Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Countdown to VCON

3 sleeps left! But I'm ready. Thanks to Adam Zilliax, who is playing cargo duty from the Pitt to the Con. I've also been invited to be on a 4-member discussion panel during the con, about the usage of science in fiction. How far can you, or should you push it?

I also went to my 2nd meetup meeting last night, (different than the one all the way downtown that I neglected to blog about due primarily to time constraints) and they gave me homework. I have a month to do it, so I can focus on VCON for now. And when the next meeting comes, it'll be close to halloween, so I'm tempted to go in the costume Ive been working on. (Yeah, y'all will get pics of it eventually)

I hope this rain gives me a friggin break on the weekend.. and tomorrow.. I need air in my tires badly, and the most convenient place to fill em is a gas station, which is plenty far if you're wheeling it in the rain.

In other news, Caitlin's fallen in love with 'mermaid!'.. the little mermaid, and any of the sequels. I think she's just as soon skip over any sections focusing on the badguy though. Ariel, Harmony, and the animal sidekicks are really her focus. I think we found a lead for xmas presents.. if she's not tired of mermaids by then...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sorry, Canada...

I just found out that just because my books have ISBNs, doesn't mean you can order it from any ole' bookstore. In fact, you'd be lucky to find Lifehack on Amazon.ca. If you go to Amazon.COM however, it's no big deal to find both books. And then you get stuck with that cross-border shipping charge.

For two $15 books, the shipping was nearly another $15. Meanwhile, the yanks can get both my books and qualify for 'super saver' shipping. Ie: free.

What a splendid set of discoveries. It looks like efforts marketing to Canadians farther away than a bus ride is kinda wasted. I can pitch pretty strongly to the yanks though. Yay?

Maybe it's time I swallow my impatience, and look at the traditional publishers, who cut through most of the cross border crap. Or maybe I just need to find a Canadian print shop that can do what my US outfits can do, for a comparable price... Hah... any suggestions?

In any event, I'll keep on with my current distro model for the 3rd book.. being another followup after Lifehack. After that, there will be a fresh start with books unrelated to Lifehack or nanites, and I might turn to traditional press, and the whole "Submit the manuscript to 100 different publishers in very specific pain-in-the-ass formats that differ for each one, then wait about a year to hear back from any of them" shtick.

Yeah. Fun.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Library trp results, new front page, got my stash, and more...

Quick note first- I got my stash of Watching Yute copies today. (Thanks in no small part to my cross-border book-runner, Gill Picard, A.K.A. dad.) The cute lil nanite on the spine lines up really nice to the one on the spine of Lifehack. If you see them together, you can see there's about one third of the lil guy still missing. ECHOES OF EREBUS ANYONE? DID I PLAN THIS FROM THE START ANYONE? EVIL GEEEEEENYUS ANYONE?

Yup. In a related story, in 2 weeks, I will be half way though the 3-day VCON sci-fi convention, where I hope to sell a significant portion of my stash. And maybe a poster or two. I might make a 'practice run' of the trip, just so I can get to know the accessibility hassles before I actually am due anywhere.

Also, I just posted a new layout for the front page of my website, which might have been nice to have before I bought a day's worth of an ad banner. (Yeah, one day's worth... who knows..)

The new layout is much cleaner and prettier, and could have channeled more visitors into sales, maybe. I'll have no Idea of my massive ad campaign did any good for a while yet, as I channel most softcover buyers thought amazon for the great shipping, and amazon has a policy of delaying the reporting of any useful information for no reason that I can think of.

While the paid ad reports having gotten a bit under 150 people to visit my site, I can't specifically guess how many of those turned into sales... especially since I stumbled upon a FREE ad venue that got me over 4000 hits.

What was it? I happened to end up on an enteratiment gossip page that was linked from a forum I go to a lot... The story was crap, but I skimmed down to see people's comments. Half of them were made to promote things totally irrelevant to the story. Well... I couldn't resist....

That's me at the top, obviously. If that kind of cheapness WORKS... well.. yay for ebing a prick! I guess....

Ack, I was going to tell a story about my trip to the big ole' vancouver library to meet random writers, but my time is kinda up... Next time...!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

To the Vancouver Library! Skytrain adventures ahead! Whee!

Tonight I'm heading out there for a MEETUP meeting with a small collection of random writer-ey people. Looks like a healthy mix of novelists, short-story.. ists, and poets. It dawned on me a while ago that I should be more connected to the local writing pulse... or something.

So now I look forward to a roughly 2 hour trip by bus and by skytrain from here. Which brings up the questions of wheelchair accessibility. My route leads me out of Granville station to the street.

Half a decade or so ago, my wife and I were nastily surprised to find out (while in a hurry, of course) that there was no elevator at that station. Most skytrain stations are set up quite nicely for wheelchair access, so we were frantically looking around the underground section, poking doors, looking for the lift. Time ticking away, we stopped someone to ask. We got a couple "I dunno" responses until we came across someone who knew, and had no good news on the topic.

So, back on the train we go, to the next station, then dash to our appointment. I hadn't forgotten the experience, but when the automated yet oft-dubious trip-planner for the bus routed me through Granville, (with the accessibility option turned on) I figured that my memory must have been of another station.

But today, I was rambling about my trvael plans, and my wife says "Granville? They don't have an elevator I think....!"


"I don't think so, remember that, voop-" and she made a hand gesture that made me think she was hailing a cab for Hitler or something. After a little prodding, I figured out she was talking about the steep, steep escalator at the station. With a standard escalator, I can drive myself into it, hang onto the railings, and I can get up pretty easily, (even if the people behind me are concerned about getting crushed) but this one was step enough that I wasn't going to chance it, even with my wife there to assist.

Mind you, this was a 'long time' ago, in terms of where my skill level was... I'll have to have a peek today and see if it looks less daunting now. Still, I don't want to be betting on it.

So I called the transit line to confirm my fears, that the oh-so-clever trip-planner had aimed me at a dead end. The fellow I eventually got on the phone, (who sounded like he'd just finished making sweet sweet love to his morning coffee) told me an elevator had been installed there roughly a year ago. I can't imagine where... it's a darn cramped station. But I'll take ole coffee mater's word for it.

Wish me luck, for I face transit!

Later in the month, I'll be going to similar meetup, but it's a 10-minite bus ride away, on familiar territory.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Good doggie. And other news..

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to www.bookdoggie.com. It's a cute lil site where you pick the genre of book you like, then tell it to go "FETCH" a title for you. They're all submitted by the authors, so you're bound to find a lot of off-the-beaten-path indie stuff. (For better or for worse)
I kinda wish the site ran a straight listing, but the fun of it is the random result, I suppose. The site is run just for the sake of running it, I think. There's one unassuming ad banner at the bottom, and that's it.

Tomorrow I go to my first MEETUP meeting with a handful of other writers. It's a long slog from here to the Vancouver library, (what, 3 hours by transit? Erf. Can't be THAT bad) but we'll see what there is to see.

Speaking of long slogs into Vancouver, that sci-fi convention is getting closer and closer. I don't have my hands on the Yute stock yet, but it IS sitting within driving distance. You preorder people gotta get on my case about it! (Or, maybe more specifically, on my dad's case about it, as he's the final step in getting the books to me from his US post box)

Countdown, 2 weeks and 3 days!

Also, I've been working on a halloween costume for various purposes.. It's a tad silly for the sci-fi convention, (ie: it's looking more like silly CRAP as opposed to the original target of "badass") but that makes it plenty cool enough for a party and other events. Why not for the sci-fi convention? Well...... I want to be able to fool myself that I actually AM cool for that weekend, whereas other times, I'm content to wallow in my dorkiness.

I'm not spreading around what the costume is too far, as I'd like to surprise one or two people who are likely to read this. I don't want to over-sell it though, but againt my lame costumes for previous years, this one smacks of effort. I just hope the Dueckman's have a party this year... they always threw hum-dingers, but the world has to realize they have a kiddo now. Last year when he was newborn, they came up with a "Let kiddo make an appearance, then ship him offsite" strategy... whether they felt that it worked well or not, I can't guess... we'll see.. I'll drop hints...

The other location I'd wear the costume is at Ghost Ridge, the haunted house event that my Optimis club helps out with. Frankly, our membership is doing badly enough that we can't be one of the central groups and get funding from it, but it's not going to stop many of the members form volunteering anyway. We'll see how it goes down... I'm still not sure if I can BE one of those volunteers yet.

And yes, I'll post pictures of my costume.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Echos or Echoes?

Alright, the name of book 3 is changed. It will be ECHOES of Erebus. Echos is also an accepted spelling, but it seems echoes is more common. Feh. Not that I want to be a slave to conformity, I just don't want to have to be explaining it all the time.

Hey, preorder people! I'll have my stock of Yutes sometime over the weekend, so y'all get in line! :P

In non-book news, we now have a full house again.. I'll have to think of new codenames for them, a german girl and a spanish girl. They seem quite sane and pleasant however, and are not likely to inflict such interesting stories as a couple students in the past.

And 2 minutes ago, the courier took away my ps3... fly swift and true, I need my PS3 back to start the littleBIGplanet contest, where I'm giving away a few copies of Watching Yute...!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Roll for warranty. 20? AWESOME.

One quick note before I get to the main purpose of this post. Yute is now nicely embedded into Amazon. Check my corner of Amazon here. They have awesome shipping. If someone got both books, they qualify for free shipping! For those of you with pre-orders, they've been printed, and will probably be in my hands within the week.

Roll for warranty. 20? AWESOME.

If life was D&D, I just rolled a 20. Actually, this was a slimmer change than a 20 sided die can express. Better make it percentile dice. Well... if you wanna be literal, I hope you have a 129,600 sided die, cuz I rolled 129,600.

Some time ago, my playstation 3 decided to break down. Warranty was gone, but it wasn't SO expensive to get it fixed. Cheaper than getting a new one by far. This also came with a new warranty for 90 days.

Today? Poof. Dead again. Statistically, PS3s don't break down much, but it is one of the first models. With much less angsty stress than last time, (before my wife absorbed the words, she seemed to take my joyous sarcasm seriously) I went about my business of starting a virus scan on a computer before calling sony's tech line. I started the scan, then switch to a web browser to look up the number.

I started dialing, beep boop bop. My wife heard the dialing from the other room as I navigated the automated menus. "They're probably closed by now." she said. Well, I was planning on waiting for the virus scan anyway, I could do two waiting tasks at once. Efficiency in waiting.

"Well, a machine just told me I have about 15 minutes to wait, so.."

The hold music was interrupted regularly saying that I could get faster service by going through the website. I figured that to be false.. the website probably would just instruct me to make sure it was plugged in, and not dipped in boiling yak feces. I used to work computer repairs. I know enough that yak feces should always be applied at room temperature. What kind of noob do they take me for?

He got my basic info, and tapped up my file. I explained what the PS3 was doing. Just like last time, it would try to boot up, and a second into the boot up sequence, the happy blue light flashed yellow, then went right to a flashing red as the drives powered down.

"Ah, I see you had service recently. Can I put you on hold while I check your warranty?"
"Yeah, sure." It didn't feel like so long since I had to have it serviced before, so I was pretty confident.

Hold music, la la la.

"Sir? Thanks for waiting."
"No prob."
"Well, technically, we're closed right now, but when someone calls our department before close and gets put on hold, we finish up all callers on hold before actually shutting down."
"Your call was in the system less than ONE MINUTE before closing time!"
"And THIS is the last day of your warranty."
"Holy crap!!"

90 days x 24 hours, x 60 minutes = 129,600 minutes where I could have called in a malfunction and gotten free repair and shipping, and I got the very last one. One specific minute in three months time.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Title graphic for Echos of Erebus

At this point, I think the cover will likely have a lot in common with this graphic. I was thinking of adding a couple lines about Sarah there,but nah... my previous blog entry gives you enough of a taste of Sarah for now. Well.. maybe not a super accurate taste. It's not like she's always drunk or anything.

Maybe she should be. It could make her almost as silly as Regan was.

Short blog entry! Still waiting for Amazon to get on board. Got my table assignment for the VCON sci fi convention. Whee! Less than a month to go...! By the first day of it will keep me from watching the Stargate:Universe premiere. Grr.