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Wow. Again, I go so long without writing in this. To make a short story even shorter, for a short period of time, I was working two jobs - Ihop and a local franchise called Mazzio's. I left Mazzio's after about two months. In terms of the restaurant business, I believe there are right fits and wrong fits when it comes to employment, and if the place is stressing you out more than what it's bringing you joy, especially after your first day, it's a sign to move on, so I did. It just left me with very little time for blogging and for working on my writing.

Which is a bummer, because I wanted to publish Ravensrealm next month, specifically the weekend of Toyko in Tulsa. Unfortunately, because Ravensrealm isn't finished to my standards, it just won't be happening. Three weeks is a pretty hasty effort to get something out there, and I learned my lesson from doing that with Portal to Gaming (though I do love that story so, so much).

So in answer to my own question, yes, I am writing. I'm currently hammering out more and more details for Ravensrealm, and I'm working out details for the next two books in the Arc of Fantasy series, New Atlantis (which has Fen as the main character once more) and The Intergalactic Chase (featuring a new character, Kat Shadows, as the main character). On top of the writing, I've also just been enjoying my life. I renewed my Barnes and Noble membership (hey, ten percent off of books and the cafe is nothing to sneeze at here!) and picked up the latest in Magnus Chase, The Trials of Apollo, and a new book series, The Novice. I still need to finish reading The Holder's Dominion . . . I swear, I'm a typical bookworm. I tell myself I have to finish reading or read what I already have when I haven't read it yet, but then I still buy more books.

I'm learning French. One of my goals is to become proficient enough in writing in different languages to do the translations for those languages myself. It might take me a while, but that's one of my long-term goals.

Vendor space is secured for Toyko in Tulsa. All that remains is getting books and a few other promotional items to have on hand.

This process of getting space has been interesting. It does have me questioning whether or not to return as a vendor/exhibitionist. The same with ShutoCon, which I felt like it would not be a good one to return due to a variety of things. I need to do more searches for book fairs and writing conferences in the surrounding area. Anime conventions are fun, but ShutoCon was a reminder that not all anime conventions are geared for the science-fiction and fantasy geeks like me.

We'll see what the future holds, though.

I have another GoFundMe up because, well, between paying my bills and keeping gas in my Sigyn on a single income (unless I get another serving job), I will not be able to get books and other promotional items for Tokyo in Tulsa. I really love my car, too, so that's taking a top priority with my money.

Here's the link: https://www.gofundme.com/arc-of-fantasy-promo-event

I've posted to facebook that, for people who donate $10 or more and upon reaching the actual goal of $950, I will send a small goody bag with an ink pen, a bookmark, and an excerpt from Ravensrealm and the under-revision The Re-Naming of Marcus Anthony James. It's just a little something I'd like to do for people helping me to get ready for this convention and beyond.

So, if you're reading this, thanks! I know I get really weird from time to time. I am a writer, after all.

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Americans and Roots

This is more of an observation than anything else, on we Americans view ourselves and how the rest of the world views us. And it's such a contrast.

Of course, I'm drawing my observations based on my own life and articles I've read about how the citizens of other countries (like England, France, and the like) tend to view us when they come to view us. They do tend to see us as fake because the overwhelming majority of us are just so friendly. We as Americans have never had an oppressive regime over us before, and the only time we were truly pitted against each other was during the Civil War. Yes, we have our ways of thinking about each other. I mean, people from the North and people from the South tend to view themselves as being more intelligent over the other, but we also think nothing of striking up conversations with complete strangers in grocery stores or restaurants. And I attest to this because I do strike up conversations with random strangers. I'm a writer, and I can be extremely outgoing in the right situations. I hold doors open for complete strangers of all ages, of all walks of life, of all genders. That's just how I am. It is not in my nature as both a human being and as an American to actually be a dickhead to someone else.

And, of course, there is this whole roots thing. One of the articles I read a while back mentioned how a Brit reacted to an American stating that s/he had British ancestry. The advice was to not laugh about it within earshot of the American in question. And maybe this is because someone from Europe might not understand the American fascination with roots. We're like history junkies in that respect. We know from our history, which is somewhat short when compared to the likes of China, Russia, Japan, England, France, and Spain, that we were colonized from the get go by people who already knew how to read and write and keep track of history in a way that our Native American ancestors did not at that point in time. (IE written history versus oral history, which the Asian and European countries had long since moved away from by the time they started to arrive to the Americas.) We grew up being taught this knowledge. And many of us are still born out of immigrants as well. Again, this is something I can personally attest to as my great-grandparents on my mother's side immigrated to this country, met in Detroit, Michigan, and started a family in this country. So we have that fascination, and when our families remember that history of immigration, of coming here from the Old Countries, we feel as if it gives us a bond with the people we meet from Europe or Asia or Africa.

Yet, at the same time, if we decide to look at it closer, this is the land where our ancestors came to break free from their roots, to start over with new ones. And I get this idea from reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I mean, he immigrated here, too, so he has that immigrant perspective on what it's like to come to this country. Now, he actually doesn't say this about immigrants and why they come here. It's more of how it affects the gods of other cultures upon arriving here and how the land here changes everything. And I find it to be so true. There is something about the lands we live in that has some type of impact on us, a spirit if you will. As a writer, it's a fascinating idea to explore.

If humans are born on Mars, they're still humans, but they're not Earthlings.

It's fascinating, and it's complex.

So yes. We Americans have a fascination with our roots, with our ancestry that goes all the way back to when our heritage was once tied to the European, Russian, and Asian nations.

And I love it. I love every aspect of it because it helps to define me as a person and as a writer.

Just a different way to look at the world today.

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Doing google and ecosia searches on myself has been extremely informational over the last couple of days. I've found a few sellers on eBay who are selling my print-on-demand books. One has three of my titles with five copies of each.

According to my KDP and CreateSpace pages, I've had no copies go out.

Now, I have no true idea what's going on here. They could be authorized retailers through the CreateSpace channels, which is very likely. I don't know all of their distribution channels, and I know it leads to smaller stores nationwide and globally. At the same time, I'm questioning this. I've contacted two of the sellers under my eBay user name, and I asked them where they were getting their copies from. One told me that all of the information they had on the product (which was a copy of The Sons of Thor - this is the same retailer who claims to have 5 copies) page, but they couldn't tell me much else after that. The other has not contacted me back as of writing this entry.

The lack of information and communication has me questioning whether or not they're actually authorized by CreateSpace and Amazon to be selling copies of my books. My paperbacks are print on demand. They are only print on demand. I'd chosen earlier this year to remain as an indie author, to utilize print-on-demand sites like CreateSpace because it made (and still does) more ecological sense. I am doing what I can to lessen my impact on this planet. (I also have some major projects planned out, and I'm liking the control I have in when I can get them finished and published.) How hard is it for these retailers on eBay to say we're a part of the CreateSpace distribution channel?

I have provided links to Amazon and to CreateSpace on this matter, and I feel like CreateSpace didn't even bother to check the link I'd given to KDP when I first voiced my concerns over this. I'd provided the link for a reason, which was to not get eBay in trouble (eBay is a marketplace and an auction house), but to find out the truth behind the retailiers utilizing eBay.

I would like an expedient resolution to this matter. A simple answer from those I'm contacting would be more than sufficient - we'll be getting our copies through CreateSpace OR they're authorized retailers through our distribution channels. After all, I am being listed as the publisher of these books as well as the author, and they are my ISBNs. For some, I realize that this may sound stupid, it's just books.

To put it into perspective, if you wouldn't do additional work for your boss off the clock and with no pay, it is as equally unacceptable for me to remain unpaid for my work. Writing really is not an easy task, no easier than working in a fast food restaurant. Everyone deserves to be paid for the work that they do.

In reality, it really is that simple for these retailers and for CreateSpace to come up with those answers. It is simple to click on the links I'm providing and to spend maybe five minutes to find out if the retailer in question is part of the distribution channel. After all, I can go back to the day I first published Portal to Gaming, The King and Queen of Wands, and The Sons of Thor as paperbacks and to see where any and all actual customer orders have gone out. I know how many proofs I've ordered, and it's nowhere near the quantities I'm finding available on eBay.

That particular frustration aside, I have finally set up a mailing for Arc of Fantasy. If you're interested in receiving updates, cosplay giveaway participants, and publication announcements, send me a private message with your email address to let me know, and I'll get you signed up. 2017 is shaping up to be a very big year for this science-fiction and fantasy series. You don't want to miss out!

Another big announcement in regards to Tokyo in Tulsa. I have been approved for exhibition space. Details are being worked out now, but I have been approved. All that needs to be done on my end is come up with the remaining money to finalize the purchase. I'm aiming for product sales over promotion only. This also helps with something I have in mind for the month of July. What that is, well, I'll be making that announcement next month at Anime St. Louis.

It's Camp NaNoWriMo time! If you're participating, I wish you the best of luck in achieving your goals!

Ravensrealm is not writing itself so until the next time, my friends!

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