. Next comes the actual copies of the book to approve before the 1000 copies get printed. I think we're still on target for early September...

Almost there!

posted by Steve Whan 6:23 AM
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Thursday, July 18, 2002
Almost forgot... received a note from Trevor yesterday. He ftp'd a wider version of the cover to Hignell. No news appears to be good news now.

posted by Steve Whan 8:59 AM
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Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Got a call on Monday from Dave at Hignell. The book was going into production and there shouldn't be a problem with my September 20th deadline (need to the book for Vancouver's Word on the Street festival).

Sharon from Hignell called on Tuesday. The back cover is 1/16th too narrow -- put her onto Trevor to resolve this. The font file I provided also has problems. We went through this with the first book and I thought we'd be okay, but something about the font file I provided streaming the text differently than the .ttf I used in Windows. There will be an extra charge for Hignell to fix this. I'll have to learn about fonts for book #3...

posted by Steve Whan 7:46 AM
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Thursday, July 11, 2002
Yippee!!! The complete package of CD and hard copies (cover and manuscript) were stuffed in an Xpresspost envelope last night and should be on their way to the printers. Hopefully things will go smoothly and we'll have the blue line and cover proofs ready when I return from my vacation at the beginning of August.

It's hard to believe that we're done and I can start on the third book: The Sing Song Girls

posted by Steve Whan 9:34 AM
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Monday, July 08, 2002
I don't believe it -- we're done! Trevor completed the cover last night to go along with the manuscript that I finished last Friday. We just need to burn a CD with all of the files and then the book is on its way to the printers.


posted by Steve Whan 10:08 AM
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Friday, June 07, 2002
On Tuesday I sent a quotation request to my printer (Hignell Book Printing) -- the fax was here this morning with their quote and it's very reasonable (actually $30 less than the first book).

Tracey dropped off her final pass of the manuscript on Tuesday and I finished her changes last night. Just one last pass through the book to make sure it's perfect!!!

I'll prompt Trevor about the cover today...

posted by Steve Whan 7:39 AM
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Thursday, May 23, 2002
Gave the final version of the manuscript back to Tracey. She will pass a fine toothed comb over it and hopefully only a few minor errors are left to fix.

The colours scheme has been set for the cover (greens this time for green jade). Still working on the quotes...

posted by Steve Whan 8:18 AM
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Monday, May 06, 2002
Tracey dropped off the manuscript this afternoon -- commas are going to be, the , death, of, me (apparently you never can have enough of them!). I have a bunch of minor corrections to make plus I need to see what Quark Xpress does with "widows and orphans". Then we'll all do one final read through for any lingering errors.

Trevor is hoping to have some cover roughs by next week...

Finally, I still need two quotes for the cover. I'll have to be more affirmative about getting them...

posted by Steve Whan 9:07 PM
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Friday, April 26, 2002
Some last minute changes, a graphic of the Five Tigers Xiangqi opening, and the manuscript is ready for Tracey right on schedule!

This weekend I'm going to launch the "Bullets on the Bund Quote" contest. Hopefully I'll get a good response and have some excellent quotes to choose from for the back cover. Speaking of which, Trevor just got back from a whirlwind trip of Asia (including Shanghai -- why is it that everyone but me has been to Shanghai?) and is ready to roll on the cover artwork.

Off the top of my head, I think early June is a good target for having everything ready for the printers. There, the schedule has been set...

posted by Steve Whan 7:29 AM
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Tuesday, April 23, 2002
The beauty of this being the second book is that it's all been done before. It's only taken two lunch hours to layout the entire book in Quark using the first book as a template. One final read through by the editing team and I think the manuscript is ready -- better start bugging Trevor about the cover now!

posted by Steve Whan 1:33 PM
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Thursday, April 11, 2002
We're this || close. I've made some minor changes and added in the Sisters of China SoC list again -- I received confirmation from an adoption expert on my idea for the list (more to come at a later date). Next week several copies will go out to some 9-14 year olds I know for a test reading.

I've just put up a sample chapter for The Emperor's Pendant and added a 'notifyme' email address.

The BC Book Award nominees were announced last week -- I'm a little disappointed, but then, I'm not part of the 'in' crowd and I'm sure there are big bucks at stake.

posted by Steve Whan 1:12 PM
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Tuesday, April 02, 2002
To quote Tracey: "I was really impressed, I think it's nearly there." I have Tracey's edits in hand and it's back to me to make the (far fewer this time) changes.

This next revision/version will go to my set of test readers for their comments. And then hopefully one more pass from Tracey and we're ready to lay out the manuscript in Quark Xpress. Looking at the calendar, I'll set April 26th as my goal for the manuscript to be ready again for Tracey.

posted by Steve Whan 2:40 PM
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Thursday, March 28, 2002
A quick update...

Tracey has promised to get the manuscript back to me by next Tuesday (April 2nd). Yippee!

I had an idea while shaving this morning for a contest. I'll ask the people who've read the first book to provide a quote for the back cover of the second book. The winner will receive an autographed and numbered copy of "The Emperor's Pendant."

posted by Steve Whan 6:32 AM
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Thursday, March 14, 2002
Done. I completed the version 0.4 revisions last night (ahead of schedule!). Now its back to Tracey and her red pen again.

As Mrs. Lee would say: "A monk who knows the forest happily converses with God"


posted by Steve Whan 7:42 AM
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Tuesday, March 12, 2002
Danielle finished her review of the manuscript yesterday -- I'm about halfway through her suggested changes. Still on track...

Received a copy of Writing Success (from with my picture and brief interview on page 46. It turned out very nice. Now to find time to read the entire magazine to see what I should be doing better!

posted by Steve Whan 3:15 PM
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Saturday, March 09, 2002
Done! i.e. finished pass four, rearranged where the third dream sequence was and then did a fifth pass to smooth out the language and transitions. Danielle now has the manuscript to review. My target is to get Tracey the next version by the 15th.

Found a great (and I'm mean great) resource for The "Walking Stick" Method of Self Defense:

I plan on learning the techniques and then put together a course to offer at one of the local rec centres.

I had an idea during the night: send a letter to all of the school libraries in the Greater Vancouver area (and include an order form). Worth a try.

posted by Steve Whan 7:58 AM
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Monday, March 04, 2002
Almost forgot... I met with Trevor last Friday to give him a copy of the manuscript and go over some cover ideas. We're targeting May for nailing down the cover elements.

I'm about a third of the way through edit pass number four -- I'm hoping for a big push tonight to get it done...


posted by Steve Whan 2:26 PM
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Monday, February 25, 2002
Completed pass three of the manuscript last night. One more pass to add the additional character details (especially Mrs. Lee) and fill in missing material. Possibly another week before Danielle gets to read it again.

I was supposed to meet with Trevor last Friday to kick off the cover design. He was sick so we've re-scheduled for next Friday. I have a preliminary sketch, but I'm sure Trevor will come up with some better ideas after he's read the manuscript.

Sent in our registration for the Word on the Street festival. Trevor and I will be sharing a table and it will hopefully be great publicity for both of us. It also gives me a target to shoot for -- I need the second book to be back from the printers by September 1st.


posted by Steve Whan 9:31 AM
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Friday, February 15, 2002
Made the big time today with an order from the National Book Service. That put me over the 400 mark -- on to 500!

I'm taking my time with Tracey's edits. Since I only have an informal deadline I have the luxury to do it right. The next version is going to be 100% better.

Found a Random Chinese Proverb generator to add some colour to Mrs. Lee:

Mrs. Lee bowed reverently to the portrait of her ancestors. "A mountain praying to the forest never betrays a horse," she whispered.

posted by Steve Whan 8:39 AM
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Monday, February 11, 2002
Tracey and I met on Sunday to go over the manuscript. My favourite comments were (at least that's what the filter in front of my brain picked up) "...a very strong plot..." and "'s as good as the first one...". I've started the edit/rewrite process -- I figure it will take several weeks before the second iteration with Tracey.

The new look for web site went into production on Saturday night, and I'm very happy with my work this time around! 376 books sold and counting...

posted by Steve Whan 3:08 PM
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Friday, February 08, 2002
A quick update... Tracey has read the manuscript for "The Emperor's Pendant" and will be getting her edits back to me next Monday. The revamped autumnjade web site should be up this weekend -- I'm pretty excited with how it turned out.

posted by Steve Whan 9:11 AM
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Monday, January 28, 2002
I'm working on a revamp of the web site. I want to make it as easy as possible to purchase multiple books on-line. Everything else should be secondary for now.

This seemed like the best use of my time while I'm waiting to get the first edits back from Tracey. I've started on the outline for the third book, but I won't be able to really concentrate on it until the second one is at the printers.

posted by Steve Whan 6:52 AM
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Friday, January 18, 2002

Danielle and I did two late nighters and pulled off a second, much more detailed edit.

Reminder: writing and editing are two completely different exercises. Please leave your ego at the door during the edit phase. Writing creates the story, develops the characters and generally tries to do something interesting and original; editing is picking apart every word and comma and ensuring they are perfect.

Tracey gets her copy today!

I sketched out an idea for the cover. I'll mock it up for Trevor -- I've decided to hold off giving him a copy until the next round of revisions are done.

posted by Steve Whan 7:32 AM
. . .
Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Finished the first edit last night!

Danielle and I will do one more edit tonight and tomorrow before I give it to Tracey on Friday.

Sold the 348th copy of "Bullets on the Bund" today. I'm arranging a school visit for the end of the month which should help me get closer to the 400 mark.

posted by Steve Whan 9:42 AM
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Monday, January 14, 2002
Received my ISBN number already: 0-9688198-1-8

Wow, that was fast!

posted by Steve Whan 4:56 PM
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Unless you're brilliant, it takes a team to get a book into print. My team consists of my wife, Danielle, who gets to trash all the early drafts and help turn the manuscript into a real story, my editor Tracey who knows where all the commas are supposed to go and a wonderful young illustrator Trevor Lai who's signed on to do all of the covers (check out the covers for my first book here: Bullets on the Bund.

Danielle finished her review of the manuscript yesterday. I'm about a third way through her changes with a goal of getting the manscript to Tracey by the weekend -- right on schedule!

posted by Steve Whan 1:04 PM
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Sunday, January 13, 2002
Went here: to get an ISBN number for book #2.

You can search for more info about Autumn Jade Publishing here:

posted by Steve Whan 1:08 AM
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Friday, January 11, 2002

This weblog will be used to capture the journey of writing and self-publishing my second children's mystery novel.

The story so far...

My wife and I have adopted two beautiful girls from China. While doing the paperwork for our second adoption, I had an idea for a book. I read the Hardy Boys when I was younger and my sisters read Nancy Drew -- where were the mysteries with an Asian (and more to the point, adopted) heroine? From this idea was quickly born Autumn Jade and her world. Autumn was adopted from Shanghai, China and lives in a suburb of Vancouver. She solves a present day mystery with the help of vivid dreams for Shanghai in the 1930s.

I wrote the book "Bullets on the Bund", received a wonderful rejection letter from Scholastic Canada and then decided to self-publish. The book came back from the printers last summer and I've already sold over 1/3rd of my initial print run. I was interviewed for the upcoming March edition of Writer's Digest and life is good. You can read a sample chapter here: Chapter One

I started the second book in the series, "The Emperor's Pendant" last September. I took two weeks off of work and wrote about 60% of it. I finished the first draft on the weekend and now the editing begins. As the process unfolds and the book gets closer and closer to the printers, I will use this weblog to keep track of the highlights and lowlights of this journey.

-- Steve

posted by Steve Whan 7:58 AM
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