Woefully Unprepared for NaNoWriMo

The past three days have taught me something.  I am not ready to tackle NaNoWriMo this year.  I have an idea which wouldn’t be a novel, but a nine part serial of short stories.  However, my inability to edit and post part 3 of Journey to Ariadne shows me that I certainly couldn’t write 50,000 words in the next month.

Part of my problem is my daughter.  She’s at a stage in which she completely occupies my time when I’m at home.  Also, she hasn’t been going to bed at a decent time, as she refuses to sleep before midnight most of the time.  My prime writing time, which is late evening and into the early hours of the morning, are often taken up by cooking, eating, and trying to get my daughter to sleep.  And now she’s sick with bronchitis.  Her sleeping habits will be unpredictable.

Anyway, I don’t want to work on another story when I’ve got Journey to Ariadne to work on.  I’d rather focus on that while my motivation is high (and it is).

There’s no point in me taking part in NaBloPoMo, either.  I already write a blog post every day.  I did it last year, and ever since, nearly every month has been NaBloPoMo.  I post daily, and haven’t missed a single day since March.

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo?

Honestly, Earth is Tiny

Ever wonder how Earth compares in size with Jupiter?  How about the Sun?  I found this article with some pretty good pictures showing just how big the Earth is.

Not impressive enough?  Well, how does it compare with stars?  You know, the Sun isn’t that big when compared to the biggest stars in the galaxy.  This video illustrates that perfectly.

Impressed?  Discuss below.

Editing, editing, editing

What is it about editing that makes me hesitate?  I have a story that’s been looked over, and I know where I need to make some changes.  But when I sit down to edit, I find that sometimes the words don’t come.  Writer’s block?  No, editing block.

This time, I’m making a big change to the opening scene, but I’m trying to figure out the words to use.  I’m not doing a large amount of editing overall, but I hope to finish it in the next hour (honestly, it’s not a very long story).  With any luck, I’ll have Journey to Ariadne part 3 up in the next 16 hours.

For those of you who write, how do you feel when you start editing something?

4 Books and a Photo

As the British might say, Rowan Atkinson is bloody brilliant.  But that’s not what I’m posting about.  Far from it. And I’ll be brief.

First, the four books.

I’ll be posting a review of a book I read a little while back, but haven’t gotten around to posting it yet.  It has some things in common with James Bond, which I love, but this is nowhere near as good.  It was rather meh.

I finished another book last night which had an interesting idea, nice worldbuilding, terrible pacing, characters with questionable intelligence that were difficult to like, and a badly placed cliffhanger for a trilogy.

One book I’m currently reading has an interesting idea, but utterly dull characters that I don’t care about.

And I just started a new book that has me hooked from the opening scene.  Very nice!

As for the photo, it’s not just one photo, but many.  You may or may not know that I like photography.  I’ve begun updating my iPhone photography blog again, so please head on over and take a look.

Ending My Study Break

As many of you may know, I’d been taking several online courses through Coursera and FutureLearn.  However, I’ve let six courses go by without me even touching them.  I’ve done a bit of housekeeping and removed myself from those courses.  I now have two courses that have just started, and I’m thinking about getting to work on them.  They don’t seem very intensive, so that’s good.

There’s one course I started in the summer than I still have an interest in, and that’s about the time of Richard III.  It looks like I can actually continue to go through the course.  So, I will do that.

I also need to go through future courses to see what’s interesting for the new year.  The courses I dropped may be available again next year, so I’ll see about them.  But this time around, I’ll make sure I don’t enroll in too many courses at once.  I think I burned myself out.

Wagyu Beef

Kobe beef, Matsusaka beef, Mishima beef.  These are the better-known types of wagyu beef, or simply Japanese beef.  Japanese beef known for its marbling and high fat content.  When you eat wagyu, it almost melts in your mouth.  It has a very high level of umami flavour.  You just keep wanting to eat it.  It is so delicious.

Tonight, I ate wagyu beef.  I had sukiyaki.  Now I feel heavy.  My stomach is a bit unsettled.  That’s what happens when you eat a lot of wagyu beef.  But it’s sooooo goooooooood!

But that’s not why I wanted to talk about wagyu beef.  I have a little bit of trivia for you.

Have you ever been to a restaurant in the US, Canada, or any other non-Japanese country that advertised Kobe beef?  Did you go in and try it?  Did you brag to your friends that you ate Kobe beef?  Well, guess what.  You probably didn’t eat Kobe beef. Before 2012, Kobe beef was not exported.  But some has been exported since then, though it’s still most likely that Kobe-style beef is served.  But if it was authentic Kobe beef, then congratulations.

So, I ate wagyu beef tonight.  I feel a bit blah, but it was sooooo gooooood!

Publishing and Kindle Unlimited: Conclusions from Hugh Howey’s Latest Author Earnings Report

Very interesting. Seems Kindle Unlimited actually is increasing author income. Thanks to Hugh Howey for a lot of investigation into this. I strongly urge you to read this if you’re thinking about KU.

Nicholas C. Rossis

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Image: islam-science.net

This has been a busy week. I was reading a post by Chris McMullen on Kindle Unlimited and the effect it has on rank. The next day, I came across Hugh Howey’s latest Author Earnings Report (October 2014), and a couple of interesting posts by Publishing Perspectives and Savvy Writers. As always, the publishing industry is in a state of flux, making self publishing a bit like trying to score a goal on an uneven field. Filled with shifting sand. And moving goal posts. Oh, did I mention we’re using a Rubic’s cube for a ball?

So, what have I learned from all that?

First, Some Numbers

The total number of books in print hit 28 million worldwide in 2013 , as calculated by all the titles that acquired ISBNs. In the United States, some 390,000 ISBNs were taken by the self-published authors, while approximately 300,000 were solicited…

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Authors Answer Contributor Pages

The new feature, now officially called Authors Answer, has its own page.  Not only that, there’s a contributors page, too.

You won’t find all of the profiles up yet, as I’m waiting for three of them.  But please go and check them out.  They’ll be answering a question every week about writing and books, and the answers will be posted every Friday.

Now, I still need the bios for the following people:

  • Jean Davis
  • Elizabeth Rhodes
  • Linda G. Hill

Please let me know through the form on the About page.  Then I can get you the questions for November.

Also, there’s still room for one more contributor.  If you’re interested, please leave a comment.  First person to offer will become a contributor.

I’m looking forward to all of the answers!

Things that Will Happen Today…Maybe

I had big plans for this morning.  Edit Part 3 of Journey to Ariadne and post it.  Yeah, that’s not likely to happen.

So, what’s the problem?  My daughter is hanging all over me.  She refuses to play on her own, which she was doing the moment before I sat down to edit.  She seems to have a kind of write-dar (writing radar?).  She’ll play happily on her own, but whenever I go to my computer to do any kind of writing, she comes over to me and begs me to play with her.  I don’t know how she does it.

So, here are some things I plan to do today, but may be completely disrupted by my daughter:

  • Edit Journey to Ariadne part 3 and post it.
  • Write contributor pages for those who have sent their bios to me.
  • Send out November questions to those who have given me their email addresses.
  • Write a review of The Somali Doctrine.

I’ll interrupt this list with something new.  My daughter just tied up a measuring tape into knots, and is now throwing a tantrum because I put it away.

And now she’s called me over because a tear dripped on the floor.

Okay, she’s over her tantrum now, and I can continue writing this.


She came over to me and is now crying.

I think I’ll end this post.  Comments are welcome.  I’d love to read them.  It would lighten the mood.

So Far from Canada, Yet Feel So Close

With everything that happened in the last few hours in Ottawa, I have never felt so close to Canada while being half a world away.  It’s strange.  I’ve been in Japan for nearly ten years, and for much of it, I felt a disconnect from my home country.  I’ve been living in Japan, I see what happens in Japan, and I feel a stronger connection to events in Japan.  However, this attack on Cpl. Nathan Cirillo by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau has brought my thoughts firmly back to Canada.

This has me angry.  The response I’ve seen from various people also makes me angry, as I feel a lot of it is misguided and potentially dangerous.  Some sources are connecting the shooter to ISIS and Canada’s announced involvement in the fight against them.  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has even linked this incident to terrorism.  Zehaf-Bibeau has a criminal record related to robbery and drugs, and has had his passport revoked because he is a travel risk.  However, the terrorism link is not confirmed, and people should not start pointing fingers until we know what the motives were.

What I’m angry about seeing is that many people are condemning Muslims in general. I know some Muslims, and they’re all wonderful people who would never think of doing anything like this.  In fact, they would condemn this act.  So before people start attacking innocent Muslims over this incident, remember that most of them are as dumbfounded and upset about it as you are.  They are not the enemy.  Reactionary attitudes like this are extremely harmful.  That is all I’m going to say about this.

And to those of you trying to politicise this whole incident and make it a Conservative versus Liberal thing, shut up.  A man died.  All sides of the government are in agreement in this situation.

One thing I love about Canada is the tolerance people have for other cultures.  Please don’t let this incident turn into an excuse to exercise intolerance.