About hkrowe

A writer living in western suburbs of Chicago.

NaNoWriMo – Day 2

Cat editor says “Why aren’t you writing right now?”

I’m maintaining velocity on writing. I’m one chapter away from finishing a story, and then onto the next one. I’m determined to clear up a majority of WIPs so I’m hoping to keep up with it. I find that working at night is best, usually when the household is quiet and everyone is asleep.

I tried writing a bit during downtime at work, but I was too distracted. I don’t know, I feel a little guilty about writing during work hours.


3432 / 50000 words. 7% done!

NaNoWriMo 2021! IT BEGINS!

nanowrimo.org

2064 / 50000 words. 4% done!

This year I’m finishing some WIPs. Some are fanfics, some are short stories, and another one is a longer fic that I just haven’t been able to finish. My goal is to FINISH what I’ve started. It’s hard for me to finish incomplete stories, so I’m hoping this year’s NaNoWriMo will help me change that habit.

Tonight I started writing! It was hard with a needy dog and a wild toddler vying for my attention, but I managed to get a healthy word count in. Yay!

Yay, I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year. I hope I can finish it. I haven’t been able to finish it for a while. I get started, but I never make the word count. It’s been even harder since I’ve become a mom, and I really miss writing so I hope this works out. Now that I work from home, I’m hoping to find writing time during downtime or slow periods and keep up a healthy cadence.

Is anyone else doing NaNoWriMo this year? Add me as a buddy and drop a comment below with your screen name and I’ll add you back. Mine is hkrowe.

Good luck with your writing!

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Unbridled 2nd edition – Paperback version

The second edition of my first book Unbridled is now available in paperback! It now has a new cover, new summary, and some much-needed polish.

Unbridled is still free on Kindle Unlimited.

You can get a paperback version for $10.99, priced lower than the previous version.

I hope you enjoy the new edition!

I’ve you have a chance to read it, please leave a review at Goodreads and Amazon! Reviews are lifeblood for indie authors.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

TV Review – Color Rush

Color Rush – Image Source from Viki.com

Color Rush is a Korean BL drama about two boys who meet at school and have their own struggles that bring them together. In the case of Yeon Woo, he was born with the inability to see color, living in only shades of grey and considered a Mono. When he meets Yoo Han, everything changes when he looks into his face and feels a color rush, giving him the chance to see color only when Yoo Han is near. He determines that Yoo Han is his Probe, a corresponding fated soul mate, in a sense.

Color Rush is an alternate reality of the modern world. Monos and Probes are common occurances, and they are often depicted on the news as tragic stories, usually the Monos losing their sanity to possess the Probe at all costs, sometimes under the means of torture, kidnapping and abuse. Yeon Woo’s own mother was a Mono, and has since gone missing, so Yeon Woo stays with his aunt, who is on a tireless hunt to locate her sister.

This causes Yeon Woo’s aunt to be highly cautious and protective, often making Yeon Woo change schools if he comes across any bullying as a Mono or she senses some danger about him coming out as a Mono.

When he starts at this new school and meets Yoo Han, who is instantly entranced by him. As his Probe, he proposes to teach Yeon Woo about all color, trying to help him cope with the onslaught of color rush that causes him to pass out. Yoo Han usually wears a mask to cover his face, but when he pulls it down and stares into Yeon Woo’s eyes, Yeon Woo can see an explosion of color, which is sometimes too much for him to bear.

However, Yeon Woo gets addicted to the chance to see color and he indulges Yoo Han. In the beginning he tries to stay away from him, but the allure of color and Yoo Han’s attraction to him become impossible to resist. Yeon Woo even fears losing himself to what Monos are known for, becoming violent and abusive toward their Probe in order to keep them all to themselves.

Yoo Han just adores Yeon Woo. Gif credit to kdramadaily on Tumblr.

Not too spoil anything about Yoo Han, there is a striking reason he adores Yeon Woo so much. Yoo Han has his own intentions for keeping Yeon Woo close, and he’s even willing to run away with him so they can be together. The two boys clearly love each other as time goes on, and even though it’s a struggle for Yeon Woo not to possess Yoo Han violently, the two adopt some kind of synergy that just makes their relationship work, even if they have to go against their guardians to be together.

Color Rush is just a fascinating series, and it has an even more fascinating world behind it. The series is only eight episodes long, and it really could benefit from another season as there are lot of plot holes and things left unsolved. For one, Yeon Woo never finds his mother, and the concept of Probes and Monos are so interesting, you are left wanting to know more about this world.

Color Rush when Yeon Woo looks at Yoo Han. Gif credit to beomgyu01 on Tumblr.

The actors are gorgeous, and they have good chemistry. The show has beautiful visuals, and the supporting characters have enough depth that you feel for them too. I definitely recommend seeing this show, but the only downside is that it leaves you craving more.

Watch Color Rush on Viki.

“Unbridled” Second Edition

The second edition of Unbridled is available at Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

Hey all!

My first book, Unbridled, has just been updated with a second edition for the Kindle eBook, and it includes a new cover as well. Current owners of this eBook can update it at their Amazon account, or if you have your update settings set for automatic, it should already be updated in your Kindle library.

The paperback is still in progress but will be updated soon. Right now the first edition paperback is unavailable. I am waiting on the proof to check over, and once I’m done with that, I’ll publish the new paperback version as well.

I’m extremely excited to publish this second edition because I was able to massage out some errors and issues, as well as create a brand new cover that I am much happier with than the previous two covers.

I hope this is a fitting end for Unbridled, and once the paperback version is available, I hope to take advantage of some new promotions and possibly a virtual book tour.

You may purchase the eBook now on Amazon. If you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, the story is free to read! Enjoy.

Cheers!

H.K. Rowe

“Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep Moving.” – Neil Gaiman.

TV Review – Coffee & Vanilla

Coffee & Vanilla – Photo credit: Viki

Here is another short Japanese drama, Coffee & Vanilla, which is based on a very steamy josei manga. The manga targets young women and is more explicit when it comes to sexual and adult themes. To be frank, the manga is very beautiful with wonderfully drawn characters, and yes, it’s full of a lot of smut.

The show itself is about 10 episodes and does have a bit of implied adult themes, more so than your typical Japanese romance and dramas.

The show follows the premise of a shy, reserved college woman named Risa who is so beautiful she is constantly leered at by any male who encounters her. Sometimes men get aggressive bordering on assault.

She is basically almost assaulted in the first episode at her favorite coffee spot by some random dude (stalker) who insists she go out with him. Luckily she is rescued by a gorgeous businessman named Hiroto Fukami who manages to scare off the flies buzzing around her and save her from possibly being raped or dragged off by men who don’t take no for an answer.

The problem with Risa is she is very meek and does not seem to have the backbone or agency to successfully ward off dudes on her own.

Enter Hiroto, who comes to her rescue and in the end, asks her to dinner. It’s okay though, he’s rich and handsome so he poses no threat, right? It helps that he’s played by Dori Sakurado, Japanese heart throb with a smoldering gaze that would make a table swoon.

Risa is predictably smitten, they have dinner and he’s so incredibly sweet and caring he convinces her to stay the night with him (oh, and she also gets drunk at dinner because she cannot hold her liquor).

Dori Sakurado – smoldering Japanese beauty (photo credit: IrozukouSubs)

I mean, as much shit as I’m talking at “I-have-no-agency-Risa”, I would bang him too. Not gonna lie. No alcohol is required.

The story after this is filled with misconceptions, Risa’s unending insecurities, other men who try to swoop in and break them up and just sugary sweet romantic scenes.

At one point Risa gives up on Fukami, only to come back to him easily which just makes you wonder in the end if she could actually live her life without him. He dries her tears, makes grandiose business plans for her, and gives her this comfortable little “cage” to keep her protected from the big scary world.

I didn’t care for the story itself, but I admit I didn’t mind watching 10 episodes of Dori Sakurado, sometimes shirtless. Okay so I’m trash. I did indulge in the whole series and enjoyed the romance and any scene Dori is in, even when he’s being possessive of Risa. I just got annoyed by Risa’s meekness, which I guess if you could get over, this is a show for you. I just prefer strong or quirky female leads (like Makino from Hana Yori Dango).

I kinda feel bad for the actress Haruka Fukuhara, who played this wet rag of a role. I know she’s awesome after her work on Good Morning Call.

Still worth the watch if you have time to kill and love pretty boys.

Risa and Hiroto – Photo credit: IrozukuSubs

You can find Coffee & Vanilla on Viki.

Show Review: Cherry Magic! 30 Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?!

Cherry Magic! 30 Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! Credit: Crunchyroll.

This Japanese drama was AMAZING. It is based off the Japanese manga with the same name, which is also cute, but the drama has its own appeal. The actors Keita Machida (Alice in Borderland on Netflix) is the handsome and popular Kurosawa and Akasa Eiji is the shy and socially awkward Adachi. Adachi is turning thirty years old, and he’s never been in a relationship or had sex. As a virgin, there is this urban legend that on your thirtieth birthday you acquire powers, and this happens to Adachi on his birthday. He can read minds when he touches people, and the magic turns his world upside down.

Adachi deals with intense social anxiety already. He doesn’t think he’ll ever be loved. He’s very introverted and finds pleasure in reading, his job at the stationary company and food. He doesn’t like to be touched or even to be approached. He’s too kind to his superiors and will work overtime to do other people’s work (just to keep the peace).

Since he’s hearing the thoughts of everyone he touches, he changes his morning routine and goes to work early so he has to touch less people, and he ends up hearing the thoughts of one of his coworkers, Kurosawa Yuichi, who is handsome, charming and seemingly perfect. Immediately, Kurosawa’s thoughts show that he’s overjoyed to meet his work crush in the morning. Adachi has no idea who it is until the elevator fills up and people push them together in an awkward (and defining) moment where Kurosawa is thinking about how lucky he is to be this close and he hopes that Adachi doesn’t hear his racing heartbeat.

The defining moment. GIF credit furuba on Tumblr.

Soon, as they all exit the elevator, Adachi realizes that HE is Kurosawa’s crush, and at first he doesn’t believe it. He thinks he might be wrong. Thus, he starts to have more encounters with Kurosawa that proves that Adachi is indeed whom Kurosawa likes. He not only likes Adachi, but is deeply in love with him, and Adachi can’t understand it, but through the series, Adachi likes being cherished and he gets to know Kurosawa more. He finds out that Kurosawa is not “perfect”, he has anxieties and fears too, and Adachi starts to fall for him as well.

However, this is all new for Adachi and hearing Kurosawa’s thoughts and confessing to him is overwhelming. I would even say that his “Anxiety” is another character in this show, even more so a villain.

Under some odd circumstances, Kurosawa stays with Adachi at his place for a bit, but it’s basically torture for Kurosawa (because he wants to be intimate with him). He finally confesses to Adachi and doesn’t expect Adachi to return his feelings. Adachi…takes some time to process things, pretty much a day, and he realizes that his thoughts are filled of Kurosawa, he likes being with him and he ends up running after him after work to confess. The two start dating and Kurosawa has the presence of mind to know that Adachi will need to take it slow. Everything is his first experience, and Kurosawa is more than thrilled to be there with him.

Kurosawa is a bit of a lady killer too. MeOWWW. GIF credit – tianphupha on Tumblr.

Eventually, as they continue to date, Adachi’s anxiety gets the better of him, especially after telling Kurosawa about his magic, not feeling like it’s fair to keep it from his boyfriend. He breaks up with him, and both men are just heartbroken. They even had a date set up for Christmas Eve, which basically eats at Adachi as he realizes he made a mistake.

The ending is satisfying. The scenes between these two men are sweet, fluffy and a slow build romance. The touches, the thoughts, the fantasies from the mind reading, and the confessions are swoon worthy and worth the watch.

There’s a side plot to Adachi and Kurosawa that is…kind of a let down. Adachi’s best friend Tsuge also becomes a wizard when he turns 30 as a virgin, and his reactions to the mind reading are a bit over the top. The acting is…um, well, cringe worthy. He starts to have feelings for a delivery person who warms up to him because Tsuge adopts a stray cat.

The cat is cute. The delivery guy is cute and enduring, and Tsuge means well, but he acts like a complete psycho.

I watched Cherry Magic twice through the 12 episodes and second time around I mostly skipped through the Tsuge scenes. He annoyed me too much.

There is also this adorable Ace supporting character named Fujisaki who cheers to the two main leads on. I kind of wished she would have more screen time than Tsuge. Her story was way more interesting.

This is BL (boys love) but it’s not explicit, just a tender romance with two adorable leads and a great story around social anxiety and not judging people by their looks. There are also a lot of lovely moments worthy of GIF reuse.

Too many adorable moments between these two. GIF credit sushishorts on Tumblr.

Stream it on Crunchyroll. You won’t regret it.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Magazine Review “Indie Bites, Vol. 1: Vampires & Voyages”

Cover of “Indie Bites” from Goodreads

As an indie author myself, I try to support independent authors and new authors who are trying to do what they love. There’s nothing stronger than word of mouth, right? It is also helpful that I’m such a bibliophile, LOL.

Silver Sun Books published their first Magazine anthology of short stories. Their first theme was “Vampires & Voyages” and comprised of short stories that used one theme or both. The cover on the anthology is spooky and gorgeous with ominous crows in a misty forest. As this is their first magazine, they are taking submissions for their second one with the theme “Mermaids & Myth”.

Here is their submission page for more information.

Now, onto the review! Please be aware there are spoilers.

Ah, these little tales were lovely! I enjoyed every one of them, and each one had their own individual charm to it. I will say that I was enthralled for each one, and none of them at all was lacking. Such a good mix of writing here for sure.

My favorite of all of them is by far “Enduring Wrecks” by Chris Dunsten. Holy crap, this was so good. It was like the perfect short story… a piece of heavenly cake with a well-rounded main character and depth of story and the lush environments the character finds himself in. Short stories are HARD, so reading this I was not only completely addicted to this story and wanted to know more about this character, but I also felt like WOW, how did this author write the PERFECT short story (and can he tell me his secret)? It left me wanting more, BUT I was still satisfied; it was just the right beginning, middle and ending. The ending… wow, it was such a beautiful, enduring gesture. I really loved how just one character grew so much in this little story. And the characters really had fleshed out personalities with their dialog and descriptions, and probably no easy feat in a short story format. I really want to read more by this author. AHHH, I NEED TO READ THIS OVER AGAIN IT WAS SO GOOD.

I also really enjoyed “Something Like Absolution” by Rebecca Crunden. I really loved how the main character was able to go back to his marriage and it was still strong after all this stolen time, after the hardships and gaps. They WERE. STILL. IN. LOVE. And it was so strong too. And the ending, it really fit the overall story and ended it with a pretty bow. No more lingering conflict, just a rock-solid marriage and two lovely men overcoming this supernatural hiccup through their unwavering love. Although thinking your lover was dead for so long, it would be HARD to go back to but it was like, “Hi honey you’re home, let me just kick out this other mug and let’s catch up.” I think the pacing for that, even with the insecurities and awkwardness between them, was well done and fit the story’s pace as well as the believability.

“Living Underground” by Josie Jaffrey was eerie but interesting. There was a lot of moments where I just wanted to know more about this couple. Very cool, engaging little story.

“A Dramatic Gesture” by Matthew MacLauchlan was intense. I was on the edge of my seat. It felt really like Grimm fairytales in its format. What great descriptions and pacing of this story. (I kind of want to read this to my daughter…haha)

“A Little Drop of Blood Goes a Long Way” by NJ Simmonds was fun, though the beginning was a bit…dark, I loved to explore more of Jemima’s character through the rest of the story. I was scratching my head to her reasons for suicide, but her encounter and interaction with a vampire really lightened the mood, and it seemed so realistic. I love the portrayal of a main Ace character. And the ending, even though it was…a positive in the way Jemima lived out her undead life, the payoff was gloriously sadistic. (We all have that one person in our life we’d want to do this too…). And the vampire’s name. I LOVED her reaction to it. I laughed out loud because yeah, what is with vampires and hokey names?

“Another Interview with a Vampire” by Sam Hall was also interesting. This was the one story I just wanted to be longer. I wanted to know more about the vampire, to see more of an interaction, maybe even some tension, UST, between him and the narrator/main character. I do like this author’s take on the theme here, another “this vampire is not like the normal trope” kind of thing, A vampire with a heart of gold, sort of thing. Fantastic.

Such a great little anthology! I can’t wait to see more from this publication!

This review is also posted on Amazon.com and Goodreads.

New cover for “Unbridled”

Over this last week I updated the kindle version cover for my debut novel “Unbridled”.

New cover. Find out more about the book here at Goodreads
.

A second edition of the book is coming soon, along with a new paperback version as well. Stay tuned.

With a new job, motherhood and my string of health issues, things have been a little slow but I’m determined to catch up and start writing and publishing again soon.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Big Changes

Holly says “Hello! And why aren’t you writing right now?”

I’m planning on several big changes for this site soon. There will be more sections added for reviews, articles, and other offerings. I plan on making this a little more active. It seems I say this and nothing happens, but I assure you it’s a lot of planning in my notebook and new posts will be coming soon as well as new stories and more insight and upcoming publications.

So far on the horizon you can expect:

  • Unbridled the second edition and new cover. I’m finishing up edits for this.
  • a camping themed short story
  • NaNoWriMo 2020 project – Hello, Professor – a new romance!
  • Articles on self-publishing, design and mindfulness
  • more reviews!

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these crazy times.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe