Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Naughty Victorian Lady learns the Way of the Samurai


by Lady Carlton née Katie O’Roarke, heroine of “The Blonde Samurai”

In the autumn of 1874 I learned the way of the samurai.

In a hidden valley amongst the orange blossoms. Full of sunlight and promise. Under the tutelage of Shintaro, a man of fortitude and vitality. A man who lived in a heightened state of perpetual readiness for battle.

And for making love. His silken futon beckoning me with the promise of erotic delights that no occidental woman had ever experienced…

Did your heart beat faster? Is your curiosity piqued? Be aware, ’tis true that I have written the sort of memoir that not even the most audacious lady novelist would dare to pen, but I shall not titillate you in this posting with emotional ramblings of a sensual nature.

No, today I shall acquaint you with the fervent and steadfast ideals of the female samurai.

Such brave women do exist, I assure you.

While aristocratic ladies surround themselves in frothy veils of mystery, the samurai woman proudly displays her fortitude and strength when called upon to defend both hearth and her person.

Shocking? Perhaps. After all, a lady of quality strolling along Regent Street would have no means except a delicate parasol with which to pound a ruffian upon the head should he attempt to abscond with her reticule.

On the other hand, a samurai woman carries a dirk or dagger close to her bosom in her obi or sash and knows how to wield a curved spear known as a naginata.

I also learned how to use a sword (a samurai carries two swords–the long and the short sword and yes, the one between his legs as well) and I invite to read about my adventures in my memoir.

But as promised, today I shall regale you with historical accounts of samurai women. Like Tomoe, known for her courage and good seat upon a mount. She rode into battle on horseback and fought alongside her husband. Another brave female samurai, Lady Masa, was the wife of a shogun and, after his death, ruled his lands and empire with a strong hand.

And I cannot forget the samurai women of Aizu Province who, but a few years ago in 1868, defended their lord’s castle against invaders with spears and other weapons when their men were away.

How can I attain the way of the warrior? you wish to inquire, curious as you are though you would never admit it. I shall impart the code to you in hopes it will resonate with your spirit as it does with mine.

The way of the warrior is based on a code of personal honor. Loyalty, courage, self-sacrifice, frugality, rigorous physical and mental discipline and total allegiance to your lord.

As I wrote in “The Blonde Samurai:

” The way of the warrior is not about the sword, Shintaro taught me, but about the woman holding the sword, her mental strength, discipline, compassion… experience it as you would a drop of pure, fine oil from a flower, a perfume, if you will, so you may apply it to your life as you would scent to your skin and make it yours alone."

‘Tis a noble idea, is it not? And one I pray you shall take with you from today’s posting and carry it with you the next time you are confronted with a difficult situation.

You are stronger than you think…believe and it shall be so.

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February 2010: meet The Blonde Samurai

“She embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.”

12 comments:

Wynter Daniels said...

Awesome post, as always. I love feisty heroines in historicals who buck tradition and kick ass!

Stephanie Adkins said...

I love your post too. Historicals are my favorite to read. :)

Dalton Diaz said...

Wow. I can't even begin to imagine the research that goes into your books. I'm in awe.

Jina Bacarr said...

Thank you, Wynter! Yes, Katie is not the normal Victorian heroine--she's risks everything to be with the man she loves; but there are some surprises, too!

Jina Bacarr said...

Hi, Stephanie! Great that you enjoy historicals--in Blonde Samurai, you experience the world of Mayfair, London in the mid-1870s then Japan--not just samurai, but also the emperor's court and Tokio (as it was spelled then) when Westerners flooded the city, bringing the occidental way of life to a society that had been closed for more than 200 years.

Jina Bacarr said...

You're right about the research, Dalton. I have books that are more than a hundred years old as part of my research; also, I've written nonfiction books about Japan, studied the art of kimono, and worked for Japanese companies.

Japan is not just about the research, though, it's about the soul of the people. That's what we aspire to bring to our stories, no matter where or when they are set.

That's what makes us writers!

Naima Simone said...

Hi, Jina!
I love stories where the heroines are warriors! Especially a woman able to wield a sword...that's the epitome of feminine strength! Awesome post!

Jina Bacarr said...

Hi, Naima!

Thankz for your comment. Without giving too much away, I will only say that my heroine, Katie, has more than one opportunity to wield her swords alongside her samurai.

(Samurai carried two swords.)

Naima Simone said...

Oh unfair to leave me with that! I can't wait until next month!

Savannah Stuart said...

I just love that tag line!

Jina Bacarr said...

Naima -- thankz for your enthusiasm re: Blonde Samurai!! My book will be released on Feb 1st--Monday.

I did hear that it's been spotted at a B&N in Pittsburgh... it's not at my local store yet, but you can be sure I'll be checking it out come Monday!

Jina Bacarr said...

Thankz for your comment re: tag line, Savannah.

It's a tease, I admit, re: two loves. Not what the reader is expecting...