Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ PRINCE OF BLUE FLOWERS by Ryu Zhong

Prince of Blue Flowers (Takuan from Koto, #1)
by: Ryu Zhong
Series: Takuan from Koto
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Release Date: December 19, 2022
Publisher: Anno Ruini Books

Young boy Hatsukoi leaves his village to become a monk, only to find monastic life incredibly boring. With a new-found name and a new-found friend, Hatsukoi travels the countryside and plays tricks at the expense of corrupt, irate, greedy, and ignorant people. Nobles of all ranks—from petty governors to crown princes—fall victim to the boy’s wit and cunning.

As his tricks evolve from childhood frolics to elaborate cons, Hatsukoi grows as well. He learns not only the craft of his trade, but also its higher purpose.

Join Hatsukoi’s journey, laugh at his exploits, and learn with him.

Planner, pantser, prowler, panicker

They say there are two types of writers: ‘architects’ and ‘gardeners.’ Others say it is ‘planners’ and ‘pantsers.’ Some design a book as if it’s a house: lay the foundation with thorough worldbuilding, erect the scaffolds, supporting structures, and columns of the main plots, and connect them with masterfully crafted story arcs. Only then do they sit down to write. Some, on the contrary, allow their imagination—their inner author—to create in free flight.

Of course, my truth lies somewhere in the middle. My best hours of writing happen when my inner author writes with my hands with no regard for the structure I have built. The structure then needs to be redone, even disassembled to the very foundation sometimes. That said, my inner author can’t get off the ground by himself. He needs support.

Where can I get it? Steal from other writers, of course! Picasso also talked about this. Although he is a mere painter, how could he know about writers?

Every time I write a short story or a novel, let’s say I think this way: which of my favorite authors could write it? Then I re-read a couple of their novels and wrote my first scene.

The ‘Prince of Blue Flowers,’ for example, was influenced by Wu Cheng’en, the author of the Chinese epic ‘Journey to the West.’ In the West itself, it’s better known as just ‘Monkey’ or ‘Monkey King.’ I re-read this huge novel several times and wrote out the techniques, the characters, and the outline of the story. And then my inner author took on their own. Of course, I don’t have any monkey kings in my story. But there is a marten who dreams of becoming a king. And a village boy who, in turn, dreams of becoming said marten. My inner author, awakened by an interesting book, led the plot in their own direction, the one that they liked. That he liked. From the original, only formal techniques remained: how the chapters are structured, how the sentences flow, and some other ‘hows’ which even an enthusiastic reader will not notice.

I was left to panic: if the story goes in this direction, would we be able to land it? What would be the resulting structure for it once the one I have had just crumbled?

I’m probably the kind of writer who first builds an airport with a runway for their inspiration and then spends the rest of the flight hastily building landing pads.

Governor Tu Fang was the first to notice Hatsukoi, who was lying on the roof of the well with his head hanging down.

“What are you doing there?” he asked.

Hatsukoi shrugged his shoulders. “I’m looking to see if the well has a bottom.”

Tu Fang frowned at the boy’s response. Why would someone need to look for the bottom of a well? It sounded very suspicious to him.

“Well, get down!” he barked.

“No,” Hatsukoi answered.

“Get down by your own will, or my hunters will shoot you with their arrows.”

Hatsukoi slowly climbed down. Tu Fang waved to one of his hunters, who immediately grabbed the boy by the scruff of his neck.

“Ai! What are you doing?!” yelled Hatsukoi, struggling, but the hunter held him tightly.

“Tell me at once,” demanded Tu Fang, “what is in this well, and then perhaps I’ll let you go.”

Hatsukoi trembled like bamboo in a strong wind. He began, “I have seen—”

“What did you see?” Tu Fang interrupted impatiently.

“I saw a thief hide his bounty here.”

“Bounty?” Tu Fang exchanged glances with his brother.

It must be said that unselfish people rarely went on to become governors. Tu Fang was no exception. He thought only of ways to feed his insatiable greed. And Tu Liwei, being his half-brother, was a pea from the same pod. So, at that moment, the brothers came up with the same thought.

And Hatsukoi was counting on it.

“A whole bag filled with all kinds of stuff,” he said confidently. “Gold, jewels, pearls… If you look from the roof, you can see how it glitters at the bottom.”

Purchase Prince of Blue Flowers from:
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The Takuan from Koto Series:

Envoys of Celestials by releases August 1, 2023

‘Ryū’ means ‘dragon’ in Japanese, and ‘Zhong’ can be translated from Chinese as ‘flute’. This amalgam of languages represents the fusion of cultures that characterises the writings of Ryū Zhong.

In their books, Ryū Zhong explore challenges that humanity might face as our technology gets more and more complicated to the level where it becomes magic. Such a shift would force people to look towards religion and reinterpret realities that today, we call fairy tales.

Ryū Zhong were lucky to be born and grow in Asia. Now they live in Amsterdam, study Dutch, and adapt their writings to English.

Places to find Ryu Zhong:

You can follow the Prince of Blue Flowers Blog Tour here.

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