The Sunday Summary: Hits, Walks and Six Months in Japan

Hey everyone, welcome to my new Sunday blog where I talk about life and general shenanigans. This won’t be an interruption to Showa 60 or to my other writing – I’m just viewing it as an outlet.

So, without further ado, I’ll split this up into the pieces mentioned in the title!


I was taking a brief perusal of my stats for all the time I’ve owned this domain (about two years or so, I think?) and I have to say, I’m impressed with Brazil. Either I’m getting a lot of spambots, or I genuinely have a lot of Brazilian fans. Check this out!

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453 lifetime views. The UK, I can sort of understand – my friends and family are from there, and some of them are particularly avid readers of my stuff (thanks guys!), and the NaNoWriMo group on Facebook is predominantly American, which explains the US. But Brazil? A total outlier, so I’m impressed. Muito obrigado! Also, Italy, you’re a confusing one for me too, so a big grazie mille to my Italian fans, wherever and whoever you are. And for those of you in Japan… ありがとうございました!


Everyone and their mother always seems to recommend running as a quick fix to getting some exercise, but it’s never really worked for me, and if you have the wrong sort of shoes (which I do) then it can cause serious damage to your legs over a long period of time.

For me, swimming is my main exercise. It’s low impact, it works on strength, suppleness and stamina, and it’s extremely relaxing. Unfortunately in Japan it’s hard to find a public pool (the closest one to me requires taking a train and then a taxi or bus), and private gyms practically require a small loan to attend regularly.

Therefore, I drop down to my second favourite exercise – walking. Fortunately for me, I live in a reasonably low plains area fenced in by the Tanzawa mountains and the greater Tokyo Metropolis. And the Pacific Ocean, I guess, if you go far south enough. My city has hundreds of years of history as a farming town, and by following the river through town, you quickly reach the farms surrounding the local agricultural university. The route alongside the river is pleasantly flat, and courtesy of the foliage and water it’s also pretty cool temperature-wise. The route I followed today was a good three miles, but didn’t feel like I was exerting myself especially hard. That being said, apparently I burned two hundred calories, so that practically takes care of that mint chocolate ice cream I had earlier in the day…

I also took a few pictures, which I thought captured the hazy sunset of the evening pretty nicely:

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All in all, it was quite the beautiful trek, and if it keeps me fit and healthy, I might take a similar route every Sunday – provided I don’t have anything else planned or something more strenuous on the cards. The hard working lifestyle of Japan combined with the boredom of living alone are an excellent soup for losing weight, so I’m beginning to feel better about my health and my body. Goodness knows I could have done with losing a few pounds when I got out here, but now I can barely keep my suit trousers up…

Six Months in Japan

Speaking of which, I’ve been here six months now! It’s quite incredible how the time has flown by really. In that time, I’ve visited so many places, met new people and learned new things.

In terms of places I’ve visited, there’s actually too many to list in great detail, but I might make another page with the places I’ve been and maybe try my hand at some travel writing. For now, here’s the not-so-brief overview:

  • Okayama, Okayama Prefecture
  • Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture
  • Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture
  • Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture
  • Enoshima, Kanagawa Prefecture
  • Tokyo Metropolis
    • Ikebukuro
    • Shibuya
    • Harajuku
    • Kichijoji
    • Shimo-Kitazawa
    • Odaiba
    • Ginza
    • Asakusa
    • Akihabara
    • Shinjuku
  • Osaka, Osaka Prefecture
  • Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Nara, Nara Prefecture
  • Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture

Before I leave Japan, the places I really want to visit (that are reasonably accessible) are:

  • Hakone and Lake Ashi
  • Mt. Fuji and Fujinomiya
  • Fujiyoshida and Fuji Five Lakes
  • Kofu
  • Hachioji
  • Nikko
  • Hakone-Yumoto

Time will tell whether I get to go to these places! In the case of Fujinomiya, I’d at least have a place to stay (courtesy of a friend living out there), but as for most other places I’d definitely have to make a weekend of it.

Who knows what the next weekend will bring? That’s kind of my motto when I’m out here – some places are far cheaper to get to than you’d probably expect, and there’s always the option of getting up (begrudgingly) early and taking local trains to the destination.

Anyway, that’s about all I have time for, so thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more Japan updates, more Showa 60 and eventually, more of my novel.


Two Months Away, Progress and Panic!

Hey guys, sorry for not being around for exactly two months. I didn’t even intend for my absence to be for such a specific length of time, but there’s been a lot going on and at the same time, there’s been very little going on.

First up, it’s 21 days until I go to Japan (technically 23 until I’m actually there, thanks time zones), and I’ve been trying to prepare for that in as many ways as I can. Primarily running around screaming like an idiot. But working out how I can scrape money together to afford new clothes, seeing as I have two pairs of jeans with a crotch that hasn’t bottomed out – the rest are practically torn right up the gusset. Joy!

In addition, I’ve finished up Hikari now. Yes, in my absence I actually have been doing writing, and have managed to push through and finish it up. At the moment, I am sending it out to a few beta readers, and once their feedback is complete I will roll out my final edit and hopefully get the blasted thing published. I’m also hoping to get enough money together to get an illustrator – who comes highly recommended from a fellow author friend of mine – to create a fitting cover for my novel.

Other than that, I’ve finished my contract at the radio station, and I am back to the daily grind of looking for work that will support me through the rigours of daily life without crushing my immortal soul in the process, and am finding the whole ordeal rather difficult at best. I’m looking for work in a media related environment, so if you do have something of interest please do let me know.

That’s about all I have to let you know about at the moment. I’ll also be restructuring my website a little, and I have a new project – or rather, an old project I have decided to reboot and  put in my universe – which I will be letting you know about soon. It doesn’t take place in Tonlist, so strictly speaking, it isn’t part of the Tonlist Chronicles canon. However, it does take place in the far future, when the Re-United States is at risk of being split once again. It involves a squadron of all-female mercenaries, a network of space stations in low Earth orbit and a sect of angels who have decided they don’t particularly enjoy humanity.

That update is coming this time next week, as part of my new schedule of attempting to update every week – I’ll even try to find time when I’m in Japan, hopefully with the addition of photographs from my travels there. Thanks for staying tuned, and I’ll catch you on the other side of the screen.

Later guys!


Camp Nanowrimo: The Re-returning

Good morning everyone.

It’s about that time of year again. Cabins have been assigned, story outlines are (hopefully) prepared and the pantsers have sorted themselves from the planners. It’s also the best opportunity to grasp the metaphorical bulls by its equally metaphorical horns and get some writing done.

Over the years of participating, however, I’ve found that I struggle with one particular thing: finding time to do just that, get my writing underway and really crank up the word count in the first day. As the schedule would have it, this year’s Camp Nano is in July, not August, and my current work contract ends… in August. As a radio journalist, my job involves some degree of creativity, some writing and a lot of energy.

As an introvert, dealing with so many people and utilizing my energy in a way that isn’t exactly suited to me is exceptionally exhausting. Existentially exhausting, as I have put it before. So by the time I’ve done my duties for the day and ridden a busy bus home, all I want is some downtime, some ‘me’ time. It’s frustrating really, because I know I need to write, I just can’t – or at least, I struggle more than I would writing at a reasonable hour.

Anyway, personal issues aside, let’s talk about my project: Gemini. It’s a story I’m retconning from last year’s November NaNoWriMo, which I quickly abandoned due for the aforementioned reasons. That, and because I’d only planned half of the book, that’s as far as I got because I didn’t have time to plan out the second half. The protagonist is the same, and the premise of the book is relatively similar, but my recent interests have slightly skewed the plot.

I’m going for a sort of heist story put in a science-fiction universe, which it was to some degree before. However, this time, it’s a lot more action-packed; I focused too heavily on character relationships before, which while they are my usual forte, almost drowned the plot when I was writing The Legion of Truth. So, instead, I’m trying to maintain a balance between demonstrating who the characters are and how they relate, while keeping the story flowing towards the planned conclusion.

As always, I’m going to keep you updated about all the progress (or lack thereof) I’m making with Gemini and fingers crossed, it’ll go much better this time!

Hikari’s Coma: Another Update

Hello friends,

I’m back, once again with another set of updates about my Hikari’s Coma project. Firstly, I am thinking of renaming the story to merely ‘Hikari’ – over time, it has increasingly felt like a more appropriate, more serious title which fits better with the overall theme of the story. I have a few other ideas for titles, but ‘Hikari’ just seems like the most suitable for now.

Additionally, I have lengthened the story into two significant parts, with a prologue and an epilogue. The second part isn’t finished and I’m going to rework the epilogue, but I have a solid plan about what I’m doing and where I’m taking the narrative.

I’m also toying with the idea about submitting the story to an LGBT publisher rather than self-publishing. The reason I’m toying with it, rather than having actually decided on it, is primarily because the relationship between Sarina and Hikari, while adorable and lovely, is incidental. It’s a science-fiction novel about giant robots set in a dystopian alternate universe and it just so happens that the main character and her love interest are both women. That was my intention from the start, and I’m undecided as to whether increasing emphasis on their relationship would be to everyone’s benefit, both mine and yours. We’ll see I suppose.

On a personal level, I have some rather exciting news. Call it research, a vacation, a dream-come-true, what have you, but I am going to Tokyo, Japan in September! I have managed to – at great expense to my wallet and my mental health – acquire a short trip of just over a week to the world’s only megacity, and I couldn’t be more excited. And I’m really not the excitable type! During my trip out there, I am planning to produce a daily blog on here, with photos and stories and so on, which I hope you’ll all enjoy. If you’re in and around Tokyo, I’ll be staying in the Asakusa area between the 24th of September and the 2nd of October, so please get in touch if you would like to meet up!

I’m also planning on taking some time off in the coming weeks, as I have a lot of vacation time left to take at my current job that I have to take before August, so I should be able to make some good progress with my writing. I’m also going to be posting a review of an amateur science fiction novel by the name of Ntshona soon, so please do check it out when that happens!

For fans of Night God Bless, I am still working on the new chapter and it should be available soon. After the cliffhanger of the last chapter, I’ve been trying to find my way back into the flow of things and I think I’ve found it, so I shall let you know once it’s out!

Hikari’s Coma: Artwork!

Hey there guys,

I just thought I’d post this short update to let you know that over the holiday period, I commissioned some artwork of the two main characters from my upcoming (yes, it’s that dreaded word again) novel, Hikari’s Coma. They were created by Jodie Wynne who turned them out in an exceptionally short space of time.

And here they are! What do you think?

I’m really happy with how they turned out. I have known Jodie quite a while, and her work is always second to none. She regularly does commissions via DeviantArt, so if you’d like your characters to have this kind of treatment, keep watching her at

Night God Bless: Update

Hello everyone and happy holidays.

I just thought I’d drop an update for you to let you know that Night God Bless: Tales from the 2nd Arlandrian Civil War should resume a regular updating schedule come the New Year. I can’t give you anything more specific than that, but the updates should, in theory, be over the weekend, as its the only time I really have any free time.

I’ll also be writing a few more personal blogs, about me, my writing and certain aspects of my life. While I know that some people who follow me are friends, colleagues and acquaintances, I also know that others know absolutely nothing about me other than that I am a writer of science-fiction. I think having regular blogs about me will help you get to know me better. I’ll also be adding a generic ‘about the author’ page, which will serve as a relatively straightforward fact page.

Thank you once again for keeping up with me, it’s made this year a very satisfying one. So, I hope you’ve had a smashing holiday season and if I don’t write before, have a very happy new year.

Hikari’s Coma: Update

Hello everyone!

Sorry I haven’t been around lately, ’tis the season after all and my free time seems to have been taken up by looking for Christmas gifts, staring woefully at my bank balance and searching for engineering apprenticeships. The last one isn’t that seasonal, I know, that’s more just something I’ve been doing.

I have reached that point in a writer’s life where I have the awkward and slightly nerve-wracking task of allowing my first draft into the hands of a few especially selected people. I have already handed one to my fellow writer and friend, Matthew A Robinson, who also writes science fiction. There are a few other people I have in mind as well.

Why am I telling you this? Well, because it means that I will soon be publishing my first eBook, Hikari’s Coma. I’m hoping to have it done some time by January (a little later than I had hoped, but the pays-the-bills job gets in the way of this one quite frequently), and hopefully you will have a few pennies left over from the sales to throw into my weathered writerly cap in exchange for a rollicking science fiction romp which features as an introduction into my little universe.

I’m also hoping to use the holiday period to write a few more chapters of Night God Bless for your enjoyment, as a few fans have got in touch to say they’re wanting more!

Anyway, that’s all I have for now – I hope you are all enjoying the winter (or the summer if you’re in the Southern hemisphere) and are wrapped up warm (if necessary). Take care!

On giving up NaNoWriMo – and finishing something else instead!

Hey guys.

You may remember from my last post that I said I was not even going to attempt to finish NaNoWriMo, and I stand by that point. I’m really glad I could make a start on Kelly Kaptur’s personal story, but the problem with introducing a character in a prior, unfinished project is that you don’t know where they’re really going to end up.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Kaptur was obviously going to survive through her introduction in Hikari’s Coma by the fact I even started writing The Legion of Truth. I just had to know what happened to everyone else, what caused the changes in her personality, what made her tick. For that reason, I finished up my second draft of Hikari’s Coma this weekend. Although it’s more of a first-and-a-half draft – I couldn’t help editing while I was writing, so the first half is pretty much spot on, whereas the latter half is in that bits and pieces, could be way better stage.

And I’m happy about it. I really am! It’s not the same kind of happiness as when I finished my first draft of the second version of Industrial Espionage (complicated, much?) – that was more relief than happiness. This is more a sensation of contentment, that I’ve finally put that chapter of this saga to bed. Obviously, I can’t go into massive detail without spoilers, but the last few chapters were tough. The first ending I wrote was stupid.

Me, realising the first ending was stupid. (No, just kidding this is John from Homestuck, I don’t look that classy.)

It just didn’t have the emotional impact I wanted, nor the resolution I was hoping for. The story just seemed to peter out into a relatively depressing conclusion, much like the ending of a terrible television series, the kind that leaves you sat in the living room going, ‘well, I just wasted all my evenings for the past 8 weeks for this crap’.

Also, it didn’t involve a giant robot, and seeing as this is a book about a girl who builds a giant robot, I thought that was pretty disingenuous of me. Geez, I’m an asshole. Why did I even think that was a good idea?

Self-deprecation aside, I am really pleased with how it’s turned out. My next plan is to finish editing it and get it out there: a short first read for those who have stuck by me. I’ve sketched out a design for the front cover, and I’m going to attempt to colour it digitally on Thursday when I have my day off (I am looking forward to it so much!). I’ll drop an image of my new cover about the internets when I’ve done with it. Hope you like it!

NaNoWriMo 2013 Day 23

So, it’s been ages since I last checked in!

You have my sincerest apologies for that. I suppose my main reason for this, other than being incredibly busy of late, is that I have decided that I am not going to attempt to reach the 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo this year. Why? Because I don’t want writing The Legion of Truth to feel like a chore. I began writing it because I really enjoyed the character of Kelly Kaptur and her comrades, the way they counter one another in one way and complement each other in another. The reason I’ve stopped, or slowed to a snail’s pace is because the latter half of the story wasn’t planned out, and I need time to do that.

Time, it must be said, is not something NaNoWriMo lends a writer. Because of that, I have neglected to work on my almost-finished Camp NaNoWriMo project, Hikari’s Coma, and am still stuck in a rut with 2011’s NaNoWriMo project, Industrial Espionage. So, in the spirit of being clever and stuff, I have come up with a plan for the next few months… providing I don’t get any major news, of course.

Step one, is to finish Hikari’s Coma and get it out there! With a heavily edited storyline, which is freer of continuity errors than most Hollywood blockbusters, I only have to finish the last few chapters and get a cover prepared. That way, I can really start promoting my writing because hey, you can actually buy one of my books at that point.

Step two, possibly in parallel with step one, is to plan out the latter half of The Legion of Truth. And possibly think of a less crappy title, because the more I write it, the less I like it. There have been a few ideas I’ve come up with as of late, and I might even set it to a poll or something, although Facebook’s stupid page algorithm might ruin this idea quite horribly. I’ll see if I can get around it.

Step three, is to get a solid chapter-by-chapter plan for Industrial Espionage. With a word count of over 100,000 words for my last draft of it, it’s going to be a major project to overhaul that amount of story, as well as to keep track of its nuances and side-stories. Unlike Hikari and Kelly’s stories, Industrial Espionage follows a considerable number of characters, rather than sticking to a single point of view, which makes it even harder to keep track of things. There are all those questions; did so-and-so tell so-and-so this? Did I allude to this major historical event? Did I really write that or was I imagining it?

That’s my little plan so far. All this being said though, I do hope that you who are doing NaNoWriMo are having an excellent time of it, and that your characters are lively and inventive, and your plot thick and rich like so much delicious Sunday roast gravy. I also hope that you do manage to reach the 50,000 words, it is a wonderful achievement and you have every right to feel proud of yourself for reaching it, especially if you are working around other time constraints, such as employment, childcare, illness and things like that.

And whether or not you’re involved with NaNoWriMo, thank you very much for reading.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Day 4

Hey again, I guess I didn’t really do a great job of keeping up with the daily blogging. In my defense, I did have a very busy weekend (job interview in London on Saturday and working 9 hours on Sunday), so… deal with it. In the nicest possible way, of course.

I think my main character may be seeping into my personality. As a polite individual, I feel this is probably not the best thing ever.

Anyway, the book is into its fourth chapter and I am currently just short of 8,000 words, which puts me well ahead of the daily amount. At present, my ‘words a day to finish on time’ is 1,557 instead of 1,667 and if I carry on at this rate, I’ll be done by November 26th (which if I can do that I will be a very happy human being).

I am trying not to be discouraged by only slightly topping the word count each day. It’s a little intimidating to see that some people have literally finished their entire NaNo only 3 or 4 days in. But I remind myself that I am only human, caffeine seems to have little or no effect on me, and I have to work a 6 hour day with 1 hour of travel either way. I also seem to have lost my rather helpful teenage ability to live on 3 hours’ sleep.

I hope everyone else who is participating is doing well and most of all enjoying it, regardless of their word counts or whether they think they’ll finish on time or not. At the end of the day, you’re writing, and that’s the first step.