I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a short one-case story in my Onmyouji series, featuring a Noh or Kabuki play, two of Japan’s most well-known traditional theatre forms.
Noh originated from the combination of Shinto-related dance and mime, with influences of dance from other parts of Asia. It uses poetic language, monotonous tones and slow movements, and the costumes are rich and elaborate. Noh plays are usually drawn from legend, history, literature and contemporary events, with themes relating to dreams, the supernatural world, and ghosts and spirits.
Since I’ve been staying at home a lot, got really into some vintage fashion videos on Youtube about sewing and patterns and Regency era/Victorian designs. Which inevitably led to my next great brainstorm – seamstress heroine who makes amazing patterns and dresses and…stuff.
Problem no.1 – Regency era or Victorian? Maybe I’ll take a giant leap and go for the Qing Dynasty and embroidery.
Problem no.2 – MC has a job, which is great. But as for the actual story…
Problem no.3 – I really suck at sewing.
With enough research, can you write about what you don’t know? Probably not as well as you’d like.
I took some embroidery classes a while back, trying to adopt a hobby that would keep my hands busy and calm the anxiety, but I ditched it pretty quickly. Recently, I picked it up again to realise that a) I still suck, b) it’s still quite fun, and c) the hours really zip by when you’re sewing and listening to TV and generally not writing.
Conclusion: possible new series, definite new procrastination method but I get to poke things with needles so it’s all good.
It’s been a few days since I launched my latest book (whee!), and now it’s time to figure out which way to proceed next.
It’s taken me a while to figure out my writing rhythm, but I’ve learned that for me, fresh eyes are required for quality editing or the words just become shapes. I find I work quite well jumping from one project to another, which allows me to approach an ongoing story with a renewed interest, sort of like a palate cleanser.
I have a basic plot for the sequel of The Mage just in time for NaNoWriMo and in between, I have a steampunk fantasy novella series lurking in the background that could use more editing. So that’s my schedule figured out!
It’s been over a year, but I’m happy to announce my new book release!
This is the first in the new Sera Kishao series called The Mage. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Being a Mage means a life of power and magick and prestige. It is not one that Sera Kishao asked for.
Sera’s reputation as a Mage in Eldrea is controversial at best. She doesn’t have the right background or the right attitude, and she’s partnered to the top Mage in the Coven, which mean she’s constantly in the spotlight. So that kind of sucks too. But Sera is good at squaring off against the Clowder, a group of cat shapeshifters who have risen up to become the Coven’s number one thorn-in-the-side, without disrupting their precarious balance. Only that seems to be blown out of the water when a dead Wiccan is discovered with claw marks.
Sera is immediately suspicious about the clumsiness of the situation and launches an investigation that sends her around Eldrea, gathering threads to come up with a noose that may end up tightening around the Coven instead.
Some stories you just want to wrestle and make them yield.
Besides continuing Book 3 of my current series, I have also been working on a stubborn brain-child of a first book for a different series, an adult fantasy the format of which I have changed about ten times. This year.
It’s causing me a lot of frustration and for some reason, I’m having a hard time separating myself from the MC in this novel, so it doesn’t have as much action as my onmyouji one does.
In the latest redraft, I’ve tried embracing inspiration from real life and added a baking aspect. It’s a reflection of my current necessity-borne hobby of baking gluten-free recipes. I’ve been spending a lot of time scouring the internet for simple, easy recipes that when nailed down, I can just make over and over again.
P.S. Just tried out a new cracker recipe and they’re hard enough to crack your teeth on – my Dad almost did – but they taste pretty good, so adjustments 😛
The overall plot of Book 3 is done! Working title is “Hell Hath No Fury” – I like my cliches 😛
This book will explore the relationship between Ren and Haru in more depth. There’s a lot of history and a lot of shelved issues involved here.
Currently, I’m toying with the idea of having a middle section of the book being in Haru’s POV. Years ago, when I was jumping ahead to vague ideas of what future books would be about, I had ideas of doing one book focusing on each character of my 4 MCs, in an everyone-has-a-story sort of thing. Ren of course, got an extra one because he’s the main MC 🙂 As Ren’s oldest friend, Haru had to be next, but while I had a good idea what I might do for Nic and Feng-yu’s story – the latter especially, I’m quite excited to write about – I drew a blank on what to write on Haru.
Haru is probably the most mysterious of my characters. For all that he’s involved, his role was mostly the oil that greases Ren’s squeaky wheel – more pleasant, more socially adept. There appear to be no big ups and downs for him, but as with real life, no one really knows the full story of what happens behind closed doors and I thought it was time to explore that.
A quick introof the four MCs of my Onmyouji series:
Ren Kanda （神田 蓮）
FAQ: One of the few remaining onmyouji in Japan, heir to the famed Kanda clan. Minimally polite and basically stubborn. Growing up in a clan with everyone having their own agenda, he likes things efficient and has little tolerance for politics despite being quite good at it. Confident in his abilities as a practitioner, but has a hard time empathizing with clients’ troubles and usually only reacts appropriately based on past experience and decency.
FAQ: Left arm is possessed by inugami. A symbiotic relationship that stems from a past he doesn’t talk about. A survivor with a persecution complex for obvious reasons. Used to being alone and tends to be pensive. In terms of power, he might be stronger than Ren.
Haru Masuda （增田 春）
FAQ: Heir to the Masuda clan, youngest of five siblings. Perpetually cheerful as a survival mechanism and quite social but always at a distance. In terms of character, may be strongest of them all. Despite the bombardment of negativity from his peers and his family, remains steadfast in his own path.
FAQ: Transfer student from London. An exorcist who has little to no knowledge of the paranormal community. A bit of a flirt. Despite living in a community with foreign customs, is quite accepting of many things. Relationship with father is strained. His two aunts are both nuns and like health foods.
First of all, the free book promo is over (a while ago actually, I’m terrible at updating :P) and I’m so pleased with the results. I hope everyone who buys my book leaves a review on Amazon – I’d love your feedback!
Currently, I’m working on book 3 of the Onmyouji Chronicles and the subject is going to touch upon itako – blind women trained to be spiritual mediums in Japan. I’m still feeling out the entire structure of the story but a recent trip to Kyoto has helped to clarify some thoughts.
I’m still muddling my way through this whole writer thing, so expect blurbs to be changed every once in a while and odd updates to my blog/profile.