Spring Ritual

This morning I spent a couple hours at a nearby auto shop doing the spring ritual—swapping out the winter tires for the summer tires. So now my wheels are studless and the winter tires are bedding down in the garage until next November. I look around at all the snow remaining and wonder if this was a good idea, but the rules are “no studded snow tires after March,” so we do what we have to. Come winter, though, you can bet I’ll have the snow tires back on. I’m a southern boy. I KNOW I do not yet grasp how to drive on ice, so I need all the help I can get.

Last night I finished the rewrite of the second story in the new series and sent it out. No idea yet what the third will be, but it’s out there. I’ll find it. It would be good for the series if I can place them all with the same publisher, but time will tell. There’s a limit to how many stories by the same author any given market can absorb in a year, and if I get on a tear I could easily overwhelm it. I remind myself there are other projects that need attention. None of which will mean a darn if these are the stories that want to be written now; I’ve learned to just go with it when that happens, even if, professionally, it may not be the wisest course.

Regardless, now that the first is written and sold and the second is complete, I feel confident enough in its reality to say this much about it: Set in China (or rather, what will one day be China) during the early Warring States period, about 500 BCE. I’d been thinking about these characters for a while, but never got a good handle on how to tell their story until now. I’m a little excited. Once the first has been scheduled I’ll say more, and more to the point, where to find it.

From Kudzu to Shizu

This is an account of a trip to Memphis my wife and I made several years ago. It’s relevant for the simple reason that it was my first real introduction to the artifacts and history of ancient China, and at least some of the interest I’ve developed over the years for Asian themes can be traced directly to it. Not to mention stories like “Golden Bell, Seven, and the Marquis of Yi,” (Black Gate, Nov. 2000) “Palace of the Jade Lion” (coming up in Beneath Ceaseless Skies next month) and my Mythopoeic Award finalist novella, The Heavenly Fox. Sometimes research is an Adventure. Continue reading

In the Palace of the Jade Lion

When Realms of Fantasy closed it had two of my stories in inventory, and now that the contracts are signed I can mention that the first of them, “In the Palace of the Jade Lion,” has sold to Beneath Ceaseless Skies. This is a 12,000 word ghost story set in ancient China during the Warring States period, and the first non-Yamada story that I’ve placed there.

I’m rather proud of this one. Which I suppose is the kind of thing a writer would normally say, but it’s true. I think it’s a fun story and I’m rather pleased with the way it turned out. Naturally I’m happy that it found a good home.