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!

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-

How well do you know your family history?

Last summer, my brother ventured down to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC to look at documents relating to my grandfather. The Harumichi Yatsuhashi Papers are there, with a fascinating look at my family’s history in the U.S.  Here’s the web version of what he found:

Yatsuhashi Harumichi Family Papers 1907-1976
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Creator: 
Yatsuhashi Harumichi Family
Title: 
Yatsuhashi Harumichi Family Papers 1907-1976
Phy. Description: 
8.25 linear feet
Digital Reference: 
Image Finding Aid
Bio / His Notes: 
Asian art dealer and merchant Yatsuhashi Harumichi (1886- 1982) was born in Tano, Japan, on December 15, 1886. Upon completion of his studies in Osaka, Mr. Yatsuhashi secured employment in the Osaka office of the prestigious Asian antiquities firm, Yamanaka & Company. In 1907 he joined Yamanka & Company’s branch office in Boston, Massachusetts, as its general manager and treasurer of the company’s Asian division. Located at 424 Boylston Street, the store was a center for Chinese art, as well as for Japanese assorted goods. In 1913 Yatsuhashi married Shigeki. They produced two sons (Michio and Masao) and two daughters (Sumiko and Kukiye). (Harumichi Yatsuhashi, Oriental art authority and Brookline resident. (1982 December 3). The Boston Globe, obituaries.) Following the United States’ entrance into World War II, the Alien Property Custodian seized the Yamanaka shops in New York, Boston, and Chicago. The holdings were sold at auction in May and June, 1944. In 1945, Yatsuhashi Harumichi and his son Michio opened their own Asian art dealership at 420 Boylston Street in Boston. Yatsuhashi Harumichi fostered exchange between his native and adopted homeland. He was a member and officer (president in 1931) of the Japan Society of Boston since 1921, an avid supporter of the Boston Marathon, and a founder of the Boston-Kyoto Sister City Foundation. (Boston Globe, 1982 December 4. ) Michio Yatsuhashi, who helped his father open the Yatsuhashi antique shop, died prematurely as a result of cancer in 1981. One year later, Mr. Yatsuhashi died in Boston at the age of 96. He was survived by his daughters, Sumiko and Kikuye and one son, Masao.
Scope and Content: 
The Yatsuhashi Harumichi Family Papers (1906-1976) document the professional and personal lives of a Japanese-American family in Boston during the twentieth century. The patriarch, Yatsuhashi Harumichi (1886-1982), was an influential Asian art dealer and the papers also document the professional experiences of Asian art dealers in the United States during the early and mid 20th century. Mr. Yatsuhashi worked at the antiquities firm of Yamanaka & Company before starting his own Asian antiquities shop in 1945. Included in the papers, portions in Japanese, are correspondence; catalogues relating to the Alien Property Custodian’s 1944 liquidation of Yamanaka & Company’s New York branch’s holdings; photographs depicting art objects and shop interiors, the Yatsuhashi family; Yamanaka & Company, and extended family, friends, and colleagues; and items belonging to Mr. Yatsuhashi’s wife, Shigeki, and some of their children.
Language Note: 
In English and Japanese
Organization: 
This collection is organized into three series. Series 1: Yatsuhashi Harumichi papers, 1912-1965, n.d., series 2: Other family members, 1937, 1966, n.d., series 3: Photographs, 1907-1976, n.d.
Provenance: 
Gift of James Arthur Marinaccio, 1994
Finding aids: 
Electronic finding aid available.
Cite as: 
The Yatsuhashi Harumichi Family Papers. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of James Arthur Marinaccio, 1994.
Restrictions: 
Access is by appointment only, Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please contact the Archives to make an appointment: AVRreference@si.edu.

Anecdotally, my father regaled us of stories of his family before the war. Sadly, these were too few. The ones we all remember had to do with my grandfather’s work with the Japan Society (he was the Society’s president in 1931). Because of his position, he opened his house to Japanese visitors. The most controversial story had future Japanese Admiral Yamamoto, then a student at Harvard, babysitting my father and his siblings.

Below is one of the few remaining pictures we have. My grandfather is on the right. The man on the left is Admiral Osami Nagano, chief of the Imperial Japanese Naval General Staff in 1941, then fleet Admiral. My father recalled the last conversation my grandfather had with Yamamoto. I don’t remember if it was by phone, telex, or in person. Essentially it was, ‘you will not hear from me again.’

Image

My aunt, the last surviving member of my father’s immediate family, knows the Yatsuhashi family’s history in Japan. She still tells stories–one puts my family in the Imperial court in Kyoto. Yatsuhashi, she says, comes from the city bridges. Yatsuhashi was the eighth from the palace. Names originating from the seventh down to the first exist, the lower the number, the closer the family was to the Emperor. Below is a picture of the Yatsuhashi Bridge. A path crosses the South Pond via this Yatsuhashi Bridge (zigzag bridge) covered by a wisteria arbor. (hat tip: http://www.kunaicho.go.jp/e-about/shisetsu/oomiya-ph.html)

07ph-42

My favorite story and unprovable–that may grandmother, Shigeki Kawano, had an ancestor who fought Kublai Khan’s invading forces when the typhoon, the Kami Kaze destroyed them in 1281. Is any of this true? I don’t know. Still, it’s fun to think so. Here’s a passage I found on Google from a book called the Mongol Invasion of Japan:

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My wife isn’t impressed, and my aunt’s claim that my family was once close to the Emperor, was once  Japanese nobility, doesn’t keep me from taking out the garbage. My wife notes that my aunt never came out and said our family was at the Court. She hinted, but then–well–she Japanese. Maybe if I could prove it… A few quick searches revealed a few instances of the name Yatsuhashi in Imperial Japan–one a blind musician, one a courtesan (say it’s not so!)

The point? Take time to get to know your parents and grandparents before it’s too late. What you learn may surprise you.