A K-Beauty skincare product review: This one is a game changer, I mean it!

CC CREAMI admit I’ve never written a blog post ever that is a review for a skincare product even though I’ve spent most of my adult life searching for skin care that actually promotes a visible improvement in the appearance and texture of my skin. I am moved to write this review for a couple of reasons. One, because now more than ever is a time to celebrate and highlight Asian-owned businesses and to recognize the incredible contributions to our society by Asian people and Asian-Americans; two, because I have found something truly good and which has helped me and it’s always important to share that so other people might find and benefit from it.

Several years ago, life led me to an AMAZING line of K-Beauty skin care products, all of which I use but one of which I will highlight today because I use it the most frequently. The line is called CURECODE and is what I would call a “game changer” dermaceutical because it produces a quantifiable improvement in the skin of a much deeper breadth and depth of products usually launched for skin care. There are formulas in this product you will not find anywhere else and which actually delve into the cause of the skin’s dryness when used regularly, rather than treating the symptoms temporarily. I have been using CURECODE since 2019 (I’ve lost track of the amount of time precisely). I have been a devotee of this company’s products since 2015 and have found various ones better for different needs, but I will get to that in the review.

First to explain how I came to be using CURECODE, since I’m not a beauty blogger known for product reviews and want to give a complete pitcure of why I am soooo enthusiastic about CURECODE. (This explanation will include a review of another of the company’s products from another line as well, just do you don’t get confused.)

ATOPALM MLESince my thirties (I am almost 52) I had been on the search for a face cream that would keep my skin always looking like it did when I was in my 20s. Okay, that is NOT a realistic goal, but it is realistic that a truly effective skin cream can make visible and quantifiable improvements to the skin. Little did I know what the near future had in store for me. In early 2016my path led me to read about a formula made by a K-Beauty company out of South Korea called ATOPALM MLE. Multi-Lamellar emulsion, which is effectively a bio-identical skin barrier that actually tricks the damaged skin barrier into absorbing it as part of the skin barrier itself, resulting in repair that enables dry and sensitive skin to draw in larger amounts of hydration and hold it in as effectively as strong healthy skin would be able to do. Sounds like a huge claim? It is NOT.

I asked the company for a sample of the ATOPALM MLE Intensive Moisturizing Cream and used it for several weeks on my face and neck. At first I didn’t notice a difference, then I noticed a large red splotch I’d had on the side of my neck for a few years began to shrink. I became a devoted customer of this cream and have been buying it ever since.

me holding CCIn the meantime, however, the company was working on developing new lines that could help with various skin challenges at different intensity levels. Hence, the emergence of CURECODE in late 2018. CURECODE contains the MLE but it also boasts a new patented formula called NEUROMIDE which (bear with the science here a moment), is a bio-identical agonist of the part of the gut microbiome that is connected to calming inflammation in the skin. In other words, when applied to the skin, the formula is designed to spark off the skin’s own endocannabinoid system in the skin barrier and stimulate healing. Another lofty claim? Again: IT WORKS.

I asked for samples to try the CURECODE Double Barrier Cream and used it for a few weeks. I loved the creamy yet non-greasy texture and when I had dry areas of the skin, it relieved the dryness.

However, I was lax about applying it to my hands. Dumb me, because I could have benefited much sooner. For most of my adult life, I have had scar tissue around the cuticle areas of my thumbs, a combination of too much cuticle clipping in my 20s, dry skin that peeled off and I would peel it off until it was sore, as well as writing with pens for many years in the days before I used word processors and typewriters and had dry calluses. It was nasty. I used hand cream intermittently but couldn’t ever heal the thumb areas. Sadly, I cannot find the BEFORE photos I took of my thumbs back when I was trying to heal them.

All I have now are recent AFTER photos when I realized that using the CURECODE Double Barrier Cream each night before bed and covering the troubled area with a bandaid for a couple of weeks was actually helping the skin become normal again.

Here are my thumbs healed:

right thumb

left thumb

left thumb

CURECODE Double Barrier Cream is THE best hand cream I have found overall. I’m continuing to apply a generous dollop each night and rubbing it into my hands to keep them healed and hydrated. As I’ve gotten older, my skin has gotten more sensitive and dryer and the CURECODE Double Barrier Cream is the cream I’m settling on for the long haul. Now I’ve found what works, I don’t need to keep searching.

Just as a note: I still use the ATOPALM MLE Intensive Moisture Cream for my face every day and I’m thrilled with how it keeps the redness out of my skin and the skin barrier stays soft. I am prone to rosacea but don’t need to worry about it emerging because the MLE formula in the cream keeps the skin barrier strong and healthy. I’m not big into selfies but in the spirit of full disclosure and review, here is one. Keep in mind I’m turning 52 next month so I consider this skin at my age to be much much better and softer-looking than I could have hoped for.

my skin I am showing the side that had the big red splotch in the curve of my neck and it is a small dot that continues to fade. I use the cream religiously since I first tried it and this is the overall improvement and effect. It is money well spent and truthfully, the prices are very budget friendly, considering you are getting dermaceutical-level products. I am done with any of the others I’ve tried, I kid you not. If you looked in my bathroom medicine cabinet, you wouldn’t find I’ve bought any other moisturizers for my skin than the ones I’ve mentioned here.

As a quick disclaimer: I am not being paid to review or endorse CURECODE or ATOPALM. I LOVE these products and want to share the love. Anyone with sensitive skin, very dry skin, skin prone to issues like eczema, atopic dermatitis, etc, I urge you to give these a try. Don’t just use it for a few weeks though. Make your trial a few months to give them time to build the skin barrier back up and then see if you experience why I love them so much.

You can find these and more on the company’s dermartology.com website.

Take care! Sedonia


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An Open Letter to Trump Supporters in the Face of My Father’s Passing from COVID-19

DadDear Trump Supporters,
Yesterday, April 27 at 10:11 a.m., my father passed away from complications of COVID-19. He is one of the many who have died alone in a hospital bed with no one he loved close by. He was my dad. I loved him. He, like you, voted for the current president, Donald J. Trump, and followed him the way you do, taking the words that come out of his mouth as fact and transcendent truth, in the face of all contradictory evidence.

Like you, he believed COVID-19 was fake news, a hoax cooked up by Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats to try and ruin his presidency when impeachment failed. Like you, he was quelled by the president’s assurances that the virus would weaken and be gone by spring, that more people would commit suicide because of quarantine than by the virus, that everyone who wanted a test could get one, and on March 2, 2020, that pharmaceutical companies are “to have vaccines, I think, relatively soon.” Trump dismissed the urgent need for self-quarantine as soon as possible when he could easily have urged every citizen of the nation to quarantine and practice social distancing to help people save their own lives and the lives of those they love and of their communities. Because his words, attitudes and actions are your guide, my dad, like so so many of you, refused to quarantine in the crucial weeks that COVID-19 cases began infiltrating the US.

On March 20, I received a distressed call from my sister. “You won’t believe the conversation I just had with Dad. I called him and he was in Peter Pan Diner, having lunch! I said, Dad, you shouldn’t be in there. You don’t know who’s preparing the food or who sat at the table before you. They could be infected. His answer was, ‘It’s clean in here.’” Two weeks later, he was admitted to the hospital after growing weak and disoriented and then, testing positive for Covid-19. Now he is gone.

I have to say, I do not understand your mentality. I watch on the news how so many of you claim to be pro-life, even going so far as to protest abortion clinics. Yet, now, at a time when trying to preserve human life is crucial, you refuse to take the measures that would help prevent a life-destroying virus from spreading and killing untold numbers of people. Worse, there are those among you who are actually protesting the safety measures taken by state governments to slow the spread of the virus while they work on getting tests and, hopefully, a vaccine.
Do you really believe that somehow you who love and support Donald Trump are magically immune to the virus? Obviously that isn’t true. My father completely agreed with you that Donald Trump should be our president and supported him unfailingly and unquestioningly and now he is gone. He left behind people who loved him and now mourn him after not having had a chance to see him one last time and to be near him. There will be no memorial service because those of us left behind are doing what we can to protect our health and the health of those around us. It is our duty as human beings, to each other. It is what is decent and right and true. Apparently, you don’t feel this way and people who may not have gotten sick, are sick and dying from this pandemic.

Of course, everyone dies at some point. Death is a fixture of our existence and we all must face this passage. However, these past few weeks of my father’s deterioration chronicled only in phone conversations with a doctor and one video call in which I got to say good bye before his consciousness had waned to the point he couldn’t see me, have driven home the heartlessness of those who refuse to practice social distancing and self-quarantining. The heartlessness of those who protest the crucial safety measures in place with guns on the steps of government buildings. There are actual people affected by your attitudes and the actions resulting from those attitudes. People who are losing loved ones because they believe in someone whose words claim to have their interests and safety at heart but who, in the clinch, did not tell those he knows would have listened to him to get inside and social distance.

In all honesty, I don’t expect you to be moved by this letter or to change your viewpoints. I am not so naive. I am too well-versed in what it is like to have a family member who voted for Trump and I understand there is nothing anyone can say that elicits any other response than angry defensiveness of obvious stupidity. However, in the face of these facts, at least you can’t insist that somehow believing in Trump will magically protect you from the pandemic. This letter is a way of my processing my grief and utter frustration at the situation, not only my own frustration but that of so many who have protected themselves and the ones they love from the get go, as well as that of people in the same situation as myself: a loved one ill and dying in a hospital bed and unable to be near them and say good bye. If someone reads this letter and does have a spark of, “hey maybe I’m wrong and what I’m doing is hurting people and possibly causing people to get infected,” great. But I will not hold my breath. I will just continue to process this great loss and mourn someone who, while I totally disagreed with everything he stood for politically, was my dad and whom I loved and will miss.


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I thought I was writing M/M Romance – turns out I…wasn’t?

HisBeautifulSamurai24Since 2006 when I wrote what I thought was my first M/M Romance, Danny’s Dragon, I believed I was, as an author, becoming part of a genre that would speak to women who loved reading about men falling in love as well as gay men who would want to read the same thing. I was quickly disillusioned.

I shortly learned that M/M Romance, having emerged from slash fiction was not truly considered part of gay fiction because M/M Romance is about fantasy pairings of men and not concerned with the issues and real emotions and sexuality of real gay men. Understood. M/M Romance obviously emphasizes fantasy (as it does in het romance. I have read a bunch of both and the feelings elicited in me as the reader are nearly identical, hence my inner measuring stick for what qualifies as romance regardless of the gender of the pairing involved). What I wasn’t aware of as time passed were the heated debates, or what seems like at times, the war between M/M Romance authors (overwhelmingly women) and gay male authors who were for the most part, being clearly alienated and discounted, judging by many of the responses to their expressed distress.

Initially, when I heard about these conflicts, I thought to myself, ‘well, romance readers are largely women and romance writers are largely women. The romance book industry always pulls in the largest sector of book sales each fiscal year so it makes sense. One has nothing to do with the other.’ But one day I thought to myself, ‘how would I feel if there were a group of non-Jewish authors writing very successful books about Jewish people, making those Jewish characters unrealistic or factually wrong and then if I spoke up about it, getting told to shut up and that it’s none of my business even though I’m Jewish? Hello!’ I would be so upset and feel that something very wrong was being done.

I only heard peripherally about all this heated debate. It was like being in another country which is quiet and mostly deserted while turbulence rages somewhere else, unheard and seen. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t know about what was happening. I was an M/M Romance author after all. Wasn’t I one of the writers who was exploiting gay men to make money? I looked a lot at this question and years later I’m still not sure of this answer. I didn’t set out to exploit anyone. I set out to write the stories that were burgeoning in my heart. The fact that my books have always had a small devoted following made up almost equally of men and women that I was aware of made me question that possibility. I continued on writing what I write, the stories that were organically inside me to express, thinking, I’m just a sleeper M/M Romance author. After all, my books had happy endings, plenty of love scenes and emphasized the developing relationship between the two love interests, even if droves of M/M Romance readers didn’t find them interesting.

Then, after all this time, a few days ago, I had a revelatory experience. I had a conversation with a gay male colleague who has always been an ally of my work. He told me that my work doesn’t fit into any category and that one of the things he loves about the romantic pairings in my books is that one of the men is softer and yielding to the other man but the other man is also tender and caring, and that this dynamic speaks to something he craves in a gay romance.

Wow! His words made a huge light go off. I have actually been reeling ever since. I began to Google the term: gay fiction vs. M/M Romance and found other colleagues’ well-read blog entries about the distinctions between m/m and gay fiction, all addressing the issue with intelligence, thoughtfulness and clarity. I absorbed what I was reading and although as an author and then as an author-turned-publisher wherein I had to define genres in order to list titles on my publishing sites I had already figured out many of the technicalities of genre, I just had not been able to apply them to my own work. The writers’ explanations were helping me clarify the content of my own writing after what has been years of staggering around in the dark. It was no wonder I hadn’t been aware of the genre conflicts going on because I was floating around, far from even the periphery, not fitting in anywhere.

I am still trying to work out where my books fit in in all this. The men who’ve read my work have always praised it, much to my delight. While there is always HEA or HFN in my stories, I was never told the men in my books were unrealistic. I have never been able to portray men with that that world at their feet kind of confidence, doing and saying things that real guys wouldn’t do and say. They don’t vie for dominance, which is one of the characteristics I’ve learned is common in M/M Romance. I like them to be sensitive and protective. I like them to have some neuroses here and there left over from childhood experiences that they learn to find healing for with the man who is their love interest. Sometimes they say the wrong thing or act like a jerk and have to apologize. Some of them are vegetarian, more than one has taken in a stray animal. Which perhaps the characters in many other authors’ books have done. I’m not judging. I haven’t read enough of them to make that determination. I’m just trying to figure out where my books fit on the spectrum. I have tried to begin writing the business billionaire mogul type character in an Armani suit kind of story but I can never get more than a couple thousand words in before I am delving into his deep psychological past and making him other than a jet-setter in the corporate world I personally despise and then focus on his personal development and the mutually healing interactions with his growing love interest. But because there is always a Happy-Ever-After of Happy-For-Now and the characters, once they meet and begin to fall in love, only ever have sex with each other, which is not always the case in real-life relationships, my work can’t really qualify as “gay fiction.”

So… I write romances between men that don’t really seem to be the kind of M/M Romance that is wildly popular. I don’t write gay fiction that expresses the concerns and issues of gay men today with the exception of a character having come from a homophobic family and having to work through the fallout of that upbringing. And I don’t write what could be considered slash fiction or yaoi-inspired fiction, although that latter category is another one I fancied I was writing and realized I was wrong. Setting a gay romantic story in Japan and having Asian characters does not automatically make a story yaoi. Hello again!

So what genre is it? I thought of a possibility. Perhaps “gay romantic fiction” would be the name that encapsulates my books (and the work of other authors as well). Stories wherein the main focus is on the developing romance between the two heroes within the broader context of solving a murder mystery or some such plot arc, but also contains more emphasis on character study and personal growth and at times, spiritual consciousness?

Yes, perhaps “gay romantic fiction” would be a more accurate moniker? No doubt there are other authors (some of whom I know personally) whose work fits more into a genre of this name. What do you think?

Thanks for reading! Best, Sedonia


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Pre-order She Belongs To Them Both (Werewolf/Paranormal MFM)

I’m so excited that She Belongs To Them Both is now available for pre-order at Amazon! It releases from Ai Press on March 24 but can be pre-ordered today. Following is a blurb and excerpt. Hope you will want to check it out. Warmly, Sedonia
200x300 (1)She Belongs to Them Both
Sedonia Guillone
Genre: Menage; M/F/M; Paranormal; Shapeshifters; Werewolves
Imprint: Ai Press
Length: Super novel
Price: 2.99 USD

Pre-order from Amazon Kindle

Cover art: Louca Matheo

Two werewolves are her chosen mates for life!

A paranormal romance that will take you from Boston’s legendary Chinatown to Beijing to the plains of Tibet…

Since he was bitten three years ago on the plains of Tibet, Jie Sing has fought back the ravening beast inside him. His attempts are unsuccessful until the stars lead him to the woman destined to be his mate, half a world away in Boston’s Chinatown. Fighting a deadly rival to keep her, Jie finds that in Megan’s arms, their passion keeps the beast at bay. Then Jie receives an urgent call summoning him back to China. Jie’s ex-wife in Beijing has accused Jie of attacking her in the street and had him arrested. But that’s impossible, seeing as he’s in America with Meg! Who is this “twin”—and why does Meg need to make love to both of them?

Publisher’s note: This book was previously published at Ellora’s Cave Publishing under the title, Kiss of the Werewolves.


Only then did she become aware again of their surroundings. The motors hummed and vibrated through the small space, reminding her they were in the plane lavatory. She couldn’t help smiling to herself. Before Jie, something this wonderful, this erotic would never have happened to her.

Finally, when they were rested, they maneuvered in the tiny space, worked around each other to do up their clothing. Once dressed, Jie took her in his arms again and nuzzled her hair. “Now,” he said softly, “we should both try to get some sleep.” His hand slipped into her hair, cradling her head. “As soon as we get to the hotel and settle in, I have to contact Su Lin.”

Meg sighed. “I know.” She wished she could just enjoy the languorous aftermath of their lovemaking without the specter of meeting Jie’s ex-wife hovering. She was tempted to ask Jie to just let it go, not to bother defending himself. But she knew how guilty he felt and how important it was that he was cleared of Su Lin’s accusation.

She let her thoughts wander to the stranger whom Su Lin thought was Jie. A strange tingle shimmered down her spine. Who was this man who looked so much like Jie that Su Lin thought he was her ex-husband? As a woman, she felt she would know Jie anywhere, even if he’d changed physically and she hadn’t seen him in a long time. She had taken Jie into her body and heart. He was imprinted on her very soul, as no doubt, he was on Su Lin’s. That thought made jealousy simmer deep in her gut, relieved only by Jie’s tender adoration.

Jealousy aside, the truth remained. There was something strange going on—though it couldn’t possibly be more bizarre than the fact that the man she loved changed from a man into a wolf-like beast at every full moon. They would obviously have to see this mysterious stranger and Jie would need to identify him while they were in Beijing in order to prove to Su Lin and to the authorities that he had been in the United States at the time of the stranger’s arrest.

“What are you thinking, Meg?” Jie’s gentle tenor cut through her musings.

She looked at him. Guilt snaked through her for all her private thoughts. She searched her heart for the words she really wanted to say. Now was no time to express fear and jealousy. “I was thinking how much I want everything to work out.”

He rested his hands on her shoulders and nodded. “Me too,” he murmured.

Jie left the lavatory first and she followed him after washing her face and smoothing and repinning her mussed hair. Then she went out and took her seat next to Jie, trying to get some rest with her hand laced in his.

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Guest author: Leona Windwalker!

Behind the Scenes Bonus Short- J’nel Meets Sunshine
by Leona Windwalker


J’nel ignored the stares as he climbed out of his vehicle. Commander J’nah had asked this personal favor of him, trusting no one else. It was an honor he intended to repay by doing his duty to fulfill the request to the best of his ability. He entered the lobby, noting the way residents checking for messages sent to their paper comm boxes either fled, flattened themselves against the comm boxes, pr ducked their heads down, avoiding his gaze. He knew he was a novelty, and an imposing one at that. At seven foot three, he towered above the humans he’d come across so far. Coupled with his warrior’s physique, he understood why they might feel intimidated. He didn’t smile at them. It was not a social occasion and he wanted them to know that the empty apartment was under Talani Guard protection in case any of them got any ideas about helping themselves to Commander J’nah’s Sachari’s belongings.

He climbed the stairs to the indicated floor, quickly finding the door that fit the metal key he’d been given to fit the locking mechanism. He unlocked the door, feeling eyes watching him. The neighbor across the hall, no doubt, watching through the spy hole placed in the door. The door unlocked easily, and swung open easily once he turned the handle. The lights were off and he tried to remember how humans usually turned on their lights as they didn’t use verbal commands, usually. That sort of technology was availble, but not yet widely used. He found the switch by the door, and flipped it upwards. Light blazed through the apartment’s living room.

He shut the door behind him, no longer needing the light from the hallway to see well. Removing his data pad from his pocket, he pulled up the list of items that J’nah had asked him to pack up. He’d just located the third item on the list when he heard a scratching noise, accompanied b a muffled animal cry. He turned towards where the sound was coming from. A small, fluffy animal peered back forlornly at him through the balcony’s sliding glass door.

Cat. Surely, I am not to leave the cat? It’d be irresponsible. I shall have to ask J’nah what to do with the animal.

The cat redoubled its efforts, knowing that J’nel knew it was there. J’nel recalled seeing a bag of dried cat food in the kitchen. He grabbed the bag. A quick glance in the cupboards found him a bowl he could place the food in.he filled the bowl, then opened the sliding glass door. Before he could step all the way outside, his found himself in danger of tripping, thanks to the small bundle of fur now winding itself between his feet. Tail up in the air, the animal rubbed its body against his loer legs, making a rumbling sound that made J’nel want to bend down and stroke its fur. He bent down, placing the food on the floor. Immediately, the cat turned its attention to the dish and began gobbling the food down, though its loud rumbles did not cease.

J’nel reached his hand out and gently stroked its fur.

So soft.

The cat paused eating for but a split second, quickly glancing up to assess what the strange man was doing. J’nel crouched down, marveling at the softness of the fur, the way the deep orange and black patches made a pattern against her white fur, and the contrast of the colors against his own emerald hued hand. The cat finished eating and J’nel decided it might be best to pick her up.

It’ll be easy to contain her pending further instruction from J’nah.

He closed his hands under the pliant body, only to be met with a sudden nip to one hand while it violently twisted itself about in an impossible shape, before streaking away with incredible speed. Before he could do more than react to the bite, the cat was gone having jumped from this balcony onto the next. He leaned over the rail, hoping to coax it back. It glanced at him over its shoulder, puffed out its tail, then sashayed tauntingly towards a fire escape on the other end of the building.

It will come back, he told himself. It will want to eat again. He turned, and went back inside the apartment, but not before sending a comm to Commander J’nah, asking him for further instructions regarding the cat. The little ball of fluff was fierce, yet also comforting. He wished it to come to no harm and that had absolutely nothing to do with how the soft fur and the rumble of sound it made brightened his soul.



Matthias Reynolds loves his life. He’s starting to make it as a graphic artist at last and has a job he really likes at a local café that pays the bills. When a night out clubbing leads to an awkward morning after, he’s embarrassed and more than ready to forget all about it. When Talani Enforcers show up at the café, he doesn’t know what to make of it all as he’s led away in restraints.

Standing accused of crimes he struggles to understand, he finds he has an unexpected champion: the Talani warrior and war hero J’nah Quislin. J’nah knows that Matty is his. All J’nah has to do is keep Matty safe from those who engineered Matty’s charges and sentencing. That, and get Matty to accept that universe always intended them to be together as one. All it requires is for Matty to return J’nah’s devotion and offer his willing submission. Can Matty do it, with all that it will mean for his future?

Buy from Amazon


Author Bio:

Leona is a longtime staunch supporter of human rights and environmental causes. Her favourite genre to read is M/M fiction and she particularly enjoys science fiction, fantasy, and action/suspense sub-genres—especially if they have a nice seasoning of romance. She has far too many books on her Kindle, has overloaded her phone with even more and, when not reading, writing, being driven to distraction by her children, or being overlorded by her three cats, can be found trying to locate the portal that the sock monster uses to steal socks from her dryer.

Recent head-reeling news for her included her novel Jared:Urban Wolves #1 being nominated for an Indie Award from Metamorph and placing as a finalist in the 2016 Rainbow Awards, earning an Honorable Mention. She’s still suspicious that it’s all been a dream, but as long as her readers are happy and she can find at least one of the missing socks, she’s happy.

You’ll find her books on Amazon, ), including on Kindle Unlimited. You’ll also find her on Facebook at Leona Windwalker, where you can keep up on news regarding current, new, and upcoming releases.


Don’t forget to put it on your Goodreads shelf!

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Cover reveal! Flying Fish coming to Dreamspinner Press!

FlyingFish_FBprofile_OptizimedForFeed Some of you might already be familiar with my Sword and Silk series which begins with this title, Flying Fish, which focuses on the romance between Daisuke Minamoto, a ronin who returns to his home town to seek revenge on the lord who’d murdered his wife years earlier and Genji Sakura, a traveling kabuki actor whom Daisuke stumbles upon, bathing in a hot spring. Their encounter turns passionate and Daisuke, unexpectedly smitten with the beautiful young man, finds himself quickly at a crossroad: continue his oath of vengeance, or take responsibility for the destruction his anger causes Genji.

If you are familiar with the series, you know it continues with Blind Love and the never before published Blossom of the Samurai. I was fortunate enough to get the series contracted at Dreamspinner Press where Flying Fish is now available for Pre-Order. Official release: August 17! Yay! I hope you’ll check it out. Here is a little snippet from the story. I would love to hear your opinion when you’re done. Do you like stories about samurai? Ir maybe other historical settings for m/m stories?


Chapter One
Kai Province, Edo Period, Japan
During the Tokugawa Shogunate

Ah, finally, the hot spring! A sunny summer afternoon to himself to enjoy a soak and not another soul in sight with whom he’d be forced to share. Who’d have thought such an oasis of luxury awaited a lowly traveling Kabuki actor, a flying fish who jumped from town to town with his troupe, entertaining merchants, peasants, and samurai? Unimaginable. Except that it had happened. And might not last long.

Genji stared a moment into the placid water of the small pond, surrounded by large rocks between which one could slip to reach the water. Steam rose invitingly from its surface. Even the twittering birds in the trees surrounding the small enclave of rocks seemed to be ordering him in quickly. A hot spring like this would probably not remain undiscovered for long. Once he went back to the troupe’s quarters, only the Buddha might know when he’d have this chance at solitude again.

That was all the encouragement he needed. Genji pulled open the sash of his kimono and let the article slip to the rock below his feet. On top of that, he dropped the small knife he carried, which when sheathed appeared to be a woman’s fan. A mistake probably, leaving it there, considering there were bandits in the countryside who could assail a lone person. But the briefness of time made him throw caution aside.

He stepped out of his wooden sandals, not bothering to fold his clothes neatly. The tie in his hair also landed on his discarded garments, as he fully intended to wash his hair in this hot water. Another luxury he couldn’t have dreamed of before this moment. Now he was naked, having already daringly left off the loincloth before parting from his quarters in the village. Who wanted to spare the valuable time to unwrap it in the instance that he found the legendary hot spring spoken of by the innkeeper?

He covered his knife with the folds of the kimono, left it within his reach, then stepped into the water. And immediately smiled. Delicious already and the water had barely submerged him past the ankle.

Anchoring his weight on one rock, he lowered himself in to his upper chest. Mmm, more luxurious heat penetrated his skin. The perfect relaxation. Bending forward, he soaked his long hair, then yanked his head back and scrubbed his scalp with eager fingertips. It wasn’t the same as having someone else do it for him, but it made his eyes close with pleasure all the same. Dipping down again, he rinsed his hair until he felt certain all the dust of the road had washed away, leaving the long, ebony strands gleaming.

He squeezed the excess water from the length of his hair then found a spot to sit and recline, where a rock jutted out into a natural ledge underneath the water. The sun warmed his face, and the water warmed his body. Warmth filled him. Made his soul as warm as his body. In moments like these, he could forget for a little while. Forget his childhood memories of the anguished cries of women and children as they all were forced from their homes in the aftermath of their lord’s defeat and herded onto the platforms to be sold. The sun made a reddish glow of the darkness behind his closed eyelids, a starburst of light that blocked out even the worst of his childhood visions.
A breeze passed over, blowing cool on his damp skin, rustling the leaves of the bushes and trees surrounding the tiny pool. However, when the breeze died down, the rustling of the leaves continued. Heavier, with the crunch of tiny twigs under the weight of something on top of them.

Genji’s eyes shot open. Sunlight flooded them, blinding him for a moment. The surface of his skin crackled to life. He strained to hear, and his body tensed, ready to spring from the water for his knife an arm’s length away.

Another snap of twigs.

He sat bolt upright. “Who’s there?” he growled.


Genji might have thought it was an animal in the brush, but his inner voice told him otherwise. It whispered to him that he shared this tiny oasis with another human being. Someone who’d been spying on him, watching him wash his hair.

Genji leaned over, slipped his hand within the folds of his kimono, and wrapped a hand around the hilt of his knife, a gift from a high-ranking samurai who had patronized Genji’s talents in the past, both on and off the stage. “Answer me,” Genji said, his voice tight. Years of acting had taught him how to infuse his tone with whatever emotion was needed for effect. In this instance, he sought for threatening. “I’m armed. I know how to use this knife.” Indeed, he could follow his threat with action. That same samurai had taught him some basic swordsmanship, in between sessions of intense lovemaking.

Silence still answered him, yet the sense of another human presence remained.

Genji slid the knife from its scabbard.

“If you don’t show yourself on the count of three,” Genji went on, gaze trained on the rocks that hid part of the brush, “I will climb from this pool, seek you out, and gut you. Don’t think I won’t do it.” Though slim and narrow in build, with finely etched muscle and not the brawn of a highly trained samurai or laborer, Genji had speed and agility. As a dancer, he’d found the principles of movement were the same.

“Relax, peasant,” a voice said suddenly from behind the brush. “I’m obeying your order.”

Genji’s insides jumped. The voice, deep and male, held a hint of mockery tinged with admiration. Though the owner of the voice hadn’t threatened his safety, Genji continued to hold his knife at the ready, should the stranger indeed mean him harm.

The leaves and branches of the brush rustled and snapped, and within seconds, a figure emerged. He came to a stop at the edge of the rocks.

Genji stared, blinking, not so much because the glare of the sun made a halo of blinding light around the stranger’s broad figure, but because when the man moved so as to block the sun from Genji’s eyes, the vision before Genji was that of a wild warrior.

Darkness. The word rose in Genji’s mind as the stranger moved a few steps closer. Dark eyes, swarthy skin, jaw and cheeks covered with more than a few days’ growth. And though his abundant black hair was pulled back, much of it had escaped its tie and rioted about his rugged face.

The man, obviously a samurai of some sort, would have been handsomely imposing had his clothing not been ragged and desperately in need of washing, even his rope sandals, though Genji felt certain that the blades of his weaponry, long sword, short, and knife, were polished to perfection within their woven scabbards. The hands that handled those weapons were large, fingers thick, and his legs in their gaiters below the hem of his kimono were also thick, muscled limbs of coiled strength.

Genji’s tanto and his limited ability to use it were a mere joke in the face of this obviously skilled warrior, however ragged and dirty his state. His fear must have shown, for the stranger gave him a sudden lopsided grin and began to untie his belt, lowering his weapons to the rocks.

“I apologize for coming upon you the way I did, like a sneak thief,” the samurai said. His hands went to the tie of his kimono and worked it open. “I thought you were a woman when I saw you from a distance, washing that hair.”
Genji exhaled a tiny bit. But only a bit. He set his tanto onto the rock behind him, an excuse to avert his gaze from the thickly muscled torso being revealed. For some reason, the man’s growing nakedness made Genji feel testy. “So you would have continued to spy on me, taking advantage of my undress had you not seen I’m a man?”

The samurai didn’t answer though his dark gaze shifted away from Genji in a way that appeared guilty. He removed his gaiters, unwrapped his loincloth, dropping everything on top of his other ragged clothing, and Genji got an eyeful of the samurai’s musuko. Even in its softened state, the member hinted at delicious thickness when erect. The sac beneath it was equally abundant-looking, heavy and full.

The samurai leaned down, turning halfway as he began to lower himself into the water. His meaty leg and ass muscles flexed as he climbed down into the pool and settled on the other side. Genji didn’t know if there was a rock ledge to sit on over there, but he didn’t offer the space beside him in spite of this warrior’s handsome appearance. He entertained enough samurai already, nearly every evening after the day’s performances. His life was not his own, and it was a blessing for him that he loved the theater, otherwise he would have gone mad and committed hara-kiri long ago with his own knife.

Without meaning to, Genji caught a glance of the way the waterline lapped at the samurai’s chest and gleamed on the golden hue of his skin, just beneath the large dark rounds of his nipples.

“To answer your question,” the samurai said finally, “yes, I would have continued to spy on you, as crude as that may be.”

Genji blinked again, struck at the man’s honesty. That, at least, was refreshing. Not all samurai were as noble as their warrior’s code demanded they be.

“Even after you first spoke,” the samurai went on, “I wasn’t sure of your sex. Your voice is soft and gentle even though you tried to sound fierce. It took many moments of debating whether to show myself. Only when you turned around and I saw your male chest, I knew I could come out without making you scream.”

Genji continued studying him as he spoke. The samurai’s voice was deep, each word saturated with emotions. The explanation made some of Genji’s apprehension ebb, and he nodded. “I see.”

The samurai cupped some water and splashed his face. Shiny droplets clung to the heavy dark stubble on his cheeks and jaw. “You must be a boy, then, by your smooth appearance.”

“No.” Genji lifted his chin. “I’m in my twenty-fifth year.” Truthfully, he’d not been a boy since his family’s expulsion from the castle into dire poverty, a violence that had ripped him from childhood and thrown him into the constant struggle for survival.

His bathing companion looked doubtful for a moment but then nodded and continued to wash himself. He came away from the edge to the center of the small pool and dipped underneath the surface, scrubbing his skin when he rose.

His large hands slid over his arms and chest, making the water stream off his skin.

Genji tried not to watch him while that testy feeling intensified. He shifted his weight. “I’m not a peasant either,” he said to the man’s back. Water soaked the man’s abundant hair, making it shine in the sun, and those thick back muscles flexed and bunched as he washed himself. Genji had nothing against peasants, of course. His parents had been peasants who’d served the lord of their province within the grounds of the castle keep before the shogun dissolved the lord’s estate and turned them all out. But Genji hadn’t had the chance to grow up as a peasant once he’d been sold into service of Shizu, the theater troupe’s director. And so, his occupation, the very thing that had formed his identity as a human being, was of utmost importance to him and would be known. Even to this bedraggled-looking warrior.

The samurai turned and regarded him. More water beaded off his broad chest and down his taut abdomen. “What are you then?”

Genji squared his shoulders a bit. “An actor.”

The samurai’s eyes widened with a look of amazement. “Ohhhh,” he said in a hushed whisper, as if a great honor were being conferred on him. Then he bowed, his face nearly touching the surface of the water.
Genji’s cheeks burned. Was the samurai mocking him?

But when the other man straightened, his expression seemed sincere. “You must be famous,” he said.

“You don’t need to make fun of me just because I am part of a traveling troupe.”

The samurai’s brow furrowed. “I make fun of no one.” He bowed again. “I have never met an actor before.”

Genji studied him as his indignation faded. Judging from the wild look of the man, it was certainly possible he didn’t patronize the theater as so many of his class did. Then Genji understood his own agitation. “I apologize,” he said softly. “I see you weren’t mocking me. I’m not accustomed to a… response such as yours.”

“Oh.” The samurai bowed again, and Genji felt his cheeks tingle a bit. In spite of their strange introduction, the warrior seemed to possess the sense of honor exhorted by the samurai code, a quality Genji found attractive.

“My name is Genji,” he said, feeling his heart open a bit toward the samurai. Politeness went quite far with him since so many patrons saw his occupation as an excuse to make him an immediate object of their carnal appetites without regard for his feelings. “Sakura Genji.” Sakura was a surname he’d given himself, not only because he found cherry blossoms beautiful, but as a stage name, it had a touch of romance to it. He also felt it would honor his parents. They’d have been proud to know their son had earned the honor of a surname, even if he had to confer the honor upon himself as he grew older and earned his promotion from stagehand to understudy to first performer.
The samurai bowed yet again. “Minamoto,” he said, “Minamoto Daisuke.”

“Pleased to meet you.” Genji paused before speaking again. “Which lord do you serve?” he asked and immediately regretted his question.

Minamoto’s face darkened, and the wildness Genji had first seen came forth in his look.

“I serve no lord,” he said quietly. “I’m a ronin.”

A masterless samurai. There were many of those in the world. For various reasons, these warriors roamed the countryside, using their skills for their own purposes, never swearing fealty to one lord. Indeed, the status explained Minamoto’s unkempt state. The occupation of ronin never held the promise of steady employment, especially in a time as relatively peaceful as this one, when a swordsman’s skill was not so much in demand.
Genji sought to lighten the sudden mood. There was something underneath the ronin’s demeanor that made Genji uneasy in spite of the man’s apparent honorability. “Well, then, we have something in common,” he said.

“What is that?” Minamoto looked genuinely curious.

“Neither of us stays long in one place. You’re a ronin, and I’m a tobiko.”

Minamoto broke into a grin. He laughed then, a deep, rich laugh that did, indeed, release the darkness of the previous moment.

Genji found the laughter infectious and joined him. Their combined voices echoed into the air, Minamoto’s deep sound and Genji’s higher, melodious one blending into the sweet summer air and the birdsong in the surrounding trees. Life held some truly pleasant moments for Genji at times, and this was one of them.

When their mirth had passed, Minamoto regarded him with a thoughtful expression. “I wouldn’t have thought of such a comparison, but you’re right, after all. The world holds great uncertainties for both of us.”

Genji nodded then saw the samurai’s look change, as if his own words had made him think of something he’d left behind while laughing. Feeling suddenly shy, Genji gazed down at the water. “This is certainly a beautiful spot,” he said. The mood had darkened again, and Genji understood. Minamoto carried this darkness with him. It was part of him, like a precious treasure to which he clung for survival. Being an actor had sensitized Genji to the inner workings of human beings. After all, he needed to access the depths of human existence in order to portray it effectively onstage through song and dance.

“It is beautiful,” Minamoto agreed. “I’ve soaked here many times.”

“Oh, so you’ve been in the province before.”

The darkness seemed to close in like a shadow over Minamoto’s handsome face. “I lived here for some time, years ago.”

“I see.” Genji remained quiet. It wasn’t his way to pry into others’ lives. He’d learned long ago to mind his own affairs. Yet, it often didn’t matter. For whatever reason, he had a way about him that made people feel able to bare their souls to him and so had often learned more than he wanted to know of others’ depravities and secrets.
A tormented look tightened Minamoto’s features. “It’s no secret why I lived here and why I left. No doubt you’ll hear the gossip once people see I’ve returned.”

Genji’s insides jumped. Apparently, the ronin sensed this thing in Genji as well. It was inescapable. “I never pay heed to gossip,” he said. “It’s belittling. Unworthy of even the lowliest peasant.”

A moment of silence passed, and Genji thought his response had ended their conversation, but Minamoto spoke again.
“Five years ago, the lord of this province murdered my wife,” he said quietly. “Shot her with an arrow while he was out hunting. She was collecting flowers. They were still in her hand when she was brought to me.”

Genji stared at him. It occurred to him perhaps the lord had been hunting and mistook the woman’s movement for a game creature, but deep inside, he knew it wasn’t true. The act had been committed in cold blood. The truth was in Minamoto’s eyes.

“I was a threat to him,” Minamoto continued. “The aid I gave to certain of his vassals made him distrust me. He did it to rid the province of me. He succeeded. I could not stay here after that… and be reminded of her. Everywhere I looked.”

“I’m truly sorry,” Genji said softly. Clearly the ronin still grieved. The woman’s death had obviously been a loss from which Minamoto felt he could never heal. Perhaps that was the cause of the darkness Genji had sensed in the man.

Minamoto’s stricken eyes went to him. The sympathy he read on Genji’s face seemed to soothe him, for his look shifted to something softer. He nodded an acknowledgment of Genji’s kindness. “Since then, I’ve traveled every inch of Japan, been to every province, and studied with the greatest swordsmen of each fiefdom.”

The samurai’s voice took on an edge as he spoke. There was a hunger in his eyes Genji had seen before in the warriors of his class. So many of them possessed fighting skills beyond anyone’s imagination, and in this peaceful time, they had no outlet other than to challenge each other to duels or to protect villages from gangsters and bandits. From the way Minamoto spoke, and from what he’d just revealed about his past, Genji felt certain as to the destructive course this man actually followed. Minamoto was a man consumed, devoured from the inside by his own life. The understanding formed in Genji’s mind and heart as he watched the steam rise from the water’s surface around Minamoto’s damp torso. Minamoto was a living, breathing figure of tragedy.

The understanding softened Genji a bit more toward the man. As much as he ever wanted to remain aloof from anyone for his own protection, he was never able to do so, as if some sort of natural barrier that other people had was missing from him. “Perhaps it’s none of my business,” Genji began gently, “and please tell me if it is not, but what brought you back to this province?” Something gave him the feeling it wasn’t to revisit the place where he had lived with his wife.

That darkness settled over Minamoto again. “I have unfinished business here.”

The answer confirmed his suspicions. Yet, Minamoto’s intentions were none of Genji’s affair. Genji’s existence was devoted to playing the Samurai Princess, a role for which Shizu had meticulously trained him since buying Genji off the platform.

Genji nodded and remained respectfully quiet. The slant of the sun told him it was time to return to the village. His troupe had just arrived the previous day, and their stage would be near completion. Rehearsals would go on this evening, and then when the news of their arrival had spread, there would be the usual wandering in of samurai looking for an evening’s companion. Genji sighed. “I must return. I have a few moments to dry out on the bank, and then I will go back.”

The ronin started as if given a shock. He bowed to Genji. “I’ll accompany you,” he said. “It’s safer not to travel alone.”

Genji hovered on the verge of refusing the offer. After all, he had his tanto and wasn’t afraid to use it… he believed. However, he found Minamoto’s company oddly comforting, showing Genji how lonely he actually felt in spite of his busy life. His fellow tobiko could never really be true friends, even Aoki. Especially Aoki, who coveted Genji’s position in the troupe. Aoki would not want to remain an understudy indefinitely, and so there was always an undercurrent of tension among the troupe members. Disappointed, Genji climbed from the pool, picked up the pile of his things from the rock, and went to the grass. He retrieved the small bottle of sesame oil from his things and poured some into his hand, smoothing it into his wet hair. The long strands would comb out much more easily when dry if he worked any tangles out beforehand.

Peripherally, Genji saw Minamoto recline on the grass roughly an arm’s length away. He kept his back turned so as not to steal glances at the samurai’s magnificent, naked physique stretched out on the grass in the sun. Working his fingers down the fall of his hair, Genji turned slightly and caught a glance of Minamoto’s lower body. The man’s musuko was no longer soft between his muscular thighs but stretched halfway erect, blooming with reddish color.

A jolt went through Genji’s body, sending in its wake a series of tingles that concentrated in his own member. He’d thought himself jaded after serving so many samurai with his body, but for some reason, life now infused his male parts, even his nipples, which began to tighten into small, hard peaks. He looked back down, pretending to concentrate on his hair with all his will.

“Your hair is so beautiful.”

Minamoto’s deep voice made heat spark in Genji’s middle.

Genji pulled in a small breath. With his fingers still engaged in untangling his hair, he glanced sidelong at the other man. “Thank you,” he said softly.

The samurai had turned onto his side, propped on his elbow, watching Genji tend to his hair as if he were watching something of beauty unfold before him. “I didn’t know a man could move so gracefully… like a swan.”
Heat tingled mercilessly now in Genji’s cheeks. Such praise was a far cry from having his ass grabbed lustfully by a ribald admirer. The occasional riot that had broken out among audiences over Genji’s favors wasn’t nearly as flattering as this simple poetic admiration.


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My moment with Jimmy Fallon :)

Jimmy FallonOne morning in recent days, I got up to a post on my Facebook timeline. It was posted by one of the authors whose work I publish and all he said was, “Here it is.”

Of course I though, here what is? But when I looked closer, I saw a video still of Jimmy Fallon with a book in his hands. It was small so I wasn’t sure what I was looking at, at first. Then, the book came more into focus. OMG! It was my own Fallon’s Jewel! So why the heck was Jimmy Fallon of The Tonight Show holding a copy of my book? Well, the skit he does called DO NOT READ was why!

I began to shake. Oh no! Jimmy Fallon is making fun of my book, telling people not to read it! I pressed ‘play’ and watched, nervous. Thankfully, what Jimmy Fallon said about my book was not derogatory and funny so I eventually got over my embarrassment and started to feel grateful that one of the books I’ve written made onto NATIONAL TELEVISION!!!

If you haven’t seen the video and want to see what cute thing he said, here it is!


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Acts of Passion redux is now out there :)

Acts of Passion (A Jack Cade/Michael di Santo Novel of Suspense)
Author: Sedonia Guillone
Genre: LGBT; Gay Romance; Mystery and Detective; Romantic Suspense
Length: Novel
eISBN: 978-1-937796-13-6
Price: 2.99 USD
Print: ISBN13: 978-1523246526|Price: 10.99 USD

Buy from Amazon|BN Nook|Kobo|Google Play|AllRomance Ebooks

When a man is found in his apartment, appearing to have committed hara kiri with a samurai sword, Boston Homicide Detective Jack Cade suspects more is going on than what it appears. The department’s criminal profiler has left and a new guy is taking his place. At first, Cade is skeptical of Dr. Michael Di Santo. Di Santo seems so absent-minded and too neurotic to be effective. But he is brilliant and hot and Cade finds himself falling hard and fast, both in lust and in love. The attraction is mutual, although Michael’s past demons haunt him, keeping him from getting too close. Together, they begin to unravel Michael’s emotional knots even as they close in on a killer, another brilliant, wily person whose sights are now set on Michael.

Publisher’s note: This title was previously published at Ellora’s Cave. It now contains a previously deleted scene for reprint with Ai Press.


Studying the front area of the building, he wandered down the flower box lined stone walk of the apartment building and turned to face it. Crime lab workers and patrol officers moved around on either side of the yellow crime tape, keeping the building cordoned off until Jack gave instructions to clear out and retain only the apartment as the crime scene.

Jack stepped aside to let someone go past him and bump! Smacked into something.

He turned. “Excuse me, I’m—” Or rather, he’d bumped into someone.

The man was adjusting the glasses Jack had apparently knocked off his face. “You’re in a crime scene,” Jack said.

“Yes, I know.” Almond-shaped brown eyes seemed to study Jack from behind round lenses. He looked Asian, yet sort of…not Asian at the same time. His dark brown hair was styled in a conventional way, parted on the side in short layers. The crumpled navy suit he wore, complete with diagonally striped tie against a light blue dress shirt made him appear as if his mother had dressed him for a spelling bee at school even though he was probably about Jack’s age. Forty.

Jack blinked. He was taking absolutely too long to find out who this man was. Then light dawned. Of course. “Dr. Di Santo?”

“Detective Cade?”

“That’s me. Hope I didn’t break your glasses.”

Di Santo touched them on each side as if to check. “No, they’re fine.”

Jack watched the man’s hands as he gingerly adjusted the frames. Nicely shaped fingers. Clean, trimmed nails. “Sorry I bumped you that way.”

“No problem.” Di Santo cleared his throat. “I hope I can be of help to you.”

Jack started. “Me too. This way.” He led Di Santo into the building and up to the apartment. “As I told you on the phone, I’m not so sure this was a suicide.” He let Di Santo precede him into the apartment and followed him, observing the way the slim man took in the surroundings on his way over to the victim.

Jack explained his suspicions and then let the man work. For what seemed a long time, Di Santo wandered about then stood in the center of the room, his gaze on the coffee table. His hand disappeared into his jacket pocket and pulled something out, which he popped into his mouth.

Jack watched him. Watched the man’s cheek bulge on the side while he sucked on whatever it was in his mouth, his gaze intent on the coffee table and victim. He then approached Jack and Jack heard the click of hard candy against the guy’s teeth. Finally Di Santo turned and knelt by the body.

Jack saw the professor’s eyes widen, especially on the hilt of the knife. “What is it?”

Di Santo seemed to ignore his question, staring at the knife. “Were his hands on the hilt of the knife or over his face when you found him?”

“Over his face.”

“Okay. Please open the robe so I can see the wound,” he said to Murphy.

Murphy did as he asked and Di Santo gazed for what seemed five straight minutes at the vicious cross-shaped cut in the centre of the wound.

“Jumonji giri,” he said, nearly in a whisper.

“What?” Jack looked between the knife wound and Di Santo.

The hot-yet-nerdy man was still staring down, seeming to ignore him. The candy in his mouth clicked several times against his teeth.

“Dr. Di Santo?”

Michael Di Santo looked up, his eyes seemingly far away yet intent at the same time. “What kind of movies did this man watch?”

Cover art: Louca Matheo
Jacket design: Les Byerley


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Need a Ghostwriter? 5 Essential and Compelling Elements that my Ghostwriting Will Bring to Your Story

SedoniaAuthorPicPerhaps you have a fabulous story idea. You have a cast of characters in mind and a fascinating world in which to bring them alive, but you just don’t have the hours it takes to craft a book because you are running a business or taking care of your family, or anything that is taking your time away from writing. Or, you don’t feel that the actual writing is your strength. That is where a ghostwriter comes in. A ghostwriter can fill that gap for you because writing is what he or she does. A good ghostwriter can take your ideas and your characters and build them into a compelling, wonderful story that you will be proud and excited to give to the world.

What, exactly, as your ghostwriter, is my role in bringing your ideas and characters to life the way you envision them?

1. The first important ingredient is simple: the same loving, heartfelt dedication that I give to my own stories when I craft them. When you present me with whatever materials you have amassed so far, whether you have a simple story outline and character profiles or you have a paragraph presenting your basic story idea, I enter into your world. Your characters become as important to me as they are to you and I spend time with them in my imagination. I take whatever you have told me so far about them and begin the process of fleshing them out. You want your characters to be compelling. Perhaps they have a dark secret, a torment that drives them to do the things they do. You want your readers to become intimate with them, whether the character is good or evil, to care about what happens to them. If they love a character, they will want to see that character complete his or her goals, to end up with his/her soulmate, etc. If the character is an antagonist, my goal is to make them sufficiently hate-able that your readers will root for their ultimate defeat.

2. Believable and fascinating world-building. Perhaps you have already constructed a profile of the world in which your story takes place, or you have the basic idea of the world you envision. If your story is paranormal, perhaps with vampires or shapeshifters, ghosts or psychic abilities, then watertight world-building is absolutely essential. Whatever world your story takes place in, the world needs a set of hard and fast rules in which it operates. If you’ve watched Star Trek, then you have a sense of what I mean. Nothing random can happen there. There is a prime directive that all startships must follow and the different species that they come into contact with also have their own rules that govern their physical beings. As your ghostwriter, it is my job to do the same for your world. If you don’t already have the rules in place, then a large part of what I do is to build them for you, to discover the origins of those rules and work them into your story. For example, say you have vampires in your story, what are the rules governing their hunt for blood? Can they go out in the sun? What is the process by which they “turn” regular mortals, etc. These questions must be asked and answered in order to make your setting the best it can be. Of course, if your story is set in the regular world as we know it, the process is a bit different, but no less important. Your setting must still be brought to life with careful and consistent detail.

3. A story that hits the ground running. Beginning a story can be the one of the most difficult parts of the writing process. However, it is also one of the most important and must be given special consideration. If you think of some of your favorite stories, no doubt, one of the things about them that made you love them was the way they pulled you in from the start, making you want to find out what happens, and unable to put it down until the satisfying conclusion. As your ghostwriter, I must create that opening line for you, that compelling beginning that rouses your readers’ curiosity and keeps them turning the pages. There is a variety of techniques that can be used, for example, opening with your character in the middle of a dream or nightmare that plunges your reader directly into their inner world. Another one could be starting in the middle of an action or intriguing thought of your main character or villain. I will find the possibility that best suits your project.

4. A strong plot that brings your readers on an enjoyable and satisfying ride. After hitting the ground running, you expect your story to keep going at the same compelling speed. Just like watching an Olympic track race where the continuing speed and strategy keeps us on the edges of our seats, your plot will need to have continual tension, introduce new obstacles and carefully-placed sub-plots that deepen your story and invest your reader in your world, maybe even enough to build a series that will keep them coming back for more! Each chapter must end on a hook that will make your reader unable to put the book down. “Five more minutes,” they will say to themselves, “and then I’ll go to sleep.”

5. Toe-curling romance and irresistibly sexy heroes and heroines. If your story is a romance, then the above-mentioned elements are non-negotiable! Character-building is, of course, also a crucial element to writing a great story. Whether your destined for true love characters are a man and a woman, two men or two women, as your ghostwriter, I must strike a careful balance between making the hero and heroine larger than life and flawed enough to be truly human. This combination will make your story jump off the pages. Your readers will fall in love with them too, and root for them to the end, wanting them to overcome all obstacles, inner and outer in order to have true love. If your story includes love scenes, no matter the heat level, the physical love must be a direct manifestation of the growing intimacy and trust between your two love interests. The language used can reflect whatever you prefer: more realistic, gritty language, or softer, sweet terminology. A good ghostwriter can customize this for you. But mo matter what language you use, you want your readers to sigh with romantic scintillation even while they are fanning themselves.

Of course, if you are in the process of searching for a ghostwriter, you want to feel confident in that writer’s experience and abilities. No doubt, you will want to see the person’s credentials. There are many samples here on my website, but I can provide a sample e-book and detailed resume for you as well when you contact me.

I also have extensive experience in non-fiction writing, particularly copy writing and newspaper articles (My byline has appeared in The Jewish Journal and The Lubec Light). I have compiled the memoirs of A Holocaust survivor into a booklet which is in the archives of the United States Holocaust Musuem in Washington, D.C, and in the Judaica Collection of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL.

Below are a few more distinctions I’ve had the honor to receive for my writing:

~ 2007 – LGBT Romantic Suspense novel, His Beautiful Samurai was used in an online Gay and Lesbian Literature course at Diablo Valley College, San Ramon, CA
~2005 – Novel, Lady of Two Lairds, Finalist, Historical Romance, Passionate Ink Contest, Romance Writer’s Association of America
~2005 – Lady of Two Lairds, finalist, CAPA Awards, Finalist, Historical Romance, The Romance studio
~2008 – LGBT Romance, Men of Tokyo: Sudden Bliss, Finalist, Contemporary Romance, Rainbow Awards
~The Bite Before Christmas, LGBT anthology in circulation of Harvard University library
~Numerous works awarded Recommended Reads from Fallen Angel Reviews, Joyfully Reviewed and Jessewave Reviews.

Let’s discuss your project today! Please contact me either by email: sedonia.guillone@gmail.com, cell: 561-306-2876 or the contact form of my site. I look forward to hearing from you.


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Special Guest Interview: Akira Koieyama!

Those of you who know me, know of my passion for writing stories set in feudal Japan and for samurai and martial arts films. So you can imagine I was over the moon when I was given an opportunity to speak with someone who has actually starred in them!

If you have seen The Last Samurai and 47 Ronin, you’ve seen Akira Koieyama. His most recent role is Gouken in the film adaptation of Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist, but you can also see him in Ninja, Rush, Scopia and Color of Pain. In addition to being a talented actor for over two decades, Akira-san, born in Tokyo in January, 1969, has been practicing martial arts from the earliest age and has achieved a 2nd Dan black belt in karate. My interview with him revealed much of the inspirations and influences that went into creating this sensitive, humble and talented person. Please help me welcome him and read on to find out the wonderful things I learned from our conversation.

Me: I know from reading a previous interview that your father was a judo instructor for the police and that was how you began your martial arts training. Did your father encourage you to begin training at an early age or did you choose on your own? What was it like to be raised in that environment?

Akira: Actually my father instructed people when he was young, after he had a bad injury to his back he had has own business at home.

I was wild and a big dreamer when I was a little boy. To be honest I believed I could get inside the mirror to connect to the other side. Then one day I tried to jump into the mirror….but I cut myself below my eyebrow and that was the result of my first honest challenge.

I remember my father played with me all the time when he had time and we sometimes went fishing too. I think we spent more time playing than training. I feel My father taught me mind( Heart ) is the first important technique, when I look back to those days. After my father passed away I started practicing Karate. I think I wanted to do something different, from him. I enjoyed Karate training, speed , power, spirit, and of course pain too. Those spirits are always an important essence to me and encourage me in my life.

Me: How did you get into acting? Did you feel drawn to it or did someone or
something inspire you as you got older?

Akira: I remember, one day I was listening to the radio in the bath, my favorite actor Yusaku Matsuda, his voice was coming out from the radio. He talked about the filming days and details of difficulty for a project. I felt something new in that instant. When I was 23 I went to Toho drama school and got into the acting world. My acting teacher Kazuo Hirayama taught me a lot ! He is already in heaven but He still sometimes comes to my mind and gives me a nice hint.

Me: Of all the projects you have done so far, do you have one that is personally closest to your heart?

Akira: I think personally, the most closest to my heart is Gouken (SFAF). To become Gouken is the biggest challenge in my acting career . its feeling like a climb up the top of mountain . as a one of audience I watch SFAF. I can see vestiges of my father in my acting.

Me: You are very versatile in the types of roles you have done. From martial arts roles to dramatic, including Scopia, which is horror/sci-fi. Is there a type of role you haven’t done yet that you hope to perform one day?

Akira: I would like to challenge many types of roles, perhaps a king or shogun…. when I get older.

Me: What projects coming up can fans look forward to seeing you in?

Akira: I just came back from Thailand a filming trip for Strike Back 5. It will be coming out middle of next year 2015. I can not talk about the project but please look forward to it .

Me: Who are your personal heroes and why?

Akira: My personal heroes are my family because there is always huge love.

Me: What wisdom have you learned in your life that you would wish to impart to

Akira: I am still in a learning process in my life. But I can tell, I want to be true to myself and I want to enjoy everything.

Akira, thank you again for being here and hope you can come back again to talk more someday.

Akira: Thank you so much for having me! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!
Akira Koieyama

For an in-depth interview on Akira’s role in Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist visit Kung Fu Kingdom.

Follow Akira Koeiyama on Facebook.


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