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Anime Fest 2017 and Hell’s Gate Updates

I made it, I did it, and whew are conventions hard on me! For those that aren’t aware, I am what’s known high-functioning autistic. (Formerly known as Asperger) Large, crowded events really aren’t my thing. But, strangely enough, I love presentations. For reasons even unknown to me, I’ve enjoyed doing presentations since I was a kiddo. Especially when I get to talk about the things I love. Like scary, spooky things that go bump in the night.

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After years of CBT, I’m able to make it through walking around but these events have always felt alien to me and extremely uncomfortable. The only way I can truly be happy is behind a camera, or up on stage. Two extremely odd things for most people─ but somehow, I’m one with the goat and much enjoy sitting in high places above people as I talk about my childhood loves.

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I’ll have con footage up soon, and show all the great people I saw at this year’s event. In all honesty, A-Fest has been one of my all-time favorite shows and still continues to be. It was very well coordinated, and the staff was on top of things and quick to help and answer any questions that I had.

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Book two is finally here! Get ready for its October release in a big way. I had a few people at the convention ask when book two would finally be out and I will have an official release date this week. For those that aren’t aware, Hell’s Gate is a series comprised of three books. You can see my interview covering my adventures here:

Suffice it to say, if you like J-Fashion, J-Culture, Urban Legends and Mythology mixed in with adventures, this is your cup of tea. It is what is known as a Dark Fantasy and because of my love for genre-bending, it has horror elements and urban legends.

If you have an affinity for the dark side like me, you can also find my podcasts and my thriller audiobooks/audio-stories on YouTube

Enjoy, my friends and as always, stay creepy. More announcements on HG coming soon.

xoxoxo

─C.A.

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Hell’s Gate Book One Release – Details

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The day has come! This week is the release of the fabled Hell’s Gate, book one in the series. Book two is scheduled for release in October of this year. 

If you attended Akon28 you probably passed by our booth and saw the pre-order table. Well, it’s finally here and you will be getting that sent out to you next week! For those of you that couldn’t attend, you can still get the pre-order swag. Pre-ordering is opening up today, and will go until tomorrow, June 22nd at 11:59 p.m.

After that, the novel will be available on Amazon and later the audiobook will be available on Audible.

The pre-order will get you:

  1. an artbook/book companion with language details and meanings to help you understand Japanese culture.
  2. A poster designed by me
  3. And of course, the star of the show─ the novel!

To be clear, this is just the pre-order for the specialty items that come with this online offer. (as in orders I take to send off personally) It’s a limited edition order that has to first arrive at my house, and then I sign and send them off.
This is for my own personal calculation so that I know how many specialty items to make. 🙂 If I garner enough interest, then I’ll add it on Amazon as an option.
No payments will be taken at this time, and you will be charged when you order through Amazon for secure payment.

The pre-order is now closed. Thanks to everyone that pre-ordered!

Thanks to everyone that participated in my online twitter campaign. I had a blast interacting with all of you and letting the story grow each day. 🙂

xoxo─

C.A.

 

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Yesterday’s Live Event Journey, and What to Expect for this Thursday’s Japanese Folklore and Urban Legends Live Event.

If you were watching the live event taking place yesterday on Dusk Publishing  or on my page you were probably wondering why on earth some drunken crazy lady was posting live. Well, it was a live storytelling event designed to be told in a unique way.

I wanted to portray the character as poorly as possible. My art direction was to frame the character in as many bad situations as possible, including unflattering angles, clothing, and makeup to make it all seem ‘real’. I took great joy in making this character unfold and I wanted the progression to go from comical to very dark. The character focus was a type of sociopath that drove while drunk, could only see the shit side of life, and really had nothing go wrong but was bored and didn’t want to be here.

The series of lives are wake-ups after her blackouts from alcohol and after she ends up back to where she started (mentally and physically) decides to end it all. They are all still up on the pages (both my FB and Dusk’s) and you can check them out or comment at your leisure.

That being said─ what’s in store?

So, it’s that time of year that I both dread and freaking adore─ The Con season. I will be attending quite a few this year, but in the forefront of all of that is Akon28 and Afest ─both of which I have attended for several years and are my personal favorites.

For Akon, I wanted to do a series of live events building up until June 8th covering a few of my specialty topics and also some original content. You can hear my audiostories and podcasts here

For this coming Thursday, the 25th, I will talk to all of you live about Japanese urban legends, and folklore. I’ll also be answering any questions you have over the live events, and any Japanese folklore, culture, and urban myths questions you would like answered. (Please try and save the questions for the Hell’s Gate book release until June 7th, as we will be holding the AMA over that live on Wednesday before the book debut on the 8th!)

This one will be open for discussion and fully interactive, so feel free to ask questions as they come to you and I will get to them as quickly as I can.

This live event will be appropriate for all ages, so feel free to bring the whole family.

But there’s also─ a surprise in store!

For those that participate on Thursday the 25th’s live event, we will enter you into a drawing to win a free copy of Hell’s Gate book 1, and a sneak peek of the Hell’s Gate graphic novel releasing next year!
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There will be surprises in store for Akon, and it will be announced on the live event planned for June 7th as well, so you won’t want to miss it. 😉

 

Stay creepy kiddos─

❤ C.A.

 

 

 

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Keto Cheesecake Recipe – And History of Valentine’s Day in Japan

Tired of the same old mug cakes, or keto style cookies or cake? Want to make something fun this Valentine’s Day for your sweetie? Everyone loves cheesecake! My recipe used almond flour for the crust, but you can substitute finely crushed almonds or even use another flour. Just be forewarned, research flours before you use them. The valentine’s day history from Japan is down below!

 

Ingredients: 

Crust:

3 tbsp butter, melted

3/4 cup almond flour (or almond meal)

(**edit I found that 1/4 cup or handful of crushed pecans really enhances the crust**)

Filling:

12 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 egg

1/4 cup Truvia (or erythritol/swerve) whichever you prefer for you alternative sweetener

7 drops of Liquid Stevia

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

Toppings:

You can top it however you like. I usually use sugar-free strawberry or raspberry jam, but today I was in the mood to keep them plain! (mostly because I have a picky sweetie that wants to put his own toppings on it. And, well, it was for him.)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and start with combining your melted butter and almond flour. Mix until it is all crumbly but well combined! (here is where you could also add in 1/4 cup of crushed pecans or walnuts in the food processor for added texture)

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2. Line a muffin tin with paper or silicone cupcake liners. Then press 1-2 tsp of your almond flour mixture into the bottom. Personally, I prefer my crusts a little thicker, so I used 1.5 to 2 teaspoons typically.

3. Bake the crusts for 5-8 mins (depending on how hot your oven gets, you might want to check on them every once in a while) until they are golden brown.

4. To make the cheesecake filling, first beat together the 12 oz of cream cheese with a hand mixer until soft like this:

 

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and then add in 1 egg. Mix to combine.

5. Now add the 1/4 cup Truvia or sweetener of your choice and 7 drops of liquid stevia.

6. Next, add 1 tsp of vanilla extract, the 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice and 1/4 tsp salt and mix it all together one final time. Make sure you at least get up to medium speed on the hand-mixer so it becomes well blended.

7. Spoon your cheesecake filling into the baked crusts and bake for 20 mins at 350 degrees. My oven normally only takes 18. You will want to make sure that the cheesecakes have risen slightly, yet barely jiggly on the top. A key element here is to make sure that you fill the cupcake liners to the brim! It will puff up, but once it cools they will fall back down.

8. Now let them cool on the counter for at least 10 mins. After that, you can top them if you wish, or leave them plain and place them in the fridge.

9. Let them chill overnight for as long as you can stand! Or, if you are really in a pinch, place them in the freezer for a few minutes.

And viola~ Keto cheese cakes!

These are really great, at only 2.8 of net carbs per cake. They are so rich, you probably can’t handle more than one anyway.

Calories: 175 per cake

9 grams of protein

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So, what is Valentine’s Day like in Japan?

 

Even though this isn’t chocolate, like they do traditionally in Japan it is similar to what they call a handmade love chocolate, or “Honmei-choco”. (in this case maybe Honmei-cheezu? I know, cheesy) In which ladies will go out, buy ingredients and make something sweet for their sweetie! Like this:

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And stuff that you just buy for others (like co-workers or friends) get “Giri-choco” (obligation chocolate) like, this:

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Doesn’t seem so different except the swapping of genders…or does it? There’s a twist!

In Japan there exists something called “White Day” which takes place on March 14th, exactly one month after Valentine’s Day. On White Day men are supposed to give return gifts to women who gifted them chocolates on Valentine’s Day. More often the color of the chocolate is white because of the name of the day. Flowers, candies and other gifts are also popular along with the chocolates. Again, department stores have many advanced reminders with gift displays so men will have no excuse to forget about this special day which is important for women. Hmm, sounds like an excuse for the market to exploit one of the slower days for holidays around that time of the year. ha! White day chocolate typically looks like this:

And there you have it kiddos! The difference between Valentine’s Day in the US and in Japan. I like the idea of equally celebrating both men and women this way with showering your affections on some stranger you have a crush on. (or the love of your life…that works too)

In either case, enjoy Valentine’s Day with your sweetie. I know I will.

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Quick update – Today’s Comic Release

Hey guys! This is just a brief update on yesterday and today. Normally, I release a comic every Tuesday. As most of you know, I have a day job like everyone else.

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Which means my days can go from busy to:

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When you run a company, and work a day job (plus adding a kiddo to the mix 2-4 days a week) let’s just say my life is not lacking excitement.

Yesterday was a day of nightmares.

Finally, after trudging home at 10 p.m. (having worked at my job which currently has me as Marketing Director/CSR/Web Designer) I finally was able to try and finish my comic. Then, the realization hit me. I’d left my file at work and forgot to save it on G-Drive.

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Needless to say, (tl;dr) I’ll have it up today.

Check out my poll on twitter today @chrystal_Annecd at noon─

You all get to vote what my next Urban Legend podcast will be over. :3

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Happy thoughts, children. ❤

─ C.A.

Otaru Snow Light Path Festival/Sapporo Snow Festival

This awesome winter festival or , ‘小樽雪あかりの路, Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi’, is a romantic winter destination held every February in Otaru. This lighted path festival lasts 10 days so that it coincides with the Sapporo Snow Festival. This makes it easier for travelers in Hokkaido to visit both festivals on the same trip.

The wintry handmade beauties make you feel as if you are in a dream.

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The fallen snow of the town combined with the hand-made snow lights make it a highly sought after destination. With over 500,000 visitors annually, it’s no joke! The spectacular lighted path festival has been around since 1999.  To help contribute to the merriment, many locals display lanterns in front of their shops and homes, adding to the festival spirit.

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The creators’ idea for this festival is this: They want the people visiting to feel calm and easy, to focus on the leisurely nature of the area, the glow of the candlelight, and have time to reflect on themselves. The goal is to make you forget about life, and focus on yourself and the pleasant feelings you get rather than our more hectic day-to-day life. The hope, is that this festival will continue to be a spiritual event rather than a commercially oriented festival.

 

However, I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

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And with the two main areas located within a fifteen minute walk of the train station, travelers can easily take their time and enjoy the town’s atmosphere on foot.

The “Unga Kaijo,” area which is located along 300 meters of the town’s famous canal, is lined with restored warehouses and gas lamps. The canal is covered with small buoys that hold candles. Lining the path beside the water is a row of small snow statues that hold candles. The canal is barely a ten minute walk from Otaru Station along the main road leading from the station.

And if you didn’t love it enough, here’s more of the view.

 

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Between the canal and the train station is the Temiyasen Kaijo area, which stretches for about half a kilometer along the tracks of the abolished Temiyasen railway line.

Otaru is a one day trip from Sapporo, which is  located in Hokkaido. It is 30 minutes from Sapporo. If you are traveling from Tokyo, take the plane to Sapporo and then the train to Otaru. The total trip time takes around 3 – 5 hours.

Access:

Location: Otaru City, Hokkaido Prefecture
When: February 3-14, 2017
Time: The sites are lit daily from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Cost: FREE
Official Website:
http://yukiakarinomichi.org/

Hell’s Gate Trilogy

Where did you get your inspiration?

Many moons ago, this lady had a childhood. (Don’t take that tone of thoughts with me, reader, I hear it in your mind words.) For what my mother lacked, she made up with books. Our family loved stories, and my stepfather could spin a tale. I grew up learning about Chinese and Japanese folklore.

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Though I was fond of many, the one that always stuck out in my mind was The Weaver and the Cowherd.

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In book one of the trilogy, Celeste walks the long corridor of Matilda’s home which is filled with intriguing paintings. This section of the story combines the Tale of the Jade Emperor and the 12 signs of the Zodiac as well as The Weaver and the Cowherd.

Similarly, you may have read or heard about the star crossed lovers with the celebration of Tanabata in Japan. The tales are similar, but vary slightly from China to Japan.

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The gist of the tales, is that the Weaver of the stars fell in love with a lowly cowherd boy. Zhinü (or Orihime in the Japanese version) was forbidden by the Jade Emperor (Sky King, or Tentei in Japan) to fall in love with Niulang (Hikoboshi in Japan) and was separated by the Silver River, which represents the Milky Way.

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The only time the lovers are allowed to meet are on the 7th day of the 7th month when a flock of magpies flies down to allow them to rejoin.

I encourage all of you to actually read the tales, they are quite fascinating. But just know that the theme of forbidden love is probably the oldest in human history and still manages to top the charts with sales in the romance section.

On that note, I refuse to write romance. That’s sissy stuff. I easily get annoyed and the eye rolls begin as I’m cringing through most overly-emotional shows or characters. Don’t get me wrong, a little romance never hurts, but when I see people on screen making dumb choices, my aspie self goes bananas. I’ve managed to offend most people with my rants on how Character A should just off Character F because they are a huge risk to the group. Their jaws drop and I get a 5 minute lecture on human compassion. Yes, compassion is fine and good, but senor bleeding heart mc-love machine needs to take a swan dive over the cliff. Love doesn’t cure the badies rounding the corner because some dude is raising a ruckus to save his already-dead gal’s dignity.

 

…um, she doesn’t need that nor can she feel it. She’s dead, lady. She’s dead. /rant.

 

Why am I telling you this? Because I did a little trickses in Hell’s Gate. Besides the hidden meanings and sayings within the passages, I left a bit of an Easter egg in the story. I’m quite fond of superstitions and find them wickedly delicious when playing tricks on others. To top that off, I start the first book in what seems to be a tale of a love-driven main character. By chapter two, the water works end and by the end of the book, we discover a very different side to her love interest. Just you wait until book 2. I’m practically cackling. Next blog? The life that has kicked my arse for the past two years, and up and coming WIP.