Japanese Ox Cart

Ox Cart of Japan in the Heian Period

First Class Travel in the Days of Yamabuki The ox can hardly be seen, but it is at the front. The royal personage(s) would sit inside on cushions as they were taken from place to place at a stately pace.

Japanese bell

Telling time in Heian Japan

Japan during the Heian period— 794-1185 C.E., when the Tales of Yamabuki as well as The Tale of Genji are set—had no mechanical clocks. Nevertheless, to run society, people needed to know the time of day, the season, the month, and the day.

Wonder Woman

What distinguishes a well-written female protagonist from a poorly-written one?

In my view, a well-written character, irrespective of gender, should have nuance. Not every character will be fleshed out in three dimensions by an author—there have to be some red-shirt characters. Some might even make it to two dimensions, like the ones Harmonica guns down in the opening of Once Upon a Time In the …

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The Ruins of the Taka Compound

The Ruins of the Taka Compound

Many have searched for the ruins of the Taka compound that existed 850 years ago in ancient O-Utsumi prefecture–the alleged site is shown in this photo. But there is no trace of the clan. Not even the footings of the giant estate houses that overlook Great Bay. No trace of the gardens and orchards where …

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Cover for Cold Heart: Yamabuki vs. the Shinobi Priest, by Katherine M. Lawrence

Cold Heart Release

Cold Heart is with my editor, Laura Lis Scott, for final revisions. It is my longest Yamabuki book to date—longer than the first three combined—over 80,000 words long. The first chapter is succinct and sets the tone and premise: the supernatural—which Yamabuki of course scoffs at—will play a central role in this story, and as always, the …

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An Open Letter To Wiscon: Because of Wisconsin’s LGBTQ+ discRiminatory policies, we will not be attending

Hello Wiscon, In light of Wisconsin’s recent attack on LGBTQ health coverage, Toot Sweet Inc will not be attending ANY events whatever in Wisconsin and that, alas, that includes Wiscon.  We will not lend any financial support to such a State. Same with North Carolina. Same with Indiana, and any other state that discriminates against …

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Music to Write By. Samurai Stories

Music to Write By. Samurai Stories

The soundtrack for Shogun Assassin is where my writing music started. Here Lone Wolf defeats three ninja women who are disguised as dancer acrobats in the circus de soleil of their day. Some writers like to immerse themselves in the place and setting of the action. We put on our music and takes us to …

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zatoichi dance scene

Dancing in Samurai Film

Painting the life of the common people in a world where the major daily chore was finding enough food, can lead readers to think they are indeed being presented with a bleak world. And yet, the Japanese culture has always been one of songs and dance and laughter. Some genre readers are excited by the swordplay, but wonder why …

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