La Riposte

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,