Grey Dawn: an eventful first month!

On 7 August, Grey Dawn: A Tale of Abolition and Union, had its world premiere. It’s been an eventful first month-and-a-half, during which it hit #1 on the trans romance category and #21 in the timetravel romance category. Not bad for a debut novel!

If you haven’t read it, please consider picking up a copy today. Don’t forget to leave a rating and review on your platform of choice!

Thank you so much for your support, everyone. You can find bonus art and other material expanding the Grey Dawn universe, and updates on my next book project, at http://patreon.com/riversidewings

Expect more soon here on WordPress!

NOVEL COMING NEXT YEAR!

Friends, it’s been awhile, and I have outstanding news. Balance of Seven Press has picked up my novel Grey Dawn for publication next year!

Grey Dawn is the story of two women– time-displaced Civil War Union Army veteran Chloë Logan, and former infantry platoon sergeant Leigh Hunter– bonding in modern Philadelphia over shared experiences at war. It’s a romance, but it’s more than that: it’s about learning to trust, being whole scars-and-all, and after all the years and all the miles and all the battles a person goes through, coming home again.

To keep up with and support my work, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Patreon, and Sponsus at riversidewings. We have a hell of an adventure ahead, friends. It’s my privilege to share it with you.

Anthrocon 2019: Come say hi!

Hey, so I’m at Anthrocon for the final day, today. I presented a lecture on Japanese anthropomorphic art of the late Heian era, on Day 2, and today I’m just enjoying the unique ambiance of Pittsburgh’s premier furry convention while I can. Definitely a liminal space. If you’re around and see me (glasses, olive drab kitty hat), come say hi!

If you saw me speak, leave a comment below! And as ever, please consider sending a few dollars my way via bit.ly/2VpR6wZ or paypal.me/riversidewings so that I can keep costs covered amidst chronic underemployment and keep bringing you the kickass history you love.

PHENO 2019: Come Say Hi!

Hey guys! So, thanks to my wonderful partner being on staff, I am attending some of the PHENO 2019 conference at the University of Pittsburgh. I’m not a physicist by any means, but it’s nice to get to talk to some of these amazing folks who are in town.

Litchfield Towers and the bridge over Forbes Avenue yesterday. Photo by me.


So if you are there, come say hi! I’d love to see you.

Thinking About Age in History

Hey, readers– welcome to nearly-the-end-of-May!

The first proper installment of the Shrines series is taking a little while longer than anticipated. This is due to a variety of factors, most notably the fact that the landscape around the shrine has changed, which is necessitating my doing more digging. If i was there in person, it’d be easy to go there and see what’s up, but I have to do it from the other side of the world, so– it’s a challenge. That it is an especially small shrine makes this harder. This said, your patience is acknowledged, and appreciated. So.Thank you.

So in the meantime, gather round and let’s talk a bit about something that’s been on my mind.

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of putting historical figures on a pedestal– forgetting that they were human like you and me, and that they were just as likely to complain of being bored, tired, or confused. I try to counter that by reading widely and not shying away from criticism of them.

But have you thought lately about age?

Let me give you an example.

Joshua Chamberlain, the 19th century scholar who began as a Bowdoin College professor and became a general, a college president, and Governor of Maine, has been turned into a “Maine Man of Steel” (to quote biographer Tom Desjardins) thanks to fictional depictions of his actions at Little Round Top. during the fighting at Gettysburg. He did not act alone, of course, and nobody else at Little Round Top got the Hollywood treatment, but the fact of the matter is, he was cool under fire and his leadership mattered.

How old was he, that July day in 1863? Just shy of 35.

How old am I, as I write these words? Just shy of 35.

There’s something humanizing about that– the thought that when Chamberlain had his moment at Little Round Top, he was my age, not this timeless, ageless dose of badass in human form.

He was my age.

And if he could figure out how to be an effective leader and how to hold his shit together under fire, then maybe I can face the things that scare me, eh?

So this is my invitation to you. Next time you’re thinking about your historical fave and something awesome they did– think a bit about how old they were when they did it. You might be surprised at the insight that offers.

That’s all from me for now. More soon. And never forget: who you are, and what lights your fire, is worth fighting for.

Shrines of Northern Japan 東北神社巡り

Once upon a time, I did a series of posts on Tumblr that profiled Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan: their locales, their enshrined deities, and some of their lore. It got a lot of traffic: the masterpost that indexed them has 346 notes as of 29 March 2019, the original post went up in 2015. So it’s gotten some positive feedback and support, but along with much else, it had to go on hold between finishing grad school and getting after job hunting. Since then, I’ve developed new interests– and it seems to me that one of them is particularly suited to this project!

Roadsigns near Saeno-jinja in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture. As posted on my Instagram.

It seems like things are coming into order, with my recent employment, so it’s at last time to revisit this– the art and the shrine profiles together, because these things seem made for each other.

It’s going to be a little different, this time, though.

  • I’m going to focus on northeastern Japan first, in order to keep to my most ready pool of source material. I have less access to an academic library now that I’m no longer a graduate student, but I have periodic access, so I need to plan better. Since I have my own personal library– and a range of digitized sources– which focus on the northeast, I’m going to start there. As I build both my experience, my source access, and my income, I’ll build out from there in terms of geographic coverage. For the purposes of this series, I’m defining the northeast as the Tohoku region– meaning, Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, Aomori, Akita, and Yamagata.
  • Unlike the original series, I’ll just be focusing on shrines rather than including Buddhist temples. There’ll be some overlap, though, because of shinbutsu-shugo, and how the line between the two used to be blurred.
  • There’ll be new (or extra) material included in the new version! Aside from the drawings, I’m also going to make a point of including maps and more expansive reference lists. Addresses are fine, yes, but a point on a map is better– especially if you happen to be in the neighborhood and are trying to get there.

What’s my schedule right now? I’m hoping to get the first profile live and posted sometime in mid-April. It’ll be on one of the shrines from before, but revised and expanded.

That’ll be something to look forward to for your mid-April. Meanwhile watch this space! And remember: sign up to my Patreon at http://www.shiogamawaves.com to support this and the rest of my content– and for early access and bonus material!

Shiogama Shrine (Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture) in spring. Image in the public domain.

Getting Back To It

So I’m back. After graduation from Pitt, getting my hard-fought Ph.D., a job search that took way, way too long (partly the same hard-fought Ph.D. making me overqualified for everything), and launching a career as a freelance author, I’ve got a job again, and some measure of normalcy and stability is returning to life. I used to blog elsewhere, on history and spirituality, and finishing up grad school– followed by my stipend ending– meant that I really didn’t have the time to be writing anything if it didn’t directly help me make ends meet. But that’s all different now, and here we are, so. I’m back. And I’m glad to see you.

A view inside one of the classrooms at Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning. These days are, at last, behind me. (source)

So. What can you expect ahead, now that I’m here? Broadly stated: the history and spirituality and folklore are back, interspersed with the fiction for which I’ve gotten some measure of reputation since I graduated, and some new things too! I had my research interests in grad school, and I have new ones now, too, so that’ll all be making an appearance here. The plan, however, is to have content hit Patreon first, so if you want to get an early peek, go sign up at http://patreon.com/shiogamawaves !

  1. Japanese history: I’m still as interested as ever in Japanese history, particularly the Bakumatsu-Meiji transition and the Boshin War of 1868. I’ve still got a book to put together, there, so in the meantime I’m exploring new questions (e.g. what was the role of non-samurai combatants in the Boshin War?). But I’ve got new research interests: Noh and its systems of patronage and supervision in domain service in the Edo period, the matagi of Akita, women author-activists of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and more.
  2. American history: This is a new focus ever since my dissertation, but a lot centers around the American Civil War. Lesser known episodes of the conflict, its intersection with the later Boshin War, the role of women in combat, the history of trans people as combatants, are all points of interest for me.
  3. Japanese folklore and spirituality: I am a Hachiman devotee, and as I was in my past blogging career, I remain interested in Shinto and its history and ritual, as well as local folklore in northeastern Japan and beyond. You can expect to see some of this, too, as I pick up with reading and research. I had a series of shrine profiles that were well received, on my old blog– I could see picking up with that!
  4. New item is fashion! I’m trying to merge historic (or if you prefer, vintage) and modern vibes into a new, harmonious whole. I share some of this over on Instagram (follow me there!) but I’d like to make more in-depth posts here, too– and share bigger photos, soon improved by the benefit of a remote control for my camera.
  5. Photos and local historical or cultural commentary from my travels. I regularly travel parts of the Middle States (Mid-Atlantic) in the US, and eventually I hope to return to Japan, too. I take a lot of photos, and history has a way of catching my eye. Again, I post some of this I already post on Instagram, but the longer format of WordPress would let me do so at greater length.
  6. Updates on my fiction work and other developments in my authorly career.
  7. Some of my art!

At any rate, this should give you a taste of what’s in store. Again, if you want to see this stuff early, plus get bonuses, come subscribe over at Patreon! Patreon support has gone a long way in keeping me going during the past couple of difficult years, and I’d love to have your support too.

That’s all for now! More soon. Until next time, remember: who you are, and what lights your fire, is worth fighting for.

RELEASE DAY! “Rogues: Before and Beyond”

IT’S LAUNCH DAY!!

Following the release of the #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, #RoguesandWildFire, the eight talented authors of this book have reunited to share a glimpse into the past and the future of the dauntless, fiery rogues who captured our hearts.

Enter the portal once more into a world of healers, paranormal detectives, time-traveling soldiers, assassins, shapeshifters, and more. During their unique journeys into the before and beyond, each is called to ask: is love worth fighting for?

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—> Rogues: Before and Beyond ebook
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