Just a fast and exhausted post to say I just wrote the ending to INUJINI, my first novel. I started back on June 23rd with the crazy idea that I could write a WWII inspired novel in six weeks and I did, but I feel like I’ve been through a war myself.

Shiisaa by Kyra Starr

With all the things that happened, this has been one of the darkest months of my life. All the loss and pain became linked in my mind with this novel.

I was writing about a small island overtaken by war, and in the process I became a small island overtaken by war. The book both drove me insane and was my tether to sanity.

This is my first novel. I can already see there will need to be a followup to this story but first I need to catch up on life. I have some short stories, poems and a column piece I owe. I need to wrap up the HWA Poetry Showcase, finish some feeback and answer a giant pile of emails and messages. Then I need to turn around and write the screenplay for this. I hope the screenplay is a little less like a battle to write.

This has been my first novel. Everything so far has been novellas. It didn’t turn out much like I planned at all. I thought I was going to write something like Alma Katsu’s The Fervor. Instead, I went deeper into the magic element then I planned. I was trying to write magic realism, so that’s okay. It just surprised me.

I also planned to tell the story of only one girl, but she split into three. I hadn’t planned on using shiisaa that much, but the Okinawan lion-dog guardians took over the plot. The only thing that doesn’t surprise me is that the story did its own thing. That always seems to happen.

At one point in the story there is a brave little boy named Shoji holding a male shiisaa aloft to bring encouragement to a room full of terrified people… no spoilers but that moment will be etched in my mind forever. I cried for a fictional boy. That moment is what tied it together.

But now I’m writing another book here. It’s 6:30 am and past my bedtime. Novel done, but now begins the next phase: editing, editing and more editing ∞. And a screenplay. For now, I just have had the immense pleasure of writing THE END.

And going to bed.

By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Ryukyuan-American, award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years in newspapers. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year, she shares Authortunities, a free weekly calendar of author opportunities at authortunities.substack.com.

  1. I have not emailed (WANTED TO) because you are just impossibly swamped. So be it. Then you get even more swamped. I’ll wait … and wait ….


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