La Riposte

Saturday, October 27, 2012

An International Debut!

FREE 'til Sunday!
Authors, have you ever considered having your book translated into another language? It allows you to reach out and touch a whole new audience!

I've just released the German translation of HAPPILY EVER AFTER, which is entitled UND WENN SIE NICHT GESTORBEN SIND... (literally, "and if they are still alive...")

The book is FREE THIS WEEKEND - here's a link to the German Amazon site - - so if lesen Sie Deutsch, I cordially invite you to grab a copy... If you don't read German, but have any friends who do, won't you please help me spread the word by forwarding them the little link above, or recommending this blog post?

Also, if you're on Twitter, a Tweet to the world would be wunderbar! Here's a cut-and-paste sample you can use!

Tauchen Sie in die Welt der „bösen Hexe“ aus Ihren Lieblingsmärchen, selber zu Wort kommt #frei #buch #deutsch #marchen

OK, enough with the promotional stuff, here's a little more about the process.

Translation requires you to find a good translator - I found the wonderful Sabine Ströbele by talking to my friend Julia, another German translator who was too busy to do the work. Translation does cost money, unless you have a friend who's willing to help you out. Some translators may work for a percentage of the profits... Do NOT use Google Translate unless you want to be laughed at, and if finding a freelancer on Craigslist or elsewhere, it would be wise to have them translate a short passage, and then have a friend who is a native speaker of the language read through it and comment on the quality of the work.

Translation also benefits from having an appropriate story. In the case of UND WENN SIE NICHT... it's based on the old German Märchen that we know as "fairy tales" - thus, a German translation seemed appropriate, and this assumption was justified after a couple of German friends, who had read the English version agreed that it would be a great read in German.

That said, I doubt I'd have SEVEN LIVES TO REPAY OUR COUNTRY, a WWII story featuring Japanese and American soldiers on Saipan translated to German - even though I know a good translator, the audience connection just isn't there. However, SEVEN LIVES... would be a perfect book to translate to Japanese, because it's written from the perspective of a Japanese soldier.

So, when you're looking at your bookshelf, consider this - to get a new book out on the market, you can write another one - or consider having an English title translated into a new language! The choice is yours!

Bonne chance!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Indie Artist Crossover Karma Post #2

A Lovely Lace Cuff!
Once in a while, I like to take a moment out from whatever else I've got going on to share a little something about one of the many awesome independent artists that I know who works in some other medium besides writing!

Last time it was the band 7Lions - who are continuing to rock their way around the West Coast and up the charts!

Today it's my fabulous friend Ashley DeCarli... I've known Ashley for years, and while I always knew she was an amazingly creative person, I was still delightfully surprised when she opened a store on Etsy, revealing a whole new side to her that I never knew existed - she makes great, wearable art in the form of scarflettes, cuffs, bracelets, necklaces, etc.

So, as this week's little act of good karma, I'd like to cordially invite you all to pop over to her virtual store, and check out all three pages of wearable art, jewelry, and more! It's a great way to support an independent artist, and make yourself (or a special sister, friend, wife or lover) stand out from the crowd! Today's the perfect day for it, because everything's 10% off when you use the coupon code GLISTEN10...

I know I'll definitely be doing some shopping here for my many sisters, and if she ever comes out with a line of manly accessories, peut-etre pour moi!

Have a great day, and more writing-related stuff will be coming your way soon!

Best to all,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Awards Issue...

So, this is a special post.

I usually find myself updating my status in A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) or announcing some new book or project, but this post is all about a couple of awards.

The first is for the short story that started it all for me, Seven Lives to Repay Our Country, which has recently been nominated for the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) award for Literary Fiction - time will eventually tell if it wins this award, but you can make your voice heard here:

If you've read this story and are a Goodreads member, please take a moment to cast a vote - it would be much appreciated!

The next award is a "Versatile Blogger" award which I received from Lynn Thompson. Thanks, Lynn!

To accept it, I'm supposed to share 7 random facts about myself, and to nominate 15 other bloggers for this award... Now, I have some issues with these sorts of awards, because shouldn't writers be writing, not passing around electronic badges? But OK, I'll play along...

First, here are my nominees... Check out their blogs, you'll be glad you did: 
Great reviews, and a beautiful site! 
Oone of the prettiest (and most diverse!) blogs I've seen... 
Crime & Mystery readers / writers check this out! 
Lots of reviews and some craft pieces... 
Historical fiction resources and more! 
A lot of great short pieces on this one! 
"Meet the Writer" interviews and other great stuff... 
Romantic suspense? Look no further! 
The wait is almost over for her new book... 
Because the list needs at least ONE paranormal romance blog! 
Reviews, travel, writing - this site has it all! 
My newest Tribemate on Triberr - check her out! 
A great (British!) connection! 
A great UK review site... She got me started! 
Hot stuff... Mmm, yeah, THAT kind of hot!

OK, now my 7 things...

1. Wiener-schnitzel isn't all it's cracked up to be.
2. I enjoy swimming with sharks, within reason.
3. I like big butts and I cannot lie... Well, sometimes I can...
4. My writing knows no genre.
5. I am a good, bad influence on my nieces and nephews.
6. I have a lot of scars. Some of them are on the outside.
7. It is a minor miracle that I've made it this far.

Right, the rain has let up, and so it's time to mosey down the cobbled Bavarian streets to the snug little apartment that I'm calling home for the next few days.

Best regards,

Saturday, September 1, 2012

New Story and a #ROW80 Update!

The Zugspitze on a clear day...
When it's a rainy day in Bavaria and the Zugspitze is covered in clouds, there's no hope for hiking, so it's the perfect time to post an update on writing, etc.

I'm in Germany for a 3-week course in international and military relations as they apply to Europe, Central Asia, and the Trans-Caucasus, so I've put the French on hold and am learning to sprechen sie Deutsch instead... By the time I leave, I hope to be good enough to get around, which I've always considered to be "order a drink, be polite, check in to a hotel, and buy a garment." If you can do those little things, you'll probably be OK... And of course, many people here speak great Englisch, which is both helpful, but also makes it harder to learn Deutsch, since you aren't actually forced into it...

My latest release!
Since I'm here, I thought it would be a great opportunity to release the German translation of Happily Ever After, whose translated title, Und wenn sie nicht gestorben sind... means, literally, "And if they have not since died..." (then it is implied that they must be living happily ever after...)

Translation is wonderful! You learn so much through it... For instance, when my translator, the wonderful and talented Sabine Ströbele sent me the draft, I noticed that a line in which the Queen observes that she was never an ordinary, average princess now included a strange-looking numeric code: 08/15.

I thought this was a typo, and asked Sabine about it - it turns out, this is a German idiom that dates back to the first World War when the MG 08/15 machinegun was the "standard issue" weapon, and was so ubiquitous that even today, someone or something that is ordinary, average, or lacking in originality is referred to as being "08/15."

So, if you read German (or know someone who does!) please recommend this short, fun Märchen (fairy tale) for their reading pleasure!

This announcement is also the biggest part of my ROW80 update, because it's the final check in the block for my publishing goals category in this round:

- Write 10 Chapters of The Perfidious Mister Wickham COMPLETE!
- Write 3 Chapters of my Learning Indonesian book
- Finish Charming
- Finish The Welsh Mouse
- Finish The Artillerists
- Finish Merry Christmas, Mister Washington
- Finish Intercepts

- Publish the German Translation of Happily Ever After COMPLETE!
- Publish A Matter of Honor COMPLETE!

- Score 300 on the Combat Fitness Test
- Bench Press over 100 kg

- Five hours of studying French per week (replaced this with German until 15 September...)

- Execute my “Social Media Plan”
- Build my “Core Group” to 25 people

- Re-Design my blog COMPLETE!
- Create a Kickstarter Project to support The Perfidious Mister Wickham COMPLETE!

Well, obviously (and disturbingly, from the perspective of an author) the biggest thing I have left to do in the next 3 weeks is write! (And not blog posts, either!) So, back to the drawing board (errr, keyboard!)

Wishing you all a great week, and will try to have some more interesting posts in the next few days about awards, electronic newspapers, etc...

Auf Weiderzehn!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

#ROW80 Update!

Finally, a ROW80 update post, but unfortunately, there’s not a lot new to report.

On the writing front, I’ve been so busy with work and family of late that it’s been about all I can manage to crank out my weekly chapter of The Perfidious Mister Wickham – and I’m enjoying working in the serial format because it keeps me honest about getting a minimum amount of writing and editing done every week. Looking forward to getting back into my short stories (and sketching out the world and plot of a new novel) as soon as the pace of work slows down a bit.

Fitness and French goals are coming along – I’ve been pretty consistent about logging half an hour of French practice Monday through Friday, which means I’m making about half my required study hours. I’ll look forward to reporting better progress in my language studies in the weeks to come.

I’m 2 weeks into a 3-week cleansing fast, which has reduced my overall weight as my various workout programs have been making me stronger, and while I am looking forward to the end of this rigorous program, it has given me a renewed appreciation for both the pleasures of eating, and the importance of a very healthy diet.

One of my other non-writing goals for this ROW was to re-design this website, and I’ve managed to get that done this week as well... Would love to hear your thoughts on the new look!

I’m getting ready to head to Europe for a 3-week seminar class focused on politics and security in Eurasia, which will be a great learning opportunity and also a nice change of pace from my daily duties here in South Carolina.

It also seems be a most appropriate opportunity for me to release Und Wenn Sie Nicht Gestorben Sind..., the German translation of Happily Ever After. That will complete the publishing goals for this round, and leave me with just social networking and writing to focus on (but not necessarily in that order!) 

Well, that’s where I’m at this week – not a terribly thrilling update, I’m afraid, but it is what it is.

Wishing everyone a happy and productive week to come,


Sunday, August 5, 2012

A New Nephew (Circle of Life, Part Two) + #ROW80 Update

Among the other things that have been keeping me very busy lately, to balance out the sadness of losing one of my Marines, I have the joy of becoming an uncle (again!) to the lovely and very talented Kieran Andre Carpenter.

He's a snuggly little lump of joy, and I try to get up to Charleston at least for a day every weekend or so to take a turn carrying him around (he sleeps best when he's being held) and taking his 2-year-old brother out looking for worms, feeding geese, or on trips to the park and aquarium.

Now, on the writing/publishing front, the free release of A Matter of Honor went well - almost broke the 1000-copies-downloaded mark (994, so close!) - now it's back to releasing a chapter a week of The Perfidious Mister Wickham, and finishing up a handful of short stories.

A quick review of my ROW80 goals reveals:

- Write 10 Chapters of The Perfidious Mister Wickham - 90% complete!

- Publish A Matter of Honor - Complete!

- Create a Kickstarter Project to support The Perfidious Mister Wickham Complete!

I've been making progress on both my fitness goals, but have fallen off a little on the French studies, and have been even worse with the networking end of things. 

Will try to focus on those weak areas, as well as getting even more of the important stuff (writing!) done in the weeks to come.

Wishing everyone a wonderful and productive week!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

#ROW80 Goal Achieved! New E-Book #FREE 'til Friday!

Well, I actually pulled an all-nighter on Sunday night, re-releasing all 3 of my previously published works with  new and improved back matter (samples, works list, etc) but more importantly for this ROW80 round, published A Matter of Honor: A Mister Wickham Adventure.

Then, I went off to work, got quickly sucked into a busy day, and logged onto the Amazon KDP Select dashboard at lunchtime to find that, unpromoted, the book had 300+ downloads and had jumped to #488 on Amazon's free book list.

Of course, that's all very exciting, especially since this short fiction is a tie-in to my on-going serial novel, The Perfidious Mister Wickham.

I'd like to think that this one has a shot of getting into the Top 100 by the end of the week, but in fact, it was only released to maintain continuity with the serial novel (a post for another time, but it turns out there is no better or more stressful way to keep yourself on-track writing a novel than to promise legions of fans that there will be a new chapter out every Monday!)

So, I wasn't really prepared or planning to do much promotion, and I guess we'll just see where Monday's momentum takes this one.

I hope you'll take a moment out of your busy day to grab a free copy for yourself, (click here for US readers, or here for UK readers) - and of course all Tweets, FB posts, etc. will be greatly appreciated!

Have a great day, and I'll look forward to penning another post sometime soon!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Death in the Family (Circle of Life, Part One)

5 September 1977 - 15 July 2012
Friends, followers, fellow readers and writers...

I know I haven't been very active online for the last couple of weeks, but my commitments in the real world have taken me away from the virtual world of blog posts, Tweets, Facebook posting, etc...

As you may or may not know, I recently returned from Indonesia to take over as the Executive Officer at a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron in Beaufort, SC - the Number Two man in a unit mustering 600-plus Marines... Still single after all these years, my family is my squadron; my Marines are my sons and daughters, my brothers and sisters in arms.

Sadly, only a couple of weeks after I arrived, every officer's worst nightmare happened - we lost one of our Marines in a senseless, tragic accident. It happened on a lovely Sunday afternoon just after I'd sat down to do some writing - and since then, I've done a lot of writing, all the sadly necessary paperwork to document this tragic event and ensure that our fallen brother's relatives get all the support that they are due.

This event saddened me personally, and also gave me a renewed appreciation for how much life is, in the end, so much sound and fury. As important as you may think you are, if tomorrow you are no more, the world will still keep turning. So stay safe. Keep yourself healthy. Say "I love you" to the people that you care about. Hug your kids, your significant other. Do something nice for yourself that you've been putting off.

That's all for now... I'll get back to blogging about happy topics in the days and weeks to come, about new writing projects and great novels I've read, but for now, I'd just like to dedicate this one to the memory of Staff Sergeant Jerome H. Carter, USMC. You were well-loved by your community, you made a daily difference in your squadron, and you will be missed. Semper Fi, brother. See you on the other side.

Dedicated to the Memory of Staff Sergeant Jerome H. Carter, USMC 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chapter Two Posted! Take that, #MrDarcy!

Well, I'm another week into my serial novel, The Perfidious Mister Wickham... I cordially invite you to pop over and check it out here, and let me know what you think, not just of the story, but the concept of a serialized novel, and the presentation method, which is a rather neat embedded book made using FlipSnack... 

If you're thinking about presenting written media online, this might be a way to do it to stand out a bit from the norm...

A few other notes of interest - Triberr users, consider adding hashtags (sparingly!) to your post titles, as this will cause your Triberr-tweeted Tweets to get better visibility from people following a particular item of interest... And foreign audiences - are you making an effort to engage with them? I've recently discovered there's an ardent base of Jane Austen fans in Brazil, and I'm preparing to release my first German translation of a short story, so as I figure out what the best way to connect with an audience when you don't speak the language, I'll be sure to post and let you know... But if you have any experience or suggestions, I'm all ears!

Have a great week!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

#ROW80 Round Three Goals...

Well, I'm afraid I stumbled at the finish of the last ROW80 round, and I'm slow out of the gate at the start of this one, missing both a final post last round, and a timely opening post this time... Which just shows why now, more than ever, ROW80 is an important tool for me to help focus my limited time on the things that matter when it comes to writing, publishing, etc...

What's the difference between this and the first two rounds of ROW80? Well, I've just completed (more or less, still waiting for one shipment of stuff to arrive) a move from Jakarta, Indonesia, to Charleston, South Carolina... I've also started a new and highly demanding position at work, have some work to do on my new house, and am a bit behind of where I'd like to be on my Perfidious Mister Wickham project. Last but not least, I just had a new little nephew born, so I'm spending a good bit of my weekends helping take care of my brother's two-year-old son so he and his wife can get a bit of a breather.

Looking back at the last couple of rounds, I've tended to over-commit by about 30 percent, so my goals this time around reflect the fact that I set some initial goals, and then sculpted the original set by about three-quarters...

All that said, here's my list of goals for Round Three of ROW80.

- Write 10 Chapters of The Perfidious Mister Wickham
- Write 3 Chapters of my Learning Indonesian book
- Finish Charming
- Finish The Welsh Mouse
- Finish The Artillerists
- Finish Merry Christmas, Mister Washington
- Finish Intercepts

- Publish the German Translation of Happily Ever After
- Publish A Matter of Honor

- Score 300 on the Combat Fitness Test
- Bench Press over 100 kg

- Five hours of studying French per week

- Execute my “Social Media Plan”
- Build my “Core Group” to 25 people

- Re-Design my blog
- Create a Kickstarter Project to support The Perfidious Mister Wickham

Those are my goals! Looking forward to keeping you updated on my progress through the next couple of months, and following the progress of my fellow ROW writers...

Best to all,

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

An Update...

A short and belated update - this last week has passed in a bit of a blur, as I work on getting started in my new job, move into and do some work on my new house, and fight off the combined effects of jet lag, dental work, shots for typhoid and other various potential ailments, and a rather vigorous session at the gym.

Oh, and did I mention the alligators? Yes. At least there are signs warning you about those. There are no signs warning you about piranhas, on the other hand. But that's a story for another time.

For now, I ask my readers to be a little patient while I get into a rhythm back here in the U.S. - next week will bring the first installment of The Perfidious Mister Wickham, and I'll be working on getting another short story out soon.

Best to all,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Free 'til Friday!

Greetings, friends!

I know I've been a little quiet here for the last week, but I've just made the transition back from Indonesia to the United States, started a new job, and am in the process of moving into a charming little cottage that requires just a bit of work to make it perfectly livable...

So, to give you something to read besides my blog posts, my latest short fiction, Lethargica, is free until Friday, June 22nd.... Here's the direct link to Amazon to grab a copy - or, if you've already got one, please tell a friend or two so they can save themselves 99 cents!

If you're up on Twitter or Facebook, it would be wonderful if you would share this link with your followers and friends:

I'll have a big update post this weekend to recap how this final KDP Select promotion goes, and to bring you up to speed on my various projects, but in the meantime, I wish you a great and productive week, and hope you enjoy this latest freebie!

Best regards,

Friday, June 15, 2012

Emily Dickinson in Hanoi... a #FridayFlash Post!

Emily Dickinson was not impressed, and her face reflected it. Sighing, she climbed onto the back of the motor scooter and fastened her helmet over the damp, loose bun of her hair. The helmet offered not the slightest protection against a fall, being constructed entirely of bamboo covered with a faux-leather facade, but it was sufficient to satisfy the local constabulary, and Emily had always possessed a fatalistic turn of mind.

The man in front of her was had extremely long legs, long arms; in fact, everything about him spoke of a gaunt, wiry sort of elongation, as if he had been stretched by a well-meaning giant when his body was quite pliable, the consistency of Silly Putty, or a drunk woman's morals. If his fundamental organs were a match for the rest of his anatomy, the grim-faced Miss Dickinson had no reason to frown so, or perhaps she just couldn't be satisfied by any mortal sort of pleasures.

We shall never know; moments later the man started the scooter and drove away, bearing the unimpressed Emily and a plastic bag containing four cans of Tiger beer and a pack of Marlboro Lights. In the space of a few moments, they vanished up the street and out of sight of the man and woman who sat observing from across the street, quaffiing Tiger beers on a rainy Hanoi afternoon, clinking their glasses and drinking to a toast of "Daywear!" every time a pajama-clad figure hove into view.

What we can be reasonably sure of is this. That woman's first name was not Emily, and if it was, her last name was even less likely to have been Dickinson. But stranger things have happened. Astronomical, though, the possibility that her name was Emily Dickinson, and that she was also a somber poetess of some future fame. Astronomical, and yet...


Author's Note: I was sitting in a bar in Hanoi, and my friend and I saw a woman who was a dead ringer for Emily Dickinson getting onto a scooter across the street. We joked about the expression on her face, and I whipped out my Blackberry, opened a 'notes' page, and wrote this little piece in about 5 minutes, before returning to the Hemingway-esque pursuit of getting slowly tight in the middle of the day.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Perfidious Mister Wickham & Another #ROW80 Update!

Well, it's been quite a week here in Jakarta... I completed my check-out from the Embassy, have written most of my final reports, and spent last night watching international rugby and encouraging my friends and teammates to help me get rid of the last of my liquor stash, a rather impressive collection of rum, gin, tequila, and assorted wines. Oh dear.

But the big accomplishment of the week is that after 3 days of spending every spare minute coding HTML, I have a website to showcase the serial release of my first novel, The Perfidious Mister Wickham. I'd cordially invite you to check it out and give me some feedback!

Getting this website up and running was a big administrative goal of this ROW80 challenge for me, and getting it knocked out brings me up to a 66% completion rating on my goals for this period. I'm also back on top of the French study and fitness goals, and have the translated material and cover art for the German translation of Happily Ever After (Und wenn sie nicht gestorben sind...) So my plan is to get that uploaded to  Amazon next week and I'll have finished all my publishing goals for this round!

Which leaves the writing as the big area that I need to focus on in the next few weeks - but with at least one round-the-world flight (Jakarta-Dubai-DC-Charleston) flight coming up, I should have a little time to get caught up.

Just ten more days to go in the ROW!

Best to all,

Sunday, June 3, 2012

#SampleSunday and #ROW80 Updates

Well, it's been a week of travel and celebration - back from China on Thursday, off to Bali on Friday for a good friend's wedding, and now back in Jakarta for a nine-day whirlwind of packing, preparation, and farewell parties before heading back to the U.S. on the 13th of May.

So, on the ROW80 front, really nothing substantial to report.

The German translation of Happily Ever After is complete, and I'm going to work on getting it uploaded to Amazon before I leave Jakarta.

A few more thousands of words written for The Perfidious Mister Wickham, some work on my Author Salon profile for that same book, and a bit of networking, but that's about it. Looking forward to catching up with a big, busy week now that I'm no longer living out of a backpack!

So, to make this blog post worthwhile, I'm putting up my first ever "Sample Sunday" contribution with this sample of my latest published work, Lethargica. There's also a video trailer here, and if you're a LibraryThing member, you can sign up for a free copy here (it's the second book on the list).

Wishing you a great week,



He tells himself that it’s just a walk in the woods with a gun. The world, which was once a bright and shining place, has been drained of all color. Here there are only shades of gray and brown. The world which was once wide and unlimited, green fields and rolling forested hills and shining seas across which a man could walk or run or sail or swim or ride for miles has been circumscribed in this place to a fetid brown slit in the earth, always crumbling in upon itself, abhorring its own vacuum. Left to its own devices it would be gone in a year, discernible only as a meandering depression in a green field. Some future day it might be, but not now. It gapes like a brown wound in the gray ground, its edges crusted with wire and shards of metal and bits of broken wood and shattered lives. An infected wound, it festers sullenly, human maggots teeming in its narrow confine.
Once there was a world where the right words or enough money could get you anything, anyone, and he had money and words to spare. He still has money, and perhaps the words, though he rarely speaks these days. Here the magic of words is almost dead. No beautiful turn of phrase, no artful adjective will advance a man's cause one iota. There are only two words that matter here, that have the power over lives. “OFFICIAL ORDERS.”
Money will not buy these words; money will not buy you anything within these narrow, muddy walls. Cigarettes, chocolate, tinned fruit - these are all a minor sort of lucre here, the currency of card games and lotteries, but paper money is good for nothing but wiping a man's ass and coins not even for that. Here he is just another trader in the only medium of exchange that matters, bullets. Somewhere in that bright and distant world he is paid monthly in cash and coins, which accrue unseen in the vault of some bank, secure behind a round door of polished steel and a row of smiling faces and red brick walls. Here he is paid daily in bullets and exhorted to spend, spend, spend. No matter how much of these shiny brass-and-copper tokens he disposes of, flings away like a gambler on a losing streak, there are always more, neatly packed in wooden boxes, pressed into his hands by the Sergeant.
“OFFICIAL ORDERS.” Even these words are capricious, spoken aloud they have no meaning, the words are magic only when stamped in blue ink across the top of a scrap of paper bearing the hasty scrawl of some General at the bottom. Spoken aloud, words have no meaning, so few men speak much here. Most words you will hear spoken are lies, he has learned, they have all learned, from bitter experience. 
          The officers lie that when they say “We’re almost there, boys, just one more charge.” 
          The chaplains lie when they say “Deus nobiscum, quis contra?” 
          The cook lies when he says “Its bully beef in the stew, lads.” 
          The only words that matter here are that elusive pair stamped in blue, “OFFICIAL ORDERS,” and hers, a flowing cursive script on pages worn thin as parchment, cracking along the folds, perfumed by white gardenias whose scent is now only rendered tangible by some wishful trick of memory.
Her words are the only thing he can rely on, his last link to that lost world. That they reach him at all seems a minor sort of miracle, that these delicate scraps of paper bearing his name, and the words “American Volunteer, Fourth Army, France” are placed among similar thousands on a giant ship, a ship that navigates the freezing waters between the lost world and this one, waters teeming with icebergs and cod, mines and limpets, blue whales and Untersee boots, that these ships arrive unfailingly at foreign shores, are unloaded, that the letter finds its way in a lorry from Paris, a horse-drawn cart from Reims, is carried in a sack down, down into the brown infested scar to the buried pustule of the company office, where it lays in a stained wooden box among a stack of other letters, bearing other names, until the Sergeant scoops them all up in a grimy hand and shuffles up the creaking stair and into the eternal twilight gloom of the trench, calling out “mail call, mail… Owens… Vandermeer… Andrews…” 
Always there are more names called than there are answers, always the Sergeant will return to the bunker with a handful of lonesome envelopes which will be stamped in red, “RETURN TO SENDER” and make their way slowly back across the cold sea. He wishes he could be stamped in red, they could stamp him all over, over and over, and return him, but he would just end up here, with himself, because of course she didn’t send him, she never wanted him to go, he sent himself here, they all did, back when they were different, more innocent men. Now there are no innocents, they are all murderers, all condemned, their sentences hanging heavy in the foul, damp air. 
Her letters are his last link to that lost world, and then one day, they stop coming.
Want to read more? Click here to get your Kindle copy for just 99 cents...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Terra Cotta Warriors and #ROW80 Update!

Well, it's Sunday here in China, which means it's time to check in with my ROW80 progress. I'd like to say that I've got lots to report, but... Still lagging on my French / fitness goals, but looking forward to getting focused on both next week when I'm back in one place for a few days.

Looking back over my original goals in writing / publishing / artistic / networking, I see that I'm sitting at:

WRITING - 12% Complete - Behind on finishing up Charming, The Welsh Mouse, The Artillerists, and Merry Christmas Mister Washington and logging the required number of chapters for my two non-fiction works-in-progress. In my defense, I just wrote 2700 words of a brand new short story inspired by my latest travels, and completed a similarly inspired flash fiction story.

PUBLISHING - 50% Complete - Got Lethargica launched, and the German translation of Happily Ever After is nearly complete, thanks to the awesome efforts of Sabine Ströbele. Once I have the translation in hand, I'll be able to format and upload it to Kindle, and see how well it's received in Germany.

ARTISTIC - 100% Complete (video trailer and cover art for Lethargica) - and a bonus here as the draft cover art for A Matter of Honor and The Perfidious Mister Wickham have also been created.

NETWORKING - 50% Complete - got caught up on Author Karma, but still behind on building my Core Group. I did get some bonuses here as well, getting onto Triberr and Klout, and also found some Twitter tools to help me improve my use of that platform. Wrote a guest post, got all my critiques in on Author Salon, and have an author interview pending.

PROMOTIONS - 100% Complete - Ran 3 KDP Select promotions and blogged about the results, which I'll use to hopefully improve the sales rank of future releases and promotional days.

Last but not least, I have built a good bit of the framework (websites, write-ups, Twitter accounts, Facebook celebrity pages, etc.) necessary for a couple of upcoming Kickstarter projects; one of the being a serialized release of my first novel, and the other being a test for an alternate payment model for future short story releases.

The bad news - with 69% of this round behind me, I've only accomplished about 43% of my original goals; the worse news - the thing that has suffered most is the thing that should be the most important for an author - writing.

So, I clearly need to get focused and knock out some of these unfinished projects.

Wishing you all the best in the coming week,

Friday, May 25, 2012

Censorship Sucks!

Great Wall, China. Your Censorship Policy? Not so great!
So, some of you may have been wondering why I've been so quiet in the social media world the last few days -    and the reason is simple - I've left Vietnam (where they only blocked Facebook) and have been in China since Wednesday, where, it turns out, they block Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger.

What's funny about this is that it's such an easy thing to hack, you wonder why they do it. It's just an inconvenience, that's all.

I had to set up a VPN proxy with Astrill to get connected again to my various social media tools, which cost about $30 and didn't take long to get set up.

So, for better or worse, I'll be back up on my Twitter, Facebook, and most importantly, can blog again. Interestingly enough, Triberr wasn't blocked, and I could still connect through my Blackberry for Facebook and Twitter.

It's good to be able to connect freely - but I have to admit, it was a bit liberating not to be able to hook into the hive mind for a couple of days! But it looks like resistance is futile. It looks like between overnight train rides, visits to Xian and Shanghai, and eating a lot of great food, I'll have no excuse not to keep up on social media.

Best to all,

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Trains, Junks, and #ROW80 Updates!

Some of the islands in Ha Long Bay
Greetings and Salutations from Hanoi, the latest stop on my trip through Asia.

I'm posting this update from a coffee shop, where I'm getting caught up after about a week off of WiFi - having spent most of it on night trains, an old junk sailing through Ha Long Bay, and an assortment of bicycles and motor scooters weaving through the traffic of Hoi An and Hanoi...

Writing, publishing, etc?

I've knocked out another few thousand words on The Perfidious Mister Wickham, and written a few essays on the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly and still colloquially known as Saigon) and on the experience of traveling by rail in Vietnam.

Better, I've found the amazing, true inspiration for a new short story in a recurring genre of mine; the absurdity of war. Would you believe that in the middle of Hanoi, there is a busy little residential district, with a pretty little pond - out of which is sticking the wreckage of a B-52 bomber? Indeed.

I've also gotten a pair of tailored suits made, complete with shirts, tie, and cuff-links (a necessity forced on me by a pending visit with a General in Beijing) eaten numerous bowls of delicious pho, visited museums, a couple more UNESCO World Heritage sites, seen water buffalo and ducks, played with a friendly puppy, caught up with a wonderful friend, and found a translator for a French edition of Lethargica.Put away a sufficient quantity of wine, gin, and cigarettes to make Hemingway proud.

So, although not a productive week from some perspectives, a rather amazing week otherwise.I'm sure that after this current trip concludes, I'll be able to get back to the grind of writing, publishing, promoting... But until then, I'll just be enjoying the ride!

Hoping this update finds you happy and well.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Epic Fail? Yes, it Was Awesome! Plus ROW80 Check-In, Crossover Karma, and more!

At the Wat Chan Temple
Well, checking in from the People's Democratic Republic of Laos, where I've been traveling for the last few days. Tomorrow it's onward to Vietnam, first stop, Ho Chi Minh City (still commonly referred to as Saigon!)

First, a big thank you to anyone who supported my first Indie Crossover Karma artists, the rock/rap group 7LIONS - after the millions of votes were tabulated, they came in a close second in Macy's iHeart Radio contest - so, while it's unfortunate that they won't be headed to Vegas in September to play that big festival, hopefully the fact that they beat 22 other bands and solo acts from around the nation will help move them closer to getting a big recording contract, and it's certainly helped showcase their music!

The Final Analysis
I am also happy to report failure in my attempt to break into the Amazon Kindle "Top 100 Free" with my latest short fiction release, and also the failure to give away 1000 free copies of Lethargica. Why am I happy? Because we learn more from our failures than our successes, and I learned a lot with this latest release, all of which I'll document for the benefit of others in a future post.

Another product of the week that will get more discussion in the future was the creation of a Social Media Plan - something that every self-published author needs, and that I now (finally!) have...

Meanwhile, what about those darn ROW80 goals?

- Wr0te Another Chapter of The Notorious Mister Wickham - yes, I know I'm supposed to be working on CharmingThe Artillerists and Merry Christmas, Mister Washington, but it's bad form to argue with your Muse!

- Publish German Translation of Happily Ever After - I sent a follow-up note to the German lady who has offered to do the translation - she's very busy, so who knows? (FYI, I'm looking for a French translator, too - so, if you know anyone, leave me a comment!)

- Sigh... this keeps falling through the cracks... Between a shoulder injury, lack of a fixed schedule, and lack of gyms in the little towns in which I keep finding myself, I'm finding this hard to stay on top of. But I am trying to send as many SMS messages to my French-speaking friends in French, and am studying off and on... Bad me! Will try to do better and have something useful to report next Sunday.

- Stayed caught up on the Author Karma Facebook Liking List...
- Wrote a guest post for Nicole Basaraba's Writer's Uni-Verse-City on the topic of short stories...
- Created a Social Media Plan

- Ran the last of my target KDP Select Promotions!

- Create a “Short Story Contest” website Cancelling this goal... Maybe next time!

So, that's what's new in my neck of the woods... Will look forward to reading about what other folks have going on, and happy to entertain your questions or comments.

Best always,

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Goals Matter!

Goals matter, and my goal is to make it into Amazon's "Top 100" with my newest short fiction release, Lethargica. The graph on the left shows the progress to date, and how much time remains.

How can you help?

Click here to download your FREE copy now if you haven't already - you don't even need a Kindle! Select "Send to my CloudReader" and read it on your computer. It will also be archived for you, and you can always download to a Kindle device, iPad, or smartphone later!

Copy the Tweet below (in red) and send it out on Twitter:

LETHARGICA is 5-Star #shortfiction for the #Kindle! Get your #free #ebook today at Thanks, and please RT!

Post this link on Facebook and invite your friends to get their copy:

E-mails to friends, recommendations on Goodreads, blog posts - the sky is the limit! Anything and everything you do to help will be greatly appreciated.

As you can see, we're making great progress - less than 100 downloads, but already the title has moved 34,000 places up the charts! 

Thanks for your support, in any form, and have a great day!

Best always,

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book Release Event: LETHARGICA is FREE for Kindle Starting Friday...

It's always a pleasure to be able to put out a post like this, announcing the release of a new work of short fiction and giving my readers a chance to grab a free copy. This Friday and Saturday, my latest story, Lethargica, will be FREE on Amazon for the Kindle.

I hope you will help me achieve my goal of breaking into the "Top 100" on Amazon with this release of a story set in World War One. It's a beautiful and tragic tale of a man and a woman separated by an ocean, a war, and perhaps something even darker and more horrifying.

Early reviewers write: "I really liked this one... The writing style reminded me of Tim O'Brien meets Humphrey Cobb meets Ken Kesey meets Joe R. Lansdale..."

 "...a touching tale, written in Edward Carpenter's unique voice. It has very poetic prose with a wide variety of adjectives and metaphors that build the mood of the piece perfectly."

So, what can you do to help?

Well, you can click the buttons below to share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+1, to help spread the word - it's really the most effective way to help people discover a new author! Or send an e-mail out to your friends listing these links:

US readers:
UK readers:

You can also watch the video trailer for this story at: - and again, sharing, Tweeting, and +1'ing this video will be great for helping generate awareness...

And, you can be sure to download your free copy on Friday or Saturday - remember, you don't even need a Kindle to read this and other great stories - free apps are available for all smartphones, the iPad, and even PC/Mac computers.

Thanks for your support, and I look forward to hearing what you think of this book.

Best always,

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Indie Artist Crossover Karma Post, #1

One thing that all independent artists should do is to support each other in our various endeavors, especially when it costs little or nothing.

There are so many kinds of indie artists out there - writers such as myself, illustrators, musicians, jewelry designers, painters, singers, poets, circus performers, and so many more.

So, once a week, I'm committing to showcase a worthy artist who needs a little help to accomplish a milestone goal in their craft, in the hopes that my friends, fans, and followers will join me in supporting them.

This week's artist is the band 7LIONS, who blend urban hip-hop poetry from their rapper Prophet with the alternative rock influences of an array of band members to form songs that not only sound great, but make you think.

These guys, based out of Los Angeles, are currently battling for the top spot in Macy's iHeartRadio competition - they've already beaten 19 other top bands and solo acts from around the country to make it as finalists, and in the final week of the competition, every vote counts.

When they win (with a bit of help from you and me) they'll be going to Las Vegas to perform in a massive music festival in September that has the potential to launch them into the spotlight.

What can you do to help these guys achieve their dreams? It's simple - go to this page and click the blue "VOTE" button. It takes just a minute, and although you have to verify your e-mail the first time, you can then vote up to 25 times per day just by clicking vote and typing (or, if you're smart/lazy like me, pasting) your e-mail address in the box.

It's that simple. If you would join me in voting for the rest of the week, and in sharing this post (or the link below) via Facebook, Twitter, Triberr, or your other networks, I guarantee the karma will come back to you - because YOU (or someone you nominate) could be next week's indie artist getting a little boost from this page... (link to share on Facebook) (shortened link for Twitter)

Thanks for your support, and if you'd like to nominate another artist (even yourself) please tell us a little something about them, their art, and what sort of help they need in a comment.

Best always,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

ROW80 Update, New Release, Cover Art Preview, etc...

Hello there, everyone, and thanks for stopping by.

It's been a big week for me in many ways - just back from Australia, I spent the week getting my visas and other stuff done for the big Cambodia - Laos - Vietnam - China trip on which I'm currently embarked (sitting in the airport in Kuala Lumpur, waiting for my connecting flight to Phnom Penh right now).

Put my life back in boxes and shipped it off to the U.S. on Friday, and will be living out of a backpack the next month as I fly, float, and ride trains all around Asia.

Saturday was a big rugby day - a 10s tournament that my team hosted in Jakarta, 24 teams, 80+ games... My squad went all the way to the semi-finals, and then lost a tight match against the Singapore Wanderers, but I absolutely played my best rugby of the year in that final game and can honestly say I was happy with my own performance (and that of my awesome teammates) although not the final score.

While all this was going on, I also managed to get my latest short fiction, Lethargica, up on Amazon, and will be setting up a KDP Select "Free" promotion this coming weekend to launch it.

No goals accomplished this week. My focus for the coming week will be to work on The Artillerists and Merry Christmas, Mister Washington, thus completing the war-story quartet that will comprise my first short fiction collection, along with the previously-published Seven Lives to Repay Our Country and Lethargica.

- Publish Lethargica - Done!

- Bonus! Completed the draft cover art for The Notorious Mister Wickham... Comments are much appreciated!

- I think my 80 minutes of hard-hitting rugby on Saturday fulfilled my quota for the week!

- Didn't quite get in an hour a day, but I did work on this... Sadly, my language studies have turned out to be one of the most difficult tasks to stay focused on in the midst of my travels.

- "Author Karma" - all caught up on FB page "likes" - will start working on other items this week!
- Off track on my goal of building my “Core Group” to 25 people - so will commit to sending out 10 invitations this week! Would you like to join? If so, send me a note or leave a comment and I'll get you added in... Advance copies of my latest works - who wants some?
- Bonus! Built my Klout score to 49, and gave out all my +K's for the week.

Well, that's enough for now - time to use my laptop battery for some serious writing!

Best wishes to all for a happy and productive week,


Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Video Blog - "Lethargica" Trailer Released!

The trailer for my newest short fiction on Amazon is out today - if you've got a minute, take a look and see what you think. If you have the time, post a comment with your thoughts - your perspective and critique are always appreciated, and help me improve myself as a writer (and a film maker!) 

I hope you enjoy this little film, and if your curiosity is piqued, you can click here to read a sample or pick up a copy of this bittersweet tale for 99 cents on Amazon...


Thanks, and feel free to share this post on Twitter or Facebook if you enjoyed it!

Best always,

Monday, April 30, 2012

Rugby, ROW80, and More!

Well, I'm back from my travels in Australia, just in time to lace on my boots and play a spirited game of rugby against a visiting team from Kuala Lumpur. That was Saturday, so after a long, hard game on the field, and then a long, hard night of drinking and dancing afterwards, being productive on Sunday, was, well, challenging.

But I did finalize the cover art and created a book trailer for "Lethargica", so that's a couple of items from the "Artistic" list that can be crossed off! 

As far as actual writing goes, a bit of quiet week; while I did get a very good blog post in, and did probably a thousand or so words on various of my works-in-progress, I actually got more done with plotting and historical research than actual writing. So, I now know what Regiment to put Ensign Wickham in (the 5th Dragoons) and have a better idea of how our anti-hero gets from Newcastle to Battle of Ballinamuck.

Last but not least, I finally buckled down and finished all of the "Facebook Likes" on the Author Karma page - which took some time as I had over 100 pages to visit. But that's done now, and I can focus on some of the other Author Karma lists.

So, here's the re-cap of progress made on specific goals:

- Create the cover for "Lethargica" - 100% complete
- Create the video trailer for "Lethargica" - 100% complete

- Caught up on the "Facebook" aspect of Author Karma - Twitter, here I come!
- Added another person to my “Core Group”, so 20% complete!

Still not hitting the gym or the French books as hard as I ought to, but will keep working on both the fitness and language goals, and hope to have something better to report on both fronts next week.

Looking forward to spending my last week in Jakarta for a while, where I'll be busy packing up house (everything except 2 suitcases is getting shipped back to the US on May 4th) and getting ready for my next big trip, which will take me through Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and China.

Lots to do, so time to wrap up this post!

Best to all,

Friday, April 27, 2012

Social Media for Marketing: An Overview (Part I)

Since beginning my adventure in self-publishing, I’ve identified several key tools for creating a social media network that will help market your story. I’ll touch on each aspect briefly here, and then devote a full section to each one.

Let’s start with Facebook. As tempting as it is to think your hundreds of current family and friends will be an instant market and take your story viral as soon as you put up a post on your Timeline, I’m here to tell you that simply is not going to happen. You’ll actually need to create a unique presence with an Author page (see here for an example) build up a legion of followers (people who “Like” your Author page) and then use some very specific promotions to generate downloads and sales of your story.

This leads us to Author Karma. Founded by Emlyn Chand from Novel Publicity, Author Karma is an initiative that gets indie authors supporting one another on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc. It’s an invaluable network and the best way I know to rapidly build your following. That said, remember that these aren’t “real” fans. They probably will not download your story – remember, they’re writers first, and readers second, and they’re focused on building their own networks, not reading your great American short story. However, they have lots of their own fans and followers, who are readers, and who may well discover your work through them. And, sometimes they actually will download your story – I have discovered a few authors whose work I’ve bought through Author Karma, but it’s literally a one-in-a-hundred case for me. That said, I've also found some other excellent sites and resources by reading the pages and posts of these authors, so this is high up on my "must join" groups for indie authors.

Goodreads is Facebook for readers. Well, not quite, but it is probably the biggest and best of the websites where readers congregate to list their own digital libraries, recommend books to others, search for new material, join virtual book clubs, etc. It’s a key place to establish your presence as an indie author. 

LibraryThing is a similar site, although it’s a bit more technically challenging to negotiate, and seems to attract a more high-brow crowd. That said, LibraryThing offers you the ability to offer a “book giveaway” featuring your e-book; something Goodreads does not yet do.

Twitter is a great way for getting a short message out to a lot of people. A lot of people. The beauty of Twitter is how far and fast the extended network of “followers” can distribute your message. Here’s an example. When I was testing promotional methods, I sent a Tweet about a free download for one of my stories to 44 people. Out of those 44 notes, 21 were re-Tweeted – that is, the person I sent it to forwarded it on to all of their followers. I did a little calculation to see how many people that one note reached (assuming it was never re-Tweeted by any of the people who read it on one of my followers Twitter streams) – the answer? That one note, sent to 44 of my followers was read by 97,292 of their followers. It doesn’t take a genius to see that you don’t need a very high percentage of Twitter readers to actually click through and download your story, because even a small percentage, multiplied by a big number like 97,292 is going to result in a lot of sales.

Now, if you’re going to use Twitter, you definitely need to use Bitly. While it’s not a social networking site itself, it lets you take a long web address (like ) and shorten it down to the more manageable Completely free, and vital so you can make the most of your 140 text characters in a standard Tweet.

Another site that builds on the power of Twitter is Triberr, which lets you band together with other authors to share your blog posts automatically through Twitter. This does a few things; most importantly, it raises your social capital with people in your “tribes” because they see you reTweeting their posts, and will be more likely to return the favor; and their followers see your blog posts, which means (if you’ve set your blog up right) that they are being exposed to your stories, your writing style, etc. Again, case in point; my 4 tribes, which have a total of 30 members, has a social reach on Twitter of 24,824. That means every time I have a blog post, the title blurb is going out to 24,824 people. Again, even if only a small percentage are interested, that’s still a lot of traffic for my blog. Want to join a Tribe? Send me a Tweet to @E_H_Carpenter and I'll send you an invite!

OK, that's a start, and definitely enough for one post. But there's more. Stay tuned!

Best always,