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Mizuki Beautiful Moon

In 2011…

 I wrote my first novel that I EVER finished. For a long time, it didn’t have a name. It wasn’t until I had finished the book that I decided to call it Mizuki Beautiful Moon.

How I got the idea for the book…

2009: Before I went to Japan, I was watching some Japanese dramas, one of them was called Samurai High School. I thought it was really funny, though sometimes cheesy. After that, I forgot about the show as Hana Yori Dango took over my life. I was also writing a story about figure skating that also took up most of my time, but I stopped writing as I lost inspiration for the  book.

After I got back from Japan in 2010, I watched even more Japanese dramas, one of them was Ryoma Den. I was immediately sucked into the world and the rich history that surrounded Japanese legend, Sakamoto Ryoma. I had already heard about the Shinsengumi (from Rurouni Kenshin), and I stumbled across a music video called Kagen no Tsuki  (下弦の月) by Domoto Koichi. In it, he dressed up like Rurouni Kenshin and the music video had a fight scene that sparked the idea of the story. I wrote out some of the plot, but didn’t get around to writing it yet.

University, 2011…

I was taking a lot of Japanese history courses as well as Japanese language courses in university and I was doing a lot of research on samurai. That’s when I learned a lot about the way of samurai (Bushido) as well as learning more about the Shinsengumi. It’s from all that research that I was able to start writing my story in the spring of 2011 after I finished all my final exams.

Problems…

I always find a picture of someone that helps inspire me and use that picture as my “muse.” I had originally chosen Sato Takeru as my lead character, but I tried to write the first two chapters and they never seemed quite right. That’s when I kept searching and found a picture of one of my favorite actors, Miura Haruma, dressed up as a samurai and I remembered the drama Samaurai High School. I knew he was the perfect fit for my character. Immediately, I snagged all the photos I could find of him playing his character and printed them, pinning them up on my bulletin board next to my computer so I could look at them every day and find inspiration. Thanks to the change in muse, I was able to pour my heart out, spending all my free time writing the novel from early in the morning, to late at night.

September 2011…

I think I finally finished the first draft in September, but because I was starting my fall semester at university, I didn’t have time to look at it again. I became so busy with school that I forgot about my novel.

January 2017

I was laid off from work for a month and had a lot of thinking to do. One of the things that I wanted to try was to publish my writing for the first time. I decided to try out self-publishing first and so, I opened up Mizuki Beautiful Moon and started editing my own novel. It took months for me to finish editing because I eventually went back to work, and I edited through once. Then I went back and reviewed all my notes and finally, I edited it again, but this time I made some changes. When that didn’t work out, I edited it again, and then one more time.

April 9th

I finally finished editing the book on my own birthday and published it the same day. Of course, considering I have a lot of bills to pay now, I can’t afford to pay someone to make a cover for me, so I had to make my own. I know that it’s not the best cover, but I’m hoping one day to either get published by an actual publishing company, or save enough money to splurge and get someone to make me a nice cover.

Synopsis of Mizuki Beautiful Moon

Sadayuki is a samurai and member of the Shinsengumi. On his way back to headquarters, his life changes forever. He is catapulted into the year 2017 where he meets a descendant of his and Elena. Sadayuki and Elena accidentally get transported back to the dangerous Keio era. Can Elena get back to her own time or is she stuck in 1867 forever?

Want to buy Mizuki Beautiful Moon? It’s available on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com!

From the UK? It’s also available at Amazon.co.uk

Want to read the first chapter before deciding? Check out the first chapter of Mizuki Beautiful Moon FREE. (Coming soon).

How to Make Time to Write

How to Make Time to Write

We all have busy lives because of work, extra curricular activities, or raising children and taking them to their extra curricular activities, so how do we mange out time efficiently enough to find time to write? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer, if there were, we’d all be writing right now instead of reading this post! However, I’ve put together some tips on how to make time to write, which are ones that I implement almost every day.

How to Make Time to Write:

  1. Commuting to work by bus/train.

    If you commute to work and find yourself with some free time, even if it’s only ten minutes, use that time to your advantage! You can brainstorm ideas, find music to inspire you, heck, you can even write your story on your cellphone! Search for places, information, or books that might help you with your own book (research, etc).

  2. Arrive early to work.

    Most of the time I get to work early enough to spare ten to fifteen minutes of writing or brainstorming. If you arrive early and find that you have some free time, why not use that time to write or brainstorm or search for things to inspire you?

  3. Write as soon as you have some alone time.

    Do you come home before your spouse/children? If yes, WRITE! Are your children young enough that they need naps? Write when they are asleep! Even if you only write for fifteen minutes or half an hour, every little bit counts and gets you further.

  4. Write down new ideas before bed.

    If you’re like me, my head is always spinning with ideas for plot, characters, etc. I have trouble sleeping if my mind is too full, especially since I’m worried I’ll forget them in the morning. I’ve learned to keep some paper and pens near my bed so I can write down ideas as they come to me. That way, I have a much better sleep, or if I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, I can write it down and go back to sleep. I also use paper and pen because using my cellphone makes it harder for me to sleep (even with the blue light filter on.

  5. Too crowded/noisy at home?

    Take your laptop, iPad, cellphone, paper, whatever you use and take it to a nearby park. I find that I’m inspired by the new smells and sounds, I’m also a lot calmer.

  6. Get distracted with other things at home? For example: laundry, cleaning, etc?

    Take your laptop, or whatever it is that you use, and go somewhere else. You can even go to a coffee shop.

  7. Can’t decide between going to the gym and writing? Why not do both?

    I’ve been known to go to the gym and do my cardio while working on a story. I use my cellphone to write when I’m on the elliptical. If you can’t do that, then just brainstorm some ideas for the next part of your story.

  8.  Set aside a certain time every day to write (even if it’s only once a week).

    The most important thing that I’ve learned about writing is this: if you want to write, you have to find time to write. I have three jobs, so I know how difficult it can be to write, but I make sure that I put aside some time to do just that, write. No one is allowed to bother me when my door is closed and I even turn my cellphone to silent so I can get work done. If you want something badly enough, you will find time to do it,

 

I hope these tips on how to make time to write is helpful for you and I wish you the best of luck with your writing! You can find my first self-published book on Amazon : Mizuki Beautiful Moon.

How to Writea Bookin 10Steps

How to Write a Book in 10 Steps

How to Write a Book in 10 Steps

  1. Get a story idea

Everyone gets their story ideas from different places, all it takes is a little inspiration to spark an idea and from there it takes off. I usually get my ideas from music, situations, or even stories I hear from other people (in this case, one small scenario causes my brain to come up with something completely different based on one small detail).

  1. Brainstorm the basic plot and characters

For a book to be good, you need to have an engaging plot to keep readers turning the pages as well as believable characters. Readers need to be able to relate to the main characters as well as hate the antagonists.

  1. Research (if needed).

This includes finding the perfect names for your characters, where they live, the surroundings, their world (especially if it’s fantasy), historical references, etc. This part is important if you want the world you are creating to be believable.

  1. Make your characters come to life

Making copious notes on your characters from simple things to their characteristics like personality, looks, and other background information that might not even get mentioned in your book. All this extra information lets your character become believable, just like a real person.

  1. Flesh out more ideas for your plot especially the crisis and the solution.

It’s important to flesh out the details before you start writing because you can run into problems in the plot later on. There may even be some key details that need to be strategically placed throughout the book, which you cannot do if you don’t plan things out.

  1. Decide how you’re going to write

Are you going to write a prologue? Is the prologue essential? Are you going to write in first person or in third (omniscient) person? It all depends on what you want your readers to know and not know. It also depends on whether or not you are going to be writing from one perspective or more than one.

  1. Start writing.

Enough said. Write to your heart’s content and don’t stop (by “don’t stop” I don’t mean write for days on end without eating, drinking, etc. Please do the necessary things you need to do in order to stay alive. If you die, who’s going to finish your book?!)

  1. Keep detailed notes

As you write, it’s a good idea to make notes as you go along. Perhaps while you are writing, you come up with some good ideas as you flesh out the story. Write those down so you can easily access them, especially what you were thinking. It’s also a good idea to write down when you want certain things to happen or appear in your book. For example, perhaps one character has something special about them that you don’t want the readers to know until just before a pivotal moment or not at all.  For example, I have one character give another something, the importance behind the gift isn’t what the gift is but the reason behind giving it and what it means for the character that gave it. This idea popped in my head when I was still in the early stages of writing and planning my story.

  1. Check your notes/timelines (make sure you’re still headed in the right direction).

When you’re writing, it’s useful to constantly check your notes and timelines to make sure that you are still writing what you originally planned. There are many times that I wrote something that trailed off course that had nothing to do with where I needed the characters to go, so I got rid of that extra stuff. It’s important to keep the stuff that the readers need to know in order for the plot to work, anything extra isn’t going to help your plot much and is unnecessary.

  1. Finish writing and edit, edit, edit.

When you’re finished, I recommend taking a break from the book. Take a week off or longer or even start working on something else! When you go back to it, you can look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. I wrote a book in 2011 and didn’t look at it again until 2017 (not the BEST idea of a “break”, but I had my reasons). When I delved into the book again, I was able to see my characters from a completely new perspective and see the things that were unnecessary as well as add in more details of the characters’ interactions together to make them have a better and stronger relationship with each other.

 

My first self-published book Mizuki Beautiful Moon is available on Amazon for purchase!

 

10 ThingsWriters Do

Ten Things Writers Do

Ten Things Writers Do

  1. We always carry around something to jot our notes, ideas, and inspiration in (cellphone, notebook, post-its, etc).
  2. We always observe people when we are out. What they are doing, what they are wearing, how they are behaving, etc.
  3. We have a hard time finding the perfect name and often won’t use names of people we know in real life that we associate with negatively.
  4. We spend hours on baby name websites searching for the perfect name with the perfect meaning behind it.
  5. We write something and think it’s genius only to have that particular scene bother us for the next twenty four hours. We lose sleep over it until we finally change it.
  6. We often get angry when people interrupt our creative thought process, especially when we are brainstorming, on a roll writing, or imagining a scene in our head.
  7. We like to lock ourselves in our offices/rooms to write and turn off our cellphones/phones.
  8. Our rooms/offices are full of notes, outlines, timelines, character information, pictures, etc. either on the walls, floors, desk, or all the above.
  9. Some of us keep notebooks full of all our old stories ideas, even if we scrapped them.
  10. We often decline social invitations because we need to write, even if that means staring at a blank page for three hours without inspiration.
WhyITook3YearsOffBeforeUniversity

Why I Took 3 Years off Before University

Why I Took 3 Years off Before University

Dreams as a Child

When I was a little girl, my biggest dream was to become a teacher. However, as I got a little older, my dream jobs changed like the seasons. I wanted to be a teacher, writer, actress, lawyer, vet, and the list goes on. When I entered high school, I was just as confused. I learned more about psychology and hair styling, which made me want to become a psychologist and hairstylist. What to choose?

Dreams in High School, Dashed

I didn’t have the best grades in high school, so I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to enter the university I wanted for what I wanted. I happened to talk to my teacher’s assistant who gladly gave me information about the university in my city. I was so disappointed at all the requirements that you needed to get into psychology, education, and veterinary studies that I gave up my dream. On top of that, I went to many casting and modelling calls and never got picked for anything, not even an extra.

Graduation

Even by the time I graduated high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was still sad that I couldn’t get into university with my marks (school never came easy to me and I had bad study habits), and I wanted to move out from my parents’ house to live on my own and experience life on my own. Without knowing what I wanted to do, I decided that I would just have to find a job to make some money until I could figure out what to do.

Second Job

I got my second job ever working at Hallmark. It was an easy job and I loved the couple that owned the store. I learned a lot about running a small business as well as responsibility. It was the first time that I had many responsibilities at my job. It was because of my manager that I learned how to count the float at the end of the night, make a deposit, organize the materials, keep track of what sold during the day, and open and close the store by myself. For an eighteen year old, it was a lot of responsibility, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Moving Out

I eventually moved out of my parents’ house and moved to Vernon, B.C. It was in Vernon that I really learned the stress of becoming an adult at a young age. I was still eighteen years old and had been a very sheltered young girl because of my traumatic experiences when I was younger. (Read about My Journey Through PTSD, Anxiety, and Panic Attacks Pt 1). I didn’t know anything about the major responsibilities that would fall on my own shoulders without my parents.

First Job in a New Province

I started working at Staples and it was enjoyable, at first. However, I had some issues with some of the people that worked there as well as that came into the store. The environment was completely different from what I was used to at Hallmark, so it was really hard for me to adjust.

Living Situation

My living situation was hell. I was used to a clean house because my mom is very clean and organized. Imagine my surprise when I started living with my new roommates and couldn’t see the floor. The TV was on at all hours of the day and loud. It was nearly impossible for me to sleep, there were bugs crawling in through the window at night, the apartment was a complete mess. To top it all off, I also lived close to the sewage treatment plant, so it smelled disgusting every time I walked by.

Paying Bills

I not only had messy roommates, but I also had to pay bills for the first time in my life. I understood what it meant to save money because I had bills. I had to pay rent and buy my own groceries as well as buy things for the apartment that I needed. Working at Staples wasn’t enough since I couldn’t go to full time with them at the time and they were cutting back my hours. I needed more money, so I decided I needed to get another job.

Two Jobs

I worked with a girl that had a second job at an Italian restaurant. She told me all about the people she worked with and made it sound like so much fun, so I handed in a resume. Thanks to her putting in a good word for me, I got the job. I started working there a week later. It was at this job that I learned how to have patience and work quickly. I loved working there so much that I eventually quit my job at Staples and worked at the restaurant in the evenings. Eventually, I worked in the mornings for a while for a change and it was here that I discovered what I wanted to do.

My Birthday Present

Since I was working a lot and making decent money in tips, I decided to treat myself for my birthday a year later. I went to the local hair school there and pampered myself. It was there that I talked to the girl about how she liked being a stylist and what the school was like. I really enjoyed watching her cut my hair and the other girl doing my nails and that’s when I decided that I wanted to become a hairstylist.

Six Months Later…

I started at the same school in the fall with some other girls. We got all our necessities on the first day, including the huge book that we needed to study. Imagine my surprise when I learned that we would have to learn about parts of the body inside and out. We also had tests every week and they weren’t exactly easy. However, I wanted to be a stylist so badly that I immediately went home and studied my butt off. It was because of hair school that I learned how to study properly, and had the satisfaction of getting the highest marks in my group.

Opening Up

At hair school, I had to talk to my clients as well as the other students in the school. I was really shy in those days because of my past, but there were two girls in particular that I eventually opened up to. It was because of these two girls that I learned what it was like to have true friends and it was because of one girl in particular that I learned that it was okay to be myself, no matter what my own personality was actually like.

Graduation

After I graduated, I moved back to Alberta to live with my parents. Hair school wasn’t cheap and I was still working my job after school. Living on my own was tough, and I missed home and my parents. I said goodbye to my new friends and headed back home. I found a job at a local salon and apprenticed. My hair styling license was for B.C so I had to do a test to get my red seal. I worked my butt off and had fun in the process. I had the nicest boss ever and learned so much from her when it came to hair and waxing.

Health Happens

Unfortunately, a few months after I received my red seal, my wrist started to hurt I went to the doctor and he told me that I had tendinitis. He also told me that it wasn’t going to get better but worse if I kept doing the same repetitive movements. I also developed the most painful headaches I have ever had, tension headaches. These health concerns had me stressed about what I was going to do with my future. It was because of my love for anime and Japan that I was talking to a client about it and he recommended teaching English in Japan. I had never thought of that before, but it sounded like a lot of fun!

Options

I looked into what I needed to do in order to teach English in Japan. The best decision I ever made was taking two years off before university. Sure, I’m not a hairstylist anymore, but I’m still qualified to work in any province and I cut my own hair from time to time as well as my friends’ hair when they need it. Now, because they considered me an “adult” in my twenties, I could upgrade a second language, science, or math. Of course, I went for the second language, which was Japanese. Everything was working out in my favor; I was even able to transfer from the college I started out in to the university, my dream university!

Working

After I started college, I quit my hair styling job and landed a job working for one of my clients. I cut his hair before and when I applied for the job, he pretty much hired me on the spot. I worked at that pharmacy for over three years and worked up from a cashier to a supervisor, I even helped out in the pharmacy from time to time as a “replacement tech.” That was a lot of fun because it gave me more hours and more experience in something different. I also trained in the Post Office, so I was able to cover their breaks in the evenings.

Work and School

I worked my butt off and saved every penny I made. I barely went out at all when I was in college or even in university for that matter. I was able to save enough money to pay for my college and university tuition as well as live comfortably off my own money when I moved out again. I worked a seasonal job at the Bay to make some more money and I saved that money to help with groceries, help with my sick dog, and pay rent. My study habits from hair school really  helped me out here. I was able to get top marks in Psychology because of my study habits. I was also able to graduate from university with a Bachelor Degree in English Literature and pass my Geology class. I also studied East Asian History, Japanese, and Music despite many tearful and stressful nights.

Experiences

I had some bad experiences in university again that triggered my anxiety and panic attacks, and to make things worse, I developed PTSD because of something that happened in university. All of these bad experiences taught me a lot about myself and the people that I had chosen to surround myself with.I also finally opened my eyes and met the love of my life, although I didn’t know it at the time since he was only my best friend.

Overall

Things fell into place for me and I was really lucky. I think that taking a year or two off after high school is important for teenagers because they need to experience what life really is. Not only that, but as a teenager, you’re still trying to figure out who you are as a person. You have so much room for growth and it’s only when you are out in the real world that you can truly begin to understand things about yourself. You also have experiences that help shape your future.

I didn’t travel like most people, but I lived in a different part of Canada. It made me appreciate my parents even more, especially my mom. My mom and I always fought when I lived at home as a teenager. After I moved out, I realized  how much my parents did for me. We were able to build a much stronger relationship because of this as well.

What I Learned from University

There were many times that I felt like giving up. The desire to get a degree and move to Japan was strong enough that I fought the urge to quit. I kept moving forward even when certain people told me I would fail. I kept going just to prove them wrong. Coming from someone who usually gives up easily, this was a huge feat for me. All my experiences before and in university taught me so much about myself and other people. I feel like I finally know who I am. It took a long time, but I finally discovered who I really am. When it comes to work, I know what I want now. That’s all thanks to my experiences after university.

Wait, What about Japan?

That’s a long story that I might talk about at a later time! Stay tuned!

 

TheProsandConsofHavingYourOwnBlog

The Pros and Cons of Having Your Own Blog

The Pros and Cons of Having Your Own Blog

Are you a writer? Do you love to write? Do you have lots of information that you think other people might like to read?

Now let me ask you this, have you ever considered starting your own blog?

There are many benefits to having your own blog opposed to having a free one. Let’s look at the pros and cons:

Pros:
  • You get your own unique domain name.
  • .com, .org, etc. looks more professional than yourname.wordpress.com or yourname.blogger.com.
  • You have the freedom to post what you want.
  • You have the freedom to use affiliate links and other things to make money off your blog.
  • You also have the freedom to choose the companies you want to use for affiliate links.
  • You can design your blog the way YOU want it to look.
  • You have 24/7 support when you need it (from SiteGround).
  • There are ways to keep your readers connected through social media and other platforms.
  • There are ways to bring organic traffic to your website.
  • YOU own the content of your website.
  • You don’t have to worry about WordPress shutting down your site because you tried to make money from affiliate links.
Cons:
  • It costs money for the domain and other features you might use.
  • More stress over researching ways to promote your site.
  • You have to learn some HTML, CSS, and how to use SEO.
  • You have to spend a lot of time promoting your site.
  • You might not make any money off of it at first (or for a long time).
  • It’s trial and error
  • It’s a risk.
  • You also have to spend a lot of time coming up with plans for your blog.

Starting your own blog is easy. You just need a name and some money to get it all set up. The hard part is finding readers, finding content to publish, researching SEO and learning other things, promoting on social media, etc. Those are the hard parts, but with some hard work, patience, and motivation, you can do it.

How I Started Out:

I created my own free blog on WordPress over four years ago, and just wrote about things that allowed me to escape from reality. I wrote about anime, books, otome games, and other things that I found interesting. I mostly wrote reviews on those things, but I found that it was becoming increasingly difficult to stay engaged in those things. I lost interest in my blog a few times because of the content I was writing.

How I Decided to Get My Own Blog:

I’ve always loved to write stories and I like to help people. I looked around for places to get my name out there and I stumbled across an online newspaper in Canada that allowed me to write for them. This brought some organic traffic to my blog and I have since then learned a lot about what topics I like writing about.

What Topics Do I Write About?

As you can see in the header of the site, I have multiple categories. I write about Lifestyle, Pets, Reviews, and Writing. Eventually, I’d like to write about my travels as well and give tips on where to look for deals, what to do in those places, and share some pictures and stories of what happened.

Lifestyle is general since I can talk about meditation, journaling, yoga, vegetarianism, etc. Pets is mostly when I talk about my rabbit, dogs, or other animals that you can have as a pet that I have some knowledge about. Reviews has topics like anime, books, movies, games, etc. and Writing is when I have something to say that is inspiring, or about my own writer, or feelings as a writer.

What is the purpose of my blog?

As I mentioned before, I like helping people. Most of the posts in my blog are about helping other people find inner peace. We all have busy lives and I have recently discovered that taking time out for ourselves is extremely important, even if it’s just five minutes every day. Our daily routines of work/school, kids/family, studying/researching keeps us so busy that we often don’t do something for ourselves. Sure, turning on the TV and relaxing is one thing, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I mean by “take time out” is that we need time to reflect on the events of the day, our emotions, and how our body is feeling. If we don’t pay attention to those things, we get sick and stressed.

Stay tuned for the next post: How to Start a Blog.

Journaling Promptsto Help YouExpress Yourself

Journaling Prompts to Help You Express Yourself

If you are new to journaling and you find yourself spending more time staring at a blank page than writing, here are some journaling prompts to help you get writing. You can print this list out, or save it, or print it and cut them up into strips. Fold the strips, put them into a box or a jar, and pull one out every day, week, or month to keep you writing regularly. Even if you’re not new to journaling and you find yourself lost for words, try a few of these prompts to get you back into your creative mode.

This list will continued to get updated whenever I think of more things to add to the list! Check back every now and then!

Journaling Prompts
  1. Did you have a favorite elementary/high school teacher? Describe them in as much detail as you can and why they were your favorite.
  2. What was your favorite subject in school? Why? What are some of your best memories of this subject?
  3. What are some of your fondest memories of elementary/high school/college/university? Describe them in as much detail as you can.
  4. What is something that terrifies you? Why?
  5. What is something that no one knows about you?
  6. What is one book that you read repeatedly in elementary/high school?
  7. Who was your first love? What is it about them that you can’t forget?
  8. What is your greatest desire? Why?
  9. Make a list of 30 things that make you happy.
  10. What is your most memorable vacation and why?
  11. Name one or two countries that you really want to visit and why.
  12. Describe something you did recently in as much detail as you can. Pretend you are describing your actions as a character in a book.
  13. What animal do you feel you have a strong connection to? Why?
  14. What does the word ‘fearless’ mean to you? When was the last time you were fearless? Was there ever a time you wish you had  been fearless? What happened and how will you be fearless next time?
  15. If money wasn’t an issue, what would you do and why?
  16. If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be and why?
  17. What were your dreams and goals as a kid and how have they changed now?
  18. If you could pick one country or city to describe your personality, what country/city is it and why?
  19. If you could choose another job, what would it be and why?
  20. What is your biggest regret and why? Can you change anything now?

 

 

 

Last Updated: May 29th, 2017