Tag Archives: adventure

Coming Soon: Citadels of Darkover!

by Lillian Csernica on October 30, 2018


I am honored and delighted to announce that my story The Katana Matrix will appear in the upcoming Darkover anthology Citadels of Darkover due out in May. Many thanks to editor Deborah Ross.

In The Katana Matrix, Nakatomi Madoka discovers the Comyn lord who hired her to rescue his cousin from bandits is after something else.. If Madoka can’t stop the rogue Comyn and keep what he wants out of his hands, he could destroy Darkover.

The stories you can look forward to reading include:

By Evey Brett
By Steven Harper
By Marella Sands
By Lillian Csernica
By Diana L. Paxson
By Leslie Fish
By Jane M. H. Bigelow
By Robin Rowland
By Rebecca Fox
By Robin Wayne Bailey
By Barb Caffrey
By Shariann Lewitt


To appear on the same Table of Contents with Diana L. Paxson is a dream come true. When I was in high school, I read Diana’s novel Brisingamen, a contemporary fantasy novel centering around Freya’s magical necklace. I was blown away by the story, the historical detail, and the excellent prose. Back then we sent fan letters the old fashioned way by snail mail. Much to my surprise, Diana replied! Using a notecard with a drawing of Gullinbursti, Diana thanked me most graciously.

Right now I’m looking forward to the cover reveal for Citadels of Darkover. The cover art for the previous anthologies in the series has been great, so this one should be wonderful as well!



Filed under classics, dreams, fantasy, Fiction, Goals, history, Japan, publication, science fiction, sword and sorcery, Writing

And now…. Kyoto!

by Lillian Csernica on November 19, 2015

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Kiyomizudera, the Pure Water Temple

Yes indeed, between hospital stays I managed to run off to Kyoto, Japan for a week.  Two of those days were spent in transit, but I did manage to do quite a bit in the five days I had to explore one of the most amazing cities on our planet.  What made it even better was doing the exploring with my best friend, Patricia H. MacEwen.

It took one car, three planes, a bus, and a taxi to get us from my house to our hotel in Kyoto.  I have many stories to tell about what happened to us in transit, both on the way to Kyoto and especially on the way home.  I’m going to save those for a later post.

Day One: As we roamed the streets of Kyoto, in search of the nearest Citibank branch and the local post office, we were lucky enough to come across a few of the local Shinto shrines.  Most of them were in honor of O-Jizo-sama, the god of children.


The first such shrine we found was on one of the major streets, tucked into a niche next to a big bank building.  Most of the time we came across the shrines in what to us were side streets or back alleys.

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A shrine to Inari, god of rice, which equals wealth.

It was quite impressive to see this shrine,  complete with hand-washing station and the bell to ring.  The shrine was spotless, well cared for, and clearly maintained with great respect and affection.

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A map of the original Bukkoji temple complex

Pat discovered Bukko-ji Temple.  This is one of the lesser known temples in Kyoto.  The government is working to generate more interest in it, and I hope the project is successful.  The temple complex is smaller than some, but even so it possesses that unearthly peace you find only in sacred places.

I have come to learn that my idea of Buddhist monks is based largely on Zen monks.  There are at least five different Buddhist sects alive and well in Kyoto.  Not all of them have monks in the sense that I recognize.  This got more than a little confusing because some Buddhist men who work at the temples will wear a garment that looks like a black scholar’s gown.  They also wear stoles which come in different colors.  I asked about those, and if I understood the explanation correctly, the stoles indicate one’s home temple.  (When we visited Higashi Honganji, there was an older gentleman in a three piece suit wearing a pale green stole of fine workmanship.  The stole is what one wears when one visits a temple, much like as an Orthodox woman I cover my head and I do not wear pants when I go to church.)

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This is where you purify your hands before entering the temple. The dragon is a rather intimidating presence!

Pat figured that we must have hiked a good three miles that first day.  What an adventure!  Yes, we did find Citibank. Neither of us had a Japanese bank account, so there wasn’t much they could do for us there.  That’s why we went looking for the post office.  As we knew from our adventures in Yokohama during Nippon 2007, the ATMs which will accept foreign debit cards are found in the post office.  Unfortunately, by the time we found the local post office, we were thwarted in our efforts.

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Yes, this is sideways.  I find it rather fitting because our plans had gone sideways.  See that little door on the left?  In that tiny alcove we found the ATM.  In a strange example of serendipity, when we went back the next day during business hours, the person in there using the ATM was an actual monk.  Monks need cash too, but the sight still caused me a moment’s cognitive dissonance.

We’d been doing pretty well reading the map and navigating in the right directions, but as the afternoon wore on and our joints started to complain, we found ourselves getting a bit turned around.  My Japanese is good enough to ask for help and figure out what I’m told in reply, so we made some progress.  Somebody Up There took pity on us and sent us an angel in the form of a young lady named Manami.  She appeared at my elbow and asked if we needed help, and once we explained where we were trying to go, she led both me and Pat down the street for at least two blocks and pointed us in the right direction.  I tell you, the Japanese are more than just polite.  They’re really nice, really kind people.

On the corner just down the street from our hotel was a McDonald’s.  Call me a Philistine if you like, but after doing so much exploring on foot and absorbing so much really amazing culture, I needed the simplicity of a cheeseburger, fries, and a Coke.  At this McDonald’s you ordered downstairs, took your drink and a number, then went up a flight of stairs to the seating area on the second floor.  I’ve seen this design when I was at a McDonald’s in Amsterdam.


Pat and I settled in to enjoy our comfort food while we watched our temporary neighborhood shift from its busy day to the more carefree tone of a Friday night.


Our home away from home in Kyoto.  I highly recommend Citadines.

Here’s our room:



With a 7-11 right across the street and a subway station entrance practically outside the hotel’s front door, we had one of the easiest, most convenient vacation locations I’ve ever enjoyed.

Next up: The marvels of Higashi Hongaji!




Filed under Food, frustration, Goals, history, Humor, Japan, Kyoto, memoirs, nature, research, romance, travel, Writing

How Do You Make A Dream Come True?

by Lillian Csernica on October 20, 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, I am about to accomplish the Number One item on my Bucket List.

Tomorrow morning I depart for a solid week in Kyoto, Japan.

My husband is a kind and generous man.  I complain about him, I tease him by referring to him as The Spousal Unit, but I have to say he gives me the best gifts.  Chris says that because I was willing to spend two months living in the hospital with Michael, because I cancelled my plans to attend Sasquan, the World Science Fiction Convention, and because I made life easier on everybody here at home who kept up our normal routine, I deserved something special.

So he decided to make my dream come true.  What’s more, I get to take my best friend Pat with me.


Kyoto is the location for the third book in my Flower Maiden Saga.  I’ve already done a lot of research, but nothing could be better than being right there in one of the greatest cities on earth, a city that has stood for over a thousand years.  And it’s time for the maple leaves to turn color!  The temple gardens will be absolutely gorgeous!


Kyoto is also the city where in the Heian Period a lady known as Murasaki Shikibu wrote the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji.  That makes this trip something of an artistic pilgrimage to the place where the world’s first novel was written by a woman, a lady of the court whose name continues to be known and respected more than ten centuries later.

My steampunk stories featuring Dr. Harrington and his family center around Kiyomizudera, the Pure Water Temple.  The climax of my historical espionage story “Tea & Trickery” (in AlternaTEAs, forthcoming from Sky Warrior Books) takes place aboard a steam train that departs from Kyoto.  I can’t wait to walk the streets my characters walk, and to stand in the places where their stories unfold.

I probably won’t be online much.  There’s a whole lot to see in Kyoto!  Pat and I will be out there walking through the city, riding the trains, and sharing what may well be our greatest adventure yet!


Filed under dreams, history, Japan, Kyoto, nature, romance, travel, Writing

Ship of Dreams: New & Improved!

by Lillian Csernica on September 21, 2015

With great pleasure I announce to you the relaunch of my pirate romance, Ship of Dreams!  The new cover and fresh interior design come from the multi-talented Bridget McKenna of Zone 1 Design.  If you’d like more information on the details of Bridget’s redesign, please go here.

If you love tall ships, tropical ports, a sassy heroine and a hero worth fighting for, you’ll find all that and more once you come aboard the Ship of Dreams!


Filed under editing, pirates, romance, tall ships