Books

Friday, April 19, 2019

On Editing, and a Correction from Last Week

April has been a wonderful month for me so far, even if I am so far behind on my editing goal for Camp Nanowrimo that it's embarrassing. Not to say that I haven't been working on it. In the last three days, I edited three chapters and two of them had major rewrites needed. Which is actually something I'm not surprised by. 

When I was writing this book, I remember that the end was pretty well set in stone and I was writing to it. In the end, that made the book come out with a wishy-washy beginning and around the middle I finally seemed to hit my stride. There are still definite changes and fixes to make, but I have a lot of chapters that are going to essentially be a click and drag for editing, with a few minor lines edits thrown in. So, while the rough draft was getting a story down, this edit is all about making all of the parts awesome. 

If I end up doing the same thing I did last time, the next edit will be the story again, along with adding in detail, this time with an editors hand giving advice. After that, it goes back to the editor for a final all-around edit. When it comes back to me, I go through it with a full list of final minor changes and double check for any grammar issues that my editor may have missed. 

That said, this edit is going quickly. I'm already done about a quarter of the book. I'm hoping to have this edit done this month or next. Unfortunately, I do have some bad news there. My editor who did the work for Hunter's Gambit is no longer taking on editing clients anymore, which means that I'm going to have to do a lot of work, looking for a new editor. I wish her all the luck on her future endeavours, but I will miss the help she gave me with my novel. 

I'll keep you guys updated, but its my hope to get the next book, tentatively titled Lord's Curse, out to you guys this year, most likely just before Christmas. 

I would like to make one correction to last week's post. I mentioned the exciting news that I was going to be having a signing at one of the local Chapters bookstores later on in April. Unfortunately, that date has changed. The signing is still happening but will be on June 9th instead. On that note, I have been buying items for the signing date and I can't wait to show you everything as soon as I have some of the pieces in place. I will definitely make sure that I have pictures to post afterward!


Friday, April 12, 2019

Summer Camp as a Kid was Never this Fun

I may or may not have accidentally lost track of what day it was today... I thought I had an extra day to have this up. So, I apologize for being late and having this been a little bit short. I promise I'll try to have something better and less thrown together for next week. 

For this week though, I want to talk about something near and dear to my heart; Writing! 

April is the first of Nanowrimo's official events this year. Camp Nano, as it was officially dubbed, gives writers a chance to write or edit and unlike Nanowrimo itself, you can set your own goals. Think 50k is too much to finish? You can set your goal for 25k. Want to edit instead? Choose how many minutes or hours you'd like to edit (3000 is usually what is suggested if you're going for something similar to a 50k event). 

As with every year, I am taking part, though I expect that I won't make my goal. Give me November and I can get 50k done without too much trouble. Give me any other month and I'll struggle. I'm currently trying to work past my own limitations and get used to working on a creative endeavour so much. 

So, I can hear you asking, what is my goal for this month? 3000 minutes of editing, which comes out to 50 hours. I'm currently behind on that goal a little bit. I should be at 1200 min and I'm only at 825 minutes. I really need to buckle down, but I'm not horribly surprised. I celebrated my 11th anniversary with my husband on April 1st. My husband had taken some time off for it and we ended up fitting in leaving the city for a few days, so I knew that I would have to work to get caught up. 

The other thing you may be wondering is what I'm working on. I have made it no secret that I have written ahead in this. Book 2 and 3 are written in rough draft and I have started book 4, though it needs a lot of changes to make it match what I've written so far. This month specifically I'm working on editing book 2. I've finished my first round of editing last year and sent to beta readers. With their review, I've gone through the novel and have written down a full set of changes to make. 

Quite a few chapters will need very minor edits, but a few parts of the story essentially will need a full rewrite. I'm hoping to have this round finished by the end of April so I can start sending it to my editor for a professional run sooner rather than later. My current goal is to have book 2 out for you guys later this year, probably in November or December, but that's still very far off so don't quote me on that quite yet. 

On a separate note, I have some great news for everyone! I will be doing a public signing at a local Chapters! On April 28th, I will be at the Chapters near Sunridge (2555 32nd St NE, Calgary, Alberta, T1Y 7J6) from noon to 3 pm for a signing! Please stop by to see me and pick up your copy of my book! While you can currently pick up my book from Chapters, this signing is an important first step in actually getting my novel into stores to sell, so if you're in Calgary, please stop by! 

EDIT: Unfortunately, the date of the signing has changed. Due to circumstances, the signing will actually be held on June 9th. Sorry for the confusion!

Friday, April 5, 2019

A New Era Begins

Earlier this week, news broke that newest period of Japanese history would be known as the Reiwa 令和 period. In addition to being monumental in its own right, this was also the first time that many had heard that the current emperor, Akihito, had intentions to abdicate the throne at all, which is why I felt the need to talk about the new ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne. Please forgive me, as this article is less a personal discussion on changes, but an article I felt compelled to make to help present the information about the abdication in a concise and easy-to-digest manner. 

It was back in 2010 when the emperor first told his advisory council that one day he would like to retire. Six years later he made a formal request to do so. Since then the last two years have been spent speaking with everyone who could be considered as having a right to the throne and asking them to officially abdicate in favour of the preferred heir, Crown Prince Naruhito, and to prepare for the abdication process, which began officially on January 8th of this year.

Since then, both the current emperor and the crown prince have been preparing for the change in rulership, a process which picked up on March 12 when they began taking part in the private abdication ceremonies. Official celebrations will begin in late April-early May to coincide with not only the 30th anniversary jubilee arranged for the passing of the current emperor's reign but Golden Week, a week of holidays in Japan that feature no less than two emperors birthdays and Midori no Hi, also known as Greenery Day(April 29th), a holiday celebrated by showing one's love for plants and the natural world and to be thankful for their many blessings. On May 1st the new era will truly begin. On that day, the crown prince will become emperor, receiving two of the three imperial regalia as well as the Privy and State seals. His official enthronement ceremony will be held on October 22nd. 

As I said above, the new era will be known as  Reiwa 令和, a term that means Beautiful Harmony.  In reaction to some erroneous overseas reports, the Japanese Government felt the need to assure the world at large that they have no expansionistic designs or plans to try and force their beliefs upon the world at large, a fear that was brought up due to an alternate translation, part of which can also be used to mean "command" or "order" as well.

Personally speaking, while I am very excited about the prospect of seeing a new emperor enthroned and watching the changes that will come about from it, I remain filled with a sense of disappointment that Akihito's daughter, Sayako, will not be the next Empress of Japan. While the laws don't say that a woman can't be chosen as heir, the Japanese have had a preference for emperors, rather than empresses. In 2010 the point was made moot when Sayako married a long-time friend of the imperial family, Yoshiki Kuroda. At that time, according to the laws of Japan, she gave up her royal title of Nori-no-Miya (Princess Nori) and officially joined the Kuroda family. Even if she will never be empress, Sayako has done very well for herself, not only in completing her bachelor's degree in Language and Letters before becoming a research associate in 1998 but more recently as well, when she took over the position of the supreme priestess of Ise Shrine in 2012.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Who's a Good Boy?

I am not as much of a video gamer as I appear. I know all the jokes, but I rarely actually play the games. I'm not much of a fan of MMO's or RPG's unless its a JRPG. I have fallen in love with Pokemon since I bought my Switch and got the Pokeball to go with it and I can probably kick your ass Zuma's revenge. I fell in love with Terreria for a while, but as with everything, I eventually put it aside. 

Which is why when one of my friends offered me a free copy of Don't Starve, I originally declined. He'd told me about the game, but I couldn't imagine it being fun, and even if it was, I didn't want him to essentially waste a free game coupon on me. Still, later that year there was a sale and I ended up picking up a copy. 

That was a few years back, but I now have nearly a thousand hours between Don't Starve and Don't Starve Together. I went out of my way to figure out how to install mods onto my games so that I could add characters to the line up. Its the one game that I go back to every four or five months and then play into oblivion until I just can't do it anymore. 

And they released a new character yesterday (Thursday, March 28). 

I was excited as hell for it when I found out on Tuesday, but waking up with a sore throat, and aching muscles and feeling like I'm suffering real-life lag, I didn't even bother to wait and picked up the new character as soon as I could. 


This Good Boy is Wortox, wearing a set of gold bracelets that I received from one of the treasure boxes in the game. He is adorable and looks like a demonic puppy, which I find adorable. He eats the souls of the dead and uses them to do things like teleport short distances away. He's got pretty good health, but it's still going to take me a while to get used to playing him. 

While I was buying him (you can purchase him using in-game points too, but there was no way I was going to wait that long to play him), I also picked up all of his skins and the fire skins for Willow and Wendi while I was at it. I can't wait to try playing them again either, now. The picture just below is of my favourite skin of his, the Uncorrupted. 



So, yeah... expect to see me a bit less over the next few days, while I play this Good Boy for a while and try to not starve (though honestly, at this point, its always the big fights that end up killing me). What video games do you love playing? Do you know how many hours you've actually played them? 

Friday, March 22, 2019

I'm on a Podcast!!!

This week's post is going to be super short! I have been incredibly busy with the release of Hunter's Gambit this week and driving myself mad with mentioning it, marketing it and the such. I've had a great first week (I can't believe its even been a week so far) and everyone has been so supportive. Strangely, other than the amazing cover, everyone seems very pleased with my in-book design. Apparently, a lot of people find books have fonts that are too small and they love mine. It isn't something I ever thought I'd get comments on. I haven't gotten any reviews yet, but that is hardly a surprise since its only been a week. Hopefully, we'll see a few rolling in soon, and please remember to leave yours when you finish reading it!



As part of my preparation for my book release, I was a guest on the Just Joshing podcast and that episode just went out today. While the podcast is available on pretty much whichever podcast app you use, you can also find it here. The podcast is nearly an hour long, but it was a great conversation. We talk a lot about a variety of subjects and have a great chat. Joshua is a wonderful interviewer, and I'd suggest that after listening to my episode that you jump back and listen to a few of his older ones. In particular, I found his interviews with Fonda Lee, Calvin Jim, and Kai Kiriyama to be excellent episodes.


So go, check out the podcast and please, let me know when you publish a review or if you publish any thoughts online about it! Have a great weekend reading! I'll be getting back to work on editing, hoping to get the sequel out to you as soon as I can.

Please follow this link for a full list of where you can find Hunter's Gambit if you don't have a book you want to read this weekend.


Friday, March 15, 2019

Book Release Day! Hunter's Gambit Enters the World!


Woot! Today is the day! I have been waiting so long to share this with all of you! And while I won't be the first author to say that I'm incredibly proud of the work I'm putting out, I will say that there's also a part of me that is shaking in my boots, wishing I could change the cover or edit the book just one more time. It's so difficult putting your book out there, I think this is probably what parents feel like when they send their kids out into the world to take care of themselves. It's heady and terrifying at the same time.

To keep myself relaxed and not panicking, I've been playing a lot of video games and art. One of the art projects I ended up spending quite a bit of time on these last two weeks have been playing with the supplies I received from my Paletteful Packs art subscription box. This month was watercolour which is totally my jam. First, I painted an owl and after that, I decided to draw one of the characters from my favourite video game Don't Starve (and its sequel, Don't Starve Together). This is my version of Wigfried, the drama queen who plays as a barbarian. She's my second favourite character to play. Do you play the game? If not, what are your favourite games!

My fanart based on Klei's Character. 
Original Klei creation. 


And finally, my book is live now! Have you picked up Hunter's Gambit yet? Remember that I'll be looking for pictures of my book in the wild as well! Share them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #Huntersinthewild? I'll keep an eye out for them and like/retweet all of them! You'd really make my day by doing so! Even if it's just a picture of my cover on your e-reader or tablet, I'd still love to see it! 

As always, here are some links to where you can pick up your own copy of Hunter's Gambit if you haven't already. 


Physical Copies can be ordered from

Amazon
Chapters Indigo
Barnes & Noble


And E-copies can be ordered from

Kindle
Kobo
Apple
Nook



Friday, March 8, 2019

Hunter's Gambit - Chapter 1

Hunter's Gambit releases next week! I am so excited and can't wait to be able to share it with all of you! As a treat, since I know that you're all as eager as I am for this release, I've decided to share the first chapter with all of you! You can read it here first and get to know some of the characters! Let me know what you think! And, if you haven't ordered your copy already, I'll have links at the bottom of the article for you!




Chapter 1 

Kuzunoha struggled to smile. The lights were dimmed except for the ones near a temporary stage that had been set-up beside the bar specifically for tonight’s event. The tables had been shoved against the walls. Aside from a few benches, one of which Kuzunoha shared with her sister, the guest of honor, there was standing room only in the bar. A bead of sweat settled against her skin and she rubbed it away, harder than she needed to.

A few feet in front of their bench, standing at the podium, Tim Mason, their regent for the next five minutes, continued his speech. “Our little Himiko is all grown up. Her father worked hard to groom her for this role, knowing one day, she would have control of the family businesses again.”

Kuzunoha stretched her tense neck to the left and took a sip of the white grape juice in her cup, grimacing. She’d been drinking wine for years, but tonight she wasn’t allowed. She was the younger daughter, after all. If her elder sister was just attaining her majority, then she couldn’t be old enough, even though their birthdays were only a month apart. As if they wouldn’t notice that she’d been drinking for the last few years. But everything was tied to perception here.

For instance, Himiko hadn’t been the only one their father had groomed to take over. Most didn’t know that he had also trained his bastard daughter, Kuzunoha as well, knowing full well he’d never give her any say in the company. She’d been used her to whip Himiko into shape and then he’d left her with nothing. No job, no life outside her home.

What sort of monster wouldn’t be happy that her sister had come into her majority?

Tim looked at her sister fondly, not even glancing at Kuzunoha. “He’d always hoped to sit at your side and help you through your first few years.”

Tim bowed his head in deferential memory of his friend and everyone else followed suit. Kuzunoha refused to bow for him. For any other ancestor, yes, but he deserved nothing from her. Himiko hesitated and lowered her head, pinching Kuzunoha’s leg. She gasped but kept her head up. Himiko glared out of the corner of her eye but stayed silent.

Kuzunoha would hear about it later. Her sister would be embarrassed by her lack of respect and what it meant about their family. But Himiko wouldn’t do it in the open where anyone could listen. That would have been worse for their image.

“Still, I’ll be here to help you hold the reins... not that you aren’t already.” A ripple of laughter followed.

From anyone else, that comment may have come with a sarcastic edge. Kuzunoha knew it was genuine. Tim had enjoyed working for her father and he’d been the perfect choice for the position. He was a good joint partner, but he didn’t want to be the boss.

Compared to his easy smiles, Himiko’s looked forced. She’d been ready to take over as soon as their father had died. Instead, she’d patiently worked alongside Tim for the past four years. The silk industry and glass works kept Hidan growing, even during recessions. It was the town’s livelihood; everyone was waiting for the day the businesses fell back under Tanaka control.

But not hers. Her father had promised her that she wouldn’t be left out, forgotten.

He’d lied.

Tim smiled widely at Himiko, his warm brown eyes wet with tears. When she stood up, Tim made a show of handing her the ledgers, the imprinted leather gleaming warmly, first from the silk mill and then from the glass factory.

There wasn’t enough air in the room and what there was smelled of humidity, sweat, and oil. There were too many people; more than even a crowded morning in market. She needed air to clear her head but knew she couldn’t leave. It would have been rude… too rude for even a bastard to get away with unpunished.

At the podium, Himiko, raised the ledgers over her head. Everyone applauded and a few whooped. Her short hair, a dark chocolate shade under the lamp lights, was black like Kuzunoha’s own, and it hung around her face perfectly, just touching the bottom of her ears, a single tiny braid in the front offset the simple hairstyle. One length of the braid was bright red, dyed professionally a few days before, calling attention to her aristocratic cheekbones. Her clothes, a set of black pants and vest in the Sian Ku style, fitted her in such a way that suggested it had been designed with her sister’s slim silhouette in mind. Simple, but powerful, like ink flowing across a page. Her black silk slippers, adorned with a few tastefully placed rubies, held authority without overwhelming opulence.

“Thank you, Tim.” Her sister’s clear voice rang over the room, quieting everyone in an instant. “I promise that I will do my best to lead our family business, this town, and the Tanaka family to even greater heights.

“Now, let’s not waste any of this good food. With respect for both my father, may his rest continue unabated, and the family businesses returning to his heir, everyone’s food and drinks will be covered for the evening!”

There was a brief silence, and then the applause deafened those within the Lucky Koi.

Himiko lowered the books, smiling winningly at the crowd. Kuzunoha downed her juice, wishing again that it had been alcoholic.

Some time later, after food had been eaten and a few toasts had been made, it was time for the next thing Kuzunoha dreaded; the social part of the evening. She hadn’t been on her own for a full five minutes before the two fishermen had backed her into a corner. She’d met them once before, but she didn’t know where. They apparently thought that this gave them special privileges to talk at her, rather than with her.

“Well, she’ll be a fine woman to take over your daddy’s businesses and I know that she’ll watch over your family good,” the brown-haired one said.

The man’s lighter-haired brother nodded vigorously.

“Not only that, but it will be good to have her over again. It’s been a long time since your pappy died, leaving the company floundering.”

The smiles they kept sending her way seemed fake and greasy, especially since they refused to meet her gaze. They kept looking to their plates, filled with grilled fish on toast, or at the people around them. Anywhere but at her. She’d come to accept it. No one had ever much liked challenging her, meeting her eyes or talking with her, if they could avoid it. Even now, when they had come up to her, they stood as far from her as they politely could. That insult she could tolerate since, despite having washed recently and wearing their finest, they still smelled like old fish.

“I couldn’t be happier for my sister, really.” Kuzunoha just wanted the conversation to stop, but she couldn’t yet. Protocol demanded that she keep them company for just a bit longer before she could make her escape. It had been grueling so far. One minute of useless niceties and then two of listening to them praise her sister and her father. She would have rather discussed how they went about catching fish each day. At least that topic, would have only bored her to tears.

“There was one thing we wanted to know though, miss. Is your sister planning on marrying soon?”

Her smile froze as the other brother continued.

“Because, miss, we wouldn’t want this sort of situation to happen again.”

“I really don’t keep track of my sister’s plans, but no, I don’t think there are any wedding plans.”

“Well, me or my brother here would be more than willing to marry her,” the elder one said.

“I’ll let her know,” Kuzunoha said, turning slightly. Rudeness be damned, she could not handle this conversation anymore.

“I could provide you with an hei…” the younger one began, hesitantly.

Before Kuzunoha could react, the man’s brother dragged him away.

“He didn’t mean nothing, miss. You tell your sister now, please.”

“That was brazen,” a voice said from behind her.

Kuzunoha turned, seeing Himko’s best friend, Isashi. She was sitting alone at one of the small tables, the private ones used for couples or those that preferred dark corners. Kuzunoha didn’t know her well, but she knew the choice of table was a preference and not from a lack of options.

“All of them are like that,” Kuzunoha said. “When did you get back, Isashi? I heard you were out of town earlier this week.”

Isashi may have been the town’s only eledar, but she was also one of only five hunters, people that protected them from the dangers of the outside world. Still, Kuzunoha wasn’t as afraid of the outside world as many people were. The monsters were just that, monsters. Even though her father had been killed in a raid of the horrid little birdos, a goblin-type creature living nearby that wove bird skulls and feathers into their dress, she didn’t fear them.

“Just arrived this morning,” Isashi said, her green eyes flitting away from Kuzunoha’s, looking behind her rather than at her. Common behavior for a hunter. You had to be good at taking in information quickly to survive. You weren’t supposed to follow their gaze when they did that.

Isashi had been young when she had become an eledar. Because of it, she wasn’t really human anymore. Her skin had a rough paper-like texture and its shade now mimicked the cool silver of birch bark, rather than the yellow or white skin tones that were more common in Hidan. Her hair hadn’t changed when the rest of her had, but tonight she sat directly under one of the candelabras, and its natural red glowed crimson. It was tied in a simple ponytail. She was wearing a similar outfit to Himiko’s, except that her vest was an evergreen shade and her pants were a dark brown.

Her appearance was striking, even if she would never be considered pretty.

Kuzunoha opened her mouth and slammed it shut again when Himiko appeared from the crowd behind her and sat down at the table. Her sister slid an orange-tinted ale in front of Isashi and placed a paler one in front of herself.

“I feel like I’ve been smiling forever. How was your trip?” Himiko asked.

“Short and bittersweet, as usual.” Isashi smiled in appreciation as she sipped the ale. “The birdos managed to get their hands on a few of those giant bird eggs. They were trying to breed the ill-tempered creatures. We put a crimp in their plans.”

Kuzunoha didn’t want to have to deal with her sister until she got home. She tried to make a break for it, ducking her head and stepping backwards. If she’d been anyone else, people may have let her in and she would have faded into the background. Instead they fanned around her, fish suddenly aware of a predator in their midst.

“Glad to hear, Isashi. I am just glad that your job left you unhurt. As for you, Kuzunoha, your lack of attention at the speech was noticed. The least you could have done was bow your head in public for Father. You haven’t been drinking, have you? I told the staff not to give you any, but you never know when someone will take pity on you.”

Kuzunoha gritted her teeth at the barrage of questions. “Not yet.”

“Well, make sure you don’t. We need to keep up appearances and both of us drinking will make the wrong one.”

At this point, Kuzunoha could have repeated her words by route. She turned away and pushed through the crowd.

Her sister wouldn’t have lied about telling the staff not to serve her alcohol, and she only had one friend who would be willing to get her a drink if she asked. Jack was the illegitimate son of the other noble family in town. Though not as well off as her own family, the Kerlow family was old money. They’d helped to found the town and the abbey, while her own family had given many of the townsfolk honest work and decent pay.

The Kerlow’s main source of revenue now was the docks. They controlled the ships, the docks, and all travel in and out of Hidan by water. It gave his family a lot of power in the village, even if their fortune had declined over the last few years. Their noble cousins lived closer to the capital but had found themselves spending their wealth faster than they could make it through just their vassals. Jack’s father and brother were helping them regain their old power. Jack had avoided losing anything in the situation by taking over the illegal market in Hidan. His father didn’t approve, but that had never bothered Jack. If anyone would help her get drunk, it would be him.

She let out a breath in annoyance. Of course, when she wanted him, he was nowhere to be found.

Then she smiled. If he’d left already, perhaps that meant she wouldn’t be noticed if she slipped out. She wound her way through the crowd, reaching for the door, relieved that soon she’d be able to breathe again.

The door opened, catching her face-first. Kuzunoha tried to step back, but the crowd was unyielding. Someone jostled her. She fell, blinking back stars. Deckard didn’t seem to notice as he finished pushing the door the rest of the way open. His eyes were only for his companion behind him.

“—worry. It will be busy, but we should be in time for the dinner. Oh! I’m sorry…”

His weight came down on her foot. Kuzunoha yanked it out from under him. Deckard nearly fell, but grabbed the door handle in time to steady himself. Once he had his balance again, he looked down at her in confusion and apology, and then annoyance.

“Kuzunoha, what are you doing on the floor?” He extended a hand to her.

“Getting stepped on by a brutish oaf,” she said, slapping his away, though it was her face that was still smarting. Her gaze caught on a tear in the lace shawl that had been her joy and as she stood, she saw a dirt streak on the back of her dress. She put a finger on the hole and batted at the grime. Her dress had been the one good thing about this miserable evening. Now it was ruined.

Her ankle hurt as she put weight on it. She must have slipped on it wrong. She refused to show any weakness. Not in her sister’s presence, and gods damn it, not in Deckard’s.

“Who is this, Deckard dear?”

The woman behind Deckard touched his shoulder as she spoke. Her skin was just a few shades lighter than her caramel-toned hair, which had been bound into innumerable tiny braids. Hundreds of colored beads clicked together as she moved. Her clothing was so garish and bright that it looked like she’d bought it from a Corvidae, if she wasn’t one of the travelling folk already. While the woman wasn’t beautiful, she did have a presence that drew the eye.

Deckard introduced her reluctantly. “Tieni, this is Kuzunoha. She’s the youngest daughter of the Tanaka family.” Nobody important, his description said. Just an arrogant bastard daughter of an arrogant noble.

She put weight on her injured foot and hissed. Deckard reached out a hand. She warmed at the contact and knocked his hand away, hating the way the heat stayed with her.

“I was just leaving,” Kuzunoha said.

She stumbled past him, nursing her embarrassment instead of the twinge in her ankl
e.

* * * *

I can't wait for all you to get the book and its less than a week away at this point! Remember to pick yours up if you haven't already! 


Physical Copies can be ordered from 

And E-copies can be ordered from 

Nook