Category Archives: Book

Twelfth Night: Training Kunoichi, Pt. 2

I’ve always been a writer. But for most of my life, I have also been an actor. As a matter of fact for many years, I was a classically trained professional stage and screen performer.

That meant I had to learn how to use a sword.

I took classes in stage combat, but I also joined my college fencing club, picking up the saber (which was the closest thing to the kind of sword fighting I had already learned as an actor).* Continue reading Twelfth Night: Training Kunoichi, Pt. 2

Book Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

Anyone who’s read Jim Butcher’s books knows he loves his mashups. His Dresden Files combines a classic gumshoe-detective tone with elements and tropes from every type of fantasy fiction and mythology you can think of. His Codex Alera novels were inspired when he was challenged to write a mind-bending combination of prompts: the Roman Empire and Pokemon.

The Aeronaut’s Windlass, the fun first novel in Butcher’s new Cinder Spires series, is yet another mashup: a rollicking nautical(ish) tale in the tradition of C.S Forester’s Horatio Hornblower set in a Steampunk world where steel rots and electricity doesn’t seem to exist but the ability to use a quasi-magical substance/force called aether allows for interesting takes on familiar technology, and in which the planet’s surface is barely habitable, leaving humanity confined to spires — enormous, nation-sized towers built in the distant past. Continue reading Book Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

On Training Kunoichi

Twelfth Night and Kunoichi

I spent last night training a kunoichi.

My wife Maura is directing a production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at her school. As often happens, I’m helping out, working with the actors on the language and teaching them combat. It’s fun to break out the scansion and fencing I learned as a young actor.

The students enjoy it too — though I’ll admit they prefer the sword fighting to the verse. Continue reading On Training Kunoichi

Bright Eyes sneak peek: The Cave

Waiting for next Seasons of the Sword book? Author David Kudler just shared this sneak preview from the next exciting installment in Risuko’s adventures:

Bright Eyes Sneak Peek: The Cave

I love to climb.

I suppose that’s a silly thing for me to say, at this point. Of course I love to climb. Still—it’s true. It’s always been true. That earliest memory—of my mother weeping with my sister in her arms: I see it from above. Even though we had just moved into the tiny house, even though I was just four years old, I had already found my way up into the rickety rafters. I had always felt more at home up in the air than on the ground. Safer.

There was a reason that my mother came to call me Squirrel.

Yet as I stared at that sheer rock face from within the confines of the Full Moon, I must admit that I was nervous. Afraid.

Toumi snorted as she and Emi shouldered past me, bows and quivers over their shoulders. “Scared, Mouse-chan?”

I shook my head. But we both knew it wasn’t true.

Emi smiled as they walked out the gate. I think she meant it as reassurance. It felt as if she were consoling me: It’s been nice knowing you, Murasaki.

Continue reading Bright Eyes sneak peek: The Cave

Get the FREE YA Anthology – That Moment When

Love YA paranormal, urban fantasy, science fiction and dystopian books?

The Alliance of YA Authors is a community of over 1000 young adult writers. Many of us are award-winning, bestselling authors. Others are brilliant debut authors just starting out. I’m honored to have the group choose my Kunoichi Companion Tale “Silk & Service” among the dozens of thrilling stories from all of your favorite genres in a new anthology.

We’ve put them together into an epic anthology of young adult fiction: That Moment When. Some of them are just the beginning of a unique adventure, while others are complete stories that will spark your imagination.

I invite you to check out That Moment When. It’s available for FREE download on all platforms and features some of today’s hottest new talent in young adult fiction. Continue reading Get the FREE YA Anthology – That Moment When

That Moment When: Risuko prequel in YA anthology

We’re excited to tell you that “Silk & Service,” one of David Kudler’s Risuko prequel stories, was chosen for inclusion in That Moment When: An Anthology of Young Adult Fiction. Not only is the book is available now in both print and ebook form, but the ebook is FREE for a limited time!

ORDER FROM AMAZON  |  ORDER FROM ANOTHER BOOKSELLER Continue reading That Moment When: Risuko prequel in YA anthology

Radio interview: David Kudler talks Risuko and the Hero’s Journey

A radio interview that I gave recently is now up as a podcast!

I talked with Gil Mansergh, host of KRCB’s Word by Word, about Risuko, including what inspired the book and what it was like to write , and how my work with Joseph Campbell Foundation on books like The Hero with a Thousand Faces and Pathways to Bliss influenced my writing. I also read some fun sections of the book aloud — my version of Kee Sun probably reminds you of another literary character (not intentional)!

Catch it here: Continue reading Radio interview: David Kudler talks Risuko and the Hero’s Journey

Review: Empire of Storms is a hurricane of epic fantasy

I was going to post my review of Empire of Storms over on my own blog, but it occurred to me that folks here might be more interested in what I had to say. Have you read the Throne of Glass books? What do you think?

By the way, I avoided spoilers for the book as best I could, and have hidden spoilers for the series behind the cut. — David Kudler

As someone with an interest in YA novels about female teen assassins, I’ve enjoyed Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series. The latest volume, Empire of Storms, delivers all of the pleasures that have made the previous installments addictive — fast-moving action, well-thought-through epic fantasy, and, at its center, the snarky, sneaky assassin-heroine Celaena Sardothien Continue reading Review: Empire of Storms is a hurricane of epic fantasy

Foreword Reviews: ★★★★★ Risuko “powerful and relentless”

Look what came in the mail today!

Foreword Reviews gave Risuko: A Kunoichi tale a spotlight, five-star review in this quarter’s issue. (Oh, and notice that they used the cover as the central design!)

Risuko is an artfully crafted novel that evokes a heavy sense of place and enchantment. The world in which Risuko lives is filled with lords and ladies, spies, and complicated battles, not all of which are fought out on the field. Lady Chiyome especially is an interesting figure, with a depth that is mirrored in the complicated relationships in the rest of the tale. Risuko becomes an interesting blend of both the historical and the magical, and the stakes of the story are enormous. In turn, Risuko’s development and evolution are fascinating to watch in this powerful and relentless coming-of-age adventure.

Nice. Not only am I happy that they liked the book, but I’m really pleased with what they liked about  the book.

What do you think?

Foreword is a leading trade review journal of independently published books. We like them. Especially right now.

You can read the whole review here! 

I’m going back to working on Bright-Eyes now. 🙂

Risuko sale through Thursday! ($0.99 in the Kindle store)

David Kudler’s teen historical adventure novel Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale is on sale through Thursday, August 18 only. Buy the ebook for just $0.99 on Amazon’s Kindle Store!

Samurai, assassins, warlords…
and a girl who likes to climb

Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan — or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.

Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.

Historical adventure fiction appropriate for young adult and middle-grade readers

Season of the Sword #1

Can one girl win a war?

Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn’t possible have the power to change the outcome.

Or could she?

RISUKO ON SALE THROUGH THURSDAY ONLY!