Monday, July 7, 2014

An Interview with Keith Yatsuhashi

 Keith Yatsuhashi
(Source)

Keith Yatsuhashi is the author of Kojiki, a speculative fiction novel for young adults revolving around anime, magic, and myth.

http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=569

"Every civilization has its myths. Only one is true.

When eighteen-year-old Keiko Yamada's father dies unexpectedly, he leaves behind a one-way ticket to Japan, an unintelligible death poem about powerful Japanese spirits and their gigantic, beast-like Guardians, and the cryptic words: “Go to Japan in my place. Find the Gate. My camera will show you the way.”

Alone and afraid, Keiko travels to Tokyo, determined to fulfill her father’s dying wish. There, beneath glittering neon signs, her father’s death poem comes to life. Ancient spirits spring from the shadows. Chaos envelops the city, and as Keiko flees its burning streets, her guide, the beautiful Yui Akiko, makes a stunning confession--that she, Yui, is one of a handful of spirits left behind to defend the world against the most powerful among them: a once noble spirit now insane. Keiko must decide if she will honor her father’s heritage and take her rightful place among the gods."
Every civilization has its myths. Only one is true.
When eighteen-year-old Keiko Yamada’s father dies unexpectedly, he leaves behind a one way ticket to Japan, an unintelligible death poem about powerful Japanese spirits and their gigantic, beast-like Guardians, and the cryptic words: “Go to Japan in my place. Find the Gate. My camera will show you the way.”
Alone and afraid, Keiko travels to Tokyo, determined to fulfill her father’s dying wish. There, beneath glittering neon signs, her father’s death poem comes to life. Ancient spirits spring from the shadows. Chaos envelops the city, and as Keiko flees its burning streets, her guide, the beautiful Yui Akiko, makes a stunning confession--that she, Yui, is one of a handful of spirits left behind to defend the world against the most powerful among them: a once noble spirit now insane. Keiko must decide if she will honor her father’s heritage and take her rightful place among the gods.
- See more at: http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=569#sthash.MLqvTsD0.dpuf
Every civilization has its myths. Only one is true.
When eighteen-year-old Keiko Yamada’s father dies unexpectedly, he leaves behind a one way ticket to Japan, an unintelligible death poem about powerful Japanese spirits and their gigantic, beast-like Guardians, and the cryptic words: “Go to Japan in my place. Find the Gate. My camera will show you the way.”
Alone and afraid, Keiko travels to Tokyo, determined to fulfill her father’s dying wish. There, beneath glittering neon signs, her father’s death poem comes to life. Ancient spirits spring from the shadows. Chaos envelops the city, and as Keiko flees its burning streets, her guide, the beautiful Yui Akiko, makes a stunning confession--that she, Yui, is one of a handful of spirits left behind to defend the world against the most powerful among them: a once noble spirit now insane. Keiko must decide if she will honor her father’s heritage and take her rightful place among the gods.
- See more at: http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=569#sthash.MLqvTsD0.dpuf

Keith is featured in the July issue of Musings, and we had the chance to chat with him about Kojiki.
Every civilization has its myths. Only one is true.
When eighteen-year-old Keiko Yamada’s father dies unexpectedly, he leaves behind a one way ticket to Japan, an unintelligible death poem about powerful Japanese spirits and their gigantic, beast-like Guardians, and the cryptic words: “Go to Japan in my place. Find the Gate. My camera will show you the way.”
Alone and afraid, Keiko travels to Tokyo, determined to fulfill her father’s dying wish. There, beneath glittering neon signs, her father’s death poem comes to life. Ancient spirits spring from the shadows. Chaos envelops the city, and as Keiko flees its burning streets, her guide, the beautiful Yui Akiko, makes a stunning confession--that she, Yui, is one of a handful of spirits left behind to defend the world against the most powerful among them: a once noble spirit now insane. Keiko must decide if she will honor her father’s heritage and take her rightful place among the gods.
- See more at: http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=569#sthash.MLqvTsD0.dpuf
Every civilization has its myths. Only one is true.
When eighteen-year-old Keiko Yamada’s father dies unexpectedly, he leaves behind a one way ticket to Japan, an unintelligible death poem about powerful Japanese spirits and their gigantic, beast-like Guardians, and the cryptic words: “Go to Japan in my place. Find the Gate. My camera will show you the way.”
Alone and afraid, Keiko travels to Tokyo, determined to fulfill her father’s dying wish. There, beneath glittering neon signs, her father’s death poem comes to life. Ancient spirits spring from the shadows. Chaos envelops the city, and as Keiko flees its burning streets, her guide, the beautiful Yui Akiko, makes a stunning confession--that she, Yui, is one of a handful of spirits left behind to defend the world against the most powerful among them: a once noble spirit now insane. Keiko must decide if she will honor her father’s heritage and take her rightful place among the gods.
- See more at: http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=569#sthash.MLqvTsD0.dpuf

Who is Keith Yatsuhashi?
In my professional life, I'm the director of the US Department of Commerce (USDOC), Export Assistance Office in Providence, RI. My job is essentially to help companies sell successfully overseas. I've been with the USDOC since I was an intern in 1988. I graduated from Northeastern University in 1989 with a degree in Political Science and an interest in international trade. In another life, I was a competitive figure skater and member of the US figure skating team. I was the first US skater to win a silver medal at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in ice dance in Sapporo, Japan in 1984. I've been married for 19 years and have three kids. I'm an avid golfer and am introducing the sport to my sons who will soon be better than me. I have a blog up at http://kmyatsuhashi.wordpress.com where I express my love of science fiction, fantasy, and anime, and I'm a regular contributor to the SF/fantasy blog, http://www.anothercastle.com.

What is your background in writing?
You had to ask that one. I don't have a background in writing. Really. In high school, I tried to make writing assignments less boring--and more interesting to me--by making them entertaining. My teachers loved what I was doing and often commented on how well I wrote. Unfortunately, good writing in an essay often masked the lack of subject knowledge. :) I improved both of those aspects in college. There, my professors really encouraged me to continue writing, but I never really found the time or the inspiration until I began Kojiki.

How did you come up with the idea for Kojiki?
That's a really tough question to answer. It came from so many places. I've always loved anime, and like many fans, I toyed with the idea of fan fiction. Oddly, my first one had nothing to do with anime at all. I was thinking about Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and started plotting out how I wanted it to end. I never jotted it down, just kept it in my head. That scene became morphed into Kojiki's finale. Once I had that, I knew I had to write the rest. When I sat down to think about the story, I added elements that were familiar to me--dragons, mythology, etc. I tapped into my skating background and leaned heavily on the idea that storytelling is basically choreography. Taken one step further, that choreography needs to capture the audience. AND it always ends with a bang!

Kojiki has been a great debut for you. Do you have any plans for future novels?
Absolutely. I finished drafting a follow-up and am currently revising it. If slowly. :( I'm also writing a fantasy with my daughter tentatively called Invisible. She has a fantastic imagination and has tapped into the teen belief that everyone feels invisible at one time or another. After those two, I have a thriller rattling around in my head.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Never give up! Whether it's getting the words on the page or revising or submitting. Understand that while writing is a solitary craft, you will need unbiased input. Hire an independent editor. My manuscripts were a mess until I did that. I was lucky enough to find Lorin Oberweger of http://www.free-expressions.com. Lorin is Veronica Rossi's editor and is unbelievably great. Kojiki wouldn't exist without her. Other than that, network, read, and keep writing. Like any skill, the more you do it, the more you improve.

If you would like to snag a free copy of Kojiki, get your hands on the July issue of Musings, Musa's newsletter. To subscribe to Musings, click here!

Follow Keith!
Blog: http://kmyatsuhashi.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/author.keith.yatsuhashi
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KeithYatsuhashi

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tips for Breaking into the Publishing Industry ft. An Interview with Jeanne De Vita

The publishing industry can be a daunting one to break into especially if you don't have a relevant internship under your belt. This is where it gets even more daunting because internships are hard to come by if you don't have relevant experience. I was very fortunate to be able to snag an internship with the amazing Jeanne De Vita who graduated from my university, so I figured who better to talk to about the industry than someone who's actually in it!

Jeanne De Vita

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm the Assistant Editorial Director for Musa Publishing. I'm also a developmental editor, so that means I manage administrative work for the company in addition to reading submissions and acquiring and editing books. On a personal level, I crochet, I have a dog, I do a lot of volunteer work with children with complex medical and other special needs, and I also write under a pen name. I am from Chicago but spend a lot of time in Los Angeles - I've been in LA for about the last nine months. I have an eight month old niece, so Chicago is home but LA is becoming my second home.

What is your background in book publishing?
I feel like I have been in publishing since I was a child, seriously. My mother published her first book when I was about 12 years old. For several years before that she wrote and was rejected and attended meetings and read books about the craft of writing. She was absolutely 100% self-taught and so I really saw first hand everything from absolute rejection to pretty exciting success. I've enjoyed writing for myself since I was about seven years old but publishing as a business has felt like second nature to me. And I have to give a huge shout out to my mom, here. I have vivid memories from a very young age of mom typing (yes typing) articles and mailing them out, of trying different genres and styles before she finally got her first break. If watching my mom taught me anything, it was the profound value of study, passion, and commitment.

Cover art for "An Unstill Life" by Kate Larkindale
(Buy it here)
One of the books Jeanne is most proud to have edited

How did you get to this point in your career?
My story is definitely not the only way to break into publishing, but it's one way. I wrote a lot in high school and college and won scholarships and awards for my undergrad writing, but I supported myself after my freshman year of college, so balancing a job that paid the rent and writing was an absolute must. I balanced reading, writing, editing, and a day job through my late 20's when I was accepted to the University of Notre Dame's MFA program in Creative Writing, fiction concentration. I worked the entire time I was in the program, teaching, doing other odd jobs including one colorful stint at a dating service. The MFA degree isn't essential for everyone, but the experience of getting that degree allowed me to edit and publish in a real world way, in addition to teaching me how to instruct other people in writing. I wrote a lot of course, but I feel the MFA program taught me to teach, slush read, and edit even more than it gave me space to write. I had my first publication as an editorial assistant and seeing my name in print like that was thrilling. Sitting face to face with a class of college freshmen teaching rhetoric, argumentation, and composition at a place like Notre Dame - well, that brought out my A game. I completed my MFA 14 years ago! In the years since, it would be an understatement to say that life has intervened. I've continued to write and edit and work day jobs while experiencing the death of loved ones, major health issues - nearly debilitating health issues I experienced in my 30's. So I think the path for each peson is different but the critical issue is to keep at it, whatever it is that you love. Just keep working.

Cover art for "The Dark Citadel" by Jane Dougherty
(Buy it here)
One of the great books edited by Jeanne

What does a typical workday look like for you?
Musa operates a virtual office, so my typical workday starts when I open my eyes in the morning - whatever time that is! We have authors all around the world, so I inevitably wake up to new emails, submissions, everyday. And since we can work 24/7, I am somewhat tied to my job, but it's beyond a doubt completely worth it. I know I'm in the right place because even when I've answered all the emails and it's Friday night and I am babysitting my niece, I'm thinking about work, about our authors, about a book I am going to edit.

The job is very diverse which is also what makes it so fun. At Musa we have a really wonderful staff and a really open team approach, so if you're willing to step in and help, you've got work. So while I have a core workload of acquiring and editing books, helping with promotions, managing social media accounts, I also hire and develop interns and staff. I give input and help authors with every kind of question under the sun from, should I change my title, do you like this cover art, I'm thinking about attending this conference. I help other editors, contribute to business planning issues. It's like being a teacher, counselor, artist, and more. It's really a wonderful job and the only time I don't love it is...never!

What advice do you have for people who want to enter the book publishing industry?
I think the digital nature of our business means that there are just so many opportunities out there. If you want to get into publishing, be sure you love it. I have lost many editors because they thought they would love the work but don't realize how tedious and difficult it can be. Study writing - the craft. Read books about the craft. It's really important to be able to know from a place deep in your mind and heart why something works - and then be able to communicate that to others. You need to read a lot, write a lot, edit a lot. Take unpaid work as an intern or assistant. Nothing is "unpaid" if you earn valuable skills. The best currency though is passion. No matter what drives you in life if you approach it consistently, work hard, and never give up, you'll find your way.

Cover art for "The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis" by Sharon Ledwith
(Buy it here)
One of the great books edited by Jeanne

So, there you have it, the inspirational Jeanne De Vita. She is definitely an amazing person to intern for! If you would like to learn more about her or to connect with her on social media, here are her links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mermaidjeanne
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mermaidjeanne

Monday, February 3, 2014

Musa Publishing is Looking for Submissions!

It is the dawn of a new year, and Musa Publishing is looking to work with you! If you have always dreamed about becoming a published author, this is your chance; we are looking for submissions!

Musa is home to many imprints: Aurora Regency, Calliope, Clio, Erato, Melpomene, Pan, Penumbra, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, Urania, and - of course - Euterpe! What does this mean for you? Well, it means that we accept submissions for genres ranging from romance to horror.

However, at Euterpe, our focus is young adult fiction.

What will set apart your young adult submission? Quality writing. This means that we are looking for authors who are serious about the craft of writing. Sure, the character, story, setting are important, but we are also looking for authors who can execute their stories with flair. If you believe that you can live up to these standards, please read on.

The editors of the different imprints have different expectations. For a detailed list of that, please visit the Submissions page on our website.

We request that you submit your manuscripts electronically here through our online form.

What will you need to submit? We typically ask for a query letter, a synopsis of your story, and the first 20 pages of your manuscript. If we like what we see, we will contact you for your entire manuscript.

Please visit the Submissions page for a complete list of guidelines before you submit anything.

Happy writing!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Today is Multicultural Children's Book Day!

Research suggests that ONLY 10% of children’s books contain diversity content. That number is much too low and does not reflect the true makeup of our multicultural world! Multicultural Children’s Book Day was created to showcase children's books that celebrate diversity. To help you create reading lists and favorite reads, Musa Publishing is giving away free copies of three of our multicultural titles! Please share in the celebration of multicultural fiction and enter to win a copy of one of these books below.

Escucha Means Listen

Escucha Means Listen








First Frost and Glass Frost





Last Timekeepers and The Arch of Atlantis and Legend of the Timekeepers  






To enter to win a copy of one of the books, please leave a comment on this blog with your email address.  Comments must include an email address to be included in the drawing.  Winners will be selected by random drawing and notified Tuesday, January 28, 2014.

Spread the word to families, teachers, and libraries! 

You can learn more by checking out http://www.jumpintoabook.com/multicultural-childrens-book-day/.

Monday, November 4, 2013

5 Questions with S D Everington, author of BOY RED

To celebrate the release of Boy Red, the Euterpe blog caught up with the novel’s author S D Everington, with some revealing Q&A.

1)      What kind of reader were you as a young adult?

As a teenager at school, there was a huge distinction between the books you had to read and the books you wanted to read. The first time the two coincided for me was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which we studied for our GCSE English Literature exam. I was right there with Scout and the whole character cast. It is such a thought provoking, engaging book – a real ‘must read.’ That was the first time a book I read at school touched me. Other than that, it was the Judy Blume books that were doing the rounds at our school. We thought Forever was so illicit!

2)      Why do you like writing for young adults?

I am drawn to writing for young adults as there are so many themes and topics that resonate with this audience. That sense of being on the edge of change and being open to the world excites me. Plus there is less literary snobbery in YA fiction – less of a distinction between literary and mainstream work. I particularly like the idea of writing young adult books that appeal to both genders and to bigger adults too. J That’s what I attempted to do with Boy Red.

3)      What inspired you to write Boy Red?

Boy Red, like all my writing, was inspired by a series of unconnected real happenings that got under my skin and worked their way into a story. For various reasons, I became quite preoccupied with the whole nature v nurture debate, and what makes a person who they are. Red, the 16-year-old protagonist, faces this issue head on when he discovers that the man he thought of as his dad is not, in fact, his biological father. I know it sounds corny but Red just started talking to me one day and telling me his story and I was compelled to listen until I found out the ending.

4)      What would you do if you weren’t a writer?

In fact, I do many other things already! I am also a teacher and a charity worker. For me, the idea of being a ‘full-time writer’ is strange. I think you need diverse experiences to write; you need to have a rich life, not sit at a computer all day, every day! If I didn’t have writing as a creative outlet, I’m sure I would find another medium, maybe visual art or food art. The urge to create is always there! Maybe in another life, I could be an inventor!

5)      What advice would you give to young people who are interested in becoming writers?

Go for it! You don’t need anyone to tell you that you are A Writer. You are a writer as soon as you put pen to paper and write. Read lots and write lots. It’s as simple as that. When people say they want to become a writer, they often mean that they want to get published. That’s a whole different ball game. The publishing industry can be fickle, difficult, demanding. But there are some wonderful independent publishers around, just like Musa Publishing, and perseverance and good writing usually pay off eventually!

Link to Boy Red on Musa


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

COMING SOON!  November 1, 2013 Release




The day after his sixteenth birthday, Red discovers that the man he calls ‘Dad’ is not his biological father. Will Red be able to track down the anonymous sperm donor who gave him life? What will he learn about himself along the way? And just what else are his parents hiding?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Advice from An Author -- Dusty Crabtree


This week's author...

Dusty Crabtree



Hey guys! Euterpe intern Camille here with Dusty Crabtree, high school English teacher and author of Shadow Eyes, to give her tips for aspiring authors.

"My writerly advice would be on revision," she says. "It's something I do while I'm writing several times, after each chapter, and then again when it's all finished.  Basically, revise until you have your story memorized." 

That's an awful lot of revising, Dusty. Are you sure it's really necessary? She insists: "Have you heard the saying, 'There are no final drafts, only deadlines'?  I tend to agree with this.  I was still revising up until I signed with Musa Publishing, then I revised some more before I got my editor, and then I revised again with her help."

With all her insistence on revision, Mrs. Crabtree gave us a few things to watch out for. Here are her revision tips: 

1. Show, don’t tell – You’ve probably heard this before.  It’s such a common editing phrase that it’s cliché.  But it is so important!  A lot of this is changing adjectives and adverbs to descriptions.  Instead of telling us, “Britney was angry,” or even, “Britney’s anger showed in her face,” how about “Britney pressed her lips into a thin, taut line as her eyes narrowed to slits and her entire body became a rigid, volatile, hyper-sensitive stick of dynamite that would go off at the slightest touch.”

2.Get rid of filtering.  Filtering is when we tell the story through the character’s eyes, instead of letting the readers experience it themselves.  If the story’s in 1st person, you’ll use phrases like “I knew, I saw, I heard, I felt, I thought, etc.”  Check out the examples below to see the difference.  Little changes can make a big difference.

Good: “From the street I could see a small sliver of light where the dark curtains met but didn’t quite touch in the middle of the window.”

Better: “From the street a small sliver of light glowed where the dark curtains met but didn’t quite touch in the middle of the window.”

Good: “I knew I would have to make it to the edge of the woods.  It was the only way.”

Better: “I had to make it to the edge of the woods.  It was the only way.”

3. Check for repeated words - I have a running list of around 20 words I tend to use a lot - some just because of my writing style (like/as if, finally, turn)  and some due to the nature of the book (ex. shadows, dark/black).  I'm still adding to the list every once in a while.  Lol!  I search for each word at the end of each chapter to make sure I don't have too many close together, changing them up with the help of the amazing thesaurus.com to add variety.

4. Cut unimportant parts (phrases, sentences, whole sections).  If it drags the story or doesn’t add to the story’s plot, character development, theme, etc., get rid of it.  It might be amazing writing, hilarious, or so moving it could win an Oscar if played out on the big screen, but just as movies must delete scenes and lines for the sake of the overall movie, your story will have to do the same.  (Note: For the bigger sections, especially, you may need an outsider to help you know what’s not as important because it's all going to seem important to you.)


Wow! Thanks, Dusty! These are some great tips! I think I'm going to write my own novel now... If you are as inspired as I am, go give Dusty a shout out on Twitter or Facebook. Or, if you want more of Dusty you can follow her blog here.

Interested in her book Shadow Eyes? You can view the book trailer here or buy your own copy here.


 Now, get out there and start writing!