What Do Hello Kitty and Lin Wu Have in Common?


So you may be wondering why I have a picture of a little girl dressed up in a Hello Kitty costume. The answer is twofold. This was the same costume that my daughter wore for Halloween when she was only two years old. I specifically remember it, because she could walk on her own already, and she was talking, albeit like a toddler. But this is what my daughter wore on her second Halloween. The difference being, we had her wear red cotton pants instead of tights for trick-or-treating. The weather was cold in the evenings where we lived.

But the story of this costume doesn’t end there. When I first started writing Lin Wu stories, I came up with an idea that this particular costume helped develop. It was the idea of Lin Wu chaperoning her younger cousin Curtis on a field trip, to a place called Apple Hill. Apple Hill was a family ranch that catered to schools and families around Halloween, by having a pumpkin patch for them to explore. The larger idea was that he was also being bullied by some of the other boys in his class, due to his small size. Lin, who was unaware of that fact, wore a witch costume that day, to show some Halloween spirit. It further embarrassed Curtis however and he ends up running away from her.

Anyway, one thing leads to another, and the two of them end up in a battle for their lives, when they come across a real witch named Agnus. Agnus had a cold heart and was out for revenge since they had trespassed on her property.

The reason for the connection is, Lin’s costume looked similar to this one. She also wore a red dress with a small black hat. The sleeves of her costume were also striped, like the little girls and she wore red cotton pants. The major difference being, there was no Hello Kitty pictures on her clothes. But for all intensive purposes, that is what Lin wore as she and Curtis ran for their lives.

It’s a costume that has been discontinued now. It also wasn’t made for older folks. But the color and designs kept coming back to me as I was writing the story. So that’s what Lin ended up in.

Sometimes the smallest things can help contribute to your story. They might not seem signigicant at the time, but you never know when they will come in handy. Just like this costume.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Korean Horror Show Led To A Horror Story Of My Own

When I was living in southern CA about twelve years ago, there were several channels dedicated to Asian television. The programming would differ depending on the channel, whether it was Japanese, Chinese or Korean.

Anyway, I remember one channel that was always dedicated to Korean programs. The programs didn’t have English subtitles to go along with them. I can’t speak Korean, but I liked watching one of the shows in particular. It was a Korean horror show, where a different story with different characters would be broadcast each week. In one of them, there was a woman visiting a friend in a small town out in the boonies. Since I couldn’t speak Korean, I couldn’t get all the details down. But I could tell that the family she was visiting was being haunted by a little girl in a white nightdress. The people she was staying with were terrified by the sightings of her around their property.

At one point in the show, the visitor was outside with one of her friends, when a strong wind began to kick up. Her friend, began looking around to see what had brought on such a sudden change in weather. And to his horror, he saw the little girl standing on a tree branch in a tall creepy tree. She looked back at him as he was frozen in fear, the wind blowing her hair and all the leaves around her face. Then the man took off running.

At another point in the film, the main character was in a small shop. The same type of weather pattern occurred, only this time the little girl was roaming around the store as the others inside were fleeing away in fright.

I can’t remember all the details after that, but at some point, the lead character and family thought they’d solved the problem of the little girl’s haunting once they figured out who her killer was.

At the end, the main character is sitting on a boat on a calm lake, as if everything is OK. The show ends with a twist however, when she is pulled down into the water, likely by the little girl who wasn’t interested in reconciliation. She seemed to be set on targeting people based more out of rage and anger.

I never knew the name of the show and it wasn’t the only episode I ever watched. But that particular episode led to me writing a story called, Dare at Seely Park. I adjusted the frightening image of a female ghost from a tree top to a restroom roof instead. Eventually I finished the story off and tried to get it published in a writing contest, but it didn’t win. It’s never been published publicly. However I did include the story to some degree in, The Screaming Ghost of Suki Rin, which is a Lin Wu Story. I basically used the idea of my first story and put it into my second one.

So to make a long story short, that was the first piece of Korean cinema I saw which inspired me to write a story of my own. Kind of funny how things work out sometimes. But that’s my experience about how a show I could only visually understand, led to me writing a story of my own.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Curse of Ursa Morontu

Hey Lin Wu fans! A few years ago, I started watching Japanese TV shows that included English subtitles. The experience could be both enjoyable and frustrating at the same time. It was enjoyable in the sense that it was always fascinating to see how the Japanese go about the storytelling process. It seemed slightly different to me than the Hollywood version, and I always appreciated their imaginative ideas. It was frustrating however, because the DVDs I viewed, often had a problem in the English subtitle department. Even though the shows included English subtitles, it didn’t mean you could always read the translations coherently. For example, you might have a sentence that started off in English okay, but then it would go off in all sorts of directions, causing you to lose the intended meaning. In some cases, the subtitles were too difficult to decipher and I had to give up watching the show.

That being said, there was one show I watched during that time which I really enjoyed. It was called Sexy Voice and Robo.
Sexy Voice

The main characters in the show were a female junior high student and an otaku male. An otaku is basically like a model, toy, or manga geek, similar to the type of character that Douglas portrays in the Lin Wu story, Maid Momo. In the show the two characters would solve cases that could involve crime, murder, or basically any idea that would be appropriate to the show’s premise. In one episode, Sexy Voice, the female character, had to go undercover at a high school to investigate why students were purchasing a particular idol. The students selling it had a cult like following and Sexy Voice and Robo had to get to the bottom of it. When I started writing my Lin Wu stories, I recalled that episode and was inspired to write, The Curse of Ursa Morontu. It was another good pick for Lin Wu since it involved an Asian based theme and was also believable in Lin Wu’s world. I don’t want to spoil the plot for you, but you can see a teaser trailer for the story below. You can also get a slight look at the characters from Sexy Voice and Robo in the picture above. Japanese shows and movies have always been a big inspiration for me when it comes to Lin Wu. In many ways, the stories I’ve written about her to date, can be traced back to something that involved a Korean, Chinese, or Japanese film. It’s funny how things work out. But now you know where I got the inspiration to write The Curse of Ursa Morontu.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Dimension Travelers

In the early 2000s, I was just beginning to follow Japanese cinema. At the time I was already familiar with Japanese anime, like most people from my generation were. In fact, a few of my favorite shows from the 80s were, Voltron, Robotech, and Star Blazers. All of which were dubbed in English and aired in the afternoon for kids to watch after they got home from school.

Around 2003 though, I happened to come across a film called The Dimension Travelers. The film involved a couple of Japanese school girls named Midori and Mayumi. During the film they become dimension travelers and could switch their realities by the sheer force of imaging them with their minds. It forced them into several dangerous situations throughout the film as they entered the various realms.

That film left an impression on me and I was surprised to find out later that it was actually a remake of a TV show in Japan, during the 1970s. I found the whole idea intriguing and started brainstorming about how I could incorporate some of those elements into my Lin Wu stories. Eventually I came with the idea of, The Multidimensional Girl. In that story, there’s a slight nod to the idea of multidimensional travel. There are also slight influences from the film if you ever get a chance to compare the two.

Just like in Nasty Little Robots of Doom, the story format worked well for Lin Wu. It involved two intelligent girls, in this case, Lin and Gretchen. And there was a strong background in an Asian theme, in this case The Dimension Travelers. The Japanese have always been good and creating psychological teasers. The Multidimensional Girl is nod to that style of storytelling. If you’re interested in the film, you can see a copy of the DVD cover below. And if you don’t like reading subtitles, it also includes a decent English dub track.

Dimension traverlers

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nasty Little Robots of Doom!

Below is my favorite story trailer I made for, The Lin Wu Chronicles: Senior Year. The story is called, Nasty Little Robots of Doom. I don’t want to give the story away, as that wouldn’t be any fun for you if you ever decide to read the book or listen to the audio version. But I can share one piece of information with you. The main influence for this particular story can be traced back to 2008. During that time I was still living in Ohio and I ran across a documentary where a guy was following a group of high school students that were preparing to enter a robotics competition. They were going to be competing against other schools and had to incorporate their knowledge of robotic designs, capabilities and programming. The show was actually pretty cool and the students showed how they could design and then program what they wanted the robots to do.

Later in the show, the host also interviewed a guy living in Japan who had a huge robot collection. The robots had varying capabilities such as being able to move back and forth or performing small tasks, to behaving like pets. It was very cool to see what some of his robots could do. Towards the end of the show, the host interviewed Hiroshi Ishiguro, the famous Japanese android inventor in Japan. During the interview, Ishiguro shared some footage of the female androids being created in Japan also known as Fembots or Actroids. It was both startling and intriguing to see how realistic the androids could be. They could speak, move fairly fluidly, and could make humanlike facial expressions. They could almost pass for real women from a distance.

Anyway, that program left an impression on me and I got to thinking about it when I finally started writing down my Lin Wu stories. The content was perfect for Lin Wu, since it involved a setting that fit her world as a high school student. It also had a slight Asian influence to it, being that the female android phenomenon is mostly embraced by Japan. I finally got down the plot and figured out who all the characters were going to be and finished the story. So in the end, Lin Wu had another chronicle under her belt and this time she had trouble with robots. If you’re interested in the video I made about the story, you can view it below.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Book Cover!

With the release of The Lin Wu Chronicles: Senior Year audiobook, you may have noticed that the cover art has also changed. That is, the model on the front cover portraying Lin Wu is different. The reason for the change is two fold really. Number one, the same young lady who portrays Lin Wu in, The Lin Wu Chronicles: Senior Year book trailer, now matches the girl on the book cover. Luckily, the model was able to take some photos for me the same day the video footage was shot, and I was able to get her switched in on the cover. She was really nice and flexible about it. Not to mention a great sport.

But I believe there’s a greater significance in having the new model appear on the cover. The original model was a young lady I found after searching for a long time on various stock photo sites. She fit the look and appearance I was looking for. However, her photos were provided by a Japanese photographer. I got to thinking about my character Lin Wu and came to the conclusion that it would be cool if I could actually get an Asian American model to portray my character, since Lin Wu is Asian American. Once the model agreed to take some extra pictures for me, I was set. So now the new Lin Wu is actually Asian American which I think brings a little more authenticity to the character.

You may find though that there are two book covers floating around out there when you search for The Lin Wu Chronicles: Senior Year. Don’t let that confuse you. They’re both the same book, they just have two different models on the front cover. I’m also planning to have the same model appear on my next book. So if you’re interested in having a closer look at her, you can always click on the Lin Wu Chronicles: Senior Year book trailer. She’s an excellent actress as well.

But now the old book cover will be going out of print. So if you’re interested in getting the old book cover, it may pop up as rare when you search for it on websites. I still have some posters and book marks of the old cover, so you never know, you might still find one floating around out there someday. Here is one last look at the old cover.

big pic

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dare at Seely Park and the Ghost of Suki Rin

So when do you need a back story for a particular character when writing a book? The answer is, anytime it’s appropriate. And that story may never end up in the book you’re writing. Let me explain why.

In one of the chronicles of my last book, my main character goes to a haunted playground where a girl named Suki Rin, supposedly died. It’s a story that becomes more of an urban legend to Lin Wu and her friends. However, what the reader will never know, is that I previously wrote a short story detailing the incident with Suki Rin. The whole tragedy of how it happens is played out in a shorter story called, Dare at Seely Park.

Now fast forward to, The Lin Wu Chronicles: Senior Year. I always wanted to include that story into Lin Wu’s world somehow. But the problem I was having was finding a way to do it that made sense. Suki Rin was a prototype of Lin Wu as far as character goes. And since Lin Wu broke off into a different direction, I couldn’t really find a plausible way to get her and Suki together in a story. It was rather frustrating for awhile and I almost gave up on the idea all together.

But then the thought occurred to me that I didn’t have to retell the whole back story of Suki Rin. I could just give bits and pieces of what happened to her, so the reader would have a slight background on her once she was mentioned in Lin Wu. The end product became a chronicle called, The Screaming Ghost of Suki Rin. So that story is really a blend of two stories, Dare at Seely Park and The Screaming Ghost of Suki Rin.

Sometimes you have to know when a story can stand on its own and when it makes a better back story. However, if I ever publish a book full of short stories, I may include Dare at Seely Park. If that happens then a reader who has also read The Lin Wu Chronicles: Senior Year, may suddenly get a strong case of déjà vu. Kind of like a brain tease.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s All About Envy!

Sometimes things happen in your life that you can never forget. They might be good or bad depending on the situation. Other times, you may only be an observer to the incident. That was the case for me way back in high school. And in a roundabout way, that incident became part of my first book.

I was taking an elective class near the back of the school where those types of classes were generally held. Woodshop was another class only a few doors over from mine. Before and after classes, the students would hang around the front of the rooms during passing periods for a quick chat. On this particular day I overheard several of the male students giving another student, who happened to be a Vietnamese immigrant, a hard time. They were basically accusing him of doing too good a job on his woodshop project.

Apparently the projects were going to be graded on a curve, so the 100% mark would be based off of the best project. The problem for the other boys was the Vietnamese student had set the bar too high. They felt like he should tone down his project a bit, so theirs wouldn’t be affected by the curve as much. The other student listened to what they had to say uncomfortably; probably wondering what he did wrong and what he should do about the pressure they were putting on him.

Now I wasn’t particularly the model student of right and wrong myself at that age. But I remember thinking, even then, how strange it was. He was a target because he was too good. He wanted to put his best foot forward. That made the others look bad, so in their minds he should drop the bar and become mediocre like them. It seemed wrong to me then and still seems that way to me now. I wish I’d spoken up for him back then. But I was young and my ability to stand up for others was not as defined yet.

Fast forward to my first book, The Lin Wu Chronicles. A very similar incident occurs. It was based off that particular incident and becomes the key ingredient in one of Lin Wu’s conflicts.

Writing is basically an accumulation of experiences from our own lives. We incorporate them from the things we’ve witnessed or lived through. In other cases, we may learn about them through research and reading. It’s OK to put them in your writing. Sometimes doing so brings them to a full conclusion. I didn’t stand up for that boy all those years ago. But in a roundabout way, his story is still told through Lin Wu.

He might not remember the incident now, or even care about it. But his struggle became Lin’s struggle to a degree. His strive for excellence is mirrored by my character. His conflict for choosing to be excellent is also mirrored. Sometimes the drive to your best becomes your biggest advisory. It’s odd. but true. Sometimes it’s all about envy.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is That A J-Horror DVD Or A Book?

My next book cover might end up looking like a DVD case to a J-Horror film. For those of you who may be wondering, J-Horror stands for Japanese Horror and it’s the phrase used to describe most horror films that come out of Japan these days.

Why is that you may ask? It’s mainly due to the fact that Lin Wu is partially inspired by my recent interest in the genre. My first real experience with J-Horror was when the first Grudge film came out in 2005. Once I saw that film, I became interested in the J-Horror style of storytelling. Since then I’ve seen several films that have left me wondering. The Whispering Corridor series from Korea, the Tokyo Terror Tales series, the Tomie films, as well as other well know J-Horror films.

One thing always stood out to me while watching those films. Many of the characters were spiffily dressed school girls sporting stylish uniforms. The impression I got was that they were brave yet intelligent at the same time. The heroines themselves often being school girls out to solve mysteries, or at least, survive until the end of the film.

Now I know what you might be thinking if you’re already familiar with the genre, Lin Wu encounters tons of scary ghosts with long black hair, just waiting to snatch her up, as they make blood curdling screeches deep-down inside their throats. If you were thinking that, you’d be barking up the wrong tree. Lin Wu is more thriller oriented by nature with a little mystery thrown in. However, in “The Lin Wu Chronicles Senior Year,” she’ll be enrolled in a private school sporting a spiffy uniform in some of her adventures. Guess where that inspiration comes from? It’s also there that we find out a little more about Lin’s past, before she heads off to UC Davis.

One form of feedback I received after getting early reviews on my first book, was that people would like to read more about Lin Wu. Some wanted to know more about her early background, while others felt the first chronicle was too short. I’d have to agree with them on both counts. It was my first book, I self-published it and my knowledge of how the business worked back then was next to nil.

But is there really a market out there for a character like Lin Wu? Perhaps, but she’s still in her infancy stage right now, so in time, I may have a better answer for you. But one thing is clear, you should write what you know and do the best that you can at it. This is what I know, this is how I feel led to write and Lin Wu’s world keeps knocking on my door, so I can’t help but walk over to it and let her in.

Thanks for stopping by.

Take care!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Finishing off Sook-Joo!

It happens all the time. You’re writing your story at a maddening pace, everything seems to be going well, the end is just on the horizon. But then it happens, you hit a bump in the road. You lose your focus and your character’s plot comes to a screeching halt. After sitting at your computer for what seems like hours, you still can’t come up with a decent conclusion. You try and you try, but nothing seems to work, the ending eludes you. What to do?

Well luckily I haven’t experienced this dilemma often, however it has hit me from time to time. The best way for me to work my way through it, is to force myself to type something down on the computer screen. For me, having a place to start from is easier than having no place at all. I also know that I can change or rephrase whatever path I decided to take later. Often, the change may occur a few days later, when I’ve let the story rest for awhile. Having a break seems to help with the writing process. During that time you don’t know it, but your mind is removing the blocks you had while you were writing. After a few days, finishing the story seems like a breeze.

I recall going through this process while writing one of my stories from Lin Wu Senior Year. I was having a hard time coming up with a build up to the climax. But I knew for sure what I wanted to follow it up with. I basically followed the process from above. While I had my laptop on my lap, I forced down a buildup to the scene. I was tired at the time, but I forced it anyway because I knew it was holding me back. Then I was able to write the climax and finish the story. Later I went back and read what I had typed down. It worked pretty well actually, I just had to tweak it a little bit. Finally I was done and Sook-Joo vs the Phantom Squad was added to the chronicle.

Writer’s block is common and people deal with it in their own way.

Below is a trailer I created to go along with the story of Sook-Joo.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment