When I was nine, my family spent a summer in Big Bear Lake, California. I'm not sure why. My parents hadn't yet bought their house in Cannon Beach, Oregon and we spent several summers in different rented seasonal houses, I suppose while they looked for the best place. We actually lived in Seattle, so southern California was very far away.
I loved it there. A lake! A BIG lake. Ski areas! RIGHT there! Horses! All year round. Winter, with snow. Yay, snow! Not much rain. Sunshine, most of the time! I thought at the time one would be hard-pressed to find a better place to live.
I've been living in Big Bear for almost three years now, and soon, very soon, I will leave. My nine year old self was quite right. It's a great place to live. The climate is just about perfect. I can see the lake from my desk, and I can launch my kayak with its little sail just about everywhere. I have had the wonderful privilege of teaching skiing and boating with USARC. The rewards of adaptive sports are huge. If you can, see about participating. Best people in the world. It's a joy to work with everyone involved. I will try to find another adaptive program, and should I return, I'll sign up again.
The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series is set in Japan, Meiji-era Japan, to be precise. The books require incredible quantities of research, and I've done a lot of traveling. Air travel these days is extremely expensive or uncomfortable, or both -- and I do everything I can to be as comfortable as possible. On the ground, Japan's public transportation is so good, I would not want a car unless I lived where I had to have one.
Now, several things came to a head, and I have the chance to go live in Japan for anywhere from three months to forever. Immigration laws are complex and arcane everywhere, and Japan is certainly no exception. There is a residency visa I qualify for, according to the immigration attorney I have found, but I have to go in on a tourist visa and apply once there.
So...I am going.
I am sad to leave this wonderful place. Because of various factors, I have sold my house, and will become officially homeless tomorrow. But when I return, I can come back here, get another house, or maybe a condo, and return to adaptive sports and watching the lake while I research and write.
I will continue to work on The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series, and I plan to live on an ocean beach not too far from Tokyo. I will stay with a friend until the residency visa comes through, and then find a place of my own. I will be close to Nichiren Shoshu's Head Temple, Taiseki-ji, and the compelling force of Buddhism that first drew me to Japan. The skiing's a little farther away, but that's manageable. Especially if I can find an adaptive sports program to join.
The books are now sold around the world, and it's possible there may be a Japanese translation in the works. Except for iTunes, which I can't quite figure out, they're everywhere, and this time, available to bookstores readily through Ingram, which is also global.
Life is good.
Book 4 Links:
Amazon for Kindle and hardcopies:
B & N (Nook) and hardcopies:
Ask your physical retailer and your library to get them: if you ask, they will! They're in the Ingram catalog, which they all have. And please write a review. If you have a blog or other public forum, contact me directly and you can have a review copy. Please send links for reviews.