Indie Writers’ Workshop Comes to a Close

I’m tapping this out quickly while waiting to board my flight in Portland. This week I attended the Masters Class from WMG Publishing, namely Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  A fantastic week of learning about the modern and future indie writing world. I have a notebook full of notes, carpel tunnel, and my head is still too overwhelmed to start sorting through it all. But it was a great week with a lot of great, like-minded people.

And as nice as it is to get away, it’s nice to be headed home too. One funny thing… I’ve been eating out for a week, 2 or 3 meals a day, and just had the best meal of the week here in the airport! It was a breakfast bowl at the “Beach Shack” — eggs, potatoes, onions, peppers, spinach, bacon and gravy on top.  Holy shit was that good! Closest thing to home cooking I’ve had all week. (Other than a nice spaghetti dinner that Kip hosted for our group; too much to explain there.)

Anyway, made some great connections with fellow writers, including a few other names you’d likely recognize, and got way too much of a to-do list for the future. As well as a better understanding of this business (and the out-moded old publishing structure that’s sagging into old age now).

For those interested in my work, stand by for some changes in how I do business and some experiments with new digital delivery methods and promotional freebies.

Also learned an slight appreciation for the technology I have thus far shunned… I don’t own a smart phone, which I deeply regretted when I wanted to take pictures of the awesome Oregon scenery and had no means of doing so. Maybe it’s time I get with the times after all…  (Maybe…)

Okay, gotta get my passport and boarding papers ready…


New X-Men Team and Marvel: Age of Heroes


Last weekend (or two weekends ago now?) we were in Tokyo where we were lucky enough to happen across some posters advertising the Marvel: Age of Heroes event at the Mori art museum in Tokyo.  The Mori is actually on like the 52nd floor of this huge tower; the 50-something floor, anyway.  For only about $18 we were admitted to this museum-esque display.  (Which is about the same amount to take the ferry to Monkey Island, which I can see from the window as I write this and could easily paddle a kayak to myself.  So I was kind of amazed at how cheap it was to attend.)

Unfortunately, they didn’t really allow pictures to be taken at the event.  Which really sucks given there was a pretty damn cool to-scale Hulk there that I would have loved to pose next to.  My wife did get some, though, which I’ll have to dig for.  But if you’d like to read more about the event and see some images, you can also go here.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe was a big focus of the display and there were several actual movie costumes and props there, as well as several movies and interviews playing on screens.  Another section was all about the art itself and covers, and I believe showed how some covers are remade by Manga artists for sale of the issues here in Japan (which is just weird to me–they can’t accept any other art style but their own?)

At the end was a gift shop full of expensive crap.  I browsed quickly, as it was very crowded, checked out the only things that interested me–the statuettes–and then left.  When I caught up with my wife, she was stunned and disappointed that I didn’t buy anything.  I just shrugged.  Even after decades of being a grown-up with a grown-up income, I still operate under the assumptions that I’m a college guy struggling to survive: I don’t spend money on myself.  But after a little poking and prodding, my wife convinced me that it is indeed okay for the primary bread winner to splurge on himself once in a while.

So I went back to the beginning of the whole thing (cuz there’s no backflow once you exit) and worked my way back to the shop.  And the dude at the door almost didn’t let me in!  There is actually a sign that says once you leave, there’s no going back in.  I said, “Are you kidding?  You really don’t want me to come back in and spend money???”  To which he nodded and said “okay” as best he could (he’s Japanese) and let me in.

And then I spent more money on myself than I have in years.

I was just going to get one cool toy, but then thought, “These are the X-men.  They’re a team, you can’t just have one.”  So I figured I’d get a nice color variety.  And then I threw in Magneto too, cuz he was cool.  So I ended up carrying a stack of boxes almost maximizing my arms’ wingspan to the register!  (And that guy didn’t want to let me in!)

So here’s my X-men lineup.  These series was patterned after the “Marvel Now X-Men,” which is not a series I got into.  They also had Emma Frost and Magic, but screw that noise.  Frost is just a Jean Grey stand-in proving they regret killing that character off each and every time they did it.  And Magic was better off as the little sister trapped in Limbo.  Not interested in either one of those.  But the ones I did get are sweet! 🙂  (I haven’t read X-men since the 80s and 90s, and I’m not really interested in doing so. I’m a classic nerd.)

In fact, I’d say my favorite lineup was probably the very first I ever saw, from the first comic book my mom ever bought me. It was Uncanny X-Men 220s, maybe?  Something like that. They were fighting the brood and there were 4 X-gals and 3 X-guys on the team: Storm was leading Wolverine, Colossus, Rogue, Psylocke (pre-ninja Psylocke), Dazzler, and Longshot.  (Well, Longshot was almost a girl, so the ratio is questionable.)  Oh, and Havoc!  Forgot about him.


Those were the days!  That’s when the original X-men were X-Factor and all the great Chris Claremont stories were going on.  Good stuff.

Oh, and I remember buying this one at Sandusky Mall!  It was probably the second X-book i ever had, and I was hooked from here!


So now here’s a couple different arrangements of my classy new toys: my new X-team!  The second one is current, where I decided that I wanted the colors in the front and the mostly black fellas in the back.  And then is a pic of my bookshelf, which is more junk and toys now than books!




Cthulhu Christmas Salad!

I took this picture just before this great big octopus arm became a very tasty salad!
Really!!  We took it to a Christmas party and none of it came home, which was very disappointing for me!
I’ve been meaning to take some photos like this while we’re here in Japan.  A very Cthulhu-esque image.  I’m determined to use some kitchen-taken tentacle shots for a book cover image someday.  I just have to come up with a story that’s fitting for it!

Thanksgiving in Japan


For me it is now midnight after THXGVG.  I’m at work now fighting to stay away on a night shift, my belly still full from the day’s feasting.

For those who might not know, I am stationed in Japan with the Navy.  And Japan, unless they have a similar holiday that I don’t know about, doesn’t know what Thanksgiving is.  Well, the folks around here do, because our base is here, but otherwise, everyone outside the gate kept on doing what they do everyday.  It was not a holiday for them.

As for us, my family, we did THXGVG the easy way this year.  Being as my schedule was going to be all messed up today (and usually is), and that we are largely antisocial because we barely manage to manage our four-member family from day to day, much less work in anyone else, it was just going to be the four of us for dinner. But even in this we are not alone, because most folks and families here are somewhat isolated.  The big feasting clans are all back home, after all.  And it would be kind of silly to slave in our tiny kitchen all day for just us.  So like many others, we enjoyed a holiday feast at the Officers’ Club today.  (Which is not just for officers, by the way.)

And let me tell you, it was a hell of a spread!

So for those of you who might be wondering what we service members (at least on this base) were doing for the holiday so far from home–other than wishing we were back home with all of you–here’s a few pictures to reassure you that we were well taken care of.


Salads.  But I didn’t have any of that.  I can eat lettuce any day of the week!


The spread!  All your turkey, taters, two kinds of dressing, two kinds of gravy (!), lots of steamed vegies, and then some!


More salads, a bit more exotic, as well as fruits, meats and cheese, etc.


Beverages, including champagne!  None for me, though.  I had to come to work a few hours later.


The Roast Beasts!  And a guy in a puffy hat to carve them!

Yeah, we’re really roughing it here…


Dessert table and the pianist.  Yes, we had someone playing piano for our dinner atmo!  She’s good too.  You haven’t heard Cindy Lauper’s “Time After Time” until you’ve heard it in the original piano solo.  (Really, she played that.)


And finally, my son and all the food he wasted…

And a finger telling him that he better eat!  🙂

Hope everyone where you are got their bellies full!  

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

(And thanks to my step-daughter Susi for the photography.)