Gemma Vidal (Okayama-ken, 2010-12) is a recently returned JET seeking work in licensing/merchandising (if it’s within the publishing industry, even better!). You can usually find her in her little web spaces Gem in the Rough and Peachy Keen (about her JET adventures) or training with San Jose Taiko. If you know of any authors/aspiring writers you’d like to see featured in JET Alum Author Beat, just contact Gemma at gem.vidal [at] gmail.com.
Thanks to Michael Gervais (2000-03) for notifying The Author Beat!
The Author Beat would like to introduce R. Michael Burns (Saitama-ken, 2000-03) to the stable of JET alumni authors! Michael was an ALT in Fukaya, Saitama and worked for the American Language School in Moriya, Ibaraki for a year and a half after his time on JET. He is currently a high school English teacher in Florida where he sponsors a creative writing workshop and a Japanese Pop Culture Club.
Interested in mythical stories set in medieval Japan? Michael’s Hokage series — “Shadows from Firelight”, “Demon-Fang”, and the newly published “Shadows and Hellfire” are available at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. The series follows Hokage, a samurai and his kitsune companion, Sasa. I read “Shadows from Firelight”, the first in the series and I enjoyed it a lot! Although it’s short, it’s packed with magic and action that made me want to read more. I’ll definitely be checking out the rest.
If horror is more up your alley (alas not for me), “The River Child” is one of the stories compiled in the anthology Horror Library III. The tale follows a schizophrenic homeless man who thinks a kappa is killing people around him. Another short story, “The Door, the Lock, the Key” was recently re-published in the anthology An Uncommon Collection. Windwalkers is Michael’s first full-length published novel and it is a horror tale set in a fictional town in Minnesota. Here’s a summary:
When a nightmarish blizzard drives college students Nick Bookman and Robin Kelley to take shelter in a small-town Minnesota church, they are forced to confront the intimate secret that is tearing their friendship apart. The appearance of another storm refugee, Alicia Morgan, an attractive high school senior and self-described witch, arouses Nick’s interest and threatens to strain the old friends’ relationship past the shattering point.
Then one of the men trapped in the church disappears in the deep of the night, and his young daughter stumbles in from the storm babbling about monsters. Only Alicia recognizes the creature from the child’s tale for what it must be — a wendigo, an ancient spirit that embodies the hunger for human flesh.
Soon there’s no doubt — the windwalkers are on the hunt again, and the refugees discover that they must fight not only the menace that haunts the storm, but their own darkest desires. If they cannot control their hungers, their hungers will consume them — and they shall become wendigoes themselves. Only the strongest hearts among the strange band of storm refugees have any hope of surviving the long blizzard night…
You can purchase the book on Amazon.
If you would like more information on Michael’s works, drop by his website www.rmichaelburns.com. Welcome to the Author Beat Michael!