Susan Spann

Mystery Author

“Combines enlightenment on 16th-century Japanese lise with a sharp and well integrated mystery.”

– Kirkus Reviews

Read An Excerpt!


Blade of the Samurai

June, 1565: When a killer murders the shogun’s cousin, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are summoned to the shogun’s palace and ordered to find the killer. The evidence implicates Hiro’s friend and fellow shinobi, Kazu, who was working undercover at the shogunate; however, the victim’s wife, a suspicious maid, and even the shogun’s stable master also had reasons to want the victim dead.

The investigation reveals a plot to assassinate the shogun and depose the ruling Ashikaga clan. With enemy forces approaching Kyoto, and the murderer poised to strike again, Hiro and Father Mateo must produce the killer in time . . . or die in his place. Blade of the Samurai is a complex mystery that will transport readers to a thrilling and unforgettable adventure in sixteenth-century Japan.

Preorder Now–Releases July 15!

  • Ask #PubLaw: Can You Copyright a Title?

    Today’s Ask #PubLaw looks at a question I hear a lot: “Can I copyright my title?” (Short answer: no.)

    Copyright law doesn’t protect short phrases, slogans, names, or titles … even the unique or distinctive ones. Names, slogans and phrases are protected by trademark law – but titles don’t usually qualify for this protection (though series titles may).

    Copyright law doesn’t protect titles because a title is too short to be considered a “work of authorship.” Works protected by copyright require a certain amount of original authorship, which generally means more than just a few words.

    In some cases, titles may be protected under laws prohibiting fraud or unfair business practices. Authors can’t legally duplicate titles for fraudulent or deceptive purposes, or to deliberately cause consumer confusion. That said, an author cannot usually prevent other authors (or publishers) from giving a book a title identical to one the author has used.

    The general rule is: you cannot copyright a title, but neither can you use one for fraudulent or deceptive purposes.

    Have questions about this or other publishing-related legal issues? Feel free to ask in the comments or email me through the website, and your question may show up in a future Ask #PubLaw! (Without your name attached – I keep the questions confidential.)