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!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Classic Doesn't Always Mean Good

I’ve tried reading classic books, especially SF books. Most of the time, I don’t like them. I guess I’m a product of the modern age. I like the here and now. I’m sure literary critics will think it is a cardinal sin, but just because a book is considered a classic doesn’t mean I should automatically like it.

Sometimes it is the style it is written in. I have never finished The Lord Of The Rings or The Hobbit because Tolkien has such a dense style. Every sword has a name, and every race has three or four names depending on the which other race is talking about them. I like the story and the world building is phenomenal. But the books are a difficult read. It happens to me when I read Sherlock Holmes as well. Especially when the characters (usually Holmes’s clients) go into such extricating and poetic detail. Nobody talks like that. It’s really frustrating.
I have difficulty with old SF because of the old science. I’m not saying every SF books nowadays have to be accurate and fact checked 1000 times. But there are some old SF books where the science is blatantly wrong. I’m sure when it was written, the facts hadn’t been proven, but somethings just seemed laughable when I read them. Star Trek The Original Series is a little like that. Excellent stories, great characters, but I can’t get over the 60s-ness of the show. I love the classic crew but at the same time I’m laughing at costumes and music and science.
Not all classics are bad. I’ve read The Phantom Of the Opera, Treasure Island, Dune, and others and have enjoyed them. But it is okay not too like the classics. Just because you love vampires doesn’t mean you have to thinkDracula is the best vampire book written. Make up your own mind. Love what you want to love. Make your own list of ‘classics’ you’d read over and over. It doesn’t have to be the same as everyone else’s.
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What's In A Blog Name?

For new followers, you may be wondering where my blog name came from. It is the name of all-time favorite Morning Musume song Resonant Blue. That song currently ties for first place with Meat Loaf’s Read ‘Em And Weep as my all-time favorite song. 

Here is the music video for Resonant Blue. There are multiple versions of the PV, but the One-Cut Dance Shot is my favorite. Every time I watch it I see something new with someone’s dancing. I personally like Kamei Eri’s and Michishige Sayumi’s dancing in this. 
Thanks for reading, and in this case, watching.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I'd Live In Tokyo

If money & jobs weren’t a factor, what one place in the world would you live?That is easy.
All my life I’ve lived in small towns. Cody, Wyoming had a population of about 8,000 people and West Blocton, Alabama has about 1,500. Iwakuni in Japan is the largest city I’ve ever lived in and it is small by Japanese standards. As I tell people, when it comes to living in Iwakuni, it has everything you need, not necessarily everything you want.
I love Tokyo. I have visited many times, although the longest I’ve stayed is three days. I’d love to spend an entire week there. It has everything and most of it is in easy reach. The public transportation is really convenient  Even the crowds don’t bother me very much, although it does some other people. I remember the first time I went there with Yoko. We arrived in Tokyo Station about 11pm. The place was dead, almost empty. Yoko said she was surprised so many people were there. Totally different impressions. That’s my country girl, lol.
There are major events going on all the time. Many lesser-known singers and artists have shows only in Tokyo. My favorite group, Morning Musume, always have concerts and handshake events in Tokyo, and I know I’d spend a lot of money going to them.
Don’t forget the import food stores, either. With probably the largest concentration of expats in Japan, I’m sure I could find restaurants and stores to satisfy my palette. There’s an Outback Steakhouse in Shibuya!
When I go to Tokyo, I almost always stay at the same hotel: Asia Center Of Japan. It’s a hotel that caters to foreigners. It is cheap, convenient, and located in the quiet district of Akasaka. I love it. It’s only a few stops from Shibuya, which is a major hub for changing to other train lines. I can travel to Shinjuku, Akihabara, and Ginza without too much trouble. Not to mention the trains run about every two - five minutes. Some trains here in Yamaguchi prefecture run every two hours.
Despite how many times I have been to Tokyo, there is still so much I haven’t seen. I’d love to go to the Fuji Television building in Odaiba, Tokyo Sky Tree, and many other places. It’s so full of interesting architecture and landscapes, like the Tsutaya in Daikanyama and the metropolitan building in Shinjuku, that I wish I was a photographer. So many interesting places. I could probably do photo blog posts for a year.
Without a doubt, my favorite place is Akihabara. But it also one of the noisiest places in Tokyo. Almost every electronics shop has a salesperson with a microphone hawking their discounts. There are the anime stores, discount shops, and my favorite: maid cafes.
There you have it. My dream city. As always, thanks for reading.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Se7en Weekend Activities

Seven things to do this weekend that do not take an excessive amount of planning.
Card/board game night with friends and family. Almost every family has boardgames in their house or at least a pack a cards. Call up some friends, or make it a family affair if everyone else is busy. There are so many to choose from: Uno, Clue, Monopoly Klingon Edition. I’m really hoping to get a game of Triad going with my Battlestar Galactica playing cards I bought.
Road trip within an hour’s drive. Not every vacation has to be long distance. There are probably lots of interesting or unexplored areas not far from home. Try going somewhere you haven’t been. Such a short drive means you’ll have most of the day to explore and still get back home at a reasonable hour.
Movie marathon. Pick a theme like a movie series (Harry Potter) or star (George Clooney) or director (David Fincher). Make sure to take a break every couple of hours to give your eyes a rest.
Start/finish a craft project. Maybe you sew or paint or make jewelry. The weekend could be a great time to hole up and let your designs and ideas pour out.
Backyard cook out. Nothing fancy. A grill if you have one, or a makeshift fire pit. Cook hot dogs and burgers and roast s’mores. Simple and tasty.
Join a free community group/activity. Every weekend there are book club meetings or fandom discussions. Check online listings for your local area to see if there an area of interest that clicks with you.
Volunteer. Along the same lines as above, there are community projects and activities happening all the time. Look for a cause you believe in and lend a hand, even if only for a day.
Any other ideas out there? As always, 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.