Yamada’s Saga – Timeline

Japanese Mask

It occurs to me, with the mixing of short fiction and novel-length stories that make up the Yamada timeline, that it might not be a bad idea to set this all out now, at least to the degree I understand it (and if you think the writer knows everything about what they’ve done, think again). Most of the stories occur in the timeline/continuity in the order that they were written, but the novels do throw one or two curves into the mix, so here goes:


“Fox Tails” – First Yamada story written. Knew it was a series then, didn’t know where it was going.

“Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge” – Second Yamada story. Yamada’s sad history with Princess Teiko is revealed. This was the story where I think I first got a good handle on who Yamada was and what he was about.

YAMADA MONOGATARI: DEMON HUNTER.  First Yamada collection. The stories contained therein were usually a reader’s first introduction to the series and were published over a span of years and appear in the order they were written, but the continuity is not complete in them because….

Here’s where it gets a little complicated:

TO BREAK THE DEMON GATE.  First actual Yamada novel. TBTDG incorporates “Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge” which forms the first section of the book, and no, I didn’t know that it was the first section of a novel when I wrote it. I figured that out later. The balance of the novel concerns the events leading up to Yamada’s final confrontation with Lord Sentaro. This was written after several of the stories appearing in YM:DH but before “The Ghost of Shinoda Forest,” which ends the collection, but in the continuity of the series, they all, except “Fox Tails” and “Moon Viewing at Shijo Bridge,” occur after the events of the novel. At the end of TO BREAK THE DEMON GATE, Yamada has still not made peace with the memory of Princess Teiko. That comes later (see “The Ghost of Shinoda Forest.”) I’m not sure when the PS Publishing limited edition is coming out, but Prime Books has the trade reprint scheduled for December 2014.

“The Sorrow of Rain” – If you have no idea what this story is, that is because it hasn’t been published yet. But it falls in the timeline before “The Ghost of Shinoda Forest” but after TO BREAK THE DEMON GATE.(Edited to note: Oops. It falls after “The Ghost of Shinoda Forest.”  I misremembered.)

THE WAR GOD’S SON – complete but under revision. The events of this book occur about seven years after “The Ghost of Shinoda Forest,” and take place after all the short stories written to date in the continuity. The novel is set during what is usually referred to as The Nine Years’ War in Japanese history (though, with delays and truces, it was more like twelve). The tearing of the social fabric that will eventually bring about the end of the Heian Period and the rise of the samurai is already evident, but won’t manifest completely for another hundred and twenty years. We also get to meet Yamada’s elder sister. There is no current publication date scheduled.

And that’s where it stands. Confused? I would be. I often am.

Surfing for Survival

FoxMaybe not literally, but as far as visibility and career are concerned. I’ve been thinking about the question of career survival because it finally occurred to me that I’ve been shifting gears a bit lately when it comes to my own writing, in that I’m doing more novels these days, and fewer short stories. Now, for many cases that’s just considered par for the course, and was once considered the only course—you started off writing short stories, with the intention of getting good enough to sell them to the major magazines, of which there were several. If you were planning any sort of career, then part of the plan was to build up your name recognition through short fiction and then use that visibility to transition to novels. Short stories were never considered to be an end in themselves in that scenario. Sure there were probably as many exceptions as not, and writers who started with novels from day one and were either barely or sometimes not at all aware that the magazines even existed. I wasn’t one of those. I discovered the magazines at about the same time that I started to write in the first place, and I began with short stories, and the first novel I ever wrote I thought was going to be another short story, until an editor took pity on me and informed me that what I had submitted was not a short story, but the opening chapter to a novel, and so it later proved. Regardless, the short story was my go-to form. Continue reading

On Not Talking About What I’m Reading–Again

Yoshino-1As long as life lasts, there’s s&*t that has to be done. Losing friends doesn’t change that. I’m maybe a third of the way through the current project. I ran into a plot and direction quagmire that took a while to sort out, but I think I can see my way through now. Bad things are happening so that less bad things can happen later. Or more bad, depending on which character is involved and the reader’s point of view. So I’m writing. What I’m doing very little of, at least to my way of thinking, is reading. Continue reading

“Having Nothing to Say, He Says it at Length”

Hailstone1Writing short stories—good ones—is a skill and an art and a craft. Writing a novel is all those things too, plus a marathon. Just as the novel is paced differently, so is the mindset of the person writing the thing. At least that’s what I’m contemplating at the moment, so far as how it pertains to blogging. There are a lot of—in my humble opinion—interesting things happening, but 1) they’re internal 2) they make almost no sense out of context and 3) I can’t talk about them anyway. The reason I can’ talk about them is illustrated by the advice a famous pulp author once allegedly gave to Ray Bradbury when Bradbury was letting his youthful enthusiasm get the better of him and he’d talk out his stories before he even wrote them. That advice being: “Ray, shut up.”

A bit dutch-uncle blunt, but very good advice for a writer. If you want to talk about a story or novel, talk about it on the page by writing the darn thing. Because we are storytellers, and telling the story aloud really does take the edge off your desire to get the thing written down. And unless you are a professional verbal storyteller who gets paid for keeping a crowd entertained, the story doesn’t exist until you write it down for your own crowd, who are, if you’re lucky, your readers. Which means a healthy dose of STFU is indicated.

Problem is, though this is good advice for someone trying to get a novel finished before year’s end, STFU is the exact opposite of what one has to do to keep up a regular blog. So I will talk about something I can talk about, referencing that humoungous hailstone seen above. Those who follow this blog may remember the massive hailstorm we suffered back in March. Well, with one thing and another I just got around to filing a claim for the damage to my truck, and Sunday the claims adjustor got a look at it.

That frickin’ hailstorm totaled my truck. That is, it was an old truck, and now the cost to repair it exceeds the value of the vehicle=totaled. I’m going to miss that truck. I called it T-Chan, and old fans of Ranma ½ may get the reference. It hauled a lot of loads over the years: paving stones, lumber for Carol’s meditation pyramid, the flooring of at least half the house, our new couch. But then I thought, if I don’t have a truck, I won’t have to haul all this $&^t any more. So we went out last night and bought a hybrid.

Was that interesting? I’m guessing no. But remember, the good stuff I can’t talk about. Yet.

If This is Tuesday, This Must Be…

Monday was nonsense day. Not that every day isn’t, but today I’ll try to fit in some, you know, actual information. I try to do that now and then, if only to remind myself that it exists, if anyone wants it.

WRITING 02First off, the Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter giveaway at Beneath Ceaseless Skies is almost over. Wednesday is the last day to enter, so if you’re interested in getting a big chunk of the Lord Yamada stories in one place for free, that’s the place to go. Preferably no later than tomorrow, otherwise that particular ship has left the dock.

Second, it seems that In the Palace of the Jade Lion from BCS #100 has made the Locus Magazine Recommended Reading list for 2012. You can see the full list here.

Finally, I know at least two people out there have been wondering when the #$@# sequel to Black Kath’s Daughter is going to be done. The answer, I’m afraid, is “not for a while.” At the moment, the project is officially on hold, or as officially as anything ever is around here. There’s something else brewing that’s going to require that it be put on the back burner for now, simple as that. I’ll say more when or if there’s anything solid to tell.