Welcome Message

Welcome to my blog. Here, you will find information about my novels, life in Japan, as well as author interviews, discussions on writing, and more. Feel free to browse and if you enjoy a post, please comment. Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blogging To Connect

Do you feel starting a blog has improved your life or added one too many things on your plate? That’s a good question, one I haven’t really seen before.
I think it has improved my life. As a writer, it is imperative to write as often as you can, hopefully every day. I may not get to work on my novels or outlines every day, but having a blog has helped me get into more of a writing habit.
After reading Kristen Lamb’s Rise Of The Machines: Human Authors In A Digital Age, I really thought about her point about connecting to readers. And the points was that most readers don’t want to read about writing. Looking back on it, I’ve realized some of the most interesting blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates, I’ve read from authors and artists have nothing to do with their craft. It’s the fun everyday mundane details that make the person seem more real. I’m not a basketball fan but I know Rob Liefeld is, because he tweets a lot about basketball. I favorited a Twitter picture by Will Wheaton, who complained about his cat purring too loud. I related to that photo. 
That’s what I’m trying to do with this version of Resonant Blue. Yes, I can still post about writing, and I occasionally will. But this isn’t a writing blog. It’s a Cody L. Martin blog. It’s about Wyoming, Japan, Battlestar Galactica, and Apple products. Because that’s me. When I started this thing on Blogger, I thought I had to post about writing, because I was a writer. Now I am freeing myself up to write about whatever strikes my fancy.
As always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Things To Do On A Rainy Day

I like rainy days. Not getting out in them, mind you; but days when the rain comes down in a gentle steady pour. There’s the sound of drops splashing against the window and cars slushing through puddles. I like it when it’s just bad enough you don’t want to go outside, but it isn’t a raging storm full of thunder and lightning.
There’s lots to do on such days, at least for an indoor person like me. Get a nice cup of coffee and read a book. Or watch a movie; I personally like action movies on dark days. All that stuff getting blown up makes me feel better. Sometimes, it’s nice to catch up on unwatched episodes of TV shows. I’m trying to finish Star Trek and I’m currently on the third season of Doctor Who. Which, by the way, I didn’t think I’d like. I’m glad I was proven wrong.
Bad weather is good for family time. When everyone is bored watching Glee or playing Candy Crush, get out the dusty Monopoly board from the attic and have a family game. Playing cards or poker are always good options, too. If you’re a crafter or artisan of some sort (including writers) it’s a good chance to catch up on some work or engage in your favorite hobby.
Rainy days are for relaxing. Forget cleaning house or scrubbing out the garage. Just let the pitter-patter of the raindrops sooth you.
How about it, readers? What do you do on rainy days? As always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Out Of The Four Seasons...

…I like summer the best. I am definitely a summer person. I’d rather be too hot than too cold. Although I grew up in Wyoming, which had some brutal winters, I think I lost my tolerance for cold when I moved to Alabama.
One thing I hate about winter is that it is physically painful. My ears and fingers hurt when they get too cold. As I walk outside I shiver, my muscles tense and jump trying to keep me warm. I just hurt. Not to mention I have to wear several layers of clothes to just keep warm. And when I do get to the nice warm indoors, I have to shed all those layers, only to put them back on again when I leave. Can you dig it?
Summer is a lazy season. Whereas I need to move to keep warm in winter, I don’t want to move at all in summer. If I don’t move, I won’t generate any body heat that will warm me up. I just need to stay still. I do admit that summer seems more mentally draining than winter. I’m not sure how, but it does.
Summer is the season for travel. For getting out there and doing things that you like, not what you have to do to survive (unlike winter). Going to Okinawa and canyoning on Iriomote Island was one of my best summer vacations. Summer is time for getting together with friends and family for whatever reason: playing baseball at the school field, searching for shells on the beach, playing a game of Triad with your Battlestar Galactica friends.
One thing I don’t like about summer here in Japan is that my wife still has to work. Japanese kids get about 40 days off for summer break. They still have homework to do; and if they belong to a sports club, they will have to go every day, just like they do during the school year. Teachers still have piles of work to do, so it isn’t much of a holiday for the school system. You can read more about it here in an older post I did.
How about it? What’s your favorite holiday? Sound off in the comments. As always, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

High School

In high school I was just there. I wasn’t popular and I wasn’t outcast. I just was. Unlike Buffy and the gang, or any teenager in a Stephen King novel, high school wasn’t hell for me. I had my friends that I hung out with, a few dates, and attended a few dances. My high school life was fairly boring.
I never played sports except in P.E. class; I spent my extracurricular activities doing reporting and page layout for the school newspaper, the Equus. I had a lot of fun doing it. I remember my teacher Mr. Riley, a good guy even if his breath stank of coffee and cigarettes. Those classes were where I was first introduced to Apple computers (System 7!) and I have used and loved them ever since.
It was only about two weeks after I graduated that my mom and I moved to Alabama. I lost touch with a majority of friends. But through Facebook, that social wonder, I have found a few old classmates. One classmate moved to the Ukraine and another has moved to Japan. I can’t believe that out of a graduating class of 230 that at least three of us would move overseas. What are the odds?
I have good memories of high school. How about you, readers? Wish to share?

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Heroes Are...



This is a tough one to answer. We all have different heroes for different reason. And I’m uncomfortable with the word ‘hero’ for a person you admire. I keep conjuring up images of firefighters and police officers with that word. So, I’ll list some people I admire or whom inspire me. This list will be in no particular order.
Stephen King - One of the best writers out there and he isn’t stuck-up about it. He himself has said his writing is the literary equivalent to a Big Mac and fries. For a non-nonsense, down-to-earth approach to writing, read On Writing.
Michael Bay - he makes popcorn movies and he knows it. Bay doesn’t go for the heart; he goes for the eyes. He is a visual director. A reviewer once said Bay films a tender kiss the exact same way he films a helicopter landing. Is there anything wrong with that? Really? Not every movie needs to be Citizen Kane. Bay does one thing and he does it well and he knows movies are a visualmedium. And he has no qualms about it.
Tsunku - The man is a workaholic. The primary writer for every music group inHello! Project, as well as his own band SharanQ, a family man, and occasional TV personality, I have no idea how he does it all. He knows what he wants in his music and he works his singers hard to get it just right. Hello! Project may not be as popular as it once was, but most agree that his songs are better than most idol’s.
Rob Liefeld - As someone said on the Image Revolution documentary, Liefeld is the Michael Bay of comics. Love or hate his art style, he’s all about the visual of the page. He has more tun his share of haters but he doesn’t let them get to him. He does what he loves and loves what he does.
George Lucas - Few creators are as polarizing as Lucas. But what I like about him is his willingness to make his products match his vision. You may not agree with what he has done, but at the end of the day his name is on the product and he needs to be happy with it. Instead of hating him for ‘destroying our childhood’ (as many claim) he should be rewarded for creative control and making the best product he deems worthy.
There you have it, people. Several professionals I admire. There are many more but these were the ones who came to mind first. Comment if you want. As always, thanks for reading.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Self-pubbing Freedom

What do I love most about self-publishing? That is a loaded question for any author. It’s also somewhat vague: do you mean the process, the self-publishing market, the “self-publishing revolution”?  There is quite a lot to say on this subject and I’m sure this won’t be the last post you’ll read from me about it.
I’ll talk a little about the self-publishing boom that has been going on and changed the industry. What I love about self-publishing is the freedom it gives writers. We can now write about anything we want, and most likely there will be an audience for it. With the gatekeepers of traditional publishing, ideas had to be analyzed and vetted. This could lead to some possibly great novels not being published because it was too much of a risk for the company. Perhaps it didn’t fit with their brand image or it “just isn’t for us.” No longer. You have an epic opera about space plumbers? Write it. I’m sure you’re not the only one who has thought of it.
The main peril with such a freedom is the niche market. One reason big names authors are popular is that they have a large appeal; almost everyone can identify with the characters or story in some way. But if you write novels with a very specific topic or a very limited type of character, your book may appeal to the niche market and nobody else. You may not find that wide audience that’ll launch your career. You’ll still have to have your day job because you’re only selling one or three books every six month to a select group of people.
On the other hand, your niche market may become some of your biggest cheerleaders. The number one way to success in writing, not mater what you write, is to write a good book. If you do that, if you write well and write well consistently, your niche market may become your best buyers. They will wait for every new installment from you and snatch it up on release day. If you’re lucky, they will generate word-of-mouth to get others to read your book.
But I’m not talking about marketing. The publishing changes that have been, and continue to take place, are giving more freedom (and power) to the writer. Writers that had ideas locked in their heads but were afraid the powers-that-be would hate them now have the freedom to write it. The risk factor is no longer on the companies, it is on you.
Your great idea about time-traveling alien plumbers who look like dinosaurs may not sell right after you hit the ‘publish’ button. It may never sell. Or it might take a few years then suddenly catch on like wildfire. The point is, that idea no longer has to be locked away. Put your story out there.
A story isn’t a story if it isn’t written down for someone to read.
Always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Balance

How do you balance blogging? That’s a good question, and for every blogger out there you’re going to get a different response. I am trying a new system this year, using Tumblr instead of Blogger.
I think the most useful feature of blogs is scheduling posts. This can a great time saver if used properly. Tumblr has a queue system as well, where you can line up your posts to be posted up to 50 times a day. Once a day is enough for me, thank you very much. I wish Tumblr offered the same thing but on a weekly or monthly basis. You can also schedule the posts, but that takes more effort because you have to type in the day and time for every scheduled post. With the queue system, you just mark it as ‘queue’ and you’re done.
Having topics in advance is wonderful. There isn’t anything much worse for a blogger to say “I have to post something today, but what am I going to write about?” There are many websites and ebooks that offer blog prompts. I copied many, more than a year’s worth, into Evernote, and just pick one at random. Any time I have an idea for a topic, I write it in Evernote.
Writing ahead is one of the best ways to balance blogging, in my opinion. Depending on the topic, some posts don’t take long. If you can afford an hour or two to write a novel every day, take an hour to blog. The nice thing about this is that you can write several posts then schedule/queue them for the week. Once you give yourself a little leeway, you don’t have to hurry yourself with a topic idea and a post to get up by the end of the day.
Also, all those scheduled posts can be edited. If you want to add more to a topic, or you found the perfect picture to go with the post, you can still add it before it hits the Net.
My advice: plan ahead and write as often as you can. If you can write more than one post at a time, do it.
As always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Cosplay

I recently shared a link on my fan Page to Anovos’s Captain Spock uniform replica. The costume, first introduced in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, has been once of the most requested reproductions for Anovos. Their site saw heavy traffic after the initial announcement. The introductory price for the uniform is $950, with a MSRP of $1,200. 
Way out of my price range.
But I want it so bad.
That got me thinking about cosplaying and wearable fan gear in general. I have cosplayed before, at DragonCon, in a homemade version of Captain Kirk’s uniform from Star Trek VI: The Undicovered Country (that’s how I prefer to think of Anovos’s costume, instead of a Spock costume). I was the only Trek fan in that style, the rest were The Original Series or The Next Generation/Deep Space Nine/Voyager era. I got some nice compliments for it.
But I’ve never owned a high quality screen accurate uniform replica. There are lots to choose from; not just from Star Trek but also Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, and more. My two choices would come down to either a TWOK or Star Trek: First Contact uniform. The reason I don’t have one, of course, is they are very, very expensive. That’s more than a whole month’s salary, for me. And after seeing the costumes at DragonCon and photos from the San Diego Comic Con, I have seen costumes that I can tell people have dropped some real money into. You can tell these were high quality, even if they were handmade. People took the time and care to make them.
I love SF replicas but I prefer ones that are usable. I have a Battlestar Galactica notebook and a Doctor Who sonic screwdriver toy that is also a pen. Prop replicas are great, but they don’t usually do anything. Some make for very expensive paperweights. Which begs the question: if I’m going to lay down a lot of dough for a uniform, how often will I really use it? There’s Halloween, but it isn’t celebrated in Japan, so I would mostly likely wear it at home on that day; or possibly for the Halloween parties for the elementary school kids where I work at Eiko school. I’m sure there are other times I could wear it, like whenever I watch a Star Trek movie. And there is nothing really wrong with just putting it on during one of my days off while I write.
I wouldn’t go outside in it, unless it was for a Halloween party or a convention. Not to mention, such a purchase would drive my wife nuts. She can’t see the appeal of wearing something like that. And what is the appeal, anyway? It’s fandom and escapism. Is there any difference between wearing a Starfleet uniform and a San Francisco 49ers fan being decked out in their team’s jerseys while watching football? No, there isn’t. That armchair quarterback will never officially be a part of the team. But wearing the jersey makes you feel a part of the team. You’re showing your support and admiration to something you love. That’s what SF people do too. Walk into a convention and you know immediately what someone is a fan of: there’s a Doctor Who fan, a Wonder Woman fan, and a Deadpool fan. These people don’t think they ARE Iron Man or Captain Picard. They are getting closer to the fandom they love.
I hope you enjoyed this piece. Any donations towards a costume will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Smells Of My Childhood



I grew up in Wyoming. My dad always had various jobs, he never held one for very long, but almost all of them dealt with the outdoors. While I may be a geek and SF fan and an indoors person, the smells I associate most with growing up is hay, horse manure, and sage brush.
As I stated in a previous post, my family as always had animals of some sort. Often they involved horses. I remember helping my dad toss bales of hay off the back of a truck to feed the cows and horses at Standing Star Ranch. I use to climb stacks of hay. I always hated how it got absolutely everywhere: in your hair, down your shirt, stuck in your boots and socks. Only a change of clothes and a shower got rid of it.
Along with all the animals comes all the stuff animals leave behind. I remember being in the Fourth of July parade in my hometown. The group I was with walked down Main Street, waving to the crowd and feeling pretty special. We were in the parade! The group before us were riding horses. And when they had to go, they had to go. Not the best position to be in for a parade.
Wyoming isn’t exactly known for its rolling green hills. Mountains? Yes. Snow-covered ski slopes? Those too. Grass? Not really. But it does have a lot of sagebrush. Beautiful in its own way, sagebrush has a distance smell. It’s one I’ve always enjoyed. I like the smell of sage-scented candles. It’s nostalgic for me. But I know it isn’t for everyone. To me, I get images of wide plains, blue skies, wild animals, and a sense of peace whenever I smell sagebrush. I may be an indoor person, but I understand the lure of the outdoors.
Are there any smells that take you back to your childhood? As always, thanks for reading.

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Image Revolution



This week I watched a documentary -something I rarely do- about the impact, ups, and downs of Image Comics. All I can say is…wow.
I got into comics shortly before Image started. I read mostly Superman and Batman, and I wasn’t a big Marvel fan at the time. I had read about the seven founders leaving Marvel en masse, but I didn’t realize what a historical event was happening.
After Image formed, most of my comic were from them, especially the stuff coming from Wildstorm. WildC.A.T.S, Gen 13, Battlechasers were some of my favorites. It was the first time I really sat up and took notice of art styles. I eagerly waited issues drawn by Jim Lee and Brett Booth. I wanted to be a comic artist.
The documentary highlights the lightning-fast rise and then decline of Image, focusing on the seven founders. It isn’t quite a detailed or informative as I thought it would be, there are quite a few issues and behind-thescenes- information I think the makers assume viewers already know.
But as an independent author, watching a documentary about seven guys saying goodbye to the traditional way of doing things and striking out on their own, really resonated with me. Image had seven different studios under its banner and you saw seven different approaches to being your own boss. Rob Liefeld is a cautionary tale, but the guy has an unbridled passion for the industry. It’s infectious. I now understand and appreciate the risk these guys took 20 years ago to change the way comics were made and the lasting impact they have had today.
Here is the official page for the documentary. I highly recommend it. Thanks for reading.