How We Got Here

View of the Pinta and Nina Replicas, Hudson River 2017
Photo by Carol Parks

I blame the Matriarchy. Which is a silly way of saying it’s First Reader’s fault. She’s the one who bought me one of those DNA tests for Christmas. And yes, I know—they really can’t tell you a great deal of specifics, more in broad swaths, and to be fair this one didn’t say anything I either didn’t already know or strongly suspect, though I was open to surprises. There weren’t any, but that’s neither here nor there. The real trouble started because the test included a temporary membership in an online genealogy site.

Oh, dear.

One of my compulsions is research. It’s proved to be a very handy compulsion, especially in tackling projects like the Yamada saga, but unfocused it can be a time sink, and now I was staring right at one. Being a child of divorce was part of the problem, but even on my mother’s side the family memory didn’t go back much before the Depression. In short I grew up knowing almost nothing about the origins of either side of the family, and I admit to being curious. Anyway, combine opportunity with curiosity and there was no way I could resist.

So what did I learn? Bits of trivia of little interest to anyone else, really. Not that I’m not going to bore you with them.  I admit to being a little surprised—my father’s family emigrated much earlier than I’d supposed, mid 1600’s, and arrived just twenty years after Virginia was granted its royal charter. Right now I’m stuck at about 1595 on that side. My mother’s side, on the other hand, easily traces back to some guy named Ralph in the 14th century. The only surprise there was that they were of the knightly class and had a “seat” near London, which they later sold to the Tufnells. (Spinal Tap fans will appreciate the reference). They came over about the same time as my father’s family, or possibly a little earlier.

One thing both sides of the family had in common was just this—they were immigrants, arriving much to the annoyance of the people who were already here. And I don’t want to hear “legal vs illegal”–if you were able to (or forced to) come here, you did. That’s how it worked.

So maybe we should cut the new people a little slack? Just saying.

Yamada and Beyond

Audible Edition

Audible Edition

Surprise package in the mail last week, from my publisher’s agent—physical copies of the The Emperor in Shadow audiobook. Just the thing for those long drives in vehicles that still have those, what were they called? Oh, right. CD players. I’m sure there are a few around…other than mine.

I wonder if I should preface this next section with SPOILER ALERT, or some such, but for those who don’t know, The Emperor in Shadow is the concluding volume in the Yamada Monogatari series. I’m not going to say that I’ll never write another Yamada story, because I don’t know that (he also has another sister we still haven’t met), but the main story arc is completed, since the series always had an endpoint and my only uncertainty was if I’d get it there in a reasonable time frame. The answer turned out to be yes. The publisher plans an omnibus volume which will gather all the Yamada stories, plus three stories not yet collected, plus the three novels. That is likely not to be out until 2018. After that, well I plan to be doing something else. I hope some of you are willing to stick around for that. More details when there are any to share.


And Now We are Four

Now that I’ve got them all together and out–or soon, in the case of the print edition of The Emperor in Shadow, I thought it might be sensible to list the entire Yamada Tetralogy, with links. Because I’m all about convenience.


Yamada_DH_FinalCover_smlYamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter







Prime-AuthorCopy3 Yamada Monogatari: To Break the Demon Gate








The War Gods Son-First SightingYamada Monogatari: The War God’s Son







YamadaEmperor-600Yamada Monogatari: The Emperor in Shadow

Winding the Crank


Spent all day up to a few minutes ago doing taxes. I had been putting it off, mostly because I knew I’d lose a writing day just to get everything together (moving, buying a house tends to complicate things, and they’re complicated in the best of times). So now I’m tired and cranky, which is the perfect time to do a blog post. Heck, I’m almost cranky enough to start on politics. Almost, I said. I’m not a complete idiot. Most of the time, anyway.

Despite the curtain state of crankitude, I’m pleased with my progress on the book, and rapidly approaching the halfway point. Some things resolved, a lot more that has yet to be. Looking forward to a final scene that should be killer and I can’t wait to write it, but I have to write the rest of the book to lay the proper groundwork for it, otherwise it won’t work. I call it motivation. Other people just call it, “Seat in Chair, Hands on Keyboard. Now Work!”

Just around the time the book should be done I have an Asian-themed story due for an anthology. It won’t be a Yamada story. Time to do something else, and specifically, time to write some short fiction again. I’m thrilled to be able to do novels, sure, but I love and miss the short form as well, of which I’ve been able to do practically none in too long a time, first with the Laws of Power book, and then the Yamada taking all the writing time I’ve had. I have one more book to write in the Laws of Power series and that’ll be done. Yamada? Well, we’ll see.


Going, Going…I lied. Already Gone

3rd Story CollectionTo the left is the cover of my third story collection, issued in 2010,  On the Banks of the River of Heaven, which is the title cut. Not only was it the third collection in ten years, but it was my first hardcover collection. As of a week or so ago, it’s out of print. If you look on Amazon it will say that it’s “Temporarily Out of Stock,” but this isn’t so. There may or may not be a few stragglers with the publisher and a few more with me, some in the used market, but basically it’s gone. We’ve talked about that whole thing where publishing short stories is like “throwing rose petals in the Grand Canyon and listening for the thud.” It was definitely true here. I can’t complain too much, as the book sold well enough to finish out its run, which is something a lot of print books never do, but in five years it never got a single Amazon review. Things like that tend to make a writer feel unwanted. Whereas on GoodReads it had sixteen ratings and a score of 4.5 out of 5.0, and anyone on GoodReads knows what a tough crowd they are. It is a good book, and I’m not going to let the fact that I wrote it stop me from saying that, but its time on the physical plane is over. It will live on, possibly forever, in ebook form.

I have to keep it short today because I’m on deadline. I’ve almost never been on deadline in my entire writing life, but there are firsts for everything. Time to get back to Yamada, and today promises to be interesting. I have the strong feeling that an Imperial Princess is just about to tear Lord Yamada a new one. Is it wrong of me to say that I think I’m going to enjoy this?