Hollywood likes to portray the ninja in black pajamas, scaling a roof to assassinate a samurai. In reality, ninjas, also called shinobi, were more like spies. Assassinations played a role (as did those famous dark pajamas) but ninja training focused as much on espionage as it did on killing, and then–as now–a large part of successful spying depended on disguises. During the 17th century the head of a famous ninja clan wrote a manual called the Shoniniki, which described techniques and methods used by medieval ninjas. At the time, the Shoniniki was considered a “secret” manuscript, used and protected by shinobi clans. Now, itRead more
Month: July 2014
Northern California Signings Today and Tomorrow! Come say hi!
The Blade of the Samurai tour comes to Northern California this week! I hope you’ll join me tonight at Face in a Book: El Dorado Hills, CA: Thursday, July 25, 2014: 6:30pm Reading & Signing: Face in a Book Bookstore 4359 Town Center Blvd., #113 El Dorado Hills, CA 95762 Map Link Or tomorrow in Napa at Copperfield’s Books! Napa, CA: Saturday, July 26, 2014, 1:00PM Reading & Signing: Copperfield’s Books (NAPA Location) 3740 Bel Aire PlazaNapa, Ca 94558 Map Link I’ll have the great new Shinobi Mystery bookmarks with me. I hope, if you’re in the area, you’ll stop by andRead more
Shuriken: the Shinobi Star
If I asked you to name a ninja weapon, the most common answers would be a sword and a shuriken, which many people call a “throwing star.” In reality, “shuriken” translates “behind-the-hand knife” or “hand-hidden blade,” meaning a knife or blade which a person can easily conceal in the hand. And despite all the untrue myths about ninjas, they really did use shuriken–though not always in the way that you might think. Most Westerners think of the shuriken as a star-shaped throwing weapon with dangerous, sometimes poisoned, tips (hence the popular name “throwing star”). However, shuriken weren’t always thrown … and they weren’t alwaysRead more
When Should an Author Register Copyright?
We talk a lot on this blog about copyrights in contracts, but I thought I’d take a couple of weeks to cover copyrights in other contexts. This week, we’re looking at copyright registration issues – specifically, when an author should register his or her work with the U.S. copyright office. Is Formal Registration Required for Copyright Protection? Under U.S. law, copyright protection is available for all published or unpublished works. Registration with the U.S. copyright office is NOT REQUIRED to receive copyright protection (in the U.S.). Copyright attaches automatically at the time a qualifying work is created. However, registration is required for someRead more
An Interview With Tammy Salyer
Please welcome my friend, speculative fiction author Tammy Salyer, whose third SPECTRAS ARISE novel, CONTRACT OF WAR, releases today! Unification or tyranny. The only difference is the body count. In the aftermath of a system-wide war between the Admin and Corp Loyalists and the non-citizen population of the Algols, everything once resembling order has been leveled. Scattered enclaves of survivors dot the worlds, living, however they can, in snarled lawlessness. Aly Erikson and her crew have carved out a niche of relative peace, doing their best to go on with their lives through salvaging, scavenging, and stealing. But with no forceRead more
Shinobi News: July 19, 2014 – Signings and Giveaways!
Blade of the Samurai released this week — and I’m so excited to share it with readers! BLADE OF THE SAMURAI GIVEAWAYS! If you’d like a chance to win a FREE copy of the novel, there’s still time to enter these Blade of the Samurai giveaways! So Many Precious Books, So Little Time (contest ends July 23!) Reading Reality (contest ends July 25!) We’ve got more giveaways coming up in the next few weeks, so check back here, and on Facebook, for all the details! BLADE OF THE SAMURAI SIGNINGS! If you’re in the Orange County area, I hope you’ll join me todayRead more
A Visit to Insight
Big thanks to Beth Ruyak and Capital Public Radio for hosting me on today’s edition of INSIGHT. I had a wonderful time talking with Beth about the Shinobi Mysteries, Blade of the Samurai, and much, much more. If you’re not in the Capital Public Radio broadcast area, or missed the program, you can listen to the podcast version here. Or, if you’re not into radio interviews, here’s a seahorse!Read more
Shinobi Pre-Release News: July 12, 2014
Release week for BLADE OF THE SAMURAI has arrived! The newest Shinobi Mystery, Blade of the Samurai, releases this Tuesday, July 15, from Minotaur Books. Library Journal says: “After her exciting historical mystery debut, Claws of the Cat, Spann proves she has the touch in her sophomore entry. The deceptively simple prose educates readers about 16th-century Japan, while the well-plotted story moves at ninja speed.” *** I’ll be on Capitol Public Radio’s Insight with Beth Ruyak in the 9:00 hour on Monday, July 14. If you’re in the listening area, I hope you’ll tune in! The readings and signings start this week too – we’re kicking thingsRead more
Fifteen Pages of Fame: Kazu’s Day in the Sun
I love writing a mystery series because it lets me return, again and again, to the worlds and characters I love. I love reading series, too, for the very same reasons. Like most readers, I can’t wait for another “ride along” with my favorite sleuths, from Richard Castle to Sherlock Holmes … and, of course, my own ninja detective, Hiro Hattori. But fictitious worlds don’t revolve around a single person any more than the real world does, and series fiction also gives me (and everyone else!) the chance to learn more about the other characters who populate those worlds. InRead more
Copyright Warnings – Hold Onto Your Rights
Today’s post takes a look at some dangerous copyright pitfalls authors need to be aware of – and avoid. Beware Losing Your Copyrights Through a Contract. The most dramatic copyright danger is loss of the author’s copyright through contract. No “standard” publishing contract should ever contain a grant or transfer of the copyright to the publisher. A contract which contains a transfer of copyright is essentially a “work for hire” agreement, where the writer retains no rights to the work. By contrast, a standard publishing agreement–traditional OR self-pub–is not a work for hire arrangement. I see a surprising number of contracts in which theRead more