September 19, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (18)

I've posted chapter 18 (book 1) of Hills of Silver Ruins, a Pitch Black Moon.

The argument between Risai and Taiki about returning to Tai takes place at the end of The Shore in Twilight.

Labels: , , ,

September 16, 2020

Serpent of Time

The last princess of Japan's doomed Southern Court, Fujiwara Ryo has an offer she cannot refuse: a marriage proposal from her archenemy. As the shogun's royal prisoner, she'd live a comfortable life in a gilded cage. But Ryo isn't the kind of girl to take the easy way out, so refuse it she does. Then a failed revolt against the shogunate puts a price on her head and her spurned fiancé hot on her heels.

Ryo escapes with Sen, her loyal lady-in-waiting. Atop sacred Mt. Koya, Sen's uncle summons the mighty Kala Sarpa. If all goes as planned, the "Serpent of Time" will transport Ryo out of the shogun's reach. Except Kala Sarpa bears a grudge of its own against the Fujiwara clan and seizes the chance to even the scales. Their fates now fully entwined, Ryo must travel back to the past to save her future.

The Kindle and paperback editions can be purchased from Amazon, and the ePub version from Smashwords, iBooks, and Google Play. Please visit the website for more details and to read the novel online.



Labels: , , , , , ,

September 12, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (17)

I've posted chapter 17 (book 1) of Hills of Silver Ruins, a Pitch Black Moon.

In this chapter, we learn why GPS is such a big deal. As Dava Sobel explains in Longitude, locating a ship's position at sea was literally a matter of life and death. Finally in the early 18th century, the British Parliament offered the equivalent of four million dollars for a practical solution. Even in the first half of the 20th century, it was common practice for aviators flying over land to follow the train tracks.

The magnetic compass was adopted for navigation by the Song Dynasty during the 11th century.

Hien (飛燕) is Risai's kijuu.

Labels: , , ,

September 09, 2020

Aubrey: Remnants of Transformation

Aubrey St. Clair awakens in a locked room, having barely survived a misguided enchantment that turned her into a cat. Kidnapped by unprincipled magicians and exploited by ruthless politicians, her only recourse is to literally claw her way to safety.

Safe in body but not in soul, Aubrey is forced to confront the slippery memories of her own bespellment. Is forgetfulness really the best defense?

In her hunt for the truth, Aubrey is aided by a cool-headed police officer. His interest in her, however, may be more than merely professional. But how much more? It slowly begins to dawn on her that perhaps the most powerful spell of all is love.

Aubrey is the first book in the Roesia series. Roesia is a Victorian world where magic is real and spells and potions are the focus of academic study. Although sharing characters and events, the books can be read as standalone stories.

Paperback
Kindle
Smashwords
iBooks
Google Play
Nook
Kobo

The Roesia Series

Tales of the Quest
Lord Simon: The Dispossession of Hannah
Richard: The Ethics of Affection
Aubrey: Remnants of Transformation

Labels: , , , , , , ,

September 05, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (16)

I've posted chapter 16 (book 1) of Hills of Silver Ruins, a Pitch Black Moon.

"An army marches on its stomach" is generally credited to Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Siege of Ueda in 1600 is a good example of an effective castle defense. Sanada Masayuki held off Tokugawa Hidetada's army of 38,000 with only 2,000 soldiers. Hidetada abandoned the siege in order to join his father at the Battle of Sekigahara, though the fighting was over by the time he arrived. By convincing several of the opposing generals to sit out the fight or switch sides, Tokugawa Ieyasu prevailed without his son's army.

After Sekigahara, Masayuki did not attempt to engage the combined armies of the Tokugawa and was exiled to Kudoyama.

The Siege of Hara Castle during the Shimabara Rebellion pitted approximately 200,000 soldiers against 40,000 Roman Catholics, peasants, and ronin. It still took the Tokugawa shogunate four months to overrun the castle.

As Kouryou points out, bad intel can give an underdog an edge. In the Battle off Samar, the small Taffy 3 group of escort carriers and destroyers held off the entire Japanese Center Force (including the Yamato) with bluff and bravado. They were able to fight to a draw because Admiral Kurita misidentified the escorts as fleet carriers. Believing he was facing Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet, he withdrew on the verge of winning the engagement.

Labels: , , ,

September 02, 2020

Persuadable

Jane Austen's Persuasion has the reader rooting for the protagonists to rekindle their estranged affections. But what of the novel's nemeses? In the end, the wily and impious Mr. Elliot casts aside his carefully groomed reputation and persuades the infamous Mrs. Clay to become his mistress.

But every persuader needs a persuadable partner, and Mrs. Clay is no ingénue; she'd send a Willoughby or a Wickham packing. Though no less calculating than those romantic villains, Penelope Clay and William Elliot discover in each other the kind of kindred spirits they fail to find among the titled Elliots.

While highlighting and transfiguring classic scenes from the novel, this unconventional version provides a romantic pairing on a par with that of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth. In the process, Persuadable illustrates an eternal Austen truth: love is wholly individual, no matter the age or time-period.

Who says a couple of shameless gold diggers can't find true love?

Paperback
Kindle
Smashwords
iBooks
Google Play
Nook
Kobo

Labels: , , , ,

August 29, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (15)

I've posted chapter 15 (book 1) of Hills of Silver Ruins, a Pitch Black Moon.

Kou (狡) can also mean "cunning."
Tora (虎) can also mean "tiger."

Koushu (黄朱) are citizens of the Yellow Sea. Shusei (朱旌) are traveling entertainers. Also citizens of the Yellow Sea, they travel throughout the Twelve Kingdoms, incorporating regional history and folklore into their performances and functioning as an informal news network. Suzu joins such a troupe in A Thousand Leagues of Wind.

Labels: , , ,

August 22, 2020

The Bronze Devil

My translation of The Bronze Devil by Ranpo Edogawa is now available.

A thief is on the loose in Tokyo, a smash and grab artist that targets high-end jewelry stores. The identity of this burglar is no mystery. It's a metal robot, dubbed the "Bronze Devil" by the press. With its almost magical ability to appear and disappear out of nowhere, the police are powerless to stop the theft after the other.

That can only mean it's time to put master sleuth Kogoro Akechi and the Boy Detectives Club on the case.

The Kindle and paperback editions can be purchased from Amazon, and the ePub version from Smashwords and Google Play. Please visit the website for more details and to read the novel online. Check out Kate's interview (and here, here, and here) with me about the translation process.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

August 15, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (14)

I've posted chapter 14 (book 1) of Hills of Silver Ruins, a Pitch Black Moon.

The Minister of Summer (夏官長) heads the Ministry of Defense.

The Star Trek: TNG episode "The Drumhead" offers this succinct definition of a drumhead court martial: "Military officers would upend a drum in a battlefield, sit at it and dispense summary justice. Decisions were quick, punishments severe, appeals denied. Those who came to a drumhead were doomed."

The Chosai (冢宰) heads the Ministry of Earth (地官) and serves as the "Chief Cabinet Secretary" of the Rikkan. The Minister of Heaven (天官長) runs Administration. The Minister of Winter (冬官長) is responsible for Public Works. The Minister of Spring (春官長) is in charge of Protocol. 

Haboku (芭墨) was the Minister of the Two Cries (二声氏) who tended to the White Pheasant. 

A hidden village (隠れ里) was a "remote settlement in Japan during its Feudal Period. Often characterized by their inaccessibility and ease of defense, tradition holds that these villages were the dwelling place of the Ninja."

Asen's full name is Jou Asen (丈阿選).

The majority of Chinese surnames are a single character. As a result, the top 100 surnames account for 85 percent of the population. The opposite is true in Japan, where the top 100 surnames cover a third of the population. In the United States, the top 100 surnames account for 16 percent of the population.

Labels: , , ,

August 08, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (13)

I've posted chapter 13 (book 1) of Hills of Silver Ruins, a Pitch Black Moon.

During the Zhou Dynasty, the squad (伍) was defined as five members and the platoon (兩) as twenty-five. The ad hoc platoon organized by Gyousou has three squads (三伍) or fifteen. Modern military platoons typically have two to three times that many soldiers, though some sources list fifteen on the low side.

Labels: , , ,

August 01, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (12)

I've posted chapter 12 (book 1) of Hills of Silver Ruins, a Pitch Black Moon. 

The Daishikou (大司寇) is the Justice Minister and runs the Ministry of Fall. The Shuushikou (州司寇) is the Provincial Justice Minister. This terminology dates to the Zhou Dynasty. "Prison of Dusk" in Hisho's Birds focuses on the work done by the appellate courts in the Ministry of Fall.

A blue bird (青鳥) is a bird-based voice mail system. The sender dictates a message. The bird flies to the recipient and repeats it verbatim. A blue bird can also perform the same tasks as a carrier pigeon. "Pen-pals" in Dreaming of Paradise has Youko and Rakushun corresponding using a blue bird.

Labels: , , ,

July 25, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (11)

I've posted chapter eleven (book 1) of Hills of Silver Ruins, a Pitch Black Moon.

Taiki's journey to Ren is described in "Winter Splendor," published in Dreaming of Paradise.

A meishoku is a small shoku triggered by a kirin in distress. Natural shoku occur almost imperceptibly. Otherwise, even small shoku have destructive side effects. Kirin and shirei can travel back and forth to Japan and China without causing a shoku. But bringing a human being with them will trigger a massive shoku.

Esui is an invented word that combines the kanji for "contamination" (穢) and "fatigue" (瘁). In Taiki's case, the primary cause was consuming animal products, especially food containing blood, while in Japan. Kirin are strict vegetarians. Being a strict vegetarian in Japan is surprisingly difficult.

Kyouryou is an introvert in an extrovert's world. I can identify.

Labels: , , ,

July 18, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (10)

I've posted chapter 10 (book 1) of Hills of Silver Ruins, a Pitch Black Moon.

Rakushun rides a suugu (this one on loan from Rokuta) in A Thousand Leagues of Wind. A suugu resembles a tiger in outward appearance.

A keiretsu is a "business network made up of different companies that have close relationships and sometimes take small equity stakes in each other, all the while remaining operationally independent."

After this chapter, you might be inspired to watch Spice and Wolf, though the setting and time period are more medieval Europe than medieval China.

Labels: , , ,

July 11, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (9)

I've posted chapter 9 (book 1) of Hills of Silver Ruins, a Pitch Black Moon.

All legal residents of a kingdom receive a plot of land when they reach their majority. A single allotment is equal to one hectare. Enho teaches Youko about the allotment system in A Thousand Leagues of Wind.

Kouki (鴻基) is the capital city of Tai.

Labels: , , ,