Write-Rice is an Asian Writers support group which gathers once a month. It’s an informal session in which a host leads a conversation aimed to improve the craft of writing. It’s also a place for people to share things they have experienced in their writing careers and to help each other do better as writers. While it’s aimed at Asian writers, it is an inclusive group and everyone is welcomed to join in!
On March 19, Vincent Ternida will be leading the discussion on what is the difference between short stories, novels and poetry. Some writers can create all of these forms of writing and it’s truly a gift to be able to do so! Vincent made the short list for the CBC Fiction prize before and he is an excellent writer. He will be sharing a lot of knowledge and it’s also a chance to interrogate, er, ask him questions!
The first episode of The Artsy Raven podcast is live! It’s available on Spotify and YouTube at the moment. Anchor will be sending out the podcast to other channels as well, but it’s still early so the computers are all talking to each other and negotiating, I presume. Bonus content about the secrets of success from the guests for each episode is available exclusively on Patreon.
We had a tiny party with myself, my husband and my little one because of COVID and we didn’t feel comfortable asking people over to our tiny apartment. The cake was baked by Ginny who is fighting on Food Network’s Great Chocolate Showdown and it is a chocolate cake. She said all sorts of fancy words like “caramel something” and “ganache something,” I will have to ask her for exact terms before I post about the specifics of the cake! But it was yummy, that’s the important part!
Chris Gorman, the first guest on The Artsy Raven, has been recording the Words with Writers podcast for a while now and he was the most prepared guest. I had sent him questions and he actually wrote out almost every word he was going to say and even practiced reading the entire transcript to note his speaking time! Of course when we actually did the recording, we interjected impromptu things and I had to cut him off from answering three questions or else we would go overtime.
It’s a bit frightening how fast the podcast went up after the files were ready for uploading. With the click of a button, it was live on Spotify/YouTube and I could see it in the search engines when I look for it. Editing the podcast took a few hours in comparison and I hope in the future I can produce these episodes faster as I become more experienced. At the moment I’ve booked a lot of “local” guests and the challenge in the future is asking “strangers” to come onto the show. I feel I need to have a few more episodes up before approaching big potatoes to come onto the show.
In the historical imperial palace game I play there are dual competitions once in a while. As a concubine you build up a team of confidants who are princes, eunuchs, maids, friends and foreign diplomats. Over time you gather potions and collect items to increase their tactics, glamour, wisdom and vigour.
When the duals open, for a week you slaughter other people’s teams by beating the butterflies out of them. Yes, you read right, butterflies instead of blood because this is a civilized girly palace game after all! There are random battles and you can choose to challenge players. To win, some players challenge the same person over and over again until they are negative in scoring.
On the server I am playing on, the top player or winner believes that using any strategy to win is fair, so during duals week, they pretty much kill everyone since they have such a strong team. The winner runs a “palace” (to be a member you must convert your name to include a swastika Buddhist symbol and listen to the winner who is the “Master”) and they send orders to other girls to go after certain players to ensure only their palace members will make the top ten. There is one particular player the winner will send orders to be destroyed every time. The person they bullied went onto the chat board and said quite a few horrible things such as the winner’s mom being a street prostitute and hoping that the winner gets COVID.
While a lot of us were sympathetic originally to the person being bullied, we then felt lines were being crossed on both sides. The winner shouldn’t be bullying others so much but the game rules allow this and the person being bullied shouldn’t be saying such horrible things. After a few days of endless chat messages, a lot of us just gave up being peacekeepers and ignored the drama.
Being an online game, we don’t know each other’s true identities and it’s just ok to walk away sometimes because not all fights are worth fighting! And so, once a month, drama fills the game…
Yesterday someone dragged me into a Zoom conference about selling and customer retention. One of the guests said that you need at least 35 YouTube videos before anyone notices you are alive! Eek!
For my new Artsy Raven podcast I have confirmed 8 people to be guests for me to interrogate (um, interview), so in a few months I’ll have over 35 podcasts and people will hopefully notice I am trying to spread the love of reading, writing and publishing! In a way I feel like I’m on a conveyer belt right now, just churning out podcast scripts and graphics. Maybe one day I’ll be rich enough to hire a minion to help me…
I start off with a template script and for each guest I modify based on what they write or what their occupation is. One of my upcoming interviews is with a book marketer – Chris of The Idea Shop, and I am super excited about talking to him. Authors want readers and he is a book marketing master for the Canadian market. I’m sure he will share lots of great ideas will us struggling writers!
To organize the scripts I numbered them onto my Google Drive. This way I can also share them easily with my guests and they can edit too before we meet. Onwards with another day!
Saying I’m going to “drop a book” soon doesn’t seem as exciting as saying I’m going to “drop an album!” There’s no glitzy premieres or celebrities involved in this, although the most famous writer in this book is Joy Kogawa, who is a Member of the Order of Canada and has been given the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government. Jim Wong-Chu has a piece in this as well, the only Asian Canadian I personally knew who has a google doodle.
Belief contains fiction, poetry and non-fiction essays bounded to the theme of “belief,” a notion personal to each individual sharing a piece of themselves in their works. Each author shares a conviction of truth shaping the reality of life in the Asian diaspora.
It’s taken us many months to get here and I am grateful for the team I worked with to make this book happen: Allan Cho, Dawn Chow, Silvia Leung, Sophie Munk and Katya Roxas.
For the interior we have birds on a wire to match the front (cover reveal coming soon as soon as I’m allowed to share)! Below are a few pages for a sneak peak into the design of the book interior.
Everyday I turn down the chance to promote authors 99% of the time because the magazines I work with have limited capacity for interview pieces. As an author I know that writing is hard work and marketing is even harder. For a long time I pondered how to help these people and finally I decided I should launch a podcast with the writers as superstars!
Whenever I finish listening to an author interview on a podcast, I often want to hear them read. So I thought why not? Let’s make a show to interview authors and then ask them to do a reading!
In parallel my husband is bugging me about how come I didn’t earn enough as a writer and publisher to pay the accountant in 2020. I had thought about Patreon in the past but a combination of self-doubt and imposter syndrome led me to not do it. Under some buckling pressure, I decided to launch my own Patreon page and made an account on Ko-Fi (digital coffee) to hit the goal of paying the accountant next year. I can do a lot of things, but accounting ain’t one of them!
I don’t know if this podcast will succeed or fail. But I am ordering a small cake for the podcast launch from Ginny who is competing on “The Great Chocolate Showdown” on The Food Network Canada right now so at the very least I will have dessert. What’s another five pounds on top of my already gained COVID weight?!
As Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
As my mom says (whenever I start a crowd funding endeavor), “I will give you money, stop groveling and stop writing!” If this was about money, I would have taken her up on her offer a long time ago.
My mother doesn’t believe me when I say I’m working and hustling on the weekend, so I don’t tell her about my creative life anymore. But I know she secretly checks my social media, so she’ll see my posts!
On Sunday, March 7 there are two panels happening, at 5pm a “Dark Fantasy and Sci-Fi” panel and 6pm an “Unendorsed Trump Inspired Tales” panel. When we did book launches in person for Futuristic Canada and Trump: Utopia or Dystopiawe couldn’t gather all the authors, so I’m very excited to hear some of them read for the first time! Details for free registration here: http://www.darkhelixpress.com/events/
Then I realized that I should separate JF Garrard from the Dark Helix Press brand and I have no email list. For myself, I won’t sign up for anything unless there is good content so I will work hard on making worthwhile content to share. Via the “Artsy Fartsy Raven Club” every month I’ll be sharing free book links, event listings, video/podcast links and one awesome artsy thing!
Be the first member of The Artsy Fartsy Raven Club now!
Success! You're on the list.
Whoops! There was an error and we couldn't process your subscription. Please reload the page and try again.
The perfect song for wailing indoors while full of COVID19 melancholy is “Niji” (虹, “Rainbow”) by L’arc-En-Ciel. It’s the opening theme of the Rurouni Kenshin movie Requiem for the Ishin Patriots, which has a storyline about samurai trying to start a revolution to overthrow the Meiji government. If you haven’t checked out the Rurouni Kenshin samurai anime and movies, now is a good time!
The main character, “Hitokiri Battōsai”, Himura Kenshin is a former assassin trying to make amends for his sins while fighting for love and peace. In the anime, the seiyuu (voice actor) of Kenshin is Mayo Suzukaze and she is amazing. In the movies Takeru Satoh is Kenshin and he is awesome in all the action sequences. Admittedly I would have loved a younger Masaharu Fukuyama to be the main character, but he does play Hiko Seijūrō XIII, Kenshin’s swordsmanship instructor in the movies. Rurouni Kenshin an anime classic and one I would gladly watch multiple times. The OST soundtracks are great as well! Some of the instrumental background music is full of tension, great for those writing fiction.
The song “Niji” starts off quietly with keyboards, electric guitar, drums and then main singer hyde launches into “TOKI WA KANADETE OMOI WA AFURERU” as if he is pleading with the heavens to save someone. Enjoy the youtube karaoke video below and know I am wailing with you! At home…where no one can see…with my Tzumi Pop Solo Gen 2 light up microphone!
I recently represented Ricepaper Magazine to interview the Cantonese and Mandarin talents of Kruger Products’ (manufacturer Cashmere toilet paper and Sponge Towels) Unapologetically Human ad campaign, featuring real people dealing with real messes – spills, tears, blood, runny noses, messy crafts, and more. The campaign featured songs in English, French, Hindi/Urdu, Mandarin and Cantonese. Really cool that a company created a diverse ad campaign! The situations captured in the videos are touching as well, it’s worth checking out the beautiful imagery.
The Cantonese soundtrack is sung by Mr. Will Wong and the Mandarin song by Moulann.