Tag Archives: summer

Keeping Myself Motivated

Summer is here, and I’ve been going outside a lot. Even more now because of Pokemon Go. That game motivates me to go out. However, there are other things I want to be more motivated on.


I think I have the motivation, just not the privacy. I’m actually writing this blog post in the basement, where I have privacy for now. I just did an assessment for a job application, so I needed the privacy. No one is interrupting me! That’s what I need.


Honestly, while the videos don’t take much time to shoot and edit, it’s getting myself to appear more outgoing on camera where I lack motivation. Maybe I feel too self-conscious. I see others who are very animated, but I’m not an animated speaker. I’m the kind of person who’s always been calm and always hid my stronger emotions. Maybe I should drink alcohol before making videos. That usually loosens me up!


Ever since I’ve started doing the videos, I’ve lacked the motivation to write longer, well-thought out blog posts. The video has been my blog post in many cases. I need to get back to my old blog series, like Quick Facts and the Worldbuilding posts. I’ve been losing motivation for my Instagram polls, as well. Even though the quality of the photos are improving, I’ve been getting fewer and fewer votes recently. Maybe it’s summer. Maybe I should wait until September to continue with them.

Anyone else lacking motivation recently? What do you do to motivate yourself at times like this? Let me know in the comments below.

This Is 10:40 pm

I took this picture tonight. 

Can you believe this is 10:40 pm? Edmonton is at around 53.5 degrees north. That means it’s closer to the Arctic than it is to the tropics. When I lived in Japan, I was at 35.4 degrees north. Sunset was around 7 pm at this time of year. Sunset in Edmonton is 10:06 pm. Too late?

What time does the sun set for you around the summer solstice?

The End of August Leaves Me With a Bittersweet Feeling

August 31st. Did all those months just pass by that quickly? I remember July was just starting. It’s been two months already! Of course, we still have another month of hot weather, then October will be more comfortable, but still warm. Just one and a half months until my sister is here, too. But you know, the end of August and the end of summer approaching leaves me with a bittersweet feeling.

The days are getting shorter, sunset is earlier, festival and fireworks season is winding up, and the whole summer culture is going away for another year. Winter is coming, which means cold days and nights, having trouble keeping warm inside at home, and a walk outside means cold hands. This is also my last summer in Japan, though I’m sure we’ll come back frequently, most likely in summer.

On the other hand, there will be less sweating, the return of some really good food, bed becoming a very welcoming place, and my sister will be here soon. And who can forget the hockey season? Looking forward to this season for the Edmonton Oilers.

In the future, if I become successful at writing, I may be able to take long holidays in summer, and we can pack up and stay in Japan for a month or so while our daughter is on summer vacation. That would be nice. Nice, but not very likely. But you never know. We’ll at least take a couple weeks, though.

Summer always seems to be my favourite time, even with the heat and humidity. So it’s sad to see it go. But at least we still have about two months of summery weather left, at least by Canadian standards.

How do you feel as summer ends?

Hot! Really Hot!

At 9 am, it was already 30 degrees. At 11 am, it’s expected to be 35. And in the afternoon, it’s going up to 37. This is Celsius for those of you Americans, Burmese and Liberians who don’t use metric. And this is a humid heat.

37 degrees Celsius is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s body temperature. It’s not yet that temperature, but 30 degrees is making me sweat. With a temperature bearing our body temperature, it makes it more difficult for our bodies to lose heat and regulate our body temperature. It can be very uncomfortable.

What’s the hottest temperature you’ve experienced? How’s your weather today?

Authors Answer 38 – Summer Reading

Summer, time for the beach, time for summer sports, time to go basking in the sun. Or maybe you’d prefer to read in the shade or in an air-conditioned home. Well, I like doing all these things, but this is about reading. Let’s find out what everyone’s doing this summer.

beachQuestion 38: It’s summer, so what’s on your summer reading list?

Tracey Lynn Tobin

Ha ha ha…what’s on my summer reading list? That’s a good one. I don’t have a “summer” reading list because my capability to commit to a reading list is pretty much non-existent. For one thing, I never seem to be able to find the time to read these days (and yes, I know how horrible that sounds). For another thing, whenever I try to commit to reading something new I end up getting the urge to read an old favorite, and that favorite almost always wins out.

For the sake of answering the question, however, I’ll tell you that I’m trying desperately to finish “A Dance With Dragons“, and as soon as I manage that I’m planning to go back and read the other two books in the “Strain” series.

S. R. Carrillo

I wanna get all these overpopular YA reads of my TBR this summer – Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Golden by Jessi Kirby, Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, the list goes on… I’ve been avoiding them long enough, I think; I need to bite the friggin’ bullet.

Paul B. Spence

It’s more like what is on my summer writing list. I’m busy working on two new novels. That said, I just finished a reread of Glen Cook’s excellent Annals of the Black Company.

I hope to make it over to the Jack Williamson Science Fiction Library at ENMU this summer for some good ol’ science fiction, but it depends on my schedule, which has been busy with archaeology. I may be able to fit in some Heinlein, Weber, and McCaffrey. I may need to.

Linda G. Hill

Anything I can get my hands on by Stephen King. Because I’m editing and he’s good for keeping me on track by example.

Jean Davis

I have a TBR stack about three feet tall, unfortunately summer is a busy time and I don’t know if I’ll even get to take a book off that stack. There are a couple of the newer Dune books, several books on writing, a couple funny books, an old sci-fantasy trilogy I came across at a used book sale, a fantasy novel from a series I read years ago that will require me re-reading the whole series to get back in the right mindset to appreciate it, and a lot of paranormal romance.

H. Anthe Davis

Since I am the sort of weirdo who doesn’t take vacations unless someone drags me along with them, there’s no difference between my summer- and rest-of-the-year reading.  Right now I’m halfway through C. J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series, having discovered it about 20 years later than I should have, and I have a stack of fiction and informational books waiting for me to get to them, as well as my Goodreads To-Read list and the entire library system I work at…  So yeah.

Gregory S. Close

I started my summer with The Madness Engine by Paul B. Spence.  I highly recommend it!

I’ve got Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence queued up next.  I’ve heard a lot about it, and In Siege of Daylight is part of his Self Published Fantasy Blog Off, so I thought it was time to check that one out!

Lastly, I need to catch up on M. Todd Gallowglas’ Tears of Rage Sequence before he releases the next book.

Eric Wood

I have a pile of books to read, a physical and virtual pile. I’m currently in the middle of “The Girl On the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “Pluto’s Ghost” by Sheree Fitch. I have “Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt, “Monument’s Men” by Robert Edsel and “Looking for Alaska” by John Green waiting in the wings.

D. T. Nova

I don’t always plan what I read ahead very much, and I’ve been so busy this month that I’m actually reading less than usual instead of more, so all I’m going to say is that I have been meaning to read Fangirl.

Caren Rich

I just had a blog post about this.  At the moment I am trying to catch up with all the books on my Kindle.  I had hoped to not buy any new books until I had finished these.  I have failed.

A few highlights include:

The Indie Author Pack: Write Publish Repeat by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Trant, Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran, How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn

Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony- Book 1 in the Xanth.

Too Close to Home by Lynette Eason

Trouble in Mudbug by Jana Deleon

Beyond this lovely list, I hope to read a few “classic” mysteries.  I recently, read an article on the best mystery novels of all time. I was shocked to discover I had only read a handful of the titles listed. I plan on correcting that.

Allen Tiffany

First task is to finish my own projects. That said, I am working my way through Wired for Story, which is a fascinating. It is billed as a “Brain Science” view of why and how our brains respond to different story elements, and why some things work and some don’t. I’m sure it sounds  academic, and to some extent it is, though the author’s tone and writing style are more informal.

And arguably there is not much new here (so far, but only 1/3rd of the way through it). For instance, you should not include extraneous information to the story. Well…duh. On the other hand, it is interesting reading to understand why that matters from a cognitive perspective. So it reinforces the need to be ruthlessly focused on only sharing what matters, but doing so in a way that is subtle enough that the reader does not feel like I’m pulling them through the plot by the nose.

In the last few weeks, as I’ve been reading Wired for Story, I’ve also been listening to the most recent draft of my next novel as I commute an hour to and back from work each day. It is always good to listen to your work as part of your editing process, but now I’m hearing more that I can cut out to keep the story more focused.

As to fiction…nothing has caught my fancy of late. I’ve tried hard to get interested in Old Man’s War and The Forever War by reading the opening pages via Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature, but neither has captured my attention. I have been thinking about reading Dune again…it’s been twenty years since I read it last. Probably time to go through it once more…

Jay Dee Archer

Every year, I make a list of books to read for the year. I stick to it always. But this year, I’ve been going incredibly slowly thanks to a behemoth of a book that I started reading in spring. I’m finally almost finished with it. So, this summer, I will finish The Neutronium Alchemist by Peter F. Hamilton. I will then move on to a classic, The Iliad by Homer, which should be a quick read. Then it’s back to fantasy with The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan. If I’m lucky to finish that book before fall begins, I’ll then begin with Mercury by Ben Bova.

I also have some eBooks on the side, which I infrequently read. Currently, I’m going through The Book of Deacon by Joseph R. Lallo. Once I finish that, it’s on to Keepers of Water by R. G. Porter.

How about you?

What are you reading this summer? Share your reading plans, and maybe we’ll discover some new books.

Solstice – Summer Goals

It’s June 21st, which means it’s the Summer Solstice! First day of summer. It’s also my last summer in Japan. Summer is going to mean a few things, and I have some goals.


I am currently reading a couple books that will take far too long to finish. I would like to find more time to read, preferably at home, maybe at night after everyone else has gone to bed.  That means I need to streamline my blog posting process.  However, my best posting times are at night, as I have more time to write the posts. But that’s for another section of this post. I’ll try as much as I can to read during breaks at work, as well as on the train to and from work, and make time to read at night.


I’ve been able to keep up with my two posts a day commitment. Not one day has been missed so far this year. I will continue with that for the rest of the year, not only summer.  I’m also going to start up a new blog about architecture and urban photography. Other things to look forward to are more worldbuilding posts. I also plan to get started on Quick Facts, which is basically a renamed Encyclopedia Entries. I’ll get the astronomy section organised, as well as start up the geography and palaeontology sections.


After a successful A to Z Challenge in April, I slacked off. Mainly due to visa sponsorship application forms and things like that. I must get back into writing, at least 15 minutes a day. More on days I’m home alone.

Other things

Prepare for my sister’s visit in October. I won’t take any time off at Obon in August, so I’ll try find shifts in other schools that are open for this holiday period. I want to save up my paid holidays for my sister’s visit. I also want to go out quite a bit with my daughter, such as the beach and more splash parks. She needs to get fully diaper trained. She knows what to do, she just doesn’t let us know she needs to use the toilet. Got to work on that.  I’d like to install The Sims 3 on my computer, as I haven’t actually played any games on it since my old computer decided to die on me. My favourite game, SimCity 4, is difficult to install thanks to my daughter, who got her grubby, sticky, slimy hands on the CD and made it very difficult clean off.

What are your summer plans (or winter, if you’re in the southern hemisphere)?

September Means…

It’s September now, and it’s one of those months I have a love-hate relationship with.

When I was a kid, it meant going back to school and summer vacation ending.  Good thing is, I liked school.  But I loved summer vacation.

Now, it means a lot of different things.  On the positive side, it’s time for hockey to start.  Training camp opens this month, and it gets me excited for the new season.  Here in Japan, it means a less hot month than August.  September is still the second hottest month, though.  But it does mean it’s getting more comfortable. I’m also going to get to meet my new niece.

On the other hand, it means winter is coming.  I find the prospect of shorter days and cold weather depressing.  It’s no secret that I don’t like winter.  Not sure if I’d call this a positive or negative, but September is the busiest month for typhoons, too.  But I like typhoons. It also means I have to renew my passport.  I don’t like government procedures and forms.

There are other things that happen, such as cicadas dying, fall foods becoming available, new electronics models become available, and so on.

What does September mean to you?

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?