What Did Ninjas Eat?

While researching my newest Hiro Hattori mystery, BETRAYAL AT IGA, I needed to learn a little more about 16th century Japanese cuisine. So … what did ninjas eat? Click through to my guest post on the No More Grumpy Bookseller blog to find out how I answered that all-important question. As a bonus, the blog is hosting a giveaway for a free copy of the novel – as long as you enter before July 30, 2017! (And I promise, unlike some clickbait headlines, I really do answer the question – without ads.)

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A Visit With Suzy Approved – and Ninjas!

Since it’s release week for BETRAYAL AT IGA, I’ve had the honor to talk with a number of bloggers, radio, and TV interviewers. I’ll try to share them all, for people who want to learn more about the Hiro Hattori novels, my writing process, and the books I read when I’m not writing!  First up, this great interview with Suzy Approved Book Reviews, in which I get to talk a little more about my TBR pile and my favorite cities in Japan! I took today’s ninja-related photo at the Iga Ninja Museum in Iga-Ueno, Japan, while researching Betrayal at Iga. This is only part of the large collection of shuriken

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Beyond the Trope: Ninjas and Japan!

Curious about ninjas–either the real, historical ones or the fictional ones that appear in my Hiro Hattori mystery novels? I recently had the opportunity to talk about ninjas, fiction, and my upcoming mystery, BETRAYAL AT IGA, with one of my favorite podcasts: Beyond the Trope. Check out the podcast here, and when you finish take a look at the archives for more fantastic podcast content!

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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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Ninja Architecture, Part 3: Moving Panels & Secret Lofts

My research trip to the Iga Ninja Museum involved a tour of the “ninja house,” a recreation which features some of the secret panels and hiding places common in medieval shinobi (ninja) homes.   (The “headless woman” is our guide, who asked the little ninja to demonstrate the panel–to his delight, and his pink-ninja sister’s obvious envy.)  These rotating panels added to the shinobi’s mystique, and fueled the legends that said a master ninja could “turn to smoke” or “vanish” at will. The ninjas really did disappear in an instant…but through a rotating panel or trapdoor, not by turning into smoke. (Would have gotten away with it,

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Ninja Architecture, Part 2: Secret Exits

  During my research trip to Japan last summer, I spent some time at the Iga Ninja House & Museum in Iga-Ueno. Iga remains a small town, surrounded by mountains and reachable only after several changes of train (including a tiny, slow-moving local train that meanders through the mountains at a pace even I could outrun on a bicycle, but I digress). The ninja house is a reconstruction, but contains a number of unique architectural elements found in actual shinobi (the Japanese word for ninja) homes during the medieval era. Last week, I shared some photos of secret caches for hiding weapons, money,

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Hidden Architecture in the Ninja’s Home (Part 1)

Ninjas (in Japanese, shinobi) were more than assassins. They were also the spies and undercover agents of medieval Japan.  When working for others, ninjas were masters of infiltration, stealth, and disguise, but shinobi didn’t employ these techniques only in the service of others. Stealth and concealment were a way of life in shinobi villages, and made their way into the design of ninja homes as well. During my trip to the Iga Ninja Museum last June, I had the opportunity to tour a replica ninja house, and to see a demonstration of its unique architectural features. Today, I’m sharing a little about the technique of concealed

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How Did Real Ninjas Train?

You’ve seen the modern, pajama-clad ninjas featured on everything from movie screens to coffee mugs… Real ninja activity reached its apex during the 16th century (the reason I chose that setting for my Shinobi Mystery series), and the two most powerful ninja clans had strongholds in the mountainous regions of Iga and Koga, which lie within the Kansai region, close to Kyoto, Nara, and the other traditional capitals of Japan. I traveled to Iga on my recent research trip to Japan, and rode the “ninja train” to Iga village. There, I visited the Iga Ninja Museum and Ninja House, where a variety

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