A Post a Day – What I’ve Learned

Thank you everyone for following me through November.  It was a very quick month, and I successfully posted every day this month.  This is the final post of the month.

So, what did I learn?

In the beginning, I started a series about how to establish a colony on another planet.  I did some research to find out what’s feasible and what’s not.  I found it to be an interesting and useful exercise, especially for my own writing.

I also went through a marketing discovery.  I knew all about these websites, but I found that Reddit is extremely valuable, as long as you don’t flood them with links to your own blog. But honestly, you’re limited as to how much you can submit there.  StumbleUpon is good, though doesn’t generate as many visits as Reddit does.  But you can submit as much as you want.  But the big thing is that as long as I’m posting regularly, I get regularly higher views.  But that’s not exactly rocket science, is it?  This has been my best month in terms of readership by far.  The last time I had a jump in readers was when I did another post a day month.  This month, I’ve had nearly as many view as I had in all of August, September, and October put together.  Best of all, it keeps growing!  The past week has been my best ever.

So, what does this mean for the next month?  I’m going to continue posting at least 5 times a week.  I will be getting back to posting reviews, now that The 2014 Sci-Fi Experience is starting.  I will be posting new interviews.  And over on my official website, I’ll start writing the Ariadne Encyclopedia.

Just one other thing.  This is a very odd statistic that I noticed.  Ever since I wrote the post about population growth in a colony, I’ve been getting an increase in the number of people reading from South Korea.  The numbers coincide every day.  Is there a Korean search engine that picked that up and ranked it high?

Anyway, thank you very much for reading.  My readers are part of the reason I write (the other reason being because I want to).  Most of all, I enjoy engagement in the comments.  So, please comment whenever you see something interesting.  Let’s keep writing!

Word Count

How many words are in a novel?  I often think about what the number is for a novel, novella, and short story.  The answer isn’t set in stone.  It appears that the difference between a novel and novella isn’t quite definite.

The line between a novel and novella varies between 40,000 (as defined by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and 50,000 (as defined by National Novel Writing Month), and may even be much higher.  One source says at least 80,000 for adult novels.  So there is no hard rule.  And it really depends on publisher and genre.  So, I’ve wondered how many words are in some well-known novels.  I’ve taken some books from a list on another website, and chose a few to display the range.

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factor – 30,644
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – 36,363
  • Fahrenheit 451 – 46,118
  • Brave New World – 63,766
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – 77,325
  • 1984 – 88,942
  • The Hobbit – 95,022
  • Ender’s Game – 100,609
  • Oliver Twist – 155,960
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – 198,227
  • Moby Dick – 206,052
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – 257,154
  • Gone With the Wind – 418,053
  • Atlas Shrugged – 561,996
  • War and Peace – 587,287

Some of them are incredibly long.  But from what I’ve read, fantasy and sci-fi are typically between 90,000 and 120,000 as recommended by publishers.

Journey to Ariadne won’t be long.  I’ve conservatively estimated it to be around 40,000 words, which may be a short novel or a long novella, depending on who you ask.


Social Media, Marketing, and More

Well, I finally did it.  I joined Pinterest.  I’ve been a member of Facebook, Twitter, and Google + for quite some time, but I’ve decided to expand.

To market my future books, I need to use as many means as possible to advertise.  Joining social media is important, but not the biggest way to market.  However, this way is useful for interacting with readers outside of blog comments.  For each of my blog posts, I make a post on the social media sites.  I have the largest number of followers on Twitter, more than 1600 at this time, while my Facebook pages are lowest.  I’m wondering how Pinterest will pan out.

Aside from social media, I also think websites such as Reddit, StumbleUpon, and so on, are important for getting views.  Views are nice, but I want regular readers.  What I like to see are people liking my posts, but best of all are comments.  That shows I’m really connecting with people.

With my future books, I need to expand even further.  Not just social media, but also being active on other blogs, joining forums, and participating in blog tours.  I’m also open to doing guest posts.

One thing I’m going to try soon is spotlighting other blogs I find worth reading, and adding them to my blogroll.  You see the blogroll on the right side?  I like to check those blogs regularly.  I really do need to add on to it.  So, I’m going to ask this:  If you have a sci-fi, fantasy, or general book review website or blog, and would like to exchange links, leave a comment.

Also, if you would like updates on this blog, please follow this blog, or you can follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, or Goodreads.

Irritating but Awesome Dream

This morning, I had a dream just before waking up.  I can remember those dreams very well.  And since this one was quite unusual, I didn’t forget it.  It was an irritating situation, but it ended in an amazing way.

In the beginning, I was shopping in a supermarket with my family, and I had to pay 17,000 yen.  That’s $170 for you North American inhabitants.  I decided to pay by debit.  In Japan, there is no debit.  Everyone pays by cash or through an electronic prepaid card.  But in my dream, debit was an option.  I was declined.  What was it?  Not enough money in my account?  No, I had plenty in my dream account.  More than enough.  The manager came over and told me there was a problem.  He showed me how much I had in my account (supermarket managers can do that???) and how I haven’t been spending money from that account much at all (the supermarket is part of a bank???).  I explained to him that I was normally using that bank account to save money because I have a young child I need to save for.  He told me that he understood, and printed out a paper for me to read over, so we could clear up this problem.  I touched the paper, and it suddenly folded 90 degrees into the shape of a laptop computer.  A keyboard and a screen materialised on the paper.  Electronic paper!!  It seemed so real, and I was so amazed.  I couldn’t believe that they’ve started using electronic paper in this way.  What was even more amazing is that the paper started showing a video in full colour.

And then I woke up.  I was kind of disappointed.  I wanted that paper computer to be real.  But with the way technology is advancing, it’s quite possible it could soon.

Have you ever had a dream that was actually possible and impressed you a lot?  Leave a comment.

Why Haven’t They Made a Movie Yet?

Great books are often made into movies.  Not always great movies, but movies nevertheless.  Sometimes they’re also made into TV series.

Recently, Ender’s Game was made into a movie.  A Game of Thrones is a TV series.  Lord of the Rings became amazing movies.  I enjoyed the Harry Potter movies, despite a lot of cuts from the original books.  But there are some books I’ve read that I wonder why they haven’t been turned into movies or TV series.

The book I’m reading now seems like the perfect book to be made into a movie about Mars colonisation.  That’s Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.  I’m halfway through the first book of the trilogy, and it’s been about 20 years since it was published.  Will it ever be made into a movie?  I would watch it in a heartbeat!

Another I’ve read recently is Reality Dysfunction.  It would be great for those who like a bit of horror in their science fiction.  It’s a long trilogy, though.  It may be difficult to make such a complex story into a movie or series of movies.  TV series?

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series seems ripe for a TV series, although it is incredibly long.  Or how about 14 movies?  That would be long.  I wonder if it’s ever been considered for filming.  I think the length would put a lot of producers off of a project like this.

How about Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen?  It’s dark and gritty, and it seems people are eating up A Game of Thrones.  So why not this series?

Ringworld would be a fun movie to see.  It could be doable, and would need some great special effects.  I’d love to see it made into a movie.  The lighthearted mood in the book may not be carried over to a movie, though.

I know that Terry Brooks’ Shannara series has been optioned for a movie, but nothing has come of it yet.  I wonder if it will.  Same with Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series.  I’d love to watch either of them.

What would you like to see turned into a movie?

Note:  200th blog post!

Colonising a World: Potential Risks

Imagine traveling through space in a large metal can at nearly the speed of light.  What can happen?  The ship can hit a small object, maybe only a few millimetres across, and it can rip through the metallic shell and cause major damage.  So, of course, there are some ways to protect.  Thicker walls, electromagnetic deflection system, or maybe even a kind of warp bubble will keep that kind of thing away.

But going ahead to the landing of the colony, what kind of hazards can colonists encounter on the planet?  Plenty.


The type of planet will indicate the kinds of weather-related hazards there are.  A dry world could have massive dust storms.  A wet world will have huge cyclonic storms.  Somewhere in the middle, you have something like Earth.  You can encounter anything from tropical cyclones, flooding, thunderstorms, blizzards, tornadoes, and landslides.  A planet with a more eccentric orbit can have wildly different weather depending on the hemisphere.  One hemisphere may be more stable, while the other has incredibly large fluctuations, such as a short hot summer and long cold winter.

Ariadne is in a rather favourable position, being somewhat like Earth in temperature and orbital eccentricity, as well as axial tilt.


A seismically active world will have earthquakes, volcanoes, thermal vents, and tsunami.  A seismically dead world will likely have little to no magnetic field, which spells a lot of trouble. The solar wind would be stripping the atmosphere and radiation would be higher.  Not a good situation.

Ariadne is seismically active with large mountain ranges, volcanoes, and earthquakes.


Presumably, a world with life will have animals, though it’s quite possible to have only plant life, or something completely exotic.  But if there are animals, some may be dangerous.  This can range from large predators to small parasites.

Ariadne will have animals.  I’ve mentioned it before, and there will be a large variety of alien animals.


Bacteria and viruses may develop on other worlds, but it’s quite possible something totally unique will evolve.  However, they may work in a similar way to Earth bacteria and viruses.  Whether they’re compatible to human biology or not remains to be seen.

Ariadne’s situation is inconclusive.

Sentient Alien Life

What if the colony planet is already home to intelligent life forms?  This can prove to be a major problem.  An advance survey of the planet should reveal a technologically advanced life, unless they all live underground.  It is entirely possible that a pre-industrial society may live in forests and be unseen by orbiting satellites.  But what happens if they’re advanced?  Would they allow humans to live on the world with them? Or would they defend their planet and try to kill or expel the colonists?

Ariadne’s survey does not reveal advanced technology or a pre-industrial civilisation.

Human Conflict

It’s inevitable that the dangers on the world would be from the colonists themselves.  Mob mentality often results in irrational behaviour and fighting.  Differing ideologies may result in friction between different groups, and then conflict.  It may be inescapable.  Rules can be set for how countries can be established, but will those countries behave in a civilised manner toward each other?  Hopefully, with an entire world waiting to be explored and settled, everyone can be satisfied with what they have.

On Ariadne, it remains to be seen, but as this is going to be a novel series, it’s obvious there will be conflict.

Do you have any ideas what can threaten a colony?  Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Colonising a World: Establishing Towns

After some time has passed, a colony needs to start spreading out.  It’s human nature to want to explore the land and set roots somewhere.  With a growing population, new settlements will be needed.  But where would they be established?


Obviously, most towns will be founded along major waterways or on coastlines.  A major river system can support a large population, and also provide an easy way of transportation and trade between towns.  It provides the towns with drinking water and water for farms.

On Ariadne, the first settlement is next to a major river delta, while the second settlement is on a vast inland sea near a major river.


Towns will spring up where valuable resources are discovered.  These mining towns may continue to live on in the future, but may also become ghost towns.  But the longer they’re there, the more likely they’ll have connections with other settlements and a broader variety of industries.  On a colony world, metals will be valuable for electronics, construction, vehicles, and more.  Trees will also be valuable for construction.

On Ariadne, the first settlement has forest, though the main resource is water, as well as land for farming.  The second settlement is in a forested region with abundant minerals.

Trade Routes

Trade routes will undoubtedly encourage towns to spring up along the way.  The towns will provide travelers a place to stay, eat, and rest.  They will be kind of service towns, though they’ll also have their own industries.

On Ariadne, the route between the first two major settlements have towns along the way.


People want to live in comfortable climates.  Too cold and they’ll have a shorter growing season.  Too hot and dry, and they won’t have enough water.  Too wet, and there’s the risk of flood or unstable ground.

On Ariadne, the first settlement is in a subtropical zone with a comfortable climate that isn’t too hot, dry, or wet.  The second settlement is in a tropical rainforest that does get wet, but the growing season is all year.


Some cultures may want to form their own town.  They may look for an area that is comfortable for their way of life back on Earth.  People tend to gravitate toward their own culture and live with those who have the same values.

On Ariadne, this doesn’t happen until later.

Chance Discovery

Sometimes, there’s just something that fascinates people or gives them some kind of incentive to stay.  This may be a food source, an aquifer, a geothermal vent or hot spring, or beautiful scenery.  It could be anything.

On Ariadne, there is something that encourages one group of people to settle in a somewhat inconvenient location, but I can’t reveal that now.


Everyone likes convenience.  Probably the most important thing that makes a town convenient is access to major population centres.  This can be close proximity to larger cities or being situated on a major transportation route.  These places can easily get goods regularly.

On Ariadne, this is a major factor, as remote locations are not exactly the best option for a young colony.

So, there are many things to consider when selecting a location for a new town.  These are just a few.  What would you consider when choosing a place for a settlement?

Nothing Beats Being a Parent

I wrote this for my parenting in Japan blog, and thought I’d share it with all of you. If you’re a parent, I’m sure you feel the same way.

She is one of the reasons I write. She’s why I’m working so hard now on my writing.

Foreign Dad in Japan

Nothing can prepare you for parenthood.  Absolutely nothing.  When I became a parent, I felt something I’ve never felt before, something that is incredibly difficult to describe in words.  I can’t compare it with anything.

My daughter was born 1 year, 9 months, and 28 days ago.  On Monday, she’ll be 22 months old.  It’s been a roller coaster ride.  She’s been a newborn, a baby who couldn’t do anything on her own, a baby who could roll over, a baby who could crawl, a baby who could stand up, a baby who could walk, a toddler who could run, and now a toddler who can speak.  She hugs, she kisses, she holds hands.  When I come home from work, she smiles at me really big and runs to give me a hug while laughing.  When I get her out to the nursery driver, she waves and says “bye-bye.”  She…

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Doctor Who and Me

It’s Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary.  What a long run it’s had.  I’m absolutely amazed at how long it’s been going (not counting its 1989-2005 hiatus).

When I first watched Doctor Who, it was after midnight on PBS in the late 80s and early 90s.  I watched it every weekend, absolutely engrossed in this quirky science fiction TV series from England.  I watched as the 4th Doctor became the 5th Doctor, then the 6th Doctor, and the 7th Doctor.  That’s when I stopped watching it because it ended.  The days I remember most are with the 4th Doctor, K9, Romana, and Adric.  I don’t know why they stand out so much.  The 5th Doctor remains strong in my mind, as well.  I wasn’t very fond of the 6th Doctor, and I saw little of the 7th Doctor.  And then it ended in 1989.  I did see the 1996 movie, which featured a very, very short 8th Doctor.

The current incarnation of Doctor Who is available on Hulu here in Japan.  Seasons 1-4 are available now, but seasons 5-7 will become available next month.  Excited?  I sure am!  Have I watched it?  Not one bit!  I did see a Christmas special when I was on holiday in Canada one Christmas, and that was featuring the 10th Doctor, David Tennant.  But that’s all I’ve seen of the modern Doctor Who.

But I’ve heard a lot of it.  You see, my wife is currently watching season 2 on Hulu as I type this.  My wife has discovered Doctor Who and really enjoys it.  Who knew she would watch it and I wouldn’t?  I must start watching it when I have time!

Unbelievable.  I’m not watching it, but my wife is.  I never would’ve thought that would happen.