Sunday, December 30, 2012

Weekly Writing Check-In: More like the yearly check-in.

Good luck with this buddy.
Well, it's that time of year again. You know, the one when the year changes. To a different time. Of year. What?

Looking back on 2012, I'm not quite sure what to think. I completed another round of living in Japan and moved back to to my old bedroom in my parents' house. I spent the past 8 months barely leaving the house (or getting dressed! Woo!) and writing a bunch of lesbian romance. BUT! I did publish that lesbian romance! I am officially a published author! I'm halfway to my dream! (Which is making a living off writing.) So there is that, for which I am very grateful.

I have a lot of aspirations for 2013, but of course there is the fear that none of it will happen. Since graduating university, I have been in this hell of not knowing where I'll be in a year or even six months. I don't like that. I like security. I like knowing everything will be (relatively) all right. I haven't had that sort of comfort in years, and I'd really like to get it back again.

Of course, my main aspiration for 2013 is to make a living off my writing. By "living" I would be ecstatic with just covering my debt payments every month. Let's just say I'm about 1/20th of the way there. (Wooooo.) Otherwise, 2013 will be a lot more writing and publishing. The first half is mostly REN'AI RENSAI releases with a spinoff occurring around spring. I also have a SPECIAL PROJECT coming out in January that I'm about halfway finished with.

I try to remain hopeful about the future, but recent fiscally related panic attacks are not helping. Still, here's to 2013 not sucking!

Any good resolutions out there?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Alternative Covers for "Mitsushin."

A couple weeks ago ye olde cover designer Lindz and I headed into design hell with one of my latest covers, "Mitsushin." In the end we managed to come up with the end product (that I was very happy with, because she is amazing) but not  before losing our minds over some hilarious duds. I present to you all the alt. covers I received during the process. Check out that TOTALLY GAY kanji.

After a while, I became pretty attached to the pink one, I must say.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Just what the subject line says! As of today "DAISUKI." is up for paperback giveaway grabs over at Goodreads. Opportunity closes on January 25th, and only a couple hours in there's already around 30 signups! Not that entering in earlier gives you any better chances of winning, but it probably doesn't hurt, either. ;)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Weekly Writing Check-In: Happy Holidays!

I may or may not be MIA these next couple of days. I am definitely NOT taking the week off from writing / editing / designing, but I'm not gonna beat myself up if I fall a little behind schedule, either.

That said, I hope everyone has a wonderful week, whether you're celebrating Christmas or not. I don't really celebrate it myself, other than what I'm dragged to, but it's a good excuse to eat a bunch of cookies. Mm-hmm.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "The Bonesetter's Daughter", by Amy Tan

The Bonesetter's DaughterThe Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"The Bonesetter's Daughter" is the second to last Amy Tan novel I have yet to re-read, and like "Hundred Secret Senses," I realized I couldn't remember a dang thing about this book. "The Joy Luck Club" is all about switching POVs between eight characters, "The Kitchen God's Wife" is basically a super long version of one Joy Luck story (that is of course morbidly depressing half the time), and "Saving Fish From Drowning" is about a ghost following around and narrating about the lulziest tour group to ever hit Myanmar. Turns out that "Hundred Secret Senses" was about an insufferable woman with a badass sister who had an awesome backstory to tell - turns out that "The Bonesetter's Daughter" is about an insufferable woman with a badass mother who had an awesome backstory to tell.

The first thing making Bonesetter Stick out is the fact the daughter's - Ruth - POV is written in third person. Why, when Amy Tan is the queen of rambling first POV? I have no idea. Because the entire middle section narrated by her mother, LuLing, is written in first. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Other than that, it's the usual Amy Tan fare. Ruth is in a miserable relationship on the brink of failure (wow, that's new) and her mother, the immigrant LuLing, drives her bonkers. (That's new too!!) Ruth spends her whole time whining and whining, especially about her mother, and ESPECIALLY about her long-time boyfriend what'shisface. (Oh right, Art. Groan.) Art has two teenaged girls from a previous marriage with the most wtf names ever (Dory and Fia. Yeah. That's real 90s.) who talk like they're six instead of early teens. Basically, Ruth's life is totally moan-worthy and omg all these negative feels. She and Olivia from Hundred Secret Senses should become bffs and complain about how awful it is to be upper middle class in San Francisco.

ANYWAY, the story. You see, Ruth has a mother (really?? In an Amy Tan novel??) named LuLing, who is starting to act a little strange. Turns out she has early-onset dementia, and is of course only going to get worse. So what does LuLing do? Write down her entire life story up until moving to America, just in case she forgets any of the details and can never tell her daughter.

Ruth has the documents translated while her mother is away. Of course, what she discovers about her mother are things she would have never guessed before. Or even imagined. As usual, LuLing's story about growing up the illegitimate daughter of deformed-by-fire "Bonesetter's Daughter" is both heart wrenching (I mean it's 1920s China come on) and intriguing. I struggled to get through Ruth's set-up chapters and then pretty much devoured all of LuLing's backstory in one night. Since I'd forgotten most of it, it was like it was brand new to me...which is always nice.

With all this whining on my part (hi Ruth, you're rubbing off on me) you may be wondering why I gave this book four stars. It's more like 3 and a half, but I decided to round up, because of the score I gave Hundred Secret Senses. These books are almost exactly the same in structure and style, just the details are different. And the biggest difference is that Bonesetter had a waaaay more fulfilling ending than Hundred Secret Senses did. I was actually smiling a little when I closed this book. Unlike the other one which I'm pretty sure I threw across the room.

Is it Tan's best work? No. Not at all. I have the "reader's guide" paperback and in it is a lot of mentions on Tan's part about how hard this book was for her to write. Well, yeah. You're pretty much just copying yourself now. (She said affectionately.) That said, Tan is an amazing writer, so her "slush" tends to be far better grade than most other author's magnum opii. I read this book very quickly, not because I'm a speed reader but because I was legit hooked once LuLing's tale began. If you love the backstory's of Tan's "mothers", then read this book now. You won't be disappointed. If you can't bear to read another Olivia-type character again I'm...I'm sorry. Good luck.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

FREE SHORT STORY: "ROUMAN." a Ren'Ai Rensai short!

Yes, you read that subject line right! I have a new FREE story for you to devour! YES FREE! "ROUMAN." is the latest release in the REN'AI RENSAI lesbian romance series, and now you get a story for free. Did I mention it's free? Blurb below.

On the eve of their wedding, Aiko discovers her girlfriend Reina has some second thoughts about marriage, life, and aging. Even after twenty years together, Reina still doesn't know what she wants from her relationship - can Aiko remind her about the "Rouman", or romance, that they've cultivated and shared over the years? It's probably going to take all night.

It's currently up for sale at three separate places. You can grab it at SMASHWORDS or ALL ROMANCE in any format, including Kindle Mobi. It's also up at Amazon, but since it has yet to be price matched you have to pay a dollar for it right now. Whichever floats your boat~!

Also, in other news, we're going under comment moderation for a while, because A REALLY PERSISTENT SPAMMER YES I AM LOOKING AT YOUR ASS has decided to spam EVERY SINGLE BLOG POST over and over and I am sick of it. So sorry to everyone else, comment moderation on this blog until further notice!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"DAISUKI." Book 1 of Lesbian Erotic Romance series now out in paperback for just $6.99!

There comes a time in every published author's life when they eventually hold their book in their hands for the very first time. For me, that happened today, when my proof for DAISUKI came in the mail from Createspace! After a lot of grunt work getting it to fit into CS's crazy specifications, (thanks again Lindz!) DAISUKI has come through absolutely perfect on the first try. Thus, it is now available for purchase through Createspace's website. Amazon link to come soon. 

But that's not all! I am selling versions with an autograph and personalized message through Paypal for those interested. I've bought a batch from Creatspace, but they won't be getting here until around New Year's. Regardless, if you would like an autographed copy, please feel free to reserve one by contacting me by email (hildred @ , no spaces) with the subject "Daisuki Paperback."

Check out the other closeup pics below!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Weekly Writing Check-In: Busy, Busy, Busy

To give you an idea of how busy I've been lately, let's just say I totally forgot to do last week's check-in. Oops! (Who was supposed to hold me accountable again?)

I'm not sure where I should begin in listing what I've been doing and what my goals are...aside from saying, "Writing, Editing, Formatting, and Publishing.." My REN'AI RENSAI series is in full swing starting last month. I'm currently up two one novella (DAISUKI), one novel (HATSUKOI), and one novelette (MITSUSHIN). I've got a shot story coming out this week that I just got the edits back on and the cover made for, and there will be YET ANOTHER novelette next week. Phew! January will for sure see another novel (officially Book 3 of the series) and possibly another novelette a couple weeks before that. Like I said, BUSY!

I've been so busy writing, editing, blah blah blah that I've completely forgotten that Xmas is coming in a week. I don't have a single present for anyone (nor the money for it) nor can I say that I even care about Xmas. Know what I'll be doing on Xmas? Working. As usual.

I tell myself that this is all worth it, that I'll be paying the bills with this soon enough. And honestly, the money I've made so far is nothing to sneeze at. But in this publishing climate (hell, in this ECONOMICAL climate) nothing is certain and I may be doing this all for naught. Wouldn't that be just like my life? Yes, it would be. Hopefully my life will forget to do that little breakdown thing before it's too late, however.

WHELP. I must be getting back to these edits. I have a sweet lesbian romance to bring you all this week. BBL!

Friday, December 14, 2012

OUT NOW!: "MITSUSHIN." the first REN'AI RENSAI short!

(Check out that awesome cover!) I'm warning you all right now, I've got THREE releases coming out this month! Don't worry, they're all shorts...and will all have amazing covers, so look forward to it on your dashes!

The first release is the novelette "MITSUSHIN." a companion story to "HATSUKOI." The blurb!

For their first Valentine's Day together, Aiko hopes her girlfriend Reina will finally woo her with a little romance. Instead their big date veers off in a strange direction when Reina decides it's time to initiate Aiko into the wondrous world of "Mitsushin," or "three hearts" as their foreign friend calls it. Will this inclusion of a third woman obliterate all the romance left, or will Aiko discover a new way to celebrate the love she has for Reina? A relationship legacy that will ripple throughout all of Shinjuku is about to be born.

"Mitsushin." takes place on February 14th, 1993

Yes it's about menage okay.

Unlike the full length releases, I'm going to try this month's shorts in Select. (Well, except next week's. You'll see why!) That means until at least March, "MITUSHIN." will only be available on Amazon. Non-Kindle users, never fear. You can still purchase on Amazon and convert the mobi file to the format of your choice (epub for Nook and Kobo) using the free program Calibre. I leave DRM off my books just for this very reason. If you have any questions or just can't get calibre to work, PLEASE let me know! We can definitely work something out.

Amazon - Amazon UK - Amazon CA

Monday, December 10, 2012


No, I swear I didn't forget! Nor did I forget to write a Check In yesterday! I've just been super, super busy! Being a full time author does that to you.

Anyway! Today is Monday, which means it's time for the MATING GAME BLOG HOP! Yay! For those of you unfamiliar with it, here's how it goes below:

"On December 3, 2012, each of the five judges will be posting on their blogs a small excerpt from one of their newly, or up and coming released new adult books.

At the end of the excerpt, a question inspired by the excerpt will be posted in which your couples will have to answer interview style!  There will be a total five questions, one from each blog.

Then on December 10th, 2012 (Blog Hop Day), your couples will answer all five questions.  Other blog hop participants, readers, and judges will "hop" around your blogs and comment on your fun couples!!!

On December 12th, 2012 the judges will each choose a couple that blew them away with their stellar answers and that person will win a eCopy of that judge's book!!!"

Well, you know I looked at that and thought, "Yes, Reina and Aiko need to get into this. Yes." So here they are, the beautiful lesbians (shh, don't tell Reina I said that about her...that beautiful part, that is!) answering relationship related questions! Should be a righteous hot mess. I can't wait. :D


Hello ladies! This first question comes from Jaycee DeLorenzo. She asks: "What is one of the roadblocks standing in the way of you two getting together?"

Reina: Eh? We're already together. There are no roadblocks! It's been twenty years since she shackled me down, sheesh.
Aiko: ....

Reina: Oi, say something!

Aiko: Maybe we should reinterpret it as, "What is a roadblock standing in our way of staying together?"

Reina: ...death?!

Aiko: Mou, you don't really think deeply, do you?

Reina: You have to ask me that after twenty years?

Aiko: Anyway, don't you think there may be some things that constantly try to drive us apart? 

Reina: Oh, you mean like your mother?

Aiko: I suppose you could say her. She really doesn't like you.

Reina: Understatement! She keeps trying to get us married off to men! 

Aiko: But she's more or less easy to ignore. There are things that cause us problems at times.

Reina: Like what?

Aiko: You know, sometimes you can be really insensitive to my feelings, and if you don't get your way in bed, you're really hard to get along with.

Reina: ...*snort*

Aiko: What?!

Reina: You said I was "hard."

Aiko: Kora!

Okay, let's move on to the next question before a fight breaks out. This next one is from Victoria H. Smith: "Tell Us About a Memorable Experience You Shared Together."

Aiko: Oh, that's easy!

Reina: What is it?

Aiko: ...oh, I can't say it!

Reina: Why not?

Aiko: It's really embarrassing! 

Reina: You think everything is embarrassing. I mean, it's not like you're thinking of something sexual, eh?

Aiko: ...

Reina: Tch, you are! Come on, share it! Tell them how good I am!

Aiko: Shut up! It's just...when I think of being with you...often I think back to our first Christmas together.

Reina: Eh? What happened then?

Aiko: You don't remember?!

Reina: You know I'm not good with remembering that kind of stuff.

Aiko: That was the first time know.

Reina: Ah! The first time we did it! I remember! You were really nervous. It was your first time, right? Yeah, oh, I remember! I was so surprised you suggested we go to a love hotel halfway through our date. I didn't think you would be ready for that yet, if ever.

Aiko: I surprised myself! But I can't say I regret it. To say that was one of the best days of my life...

Reina: You're blushing! 

Aiko: Well! What do you want from me?  I had no idea what I was doing! 

Reina: I did!

Aiko: Stop it! Before I die!

Don't worry, I'll save you from anymore uber embarrassment! ;) Question 3 is from Jade Hart: What would you do if the one you wanted was terrified of their feelings and pushed you away?

Aiko: Oh, God, it's our life story!
Reina: How so?

Aiko: Really? You have to ask? You're constantly terrified of having feelings! It took you twenty years just to say you love me!

Reina: So? It only took you one month. Aren't we all about balance or something?

Aiko: It's true, though, she never wants to have emotions, and if you try to pry them out of her, she'll push you away. 

Reina: Hey! The question was what would you do, not give your girlfriend grief!

Aiko: What would I do? I already deal with this. I've learned over the years just not to push her and let her come to me with something when she's ready. The more you push her, the more she pushes you away in turn. 

Reina: Hmph.

Aiko: What?

Reina: You know, you used to be difficult like this too.

Aiko: Really?

Reina: Yes. Very early on, when you were still sorting out your feelings for women. If I annoy you now, you really annoyed me then, because I felt like you were just stringing me along for a thrill. You would never open up to me about your feelings, and when I pushed you, you would run away and cry!

Aiko: It was a very confusing time for me. You see, I had never considered being gay until I met Reina. And I fell for her so fast that my brain couldn't catch up with all my feelings. Thinking about them was too hard for a little while. And there was the one time I had to cut a date off short because it was straying too far from my comfort zone.

Reina: You did it more than once. All I'm saying is that you can't give me too much crap for being like I am now, when you spent so long unable to share your feelings too.

Aiko: Regardless, we're together now, and have been for so long that we know each other well enough to know when to press on or back away. It always works out in the end. Usually.

Reina: Yes. Usually.

Thanks for that! Question number 4 comes from Chelsea Cameron: How would how would your characters describe the other person, using only one word at a time?

Reina: Cute.
Aiko: Gorgeous.

Reina: Naive.

Aiko: ...Experienced.

Reina: Patient.
Aiko: Impatient.

Reina: Wife.

Aiko: Spouse.

Reina: Submissive.

Aiko: Dominant.

Reina:  Feminine.

Aiko: Androgynous.

Reina: Motherly.

Aiko: Childlike.

Reina: Hey! You're just rebutting everything I say!

Aiko: Well, like you said, I am the submissive one. 

Reina: Hmph. 

Moving on, our final question is from Magan Vernon: What was the first thing you noticed about each other?

Aiko: Oh! This is easy! I noticed how beautiful and cool she was! She had really long hair back then, and when I met her she was finishing up her practice at the theater, and was wearing the most flirtatious eyeliner ever! I used to say she looked like Cleopatra. And then of course I noticed how muramura she was, because she kept flirting with me and offered to...

Reina: What?

Aiko: It's X-rated!

Reina: Hm. Say the PG-13 version.

Aiko:  Well, uh, you offered, to um, to it with me. In a very vulgar and not at all appropriate for a public place way.

Reina: Oh! I asked if you wanted me to **** your ***** real good!

Aiko: ...

Reina: Eh? Eh? Do I do a good job at it?

Aiko: Stop!

Reina: And there's the first thing I ever noticed about you! You get embarrassed so easily. I mean, I guess in a good way, because it makes you even more adorable. I've had a lot of fun destroying your naivete over these many years.
Aiko: You are unbelievable. Still. 

Reina: No, Ai-chan, we already did the description thing. Jeez.

Aiko: I have no idea how or why I put up with you.

Reina: Because you love me. And because I **** your -


Thanks for stopping by! Don't kill each other on the way home! :D


Thanks for reading today's blog hop entry! Be sure to check out the other posters and the great excerpts posted on the judges' sites! Also, just to keep this lovely and visual, here's a quick snapshot of our happy couple before they decide it's time to go through the argue / kiss up cycle again~

For more information on these characters, please feel free to check out either of their stories currently out now!

 "DAISUKI." Two Japanese women attempt to balance their relationship with their society's rigid gender roles, polyamorous relations, and the inability to say "I love you." Adult romance.

"HATSUKOI." A young Japanese woman falls in love with a philandering lesbian. Adult romance. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Japanese Naming Conventions 3, Or Fun With Nicknames and Formality

I'm a bit late with the final part of this series, but it's here, nonetheless! As a recap, Part 1 dealt with given name conventions, and Part 2 talked about Japanese surnames. What does that leave us with? Nicknames, of course!

(For the sake of brevity, this article isn't going to go over nicknames that are from an entirely different word.)

Like just about any other language, Japanese employs fairly easy to learn nicknaming conventions. The trick is that most of them play into the inherent formality of the language.

The important thing to understand about Japanese names and culture is this formality. If you get a little too familiar with somebody too fast, you risk alienating them - this is true for a lot of cultures, but in Japan especially, you must be cautious with how familiar you get with somebody when calling them by name. For example, the go-to name to call anybody is by their SURNAME. Even good friends do this, particularly amongst men and boys. Calling somebody by their surname as opposed to their given name is especially important in business culture. I've had Japanese coworkers who didn't even know the given names of their work friends. Women and girls tend to jump to first name basis more quickly (if ever) than their male counterparts, but that may be attributed to the level of intimacy it brings.

Now that that's established, let's check out how nicknames (with both given and surnames) may form.

Name Suffixes (Honorifics)

The easiest way to give and gain a nickname in Japan is with a suffix. Suffixes come in bother gendered and formality flavors, so before using them make sure you're familiar with how they work!

Here are some of the most popular naming suffixes, from most formal to least.

-sama (Gender neutral. Used for people who rank faaaaar above you, and especially if you're sucking up. This is a very contextual suffix. Sometimes you may be expected to use it in business culture, but most likely not. If you use it even playfully with friends/coworkers, you run the risk of still making them uncomfortable by giving them too much "respect," if that makes any sense. When in doubt, just go with....)

-san (Gender neutral. The most common formal suffix. Use it with just about anyone you meet. Sometimes even friends use this as well, although close friends will probably drop this suffix. It denotes a level of respect without putting the other person too high above yourself.)

-sensei (Gender neutral. Used towards instructors or teachers, of any profession, but particularly academics and doctors.)

-senpai (Gender neutral. Used towards people who rank slightly above you in years and experiences, such as at school or in the same department at work. Is formal while still conveying an "in the same group" mentality.)

-kohai (Gender neutral. Opposite of "senpai," such as for people ranking beneath you.)

-kun (Male gendered. Used with boys and young men, and sometimes between like-aged adults. Informal. Elementary schools will usually call male pupils by this suffix.)

-chan (Generally female gendered. Used with children and between very close female friends. Very informal. Do not use unless it's a child or somebody you're very familiar with - exception being at work. Not a good idea to use this in a business setting. Elementary schools will usually call female pupils by this suffix.)

-bo (Male gendered. For babies.)

Suffixes can either be amended to a surname (particularly with the formal ones and the male gendered kun) or given names. However, when adding suffixes to given names, another consideration is required.

Shortening Names

Certain names are more predisposed to being shortened when suffixes come into play. This keeps names from being too much of a mouthful with addressing one another. In part 1 of this series, I talked about the most common given name suffixes. Those appear here again...because they're usually what gets chopped.

Example: We have a young woman named Akiko Suzuki. (ko being the popular suffix of her name.) If her last name is suffixed, then it will probably just be Suzuki-san, Suzuki-sensei, etc. No changes aside from the addition of a suffix. However, if we wish to put a suffix on her first name, we may consider dropping the "ko" from her name, like so:


Any of those names are viable. However,  it is probably most likely with "chan" as a way of making her name even more familiar. For the more formal suffixes, her whole name of Akiko will probably be retained as a sign of resepct.

Not all suffixes are dropped for new ones, and not always in every circumstance. After a while it just becomes one of those things you "know" when you become really familiar with Japanese names. For one thing, women's names are a lot more likely to be switched around than men's names.


Giving your Japanese friends nicknames can be a tricky business, especially if you're trying to maintain a level of formality as well. If all else fails, just ask the person what their comfort level is with nicknames. Or, if they're too embarrassed to share (which may often be the case) either play it safe by showing them more formality or calling them by what their other close friends call them.

From a  Writer's Perspective

Writing about groups of Japanese characters puts one in a unique situation when it comes to the nicknames. I for one prefer to have characters call each other by these nicknames, since it's the cultural norm. I also prefer to go with Suzuki-san over, say, Mr. Suzuki, as translations aren't always cut and dry like that. The problem is running the risk of alienating a reader who isn't familiar with these conventions. That's why I have to work extra hard by making sure the context tells the reader what kind of relationships these characters have with each other based on what they call one another. Phew.

That finally wraps up this series! I hope you enjoyed this brief look into the naming systems and styles of modern Japanese culture. Next time I'll try to talk about something OTHER than language, maybe!

Monday, December 3, 2012

To Other Self-Publishers: Kindle Paperwhite Glitch May Make Your Ebooks Unreadable

Courtesy of Amazon
Unless you've had your self-publishing head beneath a rock lately, you've probably heard about one of the most infamous glitches to come from the new Kindle Paperwhite: depending on the coding of your ebook, it may be completely unreadable on the device. Specifically, users cannot change the font type or sometimes size of the ebooks they buy and download, and the ebook itself will be coded into TINY print. This doesn't just affect books published through KDP either - users are reporting the same issue with Big 6 (5?) trade published books as well. As you can imagine, this leads to unhappy readers and many returns.

What does this mean for authors? If you're self-publishing, make sure that you or whoever is formatting your ebook does not specify font size or type. Now, don't look at me. I haven't coded anything in yonks. Not like that, anyway. If you want more information on how to get started, I recommend starting with this thread at the Kindle Boards.

If you're like me, then you use Scrivener to compile your mobi files. I discovered that we may be affected as well (from the same thread I linked above). In order for your mobis to turn out correct for Paperwhite, you must download and replace your Kindle Gen with an older version. Specifically, this one.

Finally, for everyone else, or for anyone reading this and wondering if their books my be affected by this glitch, I can't recommend enough downloading the latest version of Kindle Previewer (that includes the Paperwhite) and making sure your books work as they sure re: changing font size and type. When I did this, I saw I suffered from the same cold fate, and have been fighting with Amazon KDP all day to update my files. Every time I see a buy today, I worry that the buyer has a Paperwhite! Noooo!

I hope this post may have helped you, or anyone you may know. And for others, have you heard of this happening? Did it happen to you? What lengths did you have to go to in order to fix your issues?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Weekly Writing Check-In: Another Nanowrimo, Plus Launch News

As I announced last week, I defeated another Nanowrimo. Woohoo! After passing 50k I really pulled back and focused on editing over writing, so I went from writing about 2k a day to barely pushing 1k. So that means I finished around 56k, which isn't too shabby, but not my best. I got a lot more work done on REN'AI RENSAI #3, and as of right now, there's only 2 scenes left to write! But the first one has the potential to be rather long, so wish me luck I finish this first draft in the next couple of days!

In other news, "HATSUKOI." officially launched this past Friday, with great success! I really appreciate all my readers and even those just supporting me for doing what they've done. From reblogging, retweeting, liking, tagging, and of course, buying, you guys all do an amazing job helping me realize my career as an author and even making a decent living off it. I would be NOWHERE without y'all!

Makes me even more excited to release three more books this month! ~Stay tuned~

Saturday, December 1, 2012

BLOG HOP ALERT: The Mating Game Blog Hop, starting in two days!

Just in case you haven't heard about it yet, group of nice gals are putting on the "MATING GAME BLOG HOP" starting on the third! (So there's still time to sign up!) I swear I was gonna post about this last week but I totally lost track. Anyone who has some characters that need to blab about their relationships should definitely sign up. Some cool prizes too!

And yes, this was another case of me looking at a relationship-based blog hop and thinking "Huh, this needs way more lesbians." You can always count on me to diversify the blog hop couplings.

Friday, November 30, 2012


Woo! It's here! After a lot of hand wringing with Amazon, "HATSUKOI." is finally here. Actually, it's up on every retailer except for Kobo (surpriiiiiise.)

Thanks to everyone who has supported me thus far, and please look forward to more REN'AI RENSAI goodness coming in the next few months!

Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
All Romance

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

First Scene Preview of "HATSUKOI." !!

With only two days left until the official release date of "HATSUKOI.", book 2 of the REN'AI RENSAI series, it's time to release the official preview! First, the blurb!

If society has taught Aiko anything, it’s that one day she will marry a man. Not until she meets Reina, a lesbian with a knack for flirting, does she decide she wants to experience a different kind of sexual liberation – assuming she can overcome her insecurities and nosy family. As she succumbs more and more to Reina’s charms, however, Aiko wonders if she can really abandon everyone’s expectations.

Reina has met plenty of girls like Aiko before: cute, naive, and ready to screw the status quo. After being burned by countless young women who go on to marry men and forget their lesbian lives, how can Reina trust yet another “good girl” following her around? Especially when she thinks she may be having those foreign feelings for her best friend instead.

Time will only tell if Hatsukoi, or “first love,” has really come to two such different people. Is their relationship genuine or just another footnote amongst flirting, lying, and sneaking around love hotels? 

"HATSUKOI." is the second published novel, but the first one chronologically, so it can be read either before or after "DAISUKI." Below is the first scene (about 1700 words) to whet your need for more! ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT! Maybe less? I'll be uploading it tomorrow! 

WARNING: Strong language and sexual topics. A certain character (gee, I wonder who) likes to refer to sexual relations in the crudest language possible. 

Tokyo; December 10th, 1992

            Somewhere, Aiko’s favorite song played on a stereo.
            Her ears followed the pop-rock sounds to the corner of the room where two girls huddled around a mirror, applying makeup. Aiko turned to her cousin Shizuka and waited for her to proceed with the tour and introductions. It was Aiko’s first time to see the backstage of a music theater, and she didn’t want to embarrass herself or get her cousin in trouble.
            She always thought such a scene would be alight with human energy, but the few staff members wandering around yawned behind limp hands. A costumer pushed a rack of colorful sequined dresses across the room and was followed by everyone else, except for the two girls still applying. Aiko recognized their dresses as the same style Shizuka wore.
            “Are those your group mates?” she asked.
            Shizuka nodded with the same dead energy. “Two of them, anyway.”
            “Is one of them the American?”
           “Well, one of them is American.” Shizuka blinked. “No, not the one I told you about. The other one is blond.”
            “There are two Americans?” Aiko had heard about one, a pale blonde with a high voice and a sordid reputation, if sarcastic cousins were credible. “How lucky!”
            “Yeah, lucky. They talk in English behind our backs. Well, fight is more like it.” Shizuka took a step further into the light. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to the nicer one.”
            Although she sauntered through the room without a worry, Aiko took more care to ensure she didn’t step on a forgotten feather or bump her head against the cords hanging from the ceiling. This place is so amazing. Every time she watched a live music show on television, she wondered what the places the talents retreated to offstage were like. Now that she had a cousin in the entertainment industry, it was like Christmas came three weeks early.
            Yo!” Shizuka called as they approached the duo of bandmates. “If you two aren’t careful, you’re going to kill our make-up supply and piss off the manager.”
            One of the women dropped her eyeliner and craned her head around, revealing Western face framed with bobbed brown hair. “Is there a problem?” Aiko was surprised the foreigner spoke Japanese well. “Or are you jealous we got the new stock before you?”
            “Oh, please.” Shizuka smiled. “Ai-chan, this is my fellow forgotten backup singer, Michiko.” She stepped out of the way so Aiko was unexpectedly presented on a bashful platter. “She’s the other American I just now told you about.”
            Michiko also smiled and extended a hand towards Aiko. “Hajimemashite,” the American greeted. “What’s your name?”
            The giddiness over getting to shake hands like a “real” foreigner was enough to make Aiko beam, although her eyes kept pointed to the ground. “Hajimemashite,” she said, and gripped Michiko’s soft hand. Aiko pulled it away again before her shyness could overcome her. “My name is Aiko. Aiko Takeuchi.”
            Oi!” Shizuka smacked the other woman on the shoulder. “Don’t be rude!”
            “Eh?” The woman in blue spun around. Vibrant eyes shrouded in thick eyeliner stared at Aiko, dissecting her, judging her.
            Aiko didn’t know why another Japanese girl’s face shocked her so much. Maybe it was the eyeliner, or the eyes – upon reflection later in life, Aiko would gauge it was a combination of those eyes alongside the sleek and long, black hair making her heart still in her chest. This woman looked like a veritable Cleopatra.
            She did not, however, talk like an Egyptian ruler.
            Mou, Shi-chan, why’d you bring a little girl in here? We just practiced for three hours and I’m tired.”
            “You’re a dog,” Shizuka bit with a sharp tongue. To Aiko, she said, “This is Reina. She sings well but is all sorts of gross.”
            “Yeah, well, fuck you too.” But Reina grinned, and confusion swam in Aiko – perhaps from the rough and coarse words coming out of such a dainty mouth. Reina’s vocabulary made her sound like the tough boys at Aiko’s old high school.
            Shizuka responded with a thump on Reina’s shoulder, and soon the group mates laughed in unison while Aiko stood in perplexity. They must be really close. She never took her cousin as somebody to laugh at another woman’s crudeness, but this world she worked in was different from everyday society.
            As the laughing died down, Reina pulled out a carton of cigarettes and passed one to Michiko. Shizuka further surprised Aiko by reaching out to take one as well – since when did she smoke? Did her mother know? Before the lighter in Michiko’s hand sparked to life, the cigarette carton appeared in hand’s reach.
            Ii yo.” Reina shoved the carton at Aiko again. “Ah, let me guess, you don’t smoke.”
            Aiko shook her head as Reina leaned back and took a light from Michiko. Soon three plumes of smoke wafted around Aiko’s head and made her swoon; she wasn’t sure if the high was from second-hand smoke or from seeing Reina wrap her tongue and skinny fingers around a cigarette. Men who smoked were disgusting and inconsiderate, but something about a woman crossing her legs and pursing her lips made Aiko double-take.
            “Figures.” The smoke lingered around Reina’s face, obscuring her thin eyes. “You’re a good girl, I bet. You don’t smoke, get drunk, or fuck.” When the smoke cleared Aiko could see Reina’s eyes searing, daring her to respond.
            “Oh, shut up and leave her alone. Don’t listen to her.” Shizuka took another draft of her cigarette. “This one never stops thinking about sex.”
            “Hey, at least I get some.”
            “I told you, I’m not interested in women.”
            Throughout this small exchange, Michiko kept a curious eye on Aiko and her reactions. Now, upon both the declaration of Reina’s passive thoughts and her assumptions about Shizuka, Michiko studied Aiko’s face as if she had a second nose.
            “Maybe she’s not as good as you think she is, Reina-chan,” Michiko said. “She hasn’t flinched once upon hearing the naughty things we’re saying about you.”
            “Naughty? Don’t drag me into this.” Shizuka waved her hand, her cigarette smoke bouncing up and down.
            When Aiko spoke to defend herself, her voice was a pitiful squeak. “I’m sorry, Michiko-san,” and it pained her sensibilities to not call Michiko by her last name, but since she did not know it, she resorted to the more familiar given, “I’m afraid my reactions are not satisfactory to you because I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m sorry if I sound dense.”
            Michiko’s brows rose and Reina laughed. “See. Told you,” she said in triumph. “She’s so goody-goody she doesn’t even know a conversation about fucking.”
            “Not everybody is as sexually needy as you,” Michiko mumbled between goes at her cigarette.
            Aiko blushed. She certainly knew sex! How old did they think she was? But that’s not what they had been talking about at all. The conversation was about an implication between Shizuka and Reina. Absurd. Shizuka had a boyfriend.
            But then she announced to Aiko in out-loud confidence, “Reina is a lesbian.”
            Scoffing, Reina stood and threatened her with a roll of the tongue and some brash, masculine words. “Hey! Who told you it was okay to just blab that around? Shinjiran.” She smashed her cigarette into an ashtray. “I’m gonna get a beer.”
            Michiko asked for one as well before Reina stalked off to another room. “Don’t mind her,” she then said to Aiko. “She’s a rude little lesbian. I’m a much nicer one.” She discarded her cigarette next to Reina’s.
            Even Shizuka spun her head towards Aiko at that. “Are you serious? You don’t know what that means?”
            Aiko stiffened. “I know what it means.” She had Western friends; of course she knew what a “lesbian” was. The word was even in Hollywood movies! But a Japanese woman? A lesbian? It didn’t make sense. “But isn’t that…weird?”
            “Not if you like fucking women.”
            No amount of blinking could make Michiko’s statement clearer. Aiko tried to imagine two Japanese women having sex, and all she could come up with was two naked women bumping into each other and apologizing as if they were on a crowded (nudist) train. She blushed again. “How would somebody know that?”
            “You…want to fuck women.” Michiko rolled her eyes as if to say, “Japanese.” Aiko knew that eye-roll well from her foreign-exchange friends. “It’s not rocket science.”
            Maa, don’t listen to her.” Shizuka tugged on Aiko’s arm. “They’re perverts.”
           Before Michiko could open her mouth, Reina reemerged with two beers in her hands. “Are you still educating her about vaginas?” she asked, passing a beer to Michiko.
            When their eyes met, Aiko thought she saw a familiar teasing quality, although it unnerved her. What if she thinks I’m some sort of prey now? Where did that thought come from?
            Oi, Little Miss Good Girl.” Reina snapped her fingers to get Aiko’s attention. Her eyes unglazed and she looked into a satisfying smirk on Reina’s face. “How’d you like it if I fucked your pussy real good?”
            All the blood froze in Aiko’s body as Shizuka smacked Reina on the head and Michiko likewise said some scolding words. The three of them would’ve been amusing to any impartial onlooker, but to Aiko all she could see was Reina’s mischievous smile and hear her naughty words. Do what? To my what? She took a step back from the fray of “That’s my fucking cousin you pervert!” and “Reina, you no-good idiot!” and hugged the wall as if nobody could see her there.
            “How’d you like it if I fucked your pussy real good?”
            “Come on, Ai-chan.” Shizuka appeared, taking Aiko by the arm and hauling her towards the rear exit. “I’ll take you to the train station. I’m sorry I introduced you to that asshole.”
            They were outside in the alley before Aiko could look back and see either Michiko or Reina again. A light December drizzle began to fall as Shizuka pointed out the direction to the nearest station and offered Aiko fare to get home. She glanced around as if she were in a dream.
            “How’d you like if I fucked your pussy real good?”
            “Don’t worry about anything.” Aiko shoved the money away and took a step towards the main road. “It’s fine. Really.” She said some curt goodbyes to her cousin and thanked her for the tour. Before Shizuka could respond, Aiko was halfway down the alleyway, her shoes dunking in the puddles and heart pounding in her chest.


"HATSUKOI." will be available to purchase at the biggest online ebook retailers by Friday, November 30th!