Sunday, December 30, 2012

Just in Time for the New Year

Both The Artifact Competition and The Gun Golems have had cosmetic overhauls, giving all three books a more consistent look. One of the main things I did was convert the straight quotes to smart quotes (it's such a simple fix, but I know more now than I did a year ago). Anyway, both volumes should be somewhat prettier now.

I don't mean for this to be a crutch or a substitute for doing my own proofreading, but if anyone has found errors (spelling, typos, etc.) in any of the Approaching Infinity volumes, please let me know.

Thanks and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

The Artifact Competition and my three short stories will be free for download from Amazon.com (any Amazon site that supports Kindle) on Christmas Day!

Go to www.amazon.com/author/chriseisenlauer or use the scrolling shop at right!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 18 (FINAL)




Approaching Infinity: Book Three
is live and available from Amazon.com!

A hard copy/print version will follow in the next month or two.

Thank you all for your continued support!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 17

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
3rd draft complete at 113,800 words

I started ebook formatting today and am very nearly finished! I'm using TextWrangler for the HTML which is a major improvement (in terms of convenience and ease of use) over what I used previously. I just need to ready the Shade dossiers and write the afterword. The whole thing should be good to go this weekend or next at the latest! Woohoo!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 16

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
2nd draft complete at 113,600 words

I'm still waiting for the read-through results from a few people, but December is get-it-done month. I'm doing another read through this weekend myself, and I plan to start ebook formatting next weekend.

I haven't been completely idle while waiting, though. I did add to the first chapter of The Blood Solution and I finished the first Expeditionary Squad story. I also went to Japan for a week to help my wife wrap things up with our condo. Things are winding down there, but still no word from the US Government on the status of her visa.

I've been enjoying particularly strong sales this last month. Thanks to you all for your support!

Completely unrelated… I've been trying to catch up on some shows. Fringe is still entertaining. I'm not terribly impressed with what I've seen of Revolution so far. Walking Dead, however, is miles away better now than the previous two seasons. I'm absolutely loving American Horror Story: Asylum. As for movies, I saw The Amazing Spider-Man (pretty good) and Prometheus (meh) on my back and forth plane rides. I want more like American Horror Story!

Anyway, I hope to have more updates through the course of the month. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 15

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
1st draft complete at 112,000 words
1 read-through for edits

I have a few copies circulating about for more pairs of eyes to catch mistakes. I may also add a bit to the very first chapter. Still, it's looking like a December release! Fingers crossed. Breath held.

While waiting for those other pairs of eyes and before I start e-book formatting on Book 03, I'm resuming work on Expeditionary Squad, a series of short stories that will have some bearing on the content of Book 03 and on characters from Blue Squad: One Last Go. The characters from Expeditionary Squad can be found here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Back to KDP Select (with Free Stuff!)

I thought the extra visibility Smashwords offered would be a plus over exclusivity at Amazon, but so far it hasn't been.

So I decided to return to KDP Select. On Monday, October 15th, just about all of my stuff will be free on Amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/author/chriseisenlauer

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 13

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
Word Count: 107,500

Oh so very close! I have no excuse not to finish the first draft by the end of this month, which actually, would be very fitting since, in a way, the Approaching Infinity world is my tribute to Halloween. If Hawaii doesn't work out, I'm going to have to find a place where it's fall all year round—that would be perfect!

With a tentative estimate of month's end for the first draft, I am hoping to make good on my promise for a 2012 release. I have the technology... (but keep your fingers crossed just the same.)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Your Kind of Kung Fu Is Five Fist Da Mo

Spent most of the day doing some writing and reacquainting myself with my inner Shaw Brother (and similar purveyors of 70s & 80s kung fu) on YouTube. Ah, Internet... What would we do without you?

The post title is from The Snake, The Tiger, and The Crane which is, unfortunately, low on empty hand kung fu, but the end fight scene made a permanent impression on me when I was like 10. I still remember that line after all these years.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Moving Day!

From studio apartment to 2-bedroom duplex in 2 trips. Thanks, Rox, Big, and Nick!

I'm leaving Waikiki and the Ala Wai behind. Ai and Faye aren't coming just yet, but now there'll be a cozy place waiting for them. This puts us squarely into Phase 3 of The Big Change, which is essentially a lot of waiting, punctuated by sudden requests for action by USCIS. That's okay, though. Things are moving along which is what's important.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ha!

After being defeated by the Waikiki Footlocker last weekend, I decided to take my chances and purchase a pair of AdiPure Trainers online. They arrived this morning, fit perfectly, and are a total trip (of the mental sort).

To celebrate my victory over brick and mortar, I went and practiced Bung Bo (from Taiji Praying Mantis Boxing) for the first time in 3 years. Needless to say, it kicked my butt, but was a great workout.

As of yesterday, my wife and I now have an official case number with US Immigration concerning her visa. According to their timetable, spouses are usually complete in 5 months. Woohoo! (Although, it may take me that long to find a suitable 2-bedroom place that'll accept a recent transplant who's been absent from the US for the last 10 years and can't manage to get a simple credit check because of it.) Anyway, that's good news!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 12

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
Word Count: 95,900

It's been a busy month, but I can't complain. I got to go to Derek's wedding, I got to see Kamijo-san and her kids, and most importantly, I got to see my wife and daughter! Woohoo! It was nice to see my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, too.

Though I haven't been terribly productive, I am moving steadily forward. No plans except to write for Labor Day weekend, so there may be a mid-month progress report in our near future.

In other news, I saw John Carter and enjoyed it for the most part. The Therns were a bit too much, though, and I wonder why we can't have purer translations from novels to the big screen. Why does it always need to be finagled by some Hollywood screenwriter? Sometimes, there are good reasons for finagling, but usually the result is less than good. I don't think the movie deserves all the bad press it got. In fact, I'm quite annoyed with a number of the critics (after taking a look at what they had to say) criticizing John Carter for having been done before... Excuse me? Okay, maybe we have seen it before, but we wouldn't have seen it at all if not for the John Carter books. Calling it derivative is just plain ignorant. Sorry, I've got a soft spot in my heart for Barsoom and all that went on there.

In other other news, I went out this morning intent on purchasing a pair of AdiPure Trainers (Adidas Toe Shoes) only to be thwarted. I blame Robot House.

In final other news, which is in fact the most important news, my wife's visa paperwork has been sent off. Hopefully, the process will be fast and painless from here on out... Wish us luck!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bummed About One Thing, Stoked About Another

I was kind of hoping to post that The Artifact Competition audiobook was currently in production, but for some reason that fell through. Thus, I'm bummed.

However, my wife and daughter (and mother-in-law and sister-in-law) will be arrive here in Honolulu tomorrow from Japan for 5 days so I'm stoked! The visa paperwork is awaiting signature, but is otherwise ready to go. Phase 3 of the Big Change is imminent!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lost No More

I'm only a couple of years late, but I feel compelled to comment. I just finished watching Lost and I have to say that I was blown away.

I know, I know it's old news and opinions are fairly polarized from what I can tell, but I felt the ending was satisfying. I thought that the show had done an excellent job throughout of going back and showing you answers to questions, big and small. Even when we knew where the storyline would end up, there were times when I was baffled up until the reveal as to how it ended up that way. To me, that established a framework wherein just about anything, given infinite time (and which, of course, no one has), could be explained within the context of the show. Yes, there were red herrings and dead ends, but overall, I was impressed, and most particularly impressed with the intricacy of planning required, in the first three seasons anyway, to show events from multiple perspectives, answering questions or filling in gaps from season 1 as late as season 3.

I didn't know anything about the flash forwards until Kate stepped out of the car in the season 3 finale. Besides losing Charlie in that episode, the depiction of Jack as a broken man was, for want of a better word, haunting (I feel silly phrasing it that way, but it fits). For every new direction the series took, the show continued to maintain my interest, and it continued to deliver solid story-telling. The build-up over the flash deadward scenes towards the final episode, I thought, was amazing. Did the ending leave unanswered questions? Yes. Did it make empirical sense? No. Did I want to see more in the way of the much-talked about, but to my mind less evident, "mythology"? Yes. Do I think that any of this ruins the series or makes it a waste of my time? Absolutely not.

Anyway, sorry for chiming in late on a cold subject.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 11

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
Word Count: 92,300

Since I am no so close to the end, I've done away with the goal. The final count will be what it will be, and it should be coming in the next few weeks. I know! I failed to have it done by today. Apologies.

But, actually, I'd like to talk a little about word count. There are lots of opinions about word count (though perhaps only among people with nothing better to talk about), which are mostly negative. Most people would say that a story is exactly long as it needs to be, which I will not contradict, but if you set out to tell "X" kind of story, having some framework, some realistic parameters, is rather helpful. It's a gauge. Also, since I write when I'm not at my full-time job, the running word count serves, once again, as a gauge. As a physical manifestation of my guilty conscience, it keeps me on task. It's not a quality gauge, per se, and it doesn't only go one way, but it can be a stark reminder of whether I've been lazy or productive. Even if the count goes down (temporarily) after a re-write, the exercise of writing the crap that came first was productive. Writer's block can slow anyone, but the only way I've found to overcome it is to write through it--as many times (badly before well) as is necessary. For me, to say the count goes up (or down) means only that the piece is that much closer to (or further from) completion.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I Was Wrong...

In a post last December, I mistakenly wrote that stories (via the visual medium of movies and television) were, not always but in general, better told in the '80s than they are now. I want to retract that.

I think it goes without saying that every era has its greats. What it comes down to is that good is good. Some things are lost to obscurity before they can every really catch on, but that doesn't take away from their essential quality. Some things are firmly set in the time that produced them, making them difficult to suffer through at later dates, except maybe as cultural history lessons. Some things are enigmatic in that, logically, they never should have had the popularity they did. Some things just plain shouldn't have been made. I'll leave examples of each of these categories to you, the readers.

In any case, I like to think that I'm big enough to admit when I'm wrong. And I most definitely was.

End of random thought.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 10.5

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
Word Count: 88,300
The Goal: 100,000

The weekend's only half over and I'm already off to a good start! I just completed chapter 17, which leaves four chapters to go, three of which will combine to form the main climax, the last will be wrap-up. Expected word count is up to a tentative 100,000. It shouldn't go much beyond that unless there's some as yet unknown dam in my head that cracks and lets loose a new and unforeseen flood. Hmm... Nah.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Call to Arms

This is an open invitation to anyone who's read any of my books or short stories to please feel free (and comfortable enough) to give feedback. Any feedback--good or bad, long or short, now or later--would be welcome and would help spread the word.

I've had a page up on Facebook (here), mostly neglected until recently, which might serve as a starting point. That's where the "like" button below the Amazon ad on the sidebar directs to.

Alternatively, reviews on Amazon or Goodreads (or other suggestions?) would also be very welcome.

A hearty thank you to all of those who've supported me so far and those who may do so in the future!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 10

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
Word Count: 80,600
The Goal: 90,000

6k words for June isn't bad, but I'm not happy about the irony of not writing enough before because I was worried about being out of work and not writing enough now because I am working. No excuses. Beginning is the hardest thing to do, and a single novel has countless beginnings. As I approach the end of The Blood Solution, the beginnings are becoming more challenging, but it really just boils down to sitting down and finishing.

In any case, I hope to have a completed first draft ready by August 1st. (You could hold your breath, but I wouldn't recommend it.)

If you haven't already, please take a moment to "like" me below or in the sidebar under the Amazon ad. It costs you nothing and aids me on my quest for fame. Or notoriety—really, either would be okay.

Monday, June 18, 2012

You Are Number 6

I realized today that at work I am Number 6! I am by no means comparing my new workplace to The Village or myself to The Prisoner, but the realization reminded me of this excellent show.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Follow Me on Twitter... If You Dare!

It's really not much of a challenge. I'm brand-spanking new to Twitter, so bear with me.
But here is a promise: if you follow me, I will follow you.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Back to Smashwords

After giving Amazon's KDP Select Program a try for several months, I've decided to put my stuff back up at Smashwords. In a few days, everything should start showing up at various other online bookstores (B&N, iTunes, etc.).

The KDP Select Program allows for 5 days of free promotions within a 3-month period in addition to potentially paying out for Amazon Prime members "borrowing" enrolled titles. I've had a single instance of someone borrowing one of my titles, so the free promotions are really the only benefit I've seen.

I still love Amazon to death, but the return business following free promotions has dropped to almost zero in a very short period of time. Now, granted, simply being free on Amazon gets the books and short stories noticed, but I have a feeling that the majority of people downloading are people who download a lot of free content and whether or not they ever get around to reading what they've downloaded for free is questionable. This is not a complaint, just an exercise in logic. Hopefully there will be some benefit in this return to general exposure and expansion of choice.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Big Change: Phase 2

I am more than happy to report today that, shortly after I posted my progress report yesterday, I received a firm job offer.

It only took me a month and a half to land a job, and I suppose I shouldn't raise a single word of complaint, but I was shocked by the lack of response from employers. I didn't expect to get every job I applied for, but I thought I was at least worth a look in some of the cases. Apparently not. Or maybe it's just a fact of the economy we live in. I must say, though, that OfficeTeam and Olsten Staffing were particularly helpful to me in my search.

Anyway, I am now gainfully employed. That's what matters and what moves my family and I into Phase 2 of the Big Change. Now that I can prove to the US government that I have an income and can support my family, I can start taking steps to sponsor my wife's visa. Doing this over a long-distance triangle, with potential language barriers, and a number of high price tag filing fees to add to the stress of getting it right the first time simply means that I'll need to get it right the first time.

I've found that most people here in the States are unaware of how potentially difficult it is to sponsor a foreign spouse's visa. Everyone just assumes that if you're married it's automatic. I wish.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 9

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
Word Count: 74,600
The Goal: 90,000


I am so close to finishing. 90,000 words is the new, tentative goal. In the end, the count may prove to be higher, but certainly shouldn't be lower.

It's been a bit difficult to concentrate this last week. I'm waiting for news that will determine the near future for my family and me. Hopefully that news will come soon, be positive, and we'll be able to move forward. (Despite the sanity-eroding efforts of the not-so-little cockroaches that haunt me in my sleep...)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ip Man

Historical inaccuracies aside, this movie was fantastic!



Still trying to find a way to see Iron Sky...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Upcoming Project: Expeditionary Squad

ASSEMBLE!

by Chris Eisenlauer

• • •

1. LIN SOSA
9,508.221
Planet 1005 - Former Root Palace


“Lin Sosa. It is your sixteenth birthday. You have been pampered since birth, have been given everything you could possibly want. I will bestow upon you one final gift before you must give something in return.” The Viscain Emperor, Samhain, paused as if to take a wheezing breath. He was a monstrous hollowed gourd, four meters across, fleshy and plump, with simple carved features—triangle eyes and nose, a jagged gash of a mouth—behind which ghostly firelight glowed and flickered.

“Yes, Lord Emperor,” the girl said. Dressed in a tight, long-sleeved charcoal turtleneck and a functional pleated skirt of the same color, she was lithe and her manner pert. Though she was bowing before him in his dark chamber with its gnarled resin walls of infinite height, she said, “What is my gift, and what is my task?” Then, almost as an afterthought, she added, “Lord Emperor.”

The Emperor chuckled, and the chamber shook. “Your impertinence is as atrocious as ever. And, as ever, it both pleases and amuses me. You are what I have made you. A princess. An emissary. And, perhaps, hope expedited.

“All your studies have been for this purpose. You are to lead the Expeditionary Squad. You will set out with this, the Resonance Bell.”

An animate olive tendril issued from somewhere unseen behind the Emperor, bearing with it a bronze bell the size of a balled fist. The slender vine stretched out across the chamber, stopping before Lin Sosa’s forehead.

“Take it, Lin Sosa, and make it a part of you,” the Emperor said.

Lin raised her head to regard the bell, her straw-blond ponytail bobbing with the motion. She gently took the bell in both hands and showed no fear as she brought it to her chest, pressing it through fabric, through skin, muscle, and bone and into her being. The instant she and the Artifact became one was marked by a blinding flash, revealing to Lin Sosa for that fleeting instant, shapes and convolutions in the resin walls that would be the unknown source of troubling dreams for years to come.

“Very good,” the Emperor said. “You are going on a journey, Lin Sosa.”

“To where, Lord Emperor?”

“To The Place with Many Doors.”

“Where can this Place with Many Doors be found?”

Though the massive gourd did not move, the Emperor seemed to shake his head. “You must find it.”

“Can Eris come with me?”

“Of course. That is Eris Anandale’s purpose. She will sort and read the signs, the ripples and echoes that radiate out from the source, from The Place with Many Doors, and reveal the way. Also, though I know you would not say so, you would be lonely if deprived of her company. I would see that you are made as comfortable as possible on this journey.

“And as safe. You will have one more companion, but this one you shall choose. He or she must have the means to protect you. Additional means will be provided in the form of an Artifact so choose well.

“This is a secret mission. No one can know, so this person will not be given the luxury of a choice in the matter.” Another snaking vine issued forth, bearing a bronze circlet. “Take this, the Ouroboros Crown, and place it upon the head of your desired protector. It will make him or her beholden to you, unable to refuse your commands. Once you have made and secured your choice, return to me.

“Remember, Lin Sosa. You have ventured beyond these walls always in secret, with an escort, and under strict rules. There are those who would not understand what you are or approve of your existence. While you may feel and be superior to these, you mustn’t let your temperament overwhelm sense. When you go, be judicious and observe the rules.”

“Yes, Lord Emperor.”

Friday, May 4, 2012

I Really Shouldn't Care...

But for the love of all things holy, sometimes computers are too smart for our own good. It took me forever to figure out how to change my time zone here on Blogger and when I did, it changed the time and date of EVERY stinking post going back to the beginning. Ugh. Anyway, those are the dates the posts were visible here in Hawaii, although the actual dates may differ. Thanks, International Date Line!

It really doesn't matter, but I thought I was safe after experiencing the same thing with iCal.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 8

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
Word Count: 61,800
The Goal: 75,000


That's right, only 1,800 words for the month of April. Couldn't be helped. I just got my computer (shipped from Japan) last Wednesday and now, in the midst of my job search (I sent out like 15 applications and signed up for I don't know how many employment agencies on Friday and Saturday), I have taken up the keyboard once again. Unless I'm overwhelmed by debilitating depression OR I get a kick-ass full-time job that requires my every waking hour, I should be able to make decent progress.

I've also resumed a project I tentatively started some time ago. This one, Expeditionary Squad, is within the world of the Viscain Empire and so may take precedence over The Pauper King, at least for the time being. I wrote 1,500 words between appointments today which isn't bad for a short story. Like Ghost Squad and Blue Squad, I intend to write more than one Ex Squad story. The events in Ex Squad are loosely connected to Ghost Squad, Blue Squad, and The Blood Solution. That's three, count 'em, THREE connections.

Anyway, as far as what I miss about Japan? Exactly what I thought I would: my family and friends. I had an extremely difficult time at the airport, far more difficult than I anticipated. Which makes me stupid. Leaving my wife and daughter for an indeterminate period of time... Sheesh. Faye still didn't understand, which, as I said in my last post, is/was probably for the best. Thank God (or the appropriate developers) for Skype.

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Last Day Living in Japan

April 17th, 2012: One month shy of ten years.

I'm sure there are many things I will miss once I'm gone, but what comes to mind immediately are the friends I've made while here.

More than that, though, I will miss my wife and daughter dearly. They will stay in Japan--only temporarily--while I find a job in Hawaii and establish the means to sponsor my wife's visa.

My wife and I have been talking about this temporary split for some time now, but after getting home yesterday from Faye's first trip to Tokyo Disneyland (and probably my last), the fact that I would be leaving the next day hit us pretty hard. Faye doesn't really understand, which might be for the best, at least until things settle a bit and move forward. I don't think I realized how tough this was going to be...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Upcoming Project: The Pauper King

THE PAUPER KING:
FIRST EXPERIMENT

by Chris Eisenlauer

• • •

1. SOME INFORMAL CREDENTIALS

My name is Evan Stain. I was born into this world whole, knowing more or less what I know now, never having suffered a childhood, and never knowing my parents. I sometimes dream of someone who’s supposed to be my father, but I never knew him, or at least I don’t remember him. I have been described as handsome by women whose attention I’ve sought, which should be a greater source of confidence for me. Though my hair is gray, I’ve never required the use of a razor. I have no idea how old I am or if in fact I am old. Some have put my age at thirty, some at forty. My current ID says that I’m right in the middle at thirty-five. Eventually, I’ll need to forge a new one with new dates, though. I don’t know how long I’ve been here, but I’m fairly convinced that I am not native to this place. Certainly I am not human like most of those I find around me. While they can die, I find that I cannot. Or I haven’t come across the means as yet. I can suffer, though, and have suffered pain enough to account for death many times over. I have no proof, no way to corroborate this, but somehow I feel that this place is a kind of hell; a living punishment to help me atone for some forgotten sin. That makes it a little easier to take, anyway, thinking that eventually something—good?—will come of my suffering.

There is injustice here, as I am sure there is everywhere, and for good or for ill—and maybe because the dreams I have of my father are really nightmares, like cheap morality plays where he is the monster teaching the object lesson—injustice is something I simply cannot abide. Likely because I am his son, I too, am a monster—I’m extremely strong and fast, among other things—but because of my intolerance, I have endeavored to become a purveyor of retribution. I am not fond of pain, but my constitution makes me particularly well-suited to such employment and I am rarely wanting for work.

Of course I don’t tell any of this to anyone. We all have our secrets. Sometimes secrets are harmful to others, but often they’re all we can lay claim to as ours, and I believe they’re worth defending.

So, here's my pitch: If you’ve lost something or someone, if you’ve been wronged or cheated in some way and the authorities can’t help, perhaps I can. Place a help-wanted ad in the Weekly Tribune, citing an infestation of rats at any open accommodations located along the waterfront with the current date. Someone will meet you at the appointed place at midnight one week from the date indicated to discuss a possible course of action. Sometimes it takes an infestation of rats to clean house or to cure disease.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 7

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
Word Count: 60,000
The Goal: 75,000


More or less back on schedule. Not sure how things will pan out in April with the impending move, but I shouldn't have too much trouble finishing the book before too long. It is looking like it might go beyond 75k words, which is fine.

Thanks to Josh Davey for all his time and patience. I'm sure I'll cause him to repeat himself a million more times before the book is done. Sorry, Josh!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Big Change: Phase 1

It's no secret to some that my wife and I, along with Faye of course, will be leaving Japan to relocate to Hawaii. While it is something that Ai and I have been talking about for the last year, we weren't expecting things to move so quickly. There are a number of challenges that will make this a long and difficult process, but the first step is underway and goes into effect mid-April.

I'm not originally from Hawaii. We chose to go there because of its physical location (a compromise for both our families), because of the degree of Japanese culture available, because of the weather, and because, ultimately, that's where I hoped to retire (like millions of others, I'm sure). I'm not retiring. It's a new start for all of us.

I've spent the last 10 years in Japan and there are things that I will definitely miss: the convenience, being close to my wife's family, my friends, and the simple novelty of living somewhere so different from where I grew up. When asked, I always said I wanted to stay in Japan forever, or at least as long as I could, work allowing. Unfortunately, it seemed to me that the options for work ran dry. I could no longer work for Interac in good conscience, which was truly unfortunate since, for where I lived, I was giving up what was potentially the best salary I would be able to find. In Japan ex-pat English teachers can teach, of course, can possibly get into a management position with a company supplying English teachers as I did, can get lucky and find a position with a private school, can go into the sometimes questionable field of head hunting, or can get extremely lucky finding something that they really want to do versus something that they have to do. ALT positions are abundant, but they don't pay enough and I don't have confidence that gyoumu itaku will last much longer. When gyoumu itaku dies, so does that abundance. The fact that all positions are located in Tokyo, the pace, and the slightly amoral nature of headhunting are unappealing. I'm selfish in that I would like to spend a little time with my daughter every day, something the Interac Yokohama Branch Manager couldn't acccept or would't believe.

Here are reasons 2 and 3 for a permanent change of scenery--just two examples, really.

I won't overstate the issue of turning 40 this year, but as the main support for my family, I thought it was time to go home, to be able to exploit my native language, and use the skills I've acquired while away.

Wish me/us luck!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 6

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
Word Count: 51,000
The Goal: 75,000

Still not totally back on track yet, but moving along. I was able to make up for some lost time over the last week and a half, writing at a coffee shop while waiting for Faye to finish preschool. Officially 2/3rds done with the first draft!

Friday, February 24, 2012

goodreads.com

I've just spent the last couple days updating all the books I've read, so far as memory serves, on Goodreads (I'm here if anyone is interested). It's been strangely entertaining to do so. More opportunities for embarrassment, I'm sure, but that's okay.

Thanks go to Marc for the heads-up!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

When She Loved Me

Anyone with kids will know what it's like to be subjected to the same video or videos countless millions of times in order to satisfy said kids. Right now, we are just coming down from a Toy Story phase with Faye. It could have been a lot worse. I've actually enjoyed every viewing and this scene in particular from Toy Story 2 always stands out and nearly makes me cry. Embarrassing, I know.

Friday, February 17, 2012

2nd Amazon Promotion Results

Here they are. The numbers may be a bit fuzzy, and they're not as good as the first promotion. This is/may be due to the period of time the promotion took place. It may be that people are more interested in a free novel than a they are in a free short story. It could be due to reactions to cover art. I could go on, but it would all be speculation. I'm not at all dissatisfied, but I've noticed one thing for sure: the Romance language countries do not appear to be interested. That could simply be due to the newness of the Kindle program in France, Spain, and Italy, though.

Blue Squad: One Last Go
138  Amazon.com
034  Amazon.co.uk
002  Amazon.co.de    
174  Total Downloads

Ghost Squad: Kalkin's Dilemma
125  Amazon.com
041  Amazon.co.uk
004  Amazon.co.de    
170  Total Downloads

Ghost Squad: The Sinzer Rebellion
104  Amazon.com
033  Amazon.co.uk    
137  Total Downloads

Friday, February 10, 2012

2nd Amazon Promotion

My three short stories will be available for FREE from Saturday, February 11th through Wednesday, February 15th. Download at will!

This is Part 2 of a loose experiment in exposure. What it means, unfortunately, is that I have had to remove the remainder of my titles from Smashwords.com and all its connected distribution channels to be able to enroll the titles in Amazon's KDP Select program. But as I have not had a single sale from Smashwords.com or any of its connected distribution channels, I don't feel too badly about it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Blood Solution: Progress Report 5

Approaching Infinity: Book Three
Word Count: 44,800
The Goal: 75,000

I fell behind in January, but it couldn't be helped. I wasn't expecting to have to quit my job (reason 1 for a permanent change of scenery, by the way) or prepared for the stress that that would bring me. It's all for the best, though. Ai and I had been making plans anyway. Now we just need to move things along more quickly.

Thanks again to those who downloaded The Artifact Competition during the free promotion and to everyone for their continued support!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

1st Amazon Promotion Results

So I decided to go with Amazon's KDP Select program which meant that I needed to make all participating works exclusive to Amazon. No real decision involved there since I've only sold one electronic copy of each novel through Smashwords and all their extended distribution. The program basically enables you to earn money in two ways: first, through sales, which is no different than just having a book published for Kindle; second, through borrowing. I thought: What do I have to lose? Nothing. The program also enables you to make your book free for up to 5 days out of the 90-day term. I've gone back and forth about how I feel about offering books for free, but I finally decided that the exposure would be well worth any potential loss. I was nervous about it until the promotion period began and I saw how many downloads I was getting. I didn't break any records, but I'm pretty satisfied with the numbers. If even half the people who downloaded the first book for free pay for the second, or any of the other short stories I have available, it was totally worth it. If I get even a small handful of reviews out of this, it was totally worth it. Thanks to everyone who downloaded!

Here are the numbers:

The Artifact Competition
534 Amazon.com
066 Amazon.co.uk
005 Amazon.de         
605 Total Downloads

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reasons 2 & 3 for a permanent change of scenery

Tokyo 'has 70% chance of powerful earthquake within four years'
The convergence of 3 tectonic plates under one of the largest cities in the world can only be a recipe for (a recurring) disaster.


Tainted stone tied to 60 buildings so far
Why go out in search of radioactive material when you can be surrounded by it in the comfort of your own home? Hell, it is your own home!