Update and Link Round-Up


Been a busy, busy bee and am deep in research as well as trying to finish up the first draft for the next book. This may be the book that required the most research out of all of them, though you might not think it from the premise: cat and mouse adventure chase through Tang Dynasty China.

Right now I’m reading up on the salt trade and government structure. It’s actually quite fascinating — the salt, not the government. Actually even the governmental structure is quite interesting to a history geek like me. I have added a new “Places I should have visited in China if I had only known” tourist site.

The Ancient City of Ping Yao

It was built in the Ming Dynasty, but I can make some extrapolations to fill out what a Tang Dynasty city might look like. An interesting note: many popular Tang representations come from the Ming Dynasty – i.e. Judge Dee, the Peony Pavilion (which I’ve also seen described as taking place in the Song Dynasty vs. the Tang) Maybe a resurgence in interest in the Tang? It leaves us the question of whether these are historically accurate depictions of the Tang Dynasty or more likely depictions that were altered and colored by the Ming Dynasty creators. The same way depictions of the Elizabethan or Tudor eras are always colored by the period recreating them.

Bargain prices

I found out that digital versions The Dragon and the Pearl and two novellas, Capturing the Silken Thief and The Lady’s Scandalous Night are on sale for $1.99 for the novel and $0.99 cents for the novellas. The sale ends at the end of June–so if you know someone who’s been wanting to take a peek…

Amazon | B&N |Kobo| eHarlequin | Sony


Some reviews and mentions for My Fair Concubine this week. Thank you to all the bloggers who have taken the time to read and review.

Booklovers Inc – Interview + Giveaway (ends June 30)  plus 5 star Review by Stella

Delighted Reader – A Review by Sophia Rose

Historical Novel Review – Review by Victoria

Eve Shi – A review by wuxia writer Eve Shi

Wendy the Super Librarian – B- Review

Romantic Historical Lovers – 3.5 star review from Lady of Misrule

Smexy Books – C Review by Mandi

I’m also happy that My Fair Concubine was reviewed by a couple of the long-standing review publications, though you need an expensive membership (which I don’t have) to access the LibraryJournal and Booklist reviews. I hope they’re positive. 🙂

Publishers Weekly – starred review & Best Summer Books-Romance

Booklist – Review

Library Journal – June issue

Research: Tang Dynasty Music and Culture

I’ve already mentioned that this last short story had me researching into Tang Dynasty poetry, the imperial exams, short story tradition, and student life. Can you believe all that for 15,000 words? I know readers will always say they wish short stories were longer, but for me, there’s something beautiful about opening up a time capsule and getting just a glimpse. Like one of those crystals you hold up to the light to watch the refraction of its many faces onto the wall.

A short story can’t capture everything, but neither does a full length novel. Nor a whole series of novels, for that matter. To me, a short story is that rare stone, cut in a specific way by the author, in order to catch the light just so.

But I digress! One of the areas of research I touched upon was the music of the Tang Dynasty. Specifically, the pipa. The pipa is a stringed instrument similar to the lute. The name is said to come from the sounds it makes “pi” “pa”.

I discovered there are two styles of pipa music: lyrical and martial.

Here is where my research gets muddy. There’s huge interest in reviving Tang Dynasty style music. Some sources indicate that the popular song “Ambush from All Sides”, which is featured in The House of Flying Daggers, was written in the Tang Dynasty. Other sources indicated that it was written in the classical Tang Dynasty style, but appeared much later. Now, does appeared mean appeared in print? Or that it was composed at that time?

A gold star if anyone can point me to a definitive source.

In them meantime, these two popular pipa songs gave me great inspiration for the mood of my latest short story.

The harder, martial style: “Ambush from All Sides” (aka Ambush from Ten Sides)

The softer, lyrical or civil style: “Falling Snow Decorates the Evergreen”