Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weekly Writing Check-In: My First Weekend As a ~Real~ Author

Hey all! Well,here it is. Just as I promised last week, this week's check-in is my first as a "real" published author, even though BUGS ABOUND. For the most part, I have no complaints about sales or feedback this week, except for the part where Amazon's sales reports are completely bugged and B&N and KOBO apparently hate my epub files no matter what I do. Oh well. It'll slowly work itself out! (Famous last words dun dun duuuun.)

Also, I have a newsletter now! You can sign up at "Newsletter" page above. Newsletters will be about once a month and will share new releases as well as any exclusive excerpts I can't wait to share. You can expect the first newsletter to show up in November!

 As for this week, I'm finally getting to take a little break. Just a little, though. I've got Book 2 in Ren'Ai Rensai off to beta (not that that won't stop me from tweaking) and Book 3 started, but on the business front I've got the BLOG TOUR STARTING TOMORROW WOOOO and some more epub finagling to do. I also hope to get set up over at All Romance as soon as I can. And maybe, just maybe, Amazon will stop being buggy. Ugh. (Fat chance eh.)

Well, I'm out for another week. I think I may be coming down with the same flu the rest of the family has. A small break time couldn't come at a better time.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

SUPER AWESOME 300TH ENTRY PARTY POST!!!

IT'S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR KIDS! Yes, I've hit post 300 on this blog. Yes, it's time to dump a bunch of gifs and random stats that mean nothing. NOTHING. Feels like just one year ago I was celebrating #100. Oh wait, I was!


I think # 200 was back in March or something. These posts tend to be about six months apart so uuuh there you go~

ANYWAY, what has happened since Post 200? LOTS OF STUFF! Let's take a look:

  • Moved back to America from Japan. 
  • Started my own business.
  • Published my very first book (as of yesterday)
  • Gained 30 pounds (lol I am dead serious.)
Wow, I was busy! Quick, somebody alert my parents! They think all I do all day is play on the computer and harass my cat. Only one of those things is even remotely true.  Kinda.


So, at this moment, life is fairly good. Wish I had a better social life, but I'm making my way there. Having a better social life requires money to move away from here/travel, and money requires putting out more HIGH QUALITY BOOKS. Heck yeah.

But what do you all care about that. You guys come to these posts for the gifs and and CRAZY STATS I HAVE. Remember when I was getting like...20,000 hits a day from Russian and Chinese bots? Yeah? How's that still going?


Pageviews today
34
Pageviews yesterday
216
Pageviews last month
5,149
Pageviews all time history
276,432

Bots are finally starting to leave me alone! That's both cool and kinda sad, let's be real. But where are my remaining (non reader) hits coming from? TO THE KEYWORD TOOL.

oh...the keyword isn't going to work, huh. Well fine. i'm sure it was just more German hentai bees anyway.

 BUT. I did find something really curious in my most recent stats. Seems that somebody linked to me on a Chinese forum, as linked here. (Scroll down until you see me!) Basically, it's a subforum for singer Laure Shang, and last week I binged on her and she popped up in my "most listened" last.fm tweet. Apparently somebody at this forum tracks the Laure Shang tag and saw me there and got all excited? The basic translation of the post is that "Hey here's an American female writer who listens to Laure Shang! Here's her website!"

So now I feel propelled to do this:

你好中国!!

And this:



I am in your China. Chasing away your bots.

WHELP I wish this party post could have more to it, but I have editing / formatting to do in lieu of having a social life, so I'm just gonna dump a bunch of happy gifs on you. And a Laure Shang video. Because apparently she's the mascot of the blog now.

UNTIL MARCH FOR POST 400, IN WHICH I WILL TALK ABOUT MY AUTHORLY FORTUNES I HAVE AMASSED BWAHAHAHA.






 
Oh, life.

Friday, September 28, 2012

OUT NOW! "DAISUKI.", Book 1 of "REN'AI RENSAI"

I'm super duper excited to finally announce the official release of my debut novella, "DAISUKI.", now available at Amazon and Smashwords! (Still dancing with B&N and Kobo. Sigh. So if you need an epub, Smashwords is the place to go at the moment. It and Amazon links are below.)

It hasn't quite hit me yet that I've just published my first novel, and now my writing career is a real thing. It's been one of my top lifelong dreams since I first learned to read. Of course, my ULTIMATE dream is to make a decent living off writing, but that's where beginnings come from.

Thanks to everyone who supported me along my journey and still stops by once in a while. The ride's not over yet!


(I mean, the blog tour starts next week! Woo!)

(ALSO! This is post #299! You know what that means! PARTY POST FOR 300 TOMORROW! BE HERE FOR GIFS AND LOLZ)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"DAISUKI." is now on Goodreads - Also, super fun times with vendors.

First off, I'm really excited to announce that "DAISUKI." can now be found on Goodreads for To-Read funtimes. This is kinda big for me because it makes me feel even MORE legitimate, damnit. Like a little writer grown up into a big author. (Yeah, just wait until I get my first scathing 1-Star review. Uh huh.)

In other news, for anybody who might be interested, "DAISUKI." is currently up for sale at a couple big vendors. I started early because I wasn't sure yet how long it would take for vendors to process and wanted to make sure stuff showed up on time. (The reason why I'm not sharing the links until Friday is that I'm kinda curious how many "strangers" buy the book first.) However, Kobo is taking forever (expected, I had read about that) and B&N? Wow. Just getting your account ACTIVATED is something else. I got an email from them today telling me to call their support center for...something. I have no idea what they actually did, or if it was even normal. So, I'm still waiting on that for another 48-72 hours. And then my book won't even be available until ANOTHER 48-72 hours after that. Great. So, basically, what I'm saying is that if you're looking to sell on B&N one day, get your account NOW so you can better your chances of getting your future books out on time. At this rate, I'll be pushed through Smashwords premium status faster than I'll be approved at B&N. Anyone have a similar experience with them?


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Don't forget! SHARE A SATURDAY is still a thing!

In an effort to getting back to talking about other authors, I want to remind everyone stopping by that we still have SHARE A SATURDAY at this blog...it's just been two months since the last guest post! Basically, if you don't know/remember, SHARE A SATURDAY is when I host guest posts / bloggers on...uh, Saturday. We had a good mini run in summer but it seems to have gotten quiet again. Anyone is welcome at any time to come post on my blog about ANYTHING writing/book related! Want to promo? Stop by! Want another date on your blog tour? Hey! Want to just wax and wan about character development or this one SUPER COOL book you read? I ain't gonna stop you. Unless I'm all booked up.*

For an example of previous guest posts on this blog, check out these awesome posts. (Also, you're free to write a guest post here more than once.)

If you would like to guest post on this blog, please never hesitate to contact me via the ways on the contact page, or drop me a line in the comments. I look forward to having you!

*I do make exceptions for posts that only promote hate speech / illegal activities that should damn well stay illegal. But none of you would ever do that. :D

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekly Writing Check-In: Countdown to Published

This is my last Check-In post before I become a ~real life~ published author. Tomorrow I go to the bank to open a separate account, and by the end of the day I'll be uploading THE FINAL, I SWEAR THE FINAL mobi and epub files to Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and Smashwords, in that prioritized order. Been having to take a lot of deep breaths to remind myself that this is what I've wanted a majority of my life, and just because that "OMG IT'S SHIT DON'T DO IT YOU'RE GONNA GET EATEN ALIVE" bug is gnawing away at my brain, doesn't mean I still shouldn't do it! So what if it's in my real name and my super conservative relatives are bound to find Hildred's stash of f/f romance online? Oh well. It's not like I hide this stuff from them.

In other news, the first draft for the next book in the REN'AI RENSAI series is complete! Came out to be about 91k. Started editing yesterday and it's already down to the 80k range. Figured, why not, I want this published by Christmas, and I'm in the editing mood! And because I'm just like that, I wrote the first page of Book 3 before going to sleep last night. I just had to after coming up with the perfect title for it, finally. (The perfect title always comes!)

So besides the uploading anxiety I'll have tomorrow, I'm finally able to relax a little. This means I'll get to writing the posts for the upcoming blog tour in October, and, if you're signed up, I'll have the posts out to you by the end of the week. On that note, there's still time to sign up for the DAISUKI blog tour for dates starting in the second week! And then, maybe, I'll finally start blogging about OTHER THINGS than just me me me again. I mean, my time has been so consumed with this editing stuff, that I haven't even been able to READ other books. Crazy, right? My brain is all sorts of muddled right now. Which means I'll be spending most of book launch day curled up watching TV and/or sleeping. Pfft. What career?

Next time I check in here, I'll be a published author. And my parents are already telling me I should be selling my 40k novella for 10 bucks. Oh joy, this is gonna be a fun ride.

plug plug plug.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Official Preview of "DAISUKI."

Can you believe it's only one week until "DAISUKI." will be out on the virtual shelves? Oh my God, I am so not ready. My brain hasn't wrapped around the fact my #1 dream of being a published author will come true next week. (Next level of that dream? Making a nice living off it!) So, to celebrate, and to say "NO, I REALLY AM DONE EDITING", here is the first full scene from the novel. Yup, all 1400 words (of about 43k). In case you need a refresher, here's the blurb:

"Aiko and Reina have been together for almost 20 years, yet one thing remains unsaid between them: "Daisuki," or, "I love you." As they approach their anniversary, their relationship comes to an impasse as Aiko the Japanese housewife begins demanding "I love you" with a side of marriage and romance.

But Reina doesn't understand complex concepts like "love" or other heavy emotions. She's spent years supporting her girlfriend via a soul-sucking salary job and tending to their mutual needs in the bedroom. Isn’t that sufficient? In a culture demanding Reina choose between the "feminine" and the "masculine" worlds, it's bad enough she's trying to find her role without Aiko adding extra pressure.

Some words need not saying, but "I love you" is about to destroy a relationship already surviving strange side-lovers and even stranger exploits."


While the novella is definitely rated Adult, there's nothing overtly graphic in the first scene. Still, here's your warning for f/f sex. Enjoy!

----

 Tokyo; December 17th, 2011

She knew Reina loved her.
Ask anyone who knew them for who they were, and they would say, “Yes, they are so in love! I’ve never met a couple like them before. They inspire me!” It made Aiko blush as if she were a shy teenager again. It made her blush like the day Reina first asked her out on a date.
“Do you remember?” Aiko asked her girlfriend, as they sat in a fancy restaurant and dined in celebration of their anniversary. “You came to me after your rehearsal, and told me you wanted to get ice cream with me.”
Reina put down her wine glass and considered the floral centerpiece on their table. She rarely made eye contact with Aiko in public, even after so many years. “I guess so. It was a long time ago.”
“Nineteen years.” Aiko smiled, the corners of her mouth bashing away her blushing. “Can you believe it’s been nineteen years since our first date?”
“I suppose. You’re the one who keeps track.”
Aiko cleared her throat and pushed aside her empty plate of chicken alfredo. Reina fidgeted with her utensils and her glass, as if convinced everyone waited for them to do something non-platonic. Aiko searched the room: other Japanese couples, all of them heterosexual; an upper-middle class family with two teenagers; a small group of female friends toasting to good times. She and Reina were the sole same-sex couple in there. Doubtless anyone stealing a glance at them would assume they were good friends, or sisters, maybe cousins. The fact they were lovers would never cross anyone’s mind, except for maybe a perverted foreigner.
Reaching out to put her hand on the table, Aiko looked to Reina for reciprocation. They went easy on the public affection, but the restaurant was dim and nobody watched the quiet ladies in the center of the gallery. Aiko invited her girlfriend with a timid gaze.
Reina studied Aiko’s hand and looked away.
It stung, but she was not surprised. Not here. Not in a place like this. Aiko was the one who suggested they come to a nice restaurant for their anniversary. Maybe if it wasn’t in the neighborhood Reina worked in – somebody from work might see them holding hands.
This was not Reina’s element. Aiko liked elegant things, but the fact her girlfriend dressed up in a pantsuit and combed her hair down was a miracle. She loves me. She dressed up for me. Reina would rather go to a bar in Ni-chome where the lesbian bartenders would tease them about their steady relationship. They were regulars at almost all the stops. But that was in Reina’s playground. Here was Aiko’s fantasy life.
“Are you all right?” she asked. “Do you want to leave?”
Reina finally smiled, her eyes lighting up and meeting Aiko’s for the first time since they stepped into that stuffy restaurant. “You know what I want.”

* * *

They took a taxi home to avoid the crowded trains. Aiko spread a coat between them and held Reina’s hand underneath so the driver, an old conservative-looking man, couldn’t see. Reina kept her eyes on the window while Aiko fought back titters over how happy she felt. Probably from the wine. She hucked back the last of it because Reina was in such a hurry to leave.
Everything changed the moment they walked through their front door. As if a switch flipped, Reina turned more into her “old” self and kicked her shoes off like a slob, leaving them upside down in the genkan. She grabbed Aiko’s arm and pulled her into a kiss.
They scurried up the stairs, their clothing falling off their bodies as if nothing but air. By the time they reached the second floor Reina had plunged both hands into Aiko’s hair. She couldn’t breathe as her girlfriend covered her with kisses and nipped the nape of her neck; she flung her arms around Reina and asked to be carried to their bedroom.
She may have been taller, but that didn’t mean she could whisk Aiko up and haul her around like in some romance movie. The best Reina could do was pick her up at the waist and shuffle her into their bedroom where they had fornicated every few days for fifteen years.
Reina was intense that night. She was always intense during sex, but this time Aiko swore a new passion burst behind every kiss and thrust and guttural moan. She imagined they were like the majestic tigers she saw on the animal shows on TV, cunning cats swatting and rolling while they attempted to tame their mate. Another silly fantasy. Reina was the tiger here – here and everywhere in their relationship. All the other women thought so.
And thus Aiko thought the same thing she did every time Reina brought her to the heights of her pleasure: She’s mine. Other women come and go in this room, but it’s me who sleeps next to her every night.
Reina was, for lack of a better word, an onna tarashi, or a lady killer, a womanizer, or any other silly term their American friend came up with. Reina had the uncanny ability to approach any woman and at least get a giggle out of her. Given the right atmosphere, Reina could get more than a giggle. When Aiko met her, Reina was a twenty-year-old in the entertainment industry who spent all her wages on cigarettes, alcohol, and cover charges for lesbian clubs where she would pick up anyone for casual sex. Now Reina hovered around forty, and although she handed in her long hair and glittery stage dresses for a business suit and cropped hair long ago, she still spent her allowances on cigarettes, alcohol, and entertaining other women when she and Aiko went downtown on the weekends.
To stay with Reina was to understand that’s how she lived. Reina didn’t think in terms of “monogamy versus polyamory,” or “my girlfriend versus every other woman.” But sometimes Aiko wondered if there wasn’t a like-minded woman over twenty in Japan whom Reina hadn’t been on top of at one time or another.
But now she’s on top of me, because she loves me.
Aiko felt her girlfriend’s skin and traced circles with manicured nails. A pleasant lull in their heated love-making. Reina was silent, as usual, aside from her heavy breaths and her curt announcement, “This is the last one.”
“The last one” meant Reina was done playing with her lover and wanted to claim her own gratification. The only time Aiko ever heard Reina’s low voice peak high and almost feminine-like was in a split second during her climax, when she would let out a small squeal in Aiko’s ear. She had heard it many, many times, but it still made her smile.
It didn’t take long for Reina to roll over and grab a cigarette. Aiko didn’t like smoking in the house, but she let Reina smoke in their bedroom after sex. She sat back in the bed and cradled Aiko in one arm, a cigarette passing between them. The only time Aiko ever smoked, unlike Reina who could go through a pack a day.
After Reina finished, she cleaned up. She wandered in and out of the bedroom, naked, her feet tripping over Aiko’s dress, thrown down on the floor when they first stumbled through the door. Reina reached up and turned off the bedroom light before crawling back into bed. Aiko curled next to her and put her own head on Reina’s flat chest, listening to her breathe and feeling the heat of her skin.
“I love you,” Aiko said, her hand massaging Reina’s arm and her lips pressing against the cleft between breasts. Nineteen years. The weight of those years felt like feathers on her heart. Maybe Reina felt the same.
Aiko waited for a response. But all she heard was Reina’s steady breathing and a car passing outside. The lights flashed by the bedroom window and illuminated Reina’s face, her eyes open and her lips slammed shut.
“I love you,” Aiko said again, louder. She didn’t know what she expected. Anything, for their anniversary.
Reina closed her eyes. A few minutes later her grip eased as she fell asleep.
No matter. Aiko closed her eyes as well. She wouldn’t let the silence bother her.

---

"Daisuki." will officially be released on September 28th!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

REN'AI RENSAI Character Profile 3: Yuri Furusawa



It's the third installment of the REN'AI RENSAI character profile series. Now we're moving away from the main characters to some of the more prominent minor characters.

Today's feature is the married neighbor Yuri Furusawa. Yuri, like the main characters, also appears sometimes in the main CROSS// series, and has a connection to one of the other main characters in that series. For that reason this profile may eschew some of spoilers from that series.

(Note: As the series jumps around a span of 20 or so years, profiles tend to cover everything in that time period.)

----------------------------------------------------

BASICS:

Sims have some really unfortunate dance moves.
Name: Yuri Furusawa (古澤百合)
Birthday: June 16th, 1978
Zodiac (Western): Gemini

Zodiac (Eastern): Horse

Nationality: Japanese

Height: 5'0

Weight: 90 lbs. 

Voice: Mid-range
to high.
Speech Patterns: Feminine


LIKES/DISLIKES: 


Fave Color: Purple, White

Fave Food: Hamburg

Fave Drink:
Piña colada
Fave Music: Pop music from the late 90s

Clothing Style: Skirts and blouses
Hobbies: Gardening, Shopping, Going to English speaking cafes.


CHARACTER:

Family:  Husband, Daughter
Sexuality: Bisexual
Partner: Hiro Furusawa
Best Friend: Aiko Takeuchi
Occupation(s): Housewife
Comes Off As: Friendly, Energetic
Sub/Dom: Sub
Yes, she was just dared to come kiss you. Get over it.
  
PARAGRAPHS OF BIOGRAPHY STUFF:

Yuri grew up in an internationally inclined household - her father often went overseas for meetings while her mother taught English out of their home. Thus Yuri began learning English from an early age, to the point her family decided to start hosting exchange students for her to practice with. One summer they hosted an American girl, who dressed "like a boy" and had a short haircut. Yuri developed a crush on her and ended up having her first sexual experience with her host sister.


They continued a long distance relationship via snail mail until Yuri's mother intercepted one of her daughter's notes and expressed concern over the contents. Although no real confrontation was had, Yuri got the point that she was not allowed to behave "that way" and promptly broke up with her American girlfriend. She finished high school and went off to college with the intent of following in her father's footsteps, and ultimately moving overseas where she could be free of her mother's hovering. However, while in university she met Hiro, who became smitten with her and asked her out. They dated until graduation, upon which Hiro asked Yuri to marry him. Yuri convinced herself she was in enough love with him to marry him and forgo her dreams of living abroad.


"I swear, you REALLY care about my problems!"
Shortly after graduating, they married, and Yuri became pregnant. Towards the end of her pregnancy they moved into a house to start their family, and Yuri took up the mantle of housewife and mother. After the birth of her daughter, she further convinced herself that she had to become the perfect woman. Yuri threw herself into the mold of Japanese housewife, which killed her energy and estranged herself from her already super busy husband. A few years into their marriage, Yuri reunited with her ex-girlfriend and rekindled their affair. Although it only lasted a few days, Yuri discovered she truly wished to be with a woman instead, but Japanese laws and customs kept her beholden to her husband. Conveniently, her neighbor and close friend Aiko was also gay and available for an open relationship, and the two began a casual romance independent of their main relationships.


Yuri spends her days attempting to keep up her "perfect housewife" facade while dreaming of divorcing her husband and still running off abroad, with or without her daughter. While she knows it's not feasible until her daughter is an adult, Yuri consoles herself with what little she can outside her marriage. She has moments of guilt regarding her husband, but is also fairly convinced he has a girlfriend elsewhere and has decided to just let things fall as they do.


That has got to be the most boring book ever.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PUT THE MANUSCRIPT DOWN AND STOP EDITING ALREADY.

Oh, I'm sorry, did I yell that? I didn't mean to yell that. Well, maybe just yell it in my head. A little. Okay yeah I meant to yell that.

I'm in the middle of writerly self-doubt, brought on by "too much editing". You probably know how it is:  you get so in the editing "zone" that you keep finding fault after fault after "OMG THIS MUST CHANGE ARGH". Worst of all, you've read your words so many times that they've completely lost meaning and are no longer decent, but the swill of the universe. You know. That epic self doubt that says "you suck light it all on fire."

Thus, I've promised myself  that this is THE LAST edit/read through I'm doing of "DAISUKI." After that, no more. Beyond checking stuff for formatting, this will be my last fiddle before it goes live. I've convinced myself I'm doing the right thing. There is such a thing as "over editing". Since the first edit I did (which is mostly just removing typos / glaring errors) I've taken off 5k, mostly stupid info dumps and cutting out clunky prepositional phrases if not whole lines.It's the same exact story, just...cleaner? But of course it'll never be clean enough for me. It's that moment when you realize what other authors really mean when they say they're never happy with the product.

But no. I swear. This is the last read through. THE LAST. LAST I SAY.

Stop me before I commit every  word to memory.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weekly Writing Check-In: In Which I Look Super Productive

Woooo, what a week. I worked pretty much nonstop on writing crap, that I barely had time to get any exercise...or eat...or shower...or you know, do life stuff. That's how I am, though. Once I'm in the zone lol what is basic care of my body~

So, let's see what I did this week!

  1. Finished second to last round of edits for "DAISUKI." Which lead me to-
  2. Format it for Kindle! Took a couple days to get the hang of, but I'm not happy to report I know how to format for ereaders in Scrivener! So far I've only made a mobi and ported it to my Fire, and am now doing my last edits via reading on the Kindle. Do you know how intense it is to see your book all formatted prettily for an e-reader? It's awesome! And the cover is FANTASTIC on my tablet. ;) But now I've got the extra aggravations of my last edit, because the Kindle shows me just how repetitive some words / phrases may be.
  3. Wrote three more scenes for the next book in the REN'AI RENSAI series. I'm now two away from finishing the first draft!
  4. NOW FOR THE SUPER EXCITING STUFF! Friday I registered BARACHOU PRESS as my Doing Business As and received my first EIN from the IRS. So, essentially, I've started my own business. No press, book, to sell well and make me money to stay afloat. No pressure at all.
I like how those only break down to four points. But it was a lot! I feel quite accomplished today over what I accomplished last week, and look forward to this next week as well!

My goals for this week are to finish writing my new WIP and to finish the last edits of DAISUKI. I should have both easily done by Friday, assuming I'm not coming down with something. Only 15 days until release date!

Oh! And don't forget, yesterday I launched my very first (although co-run) blogfest, the Love, Differently Blog Hop coming up this November. Be sure to check it out and maybe sign up!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

The LOVE, DIFFERENTLY BLOG HOP Coming this November!

It's my great pleasure to announce the LOVE, DIFFERENTLY Blog Hop coming this November! With the help of writing and real-life friend Morgan Bauman, we're putting on a four-week long (that's right, the whole month!) blog hop centered around ROMANCE, ROMANCE, AND LOTS OF ROMANCE!

...With a twist, of course! (And prizes!)

The purpose of the blog hop is to get writers out of their "romance comfort zones", so to speak. Most authors of romance (and this includes those who have novels where romance is a background characteristic, not necessarily the main genre) tend to stay with what they know or like best:  men and women, two men, or even two women, if your name is Hildred. This blog hop challenges you to write romance between all three possibilities!

The Basics of the Blog Hop

  • Each week will present a type of pairing, alongside a couple other small requirements (example: a certain word that must be used, to help prevent people from writing way ahead of time.) The characters must be shown in a "romance" scene. These can range from dramatic, to comedic, to sexy (but if you get on the erotic side of things, please label so ahead of time!) to even adventurous! Your choice!
  • No more than 500 word scenes / flash fiction, originally written for the blog hop.
  • Must follow ALL the prompts listed for the week of participation.
  • Participants may, well, participate on any week they choose, including all four. 

Here's the planned structure for the blog hop, including the judge/prize for the winner:

Week 1:  M/W pairing. Judged by Hildred. Prize is a three chapter/20 page (winner's choice) critique of any WIP by the winning author.

Week 2: M/M pairing. Judged by Morgan. Prize is twenty pages of intense, detailed line-editing, or general feedback and overall reactions to a whole manuscript (if it's under three hundred pages).

Week 3: W/W pairing. Judged by Hildred. Prize is a copy of the erotic lesbian romance "DAISUKI." in any formats available of the winner's choosing.

Week 4: WRITER'S CHOICE! Pick any of the previous three pairings! Judged by Morgan. Prize is a copy of the YA fantasy "REWRITTEN 1: FALLACY" in a variety of formats (minus audiobook).


RULES for Joining the Blog Hop

  • You MUST sign up for the link list below. This way not only can the judges find your entries easily, but everyone else can see, too!
  • You don't have to participate every week, but at least once would be great! :P
  • If you intend / end up writing a scene that's more of the 18+ variety, you are expected to put a note at the top of your entry as a courtesy.
    • On that note, we will leave it to the participant's judgment when it comes to showing "sexier" romance and underage characters. When it doubt, it's probably best to err on the side of caution, whatever your caution may be.
  •  Please post your entries on the designated dates (to be announced in the coming weeks.) If you foresee any reason you will not be able to schedule a post for that day (such as an emergency), please contact me/us so we can work something out. (Entries will be judged as soon as possible following each week, so it's important to get them up in time.)
  • (Optional) Help us spread the word about the blog hop by:
    • Putting the Blog Hop badge somewhere on your site!
    • Tweeting!
    • Blogging about it!
    • Facebook!
    • Tumblr!
    • All those other social media doohickes beyond our radars! The more participants, the merrier!
We're VERY excited about this blog hop we just had to announce it a little earlier than usual! So start planning your scenes and get ready to expand your romance writing horizons! Can't wait to read everyone's entries! (Including my own. This will seriously be my first time writing M/M that's not off-camera, so to speak!)

**PLEASE NOTE: The terms "male", "female", "man", and "woman" are used very loosely. Males can identify as women and vice versa. Essentially, as long as your characters' identities fit the pairings, it should be just fine. This obviously includes trans* characters. For those who do not identify as either, that's one of the reasons we have "Writer's Choice" in week 4. If you have any questions about this (or anything re: the blog hop) PLEASE ask! You're probably not the only one!


POSTPONED UNTIL 2013

Friday, September 14, 2012

There is STUFF happening.

No blog post today because I am preparing STUFF for you, yes YOU! Check back tomorrow for a huge post announcing something to knock your socks off! And back on again! That's how monumental it is! Sheesh!

Okay fine have a gif.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

REN'AI RENSAI Character Profile 2: Aiko Takeuchi

After the joy and fun of last week's character profile, I decided to, you know, follow it up with another one, right on schedule! Only two more to go after this one! And then, launch day!

Today's feature is the other main character of the REN'AI RENSAI series, Aiko Takeuchi..She's practically the polar opposite of Reina, so expect! A lot! Of exclamations!

(Note: As the series jumps around a span of 20 or so years, profiles tend to cover everything in that time period.)

----------------------------------------------------

BASICS:


Name: Aiko Takeuchi (竹内愛子)
I really need to learn to take solo screens of my Sims.
Birthday: September 12th, 1973
Zodiac (Western): Virgo
Zodiac (Eastern): Ox
Nationality: Japanese
Height: 5'1
Weight: 95 lbs. 
Voice: Low
Speech Patterns: Feminine

LIKES/DISLIKES: 


Fave Color: Pink

Fave Food: Grilled salmon
Fave Drink: Gin
Fave Music: Popular music from the late 80s//early 90s
Clothing Style (Teens): Skirts and dresses
Clothing Style (Adult):  Jeans with Blouses, Occasional skirt/dress in hotter months.
Hobbies: Cooking/Baking, Shopping, Reading, Watching and critiquing movies with lesbian couples.

Camera's over here, sweetie.
CHARACTER:

Natal Family:  Mother, Father, Two older brothers, Two older sisters
Sexuality: Lesbian
Partner: Reina Yamada
Best Friend: Yuri Furusawa
Occupation(s): Student, Housewife
Comes Off As: Naive, Friendly
Sub/Dom: Sub, with inclination to switch.
 
PARAGRAPHS OF BIOGRAPHY STUFF:

Aiko grew up the youngest child in a sheltering family. Growing up it was impressed upon her that, while it was important for her to study and get a good degree, ultimately getting married to a man and having his children was her expectation.  Thus Aiko harbored multiple dreams as a child of lavish weddings and idealized the symbol of the housewife in Japanese society. Each time she got a new boyfriend her dreams were renewed, but Aiko was quick to find that none of her boyfriends were an adequate match for her.
Always, always a proper lady~

Her studies revolved around the English language and Western culture, leading her to enroll in an all-women's university focusing on international studies after graduating high school. One day she visited her cousin's place of work and met Reina, who flirted with her and made Aiko consider her sexuality for the very first time.

As she began a relationship with Reina, Aiko realized she had to choose between her/society's ideals, and what would make her happiest. In the end she sacrificed her dreams of marriage and children to become a housewife for Reina, aware that nobody would ever take their relationship seriously, assuming they even knew. In the process, Aiko lost a majority of her friends and lost the respect of her family. Even in later years Aiko retains some of her naivete and has a habit of outing herself to the wrong people at the wrong time. Although she's in a controversial kind of relationship, Aiko remains sheltered in how people will truly react to her way of life.

Somebody really should make that bed.
She is an empathetic person, always trying to help those around her. This often leads her to overextending herself and falling deeper when she realizes her unemotional girlfriend won't support her. Over time Aiko begins to become more and more jaded, and although she continues to strive to be optimistic, reality often contradicts her. She goes in and out of lesbian oriented organizations with the intent to help, but is often rejected because of her girlfriend's philandering past. This has lead to Aiko having an isolated life, with the exception of one friend, her neighbor Yuri. She is also one of the only people outside of Aiko's family to know of her sexuality, let alone support her. Although Yuri is married and has a child, she later comes out as gay to Aiko and becomes one of her only lovers outside of her relationship with Reina. Even so, Aiko often wishes she had more friends and family that didn't force themselves to be polite to her.

On one hand Aiko tries to convince herself all her sacrifices in the social world were worth it so she could be with Reina, but on the other, her moments of despair and frustration have increased. Her desire to express her emotions (especially love) often clash with Reina's listlessness and boredom. Sometimes Aiko considers breaking off  their twenty-year-long relationship, but in the end, her love for somebody she's not sure even loves her back is too strong. Aiko convinces herself it doesn't matter, but lives for the day when Reina will reciprocate her feelings, willingly and openly.

Naughty secrets on a slide? Well, I never.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cover Reveal for Carrie Butler's STRENGTH!

Taking time out today from talking about Me Me Me to participate in the cover reveal for Carrie Butler's new New Adult novel, "STRENGTH", coming out March 7th, 2013 via Sapphire Star Publishing. Check it out!


"When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation—and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few minor setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do—even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart."

You can follow Carrie on any of the  following sites. We've been blogging friends for a while now and she's always got something interesting to say.

WEBSITE  |  BLOG  |  SSP  |  TWITTER  |  FACEBOOK  |  GOODREADS  |  GOOGLE+ 

*Also, I know, I'm shocked too. This is like the last blog you expect a half naked man to show up on. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekly Writing Check-In: Work work work.

Man, what a roller coaster of a week. Last week I drew up an outline for the last few scenes in my current WIP, and hoped to get through most of them by today. Well, I got through five out of ten scenes, with the sixth one started. Why not more? Because my final edits came in so I started editing instead! And as of last night, editing is finished! Woohoo! Well, I'm going to start a final read through tomorrow before tackling formatting later this week. I also hope to get through the outline this week and be done with another rough draft! (A really, really rough draft.)

Sadly, this week hasn't be all good news. A couple weeks ago I mentioned my cat Cassie was diagnosed with cancer, but seemed to be doing well on her medicine. Well, last week she stopped eating again, and Friday we had to put her down. Understandably (or it better be), I was really upset for a couple days, also leading to me not writing much. Cats are my favorite animals, and I bond closer to them than any other. She was a very good and affectionate cat who was always there for me when others weren't. Actually, this is the second cat we've lost this year. Third, if you count my other cat that has declared herself feral. 2012 has been awful for animals. I'm also not reading much right now, because I always enjoyed reading outside in the sunshine with the cats bothering me and making beds out of my blankets. Not anymore, I suppose. Life sucks. Then you publish.

Onward~

Friday, September 7, 2012

"DAISUKI." Theme Song: "I Love You" by Miwako Okuda

Changing up the promotions a little bit. Originally I intended to post the first preview of "DAISUKI." today, but it's not quite ready yet. So, instead, have the song I consider to be the "theme song" of the story, a lovely mid-tempo ballad called "I Love You" (get it?) by Miwako Okuda. I don't even have to post a translation, because it's in the video! So ha!


Remember you can still sign up for the DAISUKI blog tour happening in October!

 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

REN'AI RENSAI Character Profile 1: Reina Yamada

There comes a time in every marketing ploy UH I MEAN campaign I do that I feel compelled to expose everyone to my ~super secret~ character profile stash, complete with illustrations from the Sims 3! Congrats, readers, you're about the fall in that hole again.

I plan on doing four of these this month, even though the REN'AI RENSAI series only technically has two characters. Which means I'll post both main characters in a row than a couple random minor characters that appear in "DAISUKI." (and also come straight from the main CROSS// universe, and originally appeared there as well. Ha. Publishing order is weird.)

Today's poor victim put up for public viewing is the not-so-private but also not-so-outgoing (so you know, like most people) Reina Yamada. I decided to launch with her because she's the one I came up with first.

(Note: As the series jumps around a span of 20 or so years, profiles tend to cover everything in that time period.)

HERE WE GO DESU YO~

----------------------------------------------------

BASICS:

Is this seriously the best solo pic I have of her at 40? Srsly.
Name: Reina Yamada (山田)
Birthday: December 3rd, 1972
Zodiac (Western): Sagittarius
Zodiac (Eastern): Rat  
Nationality: Japanese
Height: 5'6
Weight: 115 lbs. 
Voice: Low
Speech Patterns: Masculine

LIKES/DISLIKES: 

Fave Color: Blue
Fave Food: Okonomiyaki
Fave Drink: Beer (Sapporo Draft)
Fave Music: Female songwriters from the 1980s
Clothing Style (Teens):  Baggy sweaters, jeans or short-shorts/mini-skirts.
Clothing Style (Adult):  Jeans with T-shirt or pullover. (Casual) Women's tailored suits. (Work)
Hobbies: Sex, Going to bars, Watching TV

Just chillin' like a 20yo badass.
CHARACTER:

Natal Family:  Mother, Father (Deceased)
Sexuality: Lesbian
Partner: Aiko Takeuchi
Best Friend: Michiko Kawazama
Occupation(s): Waitress, Singer/Dancer, Student, Corporate Drone (In order through series.)
Comes Off As: Aloof, Charming, Lazy
Sub/Dom: Dom. Always.
 
PARAGRAPHS OF BIOGRAPHY STUFF:

Reina is a mystery to everyone but herself. She lives life with the idea of "do what I want, to an extent", and this confuses just about everyone around her, who continue to live in the Japanese group mentality. While it estranges her from most of the people she meets, her charisma makes up for it and she usually ends up with a few friends for a few hours, wherever she goes.

Growing up Reina was an only child, the daughter of a housewife and a university professor. Her father was killed in a transportation accident when she was 14, throwing her mother into severe depression and the family unit into dire financial straits. Financial problems were compounded when Reina's mother decided to send her to a "prestigious" all girls private high school in northern Tokyo. It was at this school Reina first realized her attraction to other girls while also meeting her best friend Michiko, an American-born girl with a lot of self-confidence to share.

She only has one thing on her mind.
Reina earned a reputation for philandering that would last her entire life. Her relaxed attitude towards life and relationships leads her to becoming the "experiment" for other women looking to try a different kind of sexual relations. While Reina doesn't mind this and even welcomes it at times, she does get tired of seeing the same women turn around and return to the "easier" heterosexual lifestyle. For Reina her sexuality's never been a choice, even when her mother threatened to throw her out for being a stain on her father's legacy. To ease the tension in her house, she got a job right out of high school as the underaged waitress at the only lesbian stripclub in the country. Although she enjoyed her job (the perfect place to pick up lesbians, after all), after a year she saw an ad for theater rehearsals and thought she could make more money doing it. She ended up just becoming an idolized pony show every weekend.

I had another version with epic polygon fail.
However, one of her groupmates had a habit of bringing her family around the theater, and that was how Reina met Aiko. Although Reina never thought it would lead anywhere (other than Aiko running off with an old boyfriend, like women were wont to do) they started "dating" and eventually became girlfriends. Even though Reina had slept with nearly hundreds of women before, Aiko was her first "official" girlfriend. Yet they were still the oddest couple in the gay district, since with becoming girlfriends Reina stipulated she still wanted the freedom to sleep with other women. Aiko agreed, on the condition they "did it together".

Being in a relationship forced Reina to reevaluate her role in life, especially when she was partnered with the "girliest girl" imaginable. Aiko's only real dream was to become a homemaker, and in order to make that happen for her, Reina quit her job at the theater, cut off her hair, and enrolled in university. After graduating she got a job as a desk drone at a corporation. Soon Aiko's great aunt died, leaving Aiko a paid-off house in the Tokyo suburbs. Reina and Aiko moved in together, and became an odd representation of a typical Japanese married couple.

AWESOME BENDER, BRO.
As years passed, Reina adopted a more masculine appearance to go alongside her already masculine speech and mannerisms. Her life began to revolve around work with odd moments of play, and as the economy in Japan weakened more and more, Reina became paranoid about losing her job because of her gender and sexuality. While at home and in the bars she remained the same aloof and lazy Reina everybody knew, at work her paranoia reached a point where it solidified in her brain and she began to develop Gender Identity Disorder. In Japan, everyone is expected to take up a rigid gender role, and if Reina wasn't a "woman", then she had to be a "man". This lead to her becoming strictly dominant in the bedroom, and incapable of acknowledging her old and abandoned feminine side.

Throughout her life Reina has only had a couple people considered close to her and are subsequently the only women she's acknowledged feelings for:  her best friend Michiko, who returned to America when Reina was twenty and visits every so often, and Aiko, who has stuck by Reina's antics for twenty years. Others either see her as too selfish to deal with, or a fun friend for certain times, so long as they're not seen around her outside the gay districts. Reina takes this in stride and even prefers it, being naturally reclusive until her libido sparks up. Her reputation as a womanizer precedes her, and it's rumored she's slept with 300 women. Of course, only she knows the real number. Maybe. She's not the type to keep track or care. Her lack of caring about most things (aside from hiding herself at her job) has made her almost completely incapable over the years of expressing herself or her emotions. Her attitude is to bottle everything up and pretend "feelings" don't exist. But she is human, and does have feelings. Including those annoying ones like "love". Sometimes.

 Well, maybe "free love".

This is my first time noticing those creepy giraffes.


Same Sim time at the same Sim place next Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Queer Japan: Personal Stories Of Japanese Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals And BisexualsQueer Japan

Queer Japan: Personal Stories Of Japanese Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals And BisexualsQueer Japan: Personal Stories Of Japanese Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals And Bisexuals by Barbara Summerhawk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this book on a whim when I was searching Amazon for books about lesbianism in Japan - as you can imagine, there isn't a whole lot out there, so this book jumped out at me. One of the lowest reviews stated this book focused mostly on lesbians and they were looking for something about gay men. Even better! If there's anything I've learned from the LGBT community, it's that it's still mostly made up of male voices. This book sounded just like what I needed.

The format of the book is basically (translated) essays and interviews with LGBT volunteers. There are lesbians, gay men, bisexual men and women, and of course trans* people. (Some people cover more than one category.) They also run a full range of elderly people to younger. Some were also married (in heterosexual marriages). But all of them have one thing in common: struggling to embrace themselves as queer in a society more repressive than my own in America.

As an American queer woman who has both lived here (in America) and abroad in Japan, I was excited to find out more about the difference and solidarities in the struggles of being "queer". I was not disappointed. All of the essay writers and interviewees were wonderfully frank about their life stories and their hopes and fears for a friendly future in Japan. Some of the writers were also incredibly involved in their gay communities, fighting to change the atmosphere for queer people in Japan. But the most interesting bits were the "mundane" parts - struggling to keep a relationship together, fighting with preconceived norms, going through horrendous "treatments" in their early lives...while the essays can be very grim at times, it's telling, and it's real. As a queer person I don't want to hear "it gets better". I want to hear the truth and how it affects people. But in the grimness, there is always hope. Each and every one of these writers is either living out their hopes or clinging to it. I found this compilation incredibly inspiring, and it renewed a lot of my own hope for the future.

Of course, there are a couple minor, minor gripes. First, it's a bit dated. It was published c.1997, and I want to know where most of these people are now, how much it's changed. I know a bit of the current queer circles in Tokyo, but it sounds like a lot of the old organizations have disbanded. Are new ones in place? Are people fending for themselves? Do they even have to? How much progress has been made? Obviously, this book can't answer those questions for me. But it was a start. Also, there were minor editing mistakes, mostly in the whose/who's and where/wear areas. Not sure how those glaring ones slipped through, but it wasn't enough to take away the power of the actual text.

I recommend this book to anyone looking to 1) research the queer world in Japan 2) connect with people like themselves, whether queer or not. This is particularly great for those doing lesbian research, since it wasn't overpowered by male voices like most of these compilations are.

View all my reviews

Monday, September 3, 2012

New Layout + Facebook Update!

Yup, it got done! The new layout around here is looking spiffy, if I do say so myself. Switched from 2 columns to three and moved some stuff around. Also, the "Projects" page is now the "Books" page, while I've taken down the schedule. Also, the layout is optimized for widescreens, so there may be some scrolling on smaller, squarer monitors...which probably isn't a lot of you, and if it is, congrats, you are the 1% of computer users and are probably used to it! =P

Also, the Facebook page has  a new look now as well! I'm loving seeing this cover everywhere, let me tell ya. Love it so much I wish I could make wallpapers for y'all to download, but my usage license doesn't let me. OH WELL.

I'm glad that's over with. Refreshing to see a new layout, but don' task me how long it took to hack into the blogger html to change some super simple things that should've been easier to do. Good thing I used to code websites by hand ~way back in the day~. Ugh.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Weekly Writing Check-In: Feeling The Grind

This is my brain on "grind. (Photo by Cgoodwin)
...and no, not the sexy kind, either. (Darnit, foiled again!)

This past week and this upcoming week are just packed with so much stuff, that I'm starting to feel the lag. This last week I stayed up super late each night and am now running on empty, so today I mostly took off to go "duuuuh" and recharge before jumping back in tomorrow. Mostly, I need more sleep. Tonight I hope to get at least 8 hours! Woo!

As most of you know, I'm continuing to write the first draft of the second book in the Ren'Ai Rensai series, and I was starting to go fkdsjfklajkl because it's already full novel length and the end wasn't showing up. So today I sat down and wrote out an outline for the remainder of the draft. I am ten scenes from finishing! Now that I can see what the end is going to be, I feel a lot better about it. Normally I don't really outline like this, but I decided I needed to in order to keep myself grounded and stop panicking. (Let's put it this way. I'm hoping to get the second one out by Christmas...preferably in November. With finishing the draft, editing, editing again, getting it beta read, editing it again, sending it off to the final editor, editing it AGAIN...that's a lot to chew.) I'm going to shoot to finish the draft by this time next weekend, which means no fooling around during the day! GET TO IT, HILDRED.

On another front, DAISUKI continues its edits and marketing for its release later this month. Have got the first week of the blog tour more or less planned out. Tomorrow I tackle the site layout! (Uh, on that note, if you're here and you see the layout in a state of yuck, it's because I'm fiddling with it. Sorry!)

So yes. Today? Rest. Tomorrow? The fun begins. So long as I get enough sleep tonight, should be fine!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

"DAISUKI." Cover Reveal!

Woo! It's September, which means promotions for "DAISUKI." (out September 28th!) begin in earnest! First up? THE COVER REVEAL~!

Click to make it big!
Ain't it just gorgeous? The cover was a combined effort between myself and bff / editor / apparent graphic designer Lindsay York, whose recoloring skills were able to make this cover possible. (Seriously, the woman recolors manga for a hobby.) And in case you're wondering (such as if you don't read Japanese), the kanji in the cover reads "Ren'Ai Rensai", the series's official title.

Along with the cover comes my re-spiel about the DAISUKI Blog Tour in October, for which I am still taking sign ups through the rest of the month! Of course, now that I've revealed the cover, it's time to reveal the blog badge as well!


Nothing special, really, but I like it. ;)

That's all for today! Expect so much more throughout September, beginning with a site overhaul this weekend! That's...gonna be a lot of fun. (She said, sarcastically.)