Wednesday, 21 December 2011

How to Solve a Rubix Cube - is live.

Well Folks 

It's finally up and live on Smashwords. 'How to Solve a Rubix Cube' has had an amazingly successful debut on it's first day with the number of downloads ticking upwards as we speak. It is my first adventure in publishing, any typos attributable to me as I did the edit this time. I know this was not necessarily a good thing given my track record but it was only about nine pages with the majority of the page filled up with photographs of Rubix cubes at various stages of completion. For me, this was also an experiment in formatting and so far, I think all is well. Anyway, if you do happen to download the manual, I would appreciate some feedback, although if negative, I would appreciate it if you post that on the blog.

Last week I posted information about the amazing Andy who designs games. He has given me the OK to post a link to his game. It can be downloaded from the following link.  Don't forget the plight of the struggling artist when you look at the link that allows you to donate towards the sequel. In fact, don't forget me either as I could do with a few more downloads of Kujira on Smashwords and Kindle. If you go to Kindle you will notice the price has been reduced - involuntarily - to match the Smashwords price of $0.99. Sorry if you paid more for it before the reductions.

Anyway, my mission to upload the Rubix Cube book before Christmas is now complete so I think I'll take a break from blogging. It has been a very busy year and I have achieved a lot. I have a bit of study to do in January as I have enrolled in Summer School (Yep, Southern Hemisphere) Luckily I managed to pass the property law exam (yawn) this semester and so I am clear to move on. I have a huge family Christmas Lunch to contend with this year and need to finish buying presents for all. Best wishes to all, stay safe and I will see you in the new year.

BTW: Check out the latest vending machine in Japan – face recognition? What the... ?

That's all for now.


Saturday, 17 December 2011

What's with the cube?

How-to manual almost there...

Hi Folks

Well I thought I had better get my regular post up as I have been dragging my feet a little and don't want to leave my regular readers disappointed in the oh-no-not-the-old-post-again loop. 

Since I posted the copy edit version of 'Kujira' I have had a few more than the usual amount of downloads but things are generally slow. I keep dropping in and out of the Kindle top 100 for this and that and I have a great review posted thanks to the amazing Andy. Smashwords is doing well and I have had some readers clicking the 'like' button––something I never thought I would appreciate until now.

In the mean time, I have been working on the format for the 'How to do a Rubik's Cube' masterpiece and am just about there. I'll be working on it tonight and every night thereafter until it is ready to roll. I/we have decide to post it for free. It will eventually become a link to a You Tube post for anyone interested in learning the ' how to' part of the Rubik's cube after watching the Video. Don't want to say too much more but the video is not a 'how to do a Rubik's cube' video and is promising to be a lot more entertaining and interesting than that.

Speaking of interesting, Andy who did a review for me last week has turned out to be quite an interesting guy. It turns out that he designs games. I had a little play this week and was pleasantly surprised with what he has come up with. I must confess that I am not much of a 'gamer' and would never profess to be qualified to review a game but I must admit that I did have fun. It is based on a detective/crime/mystery sort of theme where you pick up clues as you move around the crime scenes. You keep track of things via a 'text box' that sort of suits me well as I like to read and follow text rather than just remember images. There is a background theme playing along in a minor key that sets the mood of the story as it unfolds. Looking at the credits, it looks like it is a one man show, all produced by Andy. If he approves, I'll post the link.

It is pretty interesting to find out about people who are reading my stuff and so I have decided to post a couple of features in the next couple of weeks about some interesting readers I have come across and the creative things they are doing. Turns it all on its head really as this blog was supposed to be about me and my books but it has become obvious to me that it is all a lot deeper than that.

Anyway, that's all for now. All the best over the Christmas Season.



Sunday, 11 December 2011

What's the difference between a park bench and a writer?

 ANSWER: A park bench can support a family.

Well Folks

What a week. I have loaded up 'Kujira' on Smashwords and have also managed to load it up on Kindle. If you follow the link you will notice a price hike for Amazon. Makes sense given the costs but I have kept the price at $0.99 on Smashwords. Not that there have been huge amounts of downloads on either forum. 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine' is still motoring along as a free download but the encumbered 'Kujira' is lagging still. Doesn't really matter 'cause it isn't really about the money. I have a job and am able to support a family already so it is something else driving me to spend days and weeks absorbed in these special little literary projects. 

So... in order to encourage the proliferation of my latest creation and subsequent discussion, I offer a free coupon for this month for downloads of Kujira on Smashwords. As loyal readers of this blog, feel free to have a read and comment if you wish. When you check out use the following code. WJ92E. 

I gave this coupon code first to my most loyal advocate, Andy and he has responded with a fantastic review, the likes of which I would never have expected nor feel I deserve. Still it felt good to have that kind of feedback. If you have any work of your own that needs to be reviewed or publicised Andy, you have an instant forum on this blog.

I seem to have developed a regular stream of readers and on my last peek on my stats page I had readers from Italy, Australia, Russia, The UK, The US, Germany, France and this week, Latvia. I haven't seen Malaysia and Brazil  for a week or two but they pop in regularly and Japan chimes in every now and then. This month, Italy topped the list for the most readers. 

To end my regular post I just want to mention that I am making plans for a follow up to 'Kujira' but in between, I was thinking of finishing off a story that I have had waiting to see the light of day for quite some time now. It's about a group of musicians in a band. At this point in time it will be set in the 80s but that is about all I want to give away just now. I'll post some excerpts next time. The next publication however, will be the 'How to do a Rubik's Cube' manual. I'll do this as publisher though, not as author. I mean seriously, can you see a guy who, despite paying for a copy editor still manages to publish with typos being an expert with a Rubik's cube?

Thats all for now.

Beerubaraoyaji (one day someone is going to ask me what this means)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

OMG - That took a long time but it's up now - enjoy

Kujira Cover No. 2

Well that was not a lot of fun. I have been obsessed for the past couple of days with the final edit. Of all places, I found myself in an isolated country location in Western Australia called Dwellingup. Despite it being the start of summer, the temperature dropped and I kept myself warm with a wood-fire while I corrected out of place commas, semi colons and quotation marks while intermittently staring in the hot coals of my Jarrah and Karri fuelled inferno. That all ended on Wednesday and I have only just finished. Ironically the temperatures have soared so I am sitting in my living room with the airconditioner on. So as the frantic pace subsides and the dry but cool air of my living room makes me sneeze the moral of the story for me as the tortured writer becomes clear–get it right in the first place.

Mind you, it was a fantastic experience to be under pressure to finish in order to get the final version to a patient reader. In those moments, when I questioned the reason I was actually submitting to the mental anguish and physical pain involved I remembered that someone out there was waiting to read about Mike, Mark and Jon and their adventure in Osaka. It made the characters dance around the corrections. It was as if there were there, making sure that I represented them fairly and accurately by adhering to the conventions that link them to the reader. I felt a responsibility separate the the creative process that created them in the first place. 

Anyway, thanks to Andy for being so patient and if there are others that have been waiting you can now download the most recent version of Kujira on Smashwords for $0.99. I will be loading it up on Kindle in the near future and pending approval, it will be available on Apple, Kobo, etc in the next couple of weeks. I would really appreciate some feedback on this one. If you have the time to rate it or to post a review, I would appreciate it. This is the longest of my creations and the only one with a price. As much as I do enjoy writing my copy edit fees are starting to add up and so I am aiming to recoup at least a percentage of my costs hence the $0.99 price. 

Plans for the follow up to Kujira are now growing in my mind and I will begin putting it together over the Christmas period. I'll keep you posted on this and other projects.

That's all for now


Friday, 18 November 2011

And now the hard work begins.

The manuscript has arrived.

Dear patient readers,

It's here... the manuscript has arrived.  
"Easy then, just upload it and let me read it", you are probably thinking to yourself.
Well, when I said arrived, this means the original is back with 'track changes' noted ready for me to change them. This is why, despite me paying for a copy editor, I still make typos. Being the world's crappest typist, it is now my job to hack to pieces all the good work I have just paid good money for.

I shouldn't make light of this really, I know I should know better and I really don't try to make a habit of un-editing good work just to make it read more like the way it was when I first submitted it. This time, I am thinking about being methodical and taking the time required to make this work. So... you have to wait just a little bit longer. Rest assured, the edit is just about, capitals, comma's and italics really so the text is pretty much my work. Getting in an expert just makes it easier to read so it is worth the effort to avoid any annoying  distractions. Of course you may still hate my work, or... you may even like it.  In any case you won't be judging me on my propensity to be impatient as a typist rather my style as a writer.

I have an exam on Wednesday, property law (yawn) and will get stuck into the manuscript after that. I am shooting for next weekend.

Bye for now


Friday, 11 November 2011

Action and Adventure Free Top 100

Hi Folks

I know the focus of my most recent posts has been 'Kujira' and the copy edit but it is still not quite ready. So... as a distraction, I offer the news that 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine' has maintained a steady stream of downloads and is sitting in the top 100 FREE 'Action and Adventure' Genre at Kindle for the second time since I published it. Nice to know it is still reaching readers and is still quite popular.

I have heard from my copy editor who is about half way through the copy edit of 'Kujira'. She has noted that,
"the story seems to move along well and keeps the reader engaged."

Good for me. It's pretty reassuring that my copy editor doesn't think that my book is crap so I look forward to reading it again once the edit is complete. Glad I did commission the edit though as she has advised that she might just need an extra hour to finish up. That's an hour less chance of there being any seriously stupid typos that plague my writing 'cause I am a terrible typist. Sure it will cost more but what the hell, it might mean a better read for you the reader and in the end, that is what this is all about.

Anyway, the re-publish day is getting closer. Rest assured, I'll make a big deal out of things when I get the finished product up and ready to read.

That's all for now and take care.


Saturday, 5 November 2011

Sorry - Not Ready Yet

Sumimasen (Sorry)

Hi Folks

I'm just posting to say sorry and I know I said I would post the edited version of Kujira about 2 weeks ago. As soon as it arrives I'll get stuck into the changes and publish it.

Bye for now.


Saturday, 15 October 2011

Kujira -Copy Edit

'Kujira' Gets a Copy Edit

Hi folks

Just letting you know that I sent 'Kujira' off to my copy editor a couple of days ago and I'll be expecting to have it re-published sometime next week. I gave it a bit of a 'spring clean' myself but nothing too radical. It's amazing looking at your own work, months after you have written it. You can look at the text with a level of detachment that allows you to actually pick a typo or a badly expressed sentence and fix it up. In between I have been spending some time familiarising myself with the notes I took at a workshop I attended that was conducted by 'John Harmon'. I mentioned this in a previous post, 'I wish I had Time to Write'. Anyway, I tried to apply some of the plot design theory to Kujira but decided that for the most part I had already done it. If I had followed the plan 'to the letter' I don't think it would have been Kujira anymore so apart from a few small changes here and there and a decent copy edit, Kujira is true to form. - love it or hate it. Anyway, I'll make a bit of noise about it when I do re-publish.

Interesting to see the 'Occupy Wall Street ' protests have spread to Sydney and to Tokyo . People all over the world are fed up. As for Japan, it is not really the image that people expect of the Japanese though. They are usually passive but if you do happen to stir them up and tip them over the edge, watch out. They are also protesting the actions of TEPCO, the company responsible for the nuclear reactors that got smashed by the recent earthquake and tsunami. I'll be watching the news to see how this all plays out. Did you know that land owners who are seeking compensation from TEPCO are required to fill out a 60 page application form ? Anyway, at the risk of turning this blog into a rant I'll post my comments so far but I'll leave it there for now. Watch out for Kujira, coming soon to an electronic device near you.



Friday, 7 October 2011

Memoirs - Kinki Karaoke

Jon and Mike or possibly Mark hard at work inspiring the
'Kinki Karaoke' chapter of 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine'.

Hi Folks

This is a photo I just had to post. If you have read 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine' you will be familiar with the 'Osaka Big Luck Snack' a fictional 'snack bar'. In the chapter titled 'Kinki Karaoke', alcohol plays a part in some comical dialogue inspired by moments like those represented in the photo. This is the real Jon and the other guy is the real Mike or maybe the real Mark - not really sure as both Mike and Mark are a mix of a few characters so I'll leave it up to you. 

This is a fascinating photo because, the two foreign guys are wearing traditional Japanese 'Yukata' and wooden 'Geta' for footwear while the locals are dressed in T-shirts and denim - seemed to work though! Below I have posted one of my favourite scenes from 'Kinki Karaoke' . 

Don't forget that 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine' is available at Smashwords and Kindle.

When they arrived at the snack bar, Tsuyoshi was a little overwhelmed at first, not knowing exactly where to sit such a loud and rowdy bunch of foreigners. The bar had become more crowded since Mike had been there earlier and Tsuyoshi seemed a little preoccupied with all his other customers.
Two young, attractive Japanese women in their early twenties were now also working the bar in addition to Tsuyoshi and there were another two working as waitress for the folk sitting at tables. Smiling politely, Tsuyoshi sat the boys in a corner, off to the side, at first paying them little attention. One of the waitresses came over to take their orders. Happy to be in each other’s company, their mood was lively and flippant. Jon was the first to speak.
"I love you," he blurted in his most refined Manchester accent. Not expecting this, they all smiled, embarrassed, then waited to see how the waitress would react. She stood silently poised, smiling, pencil in hand held a couple of millimetres above the order book but obviously confused.
Jon, sensing that his brazen remark was not being taken in context, tried again, this time ordering a drink in Japanese. He had studied a little Japanese while at university in England and felt reasonably confident that he could negotiate this simple task. He remembered that big in Japanese was ookii and that beer was beeru. He strung the two together and, adding a little Samurai theatrics to his accent demanded, "Ooki beeru arimasu" The waitress maintained her silence.
The other three glanced at each other, while Jon smiled. Embarrassed, he tried to pretend that everything was still okay. Still smiling, the waitress didn’t flinch. Mark, the wild Canadian, who had told the others stories of a previous trip to Japan while they walked towards the bar, took on an air of confidence as he motioned to the waitress and smiled. The others watched on, jaws agape, intrigued by this development. He immediately caught her attention and she turned to him, cocking her head ever so slightly to the side while changing her expression to one of polite anticipation.
"Ano ne," (Umm) he began. Her expression quickly changed to one of relief. "Dai jocky yotsu onegaishimasu," (Four large beers please) continued Mark.
"Dai jocky yotsu," (That's four large beers) she repeated.
With a short and succinct "Hai," (Yes) from Mark, she smiled at each man in turn, twirled elegantly in the opposite direction then walked off to the bar.
"Well, that was impressive!" exclaimed Jeff in a toffy English accent.
Jon, obviously outdone, sat silently stewing, while Mark sat beaming, explaining to the others that Jon had confused the waitress by simply stating that there was a big beer somewhere. 
BTW: I have spent the last couple of days on 'Kujira' and am about half way through another self edit. Glad I did 'cause it is full of typos all provided absolutely free of charge. When I am finished, I'll run it by my favourite copy editor for a fee and then upload. Don't worry Andy, you get the first coupon.



Sunday, 25 September 2011

Kujira update.

Kujira means whale in Japanese.

Hi Folks

It's been a while since I posted on my blog. I've been out of action with some kind of work or study or hobby related RSI injury so not much writing lately. I think a three hour written exam may have just been 'the straw that broke the camel's back'. In any case,  I couldn't move for two weeks and was laid up on my couch in pain for the duration. It took six weeks before I could use my arm for anything useful and a couple of months later, it still needs a rest every now and then. 

Anyway, now that I have your sympathy or at least some level of understanding or possibly just your attention, I need to explain the Kujira update. I have left Kujira, my longest novella, unpublished on smashwords for quite a while now. I noticed that someone had viewed one of my posts titled 'Kujira-It's Back'. That was posted quite a while ago and I unpublished the book soon after posting with the view to a huge edit before publishing again. Well I have been at it again but as I have explained above, life has just gotten in the way for the time being. I've been writing recently but I really want to spend some more time on developing the characters a little more. The three main characters Mark, Jon and Mike appear in  one of my other short stories, 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine' available on smashwords. If you intend reading Kujira, you ought to make sure that you have had a read of Memoirs first. Expect Kujira to be re-published towards the end of the year.  

BTW: I had promised to publish a "How-to-do a Rubik's Cube ebook. It is written but it is taking time to get the author to get the accompanying photos organised so that the book loads properly in the varying formats available. Still a work in progress but you can expect it to be published by the end of the year. 

Oh... and I managed to pass the exam that destroyed my arm in case you were wondering.

... and another thing. I decided not to charge for 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine' and the downloads continue. One thing though, If you do happen to read it for free and you like it, please let the world know - especially if you download on kindle. I could do with a few good post-edit reviews to counter the shitty pre-edit reviews.  

Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu

That's all for now



Saturday, 13 August 2011

Memoirs 'cracks the tonne'. To charge or not to charge?

Well, I have hit a milestone or a kilometre-stone depending on linguistic jurisdiction. Memoirs has 'cracked the tonne' or 'ton' depending again on jurisdiction. What I am trying to say is that I have had over a thousand downloads on Smashwords. Admittedly this figure was reached on Kindle a couple of months ago and is collectively more like just under 10,000 downloads if you include Kindle, Smashwords, Sony and Kobo etc.,  but Smashwords is my 'Indie Index' and says to me that Memoirs is OK and is reasonably popular. The 'grammar police' at Kindle are 'off my back' now and have become quite complimentary so now I am thinking that it might even be possible that someone might actually want to pay for one of my creations. So... 'to charge or  not to charge' that is the question. The thing is that the thrill has gone in watching the numbers tick over. I am now confident that my works have some level of credibility and am wondering if I might deserve some level of compensation for all the hard work. Mmmm... I'll sit on it for a while and let you know. If any one who reads this blog thinks yes, just say so. If anyone thinks no, maybe just leave it as I am still undergoing the effects of 'post traumatic stress' after the 'grammar police' assault on Kindle.

BTW: I am almost ready to publish a how to do a Rubik's cube book; not my creation but a publishing experiment on my part.  Should be out in a couple of weeks.  I am still sitting on the manuscript for Kujira and am planning its re-edit but unfortunately I am bogged down with work and study. Property law takes precedent at this point in time and to tell you the truth, its pretty interesting. In my part of the world, a couple of houses have just been sold fraudulently to innocent parties while the owners have been working fly-in/fly-out jobs. The law lets title remain with the new owner while the original owner is forced to seek compensation from the state authorities for the value of the property. In the mean time the police try to track down the bad guys who have taken off with the loot.  Umm.... sorry, I am raving again. But if anyone is actually interested, just comment and I will say more. Anyway, back to ebooks - next one is the Rubik's cube book, then the Kujira re-edit and I am starting to put a new one together in my head but I'll let you know about this one towards the end of the year.

That's all for now. Later.


Sunday, 17 July 2011

Four stars on Kindle - finally.

 This is the latest review for 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine' at Kindle US.  Also available at Kindle UK and Kindle Germany. Finally - someone gets it! This reviewer gave me 4 stars. She wanted to give me 5 but found a couple of editing mistakes. I'll have to get in touch with the copy editor who did Memoirs for me! If you look it up, you'll have to wade through the one and two star ratings but at least we now know that not all of the people have the same opinion!
This was a very different, rather existentialist sort of short story that reminded me of early computer games like "Adventure". The reader wonders to herself "where is this story going? what is the point?" This is a shared experience with the main character who wanders lost in a city in Japan, trying to find his way back to his hotel. Like Hansel, he tries to leave a trail, not of breadcrumbs, but of vending machines, but they mislead him and he keeps circling back around to the same starting point at the train station, until he discovers a magic cave- well, really a bar, what would you expect in the tourist part of town? But from there, chance encounters happen, there's some drinking and the disjointed sort of things that happen when you are out drinking and an eventual conclusion. 
I really enjoyed this story, unlike most of the other reviewers here. I found it quirky, very well-written and while it and the main character meandered, it all made aesthetic sense. It was easy to feel sympathy for the main character, and to begin to see and feel through his eyes. The author just managed to catch one of those interesting, frustrating and adventurous moments in a traveler's life.
 Take care folks, that's all for now.


Friday, 24 June 2011

Grammar Police Alert : Memoirs is now squeaky clean - edit version uploaded

The edited version of Memoirs is now posted on Smashwords and Kindle.

Hi Folks

Late again for my regular post. I've been a bit busy working and studying but still found time to upload the 'Grammar Police' version of Memoirs of a Vending Machine. The downloads are steady and climbing again so it looks like it is still a winner. I had expected a happy and satisfied reader to counter the negative and soul destroying reviews on Kindle with a 'feel-good' sort of good-on-you-for-getting-this-edited type of comment but is seems the comments are reserved for the negative aspects while positive actions apparently go unnoticed. Oh well, just so you know... I feel good on the inside for commissioning the edit for the benefit of anyone who just happens to find Memoirs and decides to read it. Whoever you are, you will now get the best of Memoirs. If you happen to like the story and it gives you some pleasure then it was all worth the effort. If you have already downloaded Memoirs, to tell you the truth it is probably not really worth a re-read as the edit just took out the typos. It is pretty much the same manuscript minus a few entertaining errors. 

One thing I haven't said about Memoirs is that it is loosely based on real events, although I am sure that many a reader has already worked this out. One of the characters, Jon is based on a guy I did know in Japan. He passed away before I actually wrote the story and the ebook is really my way of saying, well it was great to have known you, your life really did have some meaning and still does. If you enjoy the story and Jon's character, it would make my day to hear it, he left this world far too early in life. Anyway, thats all folks. As far as I am concerned Memoirs is done now and I will turn my attention to the next creation. I'll keep you posted. 



Saturday, 11 June 2011

We All Make Mistakes

The only mistake is the spelling, the marriage was definitely a good thing as was the chocolate mud cake.

Hi Folks,
I missed my regular post this week. I have been busy as hell at work and with a few study commitments, time just got away from me. Believe it or not, I have had my head wrapped in text books and I have been studying the intricate details of corporations law in this country. In fact, I just received the result for my mid semester assignment and scored a high distinction. One criticism was that in my footnotes,  I misspelled ' Ford's Principles of Corporations Law as 'Principals' although I got it right when I was discussing the law of Principal and Agent. My point being that we all make mistakes but it doesn't always interfere with what we are trying to say. My law professor forgave me and gave me a high distinction. My wife forgave the local Patisserie and still loves me. So why do my critics 'bag me out' with these nice-story-shame-about-the-typos style comments for a free-to-download ebook? Well... I suppose it is a good thing to maintain standards but it sure as hell can be a pain in the ego. Anyway the reason I have even bothered to bring up this topic is that the fee-for-service edit of 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine' is back. It is now squeaky clean so that even the harshest of critics would have to now contain the vitriol and the sarcasm to comments about the plot and characterisation etc. With no clangers to keep them entertained such as "he said with a rising infection" or "Memoirs of a Bending Machine" they may just find the time to read the story and enjoy it for what it is - a story - although I am going to miss these little quirks that have kept me laughing at myself for a few months. Anyway, I am just going through the edit which doesn't really represent any substantial changes other then the typos before I upload the new 'clean version'. Keep an eye out for it, especially if the typos have been causing you any angst.

BTW: 'Bug' is continuing to go berserk by the thousands on wattpad although it is a bit slow on smashwords. It has only recently been approved for distribution so it might take a bit more time.Nothing to report on Kindle yet but I think I need to wait for the technical people to do their thing before anything happens. I will be re-loading and re-publishing 'Squeaky Clean Memoirs' on Kindle as soon as I could be bothered. (This is where most of the bad reviews came from) and will post something on this blog when I do.

Bye for now


Monday, 30 May 2011

Bug Goes Berserk

'Bug', my new short story on Smashwords.

Wow, I think I did a good job here. 'Bug' has been going mad at wattpad so I thought I'd try it out on Smashwords. With four and a half star reviews and a frenzy of downloads, I think I have a winner. Check it out. It has also sparked a bit of action on my other titles. 

I also posted it on Kindle but I'll wait until I see how the reviews by the grammar police go before I post a link. I am still in agony over the crappy reviews from 'Memoirs', despite a shed-load of downloads. Still waiting for my professional editor to get back to me with a quote so there hasn't been much movement on that front. 

If you are interested in the new story, here is the description as posted on  Smashwords for 'Bug'.
Imagine living with a bug that clings to the back of your skull. Only you can feel it. Is it really there? Are you insane? Join Blake on his journey in 'BUG' and decide for yourself. A weird short story by James Pollard.
Thats all for now.


Friday, 27 May 2011

Bug eats Vending Machine

Giant Kabuto Mushi somewhere in Japan

Hi Folks

This week has seen an amazing amount of downloads for 'Bug' at wattpad. It has had three times more downloads than 'Keitai Friends' and is still clocking up download after download. I'm going to get a cover page together and put it up on Smashwords soon to see if it is as popular on that forum as it is on wattpad. In the mean time, 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine' is still ticking away and seems as popular as ever, although I predict that 'Bug' will eat 'Memoirs' sometime tonight if not early tomorrow in terms of downloads.

Having said that, I must add that I loaded 'Memoirs' onto Kindle the other day and have seen several thousand downloads. It is fast and furious. The downside is that some of the readership are hyper-critical and don't seem to appreciate 'indies' much at all. I've had some really bad and picky reviews mainly with regards to grammar, punctuation and spelling. Fair enough I suppose, it is after all not too much to expect that this side of a literary download should be in order although I think that since the book is free that a little flexibility is in order. I did get the feeling that some of the reviewers were having a bit of a laugh at my  expense over a few typos and to be quite honest it was all a bit hard to read some of what they were saying. For the 101st time, I questioned my decision to start writing and upload to the public until I decided that they were all right. A reader should expect the best even from a free download. The reader is after all who I am writing for so the least I could do is make sure that this side of my writing is in order. If a reader then has an issue with my writing style then so be it. On the flip side, if I can make it easier for all the readers that DO like my writing then that can only be a good thing. So, with this harsh lesson learned,  I sent 'Memoirs' off to a professional editor yesterday and can't wait to see what I get back. I'll load it up as soon as I get it which will be very soon after I pay for it I presume. 



Friday, 20 May 2011

'Keitai' is up again

Keitai Friends, available at smashwords for free.

Hi Folks, 

It's been a busy week for downloads as 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine' continues to power on at smashwords. I haven't had as much luck yet with 'Kujira' but its early days yet. I have been promising to include the manga images that I had originally posted with Keitai Friends in Kujira. I unpublished Keitai Friends because it was a chapter of Kujira and I didn't think it was a good idea from a sales point of view to have them both available. Well... I've changed my mind. I miss not having it up and watching the download figures climb so I've re-published it, manga images and all. 

Just in case I haven't convinced you to have a read. Check out the excerpt from Keitai Friends posted below.

Keitai Friends
Josh’s mood snapped viciously and without warning. He broke away from the counter, still holding the magazine. Without thinking, he slipped the magazine into the inside pocket of his black leather jacket continuing on, at pace, through the maze of aisles, bookshelves and people, towards the exit. Steaming with anger and a serial killer expression he dodged and weaved through the last crowded walkway. A joyous sense of triumph grew in his mind as he approached the exit leading to the Hankyu station meeting area where there would be a crowd of hundreds. He could blend in with all the other foreigners, escaping with the magazine and satisfying his sense of justice.
His pace slowed as he crossed the boundary between the store and the exit. A sense of anticlimax taking hold as he realised that no-one had noticed nor cared.  He walked out into the crowd and felt insignificant, his mood slipping down through a series of gears almost to a state of depression. No longer angry, he paused at a vending machine, staring at the cans but really staring at nothing. He fished around in his right hand pocket for some change and yanked out a handful, choosing a 100 and a 10 yen coin. Feeding in the coins, a red lamp flashed and he pressed it, releasing a small brown bottle of Dekavita - an energy drink. He hoped it would snap him out of the depressive mood that had taken him over. The thud as the drink hit the dispensing tray triggered a sense of the familiar, shifting his mood closer to equilibrium. He picked up the bottle, snapped the aluminium twist top and sculled a good third of the refreshing drink.
Still facing the vending machine, wiping his mouth on his sleeve and turned slowly to face the crowd. Out of the corner of his eye he saw them coming in his direction and knew instantly that his number was up. There was no place to run in the underground world of the largest train station in Osaka. Umeda station was monitored by hundreds of cameras and he stood out as a foreigner in an homogenously Asian city. 

BTW: The spoiler I mentioned in one of my previous posts over at Barnes and Noble  seems to have had an effect on sales. As I mentioned, it was riding high with four stars for a few weeks until a spoiler came along and gave it one star. That dragged it down to a three and sales have slowed. If anyone reading this blog is hooked up to Barnes and Noble's Nook Books, how 'bout a decent rating and a nice comment? I'll let you have the book for free if you do.

Oh and BTW again, My new weird short story 'Bug' is doing pretty well over at wattpad. If you go there you'll also find Keitai Friends posted although you won't find the images. 'Bug' comes up as 'The Bug' 'cause wattpad wouldn't let me post it as 'Bug'. As you might have already guessed, I prefer 'Bug'. If you have a read, how about a comment or a vote or something. Again, if you do this, I'll let you have it for free.



Friday, 13 May 2011

Weird Short Story

Kabuto Mushi (Japanese Rhinoceros Beetle)

Hi folks, this is the unlikely inspiration for my latest short story, " BUG" on Wattpad. (around 3000 words)  The story is about a guy who is or is going insane. A bit of a weird story, it doesn't fit my preferred genre to date of 'Urban Asian Adventure'.  It's not about Japan, the bug just happens to be Japanese.

The Kabuto Mushi is one of the most commonly kept bugs in Japan and is reproduced as children's toys including robots and features in children's literature, manga and anime. If you want to know more go to wikipedia or just check out this video on You Tube . If you don't like bugs, don't click but for the sake of the new story, try and imagine what it would feel like to have an extra large one permanently clinging to the back of your head.

BTW: Memoirs of a Vending Machine is still going gang busters. Thanks to all who have had a read and to those who will.

BTBTW: Don't forget to checkout my excerpt from Kujira at indiebooklist on the 14th of May.



Monday, 9 May 2011

I wish I had time to write

Josh thinks he has nothing to worry about... Keitai Friends - a chapter of Kujira

I still can't help posting these images from Keitai Friends. I have unpublished this story at the moment as it is a chapter of Kujira but I may resurrect it soon as I have had a few positive comments from friends. "Memoirs of a Vending Machine" continues to power on, downloads exceeding all my expectations. I attended a workshop by an author by the name of John Harmon. He has published several times and is quite well known in the Thriller genre for 'Called to Account', 'Dangerous Assets', 'Money for Nothing' and 'The Bottom Line'. You can  view his web page if you click on his name. He has a background in journalism but now does a lot of work as a ghost writer and also conducts workshops on writing. It was good to get some tips from John as he really has the ability to explain in detail the how and what to do of writing without adopting the point of view of some kind of literary deity. I quite liked the guy! We did some great practical work on character development and plotting. I came out of the workshop ready to begin my next novel and couldn't sleep that night as I couldn't shut down my creative brain. Unfortunately, with study commitments, a full time job and a family I have had to put things on hold but watch out for the next novel, paying particular attention to the exciting Arc of the Plot. (when I actually get around to putting it together.) You know all jokes aside, it is pretty good to have this meta - language that enables you to talk about what the hell you are doing with your novel. It gives you focus and helps you put together something that is much better for the reader - who is after all the one you are trying to engage.

BTW: I had a spoiler post a damning review of Memoirs of a Vending Machine, dragging down the rating and  making me question my commitment to writing for at least the 100th time. Well... since then, my sales have improved exponentially so bring it on spoiler... make my day...

BTBTW: I am working on a short story at the moment and have tried it out on Wattpad. I've had quite few reads and will provide a link when I have finished it.

Ja mata ne


Thursday, 28 April 2011


Josh, as he appears in 'Kujira' in the chapter titled 'Keitai Friends.

I had to post today to boast about the flood of downloads for Kujira I have this offered as a free download with a coupon at ebooksfreefreefree and have seen a ton of action overnight.(Coupon code - ZX74Q at smashwords expires on 20th may) It is also going to be posted on indiebookslist on the 14th of May. This will appear with an excerpt from Kujira as appears in the previous post on this blog. 

BTW: I have managed to publish 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine' on Amazon. I have to wait for the search data to appear so it might be hard to find. Just follow the link I have provided. The downside is that it's not free. The book still remains free on Smashwords and is a popular download. I really recommend reading it before you tackle Kujira.



Saturday, 23 April 2011

Excerpt from Kujira

Hi Folks

I am posting to a new blog and needed somewhere to link to for the text. Thought it might be a good idea to put it here as well. Enjoy. If you like it you can buy it at the following link.  Kujira

An impression of a 'Hankyu Sen' train carriage at Umeda station.


The Hankyu Sen (Hankyu line) was Mike's favourite carriage design and the green
velvet seats and the powerful heaters made for a very comfortable journey. The train
was just pulling in to Umeda station as Mike sent a quick last minute text to Jon,
asking if Mark was coming to happy hour.
Within the minute, Jon had replied. "mark with ken now will cum 2nite cu
at 6. J" The message flashed on to Mike's keitai screen confirming the arrangement
and that Mark would be there. Spirited away by the other alighting passengers, Mike
walked with the flow towards the exit as he had done many times before.  He inserted
his ticket into the slot of the Kaisatsuguchi, (Ticket gate) exited then proceeded on to
the escalators leading down to the Hankyu station building and the thousands of
people, each with a purpose and a destination.
His girlfriend Kanako was busy tonight with friends so instead of wandering
back to his apartment, he walked back towards Kinokuniya book store, veering to the
left of the Huge Big Man screen then down the stairs to the Hankyu San Ban Gai
'Gourmet food' entrance to the elegant food hall below. Passing by 'Fountain Square'
that emulates the atmosphere of Milan of Italy, Mike was overcome with a sudden
urge for pasta. A small wooden bridge over a small water way with running water
led to an authentic looking Italian restaurant that was good enough for Mike as he
has skipped lunch and didn't want to do happy hour on an empty stomach.
Being alone, he was sat at the counter. Thanking the waitress, he opened out
his Oshibori (Hot hand towel) wiping his forehead before wiping his hands then the
back of his neck.  He threw the spent towel on to the counter, downed the water in the
glass that had been placed next to the oshibori then picked up his menu. Taking a
little time to decide, he finally settled on the Gnocchi with a local style tomato and
basil sauce.
While he waited, he picked up his keitai and tried texting Mark using the latest
number he had stored. "Long x no c how was syd? ru cumin 2nite? J" His meal
arrived quickly and with no one to talk to he had consumed the lot in a matter of
minutes. His developing beer belly was stretched to the limit as he sat content, picking
his teeth with the peppermint tipped tsumayouji (Tooth pick) that had accompanied
his oshibori and glass of water.
Mike's keitai vibrated on the counter as the screen lit up with Mark's reply. "at
Jons CU soon wots Kaori chan up2" Kaori was an old colleague of Mike's that
had transferred to another branch in Osaka about six months ago. Mark had met her about a year ago at a bonenkai (End of year party) that Mark had invited him to. Mike
still kept in touch as she was a good friend of Miyako's. Mark had skilfully acquired
her denwa bango (Telephone number) at the party but had become so busy with the
new business project that he hadn't had a chance to follow up. Mike knew via the
grapevine that she had just finished up with some loser doctor from the local
university hospital who turned out to be married so he thought he might do them both
a favour and invite her along for drinks.
"Hi Kaori. Are you free? Do you want to come to the Cantaloupe at 6?
My friend Mark is coming. Mike." Mike tended to use correctly phrased and spelt
English with his Japanese friends to avoid errors of time and place although most of
them could compose a text in two languages before Mike could even say,
"tsumayouji".  "CU @ 6," came the reply in under 30 seconds. Mike decided to leave
this as a surprise for Mark as he stood, collected the kanjo (The bill) and walked up to
the register to pay.
The 'Cantaloupe' was on the other side of Umeda and would take a good half
an hour to get there. It was about five in the afternoon now so Mike decided to spend
about thirty minutes browsing the magazines in Kinokuniya book store as it was on
the way. Walking up the stairs to exit from the San Ban Gai, 'Gourmet food' stairway,
he turned left and walked in to Kinokuniya. Weaving through the aisles towards the
English language section, Mike remembered some foreign colleagues telling him of
an Australian guy that was detained for stealing a magazine then arrested for
possession of drugs.  He caught himself, shaking his head in judgement at such a
stupid act and thanked the gods that he didn’t have friends like that. He browsed for a
short time, made a mental note of what he might buy next time then made his way
back of the store and on to the Cantaloupe.
Mark had returned to Jon's place and had just entered the genkan. The door
was open so he didn't make any noise as he walked in. No one came to greet him and
he could hear male voices laughing and Japanese language coming from the living
area. He finished his special shoe trick, stepping up from the genkan, this time
however, no one trailing him to correct the imperfections of orientation of his shoes.
Walking in through the door he was confronted by a confident looking Japanese man
in his mid thirties. He was sitting on the edge of the seat and was smoking a cigarette.
He smiled, light instantly refracting from a number of gold capped molars but he didn't
Jon jumped to attention and introduced Tsubasa to Mark. "Hajimemashite
Marku desu, Yoroshiku onegaishimasu." (Nice to meet you, I am Mark) "Oh, you
speak very good Japanese," replied Tsubasa. Mark had encountered this many times
before and knew that Tsubasa would insist on speaking English from now on so he
just switched over. "Yeah, thanks. Are you a friend of Jon's?" enquired Mark. Tsubasa
began to draw breath but Jon interrupted. "Yes, yes. We've been friends for a couple
of years now." "Oh yes, for quite along time", added Tsubasa.
Tsubasa was particularly well dressed in a fashionable Armani leather Jacket,
a superior quality well fitted Armani casual outfit and leather shoes. A Rolex watch
and chunky gold jewellery added to an appearance that placed him a little out of
context in Jon's living room. Mark had already decided that this was about the drugs
but decided to continue humouring their little routine.
Still standing, Mark asked, "Do you live near by?" "No I am from Kyoto. I am
a business man. I own many business in Kyoto and in Osaka," answered Tsubasa.
Volunteering so much information and so freely, Jon realised that it wouldn't be long
before Mark got to the truth. He stood up and 'cut to the chase'. "We are thinking of doing some business together. Well… we are doing some
business together." "Oh yeah, can't wait to hear this", said Mark. "Well you might not
be impressed but it's a little like your line of business… an internet venture in fact,"
Jon continued. "Don't tell me… it's porn", speculated Mark, half joking. Sensing
Mark's morally judgemental attitude, Tsubasa stood up and smiled nervously. "Yes
Mr Mark, Jon is MY man. We are business partners. He gets me the best foreign girls
in Japan." Mark's expression showed uncontrollable astonishment. Tsubasa moved
over to Jon and put his arm around him, patting his left shoulder affectionately with
his hand. Jon seemed to defer to Tsubasa so Mark decided to skip the moral lecture,
yet again deciding that Jon was just not capable of being reasoned with.
"Well good luck," Mark said looking first at Jon, then at Tsubasa. He had
already decided to never talk to this man again but knew that he might have to endure
just a little more in order to get out of this house cleanly. Mark knew Jon was a
wanna-be, right from the start - the first day they met and had gotten to know each
other all those years ago back at the karaoke bar - but to stoop so low… porn!
Mark shook off his concerns reasoning that in the grand scheme of things, it
didn't really matter because he had already decided to flee. Nevertheless he was a
little concerned for Jon and decided to interrogate him later at the Cantaloupe while
he was under the influence of alcohol and talk him out of this madness. "Anyway
Tsubasa, nice to have met you," Mark said in a conciliatory tone. "It's getting late Jon,
are we still making our way to happy hour?" asked Mark.
"Mark didn't ask Tsubasa and was a little unhappy when Tsubasa invited
himself and offered to drive them there in his Mercedes. Jon had already accepted
before Mark could come up with a half decent excuse to avoid it so they all left the
house for Tsubasa's car parked about a hundred meters up the road.  Mark was not at
all surprised as Tsubasa put on a pair of very dark sunglasses as they walked. He was
however, more than a little alarmed as they walked past the Yakuza guy he had seen in
the shotengai earlier that day. He bowed low, deferring to Tsubasa who gave no more
than a short downwards nod of the head. They climbed in to the Mercedes, Mark in
the back and set off for happy hour in Umeda.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Memoirs of Memoirs of a Vending Machine

Hi Folks

The download frenzy has subsided and is now a steady stream. Happy that readers are getting something from  Memoirs of a Vending Machine. I certainly enjoyed writing it and have some very fond memories of the characters and the situations that inspired the book.  The above link has got to be one of my all time favourites from a Japanese band, 'Ulfuls' pronounced 'Urufuzu'. This particular song, Banzai  pops up in the section titled 'Kinki Karaoke'.

Jon, Mark, Mike and Jeff are sitting at the bar and Jon takes the microphone selecting a Beatles song to sing. Unfortunately his talent does not match his enthusiasm.
Jon took a breath and then, out of time appeared to bray like a sheep, the sound enhanced with some expensive sounding reverb and echo.
Mark shows Jon up and picks this song to sing.
. "Yeah", he roared melodically in a rough but rounded male rock growl, absolutely appropriate for the melody and the style. There was an electric guitar introduction to a basic rock beat that highlighted the vocals. Then, with a spectacular rock and roll drum roll ending with a splash of cymbals the beat was laid down with drums bass and guitar in preparation for the body of the song. 
If you are at all interested in what this song actually sounds like, click the link above and let me know what you think - another Urufuzu song appears in the follow up to 'Memoirs', Kujira but I'll leave that for another time.

Tanoshinde Kudasai (Please enjoy)


Sunday, 17 April 2011

Download Frenzy - Memoirs

Hi Folks

Firstly: I can't resist posting these manga frames from 'Keitai Friends". This is the scene where Josh sees the police after exiting the bookstore with a magazine in his pocket. Ironic that the author has chosen to publish as an e-book. If only Josh had known about Smashwords; he would have downloaded a copy and would not have been tempted by the hard copy magazine.  'Keitai Friends is a chapter of Kujira  available at smashwords and most of the other e-book outlets. The bottle dropping to the ground is a bottle of Dekavita. It tastes like any of the energy drinks available today and is full of vitamins. They have been drinking these things in Japan since the 80's as far as I know. As a foreigner in Japan I used to call these types of drinks, 'genki drinks' because they would charge you full of energy. They are still available at any vending machine anywhere in Japan.

Main Bit: Wow - double, triple, quadruple downloads in one day for 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine'. What was that? Still no new comments but a few readers have clicked the 'like' button. So... this means my readers are either neutral or disinterested but not negatively critical or they love the book but just couldn't be stuffed saying so. I mean... it's obvious isn't it? Anyway, a bit of a feel good about myself day today. I feel loved and appreciated. If you are one of my readers, thanks for that.



Saturday, 16 April 2011

Meet Josh from Keitai Friends

Hi Folks

I wanted to acknowledge the work of two amazing young ladies from Japan who did the artwork for a section from 'Keitai Friends', one of my ebooks. Thanks to Kumi Shimizu and Maho Kanagawa, both art specialist students from a school in Japan I visit as a sister school program coordinator. I know that they spent a lot of time on the above images and the others that capture a small scene from the story. They have graduated now and are off to bigger and better things.  I have unpublished this story for the moment as it appears as a chapter in 'Kujira'. You might have noticed that this is the image I have used for the cover of Kujira. I will be uploading the entire collection of images as an uninterupted manga section somewhere in Kujira sometime in the future.

Meanwhile, 'Memoirs of a Vending Machine' is still going 'gang busters', appearing all over the shop - the internet shop that is. I found a cute little 'edu blog' where students of ... literature or  English or ... not really sure but I'm sure it is connected with reading, post predictions and questions for the author as they read through various books - ebooks in this case. It was a real buzz to see them taking 'Memoirs' to pieces and testing their assumptions and questioning the author. The buzz is that like it or hate it, these kids are becoming more literate and critical and in some small way I have contributed to this. Makes me want to write more!

Anyway, a new phase I picked up the other day from an international student I am looking after at the moment. Nagare ni noru literally means to ride on the flow. I say to 'go with the flow'. Means the same thing and captures my mood recently. I am not sure where my ebooks are taking me at the moment. Lots of downloads but not a lot of comments and very little money for the ebooks I have published at a price. Nevertheless, I feel like things are moving in a positive direction so I'll just go with the flow and keep plugging away at promoting my creations and working on some new ones.

That's all for now so mata ne ! (Catch you later)