Seasons of the Sword http://risuko.net Kunoichi Tales (Teen Historical Aventure) Tue, 13 Nov 2018 01:13:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://risuko.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/cropped-Risuko-favicon-32x32.png Seasons of the Sword http://risuko.net 32 32 96904293 Stories & Keeping Time news http://risuko.net/stories-keeping-time-news/ http://risuko.net/stories-keeping-time-news/#respond Tue, 13 Nov 2018 01:13:06 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=2132 Hey! A couple of pieces of news! First of all, I recently wrote a post for Joseph Campbell Foundation (my “day gig”) entitled “Where Do Stories Come From.” It’s talking about the source of narrative, and also mythologist Joseph Campbell’s own fiction writing. Check it out! Also, the final volume of my friend Heather Albano’s … Continue reading Stories & Keeping Time news

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Hey! A couple of pieces of news!

Joseph Campbell - Mythic ImaginationFirst of all, I recently wrote a post for Joseph Campbell Foundation (my “day gig”) entitled “Where Do Stories Come From.” It’s talking about the source of narrative, and also mythologist Joseph Campbell’s own fiction writing. Check it out!

Keeping Time by Heather AlbanoAlso, the final volume of my friend Heather Albano’s steampunk time travel trilogy Keeping Time is coming  out on November 22! Timebound is a wild, roller coaster-ride of a conclusion to what was already a fun series — a mashup of HG Wells, Jane Austen, and Mary Shelley, if you can believe it.

In preparation for the release of the conclusion of the trilogy, we’re lowering the price for the ebook of Timepiecethe first book in the series, to just $0.99! Just November 22, though, so don’t wait!

Keeping Time: Steampunk Time-Travel

You only THINK you know
what happened at Waterloo.

The real story involved more monsters.
And a lot more time travel.


“Waterloo and time travel are made for each other and Heather Albano has done a wonderful job of giving us a delightful cast of characters, tasked with stitching together the proper nineteenth century while fending off several monstrous alternatives. Propulsive adventure with historical insight.” – Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars and 2312

Keeping Time: A Steampunk Time Travel Adventure Trilogy by Heather Albano

It’s 1815, and Wellington’s badly-outnumbered army stares across the field of Waterloo at Napoleon’s forces. Desperate to hold until reinforcements arrive, Wellington calls upon a race of monsters created by a mad Genevese scientist 25 years before.

It’s 1815, and a discontented young lady sitting in a rose garden receives a mysterious gift: a pocket watch that, when opened, displays scenes from all eras of history. Past…and future.

It’s 1885, and a small band of resistance fighters are resorting to increasingly extreme methods in their efforts to overthrow a steampunk Empire whose clockwork gears are slick with its subjects’ blood.

Are these events connected?

Oh, come now. That would be telling.

READ THE EXCITING PROLOGUE TO TIMEPIECE (#1)


Sale!
Timepiece - now available

Timepiece (Keeping Time #1)

$0.99$14.95

Select options


Sale!
Timekeeper cover

Timekeeper (Keeping Time #2)

$4.99$14.95

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Sale!
Timebound cover

Timebound (Keeping Time #3)

$4.99$12.95
This item will be released on November 22, 2018.

Pre-Order Now

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What’s with Kee Sun’s accent? http://risuko.net/whats-with-kee-suns-accent/ http://risuko.net/whats-with-kee-suns-accent/#respond Sat, 21 Jul 2018 20:32:15 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=2057 Kee Sun is one of my favorite characters, and I’m not alone. I get asked about the Korean cook a lot — especially about his accent. I recently was asked a question over on Goodreads: Hi David – enjoyed Risuko and will be adding my review soon. Curious about the Korean cook and the odd … Continue reading What’s with Kee Sun’s accent?

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Kee Sun is one of my favorite characters, and I’m not alone. I get asked about the Korean cook a lot — especially about his accent. I recently was asked a question over on Goodreads:

Hi David – enjoyed Risuko and will be adding my review soon. Curious about the Korean cook and the odd way he speaks. Is that on purpose to indicate he might have some type of accent? Also, is there any particular reason for him not being Japanese? Perhaps I missed something 🙂 — Steve

Great question!

So I knew I wanted to have at least one non-Japanese character in the book — Japan wasn’t as cut off from the rest of the world during this period as it would become in the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. Japan and Korea had regularly tried to invade each other throughout much of their history, and so the idea that the late Lord Mochizuki brought back a Korean cook from a campaign there appealed to me.

Once I’d decided that Kee Sun was Korean, I had to figure out how a Korean would sound to Japanese people. I reached out to a friend of a friend, S. Jae-Jones, a wonderful author who happens to be Korean-American. She kindly talked to me about the dynamics of the Korean accent, and we discussed what it might sound like to the Japanese characters. Japanese speakers tend to speak in a fairly narrow band of tones. Sarah felt that Korean would sound much earthier and energetic to a Japanese ear. When we searched for an equivalent accent to the American ear, the two that we came up with were Italian and Scottish.

Now, I didn’t want Kee Sun sounding like Mario from the Nintendo games. But I thought that basing his accent on a kind of toned down “dog Scottish” (in the same sense that JK Rowling calls the Latin in her books “dog Latin”) would give me what I was looking for. (Which is to say, Sarah is in no way responsible for Kee Sun or how he sounds — but I thank her from the bottom of my heart for her insight.)

As I wrote and rewrote the book, I found a distinctive voice for the cook that wasn’t particularly Scottish — but that I felt worked for him and for the novel. If you listen to the audiobook, the narrator (my daughter Julia) uses a Scottish accent for Kee Sun.

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Bright Eyes Preview: The Torii Arch http://risuko.net/bright-eyes-preview-the-torii-arch/ http://risuko.net/bright-eyes-preview-the-torii-arch/#respond Mon, 11 Jun 2018 04:31:45 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=2024 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 Preview: The Torii Arch We all walked out to the front gate, where the guards Kaede and Shiro were back at their posts. “Did anyone climb up the arch … Continue reading Bright Eyes Preview: The Torii Arch

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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 Preview: The Torii Arch

We all walked out to the front gate, where the guards Kaede and Shiro were back at their posts.

“Did anyone climb up the arch here last night?” barked Lord Takeda.

“No, sir!” they both answered. Kaede, the Matsudaira guard, pointed at me: “That skinny girl there jumped down, though.”

Captain Baba gave a huff of surprise.

“Yes, yes,” said Takeda-sama, waving his hand at the Matsudaira guard and then pointing up. “Kano-girl. You say you can climb that?”

I nodded and then, thrilled at the opportunity to do the thing I most enjoyed, I ran toward the closest pillar and leapt. Wrapping my arms and legs around the painted wood, I quickly shimmied upward.

It was easy climbing. The beam was about as thick as one of the pine trunks from home, but smooth. Though the paint and the morning’s dew made the surface a bit slick, I could gain enough purchase with my feet and hands to keep myself moving upward.

Just below the first lintel, I stopped.

“Too hard, Mouse-chan?” called Toumi. The tease was just to keep up the tradition, I knew.

I shook my head. “Scuff marks. Fresh.” Looking down I saw Lord Takeda and his officers staring up at me, mouths open. The sight made me smile, even as the fact that Emi still wasn’t looking at me made my stomach clench.

I reached the first crossbar and threw my leg over it. Where it met the pillar, a nail stuck out; from its head, a bright blue thread fluttered in the morning breeze. I plucked the thread free and let it fall to the watchers below. “I think the lieutenant was here.”

Suzume caught the thread, but I was already making my way up to the top crossbar, throwing my arms over and pulling myself up. The arch, which looked so stable from the ground, swayed slightly beneath my feet. Still, it was steadier than a tree top. And I had made it to the top.

I looked out over the hillside — the two camps, marked with red flags to the left and blue to the right, wisps of smoke rising from campfires into the sunlit morning air — over the valley, all gold and green, and the white and grey mountains above. The blue sky and golden sun.

I truly had never felt more alive.

Remembering why I was there, I looked down at the top of the huge crossbar. On either side of my foot were two large footprints — clear, fresh ones, unwashed by the rains of two days before. “Footprints!” I called out.

Looking down at the small sea of astonished faces, I smiled and waved, and then turned and jumped the two  paces to the wall of the Full Moon.

I had to spread my feet to avoid landing on the sharpened bamboo stakes that pushed up from the wall like broken teeth. Some loose gravel on the top of the plaster wall made my left foot skid slightly, giving me a moment of terror, but then I grabbed one of the spikes to steady myself and was able to stand. I walked along the wall to the roof of the guest house, and then clambered down the half-timbered wall to the ground.

Walking back out the gate and bowing to Takeda-sama, I nodded. “That’s how he got in.”

“Well,” Lady Chiyome sighed, “it seems that I’m going to have to move that arch further from the wall.”

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Join the YA Scavenger Hunt http://risuko.net/join-ya-scavenger-hunt/ http://risuko.net/join-ya-scavenger-hunt/#comments Tue, 03 Oct 2017 17:00:58 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=2001 Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This is my second go-around with this bi-annual event, which was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get … Continue reading Join the YA Scavenger Hunt

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Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This is my second go-around with this bi-annual event, which was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 120 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the BLUE TEAM–but there is also a red team, a gold team, an orange team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Risuko on sale through ThursdayI’m David Kudler, author of the YA historical adventure Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale, which follows a young, orphaned samurai girl who is recruited to become a kunoichi — an assassin, spy, and bodyguard.

BUY EBOOK | BUY HARDCOVER | BUY PAPERBACK

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the blue team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 8, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

SCAVENGER HUNT POST

Today, I am hosting L.H. Nicole on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!

L.H. Nicole is a seasoned Pastry Chef at the happiest place on earth and a life long fairytale (Disney and Grimm) lover. She believes in love at first sight, is addicted to 80’s & 90’s cartoons and anything that can capture her ADD-way-too-overactive-imagination. Joan Lowery Nixon and L.J. Smith were the first authors she became addicted to and who inspired her to steal away whenever she could to read and write. 

Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author’s book here!

L.H. NICOLE’ AUTHOR SITE

TO PURCHASE A KING WILL RISE BY L.H. NICOLEL.H. Nicole — Legendary Series

EXCLUSIVE CONTENT

The war is about to begin. Whose colors will you fly as a King rises?
Aliana, Dagg, and the New Round Table are so close. The alignment is only weeks away. All they need is to find the Grail of Power and unite the seven realms, but Mordrid is drawing ever closer and victory is far from assured.
All the bonds, questions, and betrayals will come to a head as the new Knights of the Round Table prepare for the final battle. To win, Aliana will have to do what hasn’t been done in over three millennia: claim the power of the alignment and use it to either save the realms or raze them to the ground.
Join Aliana, and her family and allies, for the final installment of their Legendary quest.

CHASING THE ORION STARS
by L.H. Nicole on swoon reads 

1 Aurora Milos- 16 years old

Walking in a Roman vineyard over five hundred years old, even though it’s just in my dream, never fails to take my breath away. Especially since this was the Borgia’s family vineyard in Forli and that my dream prince was here somewhere. Walking the fields at sunset was one of Lex’s favorite things. It was the only time he could find peace from his father and his duties as a lord of the Romagna.

I made my way up the row of multi-colored grapevines that stood just taller than me. I felt the same warm, powerful presence that always hovered in the background of our dream world. Out of the corner of my eye I saw two figures, a man and woman. We got glimpses of the pair sometimes or, if not them, strange shaped creatures. We had imagined dozens of scenarios over the years; maybe they were guardian angels, the gods of old, or phantoms haunting us?

These phantoms weren’t always limited to my dreams either. Maybe it was because for so long I’ve wished for any part of my dream world to be real, but I could swear I’ve seen other phantoms in the real world. Then again, I’ve been told I live in my fantasy world too much, trying to have my own story fit for a teen novel.

The vines ahead rustled. “Lex?” I looked around, my eyes searching the field of sweet smelling vines for my best friend. “Where are you?”

“I’m here.”

I spun around. As soon as I found his hazel ones I smiled for the first time since that morning when my mother had given me thrilling but terrible news.

“Hi.” I felt my cheeks start to heat. The rough but somehow noble presence of Alexander Borgia always took me by surprise even after eleven years of knowing him, or his dream self at least. Lex was tall and lean with wide shoulders and defined muscles that weren’t always obvious through his heavy layers of sixteenth century clothes. His pale skin laid over sharp cheekbones and a long face; his chin peppered with evening stubble and an adorable cleft. His dark curly locks framed his face and fell just past his angled jaw. He was handsome in a way guys in the twenty-first century couldn’t even come close to. I loved coming back to his time in our dreams. Sometimes I wished I lived in the sixteenth century instead of the twenty first. Then I remember they didn’t have modern plumbing. Still…

“I was afraid you would not come tonight.” His not quite Italian accent rolled over me. “I have not seen you in days, mia gemma.”

‘My gemstone.’ That was one of the pet names he always called me. It was rare for Lex to use my real name, but then I always called him Lex instead of Alexander. A habit from the very first dream we’d shared when I was five years old and couldn’t properly pronounce his name.

I sighed. “I need my best friend after today.” Maybe I was being overly dramatic but after the bomb my mom had dropped on me today I needed the one person I have always trusted.

He took a few steps closer. “What is wrong?”

I dropped my gaze, I didn’t want him to see me cry today. I wrapped my arms around myself, the web of scars on my shoulder pulled uncomfortably. I always keep my scars covered; I can’t stand the way people look at me because of them. Lex was the one person who never flinched away, never made me feel like less of a person because of them.

Mia gemma,” he whispered, his tone soothing. His hands came up to touch my arms but, like always, they passed through me. Lex’s face turned dark and angry as he clenched his hands so hard they shook. It was our curse.

We could taste, touch, and smell everything in our dream world—except each other. It was agonizing most of the time but tonight I was as grateful as I was resentful.

My gaze focused on the beautiful and sweet smelling fruit. “My mom,” I started, “she told me we’re moving to Rome in a few weeks. She’s been offered a commission to restore and to curate a special show the Italian government is sponsoring.”

“I thought you wanted to come to Roma?” Lex’s confusion echoed my mom’s from earlier.

I bit my lip, nerves fluttering in my blood. “I did… I do, more than anything.”

“Then why are you fighting tears?”

My throat tightened. How could I tell him the thought of being in Rome–in Italy–without him by my side was unbearable? He was the reason I loved Italy. He was the reason I found a love for history. He was the reason I wanted to go to Rome. For eleven years he had been my rock and my greatest friend. I hadn’t realized it until two years ago, but I’m in love with him. It’s not the instant love the Middle Ages are known for, it’s the kind of love that started and bloomed over more than a decade.

Mia gemma, please look at me.” The gentleness in his voice couldn’t be denied. Slowly I looked up attempting to hold back tears.

His eyes, filled with compassion, held me enslaved. “You do not ever have to hide your tears from me, angioletto. Nobody knows you like I do. You are safe with me always,” he vowed, the sincerity and vulnerability in his voice crushing my resolve.

“I’m sorry, Lex.” I sniffled and took a breath.

He waited while I gathered myself. His hands gripping his sword belt, his shoulders tense. Something he always did when he was trying to remember he couldn’t touch me.

How had I fallen so hopelessly in love with a dream, a figment of my imagination? Every record I searched didn’t mention Cesare’s favored son. Not a name, a birthday or even a damn favorite color, nothing. But then how could I have imagined him when I was five years old? How could I see and talk to him, both of us aging over the years in our dreams?

“You don’t have to tell me,” he offered. That made me smile. Lex always wanted to know everything about me, just as I did him.

I cleared my throat. “Part of me is so excited to go. I’ve wanted this forever.”

“But?”

If we had been in the real world, and not my dream, I know there was no way I would even imagine telling him the truth, but this wasn’t the real world. “You won’t be in Rome waiting for me.” I hugged myself tighter, wishing it were his arms holding me.

He looked stricken his astonishment mixing with a hopeful gleam that widened his eyes. “Angioletto, I don’t know what to say.” He stepped closer, only an inch or two between us.

I couldn’t touch him, but I imagined how he would feel. Strong, warm, gentle when most men of his time were rough and uncaring. I could almost feel his hand stroking my hair, holding my waist, cupping my cheek. My heart raced. God, why couldn’t he be real?

“I’m being stupid I know.” I wiped away my tear that escaped. “I just always pictured myself walking the streets of Rome with you by my side.” There I said it, and it made the twist in my chest pull tighter.

Sorrow and happiness warred on his face. “Mia gemma, I…”

I held up my hand to stop the words I knew he would say. “Please don’t.” I begged. “It…hurts… too much to have my dream guy whispering promises I know can never happen. You’re not real, and being in Rome without you… I’ll have to face that truth. That’s why I’m so torn up. I fell in love with a dream.”

His eyes and face darkened, the late evening light casting shadows over his sharp face. “Say it again,” he pleaded with a voice gone hoarse.

Fat tears welled, and, try as I might, I couldn’t keep a few of them from escaping.

“I’m in love with you,” I whispered, my voice as soft as the wind.

Lex’s face lit up, his body relaxed, and breath whooshed out of his lungs. “I lov—”

“No!” Desperation swamped me. “I can’t,” I explained, not wanting to hurt him. “I can’t take hearing you say you love me. A dream can’t fall in love with me.” I turned away shoving my shaking hands through my hair. “God, I should be committed for my delusions.”

“Stop this now, Aurora!”

“I’m sorry.”

“Stop apologizing and listen to my words.” My eyes shot up, lips sealed. No one was stupid enough to ignore the absolute authority in a Condottiero’s voice. They were some of Italy’s best and most dangerous mercenaries or military leaders; and Lex had learned from the best: his father, Cesare Borgia.

“I love you too,” he declared. “I think I have since we first met so long ago as children.” He closed the distance between us. I had to tilt my head up to hold his gaze. “I do not care what I have to do. I will find a way to you, to your time,” he vowed, his gaze intense and determined. His voice dropped, losing the hardness but none of the passion. “I will prove to you I am real, prove to my self that you are real. I never make a vow I cannot keep.”

Ever so slowly he raised his left hand, palm facing me, like he was resting his hand against a window and waited. It was our way of touching like we had when we first met as children and realized we couldn’t touch each other. It had become our promise over the years. Whenever one of us was angry or hurting or making a promise, this was what we did.

I could see his fierce determination, and his worry that I would reject him for the first time, ever. My raging heartbeat was so loud in my ears it was hard to think. Accepting his dream promise would only shatter me even more in the next few weeks when I finally arrived in the Eternal City and he wasn’t there. I was crazy and a glutton for pain for even thinking of accepting this promise. Nothing good could come of it, but my heart and mind had different ideas. Turning my back on his words—from Lex—was never going to happen.

I was trembling as I placed my smaller hand against his. Our fingers blurred together like I was touching a hologram. I couldn’t physically feel anything, but there was something else holding us together. Something neither of us understood. A bond that had brought us together despite the centuries keeping us apart.

“I’m going to hate myself for this in the morning,” Maybe I would, but I also knew that if Lex were indeed real, he wouldn’t want me to be sad and unhappy.

I saw the two figures from earlier watching us from the other end of the vineyard, but they weren’t important right now. I made my own silent vow.

I would go to Rome. I would do all the things we had talked about. I would go to all the places he told me about. I would experience his city and country the way he would want me to. I would find a way to be happy… without him… somehow.

To read more go to SWOON READS by clicking on this link 🙂 —LHN


And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, by L.H. Nicole, and more!

To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 24. 

Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the blue team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

CONTINUE THE HUNT

 
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Pintip Dunn!


 
 

 

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Review: Tower of Dawn is the eye of the hurricane http://risuko.net/review-tower-of-dawn/ http://risuko.net/review-tower-of-dawn/#respond Mon, 11 Sep 2017 03:34:25 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=1992 Here’s my review of Tower of Dawn,  Sarah J. Maas’s latest book. 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 In Tower of Dawn, Sarah J. Maas turns … Continue reading Review: Tower of Dawn is the eye of the hurricane

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Here’s my review of Tower of Dawn,  Sarah J. Maas’s latest book. 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

In Tower of Dawn, Sarah J. Maas turns a corner from sprawling epic to thrilling psychological fantasy.

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. MaasIn epic fantasy, the action usually centers around outsized acts of valor and evil committed by prodigious heroes and villains. It’s true in The Lord of the Rings. It’s true in A Song of Fire and Ice. It’s true in the first five of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass books. But the latest installment in the series, Tower of Dawn, looks at action and heroism of a different kind.

Picking up not from the end of the previous book, but from Queen of Shadows (#4), the book follows Chaol Westfall, who was seriously wounded during the destruction of the Glass Castle, and now serves as his friend King Dorian’s ambassador to the Southern Continent. With him travels Nesryn Faliq, his successor as Captain of the Aderlan Royal Guard. Together, they’ve come to the Kaghan’s court seeking an alliance in the ongoing war against the demon armies on the northern continent of Erilea.

They’re also there, however, to bring paraplegic Chaol to the renowned healers of Antica. There he comes under the care of Yrene Towers, a gifted healer who fled Erilea and holds Chaol’s kingdom responsible for the death of her mother. His healing is complicated by his condition, by her prejudice against Aderlan, and by the sinister presence that caused the wound.

To confront the injury, both Chaol and Yrene must look beyond the physical. They have to confront their anger, their fear, and each other. As Yrene finds, “You must enter where you fear to tread.”

And as mythologist Joseph Campbell said, “Where you stumble, there your treasure lies. The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for” (A Joseph Campbell Companion). This story centers around entering that terrifying cave.

In the mean time, negotiations are also complicated. There’s intrigue in the Kaghan’s court, there’s a dark mystery in the Kaghan’s family, and there’s an ancient, malevolent presence waking in the Kaghan’s empire. Is there a connection to Chaol and Nesryn’s mission?

The action unfolds in parallel to the previous book, Empire of Storms, and so part of the tension comes from knowing some of what the characters don’t, from knowing that some of Chaol and Nesryn’s assumptions — both positive and negative — are unfounded.

Romance serves as nother major source of tension, which plays an even larger role in this installment than it has to date. Part of that is because the main characters — Chaol, Nesryn, and Yrene — are people more bound by honor than Aelin and some of the other major characters. A part of it is also due to the fact that sex, which has always played a major role in the series,  has come even further into the fore. Not that we’ve crossed into a territory where parents should necessarily feel uncomfortable with their teens reading the books, but as with Empire of Storms, the books have crossed the line from Young Adult into New Adult territory.

Real fans will recognize Yrene as well as one other character from The Assassin’s Blade, a collection of prequel stories that enriches the world of the Throne of Glass books.

While less pyrotechnic (no pun intended) in terms of epic action than its predecessors, Tower of Dawn  serves as a worthy new chapter in the Throne of Glass saga.

Tower of Dawn Review: ★★★★½

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Risuko Audiobook Now Available http://risuko.net/risuko-audiobook-now-available/ http://risuko.net/risuko-audiobook-now-available/#respond Thu, 31 Aug 2017 19:10:17 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=1987 I’m ecstatic to tell you that the Risuko audiobook is now available on Audible, iTunes, Amazon, and Stillpoint Digital Press! I’m so excited, in fact, that I’d love to make you an offer. If you send me a purchase receipt for the Risuko audiobook, I’ll send two download codes good for any audiobook on Audible.com!* In any case, hope the end of summer is … Continue reading Risuko Audiobook Now Available

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I’m ecstatic to tell you that the Risuko audiobook is now available on AudibleiTunesAmazon, and Stillpoint Digital Press!


I’m so excited, in fact, that I’d love to make you an offer. If you send me a purchase receipt for the Risuko audiobook, I’ll send two download codes good for any audiobook on Audible.com!*

In any case, hope the end of summer is treating you well (or the end of winter, if you’re in the southern hemisphere).

Back to work on Bright Eyes for me! (By the way, thanks for the help choosing a cover — I’ll be announcing the winner in the next few weeks.)

David Kudler

david@risuko.net

P.S. If you’ve read Risuko but haven’t had a chance to share your thoughts, I’d love it if you’d post a review on Goodreads or Amazon or your favorite ebook store. Or you can even respond to this email and let me know what you thought directly!

*If you’re in Britain, let me know and I’ll send you codes good on Audible.co.uk.

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Poll: Help us choose the Bright Eyes cover! http://risuko.net/bright-eyes-cover-poll/ http://risuko.net/bright-eyes-cover-poll/#respond Tue, 15 Aug 2017 17:47:18 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=1967 I’m hard at work on the Risuko sequel, Bright Eyes — and designer extraordinaire James Egan of Bookfly Design has come up with options for the cover! We’d love for you to help us choose your favorite Bright Eyes cover art.        Vote in the poll, and enter to win a copy of the … Continue reading Poll: Help us choose the Bright Eyes cover!

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I’m hard at work on the Risuko sequel, Bright Eyes — and designer extraordinaire James Egan of Bookfly Design has come up with options for the cover! We’d love for you to help us choose your favorite Bright Eyes cover art.

Bright Eyes cover 1   Bright Eyes cover 2   Bright Eyes cover 3

Vote in the poll, and enter to win a copy of the soon-to-be-released Risuko audiobook!

VOTE NOW!


Seasons of the Sword (Bright Eyes cover poll)

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?

(Teen historical adventure fiction)

Order Risuko (Book #1)

 

David Kudler:

I’m not afraid of heights, but I definitely have a healthy respect for depths. So I’m as surprised as anyone that I’ve written a book featuring a girl who loves to be as high up in the air as possible.

I am a writer, editor, and publisher living just north of the Golden Gate Bridge with my wife, Maura Vaughn and our daughters. And our cats.

Currently, I run my own small publishing company, Stillpoint Digital Press. Since 1999, I’ve overseen the publications program for Joseph Campbell Foundation. I have edited three posthumous volumes of Campbell’s unpublished writing and lectures and overseen editions of twelve additional titles, including the third edition of his seminal Hero with a Thousand Faces.

In June, 2016, I released Risuko, a teen historical adventure novel (whew! lots of qualifications on that!) set in Japan during the Civil War era, and I’m in the middle of writing Bright-Eyes, the second book in the series.

I’m a passionate reader of mysteries, fantasy, and whatever else I can get my hands on. I am a story addict.

And that’s me, at the moment. 😉

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YA Summer Scavenger Hunt #4! http://risuko.net/ya-summer-scavenger-hunt-4/ http://risuko.net/ya-summer-scavenger-hunt-4/#respond Sun, 28 May 2017 19:53:06 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=1920 Welcome to the fourth port in the YA Summer Scavenger Hunt! I’m David Kudler, and I’m writing Seasons of the Sword, a historical adventure series about a young girl who’s been pulled into a plot that may save Japan—or may destroy it. Along with another 138 members of the Alliance of Young Adult Authors, I’m participating in a … Continue reading YA Summer Scavenger Hunt #4!

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Welcome to the fourth port in the YA Summer Scavenger Hunt!

YA Summer Scavenger Hunt: Audiobook cover
Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale (Seasons of the Sword #1)
I’m David Kudler, and I’m writing Seasons of the Sword, a historical adventure series about a young girl who’s been pulled into a plot that may save Japan—or may destroy it. Along with another 138 members of the Alliance of Young Adult Authors, I’m participating in a word-search treasure hunt. Gather up the words, put them together to tell the story, and enter to win prizes, including free books and a $500 Amazon gift card. Read to the bottom to collect my word and get one step closer to the treasure.

Kunoichi Companion TalesI’d love it if you’d sign up for my mailing list while you’re here. My subscribers get access to the Kunoichi Companion Tales, a series of prequel stories that introduce the characters from the main books.

Even if you don’t, as my way of thanking you for visiting, I’d like to let you have White Robes, the first book in the series. You can read it at the link above; you can also download it as an ePub,  Kindle,  or Audiobook file!

And now, the moment of truth!

My secret word (#4) for the treasure-map story is:

THERE

Now you can put all the words together (in order from 1 ~ 140) and reconstruct the “Secret Legend.”

When you’re done, enter the grand prize here.

If you have any questions, make sure to visit the main post and list of participating authors here.

If you couldn’t find a post, or an author forgot to upload something, we’ll allow 3 blank spaces.

Just do your best — and good luck!

Make way to port #5 — A.M. Yates.

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YA Treasure Hunt coming in June! http://risuko.net/ya-treasure-hunt-coming-in-june/ http://risuko.net/ya-treasure-hunt-coming-in-june/#respond Sat, 20 May 2017 14:31:58 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=1915 In June, the Alliance of Young Adult Authors is sponsoring a massive young adult scavenger hunt — and Risuko is part of the fun! This is a chance to meet some new authors, grab a bunch of free books, and sign up to win a whole bunch of epic prizes! RULES Each author will be given … Continue reading YA Treasure Hunt coming in June!

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In June, the Alliance of Young Adult Authors is sponsoring a massive young adult scavenger hunt — and Risuko is part of the fun! This is a chance to meet some new authors, grab a bunch of free books, and sign up to win a whole bunch of epic prizes!

RULES

Each author will be given a special keyword, which will be bolded and all caps like this: BUTTERFLIES.

All you have to do is visit all the author’s sites in this order, write down the special keywords to discover the short story, then enter the giveaway with the completed short story HERE (link will be posted soon).

There will be one main giveaway for the main prize, but most of the participating authors (including here!) will also have smaller giveaways for free books, Amazon credit and author swag, so make sure you read their post carefully to see what else they’re offering while you’re on their site for the keyword.

THE MAP (participating authors)

  1. Cindy Ray Hale
  2. Katherine Bogle
  3. Melle Amade
  4. David Kudler
  5. A.M. Yates
  6. Alethea Kontis
  7. Stevie Rae Causey
  8. Katlyn Duncan
  9. Debbie Manber Kupfer
  10. Meredith Rose
  11. N.M. Howell
  12. Lara Ann
  13. K.M. Robinson
  14. J.A. Culican
  15. Heather Karn
  16. Rob L. Slater
  17. Dylan Keefer
  18. Sarah K. Wilson
  19. L.J. Higgins
  20. Gina Marie Long
  21. Em Kazmierski
  22. Travis Hall
  23. Heather Young-Nichols
  24. Anna Santos
  25. J.L. Weil
  26. Jo Schneider
  27. Rebecca Fernfield
  28. Kristin D. Van Risseghem
  29. Martine Lewis
  30. Tara Benham
  31. Stacy Claflin
  32. Beth Hammond
  33. Erica Monroe Cope
  34. Nicole Zoltack
  35. Char Webster
  36. Sabrina Ramoth
  37. T.J. Muir
  38. Raquel Lyon
  39. Beth Rodgers
  40. S.L. Beaumont
  41. Eva Pohler
  42. Melanie McFarlane
  43. Cheryllynn Dyess
  44. Audrey Rich
  45. Amanda Zieba
  46. Sandie Will
  47. Elle Scott
  48. Angie Grigaliunas
  49. Ashley Maker
  50. Mandy Peterson
  51. Audrey Grey
  52. Elisa Dane
  53. Amy McNulty
  54. Melinda Cordell
  55. Monica Leonelle
  56. Claire Luana
  57. Frost Kay
  58. Preeti C. Sharma
  59. Bentz Deyo
  60. April Wood
  61. Lena Mae Hill
  62. Angel Leya
  63. Wendi Wilson
  64. Wendy Knight
  65. Chogan Swan
  66. Tamara Hart Heiner
  67. Norma Hinkens
  68. Patti Larsen
  69. Megan Crewe
  70. Jamie Thornton
  71. Jessie Renée
  72. T.A. Maclagan
  73. Lydia Sherrer
  74. Phyllis Moore
  75. P.D. Workman
  76. J.A. Armitage
  77. K.N. Lee
  78. Angela Fristoe
  79. Rhonda Sermon
  80. G.K. DeRosa
  81. Erin Richards
  82. Ali Winters
  83. Larissa C. Hardesty
  84. Kristine Tate
  85. Debra Kristi
  86. Bella Rose
  87. Cortney Pearson
  88. Jeff Kohanek
  89. Kristal Shaff
  90. Rachel Morgan
  91. Emma Right
  92. C.L. Cannon
  93. Joanne Macgregor
  94. Lindsey Loucks
  95. Farah Kuck
  96. Erin Hayes
  97. Jesikah Sundin
  98. Dorothy Dreyer
  99. Danielle Annett
  100. C.J. Ethington
  101. L.C. Hibbett
  102. Madeline Dyer
  103. Katie John
  104. Nicole Schubert
  105. Rachel Medhurst
  106. Tee G Ayer
  107. May Freighter
  108. Heather Dyer
  109. Jen Minkman
  110. J.L. Gillham
  111. Karen Tomlinson
  112. Kate Haye
  113. Martina Billings
  114. Jo Ho
  115. Brian King
  116. Inna Hardison
  117. Rachel Bateman
  118. Sally Henson
  119. J.L. Hendricks
  120. A.L. Knorr
  121. T.M. Franklin
  122. Konstanz Silverbow
  123. felisha Antonette
  124. Jake Devlin
  125. S.F. Benson
  126. Laurie Treacy
  127. Emily Martha Sorensen
  128. Leia Stone
  129. T. Rae Mitchell
  130. J. Keller Ford
  131. Kat Stiles
  132. Jessica Hawke
  133. Elyse Reyes
  134. Sophie Davis
  135. Bianca Scardoni
  136. Jenetta Penner
  137. David R. Bernstein
  138. Olivia Wildenstein
  139. Derek Murphy
For rules, updates or trouble-shooting, make sure to check out this main post which will stay updated.

TIMELINE

Authors will post the rules and the full list of participating authors sometime in June, and have their post up and visible on their site/blog, with their keyword, by June 1st. Readers just need to go through the list, find the words, and use the story to enter for the grand prize.

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Twelfth Night: Training Kunoichi, Pt. 2 http://risuko.net/twelfth-night-training-kunoichi-pt-2/ http://risuko.net/twelfth-night-training-kunoichi-pt-2/#comments Thu, 16 Mar 2017 13:40:39 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=1892 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 … Continue reading Twelfth Night: Training Kunoichi, Pt. 2

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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).*

In one production of Romeo and Juliet, I played Tybalt, the guy who turns the whole play from RomCom to tragedy in just a few short, action-filled scenes before Romeo kills him. Tybalt’s death sets off the chain of events that leads to the play’s tragic end; even in death, Tybalt makes everyone else’s life a mess.

The production was set in a “neverwhen” cross between Renaissance Verona, medieval Japan, and a post-apacalyptic Road Warrior world of violence and disaster. And the fight choreographer decided to have me handle a rapier as if it were a katana.

(I know I have pictures of this somewhere, but this was in the pre-digital dark ages, so for now I’ll have to ask you to image me: 21, skinny, tan, with lots of dark hair, holding my sword above my head in the pose of The Bamboo Bud.)

In any case, I have drawn on my experiences as a fencer as I’ve written the combat and training scenes in the Seasons of the Sword books.

I’ve also used it to help my wife as she’s directed stage productions requiring combat.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks back, I worked with the cast of Maura’s current production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, which includes both silly and not-so-silly combat scenes. It’s also one of my favorite plays: the perfect balance of comedy, romance, and just enough action to keep things interesting.

Working with one young woman (Isabel) and two young gentlemen (Gibson and Chris) to develop a fight where she very effectively mops the floor with them.

I promised some pictures. Here they are, from last night’s dress rehearsal:

Valentine thought he was the attacker; Antonia had other plans
Curio thought he was the attacker; Antonia has other plans
Valentine parries a cut to the head, but...
Curio parries a cut to the head, but…
...has to dive out of the way
…has to dive out of the way
Valentine tries to use his height advantage
Valentine tries to use his height advantage. Nope.
Nope
Nope again.
You'd think he'd learn
You’d think he’d learn
Ouch
Ouch
Two up, two down
Two up, two down

The whole fight lasts about twenty seconds. Doesn’t sound like a very long time, but it’s plenty on stage, and in real combat, it’s an eternity — long enough for the adrenaline rush of fight-or-flight panic to wear off, and long enough for the better fighter to win. As I said: Antonia’s plan here is to take out Curio and Valentine completely before they can use their size and numbers to overwhelm her.

And it works, too.

This production, by the way, is set in 1968 — which explains the wild clothes and psychedelic colors! Anyone who can fight like that in blue go-go boots certainly has style, don’t you think?

In case you’re wondering, having won, Antonia turns her swords over to the young “gentleman” in the green jacket. Who is in fact a young woman: Viola.

There have been stories of women warriors for as long as we have stories. We know from history that some of those stories were factual.

It is that kind of story that I’m trying to write in the Seasons of the Sword.


* Yes, Howard, if you’re reading this: I still have faint scars on my left hand that I stupidly left out for you to hit. Serves me right for bringing a rapier to a saber fight.

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Book Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher http://risuko.net/aeronauts-windlass-jim-butcher/ http://risuko.net/aeronauts-windlass-jim-butcher/#respond Sun, 05 Mar 2017 19:06:48 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=1881 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 … Continue reading Book Review: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher

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The Aeronaut's WindlassAnyone 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.

Is this taking place on Earth in an unknown future? Is this a fantasy world? Butcher’s not telling — at least not yet.

The action of The Aeronaut’s Windlass centers around Albion Spire — a clear stand-in for the England defended by Captain Hornblower or O’Brien’s Jack Aubrey. The era seems to be parallel to those books’ Napoleonic Wars, but instead of ships trading cannon fire over the waves, these wars are fought in the skies. And the great enemy, rather than being Napoleon’s France, is Spire Aurora — a stand-in for Imperial Spain.

The story, which revolves around the opening salvoes of a war between Aurora and Albion, delivers excitement and daring-do in abundance — though not as tightly packed as one might expect in a Jim Butcher novel. The need to build the world and introduce the dozens of characters in this sprawling epic diffuse the narrative somewhat. The characters, however, make up for the slow patches.

Where the Dresden Files are told from the very entertaining but very limited point of view of Harry Dresden (limited in a narrative sense — you’re always seeng things through his eyes, and he doesn’t always tell you everything), The Aeronaut’s Windlass is told from dozens of shifting points of view, each with a different perspective on the action and on the characters. Much of the focus is on the appropriately named Captain Grimm, captain of the privateer AMS Predator. However, what makes this book interesting is the trio of young women who provide much of the action in the book, and through whose eyes we view most of that action. Gwen Lancaster (whose family grows most of the Spires power-giving crystals) is a spoiled but fierce noblewoman who joins the Spirearch’s Guard out of a sense of rebellion and adventure. Bridget Tagwynn joins because it’s the only way to save her family (of which she and her father are the last members); she is humble, practical, and incredibly strong. Folly (another ironically apt name) is an apprentice Aetherialist — part psychic, part psychotic (think Luna Lovegood on a really bad day) — who is recruited to join the other two (along with other members of the Guard and the Navy) in a mission to defend the Spire. They’re three very different characters with three very different perspectives, and Butcher manages to use those differences to keep the story moving, while also building a web of relationships that makes the book addictively engaging.

The book is packed with action, ranging from duels to pitched battles to wild airship broadsides. As always, Butcher keeps the adrenaline pumping; it is occasionally difficult at first to keep things straight, because of the huge cast of characters and the unfamiliar world. However, the book rewards the reader with a highly entertaining romp that promises an exciting sequel. The Olympian Affair, book #2 in the series, is scheduled for release in 2018.

Rating: ★★★★

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On Training Kunoichi http://risuko.net/training-kunoichi/ http://risuko.net/training-kunoichi/#respond Sat, 18 Feb 2017 15:13:51 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=1873 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 … Continue reading On Training Kunoichi

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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.

In Twelfth Night, there’s a character called Antonio, a pirate who rescues one of a pair of twins — the brother, Sebastian. Seeing Sebastian being attacked, he jumps to his defense, sword out.*

For a number of reasons, Maura chose to make Antonio into Antonia. She’s being played by Isabelle. Isabelle is not exactly physically imposing, and, in addition to her acting training, has a background in dance.

In the sword fight that I worked with her on last night, Antonia takes on two soldiers. We made the choice that she would best them decisively. Fighting with a rapier and a saber, she takes out two much larger men. At the point where she is about to kill them, Viola stops her.

Warrior Women

As you’ll probably understand, this got me thinking about women warriors, both legendary ones like China’s Fa Mulan (who isn’t just a Disney movie by the way!) and real ones like Lady Chiyome’s kunoichi.

As the two guards, Isabelle, and I were talking through the fight, I found myself telling them something that I’ve thought about a lot as I’ve been writing about Risuko’s adventures: the most skilled woman fighter has very specific advantages and disadvantages when it comes to fighting a trained man.

The man’s advantages are:

  1. He will generally be larger (The guards are between four and eight inches taller than Isabelle.)
  2. He will generally be stronger

The woman has two major advantages:

  1. She will probably be quicker than he is (especially if he’s in armor)
  2. She will almost certainly have the element of surprise

Antonia’s battle plan, I told the three actors, is to take out the two men as quickly and as completely as possible, before they can use their advantages against her.

Speed and Surprise

For educators: Onna-bugeisha — Japan's warrior women (Ishi-jo,_wife_of_Oboshi_Yoshio) (training kunoichi)
Onna-bugeisha — Japan’s warrior women (Ishi-jo, a noblewoman, defends herself with a nagatana or glaive)

Saying this, I realized that this is precisely why Lady Chiyome didn’t outfit her fighters as fighters. There was a tradition of training samurai women as onna-bugeishaThey learned to use glaives and swords to defend their homes. Even so, Japanese women were generally expected to stay very, very… feminine.

And so the kuniochi dressed as shrine maidens and servants and dancers — the last kind of person that a lord or samurai would expect to attack them with a knife, or to steal their secrets. Their disguise not only allowed them to travel wherever they wanted, but it gave them a tactical advantage.

No one expects the sweet young dancer to come at them with a sword — and they certainly don’t expect her to know how to use it!

I’ll try to post some pictures or video of the sword fight. I think you’d enjoy it. 🙂

* If you know Twelfth Night, you’ll know that “he” is actually the other twin, Viola, dressed up as a man.

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And the winner is… http://risuko.net/and-the-winner-is/ http://risuko.net/and-the-winner-is/#respond Fri, 27 Jan 2017 23:24:00 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=1860 Thanks so much to all of you who helped me complete my 2017 SAG Awards ballot! It was a lot of fun — and very interesting to see what choices you made (and where they did and didn’t agree with mine). I’ve compiled the list of the winners here. In the single case of a … Continue reading And the winner is…

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Thanks so much to all of you who helped me complete my 2017 SAG Awards ballot! It was a lot of fun — and very interesting to see what choices you made (and where they did and didn’t agree with mine).

I’ve compiled the list of the winners here. In the single case of a tie, I gave myself an extra vote. Shh!

This was a ballot I was very pleased to be able to cast:

And the winner is…

Film

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Hidden FIgures
Hidden Figures

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Picture of
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Picture of
Amy Adams, Arrival

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Picture of
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Picture of
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures

 

TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

Picture of
Stranger Things

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Lead Role in a Drama Series

Picture of
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Lead Role in a Drama Series

Picture of
Robin Wright, House of Cards

 

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Picture of
Black-ish

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Lead Role in a Comedy Series

Picture of
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Lead Role in a Comedy Series

Picture of
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Lead Role in a Mini-series

Picture of
Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Lead Role in a Mini-series

Picture of
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill*

*This was the one tie — amazingly, a five-way tie among all five nominees!

 

STUNTS

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Program

Picture of
Marvel’s Daredevil

 

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Film

Picture of
Captain America: Civil War

 

See what I mean? That’s a great group of performances. Every one a winner!

Again, thanks so much for voting — let’s all watch on TNT/TBS on Sunday, January 29 at 5:00 Pacific/8:00 Eastern to see how we did. Tweet me at @RisukoKunoichi or @DKudler or email me at david@risuko.net and we can compare notes. 🙂

(And, of course, the SAG winners in the film categories nearly always win the Oscars — so you can amaze your friends by your insider knowledge!)

If you’d like to participate next year, sign up for my newsletter to hear about the 2018 SAG Awards!

David Kudler

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Bright Eyes sneak peek: The Cave http://risuko.net/bright-eyes-sneak-peek-cave/ http://risuko.net/bright-eyes-sneak-peek-cave/#respond Tue, 24 Jan 2017 22:14:10 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=1832 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. … Continue reading Bright Eyes sneak peek: The Cave

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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 Bright Eyes mockup coversuppose 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.

“Come along, Risuko-chan,” said Mitsuke. “Lady Chiyome tells us you climbed up the side of the great hall to her window on a snowy night. If you can do that, this should be no problem.”

We walked through the rear gate and the cliff loomed over us.

“Has anyone else ever climbed it?”

The kunoichi with the forgettable face shrugged. “You’ll have to ask Mieko. She’s been here longer than I have.”

Again I nodded, though my mouth was dry. “Let me… find the best line up.”

She held her hands out, palms up, as if to say, Don’t let me stop you.

Mouth parched, heart in my throat, I crossed the small kitchen garden that lay behind the rear wall of the compound and clambered over the bush-choked pile of rubble at the cliff’s base, staring up at the rock.

Closer up, the face no longer looked sheer. It was steep, it is true, but not straight up and down, and there were cracks and fissures where I could see my toes and fingers finding purchase.

Just to the right of the center of the precipice there was a slight crease. An indentation no more than a hand’s breadth or two deep that ran at least two-thirds of the way up the cliff to an angled shelf. It had been invisible from a distance, but close up, I knew.

There, I thought.

Feeling breath and strength return, I approached the wall and began to climb.

Let me tell you one other thing—and this is a secret: when I climb, I am not thinking of the fall, or of the distance above. I am thinking about the wood or rock or plaster immediately in front of me. I am thinking about possible hand- and footholds.

I know that, as long as I can find them, I can keep climbing.

And this little fissure in the cliff’s face made finding those easy. It was full of cracks and irregularities that I could wedge a foot or hand into. The concavity in the rock and the slight angle of the incline meant that my weight wasn’t solely on my fingers and toes. I won’t say that it was a climb that anyone could have done. I won’t say that it was easy. But quickly I was free of the ground and back up in my element.

I felt as if the rocks were there entirely to help me climb, as if the mountain itself were aiding my ascent.

Here’s another secret: I often feel that way. Not always. But there are times—my favorite climbs—when it doesn’t feel as if I’m climbing, but as if the cliff or tree or wall were lifting me, higher and higher.

I have never been one to feel the presence of gods and monsters. Yet in those moments I know with all certainty that I am in the presence of something much, much larger than myself. I feel both humbled and alive.

You may think me silly or peculiar; my sister always did.

When I reached the shelf, I was almost disappointed. My muscles were warm, but it was a good feeling; I had not yet begun to tire. Still. It would be good to pull myself up onto the ledge and find my best starting point for the rest of the climb.

I clambered up onto the relatively flat surface and sat. For the first time, it occurred to me to look down.

Below me, I could see Mitsuke, Mai, and Shino, their faces upturned, their mouths open. Over by the walls of the Full Moon stood a handful of Matsudaira samurai, as well the black silhouettes of the old Portuguese priest and the boy, Jolalo-san. They too seemed to be staring up at me.

Grinning, I waved to them all.

Of course, at just that moment it began to rain.

Weather comes quickly up there in the mountains, especially in the warm months. Blue sky can give way to storm in the blink of an eye. Blizzard can change to rain just as quickly.

Fat drops began to splash off of the dusty rocky and to cool my pleasantly warm neck. Suddenly, the sun disappeared and the sky darkened as clouds poured over the mountain above me.

Below, everyone scattered.

I looked around for what shelter I could find. I didn’t expect much.

The shelf wasn’t level. Water was already beginning to trickle down. I stood before it soaked my trousers. Up toward the upper end of the ledge, where it narrowed away to nothing, I saw a dark crevice.

Thinking I might be able to shove myself at least partially out of the rain, I shuffled up toward the shadow.

The rain turned to hail, springtime as it was. Icy pellets pelted my head.

The crevice looked wide enough that I would be able to huddle out of the weather. I turned sideways and pushed…

And suddenly found myself through, and completely out of the hail.

Relieved, I watched the pea-sized hailstones bouncing off of the stone shelf.

Shaking myself, I looked behind me. It was completely dark. I reached out with my hands; there was open space. Rock walls widened out on either side, but I couldn’t feel a back wall.

I’d never been in a cave. As I’ve said, I have always been most comfortable above the ground, not beneath it.

Yet I could not help but feel a tickle of curiosity urging me deeper.

I took a step into the dark, and then two more. The air was cool and still and smelled… of something. Birds. Something.

I turned back to the opening. It was a vertical slash of bright light. Hail still bounced off of the ledge and into the cave, scattering at my feet.

I squinted into the depths of the cave, trying to peer into the gloom.

One of Mieko-sensei’s lessons came back to me. When moving from the light into the dark, she had told us one afternoon as we practiced stabbing the dummy blind-folded, keep one eye closed — both if you can safely manage it. That way, you will not be left blind in the darkness.

I knelt and closed both eyes, letting light seep away. I counted ten breaths, and then ten more. I listened to the tic-tic-tic of the hail behind me.

I opened my eyes.

Though the cave was still dim, I could see that it opened out from the narrow opening—as wide at the widest spot as our dormitory down below, though not as high.

In the dim recesses of the cave, against a night-black opening, crouched a creature of nightmares. Atop massive body that was pressed low to the cave floor, a lumpen head threatened, with enormous fangs and tusks thrusting out of a cruel, black-splashed mouth. Its eyes were lost in shadow, but I had no doubt that they were focussed on me, the invader.

The hair on the backs of my arms, on my neck rose. My breath caught, and I had to fight the urge to run screaming out of the cave. Never turn your back on an ogre. Obasan had said it as a joke, but I know that he’d meant it nonetheless.

Barely daring to breathe, I inched my way backward.

The thing’s eyes remained locked on me, but it made no sign of following.

My foot bumped up against the wall. Light spilled onto my hands from behind me. Without blinking I edged my way back out of the cave and onto the wet, welcome ledge outside.

Still there was no sound of the monster pursuing me.

I edged my way back down to the far end of the shelf and turned to find my bearings again. The rain had lessened; across the valley it was sunny. And down below, on the road up to the ridge where the Full Moon and the Matsudaira camp perched, a swarm of soldiers were making their way up the hill.

Not blue flags this time. Red, with a four diamond emblem that I knew well.

Takeda.

I scrambled over the edge and down the mountainside as quickly as I could do without flying.


READ ANOTHER PREVIEW:

The Lesson


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SAG AWARDSAlso, you’ve got until Friday, January 27 (noon Pacific) to help David fill out his ballot for this year’s SAG Awards!

Go and vote now!

No, that isn’t the final cover for Bright Eyes up there. it’s just a mockup we’re using until the designer is ready to share. We’ll ask you to vote, we promise!

Also, yes: David has been a member of Screen Actors Guild for over twenty-five years. But he still needs help voting!

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#WomensMarch and the power of young women to change the world http://risuko.net/power-of-young-women/ http://risuko.net/power-of-young-women/#respond Sun, 22 Jan 2017 22:03:39 +0000 http://risuko.net/?p=1824 Yesterday, I proudly joined my eldest daughter, my wife, and millions of others for the worldwide Women’s March. We were in San Francisco, but friends have shared images of themselves marching in huge cities and small towns across the United States and around the world. I’m proud for many reasons. I’m proud because it was … Continue reading #WomensMarch and the power of young women to change the world

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power of young women — women's march
At Women’s March – San Francisco (that’s me in the back)

Yesterday, I proudly joined my eldest daughter, my wife, and millions of others for the worldwide Women’s March. We were in San Francisco, but friends have shared images of themselves marching in huge cities and small towns across the United States and around the world.

I’m proud for many reasons. I’m proud because it was wonderful to show support for people and a cause in which I believe, and wonderful to see so many people share that support. I was proud to see the power of young women (and not-so-young women, and men of all ages) to make their wills and voices heard. I was also proud because I wrote Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale in part as a way to show my daughters and their peers that young woman can have and have had the power to change the world, even when society seemed least likely to let them.

In my books, Risuko and the other young women of the Full Moon become kunoichi — assassins, spies, and bodyguards. Not the ideal manner in which I’d like to see my daughters and their peers express their will.

So is one day of marching — no matter how well-attended — enough? Obviously, no. Marching isn’t the purpose, just an ends to the means, which is to make the world a better place. So now that we’ve marched, what should we do?

To quote legendary Bay Area counter-culture journalist Scoop Nisker, “If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.” #Womensmarch is just the beginning. The real action? Upcoming elections: city councils, county boards, state legislatures, initiatives, referendums, congress, senate. Don’t accept the status quo. Don’t vote party line. Educate yourself and your neighbors. Vote. Demand accountability. And if you don’t get it, at every level, march again. And don’t stop.

And if you’re living in a state or district that is homogenous, where you feel your vote isn’t going to make a difference, reach out to friends and acquaintances who DON’T. Even if they don’t agree with you. Especially if they don’t agree with you. Talk. Listen. Be respectful. Be persistent. We live in an age of self-segregation; the internet is the best tool there is to create that echo chamber, and the best tool to fight it.

And if people tell you that, as an American, you’re being disloyal by expressing your opinion through protest, remember: The pledge of allegiance — the real one, the one that every president has taken, the one that every new citizen takes, the one that the members of our armed services take — isn’t to the flag or the president or even the nation. It’s to “uphold the Constitution of the United States.” And among the first rights enumerated in that constitution is for “the people peaceably to assemble.” So by doing so, marchers ARE supporting the president, the flag, the nation, and the Constitution.

If you’re in the US and you’d like a guide to how you can be active — whether you’re of voting age or not — visit www.IndivisibleGuide.com.

Now go out and make some news of your own!

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