We’re still on track for a February release, and so far everything’s looking great. I’ve been in the loop on the cover design progress, and we’re close to having a final. When that’s done I plan to post some of the preliminary images to show what changes/refinements a cover might go through before it’s ready for–pardon the expression–Prime time. But we’re not quite there.
For now, and knowing that there will be readers who haven’t a clue who Lord Yamada is, this is a working draft of a proposed introduction. It may and likely will change a bit before it goes live, but this is the gist:
“This book is about a man named Yamada no Goji and set during a time in ancient Japan now known as the Heian period. Although the term is derived from the capital city during the era—Heian-kyō (modern Kyōto)—the word heian simply means means “peace and tranquility.” In comparison to the later feudal era of Japan, when the rise of the samurai class meant every two-bit lording and their armies were at each others’ throats, the word is probably appropriate.
A time of learning, great poetry, and literature, the Heian period (794 – 1185) is rightly considered Japan’s Golden Age, at least for the upper classes, but they had their problems:
Demons. Ghosts. Monsters.
While the political situation was relatively stable, the spiritual universe of Heian Japan was in the grip of powerful supernatural forces, most of them malicious and all extremely dangerous. That’s where Yamada no Goji comes in. A minor aristocrat from a nearly extinct clan, he has no property and no family connections. What he does have is a sharp sword, an even sharper mind, and a willingness—if the price is right—to use both to take on any monster the Heian underworld can throw at him.
“Monogatari” just means “story” and this is Yamada’s story, or at least part of it. I originally envisioned him as a sort of Japanese Sam Spade. That original tone is clearest in the first section, “Fox Tails.” But, as characters often do, Yamada had his own ideas about that. Still, that’s where it all started, and that’s where this book starts. Where it ends…well, I hope you’ll enjoy finding that out for yourself.