Tag Archives: New Year

2017 Resolutions

Although it’s now the second day of 2017, here are my “resolutions” for the year. Actually, I don’t do resolutions, just rough ideas I’d like to achieve. And they are:

  • In terms of reading, read 24 books, or two per month.
  • In terms of writing, finish Journey to Ariadne and start Knight of Ariadne.
  • As for my booktube channel, continue to improve my editing and make a lot of videos.
  • For my new science channel, make high quality educational videos that people find interesting and entertaining.
  • Get a car.
  • Work full time.
  • Go on a trip to the west coast with my family.

I think they’re all pretty doable. Nothing extreme. What are your plans for 2017?

Another Walk – Unexpected Festivities

On Tuesday, we went for another walk. It was the last day of our holidays, and we made it a pretty interesting walk. We walked in an area we’ve never been to before, and had a very good time with some festival food.

Here, we walked down a street we’ve never been to before. As someone who likes exploring, this was all very interesting to me.


We left the hilly area and entered the Sagami plain area of Kanagawa. It’s pretty flat.


Welcome to Samukawa! I’d been there before, but not around Samukawa Station. Only Miyayama Station.


The road approaching Samukawa Shrine. I was there once before, and it was somewhat busy. However, it’s still the New Year period. What would we see?


Surprise! Ume blossoms! That’s three weeks early. It’s been a warm winter so far.


Samukawa Shrine! That’s a very big torii, or shrine gate. The traffic was incredible here.


Here’s the bridge and gate entering the shrine grounds. The bridge was actually quite steeply arched.


On the ground is part of the original torii. On the left is a lantern.


It’s busy. Much busier than I’d seen before.


Lots of food stalls here. Looks like we found where we’re getting lunch.


Amazing! This is the inner gate into the shrine. And it’s so crowded.


A closeup of the gate. Very colourful.


You can see the shrine through the gate. And that’s a big paper lantern.


The main hall of the shrine. There’s a lot of gold there, actually. In the shrine grounds, there were probably several hundred people.


Another shrine building. You could buy many things there.


People tying omikuji (fortunes) to ropes.


Time for lunch! With it being like a festival, and so many food stalls, I had some very typical festival food. This was my frank.


And jagabata, or potatoes with butter. Delicious!


After eating, we starting going home. Here is the same river we saw the day before, the Megujiri River. Very rural in this area.


Some old farm buildings with the Tanzawa Mountains in the background.


It was quite the walk. It was actually my third longest walk ever at 18.97 km. I had blisters on the bottom of both big toes. It was getting difficult to walk at the end.

Walks like this are great. We encountered something unexpected, a festival-like atmosphere at a famous shrine. With less than three months to go in Japan, I think we may take a few more of these walks and discover some new things or visit familiar places.

Have you ever gone for a walk or drive and found something unexpected?

Authors Answer 61 – A Look at 2016

Happy New Year everyone! It is now 2016, and this is the first Authors Answer of the year. 2016 is a big year for me personally, and it should have some surprises in store from many of us. Let’s find out what we’re doing in 2016.

003Question 61 – What are your goals for 2016?

S. R. Carrillo

My primary goals are to continue reading quality indie books, re-release the first two books of my debut series, travel a bunch, love, laugh, deep condition every week and drink lots of water… :D!

Gregory S. Close

Publish.  I’d been invited to contribute a short story to a small press anthology, and due to poor work and life circumstances this year, I wasn’t even able to complete it.  Really frustrating.  I need to figure out a writing schedule that will work so that I can get some closure on works in progress.  I’d like to finish Greyspace, and either publish traditionally (still being reviewed by a publisher – they haven’t said no yet) or Kickstart it if that fails.  Secondly, I need to get my first draft of The End of Dreams to my editor (sequel to In Siege of Daylight).  I would love to do both and build back some momentum for my writing!

Jean Davis

Write another batch of short stories that I can get into submissions and try to get another novel published.

Elizabeth Rhodes

My writing goal for 2016 is to get the first draft of a new novel down.  This is tricky, because right now I’m trying to figure out what that next novel will be.

I’m also planning to take a second crack at the 52 books reading challenge.  I’ve never been a fast reader, and reading one book a week will be hard for me.  On the other hand there are so many books on my shelves that I want to read and never got around to.  That changes in 2016.

Eric Wood

My goals for 2016 will be to be successful completing the goals I set in 2015. This will be a do over. Blog wise, I don’t really have any goals other than to keep on writing material others want to read. Healthy wise, I’m going to attempt my 1,000 mile challenge again. Perhaps this will be the year I write some children’s books. Or try to get into production the stories I’ve already written.

H. Anthe Davis

Finish and publish my fourth book, hopefully by mid-year, and get started on the fifth.  Well — get a good way through the fifth!  I’ve been trying to reduce my required writing time, but it’s a war between motivation and my desire to lay on the floor and do nothing now and then.  I should also get some short stories done, even though I hate short stories; there are certain side characters’ tales to either fill in or wrap up, so I have many ideas, I’m just not fond of the format.  Must push myself.  Beyond my writing-work, I really don’t have other goals…I just go along with my schedule.  I’m dull!  😀

Paul B. Spence

Survive? LOL… My writing goal is to finish the three books I’m working on right now. I’ll be happy if I finish one of them, to be honest.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

My main goal for 2016? To somehow get a handle on myself. 2015 seemed to fly by mainly because I seemed to be constantly head-to-the-wall busy at all times. Part of this was because of the nature of my job (which has me stuck on a work camp for 14 days at a time and thus unable to get much done during the shifts), and part of it is because I’ve been spreading myself a little thinner with all my YouTube videos and the like, but a good chunk is also just that I’m terrible at time management. I’m hoping to work on that.

But another big goal is to get the first book of “The Other World” set up for publication. I had intended to have it in the hands of my beta-reader several months ago, but I somehow managed to never actually finish the last two chapters, so things got put on hold. I’m hoping to have a completed (revised and edited) manuscript sometime within the first third or so of 2016, and I’m going to submit to a few traditional publishers as soon as I can. I’m really hoping to possibly publish in this manner, but if things aren’t looking good by the end of the year I’m going to go ahead and self-publish this one as well, because I don’t want to wait too long before having a second book available.

Finally, I’d like to work through the mess of half-stories that I created during NaNoWriMo this past year and try to get a few of my erotic fairy tales up for availability on Kindle, mostly as an experiment to see whether or not they would actually sell. I’m very interested in the results.

There are other things that I’d like to accomplish in 2016, but those are the major ones. 🙂

D. T. Nova

My biggest one is the goal I planned but didn’t accomplish for 2015: to publish my first novel.

Allen Tiffany

Historically I’ve never set goals on 1 Jan, but this year is going to be different. I’m feeling like there is too much to do regarding my writing, and my work life has gotten more complicated and demanding. So I’m going to prioritize and focus more than I ever have:

1) Though it may not sound like it is directly related to writing, workout at least 5 times a week again. I got religion on this about 4 years ago, and got into great shape by riding my roadbike more than 4K miles a year, but over the last year, I lost it… 😦 Time spent working out feels like a time suck (it is), but I just feel better and think better – to include all aspects of my writing – so I need to get back to it.

2) Publish Lonely Hunter. It has now been two years in the making. The last year has been tweaking and tuning as I’ve gone on to write the second book (Vicious Harvest) in the 5-book series and most of the third and important parts of the fourth and fifth. Working on all five has been distracting in one sense, but it has also been hugely helpful – I fully understand the entire story, where it is going, how the characters develop, etc. Knowing that informs the writing of LH down to very subtle details. But at some point I have to get on with it. I am putting it through an online workshop one more time (about 1/3rd of the way done with that), then I’m going to dig through it a few more times, and then hopefully send it off to my editor by ~end of March. She is going to need at least a month with it, if not two. So…all considered, I might get LH published in the June timeframe. …I hope.

3) Get Vicious Harvest through CritiqueCircle and to my editor by the end of the year. You can see an excerpt of VH at http://www.allentiffany.com/end-war-scifi-novel-excerpts/end-war-book-2-vicious-harvest/. Though it has been through 4 beta readers already, it is really exciting to get this one in front of objective, thoughtful reviewers.

Linda G. Hill

My main goal – in fact, my only resolution – for 2016 is to get a novel published, whether traditionally or self-published. I started my major epic, The Great Dagmaru, as my NaNoWriMo project in 2011, though it took me 18 months to finish the first draft. Since then I’ve been editing it. I’d like to get it out there before I edit it to death.

Jay Dee Archer

This is a huge year for me. I think the biggest thing is moving back to Canada with my family. There is so much to do between now and then, I’ll have no time for writing. I’ll keep reading, though. After arriving in Canada, I’ll be busy with getting all the various IDs, addresses, bank accounts, etc, set up, as well as finding a job, if I haven’t done so already. Also, get a car.

On the writing front, once everything’s settled, I’ll be focusing a lot of Journey To Ariadne, while also working on the first book of Ariadne. I’m going to do some work on short stories and flash fiction, as well.

As for reading, I’ll probably continue as usual for the first three months, then after moving, I may have more time to read. 2015 was a slow year for reading, so I hope 2016 is far better.

How about you?

What are your plans for 2016? Share what’s in store for you in the comments below.

A New Year in Japan – Sunrise at Enoshima

I think these pictures will speak for themselves. We successfully saw the sunrise at Enoshima this year. The clouds in the horizon made it even better.

The sun isn’t up yet.


Here’s Enoshima.


Some orange clouds on the horizon.


And now Mt. Fuji.


There’s the sun!


Some reflection off the water.


Wow! Looking good.


More Mt. Fuji.


A final look at Mt. Fuji.


Goodbye, Enoshima!


Next up is a quick breakfast while we wait for our train.

A New Year Live Blog

I’m going to try something a bit different this New Year. A kind of live blog where I tell you some of the highlights of our New Year adventure.

Like last year, we plan to see the sun rise at Enoshima early in the morning of January 1st. Then we’ll head up to my wife’s family’s for the big family gathering. Expect pictures of a sunrise (if it’s not cloudy), a train called Romance Car, and plenty of food and drink. I want to do this mostly for my family to see what our New Year is like, because they’ve never experienced a Japanese New Year. It’s the biggest holiday of the year here.  It’s also our last one in Japan. I want to show some great memories.

Who’s interested?

Busy Two Weeks

From now on, I’m going to be pretty busy for the next couple of weeks. Twice, we’ll be going out of town to visit relatives. Both times will be overnight trips. But no need to worry, I’ll still be posting twice a day. That’s what’s nice about having a WordPress app on my phone. I can blog from anywhere.

January 1st is going to be very busy, and I won’t have any time to post Authors Answer myself, so I’ll be scheduling it for that day. I’ll be writing it up a couple days before and have it post automatically. The one for Christmas will go up as normal, since we’ll be home.

I’ll still be working some days, while others  have off. But I’ll be busy, mostly because of travel, eating and drinking with family, and occupying my daughter’s time (or she’s occupying my time). I’m wondering what to do for the Monthly Review. I can’t do it on time, so it’ll be late. I also can’t do the Weekly Review on January 2nd. I’ll have a big one on the 9th, then.

I also have a big idea for the new year, so expect something interesting after the holidays.

Are you busy over the next couple weeks?

A New Year at the Beach

Today, we went to the beach to watch the sunrise.  However, it was cloudy over the eastern horizon.  While we didn’t get to see the sunrise, we did get to see Mt. Fuji turn pink.  We also did hatsumode, or the first shrine or temple visit in the new year.  We did that on Enoshima.  After that, we walked all the way home, more than 11 km.  Below is just a preview of the photos.  I’ll be posting all of the photos on my Japan blog later.

Mt. Fuji turning pink from the sunrise.
Incredibly crowded! This is at the base of the hill. We had to go all the way to the top.
A look back at Enoshima from the beach.

I’ll also be posting some 2014 in review posts, as well as the month in review post for December.  These will come later after I get a little bit of sleep.  I didn’t get much!

Authors Answer 8 – A Look at 2015

2014 is coming to an end in less than a week, and we have a lot to look forward to.  New Year’s Day is the biggest holiday in Japan.  Nearly everything is closed, families get together and have a traditional meal, and many people spend some time praying at the local (or a famous) shrine or temple to wish for a good year.  The picture below was taken in my wife’s grandmother’s house.  You’ll see these everywhere in Japan.

003So, what are our authors doing for the new year?  Many people try to set goals for the year with New Year’s Resolutions, but for authors, these are more like deadlines, not just mere desires.

Question 8: The New Year is coming soon. What are your plans for 2015 in terms of writing?

Michael J. Sullivan

I always have a lot of projects going on, so let’s see…I’ve spent the last few years working on my new epic fantasy, The First Empire, and it’s nearing completion.  Yes, I’m a crazy person who writes all the books before publishing any of them.  This series contains five novels, the first four of which are already written. I’ve outlined and started the final volume. Currently, I’m implementing beta feedback for, Rhune, the first book, and hoping to have the fifth book completed in March or April 2015.  In this series, a group of ordinary people play a pivotal role in important events that occurred in the distant past of Elan (the fictional world which is the setting of my Riyria stories). The deeds of this group are lost to history as others usurp the successes for themselves. All this takes place 3,000 years in Elan’s past and tells the “real” story behind much of Riyria’s mythology. No prior experience with Riyria is required to enjoy this series to the fullest. That being said, veteran readers will discover I wasn’t 100% honest about much of the history I’ve told so far. For me, one of the coolest aspects of this series is the ability to explore the differences between myth and reality.

Next up is the third novel in my Riyria Chronicle series. I outlined this some time ago, but work on The First Empire has delayed its progress.  The chronicles are continuing adventures with my two main protagonists Royce and Hadrian.  Unlike The First Empire and The Riyria Revelations, these stories are standalones rather than part of an overarching storyline.  As such, they can be read individually and out of order.  I’m being cautious about having the Riyria duo overstay their welcome, so my plan has been to release a book and then gather feedback to determine if more should be written. With the release of The Rose and Thorn, it became evident people still want more of the pair, and I’m more than willing to oblige. Writing that book should take me through July or August.

That gives me enough time to write one more book in 2015; I might not get it completed, but it will certainly be well on its way by year’s end. I’m still trying to decide which project I’ll do.  One choice is a standalone fantasy I outlined two years ago, which has been pushed back several times because of other projects.  The other option is a sequel to Hollow World (my science fiction novel). When I wrote that book, I had five or six “follow on” stories in mind, and again, the feedback has let me know people want more about these characters.

Elizabeth Rhodes

My main goal for 2015 is to have a completed Jasper manuscript ready to sell.  I haven’t decided yet if I’ll enter it in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Contest, but that’s a definite possibility.  I also want to start on Jasper’s Legacy, the sequel to Jasper.  This will likely be my next NaNoWriMo project.  But mostly, I think I’d like to step away from the writing and read more books for most of the year.  It’s been too long since I’ve finished a book.

Caren Rich

Just to keep at it.  Through NaNoWriMo I found out that I can find time to write and that I can be very productive in just an hour a day.  I want to take that and apply it to my daily routine.  Granted very little housework occured during the month of November and I can’t do that on a regular basis, the natives will revolt.  But I can be productive in small bits of time.  I also plan on stop hiding in my hobbit hole and send out queries like a good little writer.

Jean Davis

I have high hopes for 2015 to be much more productive than this past year was on the writing front. After settling into my writing room that is currently waiting for paint and trim, I need to finish up edits on a fantasy romance novel and several short stories. Then it’s off into submissions with those projects and possibly self-publishing one of the two novels I do currently have completed. I will again be participating in A Story a Day In May, which is when I do most of my short story writing, edit those over the summer and get them out into submissions in the fall. Which brings me to NaNoWriMo in November and whatever new project I happen to come up with by then.

D. T. Nova

I hope to have my first novel published, and after that there are some ideas that have been kicking around in my head for years that I might finally get to writing.

Amy Morris-Jones

Wow, this is a tough one. So many possibilities… I think my primary goal is to finish the novel I’m working on currently. I’m about 45,000 words in, and it’s time to call this one finished. I also need to submit more of my short fiction. I started to do that a bit this year, but I need to keep sending things out into the world.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Things can always change, but I have a broad idea of what I want to accomplish for 2015. I want to complete the first draft of all four books of the YA fantasy series that I’m writing, first and foremost. Then I want to work on editing book one, which I hope will take significantly less time than it took me to edit my first novel, and if all of the stars and planets align properly I would like to have that book available for sale by the end of the year. Ambition!

Paul B. Spence

My plans for 2015 are 1) seeing my third Tebrey novel, The Madness Engine, published early in the year and 2) putting the final polish on the first book of another series.

H. Anthe Davis

I’m currently editing my third book, with a release goal of February.  Once that’s out (or before, if I have to wait on the cover), I’ll get started on the rough draft of book four, which I would also like to have out in 2015 if the size of it permits, but which otherwise I’ll probably be writing and rewriting all year.  Since there’s a bit of a paradigm-shift between books 3 and 4, I’m also considering writing some short stories to bridge the gap, but while I have some ideas, I’ve never been great at short stories.  So we’ll see.

S. R. Carrillo

I wanna release the sequel to my debut novel, The Soul, early in the year and hopefully towards the latter half of the year get to publish another project – doesn’t matter what – but, if not, then at least finish up the first draft of my sci-fi/dystopian co-authored title Pride.

Linda G. Hill

Looking forward to January answers from Linda.

Jay Dee Archer

I often begin the year with a lot of lofty goals.  My goals are just as lofty for 2015.  However, I think I’ve devised a way to manage my time.  I plan to write for at least 15 minutes a day, whether that’s on Journey to Ariadne, flash fiction, or short stories.  With that said, I hope to have all of Journey to Ariadne written in 2015.  That doesn’t mean publication, though.  I need to flesh everything out, and that’ll take time.  While I’m doing that, I’ll also begin writing my short story science fiction series featuring a dying man and his desire to explore the planets.

I would also say that blogging is included in writing.  I’ll maintain a post a day for 2015, as well.  I’ve managed it extremely well since March this year, and haven’t missed a day.  Some of those posts will include flash fiction, as well as some of my dreams written out as short stories.  That should be fun.

In the new year, I’ll have a big post outlining 2015, not just for writing.

How about you?

What are your plans for 2015? What are you writing?  If you’re not writing, do you have any other plans? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Michael J. Sullivan for participating this month.  He had some wonderful answers, and I’m definitely going to keep my eye out for Moleskine notebooks in the future.  Thank you very much!

The Blog in 2014

I’ve already posted about my year ahead, but I wasn’t very specific about what’s going to happen with my blogging.

My daily posting is expected to continue, unless I have a busy day or two here or there, or I’m away on vacation.  When I’m blogging as I like on a daily basis, I feel pretty good.  I enjoy the interaction with my readers, and I find I always have something to write about.

There’s something I want to do for 2014, and that’s start a roughly weekly fact series of posts.  The title of this blog is related to encyclopedias, and I always loved reading about various topics when I was a kid.  I’d like to bring back that feeling by reading a bit about different topics (mainly science and geography related), and sharing some interesting facts about them.  I might tell you about the cerebelum one week, then talk about Mt. Etna the next, and then about gypsum.  Who knows?  But I think I’ll keep them mostly related to events going on in the world, so it’s more relevant.

Another thing I’ll be doing is using paint.net to experiment with graphics editing.  I’d like to redo the site’s design, as well.  The header could use some freshening up and a bit more relevant to the topic (it’s currently a picture of Enoshima in the city I live in).  I will also be using it to work on maps.  That’s right, I’ll be posting maps of Ariadne, mainly on my official site, but I’ll also discuss it here.  And if I become proficient enough with it, I may even work on my own cover art.  I’m pretty decent at drawing and have done graphics art before, but I’m pretty rusty.

As always, I’ll be bringing more reviews and interviews.  I hope to increase my reading pace to 30 books in the coming year.

I’ll be a bit quiet over the next few days, unfortunately.  When I return later in the week, expect some great things to come!

Goals for 2013

I refuse to make resolutions.  Instead, I’m setting some realistic goals for myself.  Although I guess those are resolutions.  I’m just not calling them that.

I’ll keep this list nice and simple.

Write everyday

Even if it’s only 15 minutes, I’d like to work on my book everyday.  I want to make good progress on it.  Hopefully, I can even publish it this year.

Blog frequently

My goal is at least 5 times a week on this blog.  On my Japan blog, I’ll be posting at least once a week, probably 2 or 3 times a week.  On my baby blog, I post whenever there’s something to post.

Read a lot

On Goodreads, I set my goal to 25 books this year.  I read 14 last year.  We’ll see how I do.

Visit a new place every month

For my Japan blog, I used to explore a new neighbourhood a couple times a month (although I don’t have the blog posts done), but since having a baby, it’s been impossible to do that.  However, we like to walk, so I hope we can visit someplace new every month.  I already did yesterday.  January is done.

A new weekly series for my Japan blog

I successfully finished a year of weekly photos for the second time, but I’d like to change it up with something new and informative.  I’ll be making a weekly post about a different prefecture in Japan with basic information, some photos (public domain photos, not mine), and places I’d like to see and food I’d like to try.

Study Japanese

I think I say this every year.  However, I think I may actually work on getting real Japanese lessons.  My goal is to speak business level (probably won’t happen this year!).

I hope I can achieve all of these goals this year.