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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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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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We Have a Winner for the New Year Contest – And updates on this week’s shows.

Today was my drawing for the contest winner. Lucky numbers 27 and 13 had it! See below video for more details on what is to come this week.

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On Tuesday, February 14th, I will be releasing my podcast. It will be covering from the west:

Slenderman and NoEnd House

And from the East:

Kisaragi Station

I’ll go into the story, and then muse over the urban legends and their roots. If you’re a fan of the creepy, like me, you won’t want to miss it! Since this week, I’m releasing my podcast on Tuesday, my normal Tuesday comic will be delayed by one week, but will be back on track next Tuesday, the 21st.

I called to a vote last week on which people would want to see, and at just 2 votes higher, the Manga-style comedy comic panel won for next Tuesday. I can’t wait to draw this, it was such a joy to hear from all of you. Thanks for all who voted and congrats on this month’s winner!

Monday’s Japanese Blog Recipe (2/13) – I originally set it for today, but completely spaced that I was doing the drawing today and had to delay it by one day. (sorry guys!)

Have someone that you are going to make valentine’s treats for? Check back in tomorrow as I cover the history of Valentine’s day and White Day in Japan. Two holidays that I celebrate. Stay tuned, kiddos. It’ll be a week full of sugary sweet and creepy delights. ❤

Kimi no wa Movie Review – A Stunning Visual Masterpiece

Kimi no wa releases in the US this April 7th and it is every bit as amazing as everyone has lead on.

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Makoto Shinkai has yet again created a beautiful visual masterpiece. If his name sounds familiar, you may know him as the creator of Voices of a Distant Star or She and Her Cat or more recently in 2011 Children Who Chase Lost Voices

 

 

It is my firm belief that anyone can relate to and enjoy this movie, no matter if you are an anime or film fan. I was lucky enough to get a pre-screening and decided to share my experience with all of you.

The story follows the life two young people living in Japan:

Mitsuha from the fictional Japanese countryside town of Itomori.

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And Taki from the large city of Tokyo.

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It begins somewhat confusing as you slowly become aware that Mitsuha and Taki have switched lives. The interesting part of the story, was that it didn’t happen every day─ but rather, every so many days. You get to ride along with each individual as they experience the delicate intricacies of each other’s life.

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At first, they both lay out certain (and most definitely hilarious) rules for each other.

(I don’t care who you are, you will lose your shit at these scenes.)

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What starts as both people feeling a sort of general annoyance at this life change, gradually turns into an appreciation for each other, and respect for one another’s lives

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Until one day, Taki stops receiving messages from Mitsuha and begins to only wake to his normal, every day life.

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Time passes and Taki decides to take a train to the town to discover why Mitsuha has stopped being such an important element in his life.

What he finds, will simply floor you.

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Enter the life of Mitsuha and everything that happened within the lost time.

 

Eventually the two find one another again,  working together to prevent one of the biggest tragedies Japan has seen in a long time.

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It is as eloquent as it is brilliant─ written to pull the heart strings as much as provide you with a hearty laugh. It is one of those films that literally takes you on an emotional roller coaster.

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It’s a story of tolerance, acceptance, and walking in someone else’s shoes. It will sweep you into its magic and make you really feel as if you are part of something larger than yourself.

It’s a story of fate.

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Do yourself a favor─ Grab a box of tissues, go with your dearest pals or family and experience this amazing film together. I promise you will love it.

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I give it a huge 5 out of 5 possible stars.

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Here are the official trailers, please enjoy!

Official Trailer

English Version Trailer

What’s next?

2/12 Valentine’s Day Japanese Cake Recipe Blog – How to make one for your sweetie in the US. If you don’t understand the difference in Valentine’s Day in Japan and White Day, here’s a little info over both.

Info here:  Valentine’s Day and White Day in Japan – The difference

2/14 Come visit my podcast/audio book page here: https://arisevalhalla.org/podcasts/ for thrills and chills this Valentine’s Day as I talk about internet urban legends Kisaragi Station, Slenderman, and The NoEnd House.

 

 

Weekly Releases and Quick Update Info

So, as most of you have noticed I usually update my comics on Tuesdays. (last week was an exception due to my day job)

But, know that I work diligently each week to bring you laughs, or groaning and shaking of the head.

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What’s in store? Well, as I search for a job that will somehow manage to cover the ever-climbing costs of living in Dallas, I have found my only form of sanity is releasing these comics to all of you.

But, what else?

What else indeed! Last week I ran a poll (which I giggled at myself for only getting 1 vote) But, none-the-less still realized that the one person took time out of their day to click the vote button on Twitter and so I shall make ready the spooky tales that they requested.

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So, in honor of said-mystery-individual, I offer the internet Slenderman in all his glory and fame online─ including his origins, and different variations on this particular Urban Legend.

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In addition to this spook-fest, I decided to add a Japanese Urban Legend of my choosing. So, be prepared for a fun-filled audio adventure! I do so adore old radio shows and recording books are something that I simply love. So when combining the two, I like to really put my all into them. These last few shows I’ve done felt a little under-whelming, so

I’m going to make all the sound effects in the new one!

I plan on updating these with images on my YouTube channel as well as adding my own digital art to each. (this girl has a real affinity for the dark side)

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Some of my online comics will be dramatic or manga-esque, but most will be for the lulz. So with that, I leave you with this update message:

The creepy audio is coming soon, children, and the Tuesday comic will be up tomorrow as planned.

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Hell’s Gate – Graphic Novel Sneak Peek

Without further adieu, here it is─ a sneak peek of my graphic novel to be released this year. The story will have a manga-like inspiration, however, there will be panels of more American-style panels as well. I have a real love for all comics, and styles. My goal is to create a blending of the two. The first release will be in English, the second in Japanese. I hope you all enjoy this small preview.

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Much love,

xoxo

─ C