Kojiki has a Cover

After too long away, I’m back to show you the cover for my debut novel, Kojiki, available Aug. 2 in the US and Aug 4 in the UK. Look for it pretty much everywhere you buy your books. Click here to read the first chapter or visit fantasy-faction.com.

Kojiki-72dpi

Thanks to my publisher Angry Robot Books and fantastic cover artist Thomas Walker.

 

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When a Reader Says THIS, It Reminds You Why You Write

torii-510

Last year, a blogger approached me for a review copy of my debut novel, Kojiki. She gave it glowing marks; she also gave it to a friend she thought would like it. That friend not only liked it; she RAVED about it. So, when Torii came out–a short story prequel to Kojiki–I made sure this person knew about it. Here’s what she had to say:

“I finished it and felt bad for wanting so much more. But there again, that’s the sign of a good book, and well developed characters you feel like you know personally and want to share in their story and what happens to them down the line.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and felt my heart break when Botua died… the feeling of horror from Vissyus in his child-like state, replete with unheard of power, yet too broken to wield it properly and ending up hurting those he loves… Lon-Shan risking all for the job of a hero, all of it… and the entire thing wrapping up being this big massive thing that went totally awry that the big man didn’t want his people to find out about through history, so instead… made up something more palatable and noble, so they wouldn’t fear what lurked in the future. Oh, and the formation of the barrier by his own guardian, the entire thing was so epic…

I truly can’t say anything that will encompass how it makes me feel to be put back into a world that delights me this much. And, I was going to enshrine that book you sent me, but I felt like it would have been wrong in so many ways because something that good NEEDS to be shared until it’s pages are lovingly worn, the spine has multiple lines down the center, despite everyone being careful as they read it… I borrow it to everyone I can, and stress to them the importance of giving it back. It’s easily one of my most precious possessions, and I have few of those

You didn’t disappoint, but I didn’t figure you would.”

My reaction to these words was a mixture of awe and humility! Oh, and Torii is available from musapublishing.com as a FREE download. It’ll show up soon on other retailers too. Look for it!

A JOURNEY INTO FANTASY FOR NORFOLK AUTHOR

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Norfolk author Keith Yatsuhashi recently published his first book, “Kojiki” a fantasy themed novel. Courtesy Photo

By Heather Gillis Harris
hharris@wickedlocal.com 

Posted Apr. 26, 2014 @ 8:29 am

NORFOLK — It took more than a decade, but Norfolk author Keith Yatsuhashi finally finished what he started, writing and publishing his first book.

“I remember (Ronald) Regan had just died,” Yatsuhashi said as to when he started writing his recently published fantasy novel, “Kojiki.”

The lifetime Norfolk resident lives with his wife Kathleen and their three children, Kaitlin, 15, Jeffrey, 13 and Justin, 11.

Writing a book was something Yatsuhashi always wanted to do, but felt intimidated by the process.

“I put the idea on the shelf,” he said. “Then one day I had an idea and started to write, one sentence at a time.”

It took him two years to write the first draft.

“It was a very long process, because I didn’t have a background in writing,” Yatsuhashi said. “So I had a lot to learn.”

He sent his book off to various publishers, only to be rejected or not receive any feedback. To get some guidance, he hired independent editor Lorin Oberweger. Oberweger works out of Tampa, Florida, so the two conversed over emails and phone.

“I was lucky, she happened to like the book,” Yatsuhashi said. “She was very hands-on. Not only did she edit the book, she acted as a consultant on how to submit. She really taught me how the industry worked.”

Yatsuhashi said Oberweger helped him pare down the book, about an 18-year-old Japanese-American girl named Keiko who finds herself on a spiritual mission after crossing through a ceremonial gate in Japan. Originally Keiko was written as an older protagonist, based loosely on Yatsuhashi’s elderly and eccentric aunt Kikiyue.

But Kaitlin, Yatsuhashi’s daughter, suggested that, since the book is fantasy, Keiko is old in mind, but something happened to her that keeps her physically young.

Yatsuhashi followed his daughter’s advice. “It made for a much more interesting story,” he said.

The story is about a quest that Keiko must take after she is left a poem and a one-way ticket to Japan following her father’s death.

“She must find a gate and uses a camera as a sort of talisman to help her find the way,” Yatsuhashi said.

Without giving too much away, Keiko finds the gate and enters a doorway where she encounters god-like beings and learns that the myths and legends she was taught as a child are actually reality based.

“The world history she learned was all a lie,” Yatsuhashi said.

While the book bears some resemblance to Japanese folklore, Yatsuhashi said the book is entirely fiction.

“People who like animation will like this book,” he said. He added that teenagers seem to be drawn to the book as well, that many of the online reviews have labeled it in the “young adult” genre.

To purchase a copy of the book Yatsuhashi said it is available at http://www.amazon.com and other e-book platforms such as iTunes, the Sony Store and the Barnes and Noble digital store.

For anyone thinking about writing and publishing their own book, he offers this advice: “It’s a lot of work. You do more work than you think. When you’re writing you can’t just say ‘it’s good enough,’ be open to editing.”

Heather Harris can be reached at hharris@wickedlocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @heatherharrisWL.

*THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN THE COUNTRY GAZETTE, WRENTHAM, MA. SEE THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE.

Speechless. This 5-star KOJIKI review from Amazon leaves me speechless (and a little teary-eyed)

5.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing and unique perspective on fantasy!, February 11, 2014
This review is from: Kojiki (Kindle Edition)
I tend to be very choosy when it comes to what I will admit I enjoy in a book. I will read nearly anything, but few make the list of all time. Few make me want to read it all over again the moment it’s done. Few leave me with a profound feeling of being a more fulfilled person for having read the words between the pages.Kojiki is no exception. The characters are beautifully written, and though I’m not anywhere near Japanese in heritage, I have always admired the culture, the rich history and philosophy behind Japan. The characters all embody what I believe is the heart of not just Japan, but our entire existence.

The author says that the book is anime inspired, and though I can very clearly see this book being developed into an anime, I think there is so much more that you just cannot capture with the eyes. By reading this, I was able to transport myself into a world rich with creatures of lore, vivid in imagery and rich in absolute fascination factors. I plan to give this to my son to read next, because I’m sure his 16 year old mind will eat this up. He’s my anime watching partner, and I’ve told him no less than three times about this book.

I love that there are words in Japanese, used in context within the text, along with an explanatory English word so we understand. It keeps it feeling very genuine, and keeps you in that floating ethereal place you’re meant to be while reading it. As the characters grow in substance, so too do our feelings of attachment and a sense of being parallel. We are watching their struggles as they encounter them, and though they cannot hear our cheers, we remain their supporters from behind the pages.

What can I say that isn’t shining about this book? Maybe my greed in wanting more like it! The ending was incredible and felt exactly right, but I hate that it ended at all.

I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially those who require a high degree of mental sophistication in their fantasy novels, those who won’t read “just anything” and people looking for a fresh and direct perspective on a new premise entirely. It definitely is nothing like anything I have read before, it is not the same old story that is predictable, nor full of beings of evil or good that we’ve all seen and heard from in other ways before.

5 stars doesn’t even do this justice. I will continue to come back for more.

A 5-Star Review for KOJIKI from Tammy’s Tea Time Book Review Blog

From Tammy’s Team Time

Kojiki Blog Tour

Book Info-
Title- Kojiki
By- Keith Yatsuhashi
Published- April 19th, 2013
Published by- Musa Publishing
Genre-YA
Book Blurb-
When eighteen-year-old Keiko Yamada’s father dies unexpectedly, he leaves behind a one way ticket to Japan, an unintelligible death poem about powerful Japanese spirits and their gigantic, beast-like Guardians, and the cryptic words: “Go to Japan in my place. Find the Gate. My camera will show you the way.”
Alone and afraid, Keiko travels to Tokyo, determined to fulfill her father’s dying wish. There, beneath glittering neon signs, her father’s death poem comes to life. Ancient spirits spring from the shadows. Chaos envelops the city, and as Keiko flees its burning streets, her guide, the beautiful Yui Akiko, makes a stunning confession–that she, Yui, is one of a handful of spirits left behind to defend the world against the most powerful among them: a once noble spirit now insane.
The Earth itself is at stake, and as Keiko fights to save it, strange, dormant abilities stir within her. She suspects they are vital to her world’s survival, but to summon them, she must first unlock the mysteries within herself and a past shrouded in mystery.
My Review: I had my reservations about this book in the beginning and thought I’m not going to be able to get in to this story. I probably won’t even like it I thought to myself. I could not have been more wrong! I couldn’t put it down. As a matter of fact I am re-reading it right now to see what I may have missed the first time. The elements in this story just took my breath away. Every scene is so well described that you can picture it all as it plays right out in front of you off every page. Without being overdone KeithYatsuhashi did an amazing job with the characters as well. You couldn’t help but love them. Just like every adventure story you have your good guys and at least one villain and there is no shortage of that in this story. You quickly get a glimpse of both good and bad in here; you just have to learn who really is the good guy and who the true villain is. Come on, you didn’t expect me to tell you who they are and spoil the thrill ride for you did you? Kojiki holds so many layers to it. I was just blown away by the detail and time given to this story to make it so that every reader had just enough room to let your imagination flow through to make the story your own as it plays out. I so enjoyed the characters. Keiko is such a wonderful character that gets thrown into a world she doesn’t understand all while she is trying to still grieve the loss of her beloved father. Yui Akiko takes the world by storm and helps Keiko try to figure all of this stuff out. Yui has her own way of doing things though and rather than slowly introducing things slowly she is left to give Keiko a crash course of what she needs to know. As Keiko learns what must be done to save the world from the evil that lurks to destroy it she must also figure out what this all has to do with her and why her father’s dying wish was for her to go Japan and discover a gate and herself. Kojiki was a thrill ride right from the beginning that you barely have time to catch your breath before you are off again with a bang! I can’t believe how much I enjoyed this story! I would highly recommend Kojiki to anyone who wants a high paced action packed grab you by the seat of your pants adventure.
5/5
 
Links-
Kobo-
Author Info–
Keith Yatsuhashi was born in 1965 in Boston, MA. He graduated from Northeastern University in 1989 and is currently the Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
Keith was a competitive figure skater for ten years, winning the U.S. National Junior Dance Championships in 1984, a bronze medal in the 1983 World Junior Figure Skating Championships, and a silver medal in 1984.
In addition to his love of writing, Keith enjoys many hobbies such as golf, reading, and playing football and hockey with his sons. Keith currently lives in Norfolk, MA with his wife, Kathleen and three children—Caitlin, Jeffrey, and Justin.
Links-

Here’s an exclusive look at my next book!

Hey everyone. Here’s a little peek into the world of writing. This is the opening of my second book–working title: Kokoro. This is only the second draft, so it has a way to go yet. Still, I thought it might be interesting to show you how a book looks in its early stages. I’m about halfway through with this revision, with more to go. No guarantees, but I’ll post these first few pages again when I have a chance to edit and polish. Until then–enjoy 🙂

 

 

Chapter One

The Refugee

 

 

Earth: Guilin City, China

The Present

 

 Byron Taylor pulled his battered jeep to the side of the rode and cast an uneasy gaze into the skies. He assumed a new start would change him, would ease his anxiety, would bring him the peace he never had at home.

He’d been mistaken.

Fear stalked him wherever he went; he jumped at shadows, saw danger where none existed. Even here, in a remote corner of China’s Guangxi province, he imagined the worst. The rational part of his brain told him the speck of silver light knifing through the skies was nothing more than an airliner, and still his emotions refused to listen. Overruling reason, they sent adrenaline into his rapidly beating heart, each contraction shooting more through his blood, energizing him, making him jittery.

“It’s just a plane,” he said aloud. The odds of it being anything else were astronomical. He closed his eyes and started a long, slow breath to calm his mind. “It’s just a plane,” he repeated. They couldn’t have found him; he had to believe that.

But he didn’t. He’d been through too much, seen too much. People died around him, their bodies blown apart while he drove his great armored suit against hundreds of others. He remembered them all, the faces of those he’d killed. They died because him, because he wasn’t good enough or smart enough. Because he wasn’t meant for this.

His eyes snapped open, his breathing still rapid and shallow. Meditation didn’t help; cleansing breaths were equally useless. His head said he was safe, but his body said otherwise. In desperation, he pulled a pair of binoculars from the seat beside him and brought them up to his eyes. Proof. That’s what he needed–something to demonstrate his foolishness.

Through the glass, the sky opened to him, deep azure, limitless, boundless, infinite. The vapor trail appeared as a thin sliver at the very top of the lens. He adjusted his aim until he’d centered then worked his way toward the head. The activity relieved some of his tension–having something to do distracted his senses enough to settle him.

The longer he followed the trail, however, the more his tension returned. He didn’t think a plane moved that fast, not the planes he knew. Dread clawed at him, suppressing his breath. The tightening in his chest intensified as he followed the narrowing contrail to its source. 

He relaxed a little when a pair of silver tail fins appeared, only to have his world tilt a moment later. Instead of ending, the fins swept upward, merging with what could only be thick metal legs. The legs met an armored torso on which sat a cruel, hawk-like helm.

A thousand icy daggers drilled into Byron’s skin. A Mah-kai! The Riders were here; they’d found him. Tremors started again in his fingertips. He gulped at the air, feverishly trying to estimate how long it would take them to search the area, trying to guess how much time he had to run.

Furious, he drove his fist into the dash. Damn them! He’d made a home here, had just started to feel comfortable. The first few years were always the most difficult, creating an identity from nothing, fitting in. That was over now. All of it–the carefully crafted persona, the teen prodigy, the brilliant young scientist.

Cursing, he fumbled for the shift and threw the jeep into gear. He sped off, determined to reach the dig before his team spotted him. His ignorance put them at risk. Friends, colleagues, students. They were in danger now. He should have know better. He’d grown too comfortable. Too secure. The find blinded him, the ramifications, its link to his world.

He’d been here for less than a week with a team of the finest scientists and field researchers he could assemble, the whole expedition coming together quickly considering the mounds of paperwork needed for an undertaking of this size.

The Chinese government helped more than he expected, their excitement over the find earning him both respect and cooperation. It wasn’t every day a researcher unearthed an ancient human, this one unlike any before it: the perfectly preserved remains of a woman predating the age of dinosaurs. Top level officials were so thrilled with the discovery, they ordered the Ministry of Culture fast-tracked his permits through the bureaucracy, subsidized seventy-five percent of the expedition, and had the military quarantine all ten thousand square miles of Guilin City.

In retrospect, that’s what bothered him the most about the unknown object. Nothing apart from supplies and basic necessities entered the area: not boat, not transport, and certainly not aircraft. He glanced up, watched the white streak crest the eastern mountains, and let out a relieved sigh. It hadn’t spotted him. Not yet anyway. Thankfully, foresight–or paranoia, he wasn’t sure which–made him secure the valley with electronic countermeasures while advancing the site. It bought him some time. Not much, but some.

A road cut across the fields in front of him, a precisely tiled ribbon of mortared stone that wound its way into the wall. He swerved onto it. The archeologist in him noted its age; the fugitive watched for danger. Without trees or buildings, he was alarmingly exposed. His gaze alternated between road and sky, watching for the object’s return. Each glance seemed to lengthen the road ahead. The wall, despite its size, looked so far away.

He gunned the engine, sped forward, and eventually plunged into the tunnel. Echoes assaulted his ears–the engine’s roar, the whistling wind. Two miles long and dead straight, the road cut beneath the slimmest of the karst hills. Byron didn’t know who built it or why, only that–judging by the aged paving stone both inside the tunnel and out–it was at least as old as the Great Wall itself.

Growing sunlight signaled the end of the tunnel, and the jeep hit the mouth without slowing, the wind in Byron’s ears flattening to a dull roar.  He’d donned sunglasses to compensate for the bright summer sun, cranked the wheel to the left, and followed the road past the banks of a large cenote.

This close, the still blue waters called to him. Local legend said a water goddess blasted it into existence and then filled it with her tears. He filled it with something else, something that brought tears to thousands.