Been wondering why I’ve been a bit quiet these last few months? Well maybe not, but I’m gonna tell you anyway!
Unusually for me, it’s not horror. It is the first of a Japanese fantasy series based on my Aurealis Award- and Ditmar Award nominated novelette “Yamabushi Kaidan and the Smoke Dragon“. If you want a taste of the novel, the original novelette, which forms the opening chapter of the novel, Circle of Tears, is available for free at my website (click on the Free Fiction link).
So what is Circle of Tears about?
In a Japan that never was… Yamabushi Kaidan is a mountain monk with mystical powers and a lifetime of secrets. He stands guard over the Autumn Valley and his two protégés – Akio, the aspiring Shugendo healer, and Yumi, the feisty self-trained warrior daughter of Kaidan’s lost lover.
After a series of encounters with samurai, ninja, sorcerers, spirits, dragons, and badgers, Kaidan leads an unlikely alliance of Nine Heroes, including the ghost of the legendary sword saint Musashi, ninja arch-rivals Monkey Jump Sasuke and Hidden Mist Saizo, Hosokawa the Badger Dad, and Sohei warrior monk Benkei, son of the legendary Benkei, the man who claimed 999 swords defending Gōjō Bridge.
The Nine Heroes face the Circle of Tears, an ancient cabal led by the immortal Sentoryu Hachiro, the self-proclaimed Twilight Shogun, and his army of yokai demon-spirits. The Nine Heroes must protect the Autumn Valley at all costs, for if they fall, Japan will surely follow.
I’ve written a big chunk of it and I’m comparing weekly word counts with good mate Nathan (who is writing the follow up to the excellent Fivefold), and while he’s kicking my arse, it’s fun seeing the story unfold. Yoshi!