All posts by Risuko

Bright Eyes Resources for Teachers and Students

Teachers and students now have access to two new benefits in the Educators section of Risuko.net!

Working with a master educator, author David Kudler has added two sets of resources to those already available for studying Bright Eyes, book 2 of the Seasons of the Sword novels:

Continue reading Bright Eyes Resources for Teachers and Students

Thanks, Cristopher Paolini! (Or how Eragon led to Risuko)

 When Cristopher Paolini’s epic dragon-rider fantasy novel Eragon came out, I had just conceived of the book that would become Risuko.

And Eragon depressed the heck out of me. Continue reading Thanks, Cristopher Paolini! (Or how Eragon led to Risuko)

How Accurate Should Historical Fiction Be?

I got into a conversation recently about whether historical fiction should be “prohibited” if it wasn’t “accurate.” (The discussion started over swearing in historical novels, but spread out from there.)

As a historical novelist… yeah. No.

I think that, of course, historical fiction should be as true to its time and place as it can be. But writing a story set in another time with 100% accuracy isn’t for historical novels — it’s for textbooks. (And even then, it isn’t possible, since so much of history remains up for debate.)

In fact, writing fully accurate historical fiction isn’t always possible. Or even advisable. So I’m glad there aren’t any HistFic cops out there to beat down my door.

There’s a lot that’s almost impossible to find out about life in former times. Dates, names, and outcomes of big battles, marriages, deaths — the important, history-making events of the ruling classes — are easy to learn. What people in a particular part of rural Japan would have had for breakfast in May, 1571? Not so easy.

And even those battles and things don’t always cooperate to allow you to tell the best possible story.

In Bright Eyes, my latest Seasons of the Sword novel, one of the historical characters had changed his name by the time in which the book is set. But if I used the correct name, it was going to be too much like that of another historical character, and I was worried that similarity would confuse readers. Also, the new name was a very famous one — and I didn’t want to give away what happened to him later to the historically literate. (Mind, if they’re real Japanese history buffs, they already know. But why make it easy, right? 😉)

Historical fiction isn’t pretending to be historical fact. It’s just doing it’s best to weave a consistent tale within a long-ago setting. Like fantasy or science fiction, it’s trying to tell a good story — only someone’s already done the world building.

How old are Risuko and the others?

I’ve been asked many times how old Risuko and the other girls are in the Seasons of the Sword books.

Since these are young adult novels, it’s a good question. It’s one, however, I specifically chose not to answer in the text of the books. Before I answer, I need you to know that my answer will include some spoilers for Risuko. Just so you’re not surprised. Continue reading How old are Risuko and the others?

Gender, Risuko, and Granny Weatherwax

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking recently about gender.

Woman Combing Her Hair by Goyo Hashiguchi, c. 1920
Woman Combing Her Hair by Goyo Hashiguchi, c. 1920

I’ve been thinking about gender because I’m writing a series of books in which it plays an important role. But it’s also on my mind because it’s very much a part of the global conversation these days. Issues of women’s rights in general and transsexual men and women’s rights in particular flare regularly in my morning news feed. My wife is teaching an online class in theater and gender that looks at these subjects in depth. The subjects comes up frequently in my conversations with my daughters and with my friends.

Sex=Gender

I’m just old enough that when I was young we didn’t make any distinction between sex (as defined by one’s physical appearance) and gender (one’s identification and behavior). Certain toys were girl toys and others were boy toys. Some boys were girly and some girls were tomboys. When I reached high school, we were taught that people with XX chromosomes were female while people with XY chromosomes were male.

That’s just the way it was.

Continue reading Gender, Risuko, and Granny Weatherwax

Bright Eyes has arrived — and the critics are already speaking!

Bright Eyes reviews:

The sequel to David Kudler’s award-winning YA novel Risuko hit bookstores today — and critics are applauding!

“Once again David Kudler has fully succeeded as a novelist with a genuine flair for historical fiction populated by memorably crafted characters and decidedly entertaining plot twists and turns. Like the first novel in the author’s ‘Seasons of the Sword’ series, Bright Eyes is imaginative, original, exceptionally well written, and highly recommended” — Midwest Book Review

“The martial arts was well done, the mystery was riveting, and the ending unexpected!” — Azalea Dabill, Author

“David Kudler crafts an enthralling. unputdownable tale due in no small part to his outstanding world building. He ties enough aspects of real-life feudal Japanese culture to give the perfect balance of reality in this fictional world. […] The well-crafted mystery, well-honed history and world-building, and Risuko’s adventurousness leave the reader wanting more.” — Shailyn Rogers, Ind’Tale Magazine

Continue reading Bright Eyes has arrived — and the critics are already speaking!

Risuko Flash Sale!

With Bright Eyes less than a week from release, we wanted to let you know that we are offering David Kudler’s award-winning first novel Risuko on a special sale for a limited time — both ebook, paperback, and hardcover!

This week only, you can get a special deal on the first volume of Seasons of the Sword:

The ebook is only $0.99!

Order Direct from Stillpoint • Order from Your Favorite Store

The paperback is only $6.99!

Order Direct from Stillpoint • Order from Your Favorite Store

The hardcover is only $16.99!

Order Direct from Stillpoint • Order from Your Favorite Store

We’ve never offered the book at these prices before, and won’t be likely to again — if you’ve been waiting to order a copy for yourself (or for someone else) now is your chance!

Is “Gritty” Realistic?

In response to a recent post about Ursula K. Le Guin, I was challenged on some of what I’d had to say about George R.R. Martin’s writing — specifically, I was told that Martin’s gritty, brutal fantasy was somehow more realistic than Le Guin’s.

Well, to each their own. If you love A Song of Ice and Fire, then great.

I don’t love the series, though I can see the books’ virtues and appeal. But I object to the idea that gritty somehow equals realistic.

When I started reading Game of Thrones, my youngest was seven years old. I got about seventy pages in when (spoiler)… Continue reading Is “Gritty” Realistic?

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Kunoichi Companion Tales covers

Kunoichi Companion Tales introduce characters and themes from the Seasons of the Sword novels, and are currently available free exclusively to Risuko subscribers, along with news, blog posts, and other exclusive gifts!

To read the stories, subscribe now:

Kunoichi Companion Tales

This series of short stories, set before and between the novels of the Seasons of the Sword series, is available exclusively to our subscribers and to our Kickstarter supporters. Continue reading Win a signed copy of Bright Eyes!

Bright Eyes Kickstarter Live!

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We’re excited to announce that the Kickstarter campaign to support the launch of Bright Eyes: A Kunoichi Tale, is now open — and already halfway to its initial goal!

About the Kickstarter Campaign

This crowdfunding campaign, which runs through April 10, will help us create the best possible book — while guaranteeing our supporters copies at less than the retail cost.

As author David Kudler said, Continue reading Bright Eyes Kickstarter Live!