Five Things I Learned while Writing THE COURIER

My first novel will be published in early September. We’ll be sharing it as a Kindle e-book, paperback, and eventually an audible presentation. This first-time author has high expectations for the project, and I look forward to feedback from people who enjoy the Thriller genre.
Anyone attempting to write and offer a book to the world might want to glance over the following five points discovered while hammering out The Courier:

-1-Writing is hard, and there are thousands of great authors working to sell their art. Literary agents rejected my novel because it wasn't ready to be shared. I consider the dismissals by the agents a positive. They assessed the manuscript as needing further rewrites and pointed me in the direction of the self-publishing industry.  TAKE AWAY: Prepare the best possible draft before sharing it with the agents and publishing companies.
-2-There are incredible resources available to assist writers with their craft. I found the grammar checking software Grammarly useful. It’s also worth listening to your draft while you review it and Natural Reader’s realistic sounding software is affordable and proved to be a powerful instrument to assist rewrites. The online talent agency called Reedsy will assist in finding editors, cover designers, website technicians, and other useful services. TAKE AWAY: Tools, instruments, and professional support are available to anyone capable of searching the Web.

-3- People judge a book by the cover. You can create your Novel Cover if you're a talented graphic artist or enjoy working with available templates. You can also shop around and might be surprised at the availability of Excellent cover designers offering professional work at reasonable prices. TAKE AWAY: Invest time or money in creating an excellent cover for your novel.

-4-Marketing is the second half of the battle. The Indie Novelist’s work only begins after the last draft is complete. Exposing your book to the correct audience is essential to successful marketing. I found books by Mark Dawson, David Gaughran, and the free booklets found on the Bookbub website extremely helpful.

When you sign up for Gordon J. Campbell's list, you receive a Top Secret Document based on the protagonist Gregg Westwood. (www.gordonjcampbell.com) 

TAKE AWAY: Build a mailing list by offering something interesting to people. Do your homework and run a systematic marketing campaign based on the tracks laid down by proven experts.

-5-Writing contests offer Excellent opportunities for feedback and possible exposure. There are several legitimate writing contests, and some provide a professional critique for an additional fee. Winners gain exposure and prize money. TAKE AWAY: You can test your product by entering first novel competitions.

Here’s a little bit about THE COURIER

An expatriate businessman, Gregg Westwood, leaves the Officers’ Club at an American Air Base in Japan unaware about the impression he’s made on two intelligence agents. They sized him up as someone with potential for strategic deployment, and more importantly, he's under the radar. 
Gregg's exploits start with what he thinks is a one-off assignment as a courier, and the straightforward task spirals out of control. He's forced to rise to the occasion and use every resource available to survive. Even his family is jeopardized, which forces him to return to Japan to settle scores.
The Courier is one man’s struggle to fight for survival in a world that he's not been trained for and where violence and retribution are the names of the game.


Yakitori Matsumoto in Ebisu, the Master, and his charcoal deliver

The Ebisu district is famous for restaurants and bars and are exceptionally well known for Excellent yakitori. 

The Yakitori Matsumoto is a notch above most of the restaurants in the area and it's worth a visit.

The first challenge is locating the restaurant. Hint, it is found next to an establishment 

serving French food. Your google navigator will take you within a few meters, but you'll 

need a minute to check signs around the destination point.

The restaurant is popular with local Japanese customers who appreciate the Chef's craft, and we found it full upon arrival with people lined up and waiting seats when we departed.

(We recommend making a reservation and sitting at the bar with a view of the Chef at work.  You might need to ask your concierge or a Japanese capable friend to make the call.)

The menu is displayed in Japanese, but the waitresses are helpful, and fresh foods are lined up in front of the grill for review and selection. We started with sweet corn shaved from the cob, eggplant, cabbage with miso sauce, and fresh sliced tomatoes.
The yakitori selections were numerous and all salted or spiced to perfection. We especially enjoyed the thigh with peppered skin and breast with salted skin. The tsukune minced chicken served with a raw egg was Excellent.

The Yakitori Matsumoto charges a premium for the dishes and beverages, but we feel the venue delivers value. It’s become our new "go-to" Japanese restaurant when clients or friends come in from out of town.

The Yakitori Matsumoto opens at 1700 and is a five-minute walk from the West Exit of JR Ebisu Station. (2-11-8 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo,  Telephone 03-3462-5009)


Another visit to the charming Port City of Hakodate in Southern Hokkaido

Hakodate City in Southern Hokkaido is a charming place to visit during the summer with plenty of historical sites to check out, several restaurant options, and one lovely hot spring hotel.

The Port City is an 85-minute flight from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and a four-hour drive from Sapporo. It's a quality destination for those seeking something different.

The city once thrived as the gateway to Hokkaido and served as the premier ferry terminal for visitors from mainland Japan.

Its economy struggled since 1988 when the Japanese Government completed the Seikan Tunnel and bullet trains full of passengers started arriving from Japan’s main island of Honshu.

We want to share a few discoveries from our trip enjoyed over the last weekend of June.

The people of Hokkaido love soup curries and we found The Soup Curry Café Charlie’s Spice (2-11-15 Kamiyama,041-0832, Phone: 0138-51-0610) to be a notch above the competition.

The Wooden tables and chairs, novel knick-knacks, and great music made for a homey atmosphere and a relaxed lunch. The mutton, seafood, and chicken curry soups combined with fresh vegetables and seasoned based on ones preferences were delicious.

The prices were reasonable, and the menu offered a nice compliment of smoothies, soft drinks, and several kinds of beer.

The consensus restaurant favorite amongst local foodies and wine lovers who travel to Hakodate is an impressive Spanish restaurant called La Concha. https://www.vascu.com/laconcha/

The Tapas served are delicious, and a well-priced wine list combines for an exciting evening.

We especially enjoyed the fresh scallops, seafood carpaccio, tiny broiled squid, beef served in Ragu sauce and the seafood paella.

These paired well with wine served in decanters allowing for variety and affordable exploration.

It's all about starting the day with the best breakfast available in Hokkaido. For those who appreciate a sensational breakfast starting with an incredible selection of roasted salmon, fresh local vegetables and tables loaded with sashimi will have to stay at La Vista Hotel and Spa Resort (12-6 Toyokawacho, Hakodate, Hokkaido 040-0065).

My Japanese wife and daughter love taking hot spring baths while looking over the Hakodate's Harbor, but what brings us back to La Vista is the breakfast.

The Japanese fill their trays with fresh rice covered in ikura, tuna tartar, and preferred condiments. Fresh pastries, local dairy products, salads, sausages, eggs, and a dessert bar inclusive of soft ice-cream also await the less intrepid.

We stayed in a room with a view of Mount Hakodate and the harbor and I enjoyed our time sipping wine and gazing at the quiet city as it fell asleep.

On a clear day, you can enjoy a trip up Mount Hakodate in a gondola and the view in the evening is lovely.

The mountain is 334 meters high, which is one meter taller than Tokyo Tower.

We walked through the Motomachi area on route to the "ropeway." and enjoyed meandering around the charming side streets and visited the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches.

Our final dinner with at the Ghengis Khan Mei Mei Tei ( 0138-24-8070) located next to the La Vista Hotel and we had a blast. We ordered the premium set with the option to eat and drink all we could in one and a half hours.

The Lamb was delicious, and the pork, beef, shrimp, and vegetables kept coming on demand. You ring a bell and second helpings are brought with speed as were the beverages.

Be sure to make a reservation and watch your time. The waiters cut you off the second your 90 minutes is complete.