Roppongi, Tokyo, on New Year's Eve

Roppongi, Tokyo, on New Year's Eve
Among other things, I am writing a detective series that takes place in Tokyo. The first novel, "Be Careful What You Ask For," centers on a much-admired Tokyo police inspector being forced to confront his ties to a crime family while investigating a murder in Roppongi.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Why write?

Consider today's blog as a first cousin to the Quick Hits writing tips. In previous posts, I said that all writing can be boiled down into Who What When Where and Why. Today I'd like to talk about Why.

As in Why write? Why write about _____________? Why do you spend all your free time neglecting friends and family and having a life so you can scribble a few sentences on a notepad or stay up all night pounding out sentences as if you life depended on it.

Why indeed.

Anyone can give you a reason for writing: convey and idea. Tell a story. Spread the news.
Writers suffer a more debilitating affliction, they write as if their soul will expire if the don't.

See, people who write do it whether they like it or not. They cannot help themselves. They pick up a pencil and write a story as soon as they've read their first book. They see how it's done and want to to do. Some hear a poem and know they've heard something that touches their soul, and just know they have to do the same thing in order to live. Some hear the stories of their ancestors and are convinced that recording them is an act of precious preservation.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Detective novel continued 4

Here is another chapter from my detective novel. Be sure to check out the other
posts, and let me know what you think.

Charlie Parker Jones felt nothing, sensed nothing except the raw ache of the rejection he could not believe was real as he stared at the subway ticket kiosk below the streets of Roppongi. He had no idea how he got there. His mind was a blur as he tried to grasp what happened: flashes of Kimi Yamada saying she had to see him, then saying she could not see him anymore. Words like “please leave,” “my parents,” “I cannot anymore,” but her body telling him more truth words ever did, melting into his embrace, clinging to him, fighting her unwanted promise to let go.
        Her rejection wounded him, made him flee when he knew there was nothing he could do, nothing he could say to change her mind when she broke free of his grip and hid her face, unable to look at him as she lied. He wanted to stay. He never ran from anything in his life. But the weeping, the “please go” was more than he could take.
        Some inner autopilot guided him to a train. It was minutes before he was aware his mind settled on this: talk to someone about Kimi, about what just happened. Now.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Building community of readers and writers

After having a Facebook account for 3+ years and connecting to family, friends and former coworkers, I wondered what I really could accomplish with the thing. I knew it would come in handy when the day came I actually had a book published, but I didn't want to use my own site for that. I plan on having a separate site for anything that has to do with writing and publishing.

But something happened as I delved deeper into social media and waded through the many sites that offer all types of advice on going legacy, going indie, becoming a brand, building a following -- jeez. All I wanted to do was try to get a handle on this stuff.

And Facebook. One of the things that intimidated me when it came to 'friending' on Facebook was, heck, I don't know these people. Why would I want to friend them? And they friend me?

And then Twitter came along, and I realized that becoming a citizen of the Web meant introductions were in order. So how was I going to introduce myself? As a journalist? An editor? A traveler? A veteran? No: I got into all this because the time had come to get my fiction published. It was time to introduce myself as a writer.

And then it all clicked: I was following writers on Twitter, making friends on Goodreads, so when I see that those people have a Facebook account, how about 'friending' them on FB, and .... what?  They don't know me. I don't know them.  But there's one thing we have in common: a love of reading and a love of writing.


So I started the process of finding friends, and the really cool people who accepted, found out the reason why I was contacting them when I was 'invited' to write on their 'wall.' This is what I write: Thank you for helping me build a community of readers and writers.

And now I am friends with novelists, poets, writing instructors, all kinds of people who care about words and reading and books, and it's not for the purpose of selling, for getting a review, for reminding folks of a buy-it-now sale. Now I feel like I'm friends people from across the country and around the world who love writing and ideas and are helping me build a community of readers and writers. To share stuff. To get turned on to new stuff. To remind folks of good stuff already out there.

And I think that's pretty cool.

If you like this idea, just find me at
and if you like, follow me on Twitter

Hope to see ya soon.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Quick Hits No. 9

In previous posts about writing, I've focused on the how, not the why. This post by Norma Jean Lutz I found on the Be A Novelist web site hit home for me. Among many other terrific things, she relays what Albert Einstein had to say about stories:

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

What came immediately to me was Aesop's Fables, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Peter Rabbit: stories that capture the imagination and along the way, leave gems of truth and awareness that sit in one's subconscious, to emerge at (hopefully) times that amplified their worth. When I discovered I could learn about the world by reading stories written from far off lands, in things called newspapers and magazines, that notion already had a home to go to, thanks to stories already in my mind.

It's only natural to want to attempt to recreate what one has seen and appreciated all one's life. Draw a picture, build a sand castle, tell a story: all of these potentially wild flights of the imagination are what gives life a certain je ne sais quoi  I know I could not live without.

Lutz asks the question 'Does a story have any practical use?' Good question, in these technological times. But we as a people have always been tellers of stories. So it's only natural that some of us satisfy that itch that can only be scratched by not just telling a story, but writing it down and sharing it.

Now, about that getting up in the morning thing ...

See ya next week!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Detective novel continued 3

      Here are a few more scenes from the detective novel I'm writing:
       (previous posts can take you back to the beginning. It's worth it!)


        A clamor unusual for Roppongi after midnight began to swell outside the jazz club, and as Sato and Endo entered in the vestibule, ready to go, Endo wondered what the buzzing sound was. He got his answer when they opened the front door and found themselves in the midst of a throng of reporters and photographers. The uniformed officers had been able to corral the scrum off to one side, but were overmatched once Endo and Sato appeared.
        Endo saw the reporters make a rush to corner Sato, and he tried to put himself between the Sato and the crowd to forge ahead to the police cars. Sato pushed his way forward as he announced the department would be issuing a release soon, to check with the usual people there. One glance back at Sato and Endo could see the disappointment in his eyes.
        “Who died?” a young, well-dressed woman shouted as she thrust a microphone at Sato.
        Sato ignored her.
        “Who died, officer?” she repeated.
        “We are notifying the victim’s relatives so I have nothing to say,” Sato replied.
        “We heard it was a waitress,” she asked. “A university student.”
        Endo turned toward her voice and saw the face that went with it: a strikingly pretty face, framed by an expensive haircut, and as he glanced down at the rest of her, he could see she was dressed too well to be a newspaper stiff working in the middle of the night. He pegged her as young, ambitious and out for a big story. She must have scored a tip on what happened at the Down Low. She had an ANK TV sticker on her microphone. He looked for television cameras, and saw more than he cared for.
        The woman glanced at Endo but turned her attention back to Sato. She saw he was looking directly at her.
        "There will be a press release soon," Sato quietly replied as he struggled to get through the scrum; the officers were outnumbered, the sea of bodies quite unwilling to yield.
        "What about the girl?” the young woman shouted. “She was a student at Waseda?”
        Sato then realized the woman may have been one of the customers, or knew someone who had been inside.
        “How did she wind up in a back alley?” she shouted. “Do you have any suspects?"
        "There will be a press release in a little while," Sato repeated as he followed Endo, who finally managed to force an opening in the crowd.
        Encouraged by the eye contact, the woman elbowed her way past two reporters an quickly stepped in front of Sato.
“Were there any foreigners involved? Everyone knows the club attracts many foreigners. And GIs.”
        “The press release …” Sato began.
        The crowd then pushed in on him, spinning him around as the woman’s voice shouted: "Was it a gangster killing?" He saw Sato ever so briefly stop and stare at her.
        “Were any yakuza involved?” she shouted, pushing ahead, sure she had Sato’s attention. “The place is supposed to be owned by Jun Fujimori. Ses Fujimori’s son. Is he a suspect?”
        “No…” Sato began, but the reporter saw the flicker of recognition in Sato’s eyes. Ses Fujimori, boss of a crime syndicate entrenched in all levels of business, politics, government. A man with a world-class mind who started as a gifted safe cracker and bank robber before moving up to gambling rackets. Once Ses’ father, Key, cultivated his gifts of leadership, there was no stopping him. The millions he extorted during construction boom in Shinjuku made Fujimori wealthier than he could have imagined.
        And as a child, Ses was Sato’s closest friend. It was a friendship Sato spent years hiding from the department, especially the one time he went to Ses for help in arresting one of his men. Ses agreed, knowing Sato would be in his debt, a fact never far from Sato’s mind.
        The reporter heard the briefest of catches in Sato’s voice before he recovered and muttered something about the news release before turning away.
        The reporter knew she had something.
        So did Endo.