Next time we are upset, remember people are people

Since starting social media accounts eons ago (remember My Space anyone? MIrc?) I have seen posts from people (who I don’t personally) bullying me. Have also received long emails about how I suck, etc. For a while I was angry, but anger is such a destructive force. I’ve learned to channel this energy into other things, such as writing and making books – basically creating stuff.

The other day I played Depeche Mode’s People are People in the car and this made me think about such past events of cyberbullying. In the end it’s not productive to hold onto the anger or to do revenge stuff. As much as I like watching The Glory or Revenge, let’s be honest, who has time to do this revenge stuff?

People are People selected lyrics:

I can’t understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

People are people, so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully
People are people, so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully

Although this song was released in 1984, the message still holds true! Have a listen next time you are upset to help let go of the negative emotions!


If I don’t post in the next little while it’s because of this…

Recently I volunteered to be the judge of a literary contest and all the entries of physical books were sent to me in multiple boxes! A few days ago I was wondering what to read and well, now I have my answer. My child was very excited to help me organize the titles and declared that any titles with the words “emotional,” “fire” and had a nice graphic should win because they judge by the cover! But I will read through most of them since experience had taught me the cover isn’t everything!

Looking through the books I see seasoned award winning authors and also a variety of self-published authors competing against each other. This is going to be tough to judge but I will do my best and keep an open mind!

As a person who also enters contests, one has to have thick skin. Judging, similar to editing is very subjective and depends on the person’s experiences. There are also other judges so we will come together at the end to compare our shortlists. This is an interesting experience to go through and we’ll see what happens! Meanwhile I will be reading a lot over the next little while!

Catherine Graham poetry event tonight!

Tonight Canadian Authors Association’s Toronto branch will be hosting an event to celebrate National Poetry month. Award winning author Catherine Graham will be sharing her poetry and my Co-President Lee Parpart will be hosting.

After Catherine’s session I will be hosting the open mic where six readers will be sharing their works of poetry. Looking forward to seeing everyone virtually on zoom and it’s been a while since I roped in my friend Vincent Ternida to read. I have never heard his poetry so I am looking forward to this! Other readers include David Epstein, Suzanne Craig-Whytock, Patrick Connors and Judith Shaw.

Event is on April 27, starting 7:30pm EST, free zoom registration:

Building a complex world in The Shale

Recently I interviewed Sienna Tristen and Avi Silver on the Artsy Raven podcast. They are authors, editors and worldbuilders of The Shale Project, a complex fantasy world on the web. In the podcast they talk about how The Shale started off with a group of people contributing ideas to building this world, but some eventually left. It’s impressive in the vast amount of details written for every territory and reminds me of Tolkien’s worldbuilding!

To listen to the podcast on Spotify:

To watch the podcast on Youtube:

Finally writing my second vampire book

For April’s NaNoWrimo camp I am writing the second book of my vampire series, The International House of Vampires. I should be writing, but I always seem to find things to distract myself because I am an Olympian at procrastinating! One of the reasons I am taking so long with the second book is because initially I was going to switch main character to a minor character and did write a fair bit, but one of my mentors told me to stick with Tamara, the main character, so I scrapped that version of the second book. The minor character was Latino and while doing research I was told to not write a main character that is non-Asian. Then my dad died and in the second book, a father figure dies, so I had a hard time continuing writing. After my dad died, a lot of things stopped for me and I was feeling like I was recovering when my mom and grandma died. I had written a novel about yokai hunting in San Francisco just before mom died and entered a contest with it (it lost) and am now looking for a literary agent. No one wants it so far and I will keep trying to bug agents and publishers.

In the first vampire book, Tamara lost her husband and in the second book it’s about her trying to find him in the Underworld. The Underworld is described very differently by the Buddhist versus Roman Catholic religions I was raised in. I never thought it was odd to have two religions in the household, my parents were very different people so it made sense while growing up. Anyhow, the Underworld I am creating in this book is a mish mash as well and since it’s the second book, I will have to self-publish since the publishers/agents queried with the first book didn’t want a multicultural vampire book using Taoism concepts to explain magic. Vampires also don’t drink blood, they suck chi energy and they vaccinated themselves against silver. For such old creatures, there should be improvements over time!

Now I am busy looking up my past manuscripts and picking and choosing what I want to use in this book. Nothing is ever wasted even if it’s tossed out because it’s practice for the final version! After I finish this book my family members can stop making fun of me not having a second books!

My initial scope was five books for International House of Vampires (not to be confused with International House of Pancakes apparently), but we will see. I’ve been writing more short fiction since they are easier to sell and less heart breaking than working on a book for five years that no one wants. Back to writing! Tut tut!

Talking to Lindsay Wong about success

What is success? Is it achieving a goal such as writing a best selling book or living a dream lifestyle?

Recently I interviewed Lindsay Wong about this and I was slightly surprised by what she said, since she hit success with her memoir, The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family. The book was nominated for book awards, won some awards and selected for the 2019 edition of Canada Reads.

For many people it seems after hitting one goal, it’s time to set up the next goal and keep going! Lindsay works very hard and I wish her luck in the future of being able to just wake up every morning to just write in pjs!

Link to my interview and her book reading here: Spotify, Youtube

Why a publishing house is selling design work

Recently we merged the Dark Helix Press newsletter mailing list with the Artsy Raven club mailing list due to limited time capacity. Marketing people will say we are doing something wrong, but we have too much to do and need to focus on creating things!

At Dark Helix Press we are working on new books, but we have also started making designs that are suitable for t-shirts, notebooks, mousepads, etc. These items are in our Threadless shop:

Books take a long time to make and are not easy to sell. Designs aren’t easy to sell either but people may pick up t-shirts or other items for their friends as gifts knowing there’s a better chance that material goods will be better liked than books.

All revenue from design work goes back into books because they are expensive to make and since we are a traditional publisher, the costs are all up front.

As a small press, Dark Helix will never qualify for any grants because there are conditions of selling X and reaching revenue of Y. We are a tiny player on a large playing field and over time, the larger companies have been merging into mega-corporations with different labels. The Goliaths are getting stronger and the Davids are trying new things to avoid them!

The future of the playing field for publishing seems bleak, as the larger Goliaths still have much control over the usual aspect of the industry such as access to bookstores, superstores (Walmarts, Costco, etc), databases and libraries. There are many emerging Davids over time – the self-publishers who are publishing themselves because the Goliaths refuse to. The most successful Davids are the ones that can get published by a Goliath for one or two books because the Goliaths have more marketing dollars and staff to make a book a success. It’s all still a gamble, but if the Goliath can shield a David temporarily it’s easier than a David struggling by themselves. Then after the partnership is over, the David can earn more from selling books themselves since there is no Goliath to take a giant cut of the revenue.

There are no easy answers to publishing success if you are a David! Throw in a mix of people using AI to the party and that changes everything as well! Hope my biblical analogy makes sense and have a great day!

The Idea Shop X CAA – Free Book Marketing Seminar

On Thursday, October 28, 2021 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. EST Via Zoom I will be hosting a panel called ” Book Marketing 101 with The Idea Shop.” Chris Houston, the Marketing Guru of The Idea Shop, has over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. He’ll share his tips and stories about his best marketing campaigns, and explain why it’s important to let the world know that you have a unique book that they need to discover! 

Register for free here:

Kevin Wong answers “What inspired you to write stories about Hong Kong?” on Artsy Raven Eps 9

Kevin Wong was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia: the same hometown as Sidney Crosby and Sarah McLachlan. He has always loved writing and creating art, and even as a child he was constantly drawing, painting, writing stories, and telling tales to his friends and family.

He answers the question “What inspired you to write stories about Hong Kong?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 9. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.

The Artsy Raven podcast about writing & publishing episodes are on Spotify & Youtube:

Corey Rosen answers “How does a writer make their story more clear?” on Artsy Raven Eps 7

Corey Rosen is an Emmy-award winning writer, actor, and storytelling teacher. He has hosted over 100 live events for The Moth, The Moth StorySlam, and GrandSlams. A performer at BATS Improv, he is also a head writer at Tippett Studio.

He answers the question “How does a writer make their story more clear?” on the Artsy Raven podcast, Episode 7. This clip is an excerpt from the episode.

For more information about Corey, visit, and

The Artsy Raven podcast about writing & publishing episodes are on Spotify & Youtube: