31 Days

When I began my post a day challenge, I thought I could finish it easily. I’d done this before. But this time, I was making two blog posts a day, 62 total, on two blogs.

What did I learn? I found it easier to do a post a day with this blog, as I had many topics I wanted to talk about. My other blog is about Japan, and it was started as a photo blog. I didn’t do many photos this month. On this blog, though, the focus is mainly on writing and books, as well as other topics. I learned I could write under pressure of a deadline. However, I didn’t particularly like having the deadline, as it put me under pressure to write something. I prefer to write when I’m ready to write.

The previous time I did a post a day, I was single, working 5 days a week full time, and had plenty of free time.  I went out a lot.  Now, I’m married, work 6 days a week full time, have a baby to take care of, and not much free time.  It’s sometimes hard to find the time to write, let alone read.  But my desire to blog and write is far more now.

I will continue to write as normal after this, not every day, but probably more than before.  I hope to read more than before, as well, and give plenty of reviews.

It was fun, but I don’t think I’ll be doing a post a day again anytime soon.

Where do you read?

Some people like to read in bed. Some like to read in a comfortable chair in their living room. Some like their balcony. And some read on the toilet. Where do you like to read?

I prefer reading in bed before going to sleep, but that’s impossible right now. I have no light by the bed and my daughter sleeps between my wife and I, so no chance to read there. I read on the train. If I have a seat, I’ll read a book. If I’m standing, I’ll read an eBook on my iPhone. I’ll also read during my lunch break at work.

I hope that I can read in bed again in the future, but also in my own room where I can keep my books and computer. Maybe someday.

Goodreads and giving reviews

For an author, reviews are very important. I want to do my part and review any book that I read.  I’m doing it in 3 places, this blog, Goodreads, and Amazon.

This blog is meant for books, reading, and writing.  So, doing reviews is only natural.  This is the main place for me to do reviews.

Goodreads is also a good place for doing reviews.  It’s far more visible for the authors, as many are using that website.  It’s also great to see what your friends are reading and what they think of books.  You can rate and review books there.  I have an account, which you can find here.

Amazon is probably the main place to do reviews.  It’s also a major website where you buy the books.  Highly rated and popular books are easy to find on Amazon, so getting reviews there is very important.  The more often a book is reviewed, the more visible it is.  The authors really appreciate it.

Good reviews are great for  authors.  I don’t mean just positive reviews.  Negative reviews can provide authors with some constructive criticism, which can help them in their writing.  All good books receive negative reviews.  It’s only natural that there will be someone who doesn’t like a book.  Everyone has different tastes.  However, a book shouldn’t be reviewed on if they like or dislike a particular genre.  It should be reviewed based on its own merits.  A reviewer should read the entire book, not just quit after a few pages and give it a bad review.  I know I’d appreciate a full review.

Olympics loyalty

The London Olympics have finally started, and while I missed the opening ceremonies, I’ll try catch as much of the event as I can over the next two weeks.  I’ve always been a big fan of the Olympics.  I know it’s ridiculously expensive to host.  I know a lot of people dislike the Olympics.  But I enjoy seeing if my home country can do well.

However, I no longer live in my home country, Canada. I live in Japan, my wife is Japanese, and my daughter was born in Japan.  So, who do I cheer for?  Of course, I want Canada to do very well, but I also want Japan to do well.  I cheer for both countries.  Ever since I’ve come to Japan 7 years ago, I have cheered for Japan, as well as Canada.  I want my adopted country to do well.

Where do you live?  Who do you cheer for if you watch the Olympics?

The age of the protagonist

I’ve read plenty of fantasy novels where the main character is usually a teenager who goes on a journey, discovers themself, and becomes an adult.  This is a very common theme of epic fantasy stories.  I’ve read some in which the main character is an adult, as well.  However, a lot of fantasy stories are about self-discovery, and it’s usually teenagers that go through this process, both in literature and in reality.  Teenaged characters may also appeal more to younger readers.

So, this is what I’m wondering, how old do people prefer to have their protagonist? For me, it depends on the story.  Young characters are often needed, especially for self-discovery stories.  Adults can go through this, too.  But adults are usually less adaptable and more set in their ways. The two fantasy novels I’m reading right now are quite different.  “A Game of Thrones” has an ensemble cast of characters of many different ages.  There’s no particular lead character, as the point of view changes between several adult, teenage, and child characters. The other is an eBook I’m reading called “Voidhawk” where all characters are adults. But usually, I read fantasy novels with a teenaged lead character.

As for my planned trilogy, the main character starts out as a teenager for reasons I won’t get into now.  However, he is nearly an adult.

What age do you prefer protagonists to be?

Why do I like Shakespeare?

I was never a big fan of reading the classics in high school English. I think it had to do with teachers having their own opinion about the meaning of books and their insistence that they were correct. Well, I still enjoyed Shakespeare.

In high school, we read Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet. They are all filled with incredibly insane people creating a lot of drama, of course. But is that why I like it? No, I like it partly because it’s historical drama. It gives me an insight to what people at the time were thinking. But Shakespeare is very interesting. It wouldn’t reflect the reality of the time. So much of it is over the top. But that’s what it’s supposed to be, as it’s supposed to entertain the audience. I also like it because of the language. It’s fascinating trying to decipher the English of the time. It resembles modern English, but so many of the words and expressions are different and many common words are used differently. It’s great exercise for the brain!

I hope to read all that he’s written in the future.

How I choose what to read

I love going to bookstores and just browsing.  I usually look at the books I haven’t read, usually searching for the next book in a series I have or trying a new author in the same genre.  But what do I really want to read?

Up until recently, I’ve been buying books that are mainly fantasy or science fiction (or some classics).  I go to one of the big bookstores in Japan that sell foreign books, such as Kinokuniya in Shinjuku, Kumazawa (and formerly Yurindo) in Minato Mirai, and Maruzen in Marunouchi (Tokyo station area).  The newer Kinokuniya next to Takashimaya Times Square in Shinjuku is the best for fantasy and science fiction.  But these days, I don’t seem to buy books in bookstores.  I’d like to, but I’m trying to save money at the moment.

What I’ve been doing lately is looking for some promising looking eBooks that are offered for free on Amazon.  Since I’ve downloaded the Kindle app to my iPhone, I’ve been making my way through the books rather slowly.  But I’d like to support the independent authors by providing reviews, and I may find some unknown author who writes very well.

However, I do have a large number of unread books in my home, and I’ve found it difficult to decide which to read first.  So, if you’ve noticed before, I asked for advice using polls on this blog.  I may do it again in the future, but that remains to be seen.

Otherwise, I usually go with my gut feeling.  If there’s something that looks interesting to me, I’ll go for it.  I’m still waiting to read something truly bad.

Doing book artwork

Sometimes I wonder about my book artwork. Who should do it? A book needs good cover art, even if it’s an eBook. Can I do it?

I don’t trust myself to do the cover art. I can draw pretty well, but I can’t do art in colour. I’m good with a pencil or pen, but not with paint or colouring with a computer. It would look awful. That’s not my strong suit. I can do line drawings for the inside of the book, though. I can draw maps, buildings, animals, and scenery. But when adding colour, I can’t do it.

So, what do I do? I may have to hire an artist to do the cover art for me. Or if it’s a book like the Japan book I’m writing, I could use a photograph I’ve taken and some simple graphic art program, but I’m not sure how it’ll look. I’ll have to see.

If you’ve self-published, how did you get the cover art done?

(On a side note, this is the 50th post on this blog.)

This guy’s a congressman?

The massacre during the premier of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Colorado was a tragedy.  I can’t understand how James Holmes could have gone into the theatre and kill 12 people, including a 6 year old child.  It’s unforgivable.

But what I found ridiculous is that a congressman by the name of Louie Gohmert thinks that the cause of this massacre is the lack of prayer and the attack against Judeo-Christian values.  He thinks that if more people would pray, their prayers could stop the massacre.  Sorry, Rep. Gohmert, but that won’t do a thing.  More or less prayer won’t stop some guy from killing people.  These things have been going on for thousands of years.  It’s nothing new.  He doesn’t seem to understand his own government’s constitution, especially the part regarding separation of church and state.  He doesn’t understand that there are many religions in the USA.  He thinks that prayer, specifically Christian, should be permitted in high school graduations, for example.  That would leave out those who are not Christian.  Besides, public schools are state run, therefore, separated from church.  But that’s not the point of this post.  What I’m saying is that people will do whatever they want whether other people pray or not.  And specifying one particular religion goes against the fact that the USA was not founded as a Christian nation, hence the separation of church and state.

You may agree or disagree with him, it’s your choice.