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Scheming and planning for The Artsy Raven Podcast where writers are the superstars!

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.

Meanwhile we did make an awesome trailer for The Artsy Raven, please have a look! And so we begin another adventure…

Mom, I’m busy with SMOL Dark Helix Press Reading Panels this weekend but I will still take you grocery shopping

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 Dystopia we 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/

Am trying really hard to build an email list for Dark Helix Press to connect with people, so I’m giving away a set of books and an Amazon gift card here: http://www.darkhelixpress.com/giveaways/

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!

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Indoor COVID19 wailing to “Niji” with L’arc-En-Ciel

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!

Ricepaper Interview with Moulann and Mr. Will Wong

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.

Click here for full interview.

Youtube videos of the songs below, enjoy!

March 4 Asian Spec Fic Readings

Next Thursday I’ll be hosting an Asian Speculative Fiction Reading event as part of Small Press Fair for Dark Helix Press. All of the authors are wonderful readers and I look forward to listening to them do their magic! Details about this event below!

Also putting together another digital raffle to test how successful it is as a marketing tool. Someone told me that all raffles need to be coupled with Amazon gift cards so we will try that. I do worry about coupling book giveaways with gift cards – do they want the gift card or to read the books? Sigh.

March 4, Thursday, 2021: 8pm EST – 9pm EST
Asian Speculative Fiction Readings panel features Asian speculative authors who will read their stories featured in Immersion or Dark Helix Ezine. There will be a Q & A after the panel.
Authors featured include Vincent Ternida, Carlo Javier, Melissa Yuan-Innes and Lily Chang. Host: JF Garrard

For free registration click here

For more events, visit this link: http://www.darkhelixpress.com/events/

See you soon!

Horror E-Books Giveaway Feb 27-Mar 3, 2021

February is Women in Horror month and to celebrate at Dark Helix Press we are giving away a set of books containing horror elements. Prizes include: My Girl, a short story by JF Garrard, Immersion an Asian speculative fiction anthology and Trump: Utopia or Dystopia anthology.

No purchase necessary and reward will be delivered via e-mail.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

In the future, more giveaways will be listed on Dark Helix Press’ site here.

Food Sanity – Pizza Pizza Superfood Crust Pizza review

Since I am stuck at home during the pandemic, I have been cooking and buying more junk food. Let’s be honest here, comfort food isn’t the healthy stuff most of the time. I’ve been trying new snacks and other random foods so I thought I would share my opinions about them. I’ll compile the reviews onto my “Food Sanity” page since eating is what’s keeping me sane during the pandemic!

The first item I’m posting about is Pizza Pizza’s Superfood Pizza Crust. This was introduced to me by my food conscious sister who said that pizza was an easy way to get vegetables into a kid’s diet. I have yet to have my child successfully eat this, but that’s the theory anyways.

Pizza Pizza’s website states that the curst is “made with antioxidant rich vegetables such as purple cauliflower, purple sweet potato, and butternut squash. It’s vegan, gluten free and contains no artificial flavors or colors, starting at 12.99.”

Ordering the pizza was easy, I did this via the website and paid the delivery man when they showed up. The food was luke-warm but it was a cold snowy day. The pizza cost about $18 Cdn (pre-tax) after selecting medium size, superfood crust, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, pineapples, ham and mushrooms.

Food score:

Sight (10/20): The pizza I received looked like a pizza but I was super disappointed the crust wasn’t purple and it was slightly burnt.

Availability (20/20): For Canadians it’s easy to buy online and to have it delivered, if a store is in the neighborhood

Smell (10/20): I didn’t smell much of anything.

Taste (10/20): I really wanted to like the pizza but the crust didn’t taste very good. It felt like I was chewing tough fibre even though the toppings were alright.

Touch (10/20): It felt like a pizza slice with melted gooey cheese and pizza sauce, but the crust was quite tough. A few slices weren’t cut properly and I had to yank hard to get them to separate.

Overall score: 60/100

Would I order again? Sorry, no. I tried this pizza crust twice already because I really wanted to like it but was sadly disappointed each time! Maybe in the near future someone will invent a tastier crust that’s made from veggies.

Writing through COVID-19 and Horror Readings Panel

To celebrate Women in Horror month, I’ve partnered up with the amazing Kit Daven and Elizabeth Hirst to present a panel on how writers are surviving COVID-19 on Feb 27 (free event link here). We’ll also be reading our horror stories.

Admittedly I have a little bit of imposter syndrome because I don’t write in just one genre. I’m greedy and as a speculative fiction writer, my stories may involve horror, fantasy and science fiction all mashed together sometimes. For my horror author pic I used the PITU app which I adore to make myself look eerie. My husband says I laugh like a maniac whenever I use this app, but I can’t help it, it’s hilarious to play with!

For this panel I will be reading a pure horror story – My Girl, which I made a YouTube reading of (link here) earlier this month. It was inspired by a time when I had a miscarriage. In this story, a woman has a chance to giver her dead baby life by stealing the life of another baby’s. If this was possible, would women do this? I have no doubt that some would and some wouldn’t. It depends on a person’s values in the end even if they are in a horror story.

I’m also trying something new at this panel, the King Sumo raffle service. We’ll be giving away some Dark Helix books in a digital raffle and one audience member will walk away with a few books.

See you at the panel!

Write-Rice launches this Fri, Feb 19!

During a meeting in Jan 2021 with a few Asian authors, they lamented over the fact that they haven’t been getting much support from others since they were isolated due to COVID-19 and they lived in places with relatively few Asian people. This inspired Ricepaper Magazine to put together a Write-Rice Asian writers support group. Of course, it’s also open to anyone supportive of diversity, we want to be inclusive as well!

The list of topics we will touch upon includes the different methods of publishing to tips on how to write better. The hosts for 2021 are JF Garrard, Vincent Ternida, Derwin Mak and Cynda Yeasting. For more details and to register for these free sessions, click on this link: ricepapermagazine.ca/writerice

  • Feb 19 – JF Garrard (What are the different options for publishing? Traditional/Self-Publishing/Vanity/Podcasting/Youtubing, etc)
  • March 19 – Vincent Ternida (What is the difference between short stories, novels and poetry?)
  • April 16 – Derwin Mak (What do editors look for? Surviving the slush pile and looking for submission calls for fantasy and science fiction genres)
  • May 14 – Cynda Yeasting (What is an author platform? Discussion about networking and promotion ideas)
  • June 18 – JF Garrard (What is the difference between genres? Scifi/fantasy/horror/specfic/magical realism, etc)
  • July 16 – Vincent Ternida (Writing a good villain and interesting characters)
  • August 20 – Derwin Mak (What happens at genre conventions for science fiction, fantasy or romance? Are they worth the money to learn about writing?)
  • Sept 17 – Cynda Yeasting (Social Media 101. What is the difference between Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Tiktok, etc)
  • Oct 15 – Vincent Ternida (Writing realistic fiction and plotting)
  • Nov 19 – JF Garrard (Nainowrimo Write in session, e-book prizes during “Word Wars” in which people compete to see who can write more words in 10 mins)
  • Dec – no session, survey link will be made available for feedback

See you soon!