Happy Release Day, GHOST OF THE BAMBOO ROAD!

Today marks the release date for the seventh Hiro Hattory mystery – with my favorite cover to date. This time, Hiro and Father Mateo find themselves facing their strangest killer yet . . . When a vengeful spirit terrorizes a mountain village, Hiro and Father Mateo must save the villagers from the phantom’s wrath. January 1566: En route to Edo, Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo spend the night in a rural mountain village whose inhabitants live in terror of a legendary vengeful ghost. When the innkeeper’s wife is murdered and Father Mateo’s housekeeper, Ana, is blamed

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A New Cover – and a Paperback release – for CLAWS!

A New Cover – and a Paperback release – for CLAWS!

I’m proud and delighted to announce that my publisher, Seventh Street Books, is releasing paperback editions of the first three novels in the Hiro Hattori series: Claws of the Cat, Blade of the Samurai, and Flask of the Drunken Master. Claws re-releases next month, on April 23, but the paperback is already available for pre-order at your local independent bookstore (like Northern California’s FACE IN A BOOK) or at online retailers like Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com. Hiro and Father Mateo’s first adventure sends them deep into the floating world of the entertainers who would, in the century that followed,

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Release Day For TRIAL ON MOUNT KOYA!

Today is release day for the newest Hiro Hattori mystery, TRIAL ON MOUNT KOYA! Every book I write becomes my new favorite, and this one is no exception. I consider KOYA my dual love letter to Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (one of my favorite books, growing up) and one of Japan’s most sacred peaks.

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Koyasan! A Return To The Scene Of The Crime

Tomorrow morning (July 3 in Japan, though it’s only dawning July 2 in the U.S. now) I’m traveling to Koyasan (Mount Koya), in Wakayama Prefecture — one of Japan’s most sacred peaks and the setting for my newest Hiro Hattori mystery, Trial on Mount Koya, which releases July 3. As part of my ongoing project to climb 100 of Japan’s most famous peaks in a single year, I’ll be climbing and hiking on and around Mount Koya on July 3 and 4, to celebrate the release of this new novel.

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Travels in Magome: An Evening at a Japanese Guest House

Research for my upcoming Hiro Hattori novels allows me to travel widely in Japan, and whenever possible I try to stay in traditional Japanese inns (ryokan) and guesthouses (minshuku). People often ask about the difference between ryokan and a minshuku — and although accommodations vary, minshuku are generally more like a family-run bed and breakfast than a full-service inn. For example, guests at a minshuku typically make their own beds, and the bathrooms are often located down the hall (as opposed to having private ones en suite). Minshuku are often (though not always) less expensive, too, though depending on the area and the inn in question, the experience can vary widely. Last autumn, I

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Friday & Saturday NINJA’S DAUGHTER Events!

TODAY – FRIDAY, AUGUST 26 (6:30pm): EL DORADO HILLS (SACRAMENTO) CALIFORNIA If you’re in the Sacramento area, I hope you’ll join me tonight (Friday, August 26) at 6:30pm at Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills (4359 Town Center Boulevard: more information here!) for a reading and signing of my newest Hiro Hattori mystery, The Ninja’s Daughter!  I’m bringing some special Japanese treats to share, and a katana for a special weapons demonstration. I hope to see you there! TOMORROW – SATURDAY, AUGUST 27 (12pm): SEATTLE, WASHINGTON On Saturday at 12pm, I’ll be at Seattle Mystery Bookshop (117 Cherry Street, Seattle-more information here!) for a

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Cover Reveal: THE NINJA’S DAUGHTER

I’m thrilled and delighted to reveal the cover (and title) of my upcoming Hiro Hattori Novel, which releases August 2 from Seventh Street Books! With no further ado, I proudly present: THE NINJA’S DAUGHTER I’m thrilled with the way my new publisher, Seventh Street Books, captured the theme and atmosphere of this newest novel–this is my favorite cover yet (and my favorite story, too).  We’re changing the series title from the “Shinobi Mysteries” to the “Hiro Hattori Novels”–but don’t worry, Father Mateo is just as much Hiro’s partner in crime (solving) as he ever was, and all of the other familiar faces–Ana, Luis, Ginjiro,

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An Introduction to Japanese Nō Drama

The dramatic art of Nō (sometimes written “Noh”), or Nōgaku, originated in Japan around the 14th century. Although the art form owes it origins to an older Chinese form called sangaku, which came to Japan from China during the 8th century, the rigid discipline and technical aspects of a Nō performance are uniquely Japanese. In fact, many people consider Nō to be an entirely, and uniquely, Japanese dramatic form. Nō is a form of play composed of chanted verses, some of which are spoken by solo actors and others by a chorus. The play is accompanied by four musicians: three drummers and a flutist. Some of

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