Posts Tagged ‘Kensington Publishing NY’

Love Made of Heart Turns 9 Years Old October 2011

To celebrate my novel’s anniversary . . .

Last Thursday I was at San Francisco Public Library for a Women’s National Book Association meeting to shoot one-minute videos of WNBA members and guests so that they can use them to promote themselves. So, there I was, Writing Career Coach Teresa, demonstrating how to create a short video, express yourself, and not have to be in front of the camera.

I am still overjoyed that my novel Love Made of Heart is in public libraries and also archived at the San Francisco History Center.

In this video, I re-declared that I use Love Made of Heart to inspire adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families. Also, I encourage everyone to get a library card.



Look what I received in the mail !


card to Teresa LeYung-Ryan from Teacher Sheryl Fairchild and her delightful students


sweet messages to Teresa LeYung-Ryan from Sheryl Fairchild's wonderful students


Bette Davis stamps used on envelope sent to Teresa LeYung-Ryan from Ms. Sheryl Fairchild of San Francisco State University. Protagonist Ruby Lin in Love Made of Heart had found her role models in characters portrayed by Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. So sweet of Ms. Fairchild and her students to think about the details! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and that's no pun.

Ms. Sheryl Fairchild’s wonderful students in First Year Composition at San Francisco State University had asked me these questions when I visited them last month.

Our Conversation with Teresa LeYung Ryan

Nicole:  I would like to ask her why she wanted to share her story to the world?

Erin:  I’d like to ask why she used Hollywood movie starts as Ruby’s “voice”  . . .   why she wrote certain characters like Mrs. Nussbaum or Emily into the story and if they represent someone she knows in her life.

Allison:  I would like to ask her if the events that she described in the novel are synonymous with her real life or if they just represent different things that have happened to her.

Stephen:  Was the story of her mother having mental illness true or was it completely made up?

Rozlynn:  I would like to know more about Ruby’s brother John, he’s a very mysterious character in the novel.

Heather:  I would like to ask her if she wrote her story to help people dealing with similar domestic violence issues or people that have someone with mental illness in their life, feel like they aren’t alone, or if she wrote the story for therapeutic reasons of her own.

Kerri:  How long did it take for her to be comfortable with writing this story?

James:  I would like to know if she overcame her past through therapy or was it a different source that was able to help her like a friend or lover?

Jonathan:  If Teresa’s view on men has changed when going from a traditional Chinese man . . . to her new marriage of 7 years that she talks about on the back cover.

Ashley:  What challenges did you face writing the book? What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Kyndal:  Did she ever find out more information about her grandmother?

Reyanna:  I would like to ask about Ruby’s grandmother. We never really know what happened to her and why she left America. Was it because of the harsh trials immigrants suffered? Also, I would like to know about Ruby’s brother as well. She never mentioned much about him or the grandmother.

Questions for Teresa from our worksheets:
o    Why did you want to share your story?
o    Have you gotten in contact with your brother?
o    Why did you choose not to use any Chinese language in the novel?
o    Why did you use a paper that Emily wrote to tell Ruby’s story at the end of the novel, rather than having Ruby tell the story herself?
o    Why did you choose that specific ending?
o    What did you find out about your culture as you were writing this novel?
o    Is your husband Chinese?
o    Did you ever talk to Vincent again?
o    How did your family react to your writing the book?

The Essence or Meaning of the Novel:
In Our Own Words

*     Do not dwell on the past, if you do, you cannot move forward with the future.

*     Forgive, but do not forget what you’ve learned from that experience.

*      Cannot judge people right away (such with Vincent)

*     Tradition vs. modern

*      Substituting fictional characters’ lives for Ruby’s – the life she wished she had

*     “Different kinds of love”

*     Culture – Culture’s clashing

*      Childhood – How the things you see as a child sculpt your life and views: violence at home,
family values/traditions, family relationships

*      Communication – If it exists or doesn’t

*     Family ties – Loyalty vs. independence

*      The book Love Made of Heart shows how someone’s troubled past affects their present life.


What a lovely way to celebrate the birthday of Love Made of Heart !  I’m overjoyed. I’d like to believe that my mom is giggling on Cloud Nine. Thank you, Ms. Fairchild, Allison, Ashley, Chris, Colin, Erin, Heather, Henriikka, James, Joelle, Jonathan, Kerri, Kyndal, Luis, Niki, Reyanna, Roxanne, Rozlynn, Stephen, Teja, Zenia for reading Love Made of Heart and asking thoughtful questions. YOU all are love made of heart!


Because of Martha Alderson’s plot coaching, my novel Love Made of Heart was transformed into a page-turner. The story grabbed Stacey Glick‘s attention, then Kensington Publishing’s John Scognamiglio‘s [ Thank you to Stacey and all the folks at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management!  Thank you to John and all the folks at and associated with Kensington Publishing NY ].  Fast forward… Love Made of Heart is:

  • used as required reading in colleges and universities
  • available in libraries
  • archived at the San Francisco History Center
  • attracting a steady flow of readers/fans
  • being my passport to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.
  • linking my mission statement to Glenn Close’s BringChange2Mind and NAMI‘s.  I use Love Made of Heart to inspire other adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families.

None of this would have happened if Martha had not taught me how to plot the front-story.

Thank you, Everyone (starting with first Critique Group members Cat, Theresa Stephenson, Evelyn Miche, Olga Malyj . . .) who have played a role in sending Love Made of Heart into the world. You all have my deepest gratitude.

Martha’s new book The Plot Whisperer is inspiring me to write another novel.


Coach Teresa

Teresa LeYung-Ryan says: “Reach out, not stress out, when pursuing your dreams!”





Coach Teresa, did you write an article about plotting a writer’s platform for Plot Teacher Martha Alderson?

Martha Alderson, plot teacher, published my article especially written for her:

Here’s Martha’s introduction:

Teresa LeYung Ryan

I met Teresa more than twelve years ago, before either of us were published. When Teresa’s book, Love Made of Heart, a story about a daughter’s journey to self-forgiveness, was published by Kensington Publishing NY, she gave me credit for teaching her about the difference between front-story and back-story. As she promoted her book, she generously continued to give me credit and, in so doing, helped launch my plot teaching career. I’ve been grateful for her help ever since.

Now, Teresa has crafted a book for writers interested in building a platform for themselves. Early in our careers, the need for a fiction writer to have a “platform” was not great. Today, it’s imperative for all writers to establish a platform for themselves. In her new book, Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase in 22 Days Teresa gives easy to follow steps. I asked her to share some of her thoughts and ideas on building a writer’s platform.

Know Where Your Protagonist Is Going, Plot Your Story; Know Where Your Career is Heading, Plot Your Platform

From Plot Master Martha Alderson you have learned how to plot your story. Now, you might be asking “What is a platform?” and “Why do I need to plot one?”

On page 1 of my workbook Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days, the definition of platform: “Making your name stand for something—to attract targeted consumers who are likely to buy what you have to sell.”

Celebrity authors and best-selling authors have platforms. Authors who want to attract agents and publishers need platforms; authors who want to be their own publishers need them too.

Martha says: “Plot is what happens to the protagonist because of the dramatic action . . . . when the dramatic action changes him/her at depth over time, the story becomes thematically significant.”

The operative words are “at depth” and “over time.”

Just as your protagonist is transformed, so can your platform.

Years ago, when my publisher (who had found me through my agent) offered me a contract, I had 18 months to “think about my platform” (it would take 18 months for my book to go through the channels– from the day I sign the contract to the day when my book would be in bookstores—18 luxurious months to make my name stand for something).

Today, most authors will never experience that luxury. Why? Because even when an author lands an agent, the author’s manuscript or book proposal is often rejected by publishers if the author cannot show that he/she has a fanbase/platform.

You might be saying “I don’t need publishers. I’m going to self-publish.”

I say “Wonderful! Whether you want to sell rights to a publisher or be your own publisher, “invest” in yourself. Grow your fanbase now. Plot your platform. Know where your career is heading the way you know where your protagonist is going. And please… reach out, not stress out.

3 Tips to Get Started–Make Your Name Audible, Visible, Memorable:

1) When you introduce yourself at parties, meetings, conferences . . . enunciate your full name; the person you’re chatting with could be a future fan
Show your full name on name badges and sign-in sheets. If you have a pen name, and you want people to remember you by that name, use your pseudonym. Your phone’s outgoing message—announce your full name.

2) What does your name look like in your email address? Is it something obscure like “cba94111” ? You’re professional, make your email address professional. Here is mine: “Teresa LeYung Ryan”

3) What does your signature block look like? Show your full name. Also, if you like adding quotes in your signature block . . . instead of quoting other people, quote yourself. Show email recipients (even family members and friend) something memorable.

Teresa LeYung Ryan, author/writing career coach
“I use my workbook to help writers gain a competitive edge. A platform is not something you stand on. It’s something you stand for!”

Teresa LeYung Ryan,
“I use my novel Love Made of Heart to inspire adult-children of mentally-ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and to gain resources for their families.”

Thank you, Writing Coach Teresa!

This is a sample of the ideas Teresa has to share with you in her new book, on her blog, and on her website. She, along with Elisa Southard — author of Break Through the Noise, has presented every year at the San Francisco Writers Conference to prepare writers for their pitch sessions with agents and publishers. She has helpful information for writers serious about their writing careers.

Thank you so much, Plot Teacher Martha!

If you’d like to read Martha’s interview of me as a novelist, go here:

Did you know that you can pre-order Martha’s new book via Amazon? (will be shipped October 2011 or sooner) The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master


Cheers to fiction and nonfiction writers!

Happy platform & fanbase building!

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan


Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW

paperback edition of workbook

Kindle ebook edition


In the summer of 1999, I took 2 three-week leaves-of-absence from my full time day job to plunge into what I knew would be the final rewrite of my novel Love Made of Heart (the story inspired by my mother–a beautiful woman who suffered mental illness all her life).  Three writers (Luisa Adams, Martha Alderson, Susan Canale) read that draft and gave me the most helpful criticism.  I made the improvements.  That summer I queried about 60 agents. By autumn, four agents asked for an exclusive read… I followed protocol.

In December that year, Stacey Glick of Dystel Literary Management (now Dystel & Goderich Literary Management) gifted me with these words: “Teresa, you’re a talented writer.  I would like to represent you.”

An agent’s advocacy doesn’t guarantee landing a publisher.  After receiving 22 rejections from all the acquisition editors she pitched to, and another seven months had passed, Stacey had incredible news.  It’s now April 2001, editorial director John Scognamiglio of Kensington Publishing NY had called Stacey Glick; Kensington wanted to make me an offer–to buy the publishing rights of my novel.  Laurie Perkin was the publisher; Debbie Tobias was Sales Director; Lou Malcangi for lovely book cover; Libba Bray (who is now an author of young adult books) for book jacket copy; Jacquie Edwards for copy editing; everyone who helped in the publishing process. I’ll show my “Acknowledgments”  in Love Made of Heart as another blog post.

Fast forward (I had to deliver more rewrites) . . . eighteen months later on October 1, 2002 the hardcover edition of Love Made of Heart made its debut.  I had so many people to thank. And so many presentations to deliver.

In October 2003 the trade paperback edition of  Love Made of Heart was released.

The trade paperback edition has the same striking book cover as the hardcover.  The trade paperback has my Author’s Note to Reader that the hardcover edition doesn’t have.

Author’s Note to Reader

Thank you for letting me share Ruby Lin’s story with you.  Many readers have asked me what the characters in the novel have done for me.  My answer is this: I’ve learned that behind every face is a compelling story.

Please remember me as a writer who says YES! to compassion for mental illness and NO! to domestic violence and child abuse.

Who is Mrs. Nussbaum?  She lives in all our hearts.  Just as we have the “child within,” we also have the “wise elder within.”  May you always embrace your compelling story and allow your Mrs. Nussbaum to embrace you.


Teresa LeYung Ryan

Love Made of Heart book cover


Build Your Writer's Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days Since 2007 I’ve been a writing career coach.  Since January 2010 I’ve been known as “22-Day Coach Teresa”   The new edition of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW is available through Amazon.  I created the fun workbook to help fiction and nonfiction authors gain a competitive edge.  Whether you want to be your own publisher or sell rights to another publisher, attract readers and more readers now!

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