Friday, 29 May 2015

Kai Kiryama and Patient Zero (Interview)

Two years ago (because this blog has been going on for more than two years, holy crap), I had the lovely and talent Kai Kiriyama come over and talk about mood writing and now she’s back to talk about her new book Pathogen: Patient Zero and her life as an indie writer.

Let's start with the basics: tell me about your writer self. 
I am a genre-hopping monster who gets obsessive in both the best, and worst of ways. I like to take risks and I don't like hearing 'no' when it comes to my work - especially my independently produced work. I hate the phrase "self-published" because it has such a negative stigma around it. Only authors get branded as "self-published" where everything from filmmakers to musicians to comics are "indie". Did I mention that I'm rather opinionated?

What is your process for plotting and writing a book?
My process is usually as follows:
- get an idea while doing something that isn't even remotely book-related (like crocheting and sometimes mowing the lawn.)
-write down seed or idea or title or whatever flash of inspiration written in ancient, indecipherable tongues it was that hit me.
- Go back to the idea I'm SUPPOSED to be working on.

Really, though, I plot out novels by chapters, usually a paragraph or so for each chapter. I put down the key events of each chapter and then work around those beats as I'm writing. I don't like to plot too much beforehand because I find it makes my process too rigid. It probably makes the editing process harder but I feel like the writing process flows a lot better by letting it mostly happen organically.

Are you a snacker? Does music help you?
I am not much of a snacker. I usually go without eating all day when I'm in the zone, but I won't turn down a coffee or a latte with whole milk. I find that I snack when I'm stuck on a scene. Whether that helps or not, I dunno.

Music is one of those things that I have to be in the absolute right mood for, and what works for the writing process one day might not work the next day. Lately I've been using because the rain is soothing and there's no words to cloud the words in my brain. Video game music is great because those soundtracks are actually designed to engage your brain and make you focus on the task at hand. I use the Halo soundtracks on days where I really lack focus. Sometimes it works.

How do you go about editing your work?
I don't. Ha ha! I have a couple of beta readers who will have a look at it for content and typos. Then I go get the manuscript printed at Staples and take a pen to it. I've lately been blacking out sections to get a better feel for the flow of the story as I read instead of just red strikethroughs. My edits look like redacted FBI files.

Do you write in burst or are you an everyday kind of girl?
I am happy to do both. It really depends on what's going on in my non-writing life that determines if I get to write daily or if I'm spending my weekend at Starbucks and over-caffeinating. Writing every day in long bursts is my preference but I know that's not always reasonable to expect so I mostly do what I gotta do to meet my (personal) deadlines.

I hear a rumour that you are interested in tea leaf reading and crystal healing. Tell me all about it (for you).
I went to school for palmistry, tea leaf reading, crystal divination and crystal healing. I've got diplomas. It's one of those really weird things that I was like "I want to do this" and so now I sell readings and crystal healing sessions as a side job and would honestly love to do that as my forever day job until this whole being a professional author thing can help pay the bills more regularly. It's really fun and really interesting and I love doing it. I meet so many cool people and I feel like I can actually help people by doing divination readings and crystal healing.

How has that influenced your writing?
Doing divination, especially palmistry, has actually given me a lot more insight into people. I feel that it's given me more ideas to work with when creating characters. I can pick more personality traits by thinking about their hands. I imagine that Blaze Tuesday, for example, would have thick, reliable "earth" hands. His fingers would be very straight, indicating that he's no liar, and his index and middle finger kinda lean together, toward the thumb, indicating that he's a leader who won't take crap from anyone. In contrast, Zero would have had delicate, "impractical" hands, showcasing her optimistic, philosophical outlook but her ultimate inability to use it to change the world in the way that she wanted.

It's also given me a bunch of ideas for characters who dabble in the arts of divination and sorcery, and it encouraged me to write more variety in my magical characters, giving them all different talents and abilities.

Do you write to the trend?
Yes and no. I wrote a Dracula book when Dracula Untold was being filmed (unintentionally!) and I'm writing a bunch of zombie books. I think there's huge merit in writing for the trend, but it's hard to do in a way that isn't a blatant copy of "X popular thing" and that earns its own traction.

What trends are appealing to you next?
I'm not really sure. Gothic everything is brain candy for me, and I think that with Guillermo Del Toro's CRIMSON PEAK hitting theatres in October I'm gonna be spoiled for Gothic imagery to fuel my writing for months. I want to try Paranormal Romance, but I'm not sure what spin I'd give it. I'm pretty much just working on Zombies for the next year or so, and haven't entirely decided which way I'm going to turn when I'm done.

What is your favourite genre mix?
Ooh, that's a good question. I haven't been mixing genres as much lately. My steampunk-ish Noir detective (Blaze Tuesday) was my last major thing... Well, I'm querying a pirate version of Othello, and an Urban fantasy King Arthur retelling, so I suppose taking more classic stories and giving them an Urban Fantasy/contemporary fantasy twist is my current thing.

And, I like to mix Shakespeare in with everything. Pirates + Shakespeare. Steampunk + Shakespeare. Noir detectives + Shakespeare. Greek/Celtic etc. Gods + Shakespeare. Ice cream + Shakespeare. I think I need to stop it with the Shakespeare. Or watch more Shakespeare and write a bunch of different Hamlet variations.

Oh, and taking movies but making them not the way they were. Like... I dunno... 16 candles but a Space Opera. I'm working on what is essentially The Hobbit meets The Golden Girls. Movies, TV and plays are very much influential in my writing, so I'm not really surprised that I'm drawing from those formulas to mix up my writing.

So I know that Pathogen is the book that almost made you quit writing; would you change any of the journey?
Oh my gods, yes. If I could have just had the version that's out right now, without all the emotional turmoil and rewrites, I would trade that year of my life. Writing [PATHOGEN: PATIENT] Zero in the first place was a Camp NaNo project so the writing of the first draft only took 30 days of torment. I was depressed, I was awful. I would trade a lot of the things that had happened when I wrote it in the first place if I could have skipped it all. I still sometimes have nightmares about the medical research I did for that book.

Speaking of which: what's next for this writer?
More zombies, mostly. The sequel to PATHOGEN will be released on August 14, 2015 and will really open up the universe that Zero has created. In between all the zombie books I'm working on a comic pitch, and finishing up some other projects that I've got endings to clean up on.

What are you reading at the moment?
I am bouncing between Suite 17C by Leigh Ann Kopans and Mythbreaker by Stephen Blackmoore. I think I started reading another book the other day too but I forget which one because I'm mildly preoccupied. Oh, and I've been reading a lot of comics. The Wicked + The Divine is amazing, Hawkeye vs Deadpool is laugh out loud fun. I've been mostly going through like all of MArvel's archives lately, too. Yay, for Marvel Unlimited.

Alright. Tell me all about Pathogen: Patient Zero. What do you want your readers to know?

Don't be turned off by the fact that this is medical horror/drama. I promise it isn't as bad as I make it sound. Zero is not a doctor, she's only explaining what's happening to her, not giving you all the nasty surgical details. (I don't think I could have handled much more than I put in there, let's be real.)
It's character-driven, and emotional. I fell in love with Zero, and with her doctor, Liam, and I really hope that you'll give it a chance and come try it.

Follow up question: "if you liked _____ then you'll love Pathogen."
If you liked House MD and you wish that there was a new take on the zombie genre, then you'll love Pathogen: Patient Zero.

If you liked The Fault In Our Stars for all that emotional torture, then you'll love Pathogen: Patient Zero. (Is that too cocky of me? To compare myself to John Green? Ooh, I feel like that was too cocky of me, but I swear I didn't think of that one myself. An early reader made that comparison first and I'm gonna latch onto it forever.)

And of course: any advice for indie writers?

Finish your stuff. Edit like a mad person. Don't be afraid to push the envelope when you're writing. Engage your audience before you start dropping your books on Amazon. Make them want to read your work. Interact, don't just spam people with your promo. Build a community and don't be afraid to trade digital copies for reviews. It's so hard to be indie, and you're going to get out what you put in. And for the love of everything holy, don't be a dick.

Pathogen: Patient Zero

Every outbreak starts somewhere…

Pathogen: Patient Zero

A young girl, hospitalized with a violent strain of the flu.
A charismatic doctor who promises that she’s going to be okay.
A nightmare virus that threatens to destroy them both.
Reduced to the title of ‘Zero’, she is dehumanized by her doctors into little more than a series of charts and procedures. Zero is left to her own devices, telling her story through a haze of drugs, slipping in and out of consciousness and trying to find some kind of inner peace as
the doctors around her hustle to find a cure.

PATHOGEN: PATIENT ZERO is a harrowing medical drama, told from the perspective of a girl dying from a mystery illness.

Buy Links:
Smashwords | Kobo | ITunes | B&N

I got to stop buy and hang out with her when she was signing books at a local book store. Check it out:

Kai Kiriyama is a writer of many things, mostly novels, of varying genres.

With diplomas in tea leaf reading, palmistry, crystal divination, and crystal healing, it’s no surprise to see novels reflecting the otherworldly with her name on them. Influenced by tales of magic, deception and monsters, Kai takes her genre-hopping seriously.

She currently lives in Canada with her pet snake and a looming deadline.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Your Mid-Week Update for 05/27/15

So…Charlotte, Daniel, James, and I went on a few double dates when we first “officially” met the Westburns. Okay, two; we went on two double dates. They weren’t bad, time just got away from us, and I was so busy working them separately that we never really got together again.

Either Charlotte or Daniel (not entirely sure which) decided that it would be a wonderful idea to try again. They started asking maybe a month ago (when Daniel was apparently starting to fall in love with me) and I kept avoiding it but I officially ran out of excuses on Friday.

The four of us went to a classy but not too expensive chain restaurant, sat down, ordered wine, and stayed fairly silent while we decided on meals. It was incredibly uncomfortable. It took so much convincing to get James to even come out with me tonight and stay civil. Ultimately, it was Sandra who got him to agree. I don’t know what she said but it kept him quiet and polite on the ride to the restaurant.

You know, whether or not she realizes it, she knows almost the entire situation. She knows why Daniel was really stalking me and about the alleged affair, even James’s anger with me – I know he’s angry and not just frustrated or upset. I’ve forgotten how much James did for me all those months ago – and during my recovery. I was so caught up with Daniel…

He killed for me. He went against his morals in order to help me heal and I forgot. No one has ever killed for me before and it made me fall in love with him a little bit more (a lot more, really), but then I just moved on. James has always known exactly what I need and I haven’t reciprocated.

It’s time to get to know my husband again.

Anyways, the four of us arrived almost simultaneously which is just crazy. Normally there’s one couple who arrives early and then you have to sit there and wait for the others while the waiter glares at you because he really wanted to go on his break but now he has to wait for you and your guests to shake hands and carefully choose a wine and each order very particular dishes that you never wanted to share with the table but the stick of a woman sitting next to you is secretly shaming you into adding it to the sacrificial pile you’ve created in the centre of the table like you’re having some potluck dinner at the restaurant which is ridiculous because if you were all just going to share food, you could have saved everyone time and money and had a picnic or something.

We’ve done this before (James and I), we’ve dated other couples and it always goes down that way. In those days, if it didn’t really work out, there was always the possibility of murder.
I can’t exactly do that with these two, which is very frustrating. Luckily the waiter who was serving us got off just as we were leaving so I did get a little stress relief, but the evening was still rather…trying.

I don’t understand how, but Charlotte seemed to remain completely oblivious to the fact that her husband would not stop talking about me and touching me throughout the entire evening. Or maybe I’m just being incredibly vain to think that he was being very obvious with his advances. Vanity is, of course, a possibility – it’s not correct but it’s a possibility.

James noticed because he wouldn’t stop staring at Daniel throughout the entire meal. He only spoke if someone asked him a question, and even then, he kept it short and polite. That was the theme of the evening because I’m sure Daniel held back a few choice words for me and my husband. I tried to focus on Charlotte and the bits of small talk we were partaking in, but she was so sweet it was almost obnoxious.

Dinner tasted great – I’m almost sad I killed the waiter – at least I didn’t kill the cook. The wine had me flushing and at least open to more conversation if there was any to be had. There wasn’t, but at least I was open to it.

All in all, the entire evening was incredibly uncomfortable but at least I didn’t have to cook.

The most ridiculous part of the evening came at the end of the night when we were paying our separate bills – at least James was polite enough to pay for my meal. Charlotte asked if we could “do it again some time.”

And James said yes.

I still don’t understand why, but he said yes.

Even Daniel looked shocked.

There is no way that I am doing that again. I will have dinner with Charlotte, I will have dinner with James – I will not have dinner with Daniel but at least that would be better than the giant elephant in the room that we can’t address because Charlotte needs to stay in the dark about me and Daniel, and Daniel needs to stay in the dark about Charlotte leaving him because of the affair she thinks he’s having.

I still think Charlotte is too good for him but at least when the two of them are together, there’s some sense of stability. Like she keeps him reined in. If she leaves, there’s really no telling what he’d do – to me or the world.

I have to keep those two together. Somehow.

Because I have all the time in the world to focus on another couple’s problems even if I am partially to blame.

After some being took over James’s body and he agreed to another double date – and I killed the waiter – we drove home in silence. He just watched me asphyxiate the boy, leaning against the car like he was waiting for the next spot in the bathroom instead of watching his wife smother the life out of a twenty-something boy with a piece of saran wrap. And then he just got in the car and waited for me to clean up and drive him home. He didn’t say a word until we got home and then it was only to say “good night” and head to the kitchen.

I don’t know what Sandra told him on Friday, and I probably never will, but whatever it was, it made him pliable but closed off.

I wonder if she told him about her urges. She told me that they’ve been getting more intense lately. Whenever she’s frustrated or angry, her body moves straight towards violence, no middle ground. So far she hasn’t hurt anyone but I imagine it will start up soon. She’s around the age when I started (not too much older) so of course it would happen now. Yet another thing for me to deal with.

Keeping Sandra away from the edge and keeping Charlotte off my back are two of the many little things that I have going on. I really, really need more sleep.

God help me.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

P.S. Happy Birthday Jason. See, I did remember.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Your Mid-Week Update for 05/20/15

I’m slowly moving on from vehicular homicide so I suppose that’s something to be proud of. I’ve moved on to kitchen appliances which has been making me nostalgic for the last few days. Kitchen appliances were the first weapons I started with. To be specific, an Oster Granger Steak Knife, something I took from my friend’s mom when I was over at her house. The 90s were a little more relaxed in how teens interact unsupervised.

This coming from the woman who can name three(?) of her children’s friends. We’ll call them Edith, Emmett, and Christopher. I’ve only met them a handful of times, and usually just in passing as they head out the door with Sandra or up to Jason’s room.

You know, Jason used to be more of a social creature. He would be outside with his friends any chance he got. He would miss curfew more than once and I would constantly be calling his girlfriend’s house to get him home. He still has a girlfriend and he still has friends, but he prefers to hang out with them in his room or online.

As a woman who thrives on anonymity and regularly blogs, I don’t condemn internet interactions; I’ve just noticed that he’s become a lot more…intrapersonal? I don’t think that’s the right word. I can’t think of the right word. He’s doing a lot more on his own. And that’s not bad. Just different.

But anyways, when I first started killing, I used this steak knife that I stole from my friend’s house. I was too scared that my mom would notice anything missing from our kitchen so I used someone else’s. Eventually I moved on to other appliances – blenders were part of my experimental phase in college; too messy for practical use – but I will always cherish the steak knife. Not the original one, of course, I got rid of that a long time ago.

I found myself going back to the classics this week: first by accident, and then because it felt natural. I worried that three dead bodies all killed in a similar manner might tip the authorities to the possibility of a serial killer but James moved one of the bodies. He drove all night and dumped it in another town so that authorities wouldn’t make a connection. Two victims killed with two different knives in two different ways won’t raise too many eyebrows in this town. That’s why I chose this town. It’s so big, it can’t see the big picture.

20 years, I’ve been committing murder; and the only people to ever learn my secret are my daughter, my husband, and my stalker. My sister is a whole other matter because she was there from the very beginning. The rest of them seem to protect me in their own way.

James is silently watching my back, while Sandra is keeping her brother’s innocence safe. Daniel is…obsessively following me, supposedly to clean up after my messes. I think he’s just lonely. Charlotte confided in me that she’s thinking of leaving him. She thinks he’s having an affair – or at least, he isn’t telling her the truth and he’s never around anymore. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was all my fault. Mostly because I can’t stand to lose a friend to this feud. It’d be pointless. It’s over now. Daniel’s actions are his own and even if I instigated this recent change, I have no control over the outcome.

There’s no sense in confessing old crimes. That much, I know.

So for now, I bide my time with Daniel and continue a friendly relationship with Charlotte and hope that nothing can be traced back to me.

What could go wrong?

Crap, now that I’ve said it, I’m screwed.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Your Mid-Week Update for 05/13/15

Sleep is very important. I'm really not getting enough of it.

It’s the break in routine that’s throwing me off. James sleeping on the couch and ignoring me is messing with the circadian rhythm of my precisely laid out plans. Namely: Sleep. I haven’t been able to sleep for the last week or so and I’m just tired all the time, now.

Although I'm finding that late night/early morning murders are really fun. That added bonus of delirium heightens the senses. You can get so much done at 2am on a Monday. I’ve got two more murders under my belt this week and I’m sure I’ll find more.

Plus I got really bored and I revamped my blog. Like the new colours?

Yeah, yeah, no comment.


When I wake up and can’t get back to sleep, I’ve taken to wandering around the neighbourhood. “But it’s dangerous” you say “there are killers on the streets at night.”


The people who wander late at night are easy targets. They think they’re safe because they’re alone in the silence despite every horror movie to the contrary. They think they’re smarter than fiction. So they put their guard down. All it takes is a flick of the wrist, or a slight acceleration on the pedal.

My last five kills have all been vehicular related. I suppose it takes a bit to rediscover the muse, as it were; find my creativity again. At least I'm killing for pleasure. I’m not going to beat myself up about my recovery. I think that might be counter-intuitive.

The next day after a sleepless murder night is torture, of course. My body likes to take revenge on me for my late night sessions and falls sleep in ridiculous times and places.

Monday, I fell asleep on the kitchen counter in my bowl of pasta. Thank god it wasn't spaghetti. That would just be a horrible cliché. Now it's just a mediocre cliché.

I also fell asleep at my desk later that night. When I woke up, there was a blanket around me. At least there's that.

James slept in the bed with me last night. I think it was to make sure I slept. But he stayed. He hasn't forgiven me but he will. I'll make him. Last night was the best sleep I’ve had in weeks; I’m not giving that up.

Really nothing else has changed. I’m back to murder, family drama, and work. That’s all there is.

Maybe I’ll have something interesting to tell you next week.

Wish me luck.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Your Mid-Week Update for 05/06/15

Considering what happened last time, you would think that coming back to murder would be difficult.


Killed a three people this week. Even ran over a nun just for good measure. I didn’t even think there were still nuns running around but there she was just crossing the street in a poorly lit residential area one night. On further analysis, she might not have been an actual nun but rather a woman who was going door to door trying to spread the “good word” but the effect was still the same. Thunder and lightning raining down on the earth because another religious nut is dead.

The other two dead were really sort of a combo deal which was nice. A couple in their car stopped me to ask for directions the other day and I just hit the driver with the baseball bat. He slammed sideways so hard that he hit his wife who flew against the window and fractured her skull (according to the forensics report which I totally didn’t overhear from James while he was on the phone talking to the detective on the case). Two for the price of one.

Which makes three murders in about a week and more to come.

I’m back, bitches!

I should explain the baseball bat.

Jason has decided to take up sports. One of the really weird after effects of telling the kids the truth about their mom, Jason has decided to try baseball(by the way, sis, I don’t care if you read my blog, what you did was horrible). I think he just needs something new to distract him and distance him from all of it. I don’t blame him, in fact, I support him. Which is why I was carrying a baseball bat to the field a few blocks from my house.

Baseball bats are handy little weapons, I got it hand it to the kid, he picked a great sport. Not that I want him hitting anything other than balls. My children are not going to go anywhere near the family business. Murder is for James and myself, that’s it.

Speaking of James…I got him to talk to me.  And I didn’t have to lock him in the basement. He came to me on Saturday; told me the kids came to him and cleared things up, encouraged him to do the same. So he got guilted into hashing things out with me. I didn’t care as long as it worked. Which it did.

We sat down and talked. He yelled. Said he’s happy that I’m better but he doesn’t feel comfortable with our current situation. I don’t exactly know what that means but he’s been sleeping on the couch for the last few days and the kids aren’t missing the added tension in the house. He’s been working double shifts for the last few weeks so I see him as often as I normally do but…

I miss him.

I’m sounding like a lovesick school girl I miss him. Readers, you know what he means to me. I don’t know what I’d do if he left. I’d like to think he can’t do without me, either, but things are going to get worse before they get better.

But at least my kids like me, right?


As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Friday, 1 May 2015

JuNoWriMo: June Novel Writing Month

Can you believe that it’s already May? Before we even know it, it will be June 1st, and we’ll all be tucked away in our favorite writing corners with a vat of our beverage of choice. We’ll be tallying up our word counts and gathering momentum as we sprint with other writers and tweet encouragements.
One of the best parts of JuNoWriMo is being a part of a huge group of writers, all striving for the same goal. At almost anytime, day or night, you can find another writer working towards their word count. You can ask for help brainstorming the perfect name for a character and get several replies. Plus there’s all the accountability you could possibly want.
This year we want to build up our community so we have even more writers to connect with. In order to do that we are hosting a blog hop to spread the word and we would love it if you would join us!
Joining is easy.
1. Write a post.
You can copy and paste this post, create your own, or do a combo of the two. If you choose to write your own, have fun with it! Share a little bit about what you will be working on this June, talk about your favorite part of JuNoWriMo, share your favorite recipe for a late night snack on those nights when you need to stay up and write all the words, the sky is the limit. The only must is please include a link to the JuNoWriMo website.
2.  Join the linky list.
Once your post is live, join the linky list below. That way everyone else participating can visit and help promote your post.
3. Hop!
Visit a few of the other participant’s blogs. It’s a great way to meet some of the other writers before the event.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with JuNoWriMo, it’s a month long writing adventure in the style of NaNoWriMo, complete with word sprints and plenty of other writers to cheer you on. The goal is to write 50,000 in one month (1,667 words a day). You can write whatever you want. Fiction, non-fiction, the final 50k to something you started five years ago. Anything. We’d love to have you write with us!
You can learn more and sign up here.
Our Facebook group is here.
One more thing! There is a giveaway, and these prizes are perfect to get you ready to write.
First prize – writer care package including a pen, post-it notes, and this official JuNoWriMo notebook.
Second prize – JuNoWriMo swag pack including a JuNoWriMo button, JuNoWriMo sticker, and a hand-painted JuNoWriMo bookmark.

junowrimo rocket button

Robot sticker
JuNo bookmarks