How the Japanese Concept of Ikigai Works for Me

How the Japanese Concept of Ikigai Works for Me

My wife recently posted about Ikigai on Facebook in these terms:

(The Japanese art to a long and happy life – enjoy every nanoseconds of the rest of your life)
1. STAY ACTIVE; DON’T RETIRE. Those who give up the things they love doing and do well lose their purpose in life. That’s why it’s so important to keep doing things of value, making progress, bringing beauty or utility to others, helping out, and shaping the world around you, even after your “official” professional activity has ended.
2. TAKE IT SLOW. Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to quality of life. As the old saying goes, “Walk slowly and you’ll go far.” When we leave urgency behind, life and time take on new meaning.
3. DON’T FILL YOUR STOMACH. Less is more when it comes to eating for long life, too. According to the 80 percent rule, in order to stay healthier longer, we should eat a little less than our hunger demands instead of stuffing ourselves.
4. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD FRIENDS. Friends are the best medicine, there for confiding worries over a good chat, sharing stories that brighten your day, getting advice, having fun, dreaming . . . in other words, living.
5. GET IN SHAPE FOR YOUR NEXT BIRTHDAY. Water moves; it is at its best when it flows fresh and does not stagnate. The body you move through life in needs a bit of daily maintenance to keep it running for a long time. Plus, exercise releases hormones that make us feel happy.
6. SMILE. A cheerful attitude is not only relaxing – it also helps make friends. It’s good to recognize the things that aren’t so great, but we should never forget what a privilege it is to be in the here and now in a world so full of possibilities.
7. RECONNECT WITH NATURE. Though most people live in cities these days, human beings are made to be part of the natural world. We should return to it often to recharge our batteries.
8. GIVE THANKS. To your ancestors, to nature, which provides you with the air you breath and the food you eat, to your friends and family, to everything that brightens your days and makes you feel lucky to be alive. Spend a moment every day giving thanks, and you’ll watch your stockpile of happiness grow.
9. LIVE IN THE MOMENT. Stop regretting the past and fearing the future. Today is all you have. Make the most out of it. Make it worth remembering.
10. FOLLOW YOUR IKIGAI. There is a passion inside you, a unique talent that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end. If you don’t know what your ikigai is yet, your mission is to discover it.

Those rules, or at least some, have resonance for me and here’s why.

#1 Having retired from my official line of work when I was a younger man, I stay active by writing books and I believe those books bring enjoyment to many readers he world over.

#2 I have always advocated taking it easy. It’s my nature though as an Aries, I can be impatient sometimes.

#3 Took me a long time to discover the truth of this for myself.

#4 My friends are in the main, my wife, her boys and her family.

#5 I’m on some new medications to reduce my blood pressure. Does that count?

#6 Easy!

#7 Never lost touch with nature. I marvel each day at wildlife and sunsets.

#8 Yes, I truly thank them all for without them, I would not exist.

#9 This could be my mantra. I have experienced many setbacks in my life but I’m still standing and joyously happy.

#10 My passion is my writing. I do consider (modestly) it is my unique talent.

What do you say?

Mercy Has a New Fan

Mercy Has a New Fan

Mercy has a new fan and it’s not often I reproduce reviews of my own books, but tell the truth I was impressed and delighted with this recent review.

Impressed because of the unusual style. Delighted… well, you can read why I felt that way. Here is the review:

Tony Parsons

Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2021

2024, Florida Panhandle. Navarre Beach. Mercy Deal (15, daughter) met Conor O’Rourke (20, Georgia Tech U, Kappa Alpha frat boy).
Then she took a drink that had a date-rape drug in it.
She was no longer a virgin.
Wolfie Jules had been prowling the beach.
Captain Mike Stevenson (Fort Walton Beach PD) was talking with Wolfie (30+, Hispanic) who had called 911.
Sacred Heart ER. Mercy was being looked at.
Detective Matt Deal (husband/father) rushed to hospital.
Dr. Destin (brain trauma surgeon) greeted & spoke with Detective Deal when they arrived.
Not good news at all.
Sandestin. Captain Stevenson & the PD busted down the condo door. The Kappa Alpha frat boys: Conor O’Rourke, Roland Fenney, Brett Angus, Paul Greenslade, & Tim Heath had been smoking MJ & drinking.The 5 suspects were read their Miranda rights & hauled down to the station.
They had bailed out.
Court was held & they were all released.
6-months later, Mercy was still in a coma.
Wolfie Jules (computer genius) & Sheba (Wolfie’s German Shepherd) came to work for Detective Matt Deal (Homicide/Robbery) at the Big Deal’s Gym.
Detective Deal invited his ex-wife Lorey to the Napoli pizza parlor.
Emily Breen (NCA IA head) met with Detective Deal.
Detective Deal was still suspended 6 months after the death of Tommy Etchwell “Butcher of Brighton” Darker Productions owner.
Mercy was now in Tallahassee Memorial Hospital a specialist neurological trauma center PVS wing.
Jack Hughes (grandfather, wealthy) was picking up the tab.
The Crown versus Matthew Deal.
Not guilty.
Sheba Investigations. Mrs. Tina Gonsales (wife) came to see Matt Deal about Leo Gonsales (husband, construction foreman).
Mobile, AL. trailer park. Matt went to visit with Celia LeFevre (widow, wheelchair bound. Social Security) about here deceased husband Pierre LeFevre (aka Peter).
Jack Hughes (Matt’s ex-father-in-law, Hughes Realty Inc.) made an urgent call.

What were Andy Messina & Joe Caruso up to?

I do not receive any type of compensation for reading & reviewing free books from publishers & authors. Therefore, I am under no obligation to write a positive review, only an honest one.

An awesome book cover, great font & writing style. A very professionally written crime thriller book. It was quite easy for me to read/follow from start/finish & never a dull moment. There were no grammar/typo errors, nor any repetitive or out of line sequence sentences. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a large description list of unique characters, settings, facts etc. to keep track of. This could also make another great crime thriller movie, or better yet a mini-TV series. There is no doubt in my mind this is an extremely easy rating of 5 stars.

Thank you for the free author; Hendry Publishing; BookFunnel; Amazon Digital Services LLC. Kindle Mobi; book
Tony Parsons MSW (Washburn)

Yes, in particular that penultimate paragraph delights me. Mr. Parsons obviously appreciates indie authors who invest in professional cover design, editing, and the craft of writing. Thank you!

Consulting Cops UK

Consulting Cops UK

Consulting Cops UK provide an advisory service to writers who strive for authenticity in scenes in their books or screenplays. CCUK has assembled a team of experts able to advise any writer on many aspects of police procedures and investigations. They mainly have a UK background, but some have US or international expertise.

Some, like me, are also crime writers themselves. I operated as a detective in pre-PACE days meaning I know about the treatment and interrogation of suspects before the legislative safeguards introduced by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE).

However, as I was a barrister practising criminal law from 1997 to 2011, I’m also well versed in PACE procedures as well as able to provide valuable insights into courtroom procedures and even what goes on in the privacy of the barristers’ robing room and judges’ chambers.

In case you didn’t know, the robing room is a private area in a court building where barristers change into their court attire – donning the horsehair wig, the gown, stiff winged collar, and bands.

Whatever expert you may need, CCUK has got one. Their areas of expertise cover all of the following:

  • Homicide
  • Covert policing
  • Gangs
  • Courtroom procedure
  • Internal affairs
  • Fraud
  • Senior management in the police service
  • Forensics
  • Firearms
  • Custody suite procedures
  • Military police

That list is not exhaustive.

In the event, you require such assistance from CCUK, please make the inquiry through its website and not to me directly.

Please feel free to add any general comments below.


Operation Julie Podcast

Operation Julie Podcast

I’m delighted to inform you there’s a wonderful 4-part podcast produced by True Crime Investigators UK. John and Sally are the people behind the podcast. They also present it in a friendly, laid back way but they are knowledgeable too as both are former serving police officers.

The Operation Julie podcast is broken down into these four parts and it’s received some wonderful reviews.

Episode 1: The set up / Plas Llysyn surveillance / The request to go undercover.

Episode 2: What is involved in preparation for an undercover operation and building relationships with contacts.

Episode 3: Dangers of undercover work / knowing where to draw the line / infiltrating and or befriending contacts.

Episode 4: The end of the Operation / the raids / the arrests and the convictions. Police career after Op Julie – rebuilding career after that big life moment.

Each episode contains a narrated excerpt from my book with my permission and that of Worldmark Films. 

I mentioned reviews so here is one from Apple: 

Great podcast 


I’ve just recently started listening to this podcast. What a great format, and the presenters have so much knowledge and insight into criminal investigation. Includes really interesting and informative interviews with people affected by the crimes covered.

 Please let me know what you think of the podcast.

Foul Language in Crime Fiction

Foul Language in Crime Fiction

I originally wrote all about this topic in one of my email campaigns. My readers appeared to enjoy it even if a small minority didn’t agree with all I wrote. I thought I would share it to a wider audience. 

In crime fiction, foul language is justified on the ground that it is lifelike.” NY Magazine, June 3 2011.

And the same article Ode to a Four-Letter Word by Kathryn Schulz commences with ‘They fuck you up, your mum and dad,” the poet Philip Larkin declared in “This Be the Verse.”

Before you decide to read any further – a warning. If you are offended by so-called foul language, it’s probably best if you stop reading right here and now. Indeed, if it offends you so much, I promise I will not be offended if you unsubscribe from my mailing list because my books will probably not be “your cup of tea.”

I do justify the use of “foul language on the ground that it is lifelike” in crime fiction. I justify using it in dialogue or as part of an internal monologue (thoughts of the character). Some of the words I use in my books are better described as expletives not profanity. Profanity means showing no respect for a god or a religion, especially through language.

You may ask what prompted me to write about this topic. A review, of course. It’s getting tiresome for a reviewer to dock stars from the rating and mention the use of “profanity.” Tiresome? Yes, though it’s probably only happened about four times. If you are that reviewer, don’t take this personally. It’s not an attack on you, please accept that. If my books are not for you, so be it. Just unsubscribe from my mailing list.

I possibly read that review on an emotional low. One of my VIP Review Team recently lost her son in a tragic road crash. I feel greatly for her loss and though it’s nothing compared to what she is going through, it has shaken me up.

“Foul” or “bad” language is justified for the sake of realism in fiction. It all depends on the context and the fictional characters involved. I can imagine a Godly man, perhaps a preacher, talking to a prostitute (don’t tell me that has never happened), and inquiring about fees for the services she provides. I can imagine that dialogue without the use of four-letter words. On the other hand, imagine a Glasgow or Liverpool docker (substitute New York or any American port stevedore) in the same scenario. Can you seriously imagine that conversation without the use of “fuck” or “shag” and possibly “blow job”? And imagine if she (the prostitute) is a hopeless loser addicted to heroin, wouldn’t she cuss and swear just like her potential client? I think so.

Through my fourteen years as a detective, fourteen years as a criminal trial lawyer, and my numerous other jobs such as truck driver, motor cycle courier, and heavy plant operator, I do think I have a good handle on how people really express themselves. People from all walks of life. It’s not only men who swear. As a young man and new to the capital, I was both shocked and fascinated when I discovered many young women from London’s East End swore more than many men did. I also soon found out Britain’s upper-class toffs do their fair share of effing and blinding.

That brings me to another point – we are all different and have been raised in different parts of the world in different circumstances. I respect it if any individual is offended by foul language. That is who they are and part of their conditioning. However, I do wonder why they choose to read adult books intended for an adult audience such as mine. No one in their right mind would look at my books, the descriptions, and the covers and think they were YA or cosy mystery books. My books are full of detectives with flawed characters, outlaws, gangsters, hoodlums, and some sexy women (some of whom curse.)

If Matt Deal is facing a life and death situation, do you think he would say, “Excuse me, old chap, please drop that gun?” I think it more likely Deal would shoot the hoodlum dead, then say something like, “Worthless piece of shit.”

Can “foul language” be funny? In my opinion, yes. Take the movie Four Weddings and A Funeral for example and I quote:

Film (1994): As the audience members at that Salt Lake City screening know, the original Four Weddings and A Funeral gets off to a flying start with using profanity. In fact, the first five words of real dialogue are “fuck”, which is soon followed by a “fuckity fuck” and “bugger”. This, of course, all occurs as Charles (Hugh Grant) and Scarlett (Charlotte Coleman) rush to their first wedding of the film, which they are very late for, and the swearing is brilliantly effective in conveying that frantic sense of dread that falls over you when you wake up far later than planned.

That mention of Salt Lake City is an acknowledgement that audience members even walked out of a screening in Salt Lake City thanks to the opening scene’s frequency of fucks – and yet it still managed to get two Oscar nominations, four Baftas and a Golden Globe award.

A further example of the use of the word ‘fuck’ being funny (kind of) was told to me by a police officer colleague many years ago. He was stationed at Kirkby, a large Liverpool overspill town, as I was. He had a four-year-old boy who mixed with the other kids in his street. Upon a visit from grandma, when the boy was asked how he was, the rascal simply said, “Fuck off!” He didn’t know its meaning but had picked it up in the street from his playmates. I later inquired of my colleague how his mother had reacted to this episode. He made me laugh once more when he said, “I told her it was better than being fucking deaf.” Kirkby is a tough town where expletives are commonplace just like the area I was raised in not too far from Kirkby. Having said that, I not once heard my parents use bad language. I learnt all my early swear words from school and friends.

One of my favourite examples of a funny scene from TV or movies is that of the “fuck scene” in HBO’s The WireBelieve me, as a former detective that scene has all the hallmarks of realism.

I also believe American and British attitudes to swear words are quite different. We Brits are more relaxed overall with swearing. I suppose that’s no surprise as “fuck” is an Anglo-Saxon word circulating in England before America existed. The Scots have made swearing an art form. I am given to understand that native New Yorkers and Chicagoans try to outdo each other in the swearing stakes. That may be so, but I love this apocryphal story of the New Yorker on seeing a female pedestrian lose her purse while crossing the street who yelled, “Lady! You’ve dropped your fucking purse.”

These two Scribendi articles on the use of swear words in literature are worth reading. I recommend them:

Part One

Part Two

I would never dream of coming into your home and using any form of bad language but in contrast, when you come into my make-believe world of fiction, they are my rules and I refuse to be censored.

Not everyone will like my books. I get that. I accept it. Gladly, many do, and they are the readers, with the VIP Review Team at its core, who I do my utmost to entertain in a genre they love and characters they have come to know.I am nothing without you guys. Once upon a time, I would have posted this as a blog post on my author website but never know who has read it. I’d rather let you readers know directly about my thoughts on this prickly subject as I am doing my best to create a long-term relationship with the core of my readers.Thank you for reading to the end.

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