July 2017


Tales of the Sunrise Lands has just released from Guardbridge Books and one of the stories in this cool anthology is mine: Hanabi to Kitsune (which translates to ‘Fireworks and Foxes’).

The story follows Mayu, a high schooler in current day Japan. In traditional high schooler style she has a crush on an upper classman (notice me senpai, notice me ;p ). She’s managed to catch his eye once at a fireworks festival, but she’s determined to do it again, even going so far as to steal a beautiful yukata from her grandmother’s attic. What Mayu doesn’t realise is her act of theft will result in mythic consequences.

I  had a lot of fun with this one. I got to show off some of my knowledge of kitsuke(the art of kimono fashion), kitsune and a cavalcade of yokai, and got to come up with two more awesome Japanese names complete with matching and meaningful kanji (if you don’t know what I mean but are curious check out this old post on the complexity of Japanese names). I also played around with kishotenketsu story structure, though the end result can be viewed in both a three act way as well as a kishotenketsu sort of way(more on kishotenketsu in a later post).

You might also notice Mayu’s love interest is called Arima-senpai. My beagle, Arima, recently passed away, and though this story was written and submitted long before that, I can’t help but feel it’s a beautiful little tribute to him.

If you’re a fellow Japanophile I hope you’ll check out the anthology. You can find it on Amazon, or buy it directly from Guardbridge Books(if you can, buy it from Guardbridge, it helps support this awesome and ever-growing small press).



I’ve posted another writing prompt on the Vision Writers website. This time I’ve come up with some lines that could be opening OR ending lines and am challenging/hoping to inspire you to pick two lines, make one your start the other your end. Head over to the Vision Writers site to check it out.


We came back from the weekend away to bad news this week; our beagle Arima had passed away.

Arima was the son of our first dog, Ezri, and like his mother was a pedigree beagle (yep, papers and all). I can remember the day they were born, twelve and a half years ago. T-J and I were so nervous and Ezri probably just wanted us out of her face while she paced and nested and did her thing. We stayed up all night, but the puppies didn’t come till the next morning (I seem to be cursed/curse those around me with long labours ;p).

Arima was named for one of my favourite manga heroes: Soichiro Arima from His and Her Circumstances/Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou.You might be sensing a pattern or anime-derived pet names.

While all the other puppies had homes to go to Arima didn’t, but I was only too glad to keep him with us. Because Arima was bred to perfect breed standards – ideal black saddle and all – we always intended to put him in a show one day, but then next thing you know we have kids and then he has grey hairs and the time passed.

Unlike his namesake Arima was always a mischief. He was a master escape artist (as multiple fees from the local pound when they found him before us can attest), and loved breaking into the house to track down any unattended food. He was also almost always the one to start up a howl, and if you didn’t stop him soon all three dog were howling, then every dog in the street!

The last Christmas we had at our place we served the ham up on a platter, left it on the table to go get the rest of the feast only to find Arima and his mischievous little pack escaped from their area and up on the table scoffing the ham. At least someone had ham that Christmas ;p

In his entire life I don’t think he ever spent more than a whole day away from his mother (actual mother, not me his fur-baby mother ;p ), and even then only because one or the other of them was at the vet. When his brother, Porthos, came back to live with us they became an inseparable pack, which made walks more difficult since leaving anyone behind resulted in endless devastated howling(trust me, we tried many times, particularly after our children were born). I barely have a photo of one of the trio without at least one of the others photobombing. Their pack also includes our cats who were never chased or heckled even once that I noticed.

We’ll miss our little boy and it’s evident his pack still misses him too.

the pack sleeping on top of the table because Baron the cat was ‘hogging’ the dog bed beneath (Arima is the one looking at the camera)





photo by Fabrizio Russo

After another great meeting of the Vision Writers Group yesterday I’m all excited by having three brand new members show up as well as several recent newbies come back again. I also LOVE it when newbies are hungry for and appreciative of our feedback. It always makes me so happy 🙂

Once again I’ve done a ‘meeting takeaway’ post over on the Vision Writers blog about my favourite piece of feedback given. This time the advice was on how to make unlikeable characters more relatable. Check it out

The Unlikeable Ones


Ha ha, I forgot to do my May goals round up and with it list my June goals, but I’ll run them down and their success(or not) here together.

  • Do some beta feedback for people who’ve betaed for me – this was a bigger job than anticipated. I betaed two entire novels; 170,000 words. It took almost all of my May
  • Complete my self edits of Mudgerwokee and send it on to my editor for the professional edits – done and sent. Contract is signed, just waiting for the edits to come back sometime in July/August.
  • Fix my damn shift keyI haven’t fixed it really, apparently it’s beyond repair (or reasonable cost to repair). I’m currently circumventing the issue by plugging our desktop pc’s keyboard in.  All up I preferred the duct taped laptop to the no shift key laptop ;p
  • Finalise the print version of Darkest Depths for Vision Writers group – price comparison done, so then I had to check and tweak our file to meet the company’s specs. Now all that’s left is figuring out how many copies each person wants and getting the payments together, then upload and print.
  • Finish revision on Glass Slippers – I got a little bit further, figuring out what sort of story it was going to be, therefore which feedback to use, but didn’t really start much pen to paper/fingers to keyboard work.
  • Start writing the first draft of Nothing Charming – frankly, I didn’t touch it 🙁
  • Recommence submitting my short stories that are ready – I submitted Foxworth to the Writers of the Future contest, and a couple of works published last year to a ‘Years Best Australian Fantasy and Horror’ anthology, but came up against the wall due to the fact I don’t have many more short stories that are polished enough for sale or are of a saleable length. I’ve been writing a lot of novelletes/novellas(10,000 words+) lately, and they aren’t as easy to sell to traditional markets
  • Clear up the Vision Writers Group Boards – there was a lot of information up there from various stages in the groups life. 21 years is a long time and a lot of changes have happened in many aspects of the group, but old data kept popping up and confusing newbies. I’ve gone through and checked almost all files on the board and updated any that needed it. It took almost a week, but I did it!
Harley & Xander hard at work on her birthday presents

June was a little lacking because the first week was devoted to organising Harley’s Moana-themed birthday party (which was awesome, I made kakamora cookies, Tamatoa cupcakes, and a Moana Dolly Varden-style cake, and she was so cute in her Moana party dress), and then I splashed my arm with oil frying up Xander’s favourite fish. The splatter burns were mostly on the inside of my arm, meaning typing and using a mouse would rub my burns on they keyboard/desk. I popped blisters by refusing to give up though, because each month I seem to be afflicted with *something* which limits my productivity.

In July my goals will be:

  • Mudgerwokee edits when they come in – the editor said they should come in during July or August, but it’ll be top of my list when it lands in my inbox
  • Help promote the release of the anthology Tales from The Sunrise Lands which contains my short story Hanabi to Kitsune(Fireworks and Foxes) – I’m super excited about this one because my story will be the first in the anthology!
  • More Vision Writers work – including some tidying of the website, updating links, getting and keeping the ball rolling on the print version of Darkest Depths, and writing a promotional piece for the group to be featured on another website.
  • Edit and appropriately name ‘Kitsune In Spaaaaaace’ – I backed a cool project on Kickstarter and one of the bonuses was a short fiction critique to be given on a piece of mine in September, so I need to have something polished for that
  • Commence and ideally complete edits on Written By The Stars novel so I can get some beta feedback to finally allay my worries about the novel and get it ready for submitting to agents.


And now for my mid-year check up on my yearly goals.

  • Publish at least three more of my Retailored Fairy TalesGlass Bones just came out and is an RFT, and Groundskeeper has been sold but may or may not be published this year (depends on the publisher). So I have one, maybe two so far. I was originally planning on doing the Charming stories, but I want to have several prepared so I can release them relatively close together. I don’t want to publish anything that’s not ready yet, and with my current pace, I might not be able to produce the right quality, as such this one *may* get bumped. It’s certainly one of my lowest priorities
  • Finish first draft, complete edits, and get to beta readers ‘Skeleton Romance’ (also give it a real title ;p ) – first draft completed, but stalled on edits partially due to self-doubt (I really need to kick my paranoia in the ass I think, but it’s not so easy as it sounds)
  • Continue writing and traditionally publishing stories  – well under way, Glass Bones is already out, Hanabi to Kitsune will be out later this month, Mudgerwokee is due for release in November and Groundskeeper is sold. I do need to put some more effort into writing shorter stories for traditional publication though.
  • Continue learning – I’ve been to a Joanna Penn panel, listen to at least six different podcasts on writing and publishing every week, have gone through an online course and am going through a long to-read list of writing books (currently reading ‘Save The Cat’) so this goal is going just dandy.
  • Continue being an awesome president of Vision Writers Group – I always worry I’m not doing enough on this one, but I’ve been working on the print version of our last anthology, updating the membership files on the board and website, writing promos, getting our book in catalogues and new members have been coming in and not always running away so I’m not failing dismally at least.
  • Write at least three more Retailored Fairy Tales – this is what I’ve been lagging on most, though it’s the thing I want to do most – isn’t that weird…
  • Complete a novel (as in to the point I can resume submitting to agents) – this is probably the most important. I currently have no polished novel out there ‘doing the rounds’. I need to focus on this which is why you’ll notice on my July goals list is the task of finishing edits on Written By The Stars and getting it out to beta readers.

So I’m not cutting any goals just yet, but I am reorganising what’s at the top of my list and what’s at the bottom. I also need to buckle down a bit harder. Pop some blisters if I have to because I need to get moving! Let’s do this thing!