Friday, October 18, 2019

Cover Reveal - Erin Embly

Today I'm coming to you with another cover reveal! 

Erin Embly's debut novel is going to be coming out early next year on January 17, 2020 and it sounds interesting, especially if you have an interest in urban fantasy. 

I’m not an assassin witch, I swear…
But one bad day at work as a Guardian was all it took to make everyone think I am. 
Darcy Pierce—infamous, soulless, lethal. Betrayer.
It’s all good, though. I fit right in at my new job as the magical bartender in a supernatural strip club, where no one cares about a girl’s deadly reputation as long as she has a nice rack.
Only now I’m being stalked by a schoolgirl bully who breathes fire, and her hot dad keeps trying to get me to touch his dusty old book. I’m used to men trying to trick me into touching things, but this is a whole new level of creepy.
I’m almost grateful when the assassin who framed me comes back for round two…
Except I’m not the only one in danger. My new friends at the club are the ones under fire now, and I can’t fail them like I failed before.
Once a Guardian, always a Guardian, right? That’s what they always told me, even when I ran, and I still don’t know if they were right.
Whatever I am, it’s personal now, and I have a hot-blooded killer to hunt.

It's available for pre-order now!

If you want to find Erin, she's on both Twitter and Instagram as @erinembly and on FB

If you'd like to read the first two chapters of the book, you can check them out on her website. Don't forget to sign up for her newsletter there, if you're interested. 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Deep Dive on Historic Women: Murasaki Shikibu

I shared a news article on my FB page a day or so ago about the discovery that the novel, Tale of Genji, has 4 newly discovered chapters to add to its length. Already 50 chapters long, this 54 chapter version is the longest ever found. This book is important, not only because it is considered our world's first full-length novel, but also because it is considered the greatest work of Japanese literature.

However, as awesome as the book detailing the exploits of Genji Hikaru is, it pales in comparison to the life of its author. Murasaki Shikibu was her pen name, and there is some evidence to suggest that her given name was Fujiwara no Kaoruko, since it's known from her journals that she became an imperial lady-in-waiting for the emperor's consort, Shoshi, after the death of her husband and that she was from a distant branch of the Fujiwara line. Raised mostly by her father after her mother's untimely death, she learned many of the so-called "manly" studies of the time. She excelled in Chinese literature and moved around the country with her father, which at the time was unheard of for a young aristocratic woman. 

Also unheard of was her romantic life. While most of Murasaki's peers were getting married in their early teens, it is known that Murasaki herself didn't marry until her twenties and that her nuptials only lasted two years, at that. It is believed that she began writing the Tale of Genji at this time. 

This picture is one I created for Murasaki. While we don't know what 
she would have looked like, we do know how nobility looked in the 
Heian Era. This is close to how they would have looked. I have lowered the
eyebrows from where they would have been drawn to make it look a 
little closer to our current day standards of beauty. Any mistakes are my
own and no one else's.

Afterward, Murasaki chose to remain her own woman and not remarry and was eventually called to become a Chinese tutor to the young Empress and, of course, to become her resident writer. She may have also received the job due to a brief affair she may have had with the consort Shoshi's father, Michinaga, a statesman of some renown at the time, although this connection is tenuous at best. She is known to have exchanged poetry with Michinaga though, which at the time was considered an essential part of seduction at the time. 

There is some discussion about when she died, some saying that she died 1014, but some say that she was seen attending official ceremonies with Shoshi for another 10 years after that.

I have decided to read Liza Dalby's novel, The Tale of Murasaki: a novel and then follow it up with more of the dry research about her life as well as an official reading of the Tale of Genji, eventually.

Have you read any of these books? Would any of you be interested in reading Liza Dalby's novel and discussing it, bookclub style? Let me know and if there is enough interest, I'll create an FB page for it.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Cover Reveal - A Raven's Revenge

I've been in the writing gig for quite a while now and while I usually stick to myself, a few years back I traded work with some other authors and did developmental/beta-read edits for them. One of those authors was Linda Bloodworth. We became friends bonding over not only our books but our shared love for anything Sailor Moon related. Anyway's, I read through her book A Raven's Touch, a kick-ass story about a half-angel fighting the forces of evil. She published that book a year afterward in 2015, and today I have the absolute honour of letting everyone know that she is finally releasing the sequel! 

A Raven's Revenge 
Hell hath no fury like an angel scorned. Justice St. Michaels is on a mission from God to avenge her parents' death, even if it means hunting Seliki to the depths of Hell. Justice and her powerful friends won't back down until His will is done. Can an angel, witch, vampire and elf take on Hell and come out alive?

I have to admit, this cover is fantastic. I don't know who the cover artist was, but they deserve a pat on the back for this one. 

The novel will be out on October 24th, but you can pre-order your copy now. If you're looking for something to read before then, you can pick up the first book in the series as well. Links for both are below.
A Raven’sRevenge $3.99 ebook and $12.99 paperback
A Raven’s Touch $0.99 ebook and $12.99 paperback

Linda Bloodworth is hosting a cover reveal party on FB today (October 4th) and will be hosting a release day party on FB on its release date. Check out the links if you're interested!

Linda Bloodworth - Bio
Linda Bloodworth is a writer from Toronto who often has to battle two cats and a dog to find a comfortable writing position. Through blood, sweat, and a few tears, Linda debuted A Raven’s Touch in 2015 and followed up with A Raven’s Revenge in 2019. Other than writing, Linda enjoys scary tales of the strange and unusual in book and movie form. Most often, Linda can be found binge-watching Sailor Moon ad nauseam. Tsuki ni kawatte, oshiokiyo!

Friday, September 27, 2019

The Dreven Creation Story (and an Update)

I feel like I've been saying this since January, but I'm nearly done editing book 2 of Kitsune-Ken! I have found a new editor and if everything goes according to plan, I should have it in her hands by this time next week. Then I can focus on Inktober, starting to edit book 3 and planning book 4 to write during Nanowrimo in November (for perhaps as long as a week before she gets it back to me). It's my hope that by November I will have the edits finished entirely and I can spend all my spare time that month doing the business end of getting the novel out to all of you... getting the cover made and released, the book formatted, proofread, and all of that fun stuff. Now we'll move onto the meat of today's post; the Dreven's creation story. 

Deckard is the main follower of this religion in my Kitsune-Ken series, though all of the Dreven people worship these deities. Even Isashi's Dreven father worships them and made sure that Isashi grew up knowing their religion, though, in the end, she chose to follow her mother's deities. 

The Dreven believe that the world was created when the creator force split into twins; the goddess Kittin and the god Kitaran. The two loved each other but fell to arguing over whether the universe was too empty. Kitaran wanted much more than the emptiness they inhabited, but Kittin was afraid and wanted the universe to stay the same. Kitaran promised to not create anything but eventually his loneliness could not be denied. To create the first island, Kitaran cut off his own hand. When Kittin discovered his betrayal, she slaughtered him and fell into a great depression for centuries when she realized that she'd destroyed the one she loved. 

Eventually, a noise broke through her self-absorption and she realized that Kitaran's body had not simply ceased to exist, but had transformed into an entire planet. While she loved it as she had loved him, she was horrified to find beings like themselves living upon it. Believing they were defiling Kitaran's legacy, she began a slaughter of all she could find. When only seven remained, better at hiding than the rest, she began destroying the world, determined to leave them no place to hide. One goddess came to her, begging that she stop before she destroyed Kitaran a second time. While she hesitated, the goddess brought down upon him the gift of prophecy. In her first moments of Kitaran's final gift to him, she realized that she had been destroying their children, created with his blood and her energy. 

A photo composite I made of Direnai begging Kittin to stop his destruction. 

Kittin realized her error and offered Direnai and her sibling's true godhood, promising never to hunt them again. They accepted though all but Direnai refused to believe in her sudden altruism, thinking that her apologies came too late. When one of the Seven created humans out of a new metal alloy and the began to multiply on their own, they expected Kittin to start destroying everything again. Fortunately, she had learned her lesson and instead blessed the new ones with wisdom she had never had. The humans began to worship her for this gift. The Seven still hide from Kittin, allowing humans to worship them only if they promise to never tell Kittin where they hide. In return for their favour and gifts, the Dreven refer to all seven as a single deity, the Secret, though they are taught the ways to show their reverence for each of the seven. 

Kittin is the only major deity, though most non-Dreven think of Direnai as a close second, not realizing that she is only the face the others hide behind, the one that is willing to be seen. Kittin rules over Divination and Wisdom, hard-won after all of her mistakes, though no Dreven forgets her lesson that without wisdom they will destroy everything they love. The other seven deities are Direnai, goddess of healing, Tormu, god of innocence, and five others whose portfolio's consist of Fire, Sailing, Weaponry, Victory, and Sorcery. Direnai is the deity that Deckard believes has granted him his blessed status. He loves and hates her for it.

And that will be all for today! In the coming weeks, I'll try to keep you guys up to date with where my novel is, how Inktober is going, and of course, more about the Dreven religion. 

Friday, September 20, 2019

Author Event - Focus on Adria Laycraft

Today we're doing something a little different. I found out one of my fellow authors recently released her book through Tyche and next Thursday (Sept 26, 2019), she's going to be hosting a launch party for it down at Owl's Nest Bookstore, the same place I had my signing a few weeks back. 

If you can make it down to the Owl's Nest Bookstore here in Calgary you'll be treated to a great evening. Starting at 7pm, there will be the direct access to the author and certainly a chance to buy a physical copy of Jumpship Hope and get it signed. There will also be food, drink, a short reading and even the author and her daughter performing a haunting song from the POV of a database. 

The book is Jumpship Hope by Adria Laycraft

Jumpship Hope
Earth is a Storm-Ravaged Wasteland.
Humanity has fled the planet, establishing bases off-world. But disaster has struck the food crops of Luna Base, leaving the orbitals starving, and Mars colony ignores their pleas for aid. 
Hot-headed pilot Janlin Kavanagh will do anything to save her friends, so when spacetop captain Stepper Jordan proposes a sketchy plan to save their people, she immediately volunteers. Anything is better than slow starvation, even a risky voyage to an alien solar system in a ship with unproven jump technology. 
The mission faces unexpected dangers, and the mettle of Janlin and her crew is tested, against each other and the strange, new species they encounter. Can Janlin overcome mistrust and betrayal to salvage the mission and restore hope to her friends and herself?

Friday, September 13, 2019

Inktober Supplies

 As Inktober gets closer, just like Nanowrimo, I start to get a bit antsy to get started. Despite my patience, I've never really liked waiting for anything. I prepare for conventions and concerts by immersing myself in the culture of the event, whether it be music, anime, writing or whatever else. I tend to give my husband his gifts for his birthday as I get them, early or not, and I don't even wait for Christmas to give gifts to everyone (okay, that's just a family thing since we kids grew up, but still). 

Today, I want to talk supplies and workspace. This is a picture of all of my supplies as well as my desk. Honestly, my desk is tiny for doing art on, so I'm hoping to bring up a second desk for my office that's about double the size before October starts, but barring that, this will be my workspace and all the supplies (aside from paper and pencils) that I'll be using throughout the month. 

For paper, I use cold press, 140 lbs/300gsm... which for those of you who don't work with watercolour is the most common watercolour paper I've found. It's a good thick sheet that will buckle (under my water use at times), but not horribly. Its made out of paper, instead of the cotton ones which are supposed to be way better, but honestly, I've never tried. Cold press means that the paper is a little textured instead of being super smooth like hot press is supposed to be. In general, I really prefer working with textured paper over smooth; even for my sketching, I use multi-media paper rather than the more usual sketching books. 

Here's the close up of my inks. I have 24 Bombay India Inks, 4 Winsor & Newton inks, 10 cheaply made Chinese inks and another 5 no name that I received with a glass pen I picked up last year. I also have a full bottle of Higgens Ink (the cheapest bottle I could find to practice with when I first bought a glass pen) and the other is Carbon Ink, one of the blackest inks out on the market. 

Here are the Bombay India Inks I was talking about. These inks are gorgeous to use, very pigmented, and permanent when dry. They are also lightfast. For those non-art folks, you know how some posters and pictures fade and lighten as they sit on your wall? That means they weren't made with lightfast supplies. So any picture I paint with these will remain vibrant for hundreds of years, rather than only a few. If you are thinking about taking part and still want colour, I can suggest these as a great supply. They are my go-to for most of my work. That said, there are 5 brown colours and 4 of them are horrible. Most pigment a physical thing inside the ink, along with a binder. This means that you shake/mix them well before use. But those four browns start tearing apart from the binder by the time you've removed the cap from your bottle. They come out as muddy and difficult to apply. They can still be used, but I suggest never using them directly from the bottle. Put a few drops onto your pallet and mix very liberally with water, remixing the pile whenever you re-dip your brush if you wish to use these colours. 

 These are my Winsor & Newton Inks. They are not as lightfast as the Bombay inks, but I bought them because they have gold and silver in this set. Also, an extra white is always a good idea. Also, they are completely waterproof if you let them completely dry... but only if you let them completely dry... otherwise, you'll still get some lift if it gets wet again later. On the other hand, gold and silver... I stand by my choice. 

 These two pictures are of my Chinese no-name inks. I bought both set from Wish for pennies on the dollar in both cases. That said, I almost never use them. They're difficult to open without spilling, they aren't waterproof at all, and while they are vibrant, they also have sparkles in them. Not a lot, but enough to add a very slight glimmer to dry inks as a final top layer. Offhand, I don't suggest them... I mainly picked them up as a lark, rather than a serious purchase. That said, I do like the subtle glitter effect, so they do see some use on occasion. 

The Higgens ink was some I bought upon buying my first glass dip pen. Basically, its a super cheap ink, not waterproof, even when dry, and it is a very dark grey rather than a black. I use this one for playing around with new supplies like dip pens and my glass pens rather than for any actual art. I do not use it for any actual art... I may use it for playing around if I were to start sketching with my glass pens, but that's about it. The Carbon Ink is a glorious dark black, one of the darkest out there, and is mostly waterproof when dry. I use it when I want a black that's darker than any other black I own. Plus, it's really nice to use. A silky feel on my brush as I lay it down. 

 These supplies are the unsung heroes of my work. I use a cloth for wiping down my brush, taking excess water from the brush and occasional cleaning. I try not to use paper towel when I paint, only reaching for it if I need more precision than the cloth affords.  I have two glasses of water so one can be clean water and the other dirty. I also have a tiny vial of salt in the blue container. It makes a mottled appearance in the ink when used that I love. My brushes, for the most part, are super cheap ones from Michael's (which almost never see use nowadays), as well as a few I've picked up (usually from art boxes) along the way. The two glass pens above don't see much use honestly, I'm including them here because occasionally I'll use them for lining. They won't end up seeing much use next month, but I love showing them off. 

 This is my swatch sheet for the month. You can see how vibrant the colours are and even the differences between how the black goes down. Those browns all look splotchy and bad, which is why I use them sparingly, as mentioned above. I do love the CX-11 violet and may use that more than the others in that line since I don't have a direct equivalent with the Dr. P.H. Martin's Bombay India Ink. The black paper is some black sketchbook paper I have. It isn't watercolour and seemed to dissolve under my Bombay white, mixing with it and making it a nearly invisible grey. The Winsor & Newton fared much better and I don't know why. Both whites work wonderfully on the other inks, just not on the black paper I put there to show them off. 

 As an added bonus, here's a painting I made earlier this week with the supplies above. It turned out amazing. It was made almost solely with the Bombay India Ink and the gold and silvers of the Winsor & Newton. I love how it turned out. The ability to layer the colours and their vibrancy is what makes this picture really pop. 

And that's it. What do you think about the picture? Will you be joining me in Inktober, even if it's only with a ballpoint pen? Let me know in the comments below. 

Friday, September 6, 2019

Editing Snags

I have hit a snag in editing.

It isn't a severe issue, but it does mean that I'm going to have to do nearly 6k of re-writes. I'm about halfway done that now, but it did slow me down. I could have left the part as was and honestly, I did really like the original way it was written. Still, when one of my beta readers identified a potential problem, I looked at it closely and finally decided that they were correct. The piece wasn't wrong, per se, but it just wasn't that as emotionally connected as it could be. 


I feel like I'm not meeting my goals for you guys, even though I am getting things done. I'm slow at editing, but I will get there.

Anyways though, I'm going to keep this update quick. I've got things in the backdrop that I'm working on... getting out the book, working on producing more jewellery, and getting more art ready for sale, hopefully ready for the holiday season, but otherwise just a pipe dream for now. What are your yearly goals? Do you feel like you're succeeding so far? Let me know in the comments below.