Monday, June 11, 2018

Something lovely this way comes....

Noriko's Journey will be out everywhere shortly, all e-formats and all retailers.  Hard copies will be available through Amazon and the Baker & Taylor Catalog for retailers.

Libraries and Schools will shortly be able to buy a specially sized hard copy library edition through Baker & Taylor of all five books in addition to being able to purchase e-formats through their usual distributors.

You can ask your library to purchase these books and they WILL!  What a deal!  Please do this.

When I lived aboard a 43' sailboat, I couldn't resist buying books, so I'd buy them and donate them to my library, so I could visit them whenever I wanted without losing precious storage space on my boat.

Then I discovered that if I asked, the library would buy them for me!  WOW!

If you think getting this distribution set up was easy, think again!

I'm so thrilled about getting this done that I'm giving things away again.

Please go to our webpage and get your free copy of Book 1, Coming Home.  Do that by June 14, 2018, and there will be another very special free offer coming your way!

Whew!





Thursday, June 7, 2018

A Mysterious Treat From Susan Spann

Susan Spann is a mystery author who writes in the period just before the Tokugawa (Edo) period in Japan.  I write in the period just after.  She has a series of tightly crafted mysteries that I enjoy very much.  I was lucky enough to score an ARC of her latest.  It'll be release mid-July.  Here's my review.

Trial on Mount Koya
By Susan Spann
The Shinobi Mysteries, #6 *****

Shinobi Hattori Hiro and the Portuguese Catholic priest he is assigned to protect flee Iga to get Father Mateo to safety but must take a secret detour to Shingon Buddhism’s center at the temple complex on top of Mount Koya. This unlikely pair, accompanied by Father Mateo’s housekeeper, Ana, and Hiro’s cat, Gato, become embroiled in another complex, beautifully crafted, mystery.
I write in the Meiji era, some 250 years later, so I also research Japanese history and culture in great detail. One of my great pleasures in reading Susan Spann’s books is the quality of her research. I can’t fault it in any way. I love the clever way she has managed to get her characters out of a particularly unpleasant bit of history coming soon after this book ends while also providing a clear path to many future mysteries in this interesting and highly entertaining series.
Spann has described this book as an homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.  Certainly, the isolated location and the blizzard isolating the participants still further are reminiscent of Christie’s work, but this book takes individual twists and turns, so don’t look too deeply for parallels. Just sit back and enjoy the show.
The use of Shingon doctrines is ingenious. Shingon itself is colorful and ritualistic. Since Japanese Buddhism in general contains many similarities, regardless of sect or doctrinal derivations, those who are members of other sects will feel right at home and those who are not Buddhist will be intrigued as well as enlightened about some of the foundations all Japanese Buddhist sects share. The comparisons of Buddhism with Father Mateo’s Catholicism ring absolutely true: it’s my experience that the Japanese generally do not understand Christianity and probably never will.  
My only possible gripe, and I think it is open to argument about whether it is justified, is that I would like to see more exploration of character and more detail.  That may be just my own continuing fascination with this nation and its culture and people.  For mystery devotees, there is nothing missing at all.
I don’t want to give out spoilers.  This is a first-class mystery and although mystery buffs will enjoy reading it – and the series – over and over, for your first read, sit back, relax, and allow yourself to sink into this interesting world, get to know these characters, and simply enjoy.  Susan Spann has a fan in me.  I am eager for more.  My highest possible rating!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

NORIKO'S JOURNEY

It's been a while because I've been working hard to get Book 5, Noriko's Journey, published on time!


It should be available at all retailers for readers and in the Baker and Taylor catalog for libraries, schools and brick and mortar bookstores around June 21!  It's really good!

If you go to the website, you can sign up for the FLY ON newsletter and get Coming Home, book 1 in the series, for FREE!
And, in about a week, there's another amazing deal coming your way.

Enjoy!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Get your FREE BOOK here.

GDPR is a true bear.  Every single provider of internet services has paid a bunch of lawyers (I do like lawyers getting paid) to have its very own compliant language to give to its users.  Unfortunately, none of those pages are stand-alone.  Although they all claim to be all things to all people, they simply aren't.  All of them have to be somehow integrated.

I'm a lawyer.  I could have drafted compliant language in about a 10th of time time it has taken me to straighten this out.  It has nearly brought me to my knees, screaming.  Nothing works together.  And yet it must to do what I want it to do.

I think I have finally figured it out, and I hope to heck it is compliant (it should be) and that it works (it did in test runs).

What do I want it to do?

Give YOU a free book.

Because of GDPR it has a few more clicks, but your patience will be rewarded.  You'll also get exciting news about the upcoming publication of Book 5, Noriko's Journey, and notices of various other freebies, deals and special offers that might come the way of those who receive the FLY ON newsletter every so often.

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy Book 1, Coming Home, is FREE at https://mailchi.mp/ede24f93abfa/get-your-free-book-here

Take a chance. Click the link. Read a book. You'll be glad you did.




Monday, April 23, 2018

FREE BOOKS!

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy have joined with other fantasy creatures in a Group Giveaway at Instafreebie.  This is for book 1, Coming Home.

Here's the link.

Clean Fantasy Creatures Group Giveaway

Big changes coming for the TGSB series as Book 5, Noriko's Journey, moves to publication this summer.  As Azuki and Shota grow up, the series grows up, too, and Japan moves incredibly quickly to take its place on the world stage.  Advances in technology, education and diplomacy happening every day (and twice on Sunday!)

This giveaway runs through June.  Stock up on summer reading today!


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Meiji Shrine with pictures!

Meiji Shrine is huge.  Built around a garden Emperor Meiji built for Empress Shoken, its vast forest is composed of individually planted trees from all over the country donated after their deaths when the Shrine was built to honor their souls, which are enshrined there.  Their bodies are buried somewhere else, in or near Kyoto.  There are two museums, the Museum, containing artifacts from the Emperor's life, such as his desk, carriages, uniforms and so on, a series of Imperial portraits, and many photographs.  The Annex, near Harajuku station, is much more accessible, and features a changing exhibit of collections, including clothing, accessories, personal items like desk sets, and often features photographs from what must be a staggeringly enormous collection.  I visit the Museum every few years -- that's a permanent collection  that doesn't change.  The Annex, however, I visit regularly and it's given me much information and many ideas for the Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series.
Saturday, I was supposed to attend a hanami party to celebrate the close of the sakura season.  The group didn't send out location information, there were no signs, and the security guards and direction-givers stationed all around the park had no clue.
In Book 6, there will be a Shinto wedding -- a big one.  Saturday is a big day for weddings at the Shrine proper, so I went there instead.
First, one enters the outer shrine precincts through a gigantic Tori gate.  There are several of these.  One enters the inner precincts through a second gate.  The Shrine itself is inside a courtyard and includes several halls usually reserved for ceremonies and closed to the public.  There are any number of ancillary buildings where one arranges for various services and where various services are held, including the presentation and blessing of babies!  So many babies! Everyone was so happy, including the troop of security guards, whose main focus was clearing paths for people participating in ceremonies.
Wedding parties enter the courtyard and proceed to one of the inner halls where the wedding ceremony itself will be held.  These are private.  After the ceremony, the wedding party leaves the courtyard and processes to one of the photography areas.  One may watch, but the area is closed off to tourists.  After the photographs, the wedding party leaves and the bride goes into a screened off area where her first headdress is removed and her hair, make-up and clothes are refreshed while the groom waits, taking pictures on his phone and making jokes with the various attendants and experts.  When that's finished, there may or may not be photographs of the couple together, and then they go off to the reception.  One couple was kind enough to pose with a group of Chinese tourists on their way so the tourists could take pictures with them.
Pictures?  Yes, I took some.
Musician outside the entrance to the Park

Mendicant monks taking a break outside the entrance to the Park

One of the vast Tori gates signaling the entrance to the Shrine

Barrels of French Burgundy donated annually to the Shrine.  The sake is across the street.

Just out of sight on the right is the chief Shinto priest who will officiate.  The second Shinto priest is on the right.  Next come two Miko, young women Shinto priests, followed by the couple.  They are leaving the central Shrine after the ceremony.

The bride has an official attendant who helps her walk in her ungainly costume.  Coming in, there is another woman attendant on her other side.  Now, it's her groom on her right.  They're followed by guests and family.  The security staff clears the way for this procession as it leaves the central Shrine for one of the photography areas, where six or eight photographers, make-up artists, costume coordinators and others wait to help arrange things.

I saw FIVE separate weddings!  Everything is beautifully organized.  Each couple gets personal attention. Nothing feels assembly-line.  They are lovely ceremonies!  

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Hang Of This

I've managed to figure out how to create new posts without randomly pushing buttons until something happens.  I may have figured out how to upload photos.  I have figured out a workaround (albeit an expensive one) and obtained the new Word upgrade.
I have spent many non-stop hours doing the rewrite of Book 5, Noriko's Journey, so I can get it to Beta Readers.
I'll be writing a Guest Post for Writing About Writing, explaining one of the virtues of Beta Readers for the driven.  Once things get going, I work 24/7 and can't be interrupted (oh, goodness, I get cranky) until I am DONE or can do no more.
One reason for this is that any interruption in my thought process means I have to go back quite a distance to catch up with my train of thought.  It takes me several days, sometimes more, to recover from a three-hour "break" that's forced upon me.
Just so not happening.
I did two run-throughs, and the draft is better than I thought it would be.  By that I mean not that the story itself is better or different, but the manuscript expression of it is fuller, more complete and better balanced than expected at this stage, even if surprising to me.  Book 6 is already starting to take shape, sort of, with characters setting themselves up for new challenges and new adventures, and things set up long ago are finally coming to fruition, many in ways I did not expect.
I never did find a radio I wanted to buy, but I did find my iPod and it's full of music, much of which is "best of" and live concert collections, including the live recording in which Jimi Hendrix does indeed say "kiss this guy."  I really enjoying having music.  I have no idea how to load more, but there's a lot of music in there and I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
My visa will actually appear soon in the form of a residency card, and then I can do all kinds of things, like rent a real apartment, get a real phone, get a bike, get a driving license, maybe, and so on and so on, and I'll be able to do them during the breaks in the publishing process.

I've never been fond of spring because in the PNW, it's all driving rain beating down all your lovingly planted tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, and pummeling the blossoms off the shrubs and trees.  It's too warm to ski (true in the California mountains where I lived, too) and too wet to do anything else. HERE, though, it is glorious.  It's warm but not hot.  It's sunny with just a little haze.  Birds are nesting.  Everyone's smiling.  Strawberry season is starting and you can get sakura-flavored everything.  I start to see why people LIKE spring.

The sakura are still going full bore and I have a hanami party I can go to on Saturday, if I want, and I have a friend who will be in town sometime this weekend.  Here are some pictures, if I actually have at last got the hang of this.


A magnolia, two houses down.  Yesterday.

The ultimate Meguro River with Sakura photo, yesterday.
A dark pink Sakura in full bloom, at Myokoji, yesterday.