Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Chronicle of Woe

Writing news: Eternal is ready. It’s time. It’s the moment of truth, the inflection point in my writing career, the fateful extra long sentence with lots of repetition to illustrate an overly simple fact: self-publication time!

The Wife constantly pesters me about it. I buy all these books, she says. They’re selling well and the authors are making careers by themselves, they don’t need no stinkin’ publisher. Your book is so much better, she says. Go make me some money so I can live off you, she says.

So, yes dear, I say. Everything is almost ready, files are good to go, art is in place for the most part BUT WAIT.

Beat up from dozens of trips in a crowded backpack

Beat up from dozens of trips in a crowded backpack. I should’ve used better lighting, you can’t see the cool cover design!

The very same day the last touch is done on the print version, Dearest Pro Bono Editor of Eternal (did I ever post her name here? It seems rude to say names so I won’t) calls me.

I sold my soul for you, she says over a terrible connection. I know so-and-so and told them you’re brilliant (aaaaaw!) They’ll take a look at your book, she says.

I’ve had two glasses of wine, she says.

I’m flabbergasted she goes to such lengths for me, but some semblance of due diligence must be done! I check them out online and Booktrope sounds like a grand lot of fellers. Hell yea, I say, let’s give it a go. And so, here I am.

I won’t lie to you, I’m wary of going into this process again, but I would be a fool to pass up such an amazing opportunity. If nothing comes out of it career-wise, I’m sure Eternal will be better for it in the end, and that’s what matters most really. One way or another, Alexandra and Aaron Gretchen will see the light of day–but yeah, I’d rather see it happen this way. So…wish me luck I guess?




Non-writing news: no donuts for you! It turns out that Fairbanks, Alaska is a huge dick to new business of little means. Why, let me tell you of our adventures!

We (the wife and I, that is) tell our franchise rep from Paradise Donuts that we’ve saved $90k for this business. The man says, hot diggity damn, that’s more than enough to spare. I’m paraphrasing here.

We scout a location (what a pain in the ass in itself) and get some estimates. Nope, can’t do it for less than $100,000, the high-balling goes on-location. Dick tits, we say. So alright, we secure some financing then. After months of wheedling, $50,000 from the bank in business loan form, plus some extra from the outbuilding allowance in the lease. That should be plenty, we are excited!

The general contractor says, you know, I’ve been putting a lot of hours getting everybody to give me some serious numbers, and it looks like it won’t be less than $200,000. I might be able to negotiate down to about $150,000 if you give some specific blueprints for the whole thing.

That’s outrageous! We say. Get more estimates, quick! Surely there’s some company in this town that will do this project for less. Go with the lowest bidder, that always works out great!

The lowest is $240,000.

So, okay. My parents want to loan us $50,000. I feel like dirt for taking their money after everything they’ve done for me, but if we haggle hard enough, we can still do this. That’s…good, right?

Risk every penny we have? Get majorly in debt, with family no less? Deal with this town’s prices forever? Yoke ourselves to Alaska’s unforgiving EVERYTHING for at least the next 5 years? Hmm. Determination is starting to fray by this point, truth be told.

Alright, so let’s get some blueprints. Architect prices are crazy I’m sure, but it can’t be more than a few grand. That sounds insane already, but we can do that, and we need them anyway because both the location owner and the City require them. It’s for the Greater Good.

The first proposal comes in, after waaaaaaay too long of a wait. We open the email with some trepidation. It’s hard to decide what I’m hoping for by this point.

We started laughing at this point


Here’s the bottomline: we’re moving. We could maybe make it work with a lot more effort and determination and quite a bit of luck. But no, no thanks. We’re both tired of this town and this is an excellent time to pack up and go. We’ll take our cash elsewhere and see ya never, moose and beaver! Wow, that was weak, sorry about that.

It’s regrettable I won’t be able to say anymore “oh yeah, I live in North Pole Alaska, I’m so cool” but that’s the price I must pay.

It’ll happen next year probably, since it takes a while to transfer job and sell house and procrastinate as much as possible. But ten years in Alaska feels like more than enough 40-below weather to last me for a lifetime.




LASTLY! Playing games while blathering over them is the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I was going to say that I’ve let my inner nerd run rampant with this, but that would imply that the guy is not in display at all times. So let me try that one again: I’m a huge nerd and I’ve run rampant with this.

Yes, that’s more appropriate. I’ve even done a bunch of tutorials, I’m so damn good. Spelunky 101 is 1337, yo.

Let us unravel it together

Click it and let us unravel it together

I’m aware how silly it looks to anyone not “in the scene.” I’m okay with that. After literally hundreds of hours talking non-stop while concentrating on gameplay at the same time, words seem to come easier to me throughout daily life. Who could have thought, right? I used to dread the mere sight of a microphone, but now it’s so natural. I find myself speaking out more at work, asking questions out loud that I wouldn’t have voiced before, coming up with witty retorts that would have taken several minutes before. This entire endeavor has been and continues to be a huge time investment, but I feel it’s been worth every second.

Besides, I would have gamed my life away anyway; addiction is a powerful thing. Might as well entertain while doing it.

So that’s life in Israel so far. Be good to one another, space cowboys.