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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Samurai Warrior - Worthy Romance Hero?

I’d like to talk about Honor Bound. This story takes place in ancient Japan, right before the start of the Shogun era. I’ve always been fascinated with this time period, and with Japanese culture. There was so much political unrest, so much adversity, and yet people persevered. It was a time of restraint and hardship, and yet the Japanese people had an inner strength that had helped them to endure.

I was surprised that very few romance stories have been set during this time period. In contract, there are hundreds if not thousands of books that take place during the Victorian Era in England and Medieval Europe. Why is that? There are so many good things ancient Japan has to offer the romance reader. Samurai warriors would make just as good romance heroes as dukes or earls, don’t you think?

I really think that more romance heroes should be samurai. To support this idea, I thought that I’d offer up a few interesting facts about samurai warriors and ancient Japanese culture that I came upon in my research. Hopefully after reading them, you will agree with me that a samurai could be a worthy romance hero. ;)

1) The most treasured possessions of a samurai were his swords, the katana and wakizashi. Together, they were called the daisho.

2) Swords weren't the only samurai weapons. Some used longbows (yumi), cannons, pole weapons and later, matchlocks (guns).

3) Samurai were bound by a code of honor (bushido) and were expected to set an example for the those beneath them. Much of this code is based on Zen Buddhism. As a result, they lead a Spartan lifestyle.

4) They helped to bring incense to Japan from China. They used it first in Buddhist practices, and later in other forms of meditation in order to achieve greater mental clarity.

5) During the height of the samurai, the Japenese emperor held little power. Instead, Muromachi or Ashikaga Shoguns ruled until the 16th century. (A Shogun was a supreme military commander.) Samurai were separated into clans, and served local feudal lords in their quests for power. These lords were always at odds and saught to better position themselves with more money, more land, or more power. The existance was much like medevil Europe in nature.

6) The samurai were well educated and could read. The samurai influenced Japanese culture through their tea ceremonies, monochrome ink painting, rock gardens and poetry, all of which were adapted from the Chinese. The height of Japenese art between 1185-1333 (The Feudal Period) was the creation of the Samurai swords.

7) When a samurai married, it was through an arrangement made by a higher ranking samurai. Most samurai married women from a samurai family. Samurai wives were trained to run and protect the home while the samurai was off fighting battles. Most could wield a weapon, if needed. A few became so good, that they rode out with their husbands into battle, instead of waiting at home for war to come to them.

8) A samurai could have a mistress, but her background had to be thoroughly checked by the higher-ranking samurai first.

9) Despite modern romanticism of the samurai, not all of these warriors were honorable super-warriors. Some were disloyal, greedy, manipulative, power-hungry, or cowardly. Some were even cheaters.

10) the most popular drink among the samurai -- besides tea -- was sake. Drinking was popular among the samurai, and had a place at a variety of social gatherings -- especially after battle. Being drunk was not considered odious. In fact it was considered rude to NOT get drunk at certain social events.

So what do you think? Are you up for seeing more stories set in this wonderful culture and time period? I know I am. ;)

And while you ponder the worth of the samurai as a romance hero, feel free to check out my newest release, Honor Bound:

Pairing: m/f

Length: Novella

Price: $3.49

Buy Link:

Book Trailer:


Deep in the Hidaka Mountains, Akito is commissioned to capture the goddess of desire. He expects to use all of his samurai skills to complete the task. What he doesn't expect is the resurrection of his deceased lover, or the number of immortals who wish them both dead.

Condemned to an eternity of loneliness, Jin curses the day the mother goddess tricked her into becoming immortal. When a seasoned samurai enters her prison, she’s determined to build the man’s desire so she can harness enough strength to break the bonds that tie her to the mountain. As the intruder makes himself known, memories long buried rise to the surface and Jin becomes desperate for Akito to believe the truth – that she is his beloved. Can she earn his trust in time, or will they both succumb to the forces that strive to keep them apart?

Reader Alert!: This story contains a dominating samurai, a sexually frustrated goddess, and enough rope to bind them both together for eternity.


“Jin. Your name is Jin.”

Jin froze. The stranger didn’t call her Vistaka, but used her human name. How did he find out something so intimate? She blinked and continued drying her hair. His use of her real name should have made her angry, but it somehow sounded right coming from his lips.

“That name lost its meaning a long time ago.” Jin caught his shadow along the rock wall in the periphery of her vision. This man knew much about her, and that was unnerving. Who was this shadowed warrior? She watched the far wall of the cavern and saw his shadow move closer. His earthy scent became stronger, reminding her that his sign, like his scent, was of the earth and incompatible with her water nature. He was hard and unyielding. She was soft and malleable. Was that how he was able to resist her charms?

The shadow raised his arms, and Jin saw the outline of the katana and wakizashi along the rock wall in front of her, the two samurai swords crossed behind her back. Slowly they inched forward until the “v”-opening surrounded her neck. All it would take would be one small jerk of his arms, and her head would become separated from her body. It wouldn’t kill her, she could turn into her spirit form before the fatal blow, but it would be incredibly annoying.

The hairs on Jin’s neck stood at attention as the swords inched closer. What to do? Jin’s mind raced with possibilities. Panic threaded through her body and she did what she always did the only thing she could think of that could calm her nerves.

She closed her eyes and began to hum. It was an old childhood tune, and one she often drew upon when she needed to focus her magic.

The stranger hesitated. “That voice.”

“You like it?” She opened her eyes and watched the wall in front of her. The shadow flexed its fingers around the swords at her neck.

“I knew someone who used to sing that song once.”

“It’s a popular song.” She tilted her head back, then winced as she felt the edge of the blade move against her hair. “You know my name, young samurai, but I don’t know yours.”

The swords wavered, as if the stranger suddenly felt the heavy weight of the blade and adjusted the hilt in his hands. Jin felt his anger weaken and his desire build once more.

“Am I not to know the name of my killer?” she asked.

“My name, like yours, lost its meaning a long time ago.”

She closed her eyes and searched for the answer among the scattered thoughts of his mind. He must have become wise to her powers, for everything was closed to her except for the deep longing he felt in his bones.

She opened her eyes. “It is as you say.”

“Come with me.” He lowered his swords and replaced them within his obi.

Jin glanced over her shoulder at his outstretched hand. “You know I can’t do that.” She waved her fingers in the air. “This is my prison.” Bitterness gnawed in her gut as the words passed over her lips. She cast it aside.

“If you don’t come, I’ll be forced to kill you.”

Fool. Did he really think he could kill a goddess? “You can’t harm me with your man-made trinkets.”

“No, but I can with this.”


Suzanne Rock








elaing8 said...

I have this book on my TBR list.Thanks for sharing the excerpt.

Debby said...

I would love to see more of these stories.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Na said...

I like how each of the stories you've shared are so different and all sounds good. It has a little bit of everything for everyone.

Anonymous said...

To answer your question: YES! This is now on my tbr! Thanks for sharing.