Category Archives: The Haunted Onsen

The Haunted Onsen – Now Available

Hello guys! I’m so happy to tell you that my latest book The Haunted Onsen is now available on Amazon.

This book has a lot of action, a lot of new supernaturals, and a lot of heat.

I had a blast writing this book and filling it with action. Feedback from my editor on the first novel indicated I spent a bit too much time world-building, so this book conveys the backstory through dialog and actions.

I added a lot of new supernaturals, pulling from Japanese folklore, Thai tales, and western fantasy. Scott romances the dragon of Lake Ashi; dances with a Nang Tani tree spirit in Bangkok; fights a female Yaksha in Chiang Rai; and treks with Tar–Ooops! Can’t use that word. Ahem, jousts with the Jungle Lord.

Speaking of heat, of course, the magician manages to dally with some more supernaturals. It’s in his super-nature, after all. And Kitty-Sue can’t get jealous, can she? No, but she can turn the tables on Scott when she shape-shifts into a different form. You see, this other form has different appetites than Kitty-Sue.

So this time, to make the book more accessible, I have made both it and the first novel in the series, Mages In Manhattan, available to Kindle Unlimited users.  So take a look at the ‘Look Inside’ and see if this book titillates your taste for Tokyo. If you get the book, I urge you to leave a review.

As a bonus for my website visitors, here is one of my favorite scenes from the book.  Scott, Kitty-Sue, Princess, and Akiko are chasing clues to the ghost Samurai’s missing armor. The search leads them to Bangkok, where they receive a mysterious invitation, more of a command, to show up at this seedy Bangkok bar.

 

***

 

Four p.m. came and went with no appearance by our message sender. I was getting increasingly nervous. I fingered the pocket that held the letter from the man who had issued the invitation.

Seeing my nervousness, Kitty-Sue said, “Looks like our host is a no-show.”

“So, you’re suggesting we continue the mission without talking with this magician?” I said.

“Hell, no!” she said. “I think we should hunt him down and teach him a lesson. We can’t afford to have enemies on our backtrail.”

“Hunt him down,” I said. “How could we do that?”

“From the scent on that letter,” she said, “I could track him down.”

“Then, where is he?” I asked.

“His scent is all over this bar,” she said. “He must be a regular.”

All this talk about hunting and tracking brought back a memory. Taking out the envelope, I examined the handwriting. Who did I know that wrote in eighteenth-century script? “I’m beginning to think the note was from a colleague of mine,” I said, putting the envelope away.

“Colleague? Another knight?” guessed Akiko. Kitty-Sue’s eyes brightened at the question. Her attraction to royals was a sore point. I didn’t know if she was truly excited about royals, or if it was an act to tease me, but any mention of the royal family piqued her interest.

“A bit higher up than a knight,” I muttered.

“Really!” said Akiko.

“How much higher?” asked Kitty-Sue. There was even a thrum of interest from Princess. Was my entire team turning into royal groupies?

“He’s a viscount—” I was interrupted as Euterpe weighed in and the sound system changed songs to the old Gene Chandler classic, “Duke of Earl.” The dancers looked confused at this change in the playlist.

“So, what do you call your friend?” asked Akiko.

“He’s not a friend,” I said. “As a matter of fact, he’s promised to kill me on sight.”

Kitty-Sue looked at me through narrowed eyes. “What did you do to piss him off?” As if I had to be the problem.

“I saved his wife’s life after a mugging,” I said. The old song finished and a new oldie started, the theme song to an old cartoon about George of the Jungle. The bartender was pushing buttons on the sound system frantically.

“Why does he hate you for that?” asked Akiko.

“Remember how intimate healing is? How I had to touch Monica in Las Vegas to cure her? How much she enjoyed the process?” Akiko nodded and Kitty-Sue’s face soured. I continued, “In those days, my control wasn’t as good. I needed to get even closer to work.”

“By closer, you mean…” asked Kitty-Sue.

“It was the only way I knew how to do the spells,” I said. Taking a large gulp from my drink, I continued, “He’s never forgiven me. But I couldn’t let her die, as long as it was within my power to save her.”

She called your name in her dreams for months,” whispered the voice of the most dangerous man I had ever met. The cold chill of a steel blade touched my throat. I froze in place, then raised my hands slowly, fingers spread to show I wasn’t about to cast a spell. A subsonic thrum came from my magic sword disguised as an umbrella, and my palm tingled; I knew that Princess could flash to my hand in an instant. I also knew that my assailant didn’t need more than an instant to decapitate me. At the upward pressure of his blade, I slowly got to my feet.

He was so close I could see his profile out of the corner of my eye.

I glared at Kitty-Sue, my hyper-vigilant bodyguard, who had somehow missed the killer creeping up on our table. She mouthed a silent, “Sorry,” before turning her attention to my assailant. Blades of crystal were suddenly in her hands, and she said in a calm voice, “If you hurt my boss, you’ll never make it to the door.”

I noticed he kept me between him and Kitty-Sue, one predator acknowledging the danger posed by another. Even with my better-than-human hearing, I could detect no sounds from him. When stalking, he was as quiet as Akiko.

The tension was broken by Akiko. She slurped the last of her iced coffee, then waved a hand in the air like a student in class. As my attacker’s eyes flicked to her, she said, “I’m glad you can see me. So, what’s a viscount? Should I call you duke or earl?”

I finally heard him as he took a deep breath. “Neither. The correct form of address is ‘lord.’” The pressure of the knife blade eased a tiny amount.

“Lord what?” asked Akiko, leaning forward in interest.

“Lord Greys—” he started, then corrected himself. “Lord John. John Clayton.” His proper British accent had faded over the years; only the slightest trace remained.

“Well, Lord John,” said Akiko, “would you mind removing that knife from my teacher’s throat? I still have lots of lessons to do.” Tiny wisps of lightning gathered around her form, and her hair started to rise as she gathered power.

I like to think it was the sight of my allies—the inhuman kitsune killer; the ghost mage of unknowable power; the strangely thrumming Princess—that stayed his hand. But John had never let fear dissuade him.

Perhaps it was the genuine regret that he had heard in my voice about the incident with his wife.

The blade’s pressure eased, and he said, “Of course. I would hate to interfere with a lady’s education.”

 

***

Lord, I love writing these books! I hope you will enjoy reading them. For more of The Haunted Onsen, get it here.

So far, I have published two 100K novels in the Tokyo Supernatural universe, as well as four short stories. And I still have dozens of stories to tell. I have the third book plotted out, as well as a few rough draft chapters. That book will probably be ready in February.

 

The Haunted Onsen – Progress Report

I have just sent the final draft of “The Haunted Onsen” to my editor. She will be working her editorial witchcraft on my manuscript, turning it from a jumble of words, paragraphs, and chapters that only make a modicum of sense, into a smoothly written tome.

Editorial witchcraft? Maybe I should treat witches better in my next book, don’t want to PO my editor.

The book clocked in at about 99,000 words. To be honest, at 50,000 words, I despaired of reaching 70,000 words. Then I ended up cutting scenes to keep it around 100,000. I tried some new techniques, such as writing with an eye to keeping the action flowing.

And there’s lots of action. Everything from a decidedly unconventional encounter with a beautiful female dragon, to an encounter with the deadliest hunter the world has ever known, to the final fight between Scott and the Samurai ghost that haunts the Hakone Onsen.

Our intrepid team of supernatural heroes travel to exotic locales; including the Hakone area of Japan, Bangkok (where Scott dances with a tree spirit), to the home of a Fae prince in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

I think my fans will really enjoy this story. Look for it soon on Amazon.