Friday, March 30, 2012

I Heart Japan: Introducing My New Blog!

If you know me even a little, you know that I love all things Japan. I am an avid reader of manga (Japanese comics), student of the language and culture, and player of Go (ancient Japanese game). The only thing I have any trouble with is the food, but I'll get over that eventually. ;)

Because I love Japan so much, I love talking about it in any way, shape, or form I can - like blogging. But this is a writing blog, dealing with my journey to publication and all things bookish, and I don't want to force my Japanese addiction on you who Follow me for writerly reasons.

Therefore, I have started a new, separate blog just for my Japanese love, entitled Just Another Japanologist. If you are interested in hearing about my discoveries about the culture (especially Japan's unique holidays and religion), manga reviews, and journey to learn the language (Kana-a-Week entries each Sunday!), I would love to have you check it out here (and Follow me, if you like)! Otherwise, I promise to try not to let my blogs cross again.

読んでくれてありがとう! (Thank you for reading!)

I now return to my regularly scheduled subjects. ;)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Library Haul: Book Friends Are Here!

It's time for a look at my Library Haul, the tower of goodies I picked up during my weekly trip to the libraries (TL, ML, and CL). Sideways are borrowed, upright are purchased used from library Friends.

Here is this week's haul:

  • Another stack of manga, although unfortunately most of them require an earlier volume first - my hold list is now quite extensive. I'm reading Natsume's Book of Friends out of order, though - it doesn't fully require consecutive reading.
  • Picked up Emma Volume 1, by the author that does A Bride's Story. This is his English maid story. I had originally dismissed it, but now I'm curious. Also got A Bride's Story Volume 3 - this will determine if I collect them myself or not.
  • Already read I Am Here Volume 1, and was really impressed. A review to come soon on my Japanese Blog!
  • Wanted to learn how electricity works, so grabbed a children's book on the subject. (Anything older and it would probably go right over my head.)
  • Finally got Timeless, Book 5 of the Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger. Unfortunately, I still haven't re-read past Book 1, so I have to decide to simply read the last book, or get my butt in gear and re-read the others already! The overwhelming amount of manga right now certainly isn't helping any.
  • Got Doctor Who Series 6, Part 2! Can't wait to see what happens with River Song.
  • Remembered to get Fleetwood Mac's self-titled CD - I really like Landslide, and have discovered a few other good songs on it as well.

What interesting items have you picked up from the library lately?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Me & Harry Houdini

What do me and Harry Houdini, the famous escape artist and magician, have in common today? Answer: a birthday! If still alive today, he would be 138 years old. Me, I'm a little younger than that. ;) I actually learned quite a bit about how he spent his later life debunking spiritualists in my Project V research, which made me feel even closer to him.

I didn't find out about sharing a birthday with Houdini until only a few years ago. Before that, it felt like absolutely NO ONE shared my birthday, and it was lonely. :( Originally my birth certificate read that I was born on March 25th, because I was born so late (somewhere around 11:30pm). But Mother made them correct it, forever sticking me with this forsaken day of birth.

Today I gave March 24th a lookup on Wikipedia, and have learned I also share a birthday today with the American fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, and American football star Peyton Manning. (There were a lot more, but these were the only ones I really recognized.)

A pattern I did recognize, however, was that today is a big birth day for sports stars. ... So, what am I doing here?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Comic Review: Pandemonium (Chris Wooding & Cassandra Diaz)

(I couldn't get to the libraries yesterday - health issues - so in place of this week's Library Haul I give you a book review. Enjoy!)

Title: Pandemonium
Series: standalone
Authors: Chris Wooding and Cassandra Diaz
Publisher: Graphix (Scholastic)
Release Date: February 1, 2012
Genre: Comic Book, Middle Grade Fantasy
Content Rating: Middle Grade (violence, scary images)
Format Read: Hardcover (library)
Find It OnGoodreads

As captain of the local skullball team, Seifer Tombchewer is the envy of his peers. He's fast, he's strong, and he flies circles around the competition. But Seifer's always dreamed of more--of leaving his tiny, remote village for a new life beyond the mountains. He just never dreamed it would happen like this. Knocked unconscious and abducted, Seifer awakens in the royal palace to learn that Prince Talon Pandemonium has gone missing. And since Seifer is a ringer for Talon, it's his duty to replace the missing royal in his roles of diplomat, warrior, and Lord Defender of the Realm. He might fool Talon's sisters. He might fool Talon's army. But Seifer has little hope of fooling Talon's enemies...

*          *          *

Art: Full color; Cute and comical.

Story: Not relatively original, but they do a really good job with it. Lots of humor, action, a little romance, etc. - it has all the elements a good book needs.

Characters: Fun and easy to love, even if they are demons.

Comments: One quick glance told me I would love this, and I did. Comic books usually bore me because they are either pure action or endless dialogue, but this balances both beautifully. In fact, instead of calling it a comic book, I would say it's more "American manga" masquerading as a comic book. Chris Wooding tells a great story (although I can't make it through his novels), and this was no exception. I really hope there will be at least one sequel!

Favorite Bit: Giant Pink Demon Cat! XD

Recommend?: Definitely

Last Thought: Hmm, maybe I'll keep it another week and read it again...

Scribble Rating
4 of 5 Scribbles

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Paddy's Day Thought

I wonder if there are more Google Images searches today for
"four leaf clover" than any other day.

It would make sense.

I did it.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Library Haul: A Murder of Manga

It's time for a look at my Library Haul, the tower of goodies I picked up during my weekly trip to the libraries (TL, ML, and CL). Sideways are borrowed, upright are purchased used from library Friends.

Here is this week's haul:

  • ML must've gotten a grant or something, because that added at least $10,000 worth of new manga, with more on order. It was like Christmas! I had to limit what I took to only the ones I really wanted to read, and left at least another stack like this behind. TT I'll get to read them sooner or later though.
  • Excited to finally continue Black Butler! Luckily I don't need Volumes I & II because I still have every Yen Plus magazine, where it was originally serialized. While the same could be said of Pandora Hearts (originally serialized in Yen Plus), I think I still need a few earlier volumes before I can read what I have right now. :(
  • Almost didn't get Bride's Story Volume 1, but now I'm glad I did. For a simple story, it's fascinating. I now know why it won an award.
  • Snagged Doctor Who Series 4 & 5 - to re-watch the River Song episodes. Now that I know who she is, I want to see all the clues again!
  • Hugo finally came in. I'll be interested to see what the actual plot is (I could never bring myself to read the book) - they never really say in the previews, just show the dazzle.
  • Watched Mayor Cupcake last night. It's a cute and fun movie, and if you haven't seen it, maybe give it a try. Real politicians could learn a thing or two about getting out of debt.
  • Main Street appears to be the independent movie of famous people that no one has heard about (Colin Firth, Orlando Bloom, Amber Tamblyn - I could go on). It will be interesting to see how good it is - but how can it not be with such amazing actors?
  • David Guetta's newest CD arrived. And I have finally truly discovered Erin McCarley. Where has she been all my life?
  • Picked up P.D. James' Talking About Detective Fiction. I don't write or read all that much detective fiction (watch a lot though), but it sounded like a good read.

So what did you pick up from your local library lately?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Reading, Writing, and Exciting News

(Apologies for the absent Library Haul this week - I had a Wordsmythes meeting!)

It has been a crazy few weeks. Between work & ailments & sick dogs, finding time to respond to emails and blog has been extremely difficult. Do forgive!


Project V is coming along, slowly but surely. I have finally reached the point in my brainstorming where I can begin writing again - namely, re-writing what I already have. As of today, Chapter 1 is done! *throws confetti*

The brainstorming went extremely well, and included a short backstory piece explaining how the actual novel story begins. I look forward to posting it someday after the first book comes out - it's quite good, if I do say so myself. ;) The brainstorming itself brought in two new characters to ground the main character more, as well as a greater understanding of said main character, the antagonist, and the fascinating organizations involved. Overall the fact that I have not become bored and instead maintain a steady interest in the story despite many, many attempts to be distracted by other stories tells me I am in for the long-haul on this one - which excites me to no end! XD


My writing club, Wordsmythes, had their first "official" meeting Saturday afternoon, which mainly consisted of us chatting and getting to know each other better. We've got some great ideas for the blog, and hope to have something up next month. Don't forget to Follow!


I am re-reading the Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger, working my way up to the latest and last in the series, Timeless. I have finished the first book, Soulless, and even though I'm always singing the series' praises I was surprised at just how good it really was (and, ahem, how racy and descriptive it can get at times). I also purchased Soulless the Manga, and it is quite good as well.

I have taken a break from the series, however, to read Partials by Dan Wells. He is a magnificent writer (even if I can't get through his second Serial Killer book because it freaks me out), but with the first chapter of Partials behind me, I must say that I am not impressed. I will, however, give it several more chapters to redeem itself - Dan deserves that much.

Exciting News

I end with exciting news: I got a ticket to (most of) the San Diego Comic-Con! XD It was a pure and utter nightmare to acquire (the stress about laid me out for the day - thank goodness for my club meeting), but I eventually learned that I was a very lucky girl to even get one ticket, let alone three days' worth. So for now I shall be in attendance Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, and although the fact that I shall be absent Saturday (the most important day) fills me with despair, I am making plans to do something even more spectacular and fun and be like, "Take that, Comic-Con! I can have fun without you!" *shakes fist* I'm extremely excited to attend because the lovely and amazing Gail Carriger will be in attendance, and I shall finally get to meet her! XD

Now to get the hotel... *gulp*