31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 31

Favorite Hobbies & Ways to Spend Time

~Music soothes my soul. If I’m doing something solitary, I put on my favorite music.

~Reading

~Writing

~Board games

~Arts & Crafts

~Swimming, if there’s a pool available.

~Movies

~Horseback riding, if there’s a horse available 😉

~Cuddling with Daniel or Baby, or both!

 

Author Interview: Camille Picott

Camille Author Pic
Camille Picot

warrior

Welcome to my stop on the tour for The Warrior & the Flower by Camille Picott.  This is an adult high fantasy, and to celebrate Chinese New Year the tour is running Jan. 27th-31st with mostly reviews and only a few interviews and spotlight posts.  Be sure to check out the tour page with additional info and list of tour stops.

Today the lovely author Camille Picott is in the spotlight! The blog tour is highlighting her recent novel The Warrior & The Flower. Check out my review of it here.

The Warrior & The Flower – Synopsis

Yi, a retired soldier, has lost everything he loves — his wife, his daughter, and his home. He seeks refuge from his heartache by plunging into a secret mission for the World Emperor. The assignment takes him to the doorstep of a brothel, where he witnesses the madam beating a young girl. Drawn by the child’s striking resemblance to his lost daughter, Yi rushes to her defense and negotiates for her purchase — after all, how hard can it be to care for one little girl? But between the child’s inquisitive nature and the dangerous secret she carries, he gets more than he bargained for.

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Thank you for your interview. Can you tell readers a little about yourself?

I’m a mom and wife who writes Asian-inspired speculative fiction. I work full time for a California winery doing purchasing, planning, and new packaging development. I write at night and on the weekends. I’m a passionate trail runner and health food freak.

What inspired you to become a writer?

When I was a little kid, I always told stories to my stuffed animals at night before falling asleep. As I got older, the natural progression was taking the stories in my head and typing them out on the computer. I was twelve years old when I started getting up early before school to write. I kept that going for many years, although now I prefer writing at night.

18194896Could you tell us a little about your main character, Yi?

Yi is many things. First and foremost, he is a loyal soldier and a father. He takes both duties seriously. When his wife and daughter are murdered, part of him dies. It’s not until he adopts Tulip that he finds a reason to live.

Who are a few of your favorite authors? What are a few of your favorite books?

Susan Ee, Lois McMaster Bujold, Suzanne Collins, Octavia Butler, Jacqueline Carey, Molly Harper, Diana Rowland, Markus Zusak, Cassandra Clare, Rhiannon Frater, Brandon Sanderson . . . wow, this list is getting long! There are so many writers I love!

Instead of favorite books, I’ll list a few of my favorite series . . . The Hunger Games, Mistborn, Kushiel’s Legacy, The Mortal Instruments, As The World Dies, White Trash Zombie.

Where do you like to write?

I write all over the house. I like to spend time with my family, so I tend to write wherever they are. Right now I am sitting in the kitchen with my daughter. She’s watching Tinker Bell while I write. At night I usually write on the bed while my husband watches television. My husband also made a desk for my treadmill, so I can run and write at the same time.

Do you have any other books in the works?

I’ve always got at least two things in the works! I like to keep busy. I’m writing a series of non-fiction articles called Writer’s Toolbox. These are articles aimed and helping science fiction and fantasy writers improve their craft. I’m also working on the second book in my Sulan series.

What are your future goals as a writer?

My immediate goals are to finish my Writer’s Toolbox collection and the second Sulan novel. Long term goals are to complete the Sulan series (3-4 books total + 3 novellas) and the 3 Kingdom series (3-4 books total). I’ve got ideas for another series I want to write, but I’ve promised myself not to start any other series until I finish these two!

What do you want readers to take away from The Warrior & The Flower?

Being a mother is something that’s very important to me. One of my goals with this novel was to write a story that explored a parent-child relationship. I wanted the relationship between the Yi and Tulip to be one of the driving points of plot and character development.

It’s something I haven’t encountered in other speculative fiction books I’ve read. If there is a parent-child relationship, it exists as a side sub-plot. More often, children are often left at home while the parents ride off into adventure, or else, if it’s YA, the kids are the ones off on adventures.

About the Author

Camille Picott is a fifth-generation Chinese American. She writes science fiction and fantasy books with Asian characters and/or Asian settings. Camille grew up reading speculative fiction stories largely devoid of Asian characters and culture. This, coupled with a passion for her heritage, is the reason she strives to bring some aspect of Eastern myth, legend, culture, and ethnicity to all of her writings.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

This tour was organized and put together by CBB Book Promotions.

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31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 30

What’s something not many know?

My pet peeves, apparently. Here are the big ones:

It drives me crazy when I – or any one else – had a strand of hair on the clothing I or they are wearing.

It also drives me crazy for the edges of my sleeves or bottom of my shirt to be turned or flipped up. Daniel will sometimes flip up his sleeves on purpose to incite me to fix it. And then he’ll do it again.

Don’t act like something everyone knows you’re not. And don’t expect me to play along and pretend right along with you. I ain’t no dummy.

Why do people act like they don’t know how to write a complete sentence? Or spell common words? Come on people, at least try! All I can think of when I see this in social media is: what do potential employers think?

Snobs. I grew up with several of them, and have experienced them even in the workplace as an adult. It is not becoming.

 

 

Book Review: The Warrior and the Flower

18194896
The Warrior & The Flower

Title: The Warrior and the Flower
Author: Camille Picott
Publisher: Pixiu Press
Release Date: April 2013
Length: 307 pages
Series?: 3 Kingdoms #1
Genre: Adult High Fantasy (Asian Inspired)
Format: e-book
Source: Candace’s Book Blog via the author
Challenge: n/a

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Welcome to my stop on the tour for The Warrior & the Flower by Camille Picott.  This is an adult high fantasy, and to celebrate Chinese New Year the tour is running Jan. 27th-31st with mostly reviews and only a few interviews and spotlight posts.  Be sure to check out the tour page with additional info and list of tour stops.

Synopsis

Yi, a retired soldier, has lost everything he loves — his wife, his daughter, and his home. He seeks refuge from his heartache by plunging into a secret mission for the World Emperor. The assignment takes him to the doorstep of a brothel, where he witnesses the madam beating a young girl. Drawn by the child’s striking resemblance to his lost daughter, Yi rushes to her defense and negotiates for her purchase — after all, how hard can it be to care for one little girl? But between the child’s inquisitive nature and the dangerous secret she carries, he gets more than he bargained for.

warrior

Review

Yi is a warrior, well-respected and trusted by his emperor. As such, he has been blessed and rewarded – and this makes him a target. Yi’s world, World Kingdom, is experiencing upheaval and unrest due to the neighboring Sky Kingdom’s brewing civil war.

Despite Yi’s love and devotion for his emperor, he is not above ending the life of the man who murdered his wife and child, who left his house and crop in ruins. He curses the God of Good Fortune, who was to protect his family and seemingly turned a blind eye.

Yi’s story fades in and out throughout the chapters, telling Tulip’s tale. She is a young child, the product of the brothel The House of Flowers. She wants to learn how to make the special tofu that all of the flowers make for the male customers, but is thankfully too young. She is a nuisance and a burden to the madame, who beats and starves her regularly. Tulip wants to learn how to make the special tofu so bad that she tries spying on her mother, and winds up in a very bad spot.

As Yi’s and Tulip’s stories continue, eventually they come together as fate leads Yi right to the House of Flowers at Tulip’s most unfortunate moment. She is a striking resemblance of his lost daughter, so he buys her and adopts her as his own child. But Tulip has some very dark secrets she must keep because she has a very special and rare gift.

Yi and Tulip grow closer in their relationship, and Yi has sworn to protect little Tulip above and beyond his orders and mission set out by his emperor. Being held in such high regard, he is tasked with several missions to ensure the safety of the World Kingdom. Tulip gets in some sticky situations and always comes out on top, obviously in favor with the God of Good Fortune.

This book is filled with adventure, excitement, humor and heart. It is a phenomenal read, and I will definitely pick up Picott’s next installment in the 3 Kingdoms series to see where the rest of the adventure take Yi an Tulip.

About the Author

Camille Author Pic
Camille Picott

Camille Picott is a fifth-generation Chinese American. She writes science fiction and fantasy books with Asian characters and/or Asian settings. Camille grew up reading speculative fiction stories largely devoid of Asian characters and culture. This, coupled with a passion for her heritage, is the reason she strives to bring some aspect of Eastern myth, legend, culture, and ethnicity to all of her writings. To visit Camille, go to .

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

This tour was organized and put together by CBB Book Promotions.

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31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 28

Memories: Top 5 Moments in Your Life

1. The day my grandmother died. January 22, 2003.

This is the calendar that hangs in our kitchen to this very day, and always will. We never changed it, removed it or replaced it. It is a piece of our home, for all the love she put into it and into us.

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My grandmother died at 10:22 AM on Wednesday, January 22, 2003.
my grandmother's grave
my grandmother’s grave

2. The day I graduated high school. May 25, 2007.

I thought the world was full of possibilities, and I was going off to college with my three closest friends.

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Sissybear & Manda-Pandala

3. The day I learned my cousin committed suicide. September 29, 2011.

I got the phone call just as I arrived to work. My entire purse dropped to the floor, spilling everywhere. My attorney boss was dumbfounded. I don’t know how I made it all the way back to my car, against the flow of students trying to make it to campus, let alone how I drove. Nothing can ever stop the pain and the doubt and the questions.

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he was a character
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poem my ex-aunt wrote

4. The day I graduated from college. December 15, 2012.

I made a promise to my grandmother before she died that I would go to college and get my degree, as did all of her grandchildren who were old enough at the time. That was her one wish, since she was not able to provide that opportunity to her children. I am the only one who has fulfilled my promise.

graduation portrait
graduation portrait
We graduated!
We graduated!
I did it.
I did it.

5. The day I encouraged my best friend to keep pushing, and saw her son come into the world. November 23, 2013.

the turkey is born!
the turkey is born!

31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 26

Share: A difficult time in your life

In January 2003 we lost my grandmother. She had tied up all of the loose ends, signing the necessary paperwork with her doctor so that he could not release any information to us. She knew that she was dying, and she just wanted to live out the remainder of her life as if nothing was different…

But we all knew life was different. She had been progressively getting more and more sickly, and then very forgetful, and then very weak. It was an odd thing for me to witness, as my grandmother had been my primary caretaker all my life.

I remember the day it happened. It was a Wednesday, the 22nd. I had received a message from the front office not to ride the school bus home, that one of my aunts would pick me up.

I waited out in front of the school for my aunt. All of the buses left. The bustle of parents picking up their kids dissipated. The teachers went back to their classrooms. I was standing in front of the school by myself.

It was getting rather cold, so I walked across the street to my mom’s cousin’s house. I asked if I could call somebody because I thought my aunt had forgotten about me. This particular relative has always been a bit eclectic and odd, but on this day she was acting even stranger. She didn’t want me to call anyone, my aunt would be along to get me real soon.

Finally my aunt showed up, with my younger brother and older cousin in tow, as well as her kids. She was suspiciously quiet the entire ride. She took us to my mom’s older sister’s house, and whispered to her.

The whole way there, I got the distinct feeling that something was wrong. As we turned the final corner to the house, my aunt reached back behind her seat for my older cousin’s hand. Then I knew. I knew.

The driveway was flooded with cars.

We got out and ran in. I think I was already crying, and I was asking over and over again where my grandmother was. My uncle (husband to the aunt who picked us up), had this vacant look on his face, rimmed red around his eyes and nose.

We sat on the linoleum tile floor of the walkway from the kitchen to the back bedroom, where my grandmother’s room had been. They told us, all of us grandkids that were there. My older cousin called her brother. He thought she was joking.

It was awful. I sat there, teeth clacking together as if I was standing naked in a blizzard, mindlessly shredding tissues in my lap, crying. I huddled up with my brother, and another cousin.

My mom made my brother and me go to school the next day. I told my mom I couldn’t do it. I got to school late since we’d stayed at my aunt’s, and walked into Spanish class. We were supposed to be writing entries in our journals. I sat with my head close to my paper, my hair all in my face, hiding my tears. One of my friends spoke to the teacher and took me to the rest room. I stayed there for most of the period after she left.

I remember the funeral. After everyone had filed out they gave my family one last opportunity to be with my grandmother before closing the casket and putting it in the hearse. I stood rooted to the ground, I couldn’t move. I literally could not move, my body was in such shock. My uncle and oldest cousin’s husband had to physically carry me out of the funeral home to the car.

After my grandmother’s death, my mom’s siblings started fighting like rabid animals. The glue that held our family together was gone. My mom’s youngest brother wanted everything thrown away. My mom’s two sisters fought over what items of my grandmother’s they wanted. Feelings got hurt, and items went missing. Our house was ransacked once when we were gone. The ugliness came out, and it has not really disappeared in the decade since.

31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 25

Your Favorite: recipe and comfort food

I suppose I have to share a recipe? The funny thing is, my family doesn’t really live by recipes. We pass down our family culinary secrets by growing up watching, helping, and then doing ourselves. Instead, I’m going to share with you the secret to great pasta, great spaghetti, which is my favorite food. It’s really quite simple.

Cook the spaghetti longer! Everyone I know rushes spaghetti. No! Let it sit there and absorb. To keep it from sticking, add a hearty dash of salt prior to adding in the noodles, a small chunk of margarine, and while it’s cooking add a splash of virgin olive oil. It will keep the spaghetti from sticking to the pan as much, and definitely from clumping afterward.

I use a store-bought pasta. I haven’t yet worked up to making my own; I’m not at that level yet. But instead of just plopping the sauce on, I heat it slowly on the stove while adding in an array of flavorful ingredients, but that’s a secret. 😉

my favorite food
my favorite food

My comfort foods?

Bread, in some form or fashion. The easiest one is biscuits, even toast on a lazy day.

buttery and flaky biscuits
buttery and flaky biscuits

31 Day Blog Challenge – Day 24

Two Truths & A Lie

  1. My father is a Swedish immigrant.
  2. The men in my family (on my mother’s side) all inherited the sleek, slender look of our Cherokee ancestors, while all the women* inherited the short, plump figure of our Italian ancestors. *except my mother,
  3. I am semi-secretly engaged. It is a very strange, confusing thing.

Now, it is your job to determine: Which two statements are the truth, and which statement is the lie?

I want to hear what you think! In the comments, please tell me which you think is the lie.