Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Language Snob?

It seems like I'm always getting sent links to blogs and articles that are about self-improvement or deep thoughts or reflections on our culture (the American culture, that is). Some of them are interesting, and some of them seem a bit pretentious. Regardless of how I feel about the over-all subject of the piece, I have found that it immediately loses all credibility in my mind if I see an error in the writing.

I'm not talking about the misuse of a comma, or the neglect of capitalization. Such errors are so common that people don't even consider them mistakes anymore (deep sigh of regret). No, I'm talking about food blogs where they post recipes that call for 1 pound of "meet." Or people who write about their favorite "past time." Or when there is discussion about a media "hay day."

Really, people? Really?

It's not like I'm asking people to know the difference between "who" and "whom." And I'm not even saying that my own grammar is golden. But can Americans really not bother to remember that there's a difference between "lose" and "loose?"

I figure, if you're going to take the time to write something, why not make it something you can be proud of? Why not make sure that it is the very best representation of what you have to offer?

Does this make me a language snob? Or simply a reasonably educated person with expectations of her peers?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Heart List: Shrimp Chips

For those of you who don't already know (or haven't deduced it based on my last name), I am half-Japanese. My dad was born and raised in America, but he retained enough of his parents' and grandparents' culture to pass on an interesting mix of food preferences to us, his children. So, when my husband introduced me to these little gems, I was all onboard! Many people would look at them and pause with apprehension, but I assure you that they are delicious! I could probably eat an entire bag by myself in a single sitting. They are light and well-balanced in flavor, and they leave you with a lovely fishy breath that will deter any unwanted kisses! Hahaha! (If you DO want kisses, you will need to grab a mint...or offer shrimp chips to the person you want to kiss.)

If you are feeling adventurous (and if you like seafood flavored things), I suggest you give these a try! I usually buy mine at a somewhat-local Asian market, but I've seen them at the regular grocery store as well (just for a higher cost). Buy them, eat them! And if you don't like them, send the rest of the bag to me.  :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I'm tired of my country's society telling me that motherhood is a bad thing--or, at the very least, that it is unfortunate. I am baffled at all of the so-called feminists that disdain everything that it is to be a woman--all of the uniquely feminine traits--and strive instead to act like men. There is nothing wrong with a woman having a career (my own mother was a full-time nurse from the time I was small), and some women simply choose not to have any children. That is their choice. However, I cannot understand how any woman could view motherhood with such derision.

Mothers shape the future of our world, and they have done so since the beginning of time--for good or for ill. The influence of mothers (or the sad lack) can be seen in every corner of the planet. Yes, it is hard, and yes, it takes great sacrifice. Most worthwhile things have that in common. I just cannot abide the attitude that a woman only becomes a mother when she has no other good options in her life--that it is a lesser path to take.

I am intelligent, well-educated, and talented. I could have done anything with my life, and I have done many wonderful things. But the thing I have always wanted most was to be a mother.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Promotion Day!

Today is the promotion day for "The Threshold Child" 2nd edition! As I have said before, this edition contains a map, a glossary and pronunciation guide, as well as some grammar corrections and overall revisions. For today only, you can download it for FREE! Don't miss this chance to grab a copy!

Here's a link to the book:

Don't have a Kindle? No worries! Here's a link to a free reading app so you can enjoy eBooks on any device:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Heart List: Camping

I love to go camping! And I don't mean taking an RV to a slightly wilderness-y kind of place for the weekend. I mean, you have to hike a couple of miles to even get there, type of camping. I grew up camping with my family, and I have so many fond memories doing it. I remember watching my brothers seeing how high they could make the fire, waking up in the middle of the night because I could hear squirrels stealing our food, sitting around the fire late into the night talking about nothing at all, being amazed at how many stars you can see so far away from city lights, "exploring" the surrounding area as if I'm the first human to ever set foot there, etc. It was the best kind of vacation for a child, and I still love it today. This week I'll be taking my family camping, and I'm very excited. The last time we went on a trip like this, Lewis was only 3 months old. I can't wait for him to start building the memories and developing a love for the outdoors! We're going to Yellowstone National Park, and that's very exciting to me, too. My husband used to go there often as a kid, but I've never been before. It will be nice to escape regular life for a few days and spend quality time together as a family. 

See you when I get back!

Friday, August 2, 2013

2nd Edition Promotion

Alright, friends! Thank you so much for your patience! The 2nd edition of "The Threshold Child" is officially up and running. This version contains a map, a glossary and pronunciation guide, as well as some new edits and revisions. I'm hoping that readers find this edition a more enjoyable read!

I have set up a promotion day for August 10th, so that everyone can update their version of the book for FREE! So, put that date on your calendars. August 10th--download the newest edition of "The Threshold Child."

Do it! Spread the word!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

2nd Edition Troubles

We are experiencing some difficulties with posting the 2nd Edition of "The Threshold Child." The map is not showing up as it should. Don't worry, though. It should be all ready to go by tonight. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Legacy of the Blood: Chapter One

Again, dear readers, keep in mind that this is not a final draft. It is a mostly final draft. The chapter is subject to change, but it should stay essentially the same. Enjoy!

(To read the prologue, click here.)

Chapter One: The Queen

Adesina swept her long hair away from her forehead. The black locks around her face were damp with sweat and refused to stay out of her eyes. The rest of her hair was a lustrous silver in color, and the slight breeze stirred it from behind. She paused from moving supplies from the wagon to the nearby tent so she could tie the unruly tresses into a knot at the base of her neck.
“Would you like to rest, your Majesty? You have been working hard all morning.”
She looked up at the scarred face of K’eb, her assistant. He set down the ledger he was holding in his one hand and searched his pockets to offer her a handkerchief.
His eyes were slightly averted as she took the square of cloth with a smile. Even though it had been years since he had lost his other arm, he was still self-conscious.
“We are almost finished here,” she replied. “There is no point in stopping now.”
He smiled. “Exactly, your Majesty. We are almost finished. Why not go get something to eat and rest for a while? There will be plenty of work later this afternoon.”
Adesina was about to protest, but she saw the shadowy figure of Ravi, her guardian, appear in the trees. He had been away all night, and she was anxious to speak to him.
“Very well.”
Her assistant nodded in satisfaction and immediately set to work, showing her that she was indeed free to leave. She hid an amused grin as she walked away.
K’eb had not been able to serve as a Protector anymore after the battle with the Shimat—the mortal enemies of their people, the L’avan—and it had been very difficult for him to adjust. L’iam had suggested that Adesina ask K’eb to assist her in training the younger generation of soldiers. It wasn’t long before K’eb’s job as assistant had carried over into most of Adesina’s life. She didn’t know if she could get along without him anymore, especially since her marriage and subsequent elevation in rank.
Over the years, the young queen had become very fond of K’eb, and sometimes he felt more like a brother than an assistant.
All thoughts fell away as she approached her guardian. Ravi bore the form of an enormous feline, with his head almost the same height as Adesina’s chest. His fur was a glossy black, and his build was sleek and strong. Adesina had mistaken him for a wild beast when they had first met, but she soon learned that he could speak as well as any human and was more intelligent than most.
He sat back on his haunches in a seemingly relaxed position as he waited for her to draw nearer, but his golden eyes were tense.
Adesina didn’t waste time. “What is it, Ravi?”
His rich voice rumbled from deep within his chest. “A Dream.”
Visions in the form of Dreams were not uncommon among Ravi’s race, the Rashad. The expression on his face told her that what he had seen boded ill.
“What did you see?” she asked softly, glancing around to make sure that there were no L’avan passing by close enough to hear.
His large golden eyes were pained as he looked at her, conveying empathy for the distress she would soon feel. “I saw L’iam on his way home from his latest diplomatic mission.” He hesitated before going on. “They were under attack.”
The cold fingers of fear gripped Adesina’s heart. “Was he…?” She couldn’t bring herself to ask the question that was in the front of her mind.
Ravi quickly shook his head. “I did not see him die. However…”
She nodded bleakly. “He still may not have survived.”
“Dreams can be symbolic rather than literal,” he reminded her.
Even with this reassurance, Adesina was filled with anxiety. She studied the bustling camp before her, wondering if it would be wise to leave her people for a time. If she rode hard enough she could meet up with her husband in a couple of days. L’iam would probably chide her for being silly, but her heart would be at rest knowing that he was safe.
She shook her head as she made her way across the compound. The L’avan would be fearful without the presence of at least one of their leaders, and they were uneasy enough without adding to their concerns.
Her people had suffered a devastating attack five years earlier from an army of mercenaries hired by the Shimat. The battle had drastically reduced the population of the L’avan—which had never been great—and destroyed their homeland. L’iam’s father and elder brother had been killed during the conflict, casting the crown upon the younger son of the royal family.
L’iam was now the only member of his family living, and he had the daunting task of leading his people as they struggled to rebuild their lives from the rubble.
It had been decided early on that the L’avan would be divided. Two-thirds of the remaining population would stay in Pevothem, their homeland, and begin rebuilding with the help of the Rashad. Adesina’s father, Me’shan, had been given the title of governor and was instructed to stay and help with the process of rebuilding. L’iam and Adesina had gone with the remaining third as they ventured to the outside world to find some empty land on which they could found a second L’avan city. Their hope was to create positive relations with the rest of the human race and to dispel the distrust that had been percolating for generations.
The L’avan pioneers had not expected to be greeted with open arms, but they had been surprised at the undisguised aggression of the local farmers and villagers. Lands that had been abandoned for a century were suddenly claimed by nearby villages, and threats were issued if the L’avan set up camp too close to any settlement. Only the nomadic Northern Tribes were willing to trade with them, and the tribe members were limited in what they could offer.
The L’avan had finally come across a piece of land that no farmers or villagers wanted. It was the ruins of an ancient city that was said to be haunted by evil spirits. The neighboring communities raised no objections when the L’avan decided to clear away the remains and settle there. In fact, many of them hoped that the “evil spirits” would rid the world of the group of magic-users.
Adesina smiled sadly to herself. She knew that the trust of others would be hard to earn—the enemies of the L’avan had seen to that. Still, she had not anticipated such widespread hostility. She missed her home, and she missed her father. Knowing the importance of what they were doing only helped a little to ease those feelings.
Ravi seemed to sense her thoughts. “The paths we choose are not always easy, but what you have set out to accomplish will change the world.”
“I am not certain that makes me feel any better,” she said wryly. She felt the weight of her responsibility very keenly, and it didn’t help to be reminded of how many people were looking to her for guidance.
The L’avan believed that Adesina was the Threshold Child—a fulfillment of the prophecy given by the founder of their race. She had first learned of the prophecy when she was seventeen years old, and the pressure of the role was no less intimidating now that she was twenty-two. The words still rang clearly in her mind.

Look, therefore, to the advent of the Threshold Child.
One who is of this people yet not of this people.
One who bears all gifts, Dreams as friends,
sees as the enemy and shall be called the bird of prey.
This is the one who stands on the Threshold of a New World.
This is the one who will save my children
from the slow destruction of their atrophy
and lead them back to the light of their purpose.

Adesina had promised to do her very best in helping the L’avan to flourish in the outside world, but that was all she could do. She couldn’t promise to change the world or to lead the L’avan to find their greater purpose.
“Do not worry, dear one,” Ravi spoke gently. “If you are true to yourself and act accordingly, all will fall into place. You must not think that you must make the future happen.”
“And how will I know if I am being true to myself?” she asked.
“I will tell you,” he replied with a feline grin.
She gave a small laugh and began walking towards the royal tent. Cor’a, her personal maid, would probably have a hot meal waiting for her. The spritely young woman had a knack for knowing exactly when Adesina would be returning, and it wasn’t even part of her vyala.
The young queen never found out if she was correct. Long before she reached her tent, she heard a small voice calling her name. She turned to see a chubby toddler running toward her.
“Auntie Adi! Auntie Adi!”
Her nephew was a small replica of his father, but with round cheeks and metallic red eyes. He launched himself at her legs, and Adesina stooped to pick him up.
“Hello, En’ver! Where is your mother?”
The boy pointed, and Adesina could see Wren’na making her way through the crowded camp, holding her one-year-old daughter.
The two women greeted each other warmly with an embrace.
“We have been taking lunch to E’nes,” explained Wren’na, “and now we are headed home to have our own. Have you eaten?”
Adesina shook her head. “I was just about to do so.”
“Eat with us!” demanded En’ver, as he struggled to get back on the ground.
The two women laughed, but Wren’na nodded.
“Yes, please do!”
Adesina set her nephew down and watched as he ran in circles around them. “That would be lovely.”
They set of in a new direction, towards the tent that was occupied by Wren’na’s family.
“Where is E’nes today?”
The queen’s brother had taken on many tasks since leaving Pevothem. Adesina teased him that he was never found doing the same thing two days in a row. His actual job was to train young soldiers, but all members of the military were deferring their duties until the settlement was more established.
“He is helping sort the useable materials from the rubble.”
“Brubble, brubble, brubble,” sang En’ver, and his running turned into a dance.
The two adults chuckled at his antics, and Adesina felt a longing that was becoming more familiar with each passing day.
She had never considered having children of her own until she fell in love with L’iam. They had been married for two years now, and he never pressured her about producing an heir. Instead he simply treated her with the love and understanding that he always had, knowing that she would broach the subject when she was ready.
Adesina wouldn’t go so far as to say that she felt ready for a baby now, but she was beginning to feel a void in her life—one that always grew stronger when she heard the laughter of children or held a tiny hand in her own.
Perhaps she would talk to L’iam when he returned.
Wren’na and E’nes had a tent near the edge of the settlement. En’ver ran ahead when the temporary lodging came into sight, and his mother hurried after him. Adesina started to follow, but slowed to a stop.
“What is it, Ma’eve?” asked Ravi, calling her by the name that she would have had if she had been born among the L’avan.
She pointed toward the southern border of the L’avan camp, where a ragged figure could be seen in the distance.
Adesina used her vyala to enhance her vision, and she immediately recognized her uncle. “Ri’sel!”
The young queen and her guardian sprinted towards her kindred, barely reaching him in time to catch him as he fell out of his saddle. He had been severely beaten and was on the verge of unconsciousness. Had it not been for her vyala, she would not have recognized his swollen and mottled face.
“Ri’sel! What happened to you?”
“L’iam,” he gasped, “they have him!”
“Who?” asked Adesina quickly. Her heart pounded in her chest and her hands gripped Ri’sel’s tattered clothing tightly.
Part of Adesina felt that she knew the answer before he gave it, and she was not certain that she could bear to hear the fatal words.
Her uncle took several pained breaths before he could answer her.
“The Shimat!”


To read the next chapter, click here.