As the book itself is a standalone, set in the past and strangely placed on Amazon (vs the rest of the series) I felt I should write something on the piece. I'm hoping this will reach enough eyes that people will begin to see the book as they should. At the present, it is categorized, among other things, as Asian mythology. This is not entirely incorrect, no more so than a lot manga can be. So, please, retweet and share the hell out of this. :)
Hitori is a story about a woman who is sold to Bishamon, by her idiot father, in order to win an upcoming battle that he ends up losing anyways. Bishamon, the god of war, trains the young woman, preparing her to be his Slayer. In the 8th century, roughly 80 years later, Bishamon sends his ward back to Japan to defend the lands from the evils that normal humans cannot handle themselves. This is where the story begins.
Hitori isn't her name, she gave up her name when her father disowned her. Hitori is a name given to her by the first decent person she meets. In the main series, 1300ish years later, she's known as Mai. What does the book compare to? That's a question I've been asking myself for days now and coming up short, but I will do my best.
It's full of action, like most manga/anime/comics. It's designed around a series of adventures that are tied together with a central idea, like a television series. It's full of mythological baddies, like any good fairy tale should. The best I can come up with is that "Hitori" is a cross of Lone Wolf and Cub and The Forbidden Kingdom with a dash of historical accuracy. I'm not saying it's super-duper historically accurate, but I tried. The 8th century is when Japan decided to start writing down their history. So, there's only so much accuracy I can give you.
It's a book wrapped in mythology, embracing history and filled with action, magic and the supernatural. A lot of times, like the CoM series, I'll take an exising idea and develop the idea so that the strange descriptive changes that are found in existing lit make a more cohesive, single idea. I'll use the Tengu for example, as it is not a spoiler to the story.
The Tengu (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tengu) are an interesting, mythological species. I spent several months reading the lore on them and thought it seemed odd that they varied from being these birdlike creatures to something far more humanoid with long noses. So, I decided that the children would be the more bird-like variety, with arms for wings, and as they grow into adulthood more and more of those characteristics would fall away, leaving long nosed humanoids with wings on their backs.
Do you need to read the Chronicles of M to understand this? Absolutely not. Will this book help you to understand Mai in the CoM series, of course. It's a standalone book that is meant to expand the world the series lives in. So, do what the California Raisins say and check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyIHOTx7zxM
Going to conventions and local events I get this question a lot. It's a fair question, mind you, I don't expect anyone to know who I am, let alone what my books are. Even if I was wildly famous, I would still expect the question to come up more often than not. The difficulty is: how do I pitch it? If I say too much, I might scare someone away with spoilers, if I say to little then the person asking doesn't get a real answer. If I compare it to something else, then it sounds like I'm writing fanfiction. Yet, with that, if I say it a certain way, people automatically come back with "oh, so it's like (insert w/e)." To me, that is perfectly acceptable. I know I'm not writing something original, I couldn't even tell you what an original idea looks like because everything these days is either based on another idea, or close enough in style that it's fair to compare the two. With that in mind, I give you my answer to what are the Chronicles of M?
CoM is a modern day fantasy series that's like combining the investigative mystery and magic of The Dresden Files, the more realistic superheros of Watchmen, the grit and crassness of SIn City, with a splash of humor (ranging from light hearted to over-the-top goofiness), and a touch of horror, nothing too gruesome.
It sounds strange, I know. However, it's a long running series where I don't throw all the info at you at once, you aren't forced to consider all these notions together until something has either been resolved, or explained well enough to move on.
The other question I get, and I find it silly to ask the writer, is "Is it any good?" Here's my answer:
Books 1-3 bounce in and out of the Amazon bestseller list, they might actually stay there if I paid for advertising, or had the time to really push them. The lowest rated book is 4.5 stars. If you want a better answer than that, read the reviews on there.
Hitori, which is a standalone story, but part of the CoM world, started off on the bestsellers list on Amazon and, at the moment is still on it in the UK.
I don't like to toot my own horn, it bothers me and makes me feel dirty. I will, however, state provable facts with no issues. So, if this series is new to you, check it out. The books all have samples available to read.
Word Count: 43858 - If I had to guess, I'm 3/4 of the way done....it's a guess still.
I have a lot of story lines going in this series. I know it, the readers know it and hopefully it's handled neatly enough that no one really minds.
1. Thomas and his hand issues
2. M...in general
3. Uhler and his long term goals
5. The facility's on/off investigations
6. The upcoming Purge
7. The future of magic and mutants
This list doesn't include a few new issues that the team has to deal with in the latest installment. One of which is M being in the public eye and the consequences of such things. To anyone not reading the series (yet), it probably sounds daunting and overwhelming. It's not, because a lot of this is a juggling act. By me and by the characters.
Something about comics, where groups are involved, that has always bothered me is the idea that everyone has the free time to deal with things. It always seems like the Justice League and the Avengers aren't too busy to drop everything and deal with the issue at hand. I realize that it's expected, no reader wants to hear that Flash can't defend the world from (insert w/e) because he missed a phone call while attending a funeral for his grandmother. In reality, this sort of stuff does happen.
I'm not saying that happens in these books, but it's been 10 years in the books and not a single Lord has been killed, why? Well, that list above, minus #4 is why. Sure, the Lords should take priority, but that's a goal that requires 1,2 and 5 to be resolved somehow (maybe more, maybe less, read the books :D ). Sometimes the team isn't up to saving the world. Sometimes Punisher needs to clean his weapons and sometimes Deadpool is busy eating...although that one does happen in the comics, doesn't it?
The fun apart all this is that even with a to-do list in front of a main plot point, the story goes on in an entertaining fashion. These minor stop offs allude to something bigger down the road. A newer, much larger problem that takes minor ideas before and converts them into something impactful and unexpected. Hopefully, it's as much fun to read as it is for me to write. Don't worry readers, we might be entering book 4 of the series, with another 6 or so to go, but I'm not out of ideas, not by a long shot.
As of late, I've had a few people tell me "these aren't superhero books". It's an interesting criticism that I'd like to address today. I'd like to start, though, by saying that no criticism honestly bothers me. It's merely an opinion and I can accept that. I didn't get into this gig thinking I was the greatest person on the face of the earth and if I hear the critique more than a couple times, I begin to consider it's worth. In the case of this one, I just wanted to point something out that simply seems to be a misconception on what exactly a "superhero" is. So, here's some standard, google found, definitions.
The bit I've been hearing is that my main character, M, doesn't wear a costume (ie cape and spandex). No, he doesn't. Does he have "amazing powers" as the definition requires? Yes, yes he does. If you follow the books, you also know that he doesn't have just a couple either. In fact, not only does he has the "mutant" version of abilities, but he also has the freak accident variety as well. Granted, the way he got the accidental powers was on purpose, the powers were not an expectation, thus, still an accident.
I will say that in the first book he's about as much of a super HERO as super villian, in either case he still has powers beyond that of a normal human being. So, no matter how you slice it, he fits the definition. The reasons for the lack of costume are detailed pretty well in the books, so there's little reason to blab on about them now.
I'd also like to point out that I never call him a superhero in the books. NOT b/c he isn't one, but b/c there's a couple comic companies out there who like to sue for the use of that word. I won't name names, but since you have internet I'm sure you can find at least one news story out there about it. If you search "sued for use of word superhero" you'll find it pretty quickly. The More You Know (Cue rainbow effect)
I'm glad mutant hasn't been trademarked, at least I can still use that generic word! I'd come up with my own term, but you know as well as I do the criticism will be "blarg, you made up a term that already exists as something else, stop pretending to be novel, blarg." :)
Where to begin...well, the book is at 37k words. Usually, this would be a "hey, past 50%" but who knows. I know where the story is going and how I want it to get there, it's just a question of how long it'll take.
A few minor changes to the end game plan were decided on the fly. This was largely due to realizing an interesting plot issue. I'm not going to say it was a hole, as it wouldn't have truly mattered in the long run, or probably to anyone else, but once I really examined the situation I decided to simply go with the flow. Now, to be less vague...
Initially, the plan was to have M and company deal with all the Lords in the same manner: fist to the face, knock out action. Fun idea in theory, but it could drag the story line out to monotony and it also occurred to me just how unrealistic this idea was going to be. I knew early on that at some point the Lords would wise up to M and company's efforts and join forces to save themselves. Considering the amount of power and technology these Lords have...there's a point where M simply shouldn't win. I don't want a Rocky vs anyone else in those movies sort of fight. I don't want M getting his arse handed to him, leading to some adrenaline fueld montage of absurdity that ultimately brings M back to life and winning the fight.
I like my battles to make sense, where the hero doesn't always win because he's stronger, sometimes he wins out of luck, or a cunning plan. Heck, sometimes the hero has to run. It's not the first time people in my books have retreated from an impossible fight and I like to keep that as an option.
Well, I came up with a nice, clean way of dealing with this "problem" in the storyline and it's somewhat going to affect the end results, but not so much that my "master plan" is ruined...just altered slightly.
So, what do we have in store for this book? Well:
1. new bad guys and mutants
2. different points of view, varied
3. revisiting old places for new reasons (I like tieing misc ideas into main plot pieces)
4. more 3 part action sequences
5. investigations of the supernatural and not so supernatural
6. random silliness!!
I'll admit, this book's tone has gotten a bit darker. The story kind of calls for it, however, that is not to say M isn't the sarcastic pain in the booty he always is. It's just, well, things go down that aren't exactly happy.
As an individual of the indie crowd, I felt it was time to start sharing the wealth a bit. I say individual because there's no membership to this, it's not even a group. It's a bunch of people who are trying to do whatever it is they do, on their own. That being said, I'm going to help in the only way I can.
I've added an "artist's corner" to the site. Like the Other Author's section, this will feature fellow indies who have caught my attention, either through friendship, noteworthy products, but mostly a combination of both. Check them out, click on their links, bs with them. They won't bite...I don't think.
I'll add more people here and there as time goes by. I would simply add them now, but I'd like to get their permission first. I don't know who turns down free publicity, but you never know!
Again, I cannot give you a percentage of completion. It's coming along well and quickly. Quick enough for a December deadline? It's hard to tell, but I'll do my best.
I'm sitting around 27k right now and still have a couple more ideas I want to touch base on before I start clearing old ideas from the slate. If you've been keeping up, you'll see that I tend to juggle a lot of different ideas at once. Then, as the story progresses, I'll close up a few ideas and open up a few more. I like complicated and interesting, but I understand there's a limit before it's merely a kerfuffle.
So far, what feedback I've gotten, there seems to be a majority (I can only think of 1 exception, honestly) who enjoy the 3 part fights and the offset story lines that merge together at some point. Which is good. When you have this many developed characters, you don't want to leave anyone out.
No, I haven't decided on a title for this one yet. I've been tossing around the idea of calling it "Consequences" because this book is mostly about the consequences of M and company going public with their operation.
In other news. I may start work on this side story. Not enough to stop me from writing the main series, but I need to get this idea out of my head. It's starting to take over my idle moments like "Hitori" did. Note taking doesn't seem to be enough. I'm trying to refrain myself from getting involved in a second project, but we'll see.
Where "Hitori" is a historical piece of fiction, with mythological and paranormal ties, this new sidestory will be horror. The idea is simple: show a lifetime of mass murder from the eyes of the sociopath who's committing the crimes. Will it be graphically detailed? I doubt it. I do enjoy a good horror movie with blood and guts everywhere, but I tend to prefer the old school "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" approach. Give the audience the sense that something vile and graphic is going to happen, and then shut the door so all they can do is hear it. To me, that's better. So, I imagine it won't be much more detailed than the rest of the series. Okay, maybe a tad :P
Last bit of news. I have an artist reading "Hitori" with the idea of turning it into a graphic novel, or comic series. After I told him the main idea of the story, he wanted in right away. It was my idea to have him read it first. I don't want someone committing that kind of time and effort to a project that he doesn't fully enjoy. IF it happens, it won't be until sometime next year. He's working on a couple personal projects already, one of which is a 3 piece comic set. Once he completes it, I'll get you links to check it out. It's cool stuff so far.
I usually don't bother with commenting on these sorts of things, as they tend to take care of themselves. This one, however, seems to be lingering and I'm tired of seeing it in my facebook/twitter feeds.
Goodreads has changed their review policy. You say some snarky things about the author in a book review and they will delete the review. They aren't giving any specifics to what is acceptable, bla bla bla. Here's the thing:
1. It's free
2. It's their website
3. If you review the book and not the author, you'll be fine.
I'm tired of this negative trend going around about these GR changes. Who cares. It's a book review. They didn't stop you from enjoying/hating the book, or even purchasing the book. Quit complaining that it's wrong for them to change their policies and not explain them in minute detail. If you want to talk garbage about the author, their family and everything that is personal, then make your own website and do it there. I don't want to read a review that rants on and on about how stupid the author must be, or that his mother smells (albeit a tad funny), I want to know if the bloody book is any good. Your review does not help that in the slightest. So, I repeat:
1. It's free
2. It's their website
3. If you review the and not the author, you'll be fine.
You know how many friends of mine have had reviews deleted from GR so far? NONE. Why? Because they write legit reviews. I'm not standing up for Goodreads in this matter, I'm not saying how they are handling is right. All I'm saying is that it's not going to help complaining about it. The best you can hope for is that enough people leave the site, forcing them to review these changes. Of course, that then means putting up reviews about how the author smells like a wet dog is legitimized. Is that what we really want?
So here's the cover of the newest book. I has been uploaded to Amazon, so it's only a matter of time before it appears. If you already bought the book, just check for updates now and again. I know some people have already purchased it, because somehow it's #6 in Asian Myths and Legends...so somehow it's already a best seller. Here's proof of it. I wouldn't believe it unless I saw it either.
BTW, this is at 12:30 am, Central time. If you look at this a few hours later and it's lower/higher, that would be why. :P
Anyways, check out the book. It's a historical fiction set in 8th century Japan with a lot of ties to Japanese mythology and a few ideas of my own. If you follow the main series, one of the "things" she encounters should be familiar. Enjoy!
Hitori is out and strutting her stuff. No wait....it's published, yeah, published. There's no cover, but I'll deal with that by the end of the week. Either one of the two people I'm supposed to get a cover from will come through, or I'll make one myself. I'd love to hire a proper artist to do it for me, but that's expensive.
You can find an Amazon link posted on the front page on this site. Like the others, it's a universal link. So, if you live in London, it'll take you to Amazon.co.uk. If you live in Canada, it'll take you to Amazon.ca, etc.
Will there be a paperback version? Yes - eventually.
Will I post it on Itunes, Sony, Kobo, etc? - I haven't decided.
Will this get turned into a comic novel - we'll see, I have a guy reading it now to see if he's interested. I don't want someone to commit to a long project like that unless they are fully on board.
The main series will eventually become a comic series as well. I've been playing with the idea of having multiple artists handle separate chapters/issues. It divides up the amount of work, it gives each character's perspective a different artistic style and it allows for a lot of people to get their names/work out there at the same time. From what I understand, this is how they handle the Judge Dredd comics. It's a good idea in theory (I think), how it handles in practice I'll let you know.