As you can see from the photos I’ve posted here, and on my Facebook page if you’ve popped in over there, I find the landscape of Japan quite awe-inspiring. So what, exactly, caused me to write such a dark, disturbing tale as Salva Me? I mean, vampires? In Japan? Regency vampires? Come on, right?
Well, aside from my fascination with all things Japanese, I grew up loving horror stories too. I mean, as a kid I’d watched Gegege no Kitaro, absorbing Japanese mythology by proxy, clueless about what was going on. Then, we moved to the states and I grew older, and discovered American horror. You know, those late Saturday night midnight chillers? I used to babysit a lot, and those late night horrors filled my time and spurred my imagination. When I discovered Jane Austen, I thought my scary story days were over.
And then I discovered yaoi manga. Jackpot! Gay romance in all its forms, from historic Japan to fantasy worlds to Regency and Victorian eras, and vampires, yokai, oni, ghosts, and gods of all sorts. I was hooked. If you read my interview with Emily Carrington, you’ll know I have an alter ego who writes straight historical romance. When Emily joked with me about joining the dark side, I said “yeah, maybe I should write a gay, regency, vampire romance. And throw in something Japanese for a twist.”
And so it started. Why vampires? Well, they’ve fascinated me for a long, long time. But I didn’t want to follow everyone else. I wanted to do something different. So I asked the first question – do they have to be dead?
That’s for part 2. See you then!
Stop by and see my interview with Emily Carrington on a little of the behind-the-scenes magic of Salva Me!
At her website here: http://emilycarrington.com/salva-me-and-how-to-write-gay-regency-vampires/
I’m giving away a free copy of Salva Me to a lucky commenter…hope to hear from you there!
Sorry to be gone for so long…chalk it up to a crazy busy life in my non-writing world. But let’s step back into things, and take a look at something unique about Japan–the continuous fusion of foreign elements into Japanese culture. It’s something that’s been going on since Japan opened its doors to the world in the mid-1800s.
If you ask almost anyone from Western cultures, they can probably point out a variety of things that mean ‘Japan’ or ‘Japanese’ to them. But most people probably wouldn’t list the mastery of assimilation and blending to create something new and uniquely Japanese in that list. Yet many of the most iconic symbols of Japan have been imported, adopted, and blended into a new fusion of quintessential Japanese.
Look at food, for example. Chefs are always experimenting, but where masters of, say, French or Italian cuisine might look down their noses at anything but the ‘pure’ form of their craft, Japanese chefs look to enhance traditional recipes with a new spice, a new ingredient, or even a blend of East and West. Take the omelet, a breakfast standard here in the US. Japan has omurice, an omelet draped over a bed of rice, and frequently topped by ketchup or something equally unusual.
And then there’s Valentine’s day. Here in the US, Valentine’s day is dominated by women expecting their men (or significant others) flowers, chocolates, jewelry, dates at fine restaurants, all in the name of romance and love. In Japan, on the other hand, women do the giving, mostly in chocolates, to the men they hope will acknowledge them. Men return the gifts to that special someone on March 14, White Day, a holiday unique to Japan.
Japan’s habit of assimilation and fusion goes back centuries, and includes centerpieces of their culture, like rice, shoyu, and kanji. Yet every time the Japanese adopt something from another culture, they shape it and mold it, creating something new and unique, and quintessentially their own.
One more reason I love Japan, and all things Japanese!
Salva Me has been selected as an Editor’s Choice book! It’s on sale today and tomorrow as a Daily Deal Special, for only $3.99 – stop by and check it out at:
OK, I should have posted this yesterday, but…drum roll please… just out from Loose Id Publishing… Blood Sworn Book 1: Salva Me!
Here’s a little teaser from the book:
Blood. Sweet, sweet blood thickened with terror. The girl in his arms fought with weakening desperation, her life rushing away through the crimson tide pulsing from her with each frantic beat of her heart. Intoxicating copper heat coursed across his lips, suffusing him with its nourishing power.
Her moans grew fainter as his poison saturated her body. The exquisite torture of emptying his venom flooded his muscles with godlike power, and he tightened his hold, crushing her fragile, merely human form against him. Her gasp of pain drove a spike of lusty pleasure through him. He released her neck to watch her blood flood across her shoulders to stain her flimsy gown.
A waste perhaps, but he could find another. The silent, horrified plea in her dulling eyes spurred his lust, and he ripped the sodden dress open to bare her cotton stays. A hand batted feebly, a near-unconscious impulse to protect her vanished modesty.
Little whore. She’d no need for modesty with him. He had no interest in her person, not yet. Not until she was at the brink. Then he’d spread her legs and revel in her death throes.
Yes. Yes, that peak of ecstasy neared, her glazed eyes beginning to fade. She drew a hitching breath, and he dropped her limp body to the mud, reaching for the fastenings to his breeches.
The clatter of hooves and creak of heavy wheels broke his concentration, his anticipated pleasure vanishing.
Damn! With a frantic bound, he hurled himself into the velvet black shadow of the alley behind him. Frustrated desire boiled through him as he watched the carriage lurch to a halt. A murderous rage rose, urging him to attack the interlopers. He attempted to quash it, but the slavering beast of his hunger did not want to be assuaged. The girl was his rightful prey, and he would be damned if he would allow mere humans to drive him off. He readied himself, prepared to lunge when the correct moment presented.
The tiniest of breezes stirred the air as the passengers descended from the barouche. It carried the oh-so-faint scent of the intruders, driving him back into the shadows.
“Imbecile!” The word escaped him in a hiss. He peered around, forcing his eyes to see, his ears to hear. As if a veil had been drawn back, he realized he stood almost in the heart of London. How had he followed the girl so far without recognizing his danger?
At least one of the men in the carriage knew him by sight and scent. Worse, if they were to meet, his enemy was duty-bound to kill him without hesitation. He twitched, annoyed, uncertain—wanting his prize but unwilling to face his opponent at this moment.
His hunger stilled, replaced by an urgent need to flee. Later. The time would come, but that time was not now. With a last look at the shuddering girl behind him, he forced more venom to his muscles and shivered in delight as he fled into the night.
A madman haunts the south of England, and Jeremy Takeshi Colbourne must hunt and kill the monster leaving savaged corpses like trash along the roads. One of the foremost vampire nobles in England, it is Jeremy’s sworn duty to catch the nosferatu and ensure the safety of all English lives, human or vampire.
More importantly, he must find a way to capture the heart of the man he has grown to love. Morgan Holland has denied Jeremy for more than a decade, despite the searing attraction they both feel. But when Morgan’s daughter falls prey to the madman, Jeremy faces an awful choice: to let the girl die, or bind Morgan to him and sacrifice any hope of love.
Morgan has lived the past dozen years as blood-host to the Baron of Colbourne, a nobleman of British and Japanese aristocracy. He has kept his master’s affections at bay, unwilling to dare such an intimate relationship with another man. With his daughter’s life at risk, he must decide: maintain his dignity and lose his daughter, or succumb to the pleasures of a vampire’s embrace.
Meanwhile, the nosferatu still hunts. And this time, Morgan Holland is his chosen prey.
OK, I don’t know about you, but recently I’ve been stuck in translation hell. My Japanese is limited, though I am saving up my spare change to try Rosetta Stone for Japanese. That being said, I’ve had a serious need for translation, since I am writing a novel with Japanese elements and characters (ahem). Yes, yes, I know I might have tried to stretch it a bit, but seriously, I love all things Japanese, even if I did let my basic Japanese get so rusty it creaks.
So, on to my subject. What DO you do when you need to translate correctly, and you’re trying to avoid offensive or ridiculous translation errors? Use Google Translate? Well, it’s a start. Let’s face it, the site is not always accurate. And there is never a truly literal translation function between a language whose syntax is radically different from English. And whose characters can often mean multiple things. So…..um, yeah. There it was. I was stuck with translations that changed from one month to the next.
Then I found other sites. Not necessarily better than Google Translate, just…different. And then I found one that translates the English into kanji/katakana/hiragana, and approximates the changed syntax. Using two (or even three) translation sites at once gave me the means to cross-verify what I was trying to say.
And hopefully to minimize really embarrassing or offensive translations.
Of course, none of this compares to a living breathing human, a native speaker, but since I have the great misfortune of knowing no such person myself, I have to rely on the friends of relatives. Awkward face palm here.
But I muddled through, and I feel relatively confident in my translations. So long as no one assumes I’m a native speaker.
Now for Rosetta Stone. When I have the money….
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