Kojiki Sneak Peek 2

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“Chinese Water Dragon” (c) 2012 Shoshanna Bauer

The following is the second excerpt from my debut novel, Kojiki.  Enjoy. Share! Spread the word!!!!

Keiko’s body may have been safe and warm in the White Spirit Castle, but her mind registered a sharp change in temperature. In Tokyo, intense heat preceded Fiyorok’s arrival. Here, it was the cold. The other dragon was coming. She was sure of it. Frantic, she studied the Black Sea, fighting to accept what she saw. A layer of ice had formed several miles out and now raced toward land. Keiko had never seen anything like it. The seas didn’t freeze that fast—not in the coldest winter, and certainly not in the middle of spring.

“Vissyus’s Guardians grow stronger.” Takeshi floated in the air beside her. His words were grim, but he seemed more thoughtful than worried.

Keiko didn’t share the sentiment. The thought terrified her. She remembered what Fiyorok did to Tokyo. This, though different, resonated with the same sense of violence.

Ice crystals appeared in the air above a coastal village. They swirled ominously beneath the May sun as if mocking it. Below, a dark shape, so like Fiyorok, swam within the frozen sea, heading for shore. A large crowd had gathered along the docks. Many pointed excitedly into the bay, while others wandered in from the streets, their heads tilted skyward, bewildered expressions on their faces.

Keiko’s heart went out to them. They had no idea what was coming.

Akuan was clearly visible beneath the ice. The people watching from shore began to back away. Those behind pushed forward, crushing the ones stuck between. Angry shouts erupted from the mob, anguished cries and terrified wails adding to the chaos. Pressure built from either end, the whole unable to move. It quivered in place until Akuan exploded through the ice and roared into town with the force of a howling blizzard.

As Keiko looked down, the world lurched around her. Blue sky became stone buildings and streets slick from melting snow. She gazed about to reorient herself. This was the second time in a short span in which her surroundings abruptly changed. The last was fairly benign. She’d been too far away to notice the details. Here, though, in the middle of the village, the horror was all too vivid.

People streamed past—men, women, and children—mindlessly fleeing. Panic made them selfish. Few stopped to help friend or neighbor. A woman with a wailing infant in her arms stumbled, lost her balance and fell. Keiko tried to grab her, but she passed through Keiko’s arms and hit the ground with a loud thud.

The crowd behind didn’t slow. Keiko turned to face it, waving her arms and shouting for them to stop. But they kept coming. As they closed, a blast of ice shot through the street. It swept forward, freezing whatever it touched.

“No,” Keiko pleaded. She covered her eyes, and when she looked again, she gazed into a sea of icy statues. “No. Oh, God no!”

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Fancy a Look at My Debut Novel?

Starting today, I’m putting my blog on a bit of hiatus.  Instead of my usual ramblings, I will post excerpts from KOJIKI–one per week until the e-book’s April 19th release.  Enjoy…

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“Isn’t this our train?” Keiko tossed her head at the tracks.

Yui blinked. “Train? What train? We still have another ten minutes. There. Look.” She pointed to an illuminated sign dangling from the ceiling.

“I don’t care what it says—even if I could read it.” Keiko sighed. Nobody ever listened to her. At eighteen, she was too young to be taken seriously and too old not to be. She shrugged. “Maybe we just got lucky. Maybe the sign’s wrong. I don’t know. The only thing I do know is that a train’s on its way.”

Yui shot her a skeptical look.

Keiko sighed again. She shifted her body toward the tunnel and waited for her hair to fan away from her head. “Here, see? A train pushes the air down the tunnel. You feel it before you hear it. Everybody knows that.”

Wakarimasen!” Yui muttered. “This isn’t right. Japanese trains run on schedule. That train would have to be a full ten minutes early, and that never happens…not ever.” She stood slowly, woodenly.

“You’re sure?” An irrational feeling of dread fluttered in Keiko’s chest, some instinct both powerful and undeniably clear.

Yui nodded, her face grave. “Hai, Keiko. I’m sure.”

Keiko moved away from the rails. The strengthening draft clawed at her, hot, dry, and stronger than it should have been.

“I’ve never felt that before.” She clutched her throat.

Yui’s head snapped toward the tunnel entrance. “What? You’ve never felt what before?”

“The heat. It’s like an oven in here.”

Face paling, Yui followed Keiko’s gaze down the tracks. “Our train doesn’t come from the left. It’s a northbound train. They only approach from the right.”

“What are you talking about?” Keiko started to say, when a throaty growl boomed out of the northern passage to silence her. Air rushed ahead of it in powerful blasts, each stronger than the last—blisteringly hot and accompanied by a hellacious glow that tinted the station’s white walls with amber. “What was that?”

In a flash, Yui seized Keiko’s jacket and forced her to the ground. “Stay down! You need to stay down! I didn’t go through all the trouble of crossing the Boundary just to have you incinerated!”

Dropping to one knee, she dragged Keiko with her, her face lifting to meet the flickering glow. It churned faster now, coming down the tracks in a rush of sound and light. A wave of intense heat seared across the platform. Keiko’s mouth went dry. She stared at Yui, but the question she wanted to ask died on her lips.

Yui wasn’t paying attention to her. Instead, she stared into the light with an urgency that brought twisting knots to Keiko’s stomach.

“Fiyorok,” Yui hissed, scrambling back into a low crouch. “It’s free!”

Kojiki is due out April 19 from Musa Publishing as an e-book. You will be able to purchase it directly from Musa at http://www.musapublishing.com.  It will also be available at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook sellers.

**Disclaimer:  Kojiki is the property of Musa Publishing, copyright 2012 by Keith Yatsuhashi. You many not be copy or otherwise manipulate this text without permission.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Meets the Real World

eye-tracking

“Samsung customer service. How may I help you?”

“Hi! I have one of your new phones. It’s totally locked up.”

“I’m sorry you’re having trouble with that. I’ll be happy to assist you. Can you describe the issue?”

“Well, I’m on on the Internet, and the eye tracking is working great. Then, all of a sudden, it just gets stuck.”

“I see, sir. Has this happened before?”

“No. Just when I go to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit page. The browser locks up on Kate Upton’s boobs.”

Long pause.

“Hello? Are you still there?”

“Sir, I’ll say this as gently as I can. I believe the eye tracking feature on your new phone is working exactly the way it’s supposed to.”

I’m So Sorry I Spoke. Speaking is Controversial. I’ll Try Not to Think Either.

I'm So sorry I Spoke. Speaking is Controversial. I'll Try Not to Think Either.

If it’s okay with you, I’d like to tackle a controversial subject. It’s my hope to do it as gently and fairly as possible. It’s just that, it seems like I can’t go online or watch TV without someone complaining about somebody else’s comment. Demanding an apology. Forgive me, but isn’t that a little…umm excessive? Most of the time the one who made the comment isn’t even around to defend himself or is it herself. Themselves isn’t grammatically correct, but it IS PC. So ‘themselves’.  I guess. Anyway, instead, I end up watching a bunch of know-it-all’s, one on each side of the issue, arguing about how we’re going to a bad place of nonreligious denomination because of of it. Now, it’d be too easy to blame TV and today’s gotcha media of all stripes, or spots, or argyle, and as attractive as that is, I can’t help but wonder if it runs a lot deeper than that. Or shallower.

Today, unlike any time in our history, we have whole industries centered around one cause or another. Paid subordinates mobilize at the drop of a hat–apologies to anyone hat-connected who might feel slighted, ditto to subordinates and higher-ups who might not like the stereotypes broadly painted here–and defend their causes the way a female animal defends it’s young. Not that male animals aren’t good parents, or that female animals can’t do more than just stay at cave and raise their broods. And unpaid subordinates are valuable too.

I suppose the good news is that this seems to be a grown-up phenomenon, which isn’t to say the younger set is excluded. They can participate if they so choose. For better or worse, they have their own, dare I say, exclusive clubs. Instagram or YouTube or whatever other site my oldness keeps me from knowing. Oh, they’ll let us old folks in, to be sure, but I’ll wager those of my ilk would be too shocked to stay long. No harm no foul. Right?

And then there’s poor Brent Musburger. One comment made in the middle of a what? A three-plus hour game? The cleanliness-deficient, non-young, xy-chromosomed human being nearly lost his job over that. Hopefully, the Dude (generic, non-gender term, of course), has learned his lesson. Don’t compliment anyone for fear of his/her/it’s opposite challenging your fairness.

And so my friends, I raise a glass or environmentally friendly cup to the multi-colored world. Isn’t it nice? Isn’t it pleasant? It sure is. At least until the non-nice, unpleasant learn about it and want in.

Then what will we do? I guess, all our comments would look like this:  ”                                 .”