About Me

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Mabuhay! I'm an Asian American writer (Back Kicks And Broken Promises, Abbott Press, 2012), martial artist and teacher who was born in The Philippines, raised in Hong Kong and ended up in New Jersey.

18 June, 2012

Are pages in an ebook really pages?

I recently had lunch with two fellow Filipino writers - memoirist Carissa Villacorta and boxing journalist Ryan Songalia. Ryan wrote a feature about my book, Back Kicks And Broken Promises, that came out in several Filipino and Filipino-American print and online publications and he is a former student of mine. Carissa is the author of Surreality, her memoir of her first years in New York City. We met in Chinatown, at my usual spot on Mott Street, and caught up on what’s gone in our lives since I taught Ryan in the late 1990s. As we enjoyed our dim sum, we also talked about writing, my book’s publication and the promotional work I’m doing for it, other Filipino-American authors and the decline of print publications and their quality - surely you’ve noticed how newspapers are thinner, with less pages, and how some newspapers are made on thinner paper with poorer quality ink.

Also at our lunch were my wife and son and our friend, Ani, who is a fellow martial artist and who has been a wonderful supporter of my book. She had a paperback copy with her, which Carissa got to peruse for the first time. About a month or so ago, I’d sent Carissa a copy of my book to her in The Philippines but it hadn’t arrived by the time she and Ryan had come back to New York for holiday. Taking a stab at the Philippine Postal Service, which over the years has been notorious for slow delivery (I once got a birthday card from my father, that arrived on my birthday, but a year late), Ryan joked that there’s someone in a post office somewhere in Makati who’s reading my book. To that, I commented that I hope he or she is, at least, enjoying it.

Anyway, when Carissa flipped through the pages of Ani’s copy of my book, she made a comment that struck me as very odd but was also horribly revelatory. She said that holding my book - again, a print version - was the first time in months she had held an actual book and turned its pages. With the growth of ereaders, all her recent reading has been done electronically. Like I said, I was stunned. Ryan and I both expressed how we prefer the print version of books for a variety of reasons. My wife enjoys the print but she is very much into reading on her iPad. Ani likes print too but she enjoys the convenience of ereading.

As part of the discussion, I offered this: should the pages of an ebook be called ‘pages?’ I suggested, partly in jest, that they be called ‘flicks’ or ‘swipes’ because that’s what we do with our fingers across the screen (yes, I own a Nook and read books on it that only come out in ebook format) when we move forward in our ebooks. Also, in print books, pages are turned and the reader moves on to the next one. 112 is followed by 113, 113 precedes 114 and so on. On my Nook, I am currently reading a novel by a fellow indie author, The Forever Girl, by Rebecca Hamilton, that is only available in ebook format. However, with Rebecca’s book, it’s two flicks for every page. Perhaps this is a technical glitch but hers isn’t the only ebook that does that on my Nook. The Kindle app on my iPhone refers to pages as ‘location’ and with every tap or flick a page jumps 5 (sometimes more) locations. (Rebecca’s book is quite good and if you enjoy paranormal-romance-drama with a little action you’ll enjoy The Forever Girl.)

There are benefits to ereaders. They help environmentally. Less paper books means less trees being cut down. They also allow us carry more books without the weight bearing down on us, which, believe it or not, can cause joint and back problems. This, though, is probably more a concern with students who carry book bags with countless hardcover textbooks to and from school everyday. With the emergence of etextbooks, this will be alleviated somewhat and ereaders do allow notes to be taken and sections to be highlighted. So, on some level, I am starting to favour ebooks. In a previous post, I also cited how they’re very useful in reading newspapers and magazines. I also read several books at a time so when I travel, which isn’t that often anyway, I am able to bring all the books with me if I have all of them on my Nook.

However, without turning actual pages, smelling the paper and the ink and the glue, hearing the crack of the spine the first time you open it, perusing the shelves of a bookstore, dog-earing the corner of the page with your favourite passage on it that you’ve underlined or highlighted with a pen you had to scramble for, ereaders don’t offer a personal connection with a book. Books make us laugh and cry because of the images the words make us conjure up in our own heads and the things we feel in our hearts. All of the tactile contact with a book adds to that relationship and the resulting emotions we feel. There’s something impersonal about the electronic versions. I mean, in the 1977 movie Demon Seed, the electronic supercomputer Proteus became obsessed with humanity that it wanted to have a child with its creator’s wife. If that isn’t an indication of how impersonal electronic advancement is and how desirable personal connection is, I don’t know what is.

I’m not a Luddite. In fact, I’m quite technologically savvy and I like my gadgets and I do like the convenience ebooks offer but when it comes to experiencing a book, in my opinion, the book has to be a print version. Back at my lunch with Carissa and Ryan, I didn’t but I almost posed this as well: Based on what I described above, should ebooks be called ‘books?’ I offer that they be called ‘ereads.’ We can’t smell their ink and they don’t have a spine to crack but we do read them.

I tried to write this post with a little tongue in cheek. You decide if I’ve succeeded in doing so. I don’t consider myself to be a naturally funny or humourous person, after all, so if you think I’m bashing ereaders, let me reassure you that I’m not. They have their place in our world and that place is here to stay. I was simply stunned by what Carissa said about how my book was the first print book she’d held in months. I was also hit with the reality that ereads (let’s see if I can start a trend here) are more than a reality. They’re changing - they’ve changed - how we enjoy our books. They’re part of our everyday lives and, before long, they’ll be something we’re going to take for granted like we do with our mobile phones.

Whatever way you like to read and be moved, entertained and educated, just keep doing it. Turn your pages and swipe your flicks. You’ll be better off for it.

11 June, 2012

Get Your Press Out, Know Your Royalty - Tips for Indie Authors

In April, I wrote a post called “Stage 2 - First Feature Article.” (Stage 1, of course, is the finishing, editing and publishing of my book.) I meant to follow that up with periodical updates on how my novel, Back Kicks And Broken Promises, is progressing in terms of public awareness, sales, etc for other indie-published authors or soon-to-be indie authors as a guide of sorts of what to expect.

Well, this post is Stage 5.

What happened to Stages 3 and 4, you ask? As is the plight of indie authors who wear many hats, I got busy, neglected my blog plans and forgot to discuss the next two stages. So, here’s a quick recap.

Stage 3 was my first interview. Well, I answered questions via email for Stage 2 but the final product appeared as an article so, from my point of view, it wasn’t an interview per se. My first interview, then, was with The Manila Bulletin newspaper. It appeared in the May 12, 2012 online and print editions although I did the actual interview, also via email, in February. I found out from another writer friend that it takes about two months or so for interviews to come out.

TIP FOR FUTURE INDIE AUTHORS: Be patient with the press your book will generate but don’t rely solely on it. While waiting for your interviews and features to come out, make sure you are doing other promotional work - writing blog posts, blog touring, book giveaways, etc.

Unfortunately, the link to the online version of The Manila Bulletin interview appears to be inactive, a month after its release. Their server may just be done or acting wonky but I’ve recently tried to share it and the page doesn’t come up.

TIP FOR FUTURE INDIE AUTHORS: Get your press out quickly and often. I’m sure you’ll get interviewed as well. It just might get posted on a site that’s only live for a given time frame. Additionally, get your press out to as many outlets that may generate more interest and traffic for your book. Even if you think an outlet might be incongruous to what you’ve written about, hit up that person or publication. The fact that you thought of that outlet likely means there’s someone else who visits that outlet who thinks just like you do. You might get only one person from that particular outlet but that’s one person more than if you hadn’t sent promo material to that outlet.

Stage 4 is my second interview and upcoming book review. Both are with Hyphen Magazine, which will help my novel get mainstream attention in the Asian-American and immigrant communities, part of its target audience. The Books section editor at Hyphen sent me some questions via email for a piece the magazine is doing about indie-published Asian-American authors, like me, and she informed me that my book has been assigned to a reviewer and in about two months (Hmm, is two months an industry standard?) the review should come out. Following my own advice in the above paragraph, I’ll be sharing those links when they’re out, especially if the review is a good one.

Stage 5, which is what this post is supposed to be about, took place on Saturday. After coming home from the Maplewood LGBTQ Pride Festival, where my wife’s company, Step2Gether, presented some dances with the adult and kid groups, I opened the mailbox and saw an envelope from my publisher, Abbott Press. It was one of those window envelopes that usually carry an invoice or a cheque. Well, thankfully, it was the latter and my first quarter (January - March) sales report. It wasn’t a large amount but at least my book had earned enough for me to get a royalty cheque. A friend of mine commented on Facebook that I’m a paid writer now. I had to correct him that, now, I’m a paid novelist; although it’s not like I’ve earned a major book advance and contract. I became a paid writer in the 1990s when I wrote, was paid for and got published in some martial arts magazines for some articles I’d written.

The money is nice, to be sure, but for getting my book exposure the sales report is important too. My book is available in hardcover, paperback and ebook and the report breaks down purchases for each version and into direct sales (those purchased from Abbott’s bookstore) and retail sales (those purchased through a bookstore, either online or via special order at a brick-and-mortar location). I haven’t really sat down to analyse what the report can tell me but, off the top of my head, I see that most sales came from retail outlets. This, in turn, tells me that it might be more beneficial to direct potential buyers, whether through a promo tweet, a blog post or person-to-person contact, to go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble or to their local bookstore instead of to the Abbott Press online bookstore to buy my book. It also tells me to keep plugging at local indie stores to carry my book. The couple I have solicited said they were interested in carrying my book.  Perhaps, they were influential in the retail units bought in my book’s first quarter sales.

TIP FOR FUTURE INDIE AUTHORS: Don’t forget about your quarterly sales reports and when they do arrive, with or without a cheque, and don’t just count how many books you sold. Work out where the most books were sold and continue to target that avenue. Work out which version of your book made the most sales and promote that one.

TIP FOR FUTURE INDIE AUTHORS: Also, know how your royalty is calculated and learn this part of the business. Remember, as an indie author, you’re more than the writer. You’re the publisher and publicist too.

Well, whether you’re a new indie, like I am, or a soon-to-be indie author or even an experienced indie, I hope your book does well and that what I’ve posted here has inspired and educated. If you have any further insights, please do share. After all, with the current state of book publishing and the direction it seems to be heading, indie books may save our industry and put a little green in your pocket.

06 June, 2012

By The Prickling Of My Thumbs: Honouring Ray Bradbury

RIP Ray Bradbury.

I’ve only read three of your books - Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451 and The Illustrated Man. I’ve watched the movie versions, too, and if anyone ever needs convincing that the original written version of a story is always better than the adapted movie all he needs to do is compare the versions of these three works. Don’t get me wrong. The films were all good, enjoyable and captivating but they didn’t touch me as much as reading your words did. (Although, I have to say that the 1969 film of The Illustrated Man - I believe there’s a version coming out in 2013 - starring Rod Steiger, did creep me out. In a good way.)

I came to your work at around 11 or 12. It was around this time that I’d really started getting into books. I’d just entered secondary school and my sister was (still is) an avid reader and had introduced me to Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince. From there, my love of books took off. I recall seeing a copy of Fahrenheit 451 and The Illustrated Man on my father’s bookshelves. I didn’t read them until later in life, in college as part of an American Studies course, my brother telling me at the time that they might be too frightening. So, at school, as my friends read books that weren’t yet then but would be today called YA about teenage boys growing into professional soccer players or novels set in World War II, I came across Something Wicked This Way Comes.

I hadn’t purposely searched for one of your books out but when I pulled it off the shelf at my school library - we had a library period once a week or so and each student had to choose a book, with teacher approval, and read it by the next library period - I was very excited. We never had to write a book report on what we were reading. It was just so we could read and, for that, I am grateful. I recall my teacher telling me how great a writer you are and how I’d like this particular book, about how I’d enjoy the action and suspense as much as the fantasy. She never mentioned anything about how scary - at least for a twelve year old - it might be. If she had, perhaps the impact of the story might have somehow been compromised.

I write now. Well, I’ve been writing since I was a kid but now I’m a published author.  I guess it was inevitable that I’d write because I’m the son of a writer and former English teacher, the brother to a journalist and the brother to an English Lit major. As a writer, naturally, I like - no love - books. I credit that to my sister, my secondary school English teachers and you.

Something Wicked This Way Comes found me at the perfect time. My mind was open and my heart passionate for discovery and entertainment. With names like Dark and Nightshade - names that some writing teachers would say are too ‘nail on the head’ - the book presents the perfect balance of good versus evil, temptation, the darkness within each of us and the desire to do good that resides beside it. To be honest, I haven’t thought of Something Wicked This Way Comes in a long time. Now that I am, sadly because of your passing, I am smiling because I am remembering how much I enjoyed and was impressed by it and how much, because of it, I love books and how that, in turn, has helped me define and understand myself.
As I recall all of this, warmly the way one does about the past, I’ve decided that I need to pick up a copy and reread it. And, share it.

Thank you, Mr. Bradbury. You’ve touched many minds and hearts, mine among them. I wouldn’t be the reader and writer today without you.

Rest In Peace. Oh, and if you come across Mr. Dark on your way to literary heaven, tell him I say “hello.”

04 June, 2012

New York City Marathon

I'm in.

That's the slogan for the New York City Marathon; the one they use for everyman runners like me who get in through the lottery. Marketing and PR people, the smart and creative people they are - I'm sure the New York Road Runners Club consulted, at least, one to help them with their promotional campaign - came up with the perfect slogan. "I'm in" is exactly what I said when I discovered I had been drawn to run this year's edition of the 26.2 mile race.

I've run the New York City Marathon (NYCM) twice before. I don't know if 'run' is the correct word to use, really, but it's an acceptable one. Whether you actually run the distance or mix bouts of running with walk breaks to preserve your legs, as long as you cross the finish line, you're allowed to say you 'ran' the marathon. The word 'jog' has really gone out of favour. It implies a casualness and callousness to pounding the pavement. 'Run,' on the other hand, regardless of your experience or speed, connotes a sense of commitment and training and changing one's lifestyle. Besides, unless you're a professional or elite runner whose focus is to run fast and win and qualify for bigger events, like The Olympics, runners approach races for a variety of reasons. For some, it's to challenge themselves to achieve a physical goal. For others, it's to lose weight. Some run to belong to a group of like-minded individuals and some do it to relive past glories or to delay the decline of speed that was taken for granted over high school and college running careers. And, of course, there are runners who race to raise money for worthy causes like cancer and leukemia research and treatments.

I run because it's great fitness, I want to lose weight and get back to my pre-married level of fitness and because it's something I can do on my own. Generally speaking, I'm one of those people who likes doing this by himself. I also run to achieve a sub 5:00 time for 26.2 miles. This is something my friend, Ian, and I have been going for since the Disney Marathon of 1999. My time goal is sub 5:00 and his is 3:30. Oh, and I run the marathon because it's a magical distance. It's long enough to be a major challenge and short enough to be doable, to earn me some respect (self and otherwise) and some pride. It's a challenge; one that's achievable without killing yourself. My feeling: anyone who runs and who has ever, however fleetingly, thought of running the distance should go ahead and do it.

My desire to run the NYCM came about in 1983 when I saw Rod Dixon, on a delayed TV broadcast shown in a Hong Kong sports program, across the finish line. There was drama when he beat the runner who was in front of him, it was raining and the look on his face and Dixon's dropping to his knees made a major impact on me. In fact, before becoming a devotee of Saint Jude and wanting to and, consequently, naming my son Jude, I'd thought about naming any children I'd have - male or female - after my favourite runners - Dixon, German (after German Silva), Khalid (after Khalid Khannouchi) and Haile (after the legend, Haile Gebrselassie). If my wife and I have another child, I'd consider these names still. If we have a girl, I might throw in some combination of Paula (after Paula Radcliffe) and Jennifer (my older sister who died a few hours after her birth and, for some strange reason, I feel  connected to. My screenplay Jenny is named for her).

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was a very serious runner. For a single, straight mile I was running about 6:50. For longer runs, naturally I was slower; anywhere from 8:30-11:00 per mile depending on the distance. In the 1999 Disney World Marathon, I was running well and did the maths in my head as my feet hit the ground. I was heading for a 4:40 but at mile 17...BOOM!. My left hamstring went and I had to start using long walks with short running spurts. One of the volunteers at a water station even rubbed my leg down. Just before the 26 mile mark, I stopped altogether. I felt tears wanting to run down my face knowing I was so close to finishing but feeling like I couldn't take another step. But, I was on my feet and recalled one of Ian's and my mantras - "DNF is not an option." (DNF is runnerspeak for Did Not Finish.) So, I took a deep breath and put one foot in front of the other and ran, ignoring any and all pain and discomfort. After a few yards, as if it felt my my conviction, my hamstring became my ally and did its best to divert any injury I'd suffered nine miles earlier. When I crossed the finish line, Ian and another friend of his, Mark, were there cheering me on. I didn't get my time goal but I'd run a marathon fit and prepared. I felt good. Not getting my time goal wasn't because of my laziness or lack of fitness but by simple bad luck and getting injured. I could accept that.

I don't know if I'll get my PR (Personal Record) at the NYCM this fall. I'm in worse shape than I was when I started training for Disney 1999 in the fall of 1997. I'm older and my knees have suffered more wear and tear since then. In 1995 I ran the NYCM but without being properly prepared. I did it again in 2005 but I was already out of shape and, again, I didn't train properly. This time around, 6 weeks into training, I'm committed to doing it right. I'm being disciplined in developing my base. I've started something new and been running with a partner, my friend Lu who I kind of conned into signing up for this fall's Philadelphia Marathon. I'm adding walk breaks into my training runs and I'm feeling fitter already and smarter as a runner. A couple weekends ago I managed a 10 miler in 2:05.16. I've lost nine pounds over the last six weeks and I'm feeling leaner and my knees hurt less. I'm also not doing this on my own. I'm running on my own, except for the once or twice a week workouts with Lu, but I'm sharing my exploits. Lu and I share running stories and insights. There are other runners at work we talk to as well. In fact, training for this marathon feels like training for Disney 1999 and that was, apart from my injury, a success.

Lu was with me when I found out if I'd been accepted to run NYCM 2012. We watched the live online show but that didn't reveal anything. Via Twitter, another runner told me to check my credit card account online. Nothing. Well, that was until after lunch, when I checked and saw I'd been charged. I knew what that meant but I didn't want to count my chickens before they hatched so I waited until I got a confirmation email. The NYRRC website said we - the applicants - wouldn't find out until the following day but I found out that afternoon. I'm in. As the saying goes in The Hunger Games, although for not getting selected, the odds were in my favour and I'd gotten chosen. I was happy, in a way I hadn't been in a long time, and I was - and still am - mentally, emotionally and physically prepared to train for the race.

Runners World Magazine did a column on the levels of running commitment and I fell in the 'Serious Amateur' category. That was around 1998 or so. Back then - single and childless - I was able to juggle work, coaching, writing and my social life around my running. That's a little harder now because I'm married and a father and have more work obligations but I'm no less committed to my training than I was then. And with my wives' support - Guada, my real wife, and Lu, my 'work wife' (that's a topic for another blog) - and the support of very close friends (like AC, who never seemed to lose belief that I'd regain my fitness), I know that I'll be properly trained for my fourth marathon.

Will I achieve my sub 5:00 goal? I don't know. I'll do my best and, if I don't, Ian please don't be hard on me. New York is a tough course with lots of hills and bridges but I'll do my best. I'm going to shoot for it but I can't make any promises other than aiming for 4:59.99 or better. What I do know is that, even only in base training, I'm already a fitter person and a happier person. I'll be a role model for my son and my students and athletes (I teach Physical Education and Health and I coach Volleyball and Track and Field). And, if being a fitter and better dad to my boy is all I'll get, I'm okay with that.

Least Favourite Days of the Year

In the winter, I wrote a blog post discussing my top ten days of the year. Here, in the interest of balance, are my least favourite days. I tried to find ten but I, honestly, couldn’t think of ten bad ones. I came up with five - barely - which, actually, made me feel good. It reinforced, in me, that there are more good days and times to be enjoyed than there are bad ones.

That said here are my five least favourite days of the year in no particular order.

  1. Tax Day. It’s always stressful and confusing; even when I was single, had one job and no self-employment situations. Today, I’m married, have a child and multiple jobs (including one - writing, that I love but isn’t paying off yet) and there are so many other things to consider. Sometimes I agree with the notion of a ‘flat tax’ but sometimes I don’t. What really confuses me, especially when I was single and had only one job, was how there were times I still owed taxes on April 15 when I already had taxes taken out. And this was before they made you pay quarterly taxes in anticipation of what you might owe. Taxes, I suppose, are a good thing when they help provide common services to keep everyone healthy and safe - things like education, police, fire, medical care - but they’re so confusing that sometimes I wish I could just put my money (if I ever have any to speak of) under the proverbial mattress and live in a forest somewhere.

  1. The day after the end of the school year. Apart from the two or so years I worked as a personal trainer and ran my first Taekwondo school in the early and mid 1990s, right after I’d graduated from Rutgers and didn’t land a teaching job yet, I’ve been in and around schools all my life. As a result of that, for better or worse, I kind of live with a ‘10 month’ mindset; one that gives me summers off, a week or two off a couple times a year for Spring Break and the holiday vacation in December and the days off for national holidays (Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, etc). The day after the last day of school is nice because it means it’s vacation time and when many people around me - when most people around me - work the entire year and still have to go to work I guess having that vacation time is also a privilege. So, in this regard, it can fall as the 11th best day of the year.

I’ve included it in this list of worst days of the year because, as much as I cherish my down time and time for myself to do whatever I want (like writing) and as much as I’ve become nostalgic for a simple life, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also come to treasure what daily routines give me. In some ways, even though I’m busier during the school year, I find that by being busy I’m actually more productive and better organised and, I believe, that is because of the regimentation a daily routine with greater demands gives me.

I’m not saying that I’m lazy and a slacker, although, like many of us I have my slacker times. I’m just saying that routine helps (me) and the end of the school year does a lot to disrupt that.

  1. The end of the summer and the start of the new school year. This one might be a little evident. As teachers do, I love my summers because it offers me time to rejuvenate and get stimulated for another school year with new students, students who have gone from one grade to the next and who have become more (sometimes less) motivated. So, for the mere fact that I lose some of my down and me time, I’m sad to see the summer go and for the year to begin. However, this day is also on this list for the same reason that the day after the end of the school year is - it breaks up my routine. The start of summer is rough. Even though I work in the summer, I still have a fair amount of me (read writing) time. However, it’s because I work and don’t have complete freedom that I am able to structure a routine that makes me fairly productive and allows me to get a fair amount done while still enjoying time with my wife, son and dog. The end of the summer disrupts the existing routine, albeit forcing me to structure and get into the groove of a new one, but it’s that period of transition that is so detonation-wire sensitive that, if not greeted properly, can lead one to unstructured and undisciplined months of poor productivity and unhappiness. It’s really a conundrum life is, isn’t it? As good as change is for keeping us on our toes and nurturing creativity and as much as I enjoy my times off, there are many days when I wish I could work in one job that did one thing, like writing, where I could focus on one thing and not have to worry about putting on multiple hats each day.

  1. The end of the European football season. Thanks to the wonders of cable television and the internet, I was able to watch and/or listen to coverage of every Arsenal match this season. While it would have been a happier season had my team won more matches and, perhaps, a trophy or two, it was great those one or two times a week when I could shut everything off and enjoy my football and share it with my son. I love Arsenal and I love football. It’s one of those simple pleasures that always make me happy regardless of what else is going on. Arsenal is a team in England and the English league season ended in May. The entire club season ended last month, too, with Chelsea defeating Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final. (Although a fan of English football and a fan of SV Hamburg, a rival of Bayern Munich in the German league, Das Bundesliga, I was rooting for Bayern.) With the European club season over until August, I turn to the local MLS matches here in the US to get my football enjoyment. The quality has gotten better and many European players are coming to play here in the US even before they’ve hit their final legs. For me, though, there’s nothing like English football. When the season ends every May, my heart breaks a little. This year, however, the hurt is alleviated a little because it’s the European Championships, which are being held in Poland and Ukraine. For those of you who don’t know, the Euros is the championship contested between the qualifying national teams in Europe. It’s the World Cup for just European countries and there are also championships in Asia, Africa, South, Central and North American. So, I’ll still get to see some of my favourite European players in action and I’ll get to cheer on my favourite Germans. In the last Euros, in 2008, the German national team lost to Spain in the final. The score was 1-0 and Cesc Fabregas, a former Arsenal player and one of my favourite current players, set up the winning goal that Fernando Torres scored. I watched all of this during the party we had for my son’s baptism. Maybe this year the Germans can lift the cup.

5. Boxing Day. The day after Christmas is such a downer of a day. There is so much hype leading to Christmas, and there should be as a religious celebration and as a secular holiday, but once it’s over it’s like it never was. Is it that things today have become items on a checklist? “Christmas? Done. Check. Take down decorations? Check. Throw tree out? Check.” Everything and everyone seem to be in such a rush these days that no one cherishes and enjoys what’s in front of them anymore. Savouring moments. We don’t, as a society, do enough of that anymore. We should. One day, we’re all going to regret it.

So, those are my least favourite days of the year. Maybe they’re yours too or, perhaps, you’re thinking, “Who is this nut?” or “Dude, have you got some issues!” Whether I am or do, I appreciate your spending the time with me. Hopefully, something in this blog has made you think introspectively or, at the very least, entertained you or made you smile. And, if you want to share what your most and least favourite days of the year are, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks again and enjoy your day. Who knows? Today might be your favourite.

02 June, 2012

Book Expo America 2012

Book Expo America (BEA) begins tomorrow with the uPublishU Conference for authors looking to self or indie publish and those who have self-published looking for promotion and platform ideas. I've been to BEA a couple of times (the first time when it was still tied in with Writer's Digest and had an agent pitch slam) and I found the conference to be worthwhile.

It's informative, supportive (from the workshops it offers and from simply meeting other authors) and a nice way to start the summer season; which, for me, is a prime time to increase my writing time. In addition to being a writer, I'm a teacher and coach (volleyball and track and field) so from August to June I've got faculty and department meetings, practices, matches and meets, assignments to create and grade, and a host of other teaching responsibilities so, needless to say, finding the time to write is about making the time to write. In the summer months, I automatically have more time available.

Unfortunately, I am unable to attend any of BEA's workshops, authors breakfasts, etc but with the new BEA streaming app I will be able to share in some of what's going on this year. You can enjoy this, too, staring on Monday, June 5th, 2012 at 8am. Click here to the Events page of my website, FilamKickingScribe, and click on the BEA button. There's one below at the end of this blog post as well.

For those of you who are going to be there live, I wish you a good time. Enjoy yourself, make connections and get your book written and published. Good luck and happy writing.

***** The live stream has been removed. Click BEA2012 to view recorded events from this year's expo. *****