Monthly Archives: January 2019

Rising of the Shield Hero Watch-Through Episode 4: Lullaby at Dawn

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Episode 4 is here, and this one’s a doozy! And probably my favorite since Episode 2. Possibly Naofumi’s lowest low, and the introduction of the “curse series” abilities, one of which threatens to destroy him.

For those who are new to these breakdowns, I’m covering each episode of “Rising of the Shield Hero” and explaining what western SFF writers and readers can learn from Japanese “Light Novels”. If you’re not a writer, and simply want my thoughts on the show, then gain, feel free to skip the last bit. You can check out my prior watch-through articles here, and if you want to check out the story yourself, you can buy the novel on Amazon, or watch it for free on Crunchyroll. So without further ado, let’s dig into the summary! Also, spoiler warning.

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Rising of the Shield Hero Watch-Through Episode 3: “Wave of Catastrophe”

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So here we are, three episodes in. These summaries are pretty meaty, but folks seem to enjoy them, and the show’s given me quite a bit to cover in these posts. For those who are new to these breakdowns, I’m covering each episode of “Rising of the Shield Hero” and explaining how western SFF writers and readers can learn from Japanese “Light Novels”. If you’re not a writer, and simply want my thoughts on the show, then gain, feel free to skip the last bit. Also, you can read episode summary one and two with the links.

If you want to check out the story, you can buy the novel on Amazonor watch it for free on Crunchyroll. So without further ado, let’s dig into the summary! Also, spoiler warning.

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Rising of the Shield Hero Watch-Through Episode 2: “The Slave Girl”

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So, continuing where I left off, I’ll be analyzing the anime “Rising of the Shield Hero” and explaining how western SFF writers and readers can learn from Japanese “Light Novels”. If you’re not a writer, and simply want my thoughts on the show, then feel free to skip the last bit.

Again, you can watch the show here, or buy the novel on Amazon. If you enjoy my posts and haven’t yet checked out the series, the show is free to watch on Crunchyroll, though delayed by a week.

So with that out of the way, onto the summary! Also, obligatory spoiler warning.
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Rising of the Shield Hero Watch-Through Episode 1: “The Shield Hero”

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Japanese “Light Novels” are something I’ve been wanting to cover on this blog for quite some time. Essentially a cross between pulp fiction and YA, they’ve grown hugely popular in the last few years, and are starting to affect the western book market, especially in fantasy. Like LitRPGS? You can thank Sword Art Online and Log Horizon for that. Like Sufficiently Advanced Magic?

Recently, a show based on one of these Light Novels popped up, and has garnered both praise and controversy. Like the LN Goblin Slayer before it’s become very popular very rapidly due to some of the initial backlash it’s received. And since it’s somewhat topical at the moment, I’ve decided to dive into Shield Hero to dissect both the good and bad of Light Novels, and what western writers can learn (and avoid) from them. After watching a couple episodes, I feel Shield Hero is one of the best series for dissecting the tropes and elements of Light Novels, and what western authors can gain from them.

If you want to read the book, you can get it on Amazon here. If like me, you plan on watching the show, you can do so legally on Crunchyroll. There are massive spoilers ahead, so unless you’re okay with that, I recommend you check out the source material first (Crunchyroll is free but ad-supported).

For the sake of my more book-focused audience, I’ll be staying away from any terms or anime-specific wording, and will treat this as if I were discussing a western fantasy book or story. The one exception to this rule is the term “Isekai,” a LN genre where characters from Earth get transported to another (usually fantasy) world, often after dying and being reincarnated. The Chronicles of Narnia and Thomas Covenant series are kind of similar, but Isekai has its own tropes, such as the earth-heroes being reincarnated, or the world looking less like Middle-Earth and more like Dragon Quest.

Anyway, with that out of the way, let’s get on to the episode’s summary.

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New Year, New Title Reveal!

So it’s 2019, and looking back, I’m honestly a bit stunned at all the stuff I’ve accomplished with writing. I released my short horror story, and a sword and sorcery one is coming next. I started author interviews with folks like Mark Lawrence, Christopher Wolf and Alec Hutson. And I’ve started work on not one, but two books I plan on releasing this year. So I thought I’d share a bit about what I’m cooking up, revealing a title and the ideas behind both books.

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The first is The Shrouded Emperor, an epic fantasy story inspired by late 17th century America and paranormal horror. It contains all the elements you’ve come to enjoy from the genre such as warriors, wizards, questing, battles between good and evil…the whole nine yards. However, there’s a bit of Lovecraftian horror thrown in the mix, as well as firearms and some old-timey tech. Think Johnny Tremain meets Wheel of Time with a dash of Call of Cthulhu and The Nightmare. Weird stuff, but I’m seriously digging what I’m writing, and I think you’ll really dig it if you’re a fan of more Robert Jordan/Tolkien side of things.

The second is a swords-and-sorcery inspired novel. Very much a Conan-style “wandering warrior beats the sh*t out of wizards” kind of deal, but set in a trippy setting that’s less like the middle ages and more like a prog rock album cover. Morrowind, Pirates of Dark Water and John Carter of Mars were all inspirations for the setting, a weird, almost alien world of brass cities and perilous sorcerers. As this is a tribute to Moorcock, Conan, Lieber and other such writers, it’s going to be very short and very weird. Like, I know what I described above sounds a bit out there, but this one has it beat by quite a lot. Maybe play some Pink Floyd in the background when reading this bad boy. Title is still TBD, but very close to being picked.

My swords-and-sorcery book’ll most likely come out before Shrouded Emperor as it’s one third the size. I’m working on cover design for that right now, and the cover for SE is already done. I’ll be revealing that later on in the year however, around mid to late summer 2019. Expect a cover reveal for the swords-and-sorcery book in the next couple months.

Author interviews will continue, but in the months leading up to the release dates of my books, they’ll decrease somewhat. I will however, be bringing some really cool ones to the table, including the #SPFBO finalists and a few more. So stay tuned for that as well!

Overall though, 2019 will be the year this blog focuses more on my content, now that I’m beginning to release it. I’m really looking forward to sharing these stories with you all, and hope you enjoy them when they’re out!