We are working on a side project that has grown to be something fairly large. At first, it was to be a somewhat simple iPhone multiple choice game, but it has now grown to a less-than-simple game and a paperback to boot.
Our hero, the penguin learned his ninja skills while studying under Master Namakemono (a sloth) in Okinawa. But, being a penguin, he had to leave for cooler grounds and before his training was complete. Master Namakemono gives him the final task of traveling all 47 prefectures of Japan. If he reaches Hokkaido, he will become a master ninja penguin.
Here are two over-the-top cartoons I did that will be included in both the game and paperback. The language may change and it probably is too silly, but that is the style of the book:
These two will bookend the sections for Mie and Shiga prefectures–both of which are historically rich with ninja clans.
We are having a lot of fun with this project. More comics and information to come…
Clay & Yumi Boutwell have just updated their Momotaro Japanese reader. It will be out in paperback very soon. The ebook version should update tonight. Here is the new cover I just finished.
I thought it might be fun to document the steps I took.
1) First, I sketched out some ideas in a notebook:
(Click any image below to see a larger image)
2) Once I had what I wanted in mind (including a few changes), I pulled out the good paper and started sketching there.
3) Then I inked it. I don’t do many line shadings here. It makes it easier to use Photoshop’s magic wand if the open spaces are left open.
4) I scanned the image and did a quick magic wand in Photoshop to get rid of the background. (I first made a copy of the original!!) Under Blending Options in Photoshop, I added a thick stroke so I could easily see the dots the magic wand didn’t pick up.
5) Next, I put a Blending Color Overlay over the original so I can easily tell where I need to color. Here I did the monkey with flat color.
I just used the magic wand to select the dark brown area, created a new layer called “dk brown” and filled that with brown. Did the same with the lighter color.
6) With my Wacom Graphics Tablet (you can use a mouse if you like torturing yourself), I put darker and lighter browns to give shadows and sheen.
Maybe the flat color looked better…
7) And I colored in the rest of the characters–every color has its own named layer. Don’t be lazy!
8) And added some shadowing and details and lines:
9) And added a starburst background using a Brush I found–maybe this one.
I decided the oni needed to be orange.
And here is how the paperback will look once printed:
The ebook should be updated tonight. If you’ve bought it before, please email Clay (clay AT The Japan Shop dot com) and ask for a free updated version. The new update also includes the Tortoise and the Hare story as well as MP3s for both stories. Click here to view in Amazon. (If you see the new artwork, it has been updated.)
The Temporal, the first novel in the series by the same name, is FREE for Kindle. If you are even slightly interested in science fiction/superhero/supernatural thrillers, please check it out.
Sam was ordinary. Then came the Echoes of Eternity, a mysterious Japanese woman, and the realization that he alone can stop a terrorist plot.
☆ After his wife leaves him for a former friend, Sam Williams moves to Japan to start his life over.
☆ But a quiet life for Sam was not to be.
☆ A devastating earthquake in central Japan sends eternity crashing into time, enabling Sam to hear echoes of the past and even the future. Through these Echoes of Eternity, Sam and a mysterious woman he had dreamt about since childhood learn of a terrorist plot that could plunge the world into turmoil and position a murderer as the leader of the free world.
☆ They alone have the knowledge and ability to stop the plot.
☆ But even with eternity on their side, can they stop it in time?
From author Tim Greaton:
I was captivated from the first couple of pages…
You get a nice fix of some interesting action setups as well unexpected events. Never really hit any dull boring moments it holds strong till the last page.
From the prologue:
Fakhr al Din was left with his mouth agape and without comprehension of what just happened. He had heard the rat-tat-tat of the weapons to his left and right, but what he saw straight in front of him defied understanding. Instead of blood and flesh ripped by bullets, he saw, for the briefest of moments, the two dark men’s hands go from their hips to at level with the incoming bullets. The motion—if it could be called motion—was quicker than his brain could process. It was as if their arms were in one position and then in the next moment, up to meet the bullets.
Luke Murphy should be an inspiration to all aspiring novelists. Here is his book and… here is his story:
From Professional Hockey Player to Published Novelist
In the winter of 2000, after sustaining a season ending eye injury while playing professional hockey in Oklahoma City, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands, and a new hobby emerged.
I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the love of writing, as a hobby. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.
Then I made a decision to take my interest one step further. I’ve never been one to take things lightly or jump in half way. I took a full year off from writing to study the craft.
I constantly read, from novels in my favorite genres to books written by experts in the writing field. My first two purchases were “Stein on Writing”, a book written by successful editor Sol Stein, and “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Browne and Dave King.
I read through these novels and highlighted important answers to my questions. My major breakthrough from Stein’s book was to “Show don’t Tell”. I had to trust my readers. I even wrote that phrase on a sticky note and put it on my computer monitor.
The Self-Editing book helped me learn how to cut the FAT off my manuscript, eliminating unnecessary details, making it more lean and crisp, with a better flow. I learned to cut repetition and remain consistent throughout the novel.
I continually researched the internet, reading up on the industry and process “What is selling?” and “Who is buying?” were my two major questions.
I attended the “Bloody Words” writing conference in Ottawa, Canada, rubbing elbows with other writers, editors, agents and publishers. I made friends (published and unpublished authors), bombarding them with questions, learning what it took to become successful.
Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, with an idea in mind and an outline on paper, I started to write DEAD MAN`S HAND. It took me two years (working around full time jobs) to complete the first draft of my novel.
The first person to read my completed manuscript was my former high school English teacher. With her experience and wisdom, she gave me some very helpful advice. I then hired McCarthy Creative Services to help edit DEAD MAN’S HAND, to make it the best possible novel.
I joined a critique group, teaming up with published authors Nadine Doolittle and Kathy Leveille, and exchanging manuscripts and information. Working with an editor and other authors was very rewarding and not only made my novel better, but made me a better writer.
When I was ready, I researched agents who fit my criteria (successful, worked with my genres, etc.) and sent out query letters. After six months of rejections, I pulled my manuscript back and worked on it again. Then in my next round of proposals, I was offered representation by the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.
After months of editing with Jennifer, and more rejections from publishers, my dream was finally realized in April, 2012, when I signed a publishing contract with Imajin Books (Edmonton, Alberta).
What happens when the deck is stacked against you…
From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.
…and the cards don’t fall your way?
When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.
What if you’re dealt a Dead Man’s Hand?
Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.
“Dead Man’s Hand is a pleasure, a debut novel that doesn’t read like one, but still presents original characters and a fresh new voice.” Thomas Perry, New York Times bestselling author of Poison Flower
“You may want to give it the whole night, just to see how it turns out.”—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Lincoln Letter
He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).
Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.
For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com, ‘like’ his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Luke-Murphy/268343729930467 and follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/#!/AuthorLMurphy
I’m always thrilled to get a new review–I do hope I get to a point soon when it becomes ordinary (hehe). But a review today really made my day.
Kattia from Florida wrote the kindest thing about my short story, Tanaka and the Yakuza’s Daughter.
stars Short But Sweet, February 1, 2013Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)This review is from: Tanaka and the Yakuza’s Daughter (Kindle Edition)
The book as a whole is VERY small in size, but that does not mean it is not good! I was hesitant to get this because of its size. How could something so short possibly be all that good. I was pleasantly surprised to find my self corrected.
C.J. Martin has now become one of my favorite authors now because of this little story. The book literally jumps straight into the action, so if that is what you like, go ahead and get this! You won’t be disappointed!
Wow! Thank you, Kattia. You are so kind. I wish I knew who you were. I’d be thrilled to send you what we are working on to continue the Tanaka story. It is slow going (my Temporal series seems to come together faster), but I really believe the Tanaka stories my partner and I have planned will be fun.
Please click here to read more about Tanaka and the Yakuza’s Daughter.
Originally, the redhead was the cover for book one (with a red background). I decided, however, The Temporal was more about Suteko and A Temporal Trust, about Kaileen. These covers are the result of much tweaking and experimentation over the course of the past year. Whew. I’m finally happy with them–I think.
Here is the first page from A Temporal Trust.
“How many of them, boy?”
The old man’s eyes were wide, his mouth hanging open as if still in the process of releasing his last word. Sam couldn’t tell if it was from fear or simply the anticipation of the moment.
Sam closed his own eyes and shut out the world around him. Patterns soon emerged within his mind that represented Nephloc—the dark creatures under the enemy’s control.
“Three—no, four,” Sam said, opening his eyes and turning to Marcus who was not twelve inches away. “And they are closing in fast.”
Seeing a burgeoning smile, Sam determined the wide eyes were revealing anticipation and not fear.
Sam looked down from the rafters upon which they were hiding and watched as Suteko walked casually around a chair on the floor below. She wore her long, silky hair back in a ponytail. Her clothes were loose to enable quick and varied movements. She was dressed for battle.
She was the bait.
The Temporal – a 327 Page Supernatural Thriller
A Temporal Trust – a 370 Page Supernatural Thriller
Tim is Maine’s other great author and, over the past year, I’ve gotten to know him through a mutual Twitter friend. He is always gracious with his time and generous with his advice as a writer. I’m embarrassed how long it took me to write this review. I read his book months ago and promptly forgot to write it. It is an excellent book, fun for all ages, however.
Fantasy–and in particular, young adult fantasy–isn’t my favorite genre. But Tim Greaton’s characters were just fun to get to know. He has a talent for characterization, something I know is very difficult to do right. Madame Koochie is a hoot!
In a matter of hours, young Zachary Pill finds his life shattered. Everything he knows to be a fact may not be so. His weakling of a father may be the strongest being on earth–and beyond! His love for plants may be more than a simple interest in horticulture. And bats! Vicious and nasty flying bats attack him for seemingly no reason. But perhaps these sorts of things often happen to kids with naturally green hair.
Let’s just call the book an imagination overload and a good time was had by all. If you are looking for lighthearted fantasy fun, check out Zachary Pill and his strange family. No bad language, “adult” situations, or graphic violence.
This installment gets you into the world and introduces you to the Pill family. If you find you like it, there are other books in the series. You can buy the three books in an omnibus trilogy set for less than buying the other two individually.
BEST OF ALL–it is free. Download it now for your Kindle.
BTW, my The Temporal is FREE today only. If you don’t have it, please also download my book!
Today and tomorrow, my first book The Temporal is free for Kindle (December 25th-26th). If you have a different device, just email me.
ETERNITY: Existence outside time
a supernatural thriller by CJ Martin
After his wife leaves him for a former friend, Sam Williams moves to Japan to start his life over.
But a quiet life for Sam was not to be.
A devastating earthquake in central Japan sends eternity crashing into time, enabling Sam to hear echoes of the past and even the future. Through the echoes, Sam and a mysterious Japanese woman learn of a terrorist plot that could plunge the world into turmoil and position a murderer as the leader of the free world.
They alone have the knowledge and ability to stop the plot.
But even with eternity on their side, can they stop it in time?
This novel has 62,000 words and is about 250 printed pages.
The image you see on the right of a Red Headed woman is now the cover of the forthcoming Book 2 (The List of the Temporal)–the only perk out of being unknown and unread is I can do things like this and no one will notice.
Here is the brand new cover for Book One of Suteko, the Japanese Temporal:
Book Two, The List of the Temporal, should be out later this month. I am in the final editing stage now.
Tanaka, Sons of Redemption is due out mid-December. My partner, Joe Lemont and I are also making great progress.
Reviews are sparse, but absolutely thrilling when they come. I hope once I have more products (books), reviews will come easier. I haven’t sought out any or promoted the books much, so I guess this pace isn’t too bad.
Here is the new one 4/5 stars:
Harrowing story of a father and the Japanese Yakuza, July 11, 2012
C.J. Martin’s “Tanaka and the Yakuza’s Daughter” is an action-packed story of a man whose daughter has been kidnapped by the Japanese Yakuza for a reason, and the girl is only 13 years old. The Japanese Mafia is marked by certain tattoos and sometimes a shortened finger, missing the first joint. Tanaka was officially retired for five years, but he was up against nearly impossible odds as one man trying to get his daughter back. These thugs had no qualms about killing.
This short story moves along at a rapid pace and is an exciting piece to read. Japanese culture is very interesting and this gives a peek into the criminal element. The author has included some information about the Yakuza and also a few Japanese characters for a few words, which makes it even more interesting.
Recommended for those who are interested in Japanese culture, action and adventure and the Yakuza.