Corona Virus and Japan

This weekend was a stressful one for many people here in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan. Corona virus has landed in the form of 4 people, originally brought in by a government official who went to Tokyo on a business trip. His Jr. high son (the government closed down his whole school) and a nurse and one other person have gotten it from him.

I worked an event in the city on the 23rd, and everybody was wearing a mask-except me. As a foreigner who was giving an interview test it was difficult to wear one and be natural. I felt bad for the staff running the event because they seemed concerned as to what could happen to everyone.

At the same time influenza B is making the rounds, my daughter’s school has several classes that are out because of it, but the show must go on. As people are getting more nervous events and engagements are shutting down. It really is at a critical point in Japan right now.

Even if you might be sick-Keep writing! (don’t worry, I’m not sick yet!)

Why NOT Post?

After passing the 700 post mark on my blog and then suddenly stopping my posts I thought I should step up and explain partly why this happened.

  1. Advertisements and request emails from WordPress.com made me depressed for using their service. I am not on line to be badgered by a blog provider. If I want to take the leap into paying for a place to post, or to upgrade the sight, I would-but don’t push me or I get cranky.
  2. I have been writing pretty much non-stop on different projects over the past months and am focusing on them.
  3. I use the blog to celebrate a new book coming out-which is great-but nets me nothing. I love blogging and the WordPress community and their many bloggers, especially those about writing and teaching. But my priority is on writing and that is where the action is for my creativity right now.

I would like to thank all of the people who have cheered my blog and some of the new people who have started following, to all of you thanks. Keep blogging, but above all-

Keep writing!

Cracking with Wise Cracks

My newest novel about the life and times of Doc Dickens, chiropractor and former military vet living on a small sailboat, is finally out on Amazon!

Wise Cracks is the second book in a mystery series based around Doc and his adventures, please check it out.

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Using my 20 Minute Principle I kept track of how much time I spent on this action filled novel by making a 3×5 index card as my time sheet. Each check mark is 20 minutes.

The total number of checks: 179

Divide by 3= 59.6 hours, so let’s round up to 60 because this is just an estimate anyhow.

This number doesn’t include all of the formating and other hoops I had to get through to publish it on Amazon, but it is a good marker.

The whole point of keeping track is not to slow me down, but to keep me going forward. Looking at the checks fill this little card taped to the back page of my notebook gave me a sense that I was getting someplace, it was an odometer for my activity.

So how did the novel turn out? I better leave that to other people to judge, but it was a blast to write and I think this one is set at a very fast speed in the story telling sense. All of the events happen in a short period of time, which was a work out for my action writing chops and one that I honestly found to be a lot of fun. And having fun hopefully reflects in the finished product.

As a final note I have been formatting all of my books into paperbacks, a thing I really wanted to do, but Kindle Create software made it a painless reality. So those are now available as well for all of you to check out.

Today is Christmas Eve here in Japan, just another day of school and work, but I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and that all of your dreams will becomes realities in your writing and creative pursuits in 2020.

Keep writing-I did and I have a new book out!!!!!

Cuckoo

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This past summer I was able to acquire one of the Black Forest cuckoo clocks my mother had received from her father’s home. Packing it carefully into my hard suitcase and wrapped with enough bubble wrap to keep a dozen eggs safe, the clock made the long journey to Japan and was given a home on the wall of our staircase. It is visible the moment you step into our home through the front door and has become a beloved, functional, piece of beauty in our home.

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And function is the really interesting part of this clock. It chimes on the hour and a single chime for the half-hour. This has been a really helpful thing as my classroom is right around the corner and the chime helps me judge lesson times. Instead of looking at a clock I am hearing it. The clock is also fairly accurate when I set it every day. I stop the clock at 9 at night and restart it at 9 the next morning so it is always on time. It would be too loud at night for me.

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No batteries, only the weights that run the chime and the pendulum. What a wondrous piece of engineering. Made in West Germany in the 50’s and small enough to bring back as a souvenir, it is has been a nice addition to our daily lives.

I guess I am cuckoo for cuckoo clocks……

Keep writing.

Wise Cracks; How to write a novel on a typewriter and still have fun

My next novel will be Doc Dickens Wise Cracks and if that name sounds familiar it is because it is the second in my mystery series Doc Dickens, an ex-marine who was a Chiropractor for 20 year and gave it all up to sail to Florida on a small sailboat. In this second installment of his journey south he runs into trouble in the Big Apple, New York City!

I had a lot of fun hammering this out on my newly acquired Hermes 3000 typewriter that I have been able to get into a very smooth working machine. Typing it out does make a difference and if you are one of those people out there wondering why a person would bother working out their written creation on a piece of out-dated machinery then you might want to consider trying one and see what all the fuss is about typing on one. But the main point is that typing on one made me focus only on the task at hand, the single purpose nature of hammering out each page made progress easy to judge. As an added bonus all of the manuscripts of the past 2 novels have been typed, or retyped, on recycled paper from my English teaching classroom. So they are very economical and environmentally friendly. I hate to waste paper-this way both sides get used and I even set my typewriter margins so that I can slap rough drafts into a binder which organizes and helps me when I go back to the pen edits of future days.

In this new installment of Doc’s travels he visits his friends boxing gym, only to have mayhem and surprises happen around every corner. It’s a fast paced, humorous and action packed novel and I am excited to get it out the door around Christmas time. And yes there will be a print copy available this time too! I am working to put all of my back stock of books into a printed format ASAP to be more useful and accessible to friends, new readers and libraries.

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The moment the books hits the market I will announce it here, so keep your eyes peeled.

I loved writing it and I hope you will love reading it, but as always-for you-

Keep writing!

Formatting My Novels

Recently I have been working to format my next novel and try and work out the trouble you run into with Kindle Create placing chapters on odd pages automatically, when it is best to start a chapter fresh on the odd page of a novel. Not doing so creates a less professional look to the printed copy of a book for sure, which is the focus of my recent formatting-both of my newest title and for all previous titles that I need to go back and format.

It comes down to page breaks. Setting breaks that will indicate a fresh page helps the book to format much more smoothly. I am experimenting with it now as I really do want to have books that are in print recently.

I’m an author who’s written 8 books.” I said to the librarians in the town where I finished high school.

Oh, we would love to have your books for people to read, could you tell us the titles and we will order them.” She looked at me smiling.

Actually all of my books are e-books. I don’t currently have any in print form.”

She stopped smiling and shrugged.

That’s too bad really.”

Yes, I thought to myself, it really is too bad. So I have been working to remedy that issue by making the best print edition I can, then doing my part to get the books on the market. I would like to see copies in libraries I frequented while I was younger, not for vanity, but to get the word out to others.

E-books are great because of the fluidity of the formatting options, after all-readers can chose the font, size and background of the text they read, so it is up to me to have the best possible reading experience in the text itself. But books are solid and need to be ‘right’.

Either way these are steps forward in my plans to make myself a soluble writer by age 50. Having solid copies of my books will be as important as their digital forms so I will do my best to offer my books in both. To be honest, I am thankful Kindle Create software makes it so much easier to do this as the Kindle Writer 2 software, that I bought for $45, has no such options and is a lot more cumbersome to use because of the html formatting you need to navigate. And the Kindle Create software is free!

Please, whatever you do, if you love to write-

Keep writing.

The Long Silence

Why haven’t you been blogging you rascal?

It boils down to a man writing, and writing and writing.

The more I write the less I blog, if you get my drift?

I like to post blog articles, I really do, but writing is the priority of my life, except for teaching of course, and the two are not always in alignment with each other. I need to produce books, not blog posts…. You understand what I mean. It is a dividing of activities that is the issue with blogging-either I blog or I am doing the novel thing.

Quite a long apology don’t you think?

Well I hope all the followers of this blog and my friends know that I will be posting more material in the next couple weeks, and that this blog has not been forgotten, it has only been a brief pause.

Keep writing, after all-that’s what I have been doing!

Alarm, But No Fire

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The other night, at 3:47 am, the fire siren went off in my city and all of the fire engines were up and whirring in my section of town. So I got up and grabbed my camera.

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Turns out it was a problem with the sensor in an apartment on the 3rd floor where the fire department could not get into, so they went through the second floor apartment and used a ladder up to the suspected room. All was safe, and the men departed. At one point I figure there at least 200 people milling around!

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Keep writing.

Getting Closer, Much Closer to Finishing My Next Book

This month has been building up in my production of my new book, Wise Cracks, the second in the Doc Dickens mystery novels. It’s exciting to know I only have to hammer out the epilog, then it is time to do a full edit and start putting them in the hands of my beta readers. Makes me happy!

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Keep writing.

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