Saturday, March 30, 2013

OUT NOW: "KATAOMOI." Book 4 of the REN'AI RENSAI erotic romance series!

Phew! A day late with this (we won't talk about what Amazon has put me through this week...okay, we will, TOMORROW.) But yes! "KATAOMOI." is officially out now! Below is the blurb and a small excerpt. Enjoy!

The day Aiko and Reina move into their own home together is supposed to be a joyous occasion. However, with Reina working five to six days a week, Aiko the budding housewife finds solitude tough to handle. She jumps headlong into making friends at the nearest lesbian get-together but meets one person not interested: Reina’s bitter ex-girlfriend, who fills her emotional void with activism and her love for all-female musicals.

While Aiko establishes herself as the queen of domesticity, Reina is nominated for a promotion at work. She soon discovers that being a woman in the professional world is rife with injustice, and begins to resent her gender and the way society treats it. With her ex-girlfriend now hanging around, it is a cold reminder as to what happens when Reina becomes a thorn in other women’s families.

Living together will give Aiko and Reina challenges never dreamed of before, yet it gives them the chance to build a life together, other women notwithstanding. Their first trial is to navigate the first few months of coming out, disappointment, glamorous show tunes, and a dark cloud of kataomoi, or “unrequited love,” hanging over the city.

“KATAOMOI.” takes place from July - Oct. 1997.

Amazon - Amazon UK - B&N

           “You know, I’ve been thinking.” Seeing the tenderness on her girlfriend’s visage made Reina weak like this. “About what you said the other day…wanting to stay home to take care of the house…” She nuzzled Aiko’s cheek. “If I get this promotion, which I should, I’ll be making enough money to support us both and save on the side. Maybe it won’t be so hard on us if you don’t get a part-time job.”
            Eyes glittering, Aiko bit her bottom lip to contain her elation. “Truly?” Her voice fluctuated between an awed whisper and a loving tone. “Oh! Thank you!” She clobbered into Reina’s body, squeezing the breath out of her and crushing her ribs. “I will do my best to be a productive person here at home! I’ll make our favorite foods every day and make sure you have everything you need to do well at work!”
            Reina scoffed – and yet, looking at Aiko’s frivolity gave her pride. “You make it sound like you are a housewife now…”
            “Well, I am! In a way.” Aiko released her death grip. “Nee, why is it so different just because we’re both women?”
            “I suppose it’s not, really.” And with that, Reina kissed her.
            The ache in her muscles melted away, only to be replaced with a new ache: the throbbing torture of yearning. When she slipped her tongue into Aiko’s mouth, her girlfriend responded with a smack to the rear. “You naughty girl! My mother will be here soon!”
            That was almost enough to kill Reina’s libido. But she had tasted Aiko’s lips, smelled her skin, and rubbed her face against her hair. Sex was inevitable now. “There’s time for a quickie.” She licked Aiko’s cheek as if it were ice cream.
            “Maybe…” The skin beneath Reina’s tongue turned as pink as Aiko’s T-shirt. “If we’re really quick…”
            Give me five minutes, my tongue and my fingers, and I’ll have you screaming into your pillow again. Quickies weren’t the most fun, but they got the job done. At the very least, Reina would be tranquil enough to get through a visit from Junko.
            She attempted to lift Aiko off the floor – that only resulted in lifting her T-shirt, and soon they fell into each other’s arms, kissing, biting, and clawing one another like rabid wolves. The best part about the oncoming lovemaking was that their union couldn’t produce the child Reina swore she still heard screeching at the train station a ten minute walk away.
            She swore her girlfriend’s sigh had her name on it.
            Lips curled together; tongues ducked into each other’s mouths. Hands roamed where they willed, including beneath the hem of Aiko’s skirt and the cusp of Reina’s shirt. Soon. In a second they could pry apart long enough to ascend the stairs and roll together in bed until…
            A shout, not from a toddler, dumped upon their heated embrace.
            Reina’s first thought as she and Aiko disengaged was that the little girl on the bicycle had been in an accident. But after she finished pulling down her T-shirt she saw the horror on Aiko’s face and followed her gape out the wide front window.
            Where she met Junko’s equally horrified mien.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"KATAOMOI." New Character Sneak Peek!

As promised, I've got two new characters to introduce to you that will be making their debut in "KATAOMOI!" Now, the lovely ladies you see in these screenshots  have been styled in the way they would dress today...even thought they're debuting back in 1997! (Mmm grunge.)

Originally only one of these characters were going to be in the story, but then I was, uh, "inspired" to add the other, and I'm glad I did. They were a lot of fun to write, and it's not often I get to write about non-sexual best friends in the Ren'Ai Rensai universe.

But enough about that. You don't care. You just want to meet the new ladies! Now, you don't get TOO much information. Not until the book's been out a couple of days. ;)

Yatsumi Katsuragi
Yatsumi is a no-nonsense woman when it comes to feminism, queer rights, and general activism. She is dedicated to her friends (who are not assholes, by the way) and often indulges their crazy loves and fantasies. Most people don't know this, but she's half-Chinese on her mother's side.

Mio Yoshioka
Mio has a few thousand skeletons in her closet, the biggest one being her previous relationship with Reina - of which she's still only a little bit bitter about. Mio is the type to fill the missing pieces of her life with second-hand replacements. She is best friends with Yatsumi, who is the only one to not make fun of her interests - or her past.

Remember! "KATAOMOI." is coming out TOMORROW, March 29th!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Takarazuka: Sparkles, Glitter, And Women In Drag

Reon Yuzuki and Nene Yumesaki
Almost everyone knows about Japanese anime - you know, that East Asian medium that has been blasting through the West's youth for the past few decades. You've probably also heard your share of Japanese pop and rock, including the visual kei that depicts heavy rocking men in long hair, heavy make-up, and sometimes Victorian dresses. You may have even seen a Japanese movie or drama, even if you didn't know it at the time.

And let's not forget the traditional Japanese mediums like kabuki, (which is all male, even in the female roles) and bunraku, the puppet theater. What most people who aren't lesbians obsessed with Japan haven't heard of is the world of all-female musical, takarazuka. 

Takarazuka has a long, long history when compared to some other modern Japanese arts. It was established in the early twentieth century by a railroad company to entice tourism to the central Japanese city Takarazuka. The idea was to hire all women to perform both female and male roles, in both classical and modern musicals, as an opposing hook to the all-male kabuki. Over the decades takarazuka musicals because so popular that the original troupe (called Flower) was gradually split into four other troupes: Moon, Snow, Star, and Cosmos, in that order. (There's also the Supreme Troupe, featuring older actresses who have yet to retire.) Each troupe has their own general niche and "top stars" that attract fans for generations.

Besides indulging in the over-dramatic, crazy singing and dancing skills, and shooting glitter at everyone, takarazuka's main appeal is the "otokoyaku", or the "male" performers. Actresses (commonly called siennes) are split into either the otokoyaku or musumeyaku (female) groups early on in their training. Women in the otokoyaku group are instructed to act as manly as possible both in their professional and personal lives. Over the decades this has meant the otokoyaku have become the driving force behind takarazuka, as they offer a gendered escape from reality for both oppressed housewives and dirty-minded lesbians. (Darn, right?)

That said, the bulk of takarazuka's fans are women: specifically, middle-aged women. It's becoming more popular with younger women (particularly outside of Japan, thanks to the Internet) but the bread and butter of the business is still with the average everyday housewife. Many experts have tried to understand this phenomenon, but it mostly comes down to gender liberation and, well, come on. It's hot androgynous women strutting around being fabulous. Do I really need to spell this shit out? I didn't think so.

I've been a casual fan for many years, but it's only in the past year I got to the point where I was finally learning names and caring beyond "lol they're hot." When creating the Ren'Ai Rensai series, I knew I wouldn't be able to get past two novels without creating a full blown subplot involving these salacious musicals. Finally, "KATAOMOI." introduces a takarazuka-related subplot focusing on 90's zuka. (You better memorize the name Miki Maya right now.) It was a blast to write, and I'm kinda sad it's over. But I can't force Aiko to be obsessed forever. Well, I could, but it would be pretty obvious.

I will now round off this post with a clip featuring, arguably, the biggest otokoyaku and musumeyaku actresses in recent takarazuka history: Yuu Todoroki and Mari Hanafusa, respectively.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Japanese Media in 1997 Fun Post!

With the release of "KATAOMOI." only three days away, it's time to jump into a post about one of my favorite things related to it -  Japanese media! 1997 was a great year for Japanese media. In fact, it was a part of the great music and movie "boom," when records were broken to new astronomical heights. Some records were so crazy that the odds of them ever being broken now are slim to none, granted the great decline of Japanese physical record sales.


Perhaps the biggest news for J-pop in 1997 was that of superstar idol Namie Amuro smashing the record for most copies sold by a  female solo artist for a single. Her classic "Can You Celebrate?" (written and produced by Tetsuya Komuro, who pretty much dominated music in the 90s) sold a whopping 2.3 MILLION copies in Japan alone. A record that hasn't even come close to being broken by another female solo artist.


The 90s were a golden era for many anime fans around the world. One of the most (relevant to our stories here, anyway) famous shows to come out in 1997 was Revolutionary Girl Utena, a cult classic that on the surface is about surreal sword fights and roses, but deep down is more about gender roles, existentialism,  and lots and lots of phallic imagery.

Oh, and Pokemon came out that year too.


Although 90s dramas from Japan are probably not as well known as their anime counterparts, 1997 was still a monumental year for the format. One of the biggest dramas that year was "Love Generation", a romance starring superstar Takuya Kimura. The drama touched on Japanese business culture, social conformity, and, of course, love triangles. The drama enjoyed very high ratings of 30% and was the first winner of the Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix.

Video Games

1997 was the year of the Nintendo 64 in Japan. Franchises such as Mario, StarFox, and Zelda all got huge reboots that put them on the 3D map for generations to come. While it's difficult to say what's a "1997 game" due to release lags, one of the most beloved games to make it's mark in 1997 was MarioKart 64. An ultimate party game, MarioKart could have been played by even the most casual of gamers. And probably was. MarioKart has always been a video game staple in parties in Japan!

You know, watching all these clips is making me think 1997 was a pretty awesome year.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"KATAOMOI." Cover and Blurb Reveal!

They're here! Time to unveil the cover and blurb for "KATAOMOI.", book 4 in the REN'AI RENSAI erotic romance series! Look at that cover. Isn't it gorgeous? Now check out the blurb!

The day Aiko and Reina move into their own home together is supposed to be a joyous occasion. However, with Reina working five to six days a week, Aiko the budding housewife finds solitude tough to handle. She jumps headlong into making friends at the nearest lesbian get-together but meeets one person not interested: Reina’s bitter ex-girlfriend, who fills her emotional void with activism and her love for all-female musicals.

While Aiko establishes herself as the queen of domesticity, Reina is nominated for a promotion at work. She soon discovers that being a woman in the professional world is rife with injustice, and begins to resent her gender and the way society treats it. With her ex-girlfriend now hanging around, it is a cold reminder as to what happens when Reina becomes a thorn in other women’s families.

Living together will give Aiko and Reina challenges never dreamed of before, yet it gives them the chance to build a life together, other women notwithstanding. Their first trial is to navigate the first few months of coming out, disappointment, glamorous show tunes, and a dark cloud of kataomoi, or “unrequited love,” hanging over the city.

"Kataomoi." takes place between July and October, 1997.

"KATAOMOI."will be out this FRIDAY, March 29th! Check back in every day this week for more pre-release posting fun!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Writing Check-In: Get Ready for Kataomoi Week!

This past week has been me doing almost nothing but preparing for the release of KATAOMOI this Friday! And to kick off the release, every day this week will be making a post related to the story!

Monday: Cover and Blurb Reveal!
Tuesday: Japanese Media in 1997 Fun Post
Wednesday: Sparkles and glitters and feathers. You'll see.
Thursday: Sneak peek into two new characters debuting!
Friday: Release day!

There will also be some specials on other books going on this week...come back tomorrow to check them out. ;)

Hope you're as excited as I am! Then again, I always get excited by new RR releases~

Friday, March 22, 2013

Putting the L In LGBT Music: Uh Huh Her

(Images used for promo purposes only.)
As both a queer woman and a die-hard music lover, I'm always looking for great music that primarily features lesbian band members. While twin group Tegan and Sara are probably the most famous, my favorites have always been Uh Huh Her. Comprised of Leisha Hailey (who played Alice from The L Word) and girlfriend Camila Grey, Uh Huh  Her are an indie band with great, trance-like vocals and a terrific fusion of electro and acoustic sensibilities. Like most groups, their lyrics center around love's angsts and pleasures, but what makes them stand out is that you know they're talking about other women. While it's fun to re-imagine lyrics from other bands with a gay twist, with Uh Huh Her it's a surety!

Currently they have two full-length albums and three EPs - not band for a band that's only been around for six years now. (Well, not bad for a Western band. ;) ) I once almost had the chance to see them live a couple of years ago, but that didn't pan out. Well, maybe someday!

You may have also heard of them about a year or so ago when they were embroiled in a minor scandal with Southwestern Airlines. According to the ladies of UHH, they were sharing a kiss on board when they were asked to stop. Needless to say, did not bode well with the general gay community.

But, as I said before, UHH is one of my favorite bands ever. Their hypnotic music is great for writing, reading, working, chill out, everything! Doesn't hurt their voices are ethereal as well. :) If you've made it this far you've probably checked them out already, but if you haven't, do it! They need more support!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

OUT NOW: REN'AI RENSAI: The First Collection

For the first time the first THREE novels of the REN’AI RENSAI lesbian romance series are available in one shot! The set includes “DAISUKI.”, “HATSUKOI.” and “SEIKOU.” for the low price of $9.99. Not only is that a savings of four dollars, but you pretty much get book 1 for free!

Praise for the REN’AI RENSAI series:

“While I am a fan of erotica to an extent, the plot of Daisuki really engages the reader and made it not only fun to read but created believable characters that you care for and are eager to follow their stories.” - Brittany Barr

“It can be hard in erotic romance to strike a good balance between sexy and emotionally satisfying, but “Daisuki.” does it beautifully.” - Alexis Latshaw

“On the surface, it is a book about hot sex between two Japanese lesbians. If you dig a bit deeper, then you will find it is also a book about Eastern vs Western cultural norms, relationship status differences, societal expectations, family shame and honor, and many LGBT issues including sexual privacy, gender identity, and marginalization.” - Michele James

“This book has two things any erotic romance needs: a compelling conflict and a lot of steamy sex.” - Elizabeth Twist

Open relationships never seem to appear in fiction—certainly not long-term, committed, and realistic interpretations of them, at least. I found the details of their arrangement intriguing and plausible; as I previously said, I also strongly felt their overpowering love for one another, even when they faced challenges. They fit well together, and I loved it.” - Morgan Bauman

REN’AI RENSAI: THE FIRST COLLECTION can be purchased at the following fine retailers:

Amazon - B&N - Kobo <—coming soon as soon as they are processed.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weekly Writing Check-In: Announcement of Upcoming Promotions

Wooo I was a bad girl this week. You know what's sad? The fact that I have two longish blog posts in draft, but didn't have time to finish or post either of them! Yes, yes, the writing days just get busier. Right now I'm working on three different projects. That seems to be how these things conspire.

All that said, I"ll soon have a series of blog posts lined up for the release of "KATAOMOI." on March 29th! The first post will be the blurb and cover reveal, followed by a series of blog posts about life and pop culture in Japan during the late 90s. One of my favorite eras, so I'm pretty stoked! Hope you'll put up with me while I try to scramble all my drafts together. :P Looking forward to it!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weekly Writing Check-In: Oops Forgot Another One!

Look at me. I forgot to do a check-in last week. Oops.

Well, not much to talk about. (Wow I'm tired of saying that.) I am currently in the process of uploading story #5 for my pen name. I've decided that my least favorite part of publishing, out of writing/editing/designing,marketing etc, is definitely the blurb. Hate writing blurbs. Haaate. And I always forget to write the blurb until I'm staring at KDP going "....oh." Every week. Without fail. (Please note how I am not running off to write my blurb right now. Oops!)

I will hear back this week on a possible day job. If I get it, it may slightly change my writing schedule. But hopefully not too much. The hours match up right with me and would let me still write at night, which is when I am my happiest. But it may mean a slower update schedule for the pen name so I can continue to put as much energy as possible toward REN'AI RENSAI.

(Does anybody even care about that? =P)

As usual, my check-ins are boring. Tell me something super awesome that happened to you last week. Please. Make this post interesting~

Saturday, March 9, 2013

OUT NOW! "SHIMONETA." a Ren'Ai Rensai Short

(Just look at that cover. Pretty sure this is my favorite short cover...well, right next to Mitsushin. It's a toss up.)

Roped into teaching a “Lesbian Talk” seminar for the local lesbian populace, Reina is convinced it’s going to bomb - even though she is the most talented, experienced, and sexiest woman possible to do the job. Just as she’s getting used to the idea, however, her worst nightmare arrives: her wife, Aiko, coming to taunt her with everything she keeps beneath her clothing. Will Reina’s seminar head south as she cracks under the sexual pressure, or will this master of “shimoneta,” or “dirty talk,” end up giving the greatest demonstration of her short career? Whatever happens, Aiko volunteers to help.

“SHIMONETA.” takes place on May 13th, 2013.


          “But how do you meet these people once you’re in the same room together?” Kotoha tugged on one of her pigtails. “Because I never have any idea what to say.”

  Reina shrugged. “Depends on your personality and the context. In our situation, your biggest bets meeting people by chance are gay bars and meetings.” That’s how Reina met over half of her 450 sex partners. “And in gay bars, women are looking for companionship, right?” Right. Of course. And it seemed most of the girls agreed from the way they slowly nodded and turned away, embarrassed. “In that case, it helps to be forward. Assuming it fits your personality.” Reina was the queen of forwardness. She could go into any lesbian bar and convince almost any woman to have sex with her.
“Even somebody like me?” Kotoha pointed to her feminine pigtails.
“Why not? We butches can’t do all the work, you know.”
That elicited a few more chuckles than usual. Reina got an idea and took a step forward.
“Here. I’ll show you how to flirt.”
Before anyone could object, Reina walked over to turn off the lights and leave everyone in darkness, save for when she turned on one low light above her audience. As dark as a bar. All that was missing was the thumping of music too loud to hear people over. Or as Reina liked to think about it, loud enough for her to covertly flirt beneath.
She slinked through the rows and sat in an empty desk next to Kotoha, who registered her presence with a small start. The others either turned or leaned forward to watch the Master of Seduction in action.
“Did you come here all alone?” Reina asked in her soft, easy voice. “Or is somebody not paying attention to you?” She painted a gentle smile on her face – fake in her own mind, but one she had practiced over decades to come out looking genuine. She maintained a respectful distance from Kotoha. Experience taught her young femmes didn’t like being crowded so early in flirtations. Older femmes and butches of all ages though…
Kotoha shuffled in her seat. For someone thrust into the spotlight in the middle of an awkward lesson, Reina commended her for not running away. “I came here alone,” she said in a whisper. The edges of her mouth pulled into a giddy smile.
Reina scooted her chair closer. “You look like you could use some company.”
Kotoha covered her mouth.
From there on Reina resorted to her foolproof methods, from inquiring about Kotoha’s life to offering her free drinks and cigarettes – both of which she declined. Kotoha gradually came out of her shell, the grin on her countenance bigger than the ego Reina stroked with her subtle compliments and sly suggestions. As the minutes wore on, Kotoha’s cheeks became pinker and her body shifted in the arrival of sexual arousal. Reina wrapped her arm around the back of Kotoha’s chair, leaned forward, and whispered into her ear, “Do you understand why what I’m doing works?”



Amazon - UK - CA - DE - FR - IT - ES - JP - BR

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Read and Ebook Week Promotion! All REN'AI RENSAI novels 25-50% off!

Did you know it's Read and Ebook Week? Well, it is! From March 3-9th, everyone is asked to try reading at least one ebook. This also means that many vendors are having great ebook sales! At the forefront is Smashwords (click link for a full list of participating ebooks) where you can get books on sale for 25, 50, 75 or even 100% off! Am I participating? You bet!

Get each novel in the REN’AI RENSAI lesbian erotic romance series for a limited time discount!


“DAISUKI.” - Enter coupon code REW50 for 50% off!

“HATSUKOI.” - Enter coupon code REW25 for 25% off!

“SEIKOU.” - Enter coupon code REW25 for  25% off!

Smashwords provides any format, including Kindle Mobi, Epub, and, yes, PDF. They even accept paypal instead of credit cards.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Peek Into a Rural Japanese Apartment

You've probably heard the stories, seen the pictures, and watched the videos: Japanese apartments are infamous for being tiny abodes where you have to be a size 0 just to slip through the kitchen. In a country with limited real estate but a huge population, it's just the way things roll. Especially in the cities, such as Tokyo, which has the highest population density in the world.

But I was fortunate to live in a roomier place with (damaged, yay!) hardwood floors when I lived out at the base of the Japanese Alps in Gifu Prefecture. Please enjoy the small photo tour below, and be sure to read the captions and extra comments below! ;) Things aren't always as they appear in photos...

Front of the building. I lived in center-top. You can tell because LOL PINK AND ORANGE FUTON CLIPS.

View from front door. Enlarge to see the Japanese cemetery.
View from balcony. This was an appliance dumpingr/recycling center. At 7am there would be some half naked guy throwing toilets around. Literally. Throwing toilets around.
Interview view from the front door. Opens right into kitchen and passes into separate living/bedroom.
Entryway (or "genkan") where shoes go. You DO NOT wear shoes aside from house slippers inside Japanese homes. You just don't, okay. (And yes, that's my washing machine. No, we don't do dryers in Japan. Haha if only~)
Kitchen. No ovens in Japan unless you are super rich/lucky. Everyone has a mini fridge. I was special and had two burners instead of just one. (Gas range, of course.) That small space next to the sink was my entire cooking space. That toaster oven was a giant fire waiting to happen so it remained unhappily unplugged most of the time. More later on why that sink was the source of all evil.
Just to the right was the hygiene area. This is a pretty standard setup for...well, every home I've ever been in Japan, and many hotels.
Shower/Bath. Toilets are kept in separate closet-like rooms in Japan. I think I'll pass on posting a picture of a fancy Japanese toilet. (Google it~)
Living area. This was REALLY spacious compared to most apartments. For way less than a closet in Tokyo. (My rent was about 480 a month.)
Close up of my actual "living" corner. I spent about 20 percent of my time in Japan in this corner. We don't do beds in Japan. No way. It's a futon on the floor or bust. Also, that table was never that clean most of the time. Usually it was embarrassingly cluttered.
Shelf area. TV did not work. It was analog and Japan had moved on to digital. (How nice, right?) This was taken about two months after I moved in. By the end of the year the TV was in the closet and these shelves were covered in Pokemon and CDs.
Interior view from balcony.
My super spacious closet I missed more than anything.
Now for the EXTRA COMMENTS. These pictures were taken in late June, in the middle of Japan's OMG THIS IS NOT OKAY humid / rainy season. My apartment, while spacious, was the epitome of un-ventable. I had ONE window and basically a death trap in the kitchen. I was only capable of surviving thanks to an air conditioner that was worth every penny to run. So now look at this pictures and imagine standing there, your clothes sticking to you like adhesive while sweat falls off your forehead. You're choking on the thick, watery air and just going to the bathroom (which was a HOT BOX) makes you want to die. As somebody who survived two heat strokes already in Japan, you can imagine this was a lot of fun.

On the flipside it was a freakin' freezer during the winter. And the heater did nothing to improve it. I could see my own breath a majority of the time, and ice would form in the corners of the wall.

SECOND THING. About the sink. That sink Just no. There was SOMETHING wrong with my plumbing, that nobody could tell me what was going on. But essentially when it was really hot or really cold (so, 10 months out of the year) it would emit this FOUL odor that would cloak the whole kitchen and smack you in the face when you came home. It came from the drain. I cleaned that thing SO MANY TIMES and yet it made no difference. Open sewers are still a huge thing in Japan and it kinda smelled like that. IT was...bad. That's all I can say. Ugh. I can still smell it over a year later.

Well, at any rate, hoped you enjoyed the small tour of a Japanese apartment! ;)