It’s like Game of Thrones, but with ninjas

An island nation torn apart by warring houses, each vying for control of the throne. House O occupies the capital. An old friend of House O, the lord of House T from the north, turns on O and marches to remove him from the throne. On the cusp of victory, the lord of House T is mysteriously assassinated. Following a succession of betrayals and illnesses, T’s fourth son takes over the house. His poor leadership skills and inability to rally his house leads to its total dissolution, as internal factions split off to support neighboring houses. The House of T, long the ruler of the north and favored lord to win the game of thrones fades into the mists of time.

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It’s been a while

It’s been two years since I posted here last. Which may make things seem rather quiet, but they’ve been anything but.

I’ve been hard at work on a project. Something I haven’t really spoken of here. A project I never expected would be of interest to me, but I fell madly in love with it every day I thought about it. It called to me. I hope I’ve done it justice.

More details to come, because I’ve learned a lot on this journey that I want to share, but for now the key points:

  • It’s historical fiction.
  • The first draft is complete.
  • It takes place in Japan.
  • The below image is relevant.

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They grow em’ bigger over here.

First up, I finished drafting another book this week. It’s called CREATUREFALL and it’s kind of like Pokémon except the Pokémon eat people. I sent it off to my agent just yesterday. I updated the header for the time being with the cool artwork my friend Stephane Imbert drew.

I talked about it briefly in my last post about diverse books. The main character’s a thirteen-year-old dwarf trying to live up to the legacy of his mother who was a famous warrior in the last creaturefall. Talk about your 30,000 foot summaries…

But this post is not about that book. I’ll post about CREATUREFALL another time. This post is about creatures, though, so it’s at least tangentially related.

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Consummatum Est

It is finished.

Last night I finished writing RYOJI AND THE RIDDLE MASTERS. And maybe someday you can read it. It’s a tale about a boy becoming so much more than he ever dreamed possible, about the difficulty of changing the nature of things. The virtues and follies of pacifism, the role of honor, the shattering of our innocent worldview as we cross that threshold from childhood into our teenage years.

Did I mention it’s set in a fantastical version of Heian-era Japan, steeped in Japanese mythology with a dash of steampunk? There are riddle duels with spirits in the underworld, pirates armed to the teeth with swords and metallic flame-throwing birds, jealousy, betrayal, and at the center of it a boy torn between his parents: his father of the old guard, his mother leading the rebellion of the new.

It’s been five years in the making, and now it is out of my hands, and into the hands of the illustrious Beta Readers.

I hope they like it. And if they don’t, I hope to use their feedback to forge it into something greater. And someday I hope to share it with you all.

Saddle up, it’s queryin’ time.

Well Hello There, 2013

Yes, yes, it’s been six months since I updated this thing last. But I promise I’ve got some really good reasons.

Second grade, Kindergarten, and Pre-K.

Second grade, Kindergarten, and Pre-K.

After returning from Japan last August, it was a rush to get all the things ready for school. For the first time we had three of the four off for some learnin’, and that required a Herculean effort to pull off–especially considering that in those same 3 weeks we moved across town. And by across town, I mean “nearly 40 miles away”. That may not sound like much, but compound it with jet lag and school preparedness, and you can see how much of a nightmare that can turn out to be.

After that, we had an obscene number of things come up. See, when you have three kids in school, that’s three times the number of events and class-specific festivities you have to attend. And in addition to school, there was work, where I’ve been finishing up a major project–to be launched in the next month!

Then you’ve got the Fall Rush, where you get the hypersonic Holiday gauntlet known as New Hallothanksgivingmas Eve. Once you get into October, the year kind of speeds by until you hit the brick wall that is the cold, dark winter. I don’t know about you, but the first six months of the year seem to take about nine months to get through, while the last six months feels more like two.

And during all of this, my wordsmithing efforts were directed solely at crafting a new novel. And I can say, with some caveats, that I succeeded! It’s done, at 80k words. It’s middle grade fantasy, with a mythological Japanese setting, and it’s tested well with a very small audience and my Most Trusted Alpha Reader.

Artwork by Stephane Imbert.

Awesome concept art by Stephane Imbert.

And now to look back at my resolutions for last year. It wouldn’t be fair to ignore them. Here’s what I promised I’d do in 2012:

1 – Finish writing three drafts.

Well, I finished 2! I finished my multicultural romance set amidst the 2010 tsunami that has died the death of a million edits, and most recently I finished up my MG fantasy. (Yes, yes, I technically wrote The End in the first weeks of 2013).

2 – Cook something new every month.

Failure! While I ended up cooking something every month, and a lot more when my family was in Japan, it rarely ended up being something new. I’ve been too busy to research new, and I feel bad about it.

3 – Read two books a month.

Success! My next post will cover my 2012 reads, and what my TBR pile looks like for 2013. Here’s a preview: CLOUD ATLAS was my favorite last year.

4 – Finish up some of the cross-cultural tales for the blog that are languishing in draft status.

Also success! Not as many as I wanted, but I got quite a few finished. Maybe you can check them out. Perhaps they’ll even entertain you.

Sorry for such a dry post, but I mostly wanted to stick my head above water and say that I’m Alive!

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

I’ve been spending the summer in Japan with the family. Started working on a new project (middle-grade fantasy, Asian-themed), still waiting to hear on some queries from the last project, and just generally enjoying the heck out of  a long break. I’ll be back to regularity sometime in the next few weeks!