by | Sep 8, 2023 | Extraordinary Guest Bloggers, The Writer's Life | 4 comments

by Tori Eldridge

“You’re a ninja?” Nervous laughter. “Guess I better not piss you off!”

This or something similar is one of the most common responses I get after disclosing my fifth-degree black belt rank in To-Shin Do ninja martial arts. It’s not what readers—or anyone—would expect from a lithe grandmother of diminutive size. Most don’t even realize ninja exist.

I assure them with a smile. “This book conference is the safest place to be.”

Ninja class

Writing the Lily Wong thriller series allows me to share the most comprehensive, effective, and empowering martial arts system I have encountered during my decades-long quest that has included Korean karate, Brazilian jujutsu, American kickboxing, Filipino eskrima, and Chinese Wushu staff and spear. More than a collection of fighting and self-defense techniques, the ninja martial arts are comprised of concepts, strategies, and esoteric practices that can be applied by a skilled and savvy practitioner to enrich and protect lives.

Neither I nor my Chinese-Norwegian ninja heroine, Lily Wong, are the fantastical assassins readers have come to expect. Each of us strive to protect others and make the world a better place.

THE NINJA’S OATH pushes Lily’s fighting skills and grit to extremes as she joins forces with Lee Chang—her father’s head cook and former enforcer for the Shanghai Black Scorpion Society—and the perplexing assassin J Tran. Lily’s fourth adventure is the deadliest, most emotional, and action-packed thriller of them all, bringing a hopefully satisfying conclusion to the four-book set while leaving the door open for more Lily Wong.

Readers will finally learn the secrets behind why Lily’s ninja teacher, known only as Sensei, left Japan and the power struggles and trauma waiting for his return.

I researched heavily, as I always do, and had long conversations with my primary teacher and co-founder of To-Shin Do to glean esoteric secrets I wanted to include. In addition to my teacher’s ninja and martial arts expertise, Stephen K. Hayes is an ordained Buddhist priest and author of dozens of non-fiction books. With his permission, Lily recites his translation of powerful Sanskrit and Japanese mantras during her darkest moments in THE NINJA’S OATH—one of many insights into my own esoteric ninja training.

Action enthusiasts will appreciate the gritty hand-to-hand combat, gunfights, swordplay, and authentic ninja knife, shuriken, and fighting techniques. I’ve pushed my protagonist to the limits based on actual moves I have executed, studied, taught, witnessed, or researched. Busting through the ninja myth and thrilling my readers with astounding yet plausible action is of paramount importance to me.

cover of The Ninja's Oath

You can find ninja action videos of Tori Myotoshi Eldridge on my website “Readers” page.

Myotoshi is the warrior name given to me by the founders of our art. It means Warrior of the Unfathomable Blade. Stephen and Rumiko said they awarded me this name for the depth of my seeking and knowledge, but I suspect they might have also found me unfathomable at times.

Lily Wong’s mission in life is more direct. She honors her murdered sister by rescuing and protecting women and children from violence. In THE NINJA’S OATH she has moved from being a protector in a city to a protector in the world.

Do you think it’s important for a person to have some training in self-defense? Are you trained, or do you want to be?

Tori Eldridge is the bestselling author of the Lily Wong Thriller Series, two-time Anthony Award nominee, Lefty and Macavity Awards finalist, and winner of the 2021 Crimson Scribe for Best Book of the Year. The Ninja’s Oath (book 4) take Tori’s Chinese-Norwegian modern-day ninja heroine from Shanghai to Japan in an explosive joint mission with her father’s former-triad cook and the assassin J Tran while, back home in Los Angeles, her father’s health wanes. Tori performed as an actress, singer, dancer on Broadway, television, and film, and earned a 5th degree black belt in To-Shin Do ninja martial arts. Learn more about her here.

Author Tori Edridge of The Ninja's Oath

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  1. Lisa Black

    I would love to be a ninja….but it sounds like way too much exercise!!

    • Tori Eldridge

      Hahaha You’re not kidding, Lisa. It’s a hella lot of work!

  2. Karna Small Bodman

    One thing I have gleaned from this terrific description is that I would want Tori WITH me in a dark alley of any big city!!! Can’t wait to read this latest thriller – and thanks for a great blog!

    • Tori Eldridge

      Love that, Karna. Ninja protectors for the win!