Monday, January 25, 2016

First Fifteen in 2015 (3)

Okay! This is the last part of my reminiscence and promise I'll create more memories this year :)

AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, Nov. 12-13, 2015, Orlando, FL
For more photos of my first dog show please visit my FB page.

5. I attended my first dog show. Of course, I already saw a dog competition before. But, only on TV. It was a very different feeling when you can see those cute fellows competing against each other in swimming and other categories where they can shine. It's amazing how they can jump over obstacles, model their shiny hair, do some tricks and make everyone happy by just showing how beautiful and well-groomed they are. What is more amazing I believe is the hard work of the trainers. They do everything they can so their dogs will be on the spot-light even they just stay in the shadows. Their dogs' success is everything to them. It doesn't matter how tired they are on the training - the months of preparations and the money they spent just to enter the competition. There are things that are unique among us and that includes the priceless enjoyment and happiness trainers could get from seeing their dogs in the competition whether they win or not.

4. I rescued my first stray cat. I hope you remember my first cat, Rebel. Please read more about him by clicking here.

3. I received a card from a fan. I never expected my book to rank #4 in Amazon Bestsellers let alone receive a message from a very happy fan. It's enough for me to create something that I can be proud of but to learn that people also love what I worked hard for is indeed a blessing. Thank you!

Grandpa Bill and His 1000 Dogs ranked #4 in Amazon Bestsellers

2. I read for the public for the first time.  Writing is a solitary work. I love being by myself. It makes me think and reflect about my life. It gives me the peace that I need and the serenity that brings in the muse of writing. It welcomes deep thoughts, intense emotions and new ideas.

I'm not scared of people. I just  feel more comfortable if I'm on my own. So, to read in public is such a foreign thing for me. It's one of my fears. But YES, I did it!

I'm so proud conquering my fears in 2015 - the year when I can proudly say that I've been brave - that I was able to do the things I never expected that I can achieve. Kudos to that strength. Keep going. Work harder. There's a lot more to conquer in 2016!

1. I published my first children's dog book.  Publishing a book is next to impossible. Who would have thought that I would be able to really do it? I'm out of words. This is one of the greatest achievements I could ever have. There are a lot of things I needed to give up just to come up with this book. Though I have my disappointments, moments of giving up - of frustrations, angers and fears, still I made it!

I'm not even near to being wealthy. I can't still live by just selling my book, Grandpa Bill and His 1000 Dogs, but who says that I can't make it. There's no limitation on what we can do. It's only our fears that limit us to create something - to achieve something - to be something- to be someone - to be a bestselling author - to be whoever I would like to be - or to be simply me.

Lexus (dog) and Rebel (cat),  my precious babies, posing with my book.
With all these experiences, lessons and realizations, I am finally moving on. I'm letting you go 2015. Thank you! 

I formally Welcome 2016 before January ends! Don't worry. I'm not even late yet. Chinese New Year will be on February. Yey!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Fifteen Firsts in 2015 (2)

Here's the second installment of the Top 15 First Experiences I had in 2015:

10. I went cruising with someone special. The first boat experience I had was a scary one. It was on a small boat covered with a big tarp. It was so wavy that day and so cold. My whole family was throwing up while the waves are crashing to our tiny boat. I swear I was dying. It was a miracle that we survived that rough sail. I thought I'll never ride any kind of water transportation again. But it changed when I found someone who is willing to be nauseous with me. Nothing a pill of love can't cure eh?

9. I attended my first aerial yoga class. It seems like I love throwing up. This class was so memorable. I felt so dizzy  hanging upside down in a hammock so I slowly let go and slump on the floor while my eyes were closed. I heard my instructor asked me if I'm okay. I worked so hard to open my eyes even everything was still spinning so I could tell her I'll be fine. Suddenly, bile went up my throat. I vomited a little in my mouth! I swallowed it instantly so I won't spill everything on my instructor's face and won't embarrass myself more in front of everybody. I pretended nothing happened thought it was so nasty! I hurried home to throw up everything inside my body.  Ewww!

8. I visited Ernest Hemingway's house. This was a surprise from someone special. I thought we are just going to Florida Keys to go sight-seeing but he knows how much I love writing and a house of a well-known writer will certainly inspire me and excite me more than the popular beaches in  the Keys.

Photo by Iris Pickler

7. I met Mitch Albom. I love Mitch Albom. He's a superstar. A rock star. He's someone I adore and wish to be like. Just to have even a little bit of his writing talent is such a precious gift, I could die.

6. I met my favorite young adult author. I wrote about this experience in one of my entries. Please read my crazy story about meeting Melissa De La Cruz.

Photo credit:

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Fifteen First in 2015 (1)

My 2015 was a blessing. I experienced so many things for the first time. That's why it's already the second week of the New Year and I'm still having a hard time to say goodbye. Before I formally welcome 2016, let me reminisce my Top 15 Firsts in 2015:

Here are the FIRST FIVE:

15. I wore a two-piece swimsuit. I grew up in a conservative country where people wear t-shirts and shorts at the beach. Some even wear long-sleeves, afraid of becoming too dark and too exposed. I would say not all countries consider tanned skin as sexy and pretty. If you find these weird, you may want to know why Chinese women wear face-kinis.

Anyway, wearing two-piece at the beach is not just to be different. It's me proudly saying that, "I accept my body even how disproportionate it might be and whatever skin color I have, I am beautiful."

14. I endured the pain of threading and waxing. This is something I'm proud about where I came from, we don't care whether a woman has a mustache or hairy legs. Having hair in different parts of our body is just natural. However, when I moved here in the USA, it seems that most men are disgusted to see even one tiny hair on a woman's upper lip.

To fit in, I gave eyebrow threading a try and also used over-the-counter hair remover for my legs. Then I realized, why women need to go through these painful grooming just to acknowledge their beauty? Men go around with their long beard and hairy legs and no one cares. Threading and waxing can stay in 2015 forever.

I selected Hamsa or Hand of Fatima as my henna tattoo.
It symbolizes patience, loyalty, faith and resistance against difficulties.

13. I got my first tattoo. Conservative country means conservative people which includes my parents. They are so against tattoos that mentioning even a plan to have one will make them fuming mad. No explanation will make them change their minds. It was really odd because tattoos during our ancestors' time are like medals of honor.  The more success you have in battle the more tattoos you have and of course the more respect you gain from your community.

I actually just had a henna tattoo with my girlfriends. Still, it was liberating and I finally understand why my ancestors see being tattooed as beautiful and brave.

12. I conquered my fear of heights. I don't mind going up but going down is another story. I think I'm not scared to be in high places but I'm terrified to the thought of falling. Who is not afraid of falling anyway? Even falling in love is associated with pain and even death.

To face my fear, I agreed to join my aunt and cousin to enjoy different rides and slides in Orlando theme parks. I'm really amazed that I was able to get out alive from the scary roller coasters and 48 ft. + slides.

11. I went to the happiest place on earth. I promised to go to Disney World only when my aunt and cousin from Canada visit me in Florida. And it finally happened last September!

I haven't seen my aunt for 25 years and it's the first time that my cousin and I met each other in person. My grandma showed me a lot of his pictures and we even talked on Skype but we never had a chance to enjoy being together since they lived so far away. That's why Disney World really became the happiest place on earth for my family.

I'll share more about my firsts on my next post. Please visit me again soon. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

For the love of Melissa De La Cruz

Melissa De La Cruz, author of The Isle of the Lost, signing one of my favorite books in her Blue Bloods series.  On her table is my book, Grandpa Bill and His 1000 Dogs, that I gave her as a gift. (Sorry, I'm not the beautiful blonde. Someone needs to take the picture. LOL!)

I cancelled my birthday and changed it to November 20th when I found out that New York Times Best Selling Author Melissa De La Cruz will be in Miami Book Fair that day.

I told my family that they can forget whatever gift they were planning to give me. All I want was money for my Miami trip. I won't let my budget stop me from attending the book fair. I even thought of starting a campaign requesting people with good hearts to help my dream come true - meeting my favorite Blue Bloods series author. 

Months passed by, I planned every detail of my "birthday" - the day when I'll finally see Melissa De La Cruz face-to-face. However, the day before my special event, my dinning area got flooded. I kept my cool and tried to fix everything. I won't cancel my trip. I planned this for months. I fell asleep very excited for my big day. But to my dismay, when I stepped on my living room the next morning everything was soaking wet including all the electronics. It was 6:30am and I need to drive 4hrs just to be in Miami. Melissa's workshop was at 11:30am. I tried so hard to keep my tears from falling so I can keep moving my stuff to prevent more damage on them. It was already 8:30am when I finished moving everything from the living room to my bedroom. I've already lost hope of meeting my fav author but I still used short cuts just to be in Miami as fast as I can.

I arrived in Miami Dade College around 12:30pm. I didn't know where Building 2 was. I just kept walking while telling myself that if I am meant to meet Melissa then I will. Surprisingly, I found the building without stopping to ask someone for direction. My feet seemed to know where to go. The reading was over when I got to the venue. Luckily, Melissa had tons of fans asking for her autograph. I was the second to the last person in the line. After all the hurdles, I was able to have a chat with Melissa and even gave her a copy of my book.

Some may say, "Why went through all the troubles for a few minutes of seeing an author?" Well, why not? First of all, Melissa De La Cruz is not just an author. Please go to her website or to Amazon to check all her achievements and awards or else this post won't end. Second, she inspires me to keep writing. And the most important of all, she shows me that everyone has the chance to succeed as long as you keep dreaming and working hard.

Someday, I'll be like her. Any hardship I went through, going through and will go through will be worth it as long as my feet are heading to where they are suppose to go. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Back-to-Back Book Giveaways

Thanksgiving and Black Friday Ebook Giveaway

Get a FREE Kindle Edition of Grandpa Bill and His 1000 Dogs
Giveaway dates: Nov 27 - Nov 28, 2015
Download your free copy @

Goodreads Book Giveaway

WIN a Signed First Editon of Grandpa Bill and His 1000 Dogs
Giveaway dates: Nov 17 - Dec 17, 2015

Enter giveaway on this page ( or @

Friday, November 6, 2015

Why I'm writing about dogs, not the 'more important stuff'

A poster of He Named Me Malala. Found in

There's Malala Yousafzai, youngest Noble Prize winner, fighting for girls education and peace in the world. Here's Iris Pickler, a nobody, writing about dogs.

Why am I writing about animals instead of advocating against war and violence? Why I spend too much time researching and reading about the ways to prevent animal abuse and cruelty instead of campaigning against terrorism? 

Is my advocacy lesser than those who strive to end women assault and sex trafficking?

We have different views about this. All I know is through my children's book, Grandpa Bill and His 1000 Dogs, I'm sending a clear message to every kids - to respect all forms of life no matter how small or insignificant others might think they are.

When we teach our children to cherish and respect life as they care and love themselves and their family, we are molding lovers of peace and not suicide bombers. We are nurturing young people who might become like Malala who knows that women have the same rights as men and who makes sure that those rights are being practiced and not being violated.

When kids learn in their early age how to show compassion to the helpless and voiceless, they won't grow up beheading men like they are worthless beasts. Because for them there is no such thing as "worthless beast." Every creature, everything that has life is worthy of our love and respect.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Get Your FREE Kindle Today! - Halloween Treat

Happy Halloween!

Here's your Halloween Treat: FREE Kindle Edition of Grandpa Bill and His 1000 Dogs!

If you need a guide in downloading your FREE Kindle, you may read,  "10 Easy Steps to Download Your Free Amazon eBooks"

I accept book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads as my halloween treat :)


Photo found in