Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Take-over Wednesday: Gaijin in Japan

Yesterday I promised a visitor would be stopping by my blog and I wasn't lying. My brother, and soon to be co-author with me, Adam Smith is stopping by to share some of his experiences and adventures of a Gaijin (foreigner) living in Japan.

Hello, My name is Adam Smith and I'm currently living in Iwate, Japan where I teach English to elementary students.
Let me start at how I made it over here.
Five years ago I made a choice that changed my life. I wanted a challenge. I wanted to prove I could do something. Something difficult. So I chose to learn a language. Learning Japanese has been one of the most difficult, and rewarding, things I've ever done. It was a path that I have never regretted. A path that led inevitably to a life in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The first major hurdle I encountered was finding a suitable job. It was after many hopeful applications and scores of failed interviews before I found one that would have me. A job teaching English to Japanese school children. It wasn't easy. I'd never taught before and I didn't have a clue what to do, but it was my ticket in and I wasn't about to let anything stop me. So I packed my bags, hopped a plane, and set out for a new life in a distant land.

Right off the airplane I was hit by a critical difference. I'd left a land entering winter and emerged in a land at the height of spring. I was tired and boiling, and almost took a $200 cab ride from Narita to Tokyo because I wasn't able to process what the driver was telling me until the last second. This wasn't the first time my language skills failed me and it wouldn't be the last. I'd entered a land where I was an alien, a stranger, a Gaijin. Gaikokujin if you want to be polite.

I've had many adventures in my time here and my sister has asked me to share some of them here. So from time to time I will be sharing my experiences of a life lived in a land not my own, A life as a Gaijin in Japan.
Thank you Adam for sharing your story. Now let me ask everyone out there a question, have you ever had a misunderstanding with someone where something went wrong or you got something you didn't ask for (whether it was a $200 taxi drive or just the wrong meal at a restaurant)?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In Which I Try Not To Panic...

Oh boy, I can't believe it's already mid-August. I really have no idea where my time is going, really. Next month is the cover reveal for Shinigami Eyes and then the special little day when I can send it out into the world will be here and I'll still be panicking over having too many things I need to get done with no time to actually do anything.

Time can be a very fickle thing. Sometimes you can have too much, but other times there's just too much you need to complete and no time to complete everything. And that's where I am now. And I'm not kidding.

Just in two weeks I have to create my own font (needs to be original) on the computer, design a creative map and finish my photography course... then there's my writing. I really need to make sure Shinigami Eyes is all ready and shiny, new for its release date.

Like I said, too much to do. But then, a stressed mind is also not a productive mind (just have to ask me about that, I can procrastinate on Facebook for hours when I'm tired and stressed instead of doing work). My solution for anyone finding themselves in a situation like me: Take time out to re-coup and come back to tackle everything with recharged batteries.

As for me, that's exactly what I'm going to be doing. I'm going to go and have a good night's sleep and come back to everything nice and early in the morning... and tomorrow I've got a special guest dropping by so stay tuned.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I Can See You Tour

Today I'm proud to be a part of the 'I Can See You Tour', hosted by Dark World Books. To view other stops on this tour just click on the banner.

I Can See You
“Emma stuck her face to the window to watch the rain. Lightning in the background drew a fiery specter in the sky while her eyes traced the water droplets running down the pane like tears.” Emma Willis is ten years old and has a secret. She not only inherited her grandmother’s power of sight, she can accomplish much more. Like most children without siblings growing up amongst adults, she is precocious yet at times lonely. When a murderer is loose in Newark, a maniac with a thirst for killing little girls, she begins to understand why her Granny Dottie called her sight a curse. She will need all her powers to catch a killer and help the people in her life: Detective Hank Apple, her teacher Christina Tyler, and her little family of three. Only … the madman knows who she is!
Add I Can See You to your Goodreads list!
Author Interview
  • 1.    Where did you come up with the inspiration behind the book?
I guess you can say, Cheree that I hold all children in high esteem. I remember what it was like to be a child. I can remember my own childhood as far back as  four and five years old. I was lucky. I had excellent parents with a dad who had a doctorate in psychology. Yet, I’ve seen so much disrespect of other children. And I believe that even with all our technological advances, our way of treating children has not improved. In many cases our handling has worsened. I still see flagrant examples of this today, in the stores, and at the parks. Perhaps our levels of stress have increased making us worse parents than ours were. Whatever the case, I wanted to draw attention to their world with I Can See You.
  • 2.    What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve been writing for over ten years now, and my first book has not yet been published. When I do take it out for a spin, there will be a trilogy and it is one of the books I prefer. The inspiration came to me unexpectedly while I was walking my dog in Miami Beach. Characters began to talk out loud and the whole story played itself as If I’d given it a lot of thought. Perhaps it was just time and my crazy imagination had spawned this over the years.
  • 3.    What books/authors have influenced your writing?
I have the utmost respect for John Grisham, Pat Conroy, and PD James. I love literary writing. But there are so many writers that have influenced my pen … screen writers as well. I love, love movies. That’s where I learned to perfect the dialogue in my stories.
  • 4.    What was your favourite scene to write?
So far, I’ve written approximately ten books and published three. So, I’m working on the ones I wrote, as I am writing new ones. So each book has a treasured moment, often one that surprised the hell out of me. In I Can See You the scene happens when Emma propels herself to the hospital to visit her aunt Franka. This is a powerful, tender moment that shows us the power we possess in this great big skull of ours.
  • 5.    What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I think the research was definitely the hardest part of writing this book. For instance, snooping inside police files of known paedophiles and convicted sex offenders. I made sure I did this in a bright sunny room, mid-day and while some calming music played in the background. I am too sensitive sometimes and this can get under my skin and make me sad for a while.
  • 6.    How do you overcome writer's block?
Please don’t hate me, but I don’t get writer’s block. I hesitate saying this because I always get the weird looks when I do. It’s true. When I’m rested and it’s morning, all I need to do is sit down in front of my story, read what I wrote the day before, and the story continues … like taking dictation. Hours later when I am tired of typing and can no longer focus, I’ll get up, do a sport—swim, bike, or go to the gym (downstairs in my house). The story will continue to go on in my head and I’ll talk to my characters out loud. Then I’ll sit down again and write some more. They also make a lot of adjustments on what I’ve just written.
  • 7.    What are your current projects?
I am presently working on the final edits of a Romantic Mystery you could also call women’s fiction. Long Goodbyes is about four goodbyes and a mystery. Four women who learn to love again while our heroine, Candice Newman, also in the throes of a long goodbye, is drawn into a mystery by Simon Bennett, the handsome professor who seems to be the only one still searching for a young medical student who disappeared one cold February night in his shoes and shirtsleeves while going to the library.
  • 8.    What book are you reading now?
Several, actually. I never just read one book at a time. If I do, I can’t put it down until I finish it. I’m a compulsive reader.
  • 9.    If you could have dinner with any fictional character who would it be and why?   

Pierre Beaupré. He is a metaphysical marvel of eighty some odd years and I would love to sit down with him and talk shop. I love that science. Oh, he is a character in this trilogy I’ve been working on for the last ten years. Soon!

10.Do you have any advice for other writers?

Like the commercial says on television: POWER THROUGH. Never let go of a story. Whether you are plagued with writers’ block or out of the blue, don’t seem to find interest with one of the chapters you wrote … POWER THROUGH. You’ll get there.
About the Author

Joss Landry
With a degree in commerce, Joss has worked as a consultant for more than twenty years, writing copy for marketing firms and assisting start-up companies launch their business. She recently made the switch from composing copy and promos, to writing fiction and prose. She is developing her style through courses and the support of other writers. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and is presently working on honing three other novels for publication. Blessed with four children and five grandchildren, she resides in Montreal with her husband, a staunch supporter, and enjoys spending time biking, rollerblading, playing tennis, and swimming. She loves creating stories as she says they fulfill her need to think outside the box.
Website – Twitter – Facebook – Pinterest – Goodreads

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Book Blitz: Redeeming Lainey

Redeeming Lainey
Release Date: 07/18/14

Summary from Goodreads:
When Lainey left the little farming town in Iowa on her eighteenth birthday, she thought she was finally free. She didn’t have to live in fear anymore wondering which day was going to be her last. For those two years, she was able to live in peace. She’d made a new friend, was going to a school she loved, and was setting the path for her future career.

That all changed with one phone call from her mother.

With the push of her best friend, Randi, Lainey goes back into the town she once promised was forever in her rear-view mirror. The dark memories of her past loom around every corner, and Lainey can’t seem to conquer the demons inside of her in order to fully move on.

Bryce, on the other hand, had moved on. During middle school and high school, Lainey was his best friend, and it tore him apart when she left with only a note. A simple note saying good-bye and have a great life.

Without his best friend around, Bryce’s life quickly spiraled out of control. He got into drugs, had some trouble with the law, and found himself partying a little too hard. Sweet Annabeth brought him out of that stage in his life, and ultimately saved his life.

With Lainey back in town, Bryce is at a loss at what do. She wants nothing to do with him or the town, but he is the only person who knows her full history and may be able to help her. Knowing that Lainey’s a flight risk, and with one wrong move, she’d pack everything up and leave again, Bryce steps out to help her find the one thing she doesn’t know she needs.


Available from:
Amazon US * Amazon UK * Barnes & Noble * iBooks * Kobo Books * Smashwords

Book Playlist

About the Author
Currently a student at Ball State University, Kaitlyn Hoyt is pursuing her passion for writing while working towards a Wildlife Biology and Conservation degree. Vegetarian. Proud tree-hugger. Lover of comic book movies. Avid Reader. She has an unhealthy obsession for the soothing music of Josh Groban. She discovered her love for writing during the summer of 2012 and hasn’t stopped writing since!
Author Links:
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Blitz Organized by:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Yay, exciting news!

I am very excited to announce that the cover reveal for my latest book Shinigami Eyes is coming up in a month, on the 15th of September to be exact. I'm very excited to show this one to you. If you would like to be a part of the cover reveal head over to Dark World Books and sign up.

This novel is really special to me. Besides it being my first horror novel, it is also a novel that I've worked closely with my brother and sister to help create the final product.

So, you know about me, but what about the other two people attached to the novel?

My brother, Adam Smith (co-author), is an ALT (assistant language teacher) living in Japan. He has always had an interest in the Japanese culture, especially manga and anime (and not the dubbed or even subbed versions... yeah, I know, weird) and this is where he taught himself to speak and read Japanese.

My sister, Kristy Smith (illustrator), is an art/education student studying to become an art teacher. Throughout her schooling she has always had two favourite subjects, art and history, which is why she's now studying those subjects at university. Her art ranges from drawing to ceramics which she is majoring in (and everything she makes she treasures, including the half-naked ladies scattered around on the benches at home).

As the release date draws closer there will be lots more surprises and giveaways (including something my sister is currently working on and it's looking fantastic if I do say so myself).

Stay tuned for more information.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Stormling Tour

Today I'm proud to be a part of the 'Stormling Tour', hosted by Dark World Books. To view other stops on this tour just click on the banner.

(Stormling #1)
In an age when Stormlings have only known peacetime, one man’s desperate action threatens not only the stability of the mystical world of Mordana, but Earth as well.
Teenager Ophelia Drewe discovers a jewel that has been lost from its homeworld, and whilst she thinks she can keep it, demonic forces believe otherwise.
She’s not alone, but who can she trust? The head Stormling, Anadyr, hasn’t been to the Earth in 500 years, but go there he must – if the jewel is not returned, it will destroy both Ophelia’s world and his own…

Add Stormling to your Goodreads list!
Author Interview

  1. Where did you come up with the inspiration behind the book? 
I thought it would be interesting to link the two worlds, but also have a reincarnation piece where the two pivotal characters met some time in their past, and a significant event would bring them together again. As for direct inspirations, it has to be any fantasy book I ever read, though Rebecca’s World by Terry Nation and Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien remain as dear to me now as they were when I first read them.
  • What inspired you to write your first book? 
  • -->
    I have always kept a hand written diary, despite the modern move to make things go on-line, I suppose it was this daily practise that helped me write other things…which would ultimately arrive at a full length novel.
  • What books/authors have influenced your writing? 
  • -->
    Take your pick from JRR Tokien, Terry Nation, Daphne du Maurier, Stephen King, even Jane Austen!
  • What was your favourite scene to write? 
  • -->
    As far as Stormling is concerned, it was the early scenes with Anadyr, along with his later ones in the book. He’s such a fascinating character to me and I would love to meet him in real life, even though I cannot do that.
  • What was the hardest part of writing your book? 
  • -->
    Because this is Book One, I needed a coherent, satisfying wrap up to the story. Part of me felt on occasion that I should borrow elements from Book Two for this….in the end I went with my original feeling, and believe the ending Book One has, is the right one.
  • How do you overcome writer's block? 
  • -->
    I’ve never experienced this, and I hope I never do. I can only sympathise with those who get writer’s block, and hope they overcome it quickly. Perhaps it is the brain’s way of saying ‘take a break from this.’
  • What are your current projects? 
  • -->
    I’m working on a novella which has a vampire storyline, and it is titled Murderous Little Darlings. In addition there is the follow up to the paranormal horror Dark Winter, called Dark Winter: Crescent Moon. The draft is done, I am just having a break before doing heavy edits.
  • What book are you reading now? 
  • -->
    I’ve usually got more than one book on the go at any one time. Right now it’s Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes, Eloisa James Three Week’s With Lady X, and Anne Rice’s Lasher.
  • If you could have dinner with any fictional character who would it be and why? 
  • -->
    Of my own, it’s either Anadyr from Stormling, or Toril from Dark Winter. From other author’s…maybe Mrs Danvers from Rebecca. I would want to know why she is just plain evil. I never get people who seem to have no redeeming qualities at all. I would not want to be like them, just know their reasons, if any – for why they act as they do.
  • Do you have any advice for other writers? 
  • -->
    Sounds twee, but the only way books get done, is to do them. You can go on-line, join groups, get moral support, but writing has to be done on your own. It’s probably one of the hardest things in the world to do – to do well, I mean…but I think the advice can be a case of, head down, no phone, no internet, lock the doors, and get your book written.

     About the Author

    John Hennessy
    John Hennessy is a young adult / new adult novelist whose works to date have been Dark Winter (published 2013), a paranormal horror thriller, and Stormling, an epic swords and magic (and cookies) fantasy. The first short story he ever wrote brought together Fagan, Lizzie Bennet, Sherlock Holmes and Dracula, which despite impressing his long suffering English teacher, thankfully remains unpublished. For recreation he will visit paranormal hotspots, but prefers to write about ghosts rather than meet them. He also believes almost any problem can be overcome so long as there is an inexhaustible supply of tea and biscuits. He has also written the non-fiction title The Essence of Martial Arts (published 2011), and released The Essence of Martial Arts: Special Edition, in 2014.
    Blog – Twitter – Facebook – Goodreads

    Monday, July 14, 2014

    Something exciting brewing...

    As I said last week, a lot of things have been happening lately. One thing that I'm really excited about is my near completion of my latest novel... Okay, so, I've written another novel. That is pretty exciting, but what makes this on-the-edge-of-my-seat, nail-biting, pulling-hair-out exciting is that I didn't do it alone.


    Yeah, you heard me right! I have been hard at work collaborating with my brother and sister to bring out a fantastic story, and soon you'll be able to read it.

    Let me introduce you to Shinigami Eyes. A novel that I've co-written with my brother, Adam, taking all of his Japanese expertise (Yep, we're co-writing half-way around the world with me in Australia and him in Japan), and even being illustrated manga-style by my very talented sister, Kristy. I think I'm taking the phrase 'family business' to the next level... but I'm so excited for this story and I know that the more heads the better to put this little baby together.

    And now, just for those wondering what this little precious is about, here is the blurb:

    Most children hope to grow out of their imaginary friends, for 17-year-old Rin Waters, she only hopes hers doesn’t kill someone. Especially when her imaginary friend puts a boy in a coma. Now she finds herself shipped half-way around the world (to Japan of all places) to live with grandparents she hasn’t seen for ten years and a cousin she can’t remember.

    Rin would rather just forget about that one night that ruined her life, and pretend that her imaginary friend doesn’t exist - if it was only that easy - but she finds that hard when manga-obsessed otaku, Matt won’t stop pestering her about manga that sees the future and the tragic accident she’ll be involved in if she doesn’t listen to him.

    When mysterious accidents begin to happen to the students around her, Rin has to wonder what length Matt would go to prove his manga is real, or is there really something that wants to see Rin and her new friends dead?

    Don't believe it's coming: It's even got a page on Goodreads. Go on, I know you want to add it to your to-read list. And stay tuned for lots of things that are going to be happening as we prepare for the release.
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