And Books 5 Came

As always, meant to do this sooner. As always, claim to myself I will get back into blogging properly. But hey, new year ahead. I can make the lie to myself all over again ūüôā

Anyway, Book 5 and Book 5.1 of Treading Twisted Lines happened during my absence from doll thermometer. I’ve updated the Treading Twisted section on here, anyway, so there’s stuff up about them there. Hope you have a look, a read, add on Goodreads, review, and all the nice things, should you choose. Thought I should say something, as I plan to have Book 6 out in January ūüôā

Book 5 is¬†Trials of the Gods’ Hands –¬†here’s it’s lovely cover. I about flipped out when Nathan Cover Designer first showed me ūüôā

Trials of the Gods Hands 01

Gifted mind reader Samson prays for some way to aid his blessed, but ailing friend. His prayers at last answered, the young priest struggles to combat the near inevitable: but for a miracle, Kai will be hospitalised, or ordered into his abusive father’s care, by a court bound to act in his best interests. His own prospects so slim, Samson offers all he is for Kai. But even that may not save him.

Book 5.1 is Trials of the Gods’ Hands: The Grid. You will note both name and cover are quite similar. Book 5.1 was the original Book 5, but it didn’t quite work in my head on its own. Still, I wanted to share everything that happened with Kai during this time, so decided to release an extension to the book. This is hopefully the one instance where it’s best to read both to get a full idea of what’s going on.

Trials of the Gods Hands The Grid 01

Never self-assured in his life and forced before a panel of doctors, Kai struggles to save himself from a future worse than death. But though the court-appointed experts mean him no harm, Kai’s father has sneaked an antagonist into the private interview. And that antagonist has teeth.

As always, available for US$0.99 from all the nice book places – Amazon, Smashwords, Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo eBooks and so on. Links are on the Treading Twisted Lines page if you’d like to click. Mean to do a general 2015 updates post soon. But may wind up getting distracted – I often do. But this isn’t as hard as I always seem to make myself think. So maybe I’ll have the motivation in 2016 to get more into it – I’m marginally more active over at Tumblr, if anyone’s interested in having a look there. And by active, I mean reblogging pictures of books, tea and flowers. That’s pretty much it. I’m not very good at internet-ing anywhere. But here’s to slogging on!


Almost Belated Trumpets – Treading Twisted Lines Book 4 Almost Out!

I’ve been meaning to post this for longer than a while – sorry for the late notice. Thought I should update anyone who may be interested: Book 4 of Treading Twisted Lines with Darren, Maddi, and Kai – Book 4 that I’ve been working on since the end of 2012, Book 4 that has eluded me for so long, caused so much grief and despair – is finally being released. The magical date is 16 July 2015.

It’s called Suddenly Calling – a far cry of the original working titles (Stronger, The Little Strong Girl, etc), but I quite like it. Here’s the lovely cover and short blurb:

Suddenly Calling 01


Kana, strong by name and nature, has served the Okens since childhood. As further domestic inequities come to light and realities of a darker world are affirmed in scanty articles and upper-class gossip, Kana is gradually guided from reluctant complacency, and inadvertently scouted by unions, radicals, and Gods.

A rollicking tale of family, puppies, hand-to-hand combat, workplace frustration, celestial intervention, sticking it to the man, and tea …

The main challenge in writing this book was that for a long time it felt like a story¬†of necessity, the other protagonists having already been introduced and this one needing her opening – there was no massive burst of inspiration, like the first three. Inspiration¬†was attained, though, in many random tiny bursts. Also, the story takes place over such a long period of time, and I was keeping very close in mind that this series was meant to be a “short” story cycle.

Well, it’s officially a plain old story cycle now: I’ve got around 60,000 words for you here, all for the lovely little sum of 99 cents. Same format, too – please don’t mind that I haven’t gone with chapters, even though¬†Book 4 is¬†much longer than 1 – 3; I wanted to keep some consistency. Let me know if it really doesn’t work, though ūüôā

Lots of time left to pre-order – and pre-ordering does help. Every pre-order will boost the story higher and higher – maybe high enough it’ll actually be seen. Suddenly Calling can be pre-ordered from Amazon, Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. It’s up on Goodreads, too, if you’d like to add it ūüôā

And if you haven’t read Books 1 – 3, don’t worry: each story is independent – you just get the full¬†experience reading them all. But if you do want to give them a go, they should be a click away at the above links ūüôā

Thanks so much for everyone’s lovely support. Here’s hoping Book 5 won’t take another two and a half years …

Treading Twisted Lines Continues For Free (Hopefully Before the Year’s Out)

Finished the first section of the fourth instalment of the Treading Twisted Lines series, today. The working title for this one is Stronger, but that’s already the third title I’ve tried. Shall probably change it again.

What this means, is that the third instalment of the series (The Rat) might be released by the end of the year, after all. I’m happy with it, it’s been edited several times by the usual suspects – my lovely Mum, my lovely editor auntie, and myself – and I’ve entered discussions as to the cover art. All that was missing was the teaser excerpt from the following instalment, which is now taken care of. Perhaps I should wait until the fourth one is actually complete but … I’d rather not.¬†It’s planned in fair detail, and looks set to be quite long – it’s the first to outline most of the protagonist’s life to the point where things start to unravel and explode. Shall see what happens, but with multiple projects on the go, I’m not sure when a final product, let along a well-written, edited final product, will exist in a happily completed Word file, ready and rearing in my Smashwords Publish folder.

It’s hard to know what to work on, right now. Haven’t quite decided whether Treading Twisted Lines or Tom takes precedence, though it’s usually Tom that wins out in the end. Was working on him just then. I was hoping to finish chapter 18 tonight (clearly I didn’t manage it the other day, nor the days following …), but shall probably just finish this section, and (attempt to) finish it off tomorrow.

So, back to the third instalment’s release: since I don’t know for sure for sure if it’s possible, I won’t put up a countdown just yet. But I’ll very, very tentatively aim for my December 30.

And to finish, some good news: this book, entitled The Rat, shall be a free e-book. As shall the sixth instalment, the ninth, the twelfth: every third book in this series will be released entirely free of charge.

Hooray for hopeful, sub-standard marketing strategies.

The Second Instalment Is Out! Let the Revolution Begin!

Treading Twisted Lines is starting to take over the world … in my lovely, innocent dreams. ¬†But in harsh reality, world domination by fantasy short story cycle will really be helped along by more of its short stories being released. ¬†And that’s exactly what’s just happened.

The not particularly long countdown is over. ¬†I watched it tick down from about 12 to 0 seconds right here. ¬†And now, the second instalment of Treading Twisted Lines with Darren, Maddi, and Kai has been released, and is available¬†for 99 cents. ¬†This one’s called Under the Bright Water,¬†a tale that has made my lovely mother cry every time she’s read it. ¬†Not that we come from a family easily stirred by literature and the like … I think I made two other dear relations who read this for me cry as well. ¬†Hopefully, this is a good sign.

So, please have a look at my second short story right here on Smashwords.  Let me know what you think with a comment, or even a review if you feel particularly strongly about it, good or bad (good preferred, but honesty, above all else, is appreciated).

Now, the unedited third instalment must be edited and prepared for publication hopefully at the end of December (end of January at the latest), and the fourth for which I have several pages of notes must be written. ¬†See how much more¬†disciplined¬†I’ve become. ¬†Let’s hope it lasts.

Cycling Away On This Here Short Story

Decided not to have the third story in Treading Twisted Lines¬†set directly after the events of the second. ¬†I’d been having a little trouble – after a moment of enlightenment I had managed to write about 1000 words, though – but then, a few days ago, I had an informative chat with Mum about short story cycles. ¬†She knows a fair bit about these cycles, having written a very exciting thesis on them. ¬†Very different from novels, different from a simple collection of unrelated short stories, as well.

Here is a small sample of the short story cycle-related wisdom I gleaned from my¬†knowledgeable¬†mother (who was having great fun re-reading her thesis, remembering terms she’d mislaid and rediscovering exciting similes and such):

The stories in a short story cycle must be independent yet interdependent.  I was reasonably aware of this already, hence my difficulty trying to make the third story independent when it came directly after the second in time.  So, though the stories can be enjoyed on their own, together they form a complex, incredible web of related themes, characters, plot lines, locations, information, etc.

The experience of a short story cycle is created by both the writer and the reader.  For example, there are often gaps left in the lives of characters of whose fictional existence you are privy to only disordered snippets.  These are for the readers to fill in themselves Рreading a short story cycle is a highly interactive process.  They require the reader to think, and do a bit of work themselves.

This isn’t related to style, but it’s still relevant, I think – there are not enough short story cycles¬†available¬†for general consumption. ¬†Maybe they’re not as popular as novels because they’re more challenging to read. ¬†Many readers, I assume, prefer to be spoon-fed their words, and don’t like being left wondering. ¬†Maybe it’s because, in general, these cycles are more difficult to write. ¬†In writing a novel, sometimes you can just (in want of a better word) spew forth your story. ¬†That doesn’t really work with a short story cycle. ¬†They take more discipline to write.

Why did I start writing this? ¬†I haven’t been disciplined a day in my life. ¬†At least, not when it comes to writing. ¬†I write horribly unpredictably. ¬†5000 words one day, nothing the next, the next, or the next. ¬†Or the next few weeks … but not so much of that, recently. ¬†Thank goodness …

I love it, really. ¬†It’s intriguing, trying to write like this. ¬†Honestly don’t know what the end result will be, whether I’ll do the underrepresented genre of short story cycles – particularly fantasy short story cycles – justice. ¬†But no denying the process will be interesting.

If what I’ve done up in my little pale pink book stands, there will be 18 stories in the Treading Twisted Lines series. ¬†The one I was writing to be released third will now be released, most likely, thirteenth. ¬†The third is now set 20 years in the past, on a bit of a road trip with somewhat dastardly intent. ¬†Might scribble away at it a bit more tonight, but a bit of editing on my novel probably takes precedence. ¬†Some agencies still prefer hard copies, so had to choose some sample chapters. ¬†Need to make sure they’re good and tidy for posting.

My First … Ebook Cover Image! Sound the Trumpets!

As I’ve been occasionally shamelessly plugging right here on my little blog, planning to release my first ebook very soon. ¬†That very-soon-yet-still-unspecified date has just crept astonishingly close in a very short period of time.

My good friend Nathan has been slogging away at the cover, continually assaulted by my (totally un-knowledgeable about graphic design) requests, ideas of questionable merit, and insights.  Not long ago, he sent me the final version.

Due to excitement, currently rendered unable to sleep.

Now, I wish to share.

What do you think?  Dashing, no?

This story, The Chosen Voice,¬†is the first instalment of a fantasy short story cycle called Treading Twisted Lines with Darren, Maddi, and Kai. ¬†Nathan and I had some disagreements regarding the length of the series title + book title, and how it would look on the cover. ¬†I think it all worked out all right in the end. ¬†I hope he’s as happy with the final product as I am. ¬†Nathan – again, thank you so much. ¬†Hope you don’t mind/enjoy continuing to cover image-ify the rest of the series.

Planning on releasing it on Smashwords for 99 cents; still need to do a bit more research into Amazon and decide whether to release it there, too. ¬†I’ll post links along with a self-satisfied celebratory blog once it’s out. ¬†And I’ll let you know the chosen release date before then. ¬†Would like to do a countdown here, but want to release it uber soon even more. ¬†I’ll start doing awesome countdowns once I’m better at this self-publishing thing, and better prepared to do so. ¬†After all, I do love a good countdown.

Should probably try to snooze, now.  Night, all!  Snooze well, when you do!

Gratitude for Minor Dilemmas of Dedication and Titles That Are Inconveniently Lengthy

Had a minor personal dilemma today.  The best kind, too.  Easily solvable.  Outcome of no dire consequence.  Altogether quite a pleasant thing to worry about, considering what many others have to deal with daily.

What was on my mind that had me the smallest bit worked up was dedications.

I’m well into my preparations to publish the first two stories of a short story cycle on Smashwords (still haven’t looked much into Amazon, should probably do that at one point). ¬†Stayed up quite late yesterday working on the first, its title page, copyright statement, about the author section, contact section, and so on, as well as double-checking ¬†the Style Guide’s formatting instructions had been followed without a single deviation. ¬†A friend is looking into designing a cover for this first one. ¬†My lovely editor Auntie called me today when she finished reading over the second – called me from work, in fact – to give me a great review, telling me how much she enjoyed it. ¬†Said that she couldn’t wait until afterwards to tell me so. ¬†That felt nice.

So, given all these preparations, it got to the point today that I was wondering who I was going to say this book was written for.  And I ran into a little trouble.

I always wanted to dedicate my first published book to Mum and Dad. ¬†And I wanted that book to be the first one I completed. ¬†But my first completed book, technically, is my novel. ¬†And if these self-published electronic books work out, that will not be my first book published. ¬†It should just be a simple name swap, but that novel has taken me years to complete. ¬†While I have worked hard on these short stories, there’s a lot more sweat and blood in the novel. ¬†Both¬†perspiration and claret plasma¬†is pretty much oozing from between its currently metaphorical pages, staining brown and blending with black ink. ¬†That’s the one I want for my parents – I imagine they put the same amount of effort into me. ¬†Probably more.

Asked Mum what she thought. ¬†Think she thought I was being a little silly. ¬†Took that as a sign that it’s safe to dedicate my first published story to another. ¬†And considering the huge influence my time in Japan had on these short stories, I thought I might dedicate a few of them to some of my friends who made life there easier, and so much more lovely. ¬†The first, I think I’ve decided, will go to my supervisor Haruka. ¬†Haven’t decided about the second, but one of my teachers will get the third or fourth. ¬†Still plenty of time to think about it. ¬†Haven’t started writing the third one, though I do have some notes – only just decided which idea should come next. ¬†Though technically, it is a short story cycle – they could be read in any order. ¬†I’ll just be releasing them in recommended reading order.

So. ¬†That worked out fine. ¬†Now, onto the second minor issue of the day: ¬†apparently my series title is too long. ¬†It won’t look great on a cover.

Treading Twisted Lines with Darren, Maddi, and Kai.

But … but it’s the series title … I like it … a lot …

Oh, what to do …

I really am very grateful to be in a position that I’m able to worry about such little things.