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You can catch me live on Twitch Tuesday – Sunday from 12:00 p.m. – 7 p.m. CST. here. The only change in schedule will happen every other weekend and those days will be added to my calendar under the event’s panels on my page. (they happen from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. instead)

Also in the pipeline is Vengeance part 3 (the conclusion to the first 2. They can be found here.)

So what’s coming next?

Well, my friends, we are going to have a live podcast with all of you about Japanese vs. American urban legends and mythos. You all voted, and I’m delivering. Be prepared for a fun day of spooky and odd stories for our When East Meets West segments this year. You can find previous podcasts here. I typically do a few podcasts a year over the supernatural, East vs. West culture, and mythos. Namely, things that go bump in the night and some odd affairs that none of us think about in our day-to-day lives.

I plan on organizing a live audiobook reading but haven’t gotten all of that ready just yet, so I’ll spare you the details. 😉 Just know I’m planning a few special live events this year.

If you are a writer or a new writer, you may want to check out my Wednesday lunch podcast covering Writer Workshops every Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. This coming Wednesday is how to become self-published and steps to take to prepare and be a success. If you would rather catch them after the fact, I also place them on YouTube later that day or the following day.

We finally finished The Evil Within 2 and now it’s time to move forward! Next on my list is NieR Automata. I know I’m late to the game, but man I am so hyped about this. I try and dedicate at least one game as an alternative to Fortnite PvE (Save the World). I play this mostly all week (and during my off time, let’s be honest) but I love many different games, especially ones with decent stories) and this one has really caught my eye. I’ll be starting this coming Sunday at 12:00 p.m. CST. Come hang out and let’s play it together.

 

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.

Hell’s Gate

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.

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.

 

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.

Growing up in a ‘non-traditional’ American Houshold

I’m sure most of you read that title and didn’t know what to make of it. And to be fair, what IS a ‘non-traditional’ American household? Well to a lot of people reading this, (and if you assumed like I would have some years ago) you would think I meant a sort of an ‘eclectic’ type living. You would only partially be wrong, but I’ll get to that on a later blog.

Let’s get to the point: My childhood wasn’t what you would think when you look at me. Yes, I’m not the traditional blonde-haired, blue-eyed, etc. ─ but you know I’m a white woman. And for every time that I’ve assumed things about others, you’ve assumed things about me.  To look at me, you probably assumed that I lived in a middle-class household with a few dogs, some siblings, and an easy (somewhat pampered) life. That I graduated from a university on my parent’s budget and that they purchased my fist car for me. Though I could rant on this topic as a whole for quite some time, I’ll spare you the details and wrap this up by saying: you would be dead wrong. Very wrong. No-good, very bad, and just plain wrong.

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The most common question people like to ask me, is how I got into Japanese and Asian culture. A lot of my work often dabbles in both Eastern and Western philosophies. Why? Because growing up, I got to experience what a lot of families have not. My parents were an inter-racial couple. This was very racy, even in the 90’s.

Let me back-track a bit. My real father (who is a whole other long and complicated story saved for another time) is actually white. Unless, of course you discount the fact that my great-great grandparents were full-blooded Cherokee─ he is as white as they come. Even lives on a plot of land with some recently purchased chickens and his rescue dogs. (My dad’s a real softy for rescues)

What did that mean for me growing up? Well, my maternal grandfather was not at -all- OK with his daughter dating an ‘oriental’. There were MUCH worse things muttered in our household, and during the holidays, but let’s just let me keep those in my head and not yours, hmm?

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My step-father raised me from the time that I was three years old. My parents had divorced when I was a baby, my mother taking me full-time. I’d love to get into this story, but later, as some very interesting details were discovered by myself after many years of prodding. I immediately accepted my step-father and often still catch myself referring to him as ‘dad’ because to me─ he was.

He was one of the hardest working people I had the pleasure of knowing. He worked long, and often grueling work schedules over-night, would sleep for a few hours, and then attended college. What always amazed me, is how he managed to work a 40 hour work week, school full-time, and still kept a 4.0 grade average. Even during my best semesters and working full-time, I wasn’t able to achieve this. The man was a flipping genius.

Despite those long hours, he always managed to set aside time to dedicate to me, and later both me and my brother after he was born. My mother was a stay at home mom (only after my step-dad told her that he wanted her to stay with us, because damned if my mother wasn’t anything but stubborn on this subject─ she was fiercely independent) and being that she never even graduated from high school (she had me at 17), didn’t have the knowledge to help with my homework. He was especially diligent in teaching me all the things that I struggled with, telling me that I could do anything I set my mind to.

Though my step-dad was a product of a Chinese father, and a white, American mother, we still had somewhat odd traditions than most families at the time. For example, our New Year’s was in February. We still celebrated the American New Year, but our’s was more special. It was about family─ about gathering together, eating special seasonal dumplings or food, and gifts. My eyes would simply sparkle as a child when I was handed those little red envelopes.

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And nothing, I repeat n.o.t.h.i.n.g. can get me more excited than salted plum, or salted plum flavored anything─ that is my childhood in a bottle. My stepdad would bring these home for me all the time. I loved sour things as a kid, and he would make special trips to the Asian shops to get them. Noodles? Check. Rice cooking all day and me coming home to this? Check. If you combined three of the best smells in the world to me, it would be: cooked rice (especially jasmine), salted plum, and star anise (which smells just like licorice). We would go to real Chinese restaurants near us, with hand-pulled noodles, and perfectly cooked rice.

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So if you happen upon a little place called Chinatown or Asian Marts across the metroplex, know there is a happy white girl perusing the spoils of local grocers trying to capture her odd little world in an all-American life.

-C