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Smashwords Story Launch

October 11, 2012

Zipangu, Year of the Dog 1274: The Second Wave Today is the online launch of my Smashwords story, Zipangu, Year of the Dog 1274: The Second Wave. Hopefully the title has got you wondering what this novella is all about. The story is based on an historical event which happened in Japan (Zipangu) during the 13th century. At the time Kublai Khan was extending the Mongol Empire overseas. He sent an armada to invade the island chain but was defeated by the sun-goddess Amaterasu who whipped up a typhoon to use the power of the wind and waves against him.

I began writing this story a number of years ago during a novel writing course entitled ‘The Determined Butterfly’. The course was run by Wendy Robertson in Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Co. Durham. The idea was to use a forty day method (as detailed in Wendy’s book The Romancer) to produce the first draft of a novel. I managed to produce a novella in what seemed to me a short period of time for a lengthy piece of work, although I am aware that other writers take up the NaNoWriMo challenge of writing a novel in the month of November each year.

Following a series of redrafts, I sent the story out into the world to be published for young adults. A flurry of positive rejections ensued. Comments such as: ‘I enjoyed reading your novella and found myself thinking about the world you have created long after I had finished reading,’ and ‘This is an interesting subject, do try other agents,’ should have spurred me on but I never found the time to send it out again. Ironically, it was the personal experience of an extreme weather event which motivated me to review the story over the last few weeks. Cut off for three days by flooding during the recent September storm, I decided it was time to do something about the novella and downloaded the Smashwords style guide.

Having reformatted the whole, added front and back matter as well as excerpts of my next book, I uploaded the story Smashwords where it is available as a free download until the end of 2012, the year of the Dragon.

The novella tells the story of Chen, who is found on the beach the day after the typhoon. The Shinto gods and the Winds of Fate play a role in bringing him face to face with Akemi Roshi, his suspected twin brother and abbot of the temple where he recovers from his injuries. Unable to speak or move at first, Chen learns how to walk again and find ways to communicate without words. He adapts to life among the monks and struggles to bond with his brother. To quote one first reader: ‘In the true essence of Yin and Yang, while one can’t exist without the other, neither will remain far from the other and eventually they must become whole again.’

To find out what happens when Kublai Khan sends a second armada to invade the island, download Zipangu, Year of the Dog 1274: The Second Wave from


From → E-Publications

  1. Entirely brilliant, Judith, to see this fascinating story at last available to readers. I remember its early incarnation during the Determined Butterfly Year and knew it had great promise. This novel is, I know, based on immaculate research and a highly attenuated imagination which has allowed you to put yourself in the shoes of Chen and his Shinto world. Interesting to niote your publication process with Smashwords. Looking forward now to downloading it. As you say, I included the forty Day Plan in my writers memoir The Romancer which has had a good take up from practically minded writers. Very good luck with this, WX

    • Thanks for your continued support, Wendy. This story would have taken even longer to see the light of day without The Romancer, which I recommend to all ‘determined butterflies.’

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