Goodreads Author Posts

As a new author, I’ve started a blog at Goodreads. They will appear on this website as well, of course.

Hard Sci Fi and Romance?

July 25, 2021

Readers of romances and hard sci fi are very different. So mixing the two up is inevitably alienating of of your reader groups. Right? So, why include it in Can Machines Bring Peace?

It sorta happened by itself. I don’t think I planned it in advance. I wanted Mizuki, as the admiral’s daughter, to be caught between her father and her support for the Thinking Machine.

What I believe happened next is: if he wants to lead a diverse team, Kazimir needs to give each team member room to grow. And Mizuki discovers that she admires the man who does that. And that she is happy to grow. She seems to be just as surprised as I am that she falls in love with him.

Meeting Japanese Ambassador Horinouchi

July 12, 2021

Honored to meet his excellency ambassador Horinouchi of Japan. I gifted him my first novel “Can Machines Bring Peace? Hope in a Post-Apocalyptic Age” where Japan is the future beacon of civilization.

Strong Women

July 11, 2021

In Can Machines Bring Peace? there are many strong women in the story, but a male protagonist.

Being a man, I thought it would be safe to start there. And it’s true that the women are strong – each in her own way. I like the way that contrasts with the more traditional setting of the story world. It’s also an homage to my mother, who was president of the International Alliance of Women, that’s been fighting for women’s rights since the beginning of the 20th century.

Strong women make the world go round.

Can an Author Have a Favorite Character?

June 26, 2021

Someone asked me if I had a favorite character in Can Machines Bring Peace? Ouch!

It sorta reminded me of the terrible question about who do you love more: your mother or your father? And it’s basically unanswerable.

However, for me, Mizuki was the hardest character to write. And I’m very happy with how she turned out. Being the admiral’s daughter, she brings a new tension into the cast. I really like how she tries to find her place as her own woman.

A website suggested that I find a picture, to visualize Mizuki and the other characters. I found one of Riyo Mori by Bob Nittoli. And this picture really made Mizuki come alive.

Wonderful Surprises when Writing

May 29, 2021

With most of my ‘real life’ writing, 270 pages usually is hard and serious work. So, I expected much of the same when writing my novel Can Machines Bring Peace?.

Because I hadn’t written novels before, I looked for any kind of suggestions. I was very happily surprised when I discovered Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method for designing and writing a novel.

Creating and designing the characters was a real joy.

When I was comfortable with the plot-line and the characters, I wrote the story from each character’s point of view.

Kazimir, my protagonist, is involved in almost every part of the story. But not all of it. So, he notices something happens when his sister takes their father to lunch. But he wasn’t there. And it surprised me how much that enriched the novel. There are only a few sentences about what he notices, but that makes him real. And nothing can be better than to have your characters react and interact in a honest and fresh way.

A Diverse Cast

May 16, 2021

My novel Can Machines Bring Peace? has a wide range of characters. Every protagonist deserves companions, because no one can go at it alone. They bring surprises, emotional involvement, new solutions to problems.

You really can’t have a good adventure novel without them.

In my case there is Kira, the protagonist’s sister who’s been hiding in her room for months. Kuchi is an 87-year-old professor waiting to die. Aisake is a failed showman who’s constantly in debt. And then there is Mizuki, the daughter of the antagonist, Admiral Fujiwara.

Different ages, different backgrounds, different problems. They make the story crackle with electricity.

World Building and the Little Things that Matter

March 4, 2021

My novel “Can Machines Bring Peace? Hope in a Post-Apocalyptic Age” is set in the future. But I also wanted a more old fashioned world.

So, this backstory appeared: “After war ravaged most of Earth, Japan survived, just barely. Foreseeing the danger in 2077, the prime minister ordered the massive building of underground shelters. After 250 years, the first visits to the surface were made. Radiation levels were surprisingly low. The bombs that destroyed most of Japan were conventional, not nuclear. The rest of the world was literally bombed back to the Stone Age. A lot of systems failed and had to be replaced with mechanical solutions. So, 200 years after resurfacing, the world resembles the 1930s. Basic energy sources (not oil, but hydrogen) exist, but electronics are only making their first appearance. Society is traditional and strict, because that was the best way to survive underground.”

Once you have a world, you need to fill in more and more details. Like currency. Because the characters talk about paying for food or services, about salaries, rent and other mundane things, I had to actually set prices. In real life, $1 is about 107 Yen. But since the book is in English, it felt weird to have to pay more than ¥200 for bread, for example.

So, I found a list of living costs in Japan and converted that to 2436 prices. Doing oddjobs, Aisake makes ¥63 a day. A fairground attraction costs ¥25. A homemade meal costs ¥45, and so on.

It’s not something a casual reader would notice, but I wanted to pay attention to all the little things that matter.