Welcome Message

Welcome to my blog. Here, you will find information about my novels, life in Japan, as well as author interviews, discussions on writing, and more. Feel free to browse and if you enjoy a post, please comment. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Almost There!

The cover art for my second book, Zero Sum Game, is finished. It looks great and I can't wait to reveal it. There are two more steps in the process: the cover art needs text to be worked into a final unified design and the manuscript needs formatting into ebook and print editions. After that, it hits the market!

Like my first novel, Zero Sum Game will be Amazon exclusive. There will be ebook and print versions to match your reading preference.

I had hoped to release it this last year but I procrastinated on the cover, going back and forth between line artwork or photographic, and time just stretched out. But I am happy to say it is back on track and, while I love this book, I'll be glad to put it behind me and continue working on my third novel. That's write (see the pun I did there?), I am already working on a third book. I can't tell you more than that.

Happy reading!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Adventure Hunters: Similitude Update

Hello everyone!

Independent authors are always learning of and trying new ways to get book in front of readers. And if we ask ten different marketing experts how to do that, we'll get ten different responses.

In an attempt to try something new to help promote Adventure Hunters: Similitude, I am, for the time being, making it an Amazon exclusive. The ebook version will only be available via the Kindle Store. This doesn't mean exclusively to the Kindle device, as long as you have a Kindle reading app on an iPad or other device, you can still purchase the novel. The print version will still be available through Amazon and CreateSpace.

I'm doing this for several reasons. Amazon offers quite a few incentives for authors. Plus, I now have one centralized location to control the marketing of my book, as opposed to logging into the various sites for various distribution. Most of my previous sales (thank you, readers!) have come from Amazon. My second place distributor was Barnes and Noble and that was a distant second. Also, when potential readers asked me where they could buy Adventure Hunters, the first place I said was Amazon. Everyone knows it and almost everyone has shopped there at least once.

There you have it. I'll probably have Similitude as Amazon only for the rest of the year and see how sales pan out. Maybe it will work. Maybe it won't. Maybe it will stay the same.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Writing For The 1701st

As you may or may not know, I'm a member of the Star Trek fan organization the 1701st. I also write articles for them and have three up on the site. I'd really appreciate it if you would take a look. Also take time to check out their website and the great organization that is spreading Gene Roddenberry's message of optimism. Live long and prosper!

The 1701st: A Star Trek Fan Organization

Monday, February 15, 2016

Tokyo 2016

Last week I took a much needed vacation to Tokyo. It was to get away from work, from Yamaguchi, from everything, for a short while. As with almost all vacations it was all too brief; I was there for only 3 full days and could have easily stayed another two weeks if I didn't have this nastiness called work that needs to be done.

I met a friend up there, a fellow author, and he showed me a nice section of Tokyo called Jimbocho that is famous for its bookstores. I found a place that sold a lot of American comics in English. I was immediately transported back to my childhood. I spent some money on mostly Image comic but also picked up a trade paperback of Frank Miller and Jim Lee's All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder. I had heard good things about it and I love Lee's art.

I also spent time in Akihabara, meeting in person for the first time a fellow I had only chatted with online. We had fun geeking out and I bought a She-Hulk figure, much to my wife's dismay.

The highlight of my trip was spending the day in Odaiba. Although I had been there many times before, this was the first that I got to view the life-size Gundam and go into Fuji TV. Sadly, the tour section of Fuji TV was closed. The view from the spherical observation deck is fantastic. I never get tired of taking pictures of Odaiba.

I'm not a Gundam fan but it was a thrill seeing it. The thing is huge! The picture doesn't do it justice. The ankle joint itself comes to my head. It turns its head (and in the summer I think shoots out a mist of water). The projection mapping at night was a neat show. I really enjoyed it.

As always, my time in Tokyo was too short and I can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

The Time To Buy Is Now

With December upon us, there is still time to get that perfect gift you're looking for. During the entire month of December the ebook version of my fantasy novel Adventure Hunters: Similitude will be on sale for 99cents. The print version is discounted to 7.99 Available through Amazon, Smashwords, and other ebook outlets, this is a great gift for the fantasy reader in your life.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Virtual Reading Shelf

Here is my virtual reading shelf. It doesn't cover every book I've read recently, I did read a few hardcopy books. I mostly read ebooks and I prefer doing them on iDevices using iBooks. I can't stand the Kindle app. It's ugly and awkward to use. I thought you might like a look into my reading habits.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Has It Been That Long?

I can't believe I have been away from this blog for almost a year. A lot has been happening over the last (almost) year and I won't bog you down with the details. The highlights are that I moved to a new town, Yanai, which is famous for its Edo-period whitewall buildings and goldfish. Yoko and I are living with her parents. Living with the in-laws has been a never-ending adjustment.

I have a new job at the Marine base in Iwakuni. I have been there since August 2014. It's not a bad job and I get American food, which I really miss.

I AM still writing, although at a glacier pace. The Super School Uniform has a title change to Zero Sum Game. The biggest holdup on this novel has been finding the right cover art to match it. I decided to go with a light novel/manga-style cover. It hasn't been the problem of finding an artist, it's that there are too many artists out there. Wading through them has been a chore. I am still hoping to publish it by the end of the year but it is looking less and less likely. But when I finally do publish it, I hope you agree the wait will be worth it.

After eight years in Japan, I finally have a car. I got it last week and am slowly adjusting to driving.

That's about all that has been going on. I know it doesn't sound like much but to be honest this blog has sort of slipped my mind. I will endeavor to have more regular updates.

Retro Street in Yanai

Friday, November 07, 2014

Halloween 2014 Part 2

Last post, I talked about my Halloween plans. How did the actual day go? Pretty good. I got a lot of compliments on my Star Trek uniform. Quite a few LLAP salutes and a few "It's a good thing you didn't wear a red shirt" comments, as well. It seems quite a few people on base are Star Trek fans, or at least know of it. A few people asked me from which Star Trek it was from, and I proudly said Star Trek Into Darkness. Say what you want, I love that movie.

As for the costume itself, I love it. The tunic is more green than I expected, but I know it is dyed to the actual colors used by the film crew and actors. Studio lights and camera filters can change colors, so the uniform appears much more gold on screen. It fit almost perfectly, the arms were just a tad long but it was perfect around the chest. The Khan undershirt (a black tunic with a black-filled delta shield on it) fit perfectly out of the box and I will most likely wear it as a regular undershirt. The command badge from QMX is excellent. But I'm curious about one thing: if their TNG and DS9 badges can have magnetic backs that don't cause holes in the fabric, why can't their Into Darkness line of badges do as well? I'm glad the badges use two pins to secure it, but I hate putting holes in my tunic. Those quibbles aside, the tunic is perfect. This is my first full tunic from Anovos, a company I love and I have bought many of their side products. Their attention to detail and quality on these products is outstanding and worth the price. This is the first uniform I bought from them and I'm glad I did.

Speaking of, I have fulfilled a dream of mine. I have always wanted a screen accurate high quality Star Trek uniform. I always thought my uniform would be the Monster maroon from Star Trek II-VI. Maybe a TNG suit. But with this tunic, I have gotten what I wanted. The last thing needed is to buy the pants, but honestly, a pair of black slacks (which is what I used for Halloween) is not much different. The other uniform I would like to get is the TNG uniform used in First Contact and Nemesis.

Back to Halloween. While I was biking to work, wearing my tunic underneath my jacket, I was nervous. I thought maybe wearing costumes to work was an elaborate prank on me by the staff. Yes, I am that paranoid. But when I saw a few fellow staffers in costume, I felt better. When the first customers saw me, I got nervous again. Maybe wearing this wasn't a good idea, I thought. Besides, the majority of the staff weren't in costume and none of our customers were either, despite this being Halloween. I thought at least some of the students from school would come to the store in costume but none did. The longer I wore it, however, and the more compliments I got, the more confident I became. Who cares? It's Halloween and I'm a Trekker, I thought. My nervous returned went I had to leave my work building for lunch, but I remained confident.

That taught me a bit of a lesson. Cosplayers have to be confident. You really put yourself out there with the quality of your costume and, to a bigger part, your costume of choice. You are telling the world which characters you love, and by association, the traits and charateristics they embody. I like Kirk. I wish I had his courage and ingenuity. And his confidence. But for a few hours on Halloween, I had a little more than usual.

P.S. I completely forgot to mention that I took second place at the employee costume contest at work!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Halloween 2014

Kirk is back on! It seems I will indeed be getting my Captain Kirk Star Trek Into Darkness tunic after all. There is a bit of a story behind it, so here goes.

After learning that we can wear a Halloween costume to work on that day, I thought it might be fun. My first instinct was to go as Khan from Star Trek Into Darkness. The shirt was the cheapest thing from Anovos, plus it seemed cool for everyday wear, nothing too signifying that it was Trek. But two things made me change my mind. First off, I can't pull off Benedict Cumberbatch's British accent, and second was that most people wouldn't know who I was. Just a guy in a black shirt and black pants. So I decided to go with Chris Pine's Kirk, although I'm not dying my hair blonde. But the price of the tunic was a bit much, and I spent all day going back and forth on it. Part of me really wanted it, but another part wondered how much I would really use it. There was Halloween this year, but I'm also planning a trip to America next year to meet members of the 1701st Fleet. I'm pretty sure I can wear it there. And I'll likely wear it to the premiere of Star Trek XIII in 2016. Plus at home to geek out when I watch Trek. So, yeah, it will be more than a one-time wear. That justified me getting it. I got home, went to the website and...discovered it didn't have my size, which is small. While I had been browsing the site during lunch, I never really looked at the sizes. But now, at home, I realized the medium would be too big. After psyching myself up all day, I couldn't buy it.

But Anovos has two ways to order depending on which link you click. You can order via the individual product page, or just go to the page listing their Star Trek stuff and order via drop down menus. I discovered that the individual product page for Kirk's tunic stated that small was sold out. But the drop down menus on the Star Trek products link had small as availible. Not sure what was going on, I left a message on their Facebook page about the discrepency and went to bed.

The next morning before work, being the OCD guy I am, I checked the Kirk tunic again. No small, still the ordering discrepency. I didn't want to order via the drop down menu and risk the size being backordered and not having it arrive in time for Halloween. Spock's tunic was sold out of small as well. That left Scotty. I like him, and the Simon Pegg version of him is growing on me. I quite didn't want to order a red shirt, for fear of all the 'Red Shirt' jokes out there, but at this point the bug to get an authentic Trek costume had gotten hold. I ordered the Scotty tunic, the Khan undershirt (which was availible in small), and the engineering badge. I went through the whole process, clicked the button, and bought the items. I received my order confirmation email.

About half an hour later, I received another email from Anovos. This person said he had seen my post on their Facebook Page, and that they had just received a shipment of Kirk small tunics in that morning. That was the reason for discrepency on the website. He then stated that, although I had ordered Scotty, he would be willing to switch out the tunic and badge for Kirk's, complete with command badge, which by the way, the site said only three remained. I was very surprised by this and immediately emailed him back, saying I would appreciate it if he did. He was doing this because this is what I had originally wanted. I thought this was great of Anovos. I had already ordered and paid for my Scotty set. They could have simply said to themselves, "Tough luck, he should have waited. He already ordered." But they didn't. They went out of their way to make sure I had gotten what I had originally wanted. But the drama doesn't quite end there.

Tuesday morning my time, I asked a Marine how long it takes for packages to ship to Iwakuni base. I am shipping my Kirk tunic there because it was much cheaper than sending it to my Japanese address: $12 versus $38. He said about a month or two. What?! That is way past Halloween, the prime time to wear it. Panicked, I emailed Anovos for an estimated delivery date while I searched the FAQs on USPS about military mail. I discovered that Parcel Post Military takes 30-45 days, but Priority Mail Military takes about a week. Anovos sends via Priority. And I received an email this morning saying the estimated delivery date is around October 20. In plenty of time for Halloween.

I now have a costume to wear to work on Halloween day (I know I'm working that day) and an authentic high quality Trek costume, which I have always wanted. I really appreciate Anovos for going that extra step to ensure their customer was happy. As a sales associate, I know customers aren't always easy, but this company helped me out.

As a side note, I'm more excited about this Halloween than usual. A lot of it probably has to do with the tunic I'm getting, but working on the base, it is nice to see the Halloween culture again. It is not really celebrated here in Japan, although a few restaurant chains will run Halloween-themed foods. Yoko and I always give Halloween candy to the kids on our floor. This year, along with them, we gave bags of candy to her basketball club girls as well. They won a big game, and they and their parents had a dinner party to celebrate. Whenever we give candy, I try to find candy they don't have in Japan. Since this is Halloween, I found gummy candy in the shape of an eyeball, brain, severed fingers, ears, and feet. The taste is normal gummy candy but the look is something they don't have at all here in Japan. I hope they enjoy it.

How about my readers? What are your Halloween plans?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book Review: From The Magical Mind Of Mindy Munson by Nikki Bennett

Official synopsis from Firedrake Books: "Every house has a history. This House has a mystery. When the orphaned Munson kids move with their aunt to The House, Mindy Munson discovers strange creatures living there already. Ghosts. Dragons. Leprechauns. And a scary Thing lurking in the basement. Mindy’s older sister Susie is determined to find out where these creatures came from and why they’re living in the Munson’s house. With the help of the next-door neighbors and an old lady named Mrs. Wemberley, Susie, Mindy and their brothers unravel The House’s amazing secrets. And along the way, they discover some incredible secrets about themselves.

I will say, this isnt a book I would normally read. But Im glad I did. As I went along the largely plot-less novel, it reminded me of something I had watched, but it took a moment to remember what it was. Then it hit me: My Neighbor Totoro. Like that famous and lovable film, this book is a celebration of being a kid. These vignettes, as the kids investigate the unnatural things in their home, perfectly capture the wonder and innocence of children:from being amazed at the view from atop a tree to being scared of spiders under the bed to wondering just how old their old lady babysitter is. Bennett had a knack for kids and she perfectly captured their dialogue and nuances, I could hear kids talking like this.

While the book is almost a series of vignettes, there is a through line, the continuing problem of Susie trying to come with terms about her parents’s death. It doesn’t overshadow the story nor make it dark, but I liked that the thread was continually picked up and tied into the main narrative. I feel the book would have been lessened without having it in there, as characters in most stories need to grow, as these kids do.

This is a quick read for adults but will be quite enjoyable for younger readers, or a great bedtime story. All in all, a magical book.