Tuesday, May 30, 2023


One of my dayjob coworkers told me Friday it was her last day on the contract and she had mixed feelings about the case she was handing off to me being the last, because she enjoyed working with me.
As writers we spend a lot of time trying to figure out an ending that addresses all the pertinent things, and doesn't seem to easy, and also feel like it fits. And we look for these things in life too. 
We look for signs that things are wrapping up or pivoting or leading us somewhere. Now of course part of this is because it would be very clear if a dude with a light saber showed up and said, "Follow me." Like I have questions, like what about my cat, but okay, dude with a light saber is a sign, right? You don't ignore that. 
But should I keep doing this, quit that, or try to seek out something else, or stay the course, and also dinner should be what? There is so much. 
Even books or movies that have unclear endings have to signal appropriately so that - hopefully - even if the audience is shocked in retrospect they go, ah yes. (I am still mad at one movie. Argh!) And we've all read or watched some thing we loved until they did that one fatal thing at the end. 
But with my coworker,  the important thing was that we got to chat at the end and wish each other well. 

Friday, May 26, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. So, it looks like one of the text datasets for AI training contained a number of indie published books.  It does not currently look like those books were legally purchased. 
2. This chat with an abortion doula on what changes now that the state they work in has further restricted abortion was interesting.  
3. And I know Lei Day was weeks ago, but still this chat with the owners of an airport lei stand was lovely. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

New Release: 7 Things About Of Kings and Queens

1. I started thinking about Hawaiian holidays in DC, and while King Kamehameha Day is a holiday I have complex feelings about (monarchies bad, flowers good), it is a chance in the DC area for local Hawaiians and people who enjoy Hawaiian culture to gather up with flowers, music, and dance. 
2. I do like putting folks in food and hospitality, which has made the pandemic a tough thing to incorporate. There are brief references to past pandemic cancellations included in this. 
3. Another thing I seem to enjoy doing is picking two overworked, never have time to date folks, and giving them a sudden attraction and a bit of free time to explore. 
4. And, yes, they do find time to go to a museum too. 
5. I have been intentionally focusing on characters that were not lawyers and not politicians, and well, the streak ends here. There is a politician who appears, and Ken is a lawyer. 
6. Also Diana, Adriana's florist colleague from Aloha to You is Ken's aunt, and she shows up and there is mention of Adriana. Aloha to You is not required reading to understand anything that happens in Of Kings and Queens.
7. And here's the blurb and buy links.
Jia has been focusing on work.  Working somewhere that is not either of the rival restaurants that helped her parent's divorce make the news.  
But the DC celebration for King Kamehameha Day brings her Ken, someone who seems unconnected to the family drama.  
Ken's been making some life changes, so his mom volunteers him to help his aunt at her flower shop.  He finds himself with a box of lei at a new to him celebration trying to impress a woman he just met.  
Fate seems to have brought Ken and Jia a little fun.  But maybe, they aren't as unconnected to each other's drama as they thought.   

Monday, May 22, 2023


Remember that time I got yeast? Well, I decided I needed to make manapua. Manapua, like a lot of foods is traditionally one thing, but has expanded to be more. So, not being much of a pork eater I made some with a paprika mushroom and pea filling.
I make a lot of more traditional dumplings (though still veggie based, so I guess it depends what tradition you mean). My folding technique is still middling, but the good news is even inexpertly folded dumplings taste amazing. And I confess, while there are many many things, I will happily buy pre or partially made, I have come to thing of making dumpling dough part of the process. (There are many great recipes out there, though for the most part it's flour and water, I'm a fan of this one from Hetty McKinnon.)
Manapua is slightly more ingredients, since you want to give the yeast a bit to work with, but well, you can relax a bit on crisp folds because, the yeast is going to puff up and disappear your folding anyway. 
And, I froze about half, so future me has got more manapua in store. 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. I found this piece on the Boot Girls of Atlanta an interesting look into parking enforcement.  
2. This analysis of Animal's drumming skills was fascinating.  
3. I love rhinos, so this piece on a new way to set up safari also contains rhinos.  

Monday, May 15, 2023


In my last grocery order, I got active  dry yeast instead of nutritional yeast, which is very much not the same thing. 
But I decided the universe very clearly intended me to bake, and went with it. So I made manapua - using mushrooms sauted in a smoked paprika sauce and peas, hardly traditional filling, but yummy nonetheless. 
I made orange bread. 
And I still have one packet left. 
I usually suppress a lot of the substitutions, even though it sometimes means I get buns but no veggie dogs, mostly because I am particular, and would rather work around items, than have one that is so clearly not what I wanted. But this one turned out nicely. 
Although I do still need to get some nutritional yeast. 

Friday, May 12, 2023

New Short Story: Tattoos and Amnesia

Hey folks, 
I've got a new short story published over on Ream. It's an author subscription service, and while this one is available for free this month, after that, additional content is going to be subscriber only. 
The story is called Tattoos and Amnesia and is very short, like eating one cookie short. 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Three Interesting Things

1. Alex Brown wrote about how book bans affect all of us.  
2. This interview with the owner of longtime restaurant Cactus Cantina fascinated me, as someone who has eaten there over the years with both family and friends. 
3. And a pasta dump turns out to be part of a larger story about local services. Yes, pasta.  

Monday, May 08, 2023

7 Things About Prologues

I am in edit mode, which means I'm thinking a lot about writing structure. Here's the deal, I'm about to list a bunch of things, they are not rules, because you can find an example of a great story that breaks every rule. 
And, not to be all you haven't seen what I have seen, for the reader folks among you, let me tell you - if you've done contest reading, slush pile reading, or anything where you are exposed to a bunch of unpublished possibly newbie writers, there are so many more prologues out there. So, if your sample of prologues is published prologues, consider those Olympic caliber prologues. 
1. I believe it was Jennifer Crusie I heard say readers are like baby ducks, looking to imprint. 
If the first character is not a main character, it can be disorienting. You spend all this time with this character and wait, they are the villain? They are dead now? They are just introducing us to magic? Now I have to learn about their great great grandkid?
2. Similarly if the setting is different, the reader may be very excited to hang out in ancient Rome, except in the next chapter we're in China and now they need to adjust. 
3. And if the time period shift - anywhere from 6 days to six millennia, you are leaping your reader to a new place. Yes chapter 1 and chapter 2 can often be from different POVs or locales.  But each switch requires resetting on the part of your reader.  
4. If the prologue is there because the prologue is more interesting than the chapter that follows it, this is a tricky thing to pull off. In some circumstances it works great. It's so cool. But you also run the risk of losing the reader because if the sample that got them excited was full of intrigue, but the mood of the story is different, well, maybe I didn't want that. And the length of time I will care to get back to the place you promised me is limited. 
5. If the prologue is the same character but at a different age, there are two issues I see. One is a craft issue. Not everyone is as adept at writing six year olds as they are adults. 
6. The other issue is not every reader enjoys six year old characters, teen characters, 400 year old characters, so they may opt out, thinking this wasn't the story they wanted. 
7. And yes, I know I wrote 7 things, and then gave you six that boils down to, if your prologue doesn't match the rest of your story, you are potentially confusing the audience. And look, readers are smart. I see tips out there like call your prologue chapter 1. I have read books that did this, and I still knew, once I turned to chapter 2, and saw we were changing to a new POV, that I had read a prologue. 
So what are my fixes? First of all, as I said some stories do all these things I complained about and are still great. Some stories are actually better told in an unusual order. (Though I think it's worth noting, if your story isn't good in chronological order, jiggering the timeline only disguises so much.)
I confess, I have a huge peeve about extra POVs. I'm not against an ensemble cast, but gosh, if all your extra POVs die, then so does my trust in your extra POVs. But, there are plenty of books I've read that do it and make me care and make me feel so fast that I go with it. 
It's a little bit like the length argument. I won't care if your movie is three hours long if it's three amazing hours. I won't care that you had a prologue, or disguised your prologue as chapter 1 if it's a great prologue that enhances the story. 
But sometimes, the prologue is for the author, so the author can get into the zone, the background, or foreground of the story. And in those cases, it should be snipped. 

Friday, May 05, 2023

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Three(ish) Interesting Things

2. Obviously the rain in California has not been great for everyone, it has led to a surfeit of wildflowers
3. Let's pair these two items together, though yes, nothing is stopping me from adding another item. A woman appeared to - shall we say - really, really, enjoy the LA Philharmonic and unrelatedly, except perhaps in my brain there (or was, because things melt) an iceberg that for reasons has been nicknamed the dickie berg.  (The images if you click through will only be of orchestras and icebergs, but the headlines may not be what you want folks reading over your shoulder, so, you know, click responsibly.)  
Also, it's AANHPI list.  Jackie Lau has curated a list of reasonably priced Asian romance authors.  
Malia Maunakea has curated a list of Pacific Islander authors.  
And of course, reminder that I have a list of Hawaiian authors - diasporan and not, that does include me.  

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

RIP Sally Alexander

I wrote two letters to two teachers I felt had been especially important to me when I graduated high school, and one of them was to Sally Alexander. The vagaries of how English teachers were assigned in when I was in high school are now foggy to me. But I know that I had heard Ms. Alexander was tough. I wasn't afraid of tough, but also didn't always want to challenge myself unnecessarily. I ran into a recent grad at the pool the summer before my senior year. She told me the best thing she ever did was get herself into Ms. Alexander's English class. I had had great English teachers already. There's a reason I thank my English teachers in the acknowledgements of just about everything I write. But I became determined to get myself into Ms. Alexander's class. And I did. And it was great. And hard. But great. The senior English at the time was focused on a ton of personal writing. I ended up using one of the pieces for one of my college essays. The class was great because Ms. Alexander was an alumna, she seemed to get so many things about our lives, and was so interested in getting us to express ourselves clearly and firmly. And she also knew when to throw out the lesson plan, and let us have a deep discussion about school rules.  I later discovered - because she was an alum, that we were on the same reunion cycle. So I've had the chance to see her over the years, to catch up with her. She didn't fully retire until 2012, and even then, she ran a book club, that alums were invited to until last year. I am quite certain amazing English teacher and fellow alum was just a small piece of her legacy, but hope knowing of this, brings some measure of comfort to her loved ones. 

Monday, May 01, 2023

Spring, Books, and People

One of the things I love about where I live is that I can walk to a bookstore. A bookstore that carries poetry, YA, romance, non-fiction, and a really fun selection of cards too. 
Independent Bookstore Day was on Saturday. If I involve more forms of transportation I can - and have - get to five different independent bookstores. (Some of you are gonna tell me there are more than that in the DC area, and I am going to tell you that I focus on the ones that carry genre fiction, and also, eventually I get tired.)
One of the things I love about spring, despite all the pollen, is that people are out and about. They are ready to linger, not just goal oriented. This particular weekend in DC there was also a big event downtown, and a reader con just across the river. In other words, there were crowds, such that I was going to limit my travels to the neighborhoods near me. But of course, there was a protest, a string of local concerts, on top of all the normal street vending and other outdoor gatherings. 
There is something so delightful about seeing people who are out and about for fun. About having the leisure to stop and grab snacks. I remember someone saying that was the thing they missed most in the early days of the pandemic, to get able to wander. 
Now, masked, and vaccinated, the ability to wander a bit, to linger a bit, to have a day where you get to take off your sweater as you wander around was just a delight.
Plus, I came home with more books.