Friday, July 29, 2016

A not-formal poem

Your world spins one way.
Mine spins another.
They clash, sparks fly.
Galaxies chasing each another across the universe,
Singing the songs of physics.

I usually write formal poetry, but not today.  This one owes a great debt to Emily Dickenson, of course.

Together is bursting forth.  There's going to be a great special August 10 as Coming Home becomes Book of the Day at Online Book Club.  It's a great way to start the series.  There will be more specials for Books 2 and 3 in the fall.  Check it out!

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy website

Monday, July 25, 2016

Overwhelming busy and it's great!

I don't think many people realize how much a writer has to do!  After the book is finally out, it's time for PR, publicity, interviews, reviews, and keeping up with social media.  At which I've been very bad.

If you're writing a series, as I am, and attempting to publish on an annual basis, it's ALSO necessary to start working on the next book.  Oh, my.

I've been reserching family crests, interesting ancestors, women ninja and more!

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy is a wonderful series.  There's even a new 4/4 review for Book 1, Coming Home, at Online Book Club!  Over the next several months, reviews for Book 3, Together, will start coming in.  There are new-book specials going on over the next month or more.  Why don't you buy it now and write one?  Those mean more than I can say, and thank you to those who do so.

The life of a working writer is not just about writing the books, although that's the best part.  Thank you, readers, for making it possible for me to do every single bit of it.

They are as good as the reviews say they are, and I am thrilled.  Come join my world!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Now it's real…

I read almost nothing but e-books, and I love my Kindle with a fire-y passion, but there is something so satisfying about a book, a real book, that I can hold in my hands and place in my shelves!  The bound galleys have arrived, they have been approved, and the HARD COPY will be available at Amazon and CreateSpace in a day or so.  It takes 6 - 8 weeks for hard copies to show up everywhere, but you can get them sooner than that.

Now, it's real.  And it's wonderful.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Another Great Review...4/4

This review is of Book One: Coming Home, from onlinebookclub.  The reviews for Book 3 haven't started coming in yet.  I think they'll continue to be DARNED GOOD.  Please do read.

What a charming children's book! The book wasn't what I expected it to be. It was much better! By the time I had finished the first chapter I knew for certain that it would be an amazing read. And I was right! This book is a thrilling adventure ride incorporating fantasy, folklore, historical tidbits, politics, dual-natured beings, quests, and much more besides.

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy by Claire Youmans is the first in a series featuring two unique kids, Azuki and her brother Shota. And I do mean unique! Both kids can turn into birds, imagine that! While Shota, the sparrow boy, is impetuous, curios, and resourceful, Azuki, the Toki-girl, is brave, adventurous, and determined. The two complement each other splendidly. Set in a fantasy version of Meiji-era Japan, the story follows their trials, adventures, and mishaps amidst all the changes and chaos Japan experienced as her gates were opened to the rest of the world.

There are two main plot lines which overlap in interesting and surprising ways. Azuki and Shota's story is one. The two kids-birds live peacefully with their adopted human parents in a small district on the southern island of Kyushu. Their lives take a turn for the worse when an evil feudal overlord kidnaps Azuki for the beautiful feathers she sheds. Azuki manages to break free, but what a girl-bird to do? Desperate and hurt, she decides to look for her Toki-kin. Shota has a quest of his own. He has to bring his sister back home before the year is over, or they will lose their human identities. They need to be able to live as both human and bird, in order to truly be themselves. Along the way they both meet colorful new friends and learn valuable lessons about their self-worth.

The second plot line involves another set of protagonists, Anko and Benjamin. Amidst the suspense and adventure there is also the gentlest touch of youthful romance between the Japanese girl and the young American naval officer. Their budding relationship serves best to emphasise the differences between the two cultures. The cultural barriers between the two are well conveyed.

The book revolves around the four main characters and colourful cast of side characters. The various threads complement each other and add a complexity and interest to the story. The author’s intricate weaving of the different characters' points of view is well done. With a story told from multiple points of view, a well-constructed world, likable protagonists, and an enthralling narrative, we have an enchanting tale. The story was quite original and it had me curious about what would happen next. It does take a dark turn (two murders) and the ending is a bit too abrupt, but those are its only faults.

The plot and the world-building surrounding this story were quite interesting and all the elements in the story flow together seamlessly. It is a beautifully written book that captures the imagination of the reader from the first and the perfect middle grade novel. Even though it’s geared towards young readers, as an adult I was able to fully immerse myself into the fantastically created realm. The writing style is easy to understand, but by no means simplistic.

The author takes what could have been a straightforward tale, and turns it into something more - a lesson in self-discovery and acceptance of one's nature. Children will find the characters easy to identify with, and will learn important life lessons along the way. The book combines an adventure story with themes of self-worth, loyalty, friendship, love, and courage while emphasizing qualities such as compassion, empathy and kindness. Each chapter opens with lovely illustrations (black and white on my kindle) which were done by young artists. Hurray to them!

It was a fun read from start to finish, so I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I enjoyed the book and loved the concept of dual-natured beings. I am definitely looking forward to reading more in the series. I would recommend the book to middle grade kids and up and to anyone who loves unique fairy tales and fantasy adventure. The author created a very imaginative tale that children and parents alike will want to read over and over again.


Monday, July 4, 2016


Bound Galleys are on their way! It'll take a few days for Kindle and for ALL e-formats (Nook, Kobo, iBooks etc.) to appear at Smashwords, and a few weeks for iTunes and B&N.  Maybe a week for the hard copies at Amazon.

These are truly beautiful books.  The covers, the illustrations, the typesetting, and, of course the STORY  are all wonderful.  Eformat or hard copy, they are a joy to read.  If you haven't started the series yet, there are many opportunities to start doing so ON SALE at Smashwords and Amazon.  And there's a special surprise coming, oh, next week. 


Friday, July 1, 2016


Book One, The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Book 1, COMING HOME, will be FREE on Smashwords for the month of July.

If you haven't checked it out yet, this is a great opportunity.

Since you're going to like it, you'll be able to get Book 2, CHASING DREAMS, for only $1.50 at Smashwords for the months of July.

There will be specials, events and contests for Book 3, TOGETHER, and the print copy, too.  Watch This Space.

Smashwords produces books in all conceivable e-formats.


Want to see the back cover.  Do yah?  Huh?

Well, here it is.

Azuki and Shota are finally home!  Life in their corner of rural 19th Century Japan is nearly perfect – but Azuki’s sick and Shota doubts his friendship with the Dragon Princess, who is upset because her mother rejects her dual nature.  Shota defies his uncle to track down the legendary Crane-girl to help Azuki and impress the Princess.  This leads to the discovery of a new and better way to incorporate Azuki’s spectacular feathers in fabrics.  When Shota takes his beloved boat to deliver Azuki’s work, he finds trouble – and not just among humans!  Even the Dragon King and Princess Renko’s European mother must join forces with Azuki and Shota to repel a sea-monster’s challenge, but it’s Uncle Yuta who crafts a lasting peace.

Happy Independence Day