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Showing posts from April, 2017

Japan Trip: Food Part 1

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Now let's get to the stuff that I know my best friend Nali is the most interested in: what I ate while in Japan.

What is it about vacation that has you eating your body weight in yummy (but very healthy!) food?

I eat Japanese food nearly every day in one way or another, so it wasn't that Japanese food was oh-so-exotic to me, but we really ate the spectrum on this trip.

Writing the Same Characters, Years Later

I'm somewhere in Chapter Three of a draft of The New Bride of Banner's Edge, which takes place in the Keegan family/Pearl Georgian England world, but focuses on a character who did not make the cut in Pearl, a lady who becomes Miles Keegan's second wife.

This particular story starts in 1804, when Jane Windham's husband dies by being thrown from his horse. Jane's brother lives near Miles and his family, so she's in the acquaintance circle, but because she didn't make an appearance in Pearl, I feel like I get to create her anew and give her more dimension than the much more amateurish attempt of the Keegans that I wrote back in 2012-2013.

But it brings up a funny thing: because Pearl ended around 1801, 1802, I find myself picking up these characters in May 1804 and trying to get reacquainted with their world and their lives.

So, for example, in macro terms, in 1804, William Pitt The Younger became Prime Minister of the UK again, Napoleon is proclaimed Emperor…

2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge: 10 Books Read!

Hey! I finished reading my tenth book of the year last night!

I'm so glad I decided on a 35-book challenge this year; it makes for a gentler reading pace, especially since I'm writing at the moment as well.

Here is my list. Click on the title links if you're curious about my reviews (the one for Silence, I warn you, is basically an essay) What are you guys reading or what have you read?

1. The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and Rise of the Tudors by Dan Jones.
Nonfiction/history/British. 4 stars.

2. The Viscount Needs a Wife by Jo Beverley. Fiction/Romance/Historical Romance/Regency England. 4 stars.

3. Room by Emma Donoghue. Fiction/Adult/Contemporary/Thriller. 4 stars.

4. Lonely Planet Tokyo by Lonely Planet, Rebecca Milner, Simon Richmond. Nonfiction/Reference/Travel/Japan/Tokyo. 3 stars.

5. Black London: Life Before Emancipation by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina. Nonfiction/History/British/Black British. 3 stars.

6. Mercer Girls by Libbie Hawker. 3 stars. F…

Japan Trip: Hakone

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We got on a train headed for the hinterlands.

And by the hinterlands, I mean western Kanagawa Prefecture. We got on a train with wide windows in Tokyo and rode it for about three hours.



Hakone--which I didn't know a thing about before this trip--is a town in the mountains, mostly within the bounds of the Fuji-Izu-Hakone National Park and is famous for its abundant hot springs, its mountains and Lake Ashi (Ashinoko)--plus, there's some historic significance, because in the old days of shogun and samurai, Hakone was a major checkpoint on the road to Edo (present-day Tokyo).

The Tokyo Bus Tour: Stops 3 through 6

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All right--more Tokyo, guys!

After the Imperial East Garden, we got back on the bus and headed to Asakusa, which--I have since learned--is a district in Taito, Tokyo, and used to be an entertainment district from the Edo period on to about--you guessed it--World War Two.

(Are we sensing a theme here with Japanese history?)

We went to Asakusa to visit Senso-ji, a temple dedicated to the Buddhist boddhivista Kannon (from whom the founder of Canon took inspiration for the name of his company, btw). Senso-ji is also neighbors with a long, narrow road with tiny stalls on either side--souvenir stores, food stores, etc, on a road called Nakamise-dori (Inside Store Road, roughly translated).

IWSG April

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It's April! It should be more spring-like around here, but it's been rainy and kind of cold instead. It's time to get back to whatever it was I was writing before I went to Japan for ten days, which means back to that Regency romance thing I was writing.

That is, I'll get back on that once I'm more fully back on Eastern Standard time. I'm almost there, but a two-day migraine didn't help things, and I'm getting up at weird times because I'm hungry at odd times of the day.

This month's IWSG question is:

Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

In short, no. I've never done the A to Z Challenge and I don't see myself doing it--I've thought of possible themes and I could probably do it if I applied myself to the idea of the A to Z, but after so many days straight of blogging, I would actually get tired of my own blogging voice.

Plus, since …

The Tokyo Bus Tour: Stops 1 and 2

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My favorite day of the Japan trip was the day we took a tour bus through Tokyo.

We were on a bus called a Hato Bus, stopping and looking at various places throughout central Tokyo, and I was practically jumping out of my seat with excitement because when in Tokyo, you want to see the sights of Tokyo, yeah?

First stop: Meiji jingu or the Meiji Shrine is a Shinto temple dedicated to the spirits of the Emperor Meiji (he of the Meiji Restoration and a big figure in Japanese history) and his empress Shoken. The shrine was built after Meiji's death in 1912, destroyed by bombing during WWII, and subsequently rebuilt.

The Meiji shrine is in the middle of 170 acres of parkland in one of the busiest parts of Tokyo.








Our second stop: the East Gardens (Higashi Gyoen) of the Imperial grounds (the kyuden), the east gardens being the only part of the imperial grounds open to the public. The Emperor and Empress of Japan live in the midst of Tokyo, in a huge compound surrounded by a moat. 
The ground…