A Halloween Treat

Two cousins, the boy dressed in military camou...

Two cousins, the boy dressed in military camouflage and the girl in a ballerina outfit, wait outside a door as they go trick-or-treating,. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll be honest, there’s a trick to this treat: this is only an excerpt. Not the complete story. (Sorry!) I’ve turned in three stories in the last two days, and there just wasn’t time to get this one done, too.

But I wanted to share at least a bit of it, because it’s seasonal, and it’ll be a fun peek behind the curtain of the writing process to see how it develops. Some stories keep a similar feel from the beginning, while others are hardly recognizable by the end. This one will change significantly before it’s done! but that’s why it’s called a draft. Also, please enjoy a glimpse of the quite-real Irvington Halloween Festival and maybe mark your calendars for next year!

I’d love to hear your comments on this work in progress, so please don’t be shy. Also please note that it will be available for a very limited time, because it is just a draft — and trick or treating doesn’t last forever! Continue reading

It’s October!

Autumn leaf color in Shinnyo-do, Kyoto, Japan

Autumn leaf color in Shinnyo-do, Kyoto, Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s hard to pick a favorite time of year — I like pretty much everything except March — but October would be near the top of any list. The colors, the slanting light, the crisp temperatures along with favorite traditions such as bonfires, pumpkins, and spooky stories.

I write this from a train car rolling through autumn colors. Trains are a great way to experience scenery, and I’ll have a travelogue post soon to share with you. But I have something else to share as well. Continue reading

Goal: 10,000 for a free story

Seahorse

Seahorse (image credit: bertarista)

So a few weeks ago I mentioned on social media that I was quite close to hitting 10,000 paid sales this year, which is flippin’ awesome. And if I hit it, I said on impulse, I’d share an unpublished short story with my newsletter readers. (It’s about a seahorse.) Continue reading

I (Heart) Vampires

Illustration in Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le F...

Illustration in Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s vampire story. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I (blood-red heart) vampires. Not any particular incarnation of them (though there are some incarnations I do particularly dislike), but the mythos of them. Creeping, skulking, life-stealing, blood-drinking, vein-piercing, sexual-metaphor-but-not-sexy-themselves vampires.

How do I love vampires? Let me count the ways. Continue reading

A Game Not For One Night, But For A Thousand and One Nights….

English: Princess Parizade Bringing Home the S...

Princess Parizade Bringing Home the Singing Tree, 1906, oil on paper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My friend Mark gave me a new board game for Christmas. The setting is the world of the traditional 1001 Nights, in which Scheherazade is weaving tales to amuse Shahryar and keep herself alive. Players are story characters, with literally thousands of game paths (very re-playable).

It’s a bit different, as games go, rewarding not just game accomplishments in terms of points or accumulated treasures and things, but extreme storytelling — that is, the more dramatic, tragic, twisted, inspiring, and generally enthralling your character’s journey is, the more likely you’ll win the game. Continue reading

The Twelfth Day of Kitsune – Mizuhiki

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series Twelve Days of Kitsune

Arriving early to give a panel on Japanese folklore, I found Emilia (author of our guest post on kimono) teaching a workshop on tying mizuhiki. A perfect follow-up to the post on furoshiki; you can now decorate your traditionally-wrapped packages as well! Continue reading

The Eleventh Day of Kitsune – the Kitsune Code of Conduct

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series Twelve Days of Kitsune

When I asked on my Facebook page what people wanted to know about kitsune or the setting, a reader asked:

Are the kitsune faithful to any kind of code, other than obedience to those they serve? I mean, are they faithful to their friends, or more live-by-what-best-serves-the-moment?

Great question! And the answer is, yes. Sort of. Always. Sometimes.

They are, after all, kitsune. Continue reading

The Ninth Day of Kitsune — A Period Playlist

This entry is part 9 of 12 in the series Twelve Days of Kitsune

As we come to the Ninth Day of Kitsune, let’s treat one of the senses which has been left so far untouched despite our forays into images, taste, and touch; let’s listen to music, both period and related, from Heian era to today. Continue reading

Our Annual Christmas Movie, and Don’t Argue With Me.

English: Screenshot of Jimmy Stewart and Donna...

Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly every year of my life, my immediate family has gathered on Christmas Eve, invited friends and pseudo-adopted family, eaten ourselves silly on shrimp and brownies and cheese balls and red and green M&Ms, and watched It’s a Wonderful Life.

“That old hack of a film? Really?” you ask.

If you asked it silently to yourself, read on, and I’ll explain. If you asked aloud, there’s the door over there. We don’t argue about It’s a Wonderful Life. Continue reading

The Eighth Day of Kitsune – Where Are They Now? Part 2

This entry is part 8 of 12 in the series Twelve Days of Kitsune
Anime Central 2012

flyer for Anime Central 2012

In recent years, kitsune and other folklore creatures have been making a striking comeback, it seems. Yes, they were always there, but now they’re everywhere, from fashion (French clothing line Maison Kitsune) to music (several music groups go by the name Kitsune).

Here’s a very brief collage of modern media in which you might spy a kitsune — and one of my favorite kitsune scenes in which there is no kitsune at all. Continue reading