Wearing the Cape, Book 5: Ronin Games is now available for the Kindle on Amazon.com! The paperback edition will be available by the end of the month. Better late than never?
Astra has returned to Chicago and the everyday life of a cape: getting kittens out of trees, training, aiding the city’s emergency first-responders, training, doing public relations events, training, and the occasional superhero v. supervillain fight that threatens to level neighborhoods or at least set them on fire.
Then Astra takes a hard hit during a fight and very briefly finds herself somewhere else, somewhere she’s only been before in dreams and in the company of Kitsune, a shapeshifting trickster fox. Astra’s friends learn she is under the increasing influence of an otherworldy realm they know absolutely nothing about, and that she may even be drawn permanently into it. If they hope to stop it from happening, they must find Kitsune before it’s too late.
But to find Kitsune they must go to Japan, and Japan since doesn’t allow unsanctioned entry to foreign capes everything depends on secrecy. With no allies, few assets, and surprises at every turn, winning requires rewriting the rules and playing their own game. A ronin game.
Truthfully, I had thought to be finished with Ronin Games in the spring; the lateness of the book is a combination of life and a vicious case of writer’s block. I hope everyone feels the result worth the wait. I won’t talk about the book here, for fear of spoilers, but I think I will make my next post a Q&A session on Ronin Games and where the series is going if I have enough questions (hint: if there’s something you’d like to ask, now is the time).
The other item worthy of mention is that, with Ronin Games finished, I am returning my attention to Wearing the Cape: the Roleplaying Game. With Jamal Campbell (the artist responsible for the last two covers) doing the cover and interior art, and the rules mostly complete (and based on the award-winning Fate Core system), I hope to begin involving playtesters (guinea pigs, really) by October or close to it. For those who have previously offered to help, let me know if you are still available. For anyone new and unsuspecting, tell me about yourself!
It will be fun, really.
P.S.: as a self-published author without a marketing department, as always I depend on the generous boost provided by my readers. If you enjoy Ronin Games as much as my previous books, I would love to hear your opinions on Amazon.com (where reviews boost visibility). Harassing your friends also helps, so long as you keep them as friends.
36 thoughts on “Ronin Games Is Published!”
I recently heard about your books (when I came across ‘The Good Fight’ containing ‘Omega Night’ and started reading the series (just finished Villains Inc. and moving on to the next). Pretty much by accident I read your blog today and was so happy to be able to buy the next book in the series.
Unfortunately, when I tried to copy it to my ebook reader (I don’t use Kindle) I found out that this book, unlike all the others, comes with DRM. So I had to return it because I don’t do DRM. I don’t like to be shackled to one eco-system.
That’s odd: as far as I was aware, all of the Wearing the Cape titles were publishes with DRM. However, most ebook readers will accept the Kindle-reading software (free download from Amazon), so it shouldn’t be an issue unless you’re using something like a Nook.
Well, actual eReader (like the Nook or my Kobo Glo) come with custom software and don’t allow installation of third-party software. On Smartphones and tablets one can install the Kindle software, sure, but then one is still tied to the Amazon eco-system. And that’s a strikt no-no for me.
I made the move from a Kindle eReader to a Kobo Glo a few years ago and if I had bought books with DRM I would have lost access to my library. That’s one example how DRM hurts honest customers, while pirates don’t care as their illegal copies come without DRM anyway.
So I guess ‘Small Town Heroes’ will be the last book in your series for me. A pity. Still, 5 great books is better then nothing.
Ronin Games will be available as a paperback before the end of September. Meanwhile, thanks for enjoying the books.
Congratulations on your publishing of your latest novel in the Wearing the Cape series. I still like how you have shaped Astra/Hope Corrigan into not only being a strong young woman, but someone who has courage and some wholesomeness to do the best for her community and society.
Believe me, I know the pressures of trying to meet a deadline of sorts to get a novel out. Sometimes, I set my deadlines too short or we promote a novel that really isn’t where we want it. I have been in that situation. I finished the rough draft of my third novel in my series. But I waited to let it cool off before I started any revision (an entire summer). In the meantime, I plan to continue to promote my other two novels and also try to make time to work on the fourth novel, which picks up after the third one has concluded.
I have two events where I have my books up for silent auction (a college fundraiser and a trivia night). Then I have a local authors fair at my local public library where I want to do heavy promotion on my books. By that time it is over, it will be the holidays and I am one who prefers to be at home writing, since it will be quiet a good part of the time. I have no problem with being with family.
I like Astra/Hope in the position she is in. She has established herself as a heroine and one who is respected by her colleagues and the people she protects. The Bees are one of her support groups as well as the Sentinels and the Young Sentinels that she leads. She has her family and there’s her faith with St. Chris. I can see that Oak Park-style Catholic church. Over 10 years ago, I attended a mass and baptism at a Catholic church in Oak Park. It was a Pre-Vatican II style and an eye opener! She is a true protector and Chicago is in very good hands.
I could say that about my character. But unfortunately there’s a thing called graduation from high school and my fourth novel will be the final novel for my main character. I will introduce a new main character for novel #5. Since my series is based on a high school, the characters have to go on somewhere. They might return, briefly, but they won’t be students. After all, it is a =high school= series. I might move those graduated characters to another novel or two. But that’s way down the road. I have a lot of work to do right now.
After you complete your project of the role playing game, I really expect you to continue writing your novels. You have a lot of great ideas and there are many angles where you can place Astra and her friends, colleagues and teammates. Chicago is in great hands and I would just love to see Astra get involved with something going on in western or west-central Illinois. It is a great area for a story, especially the cities of Springfield, Jacksonville, Quincy, Macomb (home of Western Illinois University) and Rock Island. It’s not just farmland and farms. With Shelly’s mother in Springfield and Western Illinois University being more than just a “rural” university (since they deal with the arts and sciences outside agriculture), there might be quite a story there. Maybe Astra meets someone who broke through and causes havoc in western Illinois. It’s just a suggestion.
I will be looking forward to Ronin Games. It might be closer to the holidays when I get down to reading it. I still have to finish Small Town Heroes. I have had many trips to southern Illinois recently and you have the area pretty much accurate.
Take care. Keep up the good work and definitely, KEEP WRITING!
St. Peters, Missouri (just outside St. Louis)
Hell yeah! Just snatched it up for my iPad; gonna start diggin’ into it sometime this week.
I just finished reading Ronin Games the other day. Sad to say it took this long, but I was in the middle of another series at the release.
For the most part, I will say it was a great book. I loved the excerpts from “The Three Deeds of…” and how it tied in. That was some great work on your part. In fact, I’ve loved all those excerpts over the course of the series and how they help inform the reader and the storyline.
But I did have one serious problem with the book, and maybe this is just me, but Astra/Artemis is getting a little too restrictive. I love both characters. While I find Astra more appealing, Artemis is more fun. Shell…..is sometimes a bit too needy. But back to the point. Artemis feels like she’s taking over Astra/Hope’s ability to make decisions. I realize that her decision making ability was impaired somewhat in this story, but the fact is, Astra would make a decision as the leader of the group, and Artemis would pretty much immediately contradict or override her. Of course it worked out and it may have been the best for the situation, but it’s also infantilizing Astra as an adult and leader of a team. Sure Artemis is a little older, but not by much and yes Astra has a lot of room to grow, but if she’s not allowed to make those mistakes, how will she ever do so. And of course, contradicting her orders about being first in the door at Kabuki-go in front of another team was damaging in my opinion to both her credibility as a leader and her ability to lead others, even if she was in disguise and later reported gone.
So while I enjoy Artemis showing up in WtC even though she has a job in New Orleans, I really think the next book, or at the very last, a short story, needs to have her away from her safety net of Artemis, and maybe but not definitely Cyber-Shell. She needs to learn to handle some situations on her own, because she can’t always have physical assistance. And while she needs to learn to do her own recon and assessment, I think Cyber-Shell could stick around for that.
I think that’s all for now. Thanks for another great book, and I look forward to the next. While I’m not a huge fan of authors churning out dozens of short stories to fill in gaps or provide character development in their series, I do think WtC could use 2 or 3 more.
It is a pitfall that I have fallen into on my main character while revising. That’s a very good point.
I’m just a little disappointed. I actually had a much more coherent comment thought out after finishing the book, but felt that I should wait a day or two first to make sure it wasn’t just a knee jerk reaction to my own opinion.
And after said wait, kind of lost most of what I was going to say and had to reconstruct it in the moment.
I appreciate your review! One note: Astra is not Artemis’ leader, Lei Zi and Blackstone are. And she is only Ozma’s leader when they’re on Young Sentinels business. That said, Artemis does defer to Astra’s tactical choices in the field most of the time (as when they battled Heavenly Dragon and the bandits).
That may be true, I’m just calling it how I see it. In any dangerous or potentially dangerous situation, there needs to be a leader and they should be followed within reason. And it felt like Artemis acted in direct contravention to that. As to inviting herself on the trip to Japan, yes she was definitely useful, and arguably necessary, but it’s like an older sibling inviting themselves to go along on the younger’s journey because they don’t think they can handle it on their own. That may have not been the intent but that’s what it reminds me of. Overprotective.
I appreciate the clarification.
Just read all the WtC books and Ronin Games may have displaced Villains Inc. as my favorite! Unlike Astra, I LIKE magic. Japan was such a fun place to set the story.
May I ask why you set Hope’s hometown as Chicago? Did you live there before Las Vegas? I’d love to see wholesome Hope in the City of Sin…
How much research did you do into other writers’ superheroes? Were you worried about choosing code names that already existed?
I’m glad you enjoyed Ronin Games that much! To answer your questions: it was Chicago or LA and I chose Chicago because of Andrew M. Greeley, I’ve never lived there, and I sometimes do internet searches for superhero/supervillain names that are copyrighted.
George: I am very pleased that you chose Chicago as Hope/Astra’s “hometown.” I have visited Chicago -lots- of times, mainly for book conferences and retreats in the Chicago suburbs. I will say that it is a much better city to write about compared to New York or L.A., which gets a little too much attention and Chicago gets ignored. I will say that you have researched Chicago very well, especially the West Suburbs where Oak Park is located. My all time favorite movie was filmed in the Chicago suburbs (Glen Ellyn, Arlington and Wilmette). It is called LUCAS.
I still continue to enjoy the wholesome character of Hope/Astra in your novels. I’m still reading Small Town Heroes. You have done very well in your research of southern Illinois. I have been visiting that part of the state a number of times in recent years, since my wife’s aunt is in the old hometown of actor John Malkovich; Benton, Illinois. Small towns in southern Illinois (as well as the rest of the state) are rather unique compared to those in other states including my home state of Missouri. Surprisingly, southern Illinois is a “halfway” point between two major cities via Interstate, St. Louis to the northwest and Nashville to the southeast. When I was in college, I was involved in radio and the show I helped produce on the air featured many bands from along the St. Louis/Nashville corridor. I had a bluegrass music program and that was quite an education in itself!
But getting back to wholesome characters, keep going on Hope and I hope you continue writing many stories on her experiences. Chicago can be quite a rough city and you have shown that. St. Louis is just as rough if not rougher, especially with all of the police problems here (Ferguson). I look forward to reading Ronin Games when I get a chance. The next few months are going to be more marketing months for me on my work (silent auctions, fashion shows, trivia nights and local author fairs) where I will be promoting my published work.
I thought the book was very good, although it took a second read for everything to flow as was apparently intended. And, while I appreciate the cover *design*, I thought the cover *execution* seemed woefully below the prior covers. First cover, good design and execution, second one outstanding execution (and appropriate concept, all things considered). The newest cover…looks almost like you had your jr high nephew do it. Sry, just imho. I happen to be a huge Heroic Trio fan, fwliw; saw it in undergrad loooong ago and it introduced me to the genre. I would hope you don’t let the RPG distract you from writing; it seems unlikely to reach as many people or endure as well (and yes, I played rpgs back when dinosaurs did, and respect the activity just fine). Keep writing good stuff, keep avoiding that darn trope, and I’ll keep buying (and recommending) your books. And happily so…
I took a look at the cover for a second time, too (I haven’t read the book yet–I’m behind). I think there needed to be an accent on Tokyo, since a good part of the story takes place in Japan. I think they wanted some “accent” on Japan (the lights, the people, the different traditions) and if you noticed in the background, there was an 80-foot tall “creature” that either Godzilla or Ultraman would defeat.
It’s true that Tokyo is definitely NOT Chicago and I think the cover needed to reflect that. Although taking a look at the cover compared to the other covers, there is one thing missing…ASTRA! She’s not on the cover and she’s the main character/narrator in the novel.
Reminds me of a story of when I first visited Chicago way back in 1992. Before the Consumer Electronic Show had its permanent home in Las Vegas, it was held in Chicago. I was working as a “buyer” for a video store back then and when I was at McCormick Place (where most of the show was held), half of the exhibits was =very= Japanese. In fact when my group walked through downtown Chicago during our “free” time, there were many from Japan representing such companies as Sony, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Aiwa and others who wound up looking lost through the streets of Chicago with looks on their faces wondering “what on earth am I doing here?” At the CES in Chicago was when I was first introduced and saw HDTV, which has become a standard today.
And now I’m laughing; you obviously haven’t read the book yet. Astra is on the cover.
Feel free to laugh. I got fooled. She is undercover!
Loved Ronin Games! Now, you’ve hinted at it, but we need a new Jacky/Artemis book on what she’s been doing down in New Orleans. A 24 hour coffee shop? Acacia? The talky ghost? MC? C’mon, you HAVE to write a sequel to Bite Me! I loved that book!
You are a terrific writer and I eagerly look forward to your books. You create a very solid and consistent world of Astra, and that is bloody hard work. There are only a few writers that I can re-read their books and be just as immersed in the story every time. Very good work!
I’m glad you enjoyed Ronin Games. As for more Artemis stories, we shall have to see; I would like to do another one.
I just finished Ronin Games and I love it. However it did raise one a question I am curious about.
One of the comments at the beginning of the chapter mentioned that Astra takes a trip to Oz at some point. Is that something we will being seeing soon? Because it sounds like it would make a really fun book.
You may be seeing a bit of Oz sooner than later.
Somehow I get this image of Astra saying to virtual Shelly saying, “I don’t think we’re in Illinois anymore.” On the other hand, Illinois is about as flat as Kansas in many areas, including Chicago.
Trying to avoid spoilers…
Did Ozma give her partner the ability to leave with one other? I have to wonder if we might be seeing Ozma’s partner again in the future.
Not quite sure what you’re asking, but if you want to use more detail go to wearingthecape.com and send me a note there.
When’s the next book? [Wink]
Years ago, I used to ask my favorite authors when the next book comes out. Today, now that I am a published author, it is sometimes difficult to set an exact date on the =next= novel. There are times where setbacks take place, such as a bad rough draft or a problem with storyline. I learned over the years that good novels take lots of time. We set our own deadlines. But sometimes we set them way too tight.
So … rereading RG. An issue is raised but not addressed. Shortly after learning that the Monitor is an AI, Nekokami says “that’s interesting” and declines to elaborate where they can be overheard. Am I correct in assuming that the issue was that the Monitor was too advanced an AI for the known technology? And will this be addressed at a future date?
Yes, and probably not. There are so many stories that could be told.
I missed that issue but I see two simple solutions.
One is that Monitor is a Verne creation not “mundane computer technology”. (Verne technology being Magic technology).
Second is that Monitor is a Japanese “household spirit” that is called an AI as a security measure.
Of course, you may have some better idea. 😉
And a third possibility is that Monitor is a future-tech creation like Shell. All sorts of possibilities . . .
Not really a gamer but I could see interesting games based on the possibilities of “just what is the controlling “computer” of a government/business/etc base”.
Including the idea that the controlling “computer” is actually a powerful spirit being trapped into being the controlling “computer”. IE The winning move might involve freeing the spirit. 😉