Cross-Cultural Studies

Cultural Exchange Fund Grant and Other Markets

In an effort to make my life more organized (or organized at all), I am going to attempt to post on a schedule. For now, I’ll try to post blogs, news, etc every Monday and post book reviews on Wednesdays. Here’s hoping!

For today’s news, I received the following information from Hope Clark’s Funds For Writers. If you haven’t signed up to receive free copies of Hope’s newsletters, you’re missing out on an important guide to current markets, supporters, and more. A tip on this particular gem: the deadline may be soon. Don’t delay if you’re interested.

Arts Presenters will fund individual travel subsidies and
group travel subsidies. The maximum amount awarded per
individual organization, inclusive of travel costs and per
diem, is $2,000. Group travel subsidies will be awarded only
to groups of three or more presenters from different member
presenting organizations. The maximum award for a group is
$10,000, with no more than $2,000 awarded per organization.
In promoting cross-cultural arts programming, Arts Presenters
strongly encourages travel to the following locations,
including but not limited to: the Middle East, Asia, Latin
America and Africa.Arts Presenters will award travel subsidies
to individual presenters, presenting organizations and to
groups of presenters traveling to see the work of artists,
companies and/or to develop and advance projects with
international artists and their collaborators. All applicants
must be active members of the Association of Performing Arts

And yet another contest:

Sponsored by Smoke City Narrators 

ENTRY FEE – $8.50 
DEADLINE – Postmarked or Emailed by November 15, 2010. 

First prize – $150. Second prize – $75. Third prize – $40. 6 HM. Feedback posted on website.

Agent Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management, NY, NY. Email/Snail Mail: 1. First 5 pages of a novel, 1,500 words max. 
2. O
ne-sentence synopsis of the novel, 25 words or less. 
Novel does not have to be complete.) 

Entry pages not published. Authors keep all rights. 
Open Internationally. Checks (US bank), Money Orders or PayPal. 
Please see website for complete rules.

Good luck, all ye competitors!

Jeannie Lin – Guest Blogger: Deep Culture versus Surface Culture

I feel like I’m introducing a star and am just a wee bit giddy. By now you’re all familiar with “The Taming of Mei Lin.” I’m delighted that the author, Jeannie Lin, has agreed to do a guest blog today!

Victoria and I belong in a group that she started for authors of Asian novels and we often discuss issues specific to writing Asian characters and subject matter for an English language audience. One of the tricky challenges is how to represent the cultural background of the characters authentically.
Something I always keep in mind when writing any character is the idea of deep culture versus surface culture. It was something first pointed out to me in my teaching program and it’s a good way of deconstructing what really makes a culture distinct.
Surface culture refers to the things that are outwardly visible and more easily identified by observing people from the culture. The clothing, the food, and the customs. These are the immediate things that come to mind when we think of other cultures. For Tang Dynasty culture, examples would include the silk clothing and hair styles. It would include etiquette such as bowing. Even folklore and mythology are part of surface culture.
Deep culture is harder to detect. These aspects go down to the belief systems that members of the culture hold common. You may start to get a feel for it after spending an extended period of time within a culture. Examples of this would be ideas about death and family. In Asian culture, it’s not uncommon to speak about previous lives or next lives. We even do this in everyday conversation of a non-spiritual nature. 
It can be as subtle as the concept of time. For example, it’s understood among Asians that if you get invited to a wedding at 5pm, everyone knows not to show up until 7pm and, if lucky, you’ll eat around 8. Westerners have a very different concept of time. In Western culture, it’s respectful to be on time if not early.

Of course there are individuals within each culture. People who go against the grain know they are going against the grain, and it should show in their character. When I got married, my mother specifically told guests to observe “American time”. Mom is a business woman and hates it when people don’t respect schedules, but she also understands this cultural aspect, as shown by how she admonished my wedding guests!

When it comes to writing a historical novel, surface culture is easy to throw out there. We can dress them in embroidered silk robes. Put carvings of dragons in bas relief over temple walls. We can have our characters bow and observe proper status.
Deep culture is how writers truly create authenticity. If we describe these beliefs explicitly, then it feels unnatural, as if the book is lecturing rather than storytelling. The challenge is subtly weaving details of deep culture into the characters’ internal thoughts and emotions as we create their world view. No matter what your character’s ethnic background, this infusion of deep culture is what convinces readers that they are living, breathing people. This is true of Regency England, or the American West, or Tang Dynasty China.
When I’m reading a historical, this infusion of deep culture is more convincing than clothes or dates or facts and ultimately—way more satisfying.
Jeannie Lin writes historical romantic adventures set in Tang Dynasty China. Her short story, The Taming of Mei Lin from Harlequin Historical Undone is available September 1. Her award-winning debut novel, Butterfly Swords, will be released October 1, also from Harlequin Historical. Join the launch celebration at for giveaways and special features. Visit Jeannie online at:

2010 Greater Kansas City Japan Festival

Traditional Japanese Musical Performances
Denver Taiko, Kuniko Yamamoto (Japanese Storyteller),
Aya Uchida (Japanese Pop Singer from Japan), God of Shamisen,
Koto and Shakuhachi, J-Band, Bunraku Puppets, K-State Yosakoi Dance Troupe,
KU Okinawan Dance Troupe, Buyo Dance, Metropolitan Youth Orchestra and more
Musical Performances
Concert 1:2-4:30 P.M.     Concert 2: 5:30-8:30 P.M.
Japanese Candy Artist
Traditional Japanese Food
11 A.M. – 7 P.M.
Japanese Beer and Sake Tasting
4-7 P.M.
Traditional Japanese Snacks and Sweets
Bazaar Shopping Extravaganza
Unique Japanese craft items, Kimono, dolls and much more
10 A.M. – 8 P.M.
Samurai Armor, Kimonos, Japanese Hina Dolls, Ikebana and Bonsai
Japanese Cultural Village
Fun activities, pictures in Kimono and Samurai armor, craft shop, special performances for kids and adults
Workshops and Demonstrations – Cultural Presentations
Martial Arts
Anime & Manga
Anime and Manga Vendors
Cosplay Contest with Cash Prizes (sign up on the GKCJF website)
Want to volunteer at the GKGJF? Go to the festival website to sign up.
For complete information on events and times, go to:

Study of Body Language and Its Implications

Okay, I’m going to cheat a little this morning and direct you to a recent study, a book and fellow author’s site: All That You Desire.
The topic of the article is the difference between how Asians and Caucasians read body language and may well force me to change some things in my ms.
The book is on a related topic in that the author is a former FBI agent and an expert on reading body language. He will tell you there are many universal tells of human body language. Apparently there are Cultural differences in how we read and interpret that language, though, some of which Jeannie Lin discusses on her blog. Pretty cool and thanks for the heads up, Jeannie!