A Book for Every Country

It’s been four weeks since I posted a request for the best books from your countries. I’ve received some good responses, and have covered the expected countries, but some surprising ones, too.

I now have recommendations from the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Japan, and Nigeria. Nigeria? Yes! I know a lot of my readers are from India, Germany, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Australia. I know some of you from New Zealand, Malaysia, France, and Russia. I’d love to hear your recommendations, too. So, please go to my original post and give me a recommendation. That would be wonderful.

Also, please share the original post. If you have Facebook, you can share this Facebook post.

In the near future, I’m going to begin keeping a list of the books and authors that have been recommended to me, and updating frequently. I think I’ll have a map showing the countries that have been included so far.

Without you, this project can’t go forward. So, please do what you can to let others know about it, and I’ll be able to make a great list of books. Eventually, I’ll narrow them down to the ones I’m most interested in, and I’ll attempt to read them.

Any comments? Leave them below. However, if you have a book suggestion, please leave them in the original post.

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Week in Review – January 30, 2016

The final week of January brings me to only two months left in Japan. I’m feeling a sense of change, both in my attitude about moving, and a strong motivation for writing and the blog. In fact, there’s something new brewing. Let’s find out what happened this week.

Reading

I’ve made fairly big strides in reading Mercury by Ben Bova. I’m now at 66% finished. I wish I’d finished already, though. I’ll be behind my desired pace. I made no progress in Keepers of Water.

Writing

No writing done, but I have a new project in development that will encourage me and others to write. It’s the replacement/continuation of What Will You Write? I wrote about it this week. If you enjoy writing flash fiction, you might want to join when it’s ready to begin.

Languages

I’ve made very little progress. I’ve done some French reviewing, but nothing else. I need to work more on Cyrillic before starting up with Ukrainian and Russian. There’s a new language to try out on Duolingo, though. That’s Welsh! I’ll probably check it out in the next week.

Canada

Cleaning happening. I’m going to start looking for possible jobs in Edmonton. I may even apply if I can. Also, the time to make an appointment for my daughter’s kindergarten is coming up soon. We need to meet with the school to register her for kindergarten starting in September.

Videos

Yes! Finally, I have a video, and it’s about chocolate yakisoba. I posted about it yesterday. Check it out. It’s an unusual food.

The Blog

Like I said above, I’m starting a flash fiction weekly series in the spring. Other than that, I need to get caught up with the Authors Answer index page, as well as updating the review pages. I’ve fallen behind on the Top Ten lists, but I have one in development. For February, though, I’m going to switch topics to geography.

Studying

This has completely fallen through. I need to take on these online courses when I actually have time.

The Next Week’s Goals

A review or two. Also, another video or two. And hopefully a worldbuilding post. I may not do all of this, but I like to set my goals a bit higher than I know I can achieve. And I still need to revive my parenting blog.

What did you do in the past week? What are you planning for next week? Let me know in the comments below.

Two Months Until Canada

Two months.  Sixty days. In that short amount of time, we’ll be in Canada. With it being in the depths of winter, I’m often thinking about what it’ll be like in Canada. The two biggest things I think about are weather and food.

At that time of year, Vancouver’s weather should be somewhat similar to here, just wetter. Maybe a little cooler. But cherry trees will be blooming in both countries at the same time. That’ll be a nice sight to see. But our trip to Edmonton may be a snowy one. Since we’ll be going through the mountains by car, it could be snowy. But it might not be. Spring in Canada is unpredictable. I’m just hoping for nice weather so we’re not stuck inside.

Food is the other thing I think of. I keep wanting to eat at Harvey’s or having Canadian Chinese food.

Well, since there are two months to go, lots to do. Cleaning, packing, tying up loose ends. My biggest worry is sending our suitcases to the airport. I guess we’ll have them sent there and they’ll hold them until we get to the airport.

But for now, a couple more months of work. And that’s where I have to go now. Any suggestions for food I should eat in Canada?

Flash Fiction Weekly Series

Anyone remember What Will You Write? I’d mentioned that I wanted to bring it back eventually. Well, it sort of is coming back, but I want to run the idea I have for it by you first.

First of all, it will probably be under a different name. It’ll be competitive, and I want the name to reflect that.

Second, my idea for this is to have it as a weekly feature. With the success of Authors Answer, I’d like to ask for a group of people to submit weekly flash fiction of only 100 words. That’s much shorter than the original What Will You Write? And with only 100 words, it’s easier to write something every week.

Third, the group of people that will be writing will be the same each week. For this, I want those people to be absolutely sure they can submit something every week. I haven’t decided how many people will be able to participate, but I don’t think there’ll be a maximum. However, I’d like to keep the same group of people for a month at a time. Every month, new people can join and those who wish to stop participating can stop.

Finally, the way it will work is as follows. The participants will submit their stories to me by email. I will post the stories without their names in a post that contains a poll.  Anyone can vote in the poll for the story they like the best. This will be completely anonymous so that the participants have a fair chance of winning that week. Every week, I will post the stories with the winner or top three, and link back to the original post, which will have been edited with the authors’ names included. The following day, the new round starts.

Every month, I’ll write a spotlight post featuring the month’s winners, and at the end of a full year, I’ll post a ranking of all the winners. The top winner may receive something, but I have no idea what it would be at the moment.

I’d like to hear what you think. If you’re interested in participating in something like this, let me know in the comments. When I start this, I will make an announcement for people to apply to participate. If you leave a comment here, it’s not an official application, but I will do my best to try to contact you when it’s starting to see if you’re still interested. It will likely start in spring, after my move to Canada.

For everyone else, I’d like some feedback about this. What do you think? Any suggestions? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

Japanese Food Taste Test – Chocolate Yakisoba

A couple weeks ago, I was informed of a new flavour of yakisoba, which is a kind of Japanese fried noodle. The usual flavours are Sauce (which is a soy sauce based sauce) and Salt (a lightly flavoured sauce based on salt). Well, just in time for Valentine’s Day, they’ve introduced Choco Sauce Yakisoba.

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It looks pretty normal, though the toppings were chocolaty.

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But pictures just aren’t enough. I took a video of the experience. It’s pretty short, so it’ll only take 30 seconds of your time. Please watch!

Do you want to try it? Are there any unusual flavours of food you’ve tried? Let me know in the comments.

Choose My Best Instagram Photos – Round 1, Group 29

We’re seeing some good pictures now. I really like some of the photos in this group. I hope you enjoy them, too. There isn’t really a theme here, but there are several colourful leaf photos.

The rules are simple. I post 10 of my Instagram photos every few days, and you get to vote on your favourites. It’s multiple choice, so please vote for 2 to 4 photos (3 is ideal). Leave a comment saying why you voted the way you did. The poll comes after the photos.

Here are the photos!

Yellow ginkgo

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

Mt Fuji and Tanzawa Mountains

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

Today's Mt Fuji

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

Total lunar eclipse Dec 10, 2011

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

Shonan Monorail track

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

Park path in late autumn

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

Street in late autumn

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

UFO?

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

Cloudy reflection

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

December morning river and shadow

A post shared by Jay Dee Archer (@jaydeejapan) on

 

And now the vote. Please vote for your favourite photos (ideally 3, but anywhere between 2 and 4):

 

Thanks for voting! Please leave a comment below with your choices and reasons for choosing them. I’d like to know what people’s tastes are.

Authors Answer 65 – Convince Me to Read Your Genre

You know the kind of person who says they don’t like your favourite genre, even though they’ve never read it before? The kind of person who says, “Oh, that’s stupid. Why would anyone read it?” I’m sure you’ve met a few. I know I have. If you are one of those people, these answers are for you!

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 65 – What would you say to someone to convince them to read the genre you write in?

S. R. Carrillo

“Gay angel.” No, seriously. You’d be surprised what an uncommon word combination can do to intrigue someone. And it sums up my genre pretty well, I’d say – queer fantasy. One and done.

Gregory S. Close

If someone is convinced that they don’t like genre x,y or z then it’s hard to convince them to try it.  I’ve found the better approach is to find out what kind of stories a person enjoys (character driven, drama, romance, adventure, etc) without the label of genre attached, and then recommend a specific work that matches up nicely with that preference.  Some people think that they don’t like “fantasy” but they absolutely love Greek mythology, for example.  So I might recommend a sand & sandal epic that would appeal to them.  Someone might say that they don’t like lots of magical “nonsense,” so I could recommend something that lowers the reader gently into magical elements, like A Song of Ice and Fire.  Ultimately, I don’t worry about trying to be a fantasy/sci-fi evangelist.  Not everyone is going to like it, even the really good stuff, because it’s just not their cup of hot steaming steeped leaves in water.

Jean Davis

Do you find people interesting? I write about people. Sometimes those people are dealing with things in a science fiction environment, and sometimes as more of a fantasy world, but it all pretty much boils down to people making choices and interacting with one another.

Elizabeth Rhodes

This one’s difficult.  Usually if someone tells me they don’t like sci fi or fantasy I let it be.  There is an exception where I convinced my boyfriend to give Game of Thrones (the TV show, not the books) a chance based on the quality of the story alone.  So I guess that’s my method.  If I’m in love with the story, I’ll sell someone on that above its genre.  (And despite not liking fantasy stories, he’s just as addicted to the show now as I am.)

Eric Wood

I would tell them that there is more to children’s story than the simple plot. Often, there many underlying messages, lessons to be learned, and hidden meanings. The stories can often be interpreted so many different ways. The stories are short, but they can be full of intricacies.

H. Anthe Davis

Fantasy: Not Just An Escape!  Read fantasy novels to see a reflection of our world, stripped of many of the divisive labels and visuals in order to present real conflicts and concerns from a fresh perspective!  Like science fiction, fantasy can expound upon modern issues, taking them to a variety of logical or illogical conclusions — but unlike (most) science fiction, fantasy has dragons!  Though much fantasy of the past has been regressive, in that it focused strongly upon European medieval themes, it has become far more expansive and inclusive in recent years, embracing all manner of settings and time periods as the basis for its flights of fancy.  The time to start is now!

Paul B. Spence

I would hope they wouldn’t need convincing. Science fiction is the history of the future. All of our hopes and dreams, and sometimes nightmares, reside there. The best of science fiction has subtle social commentary that transcends the ages. I recently reread Heinlein’s Have Space Suit, Will Travel, and was surprised at how current some of the social commentary is.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I don’t specifically stick to one genre, but I’ll answer for the two genres that I write in the most often.

For horror, I’d explain that there is something very thrilling in writing about ghosts and ghouls and nightmare creatures. I’d describe how it’s both challenging and very fun to try to establish how each particular character reacts to different situations; for instance, one of my favorite scenes from “Nowhere to Hide” to write is the one in which Nancy is first actually faced with zombies. I loved describing the strange way her brain almost short-circuited – how she’d be freaking out one second and considering completely random, unimportant information the next.

For fantasy, I’d say that it’s all about good, old fashioned imagination. In a fantasy world you can do practically anything and everything. You don’t have to worry about being able to explain something scientifically, or describing real-life places accurately, or any of that nonsense. You can start completely from scratch and throw in whatever you damn-well please, and while you still have to consider whether what you’re doing is good for the story or not, that huge, blank pallet is something that is wonderful to be able to work with.

D. T. Nova

The only thing I can really think of is to point out something else that they like which does fall into the genre that they say they don’t read. However, this doesn’t actually convince people very often.

Allen Tiffany

Oh, not sure I’d ever try this. And I write in two genres: Historical military fiction, and Sci Fi. If pressed, though, I’d speak to Sci Fi and I’d argue that Sci Fi will show you universes that you would never see otherwise.

Linda G. Hill

At the moment I’m writing paranormal romance. I would say, perhaps, that romance is something almost anyone can relate to. The paranormal part of the genre I write in, however, might be impossible to convince someone who reads only practical text to enjoy. And what’s the use in reading something you don’t enjoy?

Jay Dee Archer

Fantasy and science fiction can offer readers many things. Of course, they can offer entertainment and escape to another world. But I think that’s what many critics of the genres think is what’s wrong with them. Well, they are actually quite intelligent genres. Science fiction usually deals with contemporary issues, such as racism, terrorism, war, climate change, and disease. It can show a possible consequence of our actions, and maybe offer a way to avoid it.

Fantasy, on the other hand, is an examination of the human condition. Much of the genre looks at human behaviour, especially when confronted by immense pressures. It looks at the dark side of humanity, and what we are capable of. It may provide a look into your own mind.

How about you?

What would you say to someone to convince them to read your genre? Let us know in the comments below.