Above are links to my books available on Amazon:
CROSSING WITH THE LIGHT is my widely praised poetry book. This book includes "In Response to Executive Order 9066," one of the most anthologized poems on the internment camps for Japanese Americans. Many of these poems are regularly reprinted in textbooks and anthologies.
THE HOPE STORE is my latest book. Most of my novels are literary fiction with a trippy premise. Some might call them magic realist. I was named an "Author to Watch" by the Best Indie Book Awards in 2017. This book is about the first store in the world to sell hope over the counter, the customers who were transformed by it, and the controversies that ensued. Please take a peek at the Amazon preview and see if it hooks you. I'm proud of this book as it speaks to the hope-challenged times we are living through.
THE PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL is my debut novel. It's about a human embryo who is allowed to preview the world before deciding whether to be born. The book was a finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest out of 5,000 novels submitted worldwide. I was thrilled and surprised. I'm represented by Affirmative Entertainment for possible movie & TV deals.
I was born and raised and continue to live in Chicago. I started writing poems in first grade because I found it too hard to write compositions. My brother Clyde Okita is a photographer. My late, great parents include Patsy Takeyo Okita and Fred Yoshio Okita. Mom was the unflappable optimist & queen of resilience, and Dad was the armchair philosopher & would-be anthropologist. They were both interned in camps during the war. Going out to the movies with my family with always a big treat. I remember once as a kid going to see "Doctor Zhivago" which was very, very long. I recall going out to the lobby to get candy and sit by a decorative water fountain for a while.
Some of the demons in my life revolve around anxieties and moodswings that have haunted me. I've been greatly helped by Buddhist chanting, an openness to pharmacology and alternative healing modalities including therapeutic cuddling. And I've been blessed to have a good circle of friends and colleagues.
After a love-hate relationship with writing, I now like it quite a lot. I have much more confidence in choosing which topics to explore. I like to write about the beauty and brutality of modern life as I and others have experienced it. I look for the funny things because the sad things will turn up sooner or later. Poetry was my first love and will forever color what I write and how I see the world. Writing stage plays taught me about creating dialogue that lives on the page and off.
I believe everything happens for a reason. When I became Buddhist, I learned that blaming people and things for my unhappiness was stupid because it never made anything better. I only have control over changing myself. If I change, my shadow must also change, and then maybe the world too.
Some novels I've loved include: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, Incendiary by Chris Cleave, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, and various works by Haruki Murakami. Poets I've loved include: Carolyn Forche, Naomi Nye, Li-Young Lee, Larry Levis, Adrienne Rich. Favorite movies: Silver Linings Playbook, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Anomalisa, A Single Man, Brokeback Mountain, The Big Sick.
I write the kind of novels I love to read. Books that are a bit magical, surreal, trippy. The action of my books takes place in worlds a little bit like ours, and a little bit unlike any world we've known. The characters are often inspired by real people I love or hate or am puzzled by. Some call my novels speculative or science-fiction. I like to write books books that keep you up late at night way past your bedtime.
WELCOME TO MY EVER-CHANGING WEBSITE. Fall 2019.
My previous novel, THE HOPE STORE was Long-Listed for the SFWP Awards (Top 70 books out of 1,000) though it didn't advance to the Short List. Carmen Machado was the judge.
My first novel, PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL, is being read by acclaimed writer Naomi Iizuka. She's currently writes for the AMC show THE TERROR in which the story of the Japanese American internment camps is told as a horror story. There is also an indie film company in India that might want to turn my book into a Bollywood film.
WHAT'S NEW ON MY WEBSITE?
I finally retired the old guestbook. While it provided a nice history of messages over the years, the new Contact gadget below is more private! Feel free to leave me a note for my eyes only. It forwards to my email.
I currently have two great clients: Krish and Lou. I am a certified caregiver for seniors in Chicago. It's fun to be my own boss. For me caregiving offers a much happier work/life balance than traditional day jobs. I have more time to write novels, see friends and go to the movies. On Care.com, I'm listed as being in the Top 10% of Chicago Caregivers.
I am going to be doing some website enhancement for some clients this fall.
Our cuddle meetup MEN CUDDLING MEN continues to thrive. My one-on-one therapeutic cuddling for Cuddlist.com has been slow but my arms are always open for clients, new and old!
My online novel writing group, Ouija Board, is transforming into the BETA READERS EXCHANGE group. This group is for novelists who have completed an early draft of a book and need a full critique. This can be done by swapping critiques with others, and various arrangements. This is done without a fee. Those interested in participating may contact me!
For marketing consultation.
I can write press releases, assist with social media, create websites and video trailers.
I'm happy to have completed the evolving draft of my new novel, BEFORE I DISAPPEAR. I scrambled to finish it for a contest which is always a terrific motivator for me. The book explores reincarnation, disappearing, and the magic of being fully present. I first released the book as novella in August 2019. I'm currently revising and expanding. I hope to republish the book by end of 2019.