A Giveaway and 5 Post NaNoWriMo Tips

The holidays are approaching fast, and with that in mind it’s time for a giveaway! I’m trying to get my Amazon reviews up to fifty, and once I do, I’m giving away a signed copy of Sanctuary and a grab bag of Japanese goodies (shipped separately, because my life is all over the place right now).

You definitely do NOT have to review the book to enter — I want the contest to be open to everyone. That said, the draw happens when the reviews hit fifty, so the fastest way to make that happen is to write a review on Amazon! Also, my newsletter subscribers get an extra entry, so it’s a great time to sign up!

All you DO have to do to enter is send a message to sanctuarygiveaway@gmail.com with your name, mailing address, and favorite holiday treat (just to make things fun. And so I can get new ideas of things to indulge in. Because, why not).

Other Writing News

Like many of you, I’m coming hot off the heels of NaNoWriMo. I did reasonably well, writing about 54 000 words in November. That didn’t take me to the end of my book, but it got me a huge chunk of the way there. I’m working on finishing up now, and then I’ll move on to the edit process. And if you’ll spare me a few minutes before I give you pictures of Christmas in Japan, I have a few words of advice for those of you who wrote with me!

  1. Whether or not you achieved your goals, don’t give up! Even writing a little bit counts as a victory. You wrote. Writing is the first step.

2. November is NOT the end. Sanctuary was started as a NaNoWriMo project, and I didn’t finish it until January, and didn’t finish editing it until some months later. That’s fine. Use NaNoWriMo as your starting point, not your end game.

3. If you wrote, take the next step! Edit. Find a critique partner. Or even just write some more. You accomplished something amazing, and you deserve to enjoy it as fully as possible.

4. Don’t get discouraged if things didn’t go the way you intended. We all get stuck in rough spots in our stories. Push through them. The writing you do pushing through may be terrible, but as they say, you can’t edit a blank page.

5. Be easy with yourself. Life happens. Goals fall apart. Things are harder than we anticipate. Ideas that sound great in our heads translate to mush on paper. But if you keep at it, all of those things can become stepping stones on your path to publication.

And now, as promised… Christmas in Tokyo!

The Holiday Season in Japan

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that the holidays in Tokyo are… intense. Japan is decidedly not a Christian country, so I wasn’t sure how much Christmas would be a THING. I mean, I knew from past experience that it was celebrated and enjoyed, but I was not prepared for how far Tokyo likes to take things.

The “German” Christmas market in Roppongi Hills

November 1, the Halloween decorations came down and the Christmas lights went up! All through the city, there are incredible, breathtaking displays of lights. There are German Christmas markets. There are Santa Clauses and Christmas cake orders (and unlike back home, where Christmas cake means a repulsive lump of dried fruit and chalky cake, here it means something delicious, probably served with strawberries). There are special white chocolate and pistachio frappuccinos. There are even weirdly deformed Santa hands with strangely ominous pronouncements beneath them (or, as my husband has it, “This vaguely threatening Christmas ornament features the beloved St Nicholas rendered in ghostly white, with his infamous mutant hand. Indeed, Santa Claus is coming… to your house.”)

Of course I bought this, and yes, it’s definitely hanging on my wall.


But mostly, there are the lights. Because Tokyo has turned Christmas lights into something of a masterpiece, with each ward vying to see who can create the most stunning display. I couldn’t possibly take pictures of everything, but here are some images I hope you’ll enjoy!

Pictures really can’t do the lighting display near my school justice


This Christmas tree doubles as seating for tired shoppers, and is even more comfortable than it looks


This Christmas tree is under construction


And so until after the holiday season, much happiness to you all! Also, if you enjoy seeing these pictures, please consider signing up for my newsletter (I share pics I don’t share elsewhere) or sharing this post!