The Book Drop: Handpicked reads delivered from an indie bookstore

The Book Drop: Handpicked reads delivered from an indie bookstore

If you’re like me, you love reading shelf talkers at independent bookstores — You know, those handwritten notes from the booksellers recommending books they love. These shelf talkers often pique my interest enough to pick up books I’ve never heard of before — and more often than not, I end...
Thank you Brooklyn and Philadelphia

Thank you Brooklyn and Philadelphia

Thank you to Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn for hosting the Red Hen Press reading earlier this month — with a wine reception, no less! This gorgeous neighborhood bookstore was such a fun place to read — and it was an honor to get to read with two of my fellow...
Cake Time on Newport Mercury's summer reading list

Cake Time on Newport Mercury’s summer reading list

It’s already summer — or at least it feels like it — and the summer reading lists are coming out! I’m overjoyed that Cake Time is on Newport Mercury’s list — Fictional encounters: 12 books to take you away this summer: Wendy Fontaine writes that “Ju’s writing is witty, blunt...
Five firsts: Samantha Dunn on salsa, self-love, and success

Five firsts: Samantha Dunn on salsa, self-love, and success

Every month, I interview an author I admire on her literary firsts. April’s featured author is Samantha Dunn, author of Faith in Carlos Gomez: A Memoir of Salsa, Sex, and Salvation. This memoir is funny, irreverent, and heartfelt. It starts with the newly divorced, thirty-something Samantha’s introduction to salsa — via...
Taste New York in L.A.: 5 new restaurants

Taste New York in L.A.: 5 new restaurants

I’ve declared June New York month because I’m in New York right now on my east coast book tour! I’ve been so excited about this trip that before flying out, I actually prepped by checking out New York restaurants that recently opened in Los Angeles. Apparently the west coast is...
May book reviews: Rules and emotions

May book reviews: Rules and emotions

Brief reviews of books by contemporary authors I read this month — along with photos of what I ate while reading. The list is ordered by the level my enjoyment: The Rules of Inheritance: A Memoir by Claire Bidwell Smith (Hudson Street, 2012) “Even in the moments when you don’t...
June giveaway: Samantha Dunn's Faith in Carlos Gomez

June giveaway: Samantha Dunn’s Faith in Carlos Gomez

I’ve been blogging about salsa dancing the last few weeks — so fittingly, this month’s giveaway is a salsa memoir! Samantha Dunn’s book Faith in Carlos Gomez: A Memoir of Salsa, Sex, and Salvation starts with the newly divorced, thirty-something Samantha’s introduction to salsa — via a lover who quickly...
5 trendy spots for healthy meals on the go in Los Angeles

5 trendy spots for healthy meals on the go in Los Angeles

Don’t have time to nori-wrap your tempeh bulgogi or to slice-n-bake sweet potato toasts for your paleo tartine? Indulge your love of health fads and fusion food alike at these healthy to-go spots this spring. __ Kye’s. Santa Monica: 1518 Montana Ave. This sunny spot is the home of the...
Cake Time on the East Coast (and one reading in LA!)

Cake Time on the East Coast (and one reading in LA!)

The West Coast tour happened in April, but the East Coast mini Cake Time tour is still coming up! But first, I have one reading in Los Angels before flying east. I’ll be one of the guest readers at Lauren Eggert-Crowe’s Bitches of the Drought Chapbook Release Party. It’s free,...
Best coffee shops for writers in Los Angeles: Northeast LA

Best coffee shops for writers in Los Angeles: Northeast LA

Picky writers can’t just go to any coffee shop. We need good working spaces with comfy chairs and tables. We need decent wifi and electric outlets for our laptops. We (or at least I) need good reading light. And we like to be able to hang for a few hours...
Live Talks Los Angeles: Literary conversations with popular authors

Live Talks Los Angeles: Literary conversations with popular authors

Ever wonder how novelists are treated at the Oscars? At a Live Talks Los Angeles event on Monday, Colm Tóibín dished on his experience attending an Academy Award after his novel Brooklyn was made into a film. “If you’re a star up for an Oscar, you go in one door,...
Best coffee shops for writers in Los Angeles: Westside

Best coffee shops for writers in Los Angeles: Westside

Picky writers can’t just go to any coffee shop. We need good working spaces with comfy chairs and tables. We need decent wifi and electric outlets for our laptops. We (or at least I) need good reading light. And we like to be able to hang for a few hours...
How to start salsa dancing in Los Angeles

How to start salsa dancing in Los Angeles

Once upon a time, as in a few years ago, a friend dragged me to her beginner’s salsa dancing class. I learned how to do the basic step and right turn — and instantly developed a semi-addiction to salsa — For writers especially, salsa dancing is in many ways an...
Five firsts: Rob Roberge on on binge writing, craft, and realistic expectations

Five firsts: Rob Roberge on on binge writing, craft, and realistic expectations

Every month, I interview an author I admire on his literary firsts. April’s featured author is Rob Roberge, author of The Cost of Living, a wild ride of a novel starring Bud Barrett — guitarist of an indie rock band — who goes from reckless days of touring and partying...
Get Your Free eBook: A Guide to Literary Los Angeles

Get Your Free eBook: A Guide to Literary Los Angeles

So you’re lit-curious. Maybe you’re a young writer thinking about signing up for your first poetry workshop. Or maybe you’re already an established novelist planning to visit Southern California. Or maybe you just love reading books, and want to meet other bibliophiles. Or maybe you’re a writer simply looking for...

Hi! I’m Siel, a writer and reader.

Each month I interview an author who inspires me about the pleasures, perils, and practical hows of writing a first book — to help you forge your own creative path.

I also blog about living a literary life in Los Angeles, and give away a book I love each month! Sign up for my monthly newsletter to get entered into the drawing.

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My novel-in-stories Cake Time is available now!

Cake Time by Siel JuIndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book club discussion questions for Cake Time

“A promising start for a brave and unapologetically bold new writer.”

Kirkus (starred review)

Cake Time is a delicious indulgence. Treat yourself to its dark, seductive intimacies and savor the gritty sugar of its unsentimental humor.”

— Jillian Lauren, NY Times bestselling author of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, and Everything You Ever Wanted

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