Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone!

It's Christmas, a time to open presents, gather with friends and family, and remember Christmases past spent with loved ones no longer with us. I hope that everyone has a safe, loving, and memorable Christmas.

Now on to the Twelfth Day!

Numbah twelve day of Christmas, my tut gave to me
Twelve televisions

Share with love!

It's Christmas Eve!

It's another short one!
Numbah eleven day of Christmas, my tutu gave to me,
Eleven (plus 4) missionaries

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tenth Day of Christmas and Counting

Today I woke up very sore. Every muscle in my arms, shoulders and legs hurt. Shoveling gravel takes a lot out of you. It also makes for an interesting story that I think I will incorporate into a novel. After I recuperate.

After a slow start to the morning, I helped my mother-in-law whip up an Italian luncheon. There was a lot of prep work involved, and I harbored silent doubts that a lasagna made with potato would be any good, but the food turned out amazing. We had thirteen people to feed and there was more than enough food, since other guests added to the spread. I enjoyed the few hours spent chatting and catching up with people who are, even if not by blood, family. And there lies another story, for another day - except to say that family is what makes you whole.

In the meantime, since it was a party of sorts, today's day of Christmas was most appropriate!

Numbah ten day of Christmas, my tutu gave to me,
Ten cans of beer

Drink up! 
But for you under-aged readers, tutu will give you ten of these...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Three Days Left!!

Today was rough. We spent all day scooping ten yards of gravel for our family's garage project. We still have about two yards left. Oh my back! So the ninth day of Christmas almost didn't happen. But, thanks to my aunty, I give you day number nine!

Numbah nine day of Christmas, my tutu gave to me,
Nine pounds of poi

I hope you finished your Christmas shopping. :) 

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's the Eighth Day, but I Forgot the Seventh!

Yesterday was the seventh day of Christmas, but we were busy doing last minute shopping and then went to see some old friends. There was a lot of catching up, a lot of "talk story" and "remember when" that before we knew it, it was past ten o'clock and WAY past the little guy's bedtime. (Although he didn't seem to notice that he was tired, since he was busy playing with the other kids that were there!)

So there's my excuse, and an apology that the shrimp aren't capable of swimming! Here you go!

Numbah eight day of Christmas, my tutu gave to me
Eight ukuleles

Seven shrimp a (not) swimming

Four more days!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It's Day Six!

We had a short day at the beach. It was very windy and the clouds hid the sun. Although it was a bit chilly with the wind, it sure did beat 30-40 degree temps! After our stint at the beach, we went to the Maui Mall and got slippers for the little one and ice cream. So these images came from random Hawaiian Host chocolates and a visitors guide. Here we go!

Numbah six day of Christmas my tutu gave to me
six hula lessons...

(Tutu went a little crazy with the Tahitian and Fire Dancing lessons at the end there!)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Holiday season so far. Stay safe!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Number Five Day!

Numbah five day of Christmas my tutu gave to me
Five BIG FAT pigs!
(I'm doing this on my phone, so this one is real short!)

Attention Kindle Readers!

Happy Holidays eBook readers! Circles is now available in eBook format for Kindle. It is currently exclusive to Amazon, but in the next few months I will have versions available through Barnes and Noble's "Nook" as well as through Google Books. It is available HERE and priced at $3.99. For a limited time, you can also borrow it if you are an Amazon Prime member.

On a related note, I'm still waiting on REVIEWS from my readers! Really, I REALLY want to know what you think! If you don't want to publish a review on Amazon or B&N, you can still tell me what you think by posting a comment here, or emailing me. Please, Please, PLEASE tell me what you think! ^_^

Alright, I'm done begging for today!

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's the Fourth Day of Christmas!

Today was a wonderful sunny day. We spent it at the beach! I hurt my back earlier in the week, so I didn't do a lot of swimming, but I did dream up yet another story! I have to put it to paper before I forget, but it will be a sci-fi story along the lines of "Firefly" and "Outlaw Star."

Anyhow, here we go!

Numbah four day of Christmas my tutu gave to me,
Four flower leis

Happy fourth day of Christmas! 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

''Numbah Two Day'' is one day late

Sorry, we were running around yesterday and I couldn't find the items needed for the second day, so...
Numbah three (''tree'') day of Christmas my tutu gave to me...
Three dried squid

Two coconuts
(okay, I know. It's coconut MILK but, hey...)

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season so far. Hug your children and tell your friends and family you love them!

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Twelve Days of Christmas Starts Now!

Because I am still tired from 6 hours of travel, and on 3 hours of sleep, today's post will be short...
Numbah one day of Christmas my tutu gave to me...
One mynah bird in one papaya tree!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sun and Sand, Here I Come!

It's late, I have to be up early to catch our flight, but I can't sleep. I keep pacing the house thinking there is something that I forgot to pack. But then again, if I pack any more stuff, my luggage just might go over the weight limit. And since we already contribute to record airline profits for checked in luggage, I do not want to add an overweight fee to it.

So, here I am getting ready to shut down the laptop and pack it up in my carry-on, and I decided to do some last-minute checking of emails and such. I would first like to thank all of you who purchased my novel online and through MamaManga. Now would you please give me an honest review of it? I won't cry, I promise. Well, maybe a little, but nothing major. Second, I need to figure out what happened to the mobile app of Facebook, because it isn't hiding all those incessant game posts that invite me to help someone get something. I don't do Facebook games. Period. Stop asking. (I checked and these posts don't show up on my regular browser, only my mobile one.) 

Oh, look, I think I'm rambling. Well, I guess I better get some sleep or I will be very delirious tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing friends and family, blue skies and sandy beaches. Aloha!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reader's Poll

I'm curious to know how everyone received their copies of Circles, so if you wouldn't mind, please participate in my poll (on the right side of the page). I would greatly appreciate the help with a little marketing number-crunching!

And speaking of numbers, I have eight more days until my family and I say hello to white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees! It's going to be a straight vacation, no book-pimping (outside of family and friends! ^_^), no next-novel-writing (although I have one in mind and I'm excited to get right on it!), and no looking at my shop website (which is in desperate need of updating). There will be enough time to stress in the new year.

If you are on Facebook and listed as one of my "friends" or use Google+, be on the look out for some fun numbers-related posts coming up starting on the 14th. In the meantime, please remember that if you have read Circles, please let me know what you thought of it!

Have a safe and merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm on my Way, Home Sweet Home...

I'll be spending some well earned sunshine with my family this Christmas back on Maui. While I'm visiting, I'd like to invite all my family and friends there to celebrate my new book! It's been a couple of years since we've been home, so I'm not familiar with the "in" hang-outs, but a central place in Kahului would be good.

It will be wonderful to see my old home, the beaches I played in, the shops I browsed in (assuming some of them are still around), and the natural beauty of the islands that pictures and websites can not do justice with. Besides relaxing, I will be doing a little work, polishing up on a bit of Hawaiian history. Oh, did I just give away a hint there? ^_^

When I do find a convenient place to get together with everyone, I'll be happy to not only catch up, but answer any questions you have about Circles or writing in general. Because I didn't plan ahead to sell books directly while I'm there, I won't have any books for purchase. But (and I would certainly appreciate it!) you can go to Barnes & Noble and asked for them to order Circles, or order it yourself online through BarnesandNoble.com,  Amazon.com or directly from Createspace.

It actually makes me feel uncomfortable to self-promote, but at the same time I know I can count on my readers to tell me their thoughts. So, in order to give me your thoughts, please read my novel! And to those of you who have already read Circles, please leave your honest review of it on Amazon or B&N. I keep going to those sites hoping for some feedback. >_<

Thank you to all my supporters!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I Need to Polish My Marketing Skills

I had my book talk today in Duvall, and four people stopped by to chat with me. I thought that was great considering the only way I "advertised" were through Facebook, my press release on my blog (I missed the deadline to get it in the local papers), and random last-minute mentions to friends and family. The weather was pretty terrible as well, so there wasn't a whole lot of foot traffic to snag coming into the little ice cream shop.

Even though turn out was disappointing, I do know that there is interest in my novel. And the more people who are interested, the more people they will tell and become interested. I would have loved to talk to people about the trials and tribulations of self-publishing, and what inspired me to write this book, but I was grateful for the few that took the time to chat with me one-on-one about writing in general! Because of this, I'm thinking I might do another book talk in the New Year and focus more on the writing part.

For anyone who wanted to stop by but couldn't, or didn't hear about it (sorry, my bad!!), I will be at Country Collections in Duvall on Saturday, December 1, working the store. Please feel free to stop by and say hello, and chat about anything book-related. Your support is always appreciated!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Taking a Breather

So now that I am taking a break from writing (although not so much from Circles itself) I thought I would find a new book to read. As a bookseller myself, I have access to thousands of titles, but I didn't want to wait a week for a book. So I went to Barnes & Noble to get immediate satisfaction.

Unfortunately, the satisfaction was not immediate. After spending an hour just in the Sci-fi/Fantasy section, it occurred to me that I did not know many of these authors. And the authors I did know, I already had the books on the shelf. I found a few that looked promising, then continued to browse the rest of the store for another hour and a half before settling on The President's Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth. It was part of a series, but thankfully this novel did not require prior knowledge.

I don't want to turn this post into a review of this book (I would like to do that later, though) but I do want to say that I thought it was a great read. As I put my now-read novel on my shelf with the multitude of other novels I have read over the years, I found my fingers brushing over the spines of enjoyable stories. I started thinking about why I still kept all of these books, as I would probably not find the time to re-read them. I pulled a few books off the shelf and flipped through each of them, stopping at a page and reading a few paragraphs. I put each of them back and thought about the books I DIDN'T have.

What makes a book so special that you would not want to part with it, instead read it again and again? The short answer would have to be "memorable." When I was in grade school, I had a fairy tale book that, while I cannot remember its title, I remember the feel of its hard cover and the beautiful color illustrations, especially of the poem "Jabberwocky" and a tale about a prince who discovers an ugly woman who is really a beautiful princess and the only way to break her curse is to steal the Phoenix's egg. I don't know  what happened to this book, I'm guessing it turned into a garage sale find or given away, but it is a book I wish I still had because it's illustrations brought the fairy tales to life.

When I could read beyond simple chapter books, I dove into mysteries with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, but that was short-lived when I discovered Alfred Hitchcock's "Three Investigators." They were three young boys who set out to solve frightful mysteries. It wasn't long until I discovered horror. And one book I wish I still had was a collection of short stories titled Alfred Hitchcock's Supernatural Tales of Terror and Suspense. I just remember a short story about a deserted island and a REALLY huge snail. How's that for a story premise, huh?

High school brought me back to the wonderful world of science fiction and fantasy, and fortunately I still have my favorite books from my D&D days (yes, I was a closet geek) but what I am missing is a science fiction novel, Hyperion by Dan Simmons. It was part of a series called the "Hyperion Cantos" and this first novel told the story from different points of view, all revolving around an unknown creature called a Shrike. There was a lot of political and ecological conflict, but I remember the Shrike the most - something feared, and yet something about it made it seem it shouldn't be feared at all.

Since I know the titles and authors to the latter books, I can hopefully find them again in a used bookstore, or by them again brand new. But it makes me sad that the fairy tale book from my childhood may be lost forever. I have searched bookstores and the internet, but have not yet been able to find it. So, to all present and future readers, when you find a book that grabs you, holds its imagery firmly in your memory, don't let it go. And I hope that my stories will make you feel this way, too!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

MamaManga has "Circles" in stock!

The UPS truck finally showed up today and I now have Circles available for sale! In addition to having the novel available here in Duvall at MamaManga, I will be approaching other booksellers in the area to entice them into selling my book. I've got a long road ahead for marketing, and I hope I don't stumble too much over my learning curve!

Anyway, please support me in my writing endeavors! Circles will be available in eBook format in December, and then I will be starting on a new project. For everyone who reads Circles, please review it (honestly please, don't worry about hurting my feelings) so I can get a sense of what I need to work on for my second project.


Monday, November 5, 2012

My First Press Release

Debut Author Reimagines a Classic to Create Setting for First Novel

Snoqualmie Valley author talks about influences, struggles and triumphs with writing a novel

For Immediate Release
(Duvall, WA – November 5, 2012) For Duvall, Washington resident Jae Holt, making the decision to write a book was only the first step. The second step was to create the characters and build the world they would live in. Ms. Holt’s interests in literary classics helped create a fantasy world in which her first novel, Circles, takes place. Meet her at her book signing on Saturday, November 17, in Duvall, where she will discuss the process of writing and publishing a novel from her perspective.

Ms. Holt’s novel weaves elements of the epic poem, Inferno, to create a dark backdrop for her characters’ story. Set in the Pacific Northwest, university student Caisey Rowan carries on with her quiet life, not knowing she carries a secret that makes her a target for demons. One demon in particular makes Caisey’s capture his top priority, because her life may bring back something he lost.

Jae Holt will hold a book signing to promote her new novel on Saturday, November 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at CC’s Espresso, located at 15525 Main Street, Duvall, WA 98019.

Ms. Holt’s debut novel, Circles, is available through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble Booksellers and MamaManga, a local bookshop in Duvall. The listed price is $9.99. An eBook version of Circles will be forthcoming.

About Jae Holt
Jae Holt was born and raised in Maui, Hawaii. She has a B.A. in both English and Communications from the University of Washington. She loves cats and cosplay, a form of character dress-up made popular in Japan. She currently resides in Duvall, Washington.

For more information on Circles, please visit www.jaeholt.blogspot.com or contact MamaManga at 206.963.7031.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's official...

It's official - Circles is now published and available for purchase through Createspace. It will be available through Amazon.com in 5-7 days, everywhere else in about a month. However, on November 7, you have the option of purchasing this book through MamaManga.

On Saturday, November 10, I will be holding a book signing party. Details to follow. Right now, it is after 10 p.m. and my eyes hurt... -_-zzz

Monday, October 15, 2012

One step closer

Today, I am one step closer to seeing four years of writing, rewriting, editing, more rewriting, and more editing become my very first novel. It is currently under review, and barring any problems it should be available by October 26th. So, while I am waiting and hoping for no errors, I thought I would introduce this little novel I called Circles.

I had read Dante Alighieri's Inferno first in high school (of my own free will...didn't know what I was thinking) then again after college (for no reason except I could). I needed a little (a lot)help with interpretation, leaning on Wikipedia and other random sites to help me understand where Dante was coming from and why he put the people he did in the different circles of Hell.

It was then I thought about what a modern-day Inferno would look like. I had read an adaptation of the work once after high school (it could have been by Larry Niven, but I'm not sure), and I think that made my fascination with Dante even stronger.

It wasn't until well after college and I had started a family, that I began to think of writing my own version of Dante's Hell. In 2009, I was introduced to my very first NanoWriMo. For 30 days, all I had to do was write until I reached 50,000 words. So I chose to write about what I thought the nine circles looked like. It was fun, although I only made it to 38,000 words, and I could see the beginning of an interesting story, but I didn't do much more with it. Until 2010.

A video game put out by Electronic Arts spurred me into action. The video game was Dante's Inferno. I was enthralled by the graphics (and boy was it graphic), but I was also upset that someone had the initiative to reinvent this epic poem and I had not. So in June of 2010, I got to work. I located my Nano doc and set to making it into the story I still had stuck in my head.

Two years later, here I am, waiting for my hard work and long hours at the computer to come full circle, pun intended I guess, and see my homage to Dante come alive in the pages of Circles. As a writer, the story is never complete, sometimes never good enough, but I hope that the story I watched in my mind for years is as much of an enjoyment for you as it was for me.

This novel was meant to be a story about how choices can reach out and touch others, then in turn come back to touch you. It's about not giving up on the people you care about. It's about overcoming obstacles and not letting a burden weigh you down. It's about a lot of things. But above all, this is a story meant to entertain readers and introduce them to a most imaginatively hellish place ever envisioned.

Thank you, Dante, for the nightmares.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Formatting is a nightmare

I give MAJOR props to the folks that have to format manuscripts. It has got to be one of the most time-consuming activities associated with bringing a book to print. Doing the self-publishing route has made me appreciate what goes into bringing a novel to the readers. I'm still aiming for a street date of October 19th, but at this point I can't promise that. I can promise that it will be available by Halloween though! So please bear with me. ^_^

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I'm going in Circles...

...trying to get my book out in time for Halloween! But while I frantically work on proofing, here's the book blurb for my very first novel:

"Choices have consequences...

Caisey is a girl with a secret even she doesn't know. She leads a quiet college life, until she is kidnapped and forced to make a decision that will either save or destroy her world.

Solus is a demon bent on revenge. Torn between his lost humanity and the dark power within him, he must choose between his thirst for violence and his desire to free his soul.

Together they must escape through a series of circles, each filled with a different set of horrors, where they discover that their choices carry one hell of a consequence..." 

Well, what do you think? ^_^