No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners!

My Life in Japan in the 80s

Nonfiction author Joe Palermo self-published a memoir in March. Here’s a synopsis:

A young Japanese woman was running through Tokyo station screaming “Save me! Save me!” There was a Japanese man chasing her and closing in. He grabbed her wrist and caught her about 10 feet in front of me. The woman was still yelling “Save me! Save Me!” but the Japanese people in the crowded station ignored her, not wanting to get involved.

This is the beginning of just one of the stories from my experience living in Japan in the 1980’s, where I had moved right after graduating university. It was still rare to see an American who could speak Japanese fluently. This book guides the reader though my many adventures navigating through Japanese culture while living in the outskirts of Tokyo, as well as Tokyo proper.

You can find out more about this memoir author on Facebook, on Pinterest, on LinkedIn, and on Instagram. You may ask him questions at Goodreads Author Joe Palermo.

Joe’s Interview

Do you consider yourself (1) an introvert OR (2) an extrovert?

An extrovert. I love to be in the spotlight. I have done this throughout my business career as I gave sales and marketing presentations around the world. The most memorable was giving a one hour presentation about Walmart in Japanese at an international Food convention. I also play electric guitar in a Christian band for our church of 1,000+. I suppose writing about my Japanese experiences also falls into the extrovert category.

Very outgoing!

What is your (1) most favorite thing to do OR (2) least favorite thing to do?

The thing I love doing the most is traveling. I have traveled all over the world as part of my business life and have been to Japan many many times, besides living there for eight years. It’s difficult these days, but my wife and I have still made it to Japan, Las Vegas and Mackinac Island, Michigan this year.

Globe-trotting for you!

Do you find it (1) easy to give a witty retort OR (2) think of what you should have said after the conversation is over?

I have a very sarcastic wit and my mind immediately goes to the most unexpected response to any question. You can see this quite often in my book.

The riposte is quite an art!

Do you (1) love shopping OR (2) hate shopping?

My wife and I absolutely love shopping for clothes. We’ll often stay at a luxury hotel in Chicago (usually the Waldorf Chicago) and hit the designer shops there, usually when there is a sale going on. We’re really into fashion and especially love shopping in big cities such as LA and Tokyo.

People can look for you along the magnificent mile or at the beautiful Water Tower Place!

(1) Can you name just one favorite novel OR (2) you love too many to just pick one?

My favorite novel of all time is Knock On Any Door by Willard Motley. It’s an older book, but I first read it in middle school and many times since. I have a first edition copy which I treasure.

Interesting!

Thanks for being interviewed, Joe!

No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners!
No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners!

Hajogana

Sci-fi author Samuel Yaw Jian Fong self-published his third novel in August. Hâjogana is about a man who overcomes the cruelty of his supervisor to make a better society. Here’s a synopsis:

When Hâjogana was young, he aspired to be a governor of one of the colonies of the Konjor Supercorporation, making a difference in a vicious Galaxy with his benevolence.

As he grew up, he was given over to the Gaantegeu army in exchange for several prisoners. As one of the officers of one of the Galaxy’s greatest armies, he fought so well that he became one of its best fighter aces, renowned throughout the Galaxy’s realms. But out of a sudden, he was transferred back into his Supercorporation: firstly under the tenure of a vicious entrepreneur, and then under the direct authority of the sadistic governor Vannikon.

The Supercorporation has left him at the fleeting mercy of his tests and his abusive superiors. If he overcomes them, he will become the next Governor; but if he loses, he might face a cruel and excruciating death. Will he pass his coming tests and make it out alive?

You may tweet this sci-fi author on Twitter and join his YouTube channel. You may ask him questions at Goodreads Author Samuel Yaw Jian Fong.

Samuel’s Interview

You see an amusing incident while grocery shopping. Do you (1) record what happens in some form OR (2) do nothing?

If there’s an amusing incident, I might record it because it can entertain other people on Youtube. – this question amuses me.

Glad you enjoyed it!

You prefer (1) to people watch OR (2) bird watch?

To be honest, I think bird watching is more entertaining than watching people, because birds are a more relaxing sight.

Birds for you!

Do you (1) buy an item on impulse OR (2) save up to buy the item?

As someone who doesn’t have enough money, I try to save my cash to buy a certain thing, even if it takes months.

Perfectly understandable!

Are you a person who (1) makes and follows New Year resolutions OR (2) never bothers with resolutions?

Even though I organise my tomorrows into schedules, I do not bother with New Year’s Resolutions, because I am more focused towards the present instead of the future.

No time like the present!

What provides more inspiration to you: (1) art OR (2) nature?

Art, because it is more broad and variable than nature as a source of inspiration.

Interesting insight!

Thanks for being interviewed, Samuel!

Hajogana book cover
Hajogana

Entanglement

Sci-fi author Alina Leonova self-published her debut novel in October. Here’s a synopsis:

In a world where the distinction between the virtual and the real has faded, and an inexplicable plague is changing the nature, a man is running away from home, as he feels that something strange has happened to his loved one. He will have to change his life, slowly uncovering the truth as he grapples with his doubts about the nature of reality. Can what is happening to him be real, or is he stuck in a simulation?

At the same time, a woman begins to realize that the restrictive community she’s spent her entire life with and the rules she’s been following all along make no sense. She’s had enough of the Master’s cruelty and the mysterious purpose that he’s constantly talking about never explaining it.

This character-focused book explores the relationship between humans and nature and the effects advanced technology has on people’s lives. It dives into the characters’ experiences and follows their adventures as they look for answers, offering several plot twists.

Alina reviews novels written by other female sci-fi authors on her blog. You may ask her questions at Goodreads Author Alina Leonova.

Alina’s Interview

Do you consider yourself (1) an introvert OR (2) an extrovert?

I am actually an ambivert, which means I’m somewhere in the middle on the spectrum between an extrovert and an introvert, probably leaning a bit more towards being an extrovert. When I spend too much time among people, I get tired and need some time alone. When I’m alone for too long, I miss people and need contact with them. I sometimes feel completely confident among strangers, starting conversations and telling jokes, and sometimes I feel really shy among people and want to stand somewhere in the corner, unnoticed.

Nice contrasting balance!

Science has advanced and we can now colonize other planets. Do you (1) sign up to be a colonist OR (2) remain on Earth?

I’ve always been fascinated with space travel, and my interest in sci-fi is fueled by it. I used to think I’d be a colonist if I had a chance, but coronavirus lockdown has shifted my perspective. Being locked inside an apartment (which, by definition, is way more comfortable and cozy than a spaceship or a habitat somewhere on Mars), unable to see and hug my loved ones and be in contact with the nature turned out to be extremely hard. When I had a chance to go out, I was so drawn to trees and birds, I needed to smell every flower, touch every leave and feel every raindrop on my face. I missed my friends and family and just being in the same room with people so much! So, I realized how incredibly hard being a colonist would be psychologically (and physically, of course, but that doesn’t scare me as much). I would have to leave behind everyone and everything I care about. I would never be able to hike in the mountains or swim in a lake or just be outside unrestrained. And I really love Earth, so I think I’ll stay here. But if it’s ever possible to travel to another planet or space and return, I’ll definitely do it!

Dorothy’s ruby red slippers would help!

Your significant other or child asked you to do something you don’t like to do. Do you (1) grin and bear it OR (2) mumble to yourself while doing the task?

I think it’s extremely important to set boundaries and make sure I don’t do things I don’t like for others. But if I decided to do this thing because it’s important for me to help them, I would rather be calm about it and grin: no need to complain and feel bad about something I will be doing anyway, since it will only make it harder for me.

Perfectly understandable!

Do you write (1) when the mood takes you OR (2) at a set time?

I try to be systematic about writing and do it every day because it’s a skill that has to be honed and nurtured. It doesn’t matter to me at what time I do it as long as I do it at all, but I don’t leave it to the mood either. I allow myself some time to slack, but then I tell myself, ‘It’s time to write,’ and I do it whether I’m in the mood or not.

The write time!

(1) Can you name just one favorite novel OR (2) you love too many to just pick one?

I definitely love too many! I start a new book the moment I put down the previous one. I’ve read too many good books to choose only one among them. There are books of different genres, there is great fiction as well as non-fiction, there are books suitable for a certain mood, age period in life, etc. No, it’s just impossible to have one favorite book for me!

Excellent reasoning!

Thanks for being interviewed, Alina!

Entanglement book cover
Entanglement

The Telepathy Office

Author Keith Gell has self-published a fantasy novel which is a blend of urban punk and magic punk.

The vast metropolis, a city inhabited by goblins, is in the throes of an industrial revolution forged in magic. Manna, magical energy captured in physical form, fuels its factories that produce artefacts, to be traded across the galaxy. Wizards are the new elite. They use their magical skill to amass great wealth, and in turn, political power. Resentment grows among the mundane goblin proletariat.

Magic purveys every aspect of goblin life: Telepathic communication, weather control, and healing. But alongside the benefits come risks: Mutation from manna pollution, and magical diseases of vampirism and lycanthropy. But the biggest threat of all is demonic invasion.

Vampires steal a book to summon a demon. Infernal manna finds its way onto the market place, with awful consequences.

Grand Master Pharaoh Henry must recruit a team of demon hunters to stop a full-scale invasion from Hell. But Henry is a dangerous fanatic, and those who work for him end up dead, or worse. No right-minded wizard would risk death, or losing his soul, so he recruits who he can: A drug addicted augurist, a dishonoured ork, a cowardly policeman, a fugitive vampire, and a vain fashionista who shares her mind with a demon.

Against the backdrop of armed revolution, they investigate a Satanic plot, to prevent the opening of a gate to Hell itself.

You can read an interview about this urban fantasy author on Brighton & Hove Independent. You may visit his page at Goodreads Author Keith Gell.

Keith’s Interview

Do you consider yourself (1) an introvert OR (2) an extrovert?

I am an extrovert. I am a chatterbox who talks to everyone.

A friendly guy!

You prefer (1) to eat a home-cooked meal with family and friends OR (2) to eat in a big-name restaurant?

Both and neither. I love eating at home with my family and friends. Also, I like eating in foreign restaurants with my family. In particular, I like Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants in Soho, and Indian restaurants on the Brick Lane. I would not particularly want to eat at a ‘Big Name’ restaurant, unless I won the meal as a prize.

A variety for you!

Do you find it (1) easy to give a witty retort OR (2) think of what you should have said after the conversation is over?

I find it easy to give a witty retort because, in the words of Jonny Rotten, I stock up on cheap comments. My favourite retort is (to be used after an obnoxious or ignorant comment), ‘You’re still evolving aren’t you X’ (to be delivered with an encouraging tone of voice).

Wow, what a comeback!

Do you write (1) when the mood takes you OR (2) at a set time?

I have ideas for scenes, usually when I’m swimming or walking. Later I write them down, then string them together to write a book. For The Telepathy Office I slotted them into a standard 3-act structure, hyper texting them together with an Excel spreadsheet.

Interesting process!

(1) Can you name just one favorite novel OR (2) you love too many to just pick one?

It would be easier to name my favourite authors: H G Wells, Arthur C Clarke, C S Lewis, Alfred Bester, Douglas Adams, and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Fantastic writers!

Thanks for being interviewed, Keith!

The Telepathy Office
The Telepathy Office

Cape Heights

Volume 1

Author Michele Ceron said, “My genre is pretty much one that I created as far as I can tell. I have created my own original daytime TV soap opera. I write it in a cross between screen play and prose form. Instead of chapters, it’s broken down into episodes just like you would see on TV and each episode is broken down into several different scenes. It reads the same way you would be watching if it was on TV.”

Welcome to Cape Heights, a small coastal town in Oregon where the drama never sleeps!

The Rutledge Family is one of the wealthy families of Cape Heights, also one of the most troubled. With years of sibling rivalries, a father and a son who were both married to the same woman, and a company in the middle of it all, can the family finally come together for the sake of saving their floundering company?

Five years ago, Darius Hilton was caught in a love triangle with two women. The three of them went through hell and back together, (including murder) who did he end up choosing to be with forever?

Trisha Davis had big aspirations of becoming a famous singer, she sacrificed everything to get it, including her long time relationship with her boyfriend, Adrian Emerson. Five years later she returns to Cape Heights from Los Angeles, hoping to win him back. Can Adrian ever forgive her for her major betrayal that involves a lot more than a singing career? Or does he have a betrayal of his own that might push Trisha away?

These stories and more are awaiting among the residents of Cape Heights where love triangles and family feuds are the daily norm! Warning: This book contains adult language, alternative relationships, drug use, colorful dialogue, controversial subject matter and sexually explicit scenes. This book is not for the easily offended.

You can find out more about this soap opera drama author on Facebook. You may ask her questions at Goodreads Author Michele Ceron.

Michele’s Interview

Do you consider yourself (1) an introvert OR (2) an extrovert?

Introvert. I grew up in a family where I was the only introvert. Always introduced as the “quiet child” by my parents. I kept to myself a lot, didn’t talk much. I felt much more comfortable with the written word than the spoken word. So as a child I was ALWAYS reading and even writing as well as a kid. To this day I’m still more comfortable with the written word. That is how I most often get my feelings out. I still have difficulty sometimes telling people how I feel or communicate directly with people verbally. I hate confrontation and most of the time avoid it. Even at the age of 43, though I def have come out of my shell more and am more outgoing than I used to be, typically when I first meet a person or persons I am still very quiet and people often comment on that. Introverts don’t mind spending a good amount of their time alone at home and I def am like that but of course sometimes I crave to be out around people and be social. But at parties or large gatherings, a couple of hours is enough for me then I want to leave typically.

Our differences are what makes us special!

Science has advanced and we can now colonize other planets. Do you (1) sign up to be a colonist OR (2) remain on Earth?

DEF remain on earth! I love this blue marble and all the wonders it holds! I have ZERO desire to go out into the unknown of outer space and colonize a new planet, not having any idea at all how that’s going to work out if at all and leaving behind all the people I love and enjoy here. I’m a homebody and earth is my home.

Blue marble for you!

You have enough money to do anything. Will you (1) pamper yourself at a spa for a week OR (2) go on a cruise for a week?

Although a cruise also sounds nice, I work in the spa industry I have for the last 13 years. I do facials for a living as well as colon hydrotherapy. You may think I would be sick of being in a spa and NOT want to do that, but the opposite is true. I love pampering people and I love getting those services done as well. Whenever I go on vacation no matter where it is, I always go find a spa and at the very least get a massage if not also a facial and any other spa treatment I can. It’s always been my dream to go away for a week or longer to one of those uber fancy and uber expensive spa retreats in some far off country.

Pampering yourself it is!

Do you write (1) when the mood takes you OR (2) at a set time?

I try to do the set time thing, but I rarely actually stick to it so it’s when the mood strikes me most of the time. I have always been a huge procrastinator, so I think that’s why it’s difficult for me to stick to a set time to write. I always find excuses to do other things instead. But when I’m REALLY in the mood to write, I can write for hours on end.

Definitely a Glenn Miller way to go!

(1) Can you name just one favorite novel OR (2) you love too many to just pick one?

I love SO many novels but I still say that my all-time favorite novel, which I read for the first time about 22 years ago is Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour. Nothing can top it, in my book. Exquisite writing of an extremely complicated and intricate family. It reads like velvet. So rich and colorful. And I find something new every time I re-read it that I didn’t completely pick up on before. It’s one of the few books that I can completely envision every single scene and every single character in my head with the greatest of detail. Though I have read PLENTY of other excellent books, nothing still comes close to The Witching Hour for me.

Excellent explanation!

Thanks for being interviewed, Michele!

Cape Heights book cover
Cape Heights