Book tour & giveaway – Toru: Wayfarer Returns by Stephanie R. Sorensen


Toru: Wayfarer Returns

by Stephanie R. Sorensen


GENRE:  Historical Steampunk Fiction





A nation encircled by enemies

A noblewoman with everything to lose

A fisherman with everything to prove and a nation to save.

In Japan of 1852, the peace imposed by the Tokugawa Shoguns has lasted 250 years. Peace has turned to stagnation, however, as commoners grow impoverished and their lords restless. Swords rust. Martial values decay. Foreign barbarians circle the island nation’s closed borders like vultures.

Tōru, a shipwrecked young fisherman rescued by traders and taken to America, defies the Shogun’s ban on returning to Japan, determined to save his homeland from foreign invasion. Can he rouse his countrymen in time? Or will the cruel Shogun carry out his vow to execute all who set foot in Japan after traveling abroad? Armed only with his will, a few books, dirigible plans and dangerous ideas, Tōru must transform the Emperor’s realm before the Black Ships come.



“Rather than argue with them, you should invite them to make the first flight with you,” said Takamori. “At first they will agree, since it is their place as the leaders. Everyone is very excited about the dirigibles. Set the time and place for the first flight. Jiro should explain that is not a good time because of the wind or something technical that needs testing first. You argue with Jiro and perhaps even scold him for impertinence in front of the daimyōs.”

“Yes, I am often scolded for impertinence,” said Jiro. “I have a talent for it, you know.”

“Indeed you do,” said Tōru. He saw where Takamori was going. “Then they notice the risks and uncertainties…and they ask me if it is safe. I tell them honestly that we have no idea if it is safe or if it will work, and that we might all crash to a fiery death and therefore perhaps I should test it first myself before we endanger them.”

“And I will be impertinent again and tell you in front of them that you don’t have a clue how to fly one of these dirijibi!” Jiro finished the plan for them. “Which is also true, by the way. I know how to fly one of these, and you don’t.”

“You’ve never flown one either,” protested Tōru.

“I have built one. Almost. Soon. How many have you built?” asked Jiro, with his broad grin.

Tōru opened his mouth and closed it again.

“See? Problem solved,” said Takamori, as he pounded Tōru on the back. “We have a fine dirijibi pilot, the finest dirijibi pilot in all of Japan, our good man Jiro here.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Stephanie is a writer based in the Victorian mining town of Leadville, Colorado, where she lives at 10,251 feet with her husband, five chickens, two bantam English game hens and one Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. After a former life in big cities-New York City, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Boston, Mexico City, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Santa Fe-she now enjoys the birdsong and quiet writing time she finds in Leadville. Her first novel draws on her experience living and working in Japan; her next historical novel is set in Mexico where she also lived for several years. As a Leadville local, she likes her Victorian attire spiced with a little neo-Victorian futurism and the biggest bustle possible.

Recognition for “Toru: Wayfarer Returns”

— Finalist, Fantasy category, 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

— Bronze Medal Award, Multicultural Fiction category, 2016 eLit Book Awards


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One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.

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16 thoughts on “Book tour & giveaway – Toru: Wayfarer Returns by Stephanie R. Sorensen

  1. Hi Bernie,

    Funny you should ask, for it is a mighty list and buckles me at the knees when I think about it. I have multiple reading lists going.

    One of my Goodreads reading buddies got me to sign up for a quest, over the next several years to read AND review all the Hugo winners since the beginning of time (1939, the Sword in the Stone). I decided to look at Nebula winners as well, and that led me to a decision make it a goal this year to read and review all the joint Hugo/Nebula winners. (23 books). I’ve read most of them–you don’t get to be a science fiction/fantasy junkie without reading them–but now I’m reading them analytically as a writer, and reviewing them as @SassaMargot, my reviewer identity on my publisher website

    Another mission is reading indie authors, as a pay-it-forward to all the kind people who review me. I look on Netgalley and some of the top Indie review sites and plan to read 25 indie works this year, as I did last year, focusing on new releases I can help out with a review. I also take requests from indie authors through Sassa Margot on Goodreads and Twitter and I want to discover a future Hugo or Nebula winner, with my own brain and eyes, reading an indie book! It’s tough, because many indie books have lots of heart, but lack professional polish, and I both grade tough AND refuse to give less than a 3 in public without the author’s permission–why wreck someone’s dream?–so I have to read a lot of mediocre books to find a gem I can give an honest 4 or 5 to for being well-written and worthwhile. So after a couple of bad books in a row last month for which i cannot post reviews, I said, “I need a break! Let me read something great! Hugo winner time!”

    That led me to three series I am working through right now–forget lists when you have found a great series to gnaw on! Series 1 is Ken Liu’s “Grace of Kings,” a silk punk epic set in a vaguely Chinese-y fantasy realm with dirigibles. Court politics, alliances made and broken, illicit love, daring adventures, dashing rebels–it has it all, plus dirigibles (you know I have a soft spot for dirigibles) written with a sure hand connected to a brain wise in both East and West culture. Love it. Series 2, starting with Ann Leckie’s “Ancillary Justice” is more cold and cerebral, a space opera about sentient ships and their relationships with their human captains, in a galaxy full of rebellion and shifting alliances as one finds in any good space opera epic. Two down, working on the third in the series. Love it. Finally, and I’m literally holding this in my hands right now, is N.K. Jemisin’s “The Fifth Season” which I finished yesterday and need to review. I’ve started the next in the series, gobbling it down like my puppy chokes down a stolen bit of steak. I don’t want to give it away, but her world-building and character development are superb, taking you one way for many patient steps and then BOOM! new insight about that character and who they really are and what they are capable of in the increasingly dark and dystopian world where they find themselves. What all three series share is epic scale, great human drama set against that scale, magnificent world-building, unique settings and characters (an Asian fantasy world, a sentient space ship, a despised minority who possesses great and destructive powers…). I am in awe of the achievement of each of these three writers and so happy my New Years resolutions and listmaking helped me stumble on to these series. I would give all three authors 11s on a 5-point scale.

    I have other lists too…but I’ve probably frightened you enough. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey everyone,

    Just wanted to let you know I’m putting “Toru” on a $0.99 price promotion through the end of my book tour, so pop over to Amazon and snag your copy now. I am working on getting the price dropped on Nook, Kobo and iBooks as well. I hope you’ll read it, and if you like it, post a review!


    Liked by 1 person

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