Wheee! I’m so excited. It’s pretty awesome to see all three books lined up. Plus Monster Matsuri was so much fun to write.
Monster What? Monster Matsuri: It means Monster Festival in Japanese, and if you’re about 8 to 12 years old and like adventure, suspense (and a whole stack of spooky Japanese ogres, ghosts, demons and mythical creatures), then you should totally buy Monster Matsurifor your friend and then borrow it from them after.
The clues are piling up…
A lot of fans have a lot of questions about Miku and her family ghosts, and in Monster Matsuri, at last, I think I might have revealed enough clues for you to figure out some answers. Why are the demons hunting Miku? What makes her family so special? What secrets have yet to be revealed?
And for buffs of Japanese history and mythology…
I’ve borrowed heavily from Japanese myths and legends in writing this book. I’m expecting you guys to be first to figure out which stories I’ve used, which legends I’ve twisted, and what secrets the Takeshita family might be hiding…
A fisherman farewells the Dragon King and his castle; by Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, 1886
For the last few months I’ve been beavering away at Takeshita Demons 4, tentatively titled Mer-monster. It’s mostly set underwater, in the palace of the Dragon King.
This is the book I worked on at the SCWBI Rottnest Retreat, huddled in my cabin with the heater raging after dark.
This is also the book I have been working on during Art Dates with the fabulous Shirley Marr, raging YA writer and author of Fury. Shirley and I have been meeting at TxtSHOTS, which comes totally recommended to anyone wanting great food, great coffee, great chilli hot chocolate, and a great space in which to work all day (powerpoints included!).
I’ve also been working on this book after gym sessions, while Fergus is still in creche. And at lunchtimes, when Fergus is napping. And at home, on the days when my fab hubby has Fergus at the zoo or in the garden or deeply into Duplo (thank you!!).
And the prognosis?
I”m please to say that draft zero is nearly FINISHED!!!
The Dragon King, by DR Studios
I love the manuscript! There’s a couple of chapters to go and I can see the end in sight. And it’s all on track 🙂 HOORAY!
Hooray (and thank goodness) for the good times!
The times when the writing won’t flow and the plot won’t work and I bite my nails and haunt the fridge and generally mope…
are nothing compared to
…the times when my fingers fly across the keyboard and the right words spring into my head and the hours pass without me noticing (I even laugh at my own jokes). These happy times are the drug of being a writer.
But what to do AFTER Mer-monster is finished?
How to begin again? There’s a long editorial process about to start on Mer-Monster, but already, I’m worried about what to do next. If I leave it too long to start a new project, I’ll end up too scared to even begin.
Want a fun way to practise your hiragana? Try this spooky hiragana wordsearch!
If you’re studying Japanese, then you alredy know that the Japanese language is written using three different alphabets: hiragana, katakana and kanji. Words can also be written in romaji, using the English alphabet.
This word search uses hiragana and features demons from spooky adventure story Takeshita Demons.
Can you find the yokai demons before they find Miku?
GREAT NEWS #2: I’m performing at the Perth Writer’s Festival on Family Day: YAY! More details soon…
GREAT NEWS #3: I’m also appearing at the 2011 All Saint’s College Literature Festival. YAY!
GREAT NEWS #4: I’m getting heaps of fan mail from readers who love Takeshita Demons AND those with advance copies of Filth Licker…YAY!!
GREAT NEWS #5: I’m totally booked out for Children’s Book Week 2011 (in August!)…and there are more bookings coming for school hols YAY!
GREAT NEWS #6: I’ve had some great ideas for finishing off Monster Matsuri (Takeshita Demons book 3) and that will be rip roaring to my editor by year end
GREAT NEWS #7: The first review of Filth Licker is up: “some shocking twists and a fantastically involving story…” YAY!
GREAT NEWS #8: I spoke to a group of Year 9s and 10s at the Hyogo Prefectural Government Cultural Centre last week about Japanese yokai, mythology, history and how it informed and inspired Takeshita Demons. They were a great group and we had lots of laughs. Plus I got to eat proper Japanese bakery goods AND a scrummy bento. YUM!
So all-in-all a terrific few weeks…Super busy! And this week is the SCBWI WA Christmas Party too, so everything is happening at once. I *LOVE* hanging out with other people who love childrens books!
Below I’ve included a bit of historical info on some of them: is your favourite demon in Book 1? Or will you have till wait till The Filth Licker comes out to see what’s in store for Miku and Cait at school camp?
Amazake babaa (literally: Sweet sake woman) 甘酒婆
This yokai takes the shape of an old woman with a gentle voice, but don’t be fooled. If you answer the door when she knocks, chances are you’ll fall ill with chicken pox.
Ittan momen (Animated cotton) 一反木綿
Ittan momen are long bits of cloth that can come to life in the night. They love to tangle around your body and might even try to suffocate you, so keep an eye on your curtains.
Click on the noppera-bo to read about sightings of this demon in England!
Noppera-bō (Faceless ghost) のっぺら坊
Is the person sitting next to you really who you think they are? Noppera-bō are experts at pretending to be other people, and they love to cause trouble. Just when you least expect it their features can disappear, melting away to leave their face as empty as a blank page.
Nukekubi (Cut-throat) 抜首
During the day you might mistake this yokai for a normal person, but be warned. At night, while its body is sleeping, its head can detach and fly around hunting for delicious things to eat (like children and puppy dogs).
Nure-onna (literally: Woman of the Wet) 濡女
With the torso of a woman and the body of a snake, this fearsome yokai has wicked claws and a long forked tongue. She’s strong enough to crush a tree in the coils of her massive tail.
O-kubi (literally: Big Throat) 大首
If you’re ever staring up at the sky and spot an enormous head in the clouds, watch out! Spotting an o-kubi usually means something awful is just around the corner…
Sakabashira (literally: Inverted pillar) 逆柱
Did it happen by mistake? Or did someone do it on purpose? Whatever the reason, if some part of your house was built upside-down, your entire house is doomed to be haunted.
Yuki-onna (literally: Snow Woman) 雪女
Tall, pale and icily beautiful, this yokai is a spirit of the snow. She leaves no footprints, preferring to float above the ground, and she can disappear in a puff of cold mist.
Zashiki-warashi (House ghost) 座敷童
This mischievous yokai haunts houses and usually appears in the shape of a child. If your house is haunted by a zashiki-warashi, count yourself lucky, but don’t forget to take good care of it. If your house ghost ever chooses to leave you, your luck will quickly end.
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