I wrote this book because as an adopted child, and a person of mixed race, I struggled with my place in society and my own family, and I want other teens to know they aren't alone with feeling misplaced in society. I am a high school biology teacher, completed a study abroad program in Japan during college, and am a member of the Japanese Society in NYC. I belong to SCBWI, RWA (PAN member), and Sisters in Crime.
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Japanese Kitsune Urban Fantasy where teenage girl must navigate love and evade a killer god.Share Tweet LinkedIn Embed pszr.co/FqYcz 77 views
|2 publishers interested|
Amaya, a transcendental Japanese fox (kitsune) hiding as a teen girl, is the new student at Radley High. Having just moved to America, the adopted sixteen-year-old is grateful to step into a brand-new life. A life where she no longer needs to look her shoulder, worrying about the demon wolf hunting her. A life where she can move on from her family's death. But her elation is shattered when she learns she’s sitting in a dead girl’s chair, a girl struck by a truck driven by an unknown driver.
Students begin to gossip about the hit and run, claiming the town’s beloved lacrosse team may have been involved. Amaya keeps her distance from the rumors and befriends Sam Warren, a brooding loner with a sexy tattoo, and the only human she’s met resistant to her kitsune mind-altering powers. Unable to alter his perception of her, she finds herself conflicted between kitsune values of lying and manipulation and the human value of honesty. But both value loyalty. When the dead girl’s best friend starts to point fingers at Sam’s brother—captain of the lacrosse team—being the driver, Amaya helps Sam investigate to find the truth.
Amaya’s forced to confront her past when members of the lacrosse team are killed by a demonic wolf—the same wolf who killed her family after she brought shame to the God of Lightning. As the clues pile up and the wolf closes in, Sam and Amaya are drawn closer together and Amaya finds herself falling in love him. Amaya longs to tell Sam she’s a mystical fox, but in her experience, humans only see her as a monster. And she’s not ready to lose him. When the wolf closes in, facing her enemy might be the only way to keep the boy she loves alive.
Sixteen-year-old AMAYA MAVERICK is late for chemistry. She uses her kitsune magic to manipulate her teacher to avoid further embarrassment. But her day only gets worse. She’s
assigned to sit in a dead girl’s chair, which happens to be located in the middle of two squabbling female classmates. She also meets handsome lacrosse player in her class, BAX WARREN. She flirts with him, asking him to show her around school. But he pawns her off on his brother, SAM WARREN. The brooding loner and her bicker when Sam feels Amaya is using him to get to his brother. And though he’s correct, Amaya does want to be his friend. So, Amaya does what kitsune do, sheuses her magic to manipulate him into being friends. But it fails. For the first time ever.
Two students are attacked and killed by an animal. The cops believe it’s a wolf. Anxiety courses through Amaya’s veins like ice daggers. She fled Japan after the wolf companion of the God of Lightning, hunted and killed her kitsune family. She hadn’t meant to anger the god, but his brother, the god of wind, tricked her into using her kitsune magic to destroy the lightning god’s temple. When more students die, Amaya learns there is a connection between the wolf killings and the girl who died in the hit and run. Rumors circulate Bax may have raped the girl and that everyone at the lacrosse party did nothing to help. Amaya and Sam investigate his brother. He wants to keep the girl he is falling in love with safe, and deep down he knows his brother and his father are guilty of injustice. Finding out the truth is the only way to stop the guilt gnawing inside of him.
Amaya runs into Bax who threatens her. She reveals she saw the report that he raped a girl and he grabs her arm, bruising it. The wolf shows up and attacks them. She transforms to draw the wolf away from Bax. Instead of being thankful, he calls her a monster and threatens to destroy her.
Amaya takes a chance and reveals her fox form to Sam, explaining her kitsune heritage. Instead of being afraid, he accepts her without judgement. He says he loves her, and he will no longer let loyalty to his family come before justice. Nor will he let them come before his love for her. She tells him she loves him as well. Amaya recalls how the wolf was called off and concludes there must be a way to stop it. Amaya vows to stay and keep her family safe, even if it costs her life.
The two set a trap for the wolf but Bax shows up. He took his father’s shotgun and shoots Amaya, wounding her. Sam and Bax wrestle for the gun when the wolf shows up and attacks Sam. Amaya’s shocked to find her friend, BLAIRE NANDAL, linked to the wolf, that the girl’s anger and rage is summoning and controlling the demon. Amaya recalls the secret Blaire shared about her mother and the charm she showed her. Blaire’s biological father is the god of lightning, making her a demi-god. Bax shoots at the wolf as Amaya defends Sam. The wolf chases Bax into the woods. Blaire admits to having lost control of the wolf, and both girls help Sam into his car before taking off to save Bax. Working together, the two fight against the wolf and Blaire summons a powerful lightning strike that sends the wolf away and sets the forest ablaze.
Bax runs off and Amaya helps Blaire to safety then runs into the woods and crosses the river. She uses the water to heal her wounds. She watches Sam from the other side, sorry she’ll never get to thank him or tell him she’s heading back to Japan, back to the forests she came from, knowing the war between her and the God of Lightning isn’t over. As she picks her way across the snow, a weird sensation jolts down her spin. She turns around to find her tail has split. She’s earned her second tail.
This book is intended for readers who enjoy Urban Fantasy or Contemporary Fantasy with a touch of Thriller. The category is YA but those who enjoy Japanese mythology who are older might be interested so there is cross-over appeal. Fans of appeal to fans of Kara Thomas’s LITTLE MONSTERS, E. Lockhart's WE WERE LIARS, Masashi Kishimoto’s NARUTO, and Victoria Aveyard’s RED QUEEN would also enjoy this novel.
My current newsletter list is about 200 subscribers. I have about 750 twitter followers. I have taken classes on marketing with RWA and have learned about ARC teams. I have worked with Inkslinger PR in the past and have a list of bloggers and bookstagrammers. I have friends who have been a part of Pitchwars who will crosspost and promote my book. I have been to regional SCBWI events and have contacts with some local bookstores for signings.
The most recent competition would be Julie Kagawa's Shadow of the Fox series. Also, Wicked Fox by Kat Cho.
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Crap, crap, crap.
The rubber soles of my boots offer no traction as I race down the frozen sidewalk. I slip and my arms flail about like a drunken ballerina as I attempt to avoid falling. In front of suburban commuters on their way to work, no less. My claws would sure be useful right now, digging into the icy surface to prevent me from looking like, well, an idiot.
Jamming my hands back into the pockets of my parka, I continue toward Radley High. Nothing like the family mini-van not starting. It’s bad enough starting a new school in December as a junior, but now I’m running late on my fourth day. Thank the gods tomorrow is Saturday. Four days in Radley High School already has my head spinning.
And I’m sure the nightmares haunting my sleep are only adding to my foggy-head-syndrome. But they are becoming more vivid, and last night I swear I could feel the heat of the wolf’s breath on the nape of my neck. Just like the time in Warsaw. But what I had seen outside my window that night two years ago had just been the neighor’s Jindo.
An oncoming gust launches loose snow from the ground like tiny missiles and I squint to retain my vision. I shove my hands deeper into the pockets of my silver parka. Ugh, Dad could’ve warned me winter here is just the biggest asshole.
I mean, “it’s cold” isn’t an accurate description of his childhood hometown. This isn’t the normal kind of Miyama cold. Nor the cold that sweeps through the forests of Japan during the winter. No, it’s Afton, Minnesota, piercing to the bone cold.
The tumultuous, smoky clouds hiding the pale morning sun perfectly reflect my current mood. According to Mom, this week was supposed to be a triumphant new start. Triumphant. Not sure fleeing for my life is any sort of triumph, but at least I’m alive.
My heart plummets into my stomach and a deep ache snaps through me. Mom. The word comes so naturally though only five years have passed since my adoption. Am I betraying kaasan’s memory by allowing myself to think of the human woman in such a way? The question claws at me every time I think of Janice as my mother, every time I call her mom. And the guilt only compounds when I call Janice by her first name and sadness washes over her. Is it wrong to love two mothers?
Laughter fills the air and my pace slows. Three rosy-cheeked kids are pulling woolen hats over reddened ears while their dad attempts to wrangle them into the car. One of the little boys drops into the snow and lays stiff as a board. Something Eiko would do. My older sister loved to piss off kaasan.
Naked trees line the avenue in front of their house. The way the frost turns their white bark into glistening silver is breathtaking. But they aren’t real trees. Real trees are wild and unruly things, giants towering above the world, their massive brown limbs blotting out the sunlight. They guard the lives hidden within the forests, keeping the secrets of magical creatures.
I swipe at the tears gathering in the corners of my eyes.
I miss the ancient forests surrounding Miyama. I miss home.
Life was so much easier as a simple red fox. No magic, no ability to shift. Just hunt, frolic, and sleep. But no, the universe chose to bless me—the most curious of foxes—with gifts. More like curses. And now, Raiju nor his master will rest until I’m dead.
Pulling my coat tighter around me, I move along and brush away memories from years ago. Thin ice at the corner of the street cracks under my feet and my boot sinks into a small puddle below. At least my boots are waterproof otherwise I’d be marching my ass back home. No way am I wearing wet socks all day.
A familiar growl hangs in the air like a slowly building storm. A deep, low rumble. So primal. So focused.
Panic sweeps through my body like icy, liquid metal and threatens to swallow me belly first. The wind blows in the wrong direction and the air is too cold, too dry for me to pick up a scent. The growl erupts into a vicious bark and my chest tightens as my lungs seize.
Raiju. He’s found me.
My feet are heavy and won’t budge, as if they’re cast in stone. The pounding of the beast’s paws against the pavement thunders as he gets closer. The sharp snapping of twigs cuts through the air. Sweat drenches my skin. The thumping of my heart vibrates in my ears.
I sway and bump into a parked black sedan, my shoulder bag hitting the ground. Each second brings the beast closer. My fingers curl into a fist, nails digging into my palm. I can almost feel the flecks of saliva as it froths at the mouth, eager to rip me to pieces just like he did my sister.
Sharp prickles cover my skin as fur forces its way to the surface. My canines elongate and my gums itch like they’ve been bitten by thousands of mosquitoes. I double over, hands slamming into the ground. The cold does little to sooth the intense scorching of my insides.
Chikushō! This can’t happen here. What if someone comes around the corner and sees me?
A guttural yell rips from my throat as I force myself to stand and race across the street, skidding to a stop as a bus hurtles past me. I’m not going to make it. I round the corner, polar air shocking my throat and lungs as I inhale deeper, faster. I jump behind the thick hedge of an empty house up for sale.
My knees slam into the ground, eyelids squeezing shut, as wave after wave of excruciating pain crashes through my body without mercy. My clothes slip from my limbs as bones crack and shift allowing straight legs to shorten and become curved haunches. Fangs replace my human canines and rounded ears become long pointed ones, tipped with black fur. And sleek fox fur covers my once naked skin.
My slim body quivers, poised for the coming attack. My fur, a magnificent rustic blend of copper and red, stands on end. I could vanish in a second, darting between the trees lining the suburban town like a little red phantom. Instead, fear freezes me, colder than the air.
The wind shifts and my sharp nose catches a discordant scent. Instead of the metallic scent of blood, the stench of stale urine, sweat and recently gobbled kibble saturates the air.
A hulking bullmastiff careens around the corner and down the sidewalk without a leash. He lunges, his teeth grazing the white colored tip of my tail. I dart back just in time. His hot, moist breath against my tail propels my legs into action. I sprint into a row of trees. While it may not be the beast of my nightmares, this four-legged mutt is no less dangerous.
The dog’s breath comes in ragged pulls as it pursues me, but the sound no longer makes me cower. I push my lithe body to its limits. Flinging myself at the nearest tree, I claw my way up its rough bark. The icy covering hinders my grip and I fight to heave myself out of reach.
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