SPIRIT OF THE RONIN
by Travis Heermann
A CLASH OF HONOR, LOVE, AND AMBITION
In thirteenth-century Japan, the ronin Ken’ishi’s fondest wish has been granted—he has found service with a powerful samurai lord.
But the underworld crime boss known as Green Tiger lurks in the shadows of Lord Tsunetomo’s retinue, and Ken’ishi’s honor is tested when learns his new master is married to Kazuko, the only woman he has ever loved. His unknown lineage holds dangerous secrets that could destroy him, and his sword, the magical relic called Silver Crane, holds the key to his past…and his future.
With enemies, temptation, and strife assailing him on all sides, Ken’ishi’s very soul falls into jeopardy—even as Khubilai Khan’s Mongol hordes plot their next attack.
Can Ken’ishi defeat Green Tiger, defend his homeland from the barbarian invaders, and remain true to his heart, his lord, and his honor?
If you love romance, intrigue and action on an epic scale, don’t miss this stunning climax to the Ronin Trilogy.
"When you actively watch out for new writers with potential, every so often you're pleasantly surprised by one who has simply Got It, whose work is ready to push up to the next level. Travis Heermann has simply Got It." – James A. Owen, author of Here, There Be Dragons
“Lovely details, an honorable character, and great action…a rich and entertaining story.” – Kevin J. Anderson, NYT bestselling author of Blood of the Cosmos and the Jedi Academy Trilogy
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AN INTERVIEW WITH TRAVIS
-What inspired you to become a writer?
When I was a kid, I was always telling stories with words and pictures. I drew dozens of my own comics. But I can point to a particular experience when I was in the sixth grade that put me solidly on the path of being a writer. I read Swords of Mars and Synthetic Men of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs in a dual hardcover from my school library. Burroughs’ wild adventures set my little adventurer’s heart on fire. I borrowed my mom’s Smith-Corona manual typewriter and set about writing my own novel. It was of course a pure John Carter “homage,” but that was the beginning.
-What draws you to your genre(s) of choice? This question is easier to answer in the negative, in what genres generally bore me to tears? Most literary and mainstream fiction sends me reaching for a video game. It’s too mundane. Give me rayguns, rocket ships, ravening monsters, and hair’s breadth escapes. I have written in almost every genre at this point, from romance to mystery to SF/F to horror. I did a panel recently at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Lit Fest 2015 on “The Essence of Darkness,” so it’s pretty safe to say I mostly venture into dark places. You won’t find puppies and unicorns in my stories, unless they’re in serious peril.
-What’s a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book?
More than I can possibly recount. Writing the Ronin Trilogy changed my life from the ground up. It led to learn how to speak Japanese, and then to move to Japan and live there for three years. I learned about strange folklorish creatures, about Zen Buddhism, about Taoism, above the way samurai philosophy evolved over the course of several hundred years.
Here’s something fun and weird, though. There’s a mammal that’s indigenous to Japan called a tanuki. It most closely resembles a cross between a raccoon and a dog. In folklore, they are shapeshifting, mischievous creatures. The really weird thing is where they keep their magical powers. I’ll leave that for you to look up.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
Hage, the tanuki. He would be a total hoot.
-For aspiring writers, any tips?
I’ll give you Heinlein’s Rules:
1. Finish it, whatever ‘it’ is.
2. Send it out to someone who will pay you money for it. Start at the top markets. Respect your own work.
3. Aside from some professional polish before submitting, do not revise your story except by request by an editor who might pay you money.
4. When it comes back, send it out immediately to the next market in the list. Meanwhile, write the next thing. Lather, rinse, repeat, and you’ll have a career.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
I’m pretty good at what I do, and I enjoy a challenge. I’m pretty sure I could write in any genre.
Freelance writer, novelist, award-winning screenwriter, editor, poker player, poet, biker, roustabout, Travis Heermann is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and the author of Death Wind, The Ronin Trilogy, The Wild Boys, and Rogues of the Black Fury, plus short fiction pieces in anthologies and magazines such as Alembical, the Fiction River anthology series, Historical Lovecraft, and Cemetery Dance’s Shivers VII. As a freelance writer, he has produced a metric ton of role-playing game work both in print and online, including the Firefly Roleplaying Game, Legend of Five Rings, d20 System, and the MMORPG, EVE Online.
He enjoys cycling, martial arts, torturing young minds with otherworldly ideas, and zombies. He has three long-cherished dreams: a produced screenplay, a NYT best-seller, and a seat in the World Series of Poker.
In 2015, he’s moving to New Zealand with a couple of lovely ladies and a burning desire to claim Hobbiton as his own.
Find him online:
-Kit ‘N Kabookle posts on Twitter @desantismt. Tag me for retweets.